Saturday, October 27, 2018

The failing political strategies


The New York Times offers a detailed update of the Russian Election Interference Thing. And yes, our "deep state" public servants who won us the Cold War are trying to stymie many of the very same Kremlin masterminds from flipping their defeat back into victory over the West. 

Step one, getting the American right to dismiss our defenders as a "deep state." Study, learn. Be angry that our enemies have taken Washington, which no other hostile power ever accomplished before.

== Staring at a tree -- ignoring a burning forest ==

Alert to you economics/trade nerds!  One of my RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican) friends – investment guru John Mauldin – recently cited this short explanation of the Trade War threat by currency expert Taggart Murphy:

“‘Trump is doing everything he can to bring on the end of the days when the US can borrow whatever it wants in whatever amounts it wants. To be sure, there is no recipe book. The dollar is now so entrenched as the world’s money that if your assignment were to bring the curtain down on that—and thus the ability of the US to borrow whatever it wants whenever it wants—it’s not at all clear what you would do.

“‘But you’d start by doing everything that Trump is doing—pick fights with all your allies, blow the government deficit wide open at the peak of an economic recovery, abandon any notion of fiscal responsibility, threaten sanctions on anyone and everyone who seeks to honor the deal Obama struck with Iran (thereby almost begging everyone to figure out some way to bypass the US banking system in order to do business), [Which they are openly doing, comments JFM] throw spanners into the works of global trade without any clear indication of what it is precisely you want for a country that structurally consumes more than it produces and thus by the laws of accounting MUST run trade and current account deficits.”

Implicitly, Murphy and John admit the contrast – that Bill Clinton and California’s Jerry Brown and most democratic governors have done the right thing, using good times to pay down debt. And Barack Obama, even inheriting the Second Depression, decelerated the rate of change of deficits, applying brakes to the 2nd derivative of debt. Our alliances and sciences and almost every other health metric did better across the span of DP administrations. In contrast, every single strength the made the late 20th century prosperous and mighty and that won the Cold War is being systematically dismantled.

Alas, neither John nor any other RASR seems ever to draw the blatantly obvious conclusion, that either:

(1) the entire leadership clade of the GOP consists of hypocritical morons who should not be trusted with a burnt match, or worse, or else

(2) that the bottomless list of outrageous harms to the U.S. can only be deliberate.

Look at Vladimir Putin’s grin, and tell me that you understand the meaning of the term “Occam’s Razor.”

== The one tree ==

My RASRs, in their frantic state of denial, choose to desperately cling to one tree in the forest. In John's case it is debt. And yes, it is dangerous how we are plunging toward a debt cliff. Note that, as usual, the second derivative of deficit spending  -- the rate of rate of change -- has veered from negative to positive under a Republican administration, as is absolutely uniformly and perfectly-always true. Always. And those "conservatives" who ignore this brutally consistent fact are no conservatives, but something else.

Alas, John chooses to blame our debt splurge on the Federal Reserve, for maintaining low interest rates, which is like blaming a liquor store owner's low prices for drunk driving deaths. Sure, it's peripherally pertinent, but not the real cause. (Meanwhile Trump howls at the Fed for raising rates; go figure?)

Look around to where governments are operating in the black, in blue states like Jerry Brown's California, where the nation's only fiscally-prudent politicians have been paying down debt during good times, as both Adam Smith and J.M. Keynes recommended. Or Bill Clinton's 1990's surpluses. But it goes farther. In 1993, President Clinton created the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform as part of the administration's effort to promote economic growth and control the budget deficit. The purpose of the commission, chaired by Senator J. Robert Kerrey (D-NE) and Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), was to seek agreement across parties on long-term entitlement reform and structural changes to the tax system.

The resulting bill almost passed. It would have gradually raised retirement age and saved trillions, in exchange for cranking up Medicare for children and the poor and meaningful contributions by the rich. But the opportunity was trashed by Newt Gingrich and then by Dennis "friend-to-boys" Hastert, who worked with Fox to end all traces of adulthood in the GOP. (Oh, look up Dennis Hastert and be proud.)

Danforth-style Republicans are now entirely extinct. And the latest "supply side" tax cut again - as always - widened wealth disparities without stimulating R&D or "supply"... only asset bubbles.

== Trump's failing negotiating style ==

I've posted on Medium an expanded version of my look at the negotiation strategy always used by Donald Trump, that worked in the dark-coercive world of real estate, but that has never worked and cannot work in the worlds of diplomacy, politics and adult interaction. Except that the method has worked a couple of times... against him. The "deal-master" is clueless, disarmed and appears to be terrified.

Summarizing: what’s fundamental to this calamitous presidency is not the vulgarity or toddler tantrums or hatred of all fact-professions. It is his inability to grasp that "negotiation" is different at the adult or legislative or international levels. Those are three different things. But none of them work like real estate speculation or a TV reality show. Time and again, DT shows the same, predictable pattern: 

Break something the other side cares about. Threaten them with pain, then let them fall all over themselves to shift 90% toward what you want. It worked for Trump against Merv Griffin and dozens of development 'partners' and shivved contractors, and when he got his (very clever!) 1980s tax deals with New York City. It worked on The Apprentice.

And it hasn't worked even one time since he entered the White House. Not once. Sabotaging DACA and 2 million innocent young Americans didn't get him his wall. Trying to sabotage the ACA (Obamacare) only made people realize they like it. So far, his tariff war has accomplished zilch. Every month he takes something away from the Palestinians, never realizing that harming poor people strengthens, not weakens, Hamas. The list goes on, revealing a stunningly un-sapient inability to learn. 

(Ironically, the method DID work once, when Kim Jong Un used it on Donald Trump. And DT's unsecure cell phone (remember outrage over Hillary's email server?) allows perfect oppo profiling of this president.)

Yes, there's an alternative explanation for these actions. Or two. (1) deliberately weakening us at behest of Kremlin masters, and (2) pure evil. Sure, both of those are in play. But I believe a major factor is his inability to distinguish between obstinately repetitive, feral cunning on the one hand, and adaptably pragmatic intelligence.

The former worked well for him in the world of real estate deals, mafia coercion, falsehood-supported debt, bullying and money laundering. The latter is what you need when negotiating under the public glare, where a politician seen buckling to Trumpian pressure tactics will be finished, or where breaking something or hurting innocents doesn't shift the bargaining table.

Trump's opponents need to parse the feral-cunning from the drooling stupidity. We see the former at his Fox/KGB-supported nuremberg rallies. And his enemies under-rate this cunning at their peril. 

In turn, they display a stupidity of their own -- inability to grasp the power of polemic, ceding that territory to the Putin/Murdoch/Trumpian/fundie cabal, never realizing that these tricks can be answered... the way FDR and Churchill finally rose up and used the power of words to save civilization.

== Mueller and more ==

The day after Paul Manafort's conviction, Trump pointed to the mistrial on some counts as evidence that he was being improperly targeted by Mueller. “A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!” he tweeted.  But let’s count more truly. Across the 18 counts, there were 206 jury votes of guilty and ten jury votes to acquit. Read the article how a juror who professes to be a strong Trump supporter voted guilty 18 times.

A taste of the cyber-weapons that may be hurled against the U.S., if and when the Kremlin deems the time is right.

== Fresh Ideas ==

Folks have been thinking about how to reform various aspects of the archaic U.S. electoral process. Some notions are blatantly obvious and will happen the instant Democrats control Congress (only to be vetoed, alas.) Like ending gerrymandering, or requiring that all states use secure, easily audited voting apparatus with paper ballots or receipts, and that voter ID requirements be accompanied by generous compliance assistance, like automatic registration.  Some concepts – like those of Lawrence Lessig and his associate – would pry Big Money out of politics. (GOP Congress members spend far more time “fundraising” than on the floor or in committee, openly declaring that money buys access.)

Naturally, preferential-style elections make vastly more sense than the stupid plurality-wins system in most U.S. constituencies.

Some concepts are radical and would require a Constitutional Convention (e.g. we actually need TWO Dakotas?). Some are dumb notions that will never pass (e.g. all states agree to allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote - the “compact.” Yeah, that’ll happen.)

Given that even a massive Blue Wave will see its reforms blocked by Executive branch loons, Two Scoops followed by the vastly more dangerous Mike Pence, we need to look at things that are simple and might happen organically and almost instantly. Measures that small groups and individuals might take, that act with judo-like twist, that cannot easily be blocked by the forces of darkness.

Here’s one: In late November 2016 I wrote to some rich dudes suggesting they rent a luxury resort hotel somewhere and donate it for a unique and fascinating purpose — a weeklong actual, physical meeting of the newly-chosen Electoral College! 

Consider: there’s no rule that the Electors have to stay thousands of miles apart. Absolutely nothing prevents them from gathering and talking – like a “college” -- before submitting their votes to each state legislature. They could simply show up, privately (maybe with some Secret Service protection), at some secured resort.

No one else but cooks n’ such in attendance. Maybe even no phones. Should the press watch for white smoke pouring from a chimney?

Sure, the political parties may feel alarmed at the prospect. They’ll pressure their electors not to attend. Some states already have laws threatening punishment if an elector changes his/her vote from the pre-election commitment. But I’ll bet few chosen electors would stay away from their one chance in life to schmooze and, briefly, be among the most-important humans on the planet.

Officially at least. Because in fact, though members of the College might yell at each other and seek to persuade, there’s little chance anyone will reverse their partisan commitment, in any result-changing way. The one main effect would be that the elector-candidates nominated by each party, in each state, will be more closely vetted in advance, than before.

Still, what’s to complain about, if the EC decides to act like a “college”? 

No pressure or partisan posturing. Just a place for all the new electors to meet and talk.  Nine times out of ten, nothing would change; the electors would just hew to their pre-election commitments.

But on that tenth occasion, there’d be a final chance to fix something awful. I have never seen the idea anywhere else. And note, it can be done for a few million by a single donor.

125 comments:

Ioan said...

Hey David,

I missed the discussion in the other thread, but I'm doubtful that China will want Siberia. The reason is simple: China's population will peak in 2030, and then decline.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/salvatorebabones/2017/12/31/china-max-how-demography-economics-and-geography-will-combine-to-limit-chinas-growing-power/#155178d64334

China is also urbanizing. Plus, Mongolia is a much better target for conquest. Mongolia is the size of the US Southwest.

