Saturday, February 02, 2019

More "designated survivors!" And why our anger should be measured. Controlled.

We'll start with a pair of somber-paranoid thoughts that I hope won't win me any prophetic points. First, with Vladimir Putin's occupying forces collapsing in DC, and his chief asset there plummeting in real life value, I hope security is good at the upcoming State of the Union (SOTU) speech. Several supreme justices should call in sick (RBG please?) Let Hannity call it a "boycott." Who cares? Just be in a safe place.

Here's a litmus. If the "designated survivor" is among the most-solid and least-compromised cabinet officers, then Trump cares mostly about applause and Putin probably isn't planning anything. On the other hand, if DT is ordered to choose one of the most-compromised cabinet officers, then everyone hunker till its over. 

And it's not over till the United States of America retakes Washington. 

Second paranoid musing: it is plain treason that zero GOP senators have demanded that Donald Trump bring along top witnesses for every minute of his coming meetings with Kim, Xi and Putin. But I am also on record suggesting that Trump might be wise not to eat anything those sponsor-despots offer him. Why, when they're his best-pals? Because his usefulness as an asset may shift to even greater value as a disruptive martyr, at any point, now. And sure, it's my job to concoct "thriller" scenarios. Still, God bless the U.S. Secret Service.

== A "classic" that provides vital context

Periodically I call your attention to some of my most popular essays. This one concerns a widely-circulated nostrum called the "Tytler Calumny" and it is the great example of what has gone wrong with the mental processes of our friends on the right, who used to be represented in sage debate by great minds like Barry Goldwater and Friedrich Hayek and William F. Buckley...  but who are now reduced to slinging around aphorisms and fact-free fox-assertions.  

It is often accompanied by another feat of cynicism called the Fatal Sequence.
"Great nations rise and fall in a 200 year cycle. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."

Both the left and right suffer from tendentious teleology, assuming history has a direction. The left often (not always) views this as inexorably upward progress. Rightists and romantics are forever drawn to “cyclical history” with the latest manifestation being the noxious mythology pushed by Steve Bannon, of a “Fourth Turning” crisis in America, requiring a cleansing of all decadent forces. (You know whom.)

Ironies abound. Bannon rants endlessly that the last "hero generation"... the aptly named Greatest Generation that crossed the despair of Depression, crushed Hitler, stymied Stalinism, got us to the Moon and built the vast, productive and confident American middle class... that these heroes were betrayed by the Baby Boomers -- who just happen to be the only clade on Earth containing anyone stupid enough to fall for Steve Bannon's bullshit. Bannon crisscrosses the planet, helping fascist-populist risings of know-nothing morons, by prophecying a coming Crisis that was nowhere on the horizon till his cult began betraying America.  

As for the new heroes who will save the day? 
Millennials
The fourth generation of the cycle, who will stand up and rescue civilization from the crisis/mess made by... boomers like Bannon.  Hence, I have to wonder whether anyone has pointed out to Steve and his InfoWars/Fox buds that Millennials are disgusted by everything those trogs stand for. If they must overcome his 'crisis,' they will start by putting Bannon and his ilk against a wall.

Oh, but do I deny any validity to notions of cyclical history? Does history often rhyme?  Yes indeed, there are relentless attractor states, the most powerful being oligarchy-feudalism, which has rewarded brutally ruthless men with reproductive advantage for at least 8000 years. 

We in the Enlightenment have been inventing a new attractor, one that might win us the stars. But monstrous men are now plotting its demise. Monstrously stupid men, who cannot squint to see that their victory would be the end of us all. And no Patagonia refuge will be safe for them.

"Those who ignore the mistakes of the future are bound to make them."  -- Joe Miller.

== A more recent, nerdy "classic" ==

Phil's Stock World - the investment site that also remembers what made enterprise work in the U.S. (it wasn't oligarchy) - has re-posted my article "The alluring dream of "Central Planning.""

If you seriously want to get past the cliches about "blind markets" and "invisible hands" and grasp why the Greatest Generation knew better than to hand over all power to the 5000 richest oligarchs... come by for perspective. It's not classic liberal or libertarian cant, but an unusual (and historically supported) blend that justifies in unusual ways our ongoing project to end poverty, prejudice and pollution.

== Self-righteous anger ==

An interesting article from The Atlantic - The Real Roots of American Rage - dives into why we seem so angry, all the time, when in fact the world is filled with good trends and reasons for hope. The author hints at how nursing this grudge fest has been in the interest of many powers. After Fox and others innovated Endless Outrage television Executives from other cable-news channels publicly disdained his approach—and rushed to imitate it. In 2009, a Tufts University study of opinion media found that “100 percent of TV episodes and 98.8 percent of talk radio programs contained outrage.”

Still the focus is more on the relationship between political wrath and a forceful drive to change the world, e.g. Cesar Chavez’s thesis that moral outrage can achieve widespread change.  And later, how a kind of reverse psychology has proved useful at damping down attitudes of hate.

Sure, that’s why we have the human talent for wrathful indignation… because it did empower folks across human evolution to find the guts and stamina to oppose opposition and improve their situations. But as I show elsewhere, it accomplishes this by tapping into natural human addictive processes: the release of dopamine and endorphins that stoke the deeply pleasurable rush of righteous indignation. See my TEDxUCSD talk on The addictive plague of getting mad as hell."  (And see the scientific background on addiction.)

“It is not enough for people to be angry,” Martin Luther King Jr. told an audience at Carnegie Hall in February 1968. It was the 100th anniversary of the birth of W. E. B. Du Bois, and King hoped to remind those in attendance of his teachings, but also of his methods. Du Bois, King said, had been an angry radical his whole life. He had furiously called for resistance. But he had also sought to make his enemies into allies.” And King went on: “The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.”

Much ado about Donald Trump’s 2004 commencement speech urging students to go over or through any “concrete wall.” It prompted others to remind folks about the 1950s western “Trackdown” featuring a snake oil salesman character named “Trump” who claimed that only he could prevent the end of the world … by building a wall around the town. “You ask how do you build that wall. “You ask, and I’m here to tell you.” See excerpts on Snopes. Creepy evidence we live in a simulation.. and a shoddy one, at that.




76 comments:

Bob Neinast said...

There's a non-trivial (but also completely non-definitive) possibility that that episode of Trackdown really was about Trump. Not Donald, but his father Fred, who also had quite a reputation as such a huckster. The apple didn't fall far from that tree.

See https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-trump-1950s-tv-episode-truth-movement

porohobot said...

\\Both the left and right suffer from tendentious teleology, assuming history has a direction.

