Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Solutions for those 'left behind' in small town America


For Independence Day, I'm about to talk about small town America, the tragic/hurtful fix they are in... and some possible solutions. Though I'll finish with some fierce political commentary on the stated intention of Donald Trump to meet privately with Vladimir Putin, without any U.S. officials or other parties present. 

== Are small towns the soul of America? Well, then save them… right ==

First a telling statistic: there was a clear overlap between counties that had high opioid use ... and the vote for Donald Trump.  After correcting for demographic variables such as age and race, researchers found that support for Trump in the 2016 election closely – and by very large multipliers - tracked opioid prescriptions.

Now, to be fair, a lot of this correlation could be chalked up to social factors and economic woes. Also, name a metric of moral and healthy living that is not worse in Red America, from teen sex to STD and pregnancy rates to obesity, dropouts, divorce and domestic violence, gambling and so on. Name an exception. 

Sure, it can be hard to tease apart cause and effect. Whether it's the poverty that leads to both pain and political rage … or if the political monsters who voters in these counties keep electing have been instrumental in keeping them in poverty and pain. Though the way local politicians bend over for big Agri-Biz and casino lords says plenty about the voters who elect them.

Given that the rest of the Union has poured hundreds of billions in aid and support into those counties, across the last century and a half – especially since FDR – the political rage that keeps electing lunatics and corrupt SOBs would seem suicidal... yet...

... there's a plausible reason. Deep-down, nothing imaginable could be more rage-inducing.  For 150 years in Red (or gray) America, each June, the good folk of every small town have seen the pride and joy of their community - their best and brightest high school graduates – scamper off to universities and city lights. Effectively to Mordor. To Sodom. Even when they return, they come home changed, with urbane attitudes and sophisticated ideas. 

Across human mythology, there is no story more terrifying than aloof, snooty, elfin creatures who steal your children. Or turn them into alien beings, into changelings. From this angle you grasp – at last – a root cause of the pain. 
Heck, I might pop pills, too.

Is that insight ironic, given their cult’s horrific recent behavior, stealing kids from immigrant parents, at the border? History and anthropology show many tribes did that, when when demographic extinction loomed… stealing the children of others, when your own have been taken from you.

This appraisal is supported by a study of political rage in small town America by Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist at Princeton University, who spent eight years interviewing Americans in small towns across the country.

"They recognize themselves as being left behind because, in fact, they are the ones in their family and in their social networks who did stay where they were. Most of the people I spoke to grew up in the small town they currently live in, or some other small town nearby. Often their children have already left, either to college or in search of a better job somewhere else."

This genuine pain is not culpable, because universities and their youth are made for each other and their kids have a right to grow. The larger beings they become aren’t monsters. Sure, they can be snooty, at that age! But it is a good thing, and don’t apologize. Our colleges and cities aren't Mordor. Mostly.

But at some level, we need to understand… and sympathize. Robert Wuthrow finishes with a caution:

"Point one is that rural America is quite diverse. People live in farm towns or coastal towns or mining communities, or they live in the North or the South or in Republican states or Democratic states. So we have to be careful about lumping people together under one category.

"Point two is that rural America does have real problems — population decline, a brain drain, opioid addiction, etc. We can make of that what we want. But that’s not the whole picture. Not every small town is full of people who are suffering and bitter and angry at Washington."

Yes, sympathize and understand. But I will no longer sigh and accept when I am told the urban and educated are less moral.  That's diametrically opposite to true.

== Solutions for small town America ==

So what can be done to ease this enmity, undeserved as it may be? The demographic problem is very real, as many small towns keep shrinking, feeding into a sense of gloom and doom.

One approach is to keep investing in infrastructure like high speed internet for rural areas (an Obama program), that would let more folks live in healthful rural dispersal while keeping urban jobs. Better transportation systems – e.g. hyperloops, efficient trains and (why not?) flying cars, will likely do the same.  Note that both call for willing transfers of wealth and technology, as Blue America has happily done since FDR’s time.

Some towns have navigated toward the future with a process called ‘shrink smart,’ re-inventing themselves for small scale industry or culture or tourism, providing jobs that their own college grads may want to return to fill.  

Another concept is combine-to-survive.  Three or four villages may have enough industry or farmers and services to support one in vibrant style. States could subsidize in-filling four into one.  

But won’t that leave several effective ghost towns?
Then why not turn lemons to lemonade? Truly, I am appalled that we’ve not seen more attempts to utilize near-abandoned towns for a wide variety of purposes.

- As attractive refuges for the homeless, offering spacious shelter at extremely low – and subsidized – cost of living. Many cities are investing heavily in new homeless housing, but the number of units is shrunk by the sheer price of building in a metropolis, when large homes are going begging, out in farmland. Oh, village life won’t be for everyone! Many displaced persons still want to dwell in urban centers, amid the bustle and job opportunities. But won't it be easier to help many of them if the savings truly went to services for the indigent, while rescuing a declining town from extinction. Should it be tried, in at least a few test cases?

- As communities for the undocumented.  Right now, the confederate right is justifying their insupportably vile and racist oppression of refugees fleeing oppression and death in their homeland with a talking point: that once these folks are registered and get provisionally released, they tend to disappear and never show up for their hearings.  While this is a gross exaggeration, the germ of truth could be eliminated, if refugees were released into a Halfway Village.

Not an internment camp!  But a pleasant place without walls and the potential for some work.  If they leave? Well, that becomes an assertive action and they’ll know that it won’t help their eventual case. I would oppose walls! Anyway, with a little help, who would need walls? (Have a look at what happened with the Hmong refugee community, that innovated exactly this approach successfully, on their own.)

- Okay, maybe you'd need some fences, for this next use #3.  A deceased rural village could make a good and cheap minimum security prison, where honor convicts live and work in a farm-and-town economy, getting practice and putting away savings for the outside world. Farms and businesses that barely failed in the regular economy might work just fine, if slightly subsidized by the State, as a hyper-cheaper means of incarceration. Other than daily roll call and a few extra cameras, what more security would be needed? The savings could go to psychological and transition services.

Can you think of other uses for a rural village or town that’s dying?  Remember that if the state buys up such a village, it raises property values across the county, and surrounding towns will probably benefit in other ways.

== Finding new leaders ==

Okay no reasonable suggestions will move a centimeter, so long as one of our political parties is pure treason, waging war against every single fact-using profession, at the behest of foreign enemies. So, we'll finish with some fierce politics.

Many of you have already seen this video  for another woman veteran of three Afghanistan tours, now running for Congress in Texas. Is this what we need? Hell yeah. Girl gotta go up! And no, that isn't the only mold. I'm fine with Santa Monica electing a Santa Monica liberal and Berkeley electing a lefty nut. I know some residually sane republicans... there are still a few... and I've urged them to run. But the battle, this round, is in the districts that Two Scoops is swinging into battlegrounds.   

These are places where decent folks need to be drawn away from the madness, And hell yeah, these ex-officers are our heroes. They are rising up to defend the nation they swore to serve, in the best possible way. And Rupert Murdoch is going to so regret turning them -- along with every other fact-using profession -- into enemies of his treasonously revived confederacy. 

Oh, the distinguished flying cross is no mere lapel pin. She's gonna use that corrupt, confederate SOB as a mop.

And hell, yeah. Give the folks who made this video a lot more to do.

== Here's why this is war ==

When President Donald Trump takes his first official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, the two will spend a portion of that time alone, CNN reported Monday. The very same Kremlin-Politburu schemers who your uncles deemed satanic, when they wore hammer and sickle lapel pins,. are now okay guys, when they are billionaires wearing Orthodox crosses.

This must be screamed across the roofs of the world. Your mad uncles need to be told this is the final smoking gun... no, flaming gun. And they must choose - now - whether to be complicit in treason.

141 comments:

Winter7 said...

A) Could you create a viral # on Twitter that says. #No to the private meeting of Donald Trump and Putin.
B) Communicate with your representatives in the congress. That their representatives demand of the congressmen that the meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is not private and from now on, all the meetings of Donald Trump with dictators are televised by means of several television channels. Or that, if that is not possible, demand that at these meetings two Democratic representatives and two Republicans be present, at no less than one meter from Donald Trump.
C) To support these requests, it would be convenient to hold protests with posters in front of the congress and in front of all the television channels. (Do not wait for the reporters to arrive at the protesters, let's take the protesters to the television networks, raising by 90% the possibility that the protest will be seen by millions of Americans on their television sets.

Alfred Differ said...

David is already being 'retweeted' in social media. I've seen his message reposted by some other authors on FB. (Howard Bloom is one.)

(I suspect that is where attacks are coming from. Some people are in a vicious mood on FB right now.) . 8)

Tim Wolter said...

Regards Trump meeting with Putin. Its a bit hard to tease out but it rather looks like one on one meetings between US presidents and Russian heads of state are not unprecedented. I find reference to a 2010 Obama Putin meeting with just the Russian interpreter present.

Diplomacy with foreign nations is part of our President's job. Or are you so far into the paranoia vortex to believe that Trump will sit there, transfixed as if Putin was The HypnoToad and get further marching orders?

Nevermind, you don't have to answer that one.

Regards small town patriotism on the 4th of July. I don't recall David if your biography includes life in a small town. Mine does. Both my parents were from small town and farm. I lived - won't say grew up - in Minneapolis until my early 20's but have been in small town America ever since.

You make it sound like a rather bleak place. It is not.

Yes, many of our young people graduate high school and leave. But this is not some modern day Childhood's End. We are happy that they leave, we encourage them to do so. They take with them the values of thier upbringing. They work hard. They are not immune to the nonsense of youth but are seldom consumed by it. They have been part of a real community. We know each other's kids from church, from little league, from seeing them on Main Street or in the high school play.

But we want them to have more than a good start. They should go off to University. Or travel the world. A higher percentage - relative to urbanites - join the military.

It is true that some leave and never come back. But some, perhaps the best of them, see the world and return to their home town or a place much like it. Two of my three have done just this with one yet TBD.

I've been absent from ConBrin for a while because frankly much of the discourse here has been bilious nonsense (in my opinion of course). The real world, my real world is a much happier place.

Fourth of July wishes from middle America.

And a tip of the hat to those whose political affiliations I may not share but who are by their own lights doing good in the world...Larry Hart, donzelian, I am tipping specifically in your direction(s)

T. Wolter/Tacitus

Winter7 said...

“¿Or are you so far into the paranoia vortex to believe that Trump will sit there, transfixed as if Putin was The HypnoToad and get further marching orders?”

Dear Tim Wolter. We are not claiming that Vladimir Putin has hypnotically controlled Donald Trump. What I am saying is that Vladimir Putin managed to bribe Donald Trump with money and business handled by providers of Russian names. That is to say; that Donald Trump is a traitor who is an employee of Vladimir Putin.
Without a doubt, by the time Donald Trump finishes his administration, he will be one of the richest men in Russia.
Did not Christ say: By his works will you know them? And the works of Donald Trump always benefit the Russians and harm the Americans. These are facts. The Republican statements to defend Donald Trump are only an attempt to make sense of Donald Trump's deception, a deception that the most innocent Republicans believed was real, but now that they see their world shatter, they sink into the swamp of denial.

Treebeard said...

When you opine on this subject, you sound like an urban bubble-dweller talking abstractly about people and places that you have no experience of. I grew up in the suburbs, lived for years in the city and spent more years in rural areas, have travelled the world, been rich, poor and in between, and I can’t recall anyone ever talking like you imagine them to. People in rural areas are usually pleased not to be living in crowded cities, like the slower pace of life, the sense of security and the sanity. The ones who don't like it move out, and that's fine. Some of them will be back after they've had their fill of the urban rat race.

In my case, I am surrounded by acres of trees, hear nothing but birds singing most of the day, feed raccoons on my deck and horses across the street, take long walks in the woods, and go days without seeing a billboard, fast food joint or a traffic jam. It’s not utopia, but I wouldn’t trade it for any city in the world and certainly don’t envy city-dwellers. So don’t you worry about us being “left behind”; many of us are just fine out here and don’t need saving by urban progressives. It’s true that there are many people in rural areas who have been exposed to our wonderful urban cultural propaganda machine, gotten the idea that their local life is a horrible backwards bore, and go looking for stronger stimulants and faster money, with predictable results. But rural life hasn't yet been totally shredded by progress, even as Mordor grows bolder and its shadow grows ever longer across the land.

On the subject of Trump and Putin, I think Trump should nuke Moscow to prove that he isn’t a Russian agent. Anything short of that proves the contrary. I’m sure Winter will agree that this is also necessary to preempt the impending Russian invasion of America. Although he should wait until the World Cup is over, because I enjoy watching that.

David Brin said...

Tim, July 4 greetings back atcha. And we’ve missed you. Only note this. Your absence could have another explanation. You used to be feisty here (and welcome!) when there was even a slice of US conservatism that could be supported without hypocrisy. (While in denial, you were never a hypocrite.) One interpretation of your absence? That you know there is no place left to stand.

If you stay, it will inevitably be as one of those southerners who in 1861 fled north to wear blue and fight for their country. And yes, it is time. It is past time for that, my friend.

As for your dismissal of the blatantly obvious implications of the private DT-Putin meeting? Cripes, Tim, are you serious? Putin railed publicly and privately against Obama and HClinton, for among other things supporting democracy NGOs and “stealing the Ukraine.” In contrast, you call it “paranoid” that a president who Putin strove to put into office and who has supported Kremlin interests in every single policy and who is deeply distrusted by 100% of our intelligence communities … a casino/slumlord with mafia ties and a blackmailable past… might not “consult with Putin” in our best interests?

Ben Franklin weeps.

TWENTY years ago I showed a slide at CIA listing methods that unfriendly powers have used against each other, across the centuries. One of them - “suborn your opponent’s leadership caste” — got derisive chuckles from those who thought foreign threats were “over.”

I showed the same slide a month ago and got gasps. And “if only we listened.”

David Brin said...

Tim, it's true that I'm an effete urban intellectual. So see the anger of a decorated veteran and good old by gun-owning rural fellow, at the site of today’s Patrick Henry: Jim Wright.

http://www.stonekettle.com/2018/07/folly-vice-and-madness.html#comment-form

Tim Wolter said...

David

It is true that I used to visit more often and be a little "feisty"(not channeling Raymond Feist mind you). It mostly just served to get people riled up. But oddly I still feel a certain, well, obligation to a community I have been part of for so many years. Weird, huh? I'll even have a shot at the hoary old "Name One Metric" challenge one of these days! And you will dismiss my examples....

I am honestly not sure exactly what Trump is. Not a Republican until recently. Not a Conservative in many respects. I think he is for sure an ego driven jerk who saw an opportunity in the feeble Clinton candidacy. He appears to be impervious to the criticism that many public figures endure, rightly or wrongly. He also seems to take seriously delivering on some of what he promised as a candidate. Again, weird, huh?

As to the Russia thing I think it is more likely that Putin and company sought to stir up distrust and trouble any way they could. You can't look at our current body politic and deny that he has succeeded. I have a good imagination but don't believe Putin thought Trump had a snowballs chance in hell of winning. He may well have been as appalled as the rest of us. If he really wanted to throw a serious monkey wrench into the works, as opposed to just harassing fire, I figure he would release the 30,000 yoga emails. Real ones that show the blurred interface between official and Clinton foundation matters. Or failing that, just make crap up. A few facebook ad buys? Seriously?

But heck, maybe Trump should consider the Pence rule, no one on ones with people who might be able to claim untoward actions. It seems sensible to me.

Oh, if I recall Trump has recently bombed military assets in Russia's client Syria. Poison gas facilities recently, and a whole buncha Russian mercenaries a few months back. This plus advocating increases in US military expenditures really don't make Donald and Vladimir sound like best o' buds...

Let me finish with the sincere wish that the Democrats get their act together. Soon. I mean, the current nonsense is a way to fire up the base for the mid terms. Might or might not work. But opposing all things Trump 24/7 combined with a - for now - robust economy? You will ensure a Trump second term.

Personally I am hoping Amy Klobuchar runs.

Cheers

T.Wolter/Tacitus

David Brin said...

"Oh, if I recall Trump has recently bombed military assets in Russia's client Syria. Poison gas facilities recently, and a whole buncha Russian mercenaries a few months back. This plus advocating increases in US military expenditures really don't make Donald and Vladimir sound like best o' buds..."

Oh good grief! Exactly how have any Kremlin interests been set back? DT warned them a week in advance, so Putin's analysts could place radars and sensors all around the evacuated base and appraise our missiles' performance and test countermeasures. (The second wave mostly and mysterious went off target."

Then he did it again a year later, ordering the Air Force to use their new, ultra secret standoff missile, which is now fully characterized by Russian intel.

Crum, man. You are better than this. Tell us now, in advance, what would be a red line for you! Seriously, now. In advance. Because you and 20 million other residually sane "ostrich" conservatives are utter geniuses at accommodation, re-adjustment of the normal, and shrugging.

