Wednesday, October 03, 2018

A long one. Collusion, conspiracy, corruption - and the one absolutely undeniable fact about Donald Trump.

First a quick announcement:  My uplift novel Brightness Reef - beginning to answer your many questions from Startide Rising and The Uplift War - is now on sale at BookBub! And on ebook daily and Bargains. Ideas galore, an awards nominee and Michael Whelan cover, all for just $2.99.

"Refugees from six alien races - including strange "earthlings" -have made their home on the forbidden planet Jijo… but a mysterious starship may soon determine their fate, linking it to chaos in the Five Galaxies."

Now on to a nation and world so weird it might be Serling's The Twilight Zone, or Heinlein's The Crazy Years. This will be a long one, in hope that some of you can use bits as weapons against the madness. 

But action speaks louder than blogs! The most-effective thing you can do in a red or purple state is find a nearby swing district for State Assembly or State Senate and work for that candidate.  It's where the fight is most important. It's where one more volunteer could make a difference and the candidate may remember your name!  And if you live in a deep blue state and district? Well, then seriously. Money. Now.

== The Undeniables ==

Let's put aside for now the furor obsessing everyone else -- the Brett Kavanaugh mess -- which has artfully served the political purposes of Rupert Murdoch and the Fox cabal. As evidenced by a rise in electoral enthusiasm on the far-right base. Terrified of a blue wave, they need that base to come out, bringing vote tallies close enough to tip over with cheating.

You will not win over your mad uncle with arguments about Brett Kavanaugh's youthful crimes or indiscretions, or even last week's smorgasbord of lies, under oath. No, you must turn to facts which are so clear, so self-evident that Fox doesn't even try to come up with magical incantations against them, only distractions.

Call these pure bullets "The Undeniables," in a blatant riff off of the Untouchables. Here's a powerful one:

For a fellow who brags that he is a great judge of people, who “always picks the best,” and who puts loyalty (to him) above all, Donald Trump sure winds up hating on his appointees and staff and counselors

I mean, it’s almost Shakespearean how often he plaintively howls: “I’ve been betrayed!” I would put money that he has been "betrayed" by more appointees and staff in the last year than any ten or twenty presidents in U.S. history, combined. Perhaps all of them, combined.

Now, any one case may be an honest mistake. One or two or three appointees or aides might be suborned by the Deep State, or 'bribed by the Clintons,' or prove unworthy of the "Best!" title that DT hands out like candy. But seriously, even if your MU (mad uncle) adores everything Two Scoops rails at rallies, don't we know by now that he's an awful judge of character? 

Ponder something scary in this context. His "falling in love" with Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin and other dictators, just for having flattered him. 

It's an undeniable.

== Why does nothing change their loyalty? ==

In contrast to DT's appointees, the topmost endearing trait of our conservative neighbors is loyalty. It's handy when you need to borrow a lawnmower or get help against a zombie horde! Alas, they've been coaxed into giving tribal devotion not to the world, the future, their children or America, but to a narrow partisanship that portrays black as always black. White as always white. (And take that as you like.)

As things progress with the Mueller probe - or the Kavanaugh Offshoot - another tactic that sometimes works on a RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican) but not on a mad uncle is: WODI: "What if Obama had Done It?" 

So now Donald Trump tries to order a halt to those investigating him? (As Nixon did.) Imagine the shrieks if Clinton/Obama tried that? Dig this well. Half a billion dollars of mostly our money was spent — across 25 years — investigating them, the most thoroughly probed humans in history. Every document scrutinized, every micro assistant grilled or offered "whistleblower rewards." Half of all subpoenas issued by GOP Congresses were for that futile, desperate search. But Clinton/Obama never demanded the investigations stop.

Okay, you've seen some of this rant before: George Bush diverted federal investigators from anti-terror duties, before 9/11 (which should have been a huge scandal) to sift every federal filing cabinet for some smoking gun. Fox offered lucrative commentator posts. And what did we wind up with? A husband fibbed about some third base adult-consensual infidelity in a hallway... and the wife was caught using exactly the same sort of email system as Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mike Pence, George Bush and Jared Kushner. 

That's... it. Zero indictments or convictions. Zero aides "ratting out."

Compare that to Mueller already filing almost a hundred charges against almost two score individuals with confessions and convictions already piling up. And that leaves out secret meetings with hostile dictators, ongoing acts-of-war against our elections and infrastructure, and top GOP tiers filled with pedophiles, drunken frat-boys, playmate-bribers, casino-mafiosi, kremlin-stooges and monopolists.

Now Fox howls against our 250,000 loyal professionals in the FBI, Intelligence Agencies and US military officer corps, as part of open war against every fact-centered profession. And every national strength that won us the Cold War is being systematically demolished, as if by an enemy occupier.


WODI?

Okay then, shall we switch to MAGA? Ponder the Greatest Generation that defeated Hitler, contained communism, built the great American Middle Class, joined strong unions, broke up monopolies, built strong alliances... and adored FDR. And now comes supporting hard evidence from the Evonomics site. "They Go Together: Freedom, Prosperity, and Big Government: Countries with larger government sectors tend to have more personal freedom."

But worst of all... what a whiner! The U.S. president with a friendly Congress and Court , moans daily that "the government" is after him in order to ... to show the people what's been hidden from them. That's it. "Stop revealing stuff!"

WODI. You wanted a birth certificate? How about you release the tax returns. Better yet, tell the IRS to verify that there's an 'audit'... at all.


== Hiding which foreigners gave $100 million to... the NRA? ==

In this article, Michelle Goldberg ponders the “servility of congressional Republicans before a president many of them hate and believe to be compromised by a foreign power. Yes, I know they’re thrilled about tax cuts and judges. Given how Russia has become a patron of the right globally over the last decade, some Republicans might welcome its intervention into our politics, believing that the Democrats are greater enemies of the Republic. And some are just cowards, afraid of mean tweets or base blowback.

“But that doesn’t explain why, for example, Speaker Paul Ryan, a Russia hawk who is retiring in January, allowed his party to torpedo the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference in the election. Ryan, after all, knows full well who and what Donald Trump is. In a secretly recorded June 2016 conversation about Ukraine, obtained by The Washington Post, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Far from disagreeing, Ryan said, “What’s said in the family stays in the family.” If he were patriotic — or even if he just wanted to set himself up for a comeback should Trump implode — he would have stood up for the rule of law in the Russia inquiry. It’s hard to see what he got in return for choosing not to.”

Goldberg goes on to ponder preliminary evidence for what may have them terrified… that the corruption goes deep, e.g. the House GOP voted to shut down all hearings about  Russia / NRA connections. That same week, the Trump Administration suddenly issued rules allowing the NRA to keep secret their sources of major foreign funding.

“The N.R.A.’s political spending increased by more than $100 million in 2016." Um, are your neighbors even slightly curious where that money came from?

Want more irony? One of the few Republicans going into these matters is George F. Will, syndicated columnist and man whom I call “the worst American.”  Not because he is one of the craven toadies – he’s not. In fact, most of his recent articles are cogent and make excellent ammo for you to use, in peeling away one or two residually sane American conservatives from the  Murdochian treason.


==  They used the left against us… now it’s the right ==

More undeniables. The Kremlin and KGB remain the same, With the same goal, to undermine the western experiment in open-fair-accountable rule of law. This enlightening article compares Moscow's current cozy support of the U.S. radical right to their 1930s subversion via the American far-left. There are no essential differences. Indeed, some of the very same men are using some of the very same methods against us, as they did back when they wore hammer-and-sickle pins and sang the Internationale.

This time, though "it’s not a proletarian revolution. Instead, it’s a kleptocratic coup d’√©tat: The modern Kremlin project seeks to undermine Western democracies, break up the E.U. and NATO, and put corrupt relationships rather than the rule of law at the center of international commerce."

Another excerpt: "Precisely because the analogy is so exact, it’s worth remembering why Golos and his network failed. In large part, it was because the center-left — especially the anti-Soviet wing of the American trade union movement — rejected Soviet-style communism in the United States. It’s also because, in the 1940s and 1950s, the American political establishment, Democratic and Republican, unified around the need to defeat Soviet-style communism in Europe. And it’s because, even in the depths of the Depression, the majority of Americans were never beguiled by the appeal of authoritarianism.'

Indeed, as I point out elsewhere, the most powerfully anti-communist element in the US was the American labor movement... the AFL-CIO etc., which pushed for containment of the USSR, not just isolationism. It was the Greatest Generation - and their favorite living person, FDR - who won the fight against extremism of right and left and led us into the most productive and free era in history.

But back to Anne Applebaum"It’s not at all clear that we are in the same situation now. A wing of the Republican Party is preparing to double down and support the Russian autocracy, which it believes, mistakenly, is “Christian.” While the Pentagon and parts of the bureaucracy — the State Department, the FBI — certainly understand the need to push back in Europe, the White House certainly does not. Which side the Republican Party will end up on is anybody’s guess."

Oh, we are past guessing. It is down to individual Republicans, now. If just one million of them decide to turn away from Rupert Murdoch's raving-traitorous teat and rejoin an advanced, adult, scientific, fact-centered, compassionately practical civilization, then we'll prove we are not lesser men and women than our forebears, but worthy of the title, citizens.

== Hack the voter ==

On his estimable blog site - Stonekettle Station - combat veteran and man of many rural virtues, Jim Wright, powerfully skewers the alt-right, infowars insanities and treasons. For example, from his posting Critical Path:

Information Warfare can, and is, used as a primary warfare area, as powerful or more so than any bomb. I've done it myself in combat. But when used in this manner, as the Russians are using it against us right now, it is a warfare support function. An enhancer. A force multiplier, one that makes other weapons, both kinetic and political, work better.

“You don't need to hack election machines, if you can hack the voter. You don't need to hack democracy if you can hack the citizen. You don't need to physically destroy the United States if you can make Americans distrust the fundamental institutions of their own republic.

“If you show that the election machines are vulnerable before the election and you do so in a manner that is purposely detectable – that you know will be detected and thus reported hysterically to the population by the target’s own media -- then you don't have to hack the actual elections themselves. You only have to show that you can.”

His postings are long but riveting and less frequent than my endless firehose. Jim Wright continues:

You don’t have to destroy America, when Americans are willing to do it for you.