History may not have a direction.
But it sure have cycles.
For at least, demographic ones. Where younger have no knowledge yet, while old have no incentive already. %(


\\“You ask, and I’m here to tell you.” See excerpts on Snopes. Creepy evidence we live in a simulation.. and a shoddy one, at that.

It's artfully called "reality copying the art" in russian discourse.


\\"A democracy is always temporary in nature;...

Sorry to say. But at first it was noticed by that beardy old greeks... called Philosophers. ;)
That from that time remains instilled in that word itself.
Democracy -- it's the power of demos/people. And demos constantly become lured into falsehood... by demagogues.


Ignoring "old world" wizdom. Only succumbs YOU to repeat their path.


>> Larry Hart said...
\\Society functions better... decider caste who determines which citizens get to vote and which do not.

Really?
I need to remind you. There WAS times. When neither women nor slaves was able to vote... and they YET tend to call it democracy.
So... I just wonder... of people who trying to devise some "truthes"... from blatant falsehood.
And yet more... were calling it "fact-based thinking". How so? %)))

The real reason is... THAT deciding caste, do not want to take more (if any at all) responsibility. Too much like that "business as usual" that responsibility diluted among big numbers, to that level that it (almost) completely vanishing. That's all.

And that "big numbers" feel it/comprehend it just great(though unable to verbalise). That higher-ups hypocisy. To "rule without ruling". To make nitty-gritty cheat deals under that long shadow of Great Democracy. %P


>> Treebeard said...
\\To me a "commie" is a radical who believes in the forced collectivization of society, state control of the economy, getting rid of capitalists and aristocrats, burying religions and traditions, forcibly removing human inequality, and exporting this revolution globally.

Zats BOLSHEVIKS fer u. %)


\\So calling Putin or Confederates commies seems rather inaccurate and laughable, like something an old crank would do at a gym with Fox News on the TV.

Yep. It seems you are TOTALLY RIGHT on this.
I'll add. It seems it grow from the same root as "mafia/fascism" dangled thingy.
HOW??? Putin's government could be "mafia"... when there is well known and well described Russian Mafia... looking the same as mafia in any other world -- just a bunch of losers -- organized criminals.
And HOW??? Putin's regime could be named commies/communist... when there IS separate Communistic Party, with it's never changed head Zuganov???

That's fallacy not against science. Or logic. It's fallacy against BASIC idea of naming things -- one need to name things correctly and non-ambigiously. For his thinking to be straight. Othervise... it would be locum-"thoughts". %))) If spontaneously.

Or mere hypocrisy. It's the hypocrites who like that game of random labeling/name calling most of the all their games. (smirk)


PS Well, I see. It need to be dumbass stupid or eagerly screaming in this blog. To have some feedback. That's how positive feedback works (designed? %)) here. (wide grin)
To foreword possible "are you trying to force me" from our famous and honorous host... well, I'll be blunt -- yes, I try... to force you to think.
But... with such level of wizdom and vibrant interest in investigation of reality and complex things... I think I'll lose my interest very fast. It almost lost.

PPS "Dear friend. Beloved. Go back to your dream.
Smile (or feel a brief chill) over this diverting little what-if tale, as if it hardly matters. Then turn the page to new "discoveries.""

David Brin said...

Good lord. We have a screaming, attention hungry rude person coming at us from a different direction. If you wanted me to take you seriously, porohobot, I gave you advice how to do that.

Instead you are doing the opposite and I shall now start treating you as I do locumranch... with brief skims of the eye. That way, perhaps I will be able to tell if you rise up from screaming to some semblance of cogency.

I will try for a while. But you are losing my interest.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Good lord. We have a screaming, attention hungry rude person coming at us from a different direction. If you wanted me to take you seriously, porohobot, I gave you advice how to do that.

For me to want you to take me seriously... I need some first hand reasons to take seriously YOU?

How do you think? What that reasons can be? Your fame? Your authority? Your age? %)

Or maybe, just maybe, intellect (and wisdom, if possible) you can promptly demonstrate? ;)

What is MERIT? Where is MERIT in it??? Are it in past "great deeds" only? %P

You are talking like feudal yourself. Yep-yep. You are feudal in our modern informational times.
Like ancient landlord sitting on his "heritage", you are happily sitting on your author's rights and old fame. %))

While modern proletariat -- straggles to provide *content* everyday.
Trying to satiate ever groving desires of modern (dis)information bubble.
With ever diminishing returns. %)

But... on whom I wasting my pearls.
You'd hardly comprehend all sarcastic irony I trying so hard to place in my word.(even if you'd not ignore it... as you said "skim")

There'd NEVER be rich/stuffed one, who'd understand poor/hungry.

Thank you for demonstating to me. Vividly. That ancient truth.


\\I will be able to tell if you rise up from screaming to some semblance of cogency.
\\I will try for a while. But you are losing my interest.


Ha-ha-ha... what a stark narcissism... from self-proclaimed all encompassing humanist. %)

Bob Neinast said...

Hey porohobot:

Do you regularly go to parties at other people's houses and scream at the host, "I demand that you pay attention to me!"?

Larry Hart said...

porohobotL

>> Treebeard said...
\\To me a "commie" is a radical who believes in the forced collectivization of society, state control of the economy, getting rid of capitalists and aristocrats, burying religions and traditions, forcibly removing human inequality, and exporting this revolution globally.

\\So calling Putin or Confederates commies seems rather inaccurate and laughable, like something an old crank would do at a gym with Fox News on the TV.

Yep. It seems you are TOTALLY RIGHT on this.


Only if the cold war connotations of the term "commie" stem from the literal sociological meaning of "communist". But, the demonization of "commies" had little to do with political theory. I'd wager that few Americans in the 50s and thereabouts had much of an idea about the theories behind communism. We feared and loathed "commies" because they had expansionist territorial ambitions backed by nuclear weapons, and "unlike us, they placed little value on human life."

So really, how much has changed?

Russell Osterlund said...

Here is an interesting article that suggests wagers are not the best tactic to use in a debate involving politics, religions, and other "belief" systems:

"How to have productive disagreements about politics and religions"
https://theconversation.com/how-to-have-productive-disagreements-about-politics-and-religion-109495

Arguing facts in a belief-based discussion will not work; instead one should try to encourage familiarity and real life exposure in order to change one's point of view.

porohobot said...

>> Bob Neinast said...
\\Do you regularly go to parties at other people's houses and scream at the host, "I demand that you pay attention to me!"?

That is ALL what you have understood from my not so short (yeap) comments?
Or you just trying to please our host with tribal support?

