Sunday, July 14, 2019

Science fictional news and musings

First, science fictiony musings about our next creative step, in the guise of science: All sorts of famous folks - and then also me - give 13 quotes about the future of AI. And yes, mine was the only one that offered - instead of a pablum warning or reassurance - an actionable recommendation that could make a difference. (Alas, could have done without the exclamation points!)

== So much new in science fiction, starting with.... ==

A new anthology: Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern WorldI have an essay in this one, along with David Gerrold and Jim Wright. And there are cool stories by Resnick, Yolen and others, having fun with... well... impudent re-examinings of age old assumptions.

A wide-ranging interview recorded during our recent appearance at BayCon, the wonderful SF Bay-area science fiction convention (which broke all attendance records) - Fanboy Planet Podcast Episode 550. Many topics were covered: like the role of prediction in science fiction and how its methods are spreading through society. And how the greatest social invention of the last 70 years - the NGO - lets a middle class person like you amplify power on a plane with governments and elites! And novels and stories and more fun.

I am weirdly on two lists. Top Ten End of the World novels, from Ballard's The Drowned World to Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. And my own EARTH makes the compilation… though it’s overall optimistic about averting the End. (The Guardian.) 

Zoe Saylor’s list of seven science fiction tales that offer a little hope includes another of mine that is post-apocalyptic! Guess whichone. Yes, I see their point, in each case! And I choose to interpret it to mean I am … not preachy but nuanced!

By the way, this handsome, signed Easton Press edition of The Postman is really gorgeous and a good deal… and it’s almost sold out. (I’m signing pages now for a whole fresh printing.) 

Question, is anyone interested in a hardcover of my one novel that never had one, Sundiver? We'll be re-releasing the ebook of Sundiver soon. 

== Science fiction, new and bold ==

Battlefront, the fourth and final volume of Jeff Carlson’s Europa Series has been published. It is available now on Amazon as an eBook and the paperback version, as well. Jeff’s manuscript for Battlefront was nearly complete at the time of his death in July 2017, and the final editing and assembly was done by his father, Gus Carlson. 

At the time of Jeff's terrible passing, I was just finishing my polish of our shared project: NEW MOJAVE, the sequel to my YA novel SKY HORIZON, both of them part of the COLONY HIGH series. And how I regret Jeff didn't get a chance to see it. I will persevere until it gets published.

Meanwhile, Get Jeff Carlson's EUROPA Series! Such adventure.

Innovative and highly with-it, The Black Box by Jennifer Egan consists of a series of twitter-length observational statements that nevertheless convey setting, character, action, dialogue and perception extremely well. The kind of sparseness and efficiency of conveyance that I teach my students can be seen in these two ways, early in the story: 
“If your Designated Mate is widely feared, the beauties at the house party where you’ve gone undercover to meet him will be especially kind." 
“Kindness feels good, even when it’s based on a false notion of your identity and purpose.”

 It is also a way-cool and tense spy story, with terrific science fictional elements, plus a stirring view of citizen resilience that may slip by most readers, but not those of you who hang around here. It’s in a ‘tense’ that I can only call second-person-mentor, straddling present and future, delivering vivid action amid advice-observations for an amateur secret agent. Heinlein showed us how to do this, establishing point of view through a character’s observations and especially what she/he takes for granted. But this efficiency is even better.

== More items... ==

An excellent BBC article about one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time – John Brunner’s 1968 Stand on Zanzibar. Often lauded for its agile, content-rich, multi point-of-view style (I modeled EARTH after it) and for its long list of eerily on-target predictions, I am in fact most impressed with the novel’s masterful mixture of pertinent worry and tentative optimism, a rare gift in this era of simplistically dolorous-discouraging dystopias and finger-wagging moralizings. This writer cites many of Brunner’s accurate foretellings, leaving out the one so many remark upon… that he featured an African “President Obomi” (cue Twilight Zone theme.)

Fun stuff! Some fans  worked with physicists and engineers on this infographic scaling a range of sci fi weapons!
Though this list left out the absurd super-ooper-dooper death star of "The Force Wakens," Which shot a beam across the whole galaxy in an instant destroying the entire Republic (a million worlds) in one plot simplifying cheat-minute! Then there's the Gravity Lasers in my novel EARTH, which use coherent beams from the core and mantle to lift ships and an island or two.