Larry Hart said...

Finally! I realize we could all use a break from politics, but it was hard to keep quiet during the week of the #MAGAbomber . Now we see what we already knew--Benedict Donald can't disavow the Brownshirts. The closest he can come is to assert that if only everyone just fell in line behind him, no one would have to get hurt.

Still think Pence is worse? I don't.

Allan S said...

I think Pence would make the Taliban look like moderates.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

In the main post, you say:

Read the article how a juror who professes to be a strong Trump supporter voted guilty 18 times.


Isn't that supposed to be "8 times"? And 10 times he didn't vote guilty?

David Brin said...

No LH that was a different juror. This one voted guilt 18x.

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I saw on the news about the bombings and the attack on the synagogue.
I suggest the Democrats take extraordinary security measures.
Maybe it's just chance, but the brown shirts of the PAN in Monterrey, Mexico, intensified the harassment against political opponents. This happens after a famous leader of the Nazi youth of Monterrey managed to seize the position of mayor.
I begin to suspect that perhaps the Nazis of Mexico and the United States act in a coordinated manner.
I would prefer that the Nazis were citizens of an enemy country, because fighting against the Nazis who hide and mix with the civil population of our countries is extremely difficult.
Any idea to defeat the Nazis of Latin America is welcome.

Anonymous said...

I found out in the news that Donald Trump wants to invite Vladimir Putin to the United States.
A mentally balanced person would not do that, to avoid aggravating the accusations that he is a Russian agent. But Donald seems to care more about the opinion of the Russian mobster than the opinion of the American people. That indicates two things:
A) Donald Trump is not interested in the welfare of Americans.
B) Donald Trump fears to annoy Vladimir Putin and wishes to please him.
Why does Donald Trump try so hard to please the Russian leader?
We must remember that Donald Trump is basically egocentric and that he would never do anything for free for anyone. If Donald goes too far to please the Russian mobster, that means there are many, many millions of dollars involved in the matter. Dollars possibly deposited in an account of some prestanombres in the Cayman Islands.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

As for the subject of the first sentence of science fiction novel. Would not it have been more enlightening to ask for the favorite phrase of science fiction?
But the good thing about it was that in that way we see the most ingenious ways to start a novel. A way to overcome the mental blockade before a blank sheet of paper. (Or a Word document without text)

Winter7

Anonymous said...

An uncomfortable but necessary question:
¿China Miéville is Nazi?


Dan Peake.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

No LH that was a different juror. This one voted guilt 18x.


You're right. Now that you remind me, the news stories I was listening to at the time often confused the two jurors--the one with the MAGA hat and the one who voted for acquittal on ten counts--as if they were the same person.

Larry Hart said...

Although I don't know any admitted FOX viewers here, I have to ask for someone who understands their POV better than I do.

How does the accusation that George Soros is funding the Central American "caravan" even make sense as a right-wing theory? What are their viewers even supposed to think his motivation would be for doing so? If it's supposed to be a campaign issue for Democrats, then why aren't they running on it?

If anyone is gaining political points over the issue, it's Republicans, so it would make more sense (though still not a lot) for one of their billionaires to underwrite such a perceived threat.

reason said...

Of course you are right. The story doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. But then nothing does anymore. Sense is so twentieth century.

Ioan said...

Larry,

Since I understand the viewpoint, I'll lay it out here:

. Since Brett Kavanaugh, conservatives have gained in enthusiasm to levels rivaling 2010 and 2014 while depressing moderate enthusiasm, ensuring that the GOP will retain control of the Senate AND House (the polls which say otherwise are fake)

. The Kavanaugh hearings have attracted support from nonwhite men, who may also be afraid of having a "false rape accusation".

. The Harvard case is causing Trump support among Asian-Americans to rise.

. The caravan is meant to reverse that by showing US troops pointing their guns at women and children. In addition, they're thinking that more pictures of kids in cages will reverse conservatives momentum.

The above is why FOX viewers believe George Soros wants the caravan.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, how have I gone through two years of life without ever being exposed to David S. Pumpkins?

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

Another take on things.

I agree that the caravan makes little to no sense for the benefit of Democrat electoral gains. Oh, perhaps some poignant video at the border but it looks as if the current rate of progress won't get there by the time of the election.

But from one perspective, the Dems are quite prone to lousy political strategies. See the Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco. This was either a desperation tactic by a D leadership that had nothing else, and/or something that just got out of control once unsavory types decided to "help" with claims of everything just short of Satanic cannibalism.

So this could be stupid D strategy or another situation where a tactic they thought would work has gotten out of control.

I really wish we had smarter people running both our Major Parties.

In the current rancid political climate I'm less engaged in these discussions than I have been in the past.

T.Wolter/Tacitus

donzelion said...

Interesting fluke. During the last couple weeks of Pocahantas-gate, I missed the investigation into House Majority Leader McCarthy and his brother-in-law's direct, substantial benefits from being labeled a native American (to the tune of millions of dollars in minority set asides on government contracts).

My reading? The news was out but NOT deliberately promoted, so that a whole host of Republicans who would chime in to attack Warren would be locked rhetorically vis-a-vis McCarthy (in whose case, the 'tribal affiliation' in question consists of a tribe regarded by other tribes as a fraud).

I imagine folks like our Tim/Tacitus, who frowned at the possibility Warren might have benefited from her ancestral claims, would be incensed by a prominent Republican doing the same - in a much more grandiose manner (one of the Navy's largest landholdings)?

But that was his brother-in-law, not him! Indeed. And guess why no one bothered investigating before when they started cutting the checks...

Tim Wolter said...

If this is correct, then I am indeed frowning.

And no, I had not heard of this.

TW/T

David Brin said...

I met George Soros at an event in his home. He totters around, not super focused. But I don’t understand why his people haven’t fought back against the slander campaign against him. There are trivially easy counter-memes based on the true reason why Putin and other world oligarchs hate the guy. And those memes would have the benefit also of eviscerating Fox and the right-o-sphere.

Tim’s criticism of the democrats is asymptotically approaching my own, that they are almost criminally stupid at the art of polemic and political/electoral manipulativeness, the expertise of Fox/Putin/ilk.

Alas, Tim never completes the syllogism… that the mafia right, while expert at such arts, is either criminally incompetent at governance and decency, or else simply criminal.

Perhaps the sum of regrettable traits is similar on both sides. But I choose the side whose regrettable trait is naive inability to lie and manipulate well.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re the Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco.

I would have thought that a video of Kavanaugh loosing his cool - no sound just him raving away with
"And THIS is what the Republicans think a Supreme Court Judge looks like"
Over the top would make an excellent election broadcast

Was it "Dean" who was eviscerated by his "scream"?

Kavanaugh was much much worse!

David Brin said...

Seriously Tim. What democrat is actually capable of planning, committing or keeping secret a grand, mastermind conspiracy?

I take it back. In recent years, many crewcut fact-types from the "deep state" have switched parties. So there may be a new talent pool... but still, seriously?

Anonymous said...


Larry Hart.
It makes sense what Larry says. Again, Donald Trump accuses the Democrats of the crimes committed by the Republican leaders.
If the president of Mexico let the caravan of immigrants pass, that is because Donald Trump secretly asked him to let the caravan of immigrants pass. It would certainly have been very easy for Peña Nieto to arrest and deport the immigrants. But he has not taken measures to stop the immigrants. That indicates that there is a plan. Recall that Peña Nieto would never do anything that would jeopardize the North American Free Trade Agreement. So, at this time, Peña Nieto is following exactly Donald Trump's orders, which include pretending that it was not possible to stop the caravan of immigrants.
Without a doubt, it is the leaders of the extreme right who are financing the caravan of immigrants. But all this makes me suspect something of even more dangerous proportions.
Donald Trump earns three things by secretly financing and organizing the immigrant caravan:

A) To frighten the American people, making them believe that a real invasion is about to put at risk the security of American families.

B) Create the circumstances that will allow the extreme right to justify the use of brutal measures of repression inside and outside the United States.

C) Create a problem that will distract the American people from the investigation of the real invasion: The Russian invasion. At the same time, the artificially created distractions prevent people from taking seriously the trial carried out against the most effective KGB agent: Donald Trump.

Winter7

David Brin said...

Winter7 your alternate conspiracy theory has a flaw... that Nieto and Trump could get caught. What could Trump offer to keep Nieto from stabbing DT in the back?

Anonymous said...

A nation afraid, will always run to seek the protection of fascist leaders. That trick was created by the Nazis in Germany before the great war and now, Donald Trump copies the trick.
Donald seeks to terrorize the American people with a feigned invasion of immigrants.
Donald knows that 80% of the American people will soon be at his feet.
How sad it is that most Americans are so easy to manipulate by feudal leaders.

Winter7

David Brin said...

MOST? Sorry Winter7. Only one of the last 7 electoral victories by the Republican Party was based on a clear majority of the voters. The other six were won by cheating.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

But from one perspective, the Dems are quite prone to lousy political strategies. See the Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco. This was either a desperation tactic by a D leadership that had nothing else, and/or something that just got out of control once unsavory types decided to "help" with claims of everything just short of Satanic cannibalism.


A few things.

It's not the Democrats' fault that less savory types decided to pile on.

It's not even the Democrats' fault that Dr Ford's letter came to light. What were they supposed to do, help sweep it under the rug for the old boys' network? This sounds like one of those arguments to the effect that Republicans engage in behavior so egregious that it becomes impolite and politically toxic for Democrats to mention the truth.

But more important than any of that was that you're assuming the Kavanaugh fight was about making electoral gains in the midterms. No, making electoral gains in the midterms would be a consolation prize. The battle was to keep a monster off of the formerly-but-no-longer-capitalized supreme court. That they lost the battle doesn't mean it was a mistake to fight it.


So this could be stupid D strategy or another situation where a tactic they thought would work has gotten out of control.


Are you saying that the Democrats' political ineptitude makes it plausible to FOX viewers that the caravan just might be a stupid campaign strategy on their part? Or that you believe George Soros really is financing the caravan? Because if it's the latter, then you really have gone over the edge.

Dr Brin adds:

Tim’s criticism of the democrats is asymptotically approaching my own, that they are almost criminally stupid at the art of polemic and political/electoral manipulativeness, the expertise of Fox/Putin/ilk.