If answer is TRUE. You have your answer. (smag) %)


>> Larry Hart said...

Thank you for your comment. Can you give a little feedback? Am I like screaming, demanding answer FROM YOU? ;)


\\Only if the cold war connotations of the term "commie" stem from the literal sociological meaning of "communist".

Do you see any sense in such "lack of any connotations"???

What we are talking about? What we CAN talk?

If we'd remove, as you proposing (am I right with it?), all historical connotations??! All Cold War heritage?
Completely? With all due ICBMs remaining on alert?????????


\\But, the demonization of "commies" had little to do with political theory. I'd wager that few Americans in the 50s and thereabouts had much of an idea about the theories behind communism. We feared and loathed "commies" because they had expansionist territorial ambitions backed by nuclear weapons, and "unlike us, they placed little value on human life."

That's one perfect example of argumento ad ignoramus. Thank you, Larry. %(

"Americans never knew" what commies is. And they do not know it now.
So... it is good base for swaying them to other politcal side
by randomly namecalling exclamations "commie! see it's commie. comie-comie!". %)


\\So really, how much has changed?

I'm not expert in "collective unconscious" tea leaves reading.
And do dispise any such "black magic".

Tim H. said...

Saw this in the comments at Charlie's diary:
https://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2019/02/02/the-loose-boobies-of-deathly-cold-humour-entertainment-and-science-communication/
Consider swallowing that mouthful of coffee before you click on the link, but one of the better climate change metaphors...

locumranch said...


Go easy on Porohobot, fellows. He is of a foreign culture & he is just expressing frustration at the inherently illogical contradictions that abound here.

Like our inclusivist humanist Larry_H who gleefully attempts to dehumanise, demonise & exclude any individual who dares express a non-inclusive opinion.

Like our host's fairly successful attempt to magically redefine 'Otherness' in terms of inclusion & brotherhood.

Like all those who confuse the concepts of Merit & Equality with each other.

And, like all those Star_Trek fans who fancy themselves 'anti-feudalists' while they fantasise about becoming Knight Errants in the interstellar service of Star_Fleet.


Best
____

The Star_Fleet hierarchy has always confused me:

(1) Does the crew serve the Admiralty as one would serve a king or queen? (2) Does the crew serve the Captain as one would serve a lord or lady? (3) Are the red shirts serfs & vassals? (4) Does the crew 'vote' for the Captain & Admiralty? (4) Or, is Star_Fleet an interstellar racist organisation that exists to serve the interests of the human race?

porohobot said...

>> locumranch said...
\\Go easy on Porohobot, fellows. He is of a foreign culture & he is just expressing frustration at the inherently illogical contradictions that abound here.

I do not need your considerations. You, mere stupid troll. %P

Try to bite our host on your own. Without trying to smudge into our with him discussions.

Well. Though he would be pleased to play it (he already playing this card) like we are just the same with you. %))
So, by doing so, you could win some free dogfood from him. As his loyal puppy.
So. Don't listen to me. Go on. %)))
Wig your tail more eagerly.

PS Besides. If he'd decide to ban me because of my foul lexics toward you... that'll be hella hilarious. %)))

Daniel Duffy said...

>Knight Errants in the interstellar service

Those are Jedis, not Star Fleet.

Star Trek is democratic, not crypto-fascist.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\Only if the cold war connotations of the term "commie" stem from the literal sociological meaning of "communist".

Do you see any sense in such "lack of any connotations"???

What we are talking about? What we CAN talk?

If we'd remove, as you proposing (am I right with it?), all historical connotations??! All Cold War heritage?
Completely? With all due ICBMs remaining on alert?????????


I'm beginning to understand how difficult First Contact with space-aliens would be if even communication with fellow earthlings is so hindered by lack of common frame of reference.

The point I was making has to do with the perspective of the American right-wing itself. For decades, they demonized Russia far beyond mere disagreement over distribution of the means of production. The "commies" and their organizations like the KGB were considered evil because they practiced torture and murder, they meddled in the rest of the world, and they could threaten us with nuclear war. And the Republican Party was successfully able to demonize Democrats as "communist sympathizers" for suggesting any improvements in our own areas of human rights or regulation of industry.

So the point is to illuminate Republican hypocrisy by rubbing in their face that they now support a former KGB operative who does all those same things that they used to lash out at the Soviets for other than the purely domestic matter of taxing the wealthy.

Larry Hart said...

Tim H:

Consider swallowing that mouthful of coffee before you click on the link, but one of the better climate change metaphors...


Heh. Bill Maher also used that image on his show this weekend. He made fun of tv stations hiring weather girls with big boobs, and concluded by showing that very image with, "If I want to be aroused by watching the weather forecast, I'll just look at the radar."

porohobot said...

>> Daniel Duffy said...
\\Star Trek is democratic, not crypto-fascist.

Not in support of locum-rants. For sure.

But just wondering... I watched ST pretty much All of it.

Can you point AT LEAST one episode... where'd been shown distinct democratic procedures/traits? ;) Inside Federation. Because there was shown Klingon Parlament and even romulans Senat for sure.(and some more others, I presume)

PS See... what I was talking about -- locum rants discussed much more readily. Almost promptly. And as something deserving attention.
Though all people here. And our host first of all. Blaming it. Stigmatizing even, as stupid.
That's all I meant above. And for what was blamed, literaly "attention hungry rude person".
Or I'm blind? Or there IS some other explanation I do not understand because not american? :)
Or it's just mind tricks? :) Or something wrong with my logic??! %)



>> Larry Hart said...
\\I'm beginning to understand how difficult First Contact with space-aliens would be if even communication with fellow earthlings is so hindered by lack of common frame of reference.

THANK YOU for a GREAT comment, Larry. You are great opponent here.

That's exactly MY point.

Though... they say you just need to point on absolutely objective scientfical facts.
Like frequency of radiation emission of hydrogenum. ;)
That's all. ;)


\\The point I was making has to do with the perspective of the American right-wing itself.

And I'm ready to listen about it.

\\For decades, they demonized Russia far beyond mere disagreement over distribution of the means of production.

And they was absolutely right.
Are you ready to belive ME, as to one born in USSR and still living in post-soviet "sovok" -- still stigmatized by that injuries achived in USSR time. Even bleeding one now. %((

THAT NEVER was mere question of "disagreement over distribution of the means of production".

THAT IS that truth I trying to (re)present here for two months already...
like pro-ukrainian bot Porosheno(UA president)Bot -- porohobot. ;)


\\The "commies" and their organizations like the KGB were considered evil because they practiced torture and murder, they meddled in the rest of the world, and they could threaten us with nuclear war.

