Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sour & Hot Korea… and Two Scoops of Crazy. And a Democratic ‘civil war’?

Today we’ll offer up a firm prediction about the “Korea Mess,” that no one else out there has offered. (That I know of.)

But first:

== What ‘struggle for the Democratic soul?’ ==

The worst thing that Americans - (the “Union” side of this phase of the Civil War) - can do is let Confederate/ Kremlin/Fox provocateurs divide us again. They are trying to incite a “fight over the soul of the Democratic Party.” A struggle that’s 99% illusory. Read this incredible piece showing that Blue America is hardly divided at all, when it comes to actual issues and policies.

In The New York Times, David Leonhardt writes, “Stacey Abrams and Conor Lamb are supposed to represent opposite poles of the Trump-era Democratic Party. She is the new progressive heroine — the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor, who will need a surge of liberal turnout to win Georgia. He is the new centrist hero — the white former Marine who flipped a Western Pennsylvania congressional district with support from gun-loving, abortion-opposing Trump voters. 

"But when you spend time listening to Abrams and Lamb, you notice what doesn’t fit the storyline: They sound a lot alike.”

Know this. If you buy into the notion of some “struggle for the soul” of the Democratic Party, then you are likely either a genuine Marxo-leftist — a legitimate position, but be open about it — or else a Fox/Kremlin troll… or else one of their sappy tools. You are - at best - no help at all.

== Prelude to giving Kim a win-win-win ==

Headline: Trump's lauded North Korea summit increasingly looks set to blow up in his face.” And this is surprising, how?  The agenda of Kim Jong Un should be as plain as the nose on your face. Though, like your nose, you cannot see it. 

Consider. Kim must reduce his huge conventional military, or North Korea will be a smoking economic ruin and portions of the army might become dangerous to him. 

He also desperately needs a reciprocal draw down of U.S. and S.K. troops and assurances of general safety from regime change.

And... aid. Eased sanctions and  yummy foreign aid.

But here's the key point: his nukes - (achieved with major outside help by powers who have more control over this than anyone admits) - were never a "crazy man's way to lash out."  Once you have them, nuclear bombs are cheap! 

And hence this prediction: Kim will never negotiate away retaining half a dozen nukes as a deterrent, though he'll likely hand over some as bargaining chips - plus foregoing any further production - in exchange for a general slashing of expensive conventional armies... plus the "incentive" of massive aid already promised by Trump.

Kim knows that DT cannot walk away from this table.Trump is desperate for a "Nobel" win. He will do anything for it. So Kim will insist upon:

- half a dozen nukes to deter "regime change" and within striking distance of Seoul.
- a slashing of all conventional forces, including his own which are bankrupting him.
- ending sanctions and lots of aid.
- face-saving gestures to help Trump, symbolically.

Why that last item?
By blaring a "tough, great deal" for the U.S., ol' Two Scoops might save his political heinie here at home... 

...which is the wish and need of Vladimir Putin, desperate to protect his greatest asset.  Oh, and there will still be 5 or 6 NK nukes, which can deliver an EMP to us at any point, while Kim's sponsors and masters retain plausible deniability.

Sound paranoid? Conspiracy-ish?  Please, instead of reflexively sneering, tell me exactly which part? What part of this win-win-win-win isn't plain as... oh, yeah.  You cannot see your own nose.

 == Who benefits? ==

Okay, let’s dive into those common themes of the Trump Presidency.  Amy Siskind is keeping a list of everything Trump and company does that violates norms or pushes us toward authoritarianism or violates humanity. Her first book, "The List", covers the first year of Trump's presidency.

My own version of this is to cite the ancient expression “cui bono”?  Or who benefits? Asked by the detective in every crime story.

Case in point: After Trump announced his prescription drug plan to cut costs... the stock of every single pharmaceutical company skyrocketed. Every study shows that one thing - allowing government agencies to negotiate prices (now insanely forbidden) would make the biggest difference. Two Scoops explicitly forbade that. 

Or take another, much more urgent example: The top beneficiaries of ending the Iran deal were the Iranian mullahs, plus the war hawks on both sides. And any actual war will benefit Putin by raising oil prices, but above all, giving Russia a Persian Protectorate. 

Think down-range! How would the U.S. defy such a merger? How could a US-Iran war have any other outcome that the Kremlin "saving" Iran by extending its umbrella? Seriously, offer up a scenario 1% as likely... 

...and who do you think benefits from Trump's steady demolition of our alliances?

Again re North Korea? With every prisoner release and such, look ... at... who... benefits.

Trump, the Saudis, Putin, North Korea, and the Iranian mullahs... but...

The ones I can't figure out are the Israelis. Superficially, an alliance with Trump and the Saudis vs. Iran seems to oppose Putin and make sense... but there is no underlying logic based on actuality. Yes, an Israeli-Saudi detente might benefit both, and Iran makes a good bete noir. But if any deal includes the Palestinians (giving Trump a triumph) then the whole Iranian rationale for hatred of Israel dissolves.

Are the Israeli leaders really so stupid that they see this wholw trend benefiting them?

Spread the meme. Ask: "who benefits?"



128 comments:

Duncan Cairncross said...

I crossed posts with Dr Brin's "Onward"
So I'll post this forwards

From the last comments

Hi sociotard

Re-Musk - He has done it! - his Type 3 at $35,000 is equivalent to a Taurus + 7 years fuel AND he will be making better margin than Ford ever did

Once the volumes get up there EV's are going to be cheaper to make than IC cars - and that is before you talk about the reduced cost of ownership

Musk's targets are aspirational - they will never be met but they drive excellent performance

I believe that he has actually achieved his goal - EV's are now seen as inevitable - Tesla has done it's "world saving" (or at least contributing to world saving) and now can develop into a high end high profit company with the Chinese and Indians making the bottom end vehicles

It is going to take 10 years to get the production volumes up but inside of five years an EV will be "obvious" choice for anybody wanting a new car

Tim H. said...

Wasn't it wealthy elites breaking societal norms for profit that did in the Roman Republic?
http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/05/misapplied-history-aye-yie-yie-delong-morning-coffee-podcast.html
And Jim Wright has a new essay up at stone kettle that I think has relevancy.
The Koreas? I expect something best described in four letter increments, which I believe OGH has set out in a more restrained way.

donzelion said...

Duncan: I missed the onward call myself, while doing something else, but wanted to touch on your post as well, at least to urge some caution.

"Musk's targets are aspirational - they will never be met but they drive excellent performance"

Are you aware that you've just accused him of fraud? There are lawsuits already lining up against him on this precise point.

I trust the bond market more than the stock market, the 'smart money' rather than the 'sharp money.' Tesla debt was just downgraded to BB - not 'junk,' but definitely not 'safe.' They have good reason: Tesla is currently worth about twice as much as Ford. Ford made 6 million vehicles last year, earned $7.6 bn profit, and has amassed $12 bn in 'rainy day' cash. Tesla made less than 100,000 cars, at a $2 bn loss (they are NOT a high profit company...), and is running short on cash - perhaps even running out in 3-9 months (Musk himself has been cagey, now claiming he won't need to raise capital, then claiming he will, then claiming...lots of things).

"EV's are now seen as inevitable"
Perhaps: but not necessarily an inevitability within the next 10 years. Should Tesla fold, that could be pushed back...by a few years? Decades? Hard to say.

Think of it this way: the logic of WebVan was impeccable - in 2016, long after it went bankrupt, and only after Amazon/WholeFoods/InstaCart gradually built out a similar home-delivery grocery service, itself subsidized by an entirely distinct set of factors and a dramatically reshaped environment.

Tesla is a gamble. EVs in 2018 are a gamble. I'll take a pass: in business, unlike in fiction, the narrative cannot be the primary driver of outcomes.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "The top beneficiaries of ending the Iran deal were the Iranian mullahs"

At least, that fairly large share who are not fans of Rouhani. They are actually a more fractious lot than the differences between Democrats v. Republicans.

But really, the top beneficiaries are oil and gas traders, who've already pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars. In every cui bono analysis, it's best to start with who profits first and most readily before considering more far-fetched possibilities.

"And any actual war will benefit Putin by raising oil prices, but above all, giving Russia a Persian Protectorate."
Raising prices: certainly. Persian protectorate? Less likely. Russia might be able to sell more weapons and invest more into Iran, but Iran's interests, market, and inclinations are more directed toward China - which will buy oil from anybody (including Russia), but does not particularly trust any single supplier (hence the solar over-investment).

"How would the U.S. defy such a merger?"
By investing into the Caucasus, and other Central Asian states. As we've been doing somewhat consistently, and significantly more than Russia for the last two decades. We were long aware of the possibility of a Russia/Iran ploy - and built a large structure to contain that possibility. It may prove insufficient, but it remains to be tested.

"How could a US-Iran war have any other outcome that the Kremlin "saving" Iran by extending its umbrella? Seriously, offer up a scenario 1% as likely...
China takes an interest in Tehran (which always offered them much more than Pakistan). Russia has been their long-term enemy for centuries; Iranians would look anywhere for an ally capable of repulsing America, but they know better than to trust that particular shield, while the Chinese one is as yet unproven, and the quid pro quo most likely to be extracted would be more tolerable.

Would China do so? Depends largely on what happens with the sanctions gambit. In 2018, it's unlikely China will deliberately fight America in a trade war: more likely, they'll acquiesce, then bypass and ignore sanctions (China built much of the infrastructure of Southeast Asia to easily re-route production and bypass WTO restrictions a long time ago - it's a gambit they're intimately familiar with, the only folks who would suffer would be Chinese laborers in the mainland, but the financiers have already established numerous means of avoiding sanctions if they become a serious problem - and would probably do that first). In 2028? Hard to say.

...and who do you think benefits from Trump's steady demolition of our alliances?
(1) Trump cronies (esp. those oil & gas traders).
(2) Trump cronies (esp. property investors who've covered their risks with insurance positions); and also
(3) Trump cronies (esp. right wing interests who ride coat tails in rural America)

Oh yeah, his daughter's doing alright too (even with sanctions).

"The ones I can't figure out are the Israelis."
Netanyahu derives a pretty clear benefit. The rest of Israel? Not so much. But Netanyahu maximizes his benefit not with war, but with the persistent threat of war (in an actual war, Israelis might seek a real warrior to defend them, rather than a made-for-TV warrior).

Anonymous said...

And the following article confirms my belief that psychiatrists are as useful as a totally wet shotgun cartridge in the midst of a shooting:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-likelihood-conspiracy-theories.html

And, of course, you will notice that the psychiatrists who conducted the research believe they know a lot about politics. ¡And the cherry on the cake is that they say that those who believe most in conspiracy theories are the ones who benefit from the system! I do not benefit from the system and I am a proud paranoid professional. And in my country, those who benefit from the system are the conspirators. (What madness psychiatrists have)

Winter7

sociotard said...

You cannot buy a model 3 for 35,000. The cheapest model you can actually get is a 44,000 version. You have fallen prey to Musks smoke and mirrors.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/25/tesla-model-3-tax-credits-elon-musk-buy

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Donzelion

A published "Target" is just that a Target - it's NOT a "Promise" and as such can be as "aspirational" as you want

The stock market is two things
The mechanism by which companies can get additional capital
A GIANT zero sum gambling game

Elon clearly sees the difference between those two things

Tesla the physical company is doing quite well - it is selling cars at well above the "variable cost" and burning money getting it's manufacturing capability up high enough to meet demand - which appears to be huge

Tesla the gambling game is a different animal - and is as you say NOT in line with the physical company - and has very little actual connection or influence on it

Musk is - on paper - worth a huge amount because of his shares in Tesla - but that is just paper

Musk - rightly - sees that the Gambling Tesla is not very controllable or even very important and is concentrating on the Physical Tesla

What if the Gambling Tesla explodes? - In such a way that the banks call in their loans and Tesla is bankrupt?

That would be exactly the same thing that happened to the Channel Tunnel

Tesla (the Physical Operation) would be sold on cheap - and it's new owner would continue to make cars and invest in increasing production volumes - 20% margins and huge order books

A lot of shareholders (including Musk) would lose a lot of money but the new Tesla (probably called TATA) would have a money making machine - the same money coming in but much less money going out

Tesla is out there building cars by the hundreds of thousand - that is not going to change and all of the other car companies are having to follow suite

There was a survey 20% of car owners would think about an EV - that is 16 million/year

Duncan Cairncross said...