I am also disappointed at Democratic electoral strategy. But I don't vote as I do because I love Democrats. I vote straight Democrat because Republicans must not be allowed to hold onto power. If it was 1933, I would want Hitler defeated because of Hitler--I wouldn't quibble over the minutae of the individuals opposing him. Likewise, I had no interest in punishing Hillary by allowing the country to be run by Donald Trump, or to punish J.B. Pritzger by allowing Illinois to be governed by Bruce Rauner for four more ghastly years. It would be nice if Democrats were better at convincing us of why we should be excited about their candidacy, but in the end, it's not up to them to "win" our votes, and our job isn't to rate their commercials and give points for dress and deportment. Our job is to vote for the better candidate or to vote against the deplorable candidate.

Anonymous said...

I apologize. I had to retire quickly, in order to attend to an urgent matter.
I did not realize they were already answering my message.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Doctor Brin:
“Winter7 your alternate conspiracy theory has a flaw... that Nieto and Trump could get caught. What could Trump offer to keep Nieto from stabbing DT in the back?”
Maybe he does not explain me well. I do not see any possibility of Enrique Peña Nieto trying to betray Donald Trump. Our leaders are not caciques who seek the good of all. They look only for profits for themselves.
I think I remember a scene from the series Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. Something that involved an almost immortal woman who was a lover of a famous hero of the Fundación series. She was required by one of her descendants, a villain who wanted to know if it was possible that he had DNA from the hated space hero. The villain was worried because if he had DNA from an enemy of the emperor, then that could hurt his rising career.
She refused to see him, but R. Daneel Olivaw, the woman's robot, suggests that she attend the meeting because it is not convenient to win over someone as powerful as the villain who wanted to meet the woman. (If I forget a lot of details.) The story may not even be from the “Foundation” series. Maybe it's from Resultado de imagen para Asimov books; “The Caves of Steel” or “The Naked Sun”.
Whatever. The fact is that it is the same case with Peña Nieto and Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the Mule. Peña Nieto is the second-rate villain who does not want to win powerful enemies.

However ... You have made me think of other possibilities. Maybe; considering that Peña Nieto is almost finished his presidency, and, before leaving, he wants to create problems for his successor, López Obrador, in order that Donald Trump get angry with Mexico and López Obrador's presidential term becomes an economic chaos. Thus, the political party of Peña Nieto: The PRI, could win in the following presidential elections.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

“Sorry Winter7. Only one of the last 7 electoral victories by the Republican Party was based on a clear majority of the voters. The other six were won by cheating.”

True. I exaggerated a bit. But without a doubt, the fear strategy could be used by Donald Trump to increase the number of irrational followers.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

¿ Is not it a good time to start a special university, to train the democratic politicians in the art of being a formidable political strategist and a wonderful ruler?
The fittest university teachers and the most ingenious Democratic activists would educate the democratic politicians to turn them into better combatants, in an era where it is necessary to learn unusual strategies.

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

That 'special university' is the local party organization. That's what parties are actually FOR.

Don't get the academics involved. They think in different ways most of the time. 8)

Anonymous said...

On the planet Mars, Arsia Mons volcano has had an anchored cloud line. These clouds were previously seen in the same place by other probes in the years 2009, 2012 and 2015.
They say it's not about volcanic activity. That it is steam clouds. (Hum, now we know where to put the water collection machines) However, I checked photos of NASA files. Inside the volcano, it is possible to see areas bleached by geothermal activity. I think that volcano has magma deep inside. A possible source of energy for future settlers. Perhaps the volcano has multiple cracks, which emanate water vapor.

Link:
https://phys.org/news/2018-10-mars-eye-curious-cloud.html

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:
But ... What if they bring together the best university teachers? Undoubtedly, Doctor Brin knows the ideal teachers for that mission. Every hero requires a mentor.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump is so stupid he does not even know how to close an umbrella. That is the reason why Vladimir Putin tells him what to do step by step. Because Donald does not think clearly anymore.

Link:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6301783/President-Trump-fails-close-umbrella-leaves-Secret-Service-him.html

Winter7

Donald Gisselbeck said...

Preliminary kepi wearing results. Lots of "nice hat". Quite a few people recognizing it as Union. A couple taking a few seconds to decide Union or Confederate. Two thinking Revolutionary War. One (left wing law student) getting it. This has included several ventures into the realm of congressthug (Gianforte) voters.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. I reread what I said about Asimov's "Foundation" and I realize that it is a text similar to a half-deciphered hieroglyph. (Anyway, I'll blame the mischievous Google automatic translator) Sorry.

Haaa It is midnight ... the hour when the Nahual becomes a beautiful young woman and wanders the streets, searching for the souls of her victims.

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7,

You are very trusting of those of us with academic backgrounds?

I see it as a conflict of interest. Many academics actually make a living from the state. They DO have to learn politics to survive on the faculty, but it is a different kind of thing. Not many elections going on.

Maybe I'm thinking too local I suppose, but most of the academics I've met prefer to be apolitical. Their research matters more to them, so they have a partial understanding of what goes on outside their walls. As for the folks who actually make a study of politics... well... let's just say they don't all agree on some important points... especially when it comes to political economy.

I'm not knocking the political scientists, but a lot of people pay about as much attention to that as economics and philosophy and we are diverse as a result. I sincerely doubt there IS a best way to do things, let alone that we already know what it is.

Alfred Differ said...

As for the umbrella, I think that was more about "I don't care" than anything else.
I'd bet, though, the Secret Service prefers he get on the plane and not worry about that stuff.
He's better protected inside.

Tony Fisk said...

"Wind Gust Skewers Man With Own Brolly"

David Brin said...

DG yeah. My own experience with the blue kepi is similar. Well well. It makes a point without brashly pushing it on those who either don't know or don't care.

And sure, DT doesn't care. He's disappointed he doesn't get to hover about like Baron Harkonen, in Dune.

Yipe! Has anyone else made the comparison? With side by side video clips? Someone re-watch the David Lynch film for clippable bits!

Tim Wolter said...

LarryHart

I can report that I have not gone "over the edge", but of course all such assertions must be tempered by the realization that had I indeed gone crazy I might be blissfully unaware of the fact.

I don't yell SOROS or KOCH when I see things going on in the political world. To do so is lazy.

Now, regards the Caravan there are some interesting things about it. It looks to me to be a Potemkin Caravan to some extent. The optics are of a compact mass of humanity walking and pushing strollers. But realistically, you can't travel those distances in this time in this fashion. Various references in reasonably honest sources (WaPo) indicate that the majority of the travel is by bus. They get off periodically. At border crossings. Maybe at scheduled PR stops? The financial effort to pull this off is not great. Bus tickets are cheap and many of the economic migrants have likely been saving up against this day. Oh, food, water, bathroom stops all take some organization, but nothing that a network of local churches and charities could not pull together with only modest help from El Norte.

Press coverage of course does not show the whole picture. Google images of Central American Migrant Caravan are 95% people moving under their own power. In the first hundred or so that come up there is not one bus. Although a couple of overcrowded trucks are seen.

Of course this lowers the stakes appreciably. If they are not allowed in they don't have to walk back to Central America. I suspect a bus ticket could be provided.

Its all a show. Larger numbers of people, albeit in smaller and less photogenic tableaus, come to the border daily. To the extent that Democrats are involved they are probably hoping for agonizing scenes at the Rio Grande. Or by this point wishing the whole thing would drop from the news. The people over at Fox are of course talking this up and making this harmless looking bunch into an invading army. Although hyperventilating they at least are addressing legitimate questions regards our immigration policies.

The reality is that we will always accept immigrants and asylum seekers. They are not one and the same. And they have to follow the rule of law, whether it is personally convenient for them or not. Millions more who are playing by the rules are ahead of them in line.

Anyway, just my take on this. Donzelion seems to be our go to guy on immigration issues as well as matters relating to The Kingdom. How far am I on this?

T.Wolter/Tacitus

ps: ironically the captcha picture actually was Click on pictures of buses. If there are no buses hit Skip!

Larry Hart said...

Umbrellas were a favorite Iron Curtain assassination weapon. Just sayin'

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

To the extent that Democrats are involved they are probably hoping for agonizing scenes at the Rio Grande. Or by this point wishing the whole thing would drop from the news. The people over at Fox are of course talking this up and making this harmless looking bunch into an invading army.


That was kinda my point. As a political issue, this one hurts Democrats and helps Republicans to publicize. Why the eff would George Soros be behind it? By contrast, I can understand the temptation to blame the #MAGAbombings on Democrats because the optics really hurt Republicans. It didn't turn out that way, but I can see the point of raising that possibility when the bomber's identity and politics were unknown. But blaming the caravan on Soros makes no sense even as a theory.

Larry Hart said...

Candidate Trump back in 2016:

Donald J. Trump called on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation's leaders can "figure out what is going on".


Now that we've had three right-wing white males perform terror attacks on US soil in less than a week, isn't it time to apply the same logic to armed white Christian men wearing MAGA hats?

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) has a post up about immigration:

http://www.stonekettle.com/

...

The Big Lie.

The kind of lie the Nazis told so well.

It’s the lie of fascists and of communists and all flavors totalitarianism, of abusers and tin-pot dictators the world over.

See, it’s not that we’re against all “those” people, it’s just that we want “those” people to follow the law. I mean, who doesn’t want a lawful society, right? That’s reasonable, isn’t it? That people follow the law?

Of course it is.

And then you change the law to make “those” people illegal.

And if anybody complains, well, they obviously have no respect for the law. They are, in fact, very likely criminals themselves, or criminal sympathizers.

And if the opposition becomes too vocal, well, you have an excuse to declare martial law and throw them into jail too.

Convenient, eh?

...

Trump declares migrants and asylum seekers as criminals, as the enemy – even though the people he’s talking about haven’t as yet broken a single US law. Nor declared their intention to do so.

Not one.

Walking through Guatemala, through Honduras, though El Salvador and Mexico isn’t a crime under US law. Or even a crime under the laws of those nations.

US laws do not apply to the leaders (or the citizens) of foreign countries. International laws and agreements likewise don’t apply to this migration, and in fact, in most regards international laws prohibit governments from preventing migration and enjoin nations to provide aid and comfort to those in need.

