Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The core dilemma of our economics

Let's dive into some of the most fundamental aspects of the economics you rely upon. And this won't be dry! We'll get to the very heart of it.

First though, a couple of political riffs. Like could Amy McGrath unseat Mitch McConnell?  Look, I touted her to the sky. But like Beto, she did not win her intermediate goal. Still, I am inclined to say – you go grl. Love then money.

This guts a core confederate incantation. States that voted Democrat in 2016 generally rely less on federal funding than Republican states. Thirteen out of the top 15 states found to be most dependent on the federal government voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Ten out of the 15 least dependent states voted Democratic.

Yes, poverty-wracked New Mexico and Mormon Utah are outliers, with Mormons giving serious thought to dropping their loyalty to a party of mafiosi, sexual perverts and traitors. Kansas doubled down on Supply Side insanity and crashed every part of their state’s health.

We'll add a few more political riffs at the end. But for sure you really must read this from the LA Times, listing all the many ways the GOP is trying to crush the power of voters in red and purple states, openly defying citizen rebellions against gerrymandering and concocting truly blatant cheats to prevent citizen empowerment. Seriously, you won't believe the long list of outrages. 

Their justification? Suppression of "mob rule." As opposed to their agenda. Rule by the Mob.


== The core dilemma of our economics ==

Probably the most clear and cogent explainer of economics issues is Robert Reich. This video shows clearly what's happened to wealth disparity in America.* Watch it, if you do nothing else. 

Joseph Stiglitz - Nobel laureate in economics - shows how "capitalism" can be defined the way the Greatest Generation did, under the FDR era social contract, as entrepreneurship where genuine wealth rewards come from delivery of ever-better goods/services under flat-fair-competitive-open conditions while a regulatory system prevents most cheating or evasion of externalities (like labor conditions or environmental impact), while society invests in children and justice and infrastructure to maximize (as F.Hayek recommended) the number of skilled, eager, creative competitors. 

This capitalism of Adam Smith thrived during the Greatest Generation, achieving unequaled rates of growth and opportunity and justice. It was hated by (guess who?) the oligarchy.

Or else capitalism can be defined the way Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and (ironically) Karl Marx and today's youths do - a system of unregulated rapacious feeding off the commonwealth and the future, with secret connivings, self-dealings and unbridled cheating leading to devastation of the middle class and wild market swings in which the predatory consolidate into a new, feudal oligarchy of the kind Smith denounced, while Marx rubs his hands, predicting inevitable (and it is) revolution.

These two experiments, 1935-1980 and 1981-2019 -- were both "capitalist." One showed steady rises in every metric of societal health and social justice and middle class strength. 

The other featured endless demands for experiments in handing over wealth to be managed by aristocrats. Supply Side tax gushers into their maws... and Federal Reserve policies that encouraged binges of unprecedented borrowing. Both were meant to spur the rich to invest in factories, productive capacity ("supply"), jobs, workers and R&D, resulting in ever-higher growth and deficit-erasing tax revenues.

None of that happened. Ever. Even once. At all. (In science that record refutes a theory.) 

Instead, the gushers were spent as Adam Smith said they'd be - on passive, rentier asset bubble inflation and on cheating -- electoral, financial, monopolistic and propaganda. With intermittent bubble-pops and a skyrocketing accumulation of debt. And yes, Adam Smith predicted all of those, and every predicted outcome happened.

One RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican) economist I know sees all this, but blames the Fed and only the Fed for low interest rates. But no one held a gun to the oligarchy, demanding they borrow, then put none of it to real economic work. 


Let's put it in terms even a RASR can understand. When it comes to skyrocketing debt there are three parties to this crime:

- the Fed, who offered easy borrowing.

- Republican Congresses who gave the rich gift-gushers of Supply Side voodoo rape.

- the Rentier-CEO-oligarchy recipients of all this, who bribed to twist policy and reaped both rewards.

Today's RASR conservatives blame just one of the three. Arguably the least-guilty. Let's paraphrase the excuse:

“Oh, no! The Fed made money so cheap I just HAD to borrow it to pump trillions into rentier asset bubbles and never productive capital or R&D! It’s not my fault! Those Fed whores wore short skirts and plunging necklines and seemed cheap! It’s all her fault for tempting me‼ Tempting me into.... borrowing! And gambling it all.”