You cannot buy a model 3 for 35,000. The cheapest model you can actually get is a 44,000 version.

YET!! - Like any sensible person Musk is supplying the larger margin models first

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David Brin said...

"Persian protectorate? Less likely. Russia might be able to sell more weapons and invest more into Iran, but Iran's interests, market, and inclinations are more directed toward China "

If Iran starts feeling genuine pain from a US attack, you can bet they'll ask Putin to end it with a five minute call declaring "umbrella.

Jeez! What do you think has been happening in Syria? They are already allies!

Anonymous said...

Duncan:
Well, I really do not know, Duncan. I thought that Elon would create "the people's car". An electric car that any teenager could buy saving the money that parents give them on Sundays.
But no. He prefers to compete with the Mercedes Benz. And I'm not saying that does not make it much richer. But "the people's car" in electric format, would become more popular than the obscene photos of the Kardashian.
By the way. What the hell was Kim Kardashian doing in Donald Trump's office? (Forget it, that's obvious, I bet all the security cameras did not work that day in the white house closets) (I wonder how they got all that collagen injected into Kim Kardashian's ass)
And moving on to a matter of vital importance: Have you noticed that when Donald Trump is thinking alone he usually looks sideways; tilting his head like chickens? (That kills me with laughter) Jaaa Jaaa jiii ju ju
But Elon's mistake is an advantage. An advantage that you can take advantage of Duncan. You know about electric cars. You can create "the people's car" in an electric version. (With a wide trunk and room for five people) (With lithium batteries that do not explode when hit) (with a sound system so offensively powerful that all teenagers will kill for owning that car)

Winter7

Anonymous said...

And here's why the rich do not care about global warming:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-climate-poorest-hardest.html

Winter7

Duncan Cairncross said...

Winter 7

Elon is doing this correctly - you should START by supplying the Rich and work your way downwards

The reason that Musk may not end up supplying the cheap car is that China or India will probably beat him to it

But without Tesla leading the way with the Roadster and then the S we would not have many EV's at all

Anonymous said...

Duncan Cairncross:

I understand You say that when Elon achieves huge profits, then he will start creating cheaper electric cars. Definitely a strategy that I would not have thought of. (It must be why I'm not rich)
  Have you ever tried to make your electric cars with a fiberglass chassis? But, obviously, your design is better, created in steel. (I suggest using more solder in the joints)

Winter7

donzelion said...

Duncan: I haven't reviewed the litigation against Tesla; however, in most contexts, if a CEO tells investors, "By X date, we will produce Y goods, so we expect profits to rise as a result," there are rules on how to disclose falling short of the target (either of production, or expected profit). I am not saying that Musk broke the rules. I am saying that if he never anticipated actually meeting his targets, that may well be a lie that crosses a line into fraud.

"The stock market is two things...A GIANT zero sum gambling game"
No, it is not. Stock trading is generally 'zero sum' (by definition), but the market itself is far more than that: it (along with the even more crucial bond market) is a key portion in the system underlying most goods and services we experience, and will ever experience.

I am intensely critical of the gambling game aspect - not because I find fault with gambling, but because there are tricks played to make people pay costs for others without their consent or knowledge.

"Tesla the physical company is doing quite well"
By some measures, perhaps so. By other measures, not so much. I honestly do not know where the truth lies, or where it will lie in 5 years time. They may go to a trillion dollars. They may go bankrupt. Or somewhere in between.

My main concern is that folks do not perceive this gamble as a messianic hope for averting climate catastrophe - the stakes are just too damn high for error: we do not need messiahs, we need science, we need engineers, we need lots of players doing right - and we most definitely need to guard against even our own hopes sometimes, as those hopes, if dashed, can break far more good that must be done. Tesla should be viewed as an investment: as with other investments, once people regard it as more than that, they risk their life savings and get far more likely to be hurt, putting $1000 down for a car, then $2000 if there's a risk of not actually getting that car because the company needs more capital or may go under but they're ALMOST there...

"What if the Gambling Tesla explodes? - In such a way that the banks call in their loans and Tesla is bankrupt?"
It really depends. I do not know where the folks who put $1000 stand in the creditor pecking order: my expectation would be they're very low, significantly behind more senior creditors who knew how to protect themselves.

"Tesla (the Physical Operation) would be sold on cheap - and it's new owner would continue to make cars and invest in increasing production volumes - 20% margins and huge order books"
That....could happen. Or not. Much would depend upon what the new owners believed could be done cost effectively, and the climate would change dramatically.

"A lot of shareholders (including Musk) would lose a lot of money but the new Tesla (probably called TATA) would have a money making machine..."
I have to stop there, as I know more than I can say about a company with a similar name.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Winter 7
My car AKA "Duncan's Dubius Device" does have a tubular steel chassis

http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/duncans-dubious-device-44370p15.html?highlight=duncan

If/when I build another one it will end up with a Folded Composite Chassis

Not like this one - but it is an example of the construction method
http://www.autospeed.com/cms/article.html?&A=112925

I chickened out of building my first home made car in New Zealand with folded composites

I decided that I was pushing the limits of getting it certified with the electric bits and that adding a composite chassis would be a step too far!

The Device is great fun! - but NOT a practicable everyday machine

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "If Iran starts feeling genuine pain from a US attack, you can bet they'll ask Putin to end it with a five minute call declaring "umbrella."

They'll surely put out feelers and see how far they get with Putin; they'll be savvy about the price and skeptical as well: I do not see a Persian satrapy coming under Russian control - ever. And even as they put out those feelers, China has extended its own in a dramatic way - not just with Iran, but across Central Asia - steps that oddly resemble the American/Soviet efforts in other theaters there once upon a time. And unlike Russia, China has never been a major enemy of Iran, whereas for centuries, Russia presented their most consistent threat.

"Jeez! What do you think has been happening in Syria? They are already allies!"
Iran is not Syria. The geopolitical, economic, and strategic calculi are quite different.

And even in Syria, Putin's goal is considerably influenced by ends that don't necessarily bear much relation to America - Turkey, as a NATO member, is Russia's most persistent threat, shooting down a Russian aircraft a couple years ago and sparking a major rupture from overtures they'd started. The military links between America and Turkey run deep - yet the alliance is challenging, and where Obama put extensive resources into play to maintain it, Trump...may not...and Erdogan himself isn't exactly a friend of the Turkish military. Putin's end game there is less to displace America so much as to set a sequence of events in motion most likely to result in Turkey dropping NATO and turning 'neutral.' Unlikely to happen in 2018. But in 2028? Hard to say. I have no crystal balls: only cold understanding of the actual interests at work and their strategic implications.

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donzelion said...

Duncan: As for this - "My car AKA "Duncan's Dubius Device" does have a tubular steel chassis..." - that sounds bloody cool. I can't open the pics to actually see it without setting up an account, but if you built it and ran it, you're a talented engineer who deserves respect.

I do hope you understand that I'm not disrespecting you by disagreeing about Tesla (or if I am, that was never my intent, and I apologize - your insight on solar and many other topics is something I value since I have so little of my own to offer). In this case, merely urging caution - YOU might not be one to ever fall into a 'messianic trap' - but others may.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion
I was simply assuming that they would get their money back! - obviously a bit naive


Anyway the manufacturing "engine" would continue - just like the Channel Tunnel example - the money to make it is "Sunk" - you can't get it back so whoever buys it off the receiver has effectively a free money making machine

Just like the guys who bought the Channel Tunnel after the ones who built it went bust

"They may go to a trillion dollars. They may go bankrupt. Or somewhere in between."

I would vote for somewhere in between - but they will still be making Type S, X and 3 Teslas - or their replacements

If they go bust then they will probably not expand aggressively into other markets the way they will with Musk at the helm

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion

My device is actually a bit(lot) primitive! - but this is where I put the videos from the events I have done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUpyAY2sFWw
The only one from the outside

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_5FQI_8-DZMjpslskj1oeA/videos
If I knew how to edit them they would be a lot better!

Great fun! - but NOT very sophisticated! - Forklift motor!

Cari D Burstein said...

For the record, I give Nissan the credit for trying to build mass market EVs. They were the first company to go all in with an EV that was priced for the general public and mass produced. It wasn't the sexy high range EV that Tesla wows everyone with, but as someone who's been driving EVs since 2000, it was great to see a major car company actually go past small batch EVs and actually make an EV in quantity and actually market it and support it. The EV1 was a better car than the Leaf in some ways, but my EV1 was likely crushed long ago, while my 1st gen Leaf is still going strong and my mom is still waiting for delivery of her first EV, a Tesla Model 3 that she's been promised she can pick up next weekend (she had to of course pay for the bigger battery in order not to have to wait ages to get it).

Tesla has done good things for the market, but they're not the only company who has done good work in the EV space and it's amazing to see so many good EV choices coming onto the market. People think EVs are still something just starting to come out. Where I live there are lots of EVs (not to mention plugin and regular hybrids) and I've actually accidentally tried to get into a Leaf that wasn't mine before because it looked like mine and was 3 spaces down from it.

LarryHart said...

Yes, after two months of nothing, Stonekettle Station has a second new post in about as many weeks. And he tells me what I already suspected (bold emphasis my own) :

http://www.stonekettle.com/


There has to be more than just voting against the bad guys, more than just the lesser of evils. No, liberals have to vote
for something


It's only liberals who won't come out to vote against something. Right-wingers do so just fine. And not only that, but it's a winning strategy for them. They've been winning so much, they're sick of winning. Except they don't get sick of winning.

Lorraine said...

So far, I've voted straight Democratic in every general election I've been eligible to vote in. But voting against something is a double-edged sword. I've always given my primary vote to whichever Democrat I considered farthest left of center (since turning 18 that would be Jackson, Jackson, Brown, (uncontested), Gore*, Kucinich, Kucinich, (uncontested), Sanders.

Until Sanders, the "token progressive" never got anywhere near double digits. At first, the relative popularity of the Sanders campaign made me very excited. I figured he probably had zero change at the nomination, but someone that progressive scoring double digits in the polls will mean they'll HAVE to take movement progressives seriously. Then all of a sudden things got very, very dark. Now for the first time I'm looking at a gubernatorial primary (in Michigun FWIW) and I'm thinking about it in terms of voting against the DLC. Trouble is, it's shaping up to be two self-identified progressives vs. the AFL-CIO-christened nominee-apparent, who I can only assume will absolutely waltz away with the nomination.

Lorraine said...

Ah, forgot the footnote. The asterisk on Gore. Gore, as we all know, is the husband of the founder of the Parents' Music Resource Committe, and was (IIRC) one of the charter members of the DLC. And picked Lieberman as his running mate. Also I have an unreasonable bias against white southerners. In Bennett vs. Gore (the ultimate yawnfest) the tie breaker turned out to be education policy, as Bennett turned out to be a charter school guy, while Gore expressed at least nominal support of public schools.

Howard Brazee said...

The worst possible argument to persuade Kim to get rid of nukes is what we are doing to the Iran agreement.

LarryHart said...

@Lorraine,

I don't think anyone is bemoaning liberals' voting patterns in primaries*, where you're trying to pick which Democrat moves on to the general election. The problem is when you're not excited enough about the Democrat in the general, and that by your indifference you let the Republican win. Trump was worth voting against, and those who felt Hillary was too corporate or too corrupt or too careless with classified material have to take the blame for allowing someone into the office who is all of those things by orders of magnitude higher.

Sorry if I'm "man-splaining". It's just that you're not the first person to respond to a column like Jim Wright's recent one as if he's talking about primaries, which I don't think he is. Caveat emptor and all.

* California notwithstanding. I just hope your jungle primary system doesn't doom us to several congressional races between two Republicans.

LarryHart said...

Lorraine:

The asterisk on Gore. Gore, as we all know, is the husband of the founder of the Parents' Music Resource Committe, and was (IIRC) one of the charter members of the DLC. And picked Lieberman as his running mate. Also I have an unreasonable bias against white southerners.


All understandable. And yet, with benefit of hindsight, would he really have been worse than W? Or even as bad?

LarryHart said...