David Brin said...

BTW, the whole point of my "name an exception" exercise was not to claim: "If you can find one exception, then conservatives win and aren't insane!"

It is: "Even if you struggle and find one exception, the list is stunningly outrageous and spectacular proof of either treason or insanity or both.

"Even if you find two exceptions or three or four. But your failure to find even one is staggering proof of denial."

Sorry man. But that's the one thing you cannot do here.

Shrug.

Tim Wolter said...

David

This is why I consider your "Name One Exception" exercise to be a sham.

I can see how letting Russia know we were bombing Assad could have some negative effects as you describe. But we do have to avoid WW III after all. Maybe we sent in some older tech that was about to go on clearance. I don't know.

I also can't see how encouraging US oil production helps old Vlad. Oil being the major export of Russia.

Anyway, that stuff was secondary to my main point of the day, that perhaps observations of rural America might not be in your wheelhouse. As you seem to concede. Hey, you're my go to guy on Southern Cali.

TW/Tacitus

locumranch said...

David's plan for the Flyover States & all their small towns is edifying -- to convert them into tourist traps, homeless shelters, relocation centers, minimum security prisons & veritable internment camps -- especially when one considers that all those unnecessary & undesirable rural areas contain more than 80% of continental US energy, mineral, agricultural & military resources.

No wonder the Blue Urban Elite wants to depopulate these small towns -- they want to CLAIM all those raw resources for their personal use in the same way that the Old Union industrialists once precipitated the First US Civil War in order to pillage the vast agriculture wealth of the Old South.

My modest counter-proposal is equally elegant:

The Blue Urban Elite can suck it now that their coastal geographic advantage has been diminished by electronic decentralisation. We discard our outdated 18th Century brick & mortar educational model in favour of a virtual one; we keep our children at home by enriching the Red Rural resource suppliers at the expense of the Blue Urban consumer; and, we turn the resulting Blue Urban shitholes into homeless shelters, relocation centers, sanctuary cities, maximum security prisons, and 'Escape from NY & LA' style internment camps.

Kudos to Larry_H, btw, for providing the 'Stonekettle' link. It's a wonderful, educational & hilarious site; I recommend it highly; and I approve of the pro-conservative rants about how liberal progressives tend to neglect their responsibilities by blaming all of their problematic shortcomings -- their laziness, their entitlement, their victim mentality & their lack of agency -- on someone else.

Nothing screams Blue Progressive irresponsibility like what currently passes for Women's Rights, a movement that proclaims 'Women Don't OWE Men Anything' and 'My Body, My Choice', while simultaneously demanding ever increasing masculine responsibilities, provisioning, protections & gender-specific restrictive covenants without offering males much of anything in return.

And now, since it's the Red Rural turn to scream 'Our Resources, Our Choice', you effeminate Blue Urbanites may choose between feeding, watering, fueling & defending yourselves OR you must pay a significant Red Rural premium for continued access to all of the Red Rural resources that we control & provide.

Pffftt! New York & Los Angeles won't last a week if cut off from Red Rural resources.


Best

Sue Bursztynski said...

I saw a program about a small town in rural Australia, which had been declining since the younger community members were leaving. The local school had had to close down. Then they got an idea - why not invite in some African refugees? Suddenly, the place was vibrant again. There were children in the re-opened school. One African farmer who was interviewed said he was thrilled - he was a farmer where he came from and this place was so like home! (Presumably without the nasty aspects that made him and his family flee) And everyone was so kind and welcoming... A good news story, win-win. Maybe the African kids will also go to university in the city when their time comes, but for now all is going very well.

David Brin said...

Tim, may consider Name And Exception to “be a sham”… but notice you don’t grapple with even one of them. Not even the simplest and most trivial of them: “Name a Republican leader between Reagan and Ryan - other than Newt - who was even mentioned at the recent GOP convention? All the rest were excluded out of pure shame..”

Are you honestly telling us it’s a “sham” that every single knowledge and fact profession is actively warred upon by today’s GOP cult? So muso that you cannot name a single exception? Including the US military officer corps? (Deep State conspirators!)

“But we do have to avoid WW III after all. Maybe we sent in some older tech that was about to go on clearance. I don't know.”

That’s what makes you special Tim, you admit you don’t know. You don’t. But I do. You forget where I go speaking, twice a year.

There are officers who are furious that DT ordered them to use the new standoff missile, when almost anything would do.

“I also can't see how encouraging US oil production helps old Vlad. Oil being the major export of Russia.”

Guh! What has DT done to boost US production? It all went up under Obama!

“Anyway, that stuff was secondary to my main point of the day, that perhaps observations of rural America might not be in your wheelhouse.”

Argh, I am an idea man! Tell me where you saw any of the ideas in this article, before! Oh, yeah. You didn’t read it for the ideas.

Moreover, let’s be clear. While I express sympathy and eagerness to offer ideas to help, there is another side. We will NOT accept any longer the utter, utter lie that REAL Americans are deeper and more soulful and moral and have more self-control than educated urbanites. It may have made them feel good to hurl that crap at us for 70 years. But it is disproved, and diametrically so, in every conceivable metric of wholesome or moral living. And we’re not going to take it anymore.

David Brin said...

Hammer your crazy uncle with this. It won't change his "mind"; he'll rush to tune in Fox. But his wife is listening. And your aunt will cancel his vote. Or give him extra beers on election day.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week/?utm_term=.6ac17e9f975e

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I've been absent from ConBrin for a while because frankly much of the discourse here has been bilious nonsense (in my opinion of course). The real world, my real world is a much happier place.


I kinda see your point, that it's possible to focus so much on the outrages out of Washington that you forget that your own life--your family and community--are doing ok. I've been trying to think locally lately, and momentarily forget about the big things like the destruction of the environment or the loss of American influence in the world.

OTOH, it's also true that people in 1930s Germany thought the political upheavals of the time didn't affect their day to day lives...until they did. People desperate to escape from Austria in 1939 may have justifiably rued the fact that they could have done so easily in 1933 but chose not to believe that life could change so rapidly.

I've recently gone back and forth between wanting to just forget about politics and doubling down on the fight. As I've said, neither decision has yet vanquished the other. The one thing I do know is that what's happening in Washington today is not normal, and it's a big mistake to pretend that the outrages from Trump are just like those from President Obama or George W Bush.


And a tip of the hat to those whose political affiliations I may not share but who are by their own lights doing good in the world...Larry Hart, donzelian, I am tipping specifically in your direction(s)


Well, aw shucks, I thank you. At the close, local level, I just try to do the same thing that my professional job requires, which is solving problems.

I do have to point out, though, that it's a mistake to think we're differing strictly on politics. It's not a disagreement over tax cuts or affirmative action or abortion. I'm perceiving the structure of American Constitutional democracy being purposely undermined by the entire Republican Party, and I can't just put that off to "Politicians of both parties always do some bad things." I've lived long enough not to worry about my personal future, but I fear for my daughter's, and "There comes a time in every father's life when he looks into his little girl's eyes and realizes...he must change the world for her."

Larry Hart said...

Hey, I'm not the only one who noticed...

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Jul04.html#item-6

...

Now, let's shift gears for just a moment. It is no secret, of course, that Trump is quite unpopular with the majority of Americans, for myriad reasons. Let's highlight some of them:

- He often disregards laws that he doesn't like
- He's undermined and disregarded state and local governments
- He's told Democrats their constituents don't matter, as he will only sign bills with 100% what he wants
- He has made it much more difficult for immigrants to be naturalized
- His key concern about the judges he appoints is that they will serve his agenda
- He's looked the other way as foreign powers exerted great influence over the United States
- He's undermined commerce with other nations
- He's called for, in some cases, the suspension of due process
- He's done harm to the environment, particularly the coasts and the cities
- He's divided Americans and pitted them against one another

Undoubtedly, some readers will recognize what is going on here. These things aren't just complaints about Trump, they are also among the 27 grievances that the Founding Parents listed against the King of England in the Declaration of Independence (reworded in 21st century English, of course). Specifically, for those who wish to examine the original text of the Declaration themselves, they are grievances number 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 13, 16, 18, 24, and 27.

If Trump was at all a student of history—he's not, of course—he might realize that the Founding Parents would not be too thrilled with him, and that Independence Day is a holiday that actually represents values that are the polar opposite of Trumpism. The Founders, who were generally suspicious of standing armies (in fact, that's grievance #11), would also be horrified to learn that Trump has turned the Fourth of July into an occasion to celebrate America's military might. It's probably best for Trump's blood pressure, then, that he doesn't know much about U.S.history, or about the holiday that is being celebrated today.

Winter7 said...

The Russians attack the United Kingdom again using nerve gas:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/amesbury-poisoning-latest-novichok-skripal-salisbury-wiltshire-victims-russia-a8431711.html


It is already evident that the Russians fear less and less a divided NATO, which no longer has the unifying leadership of the United States.

Winter7 said...

Dear Tim Wolter. I know you know Republican leaders are betraying the American people. I know you know. I know it is not necessary to explain more. The question is whether or not you decide to continue turning away while your leaders destroy the future of all American children.
I'll put it in a simpler way. If you go on a plane and you see that Donald Trump is doing something with the electrical system of the plane in a corridor, and on the floor you see electric clamps and cables pulled ... ¿Would you believe if he told you that he was just laying loose wires? Instead of denouncing him, ¿would you guard the corridor?
Life is so simple when the line between good and evil is so obvious. You only have to choose between serving evil or your compatriots.
¿Is not it sad, that I, a foreigner, love freedom more than your republican leaders? Is it necessary to remind you of the words of the founding fathers ? :

“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive…it is the Right of the Peopleto alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…
But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations…evinces a Design…it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

Randall Winn said...

I have a small involvement in a project to convert rural land in the South Sound area into as sort of village for veterans with PTSD, who aren't comfortable in the noisy unpredictability of the city but are perfectly functional and happy in a quieter environment where they can learn and practice rural skills, e.g. farming or crafting. I anticipate that the internet will be very helpful in enabling them to maintain contact with the larger culture under conditions that they control.

Not everyone can live in a city, especially if their brain chemistry or whatever has been altered by horrifying events such that the hustle and unpredictability of the city is a threat to effective living. I doubt that they're a large enough minority to keep many small towns from going under, but it's something for the towns and - more importantly - something for them.


Now I have to sign off to soothe my cats, who object to the sounds of the 4th. Happy Independence Day!

Alfred Differ said...

hmm... finally read through one of his posts and then decided to read another.
That Stonekettle guy is one seriously angry dude.

Kinda reminds me of my father... in a good way. 8)

Duncan Cairncross said...

The Cities and Rural problem is universal - not just the USA

Here (NZ) the problem is that most immigrants simply stay in Auckland
So we have one city with 1.5 million people and 2.5 million people in the rest of the country

We see the same in the UK with the Scottish Highlands and islands being depopulated as people move to the cities for jobs and the rest

This is an economic problem - larger units have more people (duh) and more jobs and more oportunities
So for a company or an individual there is a significant "pull" to the big city

For the Country - or the City - however too many people tends to overload the infrastructure - which needs expensive upgrades

It is also not as pleasant and relaxing for most people - but the economic advantage outweighs the life-style disadvantage

Personally I am in favor of a "City Tax" - a supertax on medium and high incomes earned in large cities - something to counteract the draw to the city

Effectively by your urban areas subsidising the rural areas you are already doing that
But you are "taxing" the cities in a way that does not incentivize people to move to the provinces

An actual "City Tax" would not necessarily have to involve more actual transfer of money but it could do a better job of incentifying businesses and people to move to the Rural areas

David Brin said...

RW got a link for your village project?

Alfred Differ said...

There is already a kind of city tax in place. Many of them in my home state are too expensive to live in for many of us, so the companies that can't afford to pay their workers at those levels have to move out. The folks who stay are paying a great deal and employers wind up covering most of it.

Yah. That 'tax' isn't going to government most of the time, so I should call it something else. It feels about the same, though.

As for putting in high-speed connections and large bandwidth and all that, I suspect that will empty our rural regions of younger people even faster. They'll be able to see what they are missing in greater detail. Lots of us thought telework would be made much more possible with the internet. It is, but no where near as much as the reverse pull. Now my corporate employer can be in several locations at once, but they still aren't trained up in how to cope with remote employees.

Still, I do see a role for the rural towns and cities. They will become retirement villages. All of them that survive that is. Want a job that we won't entirely hand over to the robots? Learn to care for the elderly and disabled. As the urban populations become wealthier, they will pay serious money to know that Mom and Dad aren't being dumped in some hell-hole facility that treats them like income. They will tax themselves to make this happen if necessary, but Mom and Dad will not accept being left to rot in the sticks. They will demand bandwidth.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
There are a lot of people - like me - that would not take to city life
People with bulky hobbies and that sort of thing

We are already "taxing" the Urban areas to support the Rural - if we accept that then we may be able to target the taxes and subsidies better

So along with the retirees and their support people we could have a lot of industries that don't need to be close to large populations

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I am honestly not sure exactly what Trump is. Not a Republican until recently. Not a Conservative in many respects. I think he is for sure an ego driven jerk who saw an opportunity in the feeble Clinton candidacy.


Trump by himself, constrained by congress and the courts, would not be a danger to the republic. OTOH, whatever Trump used to be or didn't use to be, the entire Republican establishment has now embraced and empowered him. This is so effing reminiscent of the German power-brokers who thought they'd get what they wanted via Hitler and that he'd remain under their control that I just can't un-see it.

Point being, if you're saying Trump doesn't reflect Republican Party values, you're not seeing what's going on. Republican Party values reflect Trumpism now. Fiscal conservatism, individual liberty, even "what's good for General Motors" no longer matter. All they're interested in is holding onto the deplorable vote.


If he [[Putin] really wanted to throw a serious monkey wrench into the works, as opposed to just harassing fire, I figure he would release the 30,000 yoga emails. Real ones that show the blurred interface between official and Clinton foundation matters.


With the openly obliterated interface between official and Trump business matters, I honestly don't see how you can perceive Hillary's situation as being an issue. Trump is openly accepting and responding to what amounts to bribes, and your side (even if not you personally) are ok with that. So accepting bribes in order to shape policy is just one more of those things that, as another commenter here put it, "It's OK when Republicans do it"?


Or failing that, just make crap up.


Are you denying that this has happened and is happening?


But heck, maybe Trump should consider the Pence rule, no one on ones with people who might be able to claim untoward actions. It seems sensible to me.


You snark, but there's a difference. Pence isn't likely to be suspected of having an affair. His rule is basically to protect oneself against someone making stuff up to use against him. In Trump's case, it's obvious that he is engaging in malfeasance, and his only defense is that no one has yet produced an actual smoking gun.

Darrell E said...

Tim Wolter,

During the Bush Jr. and Obama eras here at Contrary Brin your steady unwavering views that the actions of the Bush Jr administration and the Republican Party were business as usual, that both sides were comparably corrupt, that every single Clinton scandal was true and or legitimate, that there's no need to worry, we are all being hyperbolic, none of our negative claims are true or warrant any real concern (but oh my those Clinton's sure are slimy), always presented relatively politely and with an air of being the calm-let's-wait-and-see, rational adult in the room made me think that David was surely wrong about the possibility of ever convincing you to oppose the Republican Party.

That you continue down the same road now during this Trump era doesn't surprise me. It does depress me though. One of us is much more delusional about both sides than the other. One of us is being incredulously hypocritical about the values they claim to hold by supporting a political party whose actions are aggressively antithetical to those values. It isn't me. I don't know how to change the minds of people like you. I see no hope of doing so. You are immune to facts. You simply use your ample intelligence to rationalize them to support your view, or at least be less negative to it, to a degree that is pathological. You refuse to acknowledge the reprehensible ethics and behavior of your side as being significantly different from the other side. This isn't politics as usual. This isn't people of differing views working things out. Your side doesn't do that any more. In continuing to support your side and to hold that both sides are comparably bad people like you are bringing the US down.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"The Russians attack the United Kingdom again using nerve gas" -- Winter7

I don't know which is more disturbing: the theory that the Russians staged a renewed attack (which apparently felled two people who had absolutely nothing to do with Russia) or the second, more likely situation, that after four months' exposure to English elements, the novichok residue was potent enough to claim two more victims.

I agree that Trump is deliberately strengthening Putin's hand in order that he might move against Europe. Those Senators who went to Moscow yesterday are traitors.

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch wrote, "...convert them into tourist traps, homeless shelters, relocation centers, minimum security prisons & veritable internment camps..."

A nugget of truth! I live in a small town, and I watched it try to become a tourist trap in the 1990s, which benefited two or three already wealthy individuals in town while providing poor-paying and overly demanding jobs coddling tourists and separating them from their money. One of the townies, who invested in building a antiqu-ey train to take tourists on a restaurant ride on the very scenic tracks, lost his shirt in the 2008 crash. He tore up the tracks and sold them for scrap on his way out.

