Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Stone Cold America-Killers

As former "great guy" and trusted factotum Michael Cohen testifies in Congress, the right's media calls him a "convicted liar," and we keep waiting for other media to point out the obvious. Alas, it's important to remember that Democratic politicians are absolutely dismal at the art of polemic. They will yatter about grownup things like violations of trust and the law, when we desperately need to peel off just another ten million residually-sane conservative Americans from the collapsing confederate coalition. This will take much-simpler cudgels, like: 

"How many 'great guys' must later 'betray' Donald Trump, before you'll admit that he's a lousy judge of character?" 

Here's another: 

"How many times must Donald Trump hold secret debriefing sessions with communist despots - or conveniently "ex" communist dictators - without any reputable U.S. officials present, before you'll admit something fishy is going on?"

Or:

"Here are 100 Fox/GOP/Trump lies. We offer a million dollars in wagers on any or all of them. And if you refuse to bet, it confirms that you are gutless liars." 

Oh, I've got a million of 'em, ready to supply to any demo-pol who can imagine using judo, for a change. For example, consider a rock-hard truth about traitors.


== Stone Cold America-Killers ==

Gary Trudeau warned us for 30 years about Roger Stone, the real life "Uncle Duke*." With partners Paul Manafort and Charlie Black, he lobbied for the world’s most despotic dictators and the “Torturer’s Lobby” e.g. Mobutu of Zaire, Marcos of the Philippines, and Putin's puppet Yanukovich of Ukraine. Also casino lords and mafia dons. 

Donald Trump was one of Black, Manafort & Stone’s first clients. "Lee Atwater, known for his racist "Southern strategy" politics and Willie Horton fear-mongering, was a partner. It was Stone’s idea for Trump to revive Obama "birtherism" (And you must taunt your mad uncle "Where's the "amazing proof from Kenya" Trump promised, years ago?")

Is this the most spectacularly and proudly evil-stinking part of the "swamp" that imbeciles chanted for the GOP to drain? Or is it the K Street lobbying firms that now write nearly all legislation offered by Republican members of Congress?

Portrayed by Fox as a poor-terrorized 66 yr old geezer, Stone posts beefcake brag-pics of his pecs - (I am older, buffer and braggier, but demonstrably not as evil) - and a tat of Richard Nixon between his shoulder blades. (Mine-own ink is one of those magic eye illusions, the one turning Albert Einstein into Marilyn Monroe… but you really have to squint.)

== The Putin Rationalizations ==

Down in my blog's comment community there’s been an argument that includes contributions from a smart Ukrainian fellow, about whether we should pay close heed to the words of self-justification uttered by the leader of today’s worldwide mafia-oligarch putsch. Our friend from Kiev complains about Russian media that calls his country utterly controlled by Nazis and fascists. Sure, it's nasty stuff. But we need to separate two things: propaganda and the leadership's own rationalizations. Sometimes they overlap. Still, Vladimir Putin has been remarkably open and clear about his rationalizations.

Putin and his clade were raised on contempt for all western concepts of accountability, rule of law, democracy or self-determination. Hence he does not perceive the deposing of Yanukovich in any of those terms. As a Russian, he leans toward paranoia. As a lenin-raised KGB agent, he can see things in no other way. Hence he ascribes the Ukrainian democracy movement entirely to agitprop activity by Western NGOs, not to the Ukrainian people making a sovereign and intelligent choice.

Those western NGOs were - of course - agencies of a conspiratorial war waged against Russian interests by Western powers, especially Clinton and Obama and Clinton, against whom he personally and openly swore revenge. He claims we were the first to us "deniability warfare", via those NGOs. Whereupon his deniable aggressions in Georgia, Crimea and the Donbas -- and Brexit and helping Donald Trump -- are all justified retaliation.

It is very important to read Putin's rationalizations and understand them. It seems he is being quite open and is sincerely angry. Crazy-batshit evil? Yes, and if his oligarchic-mafia cabal wins, then humanity may go extinct. We will certainly lose the stars.

Which means understanding him is even more important than ever.

== A governor at last... and focused on a topmost issue ==

At last, a democratic politician is stepping up to make Climate Change a core issue. Washington governor Jay Inslee believes his focus on the environment will resonate with voters. And yes, I agree that the climate should be near the top... right under the restoration of FACT as an element in modern life and politics. 


But my biggest reason for joy at Inslee's announcement is simple. Senators aren't ideal candidates. Not by historical statistics. Even the generally admirable and wise Sen. Barack Obama lacked experience as an administrator that sapped his ability to get things done, during his narrow, 2-year window of opportunity. A governor or ex-VP gets points, in my estimation.

Dig it, the clever thing would be Biden-Warren, with old Joe making it clear she'd be co-president for one term - while she learned administrative ropes - then his successor for two. Admit it, the combo could both win and deliver.

== Political Miscellany ==

What a great idea! Sandusky,Ohio, Makes Election Day A Paid Holiday — By Swapping Out Columbus Day.  It solves two problems in one fell swoop. Make this a movement! And on odd numbered years it can alternate with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Since early 2016 the IRS has quietly repeated  that federal privacy rules prohibit the agency from discussing individual tax matters, but “nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”

“The IRS stresses that audits of tax returns are based on the information contained on the taxpayer’s return and the underlying tax law — nothing else,” the agency said. “Politics and religion do not factor into this. The audit process is handled by career, non-partisan civil servants, and we have processes in place to safeguard the exam process.” - according to USA Today

Still I ask: Can the IRS verify THAT such an audit is underway? 
(1) it should be easy, since the subject (DT) has said so publicly and thus waived confidentiality. 
(2) Dems should push a bill allowing the IRS to say that much. 
(3) It's been 2.5 years, much longer than Mueller in a far less complex matter... so finish the audit already? Push a bill at McConnell allowing the IRS to expedite. 


== Shutdown fallout ==

You FAA folks (and other hero civil servants), you have our love. And ground delays are better than crashes. But a suggestion for next time? If FAA folks are seeking a "work action" that still lets them morally do their best job to keep us safe, then can you find a way to de-prioritize corporate and private jets? 

A huge-glaring symptom of U.S. wealth-disparity sickness has been the plummet of rich folks using First Class and thus riding the same planes as us. (It is the biggest reason air travel (and security) have deteriorated.) Their separate jetports should be at minimum picketed. Taxes raised. And if they keep pushing us... more. Tax private jets till they scream and return to First Class and fly with us. There is no better way to remind them we share a nation.


-----

* Yes, yes. Uncle Duke was originally based on gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson. But over the years Duke became an archetype for cynical-criminal service to international and domestic despots, hardly a Thompson riff.

75 comments:

matthew said...

With her 5 minutes of questioning Cohen AOC just demonstrated why the GOP are terrified of her. She got him to admit that Trump has committed multiple felonies tied to money laundering and real estate fraud. And cheats on his taxes. She laid the groundwork for multiple future subpoenas. She then tied his crimes back to problems in her district.

She understands how to fight and win against fascism. Without cheating.

Dang.
Much admiration for her effectiveness.


Warren should stay in the Senate. She'd be a good POTUS I suspect but both her (righteous) anti- Wall Street work and her DNA test make her weak.

Biden is an embarrassment. He should not run. Too old, too compromised by his many years cutting deals.

Harris is still my early choice. Like AOC she knows how to work a hostile witness. And she is a centrist, even though I believe that is a liability not an asset

Daniel Duffy said...

I would not worry about Putin's Russia, It is already weak and getting weaker each year. Between collapsing population demographics, the environmental poisoning of vast areas with industrial pollutants (most not cleaned up since the Soviet Union), skyrocketing AIDs infections and drug addiction, a complete demoralization of the populace - Russia is slowly dying.

Putin is their last gasp, the last kick of a dying animal.

It's a giant Potemkin village destined for demographic demise.