Leonard Pitts engages in schadenfreude, and I applaud my hands raw:

ttp://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-pitts-roseanne-barr-trump-abc-0531-20180530-story.html


I told you so.

I'm sorry, maybe that's petty, but I can't help it. For over a month now, I've felt like a man caught in a feedback loop, doomed to joust till the end of time with readers upset with me for writing that I would boycott the hit reboot of Roseanne Barr's eponymous sitcom because of her support for that sentient sack of racism and misogyny who serves as president. People who don't value equality, I wrote “ — and I'm sorry, but if you support (Donald) Trump, then no, you do not — have nothing to say to me.”

That stand brought rebuke from a number of Trump voters, including a certain Florida senator. It also drew reproof from non-Trump voters, who lectured me about cutting off an avenue of understanding and for acting as if a vote for Trump was a de facto vote for racism and misogyny. (Which, by the way, it was.)

So maybe you'll forgive me for feeling vindicated by news that Barr's show was just canceled by ABC.
...
And the chasm between Trump voters and the rest of us will not be bridged, cannot be bridged, because it is the gap between being treated like a human being — and not. These bizarre times will not tolerate mealy-mouthed platitudes and weaselly equivocation on that point. These times demand to know who you are and what you believe. You can't run from that. You can't split the difference. As ABC just learned to its chagrin, when you fail to make that choice, you make that choice.
...

Jon S. said...

Winter, Musk never said anything about making a "people's car". His goal with the Roadster was to prove you could make an EV whose performance matched or exceeded that of an internal-combustion vehicle. With the S and X, the goal was to prove that you could get a range on an EV great enough to compete with gasoline, without sacrificing comfort; with the 3, it was to make a vehicle within the reach of a less-than-wealthy family.

On the other hand, addressing a more general point, the proverbial genie has now escaped the bottle. Tesla isn't the only company making practical EVs any more; the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are in direct competition now, and Ford has announced that most of their North American vehicle production will be either big pickup trucks, EVs, or hybrids (they're shutting down NA production of such vehicles as the Ford Fiesta, Fusion, and Taurus, among others). Essentially, now that the innovations necessary to make the range of the vehicles more practical, it looks like EVs are here to stay.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Netanyahu maximizes his benefit not with war, but with the persistent threat of war (in an actual war, Israelis might seek a real warrior to defend them, rather than a made-for-TV warrior).


So might America.

Robert said...

Netanyahu has a base to worry about, just like Trump. For things to get better, a solid majority of Israelis, capable of forming a government, will have to recognize that the settlements are harmful to Israel's long-term interests, and shut them down. This would almost certainly also require kicking out Bibi the Clown.

Meanwhile, some rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Faction is happening, largely because of shared hostility to Iran, and is a good thing, but an actual war certainly isn't needed for it - it's already happening.

On the Democrats - they're in fairly good shape. Of course there are some divisions - they don't have Thought Police like the Republicans. It's healthy. The tension between the moderates and (then genuine) conservatives in the mid-century Republican Party was healthy, too. I can't imagine Robert Taft having any more use for the present radical - not conservative - Republican Party than Eisenhower would. Now McCarthy, on the other hand...

Now that I'm free-associating, cui bono suggests that McCarthy was a Soviet agent. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, on to Stonekettle.


Bob Pfeiffer.

Meanwhile,

LarryHart said...



In Charlottesville, Va., last year, Heather Heyer was killed by the self-professed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr., one of Trump’s “very fine people.”


This just occured to me, but remember that Hillary said something like "I know half of Trump's supporters come from a basket of deplorables, but the rest of them can be reached." From that, outraged conservatives insist that she equated Trump supporters with deplorables. By the very same logic, Trump called the Charlottesville Nazi who killed a woman with his car a very fine person.

I dare anyone to defend the slur against Hillary and refute the slur against Trump using a consistent argument. And if you think I'm addressing you personally, maybe I am.

LarryHart said...

Bob Pfeiffer:

Now that I'm free-associating, cui bono suggests that McCarthy was a Soviet agent. Sound familiar?


Well, I saw a movie like that. :)


Meanwhile, on to Stonekettle.


Let us know what you think of his latest. It's pretty exhausting. I'm only halfway through it, because I had to do other things.

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donzelion said...

Duncan: (re what happens if Tesla goes bust): "I was simply assuming that they would get their money back! - obviously a bit naive"

I don't actually know, but am reasonably confident buyers who paid for a reservation would rank after secured creditors (including employees) in the pecking order. Still, that's barely $500m. Tesla burned $2 bn last quarter. They've never turned a profit, though that could change...or perhaps even be irrelevant today (e.g., Amazon: minuscule profits, incredible value).

My bigger fear? People put in $1000, then pay an extra $2k - $15k to get what they'd thought would cost $35k (because the environment is important!) - then Tesla goes down in 2019/2020 - and buyers are forced to pay another $3-10k to keep their investment running, or toss it all and start over - making a car they THOUGHT would cost X actually cost 2-3x. Worse, that drains money from precisely the sorts of people most likely to otherwise spend their money helping the environment some other way.

There's a myth that Musk/Tesla's narrative 'created' capital based on an idea. Some of that capital probably was 'created' - but the overwhelming majority was redirected from other prospects. A Tesla implosion would drain this pool - if so, it may be replenished later. But a Tesla implosion might also poison the pool - preventing replenishment for quite a while, at least until the poison is removed or isolated.

It all depends on the ecosystem. How many discoveries have been made and shrugged aside, only becoming useful after some profound, unexpected change altered the ecosystem? Aztecs knew about wheels but lacked horses/donkeys/oxen - so never saw much reason to create roads...Greeks knew about steam engines...Viking settlements in Newfoundland...the difference between success and failure is seldom the wonderful attributes of the successful, and always involves skilled use of the ecosystem.

"Anyway the manufacturing "engine" would continue"
"May" continue...for 'key' infrastructure, once you've put down a road or tunnel, you can't just start over - you've got to build on what exists and adapt to how it changed the ecosystem (note that the tunnel cost less than a tenth what Tesla is costing). Different evaluations apply to any given manufacturing plant: change an intended use in any way whatsoever, and you have to balance the cost of retooling/upgrading v. starting over.

"They may go to a trillion dollars. They may go bankrupt. Or somewhere in between."
"I would vote for somewhere in between..."
Well...so long as you vote with your own money - cool by me. I'd treat it like a secular church - you could donate your money anywhere, and in this case, you're putting your faith into a leader, but not giving him your life savings. My fear/rage is more directed at investors who have tricks to get others to cover their bets without their knowledge that they'd been forced to do so.

Still, I welcome the day when your car making hobby will be more common, and praise the ingenuity (even if I do feel a tinge of jealousy - I have no such gifts or inclinations).

donzelion said...

Robert: "For things to get better, a solid majority of Israelis, capable of forming a government, will have to recognize that the settlements are harmful to Israel's long-term interests,"

It's sort of like the NRA: a small, exceptionally well-organized and noisy bloc can defeat a dispersed majority regularly in a democracy. But in the case of the settlements, it's not always a 'small minority' (Jerusalem settlements are regarded quite differently than other West Bank settlements). Shucks, I was accused as a Nazi anti-Semite simply for endorsing withdrawal from Gaza settlements (which even Ariel Sharon saw no use for, and he basically created the settlement strategy to begin with).

"rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Faction is happening,"
More likely, they're trying to use Iran to access power in America (Israel has it; the Gulf Arabs want some too). Those ties between the Republican establishment and the wealthier Gulf Arabs ruptured in 2003. Much more of the Gulf money flowed into Silicon Valley instead - and with Silicon Valley an economic capital in a state despised by Republican insiders, the Gulf Sunnis seek to diversify.

"cui bono suggests that McCarthy was a Soviet agent."
LOL, you're also doing the cui bono analysis wrong: always start with the direct financial beneficiaries and measure that before looking to more far-fetched possible hands. There's no need to assume the existence of a Soviet hand when McCarthy had other reasons to proceed. And even if there is such a hand, it will operate by exploiting existing tensions and using already entrenched tools - rather than trying to create their own.

Anonymous said...

Duncan Cairncross:
The issue of advertising is an important detail to boost sales.
Maybe some of the following strategies are useful for you:
A) Organize electric car racing through New Zealand. Starting at one end and ending in the village of the Hobbits. (Where they filmed the movie "Lord of the rings")
B) Create a racing circuit for small electric cars. (That would serve as a source of extra income) (combine with small businesses of snacks and ice cream)
C) Organize tourist trips in New Zealand, in electric cars.

Winter7

donzelion said...

LarryHart: My claim "Netanyahu maximizes his benefit not with war, but with the persistent threat of war (in an actual war, Israelis might seek a real warrior to defend them, rather than a made-for-TV warrior)."

Your rejoinder: "So might America."

If you meant America might prefer a soldier at the helm to protect us from an actual threat, I'm not so sure about that.

If you meant America might benefit more from a threat of war, than from the reality thereof - I'm very sure that this is true, particularly for Trump cronies. It's even possible they'd benefit more from a few sporadic military actions followed by a 'strategic retreat' (e.g., send some bombers in, fly a few drones, etc. - then back down): the Saudis would need to mobilize expensively, and their assets would be revalued unfavorably by the markets - while the Americans can more nimbly steer their investments, their assets revalued favorably, and profits easily reaped with positions easier to exit so long as they get the timing right.

I'm so confident that this is the actual preferred position that I'd even take a wager with our host if he disagrees: there will NOT be a military action in which more than 1000 American soldiers stand and hold Iranian soil on the mainland within the next 4 years (that excludes the disputed islands in the Strait of Hormuz).

donzelion said...

Lorraine: "voting against something is a double-edged sword."

Did voting for losing candidates sap your energy and cause you to tune out and drop off the radar? Did it result in non-electable extremists on ballots - cases where the 'good enough' was lost, and instead, 'nasty thugs' took over? Those are the risks of conscience voting, but the fact you've stayed engaged suggests the first didn't happen.

I just couldn't vote for Lieberman, but as a Californian, had the luxury of putting out a protest vote. Others without that luxury who protested Gore/Lieberman may have enabled Bush to take power (and later, Trump). I liked Gore in '92 ("Earth in the Balance"), and while some of my friends vehemently rejected Tipper's stickers, I always thought of them as a fair compromise - not unlike PG/R ratings in movies to guide parents in selecting films (consider the mother who took her children to see 'A Boy and his Dog' - and how many others would have done so, but-for the ratings).

All that said, my read of Stone Kettle's argument was not "There has to be more than just voting against the bad guys, more than just the lesser of evils" - but rather STOP looking for unicorns, and just show up and vote. I'd apply the same to Musk and others: we don't need magical formulas, we don't need messiahs - we just need to do our duty as best we can, and things will get better.

Anonymous said...

Did you see this piece about the rightwing economist James Buchanan, over at INET. Apparently it was all his idea:
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america

Jon S. said...

"As ABC just learned to its chagrin, when you fail to make that choice, you make that choice."

Or, to quote Rush (as I find myself doing quite often since November of 2016):

If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice!

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | I'll got a step further than Donzelion and point out that even individual stock trades aren't zero sum. They can't be for the same reason other trades aren't.

If I hand over my 100 shares of TSM for $x/share, I'm saying that money is worth MORE to me than the shares. The buyer is saying the shares are worth MORE than the money. Each of us is thinking about the future, so that is where the difference appears. Those two unrealized differences add up to the positive sum inherent in trade.

Oh... and it's not gambling either. Some people DO gamble in the stock market. Some people think of the market as being like a sportsbook in Vegas. Both are mistaken and will suffer on average compared to others who recognize it as a regular market.

Prices aren't reflective of corporate value... unless investors think they are. In the case of Tesla, they partially reflect the image Musk manages to maintain.
What they REALLY reflect is traders willingness to buy and sell. That's all.

Alfred Differ said...

Stop looking for unicorns applies to SOOOO many of us.

Calm down and do your duty applies to more. 8)

David Brin said...

dozel: “"Jeez! What do you think has been happening in Syria? They are already allies!"
Iran is not Syria. The geopolitical, economic, and strategic calculi are quite different.”

Crum! Do you pay any attention? Iran has thousands of troops in Syria, fighting side by side with - and often directed by Russians.

Erdogan? Cripes.

Robert said...

Larry Hart.

