Saturday, July 14, 2018

End the cheating...


This time, I'll finish with a weird comparison of Donald Trump as the Bizarro Gorbachev... indeed, I believe that's how Vladimir Putin views his puppet!  

But let's start by talking about how Rupert Murdoch and his minions and overseas allies hope to continue their impressive run, having controlled the US legislature, despite losing the popular vote in ten of the last twelve congressional elections, and in all but one of the last seven presidential elections.  How do they do it? 

We know how urgently they need to control the Supreme Court, which has refused to intervene against the egregiously horrific treason called gerrymandering. (Future generations will remember this craven behavior in kind with the Dred Scott Decision.)

Further case in point... Our battle for the republic just got a notch worse. The Supreme Court, in a 5–4 ruling, allows states to purge voters for a failure to vote.  

The Blue Wave will be inadequate unless voter repression in swing districts is fought, tooth and nail. Elsewhere I talk about Voter ID laws, and how stupid liberals are, for opposing such laws in principle.  In principle, there is nothing wrong with asking a voter to prove who they are. Opposing it in general terms makes liberals look like would-be cheaters, themselves.

No, the better argument is that states should offer vigorous compliance assistance, to help poor citizens or women, minorities, youth to get their ID, which would help them also economically and in other parts of life. No red state has done this, spending not even a dime. They close DMV offices in democratic areas! See where I dissect how enemies of America trick decent people into opposing a wretched cheat... in stupid ways.

Instead support groups like this one, that actually get on the ground - like the Freedom Riders of old - and help poor people, the old, the young, divorced women etc to GET ID. This is how we answer: see the valuable work done by VoteRiders.

== The voting machines ==

Top Maryland officials say the FBI told them this week that the state's voter registration platform was purchased by a Russian oligarch in 2015.  And this is... news? This is only the latest, blatant example. For decades, the companies making US electronic voting machines just happened to be owned by former GOP or Murdoch operatives.  

The top job of every GOP Secretary of State in red states is electoral cheating, and they are financially richly rewarded. These states, lacking auditable paper records, will show anomalously high Republican voting this fall, in targeted swing districts, especially in state assembly districts that might tip the balance of power in statehouses.

== This is how you can be most effective, starting now ==

If you are looking for a way to help, turn your attention to some local or neighboring state assembly or senate district that might be in reach to flip. It is at that level that one person's activism could make a huge difference. Offer to host a neighborhood meet-and-greet for the candidate, for example. If they see your district is climbing out of reach, the cheaters will go elsewhere.

Oh, btw, this advice holds for decent republicans. In 2020, the decent, American side of conservatism will have its one chance to rise up and rescue something from the Trump-Murdoch-Putin-confederate ashes. But only if there are ashes in 2018! This fall... hold your nose and go blue.

== Eliminating the greatest path for cheaters ==

A petition was recently sent to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, by 36 eminent retired general and field officers from the United States Armed Forces as well as retired civilian leaders from the National Security Council; the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, and Commerce; and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  Are they concerned about foreign despots? Terrorists? White and blue collar criminals? Drug lords?

All of the above are empowered and enabled by secret-anonymous shell corporations. And surprise, the leading nexus of these dark dens is not Switzerland, or the Cayman Islands. It is Delaware. Followed by many others of these not-so-United States.

“The U.S. remains the easiest place in the world to set up an anonymous shell company according to an academic study from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University….  These companies have put Americans at risk and worse — criminals enjoy the benefits of strong investment returns and total secrecy here in the U.S. drug cartels and human trafficking operations have long understood the benefits of corporate secrecy to launder money from criminal enterprises. More recently, anonymous companies are implicated in terror financing, fraudulent contracting with our military, and even sanctions evasion.”

These eminent leaders added: “As we ratchet up sanctions against hostile nations, it is telling to note that the Iranian Government previously skirted our sanctions for years by utilizing a web of shell companies, including some registered in the United States, to buy a skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.”

Read the letter here, and spread the word. No, this Congress won’t do anything to benefit the nation, humanity or the future.  But tracks and seeds can be laid. This is reminiscent of the “Helvetian War” that I described in my 1989 novel EARTH. Only I never expected “Helvetia” to stand for America.


 == Who are the best cheaters? ==

Evonomics – the smartest site online for economic/social analysis, aimed at saving free markets from the oligarchy that’s ruining them – features Steve Roth’s article: “Capital’s Share of Income Is Way Higher than You Think.” Roth dissects how almost half of the market income arriving at U.S. households is received for just being wealthy: owning stuff, and not either work or active investment. In other words, most of the rich are doing exactly as that liberal – Adam Smith – described aristocrats always doing… pouring their excess wealth into “rent-seeking” or “rentier” vampirism, instead of creative enterprises.

Oh, there are exceptions! Investors like the west coast tech zillionaires who recycle their extra capital into new ventures, new goods and services and productive capacity. That’s what the Mad Right has said would happen with Supply Side “economics!” But for 90% of the oligarchy, it never, ever happened. Moreover guess how that risk-taking, investor 10% votes?  With a few exceptions, like Peter Thiel, they are mostly democrats, agreeing that markets must be regulated to reduce the age-old enemy of enterprise –

--cheating.

Seriously, where do the proto-feudal oligarchs think this will end? Will the war on all fact users truly cow all the folks who stand in their way to total feudal power? Or will we fight back?

And finally, as promised...

== Is Donald Trump our Bizarro version of Gorbachev==

I was about to claim this as an original-weird idea, but searching uncovered a guy who thought of it first - that Donald Trump's best historical analogue is Mikhail Gorbachev!

Oh, they are opposites in almost every way - as were the systems they undermined! But look at it from the perspective of Puppetmaster Putin, who calls the fall of the USSR 'history's worst tragedy.' Putin openly calls Gorbachev a western agent, who used the Soviet presidency to systematically bring a communist superpower down from within. So, why not use that template to retaliate, in kind?

Gorbachev applied intelligence and decency to reforming his nation away from dogmatism and incompetence. He might have saved the USSR in some form - (I portrayed it, in EARTH) - had not a final attempted communist putsch led to the total breakup.

Now mirror-reverse every single adjective above. Rupert Murdoch and Putin now have an agent in the White House who applies stunningly stubborn stupidity, indecency and a complicity to plunge his nation toward dogmatism and incompetence, while dismantling every single strength that led the West to Cold War victory - from strong alliances to science to a confident service class and basic social cohesion.

Yes, it is a mirror-reverse image, because the US and USSR were opposites in nearly all ways. Ours is a Bizarro Gorbachev, but the fundamental is the same... figure out the empire's greatest weaknesses. Then use a suborned leader and party, plus a massive propaganda mill to demolish morale, undermine institutions and bring a mighty nation down.

More and ever-more, I am convinced Putin and Murdoch are very smart, indeed... though not science fiction smart. They are unable to grasp where waging war on the West's fact-using professions will inevitably lead, once we let ourselves perceive the full extent of cheating.

121 comments:

donzelion said...

"No, the better argument is that states should offer vigorous compliance assistance...No red state has done this, spending not even a dime. They close DMV offices in democratic areas!"

The facts do not actually support that claim, not until looked at with a fine microscope. In general, Republicans DO spend money on compliance assistance, esp. to assist elderly white voters in retirement communities and other "safe" voters. In practice, they also spend a tiny bit on minorities, youth voters, and others - to maintain appearances.

Rather than the extreme claim made here by our host, who is overstating what is ultimately a good case and thus hurting his own claim, it is enough to show that 'voter assistance' is itself orchestrated as 'incumbency preservation' gambits in red states and rural America, nor for increasing voter turnout. Extreme quantities of evidence support THAT claim.

David Brin said...

Document this, donzelion. The articles I've seen claimed that no money was being spent on assistance to the poor etc to get ID and the closing of DMV offices outweighs anything that might have been done as figleaf.

Cari Burstein said...

The link to the article about the Maryland voter registration platform is incorrect. I had to resort to a general internet search to find more details on it, so hopefully you can correct the link.

I'm wondering if the folks here might have any suggestions as to particularly good moderate news sources that try to keep bias out of reporting or present multiple sides of a story in a fairly balanced way. A friend of mine who's been avoiding all things political for years would like to start becoming more informed, but he's very turned off by most news sources. He found some success with The Rubin Report but he's hoping to find other possible sources that might be up his alley.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Cari

particularly good moderate news sources

Start with the BBC - it's the world standard for "moderate" and well informed

Larry Hart said...

@Cari,

The Chicago Tribune is still independent, and while their editorials lean conservative, their columnists span the spectrum. And their actual news still feels like old school investigative journalism.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

The articles I've seen claimed that no money was being spent on assistance to the poor etc to get ID ...


If I'm reading correctly, donzelion is not taking issue with your point, but he thinks you're undermining the credibility by claiming red states "don't spend a dime" on voter ID, when in fact they do spend money--on helping elderly and rural white voters vote. None of that money goes to helping poor or minority voters, but that's a different claim from "they don't spend a dime" at all.

Katy Williams said...

Its not too hard to guess what Putin wants but what is the ultimate goal of Rupert Murdoch, the Kochs & Mercer types?

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: Your previous claim was also simply erroneous, and the error is one grave enough to easily backfire once the folks in those states point to their 'significant efforts' at increasing voter turnout.

"Not one red cent has been allocated for compliance assistance in any of the red states that have passed these new voter ID laws."
Actually, not true at all.

In the strictest new voter ID laws - Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin (as listed by NCSL) - the norm has been to set up 'mobile DMV' services to reach out to voters in areas where DMV offices are far away. These are excellent for serving the poor - if the poor are unemployed and receiving other government benefits or have a fixed community tie of some kind (e.g., churches, particularly the 'mega-churches' - and senior citizen facilities). Outreach to the 'poor' is common and well-documented. Particularly the poor who vote reliably red...

Reports from my colleagues has been that Spanish and other services are exceptionally uncommon, and efforts to reach traditionally non-voting populations (esp. folks working part time, e.g., at fast-food and retail outlets, and neighborhoods with large poor and minority populations) are sporadic at best. If a state has a 'mobile DMV' unit, it announces its location on Twitter, FB...and incumbent candidates can also send out additional reminders to update your registration (essentially, free campaign advertising guised as a public service). As I understand it, in Wisconsin and Arkansas, certain groups are able to request that a DMV team come out to assist, but the complaints are that availability varies, esp. certain facilities with regular changes in residents (senior homes, assisted housing facilities where the DMV team will document 'non-residents' to strike them from ballots).

Your complaint about 'voter assistance' is a point that ought to be well-taken, but it operates more subtly than you indicate. LOTS of 'red cents' are being spent to keep red states red (most frequently by governments, where incumbents know 'their people' well).

locumranch said...


I'm a tad confused.

Is our pro-Globalist Open Borders host preaching 'Nationalism' as the solution to prevent foreign (especially Russian) meddling in EU & US elections, as justified by the recent foreign capture of Maryland voter registration platforms, even as leftist urban centers like Boston consider giving non-citizen foreign residents voting rights in US elections?

Which is it? Should we BANISH foreign influence from our elections by constructing walls or should we WELCOME foreign influence with open arms by eliminating barriers? It can't be both unless you're either a schizophrenic or a hypocrite with a partisan agenda.

Like in the last thread wherein someone pissed on the Romanticism-related mutant demigod inheritor motif, while exulting in the uniquely progressive (??) mutant demigod 'great grandchildren who become sapient AI starships' inheritor motif.

Both scenarios seem like near identical (and equally nonsensical) romanticisms to me but, as Larry_H points out, my perceptions are made suspect by my racist desire to sire HUMAN great great children instead of an inhuman race of mutant AI star-traveling demigods.