A wonderful analysis and trip down memory lane! Charlie Jane Anders surveys one of the great SF universes, the Hainish series by my former teacher, Ursula LeGuin, truly a visionary pioneer who was recognized early by our wonderfully expansive field... as was Charlie Jane Anders! Treasures.

A terrific and empathic story about an uplifted chimp detective by Rich Larson, an up-and-coming SF star - author of Annex, The Violet Wars.

== Final Brin bits ==

Our fine/fun panel discussing Blade Runner - hosted by the UCSD library - was lively with insights and inside poop. It is now online via UCSD TV

And I was final judge for a fiction writing contest run by the DoD “Mad Scientist Lab” – the entries portrayed ground warfare in the future, some of them thoughtfully and with some nuance, as well as technological vision. This page also includes several items of “advice to rising writers of SF.” Like how to establish point of view and how to make that first paragraph work for you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Central Planning and “Team Human.” Are we able to steer the ship, while letting markets do their creative thing?

Before getting down to the matter of central planning vs. market forces -- an argument that's raged since ancient Egypt -- I need to point out something regarding our current Constitutional Crisis over Congressional powers of subpoena and oversight. Never mind that the GOP used those powers endlessly in 25 years of Clinton hearings (that examined every pore, file and tax return, finding literally nothing). Now that scrutiny might shine on Republicans, Chief Justice John Roberts & co. must prevent a tsunami of light from eviscerating the oligarchy.**

In fact, it's arguable that this is none of the Court's business!

Consider how John Roberts just established precedent that legislatures have sovereignty rights that Courts cannot interfere with. (In this case, a sovereign right to deny voters any rights at all.) Yes, Roberts made that ruling as a last-ditch effort to preserve Republican gerrymander cheating...

... but amazingly, this bit of utter sophistry - The Roberts Doctrine — is one that House leaders could now exploit. Indeed, there is a way -- I believe -- to pull a judo move on the administration's stonewall tactic and get those subpoenas enforced.

The chief element of my proposal would be surprise... it might only be done once... and hence I've restrained myself from describing it in detail anywhere, before floating it past a member or senior staffer.

But one Democratic candidate has noticed what I am noticing. In a field of very bright folks, Julián Castro has been the one smart enough to look to the Fourth Branch of the U.S. government. I'd be happy to explain things to some smart staffer. Though alas, everyone seems so sure they have a clear view of things. What does anyone need outside perspective for?

== The recurring power fantasy ==

Central planning vs. Markets? 
You - yes you - are so sure you know all about this and have a firm 'side.' 
Can you pause to broaden it, a bit? ...

Central control over an economy is the great dream of all oligarchies. Even 'good' lords aim to justify their continued reign by the simple recourse of delivering good statecraft. Early Bronze Age societies succeeded at managing primary economies (hydraulic empires) with the super technologies of their day - irrigation and roads, boats and basic literacy by a few hundred priests and scribes.  Around 1200 BCE they hit a wall of competence and it all crashed down.

The classical powers that followed were more resilient and advanced. The Persian empire and Roman Pax had advanced primary economies, but finally hit their own wall, partly through incapabilityto adapt to environmental effects they were wreaking.

The third wave built a secondary economy of infrastructure and iron and coal, which Marx analyzed -- at first with real cogency, until he began believing his flatterers. Alas for his predictive reputation - the worker's revolution was supposed to happen in advanced economies like Britain or Germany, not the most primitive -- Russia and China. 

Lenin made excuses and declared that a socialist state can dispense with Marx's final stage capitalism, after all! It can plan a major secondary industrial economy as well as Adam Smith's competitive-blind capitalism. And for a while it seemed true! Soviet planners commanded "get a hundred train cars of cement to this dam construction site or you'll be shot." And to visiting western observers, it seemed effective! Dams sure got built.

"I have seen the future and it works," commented one visiting American.

(Elsewhere I show, in some detail, how probably the closest acolyte to Karl Marx, using his catechisms to predict an opposite future, was Ayn Rand.)

== Economies at the third level ==

Alas for the communist experiment, we were transitioning to a tertiary economy driven by consumers. While dams and highways are one thing, the Soviets hit their "wall of competence" when it came to centrally designing a refrigerator anyone would want.

