Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Debate Special: Shall we let them divide us? So many consensus desires that we share.


Donald Trump and his backers/handlers know their only chance to avoid annihilation at the polls in 2020 are (1) rampant cheating plus (2) a disunited opposition. One might add (3) incite a war, and that's still possible - even likely. But politically their credibility is too low for that to help.

We've spoken of the cheating elsewhere. See Kremlin shill Mitch McConnell justify spending nothing to defend our elections, for example. I've also offered an unusual tactic to bypass the Roberts Rationalization and fix gerrymandering. You can do your part by volunteering as poll officials or poll watchers... or adopt the state assembly candidate in some pivotal purple district where this fight can best be won - close to the ground.

But #2 is the killer. Republican operatives have pictures of Ralph Nader and Jill Stein on their walls. Oh, I don't mind 3rd party candidacies (3PC), so long as they make Ranked-Choice Voting their top goal. Till we get more places with RCV, they should agree only to run in deep-blue or deep-red districts or states where they can build membership without screwing us all. Any who run in Florida or a wavering purple state are little more than KGB stooges. (And that oughta suffice to fill this comments section with flame!)


Our disunity is the enemy's goal. And now we see op-ed pieces trying to stir up drama, declaring: "Why Democrats Are So Far From Consensus on 2020." On social media you see suspicious-looking denunciations of "corporatist" or "republican-lite" or "sellout" moderate democrats. Cherrypicking points of dissension, incitement merchants posit that the 25 Democratic presidential candidates share only a loathing of Donald Trump. Their followers will soon fraction into factions. 

Let's demolish that nonsense.  Here again is my list of consensus items that ALL of the Democratic candidates are for.

* Electoral reform: end gerrymandering, rigged voting machines, voter suppression and other cheats, 
* Election money transparency, 
* Restore our alliances. 
* Deter acts of war (cyber/electoral/trade etc.) against our nation/institutions,
* End "supply side" vampirism by the aristocracy we rebelled against in 1776, 
* Infrastructure, paid fo by ending supply side voodoo,
* DACA,
* Children out of cages, refugees given safe places to live and process,
* A Marshall Plan for Central America + holding their corrupt elites accountable,
* Medicare for all Children (a start so popular the GOP can’t dare refuse), 
* Climate action,
* Restore science, R&D and technological leadership as national strengths,
Protect women’s autonomy, credibility and command over their own bodies, 
* Whistleblower protections and rewards for those revealing corruption and blackmail,
* Consumer protection, empower the Consumer Financial Protection Board,
* At least allow student debt refinancing. Analyze and start doing much more,
* Restore the postal savings bank for the un-banked,
* Basic, efficient, universal background checks,
* Basic-level Net Neutrality for consumers,
* A revised-throttled War Powers Act and limit presidential emergency powers, 
* Civil Service protection,
* Reject racism, gender-phobia, nazism etc. as evils while calming all sanctimonies,
* Restored respect for things called facts. Support professions that use them, 
* Restored rebuttal rules on "news" channels, 
* Emoluments supervision. AUDIT the cheating, money-laundering oligarchy,
* Ease out of the damned drug war (at least dont impede states),
* Anti-trust breakup of monopoly/duopolies,
* Allow pharma renegotiation and stop the tricks that stymie generics,
* Restore some of the social contract set up by the FDR-loving "Greatest Generation" (GG),

Anyone who shouts "socialism!" at that list is screaming at our parents, the GGs who crushed Hitler, contained Stalinism, took us to the moon, loved science and built the world's greatest middle class.

All democrats, almost all independents and a whole lot of RASRS want all of those things, and more! And if you think not, show us the democrats opposing any of those things! *  Better yet, look at the last time the dems had power to legislate, just two years (2009-2011) out of the last 26, when those "corporatist" dems were frenetically busy! Look at California and New York, where they've had more time. This "corporatist" malarkey comes right out of a Kremlin basement.