Aside from being a corrupt, oligarchic, mafiya state whose only source of income is ever cheaper oil (classic case of a "resource trap"), Russia is demographically doomed. By 2050 there will be 50 million fewer Russians:

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/russian-demographics-perfect-storm

The shrinking population is the result of deaths outnumbering births for nearly two decades without sufficient immigration to compensate for the deficit. The increasing number of deaths reflects the persistence of comparatively high mortality. The decreasing number of births is due to the prevailing low fertility, which plummeted to 1.2 births per woman in the late 1990s and now hovers at 1.7 births per woman. That rate is still about 20 percent below 2.1 births per woman, the level necessary to ensure population replacement.

High rates of smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, obesity, heart disease, violence, suicide and environmental pollution contribute to Russians’ poor health. Russia’s current male life expectancy at birth of 64 years is 15 years lower than male life expediencies in Germany, Italy and Sweden.

Notwithstanding a recent fertility uptick, low fertility persists due to inadequate reproductive health services, lack of modern and low-cost contraceptives, widespread and unsafe abortions, infertility, fewer women of childbearing age, changing attitudes toward marriage and voluntary childlessness. In addition, Russia’s abortion rate, estimated at two abortions for every birth, has traditionally been the highest in the world.

Russia’s aging population has placed strains on the economy that will impact numerous sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, the armed forces and retirement schemes. In the next decade, Russia's labor force is expected to shrink by more than 12 million, or around 15 percent.

The contraction of Russia’s labor force is exacerbated by low retirement ages: 60 for men and 55 for women. In certain situations, for example, hazardous occupations or unemployment, retirement ages are lower. Nevertheless, Russia’s older population does not fare well. According to a 2014 global survey of the social and economic well-being of older people, Russia ranked 65 among 96 countries.

Daniel Duffy said...

(cont.)

Which will lead to political collapse:

http://www.businessinsider.com/startfor-predictions-for-the-next-decade-2015-3#russia-will-collapse--1

"There will not be an uprising against Moscow, but Moscow's withering ability to support and control the Russian Federation will leave a vacuum," Stratfor warns. "What will exist in this vacuum will be the individual fragments of the Russian Federation."

Sanctions, declining oil prices, a plunging ruble, rising military expenses, and increasing internal discord will weaken the hold of Russia's central government over the world's largest country. Russia won't officially split into multiple countries, but Moscow's power may loosen to the point that Russia will effectively become a string of semi-autonomous regions that might not even get along with one another.

"We expect Moscow's authority to weaken substantially, leading to the formal and informal fragmentation of Russia" the report states, adding that "It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form."

Russia is unimportant, nothing but "Zaire with permafrost":

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/05/russia-is-finished/302220/

Over the past decade Russia's population has been shrinking by almost a million a year, owing to a plummeting birth rate and a rising number of deaths from alcoholism and violence. Predictions are astonishingly grave: the country could lose a third of its population (now 146 million) by the middle of the century. This does not factor in new scourges—tuberculosis and HIV, in particular, which have been spreading exponentially since 1998. As its population shrinks, Russia will find itself less and less able to face demographic challenges from China. Overpopulation is pushing the Chinese into the Russian Far East—a trend that at present benefits Russia by bringing it trade and small-scale investment but that could someday lead to ethnically based separatism.

David Brin said...

DD I've said it before, this is not about Russia. Russia is the steed that Putin's oligarchy is rising -- while sucking blood from its neck -- allowing a mafia gang to preen as a great power that holds nuclear weapons. Putin's aim is to establish his gang as the capo-di-capo of mafia families, above the Saudis and the Italian mobs and all others. Viewed in that light, none of the Russian demographic and other declines matters, so long as he can ride it to a stable mafia world in a short enough time span.

Daniel Duffy said...

But it won't be stable.

Putin's money derives from oil, and between collapsing demographic and expanding use of renewables, he and his cronies will be suffering from a surfeit of "stranded assets"

https://thenearlynow.com/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd

Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere
You can’t understand what Trump’s doing to America without understanding the “Carbon Bubble”

Here’s the blunt reality: the pressure to cut emissions and respond to a changing climate are going to alter what we do and don’t see as valuable. Climate action will trigger an enormous shift in the way we value things.

If we can’t burn oil, it’s not worth very much. If we can’t defend coastal real estate from rising seas (or even insure it, for that matter), it’s not worth very much. If the industrial process a company owns exposes them to future climate litigation, it’s not worth very much. The value of those assets is going to plummet, inevitably… and likely, soon.

Currently, though, these assets are valued very highly. Oil is seen as hugely valuable, coastal real estate is seen as hugely valuable, industrial patents are seen as hugely valuable.

When there’s a large difference between how markets think assets should be valued and what they are (or will) actually be worth, we call it a “bubble.”

Experts now call the differences between valuations and worth in fossil fuel corporations, climate-harmful industries and vulnerable physical assets the “Carbon Bubble.” It is still growing.

And here’s the thing about bubbles: they always pop.

People whose job it is to measure risk in financial markets are extremely concerned about the magnitude of the Carbon Bubble and the damage it will do as it bursts. Because when it bursts, trillions of dollars of imaginary assets will simply vanish in a very short time.

Daniel Duffy said...

Russia and its people are physically ill. Aside from AIDs, drug abuse, alcoholism and falling life expectancy, the land itself is poisonous.

The environment in Russia is so bad they have "black snow".

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmayq5/toxic-black-snow-is-covering-towns-in-siberia?utm_source=reddit.com&fbclid=IwAR02D0EnoHQiZHFtOYCi9Kw-1FXo820FcRp026HKigIHJEQxU_M_c_IsC_M

Toxic Black Snow Is Covering Towns in Siberia
“The future of our children is terrifying.”

The inky snowfall is the result of open coal pits in the Kuzbass Basin, which is home to 2.6 million people and sits on one of the world’s largest coal reserves spanning 10,000 square miles.

Residents in the towns of Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk-Kuznetsky have been posting surreal footage of grayscale snowdrifts, trees, and icicles to social media.

“No cleansing systems, all the waste, dust and dirt, coal lay in the area,” one resident remarked, according to the Siberian Times on Friday. “Our children and us are breathing it. It’s just a nightmare.”

Last year, Russian authorities tried to conceal black snow in the town of Mysky with white paint. The ruse was exposed when a woman touched the snow only to find her hand covered in paint, the Moscow Times reported.

“It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter,” Vladimir Slivyak of Ecodefense told The Guardian. “There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it is still there.”


Rodney said...

Garry Trudeau, not Gary.

David Brin said...

Thanks Rodney, though not worth the effort.

DD... I lived in London when the air had been cleared by banning coal anywhere near cities... and they were one by one cleaning a century of black off of white, limestone buildings.

And you still miss my point. Putin cares little about Russians and has probably already sold Siberia. He cares about a future that is safe for mafia families and clans -- safe from accountable Rule of Law. Having Russia as a base is great -- perhaps he'll be czar. (See Day of the Oprichnik.) But nukes and deterrence are what matters, not the health of average Russians.

David Brin said...

Moreover, they imagine the future will go to Arctic nations.

Anonymous said...

\\Putin's aim is to establish his gang as the capo-di-capo of mafia families, above the Saudis and the Italian mobs and all others.

You continue your stabborn belittling of Putin's efforts.
Trying to pose him as mere "mafia".
I see how that can be convinient to you -- to not admit striking resemblence with your own government.
But it's plays bad for my Ukraine. Make it look like it not one-on-one with some fascistic imperilistic country, with long history of bloody atrocities and cruel wars,
but some "mere mafia"... with which any country should know how to fight yourself or... all international "deeply disturbed" are happy to admit that it is a "failed state"... especially if there is MegaBucks contracts with "mafia" at stack.
How convinient... to forget about Budapesht Memo, about Chicken Speach, etc. %E
Very convinient Lack of Memory. :)))

Anonymous said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\porphobot:

Is it some kinda joke? :) If is, can you explain it to me?