Having defined migrants as criminals and a dire threat to America, Trump then declares his political opponents, Americans, as enemies of the country – because in Trump’s mind he is America and thus any opposition must therefore be treason. Criminal.

With the stage, set, Trump then declares this a matter of sovereignty, of national security, of law. He demands other nations control their populations, even though the US has no authority to do so, and threatens military action if they do not comply. Military action. Don’t take my word for it, read those of the American President for yourself, “I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” That’s what he said. That’s what he said in a statement that is bookended by declaring Democrats as criminals and the enemies of America.

Is the hair standing up on the back of your neck yet? Because it should be.

Military action first on US soil and then an excuse to … invade the Sudetenland perhaps?

And if you still can’t see the parallels then you are a goddamned fool.

...

Darrell E said...

Tim Wolter,

Immigration as the crisis that Trump and the Republican Party portrays it to be is wholly fabricated horse shit. It is lies nearly all the way down. Immigration and illegal border crossing is down and has been for a while. There is no imminent threat to the US from illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants do commit crimes at greater rates than legal immigrants, but at significantly lower rates than the general population, or even just us white folk citizens. That we are in danger of the Democrats enacting open borders the first chance they get, pure bullshit. While there certainly are some liberal citizens and a small number of Democratic Party politicians that have talked about extreme measures like open borders the facts are clear for anyone to see if only they would look. Neither the Democratic Party or any Democratic president has ever proposed any legislation that included anything remotely resembling open borders. Nearly all of the talking points by Trump and Republicans are false.

The one truth at the bottom is that we do need to reform our immigration policies. This has been common opinion for many years by people on all sides. The lie is that Democrats and liberals haven't tried to deal with the issue and have interfered with Republicans attempting to do so. Pure crap. First of all, Democrats have not been in a position to do so, period. And in recent history Democrats have participated in bipartisan efforts to create legislation to address this issue. Despite their efforts, and the efforts of the Republicans they worked with, other Republicans and Trump saw fit to block these efforts.

What I'm always left wondering in your case is why someone like you believes any of this shit? Sure, you always carefully say that you're not committing to either side of the story, your awaiting further evidence. And that both sides are bad. But despite the easily available evidence you do give the Trump / Republican propaganda the benefit of the doubt, or more. This is not all subjective. There are verifiable facts about these matters. Giving these lies the benefit of the doubt is not reasonable assessment of the available evidence.

David Smelser said...

Larry,

Don't look at the current caravan to understand the Soros connection, instead ask why were the unite the right/Charlottsville rioters chanting "Jews will not replace us".

Here is a 2017 article on that https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/14/jews-will-not-replace-us-why-white-supremacists-go-after-jews/

Here is a quote (of a quote) from that article: "The successes of the civil rights movement created a terrible problem for white supremacist ideology. White supremacism — inscribed de jure by the Jim Crow regime and upheld de facto outside the South — had been the law of the land, and a black-led social movement had toppled the political regime that supported it. How could a race of inferiors have unseated this power structure through organizing alone? … Some secret cabal, some mythological power, must be manipulating the social order behind the scenes. This diabolical evil must control television, banking, entertainment, education and even Washington D.C. It must be brainwashing white people, rendering them racially unconscious.

What is this arch-nemesis of the white race, whose machinations have prevented the natural and inevitable imposition of white supremacy? It is, of course, the Jews. Jews function for today’s white nationalists as they often have for anti-Semites through the centuries: as the demons stirring an otherwise changing and heterogeneous pot of lesser evils."


Larry Hart said...

@David Smelser,

I don't disagree with you. One thing that mystifies me is that so many American Jews have joined forces with the Republican nationalists. While the Republican politicians generally talk as if Jews count as part of the in-group, so many of their grass-roots voters seem to thrive on anti-Semitism that the willing participation of (say) Sheldon Adelson boggles the mind.

As someone who heard the stories of 1930s Europe at my daddy's knee, the possibility that America would become unsafe for Jews has always been a real one, but it's never looked so likely as it does today.

Robert said...

Wasn't it Hastert who wanted to be the Baron?

On a much more serious note, the Tree of Life mass murder hit me hard. For a moment, I was wondering who won WWII. And then I calmed down... Sort of.

Even so, watching The Man in the High Castle feels really strange.


Bob Pfeiffer.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"we actually need TWO Dakotas?"

Actually, we do. The Big Box states were drawn in a time of two competing forces, the need to administer swathes of land efficiently and the relative dearth of population compared to the well settled East. The hopeful solution was that "someday" those large plots would join the community of States on a more equal footing.

In the case of North Dakota, it took well over a century, but "someday" is finally here. At last, we can start doing something about our quirks of geography, because now they're starting to have an actual effect on the political process.

With a longer view, political structures across human history have moved from urbanocentric to regional to imperial to federalist. Because we've gotten smarter about this as time marches on. At last, the impetus to federalism is waning. Witness East Timor, South Sudan, Brexit, the new Central Asia, and the term Balkanization was not coined in the 1990s.

As proud as we are over here, the rest of the world is leading the way and America should start catching up.

First, we've got to let go of nostalgia for the nice plump round number 50. What ever number we end up with, it's just a number.

Second, the tiny states have to go. Give Rhode Island to Connecticut fergodssake. Give Delaware to Maryland, as well as that ridiculous chunk of Virginia on the same peninsula.

License tags from D.C. tell the truth: "Taxation Without Representation" but it was a wise move to make the capitol district not part of any state. Rather than grant DC statehood with a Rep and 2 Sens, best solution is to remove the taxation. Like Florida, no income tax. Like everywhere, no tax on food. Like most places just before a new school year, no tax on clothes. No tax on anything, a duty-free city. We'd see a rapid gentrification of D.C. eliminate its poorer neighborhoods, but that means the basic city services can easily be maintained by local property taxes alone. It's absurd to have Congress be the City Council of D.C. Cut the apron strings. No representation, but no taxation.

Keep Dakota separated. Keep Wyoming intact, what we say about Wyoming now is what we said about Colorado decades ago, but look what a nice land of freedom Colorado has become since it got a good film festival! Wyoming and Alaska are still waiting for their "someday" but those days will come.

yana said...


Third, reduce the big states. A little-remembered fact is that when Texas joined the Union, they demanded (and received) the option to split into 5 States in the future. The future is here. As scared as the Democrats would be to lose 4 Senators from Delaware and Rhode Island, the Republicans are at this very moment scared of losing the statehouse and senators in a single monolithic Texas, which could get to 45% blue in just a few more years. Five new Texases might be too big a jump to make all at once, but it should be split into two, maybe run a line from Wichita Falls to Corpus Christi. Both would have a Gulf coast, but obviously the state line would have to run right through San Antonio so they both get half the Alamo, because you know how Texans are.

Then obviously there's California. Real easy, Central California, NoCal and SoCal. The culture in the Golden State has already delineated itself neatly, there's no reason why political differentiation should lag behind any longer.

Alaska. Big but wild. Thinly populated and geographically immense. Best idea is to leave Alaska alone until warming years really ramp up, then the northern part of Alaska, Beringian and Arctic Alaska, might support the population and economic churn to split off from the Pacific south.

Hawaii? Small state but let's talk about it in terms of expansion. In the same breath, we might consider splitting Florida. Here's why the two are connected...

The only tweak to laws i'm calling for is to create a process for territories to determine their own destiny. Guam, the Marshall Islands, Guantanamo, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, the Solomons and Marianas. We've got footprints all over the Pacific and Caribbean.

What they need is a process. Say, every 5 years they hold an election with three choices on the ballot:

A. Stay a territory.

B. Become independent.

C. Join the USA.

If B or C gets over 60% for three elections in a row, then it happens. Cutting them loose as new nations is a process well understood, from the lessons in vast decolonization in the 1950s through 1970s. But what if "C" wins? None of the territories would qualify as a whole new State.

Consider if Rhode Island were a Crown Colony all this time and only in 2018 rebelled against Britain and asked to join the US. We wouldn't admit RI as a whole new State, we'd add some counties to Connecticut.

That's where a split Florida and our Hawaiian friends come in. North Florida, that's the panhandle and draw a line from Sarasota to Melbourne. South Florida would be smaller, but equal in population and economy, and would absorb any Caribbean territories which decide to join the union. And now it makes sense, Hawaii is small in size today, but stands ready to add a Guam County as part of the state, should the Guamians decide they want that.

Summary: 3 Californias, two Texases, 2 Floridas, and realign Rhode Island and Delware. That'd put the union at 52 states, and by today's demographics it looks like a wash in the Senate as far as blue/red goes. It would turn Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio and San Francisco into state capitals, and each of those cities has earned the honor.

Once we've got the kinks worked out of our own federalism on a basic geographic level, and we start making territories opt-in, we can declare our union "open for business" and extend invitations to Canadian provinces and northern Mexican states. They won't join, but the rest of the world would see us as nice to have made the offer. And who knows? Maybe Tonga someday decides that they want to become a US territory, on the road to becoming a county of Hawaii?

Realignment is the next step in making a more perfect union, because it diffuses political power more evenly. At the heart of it, that's the idea of democracy. Spreading power out creates natural checks/balances, and making the single citizen the granular element of politics summons the wisdom of common sense into concrete policy. The best kind of "mob".

Anonymous said...

There was something about Donald Herkonen there:
Link:
https://thesardonicobserver.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/trump-harkonnen/

Winter7

David Brin said...

A minor hit, but still one for the Predictions Registry. The anti-onc creams used by Ra Boys in EARTH to remove pre-cancerous sun-spot cells from their skin. "Creams remove skin sun spots with minimal pain and may prevent cancer."

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2183725-creams-remove-skin-sun-spots-with-minimal-pain-and-may-prevent-cancer/

matthew said...

Now the Press Secretary is talking about ending posse comitatus and habeas corpus to deal with migrants.

https://qz.com/1442757/what-does-posse-comitatus-mean-and-trump-could-suspend-it/

I would be willing to bet that our new and improved SCOTUS would find it constitutional too.

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright points out what we already know...

http://www.stonekettle.com/

...

History would call this technique The Big Lie.

Joseph Goebbels, the Nazis’ Minister of Propaganda is often credited with the idea, but it was Hitler who first outlined it in Mein Kampf in 1925.