That is TRUTH. NUKElear truth. So to say.


\\And the Republican Party was successfully able to demonize Democrats as "communist sympathizers" for suggesting any improvements in our own areas of human rights or regulation of industry.

That's your internal problems. I hardly can or have rights to say something about.
Except maybe if provided some factual material.


\\So the point is to illuminate Republican hypocrisy by rubbing in their face that they now support a former KGB operative who does all those same things that they used to lash out at the Soviets for other than the purely domestic matter of taxing the wealthy.

"support a former KGB operative" that's look as mere namecalling for me.
And I many time already stated my genuine feelings and collected observations and experience with vatniks... on that matters too.

Jon S. said...

Poboy, I've taken to occasionally skimming your rants, but that last bit caught my eye.

"Mere namecalling"? Vladimir Putin was a KGB field officer for 16 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. It's not "namecalling" - it's what he was.

And for the Republican Party of the United States, given their extremely vocal history, to support the actions of a former operative of the KBG is hypocrisy of the highest order.

In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."

porohobot said...

>> on S. said...
\\"Mere namecalling"? Vladimir Putin was a KGB field officer for 16 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. It's not "namecalling" - it's what he was.

And HE president of RFia for almost 20 years now.

So... do I need to elaborate here difference between "he was" and "he is"???

And... HOW MUCH do you know about modern history of USSR/RFia??? ;)


\\And for the Republican Party of the United States, given their extremely vocal history, to support the actions of a former operative of the KBG is hypocrisy of the highest order.

You have sound proofs of "support the actions of a former operative of the KBG"??? ;)
Then why you still not at the Mueller's office?


\\In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."

I am more than fluent in the matters of "fluid liquid facts".
Because of my lenghty discussions with vatniks.
Which are world champions in "pereobuvanie v vozduhe"/rebooting in the air.
Thank you. %)

That's why I'm so rigid and eager to scrath matters... not mere dig in the ground,
but deep down to the hard rock.
Because one need VERY stable fundament... to brawl with world class hypocrites. %P

Daniel Duffy said...

Kirk to the Klingon military governor of occupied Organia: “We’re nothing like you. We’re a democratic body.”

locumranch said...


Danial_D asserts that Star Trek is democratic, not crypto-fascist.

Well then, we all know what unsupported 'assertions' are worth.

What, exactly, is Star_Trek's democratic tell?

Is it the Chivalry? The Christian Ethos? The Christian sentimentality? The military chain-of-command? The top-down hierarchy? The interchangeable uniforms? The disposability of Red Shirts? The frequent plebiscites?

Star_Trek appears democracy-free, except for a few 'Yeah, Democracy' moments provided by a few unsupported 'assertions' echoed by an unseen chorus.

It amounts to an exercise in chivalry wherein the term 'chivalry' refers to (1) all things FEUDAL, including kings, queens, nobles, knights & hierarchy and (2) the qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, duty, and a readiness to help the weak.

Captain Picard, my arse! Who made him captain? The crew didn't VOTE for him... I didn't VOTE for him... and you're bloody fooling yourself if you think Star_Trek is a democracy. It's a dictatorship... a self perpetuating autocracy that impresses the lower classes into feudal service, etc.


Best
____

@Porohobot: You are in the wrong place, sirrah, if you do not wish to brawl with world class hypocrites.

Mike Will said...

Christopher Pike (talking to a down-and-out bar brawler named Kirk): "You understand what the Federation is, don't you? It's important. It's a peacekeeping and humanitarian armada ... your father was captain of a Starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother's and yours. I dare you to do better"

Hardly sounds like a self-perpetuating autocracy or dictatorship to me. Sounds like a hopeful vision of the future. Only a nihilist would despise it.

David Brin said...

Okay, the screaming has simply been ramped-up. And My skimming rate now no-longer even pauses to sample random sentences. At least locumranch is concise.

Is this how you raised to behave in someone else's home, porohobot? I hope it is an idiosyncrasy and not part of Ukrainian culture.

I have a very loose posting policy her, and others are welcome to read you. (Someone post a summary, when he says something cogent?) But I do not have the time.

porohobot said...

>> Blogger Jon S. said...
\\"Mere namecalling"? Vladimir Putin was a KGB field officer for 16 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. It's not "namecalling" - it's what he was.

I'll elaborate it a little.

Via medical metaphora.

How do you think? Or maybe how you practice it?

When you are ill... is it enough just to say -- I have this symptoms: pain, fever, diarrhea.
So ALL I NEED, it's just a bunch of anti-simpoms drugs: pain-killers, antipyretics, etc???

Or one need professional doctor, bunch of analyses and PRECISE DIAGNOSIS?


PS Do I need to describe in details how it answers the question too?


>> Daniel Duffy said...
\\Kirk to the Klingon military governor of occupied Organia: “We’re nothing like you. We’re a democratic body.”

Sorry Daniel. But Put_in do says it too: "I'm the most genuine democrat of the world. After Gandhi."(it's accurate quote) Are you ready to believe to his mere words?


\\@Porohobot: You are in the wrong place, sirrah, if you do not wish to brawl with world class hypocrites.

Learn Russian. Go to on russian sites. And try to ask there questions like "and who do you say shut down MH17 Boing???".
Hillarity ensues. %)))

porohobot said...

>> Mike Will said...
\\Hardly sounds like a self-perpetuating autocracy or dictatorship to me. Sounds like a hopeful vision of the future. Only a nihilist would despise it.

With all due respect.
Vision -- it ONE thing.
While definite and prompt proofs/robust plan -- quite another.

USSR also was started from Grand Vision of Fairness, Equaluty and Prosperity...


>> David Brin said...
\\At least locumranch is concise.

And what did I say? %)))

Here where that came to. Praise to the Locum-bokum. Good to go!
Fascinating results.

Mike Will said...

@porohobot
I'm sorry that the bear ate your lunch. I'm not a fan of bears either. I'm thankful that our industrious, inventive, visionary, collaborative ancestors wrested control of this planet from bears (and cats).

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\So the point is to illuminate Republican hypocrisy by rubbing in their face that they now support a former KGB operative who does all those same things that they used to lash out at the Soviets for other than the purely domestic matter of taxing the wealthy.

"support a former KGB operative" that's look as mere namecalling for me.


The rest of the sentence--"who does all those same things that they used to lash out at the Soviets for"--was the more important part.