After that, Nestle wanted to build a million square foot water bottling plant They promised 70 "good jobs" and a boom for the town. They proposed to take up to a million gallons a year at a rate roughly 1/10th of one percent what any of the town folk paid for the water, admitted up to 800 semis would be entering and leaving town 24 hours a day, and in the end, only 8 local jobs would be produced. The town rejected the offer, but only after a bitter battle with the handful of townsfolks who stood to benefit. (Same ones who tried gentrifying the town into a tourist trap).

A place about forty miles away was extremely remote, twenty miles from the nearest stop sign, and when the state passed a law mandating that violent sex offenders not live within ten miles of a school, the town became a dumping ground for such. A lot of druggies moved in, looking to make meth to the sex offenders. The tiny little town is now avoided by everyone. Again, town leaders encouraged this, hoping to spark the economy enough to at least get a 7/11 or something in the way of a commercial establishment. Obviously, there are no takers.

But you can't blame the cities for this: the townies largely inflicted it on themselves, trying to appeal to rapacious corporate greed and the endless American desire to push troublesome people out of sight.

locumranch said...


Zepp confirms what I have said.

Rural towns in Flyover Country USA are ALREADY retirement villages & internment camps for welfare recipients but, no worries, this problem promises to fix itself as all of your Red Rural resource extractors (farmers, ranchers, etc) slowly retire & die out,* leaving the Blue Urban Elite to starve in their posh academic enclaves & gated communities.

Even though you try & try, all of your imported slave-class immigrants will NOT replace us. This 'land reform' & labour replacement approach will fail, as it always has as demonstrated by the land reform failures of Latin America, Zimbabwe & South Africa, for at least four reasons:

(1) They (these replacement slaves) will lack local experience that cannot be replaced by either didactics or technology;

(2) They (these replacement slaves) do not & will never 'care' about the welfare of their new ALIEN masters;

(3) They (these replacement slaves) will not produce for these masters unless they are compelled to produce; and,

(4) They (these replacement slaves) will become your new masters once they obtain competence, as they always tend to do within the Master/Slave dichotomy.

As Larry_H always says, the current Red Rural resource producers only work for you because they have a sense of national patriotism, they have something to lose and "You offer (us) the lives of (our) crew", whereas these (your potential replacement slaves) will only work for you out of either fear or gain.

And, they will HATE you for your smug Urban Progressive sensibilities for ever & ever.


Best
_____
*The average age of the US farmer is 58; the average age of EU & Australian farmer exceeds 60; and the average age of Japanese farmer is 70.

Larry Hart said...

Again, this particular website didn't used to include comments like this one. They spoke in professional journalistic terms. Over time during the Trump University Administration, that has changed.

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Jul05.html#item-7

Half the Country Thinks Trump is Racist

And the other half is sure. Ok, not really, but the punchline was too good to pass up.


And then there's this part:

Further, there is the unpleasant truth that Trump—despite his protestations otherwise—actually is a racist.


And then the more serious part:

Indeed, the more interesting thing about the poll is the 47% of people who believe Trump is not a racist. That conclusion seems dubious given all of the evidence outlined above. Perhaps they really believe that all of the information above is "fake news," or that "racist" means cross-burning Klansman, and anything short of that is "not racist." In any event, this is another unhappy indicator for the President and his party. Racism is one of the handful of issues that really gets people's blood boiling, and while there are some people motivated by the desire to keep power in racist hands, there are far more who are motivated by the desire to wrest it out of those hands. That particularly includes younger voters and minority voters—two groups that generally deliver below-average turnout in midterm elections. Maybe not this year, though.


Personally, I suspect that Trump supporters who opine that he is not a racist do so in the same way that Dave Sim supporters insist he is not a sexist. What they mean is that they don't condemn the racism and/or sexism. They don't think their guy should be treated as if he's doing something wrong. In fact, his racism/sexism/deplorability is a reason they like the guy.

So answering a poll that their preferred celebrity is not racist/sexist/deplorable is really a way of registering, "There's nothing wrong with his racism/sexism/deplorability. In fact, it's about time to be out and proud about it!"


sociotard said...

Again, Red states do better with income inequality. If liberals don't consider income inequality a moral issue, they should tell Sanders to stop talking about it like it is.

5 least unequal states by Gini:
Alaska;0.4081;Red
Utah;0.4263;Dark Red
New Hampshire;0.4304;Purple
Wyoming;0.436;Dark Red
Hawaii;0.442;Dark Blue

5 most unequal:
California;0.4899;Dark Blue
Connecticut;0.4945;Dark Blue
Louisiana;0.499;Dark Red
New York;0.5129;Dark Blue
District of Columbia;0.542;Dark Blue

Although, oddly, when I took the medians of those numbers, the purple states did best and both dark red and dark blue did badly.
Dark Red;0.46905
Red;0.46735
Purple;0.45815
Blue;0.4529
Dark Blue;0.4786



donzelion said...

Any science-loving American is probably overjoyed to hear of Pruitt's resignation today, assuming Trump's tweet is not deceptive.

Unfortunately, very few people will know much about precisely what Pruitt tried to do (and may have succeeded in doing) to warp science when used by the EPA. The primary 'beneficiaries' of his 'deregulation' are the owners of water and factory rights in rural America, where they are 'free' of rules that prohibit certain chemical emissions (esp. from coal-fired plants).

The owners of those plants tell their workers, "Gosh, we'll have to lay off a bunch of you if the government gets to impose those rules on us, we don't wanna do that, tell your Congressman what's what right away before they take your job!"

What the owners DON'T tell their workers is that they planned to fire them ANYWAY...and what they're more worried about is getting stuck with unexpected costs if they poison the locals. That kind of 'poisoning' is one scientists are capable of detecting - but it requires referring to medical records, cross-checking, investigating causal chains - all routine procedures Pruitt deliberately tried to destroy, and by blinding the monitors, leaving the lungs of locals and their children at the mercy of folks whose primary concern was always a different bottom line.

Alfred Differ said...

The demise of the rural farmer has been underway for about 250 years now. It isn’t the cities doing it. It is industry stealing away their cheap labor AND mechanizing formerly local profitable labor. Cities are effect, not cause.

will lack local experience that cannot be replaced

Ha ha! Yet another group thinks they are irreplaceable when even a cursory study of economics shows humans substitute one thing for another ALL THE TIME. Substitutions are never perfect. Sometimes they result in feature loss, but sometimes they prove more useful.

Just take cotton for example. Yield/Acre in the US held steady around 200 between at least 1865 to 1935. Pests changed that a bit, but it was mechanization that really did. Yields are now about 4x while production stayed mostly level (some sync’ing between 1980 and 2005). Acreage in production has obviously dropped from a peak near 1930. Price/pound has grown with yield, though not perfectly. [The ‘farmers’ are probably managing acres planted to ensure profitability. Go figure.] Mechanization arrived in full in the mid-20th century driving small players out of the market. [Black Americans moved northward then. Some white Americans haven’t caught the clue yet.]

The immigrants aren’t going to stay on the farms in rural areas. They might start there, but their children won’t stay. There simply won’t be the opportunity TO stay. Farming is already mechanized and is fast becoming the realm for AI/Expert System labor. Open slots for humans will involve agricultural research and equipment maintenance and those are small niches.

The kids WON’T stay any more than western state miners did when the mines stopped producing. The landscape is littered out here with the corpses of boom towns that vanished like a fart in the wind. Get used to it. Cities are born, grow up, reproduce, and die. It’s okay that they do because WE make them for a purpose. When that purpose dies, the city can too. Find another purpose if you like, but understand that it is natural AND human.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Kudos to Larry_H, btw, ...


Always a bad sign. Help me, Jesus.


...for providing the 'Stonekettle' link. It's a wonderful, educational & hilarious site; I recommend it highly; and I approve of the pro-conservative rants about how liberal progressives tend to neglect their responsibilities by blaming all of their problematic shortcomings -- their laziness, their entitlement, their victim mentality & their lack of agency -- on someone else.


That's what you get out of this one line in the whole long post?

And yet, right now, right here, on this blog, in my social media timelines, liberals will shortly arrive and admonish me to "just ignore him."

Just ignore him.

That’s what they'll say. Just ignore him.

Wrong.

Fucking wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


He's saying that liberals don't do enough to actively oppose Trump's outrages and those of his enablers like you. He's telling us we are too complacent, assuming that our differences are just a matter of political opposition rather than a fight for our country and our way of life. He's saying we're too soft on you.

I'm willing to heed his advice.

Alfred Differ said...

He's also accusing you all of demanding unicorns to get you to act.

He's obviously not applying that to all liberals, but he IS saying it about enough of them that it matters.

Even more important, though, is his accusation that opposing locumranch and his cousins online or in protests is enough. Wright didn't use the term directly, but progressives who don't vote can be accused of virtue signaling. The ones who get out there and vote can be upset at their opponents, but they should direct some of their ire at their non-voting friends too.


Anyone who really expects unicorns should recognize their similarities with some of my libertarian friends. Purity! We demand Purity! Pfft. What we actually demand is obscurity and political suicide when we do that.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "The demise of the rural farmer has been underway for about 250 years now. It isn’t the cities doing it. It is industry stealing away their cheap labor AND mechanizing formerly local profitable labor. Cities are effect, not cause."

Industry is the cause, but the financiers driving it (and buying up the farms, and dispossessing the farmers) are ultimately urban-driven. The amount of money working behind the scenes (for access to raw materials, labor, equipment, land itself, and everything else) is a series of levers that a farmer just cannot operate alone - unless the farmer is very big indeed.

The irony in Locum's post isn't that the 'replacements' lack local expertise (expertise is simply another resource that can be bought and sold), but that he ascribes the problem to the "the Blue Urban Elite" - missing the fact that in rural America, the folks actually twisting screws are most often the "Red Urban Elite" (working in tandem with the Red Local Elite).

That said, as Locum's invocation of the "Master/Slave dichotomy" may be a mangled invocation of either Hegel or Marx's dialectic, I am mostly shocked to hear an avowed conservative adopting Marxist rhetoric wholesale to make his points. Not uncommon, mind you, so much as ironic.

But as for your point: "The immigrants aren’t going to stay on the farms in rural areas. They might start there, but their children won’t stay." - I think California is, as in many other fields, setting the path: between community colleges (widely spaced throughout the state, and reaching into most rural areas with significant populations), the Cal-state university system (less widely dispersed, but still relatively accessible, esp. outside the densely populated areas), and the UC system (exceptionally high demand for scarce openings, merit-allocations) - California is converting immigrants, and the sons of immigrants into entrepreneurs, engineers, and leaders. The largest new companies in California are almost all formed either by immigrants or their children, or dependent upon this work force.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "[Stonekettle is] also accusing you all of demanding unicorns to get you to act."
A well-founded accusation. I've been arguing against quite a few 'liberals' who are utterly guilty of that charge.

"The [progressives] who get out there and vote can be upset at their opponents, but they should direct some of their ire at their non-voting friends too."
Honestly, I am upset at myself for thinking online activism in a few forums, and handling a few pro bono matters on behalf of individuals, would suffice in 2016. Trump has jolted me from that complacency. I am as grateful to him as any man should be to another man who tries to kick him in the balls...

But I think that the demand for 'purity' is a reflection of experience: voters (and non-voters who could have voted) are trained by repeat exposure to "Suspicion of Authority" and similar tropes to never look very closely, and assume that politics offers no choice beyond "Saruman v. Sauron."

Alfred Differ said...

In the mid-90’s, while I was still living near Sacramento, I got a chance to get political for a non-partisan cause. Rather than focus on federal officials, our space advocacy group looked to the State and tried to point out what legislators and executives didn’t know because there are too many things for them TO know. Look how big the industry is here? Do you know how many people in your district making a living in this sector? We do. No… we aren’t asking you for money. We are asking you to pay attention now and then because there are simple things you could do that harm or help YOUR constituents. Space isn’t just about Florida and Texas. See? Look at the charts, maps, and personal statements! Look at the start-ups and what they say they rely upon to get going! Land zoning, educated labor, unrestricted sky, and the occasional recognition of a rosy vision of the future!

One of the things I learned doing this is that our elected officials aren’t Saruman or Sauron or anything else like that. Even the terrible ones aren’t really monsters. They are simply human and tend to believe in themselves like the rest of us do. That take away stuck with me ever since, so I can’t even see Trump as a monster. Deluded by visions of self-grandeur? Sure. Monster out to harm us intentionally? Not likely. Unintentionally? Yup. Intentionally thinking he is doing Good? Seems very likely.

SOA is cool as an RWA defense, but it becomes uncool when we dehumanize ‘them’. Maybe I could have done it when I was younger and didn’t know ‘them’, but not now.

…I am upset at myself for thinking online activism in a few forums, and handling a few pro bono matters on behalf of individuals, would suffice in 2016.

As long as you spoke your mind to the people around you AND voted, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. I know Stonekettle is upset, but I don’t think it is quite fair to blame anyone who did both of those consistently from one election to the next… including midterms. For anyone tempted to think they should have done more than this, I worry that they are TOO tempted to take TOO much blame. Seriously. I don’t think we could be reasonably expected to believe our less-educated fellow citizens were THAT fucking stupid. History shows they were, but NOW we know.

One trick my brother-in-law and his wife use is the old Junto concept. Before elections, they organize their friends and hold an event to review California ballot initiatives. They do it consistently by assigning propositions to two friends who are assigned the task of explaining them and making and defending pro/con arguments. It’s a hoot watching some of the conservative types advocate FOR bond measures they don’t personally like, but they often do the best job of explaining how the finances behind bond measures work. They will do it again in late October. At a minimum, the participants leave better informed.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

He's [Stonekettle] also accusing you all of demanding unicorns to get you to act.


That was the penultimate post, not the latest one.

Just sayin'

Steve Hammond said...

I thought I'd post a link to an article from American Heritage Magazine from 1956 The Myth Of The Happy Yeomanthat helped explain to me a lot of the views I saw in rural relatives of mine (my family was small farmers moving west for generations) and that (I think) might help explain some of that same ethos we see in Locum and others who are not necessarily farmers, but are not far removed from them. The genesis of the "Happy Yeoman" myth and its repercussions is discussed and I would argue that at least some of Trumpism is due to this myth that endures like a weed. Here's a quote:

"Rank in society! That was close to the heart of the matter, for the farmer was beginning to realize acutely not merely that the best of the world’s goods were to be had in the cities and that the urban middle and upper classes had much more of them than he did but also that he was losing in status and respect as compared with them. He became aware that the official respect paid to the farmer masked a certain disdain felt by many city people. “There has … a certain class of individuals grown up in our land,” complained a farm writer in 1835, “who treat the cultivators of the soil as an inferior caste … whose utmost abilities are confined to the merit of being able to discuss a boiled potato and a rasher of bacon.” The city was symbolized as the home of loan sharks, dandies, lops, and aristocrats with European ideas who despised farmers as hayseeds." (my emphasis)

Steve Hammond said...

Another quote from the article:

In the Populist era the city was totally alien territory to many farmers, and the primacy of agriculture as a source of wealth was reasserted with much bitterness. “The great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies,” declared Bryan in his “Cross of Gold” speech. “Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms, and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” Out of the beliefs nourished by the agrarian myth there had arisen the notion that the city was a parasitical growth on the country. Bryan spoke for a people raised for generations on the idea that the farmer was a very special creature, blessed by God, and that in a country consisting largely of farmers the voice of the farmer was the voice of democracy and of virtue itself. (my emphasis again)

Trump is nothing if not a populist so I think looking at that era could be instructive...

Tim Wolter said...

Darryl E.
It was the discussion of rural America that lured me back onto ConBrin. As I mentioned to David my involvement in anything regarding Presidential politics just seems to make people riled up.

But overall, and with some qualifications, of course this is business as usual. I don't see Sinners and Saints in our political class. I see opportunists. Oh, when they are new to the biz they may be idealistic. That doesn't last.

What is new is that our venerable system is having to adapt to the information age. Truth can't be covered up as efficiently. Nonsense can be passed off as truth more efficiently.

You do me a mild disservice if you portray me as a Trump supporter. I did not vote for him. I do recognize him as the legitimate, albeit stinky, President of the United States. He will remain so until he is voted out in two years or retires in six.

Yes, I am a Conservative. That means I respect the system. There are many things you can do within the system that are severe political gambles, things that may well bite you posteriorly. Impeaching Clinton for his arrogant libido. Delaying a vote on Garland because you can. Impeachment talk regards Trump is in the same category.
Can the Democrats go this path? Sure. Should they? Their recent competence as a party is dubious.