Stiglitz puts it differently than my stark portrayal of looming class warfare. His prescription "begins by recognizing the vital role that the state plays in making markets serve society. We need regulations that ensure strong competition without abusive exploitation, realigning the relationship between corporations and the workers they employ and the customers they are supposed to serve. We must be as resolute in combating market power as the corporate sector is in increasing it."

In contrast I say it as "regulations are needed to reduce the natural human tendency to cheat, plus raising up the max number of competitors, both of them entirely justifiable under Smithian capitalism."

But read his missive. It overlaps with my summary, though without my own (patented) referrals to historical seers like Smith & Marx.


== Politics Redux ==

Lest you run out of examples of Two Scoops’ pettiness and mafia tendencies (as if you ever could; where do you think I got his nickname?) Remember former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe? He spent his adult life chasing badguys for us, but Fox calls him — and hundreds of thousands of other skilled professionals — “Deep State” villains, because they dare to notice today’s cesspool. A consummate pro.

And Trump fired McCabe from the FBI just 26 hours before his retirement was set to take effect, denying him his full pension. And Fox & Foxzoids chortled with glee over this, as when they deny aid to disaster victims in blue states. These may be our countrymen (and we should not behave likewise toward such jerks). But they are not ‘citizens.’ 

Consider the members of Trump's circle who apparently ignored his orders - according to the Mueller Report. Again and again I despair over any Democrat realizing what a political judo-jugular strike can be. In this case, setting aside the details of any particular case, anyone from Biden to AOC could say: 

Across all of U.S. history, no twenty presidents were ever "betrayed" by so many former "great guys." Whatever your politics, one truth shines through -- Donald Trump is a terrible judge of character.


== lagniappes ==

First: Watch 19 vivid seconds as the puppet enters behind them... Remind your RASRs this happened right after MBS and Putin each ordered enemies whacked on the soil of NATO allies.

Amid our Putin obsession remember that the Bush family is a cadet branch of the Saudi Royal House and did their bidding as much as Trump does Russia's. 

This round of the civil war, the confederacy finally got its 1860s dream -- foreign help... and masters. And lest we forget who has benefitted from the deliberate destruction of our alliances... recall this image of Trump greeting Putin.  Good doggy.

Wiley Miller's April 18 Non-Sequitur comic nailed the problem of 60,000 years and the fundamental flaw of capitalism... or feudalism or communism. Those who reach the top - even if they competed fairly to get there - will tend to cheat in order to stay there, and give their sons unearned power over the children of others. 

This - along with our human propensity for delusion - explains nearly all of the horrid litany called "history." It is why geniuses finally innovated methods to divide power enough to force elites to keep competing fairly. Constitutional division. Breaking up monopolies. scientific debate, etc. 

Kings, lords, chieftains and commissars never accomplished what this new method has... and so, all those varied types of mafiosi are now ganging up against the new way. If they win, they won't let it be tried again. And we'll lose the stars.

Wiley's cogent cartoon efficiently make a second point. That it's easy to convince romantics to love their tyrants. In 1861 a million poor white southerners fought and died for their plantation slave-lord class oppressors. As other confederates did in 1778, 1830, 1852 and other phases of the US Civil War. And as they do today, hating (at Fox-behest) the "elites" of fact and brains who gave them everything. Because smart people are the one force standing in the way of a return to feudalism.

And because we keep "stealing" their brightest children.


=====
* And this is one reason why I've already decided on one aspect of the race for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020. I have various ranked opinions about the top of the ticket. I'm hoping to learn more about Inslee, for example. And I am SO aboard for Buttigieg 2028!  But the one thing I've decided to be passionate about is Elizabeth Warren for Vice President! She would be unleashed to take that town with unconstrained ferocity... while getting the executive experience she now totally lacks. 

==== Housekeeping note! ====

I have been amazed for years how this blog, one of the oldest on the Web and a comment community that's among the best, has been able to maintain a mostly open comment policy, in an era rife with loonies and anonymous trolls. Every few years I am forced to shut down anonymous postings, when some obsessive jerk decides he has nothing better to do than poop where he's not wanted. You all can still post via your google accounts. If necessary, I will go to moderated posting. Tnaks for remaining among the brightest.

42 comments:

Zen Cosmos said...

Modest quibble: the eras you state should be 1932 to 1979 and 1980 to now, with special note to 1987 when the FCC fairness doctrine was repealed leading directly and quickly to Fox and hate talk radio and later social media trolling. A case can also be made for 1977 and Carter because of well intentioned but disastrous deregulation without real monitoring, tweaking and follow up. We NEED a new version of Bell Telephone to reign all of social media, if not the Internet as a whole.