I think I know the movie, too. I loved the scene where Senator Iselin gets the number of Communists in the State Department off a bottle of Heinz Ketchup. The garden party was almost as good. But my McCarthy reference was from something much more recent, like, say, the last 600 episodes of CBS Evening News.

My favorite sign from an anti-Trump demo outside Mar A Lago was "KGB Spy Trump!" They aren't all lefties, are they? Not with a sign like that.


Bob Pfeiffer.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "Iran has thousands of troops in Syria, fighting side by side with - and often directed by Russians."

Source? Bear in mind, no source you have is anywhere near as good as what our Pentagon has - and even in April, they were still reviewing data (not just on the chemical attacks, but also, how on earth they mistakenly opened fire on our own 'allies' in the Syrian Defense Forces - controls are in place to avert that, dating all the way back to Kosovo, and updated broadly after Iraq '03...). Even worse, with Bolton at NSA, you can expect misinformation to trickle into the discourse in 'public' reports and newslines.

So, I'll fall back on what I'm pretty confident about: General Soleimani (of Iran) is unlikely to take Russian orders. Ever. He would definitely want to hear about Russian strikes (simply to make sure his own people aren't hit by mistake), so 'coordination' between Russia, Assad's Syria, Iranian, Hezbollah, and Iraqi forces ought to be anticipated. Control? Not the same thing at all. Every player on that particular battlefield knows 'the enemy of my enemy may NOT be my friend.'

"Erdogan? Cripes."
Indeed. Yet Turkey is more than Erdogan, a key NATO ally, the anchor of our plans in more ways than one, and the longest, most stable bases for our military in a theater of importance (even if they were not authorized to support the Iraqi invasion in 2003). That doesn't mean I love him: as I see it, Putin hopes to court him and play the old cold war game, but probably lacks the means to bring that about - and Trump may be a fool, but he has advisers who are not, and who recognize why Turkey is crucial.

And none of that changes my original point: Iran has already been looking more to China, for geo-strategic, political, economic, military, and many other reasons than to Russia. China has reciprocated those efforts. Whether China will upgrade the 'cooperation' relationship to something more tangible depends on many factors, esp. US-China trade relations (e.g., did the terms of the ZTE 'bailout' entail a commitment not to send ZTE products to Iran? probably so...).

matthew said...

That Buchanan article posted by an anon above is quite the piece. Not sure of how reliable the reporting is, but if 50% is true, then we are in deeper shit than I already thought.
Interesting reading.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I'll got a step further than Donzelion and point out that even individual stock trades aren't zero sum."

Fair enough, but then, since most stock trades are done by algorithms to one another, there's not much reason to conclude either the buyer or the seller has any thoughts whatsoever - about the future or anything else (though perhaps we'll see AI emerge here, in which case...). ;-)

Anonymous said...

Donzelion:

1438/5000
In the war with mousetraps, the Republican millionaires are mice. Oil is the cheese they use as bait in the mousetrap; The mousetrap is Iran. And the older mouse, who likes a double dose of ice cream, is the mouse that knows it's a trap, but will receive a lot of cheese for cooperating with the trapper: The KGB.
The United States will fall into the trap, spending billions and a waste that can only benefit the Russians. And this time, the Republican leaders will not get even a drop of oil cheese, because they are so confident, that they suppose that a billionaire rat would never betray the rest of the billionaire rats. If the rats are certainly protecting each other, sometimes, there is a rat that is believed to be entitled to all the cake, regardless of whether to achieve it must pass over the bodies of many other rats.
The Muslim soldiers believe that they have prepared twelve virgin maidens in heaven. That is a silly fantasy. But Donald Trump knows that a hundred virgin maidens are ready for him; several palaces and businesses in Moscow. And the chief rat knows it's something real; not a fantasy.
In summary:
A) There will be no war with North Korea.
B) If there will be war with Iran, but they will not get all the oil. (Maybe some wells, retained under the sacrifice of thousands of lives, of American soldiers)
C) The Americans will eventually have to shamefully retire, as in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Well... those algorithms have people behind them who are the source of 'intent'. Even simple things like when market makers sell options people want to buy when there are no other sellers at the moment have their intent baked in. The sell the thing and then buy other stuff to iron out their risks and level their exposure to volatility.

Until we've got emulated minds like Robin Hansen describes, those algorithms are still striving for positive sum trades based on what their owners intend. Even if their owners are corporations, the humans are back there in the mist if one looks for them.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Your rejoinder: "So might America."

If you meant America might prefer a soldier at the helm to protect us from an actual threat, I'm not so sure about that.


That is what I meant, though.

Anonymous said...

I just found out in the news that Donald Trump was launching a commercial war against Mexico and other countries. But not only against Mexico: also against the European Union and Canada!
Haaaa Ja Jaaaaa. It seems that Donald wants to face the United States against the entire planet. (very convenient situation for the Russians) (Excellent job, Manchurian agent Donald Trump)
In my country, all politicians demand to pay with the same currency. The president of the European Union says they will retaliate. Waaawww. Now I know what the Manchurian agents are for.

Link:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/31/us-fires-opening-salvo-in-trade-war-with-eu-canada-and-mexico

Winter7

Sojka's Call said...

Cui bono?

I think the list David started is very well thought out. The glaring omission to me is organized crime in the US, Russia, Israel, and other countries though those three are the biggest beneficiaries of Trumps policies.

Disempowering the FBI has been a boon to organized crime in the US. Changes to the Federal Attorneys has stymied investigations started under Obama. The Russian mob is not talked about anymore in the media. The Israeli mafia carries on with the niece of a notorious Israeli mobster serving in the Knesset.

And, look at Trumps ties to mobsters here in the US. You don't run big real estate projects in NYC without dealing with the mob. And, Trumps speech patterns remind me of old mob movies.

Yes, lots of innuendo and anyone with a mind to it can pick everything I said apart if they want to. It has the ring of truth of to me. And, it fits the cui bono question.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the supposed war for the soul of the Democratic Party, I'm pretty sure it is (or was) real from direct personal observation. This is not at all inconsistent with most candidates ignoring the war and running sensible campaigns - the war is mostly happening inside the party bureaucracy. However, the reality (or not) of this war isn't the main issue.
The main issue is how to beat the Republicans. Does the narrative of a war for the soul of the party help or hinder this? If it helps, should we support progressives or centrists?
I say that if we want to beat the Republicans, we should embrace the idea of a war for the soul of the Democratic Party and side with progressives. The narrative itself generates publicity for the Democrats and adds a little extra excitement to their campaigns. It also helps excite and thereby mobilize the "base", getting more of them to turn out and vote (particularly when progressives win). It may win over some portion of the reputed two-thirds of the electorate who are disgusted with both parties, since it looks like a rebellion against a corrupt party leadership. Again, this is especially true when progressives win (the apparent rebellion apparently succeeds). Finally, progressives really do seem to do better with white working-class Trump voters - especially when, as the New York Times article suggests, they stick to economic issues (and money in politics/corruption, an issue which plays well with everyone but the Washington establishment - instead of a right/left split there's a voter/politician split on that issue).
The narrative of a war for the soul of the party helps Democrats, and it helps even more when the progressives appear to be winning. Chastising Democrats for accepting/repeating/publicizing the supposed war for the soul of the party only benefits Republicans. Is that really what you want, David?

Brendan said...

Larry,

In a way you are correct about the similarities between Clinton's and Trump's use of rhetoric. But a rhetorical device is purpose neutral, what counts is what use it is put too, and here is where your equivication fails.

HRC made her Basket of Deplorables statement in Sept 16 when Donald Trump had already been nominated the official Republican candidate. So she was in fact talking to the general regularly Republican voter. She was saying to that person, "Look at the person beside you shouting abuse at minorities, cheering when protesters are punched, or disabled are mocked. Doesn't that behaviour disgust you? And shouldn't you also be disgusted and reject the man they are cheering?" It was a tactic to split the potential Republican vote, sure, but it was by pointing to the worst behavoir and stating that it was not acceptable.

Donald Trump on the other hand points at the extremists emulating a lynch mob, protecting the statue of a man who was an enemy to the USA, carrying Nazi symbols, and chanting racist and anti-semitic slogans; and says to his audience "As long as you don't go too over the top, you are my friend". And Donald Trump's idea of going over the top, is a long way away from where it should be for a national leader.

Hillary saw behaviour she(and I hope most Americans) believed was unacceptable and said as much. Donald saw the same behaviour and embraced it, trying to make it an acceptable part of the US political conversation.

Here is an interesting video essay titled "Death of a Euthamism".

https://youtu.be/0dBJIkp7qIg

The author is doing a whole series called "The Alt-Right Playbook" that is worth a look.

Anonymous said...

Of the clues that show us that humanity is already sliding rapidly towards the precipice.

Domino effect:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-document-widespread-methane-seeps-oregon.html

Winter7

Anonymous said...

I do not know what they think. But I think Richard Branson's ships are very fragile. And that's not good in a ship that must withstand vibrations at supersonic speeds:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-virgin-galactic-vss-unity-mach.html

Winter7

yana said...

Really, really foolish. The orange guy needs to feel admired, Kim just needs to be seen at a table. Fairly decent prediction: six minutes into a "summit", Kim yells a string of things in Korean, flips the bird and storms out, leaving the orange guy sitting alone looking bewildered.

It's like Mr. Orange is trying to hand the world to China. TPP was never about trade, it was a way to collect that part of EastAsia which is not-China into a bloc equal to China. Then again, Russia wants to see a strong China too, and benefits from a wild card in NK as well. So maybe the orange guy is just doing what he's told? Don Putty knows his only real exports are petro and porn, so cynicals in Beijing are much more stable allies than democracies, which even in America can sometimes have fits of benevolence.

Talk about a "soul" in the Democratic party, something worth fighting over, took a big hit over Brazile and Wasserman-Schultz stacking decks, and Abedin's little weiner too. As noted, hard policy positions are microns apart in the blue wings. One should also note the more fierce Dem primaries this time, like they know there's an inherent advantage today, just in being non-red. That's "internal polling" at work, and it's more effective now than when HRC was surrounded by soothing acapella yea-say.

Non-idiots on the left are looking at the Senate map in 2020, and it looks like everything's coming up blueberries, not roses. Kids in high school today, 5/8 of them can vote in 2020, and we're more than a little ways past apathy. Pundits talking about "fight for soul" might be miffed Berners, might be cheery chimneysweeps, but only a few of them are actually full-on #PutinStooge.

Will Millennials be able to tell the difference from snapfeeds and insta-troughs? No. But they will osmotically absorb momentum (osmosis being their favored mode of interchange), if it's coming at them from both sides, from oldsters and Gen Z.001 alike. I coined that, "Gen Z.001" so anytime you say it you owe me a nickel.

As for a Persian Protectorate hugged by Don Putty, that's a bit hysterical. It's what Russia always wanted since before the Great Game, a real warm-water port. Their foray into Afflictedstan in the 1980's was, as crusty Kremmers thought, one chess square closer to a warm-water port. They're not going to get it in Iran. Might do it in Syria, though they'd need Iran's permission.

Tehran's exports are oil and piety, and one other ace: a vast untapped market, like China was in the 1980's. They don't need Russia's help with anything, except splitting the West. A cozy military pact with Don Putty loose in the Indian Ocean? No, that's just never going to happen.

Silver lining to all this: Iran has another export, pistachios. And the floor is about to fall out of the pistachio market. China used to buy 50% of the US crop, mostly from California (sorry guys). But if Iranian pistachios can't go to Europe anymore, the nuts are going to China, and it's gonna be a fire sale. Which leaves the US with double the pistachys and the same market space.

The US crop might take up slack in Europe, but with them suddenly so cheap now in China, and a flurry of tarrifs coming soon from Europe, and a global market in pistachios being just what the name implies...

Pistachios at $1.89 a pound in 2020. Thanks, orange guy!

yana said...

me said:
"Fairly decent prediction: six minutes into a "summit", Kim yells a string of things in Korean, flips the bird and storms out, leaving the orange guy sitting alone looking bewildered."

Yeeps, shouldn't have posted that. If it comes true because some #PutinStooge reads it, some future historian will earn her PhD synthesizing Pearl Harbor, the Trade Center, and the Kimbird. Forget i wrote that.

LarryHart said...