\\\\There only that "truth" that are in social practice truth. So. If They think one is witch, they'll burn it

\\You're missing the point.
\\If I think I know that you are a witch, that doesn't prove that you are one.

It SHOULD be that way. But... it is not.
And that effort that our *great* host placing in trying to "subjugate" me -- striking example of "social practice truth" -- doesn't matter what you think about yourself, doesn't matter how you pose yourself, what you are doing. If, for someone of Them, Who Know Better it is convinient to call you a witch, a commie, a parasite, etc-etc.
He will undoublty use it as a weapon for his own convinience. While stating that he doing it only "for wellbeing of lil this ones".
I lived in such country... and just, now other country, now trying to make it so with my Ukaine.
So I Know About It... more than I'd like to know. (saddest)


\\If I think I know that I exist, that does prove I exist. Not because I of what I think I know, but because of who is doing the thinking that he know.

It is all just ancient web of words. Why all I trying to talk with you -- it's latest (really, not that latest... it is know already for decades) neuro-science discoveries. That displace all zat notions as mere medieval myths.


\\Whether my belief is mistaken or not, it's me believing it. Therefore, there's a "me" doing the believing. It is not logically possible for me to think I exist without existing.

I asked you. To show how this "paradox" look now. Do android which spout "I think therefore I exist" -- exist The Same Way as you are? ;)


\\You keep trying to convince me that I might be mistaken in my belief, but I could just as well argue "I'm mistaken, therefore I am."

You just don't hear my words. And hear only echo of your own.

Anonymous said...

>> Jon S. said...
\\Someone has a very primitive (not to mention horribly inaccurate) assessment of just what exactly autism is. This is, of course, not unexpected, given many of the poster's other statements, but it's one that's particularly attention-getting for me.
\\Autistics don't lack an ability to see the Other as human (that, in fact, seems to be more of an NT thing).

Such eloquent reference on to my "angry sillyperson". :) Well, I will not scold you for understanding me wrong. I see how my words could be read that way. Especially by some biased... person.

I just pointed out to Mike... that we are different. In culture. In education. In habits.
And... in stucture of each our brains too.

And that difference will only grow larger, with inception of cyborgs, AIs, etc.


\\I'm just saying, when someone prides themselves on being an expert on neurology, maybe keeping up with the literature might be a good idea.

I'm NOT "pride myself" on being an expert on neurology.
I just pointed on some very simple, old and easy to understand notions from it.

Well... though I see how very basic notions in any kind of science... could look like level of expert... here.

Anonymous said...

Our friend from Kiev complains about Russian media that calls his country utterly controlled by Nazis and fascists. Sure, it's nasty stuff. But we need to separate two things: propaganda and the leadership's own rationalizations. Sometimes they overlap. Still, Vladimir Putin has been remarkably open and clear about his rationalizations.

There you again. It's just a play. For guillable foreigners.
Like that G.Bush Jr. who saw "something human" in the eyes of Put_in. :))
Or Obama who pushed that ReBoot Button.
He outsmarting you by far. And you are happy about it. Smirk.


It is very important to read Putin's rationalizations and understand them.

For that... one need Real Expertise and Real Background Info.
Not some losy cremlinology and/or yellow press howling.
That's all.

Jon S. said...

Daniel, that very instability is why I fear them. Because those nukes are still there - and in its death throes, that nation might well decide to take us with them.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"Dig it, the clever thing would be Biden-Warren"

Tend to disagree there, although wholeheartedly agree with Election Day being a holiday. Not only on even-numbered years, however, because it is just as important to vote local as national, sometimes even moreso, for one of the tricks of the duopoly to maintain control is to schedule gubernatorial races for "off years."

The trouble with Biden-Warren is stated in the blogpost: "old Joe" and Liz is no vernal poultry either. I'm coming out to say it here, for the first time right now. You get the scoop: putting only a 35% chance that the orange guy will be on the ballot 20 months from now.

Orange guy's real troubles are soon to fit the shan, not in federal court where he can do something about it, but in state court. In two states where the entire power structure has rapidly abandoned him. In 2 states where most of that incredibly filthy business of real estate development occurred, over decades. Here, several years of tax returns will not need to be leaked, they'll simply be entered as evidence, thus into public record. That's gonna be lights out, show's over.

They'll hold back on the serious charges until Feb '21, when the "sitting guy" question is moot, then the whole family's going to jail. Even the hawk-faced lady with the dead eyes, for immigration violations her suddenly estranged pushed through by exec fiat.

What will the redfederates do? Go with someone "new" and "dynamic" who can gin up something feely-sounding like "compassionate conservatism" or a shiny city or something, i don't know, but it will be a white male in his 50s or so.

Compare Biden-Warren to that? It will take extraordinary powers of de-extinction. Even Sanders has no chance against a non-orange guy. With Obama, the bluefolk passed the torch. To retake the torch, they'll need to think past the obvious absurdity of orange guy, because that crapcircus will be past the grandstand.

Dems will need someone in late 40s to 50s, colorish but not dark as an ace of something (feel terrible even saying that, but politik is what it is). Female would be a plus, again distasteful to even say that, but it's real. Sounds like Kamala, listening to the pure demographics. But is she chipper enough to draw out the disgusted Middle with a bright vision?

My bet is still on Booker. Superb with sosh meeds, upbeat yet punchy, and came up through Jersey politics squeaky clean, which is a nearly superhuman feat. Get a few vet message handlers behind him, and no redfederate can win.

Anonymous said...

>> Jon S. said...
\\Daniel, that very instability is why I fear them. Because those nukes are still there - and in its death throes, that nation might well decide to take us with them.

Jonny-Jonny, they ALREADY decided. Just read their renewed(years ago) Military Doctrine -- that ALLOW use of nuclear weapon for any threat, real or imagined (like threat from "fascistic" Ukraine, or threat of sanctions, SWIFT switch off, etc).
And Put_in's own words, that in becoming nuklear war: "We'll be in heaven, and they'll just die".
They ALREADY preparing Judgment Day weapon for you. And bragging about it.
More then this. They already using chemical and nuclear weapon... for their spy-attacks with Polonium and Novichok.
They already use their weapon to actually kill westerners -- MH17.
And more then this -- all around the world with their bombs and "private army" troops.

You don't want to have North Korea multiplyed 100 times? But. You have it, already.

It's just willful ignorance and inability to cope with such a threats of your higher-ups -- that make it only worse and worse.

I bet Put_in looked for Trump-Kim negotiations with holden breath. Because, if Un would achieve what he want -- not only no punishment for his threats to USA, but also sanctions removed. It'll give huge trump card into Put_in's sleaves. And even if you, USA, would continue play stabborn to your heart content. Leaders of EU, Germany first of all. Would understand it right. "See, your mighty guardian(racketeer?) fear even so miserly threats to himself, how could you be sure he will be haste to save you(from us). You'd better calculate, and choose other guardian. Like us, for example. Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge."

That. And North Stream-2 working.

Shows that hair breath that hold my country, Ukraine. From being taken.

But it would be foolish to think that it would be the LAST country. Taken by so-called "mafia". That found that it not only possible(that they already know damn well), but also quite safe. To do so.

That lion king become old, lost his teeth and cowardly hiding in his lair.
Allowing schakals to have their feast.

Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin,

When examining an enemy threat one has to evaluate both intentions and capabilities.

I agree with you 100% that Putin's intentions are to establish a neo-feudal mafiya state in direct opposition to liberal Western democratic values. If you want a look at our future feudalistic warlords see this scary Big Think video "Billionaire warlords: Why the future is medieval", by Sean McFate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2A7Tt7wWHI

But what I'm saying is that he does not have the capability to do so. He has built an empire on a foundation of crumbling sand.