The Japanese took these lessons to heart, with the next planned economy, incorporating what seemed an impossibly competent combination of overall planning with fluidity of market allocation among obedient but competitive companies, all propped-up by American indulgence toward predatory mercantilism.  Led by MITI, Japan blew past the Soviet wall... only to hit its own wall, in the 1990s.

Now it is China, led by brilliant former engineers, who are taking all the lessons from the USSR and then Japan, modifying them with vastly improved planning models, again relying upon the multi-trillion dollar subsidy of predatory mercantilism. The whole world benefits (except for the pollution and oppression). 

But again, we are endangered by the smugness of those who proclaim "this time there's no wall!"

== No wall? Is central planning becoming plausible? ==

History shows several things. First that every pyramid-shaped human society (that’s 99% of them) was ruled by oligarchies that were at-best moderately delusional and usually outright hallucinatory, confident that they knew exactly how to Guide the Allocation of Resources (See where I define and explain GAR.)

Second, as we’ve seen, these GAR fetishists always hit a wall of incompetence… though we have to admit, modern tools have let that wall shift substantially.

Third, introduced by Adam Smith, the alternative notion was to let the dispersed wisdom of vast numbers of private players coalesce – both cooperatively and competitively – through our arenas called Markets, Democracy, Science, Justice and Sports, where no one can suppress criticism, the only known antidote to error. 

By flattening all power structures and ensuring freedom of knowledge and speech, these arenas proved to be magnificent at piercing delusions… bad products, bad policies, bad theories, bad behaviors and bad ideas. The result? More success than all of the rest of human existence for half a million years.

But that very success generated another bad idea! While flattened power and distributed agency helped these arenas to achieve fantastic success, oversimplifiers turned Smith’s rejection of GAR into a different and just-as-stupid cult! FIBM or Faith in Blind Markets became an incantation, citing Adam Smith for something he never asserted and in fact actively loathed: the idea that society should assert no goals, have no hand on the tiller, insert no values into the mix of incentives that millions consider, in making market decisions.

(In case you missed it or skimmed, that just now was a key paragraph and you ought to at least understand it, even if you disagree.)

In other words, FIBM fanatics claim we should charge into the future lobotomized and blind, considering only what's right in front of us, pondering no long range goals other than the next quarterly profit statement. Indeed, under the Friedmanites, industrial ROI (return on investment) planning horizons shrank from ten years, to five, all the way down to 90 or even 60 days.

Of course the net effect is ironic. It has been to shove all decision making power into the ample laps of a narrow oligarchy, a caste of 5000 golf buddy CEOs and Wall Street arbitrageurs, along with foreign and domestic mafias, all of whom chant slogans of FIBM, but in fact aggressively behave like all past lordly classes… grabbing the power to do GAR.

Reiterating, they do not argue against command-allocation of resources and endeavor. They just want that the power of command allocation be theirs. The "C-Word" -- Competition -- falls from their lips, even as they strive to crush it.

In fact, the true friends of flat-fair-creative-productive markets have been the moderate or “rooseveltean” liberals who knew that Marx was right about a few things, like the tendency of corporate lords to consolidate into monopolies, duopolies or other market wrecking patterns of theft. Or that when parasites pull money out of the economy, it does not get invested in risky R&D or capital production equipment, but squirreled into rentier-passive asset bubbles that slow money velocity down to near zero. Exactly the achievement of every “Supply Side” (voodoo) vampirism of the last 40 years.

Dig it. While Republicans rage at regulation and the far-left sniff at "competition," It is only Regulated Competition that delivered the cornucopia fostered by the Rooseveltean social contract of the Greatest Generation. A contract whose dissolution is the one shared goal of every Republican policy.

Adam Smith would have no trouble with anti-trust laws, or with a society insisting that “externalities” like environmental effects get incorporated into the prices of goods available for consumer choice, so long as those incentive adjustments are flat, fair and predictable over spans that markets can adapt to.

Now, back to the present day and the central planning advocates in this world.

== They truly believe this time they’ve got it ==

Elsewhere I appraise some of the rationalizations that are now pouring from Chinese intellectuals, justifying the claim that only a centralized, party-ruled state can possibly (1) manage a modern economy, (2) distribute wealth properly as jobs disappear to automation, and (3) exert control over the new AI entities we are about to produce. These missives by Chinese scholars are typified by a recent one by Tsingua University professor Feng Xiang, which I critique here.