Are there disagreements over the vigor and/or degree various democrats would push these desiderata? Sure! Plenty of demo pols would only travel along these roads halfway as far as you would go, especially in the last six items. And "Medicare for everyone under age 26" won't satisfy you liberals... nor should it! 

But if you can't see that the nation and the world would be in a vastly better place, if we spent the first 2 years of power just checking off everything this list, then you are the problem.

Want more than that list? Your chances will be better if we first get all that! And that will come by uniting a wide coalition. After? Then split! Gather your AOC/Bernie forces for further battle. At least you'll be fighting in a nation and world that again respects facts and justice and loves the future. 

Which brings us to the tragedy. Not one pundit or politician, or liberal or moderate sage, has had the wits to offer up this list. Even though it would unify the movement.  And if even one to them offered such a list, on a debate stage, she or he would electrify the nation.


== Go for their jugular issue ==

The one thing ol' Two Scoops and the GOP crow about is "The Great Trump Economy." And who gets credit? Consider: they only did one economically pertinent thing during the last two years! That thing was vast Supply Side tax cuts for the rich

Was that the cause, then, of the 'good economy'? 

Scan this chart. Who made a difference, after entering office? Obama in January 2009? Or Trump in January 2017? Which of them simply rides momentum from his predecessor? 

What is attributable to that Voodoo Tax Rape Bill is divergence in wealth, with most of it pouring into oligarchy. Also deficits, which always skyrocket under Republicans. (Dems always - always - step on the brakes toward fiscal prudence. Please, doubters, bet me your house on that! See another chart cited below.)

This chart needs to be rubbed under noses. Pundits who ignore it should be pummeled with copies. (Thanks Russ Daggatt.)


== The candidates debate. My fantasy ==

I fantasize a certain scenario for the Democrats in 2020, peering not at the top of the ticket, but at Elizabeth Warren for Vice President… a hope that was echoed on Saturday Night Live, as Kate McKinnon finished her hilarious EW sketch
   
Seriously, Dems have been raising up that office to greater power and effectiveness. Liz would turn it into a policy and legislation powerhouse, not seen since LBJ. And in the process, she’d gain the administrative experience she now totally lacks.

Who’s my pick for the top? I have none, yet – and neither should you – though anyone who shreds our coalition, as Gillibrand did, is a pariah to me. (And watch it Kamala; you can prove your toughness without damaging the cause.) 

I do lean toward an experienced and reassuring hand – ideally a governor. My fantasy is someone old enough and secure enough to plan in advance to resign after 3.9 years, giving EW a boost to begin her eight.

So… Jay Inslee? Governor of Washington State and universally known to be a strong reformer who can also lure purple voters into the tent? I like his climate emphasis, though it is second in priority to ending the cheating that’s wrecked politics and negotiation in American life. (What can we accomplish till that’s done? See my FACT Act.) He should make clear that’s even higher priority (as Mayor Pete has done… Butteigieg 2032!)

Ah, well. Inslee is only 90th percentile in persuasive charisma. Not enough. And Bernie's so much like my dad, in every way. And although Ol'Joe is a lot better than you guys credit... still, it's bad news and a bad sign that I have to keep saying that.  

So... maybe I'll skip the fantasy, make my spouse happy, and just go all-in with Liz... She's the smartest person in the room, and her only "skeleton" is that she believed the proud Cherokee stories told by her Oklahoma grandma. So awful.

Anyway… on to grand concepts!

=====

*(Certainly not the crewcut veterans who run well in purple and red districts and who took back the House for us. They are just as important as the AOC types. In fact, Amy McGrath has a chance to unseat Moscow Mitch McConnell. Can you think of anything more important?)

69 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Last time around, fans of Bernie had some excuse for thinking that Hillary--being too close to Wall Street--would be "no different from Trump", and therefore there was no reason to vote for her.

That excuse no longer holds. We see the treacherous monster that is Benedict Donald, and the idea that any of the 20+ Democratic candidates is "no different from Trump" because she has a different notion of how to provide national health care from yours, or because he's an old white man is absurd. Anyone who continues that insidious meme is dead to me.

matthew said...