Argue the policies if you want support from conservatives and centerists who have no affection for Trump personally. Our short term prosperity will come with a long term debt price tag. Not all the regulatory relief that is making businesses so happy will turn out well.

I'm not sure I have standing to give the Democrats advice. Maybe, I am after all not registered as being a member of any party.
But would they/you listen? Nah.

TW/Tacitus

donzelion said...

Alfred: "One of the things I learned doing this is that our elected officials aren’t Saruman or Sauron or anything else like that."

A good lesson to learn. The other lesson, I should think, is that even if the world is full of Saurons and Sarumans, at the end of the day, one need not unite behind the 'chosen King' and his wizard - it's the little guys who make the difference so long as they stay true. In the world of space, there was never a giant leap for mankind made but-for the millions of hours of work by bolt tighteners, engineers, and scientists doing their job right...so too in the world of politics, and any other great enterprise.

"Even the terrible ones aren’t really monsters...Not likely."
No, not likely and not often. But sometimes they are. Even in America (although, most of them were restrained here by the non-monsters). I detest Trump, but know the difference between him and a real monster.

"SOA is cool as an RWA defense, but it becomes uncool when we dehumanize ‘them’."
I think of it sort of like certain nutrients - NECESSARY for health, but in excess, and without other nutrients, it can become toxic. Storytellers need variety. When all get paid to tell variations on the same story, they become craftsmen rather than artists.

"As long as you spoke your mind to the people around you AND voted, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself."
I did, and turned out 3 voters, most of whom wouldn't have voted...but next time, I aim to make that more like 100-150 voters (optimistically using the metrics that for every 10-20 direct face-to-face conversations, one may realistically expect 1-2 people to vote who otherwise would not...holding those conversations takes a LONG time though...).

"One trick my brother-in-law and his wife use is the old Junto concept."
Simply getting friends together in an event to talk about politics is exceptionally uncommon. I wonder how one could alter that? Sounds like a fun event indeed to me...

donzelion said...

TW/Tacitus: "As I mentioned to David my involvement in anything regarding Presidential politics just seems to make people riled up."
Odd: my memory was that you made a fair number of points, and that you were even urged to run as an 'honest conservative' who was respected even by those, like me, coming from a different perspective. I'd have to hunt for the 'elect Tacitus!' endorsement...

"I'm not sure I have standing to give the Democrats advice. Maybe, I am after all not registered as being a member of any party. But would they/you listen? Nah."

Cannot speak for Darryl, but I do think that I listened closely and thought carefully to you in 2016, even if none of my arguments were particularly convincing to you.

That said, I do think some of us asserted Ron Johnson would never prove to be a real deficit hawk with a Republican president (our host has made that claim so many times that even if I did not, his own general claim would still apply). Was that wrong?

David Brin said...

Sociotard there’s no mystery to the high wealth disparity in wealthy and progressive blue states. These are creative and fun places to live, with good environmental laws, and most of the creative rich choose to live there, despite high taxes. Likewise, the poorest are attracted for both that dynamism but also an almost decent safety net, or else to be with members of their own ethnicity. And schools. For all their myriad troubles, most blue states (except Illinois) have better schools than most reds (except Utah and maybe Texas.)

Tim: “I'm not sure I have standing to give the Democrats advice. …But would they/you listen? Nah.”

We have always treated you with respect. Alas. your advice is always “Chill, dudes! No matter how awful the right gets, take my word - without a scintilla of evidence - that their opponents are just as bad. And whatcha goina du? So chill. And shrug. And let me ignore every sign that this is an existential crisis for the country I supposedly love.”

Okay, that was a loose paraphrasing. But accurate, and so long as that’s your advice, well, with collegial love, we’re goinga tellyu Stuffit.

Dig it my friend. You do not get away with dismissing my “name an exception” challenge as a polemical gimmick. If it were, you would be able to NAME ONE. Failure of anyone to name one… among six grievous lists… means that the effect, in all six cases cannot be mere error or caused by mere stupidity, but by invoking Goldfinger’s rule.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

so I can’t even see Trump as a monster. Deluded by visions of self-grandeur? Sure. Monster out to harm us intentionally? Not likely. Unintentionally? Yup. Intentionally thinking he is doing Good? Seems very likely.


I do think Trump is a monster, but not just because of his actions as president. Going back to the 1980s in New York real estate, he seems to be a complete sociopath with absolutely no regard for the effect of his decisions on other people. No, he's not intentionally trying to harm us, but he does whatever he wants at any given moment without caring whether he harms us or not. The most I'll grant you is that he's metaphorically commiting voluntary manslaughter instead of first degree murder.

Doesn't seem to matter much, though.


I know Stonekettle is upset, but I don’t think it is quite fair to blame anyone who did both of those consistently from one election to the next… including midterms. For anyone tempted to think they should have done more than this, I worry that they are TOO tempted to take TOO much blame. Seriously. I don’t think we could be reasonably expected to believe our less-educated fellow citizens were THAT fucking stupid. History shows they were, but NOW we know.


Here, I think I'm agreeing with you. Dave Sim alienated much of his comic book audience with his opinions concerning women. The comics industry basically called him a misogynist and shunned him. Some of us, myself included, didn't think the label applied, but Dave didn't help himself with his presentation.

Most of his ex-fans stopped communicating with him, so the ones who were left to complain to were the ones who stuck around and gave him a certain amount of benefit of the doubt. When he'd periodically go off at his audience for misunderstanding his position and giving up on him, he was (understandably, but still...) taking it out on the exact group of people who didn't do that. Someone on the old "Cerebus" list likened it to a stand-up comedian berating the audience because so few of them showed up. I've held onto that image.

matthew said...

Alfred this quote from you really stands out -
"One of the things I learned doing this is that our elected officials aren’t Saruman or Sauron or anything else like that. Even the terrible ones aren’t really monsters. They are simply human and tend to believe in themselves like the rest of us do. That take away stuck with me ever since, so I can’t even see Trump as a monster. Deluded by visions of self-grandeur? Sure. Monster out to harm us intentionally? Not likely. Unintentionally? Yup. Intentionally thinking he is doing Good? Seems very likely."

Not harming us intentionally?
You are ignoring a mountain of evidence that Trump is in the actual PAY of the Russians; a true to life Manchurian Candidate that is selling out our nation. Seven GOP Senators in Moscow right now, negotiating a deal with Putin. Trump offered collusion with Putin on national TV during one of the debates, remember? This isn't subtle stuff. It's blatant and consistent.

Name one action that Trump has taken that is not in the Russian national interest.
Name one action that Trump has taken that serves the American national interest.

And still Alfred says such laughable things. Trump thinking he's doing good things? Nope, Trump is trying to end America for a foreign government that supported his candidacy once he demonstrated that he was willing to take bribes.

The GOP party apparatus is refusing to allow investigation into Trump's dealings with Russian agents BECAUSE they have been taking dark money from the same Russian sources.

Meuller has subpoenaed the financial records for the NRA. Why? Because the NRA was taking huge amounts of money from Russian oligarchs and spent it on teh 2016 elections.

The Republican rank and file *know* they are allied with enemies of America. Why? Because they hate the libruls so much they would rather end America than lose their dominance to demographic change. Because they are afraid that old, white men will get treated the same way that they treated others.


Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

For all their myriad troubles, most blue states (except Illinois) have better schools than most reds (except Utah and maybe Texas.)


I have to take issue with this. Yes, Illinois has some terrible schools, but also some of the best schools in the country. Arts and music are being cut to save money nationwide, but not at my daughter's high school.

I can grant that Illinois schools are financed too much by local taxes, which harms the poorest residents. Maybe that's what you meant. But when you list Illinois as an exception whose schools are bad as opposed to freakin' Texas?? Them's fighting words!

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

And still Alfred says such laughable things. Trump thinking he's doing good things? Nope, Trump is trying to end America for a foreign government that supported his candidacy once he demonstrated that he was willing to take bribes.


In fairness, Trump probably thinks that is a good thing.

Duncan Cairncross said...

There was a Question on Quora about the worst hoaxes and misinformation that has been spread by the Republicans

There was a huge list - all of the attacks on Hillary - Bush's war of choice - all sorts of other things

But to me from abroad the biggest and longest lasting and most horribly effective hoax has been

"The two parties are just the same"

"There is no point in voting because they are both the same"

This hoax is why so many people just don't vote

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "I do think Trump is a monster...No, he's not intentionally trying to harm us, but he does whatever he wants at any given moment without caring whether he harms us or not."
Narcissists are not always 'monsters,' but they're terrible partners. But I measure monsters in the number of people they've had tortured or killed, and not 'metaphorically tortured,' but only literally. Omar Al-Bashir? Monster. Bashar Al Assad? Monster. Donald Trump? Overstuffed mouse/pig narcissist.

Bullies back down when scared. Monsters kill lots of people, the more scared they get, the more people they kill. Andrew Jackson towards native tribes? Monstrous. Towards African-Americans? Monstrous. Donald Trump? Opportunistic spoiled rich brat, exploiting racism to make a buck, then exploiting it anew (the 'capital punishment ads') as part of his effort to cast his 'investments' into NYC as a 'high-risk' high-profile attempt to save the city (it wasn't, though others did make such risks while he profited immensely from what they put into the struggle).

He's not a monster. The party behind him may prove yet to be.

donzelion said...

Matthew: "[Alfred is] ignoring a mountain of evidence that Trump is in the actual PAY of the Russians"

Hmmm...the indictments available so far show allegations of witness tampering (quite recently), tax evasion, laundering, unauthorized contact, fraud, dishonesty to government officials. Little of Mueller's evidence is actually available for our inspection yet. No evidence really shows Trump is in the 'actual pay' of the Russians...yet.

Up through mid-2017, Trump hid his personal accounts by claiming he was undergoing an audit. A transparent lie. Now he has a new excuse to hide them. Thing is, all along, he's been showing one form of accounts to creditors and a different form to tax authorities: if the creditors see what he reported, then they know the other transactions he performed pretty easily. They would then have the power to dismantle parts of the Trump Empire - if they wanted to.

The more blatant the charade, the more likely it is a smokescreen. Any remedial reject executive knows the benefits of smokescreens for CYA.

"Mueller has subpoenaed the financial records for the NRA. Why?"
Most likely because Mueller believes those records will identify certain account holders, which will confirm his theories about other financial transactions. If he thought the NRA was actually laundering money, there'd be more going on than a records subpoena.

Larry Hart said...

@donzelion,

Point taken about degrees of monstrosity, but I think you're giving the #LugenPressident too much credit. You seem to think he only cares about making a buck, and that the harm he causes is incidental--that if being a champion of womens' rights or immigration was more profitable, he'd hop on those trains instead. But Trump's motivation is the applause and admiration of his deplorable base, and causing suffering (which then triggers the libs) is what gets him what he wants.

Monsters in popular fiction don't necessarily mean harm--they're just extremely uncontrolled and dangerous. The Frankenstein monster, for example. Or the Wolfman, who loses all rational control when he morphs into an animal. Neither of those characters is evil in the sense of a formed intent to do harm, but (as Jon Sable once said) it doesn't seem to matter much.

Does ripping babies from their parents' arms and forcibly separating them count as torture? Not in the strict sense of the word, sure, but I'd call someone who would implement such a policy where the cruelty is not a bi-product but a feature a monster. That goes for Stephen Miller and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as well as President Snow.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion

Re - Monsters kill people

https://qz.com/645990/nixon-advisor-we-created-the-war-on-drugs-to-criminalize-black-people-and-the-anti-war-left/

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

How many Americans have died as a result of the War on Drugs"?

I would say at least 10 million - or 20 times as many as WW2

Example - Portugal now has the type of "regime on drugs" that was popular before Nixon's War on drugs which was spread to the rest of the world by extortion
Has 6 deaths per million per year due to drug overdoses - the USA has 185
Which means that 50,000 more Americans die each year just from drug overdoses than would die if the USA had Portugal's numbers

Nixon has killed nearly as many Americans as Stalin killed Russians

donzelion said...

Larry Hart: "You seem to think [Trump] only cares about making a buck,"
I think it's safe to say that's all he cared about up until he became a real celebrity, and then it was all about 'winning' even bigger games, esp. with the birtherism. He's not trying to out-Gates Gates, Buffett, or any of the 'real' billionaires (the Kochs, and many others). But his vanity will not tolerate letting the other billionaires pick over his empire and leave him to dry (and this time, the Arabs won't bail him out).

Narcissist? Certainly. Con man? Definitely. Monster? Potentially.

"Does ripping babies from their parents' arms and forcibly separating them count as torture?"
No, even if it was intended to induce a decrease in propensity to engage in certain behaviors by inflicting intentional emotional harm. It is certainly 'child abuse' when conducted intentional to hurt children and parents, and it is certainly utterly wrong. To me, it's a bit closer to the similar treatment inflicted upon slaves and Native Americans, and other groups in previous eras: it's a unique category of wrong, and one committed by all-too-many leaders.

"I'd call someone who would implement such a policy where the cruelty is not a bi-product but a feature a monster."
If calling them that makes you more likely to stand up, and move your friends and family to stand up as well to resist and defy, then by all means, do so. But I think you see where I'm coming from, and I'd hesitate to defend him in any sense: my goal is to leave a door for retreat assuming we don't win, in part because I fear he - or a successor - may ultimately become exactly the sort of monster I most dread (the one Locum keeps talking about, partially fantasizing about, partially chiding us about, and partially fearing - the one who will one day line us all up for a firing squad).

donzelion said...

Duncan: "How many Americans have died as a result of the War on Drugs"? I would say at least 10 million - or 20 times as many as WW2"

Hmmm...well, if you want to credit deaths due to drug overdoses as equivalent to Stalin, you'd at least need to add on that many deaths as well during Stalin's era...which could be hard to track (lots of Soviets had other interests in Central Asia back then...). Would that mean Nixon's war killed 10 million, and Stalin's gulags 50 million? (if there are that many extra deaths...)

But I think it's best to treat different things differently. Columbus did many nasty things - but even if his discovery resulted in hundreds of instances of genocide, he was not the one culpable for all of them, nor is Nixon culpable for all the deaths in the war on drugs - esp. because that would absolve (mainly) Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama of any responsibility, and each played their role.

donzelion said...

Oh, and Duncan & Larry - isn't it more interesting to argue about whether or not Trump is a monster with a liberal progressive? LOL, I don't even need to invent any facts, just look at them differently, or follow your own logic logically. Seems oddly civilized, in uncivil times. Sort of fun, even. ;-)

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

If calling them that makes you more likely to stand up, and move your friends and family to stand up as well to resist and defy, then by all means, do so.


Yeah, I'm not invested in the word "monster" if that's really a point of contention for you. We can agree on a different word that doesn't quite equate Trump with Hitler but acknowledges that he's not just someone I disagree with on policy, but someone whose impetus is to cause harm and distress and to dismantle the republic.



my goal is to leave a door for retreat assuming we don't win, in part because I fear he - or a successor - may ultimately become exactly the sort of monster I most dread (the one Locum keeps talking about, partially fantasizing about, partially chiding us about, and partially fearing - the one who will one day line us all up for a firing squad).


If such a monster does come to power in this country, it will be because the Republican Party by way of Trump enabled such a possibility. So whether Trump is that monster himself or just makes the monster possible, I don't much care. He's a clear and present danger, and the other two branches of government whose job is to deal with such a danger but won't--they're just as bad.

#RepealAndReplaceRepublicans

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | I'll credit you with having met monsters. I don't swim in those waters (thankfully) so I haven't met any. I've met people accused of being monsters, but the supposed worst of them certainly was not. What he was instead was rather monomaniacal regarding his objectives. He got filthy rich that way and made essentially zero friends that could be distinguished from folks who wanted to know him for his money, so he certainly wasn't a role model for our kids. Still... even after he was jailed, I'm quite certain of his humanity AND of his difficulty loving others.

I couldn't agree more about the 'little guy' except for one thing. They aren't even remotely little so I avoid the term. I know you need a descriptor for them, though, so this isn't a dumb attempt at PC speech. When I get on this topic with others, I point out the historical error people make in naming others 'big' people. If someone is 'big' then someone else is 'small', right? If saying anyone is 'big' is an error of perspective, then so is the other. For example, our host comes close to hero worship (I'm exaggerating... I know) with respect to Adam Smith, FDR, Jerry Brown, and a few others. He makes them sound big and that risks making others small. PC crap on my part? Well... not intentionally. A core belief of mine is that no one is small that way. I've seen too often where ideas actually arise. Everyone has them, but few realize they have them or even have the confidence to consider it possible. I climb on my soapbox about granting dignity not just because it is the right thing to do for our fellow humans. It is the SMART thing to do. Those ideas might get tested more often.