And, since when do passive offspring 'earn' the genetic traits that they inherit from their parents?

Donzelion's statement (above) confirms that Blue Urban progressives are partisan hypocrites who support foreign influence if & when it appears to favour the Blue Urban agenda but despise it if & when it appears to help their honorable Red Rural opposition. Blue Urban progressives are effing hypocrites.

Perhaps an alliance between Trump & Putin is exactly what the Red Rurals need right now to turn-the-tables on those despicable Blue Urban opportunists.

Turn-about is fair play.


Best

April of Québec. said...

Yesterday I saw the movie "Dogville".
It is disturbing what I felt when I realized that the Confederates are identical to the inhabitants of Dogville.

Grace, could represent the innocent spirit of Democrats and minorities; stuck in the trap of the brutal Republicans.

I will not see that movie again; Never.

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding beer and male population being winnowed from the last thread…

The way I learned it is that the 17x factor applied only to the ratio of NONbreeding males and females. Take all the children born, sort by male/female, and look at whether they ever have children.
There are always some who don’t. The male/female ratio is usually about 3x and sometimes as high as 4x. Between 8K and 4K years ago, that ratio climbed to about 17x peaking near 6K years ago. At the same time, lifespans were at their lowest.

Lots of things happened over those 4K years, but a big one was the switch in diet for the vast majority of humans. We converted from nomadic HG’s to farmers living/cultivating (essentially) in their own filth. There were many steps along the way there.

Lots of ideas have been pitched for the 17x Y-chromosome bottleneck and some of them have already fallen as more science is done. One thing is pretty clear, though. The sons most likely to reproduce (if they did) were first born. It is always a HUGE advantage to be born early to benefit from a father who is still alive, but this is especially so for boys. A girl born later has added value to farmers as a producer of more children. A boy born later did not did not have that multiplier.

1) I’m highly skeptical that fermentation caused even a blip in the ratio. It would have winnowed those unable to stop and changed us genetically, but it would have done so slower than an epidemic. Since population losses due to epidemics are made up for in the span of a few generations and the bottleneck occurred over a span of 200 generations, I don’t think the explanation fits.

2) I’m also skeptical of violence as an explanation. Castrating the armies of one’s enemies isn’t enough. Remember that the ratio is typically between 3-4x. Getting up to 17x requires a 5x multiplier. Something really HUGE happened that selected against males. Large scale violence, though, is usually an equal opportunity killer. Famine and disease don’t care much whether you are a boy or girl.

An explanation that DOES fit is that it took that long for grains to be domesticated and nutritionally evolved enough to make up for the piss-poor diets we chose. Our nomadic HG ancestors ate well by comparison and had bodies tuned to what they could acquire. Their agricultural descendants did not and lifespan suffered. Short lifespans for fathers would select strongly against their later sons. Very strongly.

There are other likely explanations that fit too, but what I find telling is that certain other things seem to correlate.

1) Recorded history starts slightly before the bottleneck was over. At 8K years ago, the ratio was between 3-4x. At 4K years ago, the ratio and finally shrunk enough to return to normal. Historical hints from before 4K years ago suggest descriptions of some of our coping strategies like formalized polygamy which is more likely to be effect than cause. Need I mention primogeniture?

2) For many women there is a slight biological bias to produce sons first. The odds of having boys and girls isn’t quite 50/50. AFTER the first couple of births, in many sub-populations of humanity, the odds tip slightly in favor of having girls. Isn’t that exactly what we would design into ourselves if there were an unavoidable selection effect against late-born sons? War can kill sons no matter the order of their birth and so can alcohol. Birth probabilities wouldn’t be impacted unless birth order matters.

Any other explanation should consider accounting for our coping methods and the biological aftermath.

donzelion said...

Locum: the fact that you found my attempt to gently chide an author I respect about an unrelated point confirms that you neither read nor comprehend, but find confirmation where you please from any statement whatsoever.

Had you a gentler predisposition toward yourself, I would sit back and shrug, then ignore. But we share enough things that we love that I fear the dangers of such misconstruals as you posit will confirm more painful notions in your mind, mostly about yourself, projected outward and seeking an enraged response.

Re-read something that brings you joy, my friend. I mean you no ill will either.

David Brin said...

"Is our pro-Globalist Open Borders host "

Liar. Deliberate liar. Bald-faced and pathetically boring liar.

Tony Fisk said...

In which Sacha Baron Cohen does some interviews.

If it is our lot to be returned to 6000 years of oligarchic overlordship, can we at least have some *intelligent* overlords?

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

I'm a tad confused.


You finally noticed?


Is our pro-Globalist Open Borders host preaching 'Nationalism' as the solution to prevent foreign (especially Russian) meddling in EU & US elections, as justified by the recent foreign capture of Maryland voter registration platforms, even as leftist urban centers like Boston consider giving non-citizen foreign residents voting rights in US elections?


No city can change the requirements for federal elections. If a municipality decides that all residents have a say in local issues, I'm fine with that. A corporation owning the means of voting is a different thing, in fact the opposite thing. Allowing all residents to vote on local issues gives the will of the people who actually live there a voice. Private corporate ownership of the vote does the exact opposite--overwhelms the voice of the people in favor of a secret corporate agenda. It's the antithesis of democracy. Whether or not that corporation is foreign or domestic isn't the point. The only reason to point out that such a corporation is foreign is to note the hypocrisy of flag-waving, anthem-protecting, jingoistic Republicans who are in favor of Russian interference.

So supporting the more democratic option while opposing the anti-democratic one is not in itself hypocrisy.


Which is it? Should we BANISH foreign influence from our elections by constructing walls or should we WELCOME foreign influence with open arms by eliminating barriers? It can't be both unless you're either a schizophrenic or a hypocrite with a partisan agenda.


If the world were allowed to vote in US presidential elections, Hillary would have won by a landslide. Your welcoming of certain foreign influence is not about any theory of open borders, but about the generally-accepted Republican hypocrisy that goes, "Republican constituencies are the only Americans who really matter, so any means for them to hold onto the reins of power is justified, and rules are meant only to constrain Democrats from getting too uppity with this whole democracy thing."


Donzelion's statement (above) confirms that Blue Urban progressives are partisan hypocrites who support foreign influence if & when it appears to favour the Blue Urban agenda but despise it if & when it appears to help their honorable Red Rural opposition. Blue Urban progressives are effing hypocrites.


I've scanned donzelion's statements (above) and can't find anything that even resembles what you are accusing him of. The closest I can see is his contention that red states do spend money on voter ID, but purposely skew that support to their own likely voters and suppress the vote of their opponents. How "foreign influence" has anything to do with that is beyond me. And if fair election rules (or Norman Goldman's "One standard applied to all even-handedly") is a "Blue Urban" issue while the freedom to cheat is "honorable Red Rural opposition", well that reveals more about your side than it does about ours.


Perhaps an alliance between Trump & Putin is exactly what the Red Rurals need right now to turn-the-tables on those despicable Blue Urban opportunists.

Turn-about is fair play.


What you perceive as turn-about is projection. You're "retaliating" against your own worst impulses, which you attribute to your opponents. "If I were in that guy's shoes, I'd be trying to kill me. So I'd better kill him first! After all, turn-about is fair play."

Not to mention wondering what exactly Red Rural Republicans need to "turn the tables" against? Blue Urban Progressives have unfairly foisted all three branches of federal government and 33 states onto you? Have you been winning so much that you're sick of winning?

locumranch said...


I said that I was "confused" by our host's choice to blame 'foreign interference' for our unstable domestic issues which, btw, is an extremely popular & frequent opinion expressed by every two-bit oligarch, dictator & petty tyrant that I can remember.

Just google 'foreign interference' for moment to confirm the accuracy of my statement -- 'Iran blames foreign interference', 'Syria blames foreign interference', 'Bahrain blames foreign interference', 'Saudi blames foreign interference', 'Russia blames foreign interference', 'Venezuela blames foreign interference', 'Hillary Clinton blames foreign interference' -- and so on, so forth & bla bla bla ad nauseam.

I also know that foreign interference in domestic policies is a good thing according to our fine host, at least if exercised by the likes of George Soros, and Larry_H & others have frequently expressed the Either-Or opinion that anyone who fails to love foreign identity groups, open borders & globalism is tantamount to a hate-filled, racist & Nazi xenophobe.

That's what makes this recent thread so confusing:

David condemns certain foreign identity groups as "cheaters" and "liars".

And, when, exactly, did it become 'progressive' to HATE on foreign identity groups, open borders & globalism and what, exactly, does that make the hater?


Best

Larry Hart said...

locumranch is correct when he says he is confused.


Larry_H & others have frequently expressed the Either-Or opinion that anyone who fails to love foreign identity groups, open borders & globalism is tantamount to a hate-filled, racist & Nazi xenophobe.


It's not a matter of "love". What you're describing is those who deny basic equal rights to a particular identity group.

Or those who openly self-identify as hate-filled, racist, Nazi xenophobes. And those who deny having those characteristics themselves, but are willing to accept them as acceptable trade-offs for tax breaks, deregulation, and triggering the libs.


And, when, exactly, did it become 'progressive' to HATE on foreign identity groups, open borders & globalism

"Open borders" does not mean tolerating interference by foreigners that one would not tolerate from Americans. I was every bit as opposed to Diebold fixing elections as I am to Vladimir Putin doing so. But safeguards against foreign interests overriding local ones is not about "identity groups". Nations are like rival businesses with common interests and competing interests. McDonalds doesn't let Burger King decide on its corporate policies. Neither should America be governed by those whose interests aren't our own. "That's not personal--it's just business."

To answer your question with more questions...

When did it become 'patriotic' to embrace despots and denigrate our closest allies?

When did it become 'constitutionalist' to piss on the ideals our country was founded on in favor of a strong-man wannabe dictator?

When did it become 'conservative' to oppose law-enforcement and insist that an official of the federal government is above suspicion?

David Brin said...

Putin is right that "we" "interfered" in his efforts to rebuild the Soviet Union. "we" used the method of NGOs... organizations of private citizens using their own money to privately support democracy in many countries.

When Glen Beck and Fox shills rail at Soros it's "this man is so powerful that he personally toppled EIGHT FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS!!!!" Yet, they never name them:

The communist dictatorship of Hungary
The communist dictatorship of Poland
The communist dictatorship of Czeckoslovakia
The communist dictatorship of Rumania
The communist dictatorship of Bulgaria
The communist dictatorship of Estonia
The communist dictatorship of Latvia
The communist dictatorship of Lithuania
The communist dictatorship of Ukraine

...oops that's ten. And no, the Fox shills exaggerate. Soros merely helped those transitions. And he should be THE top hero of the American right, if they had not guzzled Murdoch-Putin propaganda to hate the very people who brought down Soviet communism and adore instead former KGB agents and their mafia -oligarch buds.

Putin, while brilliant, is mentally incapable of viewing NGOs like Soros's Open Society foundation as anything but direct agents of a hostile foreign power, under direct control by Clinton, then Obama-Clinton. Hence, in his mind (and folks seldom try to imagine: "what is my adversary actually thinking,") Putin is getting payback for relentless western attacks that robbed Russia of its proper domination of its neighbors. Putin believes that started a war and he is legitimately retaliating.

Certainly that is one rationalization used by traitor monsters in the US, who are either blackmailed or suborned or in a confederate fury of volcanic hatred toward their own country.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: I am interpreting Locum's clarification as a confession of mixing me up with our host, in which case I am flattered.