One of the Dem candidates does *not* tick off your list. Tulsi Gabbard. She is a quisling, and I expect she will try a third-party run from the left after getting no traction in the Dem Primary.

She has:
Appeared on RT (Russian state-sponsored disinformation) and is endorsed by its editorial board (https://www.rt.com/op-ed/458503-tulsi-gabbard-henry-wallace/)

Met with Assad after he gassed his own people in an effort to shoot down US foreign policy with regard to Syria. I guess you *could* call this restoring our alliances...with Russia circa 1943 (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/tulsi-gabbard-bashar-al-assad-syria-democrats)

Not on your list, but a dealbreaker. She opposes civil rights for LGBTQ folks and worked for a group (led by members of her cult) that called for the use of conversion therapy with LGBTQ teens. https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/01/13/politics/kfile-tulsi-gabbard-lgbt/index.html

She is a Russian tool and will be used as such.

I can say something nice about the other 24 candidates, but Gabbard is poison.




David Brin said...

Yes but Gabbard is poison from the right, and I doubt we'll get many defections from that side. Well, Kamalamight drive some.

Moscow will be aiming its biggest effort at splitterism on the left. Hence my list of SHARED, consensus goals.

I despise Gillibrand, though if she were nominee I'd pull out the stops, in order to get the 5000 sane adults she - and any democrat - would appoint to replace Trumpian traitors.

David Brin said...

Something nice... about Williams? I mean nice politically?
Funny how my #1 love on the list (even tho I want her for VP) is female... and I do want Kamala as Atty Gen... Nevertheless, the ones I really want gone after this round are mostly also female.

scidata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scidata said...

I expect Bernie to mention Canadian healthcare tonight. A much bigger Canada-US story that everyone's missing (except maybe Time.com and Andrew Yang) is automation & tech.

https://time.com/5634351/canada-high-skilled-labor-immigrants

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I despise Gillibrand, though if she were nominee I'd pull out the stops, in order to get the 5000 sane adults she - and any democrat - would appoint to replace Trumpian traitors.


That's what Republicans keenly understood and Democrats did not in 2016. It's not about how in love you are with the presidential candidate. Winning the presidency is the key to the cabinet, ambassadors, and (most of all) federal judges at all levels. Even if a President Hillary was every bit as disappointing as you happen to think it would have been, think how much better all of that other crap would have been without a Republican in the White House, let alone a treacherous, insane one.

Alfred Differ said...

Well...

With Gabbard introductions like Matthew's and Jerry's, I just had to go take a look. 8)

Heh. Looks like she has quite a future... in Hawaii.
More proof that Democrats don't vote monolithically.

duncan cairncross said...

Changing the subject entirely

Geo-Engineering

SpaceX is planning to orbit 12,000 small satellites each with it's own positioning system and internet

So I wondered how much that could effect Global warming

The extra energy retained by the CO2 is about 6w/m2 - the projected area of the earth is 120 x 10^12 m2

Incident sunlight is about 1300 w/m2 -

If each of the SpaceX satellites has a 100m x 100m solar blocker/reflector and is "in the way" half of the time then the effect would be about 1/1000th of the current warming

That is getting towards the level of being "significant"

David Brin said...

Um, each blocks sun-to-earth at full panel angle for only a fraction of each orbit.

The biggest effect would be on China, if it enables full access to all.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Br Brin - does it? - if the panel (or sunshade) is pointed at the sun then it will block the sun all of the time that the satellite is between the sun and the earth - with a 400 km orbit and a 12,000 km Earth that is going to be roughly half the time

Alfred Differ said...

They are planning to deploy arrays that large? 100m is huge and strikes me as excessive. From what I can see in public data about their design, their power requirements aren't huge. Ground station equipment is expected to use phased array receivers about the size of a pizza box.

Given a 100m x 100 m array, though, you'll only get an umbral shadow at distances less than about 12 km. Beyond that and sunlight gets around the reflector as part of the penumbral shadow. Starlink satellites orbit much higher.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred - no they are planning small panels - I was thinking about what could be done - and the fact the you would not get a shadow would be plus - you are intercepting the light but not shadowing anything on the ground

Just a thought exercise in terms of what would be needed to make a significant difference

Larry Hart said...