David Brin said...

Um, FDR took office in 33 and took a couple of years to get real legislation. Reagan took office in 82 and likewise. I agree re the fairness doctrine! But the social media plagues are better dealt with by new systems of lateral accountability than with some corporate Big Brother.

scidata said...

It's not easy to exactly align a President's term with the economy. There are overlaps and undercurrents. I'm sure that Obama planned on basking in the sunlight of Hillary's great economy. Well, that's what you get for hollowing out the D party.

"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt."
― Herbert Hoover

duncan cairncross said...

When we talk about the National Debt and our children I would like to talk about something smaller but analogous

I worked with the local authority for a few years - very interesting

One of the issues is who should pay for things - I went in thinking that borrowing for infrastructure was a BAD idea - the Debt and children bit

But if I'm building a water treatment plant with a 40 year lifespan who should pay for it?

The present ratepayers should pay some of it - they will get some of the benefits - but only some of the benefits

A lot of the benefits will go to future ratepayers - if I borrow money to pay for that long term asset then the people who benefit will be the ones who are paying off the debt

If I build a school, or a pipeline, or a water treatment plant - those are all long term assets and if funded by borrowing and the repayments are made from rates you could say that the people who are benefiting ARE the people who will pay for it

On to the "National Debt" borrowing money to pay for long term assets like infrastructure has the same logic behind it
So "Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt." makes sense as they also inherit the infrastructure we have built with it

Sociotard said...

Sociotard, I expect disagreement from you. But I posted this elsewhere: "Though it happens much less often, some liberals can be as dumb as their confed opponents. How is this supposed to work, when both hardware and software get better at exponential rates. And cameras get faster, cheaper, smaller, better and more mobile quicker than Moore's law? There are already face recognition apps! Nothing will keep all elites from having this, though by law you might prevent average folks, for a while. How is that supposed to help, again?

Ah, but this does not apply to regular folks, or our corporate overlords. It only banned city law enforcement and other city organizations from using it.

David Brin said...

"It only banned city law enforcement and other city organizations from using it."

WHich makes it ineffectual nonsense.

locumranch said...


How thoroughly does our host undermine his own argument by citing the halcyon days of the FDR era social contract, wealth rewards being tied to the delivery of goods & services and a society that invested in children and justice and infrastructure.

Unfortunately, those days are dead & gone, the casualties of social progress & historical revisionism, and no amount of nostalgia can reanimate what has been superseded by birth control, abortion-on-demand, no fault divorce, non-representative government, a cradle-to-grave welfare state & reparative justice.

Capitalism fails because free riders now outnumber actual producers; the social contract failed when duty & reciprocity became optional; and your increasingly sterile society offers most of us little in the way of either children or posterity.

Be that as it may, it makes no difference to me since whatever comes next does not belong to me. It is not my responsibility, not my problem, not my monkey & not my circus, so take your global warming & social justice antics and jam them up & in.

Que Sera Sera.


Best
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These are the questions that Blue Urban progressives always fail to answer:

(1) What's in this great & glorious progressive future for me & mine?

(2) How many handmaidens do we all get if there is no heaven? (and)

(3) why aren't you kissing our collective arse right now if you require our ongoing assistance?

dav said...

The problem in the comparison between FDRs social contract and today's is that in FDRs you mostly national scale business with an even relation of capital to labor. Now you have globe spanning mega corps which are increasingly automating away their need for labor. Those people in the 40s-50s were actually doing the labor that they demanded just compensation from. Now let's say automation leaves 50% of the work force permanently unemployable. What justification do those people have for demanding a piece of the pie when they didn't had anything to do with making it.

David Brin said...

Two different versions of drivel.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dav

"What justification do those people have for demanding a piece of the pie when they didn't had anything to do with making it."

I'm an engineer - how much of what I do and the major contribution that I make is from "me"??
If I invent something how much of the knowledge required to build that invention is from me?