A 10:1 ratio turning direct face-to-face conversations into voters is pretty good. Yes. It does take a lot of non-billable time. However, if Dunbar's research is sound, you should have somewhere between 150 and 250 people close enough to you that your time spent should start relatively small. These are the people you can meet after a gap of a few days and pick up where you left off a conversation without having to check your written notes. You have mental models of these people in your head already... some of higher fidelity than others. Promise them you'll stop the 'get out and vote' topic after the election and they might suffer your monomania. That's how I approach it. Yes. It does put some close relationships at risk. 8)

My brother-in law's junto group started as their game-night group. It's not easy to find a large number of people who will consistently show up to play board games that require large numbers of players. He managed it and they all cultivated the group over several years. It now serves multiple purposes with junto being just one.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart and matthew

Monsters eat babies.
Trump steals their candy... and food... and water... because he can.

Monsters burn homes to drive young mothers and their babies out unprotected into the elements.
Trump steals their homes and either cares not or finds a way to rationalize it by dehumanizing them.

Monsters destroy culture to DO it.
Trump is an American Barbarian who believes his way SHOULD dominate.


Monsters are evil.
Trump is the kind of human we don't like to admit some of us are. We like to pretend we can lock them all away, go on believing we aren't like that, and then are shocked when we come face-to-face with a 'new' one.

“Who knew my neighbor was such a bad guy? I lived next to him all these years and had NO IDEA he abused so many children/elderly with gullibility problems/women with addiction issues/non-profits with cash-flow needs/etc.”

It takes very little to be tuned out (stage 0) with respect to situational awareness. We live in our own little mental worlds most of the time and don't want to believe the world isn't how we imagine it. It's VERY easy to do.

It also takes very little effort to be at stage 1 awareness where one isn't expecting danger or a neighbor to be a certified pedophile, but one might actually notice something amiss and not be shocked later.

I always, always advocate for stage 1 training because the little hints might help mitigate the damage the non-monsters among us do. More importantly, though, that kind of awareness helps prevent US from whipsawing when we are shocked by a close encounter with a real sociopath. We don't like to admit that some of us are, but some of us are... and we can cope with that by noting WHO they are. We don't necessarily have to throw them in jai. [That might not work anyway.] We just have to KNOW and then trim our expectations of them... and of course... not elect one to be our President. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@matthew (specifically)

I think Trump might turn out to be a monster, but I think you are stretching it right now. What you see as evidence isn't... yet. It IS belief and may turn out to be well justified belief which would make it 'truth'. Not yet, though.

To tell the truth of my own heart, I hope you are actually correct. I'd LOVE to have an American Holy Cause come out of this. I REALLY like my country and he is doing a lot of harm to it. I'd REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like to have a clearly defined good guy/bad guy fight to fight. I would look forward to a justified cause to threaten nuking Russia over this because if you are right, they started a WAR.

Fortunately for the world, I don't think I'm going to get what I want.

Fortunately for the world, I'll calm down after awhile and grumble at my idiotic fellow citizens and make threatening noises about disenfranchising the stupid.

Fortunately for them, I likely won't follow through. I don't want to create a really dumb precedent involving inherently unmeasurable things like intelligence. The 20th century already has enough examples of that lunacy, so the 21st doesn't need more.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | the one who will one day line us all up for a firing squad

Oddly enough, I don't fear that. Way too many of us are armed and hoarding ammunition. We'd fire back. We'd fire first even.


I've got a few friends who were/are marines. They tend to roll their eyes when people talk about monsters like that taking over. They don't believe for a moment the active duty folks would tolerate it. Plain and simple... it wouldn't get to the point where regular citizens are being lined up in large numbers.

One on FB likes to point out that Americans can be governed, but we can't be ruled. We simply won't put up with it from anyone domestic or foreign.

matthew said...

Alfred, the endgame isn't to get the government to stand you up in a firing line. The endgame is to get your neighbors to kill you in your sleep.
Google "Night of the Rope" or just listen to loco or the ent and their chortling over their joy at the prospect.
The regulars here are a small bunch who specifically are educated and interested enough to read and stick around. Yet two of this very small group openly admit to the world that they want to kill as many of their fellow citizens as they can. They fantasize about the day.
From my pretty wide circle of acquaintances I'd estimate 10% of Americans feel the same way.

Trump wants to be a rich strongman because it's all he understands in the world. Putin sees his weakness and uses Trump's venality to control him. But it's this rotten 10% of Americans that gives them both the space to do their worst.

If you are not planning on what to do when the MAGA crew come to your door to kill you and your family, then you're not taking the threat seriously enough.

******
Donzelion, I will always listen to you on legal matters. You have a depth of knowledge and experience that I respect and personally lack. But I think you are failing to connect a bunch of dots regarding where the Mueller investigation is at now. The number of cooperating witnesses alone shows he has the dirt on the next level of the Trump crime family. When every bit of observable data indicates a consciousness of guilt on the part of Trump and all his associates, when every action points that Trump is a foreign agent, at what point does the evidence become enough for us as citizens to presume guilt?

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I don't swim in those waters (thankfully)"
Fools rush in, and I suspect you weren't a fool.

"I couldn't agree more about the 'little guy' except for one thing. They aren't even remotely little so I avoid the term."
Sorry, my reference to hobbits was a bit of a snark at our host, who has been a little disdainful of Tolkien (or perhaps, Tolkienists), but also a reference to Otpor's founder's book. Otpor was the Serbian NGO that actually brought down Milosevic, and set training manuals that guide most 'resistance' groups globally (not so much in America, at least, not yet). Popovic, one of the founders, is a Tolkien fan - and likes to use the term 'hobbits' - how ordinary non-heroes are more important than 'superheros.' (Strong recommendation for "Blueprint for Revolution," - or just read this interview - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/08/srdja-popovic-revolution-serbian-activist-protest)

"A 10:1 ratio turning direct face-to-face conversations into voters is pretty good."
It's the most optimistic #; reality is probably less so. In suburban SoCal, you can knock about 40 doors in 2 hours, which results in 6-10 conversations during prime times, which means...you need a lot of boots on the ground.

"Promise them you'll stop the 'get out and vote' topic after the election and they might suffer your monomania."
Wise. Long-term friendships are more important than any specific behavior. You do it right.

"It's not easy to find a large number of people who will consistently show up to play board games..."
I keep joining and leaving the various boardgame meetups in Orange County; but there's quite a few interesting folks (and a few programmers/AI researchers who design bots for boardgames sold in iphone/android apps...who have very curious ways of observing).

donzelion said...

Alfred: "the one who will one day line us all up for a firing squad"

I wouldn't say that I'm afraid of it, only, I recognize the possibility, and find it fascinating that the imagery should take hold in anyone's mind. I'd say total global nuclear war is significantly more likely, and that is a less than 1:1000 probability in the next 20 years (significantly less than in 1998, let alone 1978) (but if that did happen, it would make the firing squad situation far more probable - though probably not in the way the survivalists/preppers imagine).

"Plain and simple... it wouldn't get to the point where regular citizens are being lined up in large numbers."
The majority of the ingredients necessary to make it possible are missing, but the belief it can happen - and should happen - is certainly one necessary ingredient that isn't missing. But again, yes - low probability. When someone raises it, they verge on positing a fantasy, and plumbing why they've attached themselves to that fantasy can tell us a lot about a person. When I raise it with Locum, it's always to reassert his fundamental humanity - that he'd guard our backs in that eventuality (or if he didn't, there'd be others who would). It's sort of a reminder to him: I disagree with him routinely, but still like him and respect there's a human being there, even if the primary output from him is to mock me in turn.

Alfred Differ said...

@matthew | Sounds like you are describing panel #12.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-05/road-serfdom-cartoons

If so, I have thought about it. I won't lay out the details of my defense here, but I have one. Three actually. Rather gruesome if used.


These things require coordination, though. Cities can riot in a flash, but States and the whole nation probably won't. If the MAGA folks try this and don't hide who they are (Panel #12 requires a scapegoat), they'll be butchered in the days afterward. Many of the rest of us are just as barbaric. If it looks like our President supports them, that WOULD be enough to demonstrate his illegitimacy to our active duty folks. The police will have to hide or stay out of the way.

Treebeard said...

Yet two of this very small group openly admit to the world that they want to kill as many of their fellow citizens as they can. They fantasize about the day. From my pretty wide circle of acquaintances I'd estimate 10% of Americans feel the same way.

You're a hoot dude. Obviously what you need to do is identify this genocidal 10% and kill them before they kill you.

What I think is that too much social media, too much media, too much Trump has deranged a lot of people's minds. This is why I live in the country: cuz too much civilization turns into an open-air lunatic asylum very easily--especially one like this that seems designed to do so.

donzelion said...

Matthew: "But I think you are failing to connect a bunch of dots regarding where the Mueller investigation is at now."

I read all the conspiracy theories, but I'm a stickler for evidence. It's just not available for our inspection yet.

"The number of cooperating witnesses alone shows he has the dirt on the next level of the Trump crime family."
Not necessarily. The existence of so-called 'cooperating witnesses', in themselves, do not prove anything about Trump.

"When every bit of observable data indicates a consciousness of guilt on the part of Trump"
Does it? Look again, more critically. Indictments are never the same as convictions.

David Brin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

"You're a hoot dude. Obviously what you need to do is identify this genocidal 10% and kill them before they kill you."

Thanks for perfectly illustrating how you mad cultists think. That's not what he was saying, but it is how YOU think, and it is why you will go to his door, trying to kill him.

What he IS saying is that he'll be ready... either to help you as a fellow citizen or to defend himself. And these are concepts you cannot possibly grasp. You know this. You know that you are raging against every fact using profession that made all the wealth you ingrates take for granted. And who, if their brains misfired as yours do, could exert vast power... and it bewilders you, that they don't because it's what you'd do.

So, you fantacize that's our intent. Gawd, we have better things to do.

Unknown said...

I think we will start to see the "brain drain" and move toward cities reverse its self to some extent in the near future. The increase in automation, things like the Maker's Movement and more people working online, should be making lower cost rural living more appealing. One of the main things holding that back is the poor internet access in those areas. I think as that changes and automation continues to increase, we might see a bit of a shift away from cities.

I am not sure rural conservatives will be happy to see a flood of youtubers and streamers moving into town...

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "If such a monster does come to power in this country, it will be because the Republican Party by way of Trump enabled such a possibility."

Oh, for that, I'd look further back to George W Bush, Murdoch, and a whole host of others who set the stage. Trump is the poisonous fruit of a tree with deep roots. He's just a symptom though...

"He's a clear and present danger, and the other two branches of government whose job is to deal with such a danger but won't--they're just as bad."
On that, we're in complete agreement. In Wisconsin, Missouri, and Indiana, your neighbors need your help...and there's actually a lot you can do from your home (give SwingLeft or CodeBlue a try if you haven't already...you could wind up texting a LOT of people, and that's a contribution that frees up ground teams to get out the vote the hard way).

Treebeard said...

I have a dry, dark sense of humor, in case you haven't noticed--that was my idea of a joke. Matthew accused me of wanting to kill as many Americans as I can, and now you're telling me how I think, what I want to do and what cult I'm in, which is all news to me. To me this suggests some kind of derangement, or delusion, or control freak tendency. Or maybe it's all the work of Russian trolls who are trying to stir up hysteria and discord here on the homefront. What were you really doing in Russia recently anyway? (that was another joke). Don't worry about me though; I didn't vote for Trump, so I'm not responsible for all the bodies that have piled up since 1/17 (and another).

Tim Wolter said...

For those interested in a serious discussion of the prime topic - small town vs urban and suburban - I commend this Pew survey.

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/what-unites-and-divides-urban-suburban-and-rural-communities/

I've always held Pew in high regard. They run an honest game. Rural America is not the crack addled dystopia that some make it out to be.

As to the other stuff being tossed around...

It is of course your right to exercize and be excercized by the First Amendment. Long may it be so. But ensconced in one of the states that tipped the balance towards our current peculiar situation I'm tellin' ya....you want more Trump? Just keep talking this way, you'll get more.

David with respect to your Name One challenge I do regard it as "a mug's game" at best. You are ever Lucy pulling the football away. Any positive data are anecdotes or illusions, or redound to the credit of an earlier D admin, etc.

A person inclined to invest energy in this could of course look to recent numbers.

Very low unemployment. Increasing workforce participation rate. Historically low black unemployment. Dramatically higher consumer confidence numbers.

But "what ev's".

T.Wolter/Tacitus

Tony Fisk said...

Since Australia got drawn into the discussion about small town/rural America, I think it apt to point out the twitter feed of "Farmers for Climate Action" (@farmingforever).
They, and the people they retweet, seem a fairly clued up crew.

Insofar as they are each one big demographic, one difference between Australian and American rural communities is the presence of a global broadcaster. It acts as a national identity (and, boy, do the alt-right/Murdoch want to ditch it asap.)

Greg Byshenk said...

Zepp Jamieson said...
"The Russians attack the United Kingdom again using nerve gas" -- Winter7

I don't know which is more disturbing: the theory that the Russians staged a renewed attack (which apparently felled two people who had absolutely nothing to do with Russia) or the second, more likely situation, that after four months' exposure to English elements, the novichok residue was potent enough to claim two more victims.

Or alternatively, there was something entirely different going on.

I don't know how reliable the source is, but Caitlin Johnstone's "Memory Hole" article raises some good points about the original "attack". The new story sounds even more questionable.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Monsters are evil.


I beg to...well, you know. :)

Monsters aren't necessarily trying to do harm. They do so because their impulses are uncontrolled by civility, conscience, or thoughts of consequences, and because their powers magnify the damage they leave in their wake. Remind you of anyone?



Trump is the kind of human we don't like to admit some of us are. We like to pretend we can lock them all away, go on believing we aren't like that, and then are shocked when we come face-to-face with a 'new' one.


I felt that in 2016 coming face to face with Trump supporters.

In my experience, people are more like that--Dr Brin would say their inclusion horizon shrinks--when their safety and way of life are threatened. And the Republican Party has done a masterful job at simultaneously doing the threatening and portraying themselves as the solution rather than the problem.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman agrees with me. :)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/opinion/trade-war-trump-business-jobs.html

Recently Tom Donohue, the chamber’s head, published an article decrying Trump’s mistreatment of children at the border, declaring “this is not who we are.” Sorry, Mr. Donohue, it is who you are: You and your allies spent decades empowering racists, and now the bill is coming due.

But racist immigration policy isn’t the only place where people like Donohue are facing a monster they helped create.


He uses the word "monster" the way I mean it, not for evil, but for a creation that gets loose and out of control and does considerable damage in doing so.

Larry Hart said...

Krugman continues on a roll:


...

When organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or the Heritage Foundation declare that Trump’s tariffs are a bad idea, they are on solid intellectual ground: All, and I mean all, economic experts agree. But they don’t have any credibility, because these same conservative institutions have spent decades making war on expertise.

The most obvious case is climate change, where conservative organizations, very much including the chamber, have long acted as “merchants of doubt,” manufacturing skepticism and blocking action in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s hard to pivot from “pay no attention to those so-called experts who say the planet is warming” to “protectionism is bad — all the experts agree.”

Similarly, organizations like Heritage have long promoted supply-side economics, a.k.a., voodoo economics — the claim that tax cuts will produce huge growth and pay for themselves — even though no economic experts agree. So they’ve already accepted the principle that it’s O.K. to talk economic nonsense if it’s politically convenient. Now comes Trump with different nonsense, saying “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” How can they convince anyone that his nonsense is bad, while theirs was good?

...

For the moment, he probably can’t do anything like that [tax Harley-Davidson into submission]. But suppose Republicans retain control of Congress this November. If they do, does anyone think they’ll stand up against abuses of presidential power? G.O.P. victory in the midterms would put a lot of people and institutions at the mercy of Trump’s authoritarian instincts, big business very much included.

But organizations like the chamber and Heritage are still trying to ensure a Republican victory. In fact, until its recent shift in focus to protectionism, the chamber was running ads trying (unsuccessfully, it’s true, but still) to build public support for the Trump tax cut in competitive House districts. Compare this with those free-trade ads, which serve no clear political purpose.

The point is that it’s not just world trade that’s at risk, but the rule of law. And it’s at risk in part because big businesses abandoned all principle in the pursuit of tax cuts.

donzelion said...

Tacitus (Tim W?, what's your pref?): "Rural America is not the crack addled dystopia that some make it out to be."

There will always be some proclaiming "rural dystopia" and "urban decadence," though Pew's findings suggest the majority of Americans in all communities aren't unduly bothered by either claim. A variety of voices disparaging an 'other' will probably always attract undue attention: media systems profit by filtering out 'mainstream' and selling stridency (often normalizing it).

Our host's gambit seems to be one of disarming claims of 'moral superiority' rather than actually positing moral or social inferiority - yes, it's 'Lucy moving the football' - but in this case, the 'football' is confidence in the ability to judge others - and since all those judgments always were a football in perpetual motion, no one anywhere should have been confident about how bad the 'other' is.