Snark about a subject we've mentioned here. Emphasis mine:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Jul31.html#item-7

This effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). What Lyin' Ted and his colleagues want is for Donald Trump to issue an executive order that would index capital gains to inflation. Their stated reason is that, under just the right circumstances, the current law could compel people to pay taxes on assets that actually lost value. However, there is a reason that people invest in stocks and bonds and other capital-gains-generating instruments, and that is because they are already extremely tax-favored. If Trump were to issue the executive order, 86% of the benefit would go to the 1% wealthiest Americans. In other words, the math is virtually identical to that of the first tax cut. Cruz says that is ok because the move will "unlock capital for investment." Hey, just because trickle-down economics has failed to perform as promised every single time it's been tried doesn't mean it will fail again, right?

matthew said...

Gabbard is also being primaried in her House district. Many of the Hawaiian Dem leadership share my distaste for her, and they recruited a good progressive challenger, Kai Kahele. Gabbard does not have a safe perch to return to in Hawaii. Her challenger is a commercial pilot and used to be a pilot for the Hawaiian Air National Guard. Word is he was recruited to run against her by the two US Senators from Hawaii.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/426805-daily-kos-endorses-primary-challenger-to-gabbard

Darrell E said...

Brain dump on last night's debate . . .

I missed most of this one. Caught the last 30 or so minutes and the closing speeches. Based on what little I saw . . .

Warren went down on my list. The debate format was pretty bad and had people talking all over each other and Warren was by far the worst culprit. It didn’t look good. She was constantly demanding the floor and trying to take it whether the moderators gave it to her or not, or whether or not the person who did have the floor was speaking or not. I appreciate energy, I really do, but she was ranging into manic. Something she shares with Bernie. I think Warren is an invaluable resource to have working in some high level government position. I believe she is sincere in her passion to make the US better and she has already done much good work to that end. But, at least at the moment, I don’t favor her as president.

Mayor Pete stays high on my list. For all the same reasons that got him there. At the moment I’d be pretty happy with Mayor Pete for president.

The author really surprised me. She said many things that really need to be said and said many of them pretty well. I still don’t think she is a serious candidate but, echoing someone above, the candidates who make the short list might want to consider her as a consultant on their campaign team. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sees the biggest, relative, bump out of this debate though I’d be very surprised if she ever becomes a serious contender.

Bernie stays the same on my list, near the bottom. I still don’t have any confidence that he has any decent plans to make any of his rallying points actually happen. There are practical matters to consider. All I get from him is pep rally. But, maybe that’s what really works with US voters. Actually, I’m sure it is.

I am still favorable towards Klobuchar, though I still need to learn much more about her. I hardly heard anything from her last night, but what I did hear was decent. I thought her closing speech was in the top 2 or 3 of the night.

None of the others inspired me enough one way or the other to note anything about them. Well, perhaps the governor of Montana. What little I heard from him I was fine with and I appreciated him getting irritated by Warren when they argued about her “no first use” policy. I also admire someone who doesn’t let a speech impediment keep them from saying what they want to say.

David Smelser said...

For those in favor of a nuclear first use policy, can you list the scenarios that you would support the united states pushing the nuclear button first?

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

...I believe she [Warren] is sincere in her passion to make the US better and she has already done much good work to that end. But, at least at the moment, I don’t favor her as president.

...

I still don’t think she [Williams] is a serious candidate but, echoing someone above, the candidates who make the short list might want to consider her as a consultant on their campaign team.
...
Bernie stays the same on my list, near the bottom. I still don’t have any confidence that he has any decent plans to make any of his rallying points actually happen. There are practical matters to consider.


It's a real problem that we've made the presidency (and the presidential election) into a celebrity reality show. In reality (for example), it is not the case that if Bernie becomes president, we will have free college and Medicare for all. That's not how government works. But we treat the presidential contest as if it does.