“Now, the most effective countermeasure in this particular example should be obvious. Secure the election. By whatever means necessary secure the election, paper ballots, secure isolated non-networked machines, validated public audits, whatever methodology of validation and integrity is most provable to the population. Instead of closing voting stations, open more. Get citizens to polls. Make it easier for the population to vote, not harder.”

If the Democrats win the House, no other priority should be higher, and we must put fire to the feet of the waffling “human” GOP senators like Collins and Murkowski. 

And if they have any sense, they will expand this by passing my FACT ACT.

Heck, we could do much worse than to have some rambunctious new congress-critter summon, as a vital aide, Jim Wright.

== More than a bit of hypocrisy ==

Those claiming that the president's acknowledged immaturity, narcissism and moral turpitude are "irrelevant" should read these op-eds by Mike Pence, back during the MonicaGate Scandal (so charmingly limited in scope.) Pence wrote:

"If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous. Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms." It’s unclear whether Pence still believes what he wrote in his old essays. Trump is accused of multiple extramarital affairs and coverups with hush money payments. And he was recorded bragging about sexually assaulting women."

You can bet that when ... not if... Pence replaces his boss, he will claim there's no hypocrisy! That he had been merely biding his time and sing hosannas that a decent man is in office! And fools will rush to proclaim relief, unaware that our danger will then multiply a thousand fold.

== After- thoughts ==

Some readers of this web-log send in cogent observations. For example, one of you pointed out: Trump has spent an order of magnitude more of OUR money playing golf than Mueller's investigation has cost so far. And much of that golfing money got funneled back to him because he's charging us to have his security detail and entourage stay at properties he owns. The levels of corruption and graft are staggering.”

Another made a cogent observation about the recent Helsinki summit.  “In meeting Putin, Trump did not act in the capacity as a private person, but rather as the official representative of the United States (all expenses paid by U.S citizens). Then why do we not have an official record of the meeting? No president since Washington ever made ‘agreements’ with a foreign power, let alone a hostile one, without some transparency, records, and involvement by skilled professionals.”

Well, I can think of one time. Though Ronald Reagan was not yet president when he secretly agreed with the Ayatollahs to keep Americans hostage till he was elected and inaugurated.

The whole trend on the right is toward Private Armies. Blackwater and so on. And any U.S. conservative who has not noticed all this and realized where it leads, should consider carefully. 


With the greatest leader above them,
people barely know one exists.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When a leader trusts no one,
no one trusts him.
The great leader speaks little.
He never speaks carelessly.
He works without self-interest
and leaves no trace.
When all is finished, the people say
“We did it ourselves.”

Lao-tzu


Tao Te Ching


101 comments:

donzelion said...

Hmmm, before the jump, I noticed this comment from our host:

“Dr. Brin: I simply review how the Supreme Court interprets the Constituion.”
"No, you did NOT do that"
Actually I did; even cited two cases.

"Again, the House can vote, en masse to validate 435 separate subpoenas and that is NOT delegation of authority."
Indeed, that would not be a delegation of authority, but simply wielding the same authority they've possessed for at least 200 years. In essence, this portion of the 'FACT Act' would not be a 'law,' but a mere 'gentleman's agreement' - 'I propose 1 subpoena, you propose 1 subpoena, and we promise we will support each other later on with a vote to enforce those subpoenas.' Absent some overriding change to the culture of the representatives, I cannot see how that will change the balance of power between the majority and minority in any meaningful way. Legislating that the reps will all agree and cooperate is...a bit naive.

Alfred Differ said...

From last time, I'll hold off voicing more Tesla opinions and just point out that I appreciate skepticism. I may not like to think of myself this way, but I'm one of the small guys that can be fleeced. As long as I'm not protected so thoroughly that my willingness to risk can't be used to help this civilization advance, I'm inclined to let the skeptics be and see what they point out.

As for raito…. 8)

I respect your strong disagreement and distrust of those who you think would be the new robber barons. You could easily be correct about some of them, so I'll listen. However, your argument boils down to this as far as I can tell.

My new lords, instead of trying to own me this time, seek to control me by serving me. By owning the services I consume, they would control me.

That's an odd form of peasantry. For services where I have no real choice but to consume, I can see the ownership. For voluntary services, though, I'm not sure I do.


There really aren't too many software companies anymore.

I'm including companies that figure out how to make cognition fungible. It's not that I buy shrink wrapped software from them. It's that I buy computation time on their algorithms, databases, and expert systems. If they build those things, they are essentially the software company behind them. The hardware is just a means of delivery for the service.

Your examples are rent-seekers. But modern, technological rent-seekers.

No. I disagree. Not even close unless they can successfully prevent others from competing. Ownership of land effectively blocks others from deriving income from it without paying the owner for the right. Ownership of an algorithm or expert system does not. Patents and copyrights make it difficult to compete during the first two acts of the play, but not impossible. The curtain rises on the second act precisely when the competitors find a way to do something close enough to get around these protections without legal consequences. It rises on the third act when those services are practically commoditized.

I agree that IBM was probably the first real attempt at what you describe, but it didn't work out for them. They held power for a while and then computers got commoditized. Their Unix variant which they tried an Act II trick with got crushed years later like all the others when it too was commoditized.

Microsoft tried too? Sure. Didn't work forever, though. They were often an Act II player and tried to use their muscle to prevent Act III. Didn't work in the long run. Now they've had to buy GitHub.

Google? Amazon? Apple? The same can happen to them. Trillion dollar market caps are going to look quaint 30 years from now.


Okay. Worry about them being the new robber barons if you like, but I think it will be more likely they will be corpses in a generation and you'll have some other giant entities over which to worry. I'm not going to worry too much, though, unless Act III can be stopped. When I'm most inclined to think like a libertarian about gun freedoms it isn't about criminals or politicians. It's about people trying to stop Act III of the innovation process. Some of the robber barons DID try and got what they deserved. If you think any particular person today is succeeding, point them out. I'll look where you point and listen, but not to more generalized concerns.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Legislating that the reps will all agree and cooperate is...a bit naive.

I think that's already been tested, hasn't it? One Congress cannot bind the next except through the Constitution which requires the obvious support of the States.

Robert said...

So, Dr. Brin, looking back to your final comment in the previous thread about Yoda...

I take it then you feel Darth Vader was never redeemed and that there is no redemption from the Dark Side, that Luke was in fact mistaken for ever trying to call out to the Light Side he said he sensed in his father? Because you are stating that Yoda cannot have learned from his past mistakes. You are saying his sending the Jedi in on a "suicide charge" with him having the cavalry 5 minutes out forever cast him as a villain of absolute no redemption.

In short, you are saying "the leopard cannot change its spots."

Why are you trying to get moderate Republicans to give up on the Grand Old Party then? Why try to ever change anyone's mind?

Rob H.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Robert
One of the most corrosive thing that I know of is this idea that you can be a monster and do monstrous things but if you "say sorry" just before you die you are redeemed

Nonsense - you CAN redeem yourself by putting things right and acting as an anti-monster but just saying "I'm sorry" does not cut it

Yoda does NOT say he is sorry
He does not even do the bit before that saying that he was wrong

The GOP equivalent of Yoda and Vader are NOT redeemable
But the GOP equivalent of the stormtroopers ARE

Tim Wolter said...

The FBI "investigation" - really more of a background check update - apparently is finished and Kavanaugh's appointment seems ready to go to a vote in the near future.

I'm up early, so the predictable cycle has not fully revved up.

There will be leaks, there will be comments favorable and unfavorable about the nominee, there will be complaints that the inquiry did not even use the full week allotted to it. Sham, whitewash, political pressure on the FBI. Why watch the news, I've just given it to you.

And at the end what do we have?

Dr. Ford seems quite certain of her story, and most people feel that something happened. One of the few bits of data not entirely scrubbed from her past is her high school yearbook. It is approximately as embarrassing as Kavanaugh's and suggests that in her school there was an atmosphere of drinking, minimal supervision and entitlement. This is the world they both lived in and bad things happened there.

But as to Kavanaugh being involved there is certainly reasonable doubt. And it is unlikely that the FBI had anything new to add.

Really her testimony, compelling as it was, was insufficient without two other elements.

The polygraph. If you've looked at the released info on this you should be properly skeptical. Scribbled hand written notes with many corrections, the sum total of the questions ask being "Is this true? Did you make stuff up?". Laughable. Even without looking at political bias of the examiner. If you'd been charged with something based on this you would be rightfully indignant.

And the other allegations. Ever more heinous, up to and including gang rape. Of course those making them tried to hide in anonymity or were very heavily coached to not step directly onto legal land mines. And also of course they are falling apart. The guy from Rhode Island who said Judge and Kavanaugh raped a woman on a boat admits he made it up. The woman who said K regularly drugged women for gang rape dials it back and says she saw him serving punch in red cups.

What will be remembered will be the esteemed Senator from Rhode Island quizzing a distinguished legal mind about flatulence.

LarryHart, with whom I sometimes disagree politically, said two very salient things in a recent political thread.

1. Desperate people with no other means to fight will do desperate things. I think there was also a quote to this effect early in The Postman.
2. It is on rare occasion acceptable to lie for a greater good. Larry meant something like "Nein, keine Juden hier drin", but there no doubt are those who feel Roe vs Wade, or the 2018 mid terms, or whatever, rise to that level.

This ends badly for the Democrats*. We don't all have similar views. We do all have fathers, sons, brothers....and if this standard of political lynch mob tactics was allowed to stand no man, and soon no woman either, would be immune to it.

A while back I was hoping that the D's would get their act together. Sketchy porn lawyers, fear of flying (but ok to Tahiti), and the rest of this tawdry circus. I'm still waiting Dems.

Tacitus

*asterisk because in this day and age who really knows a damn thing about where our politics is headed!

Larry Hart said...

Diverting with a bit of levity...

I apologize but I don't remember who it was on this list who introduced me to the blackfeller defense. I got some mileage out of that one last night--even getting a rare guffaw out of my wife--by noting that we now have the perfect defense when neighbors complain about our cats chasing rabbits in their back yards:

"That wasn't our cat. It must've been some black cat who looked like him."

Robert said...

Just a question to our host. Did you use the Ursula K. le Guin translation of Lao Tzu?

Bob Pfeiffer.

Larry Hart said...

From the previous thread,
Anonymous:

Perhaps something could be written for Star Wars with Darth Vader as the hero?


Wasn't that Return of the Jedi?

Robert said...