Brendan:

Larry,

In a way you are correct about the similarities between Clinton's and Trump's use of rhetoric. But a rhetorical device is purpose neutral, what counts is what use it is put too, and here is where your equivication fails.

...

Hillary saw behaviour she(and I hope most Americans) believed was unacceptable and said as much. Donald saw the same behaviour and embraced it, trying to make it an acceptable part of the US political conversation.


Well I don't think we're disagreeing, because what I was railing against was the arguments in the opposite direction--those who tar Hillary with lumping all Trump supporters together as deplorables, but excusing Trump's comment about "good people on both sides" as not including the baddest apples such as the actual murderer. I was arguing that if you understand the nuance that "good people on both sides" doesn't mean they're all good, then you should also understand the same nuance that "some of Trump's supporters..." does not mean all of them.

In other words, that at worst, Hillary's comments were no more offensive than the ones Trump makes all the time.

If you want to go further and say Trump is worse, I'm not going to take issue with that. :)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Alfred: "I'll got a step further than Donzelion and point out that even individual stock trades aren't zero sum."

Fair enough, but then, since most stock trades are done by algorithms to one another, there's not much reason to conclude either the buyer or the seller has any thoughts whatsoever - about the future or anything else


But something mimicking intent has to be baked into the algorithms. If both sides of a trade didn't at least perceive some positive benefit to themselves, why would trade happen at all?

Here, I'm agreeing with Alfred and disagreeing with the Ayn Rand types who insist that there is an objective value to the items in a transaction, and that if I trade (say) $10 for a slice of pizza, the pizza parlor and I are essentially agreeing that the slice of pizza and the $10 bill are of identical worth to both of us. My thinking is, were that the case, I'd just hold onto the $10 and not bother going out. For the trade to make sense, the pizza has to be worth more than the $10 bill to me, while simultaneously being worth less than the $10 bill to the pizza place.

With machine trading, the mechanics would manifest differently, but something that simulates different valuations from different points of view would still have to be present. Otherwise, as I say, why bother trading at all?

LarryHart said...

yana:

Talk about a "soul" in the Democratic party, something worth fighting over, took a big hit over Brazile and Wasserman-Schultz stacking decks,


I was in the minority who didn't see anything wrong with the Democratic Party favoring the Democratic candidate over an independent. If Bernie had won the primaries, they still would have supported him in November, but is it really a crime that the climb is steeper for a carpetbagger than for a party member?

Back in the mid-1980s, Illinois had a debacle where supporters of Lyndon LaRouche managed to snag the Democratic nomination for (I think it was) lieutenant governor and some other office, and the party had to scramble to avoid having their own nominal candidates elected to office. It would have been better if the party had had its thumb on the scale during the primaries. It also would have been better for all concerned if the Republican Party had had its thumb on the scale in 2016 and favored actual Republicans over a carpetbagging New York Democrat. Just sayin'

donzelion said...

Alfred: re stock trading - I was being partially facetious - even a 'zero sum' trade in one sense can be a positive sum trade in another (if one accepts a possibility that any 'trade' can ever be zero sum), but it's fun to remember that 'thoughts about the future' that add value may not be OUR (human) 'thoughts' at all.

And there is always the possibility 'thoughts about the future' (whether by investors or trading algorithms they create) are not actually adding any value at all - that what we assume is positive sum is in fact neutral (or even negative in some instances).

Robert said...

Heyla Dr. Brin. I was commenting over at Contrary Brin recently when a young lady there came up with a very interesting point about the phrase "going south" for when things go bad:

Jeanne Berry: Robert Howard Isn't it interesting that the phrase we use to describe things going downhill is to say that it "goes south", and a good chunk of the RW Trumphumpers are from down South? And that the problem is that they haven't yet gotten over losing the Civil War? Just had that thought.

-----------

The thing is, I think the phrase originated in England, not the U.S., but it's still a very interesting point! :)

Rob H.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "I was in the minority who didn't see anything wrong with the Democratic Party favoring the Democratic candidate over an independent."

As was I...but in retrospect, the appearance of fairness should have been a higher priority. The problem isn't 'loyalty to one's own' - but 'accommodating those who aren't so interested in participating at all' - making space for them, keeping them engaged. Obama seemed to bring that in 2008 - even as Hillary locked up party faithful wherever a machine was established (except Illinois). The 'progressives' came out for Obama in 2008, terrified by the financial disaster - but they quickly discovered that he wasn't a superhero, just a man, and stayed home...

"is it really a crime that the climb is steeper for a carpetbagger than for a party member?"
Not a crime, but for many who are dipping their toes into the fight, one they find dirty and would ordinarily want to stay out of - they believe they can avoid it by staying home, tuning out, turning off, tossing mailers in the trash. The other side definitely has an easier time of it: all they need is a constant reinjection of more rage, and their ranks get that every evening from their Fox feeds. Our side has no comparable mechanism driving turnout - and in the face of a fight, some are drawn to choose sides, but many (most) prefer to tune out and look elsewhere.

"It would have been better if the party had had its thumb on the scale during the primaries."
In the two districts in California where Dems MAY get washed out by our jungle primary system (Dr. Brin's 49th and my own neighboring 39th) - everything depends on people turning out. Some of those people simply won't come in unless they see all the attributes of angels in a party: if the candidates don't talk like Martin Luther King Jr., show the strength of Muhammad Ali, the wisdom of Lincoln, and precisely line up with every last policy they could think of. Young voters in particular are susceptible to this - instead of finding virtues in a 'reasonable leader' - they disengage unless their leader proves a perfect hero.

"It also would have been better for all concerned if the Republican Party had had its thumb on the scale in 2016..."
They did have their thumb on the scale, but Trump weighed a lot more than many hundreds of subtle thumbs...and more important, those putting their thumbs on the scale understood completely that whatever Trump's defects, winning is more important - so long as their people will stock the offices that actually do stuff, Trump was irrelevant.

LarryHart said...

@Robert,

I always took "going south" to be a cute way of saying "going down", as maps generally show south in the down direction. I wouldn't ascribe any more sinister meaning to the phrase, although your way does make a good snidely insulting mnemonic device.

Likewise, when an organization is losing money, it is said to be "in the red", which could appropriately refer to Republicans (as in "red states").

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

LarryHart: "I was in the minority who didn't see anything wrong with the Democratic Party favoring the Democratic candidate over an independent."

As was I...but in retrospect, the appearance of fairness should have been a higher priority.


There I'll agree, also in retrospect.

The solution should not have been to pretend no bias (when the bias was obvious), but to state up front that a carpetbagger to the party had more to prove that he'd make a better Democratic candidate then the Democrat, but that should he do so, he'd be welcomed as such.

One of my pet peeves is that the primaries have become forums for the population at large to pick their favorite Democrat (or Republican) rather than a forum for the party to agree on which candidate to get behind as likely to win the real election.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

and more important, those putting their thumbs on the scale understood completely that whatever Trump's defects, winning is more important - so long as their people will stock the offices that actually do stuff, Trump was irrelevant.


I wish Democrats had understood as well. For anti-Hillary Democrats, is there anything Hillary would have done in office that is worse than the outcome produced by not voting for her?

I do have a cynical warning though for the conservatives who think Trump is irrelevant. They should carefully watch the movie Cabaret, with emphasis on the scene which ends in the song, "Tomorrow belongs to me." "Do you still think you can control them?

David Smelser said...

I see two inter-related questions:
a) should relative outsiders be allowed to run as candidates?
b) should party outsiders (no party preference) voters be allowed to pick who represents the party?

In California's presidential primary, both parties said 'yes' to the first question by allowing Trump and Bernie to run. But on the second question, republican party said 'no' by insisting that you had to be a registered republican to get the GOP ballot. The democratic party, on the other hand, said NPP can participate in the primary elections but the party will have super delegates that can put their thumbs on the scale.

LarryHart said...

David Smelser:

a) should relative outsiders be allowed to run as candidates?


That should be an internal question for the parties to decide.


b) should party outsiders (no party preference) voters be allowed to pick who represents the party?


If so, then why not allow non-citizens to vote in elections? Wouldn't the same logic govern both situations?

donzelion said...

Yana: "Pistachios at $1.89 a pound in 2020. Thanks, orange guy!"

More likely, they'll try a 'coupon' arrangement (CostCo pistachios going for $5/pound drop to $4/pound), then after reaching a certain point, burn excess stocks and declare bankruptcy.

"TPP was never about trade, it was a way to collect that part of EastAsia which is not-China into a bloc equal to China."
Yep. Other than Obama, Dems tended not to care. Reps cared when corporations told them to care - but it turns out, behind corps, there are shareholders who know ways of profiting even if their companies cannot (so long as they know about how some country will be cheating in advance...and they often do). Even a billionaire tends to have far less means at his disposal than a modest-sized company - but they are very focused and capable of acting quietly, while the companies they own have many claimants.

"As noted, hard policy positions are microns apart in the blue wings."
A Bernie backer (name eludes me) and I had an interesting exchange here: even if Hillary and Bernie agreed on 95% of their policies, he didn't care. The only 'real' distinction was over the minimum wage - her endorsement of $12/hr, v. his of $15/hr. Even that was probably tactical - she figured without a unified bloc, even $12/hr might not be achievable, while he figured that demanding a higher sum would lead to a better negotiated compromise. Yet ultimately, he just didn't care. Brazile/Wasserman stacking the deck was the only thing that mattered.

I think he was probably a younger voter.

"Kids in high school today, 5/8 of them can vote in 2020, and we're more than a little ways past apathy."
Actually, we're not. Kids want to elect superheroes: when candidates prove to be merely human, they turn off and tune out.

occam's comic said...

"For anti-Hillary Democrats, is there anything Hillary would have done in office that is worse than the outcome produced by not voting for her?"

If Clinton won, she would guarantee that republicans keep control over the House and Senate. Her constant scandals would empower Republicans and depress liberals and democrats. Domestically she would not get anything liberal done. And internationally I don't trust her, I think she would attempt to "wag the dog" and see military action abroad as a way to increase her support at home.

I am starting to view Trump as political chemotherapy. In order to really treat the problem of Oligarchic control of the government and economy a truly powerful response by the American people is needed.

My fear is the if the Democrats win the presidency and have the house and senate (in 2021) they will do a repeat of the Obama administrations first two years. Pushing for a DLC, republican light, incremental, wonkified, overly complicated, pro-corporate programs that deliver maybe a 1/4 or 1/8 of a loaf after the 2023 midterms.

donzelion said...

Yana: As for your other observations - which are INTERESTING (at least to me) - here's my thoughts -
On 'Afflicted-stan' - bear in mind that the American domino/chess players were deemed woolly-headed dinosaurs by the late 1970s, but even if their arguments were silly, they could still be USEFUL. It's not unlike the 'supply side' theory: it doesn't matter whether the argument is believed or backed by any facts if you can achieve 'useful' outcomes by advancing it (and it's dirt cheap to advance crackpot theories...in fact, it takes a great deal of discipline and concerted action by responsible observers simply to eliminate crackpot theories).

Our side errs when we advance theories with little to no evidence, especially when we have easier theories with extreme quantities of evidence to support them.

The wet dream of the American magnates is a giant regional war in the Gulf between the Arab states v. Iran. So long as the environment is messy, every player will pour every penny they can into pumping as much oil as they can - but none of them have the means of actually getting that oil to any market without American protection... This is a picture of perfect control: the spigots can be turned off or on at whim - and traders can and will ride the movements in the market up or down - minting a few trillion dollars.

There are two sorts of wrinkles in this gambit, one on supply, one on demand:
(1) Russia (and to a lesser extent, other petrol exporters). Russia can ensure it's oil gets to market without any American protection. They can capture a large chunk of the gains if this sort of gambit takes hold.
(2) China, California, and Japan all perceived this risk as well and started launching alternative energy sources in response. But solar is still a pittance compared to oil...

donzelion said...

Occam: "I am starting to view Trump as political chemotherapy. In order to really treat the problem of Oligarchic control of the government and economy a truly powerful response by the American people is needed."

We disagree about the prospects for the people to overcome the oligarchy. Oligarchs have a much longer history manipulating the people than democratic institutions do.

"Pushing for a DLC, republican light, incremental, wonkified, overly complicated, pro-corporate programs that deliver maybe a 1/4 or 1/8 of a loaf after the 2023 midterms."