The crux: It has always been an appealing dream to plan an economy and an ideal state. That alluring notion may have long term merits - certainly we've become a lot better at it -- but we must also remain aware that till now there have always been "walls of incompetence." Moreover, there is a tendentious wish for this dream to come true, on the part of those who envision themselves as the "world directors" (from Huxley's Brave New World.)

The opposite notion has its own cult following: that central planning cannot work for long. That it is a chimera and a meddling tendency that interferes in Smithian market wisdom. 

All too often these folks are even worse! Because their rationalizations almost always excuse consolidation of allocation power in the hands of a small, incestuous and shortsighted oligarchy of owner-lords. Exactly the same old GAR approach but in feudal form, like the last 4000 years.

Adam Smith himself favored some degree of planning when it comes to overall priorities and goals, while leaving most allocation decisions to very well-informed and liberated citizens. In other words, as those computer models keep improving, there is no reason why they should have to be monopolized by top party officials or oligarchs. 

What if we all had them? A world market economy in which every citizen and consumer knew almost everything, with super models and analytic engines at beck and call? It's an image I don't see much discussed. Yet, it would still aim for that sweet spot, between fallible-but-necessary foresight and the flat-competitive interplay that gave us everything we now have.

We're told we must choose between two models: on the one hand proponents of centralized state planning who are clearly very smart and who have yet to reach their 'wall,' but who rationalize despotism while ignoring how much of their mercantilist success came because of western indulgence...

... versus a clade of would be oligarchic lords who claim to champion open-competitive-Smithian markets, while hypocritically joining with world mafia forces to send wealth and power disparities skyrocketing toward French Revolution levels. Their sycophant-flatterers are proved wrong, of course, when these would-be aristocrats cannot perceive the foolishness of waging war upon all fact-using professions, nor can they stretch their minds to ponder the word "tumbrels."

No, my friends, face it. Were he alive today, Adam Smith would be a Democrat. And the #1 (of many) silliness of democrats is that they don't proclaim it.


** CORRECTION: In an earlier version I said that an appeals court had ruled against Congress in the emoluments case. Actually the court did not rule against Congress on the emoluments case.The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., found that the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia had no legal standing to bring suit on the emolument case. The Congressional case is ongoing. Fine. But when it comes to potential corruption of the entire Executive Branch via a crime specifically called out in the Constitution, I believe any and every citizen has "standing."

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Science - or "scientism"?

I’ll finish with one of my roundups of some amazing news from the frontiers of science! But first, a little philosophizing about just what kind of an era we are living in.

== Anti-“scientism”? ==

I’ve been accused of scientism -- belief that scientific knowledge somehow yields insight into the supposedly separate category of moral knowledge. A typical hate-reflex against science is to label it in terms that adversaries know will be deemed insulting by scientists: i.e. dismissing it as just another religion. This happens at both ends of the political spectrum.

1. Those who operate in more traditional mental modes tend to see things in zero-sum terms and assume that truth is found in incantations. Hence on the 'right' you are damned if you question received dogma. On the 'left' you have fewer anti-science cultists, but they are intense.

2. Science is terrifying to such folks, because it invokes objective reality as an arbitrator of disputes. A 'god' of sorts who actually answers 'prayers' for intercession and ruling on true incantations. This is offensive to those who fear their spells may be rendered useless or become objects of derision. Or forgotten. 

Postmodernists respond by doubling down that text is everything and efforts to apply experimental evidence are simply male-western-white bullying. Rightists are remarkably similar, but less creative. 

3. Since they operate in cabals of incantation, they assume it's what scientists do. In fact, "science" is not the essential thing that has changed. The new thing that's entered the world is competitive reciprocal accountability, of which science is just the most powerful application. Others include adversarial justice courts and free-fair elections. And all of these 'liberal' inventions are now under open attack.

(BTW I have a monograph on modern theology. And while many dogmatists are fanatical, I have found other religious folk to be far more willing to engage in fair disputation than hostile campus postmodernists.)

But the advantages of science go beyond competitive effects of reciprocal accountability. Both the underlying assumptions of science and the cornucopia outcomes are positive sum, a concept that a great many humans - even educated ones - cannot grasp, even in theory. 