Never allow the public to cool off.

Never admit a fault or wrong.

Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy.

Never leave room for alternatives.

Never accept blame.

Concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong.

Repeat the lie, over and over, until enough people believe it.

You see it, don’t you?

You see the parallels.

...

TheMadLibrarian said...

yana, unless the US gets its act together much better than it did over the past year for Puerto Rico, I don't see any flood of currently independent countries clamoring to join the Union. PR has been a territory of the US for over a century, and being neither fish nor fowl has not helped it.

Alfred Differ said...

Some day when the Dems recapture Congress, I hope they deal with PR and offer statehood on a fast track.

David Brin said...

LH do you have a citation for that or is it a paraphrasing from memory?

A decade ago I was predicting non-Euro nations would ask to join the EU. Boy, I can really miss, when I miss!

David Brin said...

“Give Delaware to Maryland.” What? And Let American corporations be subject to actual LAW???

I’d give every American citizen who “does not live in a state” CHOOSE which state to register in. So people in DC get to register in VA or MD. Pacific Islanders get to choose a state. Puerto Rico, too. Heck, lump em all into Delaware!

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH do you have a citation for that or is it a paraphrasing from memory?


Not sure which "that" you're asking about.

If you mean the bit about shutting down Muslims until we "figure out what's going on", I couldn't find a direct quote just now, only indirect references to the fact that Trump had said something like it. But I do remember him doing so, even to the point of his referring to himself in the third person as "Donald J Trump".

If you mean something else, you'll have to specify.

Alfred Differ said...

Some nations in eastern Europe DID want into the EU to avoid remaining in the Russian sphere of influence. Your miss shouldn't be counted as one just yet. Most of them still prefer independence, but have to be practical about it for now.

Twominds said...

Ukraine wanted in badly, but at a time when many Europeans were very tepid about further eastern expansion. That and Russian interference makes entry unlikely in the short term. And with current uncertainty what Europe wants and can be, long term is very foggy.

yana said...


TheMadLibraian thought:

"I don't see any flood of currently independent countries clamoring to join the Union."

Nor do i, and obviously our current sitch will serve as a cautionary tale for years to come: 'with the Electoral College system, a minority of Americans could vote the precursors to fascism into place'. The whole thing has Vlad Corleone laughing 'til his jackboots fall off. But by making the decision to become an American territory opt-in, and reversible in only 15 years, the comfort level should rise considerably... once we get a bit more normal politics.

Alfred Differ thought:

"when the Dems recapture Congress, I hope they deal with PR and offer statehood"

Regular votes every 5 years. Leave it to the people themselves. 3 in a row's the charm, for either statehood or independence. The American empire, in contrast to most of history, has a record of giving things back (Philippines, Cuba, Panama, W.Europe, Iraq) so we're not really an empire. From 1948 to 1975, the US spent more in Korea than on the Marshall Plan and Apollo Program -- combined. But we still didn't seize it as a colony.

David Brin thought:

"What? And Let American corporations be subject to actual LAW???"

Haha, reading "Earth" a year ago, couldn't keep the work of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists out of my mind. Since that made news 2.5 years ago, even Delaware has let shame begin to correct policy.

"every American citizen who “does not live in a state” CHOOSE which state to register in. So people in DC get to register in VA or MD. Pacific Islanders get to choose a state. Puerto Rico, too."

Nice but, states run elections and not all states have absentee voting. Even bright blue New York does not allow absentee ballots until the citizen explains to the state, in writing, why they can't get "home" to vote. And NY does not have early voting either, so can you imagine the insane congestion at La Guardia, JFK and Newark Int'l in early November? That's called a man-made disaster!

Twominds thought:

"And with current uncertainty what Europe wants and can be, long term is very foggy."

Fog either becomes rain or is boiled off by a morning sun. But if representative democracy can create slow steady revolution to stave off sudden sharp revolution, then an empire can build itself to be destructible, on purpose. An opt-in empire skips the pesky separatism, and carries the benefits of federalism.

Larry Hart said...

One state at a time...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Oct30.html#item-7

...

In any event, this was pretty much the last gasp for Republican gerrymandering in Pennsylvania for a long while; with a Democratic governor in Tom Wolf, who is expected to win reelection easily (he's up an average of 17 points in the polls), the state GOP will not be in a position to ram through a gerrymandered map for years, if they ever are again.

David Brin said...

LH: I meant the Mein Kampf list of don'ts.

David Brin said...

Who is George Soros? “A financier of groups that do nothing more than destabilize societies and cultures"? “A cunning Jew-speculator and environmentalist radical”? Or “Soros used his media empire to topple 8 foreign governments!” Well, well. Put aside the anti-semitic dog whistles and the fact that his “media empire” is 5% as big as Rupert Murdoch’s. Fox & Beck & Alex Jones and Russia Today do allude to something true! Soros’s Open Society Foundation did help bring down not eight but TEN foreign governments.
Only notice that your confederate uncles can never actually name them. Why? Because Fox-RT etc. never name the foreign governments they credit George Soros – that awful manipulator – with toppling. Now why would that be?

Because those foreign governments that Hannity and Putin rave that Soros “personally toppled” were:
The communist dictatorship of Hungary –
The communist dictatorship of Poland –
The communist dictatorship of Czechoslovakia –
The communist dictatorship of Lithuania –
The communist dictatorship of Latvia –
The communist dictatorship of Estonia –
The communist dictatorship of Romania –
The communist dictatorship of Bulgaria –
The communist dictatorship of East Germany –
The communist dictatorship of Ukraine…

Oops, that’s 11. And sure, giving Soros credit for all that seems overly generous of Beck-Hannity-Fox etc! Thanks, but he had help! Only dig it, you can see why Vladimir Putin hates George Soros more even than he hates Obama and Clinton. And Putin’s pals all fall into line, because Soros still promotes open societies and democracy around the world, along with freedom of press and speech.

Go on now. Demand your mad uncle or confederate friends NAME the governments this cunning mastermind supposedly “toppled”! Confront them with the fact that all the characters they used to hate, back when they were “communists” are now their best pals, when they head oligarch criminal mafias. The same men.

The recent pipe bomber and the synagogue shooter both had Russia obsessions, expressing hatred of the “deep state” men and women who protected us against Hitler, Stalin and Brezhnev, but who now oppose an international mafia putsch led by Putin and Murdoch.

Our neighbors have gone insane, egged-on to hating every single fact-using profession, from science and journalism to the FBI and intel community and US military officer corps. But if you can peel off one, just one, back into the arms of the Great American Experiment, then you’ll hear heaven (and George Washington) rejoice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXHfPBHeOJU
and
https://www.npr.org/2018/10/30/662052937/u-s-agency-investigates-taxpayer-funded-anti-semitism-against-george-soros

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

That's cribbed from Jim Wright's (Stonekettle Station) latest post.

http://www.stonekettle.com/

locumranch said...

The Left now reaps the whirlwind for embracing perhaps the 'failingest political strategy' ever devised: A commitment to the concept of historical and/or collective guilt.

By arguing that certain demographics owe society an eternity of non-dischargeable debts, the Left feeds the Public on a never-ending diet of 'historical & collective guilt':

We are told -- ceaselessly -- that (1) the present Identity Group 'White' is uniquely guilty for 6000+ years of Human Slavery & Racism, (2) the Identity Group 'Male' is historically tarnished by it's legacy of Sexism & Gender Inequality, (3) the present Identity Group 'Christian' must always apologise for its historical crimes and (4) the European demographic must now suffer extinction for its history of Colonialism & Imperialism.

Unfortunately for the Left, the Right and damn-near everyone, the concept of non-dischargeable collective & historical debts now affects ALL of US, including the Identity Groups that our fine host would rather hold blameless even though these (innocuous) Identity Groups must now 'reap the whirlwind' & suffer the ultimate penalty for ALLEGATIONS of non-dischargeable historical & collective debts.

As must we all.

Remember this when you don your Union Kepis this All Hallows Eve.


Best

David Brin said...

Oy! Not one thing locum said just now is even remotely true. Every single sentence is not only false but (with the exception of a few weirdo lefty flakes) diametrically opposite to true.


That he actually believes such incantations is testimony to the shrieking, Rheifenstahlian hysteria these fact-hating psychopaths believe and that we are members of the same species as both delusional ravers like this AND people like Einstein, Jefferson and Franklin and Adam Smith gives one amazed pause.

more weight said...

locumranch

You're so right about the collective guilt/judgement/tribal-identity problem! We need to preserve the principles of individual responsibility and individual rights, no matter what.

How can people, freed from kyriarchy for the first time in recorded history, be so stupid? To think only of setting up a new order with themselves on top, and to think they can manage it. We can't afford this **** in a world where weapons of mass destruction exist.

yana said...


As anecdotes they mean nothing, but when taken as a cohesive knot of bad news, hmmm. A white christian male kills 11 nice old people in PA. A white christian male, shooed away from a black church, instead goes to the mall to find black people to kill. A white christian male sends absurdly incompetent "devices" to black people and to others who generally like black people.

Seems like the people who can't be trusted with weapons are... white christian males. Most black people killed in violence are done in by other black people, but usually over money and pride, not politics. Violence generated by sour identity whiners is uniformly perpetrated by white christian males.

Luckily, the generation coming into voting age now is a vast pool of non-racists who are not ashamed to skip church, and pluck sosh media strings to call out the creepy rapey guys among them.

The more that tolerance became normal, the more shrill and violent the old people became. Hey! that'd be a great first line to a book!

David Brin said...

"We are told -- ceaselessly ..." Only by your psycho-sites making up stories.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Seems like the people who can't be trusted with weapons are... white christian males


The only thing preventing that self-evident truth from being acknowledged is...political correctness from the right.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought: "political correctness from the right."

Thanks for the laugh, fairly well explodes the idiocy of the local troll. Look, i said it weeks ago here, lowsemenherder writes from a large pool of internalized guilt. Wise thing to do, would be to examine it and own it. But the easy thing to do is transfer it.

Larry Hart said...

@yana,

For years--literally--other people on this list including the host implored me not to waste my time arguing with the dude, and I couldn't help myself. Now that I've given up reading his crap, it's funny how many others can't help themselves instead.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

A few posts back, you said something to the effect of "The Holnists have taken over the government." I beg to differ. I'm going from memory here, but these are pretty close to direct quotes from The Postman.