And I still don't think you understand my motivation. I don't expect Republicans to save us from Putin or anything like that. I want to convince Republican voters not to vote for Republican politicians by pointing out that those Republican politicians betray the very principles that those voters expect them to champion. And if they won't give up voting for those politicians, then I at least want to rub their noses in the fact that they are traitors to American values.

If that's name-calling, well the reasons they give for favoring Republicans over Democrats amount to name-calling, so I want to at least cause them cognitive dissonance. Maybe some of them will become depressed and kill themselves. I can only hope.

Anonymous said...

All damn simple.
One can call someone commie... or any other bad word
Because he can, because its cool, because anyway they deserve it
But it's works good till that moment when someone else start calling YOU.
And you cannot retaliate. Because he's bigger.

Larry Hart said...

Oh, yes, Gladys.

It still waves.

David Brin said...

What a pip! Among pips!

David Brin said...

Evonomics has once again featured my assessment of Why Adam Smith and even Friedrich Hayek would be democrats today, given the absolutely 100% record of better outcomes for markets and competitive enterprise, versus the monopolistic and oligarchy-serving policies of the Republican Party. “Even conservatives now admit that conservatism has changed. Take the Ronald Reagan who Republican activists idolize in abstract; in real life he raised taxes, increased regulations, signed environmental laws, and (worst of all) negotiated countless compromise give-and-take, pragmatic measures in tandem with a Congress run by the other party. As did Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, giants who argued with genteel courtesy and who revered both knowledge and intellect, especially science. Even the most fervid Tea Party aficionado would avow that today’s GOP has little room for such things—as Goldwater and Buckley themselves proclaimed, to their dismay, before they died.”
http://evonomics.com/stop-using-adam-smith-and-hayek-to-support/

Mike Will said...

From the evonomics piece: "computers and sophisticated models let rulers extend their period of competence a bit longer"

I'm hopeful that these tools will be used by non-rulers to a great degree too. Cryptocurrencies (some), AI, computational thinking, what Seymour Papert called 'ego-syntonic' learning, and plain digital and scientific literacy could demolish hierarchies right quick. Competition could have some of the good properties of chaos, without the bad ones, if done intelligently.

David Brin said...

MW - that's sort of my point.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

Bannon crisscrosses the planet, helping fascist-populist risings of know-nothing morons

Recent client: the Vatican.

cyclical history ... relentless attractor states

A fine hair to split between them, plenty of present days have looked deja vu with a sprinkle of hindsight, but we agree there's no 200-year capstan standing aloof in the subconscious expressing itself magically in human action. Still... tend to believe in directional teleology, if not cyclical.

There are cycles easy to see and other whorls in the architecture spinning in infinity, (thank you Paul Simon, not the former Senator.) The part about history which gets me, is how language changes at a rate, yet religion changes in sporadic gusts. Coincidence perhaps, that religion is overhauled everytime there's a communication revolution.

language -> animism
caravan -> polytheism
writing -> monotheism
printing -> theology

Decreasing religionism of the 20th continues, despite some reversal just after 2001. And yet, it's still a majority who self-identify as "spiritual". Reffing latter part of last blogpost's comments, this is the role of magic in the 21st. Look at the list above, an increasing role of the personal in fulfilling their own prayers. Who's going to grunt through the labour to birth the next christ?

The fourth generation of the cycle, who will stand up and rescue civilization from the crisis/mess made by... boomers like Bannon.

Rescue is a strong word, and "his ilk against a wall" is quite unlikely. I read a fondness for tumbrels here, but that's not the milly way. To take no action is the preferred modus O, and whatever must be done is best couched in laissez lounge. With a good beat behind it, preferred. But what can be easy to miss about Millennials is that they are open to being influenced by people younger than themselves, yet intensely curious about the pre-internet world. They understand that the world has just changed dramatically.

Meeting more and more fully-formed humans not born in the 1900s, and they're uniformly awesome folks, without regard to eth, gender or caste. You know what? I used to predict a new crop of religions as competing knots of so-meed philosophies, but it's starting to look like the next Coming will be a collective decision.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\What a pip! Among pips!

Ouh-Key. Chilren's name-calling contest. %P So I do not need to hold myself too.


CRITICISM THE ONLY KNOWN ANTIDOTE TO ERROR (TM)

Doesn't ring a bell? %P


I know, I know, Great Lord David.
Can you forgive that lowly anonymous peasant, can't you? %)))

THAT RULE never was appointed to such lowly one,
akin to ancient feudal rule of Droit du seigneur/jus primae noctis,
it was allowed only for noble ones. %P
Isn't it? %)))

I'm ready to listen your enraged screams, childish namecallings, deleting of this comments, ban to anonymouses, etc.

It will prove that here is Only You who are right, only you are That, Who Know Better.
Only YOU Great Lord David. Conquer of the Shinying Truth, Fighter of Unholy Reps,
Guardian of Progress, Beacon of Future Readings, Destroer of Ziz Foul Feu-Dals...
Did I recitatated all due honorifics of Your Greatness?

porohobot said...

>> Mike Will said...
@porohobot
I'm sorry that the bear ate your lunch. I'm not a fan of bears either. I'm thankful that our industrious, inventive, visionary, collaborative ancestors wrested control of this planet from bears (and cats).

THAT bear can came to you too.
Anytime.
Alone. Or in company with panda. Or... they'll found agreement, and will sit down on you in company with grizzly. %)
And I could ask to reply your feeling then.
But I know that you'd have no time for it.


>> Larry Hart said...
//so I want to at least cause them cognitive dissonance. Maybe some of them will become depressed and kill themselves. I can only hope.

Now you starting to comprehend something... John Snow. %)


>> yana said...
\\but it's starting to look like the next Coming will be a collective decision.

Good insight, yana.
But to whom you trying to sell your pearls? Here. ;)

yana said...


#putinstooge, i tried to warn ya'll. Not gonna jump into a daylong feud unless there's something unsaid underlaying it. Squeeze a berry you get juice, squeeze a pustule and you get

Lowsemenherder can't be squeezed, h/s/i is easy to counter point-by-point because h/s/i does not need consistency to be contrary.

porohobot said...

>> Anonymous Mike Will said...
//...if done intelligently.

It need someone who will show ZAT intellect, isn't it?
And who it'll be? %)))
Some mythical shiny People of the Future? %)))

Naah. We already beat that road in USSR. Results are known to all...

Or you mean this millennials??! Without speck of understanding.


>> yana said...

%)))))

David Brin said...

Oh god, we have another locum. Absolutely self-centered. "Pips" referred to Gladys Knight and the Pips, which was the name of the Grouyp of Gladys Knight who sang at the Superbowl.