The interesting thing about 'foreign interference'to me is that Citizens United shifted enforcement capabilities immensely, striking a lot of the power to catch and stop cheaters who are American corporations, but leaving those capabilities intact for foreign parties, who have no 14th amendment/1st amendment rights in America. Any interference by them is fairly quickly discerned (but not necessarily disrupted or blocked).

If more Americans knew the precise impact of money in politics (the Russian troll farm with 126m hits, the Americans with 10-30+ bn hits), they'd have a very different concept of cheating.

And if they knew exactly how incumbents game the system (yes, gerrymandering, but also using 'voter assistance' almost exclusively to maintain political machines while suppressing competitors), some of them would be much less supportive of that machine. There are still some Republicans left who believe in fairness.

Greg Byshenk said...

I came across this today, which seems apposite to a few participants:

He is just exhibiting the temper of the band of brigand-statesmen to whom Action means War, and who are irritated to fury by the atmosphere of sweet reasonableness, of charity, tolerance, and mercy[...].

“They smoke Peace where there should be no Peace,” Fascists and Bolshevists cry in a chorus, “canting, imbecile emblems of decay, senility, and death, the antithesis of Life and the Life-Force which exist only in the spirit of merciless struggle.” If only it was so easy!


(From John Maynard Keynes discussion of Trotsky On England, in 1926. H/t Brad DeLong.)

Larry Hart said...

Charles Blow agrees with me...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/15/opinion/trump-russia-investigation-putin.html

...

America’s commander wants to be chummy with the enemy who committed the crime. Trump is more concerned with protecting his presidency and validating his election than he is in protecting this country.

This is an incredible, unprecedented moment. America is being betrayed by its own president. America is under attack and its president absolutely refuses to defend it.

Simply put, Trump is a traitor and may well be treasonous.

locumranch said...

It's quite hilarious how hilarious how Larry_H, Donzelion & David fail to acknowledge the glaring contradictions inherent in their positions:

Larry_H perseverates about those evil Nazi xenophobes who 'deny basic equal rights to a particular identity group', even though he would deny those same basic rights of free speech, free association, free movement & influence to more than one 'particular identity group' that he deems deplorable.

He also talks about how "Open borders does not mean tolerating interference by foreigners that one would not tolerate from Americans", even though most Latin American, Asian & 'enlightened' EU countries have laws that forbid the basic human rights of free speech, free association, free movement, influence & the foreign ownership of property to Americans (who, for some strange reason, feel compelled to afford those denied rights to foreigners).

David boasts about how "we interfered in (Putin's) efforts to rebuild the Soviet Union (and how) we used the method of NGOs (and how we aided & abetted Soros) to personally toppled EIGHT FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS!!!!", even though he expresses SHOCK & HORROR -- shock & horror, I tell you -- that the evil Putin may apply the Golden Rule to the meddling US & EU in return!!

And, then there's the egregious case of a left-leaning Donzelion who champions the illegal entry, naturalisation, voting privileges and the rights of free speech, free association, free movement & influence to a particular identity group of left-leaning foreign nationals:

Surely, he would NOT object if Trump returned the favour & offered those same RIGHTS (which include illegal entry & the right to participate in US elections) to other right-leaning foreign identity groups who 'seek a better life for themselves & their children', as in the case of Russia, Hungry, many former eastern block countries & perhaps the Saudis?

Dual US Citizenship & US Voting Rights for Russian Nationals!!

Hurrah for right-leaning diversity & the 'Golden Rule' of fair play.


Best
____

Just think about the political ramifications of a Russian-US Alliance. It would be hilarious & brilliant in equal parts, wouldn't it? Be still my heart.

Larry Hart said...

It's quite hilarious how locumranch fails to acknowledge the glaring contradictions inherent in his positions.


Larry_H perseverates ...


"You have the best words."

I'm not sure you're using it correctly, though. I had to look it up, but "perserevates" carries a connotation that the thing being repeated is kind of on autopilot, responding to a question that hasn't been asked in some time. You might want to look in the mirror for someone who is doing that.


...about those evil Nazi xenophobes who 'deny basic equal rights to a particular identity group', even though he would deny those same basic rights of free speech, free association, free movement & influence to more than one 'particular identity group' that he deems deplorable.


I want to wrest control of my country from the deplorables, by whatever rules of the game we're playing by. I don't deny them their right to play--only to cheat. That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing, from what you slanderously accuse me of. Big surprise, I know!

Here's an analogy. The Yankees want to beat the Red Sox for the league championship. You interpret that as "The Yankees want to deny the Red Sox their right to win the championship, even as they hypocritically claim that right for themselves."

Here's another one. I hate the accepted-though-unwritten "rule" that says a second baseman making a double play is allowed the out at second base if he doesn't actually touch the base but is "in the vicinity." I wish plays weren't called that way, but acknowledge that they are, and that there is a general expectation that they are which is shared by umpires and players alike. If my team has to suffer an out that is called by that rule, then I'm not hypocritical for arguing that the other team should likewise suffer an out on an exact same play. No, even if I'd prefer that the call never be made that way at all.


He also talks about how "Open borders does not mean tolerating interference by foreigners that one would not tolerate from Americans", even though most Latin American, Asian & 'enlightened' EU countries have laws that forbid the basic human rights of free speech, free association, free movement, influence & the foreign ownership of property to Americans (who, for some strange reason, feel compelled to afford those denied rights to foreigners).


So what are you arguing for here? That we punish those countries by refusing to accept refugees who are fleeing from the effects of their policies? In the 1940s, we refused to accept Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany--I presume you feel that we really gave Hitler what for by doing so. That showed him!

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Be still my heart.


Don't tease.

Jon S. said...

So, before meeting with Putin, Donnie said that relations with Russia were "worse than they have ever been" because of "years of U.S. stupidity and foolishness".

So, those who still support Orange Julius Caesar - has he crossed a line for you yet? Or does he actually need to start shooting people inside the White House while screaming about the Rodina before you'll acknowledge what's going on?

locumranch said...

Breaking news from Helsinki 'Summit':

Putin & Trump announce new US & Russian Alliance, an Economic Trade Pact between the US & Russia, Peace between Syria, Iran, Israel & perhaps the entire Middle East, resolution of the crisis in Crimea & Ukraine, repartriation of Muslim Refugees to Syria & their respective places of origin, with eventual (I assume) Russian Membership in NATO.

Can UNRESTRICTED Russian -US immigration & dual US-Russian Citizenship (including Voting Rights) be far behind??

The next noise you hear is the collective sound of the EU, China & the US Democrat Party shitting their pants.


Best

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

So, those who still support Orange Julius Caesar - has he crossed a line for you yet?


Why would this be a line? Cheetolini's supporters like Putin, and despite their symbolic reverence for the flag and national anthem, they hate the federal government of the United States. There's nothing there that would even give them pause.

Larry Hart said...

@locumranch,

You're confusing real life with an episode of "Deep Space Nine".

Jon S. said...

Larry, I was wondering more specifically about his supporters here. I seem to recall Tim, for instance, once saying (back when he was going by Tacitus, IIRC) that if Donnie ever went too far, he'd be the first on the front lines to oppose. Is that still the case? If so, have we crossed the line yet, or not?

I mean, I'm not expecting much from loco - I already know he has as much loyalty to the concept of democracy as I have to the concept of earwigs in my house - but we've had some folks over the years who've claimed to be principled supporters of the GOP in general, and the Dotard-in-Chief in particular. Just want to know if they can still excuse what he's doing.

donzelion said...

Jon S: "I mean, I'm not expecting much from loco - I already know he has as much loyalty to the concept of democracy as I have to the concept of earwigs in my house"

I have higher expectations. Go into any poker room, you'll find people lying and cheating. Most of the folks in the room won't try to claim that a 'two' and a 'three' make a pair, as Locum often does. But if the guy who tries that sort of claim out then sees someone picking your pocket, even if his comprehension of the cards in front of him is suspect, there's still good reason to hope he'll cry foul.

"Just want to know if they can still excuse what he's doing."
Stocks are up. Taxes are down. 90% of Republicans don't just excuse what he's doing: they like it. They also claim to hate deficits, claim to demand accountability and principles, and claim to despise abuses by powerful elites serving their own benefit. All simulatenously. There are a lot of folks who believe that notwithstanding silly liberal media claims to the contrary, "a Two & a Three = a pair."

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

Stocks are up. Taxes are down. 90% of Republicans don't just excuse what he's doing: they like it.


The part I don't understand--and I don't mean the Trumpsters now, but the mainstream business Republicans--is why they didn't like that when it was happening under President Obama.

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

Go into any poker room, you'll find people lying and cheating. Most of the folks in the room won't try to claim that a 'two' and a 'three' make a pair, as Locum often does. But if the guy who tries that sort of claim out then sees someone picking your pocket, even if his comprehension of the cards in front of him is suspect, there's still good reason to hope he'll cry foul.


From what I've seen of Trump supporters, they wouldn't even cry foul if Trump was picking their own pockets.


There are a lot of folks who believe that notwithstanding silly liberal media claims to the contrary, "a Two & a Three = a pair."


I think it's more accurate to characterize what they believe as "a Two and a Three = whatever the (Republican) Party says it does."

Or possibly, "Whichever cards are in a Republican's hand beats whichever cards are in a Democrat's". Which is essentially the same thing without pretending to a plausible explanation of the rules.

donzelion said...

Thought I'd refer to another aspect of our host's piece, one which I didn't dwell on because there's a bit to clarify here:

“The U.S. remains the easiest place in the world to set up an anonymous shell company according to an academic study from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University…."
Not exactly...depends entirely on where and how one is setting up the shell company, and what for.

The World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" research is a helpful alternative reference base, not because it's necessarily more accurate (though they did pull in 1700 'experts' - including myself for several years in a couple of countries other than the US) - but because the methodologies used to identify 'the easiest' and 'the best' are so readily overlooked by non-experts who skip over the fine print.

For example, in 2012, the US ranked #12 as the 'easiest country to start a new business.' In 2018, we fell to #49. No laws changed, nor did the other 37 countries that 'improved' make any necessary changes.

What did change was a slight tweak - instead of asking experts (I was a regular contributor for 2 countries other than the US), "What are the procedures MOST small businesses will apply to get started?" they refined that by asking, "What are the procedures small businesses will apply to get started in the largest commercial center?"

NY state has an archaic rule requiring new companies publish a 'wet ink' physical draft of their Articles of Organization for a new company in two newspapers (which will cost at least $450). Not the case in most of America.

I point out the World Bank's survey because I am exceptionally well-acquainted with the fine print and the gamesmanship underlying it. For academic studies, a very different gamesmanship (grantsmanship) operates. Both ought to be taken with a grain of salt (and unless the scholars crafting their study have access to a stricter, more open methodology and a larger pool of experts, I see no reason to trust their results any more than I would trust the Bank's).

"These companies have put Americans at risk and worse"
Some certainly do, yes. However, it's not worth our time to worry about this risk unduly, nor is it worth our time to try to block this without clarifying precisely what it is that is objectionable. Efforts to do so are a variation on the following faulty logic:
(1) There are trillions and trillions of bacteria in the human body.
(2) Some bacteria can kill us.
THEREFORE (3) We should live on antibiotics constantly to try to kill off the bacteria in the human body.

Premises (1) and (2) are both completely accurate, yet the conclusion does not follow (and indeed, is precisely the opposite of wise thinking about health).