General Macklin:

"Now, now, Shawn. Nathan Holn was no racist, and we shouldn't be either."


General Macklin again:

"That's the true democracy. My own sons must kill to become Holnists, or else scratch dirt to support those who can."


Benedict Donald and his Nazi supporters are more deplorable than Holnists.

Anonymous said...

If the Nazi leaders in the United States and Mexico are attacking, that is a sign that they are scared. Those parasites know that in the long term, all business will fall.
Remember: The Nazis are the enemy. Someday we'll take the Nazi leaders for the nuts, and kick them so hard that those poor bastards will fly down in some garbage dump in Berlin.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Hum, the translator failed. I mean that the dirty business of the Nazi leaders will fall. (Ha ... how am I going to enjoy seeing how the Nazi leaders try to start from scratch, after 80 years in prison)

Winter7

locumranch said...

We have already heard where David & all the other #MeToo apologists stand on the actual use of 'facts', 'data' and 'evidence' -- in strict opposition to the use thereof -- as long as the use of unsupported or unsupportable ALLEGATION defends their narrative du jour.

It will be a shock to those of you who possess 'educated' Blue Urban sensibilities, no doubt, that damn near everyone (including the venerable political opposition) can pull an equally unlimited supply of unsupported & unsupportable ALLEGATIONS out their nether regions to defend their narrative du jour.

J'Accuse !!! You're all oath-breakers, maniacs, witches, warlocks, anarchists, authoritarians, Nazi socialists, child-stealers, snake oil salesmen, abortionists & possibly (gasp) lawyers and WE HAVE PROOF !!

** And, by the phrase "WE HAVE PROOF", we mean that we 'should', 'ought' and 'expect' to have proof shortly after (1) we meter out justice by burning you at the stake or (2) the Mueller Investigation concludes, allowing us to berry-pick which ever result best serves our rather partisan agenda.


Best
____

Yana speaks truth: One MUST ASSUME that only 'white christian males' murder innocents with guns, once we forget the Muslim-perpetrated Batalan & Grande concert massacres, the San Bernadino Massacre (committed by Muslims, male & female), the Orlando Nightclub Massacre (committed by 1 homosexual muslim), the (Black) Oregon gunman who targeted Christians at Umpqua Community College, the Black gunman who executed Dallas Police officers in 2015, and the Black Muslim gunman who revenge-murdered 2 NYPD (1 hispanic, 1 asian) officers back in 2014.

That is the Left's omnipresent narrative after all: White equals 'Racist'; Christianity equals 'Hate'; and Male equals 'Rapist'. At least that's the fact-free assertion made by the MSM. Plus it helps that a credulous US public has the intelligence & memory of a squirrel.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Larry Hart thought: "political correctness from the right."

Thanks for the laugh, fairly well explodes the idiocy of the local troll.


Bill Maher is constantly calling out the left for "political correctness", but he just recently reminded us that he lost his older show, "Politically Correct" after he said the 9/11 terrorists were not cowards, and Limbaugh and that ilk called on their listeners to boycott Maher's advertisers. It wasn't liberals who got him cancelled.

Anonymous said...

As for my comments yesterday, about educating young people in the art of being honest politicians, there is someone who agrees with me. I think you have already heard about him:

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”
George Washington


Winter7

Anonymous said...

It seems that we will have to restart the struggle for civil rights and this time around the world. And this is a great moment for that struggle, because most of the world's population is hungry for justice.

"Like an idea whose time has come, not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom.
How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow.
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

David Brin said...


“Benedict Donald and his Nazi supporters are more deplorable than Holnists.”

Good point! While I inveigh against feudalist enlightenment destroyers, I’ve been known also to kind of reach out to them, that they don’t have to be so awful. The Trillionaires’ conference in the Alps, in EXISTENCE, for example. An interesting cognitive thing I do.

====

“WE HAVE PROOF‼”

You got nuthin’ doof. You shriek “This is a lion!” while holding up a poo. You howl “I’m flying!” while flapping your arms. Those things are just as true as your other delusional yowlings.

Again… not one of the things you have asserted in your last 3 postings have more than a 1% overlap with reality and that 1% are lefty idiots who are just as crazy as you are. WE believe NONE of the things your shout that we believe! Not a single one of them.

Did you consider ASKING us if any of us believe the things you claim we believe? No you did not. It’s not just delusional, it is rude, implying you were raised in barn.

Oh, that 1% of lefty flake-bozos who are as bad as you? Sure there’s a crazy fringe. But on your side it’s maybe 35 %! Another 60% of republicans go along with confederate nonsense while squirming uncomfortably. Guys like you are driving them away, bit by bit. Thanks!

Alfred Differ said...

yana,

I think it is a mistake to argue that the US is not an empire. We most certainly are and it causes us no end to the stomach pain and nausea we feel about it. We think of ourselves as a republic, but after WWII we essentially became an empire by default when we did not walk away from the world.

We gave back political control in many cases, but it would be utter lunacy not to do that. As an empire, we are a sea power with all that implies. We can not effectively govern on remote shores. At best we can ally, cajole, and occasionally threaten with dire consequences. Occupation is not viable.

As for PR, they might be in a bit of a mood considering the hurricane, but as a state they'd be better represented and able to hit back at the folks who treat them like they aren't Americans.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought:

"it's funny how many others can't help themselves instead."

Ahh, but i just got what i wanted out of lowsemenherder. Not the first rodeo ;-)

Alfred Differ thought:

"We gave back political control in many cases, but it would be utter lunacy not to do that... We can not effectively govern on remote shores... Occupation is not viable."

Certainly is viable, just we've not got the stomach to do it because it requires huge amounts of corpses. 120 years ago there were plenty of calls for annexing Cuba and Philippines. But we gave them back, many decades before Britain and France and others started dismantling their empires.

A month ago here, said that Bush I bobbled a chance to remake geopolitics via "doctrine" that national borders may not be crossed by troops. No evidence, but my belief is that his advisors urged that continuous smaller wars were "good for the economy". We know how that turned out, a teensy recession and the Dems coughed up a chatty huckster, and Bush was suddenly out. Heh, irony.

You are right, insularism dampened expansion between Span-Amer War and WW2. And between 1945 and the collapse of the SSR's, we were restrained by the need to have plausible propaganda versus communism. Neither of those apply now, but both were an expression of the Second American Manifest: win by examples, not projectiles.

The reason the orange guy has no cohesive policy (and, as you will see, no lasting political effect) is that he's fallen prey to a viewpoint that does not rest on the foundation of America. I hesitate to use the term brainwashed, because there's not much to wash, a thimbleful of Gardol would be plenty. Reagan affected things, with two messages. Morning after Vietnacht, and The Shiny City. The orange guy crowed "Morning!" before making his own dusk, and city walls block out the shine.

That's not what Americans want. We want to parallel christian evangelism with democratic evangelism. We want to lead by example, let other nations see what personal freedom has done here, a visual promise that if they throw off their own shackles, democracy can bring them peace and wealth. It will, we just know it will. But our core feeling is that we can't do it for them, we can't replace a dictator with a puppet. We did it ourselves, others must do it from the ground up too.

There's the bifurcation, of policy from politics. Going on 30 years now, at first justified by cold war, then perpetuated by armsmongers. It's not the foreign policy the rank and file of citizens want. We want (like the orange guy) to be liked. But he also wants to be feared, which we the people do not want.

And that's why we are not an empire. Our people don't want that. Like Rome we could murder every 10th subject and "effectively govern on remote shores." Like Timur we have power to ghost whole cities and make places viable for occupation. But we don't want that.

I think it was 1898 when we first invaded Korea. Took over 80 years, but once the dictatorships of Park and Marcos went down, both SKorea and Philippines have become pretty nice places. Stable democracies and then wham, just like we said all along, peaceful places with increasing wealth. Our message, our longtime core belief, is that whatever power we have, it should be used to help other nations to attain stable democracy. Better trade partners and no need to tuck an enclave of US troops there.

That's why we're not an empire. The stomach pain and nausea Americans feel inre our foreign policy is only because it has drifted from our politics for some decades. The peace dividend was supposed to be spent on infrastructure, not babysitting Iraq for 20 years, costs spiraling up as troop levels dropped.

After our absurd interlude, Americans will respond in greater numbers to whichever turkey wing can put put into the simplest terms this idea: our economy and military are both tools which serve one purpose, unshackling the creativity of all humankind.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Yana
The Philippines
You mean the country where the USA was killing hundreds of thousands of "rebels" all the way until WW2

And Cuba - owned lock stock and barrel by the Americans who starved the inhabitants until 1959

The USA was still practising "Empire" long after the British were granting independence
And then we come to the US "adventures" in South America

yana said...


Duncan Cairncross thought:

"USA was killing, Americans who starved, US 'adventures'"

And the same which propped up Park and Hussein and Noriega right up until they were more liability than puppet... and ask Mubarak and Pahlavi how it worked out for them. That's the divergence i'm talking about, the nausea Alfred Differ cites, when politics stray too far from principles, for too long.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

While I inveigh against feudalist enlightenment destroyers, I’ve been known also to kind of reach out to them, that they don’t have to be so awful. The Trillionaires’ conference in the Alps, in EXISTENCE, for example. An interesting cognitive thing I do.


We've had this conversation before, but I've read that book three times now, and except for you telling us about it here on the blog, I still can't fathom (from the text itself) what the purpose of that trillionaire's conclave is supposed to be. The last time, I read it specifically looking for that information, and I didn't find it.

That might be a failing of the reader rather than of the author, but be aware that you might have assumed the reader's knowledge of something that was only clear in your own mind.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Ahh, but i just got what i wanted out of lowsemenherder. Not the first rodeo ;-)


Heh.

Rule 1 is that when he starts out with "So-and-so is right about...", he's about to purposely misinterpret whatever it is you said as if the observation is cleverly ironic.

Rule 0 is that he lies. For example, liberals don't say that only white male Christians shoot people. What we do is put the lie to the narrative that only other people commit such heinous acts. "You do it too, (and more often than anyone else)." is a differnt thing from "Only you do it." In fact, the opposite thing.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

But our core feeling is that we can't do it for them, we can't replace a dictator with a puppet. We did it ourselves, others must do it from the ground up too.