Tacitus, I'd accept your comment about the person backtracking on a rape allegation if it weren't for the fact there are Trump supporters who are doxing people who have legitimate allegations against Trump and then sending death threats complete with photographs of where the person lives, leaving them in fear of their lives. If I were to claim I went to college and noticed Kavanaugh standing around and watching as some drunk girl were raped and laughing about it, and then had someone posting my picture, address, and comments on how flammable my house was and the choke points which would be easy to cover if someone just so happened to want to pick off people escaping a burning house... I might turn around and say "Oh hey, I wasn't serious!"

That there is no outcry among Republicans about this sort of behavior is very suspect. That Trump or other Republican leadership hasn't openly pulled a McCain and stated "our opponents on the bench are just as American as we are but just differ in opinion, and we don't go around threatening death to fellow Americans" is an utter tragedy. This is the behavior of an authoritarian regime. Given that Trump is even openly wishing his administration was more like the North Korean and Russian regimes?

< tongue-in-cheek > I'm almost surprised Trump hasn't tried having political opponents arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay as terrorists and "promised information proving this" at a later date that never comes. And hey, he could then quickly push a law stating "political protest is a federal crime" and round up the huge number of Democratic protesters, send them to private slave prisons, and have all the free workers his buddies ever wanted. < /tongue-in-cheek >

Though the problem with political satire these days with Trump is that often he ends up having it be political fact. And my tongue is definitely not in cheek at this moment.

Rob H.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

I would put money that he has been "betrayed" by more appointees and staff in the last year than any ten or twenty presidents in U.S. history, combined. Perhaps all of them, combined.


I hope you meant the irony intentionally--that Trump's favorite line is how anything he does is "The biggest...in history!" It's wryly amusing the times that characterization actually turns out to be true, usually not concerning something he's actually bragging about.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

LarryHart, with whom I sometimes disagree politically, said two very salient things in a recent political thread.

1. Desperate people with no other means to fight will do desperate things. I think there was also a quote to this effect early in The Postman.
2. It is on rare occasion acceptable to lie for a greater good. Larry meant something like "Nein, keine Juden hier drin", but there no doubt are those who feel Roe vs Wade, or the 2018 mid terms, or whatever, rise to that level.


You seem to consider the Republicans as the "desperate people with no other means to fight" despite them owning three branches of the federal government and most of the states. For that desperation, you're willing to give them Mulligan after Mulligan that you somehow are not willing to give liberals who really are in a desperate fight for the future.

I appreciate you keeping things civil between us, and I hope I am doing the same. But I'm continually amazed that we see and hear the same things and interpret them so diametrically opposite.

David Brin said...

Crum it is like arguing with a wall. donzelion clearly understands, at last, how his delegation argument is utterly irrelevant. But even when he paraphrases the proposal exactly, he cannot bring himself to admit that's how almost all internal House procedures work. Almost all of them are "gentlemens agreements."

And yes, there are no Republican gentlemen anymore among the GOP political caste. If the Dems use their majority to institute personal subpoenas, republican members will eagerly use theirs -- then try NOT to reciprocate when they are majority again. At which point it is up to us to punish them. Dig it... this is a sharp play for the high moral ground! A level of fairness that even Fox cannot spin.

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

I should have been more clear. No, I meant that the Democratic minority has few tools to use in this political fight.

And desperate people do desperate things. As their defeat seems increasingly likely they start to glance towards the shuttered bunkers that contain the nerve gas and anthrax....

For all the peculiar characterization of Republicans as Confederates lets recall that Robert E. Lee surrendered with grace and specifically discouraged ongoing guerrilla warfare.

Tacitus/TW



Robert said...

You underestimate the ability of Fox viewers to accept lies as truths.

If Democrats offered such a system and then Republicans got back in control they would keep it but for the Majority Party only and state "the system was convoluted and caused too much work previously, we're making government more efficient!" and "Democrats are just whiners!" and the Republican base would nod eagerly and agree fully.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Tim, sorry man, but bullshit. This is about Kavanaugh’s PRESENT CHARACTER. He is a man who:

- Howls partisan hatred for half the country.

- Lied under oath about things he didn’t even have to lie about, like definitions of slang terms. He… lied… under… oath repeatedly.

- He could have said “Dr. Ford mistakes me for someone else,” and then proceeded to say he’s ashamed of the outrageous thug/bully/lout that he was, back then, and he understands why Dr. Ford made the category error of assuming her attacker was him. A noble, decent man would not have tried to DEFEND that lout, but would have spent the last 30 years making up for it.

- 36 years is a spacer for forgiveness if you have clearly TRIED to be a different person. Barring that, the presumption is that he is the same privileged, entitled, drunken-racist frat-boy lout… Republican annointed royalty with plenty of blackmail in the can for Murdoch etc to keep him in line.

-Cripes, you’re not even curious about the mysteriously disappearing gambling debts? The howls of partisan hate don’t bother you? YOU DON’T THINK THERE ARE GROWNUP CONSERVATIVE JURISTS out there who would have reassured us with calm maturity? Can any of your rightist friends even squint and imagine what that would look like, anymore?

A.F. Rey said...

And the other allegations. Ever more heinous, up to and including gang rape. Of course those making them tried to hide in anonymity or were very heavily coached to not step directly onto legal land mines. And also of course they are falling apart. The guy from Rhode Island who said Judge and Kavanaugh raped a woman on a boat admits he made it up. The woman who said K regularly drugged women for gang rape dials it back and says she saw him serving punch in red cups.

So you've heard, from Alex Jones, or the "lying" New York Times. ;)

This is why Democrats were calling for investigation by the FBI. To make sure these people were actually lying, and that there are no other charges that could be substantiated. To do another polygraph test on Dr. Ford. To have an impartial observer look under the rocks, and not rely on biased reporting.

Because of their resistance to this, it will end badly for the Republicans.*

*Utilizing your own asterisk. :)

David Brin said...

Ironically, Tim, YOU are an example of someone who... if sitting at that hearing... would have reassured the nation that you would put us and the law first. Try looking in a mirror, son. What's looking back at you is not a pirate, it is a decent grownup, though a desperately rationalizing one. Ask yourself... why didn't Trump appoint someone like this?

You know damned well why.

As for "Beware for your sons!!!" In fact I agree. My wife, the mother of sons, has expressed awareness that their peril has risen... up toward 1% that all girls have faced for 100,000 years.

We need to call on all the feminists to gather a conference and help parse this out! What they did to Al Franken was beyond idiotic. There should be sliding scales of time, seriousness, criminality, proof, contrition and so on... versus what's at stake... with prison demanding "beyond reasonable doubt." But getting a job of supreme power demanding spotlessness.

And if spotlessness requires a full YEAR of background checks in the public glare? Then fine. Or else... nominate a woman.

I have a scenario in which it will be Collins or Murkowski.

David Brin said...

Robert, a Catholic would redeem Vader from hell, for one final act of contrition.

A Jew would demand he work to fix the damage he had done, in this world, but there’s no hell.

A Buddhist or Hindu would say: “My that’s a shitload of karma you heaped on yourself. I hope your next life as a toad will start you upward again.”

Any decent person would say, “fine, enjoy your reunion with the son you saved. You can’t fix anything though, so please kiss Luke goodbye and die already. And I’m going to make damned sure that there are no statues to you, or movies in your honor, and your name will be an example to be shat upon, forever. And Yoda too.”

“You are saying his sending the Jedi in on a "suicide charge" with him having the cavalry 5 minutes out forever cast him as a villain of absolute no redemption.”

You really insist on condensing my book and long list of the little rat’s crimes down to one item? There are dozens. Literally dozens. Don’t try to put any burden of proof on me, when you cannot name a single “wise” or “good” thing the nasty oven mitt did, while alive.

reason said...

Tim you can't really be serious with one of the witnesses (perhaps even an agent provaceour) was lying, so they are all lying. Oh come on, that is desperate.

David Brin said...

Kavanaugh gave a speech at his alma mater recently, as a judge, that "What happens at GP stays at GP, and we're all better off for that." And with a knowing grin.

Crap on all thought that he's 'changed'! That was not the plea of a changed and mature man, who might have said: "Even here in this over-privileged place, you should not be boors. Learn from my mistakes and try to be men, like those who at 17 fought and died for liberty, and and NOT drunken louts."

A decent, noble man might have said that, showing contrition and maturity that would earn forgiveness even if Dr. Ford told exactly the truth. This is not a decent noble man. And YOU, Tim, owe it to your own decency to demand, loudly, that we be given someone else.

Tim Wolter said...

Oh, I figured that would get people riled up. Not that I do so just for fun, but this is a debate that is going on nationwide. I can only spare one answer for each of you, two for our Genial Host.

Robert. Not sure where you are going. I don't watch Fox news and therefore have no comment on it.

David. A man falsely accused of the most despicable crimes - assuming he is innocent - gets some leeway regards being angry. I may think he went a bit far and you may think it was way too far. It is not a reflection on his legal scholarship nor perhaps on his actual personality under any non surreal circumstances.

AF Rey. Can't say I've ever read any Alex Jones. I occas read such NYT stuff as is not behind paywall. Another polygraph on Ford, one or more on Kavanaugh....ok. But they are not perfect. A one year background check? After six prior checks? Do you assume the FBI is so incompetent that they missed all hints of this times one through five? Well, maybe...

David again: "Try looking in a mirror, son". Perhaps a subconcious segue from thinking about your own offspring. If so, I am flattered. If not, and you are being literal, I know our approximate relative ages. Were the matter at hand less serious I would aim for levity and demand that you defend yourself against the charge of fathering a - very handsome btw - baby with your kindergarten teacher!

Reason: I sometimes don't clarify as well as I should. I believe there is something at the heart of Dr. Ford's accusation. The evidence that it happened as she said it did is minimal. As a pattern of such behaviour would be strong supporting evidence there had to be multiple accusers. Such materialized. Most are being found to be, well, the word I would like to use is fraudulent but that might be too harsh. Far fetched perhaps.

If you think the same sort of scorched earth tactics would not be deployed against a conservative woman I would beg to differ.

Anyway, this is my take on the situation. One I suspect is held widely by not just Republicans but by Independents such as myself.

Tacitus
and no, I can't say how this all plays out.

reason said...

Anger doesn't excuse dishonesty.

Larry Hart said...

Why the f*** are there conservative judges and liberal judges anyway?