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | hilarious & brilliant

Sure. For the know-nothings among us.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: in terms of pickpockets, Lyndon Johnson said it best:

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

Johnson shifted under Kennedy from a race-baiting bigot to a civil rights proponent; Trump reflects a regression (and indeed, I strongly commend "The Color of Law" as a resource to understand how the Trump fortune was originally created, and why the race-baiting that worked so well for decades was abruptly disrupted in part, largely by folks who'd once profited from it or exploited it. Johnson knew all about how to pick pockets - he'd done precisely that by race-baiting "yellow dwarves" (as had Earl Warren - and even FDR tolerated/condoned/codified it).

"I think it's more accurate to characterize what they believe as "a Two and a Three = whatever the (Republican) Party says it does."
While scary in a very precise 1984 way, there's some strategic utility in the observation: if so, then one can usually beat them at poker by disrupting the instructions from the Party...

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "The part I don't understand--and I don't mean the Trumpsters now, but the mainstream business Republicans--is why they didn't like that when it was happening under President Obama."

It's not that they didn't like it under Obama...rather, there's a couple different gambits going on.

(1) They never wanted HIM to take any credit for it, because if he did, then they wouldn't appear as the 'incredible geniuses' they wanted to appear to be (for the sake of maintaining clients). The business Republicans, especially those in the financial sector, depend upon a certain 'public' thinking that the government is corrupt, incompetent, tyrannical - but THEY (and only they) are the valiant geniuses who outwit the government and deliver outsize returns to their chosen few wealthy investors. A rising tide floats all boats, but a trader needs HIS boat to rise a little more than the others in order to justify his own fortune.

(2) The Bush 2002/03 tax cuts had sunset provisions that would cause them to end under Obama. They needed to paint him as both 'weak/ineffective' and 'domineering/tyrannical' so that they could reframe the expiration as a 'tax hike.'

Similar rules and regulations operate in the margins for most industries (taxes cut across all of them, hence serve as a unifying measure) - e.g., in construction, a rule that requires "all new federal-financed projects for flood relief must be sufficient to withstand a '100 year storm.' Obama 'tweaked' that rule to say, "when assessing a 100 year storm, we use 2018 science, not 1960 science." That means floodworks must be larger, more expensive, etc. Projects in which investors had raised $10m for a development now required, say, $10.5m (adding a few extra inches to erosion mitigation, extra flow to drainage, etc.) - and thus became 'undercapitalized.' That's one rule out of thousands sliced by Trump, which 'business Republicans' understand quite differently from the general public.

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

"The part I don't understand--and I don't mean the Trumpsters now, but the mainstream business Republicans--is why they didn't like that when it was happening under President Obama."

It's not that they didn't like it under Obama...rather, there's a couple different gambits going on.

(1) They never wanted HIM to take any credit for it, because if he did, then they wouldn't appear as the 'incredible geniuses' they wanted to appear to be (for the sake of maintaining clients). The business Republicans, especially those in the financial sector, depend upon a certain 'public' thinking that the government is corrupt, incompetent, tyrannical - but THEY (and only they) are the valiant geniuses who outwit the government and deliver outsize returns to their chosen few wealthy investors...


Well then, turn the question around. Why do they allow Trump to take credit?

Wall St did great for themselves during the Obama presidency, and while I don't claim that the president was responsible for the Dow tripling and record corporate profits, he certainly didn't stand in their way, despite all the "job killing" rhetoric heaped on him for things he never actually did.

OTOH, Trump is given full credit for the fact that the economy continues to grow, even though he's about to cause a crash, and that will be the result of direct actions by Trump (trade wars, saber-rattling, uncertainty in world affairs) which would not have happened under President Hillary or even President Ted Cruz or President Jeb. The recovery was (at best) independent of the presidency, and the crash will be Trump's own. And yet, the business Republicans seem to feel just the opposite.

Treebeard said...

the US and USSR were opposites in nearly all ways.

Totally false. They were both expansionist industrial empires with a history-ending post-Enlightenment ideology they sought to export to the whole world via subversion, covert operations, propaganda, war, etc. I'd say they were more alike than different. The opposite to either would be an isolationist, conservative, religious kingdom, maybe something like Bhutan, where “Gross National Happiness” is apparently more important than “Gross Domestic Product”. I haven't been there, but I'm sure it's a horrible place.

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | The fact that both of us are inclined to be Social Darwinists is a given. In most other ways, though, the US and USSR were very different. There is simply no @#@#$ing way we would have put up with someone like Stalin trying to commit an internal genocide. Look at WHY we wouldn't and you'll find a large number of differences in the 20th century.

What? You think we did such things against our minorities? It doesn't scale and Jim Crow wasn't about genocide.

No. There are quite a lot of differences.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Well then, turn the question around. Why do they allow Trump to take credit?"

Because no one in their income bracket believes Trump has anything to do with their profits, and Trump's only contribution makes it less likely competent government officials will ever interfere with their current projects. These aren't the sort of people who invest in Trump University, and don't need Trump to 'teach them how to be rich.'

"Wall St did great for themselves during the Obama presidency,"
Wall St did so well that they needed to spend a lot of money hiding how well things were going for the economy.

"Trump is given full credit for the fact that the economy continues to grow, even though he's about to cause a crash,"
The main damage will hit after the midterms in 2018, and could be contained by the election in 2020. Their plan is to profit on the side, contain the damage to the few remaining unionized jobs left, and use the 'crisis' to justify layoffs and wage reductions.

"trade wars, saber-rattling, uncertainty in world affairs"
Like everything else, not everyone is hurt the same way by these events. Whoever knows what is coming also knows how to profit from it, so long as they know a bit better than others. That applies to 'science' generally - far easier to arbitrage global warming if a large segment of the public doesn't know/doesn't believe in it - and you're the only guy who bought the proper insurance.

"And yet, the business Republicans seem to feel just the opposite."
Trust what they do with their money more than what they say about what they're doing.

David Brin said...

Treebeard has a point (wow!) in pointing out similarities between RUssia and the US. Indeed, de Tocqueville and later Stapledon predicted humanity's final confrontation would be between these two continental powers.

Of course it is absurd because the the differences vastly outweigh similarities. Pessimism vs optimism, resignation to power vs stubborn belief in the rule of law, romantic mythology vs tales of suspicion of authority...

...women whom are refusing to breed with their drunken menfolk, resulting in demographic collapse.

Both built empires on blood and genocide, but one hypocritically maintained an illusion of virtue that later generations demanded it start living up to. A craziness, but a divine one.

----
More thought provoking though than locum’s wet dream. What makes you think even one of those things is within Two Scoops’s power to “agree” or make happen? Other than hurting some innocents and signing a vampire tax gift to oligarchy, can you name one thing he has actually accomplished? Anything? Even evil stuff?

Larry Hart said...

without further comment:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/opinion/trump-and-putin-vs-america.html

...

There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trump vacated that oath today, and Republicans can no longer run and hide from that fact. Every single Republican lawmaker will be — and should be — asked on the election trail: Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A.?

It started with the shocking tweet that Trump issued before he even sat down with Putin this morning: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” The official Twitter account of the Russian foreign ministry — recognizing a useful idiot when it saw one — immediately “liked” Trump’s tweet and later added: “We agree.”

I’ll bet they do.

...

donzelion said...

LarryHart: I hope I will not come across as a Trump defender by suggesting that only the very first piece of evidence has come forward - and a tenuous one at best.

We have lousy reporting by the Guardian - which states:

Guardian (July 13, 2018): "The indictment says Clinton’s personal office was targeted for the first time on 27 July 2016 – hours after Trump called on Russian hackers to find her emails." Note the bold print: this is the strongest effort to represent a claim I've seen in any press of collusion, but at best, it's merely implication - (1) Trump tweeted, and (2) Russia responded. Even the Guardian doesn't go so far as to allege a connection.

I spent years asserting quite publicly how the alleged connections between Saddam Hussein and OBL were utterly misleading. Alleging collusion based on no more evidence than this is not only misleading, it's distracting from important efforts.

Mueller's own wording is more circumspect in his indictment (para 22): "For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign." In paras 23 & 24, Mueller's statements suggest evidence of a conspiracy that was fully formed months earlier - "in or around March."

So, is there "overwhelming evidence that our president...engaged in treasonous behavior"? Not yet - at least none that is publicly available. Mueller may have trump cards up his sleeve, which he's holding off on until after the midterms. More likely, he's plodding away at his investigation - the NRA subpoenas a couple months ago were checked and verified to indict a specific alleged Russian agent. Why unseal all these indictments last week? In part because their personnel are confronting Congressional hearings, in part because they want to drag in a few 'flippable' witnesses to elements of interest to them. He's doing his job: when he has 'overwhelming evidence' we should expect him to bring it forward - because there's no other way he can work to use it.

Trump is a disastrous president, and the disasters of his presidency so far will endure long after the Russian story has passed. But I wish more eyes were drawn to the wonders of what our government does - can do - should do - and less to the tragic comic horrors of this presidency. Unless we rally around something we love, we'll lose things far too important that persist only with great diligence and commitment.

David Brin said...

donzelion why do you think I go on and on about our scientific and space accomplishments? They are pure and unambiguously marvelous and being done by a mighty and glorious civilization.

David Brin said...

But don't for a moment think we'll forget the role of the Saudis in bringing us to this state of affairs.

Treebeard said...

Apparently nothing terrifies modern American "liberals" like the specter of friendlier relations between the two nations with enough nukes to blow up the planet. It’s weird and kinda hilarious to see the role reversals; I dimly recall a time when McCarthyism was associated with the right wing, and liberals were accused of being “soft on Russia”.

David Goldman has some interesting analysis here, if you're interested in something besides the usual “Russia is the focus of evil in the modern world” derangement you get from the American “liberal” media:

https://pjmedia.com/spengler/once-again-president-trump-is-magnificently-right-this-time-about-russia/

Full disclosure: I was a card-carrying member of the neoconservative cabal that planned to bring Western-style democracy and free markets to Russia after the fall of Communism. As chief economist for the supply-side consulting firm Polyconomics, I got an appointment as an adviser to Boris Yeltsin’s finance ministry and made several trips to Moscow. Of course, the finance ministry really was a family office for Yeltsin’s oligarch friends, who were too busy stealing Russia’s economy to listen to advice. The experience cured me of the neoconservative delusion that democracy and free markets are the natural order of things.

Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics.

Treebeard said...

Anyway, Goldman goes on about the stupid way the USA has dealt with Russia since 1991, creating a motivated adversary for no good reason. But you never get the other side of the story in American media re: Russia. It's almost like wartime propaganda, in which Russia are the designated foreign deplorables who can do no right until they wave the white flag and prostrate themselves before their yankee betters. In this respect I suppose they are the foreign equivalents of the dastardly "confederates", who still haven't totally surrendered and become "show confederates" like the other tribes the yanks conquered.

But outside the bizzarro "liberal" echo chambers, the rest of the world seems largely OK with Putin's Russia, if not admirers -- from China, India, Japan, Israel, many European countries, the Arab world, Iran, the Phillipines, Turkey, etc. At this point, if there's one figure who could actually bring about a friendlier and saner world, it's probably Putin. The main holdouts are the Anglo "liberals", who seem to live increasingly in their own world of ideological delusion and hysteria, insisting that they are the world's exceptional, superior and indispensable people, rather than it's most arrogant, annoying and aberrant pains in the ass.

David Brin said...

" I dimly recall a time when McCarthyism was associated with the right wing, and liberals were accused of being “soft on Russia”. "

The pathetic repetitiousness of it is sooooo boring. Treebeard knows that the central driving force of anti-communism and containment of the USSR was the American labor movement... the AFL-CIO. It is proved dozens of ways and a pure historical fact. The GOP of that era was anti-communist but wanted isolationism.

http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/1947.html

I am not responsible for correcting a flaming imbecile. But the rest of you will need to be armed and you need to know this.