I never thought of it this way before you said that--that the story of America was one of wolfling uplift.

Larry Hart said...

I was logged into LinkedIn, and I just got a notification that "Brin is messaging you." Wow!, I thought, my favorite sci-fi author is sending me a personal message! Turns out that the "Brin" in question was simply the first name of a recruiter who doesn't know I've already taken a job.

No big deal, but what are the odds?!!

Or as Kurt Vonnegut often put it in Hocus Pocus, "How much longer can I go on being an atheist?"

David Brin said...


Duncan, there was severe violence by American+sepoy forces against Philippines rebels, yes, a rebellion that had simmered and sparked since Magellan. On the other hand, when the Japanese arrived as “liberators” they were shocked to find almost universal loathing and underground support for Americans. Filipinos suffered horribly for their resistance, yet fought side by side amid terrible losses. How do you reconcile that?

locumranch said...


It has been said that those who the gods would destroy are first made mad. This madness, the Ancient Greeks called 'Hubris', and this procession of historical events still holds true today.

In the course of human events, one or another human tribe demonstrates a combination of cultural & genetic exceptionalism that makes them more competitive & capable than their nearest neighbours, as was the case of the Greek City states (who gave us philosophy, democracy, math & architecture), the Macedonians under Alexander (who conquered the known world), the Romans (who gave us architecture, government & military strategy), the Portuguese (shipping), the British (shipping & bureaucracy) and the Nazis (rockets, jet engines & radar), and ALL of these examples follow the same historical pattern:

Although these tribes existed as relatively isolated underpopulated minorities, they used their respective 'exceptionalism' to out-compete, challenge, conquer & impose their 'idiom' upon other less exceptional tribes, as exemplified by the hubristic doctrine of 'Manifest Destiny', until this exceptional minority was vastly over-extended & out-numbered, only to succumb to inferior (but much more numerous) cultures who were often poorly armed with rocks & sticks.

Most certainly, this is also the case for the minority culture that David refers to as 'Enlightenment Culture', but which others refer to as WEIRD (aka Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich & Democratic), whose hubristic world-dominating aspirations are belied by their MINORITY STATUS as they represent less than 7% of the world's human population --that's less than 7%-- the sad fact being that their WEIRD minority exceptionalism is quite literally incapable of either conquering or dominating the other unexceptional 93% of an ignorant humanity that is poorly armed with rocks & sticks.

This theory also brings us back to what FDR referred to as 'The Jewish Question', the problem of a minority tribe composed of an exceptionally literate, knowledgeable & capable people who tend to dominate the upper echelons of any merit-based society in a hubristic fashion, even though this tiny tribe represents less than 2% of western society --that's less than 2%-- making them exceptionally vulnerable to extermination by a numerically-superior majority tribe of comparatively ignorant & unexceptional savages, as repeated over & over again throughout the sum total of recorded human history.

This Hubris, aka 'The Pride that Cometh Before the Fall', is what condemns humanity to the Cyclic History Model of the exceptional human minority which grows, expands & CHALLENGES all comers, only to be crushed by an unexceptional but numerically-overwhelming majority.

Lastly, I offer a potential SOLUTION to those who wish to reject (or escape from) the tragedy that is the Cyclic History Model, and it's a very revolutionary concept:

It's called MODESTY.


The Exceptional Tribe must check itself before it wrecks itself by being 'modest'; it must self-efface & give up the appearance of K-selective power & dominance; it must become an actual MAJORITY by adopting an R-selective reproductive strategy; and it must do ALL of these things before a slow-acting & slow-witted majority perceives this minority as an exceptional threat.

Of course, the very idea of modesty & self-effacement is anathema to the prideful progressive who (individually & collectively) has become so convinced of their own obvious Rightness and Superiority that they cannot even concede the tiniest piece of ground to its deplorable (but immensely more numerable) opposition, and so Eden sank to grief, so dawn goes down to day, and nothing gold can stay.

Assuming that any of us survive 'what comes next', we can all meet back here after the Fourth Turning.


Best

donzelion said...

"Filipinos suffered horribly for their resistance, yet fought side by side amid terrible losses. How do you reconcile that?"

Not so hard to reconcile. Indeed, the precedent for American policy in the Philippines was derived directly from Native American behavior: concentrate the locals into certain locations (where famine/cholera take their toll), then offer relief.

Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and Filipino Americans (who were 'Americans' as of 1935 by virtue of commonwealth status comparable to Puerto Ricans today) fought heroically for a country that had committed egregious abuses against their people, largely because their collective experience with Americans was broader than those abuses. Most of the individual relationships would have been with missionaries/doctors/relief providers, rather than institutional exploitation. But none of that means that the exploitation didn't happen, or that abuses were not widespread.

Darrell E said...

Not to mention African Americans.

donzelion said...

Darrell E: In all the new 'birthright citizenship' nonsense, perhaps the oddest piece is that the right wing, in attempting to justify Trump's silly views, has been invoking Elk v. Wilkins (1884) - a case that relied heavily on Taney's reasoning in Dred Scott, the worst case in the history of the Supreme Court (for African Americans, and millions of others - including all those who died in the Civil War largely as a result of that atrocity).


matthew said...

A thought about the FBI investigating Jacob Wohl of The Gateway Pundit for trying to frame Mueller for sexual misconduct.

A synopsis here:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/robert-mueller-news-jacob-wohl-jack-burkman-surefire-intelligence-republican-trump-sexual-assault-a8610481.html

Now for my thought, which I have not seen anywhere else.

Interfering in an FBI investigation is a federal crime. Since Wohl works for Gateway Pundit, a search of his place of work is legal as long as there is probable cause to get a warrant. Certainly the question of who was helping him in his laughable clown attempt at framing is germane.

Gateway Pundit is famous for one thing. They hinted at all kinds of insider FBI information regarding an October Surprise in 2016 regarding HRC's emails. They had a current FBI agent in the southern FBI office leaking that Anthony Weiner's laptop was full of incriminating evidence and accusing the DoJ of a cover-up. Gateway Pundit was the driving force behind Comey releasing his statement that HRC was back under investigation and the tanking of HRC's chances to win the Presidency.

Comey was blackmailed by Gateway Pundit and the FBI mole within the FBI office nicknamed "Trumplandia."

The FBI now has the legal probable cause to execute a search warrant of Gateway Pundit for unrelated criminal matters.

How much do you want to bet that they go digging for computer forensics of the Gateway Pundit communications?

How much do you want to bet the FBI mole is sweating bullets over having committed blackmail of the head of the FBI?

If the FBI finds out the identity of the mole will they tell the public by charging them? Or would they quietly move the senior official out of the force? Remember that the FBI *will* preserve its good name and reputation over the chance to punish a right-wing mole. And watch for sudden, unexpected retirements out of the southern NY FBI office. While the agency and Comey do not want to admit they threw an election to preserve their good name, they are assuredly *pissed* about what happened.

Larry Hart said...

If a birth certificate doesn't prove citizenship, then what does? They have to check the citizenship of both parents? And what proves their citizenship? Seems like turtles all the way down.

locumranch said...



Per Wikipedia:

"By itself, the US birth certificate is usually only considered proof of citizenship but not proof of identity, since it is issued without a photograph at birth, containing no identifying features".

Proof of US Identity is typically provided by additional photographic ID, typically a valid regional state-issued drivers license, identity card, US passport or US military ID, whereas the US Social Security card (and/or SS number) may provide proof of citizenship but not identity.

It therefore follows that the possession of a valid US birth certificate alone cannot be said to confirm US citizenship in the absence of official confirmatory evidence of the possessor's identity.

Trump & Kafka win again!!


Best

Alfred Differ said...

Birth certificates have to be combined with something that demonstrates you are the person listed on the birth certificate for them to work fully as proofs of citizenship.

Just go try to get a passport. The docs you are asked to produce connect all the dots the same way. After you have one, it works better than a birth certificate because it combines and represents the others.

Proof of identity isn't turtles all the way down. Eventually, we have to accept someone's word for it. Someone trusted vouches for someone untrusted. Once that connection is secured, the untrusted person becomes trusted for the next link in the chain. Birth certificates are part of the process for documenting that trust chain, but only part. You can still be born in the US, not have a US birth certificate, and still get to the correct status. It just takes more work.

Tony Fisk said...

I wonder if he whose executive orders trump constitutional amendments has considered whether or not this particular order would apply to Melania's babies?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Birth certificates have to be combined with something that demonstrates you are the person listed on the birth certificate for them to work fully as proofs of citizenship.


What I meant was, if birth in the United States isn't enough to establish citizenship, then what is? I wasn't quibbling about the particular document. If citizenship is derived from parents, then what about a mixed marriage? What happens to orphans? Sealed adoptions? Unidentified fathers?

Going down the fourteenth amendment rabbit hole might rev up the white nationalists, but it opens up a whole procedural bag of worms that I doubt anyone wants to take to conclusion.

Tony Fisk said...

fwiw, Australia has a point system for identity checks. You need to get 100 points to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that you're you. Passports usually suffice, but there are other options (bank accounts, utility bills, even birth certificates).

Larry Hart said...

@Alfred and @Tony,

I'm not making my point clear. I'm not questioning whether you can prove that you're you. I'm saying that if Benedict Donald and his Republican toadies somehow do manage to eliminate the concept of "birthright citizenship", then how do I (for example) establish that I am indeed a citizen? Or that my daughter is? The "easy" answer is that my parents were both US citizens, but that's what I mean by "turtles all the way down". How do I establish their citizenship in order to prove my own? And so on?

My brother is married to a resident alien. Are his children's citizenship in question because only one parent is American?

Or like I asked before, what about the many human beings who have no idea who their father is? Where does their citizenship derive from?

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry I understand the problem you state, which is why I tongue in cheek questioned the citizenship of Melania's children.

Short of complete and flagrant capitulation of all branches of Government to the Word of Don, the thing isn't going anywhere. Unfortunately, this isn't as far beyond the bounds of possibility as it should be.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | I get your angle and I'm not arguing against you. Your point seems so obvious to me that I'd place it right up there with sunrises being on the eastern horizon. Except that sometimes the sun comes up in the south or north. Odd things happen if you live near the poles.