Does major league baseball have pro-Cubs umpires and pro-Brewers umpires wity 5-4 votes deciding each play? The very notion is ludicrous. I understand the underlying politics as to how we got here, but the current situation is a problem to be solved, not a shining example of American exceptionalism.

Larry Hart said...

@Tim Wolter,

I hope you'll take an honest look at this linked article:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Oct04.html#item-2

I can't do it justice without the accompanying pictures, but...


...

Another claim against Ford, this one even more dubious, is that she perjured herself at a different point in the proceedings, namely at the very beginning when she introduced herself as a psychologist. The argument is that, since she is not licensed to practice in her home state, that was a lie. This particular line of attack has spread far and wide, though it's a particular favorite of alt-right provocateur/troll Milo Yiannopoulos and of InfoWars. Which, in the end, kind of tells you everything you need to know. All that Milo and Alex had to do was check with literally anyone who teaches at any university in the country, and that person could have confirmed for them that someone who has a Ph.D. degree in psychology (as Ford does), and who conducts research in an academic context (as Ford does), is as much entitled to call themselves a psychologist as a clinical psychologist is. There is nothing illegal, dishonest, or unethical about it.

And finally, the really wild line of attack is unfolding mostly on Twitter, where opponents of Ford have been sharing photographs of her with pretty much every prominent Democrat in the country, ostensibly proving that she's a Democratic operative. For example, with Bill Clinton:
...
Or, with George Soros:
...
Whoever came up with these apparently wasn't even trying. As anyone who looks at the images will quickly notice, neither of these women is Ford, and neither of them even looks remotely like her. The person with Clinton is actually Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), while the person with Soros is Ukrainian activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

...

David Brin said...

No Tim: "David. A man falsely accused of the most despicable crimes - assuming he is innocent - gets some leeway regards being angry."

Abso freaking lutely wrong, top to bottom. These are the times that test mens' soul. And I guarantee Tm/Tac would NOT have behaved that way, but with puzzled sympathy for Dr. Ford, while insisting she is mistaken in ID'ing the assailant, and admitting his reputation back in the day may have been the reason.

But you utterly ignored absolutely every single thing that I said. Clearly you skimmed with a desperate need to cling to a story. It saddens me that you did not read, understand and answer point by point.

Your notion that dems are using scorched earth, when every single spade that's turned in this guy's past turns up HIS relentless burn marks against decency, is utterly laughable. TEST IT! Ask for a nominee who hasn't a record of utter partisanship plus drunken boorishness and perjury.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tim

This guy is a JUDGE - and is going for the highest possible rank of Judge

I believe that it is appropriate to expect "Judgelike" behaviour from him even under stress

The way that we test things before they go out into the field is by loading them beyond the maximum that they are expected to see - I'm afraid he failed the stress test - badly

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

I read the article. That site runs an honest game with their electoral musings. It has gotten a bit more opinion based in its commentary of late, but hey, free country. I had not addressed the specific matter being discussed i.e. prior familiarity with polygraphs. There is not a lot of data to work with here. The erasure of social media records for instance looks like pro quality work. I have seen a couple of papers that appear to have Ford as a coauthor, one dealt with false memories and such. But she may have been a statistician on some of these. She also did work for a company that made RU485, so an affinity for the ProChoice side of the spectrum might be inferred. Again, free country.

I don't feel the allegations rise to the level of disqualification. Per a recent poll (from that right wing outfit Harvard) 60% of those surveyed said that K should be voted in if the FBI did not find corroborating evidence.

Given an environment where 40% of the populace is always hopping mad on a partisan basis, that's as close to consensus as we'll get.

Speaking of polls, several close Senate races look to be tipping red this week, presumably over this issue. Honestly, the Dems should get out of this mess while they still can.

Oh, and remind me. Which Democrats have had Ricin mailed to them this week? And which of same have had their home addresses "doxxed". I may have missed a few bits of news in a busy week.

Tacitus

Zepp Jamieson said...

Tim: There's howling nuts on both sides. The FBI just arrested a heavily-armed clown today for making threats on Facebook to kill Senators who didn't vote for "kav". I'm guessing he'll spend the next twenty years watching shadows on his Kav wall...

Zepp Jamieson said...

I see former Justice Stevens said last night that Kavanaugh's deportment before the committee should be enough to disqualify him from being on the Court. I don't think there's ever been a time before in US history where a Justice, sitting or retired, has commented on the fitness or lack thereof of a nominee.

Zepp Jamieson said...

One element of wny Republicans (Lindsey Graham in particular) are so servile toward Trump is because Trump IS close to Putin, admires him, and makes use of Putin's favorite Russian political strategy--compromat. Get something on your opponents, and blackmail them until their eyes bleed. A lot of people think Putin did that to Trump. I'm one of them. It's exactly the sort of tactic the nihilistic Trump would admire and emulate.

Larry Hart said...

From the sound of things on Norman Goldman's radio show, Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Flake seem to be on board with Kavanaugh now, having let the FBI's non-vestigation reassure them that that monster belongs on the highest court in the land.

#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

What Republicans don't realize is...well, one of the few good points Ayn Rand actually made was in The Fountainhead when Peter Keating realizes that when you praise the genius of Gus Webb, you don't elevate Gus Webb so much as you spit on the very concept of "genius". Likewise, when you put Doug Neidermeier on the supreme court, you don't so much elevate the frat boy as you degrade the very concept of what the Supreme Court is supposed to be.

We're close to having three illegitimate branches of government now, and it's time to misquote Michelle Obama again, "I have never been less proud of my country as I am today." Not only that, but they've ruined Charles Harness's short story "Probably Cause" and the musical Hamilton for me now. Bastards!

Zepp Jamieson said...

Also, all due respect, Doctor, but could you tell us why we would want to run out and buy a copy of "Brightness Reef"? I bought a hardback in the 1990s, and it's still a part of my personal library. Why would I need a second one?

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

That site [ electoral-vote.com ] runs an honest game with their electoral musings. It has gotten a bit more opinion based in its commentary of late,


Strictly since the 2016 election. You may see that as evidence of partisanship, but I followed them back in the W Bush days, and they always tried to sound like journalists, plus they went dark during the months between major elections. That they post every day and can't resist satire is (to me) evidence of something wrong with the political scene, not with them.


I don't feel the allegations rise to the level of disqualification.


I think Kavanaugh's conduct at the hearing outed him as a partisan stooge who doesn't belong in the job he currently holds, let alone a seat on the supreme court. Attempted rape isn't even the issue any more.

Look, you know how bad it is when Trump is accused of some sexual antic, and he doesn't deny it, but just says how it hasn't been proven? Just the fact that everyone considers it likely that he did something like that is a bad thing in a president. Likewise, Kavanaugh's defenders can only say that the accusations haven't been proven, not that they can't imagine him doing something of that kind. Kavanaugh himself seems to think he might have done something he can't remember--he just doesn't care. That's a bad look for the supreme court. It was 35 years ago? I'll grant you that, but the perjury was much more recent, and not all of it after these sex allegations either. He lied about his work in the Bush administration. He should be impeached from his present position, let alone the supreme court seat.

Per a recent poll (from that right wing outfit Harvard) 60% of those surveyed said that K should be voted in if the FBI did not find corroborating evidence.


I'm sure they thought the FBI would actually look for corroborating evidence.


Speaking of polls, several close Senate races look to be tipping red this week, presumably over this issue. Honestly, the Dems should get out of this mess while they still can.


You may be right because Democrats don't vote in off years. Still, if women get angry enough, you might be surprised. And have you looked at House polling yet?


Oh, and remind me. Which Democrats have had Ricin mailed to them this week? And which of same have had their home addresses "doxxed". I may have missed a few bits of news in a busy week.


Someone else mentioned doxxing--I'm not up on that issue. I'm not sure what you're talking about with the ricin. Are you saying that's a tactic that liberals use against Republicans, or that since Republicans haven't yet unleashed that particular arrow from their qivver against Democrats, it proves they're being civilized? Because the only famous people I remember having chemical weapons mailed to them were Democrats Tom Daschle and Pat Leahy.

Larry Hart said...

Sorry, I always mess up the Ayn Rand bit I'm referring to above. It wasn't Gus Webb, but Gordon Prescott.

Here's the actual text:


> He had given up trying to understand. He knew dimly that the
> explanation of the change swallowing the world was of a nature
> he preferred not to know. In his youth, he had felt an amicable
> contempt for the works of Guy Francon or Ralston Holcombe, and
> emulating them had seemed no more than innocent quackery. But
> he knew that Gordon L. Prescott and Gus Webb represented so
> impertinent, so viscious a fraud that to suspend the evidence of
> his eyes was beyond his elastic capacity. He had believed that
> people found greatness in Holcombe, and there had been reasonable
> satisfaction in borrowing his borrowed greatness. He knew that
> no one saw anything whatsoever in Prescott. He felt something dark
> and leering in the manner in which people spoke of Prescott's
> genius; as if they were not doing homage to Prescott, but spitting
> upon genius. For once, Keating could not follow people. It was
> too clear, even to him, that public favor had ceased being a
> recognition of merit, that it had become almost a brand of shame.

Larry Hart said...

Likewise (above), the Republicans are not doing homage to Kavanaugh, but spitting upon the supreme court.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

But she may have been a statistician on some of these. She also did work for a company that made RU485, so an affinity for the ProChoice side of the spectrum might be inferred. Again, free country.


I don't remember you likewise dismissing Al Franken's accuser as a partisan Republican, even though she is one. Now that we know that, what do we know?

David Brin said...

What stunning malarkey about the ricin. Utter jerkitude. The ones sending assasination teams around the world - Putin and Kim -- are DT's lovebirds and darlings of Fox

===

Here's my more carefully wrought argument re the Kavanaugh mess. And Tim, know that unless you clearly actually READ and understand and even paraphrase these points, I'll not be remotely interested in your reflexive kneejerk platitudes. They are not "responses."

==
It's a trap to make the Kavanaugh thing about he-said, she-said. That's political sumo - grunting/pushing - and Fox is good at it, riling up their base with resentment of a 'lynching.' Sen. Feinstein did better, pointing out that rules of evidence are much looser in a 'job interview' for an august post than in a criminal trial. For SCOTUS we deserve someone blemish-free. And that will lead to my final point, below.

In fact, several BK stains are absolutely proved! And while Dr. Ford's allegations should be searing hot in our minds, TACTICALLY the following points are judo-precise and disqualifying.