But nothing could be more consistent! Dems and libs have made plenty of mistakes. But they are uncomfortable with tyrants and confeds cozy up to them.

===

in Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? Karen Dawisha lays out in detail how an obscure deputy mayor and former KGB officer helped to create a vast mafia organization that used extortion, murder, false arrest and vast tsunamis of money laundering to corner ownership of former Soviet state companies and enterprises, then seize absolute power over the Russian government and institutions. The trail of bodies is impressive and well documented. And yet, I have one quibble... that most of it could have been prevented, had the United States not been led by the worst president of the 20th century -- George Herbert Walker Bush.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/12/18/how-he-and-his-cronies-stole-russia/

Alfred Differ said...

From Strafor the other day...
--------------
With the world transfixed by the high-visibility spat between U.S. President Donald Trump and other NATO leaders about defense spending in the alliance, less attention was paid to the significant agreements struck by members during the latest summit. These agreements include the following:

1) One of the most notable of the summit's achievements is the agreement to improve the readiness of NATO forces. Known as the "Four Thirties" plan, the agreement envisions having 30 additional major naval ships, 30 heavy or medium maneuver army battalions, and 30 air squadrons, with enabling forces, ready for combat within 30 days. This was a key U.S. initiative going into the summit, with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in particular emphasizing this effort to enhance NATO's overall rapid response force.

2) Building on the recent setup of NATO's Atlantic and logistics commands, as well as its Multinational Division North East, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia signed into life the new Multinational Division North, with Canada, Great Britain and Lithuania on board as "contributing countries." Scheduled to reach initial operational capability in early 2019, this regional command will better focus NATO's defense of the Baltics.

3) NATO also agreed to establish a Cyberspace Operations Center in Belgium to better coordinate the alliance's cyber defenses.
--------------

The second and third are obviously about Russia and their recent tactical successes in election tampering and disinformation methods.

The first is probably about the Baltics which makes it about Russia too.

David Brin said...

What must be infuriating Putin is how little power it turns out the US president has, if he is almost universally opposed by not only civil servants and the law and military and intelligence professionals, but also given no meaningful help by legislation from a Congress utterly controlled by his own party and kowtowing to him symboliclly at every turn.

#2 is the result of the Republicans in Congress repeatedly being told by their masters in the oligarchy "Give us lots of money and tax cuts every year, and otherwise do nothing at all." Result: the laziest, most indolent congresses in the history of the Republic. And I do not exaggerate. Hence, even when their president asks for help, they can do nothing. He begged them for a bill weakening the Civil Service Act so that he could go on a firing rampage and they've not even started one in committee.

#1 is where the defense of the United States now lies with Rod Rosenstein and Secretary of Defense Mattis, who are pursuing Russian acts of war in complete defiance of the President, almost daring him to fire them.

Alfred Differ said...

As usual, George Friedman takes a broad view of populism. In a talk last year in the UAE, he summed up his position. It should give some perspective on our talk of a Confederate uprising. In the broader sense, he appears to argue that it is not. It is a rebellion against technocrats.

Hmm... Seems those could be the same thing here in the US. How we implement the revolt is using our historical divisions. Maybe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGJzG7BnYb0

As for Putin's frustration, I've been thinking for a while that we might actually benefit from this election disaster. Russia won't, though. Not in the long run. Fighting back against what we have done to them (admitted) will cost them more than they can afford. Again.

Friedman has a neat line or two in there about Russia-Turkey relations. Heh.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "why do you think I go on and on about our scientific and space accomplishments? They are pure and unambiguously marvelous and being done by a mighty and glorious civilization."
Indeed, they are. It is love that defeats tyranny - of beauty, truth, justice, freedom, and/or people - any other weapon is turned upon those who use it to destroy tyrants, but this unique weapon is the mortar by which our civilization was built.

"But don't for a moment think we'll forget the role of the Saudis in bringing us to this state of affairs."
When I challenge you on certain facts - the Saudis, the law, even voter registration - I do so because from what I can see, you are on to something, and some slight tweaks might make it better. Or they're not tweaks at all.

For science, I have nothing to contribute except questions and curiosity. Others who are less ignorant than I can pick and prod there.

End of the day, feudalism is the enemy of all those great, majestic things our civilization built. The Saudis are a feudal regime with religious trappings. When I defend them, it's not because I wish to prolong that regime in its present form, but because picking and prodding at them where they are actually weak, rather than where we think they are weak, will expedite that transition.

gerold said...

Treebeard quoting Goldman on US "meddling" in post-USSR Russia: " I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics."

So - US organizations both NGO and governmental tried to help Russia transition from a totalitarian system to a free-market democracy, and we call that "meddling"?

Goldman notes that Russians were too busy looting to build a better country from the Soviet ruins, and somehow the US is responsible?

Russian culture is the product of centuries of brutal exploitation. When they finally threw off the Mongol yoke they found there were only two roles they knew how to play: either you were one of the masters or one of the slaves.

This mindset is very congenial for damaged individuals like Trump and obedient members of the cult.

TCB said...

New Republic did an article back in 2002 called Rogue State which was, that's right, a dissection of the horror that is Delaware. Go read it!

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

I spent years asserting quite publicly how the alleged connections between Saddam Hussein and OBL were utterly misleading. Alleging collusion based on no more evidence than this is not only misleading, it's distracting from important efforts.

...

So, is there "overwhelming evidence that our president...engaged in treasonous behavior"? Not yet - at least none that is publicly available.


I agree that coincidence of interests does not imply collusion. I'm also not particularly fixated on collusion. I'm also willing to accept what I've seen no one (even conservatives) assert--that "Russia, if you're listening..." was meant as a joke after the fashion of President Reagan's "We start the bombing in five minutes."

All beside the point.

I think the reason more and more commentators are using the T-word is because of Trump's behavior and rhetoric at the summit with Putin. They're not saying he committed treason back in 2016. They're saying he committed treason before our eyes last weekend.


Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Apparently nothing terrifies modern American "liberals" like the specter of friendlier relations between the two nations with enough nukes to blow up the planet.


Peace is always preferable to war, but peace should be on terms America can live with, not just "We'll say or do whatever you want because we love peace so much."


It’s weird and kinda hilarious to see the role reversals;


Moreso on your side, because the Republicans are now acting not as liberals used to do, but as how conservatives used to caricature liberals as acting. You have become the very thing you used to pretend liberals were so that you could condemn and ridicule us.


I dimly recall a time when McCarthyism was associated with the right wing, and liberals were accused of being “soft on Russia”.


Yeah, I dimly recall a time when liberals were excoriated for hating America, and now conservatives praise themselves for hating America.

locumranch said...


These optimistic & self-deluding progressives never tire of being wrong, as evidenced by:

(1) Our Union Kepi-sporting futurist who failed to predict (a) Trump's election, (b) the US Democratic Party's shift towards a Pro-Confederacy position on States Rights & Federal Nullification and (c) the just announced US-Russian Alliance;

(2) Donzelion who attributes LB Johnson's cynical attempt to use welfare dependency to keep a minority identity group "voting Democratic for the next 200 years" to enlightenment, just as others try to 'whitewash' the antisemitic & racist indifference exercised by FDR, JFK & the 'heroic' US Democrat Party;

(3) Larry_H who prefers his touchy-feely 'rainbow stew' fantasies to the harsh reality of political expedience;

(4) Alfred who equates 'hilarious & brilliant' predictive accuracy with the state of being a "know-nothing"; and

(5) All those Boomer & pre-Boomer generational relics -- McConnell, McCain, Schumer & Pelosi, to name a few -- who cling to outdated & erroneous political ideologies LONG after their expiry dates.

Aside from the overly-polite contributions of our very own T-squared (Tim/Tacitus), Treebeard & I are the only two contributors here who've made a realistic & consistent appraisal of the human condition.

To paraphrase Rick & Morty, Trump's egotism, rudeness & immorality is a small price to pay for "Spider Peace", a world-changing US & Russian Alliance and the overdue conclusion of the Cold War.

The sad truth is that the US Empire no longer has purpose, having vanquished all it's enemies, and now it exists only to CREATE more enemies in order to justify its continued existence, as in the case of Noriega, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, Al-Quaeda, the Islamic State & (most likely) Putin, much in the same way that the progressive establishment justifies its continued existence by declaring a never-ending War on Poverty, Terror, Racism & Drugs in order to CREATE more poverty, terror, racism & an expanding drug trade.

Yes, I said it:

I said that PUTIN is a most probably the mutually complicit creation of the US Military Industrial Complex, created for the sole purpose of justifying the further existence of the US Military Complex, and the surest way to defeat this so-called 'Super-Villain' is just to STOP opposing him.

We have met the enemy and he is US.


Best

locumranch said...



To put it much more simply:

If you claim that it is 'treason' (and/or 'betrayal') for our country's political leaders to make PEACE with our enemies (as in the case of Trump & Putin), then you are arguing (in essence) that WAR is our country's official policy & 'raison d'etre'.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

Show us Putin's matching capitulation.

Darrell E said...

You keep committing the same fallacies over and over.

David Brin said...

Aaaaand he no longer even remotely pretends to be anything other than a devout hater of the United States of America. I might have guessed that locum would hold onto a figleaf. But Hannity is that good.

Watch, they will soon embrace new words: "Don't call us 'traitors, we're rebels! Rebs. We owe no loyalty to you bluebelly yanks elites." We are only two steps away from open flag burnings.

---
back in the 1970s Jerry Pournelle created a future (still visible in background in THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE - in which the US & Soviets agree to share domination over the world in a "co-dominion." Disgusting, but fascination to see the capital ships called "MacArthur" and "Lenin."

matthew said...

Hey, loco - Just whom holds the upper hand in your "US & Russia Alliance?"

You claim to have insight into all sorts of human conditions - What is *your* read on Trump's body language and words at the press conference yesterday?

raito said...

donzelion,

I have been unable to find any accomodation in Wisconsin to reach out to voters in areas where the DMV is far away. The state DMV site doesn't show any, nor do cursory searches turn anything up. The site shows 91 possible offices for getting a driver's license, in 72 counties. Several counties have no office offering that service (some counties have more than 1). Additionally, it is likely that I overcounted, as I did not investigate the exact services provided by each office, and 'license' is a fuzzy term that could apply wither to driver's licenses or vehicle licensing. Not to mention I'm unable to figure out whether the state-issued ID cards are available at all driver's license offices.

But for Wisconsin, the situation got worse with some changes in birth certificate procedures. Currently, you could use a license or ID to get a copy of your birth certificate. Doesn't work, of course, if you're getting a birth certificate to get that ID in the first place. Or you need 2 of the following: bank or earnings statement, current dated signed lease, health insurance card, utility bill or traffic ticket, vehicle registration or title. I can see many people not having two of those. Don't own a car, living in someone else's home or apartment, jobless, etc. Heck, my own mother probably couldn't have scraped together two of those requirements with things in my father's name (though she did have a driver's license, so the problem was moot in her case).

As I recall, the state records office hours got cut back some, too. And Wisconsin, in a real Harrison Bergeron move, declared it 'unfair' for more populous (i.e. votes D) areas of the state to keep longer polling hours to accomodate peoples' schedules, and began to restrict early and absentee voting.

Not to mention putting the burden on the GAO to deal with the public aspects of the Voter ID law. An office that had already been abolished and was in the process of being completely dismantled.