Up until amendment #14, citizenship decisions were the realm of the States. Returning to that could lead to 50 different definitions and then we'd be fighting over whether one state had to respect the definition of another. It's messy enough just with the definition of marriage. Some states allow first cousin marriage. Others criminalize it. Messy.

Amendment #14 at least puts a consistent definition on the term. Anyone wanting to mess with that one certainly SHOULD face a line of opponents wearing blue kepis. It would be downright appropriate. 8)
_________

I am inclined to dismiss this as Trump'ian nuttery. Let him demonstrate his unfitness for office. Smile as he demonstrates to the officer corp exactly why we require of them that they not obey illegal orders.

Alfred Differ said...

yana,

Occupation isn't viable. It's a lesson we learned after trying to imitate European empires. Americans don't like it in large enough numbers that it gets really bad press coverage at home and elections get altered. We even had issues at home with the way Hawaii got annexed. That phase of our youth is over now. We aren't colonialists, but that doesn't mean we aren't still an empire. Our approach to it applies some of the lessons the British learned without copying all their errors too.

We are BOTH a republic and an empire and that is what causes the nausea and pain. When our attention is focused internally, we are mostly a republic with a drift away from our classical liberal roots. When our attention is focused externally, we are mostly an empire that flexes soft power first, but is never far away from a threat involving hard power. Most Presidents have used hard power. All have used both forms of soft power. Our current President is the one that is too clueless to realize the softer ones are both cheaper and more effective, but practically every other world leader knows the lessons. They've watched us learn it and do it for a couple generations now. Dangle money in the form of trade in exchange for cooperation and an opportunity to join our market. Threaten to cut off trade for misbehaviors. Dangle/Threaten trade money with their allies and opponents too. Keep them divided and focused on serving OUR interests. They will aways work to serve their own interests, but the division must be sufficient to destabilize large alliance blocs that might decide their collective interests are more important than ours. Look at how we treat EU member nations before Trump for an example. Look at how Trump does it for an example of how to do it all wrong. [It's not about me, me, me, me. It's about 'your interests are my interests... let's keep it that way.']

Most of the time we focus internally and leave the external stuff to our bigger corporations, NGO's, and the Feds. Not always, but often enough that many of us can believe in the illusion that we are still a republic. Outsiders know better, though. We ain't.

donzelion said...

"Short of complete and flagrant capitulation of all branches of Government to the Word of Don, the thing isn't going anywhere.

On the contrary: it's the next phase of affordable care act, replace and repeal. It's red meat for one crowd (which votes), but win or lose on Nov 6, the next round will be denying children coverage under existing health care rules.

yana said...


Alfred Differ thought:

"Occupation isn't viable. Americans don't like it..."

Agreed. But it would be a solid option, if we were a vicious people. Plenty of lessons about how to make it work through history: 15-30 million deak Ukranians and Uzbeks, 2 million dead Armenians, Rome's Jewish Wars. But we're not a vicious people, thus that "bad press".

The girders of America were laid by the Reformation and Enlightenment, ahead of Renaissance and Revolution. We are not so much a product of art, money and arms, as of philosophy. We think of ourselves as a step forward for all of humanity, so heaps of corpses to occupy land are not something we can do, not even if a dictator should seize power here. Heaps of corpses works, every time, but we can't do it.

"Keep them divided and focused on serving OUR interests."

Hmmm, that sounds a bit like some orange guy, but anyway...

"Threaten to cut off trade for misbehaviors. Dangle/Threaten trade money with their allies and opponents too."

Much agreed. We used to have that, the Most Favored Nation status, before it was diluted according to instructions from lobbyists lugging campaign cash. Shouldn't need to sanction or embargo anyone, and no need to invade anyone. Think about this:

Start with a 100% tariff on every other country. If they have a representative democracy (and let NGOs watch), then reduce their tariff by 25%. If their last 3 transfers of power were peaceful, then knock off another 25% of the trade barriers. If they have freedom of religion, drop down another 20%. Freedom of speech/press knocks down another 20% off their tariffs. Finally, if another nation mimics America's tariff rates (in a timely manner), then we'll chop down their last remaining 10%, into free trade.

Not "join our empire or we'll kill you," but "set your people free and we'll help them prosper." As policy, that would align perfectly with the American character. I'm sure you could fiddle with the numbers to find a better solution, but the concept of foreign policy (mil + econ) based primarily on the freedom of other people is exactly the American spirit. Thus, we're not an empire.

"many of us can believe in the illusion that we are still a republic. We ain't."

Beg to differ, no pun intended, but if this was not a republican democracy, then there is no way Reagan/Bush could have been followed by Clinton. If it wasn't true, there could not have been a black guy in the Oval Office only 40 years after the Voting Rights Act. We've seen wild swings of policy since LBJ. That's simply not possible unless "we are still a republic."

Larry Hart said...

@Tony Fisk:

I wonder if he whose executive orders trump constitutional amendments has considered whether or not this particular order would apply to Melania's babies?


Heh. I missed this comment until you referred back to it. I think Ted Cruz's status may also be in question, although IIRC he renounced his Canadian citizenship in favor of American, and the only question was whether he counted as a "natural born" citizen eligible to be president.


Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Larry | I get your angle and I'm not arguing against you. Your point seems so obvious to me that I'd place it right up there with sunrises being on the eastern horizon.


It's obvious that it's a really bad idea to mess with the definition of citizenship unless there's a viable replacement ready to implement.

It's also obvious that Trump and his supporters don't care about whether something is a really bad idea, and they could let the chips fall where they may.


Up until amendment #14, citizenship decisions were the realm of the States. Returning to that could lead to 50 different definitions and then we'd be fighting over whether one state had to respect the definition of another.


It's also true that, in the 19th century, there wasn't the same concept of "illegal aliens" as there is today. If you could get here and weren't turned back because of disease or that sort of thing, you became a resident. You couldn't vote or sit on a jury without attaining citizenship, but that wasn't a punishment.


Amendment #14 at least puts a consistent definition on the term.


More than that, it codifies a universalist definition. It says to the states, "You can't put artificial restrictions on which kinds of people count as citizens."


Anyone wanting to mess with that one certainly SHOULD face a line of opponents wearing blue kepis. It would be downright appropriate. 8)


:)

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Short of complete and flagrant capitulation of all branches of Government to the Word of Don, the thing isn't going anywhere. Unfortunately, this isn't as far beyond the bounds of possibility as it should be


I'm telling you--the guy has Mule powers. Nothing else explains his rise and hold on power.

Hitler may have had Mule powers too. In fact, if certain rumors are true, der Fuhrer resembled The Mule in at least one other way as well.

more weight said...

locumranch

Well, Hitler tried to destroy the WEIRD and they split the atom to beat him. He died by suicide lmao. Consider that K-strategy often beats r-strategy; if it did not, k-strategy would not exist after billions of years. Humans are the K-strategists par excellence. And the learning species, and the wealth-generating one. Democracy is an evolutionary novelty, yes, but one can't help noticing that when democracies and tyrannies fight, democracies win.

George Carty said...

more weight,

Actually it was the Red Army that beat Hitler, although the WEIRD's atom-splitting did defeat Imperial Japan...

more weight said...

locumranch

Antisemitism is a special kind of racism animated by hatred of intelligence. Anti-democracy leads to fighting more wars, *and Losing them*. The hatred of intelligence, and the longing to fight *and lose* really is ant-human and anti-life. Degenerate, one might say.

more weight said...

George Carty

Lol, you're right. Though, correct me, Hitler could have won if he'd had the physicists, if he'd not been antisemitic?

Larry Hart said...

Thank you New York Times for including the bolded phrase below (emphasis mine) :

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/31/us/politics/george-soros-bombs-trump.html

In the final days of the midterm election race, in which he is spending heavily to elect Democrats, Mr. Soros is being heatedly, if implausibly, cast as the financier of the immigrant caravan, ...

Larry Hart said...

George Carty:

Actually it was the Red Army that beat Hitler, although the WEIRD's atom-splitting did defeat Imperial Japan...


Now I've got Animal House's John Belushi in my head going, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Larry Hart said...

There's a lot of other interesting stuff in today's installment from www.electoral-vote.com , including a hilarious expose on the guy trying to frame Robert Mueller for rape. But my reason for posting this one here is...they shout-out Hamilton! :

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Nov01.html#item-8

The other fellow that we probably should have mentioned in the first answer, who played a critical role as both an intellectual influence and a "builder" was Alexander Hamilton. You know, from the musical. Not only did he help shape the Constitution and write the Federalist Papers, he also created the Department of the Treasury, and with it the U.S. economy, almost singlehandedly. Oh, and he was, along with Paine, one of the earliest outspoken opponents of slavery.

David Brin said...

Matthew that was fascinating about the FBI mole, who may have damaged the nation as much as any traitor since Aldrich Ames.

Alfred. One reason to pray for both House and Senate is for Congress to repeal its war powers resolutions, which DT cannot veto.

It is possible that the House can repeal its own, without the Senate!

George Carty, sorry, but the pendulum swung way too hard to giving the Red Army all the credit. Look up the amount of aid the Soviets got from the US. It’s incredible. They might have won Stalingrad without it, but never Kursk. If the USSR surrendered, the West would eventually have won anyway, with nukes. If the US stayed pure neutral, the Eurasian land mass would have been German-Japanese.

locum actually, said something that was true… too much frenzied BOLD though.

LH: You mean SENATOR Blutarski? Have some respect, man.

David Brin said...

Bluto!

Ah, but then...

onward

onward

Anonymous said...

Regarding the immigrant caravan that has been forced into the news, I found this video to be a good one to share to those who are buying the propaganda. He looks and sounds very different than the stereotype of somebody making these points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fCCnOsQiv0

A.F. Rey said...

LH: You mean SENATOR Blutarski? Have some respect, man.

I don't recall: was he Democrat or Republican? :)

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
If the USA had stayed neutral and the USSR had surrendered the war would have finished when the Brits completed the "Tube Alloys" Project - (in that scenario they would not have been using all of their resources preparing for D Day so would have been able to complete it) -
And performed some decapitation raids

Once Germany lost the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic then they lost the possibility of "winning"

Duncan Cairncross said...

On my previous posting I should have said

"With the benefit of Hindsight" - I bet it looked a lot worse at the time