The answer to both is very very little - I am adding a very thin veneer to the knowledge that has been built up over generations
So how much of my "invention" or my "engineering fix" is MINE??
I would say something along the lines of 0.01% - 99.99% is from all of my predecessors

Move away from engineering - a farmer grows a crop - he inputs a lot of hard work - how much of that crop is down to his hard work?
And how much is down to generations of farmers who have painfully developed his plants from their almost useless wild progenitors
How much is due to the generations that worked out HOW to grow crops - and the generations who created that cropland from the primeval forest

EVERY job is like that - today's workers are just contributing the final layer

So who "Owns" that thick under layer - IMHO that is owned by all of us - it is everybody's ancestors who have built it up over thousands of years

So your "people who didn't had anything to do with making it" still have ownership of that pie - less than the ones actually working on it - but not a LOT less



Larry Hart said...

dav:

What justification do those people have for demanding a piece of the pie when they didn't had anything to do with making it.


That they are citizens of the country which provides an environment conducive to business?

I mean, what right did Adam and Eve have to the food that grew in the Garden of Eden, since they had nothing to do with making it? By your value system, they should have starved to death for lack of funds with which to buy apples. If human drudgery is no longer a requirement to make an economy function, then humans should not be punished (let alone left to starve) for not performing drudgery. It's not because they're lazy, but because their services are no longer required.

Larry Hart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

So who "Owns" that thick under layer - IMHO that is owned by all of us - it is everybody's ancestors who have built it up over thousands of years


You're describing the commons, and I totally agree. In a civilization, human beings are owed a certain percentage of the pie in the same way that an owner of property is due rent, even if he didn't build the house.

locumranch said...


Once-was when deferred gratification had a chance of making our lives better in a tangible fashion, but that was under an old & outdated social contract that no longer exists.

So, again I ask:

What's in this promised progressive utopia for me besides thankless effort, deferred gratification & an insane level of pathological altruism detrimental to my self-interest & my posterity?

The ingratitude of a genetic interloper, someone else's children or a spiteful feminist harpy?

Thanks, but no thanks.

Either find some other sucker to tote dat barge, lift dat bale & fill dat gob of yours, or do it for you entitled & enlightened self.

Go jump on your own grenade, why don't you?


Best

scidata said...

@Larry Hart

What is this "civilization" you speak of?

I'm beginning to think that basic knowledge of world history is an even more pressing need than scientific literacy.

sociotard said...

Brin: WHich makes it ineffectual nonsense.


Well, with the law, the police won't be able to buy the software. There'd just be no way to get the purchase order filled.

Even if some of them got super sneaky and found a way to get the cash, using it would trigger "fruit of the poison tree", making using it the real ineffectual nonsense.

In short, this won't stop some elites (cia, corporations) but it will stop the city. Besides, you haven't been able to say how reciprocal transparency would apply here. (notify citizens every time their face was recognized?)

scidata said...

Just so we know what the current state-of-the-art is, here's a look at Shenzen (4:50) where several gwi-lo discuss things like getting an automated jay-walking ticket (and instant, unauthorized bank withdrawal!!!) within seconds of the infraction.

Lorraine said...

Being nominally an anarchist, I'm supposed to be opposed in principle to all forms of surveillance because I view all arguments in favor of surveillance as appeals to some kind of Hobbesian appeal to human nature. As a human, I feel slandered by such mischaracterizations. On the other hand, I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I don't generally feel just a little safer in places where surveillance cameras are present. The compromise measure I recommend is the existence of a large number of surveillance (technically equiveillance) cameras which are also "webcams" each of which has its own URL and whose live feed (and ideally also time-indexed archives) can be viewed by anyone anywhere with internet access, without need of login credentials and the like. It is importanct that these public webcam type cameras be large in number and widely distributed, especially in public places where Hobbesians and others would think of them as useful in making it hard for people to get away with misdeeds. I think it would be largely unimportant whether non-public (business or government controlled) security cameras are more or less numerous than the equiveillance cameras. If a member of the public documents that another member of the public has been spotted by an equiveillance camera, we can assume it likely that the same person has been seen by nearby surveillance cameras. To the extent that the stated interest that policing and spying enterprises have in footage is actually about security, crowdsourcing would be a far more effective way to make it harder for people to get away with things than secrecy of "sources and methods" followed by complaints (cry me a river already) of "we don't have the resources to find the relevant data in the 'fire hose' of data." A crowd of curious onlookers would probably have no interest or incentive to develop the capability of notifying citizens every time their face was recognized, but I think said citizen's chances are much better with the footage public than the footage being only for the guards in the guard shack, or wherever the monitors for viewing footage are in a proprietary or classified video security system. Citizens who are particularly curious, I suppose, could obtain a trustworthy (i.e. open source) GPS logger and run their trace as a query against the publicly accessible database of the locations of publicly accessible security cameras and only look at footage from cameras likely to have photographed them.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/May16.html#item-1

... and Trump might argue that he doesn't have to obey the Court if there is a 5-4 decision against him. Roberts is fond of baseball analogies and Trump could say that with a 5-4 decision, he was hitting .444. Even Ted Williams never hit above .406.