The age of oil is ending (hence the recent push for plastic production to create demand for petrol), and all he has is oil. Russia suffers from classic "resource curse" with a stagnant economy and zero innovation. It's a third world country with nukes - nukes he can never use. Economically Russia is doomed with its oligarch facing a financial nightmare of "stranded assets". See "Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere"

https://thenearlynow.com/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd

Demographically Russia is also doomed. The Russia people are dying and have and have demographically achieved the "death cross" with death rates now exceeding birth rates. AIDs, drugs, alcohol and suicide have made Russia the only industrial nation with declining life expectancy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Cross

Putin wants to do all you say and more.

In the long run he won't be able to.

Daniel Duffy said...

The recent Davos meetings highlighted the plight of the oil industry.

Time is not on our side': Big Oil is bracing for future after petrol

https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/time-is-not-on-our-side-big-oil-is-bracing-for-future-after-petrol-20190228-p510rc.html

Saudi Arabia is bowing to the inevitable. Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, is launching radical plans to switch its oil output from cars to petrochemical use over the next decade, implicitly accepting that the curtain is coming down on the era of petrol and diesel.

Amin Nasser, head of the giant state producer, said the global oil industry "faces a crisis of perception" and is failing to convince the opinion elites - or rising millennials - it has any place in a world imperilled by climate change.

"Time is not on our side," he told the annual IP Week gathering of oil and gas chiefs in London. "Our stakeholders are clearly tuning out. There is a worrying and growing belief among policymakers and regulators, investment houses, and NGOs, that we are an industry with little or no future."

Mr Nasser said the ferocity of the backlash against Big Oil last month in Davos - where Sir David Attenborough was the superstar - came as a shocking revelation.

"One senior financial figure I spoke to confidently predicted the end of our industry in about five years!" he said. "Another speculated that most vehicles on the road would be electric in five to 10 years."

Mr Nasser dismissed such views as preposterous, arguing that cars make up just a fifth of the 100 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil consumed each year. The rest goes to planes, ships, trucks and petrochemicals, "for which there is no alternative yet".

'Future-proofing' the kingdom
But he acknowledged the political reality that these opinions are "sincerely held" and reflect the prevailing zeitgeist since catastrophic warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year.

Saudi Aramco is moving to "future-proof" the kingdom at breakneck speed. The company will switch 2 million to 3 million barrels a day to petrochemical production over the next 10 years, and potentially 7 million barrels a day over two decades. "We're going to be global leaders," he said.

This is a staggering amount. Saudi Arabia's entire oil exports in January were 7.2 million barrels a day. In October Aramco and Total agreed on a massive ethane project in Jubail to make polymers for China and Asian markets.

Mr Nasser said the kingdom is also launching a $US150 billion ($210 billion) dash for natural gas, the bridging fuel endorsed by the IPPC to displace dirtier coal.

Production is to reach 23 billion cubic feet per day within a decade, equal to 60 per cent of today's global market for liquefied natural gas.

"We have a lot of gas coming," he said.

'Stormy and uncharted waters'
Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said the oil industry faces a blizzard of hostile myths and is "heading into stormy and uncharted waters" as climate targets tighten.

Mr Dudley said the policy elites are in denial over how hard it will be to decarbonise the world economy and public opinion is looking for easy scapegoats.

The task is forbidding. For every thousand Americans, there are 900 cars. The current figure is closer to 150 for China and 25 for India and these nations want their bite of the cherry.

Under BP's greenish "evolving technologies" scenario energy use will rise a third by 2040. "It's like adding a whole new China and US to the world's energy system," said Mr Dudley.

This is the case even assuming that wind, solar and renewables achieve the fastest penetration of any energy source in history.

Mr Dudley said this would at best lead to a 7 per cent rise in CO2 emissions when we need to cut drastically to have any hope of achieving a two degree world, let alone 1.5 per cent now deemed the maximum safe ceiling by the IPPC.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% that Putin's intentions are to establish a neo-feudal mafiya state in direct opposition to liberal Western democratic values.

Cannot be farest from reality.
It not only building. But he already sucessfully built. No, more like inherited it.
Plutocracy -- rule of thieves. And ochlocracy -- rule of stupidity. And police state. And nationalism. And populism. Etc-etc.
All democratic "diseases of growth" so to say. :)

That became possible because of USSR heritage and under benevolent look of westerners. That liked fat MegaBuckes they could have from monopolistic energy sector of RFia. Sweet speculative profits. Fast rising stocks. Etc-etc.

"Liberal Western democratic values" it not what he fight against. It's what he adopted. In maximally twisted form, but still.
Rule of Media. Rule of Finance. Rule of Private Property.
That is Pillars of Putin's reign. The same as it is pillars for USA or EU now.

And our host trying to call him "mafia". It's exactly because he fear to look in the eyes of this Truth.

Putin is no more "leninist" or "KGBst" or "mafia boss"... he is fullblown Meritocrat.


Putin wants to do all you say and more.

In the long run he won't be able to.


In long run some famous Adolf... also was unable to achieve much.
But how much did it cost. For all of us.


And. You just do not see the Big Picture here.
Putin is not the main culprit and threat.
But his (possible) boss Xi is.
That is to him he trying to be usefull. And we'll be doomed if Xi except his service.

Daniel Duffy said...

So how is everything at the Troll Factory in St. Petersburg?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/18/world/europe/russia-troll-factory.html

As the factory got going, Aleksei said, the first task assigned to all new employees was to create three identities on Live Journal, a popular blogging platform. One was to be of very high quality in writing and content, the other two “marginal.”

They worked in 12-hour shifts, either day or night, and the assigned topics popped up in their email: President Vladimir V. Putin, or President Barack Obama, or often the two together; Ukraine; the heroism of Russia’s Defense Ministry; the war in Syria; Russian opposition figures; the American role in spreading the Ebola virus.

The key words and subject line were always assigned. At the time, the removal of chemical weapons from Syria negotiated under Russian auspices was a favorite topic. Aleksei recalled writing seven or eight blog posts about it.

“You had to write that 30 percent of the weapons had been removed, and the next day we would say that 32 percent had been taken out,” he said, adding that he had no idea if any had been removed.

Aleksei wrote for the Russian-speaking audience. The English-speaking trolls were kept apart, he said, but from their loud conversations in the communal smoking room, it seemed like they were engaged in similar work.

The English speakers discussed the best time to post commentary to attract an American audience, he remembered, and bragged about creating thousands of fake social media accounts.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

>> Larry Hart said...
\\porphobot:

Is it some kinda joke? :) If is, can you explain it to me?


Sometimes, a typo is just a typo.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\\If I think I know that I exist, that does prove I exist. Not because I of what I think I know, but because of who is doing the thinking that he know.

It is all just ancient web of words. Why all I trying to talk with you


You're trying to talk to me. Therefore, I am. :)

Seriously, if I don't exist, why are you bothering? It's somehow very important to you that I accept the possibility of my non-existence, which seems ridiculous to me. "I accept my non-existence, therefore I am."


-- it's latest (really, not that latest... it is know already for decades) neuro-science discoveries. That displace all zat notions as mere medieval myths.


I didn't exist in medieval times, but I do now. Deal with it.


\\Whether my belief is mistaken or not, it's me believing it. Therefore, there's a "me" doing the believing. It is not logically possible for me to think I exist without existing.

I asked you. To show how this "paradox" look now. Do android which spout "I think therefore I exist" -- exist The Same Way as you are? ;)


And I already said that I know I can't prove to you that I exist. I just know that I do. The android might say he exists, but there's no "he" that knows it.

At least, not with present day technology.


\\You keep trying to convince me that I might be mistaken in my belief, but I could just as well argue "I'm mistaken, therefore I am."

You just don't hear my words. And hear only echo of your own.


You're not familiar with Dave Sim, but I'll quote what would be his response to that. "It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. I just don't believe it. And I'll keep on not believing it no matter how many times you say the same thing."

Now let me throw this back to you. What exactly are you trying to accomplish by convincing me that I don't know if I exist or not? What would I change if I accepted your theory?

Larry Hart said...