1) Perjury. Repeatedly, at least 12x last week, Judge Kavanaugh lied under oath. Some of the matters were minor, like definitions of "boofing" and "Devil's Triangle," but they were demonstrable knowing lies, proved by many references he made to them, in the past. Others were more serious, relating to witness tampering. Anyway, a lie-under-oath is a lethal crime, as declared by Ken Starr's top guy against Bill Clinton - Brett Kavanaugh.

2) Livid, histrionic partisanship, openly declared under oath, along with vows of revenge against half the country... all consistent with an adult life spent as a oligarchy attack dog. This is inarguable. Appalling. And it should not be normalized.

But the biggest thing about this mess was that Republicans seem no longer able to tell what an adult behaves like. Had this nominee been a grownup person of rectitude and noble bearing, he would have defended himself as follows: _“While I take Dr. Ford at her word that something atrocious and vile happened to her one night in the Georgetown Prep party scene, I assert that she mistakes me for someone else.”_

He would then proceed to say that he’s ashamed of the outrageous thug/frat-bully/drunk that he was, back then, and he understands, given his own reputation in those days, how Dr. Ford made the category error of assuming her attacker was him. (Again, I am relating what a man with brains and self-control would have said, true or not, so don't leap on me for conveying a character interpolation. It's my job!)

A man with any sense of -- or at least an ear-for -- decency would not have tried to DEFEND that earlier lout, but would have spent the last 30 years making up for it. Character CAN change across decades! But it's not frequent and bears some burden of proof.

which brings us to proved fact #3...

David Brin said...


Which brings us to proved fact number three:

3) Appearing as a judge and honored alumnus, Brett Kavanaugh recently gave a speech at his alma mater, declaring that "What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.” Then, with a knowing grin and wink, he added “We're all better off for that."

Crum. That was not the plea of a changed and mature man, who might instead have said: "Even here in this over-privileged place, you should not be boors. Learn from my mistakes and try to be men, like those who left this place as volunteers, at 17, to fight and die for liberty.”

But that wasn’t his thing. Instead of showing us he has changed, every single short-fused raging and tantrum and sly wink reveals that the character traits he showed at 17, and at Yale, were indelible marks of persistent character. And any Republican senator should simply send a message to Donald Trump: “Send us someone else.”

What? You don’t have a deep bench of decent-grownup conservative jurists to call upon? Seriously? Heck, Sens. Collins and Murkowski would sail right through. Any Republican should feel the implicit insult. 'This is our best?'

https://www.ft.com/content/875b77fa-c163-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89a

David Brin said...

Someone wrote to me on FB: "He was a freaking law clerk before being appointed by W to a lifetime appointment. A guy who never tried a case, never defended anyone and didn't come up via the judical branch as a judge but was just gifted with an lifetime appointment for being such a good and visious attack dog by the GOP. Sad state of affairs."

Alfred Differ said...

Tacitus | I've seen the sneer posts elsewhere regarding Dr Ford's academic work. I usually just ask if they've read them like I do when people try to use that trick (on both sides) regarding climate science. The answer is almost always 'No' which makes the posts mere rationalizations.

As for doing work for a company that made RU-485, that too is likely to be selection bias in search of rationalizations. In a rush, we all tend to do that. When the rush is artificially created, it is inexcusable. For example, what was the nature of her work? Takes time to know. Innovation? Quality control? Side effect analysis? It matters if one cares to avoid rationalizations.

Larry Hart said...

Is there anyone here who thinks that OJ Simpson didn't kill Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown, despite his being found not guilty in a court of law? I didn't think so.

Likewise, I don't see anyone who doesn't think Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge sexually assaulted a girl at a party in 1982. What his defenders think is that such things shouldn't disqualify him from sitting on the supreme court, or that the allegations haven't been proven by an agency whose salary apparently depends on them not proving them. It's like the Dave Sim defenders who insist that Dave not be called a sexist, not because he isn't one, but because calling him one hurts his image, and we can't have that.

Tim Wolter said...

Alfred
You make a good point, and I tried to be fair about what little of Dr. Ford's work I have looked at. When you are a single name in a pack of authors it is hard to say much more than that.

Larry
I don't think Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge sexually assaulted a girl at a party in 1982. There, now you have seen someone say it.

David
I don't know what to say to you. You appear to be drifting so far out of the political mainstream that I sense you are becoming irrelevant.

Tacitus

Jon S. said...

Actually, Larry, my familiarity with L.A. traffic leads me to conclude that the case against Simpson was most certainly not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It just isn't reasonable to suppose that, having a scheduled limo pickup to go film a TV commercial (his primary source of income at the time), he would take the risk of driving across that much of the LA basin on the off-chance that his ex-wife might come outside and let him kill her. (Evidence at the time, in fact, indicated that her plans for the evening involved a warm bath and a pint of Haagen-Dazs, and if it hadn't been for Goldman returning the glasses she had inadvertently left at the restaurant earlier, nothing untoward would have occurred that night.)

In short, yes, Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered, and quite viciously at that - but the prosecution's case had holes you could drive a Bronco through.

As for Kavanaugh and Judge, I don't have evidence on them one way or the other, but Kavanaugh's behavior leads me to believe that he shouldn't be placed in charge of judging a pie-eating contest, much less a criminal case, and far less the cases that make it to the Supreme Court.

David Brin said...

Tim says two separate things. "I don't know what to say to you." Yes, that's clear. I have presented you with three spectacularly proved facts that alone - without believing a word of Dr. Ford - render this an obscenity appointment.. You could paraphrase my assertions and then say "I don't agree." Ideally with evidence that they aren't 'proved."

Instead you give us " You appear to be drifting so far out of the political mainstream that I sense you are becoming irrelevant."

An absurd generality-assertion of the sort we get now from all conservatives, even sane ones like you and John Mauldin.

Show me my extreme views? If the GOP goes to well-deserved extinction and the Democratic Party then splits in two (as it always does), which wing do you think I'd be in? With raving Social Justice Warriors and socialists?

Seriously? I, who was extolling Adam Smith long before his current rediscovery on market liberal sites?

Envision that Democratic Party split, with sane GOP refugees picking either one of them or irrelevance. Squint and picture the resulting moderate party, committed to fiscal prudence and defense and filled with nearly all the "deep state" professionals and most scientists. Yes, the left-dems and the mod dems would agree on a lot! Transparency, especially by PACS and all political spending. Expansion of Medicare to include everyone under 25. An end to tax giveaways to the oligarchy and fully staffing the IRS. End to gerrymandering and all the other cheats. Background checks. Science. Admitting we should have policy against climate disaster. Grownup judges. There's a long list.

And a long list of differences! Solid borders. Well-funded military. Envision what YOU think the GOP should be about. Haven't they betrayed absolutely every single thing on your list? But the mod-dem blue-dog party you envision would be every single thing you want. It would be "mainstream."

In contrast, you are siding with folks waging war on every fact profession. And you talk to me about political drift?

Try answering my Kavanaugh points. Actually answering.

David Brin said...

Jon S. The case against OJ was proved. But the jury was rightfully furious at the cops for cheating. They wanted to send a message and never understood, they could send a message WITHOUT letting an axe murderer go aquitted. They should have chosen by lot ONE juror to vote conviction. A hung jury 11-1 to acquit says: "Don't you DARE bring the same prosecutors or case against OJ. Ditch everything tainted. But this way, OJ will spend the rest of his life knowing a slip-up might result in a new trial.

He deserved that. But then, justice finally turned around.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

In short, yes, Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered, and quite viciously at that - but the prosecution's case had holes you could drive a Bronco through.


I'm not disagreeing with the legalities. My point is that even though the legal system exonerated him, do you actually believe he didn't do it? And that it's the same for me with Kavanaugh.


As for Kavanaugh and Judge, I don't have evidence on them one way or the other, but Kavanaugh's behavior leads me to believe that he shouldn't be placed in charge of judging a pie-eating contest, much less a criminal case, and far less the cases that make it to the Supreme Court.


We are making the same point here. To me, Kavanaugh's performance demonstrated that he is unfit for the judiciary. The Republican Senators voting to confirm must see that--they just don't care. They want the judiciary to be partisan, as long as it's partisan in their favor.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

Larry
I don't think Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge sexually assaulted a girl at a party in 1982. There, now you have seen someone say it.


Fair enough. I don't understand how you can think that, but I can't argue that you don't.


David
I don't know what to say to you. You appear to be drifting so far out of the political mainstream that I sense you are becoming irrelevant.


My concern is that an actual majority of Americans are becoming politically irrelevant. That doesn't seem to make sense, but it was true in 1789 France, and it seems to be true here now.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/opinion/kavanaugh-fbi-supreme-court-republicans.html

What has truly shaken me is the zeal with which Republican officeholders and conservative commentators, some of whom I’d thought better of, have come to Kavanaugh’s defense. Something in the spectacle of a highly credentialed Republican man nearly being denied his life’s goal on nothing but the word of a couple of women has brought out the inner Trump in a lot of people.


The part I bolded for emphasis is a big part of the problem here. There's something almost self-disqualifying about someone's "life's goal" to be on the supreme court. I believe it was Arthur Clarke who once wrote that a president should have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House, but then do a good job in order to earn time off for good behavior. That should be more true of supreme court justices. The fact that someone wants it that much is itself reason for suspicion as to what he intends to do with the job.

Robert said...

I, too, think that the real disqualifier for Kavanaugh is his behavior at the hearings. I know which country appoints Party apparatchiki to its Supreme Court, and it's not the US. Hats off to Justice Stevens, a Republican appointee.

Larry, I liked the Ayn Rand quote. The Fountainhead, unlike the steaming heap she extruded some years later, is actually quite good. But then this Longfellow poem, which Heinlein appears to have liked, fits her perfectly.

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.


Speaking of Heinlein, a SF critic remarked that reading late Heinlein was like watching a Supreme Court Justice throw up on himself. Looks like it's happened in real life.

And the question about the Lao Tzu quote - which translation?


Bob Pfeiffer.

Robert said...

Give the advances in technology and working remotely, I have to say the solution to gerrymandering exists with a pre-existing Constitutional Amendment proposal (Article the First) that was part of the Bill of Rights. It would increase the number of Representatives from the current arbitrary number to one for every 50,000 people. This would provide a significant increase in the number of Representatives in rural areas. Hell, it would likely result in a couple dozen Republicans being elected in Massachusetts for the Federal House!