I have found no information of DMV teams being requested to go to nursing homes and the like. You may be thinking of provisions where election officials can bring absentee ballots to facilities with 5 or more beds. That's very different than getting people IDs. In 2016, there's provisions for ID cards for those over 65 that do not expire (same article state that the only way to get one is online or at an office). And you have to give up driving to get one. You can get on the permanent absentee list, but must vote in every election. There's a bit of a loophole there, in that the witness doing the legwork vouches for ID.

Do you have any evidence to the contrary in Wisconsin? I'd love to see some. Maybe Tim Wolter has some other observations.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

If you claim that it is 'treason' (and/or 'betrayal') for our country's political leaders to make PEACE with our enemies (as in the case of Trump & Putin),...


There's peace and then there's peace.

An agreement between rivals to work things out before fighting--sure, I'm there.

A surrender before a shot is fired? Not so much.

And making war on our allies in order to capitulate to our rival? If the T-word fits, wear it.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E to locumranch:

You keep committing the same fallacies over and over.


Well, you keep breathing over and over. The sun keeps rising and setting over and over. My cat keeps throwing up over and over.

None of this is a surprise.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Watch, they will soon embrace new words: "Don't call us 'traitors, we're rebels! Rebs. We owe no loyalty to you bluebelly yanks elites." We are only two steps away from open flag burnings.


Maybe they'll take a knee at the national anthem?

I'm sure that's one of those "ok when Republicans do it" things.

locumranch said...


Aaaaand David no longer even remotely pretends to be anything other than a devout United States of America Imperialist powered by a sense of Manifest Destiny & a belligerent desire for uncontested military dominance, 'Pax' being a characteristic of Empire.

You'd think that he would at least pretend to be interested in either peaceful coexistence (peace) or national sovereignty but, like the self-deluded protagonist from Bester's 'Demolished Man', he cannot conceive of reconciliation with his self-designated enemy & adversary.

As his enlightened west has ALWAYS been at war with Putin's Russia (as far as he's concerned), he must interpret any peace overture towards Russia as an act of treason, while Alfred obvious feels the same as evidenced by his calls for Russia's 'capitulation' (surrender) even though capitulation is the very antithesis of peaceable relations & friendship.

Like each & every self-perpetuating bureaucracy, the US Military Intelligence Complex must grow in order to self-perpetuate and, to achieve these ends, it needs an endless supply of super-villainous enemies, even when it must manufacture them itself.

Without an external enemy to attack, our aggressive Military Intelligence Complex will turn inward & attack itself and, as demonstrated by its increased emphasis on universal DOMESTIC surveillance in order to defend the US from the 'us', we are witnessing its imminent self-destruction as we speak.


Best
____

The progressive is the new insurgent who vows to fight on like Quantrill's Raiders or the Marquis from 'Diversity Space Nine', and it is they who are the unreasonable Johnny Rebs & Jerry Browns of the modern era.

David Brin said...

Beginning with an outright lie that is more about the face in the mirror..."Aaaaand David no longer even remotely pretends to be anything other than a devout United States of America Imperialist powered by a sense of Manifest Destiny & a belligerent desire for uncontested military dominance, 'Pax' being a characteristic of Empire. "

He then proceeds to insult the best and wisest politician in America, who has led California to becoming the leading nation of the world, with budget surpluses wisely cached away and the old American positive sum of huge progress, tech driven rising wealth and serious steps to care for the future world. If he were younger... he'd be president right now and confeds would be rolling on their backs like puppies.

lying traitor.

Treebeard said...

Agree locum. As I've been pointing out since I first started posting here, the biggest imperialists in the world are the Enlightenment Cult "liberals", who, like ISIS, claim the whole world for their Caliphate, and are willing to wage endless wars to build their utopia on Earth. Our host has made this clear repeatedly; Alfred likes to strategize about how to conquer the world for Uncle Sam; and Winter7 thinks Russia might invade the USA via the southern border and wants to go to DEFCON 1 immediately.

So clearly some of these people are rather deranged and sociopathic. And that's not even mentioning some of the “liberal” leaders. Ever see the interview with Madeleine Albright, where she said stone-faced that 500k dead Iraqi children was “worth it” for the sanctions on Saddam? And do you remember how that was played all day in the media (neither do I)? And who can forget Tom Friedman and his “suck on this” comment to Iraqis who were about to get obliterated (I mean liberated)? Or Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton gloating about the destruction of Libya, and who was lusting to do the same to Syria? Or Obama, who said he was becoming very good at killing people and personally ordered God knows how many drone kills? This is the mindset we are dealing with here: sociopathic, murderous imperialists, whose ideology mandates constant war and who need enemies to “liberate”, until the world submits to their Sharia law.

The best thing conservatives can do is to act like real conservatives, and not try to outdo the mad liberal war-mongers in declaring jihad on the whole world and meddling in everyone's affairs. I think Trump sorta gets this and wants to tone it down, but unfortunately both parties are full of mad meddlers and imperialists who believe America is on a mission from God to rule the world, so it's a hard sell.

Treebeard said...

So - US organizations both NGO and governmental tried to help Russia transition from a totalitarian system to a free-market democracy, and we call that "meddling"?

LOL @ Gerold, are you really so childish as to believe this? That the USA wanted to help the poor benighted Russians out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you not understand what this "transition" would entail? It's a whole imperial package the American NGOs bring, which is why they aren't given free rein in the unconquered parts of the world.

See, proud people don't usually submit to domination by foreign empires easily. Dozens of native tribes had to be defeated and killed off in America before they could make this "transition". In your neck of the woods, Europe had to be reduced to rubble before they could "transition". Same with Japan. Afghanistan has been bombed for years by the forces of progress, yet they still haven't transitioned. So in general, this transition entails a lot of death, destruction, loss of culture and sovereignty. You will cease to be the people and civilization you were, and for some this is too high a price to pay. I don't know where you're from, but if you're one of the conquered Europeans, then maybe it's too late for you. But Russia remains sovereign precisely because they booted the NGOs when they were at their weakest point. I wouldn't feel too sorry for them either; most Russians prefer it that way, judging by Putin's popularity.

Alfred Differ said...

I was watching some dipsqueak on Fox this morning trying to justify why we must have peace with Russia. All I could think was “What a f-ing coward! My father fought the Cold War for this?”

Argh. Just because someone has nukes doesn’t mean we go all soft. We deliver them a nice little letter naming all the places we will nuke off the map if they don’t find a way to work with us. We deliver it wrapped in a bow so their spies don’t have to work hard to find it.

Peace is obviously preferable, but we didn’t capitulate during the Cold War when we faced a far more formidable opponent. We contained them, worked with them, and made nice on certain topics, but we never left it ambiguous about all options being on the table should we ever fail to maintain the peace.

Lawrence said...

David,
I sort of agree with your position on voter ID. However, I still oppose voter ID laws because I know there will be a double cross somewhere in the process. Show me a voter ID law that also provides the IDs and I'll start wondering: will the issuance of IDs get held up in a court challenge, will the funding for the IDs get cut, will the documents required for the ID be prohibitively difficult to obtain, etc. The Republicans know they are dead if more people vote. There is no way this doesn't get sabotaged. The only world in which a voter ID law gets carried out in good faith is a world where the Democrats have solid control of the whole process.

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | That the USA wanted to help the poor benighted Russians out of the goodness of their hearts?

Yes. Some did. I know a few of them personally.
Yes. They showed up in Ukraine too.
The US is far more than its government. Sometimes the parts actually work at odds with each other.

Not that you’ll believe this. It doesn’t fit with your Hobbes’ian view of the world.

Alfred Differ said...

@Lawrence | The voter ID variation I usually pitch ensures the government isn’t the only valid issuer of valid ID’s. Avoid the monopoly on what counts as ‘valid’ and many of the ways David’s rough sketch can be undermined go away.

I don’t get my credit cards from the federal government, right?
We have Notaries and much of what they can do is part of one of the rare interstate treaties. Voter ID based on them would be difficult to undermine without one state having to abrogate their previous agreements with other states. It can be done, but there would be serious consequences.

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | Alfred likes to strategize about how to conquer the world for Uncle Sam

No. Not Uncle Sam.
Yes... The Lady we used to put on our silver dollars.

It can't be done by conquering anyone physically.
The idea is to conquer illiberal ideas.

War allowed? Hmm... if necessary. It rarely is, but not entirely so.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Voter ID

You guys have a universal identification number - your Social Security number

Surely there is or could be a database of names addresses dates of birth, SS numbers and "Citizen"
That would provide an automatic list of who could vote and where and would not need any other form of ID
After the election a quick check would show if anybody had voted twice

The only part that could change would be your address - so you would not need high security to change that!

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | ...even though capitulation is the very antithesis of peaceable relations & friendship.

What President Biff is doing is essentially capitulation.
It sure as hell isn't a peace offering.

NK, Russia, ... who is next?

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | SSN is a federal ID number. We don't trust the feds to run elections within States. We really, really, really don't.

Besides, what is needed is authentication. An ID # isn't enough. It must be possible for one person to say "I am THIS person." From that, authorization becomes possible.

BEFORE ELECTION | Establish ID -> Validate ID -> Register ID to vote

DURING ELECTION | Authenticate Offered ID -> Establish Authorization of ID -> Vote

AFTER ELECTION | Examine Vote -> Authenticate ID -> Authenticate Authorization of ID

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I was watching some dipsqueak on Fox this morning trying to justify why we must have peace with Russia. All I could think was “What a f-ing coward! My father fought the Cold War for this?”


Not only that, but how often did they compare President Obama to Neville Chamberlain? And they meant it as a bad thing. Seriously, these days Neville Chamberlain should be the darling hero of the right. And Colin Kaepernick too.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

It can't be done by conquering anyone physically.
The idea is to conquer illiberal ideas.


I'm sure you already understand this, but to Treebeard and maybe loc as well, "exemplifying ideas that you hope others will like enough to try to emulate" counts as oppressing them.

Larry Hart said...

@Alfred Differ re: validation,

I've been making a similar argument about voter ID, that one is obliged to provide proof of eligibility to vote at the time one registers. Once that eligibility is established, then all one is obliged to do at voting time is to demonstrate that he/she actually is that particular registered voter.

It should not be necessary to prove eligibility every time a new election comes up. The only reason for that sort of onerous requirement is to have a technical excuse to keep eligible voters from actually voting.

Alfred Differ said...

counts as oppressing them

Then Jesus did it too. Matthew 5:16

Does a non-believer get to point that out?
Heh. I don't care.

"Be The Exemplar" is a good lesson in many languages and styles.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry Hart | I don't mind if there are periodic requirements to re-establish the validity of one's identity. That should cover all the things that 'identity' is authorized to do. For example, if I establish my ID in California, I should show up in the DMV system AS that person when I authenticate there. I should show up at city permitting offices AS that person when I authenticate there. Obviously I should be recognized AS that person at the polling station, but it is reasonable that the officials at the station should be able to determine whether I am authorized to vote there.

I should show up AS that person in an NV Court IF NV and CA have a reciprocal agreement or the Feds enforce such agreements under the interstate commerce clause. Why commerce? Because I want non-governmental entities to be able to validate my identity when I establish it. I'm thinking of notaries.

If some State gets it in there head to disenfranchise people, we should be able to work at getting some of our allies there through their notary registration process. Since notaries are mobile, there is no reason they couldn't walk districts and help get ID's established and validated. It might take charity funding to make it work at times, but that's probably easier than court battles.

donzelion said...

raito: Finding the thread in the message group on voter rights I follow (a fairly big legal organization) would be onerous as it's an ongoing perpetual feed among lawyers who bring challenges at the appellate level - I may have misread it, so a little checking on Google to refresh my recollection.