Absolutely everything does not have to do with you!

In fact, nothing I say here will have anything to do with porohobot and I will read nothing further from him till the end of february, starting with the rest of his screeching howl, above.

Someone tell me if he gets back to taking vitamins and starts behaving like a decent person.

porohobot said...

Thank you for a prompt proof

that

CRITICISM THE ONLY KNOWN ANTIDOTE TO ERROR (TM)

it's a rule

for a nobles only. %))))))

yana said...


By the way, lowsemenherder's posts seem male-ish, but not as strongly as you would think. There is low probability that lowsemenherder's posts are the product of a committee of three or more persons, but the possibility remains that the posts are a collaboration between two people. In that case, it would be nearly certain that at least one is a male. There is a slight difference in tone by time of day, but this does not preclude a collaboration. Now that this is known, let's see how lowsemenherder's posts change, haheh, h/s/i can not prevent change after reading this, hehhee

porohobot said...

\\Oh god, we have another locum. Absolutely self-centered. "Pips" referred to Gladys Knight and the Pips, which was the name of the Grouyp of Gladys Knight who sang at the Superbowl.

And HOW?? would I know something like this?

I know word "pipsqueak". And as it is "What a pip! Among pips!" do not look to me as a praise. Or anything.

Cultural differences.

Still. My missive remains intact, I presume.

What's with rule "CRITICISM THE ONLY KNOWN ANTIDOTE TO ERROR (TM)"???

Is it correct for EveryOne and EveryWhere.

Or... that certain someone who coined it... allowed to be free of corollary of ZAT rule? ;)))

In russian there is good anecdote about it.
Like.
"I'm the King. I'm the One who write rules. So for me NO rules written"...
but there is proverb "Only to f00ls NO rules written". %P

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Absolutely everything does not have to do with you!

And how you are happy with this reason for plausible deniability I unintentionally provided to You Highness. So it looks like You do not need to answer the REAL question. About "CRITICISM THE ONLY KNOWN ANTIDOTE TO ERROR (TM)"
Be my guest. %P


\\In fact, nothing I say here will have anything to do with porohobot and I will read nothing further from him till the end of february, starting with the rest of his screeching howl, above.

Why screaming? %)
That is You who are the Right One here, isn't it?
So why You don't feel yourself that safe, under cover of Holy Truth, Your Highness?
Why foulmouthing? %)


\\Someone tell me if he gets back to taking vitamins and starts behaving like a decent person.

Like who? I dare to ask? ;)
Like Locum, whom you tend even to praise. As lesser and known evil. Easy to beat. Posing NO threat. Loyal and ever ready Pillow for your Pins, Your Greatness. %)))

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\What a pip! Among pips!

TOP DEFINITION
pip
(1) A pain in the ass.

(2) A real character.
(3) Someone who tends to be difficult, but still likeable.
(1) Boy that postal worker was rudely sarcastic - a real fucking pip.
(2) That guy over there is being overly friendly to everyone, asking them all sorts of questions, and just being too social in a weird way. Seems like a real pip.
(3) My wife was acting like a real pip last night, but of course, I still love her.
by Wordmaster B January 02, 2005

yana said...


re microphants:

Don't blame me for "picoderms," not my pun and not sure i'd claim it, even if it was mine. Another respondent said the elephant would have to be "internally" rearranged to become small, but that's what the charming process of island dwarfism does for you naturally, over thousands of years. Homo floriensis, and all that.

If we have real elephant-sized elephants to study, and we are able to resurrect miniature elephants, there's no reason why we shouldn't also learn how to breed micro elephants. A foot or two tall, ideal pet. A cat is temperamental and a dog only lives so long, but a microphant can be a friend for life. Just, litter training might be hard for early adopters.

Anonymous said...

Played out in a Black Mirror serial. Already.

Larry Hart said...

If Virginia governor Ralph Northam doesn't want to resign, he should simply switch his party affiliation to Republican. They'd love his yearbook photos over there.

jim said...

I have been thinking about how to evaluate the Democratic presidential contenders.
They all have been saying good things (in my opinion ) but the question for me is how willing they are to use power to achieve the goals.

Are they willing to:
Eliminate the filibuster in the senate. (if not, almost nothing good will get done legislatively)

Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico. (got to balance out the conservative advantage in the senate)

Increase the size of the Supreme court (to ensure that what gets passed doesn’t get declared unconstitutional by the radical republicans on the court)

Electoral Reform – automatic voter registration, voting day a holiday, public financing of campaigns, large taxes on campaign contributions above 500$.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

I have been thinking about how to evaluate the Democratic presidential contenders.
...

Are they willing to:
Eliminate the filibuster in the senate. (if not, almost nothing good will get done legislatively)


That's not really a presidential question. It's entirely up to the Senate Majority Leader. In fact, neither the House nor the president would have any say on what the Senate does with its own rules.


Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico. (got to balance out the conservative advantage in the senate)


The president probably at least has some input and veto power there, although ultimate, isn't that also up to congress? Keep in mind that Puerto Rico has been offered statehood and turned it down. But DC is champing at the bit, so yeah.


Increase the size of the Supreme court (to ensure that what gets passed doesn’t get declared unconstitutional by the radical republicans on the court)


An idea whose time has come, but it probably isn't a good idea for a candidate to run on it. It would also create an arms race between the parties, doubling the court size each time the presidency changed hands. Plus, given the experience of Wisconsin and North Carolina, I'd not be surprised to see the outgoing Trump administration increase the court size to 100 or so, and the outgoing Mitch McConnell ram through a bunch of Federalist Society nominees.

Maybe better to run on the idea of eliminating lifetime appointments and having each justice serve an 18-year term.


Electoral Reform – automatic voter registration, voting day a holiday, public financing of campaigns, large taxes on campaign contributions above 500$.


Yeah, Nancy Pelosi* has already set the table for that one. All a presidential candidate would have to do is go, "I would sign that."

* In the throes of ecstasy, I call her "Nancy".

jim said...

Yes Larry I know that only senators get to vote on eliminating the filibuster. But I expect that the democratic presidential candidate to lead the charge on eliminating the filibuster. If it stays in place kiss any hope for an effective democratic party goodbye, because they will not be able to deliver on any major promise to the American public. And if the democratic party is too weak and ineffective to do the job of making life better for ordinary Americans they will turn to a “strongman” and that will end up being shitty for everyone.

Alfred Differ said...

Eliminating the filibuster will not be enough and may make things worse.