In case I forget to mention it later on, this has been and continues to be a sucky late-winter here in the midwest, so I'll be happier than ever to put behind us the six consecutive months whose names (English language) contain seven-or-more letters , and can't wait to start the six consecutive months with less-than-seven letters in their names.

Carry on. :)

Larry Hart said...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Feb28.html#item-1

Ten years from now, people may look back on yesterday as Michael Cohen's "John Dean" moment, when a man who once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump called him (under oath) a racist, a con man, and a cheat.


He still might get to take a bullet, but not in the way he meant.

Anonymous said...

>> Blogger Larry Hart said...
\\You're trying to talk to me. Therefore, I am. :)

If I just agree with you here. Will it be Ok with you? :)


\\It's somehow very important to you that I accept the possibility of my non-existence, which seems ridiculous to me.

\\I didn't exist in medieval times, but I do now. Deal with it.

>>>>Whether my belief is mistaken or not, it's me believing it. Therefore, there's a "me" doing the believing. It is not logically possible for me to think I exist without existing.

>>I asked you. To show how this "paradox" look now. Do android which spout "I think therefore I exist" -- exist The Same Way as you are? ;)

\\And I already said that I know I can't prove to you that I exist. I just know that I do. The android might say he exists, but there's no "he" that knows it.


And how You can know it? ;) While you just said you cannot know it about yourself.
Sometimes. Just sometimes. Logic is not enough. And we must call ourselves to look beyond logic. ;)
That's whole point of philosophy.


\\At least, not with present day technology.

I wouldn't be so sure...


\\You're not familiar with Dave Sim, but I'll quote what would be his response to that. "It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. I just don't believe it. And I'll keep on not believing it no matter how many times you say the same thing."

Well. It's child's game. :( I see not much point in it.


\\Now let me throw this back to you. What exactly are you trying to accomplish by convincing me that I don't know if I exist or not? What would I change if I accepted your theory?

First... I need to have such theory. Which is not true.

For now. I only have some questons, and some hypothesises. I'd like to discuss with someone worthy.


\\In case I forget to mention it later on, this has been and continues to be a sucky late-winter here in the midwest

And it is quite a spring wether here in Ukraine. Like months earlier.
Seems like all cold and snow traveled into your hemisphere this time. :)

Darrell E said...

I am not sure that improved judo techniques will do any good at this point. I'm not saying it isn't worth trying, just expressing doubt. Many Trump supporters seem to be immune to actual facts. You can not gain any ground in discussions with them. If you press them with facts they become disingenuous. They offer few verifiable facts of their own but repeat the latest propaganda sound bites from Republican political leaders. And of course they make false equivalencies. If you call them on that and press them hard enough they often will drop all pretense and throw down the most ridiculous shit you've ever heard.

A conversation I had yesterday is a case in point. To paraphrase . . .

Me - "Wow, she's really worked up about the Cohen testimony."

Trumper - "Yeah, well, she's a Trump supporter. And so am I."

Me - (Admittedly being provocative just for fun) "Trump's going down!"

Trumper - (Something about the whole thing (investigations involving Trump) being bullshit)

Me - "It was well known long before he became President that Trump is a crook."

Trumper - "They are all crooks (meaning all politicians) so why all the excitement over Trump?"

Me - "This narrative that both sounds are equivalently bad is false. One side is much worse than the other."

Trumper - "The Clintons, Obama."

Me - "The Clintons and Obama were investigated for far longer than Trump has been, over and over, by the Republicans, when they had both houses. And yet they found nothing they could charge anybody with except Bill lying about a sexual affair that was not illegal. Meanwhile most of the people Trump used to get to the White House, some that have worked for him for years, are going to jail."

Trumper - (I swear I am not making this up) "Yeah but the Clintons have so much dirt on everybody that no one is willing to risk helping to get them charged with a crime." (So much wrong with this, not to mention a huge own goal or two)

Me - (Momentarily stunned)"You believe that fantasy? That's nuts."

Trumper - "That's your opinion. I have my opinion and it's different. That's the great thing about this country. We can have different opinions."

There is no arguing with this. No amount of obvious facts will dissuade such a person. They'll believe anything to rationalize your facts away. They treat facts like opinions. They are committed and they have the bit firmly between their teeth. By this time I think it likely that anyone who could be moved to withdraw their support from Trump has already done so and the very large majority of Trump supporters still behind him are beyond reach. This is a very sad commentary on the state of humanity and it depresses the shit out of me. Trump's approval ratings still remain around 40%. As of today 538 has it at 42.3%. I can only think that these people are tools that have mostly cut themselves off from most information sources and are going along with their subculture simply because that's what most humans do, or their ethics are lacking.

Anonymous said...

They treat facts like opinions.

Only they?

...cut themselves off from most information sources and are going along with their subculture simply because that's what most humans do...

Hm-m-m...

sociotard said...

Even if I strap down my conservative friends and show them evidence that Trump lied more than Obama, they simply retort that they didn't lose their doctor because Trump lied. (and while I thought Obama's "lie" was simply him being naïve, Politifact named it the Lie of the Year, and as my friends don't accept politifact because it has liberal bias, that is saying something)

Obama's lie *hurt* them. It isn't enough to show that Trump lied. We have to show them his lies hurt them.

So we can point to Trumps lie that Mexico would pay for the wall, and now we will be hurt in that Trump will divert money from other things we want. This video did a great job! But, his supporters have been conditioned for years to see illegal immigration as a harm, and the military readiness harm feels more hypothetical to them then the ongoing threat of illegal immigration.

Basically, if you rely on Deontology, you will lose. You can't just say lies are bad, and Trump lies more, so his lies are more bad. One of my coworkers constantly repeats his definition for good and evil: "Evil is that which harms my tribe. Good is that which helps my tribe". In Genesis 12:10-13:1, Abram lies to Pharaoh. But, those lies helped his tribe (protected Sarai) so they were good. Utilitarianism wins over Deontology in the Modern US.

Darrell E said...

Yes, absolutely Anonymous. I really did mean that only "they" treat facts like opinions and that nobody else ever treats facts like opinions. Enough with the false equivalences. They are bullshit. The "but everybody does it" argument is tiresome. In this context it pretty much amounts to intentional misdirection. Otherwise known as lying. Or was that perhaps virtue signaling?

Darrell E said...

sociotard,

It is trivially easy to present information that clearly demonstrates that the Republican Party, for many years, and Trump have hurt them. Many people have been doing that for many years. They don't believe it.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

If I just agree with you here. Will it be Ok with you? :)


Sure. It's bugging you more than me.



\\And I already said that I know I can't prove to you that I exist. I just know that I do. The android might say he exists, but there's no "he" that knows it.

And how You can know it? ;) While you just said you cannot know it about yourself.


No, I can't know it about anyone else, but I absolutely do know it about myself. It's about the only think I can know for certain.


\\At least, not with present day technology.

I wouldn't be so sure...


So at the same time you're arguing that a living, thinking human being might not actually exist, you're also convinced that self-aware androids do exist?



\\Now let me throw this back to you. What exactly are you trying to accomplish by convincing me that I don't know if I exist or not? What would I change if I accepted your theory?

First... I need to have such theory. Which is not true.

For now. I only have some questons, and some hypothesises. I'd like to discuss with someone worthy.


How would you know if such persons exist?


And it is quite a spring wether here in Ukraine. Like months earlier.
Seems like all cold and snow traveled into your hemisphere this time. :)


Not just our hemisphere, but very specifically the Great Lakes region of North America. We're the only place on earth right now that is not warmer than its normal temperature.

Anonymous said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\No, I can't know it about anyone else, but I absolutely do know it about myself. It's about the only think I can know for certain.

That's not that easy. Still begs question: "And Who says I know???". ;)
Immortal soul? Some part of the brain? Genes?

And what does it mean "to be certain"? From the point of view of fMRI and Blue Brain simulation. ;)


\\So at the same time you're arguing that a living, thinking human being might not actually exist, you're also convinced that self-aware androids do exist?