Yet the profits from disavowing an 'other' operate differently in rural communities than in urban/suburban zones. Most rural communities have a roughly similar structure, in which a handful of powerbrokers profit from certain industries - and becomes the deacons/financiers of the local churches, owners of local franchises (and hence, employers), the prime benefactor financing 4th of July festivities, the local high school sports teams: the "good folks" with the biggest houses in town.

Consider how this plays out, in community after community: these folks identify a prospective scheme, pay consultants to research it, then start the permit process to implement it, typically giving the public a 30- or 60-day window to digest a host of scientific/engineering surveys and then decide what is in their best interest. If the community isn't sure, they COULD hire their own experts to review...but why bother, esp. if the 'experts' cannot be trusted anyway?

This is one reason why certain rules - like this one https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-12/pdf/2016-28724.pdf - were vehemently attacked as 'tyrannical': by extending the period for public response and review through the entirety of a planning process, the scope of power for local elites to exploit/distort the process is curtailed. THEY feel threatened: the communities they profit from might bring in their own experts more easily in such a time period, making it more expensive for them to impose their will, "take-it-or-leave-it."

A wonderful Hollywood illustration of this lurks in the mostly execrable film, "Promised Land" (if only they'd ditched the stale Hollywood tropes and conventions - the Matt Damon romance etc.) - the jockeying tactics aren't that far off the mark (for me, I was far more interested in the financiers behind the movie and their agenda...a far more interesting and convoluted...).

matthew said...

Ent, you are trying to erase your past words with conciliatory tone now. But all the regulars here remember that you have repeatedly crowed about white nationalism reining supreme. You bragged about harming LGBTQ folks. You are a racist, a bigot, and a pox on the ass of America by your own admission. Nice try with the Russian troll comment though.

donzelion said...

Tacitus (Tim W?, what's your pref?): "Rural America is not the crack addled dystopia that some make it out to be."

Apologies for last post: brevity is elusive, and these aren't simple topics.

TLDR version: RURAL ELITES profit most from exploiting rural/urban tension. Hence, rural folks will always hear about 'urban disdain' for them, since those who exploit them most need to disarm 'outsiders' who can intrude upon their power gambits.

David Brin said...

“Rural America is not the crack addled dystopia that some make it out to be.”

See now, that’s what you guys do, in desperation to cling to the “everybody’s just as bad” liferaft.

After 70 years of confederates screeching - at the very very top of their lungs - that they are morally pure and decent and cities are “ crack addled dystopia” - we dare… DARE … to stand up and point out that our averages are better than theirs, in all categories…

… the thing to do is to howl “you city boys are slandering us!”

No. You stop first. Yours is the cult of hate inflicting monsters on us all.

“I'm tellin' ya....you want more Trump? Just keep talking this way, you'll get more.”

No, that is YOU, desperately clinging to the notion that the confederacy’s rise is our fault, when every single day Fox whips 40% of the nation into a hysterical frenzy. Have you wat6ched your cult’s high priest Alex Jones?

I have found again and again that the one thing that has ever turned around a Residually Sane Republican ostrich is direct, in your face confrontation with the pure fact that they are now members of a hateful cult.

Larry Hart said...

I knew I didn't make this one up. Tooling around in the archives, I stumbled across the post that introduced the notion of Germany and Japan now fighting for Enlightenment democracy against the authoritarians of Britain, Russia, and the USA.

Unfortunately, the post was Anonymous, and not even signed in the text:

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/11/explaining-gut-punch.html


Anonymous:

An idea for someone for a talented writer who writes near future SF. I got this idea from seeing German Chancellor Angela Merkal described as the new "leader of the free world" while watching an episode of "Man in the High Castle" on Amazon Prime.

Scenario: A future refight of WW2 with Germany and Japan (as the last true liberal democracies - they are now the Good Guys) fighting America, Britain, France and Russia (led by the likes of Trump, UKIP, LePen and Putin are right wing authoritarian nations - led by the UK they are also surveillance states - and are now the Bad Guys).

Instead of anschluss and Munich, Germany protects Austria and the Czech republic from an aggressive right wing Poland (which has banned press freedoms) when NATO falls apart like the League of Nations after America's withdrawal from the alliance.

Instead of a "China Incident", Japan meanwhile acts to give humanitarian aid to a China that has collapsed due to ecological disaster and helps South Korea reunify the peninsula after North Korea finally falls apart.

An incident with Poland leads to a general war in Europe with German high tech versus superior Allied numbers. The result is Blitzkrieg 2.0. Shortly afterward, America and Japan clash over islands in the South China Sea and the Philippines and a high tech Japanese "Pearl Harbor" takes out America's fleet and most of its strategic assets.

The Germans and Japanese have a high tech advantage over the Allies due to America preferring to teach Creationism instead of science. As they advance, most of the populations greet them as liberators. Everywhere they advance, the Germans and Japanese uncover detention camps for Gays, Muslims and Hispanics with those responsible being brought to justice after the war.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | Okay. I can see where you are coming from regarding ‘monster’. Personally, I think it is a mental error to use ‘monster’ in that wider sense as it enables a confusion, but I won’t fight a fight with English speakers of the world. 8)

Instead, I’ll shift over slightly and label a group of monsters as ‘demons’. When we dehumanize an opponent, we can stop short of demonizing them depending on the level of control and intent we think they have as monsters. How about that instead?

In this sense, Trump is a monster but not a demon as far as I’m concerned.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard | I didn't vote for Trump, so I'm not responsible for all the bodies that have piled up since 1/17

That ain’t gonna fly.

There have been a number of times (when you were unlikely to have been joking) where you made it pretty clear you had a preference for autocracy AND a distinct lack of a sense of civic duty to this civilization.

If you’ve changed your mind, I can accept that, but only after some proof. Absent that proof, you’d still be on my watch list if this ever boils over into violence. [Won’t matter much since I don’t know who you are and I’m unlikely to make the effort to find out.]

You are very welcome to live a free life, but we aren’t confused about whether you would help make the world a better place for our children.

Alfred Differ said...

@Tim Wolter | Just keep talking this way, you'll get more.

Respectfully, I rather doubt it. There aren't enough of y'all.

I'm finding it difficult to find women around me who aren't very upset. (not just California) Some are Trump supporters, but they are facing a fierce lashing from the others.

We will see what happens in November, but I'm expecting a blood bath, the House to flip, and then Congressional investigations, and then impeachment. This mess will happen in 2019 and it will likely made shreds of the GOP.

The election in 2020 is too far away right now to make good predictions, but I suspect the best one is 'Everyone will be more upset.'

David Brin said...


“David with respect to your Name One challenge I do regard it as "a mug's game" at best. You are ever Lucy pulling the football away.”

Tim, with love and respect, I must tell you this is a direct falsehood. It is a knowing falsehood. You cannot name an exception so you keep trying this bull, Fox-asserting that my challenge is just polemic.

I now dare you, with money on the table and Alfred and Donzelion (or anyone else you name) to hold the stakes, that you have never, ever, and I mean ever had me do a Lucy on you. It is all made-up.

Your magic spell “mug’s game” lets you squirm away from explaining why your cult wages war on science, teaching, journalism, medicine, economics, skilled labor… and the FBI and the US military and intelligence officer corps; all are dismissed as "deep state" enemies.

Your ’”mugs game” magical spell lets you evade explaining why no GOP leader betweenEisenhower and Ryan was even mentioned at the 2016 Republican Convention. Except for Reagan and Newt, all were brushed under the rug, including both Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dennis (friend to boys) Hastert, Tom (convicted felon) DeLay, Boehner. What kind of movement is ashamed of nearly all its top past leaders?

As it happens, *I* can name an exception to each of my challenges! I just did, calling Reagan and Newt the exceptions to today’s utter purity of the GOP acknowledging its past leaders were shameful. I can name exceptions to all of them… but you can’t!

Ashamed, you draw exactly the wrong conclusion. Instead of :
“My movement has been hijacked by monsters and I’m furious about it!”

…you proclaim “I will use magic “mug’s game” spells to divert any collection of words that might corner me. Abracadabra!”

Your nation is in deadly peril, and you wave incantations at us.
=

Tim Wolter said...

Alfred

2016 sure was hard on pundits of all stripes. So, also respectfully, I don't know what will happen either.

I am simply offering, to those who might be interested, observations on middle America. It is in the spirit of the original post and might be of interest to those who live in other places be they geographically different or politically/culturally so.

We have a few other Wisconsinites around here and they can speak with authority equal to mine. But I'm offering my opinion, based on living here...

When David says: "the one thing that has ever turned around a Residually Sane Republican ostrich is direct, in your face confrontation.." He is wrong. The effect will be opposite.

Consider trying something else. For instance:

Hey, the economy is great right now. An ideal time to increase Legal Immigration so employers can get the economy going even better!

Impeachment, packing the Supreme Court, Open Borders....who are you expecting to be swayed by this sort of thing? Not Conservatives, you won't win them over by any means currently on display. And Moderates will be far less impressed by this than you think.

I'm not saying both parties are equal or anything. I'm saying the current direction of the Democrats appears from my perspective to be headed towards disaster.

Of course I am quick to admit that I have been wrong often and may be again. Can we get a few other Trump swing states to report in?

Tim/Tacitus

I guess for long timers here Tacitus feels more comfortable.


David Brin said...

"Impeachment, packing the Supreme Court, Open Borders....who are you expecting to be swayed by this sort of thing? "

Bah, there you go again! Toeing the Murdoch reflex. If ANY Democrat says ANYTHING then ALL democrats said it. Anecdotes anecdotes and irrelevant anecdotes about a Berkeley leftist wing that has no power... and would have less if there were any moderate republicans for the vast majority of moderate democrats to negotiate with.

You... actually... claim... there... are... still... "moderate"... republicans? Truly. That's your image of the situation? It is clinical.

There are confederates and their foreign masters... and there are maybe thirty million decent folks like you, who are in frantic-desperate denial, seeking any incantation or slogan or symbol or anecdote to cling to. Have you ever had to wake up a desperate-denial addict? One who has spat in your face every time you tried soothing reason, for forty years, and now is threatening to burn down the house? No, we will not use soothing words and appeals to reason.

YOUR refusal to deal with reason exemplifies why it won't work, Tim.

David Brin said...

EXPERIMENT:

Instead of "Name a counter-example to the pure record of Republican damage to every single strength that won the Cold War,"

would it be easier on you if I assert:

"ALMOST every strength that won us the Cold War is being systematically dismantled, from alliances to science, dedicated intelligence and law agencies, the moral high ground, the rule of law. There may be exceptions, though I know of none."

There. Is that better? Does it make you marginally more likely to consider the blatantly obvious explanation?

Winter7 said...

I just realized something. Because of Donald Trump, the chances of one or more military bases entering a total rebellion against the tyranny of Donald Trump have increased in an impressive way.
If that happens, it will be a terrible situation, because it is evident that, being Donald Trump a monster, he will order a total attack and without mercy against those who dare to revolt.
Nevertheless; I suspect that if a military base goes into rebellion, millions of Americans will join them cheerfully and with great joy, which could cause doubts in units willing to quell the rebellion. Something like Russian tanks that refused to crush people and turned their weapons in the opposite direction.
No one seems to realize that something like this could happen. And I wonder if that could trigger a real civil war on a large scale. Not a cold civil war, like the one Americans are currently experiencing; but a hot and real war, with artillery fire and massive bombing.

Winter7 said...

On another topic; I think Elon Musk's idea of creating an inflatable nylon tunnel to rescue children trapped in a cave in Thailand could work.
But it will be necessary to put decompression chambers at the ends. Also, I think that technology could be useful to convert the lava tunnels of Mars into instantaneous shelters. (using wider tubes, of course)
Can you notice Elon Musk's desire to help those who are in trouble? This shows that Elon is a good guy.

Link:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/06/asia/thai-cave-rescue-elon-musk-intl/index.html

Winter7 said...

Boys; bad news on the issue of global warming. The new calculations indicate that global warming will be 50% greater than previously predicted:
Link:

https://phys.org/news/2018-07-global-climate.html

David Brin said...

Winter7 you have watched too many movies or read too much history. Sure, that's 99.99% of human history. But you have no idea what is sacred to the US military officer corps. Obedience to civilian and constitutional authority is a religion to them. A devout one. It will take far more than we have seen. Far more. And it would begin with work actions... obeying order in such scrupulous detail that nothing gets done. When we see that, then I will start getting afraid.

How I wish I could convey the essence of this to liberals, so they won't yell at military folks when thos eheroes are ordered to do a damned stupid parade.

Jon S. said...

Tim, if merely calling Trump's behavior what it is (callous, monstrous, and evil) drives people to vote for him, then all I can say is that those people must really value allying themselves with a callous evil monster more than with The Opposition.

If you're so dedicated to Not Being The Opposition that you will condone this administration's policies - just to Own The Libs, because they made you feel bad about doing something bad before - well, Germans have this saying I've been reading a fair bit lately:

If ten people sit at a table with a Nazi without condemning him, you have eleven Nazis.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Winter7
I think that you mean airlocks on each end - and it would not be one tube but several with simple airlocks on each

I think it's a bloody GREAT idea!

Tony Fisk said...

Inflatable nylon tubes may work, but bear in mind not only the length needed, but the narrowness of some of the passages. I think getting airlock doors through will be nigh on impossible.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tony
You are thinking about something rigid

Think instead of something that zips into place - you have two of them - or even more at each wet/dry interface

You open the end zip - go inside - close the zip - then open the next zip

The real advantage of the tube idea is that the kids don't have to spend 7 hours in the cold water

Kids are smaller with a worse volume/area ratio and will die of the cold where an adult will survive

locumranch said...


Treebeard is right to laugh & chortle at this group of dunderheads who are so concerned about the long dead Nazi monster that they cannot conceive of the democalyptic fate that is obvious to everyone but them.

US agricultural has seen remarkable increases in productivity (wherein the term 'productivity' is defined as the 'rate of production per individual'), so much so that the US population % involved in agriculture has steadily declined from 90% in 1900 to 2% as of now, but you're effing delusional if you believe that the agricultural productivity function is divisible by ZERO.

I'll repeat that:

Any numerator of agricultural production divided by a denominator of ZERO agricultural producers collapses in on itself, approaching zero rather than infinity.

For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.


Best

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter aka Tacitus2:

Hey, the economy is great right now. An ideal time to increase Legal Immigration so employers can get the economy going even better!


I'm actually on board with that one. The corporatists would prefer to keep wages from rising by introducing more competition for jobs. Republicans would probably be pushing for more immigration now if not for their despearate need to hold onto the deplorable vote.

I think that argument would also work in a more cynical way. It might make some of those touting the current "great economy" to wonder why they still don't have a job, or if they do, why their wages are still stagnant. It might make them wonder why the economy is "great" because Wall St is having a party, but they used to despise Wall St.

I can go for that.


Consider trying something else. For instance:

Impeachment, packing the Supreme Court, Open Borders....who are you expecting to be swayed by this sort of thing? Not Conservatives, you won't win them over by any means currently on display. And Moderates will be far less impressed by this than you think.


Part of the problem here is that you are perceiving us as FOX News caricatures of liberals instead of what we're actually saying.

Impeachment--Dr Brin is certainly not calling for it, as he's still more afraid of Pence than of Trump. I'm also not calling for it, because without the possibility of conviction in the Senate, there's no upside to the attempt. It would have the effect that you predict, making conservatives circle the wagons and accomplishing nothing else. I am in favor of Mueller continuing to find reasons why Trump deserves impeachment, but more to make clear to you remaining non-deplorable conservatives just what it is that you are supporting. In the end, for reasons you point out, we liberals cannot remove this stain on our country. You guys will have to do it, or accept the consequences.

Packing the supreme court - what are you accusing us of advocating here? Trump and McConnell have made it possible for them to load the court up with corporatist authoritarian ideologues for decades to come. What have liberals done other than point that fact out? If we had Justice Merrick Garland as we rightly should have, would that have been "packing"? Was he an ideologue who had to be stopped by any means necessary? You do seem to be projecting on this issue.

Open borders - come on, no one is calling for that. Liberals want us to stop being...yes, monsters...in the way we handle immigration. And we don't equate asylum-seeking with MS-13. Basically, we still want to be the good guys when we win. We find it terrifying that you don't.


I'm not saying both parties are equal or anything. I'm saying the current direction of the Democrats appears from my perspective to be headed towards disaster.


I'm not discounting the possibility that the Democratic leadership is in on the conspiracy, and that they purposely act in ways that will cause them to lose (What else explains Tim Kaine as Veep choice?). However, to me, that's not the point. I'm not scoring Democrats on dress and deportment, or on how competently they run a campaign. I'm out to preserve the United States of America. To that end, I'll support the party that opposes the current threat to the nation, in spite of themselves if necessary.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

Tim, if merely calling Trump's behavior what it is (callous, monstrous, and evil) drives people to vote for him, then all I can say is that those people must really value allying themselves with a callous evil monster more than with The Opposition.