My understanding is that Wisconsin had a system for appointing Special Registration Deputies, who can be deputized by municipal clerks to help civic groups do registration. In practice, those deputies get invited by 'civic groups' (senior centers, churches, and a few others)...which helps ensure a large Republican turnout.

That said, Wisconsin's 'same day registration' rules do make every polling place into a registration place...and Wisconsin was eyeing online voter registration systems. Both of these could amount to 'voter assistance' (and better voter assistance than many other states may be rendering) and sound quite good at first...and both require some 'red cents' to be expended before they'll take effect.

Yet the devil is in the details, as is the gamesmanship.

"Currently, you could use a license or ID to get a copy of your birth certificate. Doesn't work, of course, if you're getting a birth certificate to get that ID in the first place."
And now you're raising the real problems.

My point is that Republicans are smart enough to respond to a complaint like Dr. Brin's with "Hey, we spent XXX on voter assistance - what are you complaining about?" It's only when you look past the budget to the real world problems and biases the rules will expose that it becomes clear precisely how the system is being rigged. But first, you gotta get people to look closely - if someone is satisfied with a claim, "X says they don't spend any money, Y says they do and showed us a budget, who should I believe?" - they'll miss the nuances that in practice are much more important.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I was watching some dipsqueak on Fox this morning trying to justify why we must have peace with Russia."

I thought we did have peace with Russia. Granted, if Canada and Mexico present crucial 'national security threats' such that we must block imports of their steel, I may be behind the times. No wonder Treebeard thinks the 'liberal Caliphate' seeks to impose democracy elsewhere...I'm getting confused about who is friend and foe as well.

Peace is obviously preferable, but we didn’t capitulate during the Cold War when we faced a far more formidable opponent. We contained them, worked with them, and made nice on certain topics, but we never left it ambiguous about all options being on the table should we ever fail to maintain the peace.

But as for notaries - see my post to Raito above for how the deputies, notaries, and others tend to work. Yes, it tends to take charity donations. One effort I'm aware of was trying to show that the 'cost' fluctuated - sending a notary/deputy/registrar to certain places was 'free' (and hence they'd go back multiple times - e.g., to register members of their church), and 'expensive' (in districts filled with likely voters for the opposition).

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "It should not be necessary to prove eligibility every time a new election comes up. The only reason for that sort of onerous requirement is to have a technical excuse to keep eligible voters from actually voting."

Oh goodie, an opportunity to bring up the ultimate 'solution' - a FEDERAL ID (which social security is not, but often serves in lieu of). Note that the last discussions I'm aware of that were the precise words used during PATRIOT Act negotiations to foreclose any discussion, consideration, or expenditure of funds of any kind that might possibly involve such an ID...

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | ...in districts filled with likely voters for the opposition

That's why I argue against systems that rely on the State driving it. Your description of Wisconsin suggested the State appoints special registration deputies? That's a problem. The person doing the appointing has a conflict of interest. The balance comes when 'People Like Us' can act through non-profits to get people into that system and the State is limited to establishing reasonable rules that everyone (including themselves) have to follow to get people in.

The process for Notaries is old and geared toward making commerce work where identity must be established. I see no reason why voting can't be treated in a similar way. At the core, I should be able to establish my identity, authenticate in front of poll workers, and from that they should be able to establish what I'm authorized to do.

In CA, all I really have to do is asset my identity and then the poll worker looks me up on their book. If I'm there, I get to vote easily. If not, there is another process. If my assertion was backed up by some kind of two-factor auth process, I'm OK with that as long as the State isn't the only one who can be on the other end of that process. I'm OK with them setting up the rules FOR the process, but they have to be reasonable and they have to follow them too. No monopoly should exist on who gets to authenticate my assertion of identity.

The way I imagine it, the 501(c)3 would likely fund training of 'notaries' who were willing to venture forth and establish and validate identities for the purpose of getting people registered to vote. Of course that would require breaking state monopolies on the registration process. I think that is as important to do as ending gerrymandering.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Ok I don't understand WHY you need to validate to vote

Voting is a "low density" activity - an individual vote is not that valuable

When I go to vote I give my name and it is ticked off on the register
A simple compilation of all of the registers will show if I have voted multiple times

It won't STOP it - too late - but it will indicate if there is a problem - IF that is a problem THEN we could do something - IF there were significant numbers of false votes we could even re-do the election

We simply don't need to validate every voter

But what we do need to do is to ensure that the REGISTER is 100% accurate and up to date - and that goes both ways - nobody missing as well as nobody extra

Which is where the SS number would come in handy

David Brin said...

A Pollyanna would see the positive in this wretched sight... millions of our neighbors - and our two resident negative-summers - who are avid, even frantic, to claim that "asserting something makes it so!!!" The cheerful interpretation? That this proves the incredible diversity of the human species!

Alas, it means that these neighbors must wage war upon all fact-users. It's not just populist politics, since actual actual outcomes for non-college whites have always been better under democrats -- always and in all metrics. Nor is it even suspicion of authority, though portraying fact professions as evil oppressors has been a neat trick by the enemies of freedom across 6000 years.

No, it is about romanticism. "If I believe something intensely enough - never noticing how conveniently it makes ME the hero of the story - then that makes it true! And all who stand in my way or try to say "that's not true and here's proof" deserve to die!"

Notice our negative summers don't try to prove their assertions. They know damned well that almost everything they assert is simply and provably false. Offer them wagers and they run, screaming. But that's not pertinent. WHat matter is that ASSERTING is everything!

And all the more tasty when the assertion is plainly opposite to all fact. Yes, that makes it an out and out, knowing lie. So? Asserting an opposite to fact makes you sound so clever! A rebel! Someone in-the-know!

And someone utterly pathetic.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/us/politics/trump-putin-russia.html

Mr. Trump had just returned from Finland, where he sided against his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russian interference in the 2016 election during a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia,” Mr. Trump had said on Monday. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

And by that, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, more than 24 hours later, he meant the exact opposite. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’” Mr. Trump said. “Sort of a double negative.”


* * *

President Snow was apparently channeling that old Monty Python skit:


"I'm told this is in fact Bolton."

"Yeah, tha's right."

"You told me this was Ipswich"

"It was a pun."

"A pun?"

"No, not a pun. Wha's that thing that's spelled the same backwards as forwards?"

"A palindrome? The palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob. It don't work."

locumranch said...


Again, I'm a bit confused by a self-identified US federalist 'patriot' who celebrates an openly seditious State Governor as "the best and wisest politician in America", mocks the 45th federal US chief executive (POTUS) as a "traitor" & identifies "California (as) the leading nation of the world".

I known that marijuana is legal in California, son, but methinks that you've had a little 'too much' already because (1) patriotic federalists don't disrespect federal authority, (2) Jerry Brown is a drug-addled ex-Linda Ronstadt groupy and a second-rate politician, and (3) California is NOT a nation.

In fact, California may not even be a US State for much longer due to the 'Cal 3 Initiative', otherwise known as Proposition 9, which is a transparent Blue Urban attempt to nullify US federal authority & gerrymander the US electoral college for leftist political advantage.

It's also true that the current California Driver's License (ID) is no longer recognised as a valid federal ID which means that most Californians will no longer have access to TSA-regulated air travel, federal services or voting rights unless they obtain a REAL federal ID by 2020.

You are correct when you say that ASSERTING stupid stuff like "California (is a) leading nation" doesn't make it so.

And, dig this: Acid still ain't legal in the California Sanctuary State even though marijuana is, so you better check yourself before you wreck yourself because you appear one toke over the line, Sweet Jesus.


Best

Twominds said...

I keep being amazed at how complex voting, voting rights and ID requirements seem in the US. I looked up how it's organized in the Netherlands, and yes, we do keep it simple. For the most important ones, equivalent to your presidential elections, you need to have Dutch nationality and be 18 years or older. Valid ID is passport, identity card or driving license. If you don't have a valid ID, you can give someone else who is allowed to vote too, written permission to vote for you.

Easy-peasy.

https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/verkiezingen/vraag-en-antwoord/wanneer-mag-ik-stemmen-bij-verkiezingen

https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/verkiezingen/vraag-en-antwoord/wat-heb-ik-nodig-om-te-mogen-stemmen-bij-verkiezingen

It's in Dutch of course, but the language is deliberately kept plain enough and google translate should give a useful translation.

Greg Byshenk said...

Twominds (et al), one reason it is so simple in the Netherlands is that we have registration of residence, which the USA does not.

Larry Hart said...

@Twominds,

US voting eligibility is complicated because obstacles in the way of the "wrong" people voting is a feature, not a bug in the system.

sociotard said...

Right after catching Russian influence at the NRA,the government is removing financial transparency rules that helped catch it.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/17/17581384/irs-dark-money-nra-maria-butina-donors

raito said...

donzelion,

Isn't conversation wonderful?

Yes, there were the special deputies that could register people to vote. And there aren't now (well, the term used was something like 'their role has changed'). And WI does have an online registration system. And WI does have same day registration. But...

Though the paper form allows one to indicate that they have neither a DOT issued ID nor an SSN, that doesn't mean that the person will be allowed to vote. You still need the ID to cast the vote. So being registered is not sufficient to vote.

WI has had same day registration for years, no no cents spent there. The online system is new, but does nothing to help get IDs. So it could be argued that it's voter assistance, but not ID assistance.

Zepp Jamieson said...

This is huge. Not just the more esoteric reaches of physics, but in our day-to-day lives. One possiblity: FTL communications. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-shatters-ldquo-spooky-action-at-a-distance-rdquo-record-preps-for-quantum-internet/

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ sociotard

Yes, and Kavanaugh is on record for wanting to eliminate the office of the special prosecutor altogether.
What kind of party wants government to be unaccountable?

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch babbled, "In fact, California may not even be a US State for much longer due to the 'Cal 3 Initiative', otherwise known as Proposition 9, which is a transparent Blue Urban attempt to nullify US federal authority & gerrymander the US electoral college for leftist political advantage."

Prop 9, underwritten by a Silicon valley plutocrat, would create one blue and two red states out of California, giving the GOP four nearly automatic senate seats where now they have none.

Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt dated in 1979 and then went their separate ways. Try to get over it.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | Validating votes has as much value as validating other kinds of transactions. If the harm done by fraud is low, one should not spend much effort trying to prevent it. If it is high, one should make an effort to detect it at a minimum and prevent it if possible. The value in this is a belief in the legitimacy of the processes.

For example, if you don’t believe in the reliability of paper cheques, you won’t use them. There once was a day when people didn’t, but the banking system slowly convinced us they could do it relatively safely and detect fraud often enough to matter. They also took steps to ensure they charged enough for the parts of the processes so they could insure against losses and cover us in return. Eventually we stopped worrying and let the system work, but underneath there ARE validation steps that keep us from worrying about the legitimacy of transactions.

Think about old processes for deciding who is King. Who gets to be one depends heavily on legitimacy. Try to convince the people of Jordan that a new strongman gets to rule and you’ll run into difficulties you wouldn’t encounter in Libya. The validation processes used to ensure family membership among royals can be intrusive and detailed, but they literally create legitimacy because they create belief.

An individual vote might not need much validation, but they do need legitimacy often enough that we should consider bending to the desires of those who want it. A few votes in Florida in 2000 could have changed the world and it was legitimacy that became the real, long-lasting issue.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

A few votes in Florida in 2000 could have changed the world and it was legitimacy that became the real, long-lasting issue


But the problem there wasn't too little security on the voter rolls. It was too much security, erring on the side of purging. That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing from the problem voter ID laws claim to solve.