All of these people, especially the Democratic Senators, are in a position to be much more useful in roles other than the presidency. Gaining control of the Senate back would do much more good than having a Democratic Senator leave his/her seat for the White House.

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

I agree on all your points.

Treebeard said...

It might be easier if you provided a list of people who aren't Kremlin shills up front, so we know who isn't being mind controlled by Putin the Sith Lord. The funny thing is, people like Gabbard, Sanders and Trump are popular precisely because they show some independence from their Party machine--for example their skepticism of endless interventionist wars abroad. Accusing everyone who deviates from the Party line of being Kremlin shills doesn't seem like a very productive line of argument--in fact it seems rather Soviet (or McCarthyist, if you prefer).

Nick said...

Hello Mr. Brin and fellow commenters. Long time reader, first time commenter here. I just can't let this one go. David, you have repeatedly bemoaned the assault on facts and fact-based professions, but you not only let blatant falsehoods go unchecked in your comments, you actually agreed with them!

matthew said:
[Gabbard] Appeared on RT and is endorsed by its editorial board (https://www.rt.com/op-ed/458503-tulsi-gabbard-henry-wallace/)

That article was written by John Wright, a freelance writer. The article itself specifically states:
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

matthew said:
[Gabbard] Met with Assad after he gassed his own people in an effort to shoot down US foreign policy with regard to Syria.

Firstly, the OPCW sent in engineers (remember that old fact-finding profession?) to investigate the site of the chemical attacks. They concluded that all the evidence supports the hypothesis that the chemical weapons shells were placed there by hand. (http://syriapropagandamedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Engineering-assessment-of-two-cylinders-observed-at-the-Douma-incident-27-February-2019-1.pdf)

And matthew, what evidence do you offer that Gabbard was there to "shoot down US foreign policy with regard to Syria." She has repeatedly stated she was there on a fact finding mission, and that she met with Assad to start a dialog in the hopes of achieving peace. Either Gabbard, a war veteran who has consistently voiced her opposition to interventionist wars, is lying -- or matthew, some guy on the internet, is wrong.

matthew said:
[Gabbard] opposes civil rights for LGBTQ folks and worked for a group (led by members of her cult) that called for the use of conversion therapy with LGBTQ teens.

Yes, she did support some of those views... when she was 20. That's how her parents raised her. She has apologized for and addressed this over and over and has long-since changed her views. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLb3KVBErig). She currently has a score of 100 out of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign. (http://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/115thCongressionalScorecard-Report.pdf?_ga=2.1101745.1629610852.1564592435-582375617.1564592435)

Embracing facts starts at home, Mr. Brin. If this were anywhere else, I would have just let it go, but I expect better from you.

David Brin said...

Mayor Pete has GOT to find some way to wipe his upper lip, during speeches/debates.

I'm glad the stats on aggressive speaking favor the women, because otherwise we'd never hear the end of it.

Brnie is of great use just being Bernie and he can continue being Berniewhoever is nominated. He almost saved Hillary.

No senator with a repub governor should get the nomination. With a dem guv appointing replacement, it's a plausible stab at personal best.

===
Trump isn't 'independent' of his party machine. He is taking it over like a mafia boss. Annihilating opposition and rallying his brown shirts to terrorze and destroy the old GOP Establishment. Not that I liked them. They were corrupt and incestuous and conniving for plutocracy. But they wanted skilled civil servants to preserve an orderly process of law, for their own safety's sake.

What we are seeing is Hitler/SA. The German Junkers (lordly) caste supported Nazis as counter to the communists... then the brown shirtswere riled at rallies to terrify the lords into sigehieling with them. The few who demurred were kileed. Today they are killed politically.

Trump is the GOP establishment. And there's a silver lining to this. It means there's a chance to kill the whole thing. Do you see Junkers lords lording it over Germany today? (In fact, they still do at some levels, but far less.)

"skepticism of endless interventionist wars abroad." HAR! Oh, how delusional can anyone be and still move a finger to type!