The 2009-2010 Congress was tasked with trying to avert a depression, succeeded in that effort by and large, and also passed a first draft at health care reform. I'd call that a 'win.' The electorate said otherwise.

I do not anticipate a sustainable 'popular uprising' - not when Roseanne Arnold/Barr is so much more important than the death toll in Puerto Rico. Rather, what I see is an easily manipulated populace - chasing instant news claims of 'importance' - overlooking crises and tragedies that are imminently more important (but primarily hurting 'other' people). The entire institutional media system serves to generate this sort of novelty-seeking non-important distraction: the twitchy 'new' media is even worse.

The only thing DC can do is 'wonky,' incremental works: drastic reforms or revolutions backfire, because the forces that will make them backfire are immensely well-entrenched. We cannot steer the ship of state like a Ferrari - it doesn't 'handle' quite so smoothly, and there are many, many hands on the steering wheel.

occam's comic said...

donzelion

I don't strongly disagree with anything you said, so do you have any ideas on what a democratic president and congress could actually get done that would help a lot of American people fairly quickly?
Do you think Medicare for all is too much?


By the way there seems to be evidence that we are heading towards Global Financial Crisis 2. Only this time it will not only be a credit crisis but also a currency crisis. Tim Morgan has been doing a lot of interesting work on energetic analysis of the economy and he sees a crisis coming.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

"For anti-Hillary Democrats, is there anything Hillary would have done in office that is worse than the outcome produced by not voting for her?"

If Clinton won, she would guarantee that republicans keep control over the House and Senate. Her constant scandals would empower Republicans and depress liberals and democrats.


So how is that different from now? The Senate is almost guaranteed to stay Republican thanks to the makeup of the seats which are up this time, and the House is going to be pretty darned close. California's jungle primary could doom us right there.


Domestically she would not get anything liberal done. And internationally I don't trust her, I think she would attempt to "wag the dog" and see military action abroad as a way to increase her support at home.


You're thinking long-term, which is admirable. The W Bush presidency probably gave us Obama, and the Obama presidency gave us Trump. If we could all see 20 years ahead, we might feel differently about what constitutes winning and losing.

But to get to the long term, we have to first get through the short term. You're describing what would be wrong with a Hillary presidency, but my question was whether any of that would be worse (or even exactly the same) as a Trump presidency, which was the ostensible reason for sitting out the election. I claim that what I knew back then is obvious even to the most obtuse by now: that whatever misgivings one might have had about President Hillary, the #TrumpUniversity Administration is worse by orders of magnitude.


I am starting to view Trump as political chemotherapy. In order to really treat the problem of Oligarchic control of the government and economy a truly powerful response by the American people is needed.

My fear is the if the Democrats win the presidency and have the house and senate (in 2021) they will do a repeat of the Obama administrations first two years. Pushing for a DLC, republican light, incremental, wonkified, overly complicated, pro-corporate programs that deliver maybe a 1/4 or 1/8 of a loaf after the 2023 midterms.

I may be overly optimistic here, but I think the Dems have learned that they can't win on Republican-lite, and that there's no point being gracious in victory when the other side has proven it will never be so.

Your fear includes my hope. I'm not at all optimistic that we'll sweep in 2020, but even with the consequences you consider above, that would be better than if Republicans keep power and then control the districting for future races over the next 20 years (assuming that, being a non-presidential year, Democrats won't bother voting in 2030). If we can minimize the damage until my daughter's generation is of voting age, we stand a fighting chance.

Jon S. said...

"I always took "going south" to be a cute way of saying "going down", as maps generally show south in the down direction. I wouldn't ascribe any more sinister meaning to the phrase, although your way does make a good snidely insulting mnemonic device.

Likewise, when an organization is losing money, it is said to be "in the red", which could appropriately refer to Republicans (as in "red states")."


I actually just looked it up - turns out "going south" was first used on record in the Elgin, IL, Dairy Rep,on Nov. 13, 1920: "Meat, grains and provisions generally, are like Douglas Fairbanks, headed south—in other words, going down." It's assumed to be a reference to the directions of the compass points on a traditional rosette, with South being pointed downward.

(I assume you're in fact aware of the true etymology of "in the red"... :-) )

Occam, what "constant scandals" are you talking about? The closest thing to a "scandal" Mrs. Clinton was involved in was the Benghazi affair - which a very partisan investigating committee, after eleven hours of testimony and questioning, found was not her fault. (Now, there was one Congressman who inadvertently revealed highly-classified information about the location of a CIA base of operations, but that wasn't Clinton either.) So what, pray tell, are these "constant scandals" of which you speak? Pizzagate, perhaps?

occam's comic said...

Jon S
The constant scandals don't have to be real scandals - see whitewater.

locumranch said...


In the last thread & in a statement of terrifying correctness, Donzelion quipped that the US State of California was "at the crossroads", so it should come as no surprise to anyone that "the crossroads" are the traditional burial site of suicides.

The EU & the US Democratic Party have embarked on a near identical course of action with the most ethical of intentions: They have abandoned the democratic pretense along with the will of their political majorities; they have refashioned themselves as self-loathing minority advocates; and they have become more concerned with the rights of illegal & refugee interlopers than the rights of their actual citizens.

All are potential suicides intent on self-martyrdom. They engage in pathological altruism, having concluded that the self-interests of 'The Other' outweigh those of any discrete cultural majority.

This is the very same fallacious logic that allows the so-called Civilised West to simultaneously celebrate & condemn those who attempt to preserve themselves against a predacious other, as in the case of the much despised people of Israel.

We engage in cognitive dissonance:

We celebrate Israel's right to exist as an oppressed minority; we condemn Israel's attempts at self-preservation as uncivilised & unacceptably violent criminal acts; and we resolve this irresolvable conflict by demanding that Israel (as an errant nation) self-civilises by committing suicide.

Thus, we conclude that we (as an enlightened & privileged majority) must die because it is the moral, right & ethical 'thing to do' to harm yourself instead of risking harm to others.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | And there is always the possibility 'thoughts about the future' ... are not actually adding any value at all

Yup. Best bit of advice I ever got from a lawyer came during the breakup of an LLC I was in. He pointed out that the things we might fight over didn't have any value... yet. The side I was on quit fighting that day. Saved us a lot of money that he could have let us pay him but for his code of ethics. 8)

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

I assume you're in fact aware of the true etymology of "in the red"... :-)


I thought it had to do with financial charts, where the bars below the zero line are red and the bars above are black. But are you hinting at something funnier?

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | You come up with some crazy shit now and then.

I've known people who attempted suicide and a few more people who knew others who were successful at it. Despair is usually part of the mindset and not martyrdom unless the person in despair is particularly religious. Those of us in California really are NOT all that pious. Many are, but not enough to move us all toward martyrdom.

The only despair I see around here involves what is going on in DC and the damage being done to the nation FROM THERE.

Old Rockin' Dave said...

"But if any deal includes the Palestinians (giving Trump a triumph) then the whole Iranian rationale for hatred of Israel dissolves."
That's if you overlook that any settlement may leave Israel in substantial control of Jerusalem; maintaining some kind of presence in Hebron, particularly around the Tomb of the Patriarchs; and by its existence offending mullahs who need some external villain to justify their control. You don't go from being the Little Satan for forty years to being innocuous just overnight.
"Rational" and "rationale" don't always walk hand in hand, anyway.

locumranch said...


You're in a vehicle with no brakes, careening down a mountain road. On your left is a sheer wall of rock, on your right is a deadly precipice & directly in front of you is a gaggle of clueless school children blocking your path.

If you turn either left or right, then it means your certain death.

If you stay the course, then you will survive (unharmed) but a gaggle of children will die.

What's a civilised man to do?

This message brought to you by Collective Suicide: The cure for climate change, white privilege, irresolvable conflict & whatever ails you.


Best

donzelion said...

Locum: "What's a civilised man to do?"

Oh, that's an easy one. Build better roads and make this scenario happen about 1:5,000,000,000,000 times. That works for ticking time bombs and most other hypothetical dilemmas.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "Best bit of advice I ever got from a lawyer...Saved us a lot of money that he could have let us pay him but for his code of ethics."

...and now you know why I prefer blogging/commenting here to practicing my profession quite so much of the time. ;-)

donzelion said...

Locum: Oh, missed this, going back in reverse order. It's interesting to posit crossroads as a burial site for suicides; they are also one of the more common sites for establishing cities and towns. Historically, who made most of the roads that became crossroads? Lords, the crown, and if it existed, an imperial authority (relatively few villages built their own road links, though some might maintain them, when there was a reason to do so). Perhaps the superstition was also linked in some way to that phenomenon (as in, quite a few 'suicides' may have been motivated by abuses of their local lordlings, esp. women who were violated, men thrown off their land...).

"They engage in pathological altruism, having concluded that the self-interests of 'The Other' outweigh those of any discrete cultural majority."
Not so: rather, they define the interests of the majority as including unrepresented minorities - even possibly 'objectionable' minorities. That's why you have a place among us liberals, even if you despise us. But break with the right wing in any of its truly sacred conventions, they will burn and bury you (by the crossroads?). We, by contrast, prefer to fixate on reducing the quantum of objectionability - less by silencing and censoring, and more by setting rules for everyone (e.g., the football player can say what he likes - but if he tries to stop the game for 45 minutes while he finishes a rant, he gets booted).

"This...logic that allows...celebrate & condemn those who attempt to preserve themselves against a predacious other"
Predacious, or predatory? Odd word choice. Regardless, the 'much despised people of Israel' are beloved in my book: they'd be MORE beloved if they uniformly stood against apartheid. Simultaneously, I happen to know a LOT more about the so-called 'predacious other' than you do. Turns out, they're not so different from us. The most violent among them are not much different from our own crazy cultists (hence, 9/11 and OKC Bombings have exceptionally similar underlying motivations - and both of them read the Turner Diaries for methodological purposes).

"We celebrate Israel's right to exist as an oppressed minority"
Actually, I celebrate Jewish American's success not as an oppressed minority, but as a phenomenal example of what is possible for a group. If other minority groups had rabbis as mentors (or a Christian or Muslim equivalent), rather than felons, what could they achieve? As for Israel, I see too many contradictions: if the meaning of 'Jewish State' is 'non-Jews not welcome here' - then I have a problem. But I do not think that is what most Israelis mean. I do not think they define Judaism as "not Christian, not Muslim." I think they have a much deeper cultural and religious set of ties and are not forced to define themselves by 'we are not like those other people.' At least, most of them.

"we conclude that we (as an enlightened & privileged majority) must die because it is the moral, right & ethical 'thing to do'"
Not so at all. My theory of survival is that the group that best accommodates refugees, variety, diversity, profits most quickly, grows fastest, builds strongest, responds to unexpected pressure. Unity and cooperation beat selfishness, time and time again.

It's that conviction which is why I expect you will do your part if you ever saw us being set up in the line to be shot: and if you do not do so yourself personally, many others who disagree with me often will do so, for others like me. It's not based on reciprocity or self-interest: it's just how power works.

donzelion said...

occam: "Do you think Medicare for all is too much?"

It's not too much, but tactics matter in how we get there. Obama beat Hillary in part by moderating his intentions - going the Romney 2.0 version of 'Medicare for MORE' where she came closer to 'Medicare for ALL.' His plan recognized a vast variation among the stakeholders he needed - simply moving another 5-10% closer to coverage would do more good and be more likely than her plan to add 15-20% more.

Plus: averting the Depression came first - and certain ground rules were needed: no plan to extend coverage could work at all until people realized what 'preexisting conditions' mean, how 'denial of coverage' works, why 'short term/fraudulent coverage' is a bad thing...America cannot create a 'fake' coverage system (everyone gets the same theoretical coverage, but it sucks so bad nobody bothers with it).

"By the way there seems to be evidence that we are heading towards Global Financial Crisis 2."
There always is such evidence: like any stuck clock, it's right a couple times per day. As always, the wise course is to try to plan for anything and find items of enduring value to rely upon.

donzelion said...