So ignoring a 5-4 decision of the supreme court on the grounds that it's not a very decisive outcome is something Republicans get to do, but no one else does?

They have to cheat even by the rules that they establish.

#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

locumranch said...


They have to cheat even by the rules that they establish[LH].

If LH tried reading 'Civil Disobedience' by Thoreau, then he mightn't let his nether regions do the talking quite so often, or don't Martin Luther King & Donald Trump both share a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws?

Move your pro-choice selves to Alabama if you love rule obedience so much, and don't forget to check, correct & imprison yourselves there too for good measure.

Rule Obedience: It's the right thing for morons to do.


Best

Victor said...

David,
I'm new to your website.
After reading it on and off for a few weeks, I wanted to tell you that I love it, and I've bookmarked it so I can read it regularly.
(I must have had my head up my butt to have missed it for all of these years!).

Here, when I comment, you'll see my real name:
Victor.
But if I can figure out a way to change that, you may see my moniker:
c u n d gulag.

Thank you.

JRS said...

The basic formula of productive Capitalism is: Land + Raw Materials + Capital + Labor = output [someone please straighten me out, where do Good Ideas e.g. IP fit in all this?]. All of the inputs are costs. The lower the cost of labor, land, raw materials, or capital, the greater the potential profit margin. The "core dilemma" is that labor is not a human being, it's just as interchangeable as a dumb lump of coal or bushel of wheat or piece of vacant ground or pile of investable cash. The coal or the land will not beat its wife and kids or OD on Fentanyl if it's not deployed as part of the productive process. I can see an argument for Capital as being a second-order proxy for a human being, nonetheless Capital can always find a home, whereas Labor cannot.

Until Labor is regarded as a Human Being, humans who labor will always be behind the 8-ball. Adam Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher and latterly a budding economist, and I would make the case that Economics is Applied Moral Philosophy. The two domains intersect squarely on the term Value: what is valuable? What is important? What matters in life?

As a shade tree economist and barroom philosopher, I'd also offer up the observation that the current domination of a materialistic worldview and its expression in politics, economics, science, culture, etc. cannot result in the end in anything other than the human as accounting spreadsheet line item. As Stalin is reported to have said, "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."

p.s. If the Fed can serve as the lender of last resort, why cannot the government serve as the employer of last resort?

Darrell E said...

It's sad to think the crazy rancher might actually believe that shit.

reason said...

A couple or quibbles. David, you really should read "between debt and the devil", in my view the most important economics book in 50 years. I think you are too hard on Milton Friedman who was dreadfully mistaken, but not dreadful, as many of his "followers" are. As far as I know he argued in good faith. And the Fed had no choice but to lower interest rates, the problem is low taxes. Henry George was basically right all taxes come out of rents (just not only land rents), push up taxes and the rich will need depreciation to avoid taxes. And as "Debt and the Devil" in the modern world money is debt. If you need more money, somebody has to go into debt. The least painful way, if there is no danger of high inflation is to monetarize government debt as in fact Milton Friedman suggested. As i said, read "Between debt and the devil"

Larry Hart said...

@Victor,

Because of recent trolling, Dr Brin had to set the posting restrictions so that you can only post using a Google login. At the moment, that's the only option.

If he ever relaxes those restrictions again, there is an option to post without logging in but manually typing a display name.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

It's sad to think the crazy rancher might actually believe that shit.


You're peaking my curiosity just a bit. Not enough to actually read his posts, though.

matthew said...

David, one quibble about a response you penned- Reagan was elected in 1980, not 1982.

Warren would make a good activist VP. She'll not be picked though because corporate America *hates* her with a white hot vengeance. The only way for her to get her message out is to run to win, not run to raise her profile (15 or so of the Dems running are running simply to increase name recognition).
Don't get me wrong - I'm giving money to Warren. But no one is going to name her as VP. Sanders hates her for stealing his thunder and everyone to the right of her (the remaining 21+ candidates) will not want her due to her laudable work on the CFPB.

Unknown said...

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48132022

Thought our host would like this article.

locumranch said...