The Senate is DESIGNED to be anti-democratic.
It will take major surgery to fix that and I suspect that would cause a civil war first.

locumranch said...


Both the left and right suffer from tendentious teleology, assuming history has a direction. The left often (not always) views this as inexorably upward progress. Rightists and romantics are forever drawn to “cyclical history”[DB].

Is it just me or did David just admit that the twin doctrines of Progress & Progressivism are irrational, retroactively reasoned from effect-to-cause, belief-based doctrines?

What we've got here is a FAILURE TO MISCOMMUNICATE!!

A failure to miscommunicate is a rarity that is also known as a Froidian Slip, Slippery Misstep, Artless Ingress or Foolish Footfall.

The Shakespearean Fool is chorus, singer, jester, jokester, conscience & confidant who may mock the king, telling truth to power, without consequence, as his very witlessness serves as the best defence against potential offence.

For few & far between are those who will hold the witless liable for their wit (or lack thereof) or, verily, the artless guilty for their lack of guile. That he's mad, 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity, And pity 'tis 'tis true—a foolish figure, But farewell it, for I will use no art, the lack of art being the assumption of innocence.


Best

Anonymous said...

Hm. Let's have some wool from this sheep.

What if. All peculiar bechavior of Trump. It's conspiracy.

But not "commie, mafia, collusion" our host and many other eager to cry. But quite the contrary. Ryan-president style. Like in Clancy's (spy)techno-thrillers.

Putin showed his cards. The real cards. That he can destroy USA any minute.

Let's add some real spice here. By using state of relation "business as usual", gullible americans given up to them with that ReBoot Button.
KGB/FSB delivered into USA pack of megaton bombs. And deployed it secretly, in most vulnerable places.

So. CIA community took Trump to play his role. Of whiny untrustworthy Putin's marionette. To show they admitted defeat. On the surface.
While under cover trying hard to perform rescue plan.

Really. In such a case many strange things find its place.
Reason behind secrecy -- Trump-Putin conversations a really touchy in that premises.
Money for The Wall -- in reality its money needed to deploy some secret project.
Reaction of Melania -- she do not understand behavior of her husband anymore.
Etc.

Darrell E said...

Anonymous,

That could be an interesting plot outline for a fictional story, but as a real world hypothesis it just doesn't work. There is one yuuuggge immediate problem. Trump himself. We know he is a shallow, selfish, stupid asshole who doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself. It's a matter of public record established long before he became President. What we are seeing with his presidency matches perfectly well with what was already known about him. Except, of course, for the easy marks who actually believe the Trump's lies despite all of the truly massive amount of evidence to the contrary.

Larry Hart said...

Another new Stonekettle Station post. I can hardly keep up:

http://www.stonekettle.com/

...

You know, in retrospect, that’s an unfair comparison.

In the movie Idiocracy, President Camacho was a decent person.

He sincerely wanted to be a good leader for all of his people, but he also knew that he was a moron in a nation of morons.

He didn’t know much, but he knew that.

And so Camacho set out to surround himself with those smarter than himself, a key plot point of the film.

Real life president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt once famously said, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” In that light, maybe Camacho wasn’t so dumb after all.

...

Anonymous said...

Darrel
He need to be that way to make beleive not us
but some cunning person with mighty secret service of his own. ;)
Read about operation Meansemeat

Jon S. said...

Anonymous, the noted behavior of Donald Trump goes back decades. This isn't something new - his current behavior is of a piece with his behavior in boarding school, with his dodging of the draft in Vietnam, with his insistence on calling for the execution of the Central Park Five even when DNA evidence exonerated them, with his (and his father's!) refusal to lease properties to, shall we say, certain melanin-advantaged people, with his long-standing tendency to take companies over and then drive them so deeply into the ground they could uncover lost civilizations (and then get rescued by Daddy's money, and by bilking investors and contractors). This didn't suddenly begin, say, around the turn of the century, or even when the Soviet Union fell - it's Donnie. It's always been Donnie. Just ask a New Yorker.

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright pulls no punches:

http://www.stonekettle.com/

I used to have this idiot cat who would fall asleep in some precarious position. Then inevitably, it would fall from a height, bonk! It would get up, look around, and then try to pretend that hadn’t just landed on its head like an idiot. Trump and those who surround him don’t even have that much awareness. He’s so goddamned stupid, or rather the people who he surrounds himself with (because these two tweets were threaded, something Trump himself doesn’t know how to do) are so goddamned stupid, that they don’t even realize when they incriminate themselves.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman tells us what we should already know (emphasis mine)...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/04/opinion/ralph-northam-howard-schultz.html

So what do the empty quarters of U.S. politics mean for the future? First, of course, that Schultz is a fool — and so are those who dream of a reformed G.O.P. that remains conservative but drops its association with racists. There’s hardly anyone who wants that mix of positions.

David Brin said...

Sorry, anon... (and traditionally anonymous posters do give themselves at least a sign-off monicker)... but that scenario doesn't work.

Mind you, in my story "Senses Three & Six" most of the over-spending on Air Force toilets and shuttles etc and hyper inflation of the 1970s came from emergency spending to build a crude starship to attempt to slip through an alien blockade-quarantine. Jimmy Carter sacrificed himself. So, I am good at imagining what-if scenarios.

In yours, top democrats would have been briefed and would be playing along.

Larry Hart said...

Apparently, there ARE some good New England Patriots. Maybe I don't hate them as much as I had thought:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Feb05.html#item-7

The New England Patriots took a very long time to score a touchdown on Sunday, but many of them took not long at all afterward to announce that they would forego a White House visit, if invited. Some players even went so far as to say that they would like to follow in the Golden State Warriors' footsteps and visit Barack Obama instead.

Anonymous said...

What know two. Is known even to the swines. ;)

A.F. Rey said...

Because his usefulness as an asset may shift to even greater value as a disruptive martyr, at any point, now.

I'm still more worried about a domestic false-flag attack. Sure, make him a martyr, but be able to blame the Democrats and Liberals for it. Now that would lock in at least the next couple of elections. :(

Larry Hart said...

RIP Norman Goldman.

No, he's not dead, but the radio show almost is. He announced today that, after willingly losing money for almost 10 years, he has to pull the plug.

The world will be a poorer place.

TCB said...

This here is a random thought that isn't germane to the current post, but I'm a gonna drop it while I think of it.

As all cogent readers here know, global warming is, to put it MILDLY, a problem for our civilization/species/biosphere. Now, I've read that Earth is just barely outside the inner limit of the habitable zone. How unfortunate! I thought. What a rough bit of luck for a fossil-fuel civilization to be already skirting the inner edge of habitability!