I argue that tech will give as the answer... but will we be able to except it? Our "social practice truth". Our Them, Who Know Better. That is the question.

With excepting Darwin's findings it took couple of centuries. And still too many of that who not excepting it...

And that is more important question. By far.

What if AI developers would prove that there is NO soul for example? ;)


\\How would you know if such persons exist?

Pecular question. :)
But I think "how to find one?" is more nagging one. ;)


\\...not warmer than its normal temperature.

What is "normal"? ;)


>> sociotard said...
\\Utilitarianism wins over Deontology in the Modern US.

And everywhere. Everytime. Except for times when it is not...

Anonymous said...

Or was that perhaps virtue signaling?

It was kinda socratic question. We playing such game with Larry here.
But asking it in that hot political sphere is probably misplaced? Sorry if I upset you.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

\No, I can't know it about anyone else, but I absolutely do know it about myself. It's about the only think I can know for certain.

That's not that easy. Still begs question: "And Who says I know???". ;)
Immortal soul? Some part of the brain? Genes?


I say I know. Therefore, I am. :)

Seriously, you're treating "I know I exist" as a similar assertion to "I know the earth circles the sun," or "I know my wife isn't cheating on me." You can reasonably question how I know anything of those sorts. It's a different matter altogether to question how I know that I exist. I know because I'm the one doing the knowing, so there must be an "I" doing so. Even if I don't know that I exist, I'm still the one doing the not knowing, so there must be an "I" doing the doubting.

You claim an android could say all of the same things. Well, that android would exist, but I don't think that's what we're arguing about. It doesn't exist as a self-aware entity. I do. I know that because I am conscious. You (rightfully) can't tell the difference between me and an android, but I can. For all you know, I'm an android pretending to be a self-aware being. I'm not claiming otherwise. I'm just saying that I know differently about myself.

If it makes you feel any better, I can't prove whether you exist, and I'm not claiming I can. For all I know, "you" could be a Russian 'bot, or a sealioning troll, or an actual space-alien observing Earthling culture through the internet and cautiously interacting with us.


\\...not warmer than its normal temperature.

What is "normal"? ;)


In meteorology, "normal" temperature means average for the date over the past 30 years.

Larry Hart said...


What if AI developers would prove that there is NO soul for example? ;)


Everyone tells me "You can't prove a negative." I don't accept that, but if someone could prove there is NO soul, then at least they'd also be proving that you can prove a negative. So that's something.

What I've been arguing has nothing to do with whether there is such thing as a soul, or whether it is immortal, or anything like that. I'm simply testifying that there is some process of thoughts and memory and personality and whatever else that is aware of itself as being "me". Science or mysticism or philosophy is welcome to try to define what makes it so, or what causes it to be the case, but nothing can prove that this self-aware entity is not in fact self-aware. You might as well argue those scientific theories which proved that bees can't fly. The refutation is, "Look, there's one flying now."

David Brin said...


Darrell: “Many Trump supporters seem to be immune to actual facts.”

But watch for the weakness. They DENY hating facts, proclaiming it’s their opponents who do. Thus, implicitly, they accept that facts matter. They just call their incantations “facts.”

Hence the facts to use against them are my name-an-exception challenges. If they cannot name even one exception to our generality, it leaves them speechless and horrified. 90% then flee, but with seeds of doubt and shame. Maybe 1% allow those seeds to germinate.

See the challenges here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-name-one-exception-challenge.html

“Trumper - (I swear I am not making this up) "Yeah but the Clintons have so much dirt on everybody that no one is willing to risk helping to get them charged with a crime."

The answer: “So, you’d prefer utterly incompetent mafia criminals, run by casino moguls and ex-KGB agents, over “criminals” who are so competent that the economy runs well, small business thrives and not a single Clintonite gets caught? You prefer treason and incompetence from your criminals, over astonishing high competence?”

If every fact checking service is “biased” then why don’t conservatives step up to negotiate forming unbiased fact-checkers? Why did Fox tear down the rebuttal rule?

Andy said...

David, is the presidential candidate Andrew Yang on your radar yet? I recently learned of him from his very informative interview on the Joe Rogan Experience. I'm quite impressed. Several of his proposals are identical to ones you've been pushing on this blog for years, making me wonder if he reads this!

He's a 44 year old Asian American (does that match your criteria, Yana?) and entrepreneur. For the past 7 years he's been CEO of Venture for America, a nonprofit that helps people start businesses in cities around the country. One day he realized that the thousands of jobs he's helped create was like pouring water into a bathtub with a giant hole in the bottom. This is because millions of jobs had already been lost and were going to be lost in the future because of technology, automation, and AI.

He contends that Trump won as a direct result of job losses due to automation in Midwest swing states. These have led to feelings of desperation and depression as the unemployed cast about for help. Suicide and drug overdoses are at record highs. Andrew is married with 2 kids, and wants a brighter future for them than this.

Accordingly, his main plank is a $1k/month UBI that he calls the "Freedom Dividend", as our share of being part of the richest/most advanced nation on Earth. Yang proposes this as a first step to combating these job losses the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness they generate. He points out this will foster an attitude of abundance, rather than scarcity. It will give people breathing room to go to university or a trade school, pay off debts, switch to a better job, get those car repairs done. It will also create a "trickle up" economy, as the vast majority will immediately spend that money and stimulate the economy. A UBI was recommended by Thomas Paine, as well as by Milton Friedman and MLK Jr. Conservatives should like it because it gives the decision of what to spend money on to individual people, not the government. Alaska has had a UBI for decades from a tax on oil. Yang argues that the "oil" of the 21st century is technology, automation, and AI, and proposes a value added tax on tech companies to pay for the Freedom Dividend.

Yang is very numbers and data driven. He's calm, logical, personable, young but not too young. Most importantly he understands technology and the huge changes it will cause. He talks a lot about the 2.5 million trucking jobs that will be automated away in 6-10 years. These are things I've been reading and thinking about for a long time, so it is refreshing to hear a candidate address them head on. I was a little worried about his ability to inspire passion, as I had only heard interviews, where he was focused on logic and reason. But I found a speech he gave in Iowa, and while he's no Obama, I was mostly reassured.

He has over 75 fairly detailed policy proposals on his website, and some made me think he reads this blog! David, here are some I've seen you repeatedly promote:
-A News and Information Ombudsman to combat fake news and agree on a shared set of facts
-Provide basic banking services through the post office
-A 0.1% financial transaction tax to combat rampant speculation
-Bounties for traders who report illegal algorithmic manipulation of the market and fraud
-Laurence Lessig's proposal of $100 per citizen to donate to political campaigns
-Green cards for foreign students who graduate here so that they stick around

He's on track to be included in the primary debates this summer. I really hope his campaign can take off as he gets more exposure!

David Brin said...

Because of complaints I've been receiving by email, I must act. I have not been reading anything by porohobot in February, but I will resume doing so, as promised, on March 1. However I must also do this.

1) Any "anonymous" posting that he makes, without signing it, will be trashed.

2) He may post ONCE per day. Any more than that will be trashed.

3) He may fill ONE of my screens, enabling us to read efficiently and focus on one or two things to answer. Anything longer than that will be trashed.

4) If he screams and screeches and howls and rages over these rules, he will be spammed.

Now, in all friendliness, I hope he will try -- as a courteous visitor -- to abide by the rules of this community.

He is welcome to start his own blog and then come here to invite people to read his latest posting! He is welcome to come here and tell us summaries of his postings! I am sure it will be an interesting blog. I may even visit, from time to time.

I am hoping he will decide to behave well here, to control his temper and not over-react to every little thing that people say (often innocently interpreting his bad English grammar.) He is an intelligent person with interesting points to make. I would rather he became a calm and interesting member of the community.

sociotard said...