4. I have found that two counter-memes can be effective. To those who criticize science, or the west, or America, or etc., but who appear to be folks of good will (especially youths) hold up a mirror. 

"Look at yourself! Your reflex to criticize and to be unsatisfied with a situation that has benefited you above all other generations: where did that critical reflex come from? Did you invent Suspicion of Authority? Or did you suckle it from almost every Hollywood film and from countless songs?  

"Is it possible that you learned it from a civilization whose very success has depended upon new systems of internal criticism that now pervade almost every university or TV show?  An error-correction system, based on relentless error-discovery through criticism, of which you are now a part?"

We're not asking you, on realizing this, to give up your passion for change, for expansion of horizons of inclusion, or to stop complaining about hoary old assumptions or injustice! Error-targeting by brash critics is our only chance to cross the minefield ahead! Still, you'll be a stronger warrior for justice if you calmly see the synergies and who might be unexpected allies.

Science has been instrumental in disproving so many prejudices earlier generations took for granted, such as the physical incapability of women - (Have you watched the womens' soccer World Cup?). Or the notion that other races cannot achieve intellectual excellence, or that tobacco is safe, or that it's harmless for rivers to catch fire. Those opposing injustice and wanting a healthy Earth have been empowered by science.

5. To those who are committed anti-modernists of either today's far-left or entire (mad) right, I find one weapon that's partly effective. Wagers. Blunt dares to put money on their assertions. No, you won't get rich: 99% of the time they refuse, they weasel and flee (a reward in its own right). But on occasion (especially when you use the words "ocean acidification") the threat of a bet causes someone with a sliver of residual honesty to back down and admit they had been too grand in their declarations. It's a step.

== Amazing items from the discovery horizon ==

The beginning of uplift? Frankly, I expected this particular insertion experiment back in the 1990s. The effect of one alteration on monkey brains is apparently substantial, though still only a baby step.

Have you been following news that 'Impossible' meatless meat will make a Whopper and 'Beyond' meatless meat is skyrocketing in stock value? Now add the fact that cultured chicken is getting closer. All of this makes it feel more like a sci fi world than most space stuff! And these developments might (we can hope) be as big a game changer as the white light LED bulb or plummeting solar cell prices. Now — Seafood Without The Sea: Will Lab-Grown Fish Hook Consumers?

For it to be a world changer, meat substitution must come in 3-5 years, not 25. What's also needed? Algae industry at huge scale. Could provide zero-net carbon fuels plus basic feed stock for all those meat substitutes. And in a pinch, we could eat algae. Or feed it to crickets. Ideally the algae farms would take up the entire south face of urban towers, letting cities feed themselves.

The best thing on Netflix: Our Planet is more than just another “nature show.” The first episode, narrated by David Attenborough, shows things I never, ever saw before in 60 years of watching such shows! The HD is simply stunning. And yes, there is no better way to lure your delusional-denialist cousin back toward some kind of awareness and light.

An army of micro-robots to swarm your mouth - attack bacterial biofilms and clean your teeth? Where do they go to work next - when swallowed?

See an image of one of the1000 or so cubes of purified… but not isotope separated… uranium that the Nazi regime created in their chaotic and (fortunately) extremely dumb efforts to develop nuclear power during WWII. Their concept involved no isotopic refinement, was clueless about the possibility of carbon as a moderator, (leaving them with heavy water which the allies and brave partisans destroyed), and their initial reactor design was insane, having none (at all) of the brilliant control methods invented by the team of Enrico Fermi, in Chicago. Yet there are romantics out there who proclaim there was superior “Nazi Science.” 

There was almost zilch Nazi science! They retained a number of fairly solid engineers, like Von Braun, after chasing nearly all the seriously-alpha scientists away. That’s what romantic-dogmatic jerks do. Almost an identical reflex underlies today’s romantic-confederate-foxite war on science… along with every other fact centered profession.

And no, that's not "scientism." It is self-interest, to defend the human trend that refuted past travesties, gave us nearly all our knowledge and wealth, and is rapidly teaching us what we need in order to become decent planetary managers.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Two thoughts on July 4 - don't hand the revolution back. It's now.

However things go on July 4 - whether Donald Trump gets what he wants or fails to hijack our joy - I hope you'll share two important thoughts on America's birthday.