I agree that the legitimacy of the vote is paramount. Just noting that the integrity of the process of purging the voter rolls is every bit as important as that of letting people on the voter rolls.

Larry Hart said...

The subject of voter ID reminds me of a story I probably told here already. Many years ago, my then-supervisor at work was from India. He had a green card, but was not a US citizen.

When he got a notice to appear for jury duty, I told him he was not allowed to serve, and we checked the county's website to see what he was supposed to do. Turns out, he was still required to appear and prove he was not a US citizen in order to be dismissed. I don't know what would have happened if he couldn't prove that to their satisfaction--would he have been seated on an actual jury?

Point being, there are situations in which you are presumed to be a citizen unless you can prove otherwise.

Alfred Differ said...

Purging of roles would be part of a reasonable process. Each validated identity would have a 'lifespan of trust' requiring people to re-establish the validity of their asserted identity periodically. This is necessary to deal with the risks of corruption of identities (someone cracking my defenses could spoof my ID) and natural deaths that don't get registered some other way.

It should be possible for non-state entities to establish and validate identities. I have no issue with them being involved in removing them too, but that process should be slow and NEVER monopolized by any entity especially a State.

Your point about too much security is actually a process monopoly issue. As long as the State is the only entity that can validate and purge, you've got a conflict of interest problem. Break the process monopoly and allow 'People Like Us' to get involved. States can be responsible for reasonable rules everyone has to follow (no exceptions) and break open the rest. It will feel like chaos initially, but I strongly suspect the non-profits will step in on all sides to make it work.

My libertarian friends don't get this, but breaking State monopolies IS a libertarian ideal. My friends often prefer to hide from government, but David hammered on the silliness of that approach in his transparency book. The smart thing to do here is recognize the concerns some people have regarding vote legitimacy and use a system that enables various participants to look back at each other and (even better) get involved. We already HAVE a system were assertion of identities isn't sufficient and they came up with solutions. It is the same system David already points to when he suggests banks are going to get into the identification business, but I suggest some details so non-banks can play too. Get the notaries involved and break state monopolies. That will help.

Larry Hart said...

I've been mulling over a philosophical question without (so far) having thought through all of the possible consequences or which party would benefit more. Just soliciting reactions for now...

Many Americans have multiple residences in separate states. My in-laws, for example, live half the year in Texas and half in the Chicago area, owning residences in both locations.

Is there a good reason (aside from "that's how the law is right now") why they should not be permitted to vote in both locations? Elections are at the state level or below. Why shouldn't they have influence over who represents them in both locations? It's not like (say) their vote for Senator or congressperson or mayor would be double-counted as each locations elections are entirely separate.

I can see how it might be an issue for presidential elections, but even there, only the popular vote would be double-counted (and we've seen how much the popular vote matters). The true races would be for electoral votes from Texas and from Illinois, which again are separate.

I'm not necessarily arguing that it should work that way, but wondering what the arguments against it really are, other than "It's never been allowed before."

Twominds said...

@Greg Byshenk

we have registration of residence which the USA does not.

Yes, I thought it must be so, otherwise the problem would be really un-understandable. Still, I find that hard to imagine: how else does an administration that wants contact with a citizen, do so effectively? Here, I can contact my local or regional or countrywide government in several ways, they have only one sure way, my address.

LarryHart, without registration of residence, how could you establish if a person is spending enough time in a specific state to justify voting there too?
And I think, voting for general elections should be in one state only.

Larry Hart said...

Twominds:

And I think, voting for general elections should be in one state only.


Well, that's how it is now.

I'm just wondering if there's a good reason it has to be that way.

Alfred Differ said...

The first argument against that that pops to mind is one should be careful tying one's right to vote in an area to owning property in that area. A large fraction of America owns no real property and we don't want to turn property ownership into a path for having multiple votes.

Another argument against it comes from the original point of the census. Apportionment of representation in the House. If we really expect one person to count for exactly one person, we must ensure they don't start counting for two... or three-fifths in one place and nothing in another because that other place refuses to play. Apportionment matters.

Arguing for it is pretty easy. Your in-laws could be 1/2 in one district and 1/2 in another adding to one regarding apportionment. If some other location doesn't want to play that game, then the other gets all the credit. If one takes residency as the measure instead of property ownership, it might work.

Ultimately, though, I'm sure most of us would reject this idea. We'd imagine outsiders claiming residency in our neighborhoods in order to vote in local elections. Imagine the fun to be had when 10 million Californians argue they are half-time residents in some swing state. It's not like we couldn't buy the property over there. It's not like we couldn't pay the state taxes over there... wherever 'there' is. We don't like YOUR Senator over there, so we are moving in (without having to really stay there forever) and we are going to vote them out. I've occasionally joked about this with my wife. Don’t like that guy? Let’s move and make our votes count over there! Fortunately for them, she usually just gives me that look that says ‘those people’ voted for ‘that guy’. Even a move within California to dilute a redder district is usually met with that look. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Twominds | We don't trust our government enough to want them to know where to find us all the time. LOTS of us prefer they not really know, so we don't inform the state folks who manage driver licenses. We have to put addresses on our tax forms, but we don't have to inform those agencies when we move around. I'm in a rental house right now and we get notices for a few people from the local courts. I have no doubt the former residents would prefer those courts not know where they went.

Unless the government has a clear, justifiable reason for knowing something about us, we often prefer they not know it. Knowledge is power.

Yes. We are rather delusional on this point. Obviously they know an enormous amount about us. Far more than we want to admit.

Jacob said...

Hi Larry,

I generally believe that people should have some say in matters which concern their interest. Fairness should dictate something along these being able to vote. Unfortunately, complications arise. Consider. Partitioning an acre of land into pinheads parcels which are sold to those of like mind. Foreign Interests. Building an infrastructure to apportion which elections you can vote in at what strength (0.5 in both?). All reasonably solvable but at some additional increased Cost of Elections. I like the idea of being flexible and fair but only have we improve other flaws first. Convince me that the cost is reasonable and that doesn't distract from energy best spent elsewhere. I'll be open minded. I'd recommend we stick to primary residence for now.

David Brin said...

"Again, I'm a bit confused..."

Yes, again and again and again. Alas the admission is not sincere. We know it is always true. He fantacizes it's not.

Twominds said...

@Alfred Differ,

As you already say, in fact the government knows a lot about you, I guess including where to find you, if they are motivated enough. Unless you live like a fugitive, and even then, in the long run.

It's clear that I do trust my government not to interfere in my life unless I break the law. I share that privilege with essentially all other people here, even the ones from groups that give more problems than average.

By the way, if I get, for instance, a traffic ticket, the cops will ask for my address and I'm obligated to give it. I think they can even check it immediately these days.
How does that work for you, can you lie and give a false address without (immediate) trouble? If it's not registered, it would be harder to check, at least right then and there.
Do you need to provide it at all, or is it up to the cops to find out (assuming legal means here)?

Alfred Differ said...

@Twominds | Lying about your address on a ticket will get you arrested when they find you again. The ticket is an agreement to show up in court (if necessary) so the cop doesn’t HAVE to arrest us to ensure our appearance. If you show up as agreed, they might not notice or care, but committing fraud on such an agreement is a bad idea. It would be difficult to convince a jury one isn’t guilty of fraud. It would also be dumb to turn an infraction (ticket-able offense) into something bigger. Try it and law enforcement will start looking for something else that you don’t want them to notice. Very bad idea. 8)

I am inclined to trust my government far more than many of my libertarian friends, but it is not blind trust. If they really don’t need to know X, I’m inclined to argue that they shouldn’t spend money learning X or expand the scope of their attention to include X. I’ll listen to them, though, in case they have a good reason. My inclination to trust them, though, is based in a belief that they work for me and my fellow citizens. If they ever manage to convince me they don’t, I’ll do far more than hide from them. My duty to my nation involves making sure they understand their place and I take that seriously. Since I actually work within the government (contractor), I’ve actually had opportunities to observe and educate. Most everyone around me “gets it” well enough for me to continue with my sense of trust.

Personally, I want them to know who I am, where I am residing, and a number of other details where it benefits me to have someone act as a repository of validated information. For example, I’m a home owner and benefit from having my property registered under my name, the creditors registered for that property, and the property’s approximate value. I’m married and benefit from having the State’s court system know that and who qualifies as ‘my’ offspring. There are a number of things about me and my interactions with the State and the Market where I benefit from having them publicly known, so I don’t mind the State providing that service. I also don’t mind if someone else does as long as they are fair and open to corrections when they are incorrect about certain details. Beyond all that, though, I have to be convinced if the State wants to do it. I CAN be convinced, but I don’t blindly trust anyone with power.

donzelion said...

Ratio - "So it could be argued that it's voter assistance, but not ID assistance."

And pointing out the difference between the two was my whole point. Any error whatsoever in a claim, or any trivial deflection, will prevail in practice for people predisposed to believe one side and refuse to do anything or permit anything to be done.

Trump is a fool. The folks operating on the ground may include a few fools. But most are not foolish, and know exactly how to handle any overstatement. So...scrupulous accuracy is the path to actual remedy.
When ID is the problem behind the problem, remedies done in many other countries (e.g., voter ID cards) can work.

sociotard said...

I do hope David Brin takes the time to read this article comparing Elon Musk to Donald Trump
http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-it-was-always-dumb-to-worship-elon-musk-as-savior/

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Sociotard
Well I have read that article
What a lot of total BOLLOCKS -

Know the tree by it's fruits

And Musk has actually DONE - Done in the physical world - not "information space"!!
An absolute bloody TON! of good

He used his initial fortune - from mixing the real world with the information world to smack the world into the Electric car era
And another fortune to drop the cost of getting to orbit buy a factor of four or more

BOTH things that are massively important to the future of man

Just those two - hell either one of them - make Musk the one man who has done the most to help our long term future in the last hundred years

And then some trog of a journalist compares him to TRUMP!

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred

Hiding from your government is a futile effort and ultimately destructive - you should take a leaf from our hosts book and instead argue for transparency

I would argue that a lot of our dealings would work a LOT better in the light - I really like the Scandinavian idea that everybody's tax returns are public documents
And Dr Brins idea that all significant assets should have a link to their actual owners

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ LarryHart " Turns out, he was still required to appear and prove he was not a US citizen in order to be dismissed."

It may vary from state to state. I got a summons once, and called up the County Clerk and explained that I was a resident alien, and he said, "Oh, OK then, I'll take you off the list," and that was the end of it.
I would have just explained to the judge that I didn't need to hear any evidence, that Cththlu would tell me how to determine the fate of the defendant, and everyone else in the court room. This is the Ted Nugent school of avoiding jury duty, of course.

David Brin said...

Ironically, I defend Elon Musk in the blog I just posted.

onward
onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ Larry Hart

I think that voting in two or more states at state and local level should be permitted provided that residency requirements are met. Most states have a 30 day residency requirement, some less ( https://www.infoplease.com/history-and-government/us-elections/residency-requirements-voting ) so in theory someone could "reside" in 12 or more states to qualify, but that seems like an awful lot of expense and effort for a limited return.
No dual voting at the federal level (Congress or President) should be permitted.
I also think resident aliens should be permitted to vote. We are, generally speaking, better educated, and have a better understanding of the constitution.

Jon S. said...

Remember, Duncan, that Cracked is (allegedly) a comedy website. And that it fired almost all of its regular writers earlier this year, so the new batch probably aren't really clear yet on how "comedy" works.

Twominds said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Here, resident aliens (if I understand correctly that that means legal immigrants with staying permit) can vote in municipal elections after 5 years of residence in the Netherlands.