Occam: I just realized that was a dodge and didn't actually respond to you. My agenda for what could be done if Dems held a majority in both houses + the Presidency would include:

(1) Reverse the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Epic Systems (a simple legislative change to the Federal Arbitration Act suffices)
(2) Reverse Citizens United (long term cure to many ills).
(3) Expand California's Cap'n'Trade system nationally.
(4) Shift college loans to 'nonprofit' carriers - and stop any loan guarantees to any 'for-profit' college that cannot prove employability outcomes comparable with established 'non-profit' colleges (not 'cures' - but steps toward a cure)
(5) Reverse the Trump actions to kill the ACA
(6) Restore the Voting Rights Act protections, expand through anti-gerrymandering tactics (condition support on compliance with principles like 'compactness')
(7) Appoint a worthy successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
(8) Reinstitute science advisory panels in Congress (and the presidency) - link them closely to Dept. of Education, NOAA, NASA, and others (folks who deny evolution will almost always also deny climate science...our Locum is unusual and not reflective of the norm...)
(9) Ban anyone who self-describes himself as too mentally impaired to work from owning firearms (an Obama rule that the right went crazy over)
(10) Ban assault weapons for every civilian (restore the 1994-2004 ban - a rule that helped lose Clinton's Dem majority in '94...).
(11) Break up 'too big to fail' banks - all of them. That could either be through a tax (Hillary's plan) or a direct breakup (Bernie's plan), depending on the sense of Congress.
(12) Revive the TPP...
(13) Pension reform (a secret threat to every municipality)...
(14) Infrastructure investment (and bonds, bonds, bonds! When debt is trading at 1-2%, we should take MORE risks than back when debt was 8-10% - but we're doing precisely the opposite...)

I could probably come up with 100 such items for my first 100 days. For Obama's first 100 days, the Financial Crisis overcame any other priority.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

My agenda for what could be done if Dems held a majority in both houses + the Presidency would include:


Point (0) would have to precede all others. "Eliminate the filibuster".

donzelion said...

Winter: The oil that the Republican millionaires (and billionaires) care about is in America. The only thing they care about oil anywhere else is how likely is it to get to market, and how easily (and for how long) can it be taken off the market. Or to follow your analogy but with my own theory, the billionaires are cats: a lazy cat welcomes someone putting out mouse traps with cheese since it's much easier to 'hunt' dead mice - but they'll hunt on their own, and pump on their own, when they must.

I'll put aside your claim about Muslim soldiers: again, I know many of them quite well, and they're seldom motivated by claims about virgins so much as perceptions of threats to their people. Much like us...consider: our own Locum thinks that WHITE Americans are under threat - probably the least threatened group anywhere in the world - yet if even Locum gets this so wrong, how should we expect others to do when faced with folks selling 'threats' to much larger (and actually threatened) populaces?

"A) There will be no war with North Korea."
Agreed, but I don't see a dramatic change in the near term either. I do not know if the NK regime is crumbling, or on the verge thereof - and to me, the threat of war was mostly intended to prevent anyone from inducing a 'fall of Eastern Europe/Qaddafi' scenario.

"B) If there will be war with Iran, but they will not get all the oil."
They don't need to - and don't even want to. Again, they want to get the most money they can out of the wells they've got - which is easier to do if other people's wells cannot put oil anything on the market.

"C) The Americans will eventually have to shamefully retire, as in Vietnam and Cambodia."
Perhaps, but if war actually did happen and turned out to be BIG, many Americans would retire as $100 billionaires, who are only worth $5 - 50 bn today. They'd retire happy, and probably even give $50m or more to soldiers and veterans...to show how loyal they were.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion

In another forum I discovered that there is a law preventing the Federal Government from doing much on education

I would put that very high on my list of changes

When I was doing training the actual classes were like an iceberg - 7/8th of the work was hidden - every hour in the classroom was backed by 7 hours preparation
Schools can't afford to do that

BUT the USA could afford do do a huge amount more to support and assist the teachers - it's worth spending millions to prepare a course that ia going to be taught to millions of kids

We should be able to employ the very BEST to take time and make absolutely superb teaching aides

On that have you ever seen any of the Teaching Videos that John Cleese made?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Arts

personally I found that I learned an absolute TON from the ones I saw

http://www.videoarts.com/vintage-video-arts/

To me it appeared that Video Arts (back then I don’t know about now) had decided to make training videos that were completely different from the usual

A “normal” video was just blehhh

They spent a lot more time and money on making something really really good - it would cost a company hundreds of dollars to use one of their videos - BUT IMHO we got far more than that back compared to using a cheap video

David Brin said...

“Talk about a "soul" in the Democratic party, something worth fighting over, took a big hit over Brazile and Wasserman-Schultz stacking decks, “

Thinking just like the idiocrats. Anecdotes, even when true, do not prove conclusions. You are reacting just like they want.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Sounds like the PCH just south of me. 8)

1. I'm not on the PCH literally or metaphorically.
2. My fellow Californians aren't on it much either. Most of us aren't even close.
3. As a metaphor, it only works if you can make a convincing case connecting the rock wall and sheer drop to something in our lives.
4. Many of us would probably brake as hard as we could and then plow through the school children and hope for the best.

Not only is my life NOT one filled with despair, it barely has any at all. A few years ago I might have answered different, but not today.

We are going to beat you and your mistaken, very foolish neighbors.

Alfred Differ said...

Meh. Brazile and Wasserman-Schultz behaved like party bosses. Big whoop-de-doo. Doesn't bother me because lost elections tend to cause the kind of reflections necessary to fix things... because party bosses want to WIN.

The GOP could probably do with a strong party boss or two whose futures depend on winning. External oligarchs don't count.

I like primary elections over the old party boss system, but I'm coming around to the need to have a bit of both.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Not only is my life NOT one filled with despair, it barely has any at all. A few years ago I might have answered different, but not today.


You sound just like me.


We are going to beat you and your mistaken, very foolish neighbors.


Yeah, there too. :)

locumranch said...



Optimists often delude themselves when they think they can resolve those conflicts that are (by definition) irresolvable, so they natter on & on about non-exclusive identity groups, non-violent violence, preference-free bias, empirically-confirmed inconceivables & other Orwellian absurdities.

Israel defines itself as "a Jewish and democratic state". It is 'democratic' because it exists to defend its majority. It uses justifiable violence to protect & perpetuate itself. Its specific biases & prejudices are a matter of public record, and it does not pretend to be either selfless or all-inclusive.

A fact is just another name for a confirmed & corroborated anecdote.


Best
___

Duncan is one such optimist who believes that the "very BEST" aspire to become teachers & teachers aides. Pfft. Numerous studies prove that the intelligence of the primary & secondary school teacher is (on average) exceptionally average.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I like primary elections over the old party boss system, but I'm coming around to the need to have a bit of both.


Your California jungle primaries don't resmemble actual primaries. The whole point of a primary is for the party to choose a champion to best run in the general election. In California, the so-called-primary really is the general election, albeit one requiring a run-off at a later date. But that's not a primary. A jungle primary, perhaps, but that's a different thing... :)

Duncan Cairncross said...

I don't normally read Loco's rants
But I did this time

"Duncan is one such optimist who believes that the "very BEST" aspire to become teachers & teachers aides."

I didn't say that
I said that the "State" - should employ the absolute BEST to produce the training materials and the example I gave did NOT use "teachers" - it used the likes of John Cleese and Ronnie Corbett to produce unforgettable material that used humour to make the material understandable and memorable

As long as teaching is a low status profession you won't get the very best as teachers

I suspect that doing his intelligence test of teachers in Finland would get a different result

Robert said...

The difference between the term "things going south" and "in the red" for companies in debt is a matter of accounting. I believe that when accounting was done by hand, you'd write debts in red ink, and profits in black. This way you can track debt more easily and when you have a lot of red, it means you have a lot of debt. Mind you, it could be a lot of small debts. For instance, if I were to put my finances down on paper, I'd have one or two in-the-black lines, and then multiple small in-the-red debts that add up.

I'm still not sure where "going south" came into meaning "things going poorly."

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

I'm still not sure where "going south" came into meaning "things going poorly."


I'm pretty sure that is no more sinister than a simple conflation of down with south on maps. It's just a way of saying "the bottom fell out" or describing a sudden dip on a chart.

Tangentially, in the late 1960s, my second grade teacher referred to lowercase letters which went below the line (like "g" or "y") as "rebels". It was decades later that I put that one together.

Slim Moldie said...

Rob:

“I'm still not sure where "going south" came into meaning "things going poorly."

My first thought was bird migration. Winter is coming so things are going South. Didn’t find any online etymology to back up my logic though. Did see a few references to bandits heading to the Mexican border.

Slim Moldie said...

That said, I think we should practice more equity in our negative connotation compass references. “L— and I met at burning man. It was a steamy romance. But after our second yoga retreat in Costa Rica things started going North East. Now she lives in Hermosa Beach and orders her clothes from L.L. Bean.”

Duncan Cairncross said...

In the UK "The North" was where the tough self reliant types came from and the "South" was full of soft southeners

Here (NZ) "Southern Man" is the tough outdoors type with the leather overcoat

donzelion said...

Locum: "Duncan is one such optimist who believes that the "very BEST" aspire to become teachers & teachers aides. Pfft"

Nah, he's an optimist because he builds stuff and makes it work. Our host is an angry optimist because he writes stuff and often touches beauty and truth. LarryHart, Alfred, and most of us find reasons to be optimists too.

You save lives, sir. Somehow. Probably a damn sight better than it was done 100 year ago. That may be so easy it makes you grouchy, or so hard it scares you silly, or so rare you only get a few minutes a year to relish it...but no matter what, you're still worth a great deal you grouchy curmudgeon who probably despises my gushing (and slightly tipsy) ways.

yana said...

me: "Talk about a "soul" in the Democratic party, something worth fighting over, took a big hit over Brazile and Wasserman-Schultz stacking decks..."

David Brin said...

"Thinking just like the idiocrats. Anecdotes, even when true, do not prove conclusions. You are reacting just like they want."

Was speaking about perception, not reality. Donzelion and others correctly point out the value of thumbs on the scale, HRC was the right blue nominee, the red side's fuses blew under the load. Politics, when in campaign mode, is more about perception than fact. In 2016, the perception was that Dems had a rigged game and Reps had a wrecked game but at least it was more fair.

Of course, this is not true, it's a perception. Look 8 years earlier, when the Dems had an insurgency which actually succeeded. That should be fact enough to dispel the perception but, well, you've seen how facts have turned into something else so far in the 3rd comm revolution.

Perception is one rung lower than preconception, but the political effects of that ladder are inversely proportionate to involvement. Don Putty used this idea to great effect on FBook. Perception matters more to the disheartened majority at the bottom of the pyramid, than the dogma of the political 'players' means to those who cable channels merely call 'operatives.'

A few generations ago, media bias was the norm, accepted and understood widely. Only in the era of absorbent conglomerates, did some houses feel a need to parrot "fair and balanced." By rote, perception outweighed truth. But that was before the internet fit in a pocket.

Donz also made a point about younger people demanding superhero-or-bust in candidates. Will take me a while to gnaw through that, my gut says no but there's an aroma about the idea which i can't fully un-sniff.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | I would bet a moderate sum that he has to deal with too many of us who are obese and because of that causing self-inflicted trauma. I know a 'general practice' doctor who told a few of us his cases were about 75% related to obesity and most of the patients wanted a magic pill to make it all go away... which he obviously didn't have. Of course his patients blamed him. That could turn anyone into a grouch.

Then we asked him why he stayed in the business. He gave us a lecture about student debt.

It's a wonder our doctors don't beat us with clue bats the moment we set foot on the scales.

yana said...

Slim Moldie said...
“clothes from L.L. Bean.”

Thanks, that's my best genuine laugh all day.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | I voted for the jungle primary system even though I knew it would blow out all third parties in November. The two major parties were way too protected with the regular system and the third party appearances in November was something of a joke.

Parties can still try to pick a champion, but they'd better pull themselves together before the official primary. That's where there is still room for party bosses. They will learn from this one I suspect. Having four viable candidates split the vote so badly none of them wind up on the November ballot will teach a hard lesson.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys

As a "furriner" I am amazed at the way you guys give out "Second Chances"

Clinton lost to Obama - in the UK or NZ that would have been the end - she would have still been a part stalwart but nobody would have thought of her getting the next nomination

Same on the GOP front - people normally get one chance at the top job and then there are too many others "Who have not LOST" clamoring for that chance

But despite your huge population you don't seem to have depth of talent of our parties

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

If you turn either left or right, then it means your certain death.