Brin: “So, you’d prefer utterly incompetent mafia criminals, run by casino moguls and ex-KGB agents, over “criminals” who are so competent that the economy runs well, small business thrives and not a single Clintonite gets caught? You prefer treason and incompetence from your criminals, over astonishing high competence?”

My conservative friends constantly crow about how well the economy is running. Unemployment is low, etc. We're seeing some delirious effect from his trade wars, but not enough to really feel yet. Liberal fears his trade wars would spark a recession have proven unfounded . . . for now.

Larry Hart said...

sociotard:

One of my coworkers constantly repeats his definition for good and evil: "Evil is that which harms my tribe. Good is that which helps my tribe". In Genesis 12:10-13:1, Abram lies to Pharaoh. But, those lies helped his tribe (protected Sarai) so they were good. Utilitarianism wins over Deontology in the Modern US.


Ideally, we should be able to argue that Trump's lies are designed to help Russia and hurt the United States. But the Trumpians' reply (a la Treebeard) is that Russia is their tribe because it is white, Christian, and patriarchal.

I'm probably as tribal as they are, but my tribe is the United States of America.

Larry Hart said...

sociotard:

My conservative friends constantly crow about how well the economy is running. Unemployment is low, etc.


They didn't notice the same thing under President Obama, though. Did they?


We're seeing some delirious effect from his trade wars, but not enough to really feel yet. Liberal fears his trade wars would spark a recession have proven unfounded . . . for now.


Aren't the soybean farmers and auto manufacturers already suffering?

Alfred Differ said...

Talk to folks who work for Harley-Davidson?

Alfred Differ said...

Trumpians' reply (a la Treebeard) is...

Heh. That's an excellent demonstration of why I think our host tries to keep these folks around a bit. Some of us get irritated, but we gain insight too. 8)

sociotard said...

They didn't notice the same thing under President Obama, though. Did they?
They did not, but they generally only look at absolute numbers (Unemployment is better now than it was under Obama, but the slope of change isn't all that different)

Of course, this reiterates that while the state of the economy is one of the main criteria we use to judge Presidents, it isn't something Presidents can do much about. They're our Vestal Virgins, in that way.

Aren't the soybean farmers and auto manufacturers already suffering?
Debatable.

deally, we should be able to argue that Trump's lies are designed to help Russia and hurt the United States.
I'd enjoy reading that argument.

Paul451 said...

Small note:

Daniel:
"Putin's Russia, It is already weak and getting weaker each year. Between collapsing population demographics"

The decline in Russia's population was a '90s thing. It hasn't dropped in over a decade.

(There was a decline in birth-rates last year, as the population of child-capable mothers reaching their prime breeding years is being made up of that smaller 90's group, ripples of the anti-bubble. But that was offset by decline in death-rates.)

Paul451 said...

Re: Russia.

Same anti-bubble happened in the '60s, when the massive population die-off in WWII (the narrowing now seen in the 70yr olds) lead to a reduced number of women of child-bearing age and hence a population drop 20-25 years latter (now 45ish). History doesn't repeat, but it sure does leave echoes.

Here's a population "pyramid" for Russia from 2015.



You can see how big the decline was in the '90s, on a par with the WWII drop. You can also see the rebound in births between 2000-2015. If you continued the graph over the last 3 years, you'd see the base of the pyramid turn back inwards as the '90s choke-point reaches ages 20-25.

Paul451 said...

Link got eaten:

Looks like a-tags aren't working. Don't know why.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Russia_Sex_by_Age_20150101.png

Mike Will said...

Canada announced over $2B in spending (over many years) for the Lunar Gateway station. Our main contribution will be AI and robotics. I suggest working the name Heechee into one or more projects, not sure if that will fly.

progressbot said...

Larry

I made up my mind, on what and how to answer your question(s).

And I will do it on example of history of mathematics.
You know, that first people did use little stones and abacus. For that we know now as "natural numbers". But they, our predecessors, did not know and had no use of that name.
They just used it as "gadget", as convinient method to do stuff. But then, they found pecular thing -- negative numbers and zero. First it was "special cases" of use of abacus, you must just memorise of how to use it.
But then, people learned that it's more convinient and more powerfull -- to treat it like "real" numbers.

Well. Now you could see for yourself, where is "social practice truth" role in all of that, isn't it? From generation to generation. From master to pupil. Came such notions and ways to do things. Improving by the way.

But... that just happy path we like to think is only happening.

But reality is more harsh. We don't know about it much. There is no back logs of such things. By obvious reasons.
But we can restore real path of history with our imagination.
That. First one who proposed "Look, guys! What interesting thing I came to. If we call that thing we learned to use as _vacant_place_ a number. Let it be _zero_. It'll make our work with abacus way simpler".

You know what will happen, isn't it? Instantly there will appear That, Who Know Better. And will thwart that happy inventor. Will punish him and exile him. Because.
"There is ways to do things given to us by gods. You are blashemer!" or something like that.
And if it'll be impossible. Not enough power to kill or other reasons.
There'd be other fallback methods, like You Must Not Listen To him, because its a sin, against our culture, against memory of our parents.
And so on, and so fors.

It's recurring theme.

And even thought, we know now that thinking about new things, about ways to do new things -- its actually good, it makes progress, it's benefitial to all of Mankind.
That old habit of thwarting all new, all "not invented here" are still alive. And even more then alive.

And now to our "cogito ergo sum" stuff.
You are falsely accuse me that I do not want to believe you, that you are one who exist.
Or that I do not understand background and implicatons of "cogito ergo sum".

I just tring to show to you The New Thing(s). That's all. ;)

George Carty said...

Matthew,

AOC's effectiveness when questioning Cohen was because she was so well-prepared, thanks to a well-paid (and therefore highly diligent) staff.

Larry Hart said...

Jesus H Christ! What universe do these American Enterprise Institute hacks live in where their take-away from the Cohen testimony is how shameless the Democrats are? Republicans spend the entire hearing discrediting the witness, not because he lied but because he stopped lying on Trump's behalf, and the partisan behavior which is supposed to stand out as egregious is this ..?

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-michael-cohen-testimony-trump-russia-thiessen-0301-20190228-story.html

...
But we did learn something disturbing at Wednesday’s hearing — how shameless the new Democratic House majority will be in their efforts to undermine the Trump presidency. Democrats scheduled the Cohen hearing on the very same day the president was in Vietnam trying to broker a deal on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We all had a stake in the president’s success. They could have waited one day to avoid creating a distraction during a critical diplomatic moment. But they didn’t, because for Democrats it seems that embarrassing Trump is more important than disarming a tyrant.

raito said...

Larry Hart,

And if you listened to the hearing, what you'd hear is Dems asking questions, and Reps making statements.

Mike Will said...

And all of the statements aimed at an audience of one.

Larry Hart said...

an audience of "one individual", you mean?

Larry Hart said...

The New York Times tells us what we already know:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/opinion/trump-cohen-republicans.html

Cohen’s portrayal of the fraud in the White House, and the details of a Trump Organization run like a criminal enterprise, are not disqualifying to Republicans. Just the opposite. Trump is a racist, a con, a cheat, in Cohen’s words — but those are among the reasons people voted for him. Proving it only strengthens his standing with a large sector of the electorate and many members of Congress.


#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

Larry Hart said...

sociotard:

"we should be able to argue that Trump's lies are designed to help Russia and hurt the United States."

I'd enjoy reading that argument.


Well, let's expand the premise a bit, since "Russia" isn't as important as "hurt the United States".

We know two examples where Trump takes the word of a a foreign dictator that said dictator is not responsible for killing a US citizen/resident, even though it is self-evident that the dictators in question did in fact have a hand in the deaths.

Tribal arguments do come down to, "Who are you going to believe? Your tribesman or your lying eyes?" Because you're presumably supposed to favor your own clan over the evidence of reality. But even in such a milieu, one should expect conservative Republicans behaving tribally to automatically dismiss the protestations of a communist or Arab dictator about whether they hurt an American, even if the dictator is telling the truth. Instead, we get a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

Tim H. said...