That's my concern as well--that the Republicans have figured out that the more outrageous they become, the more they can get away with it, because the other side's simply pointing out the facts becomes "incivility". Calling the president a traitor or a Nazi is so over the top unacceptable, that being a traitor or a Nazi gets a free pass.

When liberals suppress assertions of the truth because they might hurt someone's feelings, that's condemned as "political correctness". Why is it ok when Republicans insist on the same thing?

Larry Hart said...

@locumranch,

You're beginning to sound like Ophelia toward the end of Hamlet

You might not be too far from the glavers' path to redemption. Go with God.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

@LarryHart | Okay. I can see where you are coming from regarding ‘monster’. Personally, I think it is a mental error to use ‘monster’ in that wider sense as it enables a confusion, but I won’t fight a fight with English speakers of the world. 8)


Yeah, I think we're just coming from different places regarding the connotation of the word. I think of "creating a monster" (i.e., Frankenstein) where the monster is the dangerous one, but the creator is the one who is evil, or at best criminally negligent.


Instead, I’ll shift over slightly and label a group of monsters as ‘demons’. When we dehumanize an opponent, we can stop short of demonizing them depending on the level of control and intent we think they have as monsters. How about that instead?

In this sense, Trump is a monster but not a demon as far as I’m concerned.


That works for me.

I see what you mean about dehumanization, which is a topic I'm sensitive to. To me, a monster is someone who needs to be contained and prevented from doing harm, but not necessarily one who needs to be punished. "Demon" is indeed a better descriptor for the irredeemably deplorable.

I'm not even interested in punishing Donald Trump or the Republicans--just in preventing them from damaging our families, our communities, and our country. I wouldn't even mind if God took them up to heaven in the Rapture. I'd see that as a win-win.

locumranch said...


Those who practice Identity Politics are hate-spewing deplorables:

All things being equal, Black, Hispanic, LGBT, Muslim & Progressive Pride is just as racist, hateful & exclusionary as Conservative, White, Heterosexual or Christian Pride. OR, just as laudable.

Larry_H wants to 'Impeach Trump', while others wish to impeach Pelosi & Schumer.
Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.

A blue kepi-wearing David wishes to CRUSH the red rural confederates, while the confederates wish to do the same to David's identity group. Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.

Black Power & White Power. Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.

Identity Politics is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.


Best

Larry Hart said...

For those who think the Democrats as a party are hurting their own cause, I invite you to consider the backstory to the Helvetian War in Dr Brin's novel Earth.

There had been plenty of moderate, sane political leaders, and they had been bribed or threatened or assassinated to dilute their influence, so that only the firebrands remained on the public stage. War was therefore made inevitable. Remind you of anything? I think we're even at approximately the right point on the book's timeline--20 years prior to the book's present of 2038.

Larry Hart said...

@locumranch,

Come on. We've had this discussion plenty of times before, and you're just being obstinate now. That aside from the fact that you slander me by accusing me of wanting to impeach Trump, when just a few posts above, I reiterate my opposition to that action.

But shall we count the ways?


All things being equal, Black, Hispanic, LGBT, Muslim & Progressive Pride is just as racist, hateful & exclusionary as Conservative, White, Heterosexual or Christian Pride. OR, just as laudable.


Nothing wrong with White, Heterosexual, or Christian Pride. What's wrong is acting as if those groups get special privileges under the law.


Larry_H wants to 'Impeach Trump', while others wish to impeach Pelosi & Schumer.
Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.


First of all, I don't. But ok, let's address your point.

Your assertion is that there's no reason for impeachment (of anyone) other than simple political opposition. That the official in question commits high crimes and misdemeanors is irrelevant.

You want to lock up criminals and illegal immigrants, while Hitler wanted to lock up Jews. Are both actions justifiable or neither is?


A blue kepi-wearing David wishes to CRUSH the red rural confederates, while the confederates wish to do the same to David's identity group. Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.


I take it you don't care who won WWII, then, because the Axis and the Allies each wanted to crush the other, and both were equally justified?

The difference being, in both cases, that if our side didn't fight, we'd be dead, whereas if your side didn't fight, there'd be no war.


Black Power & White Power. Either both actions are justifiable or neither is.


If Black Power meant black people were the only first class citizens, then you'd be correct. In Zimbabwe, maybe. Here in America, Black Power has always been an uphill fight for the rights and privileges all citizens are supposed to have in the first place. "Black Lives Matter" is an appeal to stop treating black lives as if they don't matter. "White Lives Matter" is a rallying cry to defend special privilege. That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing. O'Brien's line there applies pretty much to every argument you make.

Nice try, though.

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

I think your distance from the Coasts helps, but you at least seem to get the drift of my message.

Calling people Nazis or Nazi sympathizers will not put Wisconsin and Michigan into the D side of the Electoral College. Rather the opposite. I understand the strategy of rallying the base. It tends to run up vote totals in safe states, which might get the D's the consolation prize called "popular vote" in Presidential years. But at a cost of losing communities that regard this stuff as, I believe the term I used initially was: bilious nonsense.

A rallied base also tends to push the D's left. The recent defeat of an old line, sorta centerist Dem in Brooklyn but a telegenic young Hispanic woman (Ocasio-Cortez) is a case in point.

Regards open borders, "abolish ICE" (per Ms Ocasio-C. and others) is most of the way there. All candidates, both sides, should be asked to clarify their position on border matters.

So, if people are interested in advice that might give us more savory occupants of the White House, I'm here to offer it. In general positive messages play best. My comments on legal immigration for instance.

Or, you can keep on bashing Trump. He doesn't seem to mind. But a few parting thoughts to consider.

1. People of faith did not vote for Trump because of his character but in spite of it. This should be a warning of how deep the discontent with the status quo really runs.

2. We can differ a bit on things but near as I can tell every Republican candidate for Pres or VP in the last 20 years has been portrayed as evil and or stupid. The electorate has become numbed to this sort of message.

3. I have been accused of using the most outrageous statements by Democrats as a marker for where the Party secretly wants to go. I will plead guilty to the charge in exchange for a bit of reflection by others. Ever do this for Republicans?

Ah, enough. I have small town things to get done. Walking down to the hardware store. Might toss some project scrap into the metal collection bin for kids fund raising to go visit the Normandy Beaches. Later I'll sit on my porch swing and drink a beer.

Life is good. Messages of Dank Apocalypse gain little purchase on a sunny day.

T.Wolter/Tacitus

donzelion said...

Tacitus: "When David says: "the one thing that has ever turned around a Residually Sane Republican ostrich is direct, in your face confrontation.." He is wrong. The effect will be opposite."

Republicans embraced birtherism and elected it president. What argument based on evidence or reason can ever prevail when fraud is endorsed?

'Direct confrontation' isn't about turning around Republicans: it's about immobilizing, isolating, and exhausting them. Less 'turning around,' more 'turning off.' Attrition, not conversion.

donzelion said...

Tacitus: "Regards open borders, "abolish ICE" (per Ms Ocasio-C. and others) is most of the way there."

ICE was created in March 2003. Unless you think Reagan, Bush Sr, Eisenhower, Lincoln, etc. also favored 'open borders' - this is simply the 2018 equivalent of birtherism, yet another fraud pandered by a source of many other frauds.

"All candidates, both sides, should be asked to clarify their position on border matters."
But that's the problem: you hear Trump & Friends tell you "The Democrats want open borders!" Democrats put forward quite a few bills that said NOTHING about open borders, and indeed, simply went modest lengths towards ending family separation, maintaining a "path toward citizenship." Democrats ENFORCED draconian immigration rules they disliked, because they were the law. Democrats just didn't try to separate children from their families while doing it.

Whatever Democrats do or claim, you "unhear" - listening instead to Trump's setting of the stage. Whether you like him or not, he guides your thinking on this topic. That ultimately serves his agenda nicely, as the Republicans have been doing for much longer than just the last 3 years...

Tim Wolter said...

donzelion.

Direct confrontation strategies will play poorly in Wisconsin. Evidence: the Walker recall. A poor tactic for winnin "purple states". My opinion of course.

As it happens I don't like Donald Trump. Not at all. He does drive the conversation a bit. Because the Presidency is a "bully pulpit" and now occupied by an actual bully.

I believe I have tipped my hat in your direction up thread a ways. Helping to improve the lot of immigrants is worthy. It garners approval from most Conservatives who would say "If they came together, let them stay together. Be evaluated together. Admitted or sent home together".

But if I might - respectfully - challenge you a bit.

Are current efforts by activists, of whom I would think you'd count yourself, directed solely towards humanitarian aid or towards eliminating obstacles to entry? You have the platform now, and yours is a voice worth listening to.

TW/T

David Brin said...


LH: …”find reasons why Trump deserves impeachment, but more to make clear to you remaining non-deplorable conservatives just what it is that you are supporting.”

What Tim is showing us is that our Residually Almost Sane American Conservatives will just keep re-normalizing what’s “merely regrettable” about the leaders of their cult, while clutching at fox-anecdotes about screeching far-lefties, to make false equivalence.

Without actual money wagers or very specific red lines, they will renormalize, the way decent Germans did, you-know-when. That’s why I challenged my friend Tacitus to a WAGER… and he fled. Because they always flee. I have yet to meet a RASAC who sticks around and helps to name a trusted neutral 3rd party to hold stakes and negotiate exact terms for the bet. They never do. Ever.

What I’d love to see is some red lines. “If Fox or the Trumps are revealed to have done THIS or lied about THAT, or THIS accusation gains proof, then I will be done with them and call them the enemies that you - my friends - claim they are.”

No. We will cross all those lines, in due course, as the madness gets worse. Tim knows this. So he avoids stating any red lines that would prevent him from renormalizing any and every outrageous behavior and calumny that happens next.



As for locum, he’s back to screeching incoherent howls. Word strings without meaning. Get those vitamins, fellah.

David Brin said...

Responding to Tim’s latest. Is that it? You double down on “some far lefties said this! So that’s what all democrats want!!!”

We do love you and want you around, here. But stop it. You have been told dozens of times it is a lie. It makes you feel good. But stop it.

Oh, but then you get all cogent on us: “People of faith did not vote for Trump because of his character but in spite of it. This should be a warning of how deep the discontent with the status quo really runs.”

Absolutely! We can see this. We can see how absolutely impervious this lava spew of hate is. Not just toward us, but every single profession that uses facts. Because facts would build a wall to contain the hate.

You are blaming the victims of a paranoid-hysterical cult, one that has surged to fever strength once per generation or so, since 1778. You demand that we lie down and let the lava have its way.

No way.

Please dig this well. The confederacy justifies its hate storm and destruction of all American strengths by spewing a fog of assertions, assertions, assertions... and they are mostly lies! Why do you think all fact-users are being warred upon? Because the hate can only be maintained if facts are discredited.

You have never - not once - addressed the core issue of how we can refute lies.

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | effing delusional

Your ignorance is showing. Zip up.

1) What counts isn’t people, it is person-hours.

2) Productivity gains can be thought of as getting more done within any one person-hour, but they can also be described as multiplication of ‘effective’ person-hours. If my tools at work let me get twice as much done as I would without them, my employer effectively has two people at work when they harness me to those tools.

3) There are three effective ways to improve productivity. In the early industrial days, the tools magnified our muscle. Engines are rated in horsepower for this reason. In more recent years, they amplified the clock. Collecting and processing data used for making decisions within the same amount of time is like having more hours in the day. Lately, they’ve been amplifying our minds by actually making those decisions. Expert systems are quite capable of doing most of our farming.

If you counted correctly, you’d use effective person-hours. In that sense, we aren’t trending toward a vanishing denominator. If you count incorrectly by looking at only one factor, you’ll miss the fact that we’ve changed it.

We’ve done similar things to other resources besides farming labor. Productivity gains are like efficiency gains and are the root gripe I have with ‘Limits to Growth’ and ‘carrying capacity’ arguments. We change what we are. Your argument is just as poor as the others who argue we are f*cked because we are over-populated, over consuming, or just overly stupid.

Wanna farm for a living? Find a way, but don’t expect the old ways to work. We don’t owe you world stagnancy to ensure the old methods remain viable.

Winter7 said...

Doctor Brin.
It reassures me to know that the US military is second to none. Jack London had already mentioned something of that before, when he participated in the bombing of the city of Veracruz.
That means that officers exposed to completely contradictory orders and duties will know peaceful alternatives that I can not imagine. But can we call treason if an officer betrays a dictator who is a usurper and a traitor? ¿Who is there the traitor? Yes. What I said sounds like something said by a catastrophic movie character, ¿and what does that show? ¿How strong is the influence of cinema or how similar is cinema to real life?
Of course, the matter is just something that occurred to me suddenly. And the fact is that military coups are something so surprisingly common in history. Africa, South America, Europe; Asia .. It seems that no continent is immune to that evil. Also, I admit that when I wrote that I had two movies in my mind. So yes. If I was also influenced by Hollywood.

Winter7 said...

I know why some do not want to call Donald Trump a monster. I know what is the fear of those who still want to give Donald Trump a place at the negotiating table. Simply, in essence 'either human actions are explicable in which case they are not evil, or they are evil in which case there is nothing more to be said about them. Which would imply appearances, that there is no point in having the Confederates at the negotiating table.
But things are not exactly like that. I sense that the empty place on our negotiating table is not for the monstrous Confederate leaders. The place we set free at the negotiating table is a chair for naive and thoughtless citizens who voted innocently for the GOP. It is with them that we speak, and only with them. Our reasoning is not intended for GOP leaders, because negotiating with the Confederates would be like planting seeds in the Sahara desert.
But remember that a hyena will always be a hyena and a deer will always be a deer.

locumranch said...


Again, progressives like David & Larry_H want to have their cake & eat it, too, as they spew "a fog of assertions, assertions, assertions" while dismissing the assertions of others out-of-hand.

They insist that the 'truth' conforms to the belief system of their particular identity group while condemning the truths of every other identity group as lies.

They insist that rule-disobedience is 'just' if the rules appear to be unjust when viewed through the subjective lens of their particular identity group, but they also insist that rule-disobedience is 'treason' if the rules appear to be unjust when viewed through the equally subjective lens of any other identity group.

Similarly, a conservatively-partisan SCOTUS represents an intolerable 'evil' when viewed through their particular partisan lens, they argue, while they insist that only a progressively-partisan SCOTUS can represent the ultimate 'good' (as in the case of the Warren Court) because SUBJECTIVITY.

By embracing such a hypocritical double-standard, these progressives are like spoiled & entitled children who cannot share and, thusly, they deserve to be paddled & sent to bed without any supper like the spoiled children they appear.


Best
____

LOL, Alfred: I have tried farming & raising livestock which is why I know how incredibly difficult it is. Yet, with your Justin Trudeauian insistence on 'person-hours' (a euphemism for 'man-hours', I presume), you appear to argue that all human beings are interchangeable producer units with equivalent knowledge & abilities, even though we'd all starve if we relied on David's story-telling skills for nutritional sustenance. All in all, "expert systems" are shit without the means to exercise them.

Alfred Differ said...

@tacitus | It’s been a while since I was in the mid-west, but I’m not blind. I was working in Indiana for around the 2004 election. Spent some time outside St Louis after that. [I grew up on military bases all through the western states, but only really remember North Dakota.] I’ve been an IT contractor off and on through my career. What I noted is there were a number of places in California where the people weren’t all that different.

Yes. People will be stubbornly in opposition even when it harms their best interests. It’s the ultimatum game from game theory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_in_game_theory

The problem for this approach is that Congress is not chosen by electors. Popular votes matter regarding the people who can investigate, legislate, and impeach. The 2020 election is a ways off. The 2018 election is not and electors don’t count for squat this time.

Alfred Differ said...

@tacitus | Oh... I forgot to mention that I AM one of the folks advocating for a more open border. I'm a libertarian, though. Don't confuse me for a Democrat. My blue relatives think I'm pretty nutty on that particular issue. I'm well aware I'm in a very small minority.

If I can poke at people who have some vulnerable mental dissonance on this issue, I do. I'm rarely successful, though.

David Brin said...

So long as he's spewing vitamin-free howls of "SUBJECTIVITY RULES AND THERE ARE NO FACTS AND MY BALD-FACED LYING ASSERTIONS ARE BETTER THAN ANYTHING THAT CAN BE VERIED!!!"... I think I'll safely skim past locumranch. Till get gets back on vitamins.

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch: "Zepp confirms what I have said."