It's expert-level hypocrisy, this call for civil disobedience by progressives coupled to a demand for rule obedience by conservatives.

It's also incredibly self-defeating as the aging ex-radical baby boomers have become the new conservatives du jour, interested mainly in preserving their doddering-old progressive legacy & authority, only to be gobsmacked by the anti-governmental consequences of their own civil disobedience policies.

So riddle me this:

If rule disobedient progressives are GOOD and rule disobedient conservatives are BAD, then what do we call the rule disobedient conservators of progress??


Best

David Brin said...

Matthew I mistyped 82 instead of 81, which is when Reagan took office.

You are wrong re where you draw the line. ALL democrats want the CFPB. See my list of 15 consensus things all of them want, across the board. Yes, you'd then get divisions. Butall this 'corporatist" stuff is bullshit. Half of the CEO types want the nation to fuction and can see that all of our functions are being sabotaged. The other half are deadly enemies and vastly better organized. But the "moderate wing" knows that the GOP will win again - forever, this time - if the DP ticket is not balanced between a reformist who reassures and a fire breather who terrifies entrenched power and can prevent an other Nader/JillStein.

Sure, they'll want the fire breather to be VP. But they know even there she'll burn away a lot of sin & treason. And that will be their time to (along the way, during the burning) teach her some more subtle skills for when we re-enter normal times.

--

I don't pause to read anymore when the lickspittle slave of feudal plantation lords shouts his obedience to them by proclaiming that we are just like him -- obedient lackeys. Oh, I do pity. He is unable to imagine colors or positive sum or what being an actual free mind are like. So he just assumes we are like him and would kill him if we could. Because that is what he would do to us. No amount of reassuring him that that's not how the Union thinks will ever succeed at making him reaslize. We're not like his loony ass.

David Brin said...

Oh I'll answer his last question. Civil disobedience is about getting all the truth out and taking some punishment as an act of respect, while hoping your example leads to changes in the law. Ghandi, ML King... and yes, even Snowden, so far... all did that.

Today's right seeks to obscure truth, hide facts, prevent the flow of light, because their aim is not to cause the public to say "Oh, I see. We need to move that law toward justice." Their aim is to steal and to betray the republic and they now that light will melt them like wicked witches and vampires.

I exclude Pro-lifers who go to jail for sitting in front of Plannaed Parentdood. They appear to be ingaging in real CD, no matter how misguided their cause.

scidata said...

MLK sacrificed himself in service to others.
The Cheeto sacrifices others in service to himself.
Unjust laws are not equivalent to constitutional limits on vicious, ignorant, narcissistic sociopathy.

duncan cairncross said...

Interesting article about school desegregation

https://www.alternet.org/2019/05/heres-the-surprising-truth-behind-the-origins-of-the-landmark-brown-v-board-of-education-case/

This ties in very well with what Dr Brin has been saying about this as a bad rather than a good thing

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

But the "moderate wing" knows that the GOP will win again - forever, this time -


Yeah, as if we didn't have enough to worry about. This is my latest nightmare from yesterday's www.electoral-vote.com :

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/May16.html#item-7

n Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause 1, the Constitution states that the state legislatures have the power to determine how the presidential electors are chosen. Generally they exercise this power by holding an election and then awarding all the state's electors to the winner (except in Maine and Nebraska). But they don't have to do it like that. In Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, three crucial states, Republicans control the legislatures. They could decide to regard the election as advisory only and then have the real election for the electors held by the legislature. All three states have Democratic governors, but the wording of the Constitution says nothing about passing a law, which means that those three governors would have no opportunity to exercise a veto over a scheme like this. Could this happen? Well, it happened in 2000, when the Florida legislature held a special session to award its 25 electoral votes to George W. Bush. Would Republican senators complain? It is certain that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would express "dismay" and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) might offer his "concern," but there is nothing to stop the state legislatures from doing whatever they want. If the case made it to the Supreme Court, the justices would probably rule 5-4 that the wording of the Constitution is clear: the legislatures are free to do whatever they want.

locumranch said...


Civil disobedience is about getting all the truth out and taking some punishment as an act of respect, while hoping your example leads to changes in the law[DB].

This is a false definition as the term 'civil disobedience' has literally NOTHING TO DO with truth (or even David's relative 'truthiness') but everything to do with political & moral revisionism.

The actual term is defined below.