I'll start with denying the Trumpist their #1 desire, asking folks to bring flowers to the Mall in DC. I'll finish with a new way to look at one of the great speeches -- greatest three paragraphs -- in the English language, and I will ask you to imagine they are being said to you right now. 

==Handing America's enemies a gift, with a ribbon and a bow ==

Get word out. They want protestors at Trump's hijacking of the DC July 4th celebration! They want disruptions. They want lefties burning flags and spitting at veterans and service members, who have been drifting OUT of the Republican Party because of... well... facts. And Putin and treason and trumpist craziness. America's enemies want and need the fringe to do really stupid things. It's the one way to prevent losing every intelligent 'deep state' person and members of every fact-using profession. 

Alas, there are passionate 'antifas' who will happily oblige.

Oh, there are plenty of times/places for antifa! But choose to follow leaders with some brains, will you? Like Bernie or LIz or Julian or Obama. Alas, in contrast take the brave but oh-my Colin Kaepernick. Full of the praise he got for a kneeling protest that could have achieved so  much more with some nuance. Now he's commanding that no proper thinking person in America would ever display or respect the nation's revolutionary war flag ... and thus he and his reflex followers have handed to the mad, treasonous right yet another symbol of patriotism they get to (undeservedly) call their own.

When the symbols should be ours! That revolution mattered.

Yeah, yeah, that huge but imperfect/incomplete revolution against the royal oligarchy had to be corrected by an imperfect/incomplete Jacksonian revolt by small farmers... who were themselves oppressor bastards, requiring another imperfect/incomplete fight in which half a million brave folks in blue fought and died to end slavery... incompletely and imperfectly. And our imperfect/incomplete revolution had setbacks in the 1870s and 1920s phases of this ongoing civil war, when the stark-outright-evil confederacy grabbed a whole lot of symbols and made everyone kneel before their Ku Klux 'lost cause.' But then came the Roosevelts, and wonderful imperfect/incomplete things got done. Then MLK and more great imperfect/incomplete progress....

And yes, we're still shitty assholes compared to the Star Trek future! A future that only we ever started to bring about. That only we ever envisioned through science fiction and that you demand for our children.

What we aren't is shitty assholes compared to every nation and tribe that ever existed before us, or those trying now to bring us down. Compared to them, we are fucking saints who gave humanity its best 80 years, ever.

I want that future of Star Trekkian justice, diversity, tolerance, flattened authority and all those good things. I want it probably more than you do, so don't you dare accuse me of being a tepid moderate.

I am a goddamn militant moderate! And I will not stand by while our own side's ninnies hand over every symbol and patriotic feeling to be exploited against us by Hannity and Fox and the confederates who conspire with Putin's KGB and mafiosi and Saudi prices and casino moguls and Wall Street cheaters to bring us down.

Get out there and love the flag, for all the imperfect/incompletion of the imperfect/incomplete promise it hasn't yet kept! Demand the nation move ahead! But you'll defeat the enemies of that great project better under that flag than you will if you simply hand it over to its destroyers, to use as they will.

If you are heading into DC to protest, take armsful, bushels of flowers. Hand one to every veteran or soldier you meet. You will do more good than a thousand screams and shouts.

And now, a fey moment that will give you chills and gird you for the fight.

==He's talking to you ==

Something to try. Take a minute. Read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - only envision he’s talking to you, right now.

About us, right now.

It’s shockingly pertinent. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Amen. He’s talking to you, this very moment, about this very moment. And every word is true, right now. Every word, right now. We are struggling against real enemies of this great experiment, to ensure "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." ...

Moreover, if you can feel the power of the Great Emancipator pouring through you, read it aloud to that teetering RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican) you know. It's brief, potent - so recite it on the 4th.

And tell your RASR that yes, this is how we feel. And he needs to choose which side he is on, in this potentially lethal phase of our endless Civil War.

Make no mistake. Our enemies’ aim is the same as always -- as Putin made clear when he laughed and told his puppet that the great "liberal experiment" was obsolete. He doesn't mince words. His axis of Kremlin-KGB agents, oligarchs, Saudi princes, casino moguls, carbon barons, mafiosi, Wall Street cheaters, communist despots, Fox liars and inheritance brats...

...they plan nothing less than to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall perish from the earth.