If you stay the course, then you will survive (unharmed) but a gaggle of children will die.

What's a civilised man to do?


Throw the cigarette overboard and make the boat a cigarette lighter?

Look in the mirror, take what you "saw", saw the table in half, two halves make a "whole", climb through the hole and you're out?

How about:

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.
Is this where it gets me, on my feet, several feet ahead of me?
I see it coming. Do I run or fire my gun or let it be?
There is no beat, no melody.
Burr, my first friend, my enemy,
Maybe the last face I ever see.
If I throw away my shot, is this how you’ll remember me?
What if this bullet is my legacy?

"Legacy". What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me.
America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me.
You let me make a difference.
A place where even orphan immigrants
Can leave their fingerprints and rise up.
I’m running out of time. I’m running, and my time’s up.
Wise up. Eyes up!
I catch a glimpse of the other side.
Laurens leads a soldiers’ chorus on the other side.
My son is on the other side.
He’s with my mother on the other side.
Washington is watching from the other side.

Teach me how to say goodbye.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Parties can still try to pick a champion, but they'd better pull themselves together before the official primary. That's where there is still room for party bosses. They will learn from this one I suspect. Having four viable candidates split the vote so badly none of them wind up on the November ballot will teach a hard lesson.


Only if it finally sinks in that having my Democratic opponent win is not "just as bad" as having the Republican win, and that when an attitude of "me or bust" consistently gets you bust, it might be time to consider an alternative.

We have to find some way to winnow down the choices such that a majority can get to agreement on a "best available". I don't have a definitive answer, but the country really does have to have some brainstorming sessions and get to that place. Many here believe that Instant Runoff Voting is the answer, whereas I see potential pitfalls with that one as well. Me, I'd like to explore a system where the candidates get to horse-trade their votes to each other until one has a majority. I'm sure that has its own problems as well, as will any system of representative voting.

One thing that is clear is not working well at present is the fact that a Bernie type who generates enthusiasm for one of the parties splits the vote, and therefore helps the opposite party. Or that Democratic enthusiasm in California might cause two-Republican races in November. Maybe intent and outcome are rarely coincident, but when outcome is consistently the diametric opposite of intent, then something is wrong.

Gregory Byshenk said...

Duncan Cairncross said...
But despite your huge population you don't seem to have depth of talent of our parties

One of the things that a lot of foreigners don't seem truly to understand is that the US doesn't really have "parties" in the way much of the rest of the world does. As has already been noted, US "parties" have only a very limited say over who gets to run for office. In most places, pretty much anyone can decide to run for the X party nomination, even lifelong members of another party. And in many places, "open primaries" mean that anyone -- including current members of other parties -- can take part in the vote to choose the "party" candidate.

AlexK57 said...

For those disparaging Millenial's "unreasonable standards" you need to understand where they come from.

This is a generation that arrived on the job market/adulthood just as the Credit Crunch, the worst economic recession since 1929, hit. And they got hit haaard. Recession, austerity, high unemployment, student debt, being locked out of the property market, zero hours contract...

Ten years later and we're being told the recession is over. The numbers on the spreadsheets are good again. Investors are happy. And yet, the millennial generation are still locked out of the property market, still under crushing student debt, the job market for many is still awful and zero hour contracts are slowly becoming the norm.

More than 9-11, the recession is the defining historical event of the Millenials lives. And that leaves a strong mark on someone's mind. Almost a light form of PTSD. As a consequence, Millenials are desperate for change out of the what the see the failed politics that lead to this mess in the first place... or the lack of resolution of the underlying causes afterwards.

So naturally, any candidate who's policies mimic those they have perceived as having failed them is not going to convince them. And this is why candidates such as Corbyn or Sanders who's programs and positions finally acknowledge their worries are given such a favorable treatment. They are not thinking these people are the messiah, they are thinking; "Finally, someone willing to acknowledge our problems." That's all Millennials are asking, someone both willing to acknowledge and resolve what they see as the big issues.

locumranch said...


As I was raised & you were taught, the civilised man attempts to priorise his behaviour in the following manner:

First, he chooses to alleviate harm. Second, he chooses to do no harm. And, third, he chooses to harm himself (self-sacrifice) instead of harming others if & when an irresolvable conflict occurs.

It is this third choice (self-harm) which is tantamount to suicide, and it is this so-called 'noble' option which leads invariably to institutional & cultural collapse.

In contrast, the uncivilised man prioritises self-preservation by practicing (first) indifference to the plight of others and (second) harm to others if & when such an irresolvable conflict occurs, and this is the primary reason why uncivilised behaviours tend to multiple & flourish.

Civilised (selfless) behaviours favour group interests over individual interests; uncivilised (selfish) behaviours favour individual interests over those of the group; and interests of the whole (group) remain forever dependent on the interests of each individual part.

In the sense that our suicidal & our pro-civilisational impulses are one & the same, both the creation & the destruction of our great civilisation springs from an exaggeration of individual selflessness.

Fermi Paradox resolved.


Best

Brendan said...

Larry,

Oops. Sorry if I went on tirade mode having mis-read your comment.

Jon S. said...

LarryHart, nothing humorous - I just thought explaining it would be waaaay too obvious. It dates from the Old Days, when black ink was cheaper than red, so red ink was used to record things in ledgers that you thought needed special attention, like losses. It eventually just became traditional to use red ink to indicate loss, and black to indicate profit.

And yes, folks, the etymlogy of "going south" as meaning something bad is nothing more sinister than the fact that losses on a chart generally trend toward the bottom of the page, the same direction as "south" on a standard compass rosette. I thought the quote from the Elgin newspaper in 1920 made that clear.

Anonymous said...

Locumranch:
“In the sense that our suicidal & our pro-civilisational impulses are one & the same, both the creation & the destruction of our great civilisation springs from an exaggeration of individual selflessness”
Suicide? Do you want the Democrats to commit suicide? And where would justice and honor be after that cowardly decision? No. Let the feudal leaders choose a table. Let us give him that exit when they are cornered by the angry and hungry crowds of justice.
As for the suicide of civilizations. I think that happens frequently, but as a result of the suicide plundering decisions of the feudal lords of those other worlds.
That reminds me of a scene from a movie in the Planet of the Apes movie series, in which the astronauts who traveled through time almost managed to save themselves, but are finally found and massacred by a patrol of soldiers. The last astronaut manages to crawl wounded to the last nuclear missile. "The Worlds Shredder Bomb" and activate the button. Then, a voice is heard and says: "And so I cease to exist a beautiful blue planet"
But, of course, in that case there were no alternatives. And humanity still ... I think ... that it seems to be ... that it has ...

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Ho. The translation did not work well because of me. Will remake and improve the paragraph:
Let's leave the choice of suicide to the feudal leaders; an option they can use when they are cornered by angry and hungry crowds of justice. And without a doubt, they will choose that option, when they realize that the doors of their secret bunkers are cut with blowtorches or shot down with explosives. Where will the dogs of the feudal lords be then? But even they can not hide. For all evil leaves a trace.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Donzelion:
"B) If there will be war with Iran, but they will not get all the oil."
They don't need to - and don't even want to. Again, they want to get the most money they can out of the wells they've got - which is easier to do if other people's wells cannot put oil anything on the market.
I think I certainly forgot that we had already talked about that topic and I forgot something that I should not repeat today to avoid sounding like I am on another website. Also, you say that Republicans are not secret shareholders in certain companies that operate in Iraq? . Because it seems that I read a report that says the opposite.
"C) The Americans will eventually have to shamefully retire, as in Vietnam and Cambodia."
Perhaps, but if war actually did happen and turned out to be BIG, many Americans would retire as $100 billionaires, who are only worth $5 - 50 bn today. They'd retire happy, and probably even give $50m or more to soldiers and veterans...to show how loyal they were.”
Will they pay the soldiers millions of dollars in partial and total mutilations? Is mutilating a great victory? Who really benefits from a war with Iran?

Winter7

LarryHart said...

Brendan:

Larry,

Oops. Sorry if I went on tirade mode having mis-read your comment.


No worries. If it wasn't clear to you, it probably wasn't clear to others either, so it was best to further explain.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

As I was raised & you were taught, the civilised man attempts to priorise his behaviour in the following manner:

First, he chooses to alleviate harm. Second, he chooses to do no harm. And, third, he chooses to harm himself (self-sacrifice) instead of harming others if & when an irresolvable conflict occurs.


That's almost the Three Laws of Robotics. :) In fact, if you conflate "do no harm" into "alleviate harm", and make something like "do your job and/or make use of your best talents" the second one, then they practically are the Three Laws of Robotics.

You do tend to frame everything in terms of harm, though. Nothing about actually doing good or making the world a better place?


It is this third choice (self-harm) which is tantamount to suicide, and it is this so-called 'noble' option which leads invariably to institutional & cultural collapse.


Again, your tunnel-vision is showing. You'd prefer to watch your daughter tortured rather than take the pain yourself? I just lived through a simulation (albeit a safe one) of a similar situation. Because of your beloved uncivilized people, workplaces now have to have "live shooter drills", and we just had one of those. The instruction was, if you could, run away like Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and only if that was impossible to hide and/or try to fight. Sensible guidance, but the place is full of people that I've gotten to know and (in most cases) value and like. In a real life situation, I'd have a hard time running to safety while certain co-workers were left behind, and for a few in particular, there's no way I'd leave them to their fate. I'm no hero, and for many decades, I would have considered myself a coward, but at this point in my life, there are people I'd risk taking a bullet for in order to preserve their lives.

You might call that suicide, but it's not a knee-jerk self-immolation. It's a considered decision of cost/benefit analysis.

As someone who used to hate everybody, I understand how you are incapable of understanding that analysis. I did outgrow it, though.


In contrast, the uncivilized man priorities self-preservation by practicing (first) indifference to the plight of others and (second) harm to others if & when such an irresolvable conflict occurs, and this is the primary reason why uncivilized behaviors tend to multiple & flourish.


It's also the reason uncivilized behaviors tend to line everyone else up in the service of removing the cancer (as with Holnists in Dr Brin's book). The excesses of Naziism, especially the harm to others irrespective of a survival need, eventually made certain their own demise in WWII. Your uncivilized confederates will be excised for the same reason.

Donald Gisselbeck said...

As a 'fire up the guillotines" almost Marxo-leftist, I will certainly vote for whatever candidates the Democrats serve up. I will probably vote for the ones most likely to win. As locum correctly notes, the party of predator class hates civilization.

LarryHart said...

locumranch is correct to point out that civilized people eventually might have to remove the uncivilized ones from the world in self-defense. That doesn't make us just like them. The difference is not in fighting tactics, but in motivation. We take up arms only when required as an alternative to suicide. They take up arms because (as the Geico commercial has it) that's what they do.

"You offered me the lives of my crew."

David Brin said...

onward... to space!

onward

Old Rockin' Dav said...

Donzelion said:
"Netanyahu maximizes his benefit not with war, but with the persistent threat of war (in an actual war, Israelis might seek a real warrior to defend them, rather than a made-for-TV warrior.)"
Among other things, Netanyahu was a team leader in Sayeret Matkal, the premier unit of the Israel Defense Force. He participated in or led numerous operations and fought at the front in the Yom Kippur war. No one gets into that outfit unless they are the best of the best.
Say what you will about his politics, but you can't call him a "made-for-TV-warrior" without a real disregard for the truth.

yana said...

AlexK57:

"For those disparaging Millenial's "unreasonable standards" you need to understand where they come from. .... That's all Millennials are asking, someone both willing to acknowledge and resolve what they see as the big issues."

Thanks, AK57. My gut says that Millennials and Gen Z.001'ers are more politically aware than credited here, can just feel the apathy peeling off, day by day. But where on the spectrum of flawed/untainted can a candidate sit, and still get votes? How far up on the eloquence scale does a smart candidate have to be, to not repulse voters on a gut level? How far down the attractiveness scale can a smart candidate be?

Sex scandals don't seem to matter anymore, unless it's also a creep scandal. If Millennials need a superhero to get interested, want to know just how superb that hero has to be?

My gut still says "not super much" but still chewing on the idea.