Sure, it would be a 15-fold increase in the size of the House, but it would allow rural regions to be far more properly represented. In fact, the number of Republicans in the House would increase significantly as a result! And it would probably even allow some Urban Republicans to gain representation... while utterly destroying gerrymandering.

Hell, you might even see third-party politicians elected for once.

Rob H.

jim said...

Well it looks like the Republicans will get their radical right wing, rapey judge on the supreme court.

And Putin will get another American institution delegitimized in the minds of the majority of Americans. And increased polarization of the American public.

Expect Democrats to talk a lot about packing the court.
And expect to hear quotes from the supreme court decision like Plessy v Ferguson.
That court decision is probably the most racist thing I have ever read!

The court will loose its legitimacy (its Mandate of Heaven in the Chinese sense) and this will become a lose - lose situation for most Americans.

David Brin said...

Who are you, sir? And what did you do with "jim"?

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | The fact that someone wants it that much is itself reason for suspicion as to what he intends to do with the job.

That's an old classical liberal position... about as old as can be.

The correct response to a question about whether one is going to run for President (or anything) should be...

"No. I have better things to do with my time."

In a pinch it can be...

"No. Why do you think you need me to do it?"

Alfred Differ said...

Tacitus,

You appear to be drifting...

Your comment directed at David makes me raise an eyebrow too. SOMEONE is drifting...


Some of what is going on out there to halt further discussion and get Kavanaugh on the Court qualifies as terrorism. Death threats aimed at Sen Flake count. Threats aimed at Dr Ford count.

The Brownshirts aren't quite organized yet, but they are on the scene and acting.

Are you REALLY sure it is David who is drifting?

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

...increase the number of Representatives from the current arbitrary number to one for every 50,000 people. This would provide a significant increase in the number of Representatives in rural areas. Hell, it would likely result in a couple dozen Republicans being elected in Massachusetts for the Federal House!

Sure, it would be a 15-fold increase in the size of the House,...


I'd caution about this with a concept explored in Donald Kingsbury's unofficial Foundation sequel, Psychohistorical Crisis. In there, he has a character assert that democracy doesn't scale--that what works for a village of 1000 people does not work for a country of 300,000,000, and what works for the country doesn't work for a galaxy with a quadrillion people.

Technology could allow (say) 6000 congresspeople to vote on a bill, but debate on the House floor and such would look radically different from how it is now.

Darrell E said...

Who could resist this headline?

Scientists blow up their lab after creating strongest magnet ever.
It's a record magnetic field, but... yeah. That didn't last long.


I want a job like that.

jim said...

While my meds are working ;-) I should get this comment out.

The three books of the Uplift series starting with Brightness Reef are some of my favorite works of science fiction.

I read those thee Uplift books and your book Earth all in row and thought that you were trying to novelize the points of view in the Limits to Growth vs Techo-cornucopian debate.

In Earth the techno cornucopian perspective gets presented. You start off with a giant eco disaster - scientist losing control over a black hole then our heros use science and technology to solve the problem and make things even better than before.

But in the Uplift series, you have a community of beings on Jo Jo that have chosen to put strong limits on the types of technology they use and limits on the behaviors of the community. And those beings live a pretty good life within those limits, not perfect but lives with friendship and learning and adventure. Good lives with some sorrow and trials. It is as if they found the middle way to maintain their sapience while preserving the ecosystem they are a part of. It is when space men and their advance technology come to Jo Jo that things take a drastic turn for the worse.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

The three books of the Uplift series starting with Brightness Reef are some of my favorite works of science fiction.


Have you read the earlier Uplift books, Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War? If not, I recommend them, especially Startide Rising which gives some background on who the Streaker crew are and how they got there.

David Brin said...

jim... is... being both nice and... (biased opinion!) smart. ;-)

----

Separately ! Just because the entire U.S. right consists of insanity, that doesn’t mean we should just blithely shrug off lunacy on a far left that contains some horrible sanctimony junkies and bullies. There is a world of difference between entire and far. As there is between consists and contains. But we lose all credibility when we fail to denounce cretinous thuggery, just because it arises from our “allies.” Especially since these are the examples that Hannity & co. Point out, in order to keep confed masses riled, gleefully howling “See? All liberals and democrats and scientists and teachers and journalists and deep-staters are like that!”

Don’t let yourself be bullied by such loons – adult calm and willingness to negotiate only exists in one party, now. Don’t let it be wrecked here, too. Which leads us to: The Perfect Rant about PC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OTnvCylsJA

Larry Hart said...

The NY Times tells us what (most of us) already know...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/opinion/kavanaugh-fbi-supreme-court-republicans.html


...

Some conservatives are acting as if, in delving into Kavanaugh’s high school and college antics, Democrats are creating some egregious new precedent. But the youthful behavior of aspirants to high office has long been fair game.

During Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation, National Review criticized her for quoting a socialist in her Princeton yearbook. People on the right were obsessed with Barack Obama’s high school drug use; Sean Hannity was spinning conspiracy theories about former members of Obama’s adolescent “choom gang” as late as last year.

The questioning of Kavanaugh, however, was not turnabout. No Democrat or feminist cares that Kavanaugh drank a lot in high school; personally, I couldn’t have endured high school sober. We care that he described his younger self as a chaste innocent who was, as he said in his Fox News interview, “focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship.” In fact, by multiple accounts, Kavanaugh was a mean, rowdy drunk and a sexist bully. After decades of conservative insistence that Bill Clinton’s impeachment was about lying, not fellatio, it’s amazing to see right-wingers arguing that’s it’s O.K. if Kavanaugh shaded the truth under oath to avoid embarrassment.

...

Darrell E said...

The 2nd Uplift Trilogy is among my favorites as well. And several other of his novels also. But I think the best David has written is Startide Rising & The Uplift War from the 1st Uplift Trilogy. I wouldn't want to blow too much sunshine up his nether regions, but I think those two novels are some of the finest in science fiction period.

Darrell E said...

"We care that he described his younger self as a chaste innocent who was, as he said in his Fox News interview, “focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship.”"

Let's be serious for a moment. Anyone who describes themselves like that is almost certainly full of shit. Besides telegraphing that it's a lie, claiming such a cliche paragon of American youthful rectitude demonstrates his disrespect for everyone listening precisely because it is such obvious bullshit that clearly he doesn't give a shit because he takes it for granted that it won't matter.

jim said...

Yes I have read and enjoyed all of the Uplift series. And I have recommended them to several people and will probably give them as gifts to my nice and nephews when they get to the right age.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/us/politics/brett-kavanaugh-vote-confirmed.html

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh is heading to confirmation to the Supreme Court this weekend after two key undecided senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — announced Friday that they would support his elevation to the high court, ending the most divisive confirmation fight in decades.


So a woman and a Democrat will put Kavanaugh over the top, in spite of Lisa Murkowski briefly making me consider #ThereAreNoGoodRepublicansAllExceptionsDulyNoted .

It's a sad day for racing in Gotham City, folks.

Russell Osterlund said...

The Kavanaugh mess and its outcome feels like a game of "whack-a-mole".

Allegations of sexual misconduct - Whack!

Supreme Court ruling on gerrymandering - Whack!

NYTimes article on Unobama's family tax fraud - Whack!

The Mueller investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election - WHACK!

etc. etc.

How does one "win" the game of Whack-A-Mole? You cannot. All you do by playing is exhaust yourself until the next "mole" raises its head above the ground and it's try again.

When does this start to feel like manipulation and a tactic being employed to keep one from noticing what is really happening?

I think it is time to "draw a line in the sand" and pull the plug on this game. My suggestion? The 2018 midterms. And if there is the slightest whiff of cheating/interference in the result, well, Unobama complained that the 2016 election would be rigged and got away with it, there should be nothing stopping people from shouting the same thing!

CP said...

With regard to Robert's proposal to greatly expand the house and reduce the size of districts...

That might strengthen the connection between voters and their representatives. But, I'd argue that it wouldn't do much to discourage gerrymandering. Rather, the politicians would just use a "finer grain size" for their programs.

However, a system that would largely eliminate partisan gerrymandering is possible. Here's my latest version (abbreviated):

All primaries should be open. Primaries should be run as truncated instant runoffs with the voters designating 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. The top three candidates should move on to the general election.

For executive offices, judicial offices, and representatives elected at large (county commissioners, etc) the general election should be run as a Condorcet with the voters designating 1st and 2nd choices. That introduces a strong centrist weighting.

For the senate, house (and all state/local bodies that elect representatives by district) the general election should be run as an instant runoff with the voters designating 1st and 2nd choices. And, it should have a semi-proportional structure with the number of elections cut in half and the top two candidates in each election serving. The key to making it work is to introduce the idea of fractional voting by legislators, i. e., viewing them as analogous to members of a corporate board voting the shares they own.

In the senate both senators in each state would be elected in one election held every six years. With the senate being the "bastion of federalism" the states would be equal, of necessity, so they would all have an inherent voting power of "2." If there was a 60/40 split between the top two candidates (calculated after the 2nd choice preferences of the loosing candidate were distributed) the leading candidate would have a voting power of "1.2" and the second candidate would have a voting power of "0.8". Control of the body would be determined by aggregating the fractions. Nearly all states would elect both a republican and a democrat nearly all the time so both factions would be represented but with variable power. That would mitigate the partisan bias created by variable state populations.

In the house the number of representatives would be increased by one to 436 and the size of districts would be doubled (reducing the number to 218). Each district would elect two representatives. As in the senate voting power would be allocated after the 2nd choice preferences of the loosing candidate were distributed. However, since the house is the "bastion of populism" voting power would also be proportional to the population of the district. In an idealized, average district with a population of 1.4 million a 60/40 split would yield voting powers of "1.2" and "0.8". If a district was 10% more populous than average, a 60/40 split would yield voting powers of "1.32" and "0.88". If a district (say, in a small state with only one) was half as populous as average a 60/40 split would yield voting powers of "0.6" and "0.4". Again, party control would be determined by aggregating the fractions.

Under such a system partisan gerrymandering would be largely pointless since it would just shift fractions of voting power from one district to another without altering the aggregate. Self-segregation would also have little impact since it would, similarly, just shift fractions of voting power between districts. Meanwhile, all voters would have virtually the same impact regardless of where they lived or how they clustered.

Add requirements that districts be compact and vary by no more than 5% within a state and the problem should be pretty much solved...