Best
_____

Civil disobedience(noun)
Refusal to obey a law as a result of moral objections, especially through passive resistance... as a means of protesting or of attempting to achieve political goals... characterized by nonviolent methods as nonpayment of taxes and boycotting.

A.F. Rey said...

Interesting article about school desegregation

https://www.alternet.org/2019/05/heres-the-surprising-truth-behind-the-origins-of-the-landmark-brown-v-board-of-education-case/

This ties in very well with what Dr Brin has been saying about this as a bad rather than a good thing.


Yes, it apparently is highly ironic that the case that overturned the unworkable "separate but equal" doctrine is named after a school board that adhered to it better than others. But that does not take away from the fact that in many other places, "equality" between segregated schools was a sick joke. Listen to the recollections of one of the plaintiffs on NPR's Morning Edition today, and the condition of his school, for which he lead a student strike against at the time.

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/17/724234168/student-plaintiff-looks-back-on-1954s-brown-v-board-of-education

David Brin said...

locum's response above falls into the category of simply blind and styupid.

Duncan, I do not disagree with desegregation and ending the farce of separate-but-equal. It was mad hypocrisy and evil and we are better for it being smashed in a nation that accepts mixed marriages as models for advertisements, teaching us that obsession on superficialities was insane. And yes, that includes "identity" shit on the far left.

"Appropriation" my ass.

There were bad side effects. The end of Negro sports leagues and decline of black colleges, for example.

The thing I despised was the greatest mistake of liberalism, which DESTROYED the old FDR consensus and led to the confederate GOP, was forced school bussing to achieve desegregation. There are no levels in which it wasn't a titanic, bullying, counterproductive calamity.

David Brin said...

I may be checking in less often, during the next 4 weeks. LA, San Matero, DC...

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I'll take advantage of the lull to put forth a theory.

All those new abortion laws in red states which treat the fetus as a person, and therefore consider its right to be born alive to override the woman's right to her own body? There's no way to successfully oppose such a strong appeal to emotion by asserting that the fetus's rights are no greater than that of the adult woman. Maybe the tack to take is to go the other direction. Argue that life begins at ejaculation. As the Monty Python song has it, "Every sperm is sacred."

The logical consequence of this is that a single act of masturbation kills more people in ten seconds than all the wars and genocides in history put together. "I only did it with my wife in order to reproduce" is no excuse, because even a successful impregnation kills millions of (other) sperm in the process. Heck, a smart lawyer could even argue that abstinence is a crime, denying all of those sperm one keeps inside oneself their natural right to life.

Start prosecuting those smug southern gentlemen legislators for the moral equivalent of genocide and see if they're willing to agree that granting the right to life to every potential human being is unworkable.

locumranch said...


Larry_H's take on recent anti-abortion law shows stale binary thinking, as evidenced by his attempt to reframe anti-abortion argument solely as a denial of woman's rights.

Can you say false dichotomy?

This argument is much more complex than 'Abortion is GOOD because female reproductive choice is GOOD', the sad fact being that abortion (aka 'the premeditated destruction of a viable human fetus') is a repugnant, destructive, immoral and shameful act in & of itself.

That female reproductive choice requires the abortion option is entirely besides the point as the very act of abortion remains irredeemably evil, the moral equivalent of terminating other human beings for lampshades & gold fillings.

Abortion is a necessary evil for a western society that supports Woman's Rights, but it will forever remain a shameful & immoral necessity unworthy of celebration.


Best

David Brin said...

I've explicated before the "Jesus Effect." That bearded-beaded, sandal-wearing peacenick socialist hippie would oppose everything any republican stands for (and some things I stand for). That pure-obvious fact puts redders in a bind. The need a single on-off purity test that would force JC to choose them, even over-ruling every other thing. What can do that? Killing babies. Hallelujah!

It means redders can shrug off every appeal to goodness, morality, generosity, ethics. It is their magic e-ticket to the moral high ground.

It also impudently demands digital law for God's clearly murky-analog world/

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

Did you happen to see Bill Maher's editorial on his show yesterday? He showed a quote from Antonin Scalia saying something like "If it were up to me, I'd put every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns an American flag into jail!" Maher then flashed a painting of a sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded Jesus. Drew some laughs.

Actually, I don't usually seek out the partial recordings of Maher's show on YouTube, but this one, I would highly recommend to everyone here. Answering the question, "How did an institutionalist like William Barr so quickly become a Trump sycophant?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAq2W-gM7-A