The only person I was confirming was myself. Pressures of capitalism are what is pushing rural areas into abject poverty. It isn't cost effective to build good roads and good schools and hospitals in counties where the population is less than 50 per square mile. Farming has been in an economic death spiral since the invention of the IC engine. While your characterisation of small towns as "retirement villages & internment camps" has some merit, most towns don't have anything to offer retirees or the gentry, and 'internment camps' are, fortunately, very rare. Most need to be incredibly remote to begin with.

"Slave class immigrants": raising the minimum wage to decent levels would eliminate a "slave-class" whether immigrant or native. The Walton family ALONE made enough in 2015 that they could have subsidized the cost of raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. Seattle restaurants spent more fighting the proposed minimum wage there than they did implementing it, and then saw business and profits increase because their employees could now afford to eat out once in a w

As Larry_H always says, the current Red Rural resource producers only work for you because they have a sense of national patriotism, they have something to lose and "You offer (us) the lives of (our) crew", whereas these (your potential replacement slaves) will only work for you out of either fear or gain.

And, they will HATE you for your smug Urban Progressive sensibilities for ever & ever.

Progressivism isn't the problem. Capitalism is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin, I don't think lithium is a vitamin. Nor are Haldol or Loxaprine.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Gary Byshenk wrote: "I don't know how reliable the source is, but Caitlin Johnstone's "Memory Hole" article raises some good points about the original "attack". The new story sounds even more questionable."
I wasn't aware the father had recovered. Last I heard, he was permanently gorked. And Johnstone does raise legitimate questions about what exactly did happen. This latest development makes no sense at all.
None of which stopped me from utterly horrifying the moderators on the Guardian by announcing that should Russia win today and face England in the semi-final, Vladimir Putin had promised a lifetime supply of novichok to the members of the losing team.

Daniel Duffy said...

A slight variation on the subject of this tread - the rich leaving the rest of us behind:

https://medium.com/s/futurehuman/survival-of-the-richest-9ef6cddd0cc1

Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” ...They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

New Zealand appears to be the escape of choice.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/15/why-silicon-valley-billionaires-are-prepping-for-the-apocalypse-in-new-zealand

Because this is the role that New Zealand now plays in our unfurling cultural fever dream: an island haven amid a rising tide of apocalyptic unease. According to the country’s Department of Internal Affairs, in the two days following the 2016 election the number of Americans who visited its website to enquire about the process of gaining New Zealand citizenship increased by a factor of 14 compared to the same days in the previous month. In particular, New Zealand has come to be seen as a bolthole of choice for Silicon Valley’s tech elite.

Daniel Duffy said...

For over 30 years I have been a civil and environmental engineer cleaning up coal sites and ash piles (along with landfills, nuclear sites, and hazwaste sites) from central Pennsylvania to Arkansas — the entire length and breadth of Appalachia.

So you and I both know coal is dead and is never ever coming back.

Coal wasn’t killed by Obama’s EPA. It was killed by cheap fracking gas (which Trump loves). You can build a town and a community around a coal mine that hires hundreds of workers. A fracking gas well head, on the other hand, is just two guys coming out every three months to perform monitoring and maintenance. Existing coal power plants are old and at the end of their operational lives, so everyone is planning to decommission them within the next decade. But gas is cheap and plentiful, so nobody is building new coal burning plants anymore, only combined cycle gas turbines. Entire nations such as Canada and France are banning coal use after 2020. And don’t look for China and India to make up for demand. Coal use in both these nations has peaked.

I get the anger and despair; I’ve seen it up close.

I would come back to a town five years later to build another disposal cell, set groundwater monitoring wells, or cap off a completed site. I would see that main street is now boarded up and there would be someone strung out on meth or heroin passed out on the park bench a block away from the local grade school.

Appalachia is now one giant ghetto slum stretching across a half dozen states and culturally no different than Detroit south of 8 Mile Road. You see the same pathologies, dependency on welfare, addiction to drugs, and rampant prostitution. There are parts of eastern Kentucky where I won’t go out at night and I never stay anywhere except major chain hotels (I used to save per diem money by staying at local motels — I don’t dare do that anymore).

Remember that pot growing family that got butchered in Piketon Ohio? Didn’t surprise me in the least since I spent years driving past that very spot on my way to a decommissioning job at the old nuclear bomb plant down the road. There is a reason that part of Ohio is called “Oxycontin Alley”.

The only difference with places like Detroit is skin color.

And all those small towns dependent on the local factories for jobs? They are dead men walking as well. Those jobs are forever gone, never to return. They were taken by automation and robots not Chinese or Mexicans. That Carrier Plant deal that Trump is so proud of was nothing but a scam played on Indiana tax payers who will foot the bill. Most of the jobs will still be lost and the 800 “saved” jobs will only exist until the factory is automated in a few years. The VP of Carrier admitted that the $70 million will go towards acquisition of the robots that will replace these workers. Trump played those working people for suckers.

The bottom line is this — a high school degree no longer gets you into the middle class. Those days are also dead and gone and never coming back. Ever. This is not to say that everyone should go to college. We send too many people to college to learn liberal arts when what our country really needs is trained plumbers, masons, pipe fitters, electricians, skilled heavy equipment operators, etc. On my sites, skilled workers could make six figures if they were good.

So let the dead bury the dead, time to give birth to something new.

donzelion said...

Tacitus: "Are current efforts by activists, of whom I would think you'd count yourself, directed solely towards humanitarian aid or towards eliminating obstacles to entry?"

Hmmm, ok, first you said 'activists' rather than 'politicians' - so I'll focus there.

Groups like "No More Deaths" place water in the desert - they are essentially 'eliminating an obstacle' but I believe we'd both regard that as 'humanitarian aid.' The bulk of the work relating to immigrants is legal and social support, which also probably are closer to 'humanitarianism.'

Opposition to the border wall is not about declaring 'open borders': borders were certainly NOT 'open' under Obama or Clinton, both of whom orchestrated deportations of millions of people. Rather, it's simply realistic (most 'illegal immigrants' today are visa overstayers on school, tourist, and even medical visas - Melania Trump may have been one of them, though her lawyer says otherwise). About 600 miles of 'border wall' exist already: very high in certain locations (e.g., San Diego), lower elsewhere. It's just a silly, offensive, expensive diversion.

The latest flurries of 'abolish ICE' include a broad range of voices. A handful I've spoken with are indeed 'open borders' idealists, but the overwhelming majority favors a profound change in the way ICE operates, moving away from dragnet style mass 'raids' and a bit closer to Kamala Harris's call for reevaluation.

My primary complaint about ICE is that everywhere other than Sanctuary states, ICE gets used strategically. Local businesses tip off ICE to beat rivals, default on payment to subcontractors, conduct egregious wage theft, and in one case in Texas, a husband called ICE to deport his wife when she reported him for battery and rape. The better arguments against ICE in my view match the similar arguments Lincoln made against slavery: one hardworking man has difficulty competing with another hardworking man + coerced labor.

donzelion said...

Tacitus: Oh, one last thing...California probably has more history with 'mass raids' than any other state. Not even Texas did the same level of mass deportation during the Great Depression. Earl Warren (the liberal?!? judge) and his Republican backers perfected the tactic to hold power (reapplying certain lessons for Japanese, who could not be dumped on trains and shipped back to Japan in 1942 for obvious reasons).

Most estimates put the number of forcibly 'depatriated' people during that era at between one to two million people. shaped a large bit of California's current property distribution. Certain well-placed 'developers' certainly made fortunes in that era from choice land 'acquired' at fire sale prices based on threats...

donzelion said...

Daniel Duffy: Gosh, how does one even approach 'cleanup' for mountaintop mines in Appalachia? I cannot even imagine...that strikes me as the Lord's work.

"So you and I both know coal is dead and is never ever coming back."

Coal companies have a tendency to go bankrupt as soon as they're likely to get stuck with liabilities, so I'd assumed Trump's interest in this field was driven by a very close appreciation of how to profit from strategic bankruptcy.

"I get the anger and despair; I’ve seen it up close."
I don't doubt it, but as with many things, I suspect the few employees left (down to what, 50,000 people?) trust their kindly bosses - who used and discarded them - rather than the government.

"Trump played those working people for suckers."
As is soooo damn common.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

Calling people Nazis or Nazi sympathizers will not put Wisconsin and Michigan into the D side of the Electoral College. Rather the opposite. I understand the strategy of rallying the base. It tends to run up vote totals in safe states, which might get the D's the consolation prize called "popular vote" in Presidential years. But at a cost of losing communities that regard this stuff as, I believe the term I used initially was: bilious nonsense.


With all due respect, you're missing my concern. Maybe I'm overly sensitive as a Jew whose parents were alive during WWII, but the rise and normalization of white supremacism, Christianism, and outright out-and-proud Naziism scares the fuck out of me. I'm not making a political calculation when I call that behavior out, nor am I trying to get the Nazis to agree with me. I'm calling on decent Americans to oppose them with all we've got.

I understand that there might be enough support for deplorableness that they can legitimately claim enough power to be in charge. If that's the case, then my only choice is escape or die. But if there's a chance to wake the others up enough to understand what is happening in this country, I'm going to try to wake them. And I will not be dissuaded by the threat that doing so will make the deplorables even more determined than they already are.


Regards open borders, "abolish ICE" (per Ms Ocasio-C. and others) is most of the way there. All candidates, both sides, should be asked to clarify their position on border matters.


"Abolish ICE" is akin to "Abolish the Gestapo." It doesn't mean no law enforcement. It means go back to the days of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which existed into this millennium. We can control immigration without storm troopers.


People of faith did not vote for Trump because of his character but in spite of it. This should be a warning of how deep the discontent with the status quo really runs.


Discontent with the status quo? Or discontent with minorities, women, and liberals? I do take that warning, but I don't see you taking this one--people will apparently vote for white supremacists, misogynists, and Nazis even if they don't subscribe to those notions themselves, because they think that freedom of minorities, women, gay people, and liberals is more of a threat to their way of life than white supremacy, misogyny, and Naziism are.


We can differ a bit on things but near as I can tell every Republican candidate for Pres or VP in the last 20 years has been portrayed as evil and or stupid. The electorate has become numbed to this sort of message.


Have you listened to the demonization of Clinton, Obama, and Clinton-comma-Hillary? Or is portraying the opposition candidate as evil and stupid something that's only ok when Republicans do it?


I have been accused of using the most outrageous statements by Democrats as a marker for where the Party secretly wants to go. I will plead guilty to the charge in exchange for a bit of reflection by others. Ever do this for Republicans?


I'm having trouble coming up with anything Republicans in power actually profess that isn't
deplorable. I mean, they don't even pretend to be fiscal conservatives any more. But if you can throw an example my way of something I should agree with in principle if it were someone else saying it, I'll give it the consideration you are asking for.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter (reprise) :

Calling people Nazis or Nazi sympathizers will not put Wisconsin and Michigan into the D side of the Electoral College. Rather the opposite. I understand the strategy of rallying the base. It tends to run up vote totals in safe states, which might get the D's the consolation prize called "popular vote" in Presidential years. But at a cost of losing communities that regard this stuff as, I believe the term I used initially was: bilious nonsense.


I'm sorry, dude, but if the fact of Naziism isn't bilious nonsense, but only the speaking about it is, then you and those voters are part of the problem.

Larry Hart said...

Tim W (the third) :

As it happens I don't like Donald Trump. Not at all. He does drive the conversation a bit. Because the Presidency is a "bully pulpit" and now occupied by an actual bully.


But you still thank God we dodged the bullet of President Hillary and Justice Merrick Garland, and consider Trump a price worth paying for that. And for that...again...you are part of the problem.

Tim Wolter said...

donzelian

Thank you. I have little disagreement with your take on the border situation. I'm all for increased legal immigration and for humane treatment of people. I'm not sympathetic to the smugglers who profit from the dispair of others....there are no doubt many tragic pictures that AP never takes and puts on the front page of WaPo.

Daniel Duffy, you hit square onto a point that I was considering addressing but got side tracked. There are some rural areas where the economy is not coming back. Mining...always boom and bust. I won't say we will never dig coal but it can't compete with fracking byproduct natural gas. There are some other less dramatic situations. An area dependent on tourism can go bust rather quickly. For farming/ranching areas technology has winnowed the population. This is a non political process. You formerly needed a little town every 8 miles because that was how far a farmer would haul milk in his horse drawn wagon. Each town needed its drug store, school, dry goods, etc. Now with Amazon and John Deere these towns are anachronisms. Sure, some small industry moves out....better workers. And you can virtually work anywhere. So it is seeking an equilibrium.

David, David, David. I straight up admitted that holding up say, Maxine Waters as a D spokespeson was unfair. Plead guilty in fact. I asked only that a bit of introspection was in order. Have for instance, you ever painted Pence as an Apocalypse loving Jim Jones wannabe based on vague association with whatever the heck Dominionists are in your imagination? But heck, let's ask him! And ask everyone running for office equally harsh questions!

Tacitus

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy (orange ya glad I didn't say Tim W?) :

Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” ...They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader?


It's about time one of them figured that out. I've been wondering about it for years. How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

locumranch said...


Daniel_D makes a lot of sense when he asserts that the Red Rural community are dead men walking, but I hear neither sympathy nor empathy when he says "So let the dead bury the dead, time to give birth to something new".

So, where's that infamous & infinite progressive compassion for the poor & unfortunate that I hear so much about?

Oh, yes, Now I remember. Urban progressive sympathy, empathy & financial assistance are only offered to the disadvantaged (by which I mean) the foreign-born, the non-rural & the non-majority identity groups.

The thing is, the Red Rural members of communities like mine agree with Daniel_D:

We agree that we are 'dead men walking'; we know to expect neither compassion nor assistance from our enlightened Blue Urban brethren; and we recognise that we (as dying Red Rural troglytes*) have nothing left to lose by playing nice.

And, now that we've fed you, fueled you & built your City in the Clouds*, and you've gorged yourself silly on our hard-won resources, now taste our spite.

Red Rurals have nothing to lose, we're MAD as Hell, and MAD = Mutually Assured Destruction.


Best
____
*'The Cloud Minders', Star Trek, Season 3, Episode 21, broadcast February 1969.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re the rich fleeing to New Zealand idea

The Cultural Background of NZ is Scottish and Maori (with a dash of English)

Just how does those rich people think that they will be treated if they "break" the world and retreat to NZ? - Long pig anybody?

The Urban/Rural thing boils down to the fact that there are no jobs in the rural areas

When we go to a UBI that problem goes away - ANOTHER advantage of a UBI

donzelion said...

Tacitus: "I'm all for increased legal immigration and for humane treatment of people."
Two of my colleagues (full-time immigration lawyers, rather than my part-time dalliances with the occasional pro bono claim) put it to me this way: the coyotes get paid MUCH more than the lawyers, so don't hesitate to charge even the most impoverished person. But I still can't.

"I asked only that a bit of introspection was in order."
And that is a welcome request.

David Brin said...

Jiminy Tim, did you think through the following, before typing it?

“David, David, David. I straight up admitted that holding up say, Maxine Waters as a D spokespeson was unfair. Plead guilty in fact. I asked only that a bit of introspection was in order. Have for instance, you ever painted Pence as an Apocalypse loving Jim Jones wannabe based on vague association with whatever the heck Dominionists are in your imagination?”

Dig it, I do not defend Maxine Waters, who is a lefty bully flake, who harms dialogue in exactly the ways that you complain about… but primarily because you fox-trained ostriches immediately shout “Yes! ALL Demon crats are like that!”

Your second sentence is astounding? Hell yes I denounce Pence as a right-wing bully flake nutjob, too! There are no levels and no ways in which he is not as bad or vastly worse than Ms. Waters. She at least fights for the disadvantaged while he fights for oligarchy and Putin and openly avows to praying for the End of The World.

Neither of those repulsive people are as important as whether or not they represent their party’s mainstream. Waters does not. Pence is a perfect Venn overlap between the hate-drenched idiocracy and their oligarchy masters. And yes, those two groups utterly, utterly, utterly control the GOP.

You RASACs are at fault. Because you enable them and give them cover.

Daniel D. Thanks for that very moving viewpoint.
In fact, those regions were vastly worse back in the “Hillbilly/Deliverance” era. Combined Roosevelt/TVA interventions and Great Society led to a steep change in life that can be seen in any image of mountain area folks, who moved from grinding poverty to difficult lower middle class. An incomplete job! But a massive improvement…

… that’s now reversing. Only it’s reversing in DIRECT correlation with the sequence of post-reagan reversals of FDR and LBJ.


“We agree that we are 'dead men walking'; we know to expect neither compassion nor assistance from our enlightened Blue Urban brethren…”

You freaking cosmic ingrate liar.

David Brin said...

BTW my wager remains on the table, Tim. Show me where I ever, ever did a "Lucy" on you.

Name an exception to any of the twelve. If even one of them were left standing, then the only conceivable explanation for such uniformity of outcome is deliberate treason.

David Brin said...

onward

onward