David Brin said...

Finer grain size definitely would help vs gerrymandering. Now entire cities like Austin can be gerried to have just one... or even zero, representatives no swamped by surrounding rural areas. That simple would not happen.

What would happen is that a House with 5000 members would necessarily create a Soviet style Central Committee of a couple of hundred. We should think carefully.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi
CP's proposal would bake the two party system into place for ever

I prefer a proportional type of voting system
Here (NZ) we vote for our location and for the party we want

The one with the most votes wins the local seat - then the party votes are counted up and additional members are appointed to balance the party vote against the votes
This eliminates gerrymandering completely AND encourages small parties

This does not fix the "primary problem" - but by giving the voters so much more choice it becomes a LOT less important
I can vote against a local candidate because he is horrible - but still vote for his party so all parties have to select good candidates - the yellow dog would get voted out

Dr Brin
That could produce some sort of "layered" system - with some animals being more equal than others
But that is effectively how a Parliamentary system works

The Cabinet is the "Central Committee" - but the backbenchers can still pull down the PM

The British Government with 650 MP's works that way - even our Government with 120 members works like that

Having 5000 members would work the same I think

Mel Baker said...

What I think we on the left are always stunned by the amount of hypocrisy we see on the right and from religious fundamentalist. For many of us being called a hypocrite, is the very worst thing we can imagine, the worst insult, the most devastating attack on character. It simply rolls off the back of people with a mindset of total certitude in their beliefs. It never sticks, even though we throw it into their teeth all the time. Trump himself it the ultimate expression of this mindset. So it is no surprise that our efforts to point out his hypocrisy to his followers fails to move the needle. I have absolutely no idea what you can do about that.

Larry Hart said...

Russell Osterlund:

My suggestion? The 2018 midterms. And if there is the slightest whiff of cheating/interference in the result, well, Unobama complained that the 2016 election would be rigged and got away with it, there should be nothing stopping people from shouting the same thing!


Norman Goldman said essentially the same thing, from the perspective of "What do you think Republicans would do if Democrats had jammed a partisan nominee onto the court." He suggested it would be everything from bussing Tea Partiers in to disrupt the court proceedings to passing South Carolina-like state laws asserting that supreme court decisions don't apply in our borders. The suggestion, of course, being what's good for the goosestepper is good for the gander.

There's a Billy Joel lyric that goes:

Then you tell me that you need somebody.
For the rest of your life, you might love somebody,
But you won't love him every day.


I love my country, but I don't feel in love with her today.

Larry Hart said...

The New York Times explains that all three branches of government are illegitimate...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/opinion/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court-trump.html

Having first sickened the White House and then Congress, the virus of Trumpism is about to spread to the Supreme Court itself.


CP said...

Dr. Brin:

"Finer grain size definitely would help vs gerrymandering. Now entire cities like Austin can be gerried to have just one... or even zero, representatives no swamped by surrounding rural areas. That simple would not happen."

With 5000 delegates and proportionally smaller districts it would be difficult to deny cities representation. But, it would still be possible to "play with the boundaries" to minimize it, on net. With the fractional vote system, gerrymandering is futile since the voters carry their "proxies" with them however the boundaries are drawn.


Duncan:

"CP's proposal would bake the two party system into place for ever."

Taken as a whole, the proposal is structurally nonpartisan. In the examples, I referred to "Democrats" and "Republicans" but that was just a statement of the current reality. The system still works if there are 5 parties, 10 parties, 50 parties...

Open primaries strip parties of control over ballot access. And, elimination of first-past-the-post tabulation largely eliminates the incentive for parties to interfere with the voter's choices informally. Meanwhile, having three candidates move forward to the general election provides far greater opportunity for third party and independent candidates than the "top two" primaries of California and Washington. Of course, abandoning first-past-the-post also minimizes the opportunity for third party candidates to exercise disproportionate power by acting as spoilers (a feature, not a bug). :-) And, it would still work if the organization of legislative bodies was also made structurally nonpartisan further reducing their impact.

Winter7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Winter7 said...

I guess it is no longer a novelty to comment that my computer was under attack again. I guess that has to do with the fact that those on the far right are very hostile and in full political mobilization in northern Mexico. (but this time I have not been able to get rid of all the Trojans).
Whatever. He already seems to regain control of the computer. For the moment.
By the way. Do you remember that we talked about the suspicions that computers built in China had spy systems? "The Manchurian microchip". Well, it was discovered that it was true. For the depraved and snooping gods of Xibalb√°! Some of you have Apple computers! (Yes, also Apple computers have the Manchurian chip.) Sorry. It seems that although many computers are made in the United States, they require pieces made in China. And I say ... What was not obvious that something like this would happen? The American armed forces have that chip in their most valuable computers! This goes for the military intelligence of the US Army: That was a mistake duh! "Ho, I should have seen it coming, but ... I had a videogame marathon when I was reviewing the issue .. It gave me diarrhea ... My little fish got sick and I took it with the vet ..." By God, but it was a problem that even a worker of a republic Banana could see coming! Haaaaa !.
Link:
https://techxplore.com/news/2018-10-china-tiny-chips-secrets.html

Sum of facts:
A) Brett Michael Kavanaugh was approved as leader of the Supreme Court, even though he sexually abused women. (which puts the Neanderthal lifestyle back into fashion, a lifestyle where abuse against women is something that is even rewarded)
B) Actress Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski, were arrested because they dared to protest against the depraved judge Kavanaugh. Which shows that the powerful always do what they want and not only do what they want. They also give themselves the luxury of humiliating and punishing those who dare to speak against them. Now, in the United States, women are sent to prison if they protest ... That reminds me of another culture on the other side of the world, where women are sent to prison for protesting, or for being sexually assaulted.
Gods ... We are in a strange world. Sometimes I think maybe the world leaders are actually extraterrestrials modified to look human. That would explain many things. Above all, the psychopathic perversions of the leaders of the extreme right in Mexico.
Link:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/04/us/amy-schumer-emily-ratajkowski-arrested-kavanaugh-protests/index.html

Gods ... We are in a strange world.


All right. Moving to more pleasant matters. It seems formidable that Doctor Brin has a new book; now flavored with more mysteries and action than before. And by the description of the plot, I think it's precisely the kind of novel that can be turned into a science fiction movie. Gods; I must get that book! ¡Space adventures! ¡Wow!

David Smelser said...

I see winner-take-all as part of the problem. I'd rather combine N districts to created larger areas and run ranked choice elections taking the top N candidates. This keeps the same number of seats, but allocates then more proportionally to the population. More over, since you have N representatives in your district, you are more likely to find one who is willing to listen to you.

I'd apply this approach to all levels of government. Ranked choice elections for single seat positions like president or mayor, and multi winner ranked choice for federal house seats, state legislators, and city councils.

yana said...


Oh that's hilarious. Manchin gives cover to Murkowski, who almost had to eat a Collins for the team. Those outraged call it incest, but it's what the constitution gives us, the Senate was always meant to be a college. It's a wickedly smart way to dilute powerful cliques. Anyway, we're already in the post-Roe/Wade era. Put it on the back burner until Summer 2019 when it actually happens.

The more fretful thing for the legendary Bluewave now, a month out, is that if you view the country through the amethyst lens, things aren't looking too bad. People who watch through carbunkle are going to vote, every last one of them. People who look through sapphires will vote, every last 8/10ths of them.

Dems need a more concrete slogan than "We're For People!"

In the rightward narrative, libs swoop in during times of prosperity and lull the middle into dreams of altruism. As the story goes, these fruity dreams bankrupt the nation, thus cons must always be on guard. Never mind the fact... that budget deficits tend higher under Republican presidents, we're talking narrative, not truth.

Clinton in 1992 was a Dem schism to the right. Gore trended con before he didn't win, Kerry headed left. Obama in 2008 was a schism to the left. Then what do we see, a second schism to the left in 2016. It's clear where the trendline is going under the Big Tent.

The Dems are searching for something just beyond their grasp, they have the numbers, they have the demographic trends, they just don't have the amiable, knowledgeable, mouthy huckster to tie a quintet of simple ideas together into a political philosophy.

In 1992 we saw Bush I completely squander a historical fulcrum. He didn't have the vision to remake the world even though this was in his grasp in 1992. Russia was a democracy, China was only 3 years past Tienamen, dozens of countries sent soldiers to fight with the Americans in Kuwait. The US could have laid down the law: No More anyone crossing other countries' borders Or Else.

What would that world look like, a quarter century later? Yes, America would still bear the greatest expenses for world peace, but there would be 10 billion smartphones and no such thing as a tariff. Interpol would be gigantic, but most smaller countries would find that the path of least resistance is fair democracy.

The American leftwards, today, has another of those unique opportunities, the eddies of history, the opportunity to look down a whirlpool and plot a course which skirts the edge. In 2013 the Reps had that moment, the Romney post mortem, and the smarter ones saw demography and called for diversity, but the rightwards baseline folks just couldn't leave the racism behind.

Dems just need 5 principles which tie together: two refuting nascent nationalism, and three heading toward a more perfect union. Easy, simple, interconnected. That part's not too hard, but finding a huckster to 'splain it all out, with rhino skin, and absent any indignation... that might prove difficult in a left lately so riled up.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

In 2013 the Reps had that moment, the Romney post mortem, and the smarter ones saw demography and called for diversity, but the rightwards baseline folks just couldn't leave the racism behind.


It's hard to overcome that American streak of...well, racism is an aspect of it, but also the sense among the privileged that movements for equality (or even cries for mercy) are an egregious attack on their rights? Trumpism and Republicanism in the age of Trump are all about Revenge of the Sith.

Thomas Maughan said...

"Why does nothing change their loyalty?"

It isn't loyalty if it changes.

Turncoats get no respect.

You might appeal to loyalty to higher principles if you can identify those principles and if the person you wish to change subscribes to those principles.

Thomas Maughan said...

Winter7 said: "was approved as leader of the United States, even though he sexually abused women." Sorry, wrong example quoted!

"Actress Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski, were arrested because they dared to protest against the depraved judge Kavanaugh. Which shows that the powerful always do what they want"

Seems that A.S. and E. R. are powerful, as they did what they wanted. Being libertarian, others did what they wanted as well. Its a free country!



and not only do what they want.

Larry Hart said...

I'm going for small victories now.