Tell you what. Open the Deutsche Bank files and tax returns and audit Kushner/McConnell and that crowd to evn 5% the degree the Clinton's were audited.

Get detailed transcripts from TEN secret Trump meetings with communist dictators or "ex" communist mafia leaders, since taking office. (Just one would have had you screech and fall over with a stroke, if done by Obama or Clinton.) I could go on. But your sneer at perfectly natural correlation of a Kremlin-KGBsubornation of the blackmail-corruptible over here is stunning hypocrisy.

Treebeard said...

^^ Obvious Kremlin shill.

Darrell E said...

David Smelser said...

"For those in favor of a nuclear first use policy, can you list the scenarios that you would support the united states pushing the nuclear button first?"

Not sure if this was inspired by my comment about the debates above, but if so it is the wrong question. No one in the debates proposed a nuclear first use policy. Warren proposed a no first use policy. That's quite a different thing from the question you pose.

To address Warren's proposed policy, I don't think it would be worth the paper it's written on. No other nation on Earth would believe that it would make any difference to the way the US might employ nuclear weapons. And they'd almost certainly be right. Any hawkish president that might be nuts enough to consider a first strike isn't going to be deterred in the slightest by such a policy. Can you imagine such a policy stopping Trump? Or Bush Jr? Heck, or Obama, or Clinton? And in any real life situation that a first strike is something that reasonably should be considered I don't think any president, with the possible exception of Warren herself, would give any serious weight to such a policy.

What kind of scenario might that be? Specifically, who knows? Generally, the kind of scenario that the governor of Montana alluded to in last night's debate. I am not enough of a pacifist that I would support allowing someone to take out Chicago before being able to strike at them. Are such scenarios really possible? I'm guessing you are going to argue they aren't. I disagree. Though such scenarios might be very improbable, why unilaterally give up that option?

My main objection is, as I said, that such a policy is pointless. It will not help reduce the danger of some actor using nuclear weapons. It will not allay the fears of others around the world that the US might make a nuclear first strike. I am not convinced that such fears actually exist to a significant extent in the first place. To the extent that any such fears may be warranted, for example a nut-job like Trump or a John fucking Bolton type, what good would it do? None.

The only way a no first strike policy might have some actual utility is if all nations with nuclear weapons agreed to such a policy and that it also included very strong measures against any entity that makes a first strike, enforced by all signatories together against the offender. Ways to actually reduce the chance of nuclear weapons being used is to reduce their numbers and to use diplomacy to keep strife at a minimum and to work together in monitoring nuclear materials and weapons worldwide, from small scale actors to large.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Apropos of nothing, here's a link to a cartoon whose creator clearly read "The Postman"
https://www.gocomics.com/perry-bible-fellowship/2019/07/31?ct=v&cti=1382438

Nick said...

Wait a second, Treebeard! Just because the KGB paid me 12 Rubles to copy/paste that post doesn't make it untrue, right comrade... er, I mean friend?

(For the NSA or any spooks reading this, this is sarcasm. No Rubles were actually exchanged... I was paid in vodka only.)

Jerry Emanuelson said...

I would like to see each of the presidential candidates be asked a question like the following, but individually, without any other candidates being present, and without being given more than a few seconds to think over their answer:

"You receive a message from the U.S. military that Russia has just launched 8 missiles toward the United States. Indication immediately after launch was that one was headed for Hawaii, one for central Alaska, and the other 6 toward fairly evenly-spaced unknown targets across the continental U.S. A minute later, trajectory analysis indicated that all of these missiles will overfly their targets at high altitude.

"We have just now received a message from Russia that the launch was an accident because their warning systems had confidently, but falsely, detected a massive attack from the U.S. Russia says that they have no way to prevent the warheads from detonating as scheduled. What is your immediate response? Please elaborate."

Although this scenario has never happened, we have come extremely close to it on several occasions. As long as countries have nuclear-armed missiles ready to launch at a moment's notice, a scenario like this becomes an eventual inevitable reality. We need to know if the commander-in-chief is ready for such an event, or has ever even seriously considered it.