Lately it dawned on me that this is not a matter of luck at all.

Here follows a thought experiment. Imagine a planet like ours forming around a star like ours at the very outermost edge of the habitable zone. Main sequence stars, over time, get brighter and larger as they burn their hydrogen and helium. When that's run out they go red giant for a bit and habitable-zone planets get fried. This is all astronomy 101, of course.

So a new planet, once formed, is on a timer, like a bomb. When the parent star goes red giant, BOOM. Show over. Life, if it exists on that world, must evolve in the available time between formation and BOOM. Larger stars, all other things being equal, burn out too fast. Biospheres don't evolve to sentience in a mere ten million years (as far as we know). On the other end of the scale are little red dwarf stars with very long lifetimes. Can civilizations evolve there? I don't venture to guess. What concerns us, at the moment, is main sequence solar mass stars: ours.

Our Earth formed (in the hab zone, natch) some 4.54 billion years ago, and living organisms came in no later than 3.7 billion years ago. No time was wasted, really: it's even possible that primitive life existed sooner but was sterilized by colliding planetoids; no matter, the clock is ticking!

Point is, it takes time for eukaryotes to evolve, and then multicellular life, and then brains and then technology, and all this time the sun and therefore the hab zone are expanding outward! Even without coal and gasoline, the planet would, eventually, graze and then slip past the inner hot line. I repeat, it's not an accident that we find ourselves closer to the inside of the habitable zone; it is exactly what you'd expect, when you factor in the need for time before technological civilization can arise.

matthew said...

Someone is listening to you. RBG to skip State of the Union tonight.


https://thehill.com/regulation/administration/428582-ginsburg-not-expected-at-trumps-state-of-the-union?amp&__twitter_impression=true

David Brin said...

Did RGB show up? Any other supreme dropouts? I didn't watch. She has an excuse.

TCB, The red giant phase is irrelevant... 5Gyrs from now. It's the gradual brightening that applies pressure in 100Myr. What? you never watched my video on how to LIFT THE EARTH? Google those words and my name.

We didn't start off at the outer edge, or even the middle of the goldilocks zone. The boundary doesn't shift that fast.

No, what is unnerving is the early OSCILLATIONS! The Iceball Earth era was only 600 Myr ago. Those periods were brief, but devastating... but also seem to have stimulated life to boom.

TCB said...

>TCB, The red giant phase is irrelevant... 5Gyrs from now. It's the gradual brightening that applies pressure in 100Myr. What? you never watched my video on how to LIFT THE EARTH? Google those words and my name

Oh, yeah, I elided that part. Things get ticklish well before red giant... But yes, exactly. Looking up that video now.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Did RGB show up? Any other supreme dropouts? I didn't watch.


I'm not planning to watch either, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't started yet. I'm posting this at 7:00pm Chicago time.

David Brin said...

Dem males shoulda wore white ties. Was RBG there? SCOTUS should have a designated survivor.

Curiosity, anyone know who the designated cabinet survivor was?

Tim H. said...

Ed Burmilla has comments of interest on the SOU:

http://www.ginandtacos.com/2019/02/05/calvinball/

Given the base the "Pick handle" Republicans "Enjoy", Bush-Cheney might be the very best that can survive their primaries.

Larry Hart said...

I just typed "who" into Google, and it already suggested "Who is the designated survivor 2019".

Apparently, it was Rick Perry.

Larry Hart said...

From that calvinball article that Tim H links to above. Emphasis is my own, and illustrates what I've been trying to argue with Alfred Differ about you-know-who's illegitimacy:

http://www.ginandtacos.com/2019/02/05/calvinball/

...

Here's the thing: Donald Trump isn't even trying to be president in any sense that the job of the president is understood. An analogy might illustrate my point best. Imagine you wanted to rank the (53 x 2) 106 quarterback performances in the Super Bowl. But you didn't have 106 quarterbacks – you had 105, and then this one guy who showed up on game day wearing a loincloth, swinging around a baseball bat, and making no effort to play the game at all. He simply showed up, preened for the crowd, and screamed "Fuck you!" at the referees for three hours.

In one sense, you could easily look at that list and say he is 106th of 106. But in another sense you can't even rank him on the same list as the others. It's not merely that he played a bad game (as players 104 and 105 obviously did). It's that he was playing an entirely different game that nobody else during, before, or since was playing. His goals and motives were wholly his own and largely inscrutable.

It is entirely possible that aside from Trump's commitment to rapacious tax cuts for the wealthy and his puerile obsession with The Wall, there is nothing he is even trying to do. In that light it is incorrect to say he's a weak, crappy president. He simply isn't the president at all in any meaningful sense. He spends most of his day doing nothing. He is on vacation more than he is in the White House. His goal seems to be nothing more than getting attention (at which he is very good, thus he probably considers himself a success by that criterion).

In the end it's an apples / oranges problem. Forty-four presidents were attempting to drive a bus, and then you have this other guy who wanted to blow up the bus and refused to drive it. It's not clear at all that the 45th guy even belongs in the conversation. There's a difference between doing something poorly and simply not doing it at all.

Anonymous said...

@Larry Hart

His goal seems to be nothing more than getting attention (at which he is very good, thus he probably considers himself a success by that criterion).

Which is why I've seen the nickname, Needy Amin, show up in the blogosphere recently for Individual-1.

john fremont

A.F. Rey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.F. Rey said...

But I am also on record suggesting that Trump might be wise not to eat anything those sponsor-despots offer him.

It doesn't look like he got the memo, since he scheduled his meeting with Kim in Viet Nam.

Somehow I suspect a few people there might still hold a grudge over that minor police action a while ago... :(

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Dusty Albers said...

Dr. Brin, I should say that while I certainly agree with your characterization of Barry Goldwater and Friedrich Hayek as clear-thinking "great minds" of conservatism, I somewhat disagree with describing William F. Buckley in the same way. While his talent for both debate and writing is indisputable, he also, throughout his career, made several statements and advanced several arguments which are at best strange and difficult to defend, and at worst simultaneously factually inaccurate and rather bigoted. Specifically, I refer to his characterization of multiculturalism as an enemy of Christian faith (as described in his book "Nearer, My God"), his description of HIV/AIDS in the mid-80s as "the special curse of the homosexual," and finally his defense of McCarthyism, which began (of course) during the McCarthy era and continued for the rest of his life. So, Buckley; intelligent man with genuine skill at both speaking and writing? Absolutely. Poster boy for rationalism and even-handedness in the conservative movement? I'm so sure about that one.