Thank you Lisa Murkowski for voting "present" rather than "No", so as to leave my favorite hashtag as a truism.

#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

https://www.adn.com/politics/2018/10/06/murkowski-to-vote-present-on-kavanaugh-as-favor-to-absent-colleague/

Thomas Maughan said...

CP writes: "Open primaries strip parties of control over ballot access"

And by so doing eliminates my First Amendment freedom of association.

A party is a union; it can conduct its business any way it wishes, and you are free to join or leave a party easier than it is to leave a union.

Primaries are simply a process for EACH party to choose among possible candidates which candidate the PARTY wishes to advance to the next stage.

Open primaries are incredibly stupid. It allows Republicans to vote on who is to be the Democrat candidate; and who do you suppose will be chosen? The most far-left, unelectable candidate possible. This works both ways of course and Republicans end up with un-electable Republican candidates.

Thomas Maughan said...

Anonymous yana wrote: "He didn't have the vision to remake the world even though this was in his grasp in 1992"

Remaking worlds seems to be a socialist ideal. It should not be expected of Republicans.

Such a thing would necessarily also be extremely authoritarian to manage a world government. Is that really want you want?

Thomas Maughan said...

Larry Hart writes many things but to this I reply:

"I don't understand how you can think that"

People are different; very different. How and why one person thinks a thing will seem and probably be incomprehensible to others and there's probably nothing that can be done about this beyond acknowledge the fact of it.

I am fascinated by people that believe a thing based on nothing more than words. Religion depends on that phenomenon.

Larry Hart said...

Thomas Maughan:

Larry Hart writes many things


*Sigh* Yeah.

"I have the best words, and I say a lot of things."


How and why one person thinks a thing will seem and probably be incomprehensible to others and there's probably nothing that can be done about this beyond acknowledge the fact of it.


Yeah. Tim reminds me more and more of my late father, who simply had faith in the professionals doing their job. He could not believe that Nixon was crooked, and then later that George W Bush would lie about weapons of mass destruction. How could the good guys do things like that?


Open primaries are incredibly stupid. It allows Republicans to vote on who is to be the Democrat candidate;


I'm in the minority here and among liberals generally, but I agree. My metaphorical argument is "Why don't we let foreigners vote in our elections?" The justification for that is isomorphic with the justification for only having Democrats vote in Democratic primaries (and likewise Republicans).


This works both ways of course and Republicans end up with un-electable Republican candidates.


Who then somehow get elected. :)

CP said...

"CP writes: "Open primaries strip parties of control over ballot access"

"And by so doing eliminates my First Amendment freedom of association."

Open primaries in no way limit personal freedom of association. They just limit the ability of party activists to control the result by disenfranchising independents at the "ballot access" level. In contrast, closed primaries limit much of the electorate to "better of two evils" choices in the general.

"A party is a union; it can conduct its business any way it wishes, and you are free to join or leave a party easier than it is to leave a union."

"Primaries are simply a process for EACH party to choose among possible candidates which candidate the PARTY wishes to advance to the next stage."

Primaries are run by the state and are inherently a process by which the state controls access to the ballot. Ideally, they should provide a neutral mechanism that doesn't intrinsically weight the result in favor of party activists. Caucuses are inherently a process by which parties determine their platforms, choose which candidates to endorse, etc. My proposal places no limitations on caucuses.

"Open primaries are incredibly stupid. It allows Republicans to vote on who is to be the Democrat candidate; and who do you suppose will be chosen? The most far-left, unelectable candidate possible. This works both ways of course and Republicans end up with un-electable Republican candidates."

Your statement applies only to open primaries in which the results are still segregated by party, i. e., those in which the top democrat and the top republican move forward regardless of their placement among all the primary candidates. That format can cause the problems of inter-partisan meddling you describe.

But, all "open primaries" are not equal...

Nonpartisan open primaries in which the top two candidates move forward regardless of party (as in Washington and California) are better but don't go far enough since they still allow candidates to benefit from vote splitting.

The process I suggested (in which first-past-the-post voting is abandoned and the top three candidates move forward regardless of party) is a further improvement that minimizes the effects of vote splitting and maximizes the likelihood that independents will have a centrist alternative in the general. It pulls the aggregate results toward the political center rather than amplifying ideologically pure extremes as often happens with closed primaries.

Winter7 said...

I think it's been clear that Joe Manchin actually works for Republican leaders.
He voted in favor of Michael Kavanaugh. The Republicans justify Manchin, arguing that, in the state of West Virginia, almost all are Republican citizens and he thought of their interests. No. That's never the case. The reality is that Joe Manchin was seduced by the dark side of ... the Republican party. Manchin did not think with the tools of patriotism. He made a decision based on his own bank account. That is all.
Should the Democrats expel Manchin? Yes. Before he causes more damage. Because he is important within the activities of the Democratic Party in West Virginia, so that, through him, the Republicans can cause great harm, sabotaging the activities of the Democrats and overlapping the Republican thugs and hackers in the area, during the period before the elections and during the elections.
This is classic of a story. The hero leaves the traitor alone and the traitor can continue to harm. A great damage ... Ho, yes, let's forgive him! Let us see all the details of the Democratic strategy in the next elections. Let us influence the decisions of the party at the most crucial moments that are to come. Then, the Democratic leaders will be able to say: Winter warned us that this would happen. But ... Manchin seemed to be a good person and ... and ...

Donald Gisselbeck said...

One of the primary reasons the predator class is ramming the drunken prep boy down our throats is to intimidate victims. If the many women who have been abused by many powerful men can be convinced that speaking out will be at great personal cost and be futile, they may remain silent.

Winter7 said...

Thomas Maughan:
¿Am I wrong to say that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator?
¿Do you think we will take your words seriously if you defend a sexual predator?

Winter7 said...

Donald Gisselbeck:
“If the many women who have been abused by many powerful men can be convinced that speaking out will be at great personal cost and be futile, they may remain silent.”

That is why we must support with determination the efforts of the victims, because it is not only about obtaining justice for women, it is also about preserving the best weapon we have against the depraved republican leaders: Denunciations for sexual attack. Well, we can see that sexual predation is almost a kind of sacred tradition within the groups that run the Republican party. It is the largest Achilles heel of the Republicans. A tortuous road, hitherto paved with agreements of money and threats, in exchange for silence.

Tim Wolter said...

In Wisconsin we have open primaries in the sense that I can vote on either ticket....but not mix and match. It's a decent system, rarely are there multiple primary races that I care about intensely. But it can come in handy. I recall voting for a chap named Obama when he ran (the first time) against a lady named Clinton. I have also helped to vote out problematic local Republicans.

Winter7, you are wrong to say that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator. You can of course say that he has been accused of being that, and of many other things.

I have some thoughts on the partisan nature of our times but perhaps tonight is too soon for that discussion.

Tacitus/TW

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tim
Kavanaugh may or may not be a sexual predator but he has definitely shown himself to be a lying self entitled partisan

You have seen him at his "best" giving a prepared speech - now honestly would you employ that guy in ANY position of authority??

I would NOT!

Duncan Cairncross said...

Primaries!

As far as I know only the USA have this system -
Why is it that you are the only guys that need this?

The reason that I can think of is

The "overdose" of democracy - using elections to appoint too many people - you appoint "doers" as well as "leaders" - everybody else appoints "leaders" and the "doers" are civil service and non partisan

Enlighten me please

Duncan Cairncross said...

With Kavanaugh being confirmed I hope that video of his appalling testimony is used across America to help the Democrats get their voters to actually VOTE for a change

David Brin said...

onward

onward

David Brin said...

Tim, please don't even try to say it's been equal. That won't fly among people who know the name Dennis Hastert.

onward

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I recall voting for a chap named Obama when he ran (the first time) against a lady named Clinton. I have also helped to vote out problematic local Republicans.


The only time I crossed over and voted in a Republican primary was in 2014 when I tried to keep Bruce Rauner away from the governor's race. It obviously didn't work, since he won both the primary and the election. I wasn't exactly cheating the way a previous poster suggested, because my intent wasn't to nominate a weak Republican instead of a strong Republican for the general election. My intent was to not have Bruce Rauner in the race.


Winter7, you are wrong to say that Kavanaugh is a sexual predator. You can of course say that he has been accused of being that, and of many other things.


You are just as wrong to say that he's not one. The best you can say is that he denies the accusation, and that his partisan supporters, by the act of refusing to investigate evidence have found no evidence.

Of course, you can make the argument that it depends what the meaning of "is" is. He may have stopped being a sexual predator after high school. Or after college. Or after he stopped beating his wife. :) If your point is that there is no evidence he is currently operating as a predator, I'll grant you that.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yes, I know we're all sickened and disgusted that what Charles Pierce called "a partisan ratf*cker" has been named to the Court, so here's something less gloomy.
Tomorrow night at 7:21PM PDT, there will be a light and sound show over V-berg as a Falcon 9 is launched, with the primary stage slated to make a return just a quarter mile from the launch site. Clear skies forecast, and should be visible up to 75 miles from the base. Santa Barbara has been warned to expect sonic booms. I'll be watching!

Larry Hart said...

Oh, I guess we've moved onward...

onward

CP said...

Duncan:

"As far as I know only the USA have this system -
Why is it that you are the only guys that need this?"

Primaries were largely introduced to address, however imperfectly, the excesses of undemocratic party/special interest control that governed politics during most of the country's history.

"The reason that I can think of is"

"The "overdose" of democracy - using elections to appoint too many people - you appoint "doers" as well as "leaders" - everybody else appoints "leaders" and the "doers" are civil service and non partisan"

"Enlighten me please"

You have a point. I'm not arguing strongly against parliamentary systems, just for reforming the system we have.

Parliamentary systems have their virtues. But, they have one main weakness. With a multitude of parties and some form of guaranteed proportional representation, they often yield government by unstable coalitions. And, that magnifies the power of minority parties that hold the balance of power, parties that are often extreme. Instead, I favor government by a relatively stable centrist coalition that works without disenfranchising independents or artificially amplifying the power of fringe groups.

One reform that would largely address this: use an instant runoff tabulation for parliamentary elections rather than first-past-the post. England tried to pass such a reform by referendum a few years ago but the parties managed to defeat it...

OK, "onward"

Donald Gisselbeck said...

FFFFF means Fat Flatulent Frogs Flying Freely then? The year book page, absent profuse and abject apologies, displays the drunken prep boy as a sexual predator.