I wonder how much damage the "Pick handle" wing of the GOP will do before they leave power? I suspect enough that if there's still a United States with political parties "Republican" will be too toxic to touch.
LH, I think you're right about Trump's base, they won't remember anything bad, just the way Reagan's fans won't recall how he inadvertently restarted "Nork nukes" to score points on Jimmy Carter.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

an audience of "one individual", you mean?

An audience of "Individual 1" I think.


Personally, I think it was in US best interests to undermine Trump's effort.
He's improvising foreign policy to benefit himself... not the US.

jim said...

I am curious to see if any of the Democrats running for presidency will strategically tap into the emotion of hate in America to split off Trump voters, unify the country and advance important policy goals?

( Now I know we are only suppose to hate the haters and their hatred but screw that, hate is a normal, healthy emotion and powerful motivator in the right situations. Sure, it can be a very powerful emotion that can lead you into a lot of trouble but that is true of every strong emotion. Just think about all the destructive behavior people do for love. )

Will a democratic presidential candidate purposely stoke American hatred of Saudi Arabia?

There is a very deep well of hatred for Saudi Arabia in the American public, with a great many blaming them for 9/11. Liberals and conservatives can find common ground in hatred for the Saudis.

There are plenty of ways to tie Trump to the Saudis – it is not just the corrupt money flowing into Trumps hands, it’s the nuclear secrets that they have been getting from the Trump administration.

The crown prince ordered the torture, then dismemberment, then murder of a Washington Post reporter – one evil son of a bitch.

A savvy Democrat could use an Anti-Saudi frame of reference to help achieve important policy goals like:
-getting the US military out of the middle east and let Asia and Europe fight over a declining resource we should stop using anyway.
-tossing out all the lobbyist who have worked for Saudi Arabia (this is really important, there are a whole bunch of powerful lobbyist who we could black list and end their lobbying careers.)
-advancing oil free transportation system
-while still supporting domestic oil production until we finish electrifying the transportation system.

Larry Hart said...

Tim H.:

I wonder how much damage the "Pick handle" wing of the GOP will do before they leave power? I suspect enough that if there's still a United States with political parties "Republican" will be too toxic to touch.


I've lost faith that such would be the case after the last time "Republican" became toxic in 2005 or so. That lasted approximately five years, and then there was a Republican wave election which un-did everything.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Personally, I think it was in US best interests to undermine Trump's effort.
He's improvising foreign policy to benefit himself... not the US.


Exactly. Trump supporters excuse his affronts on the grounds that he's helping their "tribe", but he's not actually helping them. His tribe is much to narrow to include the Americans who vote for him..

David Brin said...

jim I agree, but I have seen quite a few right-wing loonies praise Trump for ending the dems slavery to the Saudis. We are in Orwell.

LH: right. I have NEVER seen a dem with the guts to actually go through the litany of Republican wrongs:

- about tobacco
-smog
-burning rivers and toxic dumping
- isolationism (It was the AFL-CIO that pushed for containing the USSR)
- S&L cheating
- opposing ML King
- opposing womens' rights & demonizing gays

Things they deny ever having screamed...

jim said...

David,
An anti Saudi democratic candidate could show how genuinely bipartisan and pro American by tossing most/all of democratic lobbyists for Saudi Arabia in with republican ones. It is my understanding that the Saudis have spent heavily on Washington lobbyists for the last 40 years, this could be the chance to land a heavy blow against the lobbying culture in Washington.

David Brin said...

Sure, why not?

yana said...


Andy thought:

"Andrew Yang ... He's a 44 year old Asian American (does that match your criteria, Yana?)"

Yeah great, here's the thing. Being colorful or female only matters to the older half of the electorate. The younger half really doesn't care, because there's a communication revolution going on. Our third one. Like most people, i thought it was the internet. Wrongobongo, turns out that the revolution was mobile internet access.

The freer the general infobytes, the easier it is to see who's trying to help humanity and who's trying to gather wealth and friends. Both types exist, cut clean across all races and genders and proclivities equally. The younger half sees this all the time, but the older half votes more regularly, snap.

That's the only reason a candidate's demography matters now, it will matter less in 2024, and by 2028 will start transing into seeming absurd.

By the way,

"his main plank is a $1k/month UBI that he calls the "Freedom Dividend" ... Conservatives should like it"

Thanks, my best laugh all day.

yana said...


jim thought:

"screw that, hate is a normal, healthy emotion"

I refute that, therefore I am.

Daniel Duffy said...

Inslee - Yang 2020!

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/01/washington-gov-jay-inslee-enters-2020-presidential-race-with-focus-on-climate-change.html?fbclid=IwAR1JNuFr04zqXzInrAMeSmOBSSm1XVXzX6NVUvw7wuvqFuJZCAnR9ltWXeo

"We're the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we're the last that can do something about it. Our country's next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change." A book Inslee wrote on the topic some 10 years ago, "Apollo's Fire," argued for a clean energy program on the scale of President John F. Kennedy's moon shot. He's still pushing that message.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/technology/his-2020-campaign-message-the-robots-are-coming.html?fbclid=IwAR240Puan256dX0mzFER5iZEVWRQT1fah6N04N87R8tbicHqHnQFNBSOstA

Only one of them will be focused on the robot apocalypse...He says America needs to take radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown... In just a few years, he said, “we’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college.

Daniel Duffy said...

“The reason Donald Trump was elected was that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” he said. “If you look at the voter data, it shows that the higher the level of concentration of manufacturing robots in a district, the more that district voted for Trump.”

Mike Will said...

The robot (AI) apocalypse has a solution: deep, wide, internalized scientific literacy.

Patronizing fairy tales about bringing back the past will work to get a few pompous hucksters elected (it always has). A survival-level 'Freedom Dividend' may work to stem the tide of sabot throwing. Six months of 'learning to code' is just a fairy tale told by different narrators. In the end, only real, near-universal participation in the journey to the stars will work. I wasn't joking earlier when I marveled at an ordinary citizen learning about neutrinos. It's not easy, but it's possible. I've seen it.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

"screw that, hate is a normal, healthy emotion"

I refute that, therefore I am.


Well, hate in reaction to injustice is no vice.

David Brin said...

I find it astonishing anyone accepts the potemkin farce-facade of North Korean autonomy from China.

As recently as the 1970s, China had half a million troops on the Korean peninsula. Kim Il Sung was entirely their creature. What reason does anyone have, to suppose they'd let go of such control, even when most of the troops were withdrawn? How does this not merit primacy, under Occam's Razor?

From Beijing's perspective, there are no disadvantages to this farce. They get a finger puppet that can poke us in the eye at any time, or serve as "bad cop," while the PRC maintains "who me?" deniability. And note that deniability war is what Putin is now waging against Georgia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and the entire west.

Okay, I may be crazy. But then, for this scenario not to be at least on the horizon, considered as a plausibility, is far crazier.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

TCB said...

Nobody mentioned the Brooks Brothers Riot?

Roger Stone organized that.

Think of all the evil George W. Bush caused and think how much that riot helped cause it.

Maximiliano Robart said...

The second slice of information is typically a temporary code delivered by means of a device in your possession, including your cell phone. Tools including BuzzSumo and BuzzStream will assist you. If you are more curious about cracked then you can learn more about it on Cracked.to - Beyond the Limits.

Antonym said...

Haven't posted here in a while, though I keep my eye on the discussions.
Yangyangyangyangyangyang!!! OK, got that out of my system.

Andrew Yang is the first and only candidate to really talk about automation induced mass unemployment. Personally I would love to see him run with Harris against Trump, good cop, bad cop style. Yang's message is resonating in the rural Midwest and Harris can bring the prosecutorial hammer down on the Trump Crime Family, RFK style.

Just my 2cents.
-AtomicZeppelinMan