Once a person becomes president, they will receive information that would make their responses somewhat different. Nevertheless, such a question would be very informative about a candidate's readiness to be president.

Jon S. said...

Well, for starters, I'm going to be extremely skeptical of the proposition that the warheads, once launched, have no failsafe. That's not just dangerous, it's stupid, and one thing the Soviet engineers who designed those warheads were not is stupid.

Nick, Gabbard has given no indication in any of her actions that she's reconsidered the propositions she came to adulthood with. Knowing how few adults do think twice about such things, I'm not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt here. As for her appearances on Russia Today (RT), I don't know about any editorials, just confirmed news stories. Or do you think RT is going to have as an interview guest someone who is opposed to their propaganda?

Williamson is actively dangerous, particularly to those of us with disabilities. She believes that all the universe is one, and that therefore any illness or disability is due to evil thoughts within ourselves and that if we just "open up to Love" all illness and pain will go away. (Hell, I'd have thought that line dismissing "wonkiness" as being incapable of "defeating the dark psychic force created by Trump" would have been enough of a disqualifier. Then again, if you're not familiar with her book or her self-help courses, I suppose you can be excused for thinking that was supposed to be a metaphor. It wasn't - she actually believes in that.)

A.F. Rey said...

No Rubles were actually exchanged... I was paid in vodka only.

And then you immediately destroyed the evidence by consuming it, I'll wager!

Just like a commie... :)

Alfred Differ said...

David Smelser,

Jerry described a scenario were I would launch if I had that responsibility. I can think of a few others too including invasion of NATO allies by Russian forces.

It's not that I would want to use nukes first, but I'd be unwilling to take that option off the table. I think it unwise (and unlikely to work) to bind future Presidents that way. The US IS the nation that used them first and the world should not forget that. We should not either.

I can also imagine a scenario where Pakistan and India were about to go nuclear against each other where I'd be tempted to threaten them both to stop it. Target both of them and issue threats. No doubt cooler heads would try to talk me down out of the rafters. 8)

Zepp Jamieson said...

"He [Bernie] almost saved Hillary."
Doctor, I am so happy to hear someone from the party centre say that. I usually hear that "he cost her the election", despite the fact that after the California primary, he went all in with the party nominee and vociferously supported her during the general campaign. I know a couple of liberals who held their noses and voted for her based on the fact that he found her palatable. There's a lot of reasons why Hillary isn't president today, and she was blameless for a fair number of them. But Bernie was never one of those reasons.

David Brin said...

Zepp yeah saw that. Heh.

==
If I had been one of the candidates onstage: "Our disagreements here illustrate how we'ill behave in two years, when many of us are members of a cabinet chosen by one of us on this stage or here Wednesday. Instead of going around the cabinet table flattering a narcissist, we'll argue! We'll present facts to support different ways to achieve THE SAME OVERALL GOALS... in this case the goal of making sure every American can think about jobs and family instead of fretting drug payments. (And it was Democrats who ended the bias toward pre-existing conditions; when Republicans say otherwise they are big, fat liars.)

"It happens that I would start with immediate Medicare for all CHILDREN, up to age 25 and seniors down to age 60. We know we can pay for that immediately, just by ending the Supply Side voodoo tax gifts to a vampire class who never invested those trillions the way we were promised. The next year we'd automatically increase the lower age cutoff to 26 and include 59 year olds, and so on. WATCH as the insurance companies take a the hint! They'll fall all over themselves to reform and negotiate a better deal for everyone.

"But that's just my idea. I'm willing to learn from my colleagues and every other sincere American of goodwill who shares our problem-solving spirit and believes in things called facts. And that's why the new Republican Party is lethally toxic to our nation... because of its all-out war against every fact-using profession, from science, teaching and journalism to medicine, law and the so-called "deep state" of 5 million courageous, hardworking men and women in the civil service, FBI, and Intelligence and Military officer corps. Republicans dismiss every fact-checking service as "partisan" and "fake news." Worse they refuse to negotiate how to make a fact-checking service that would satisfy them!

"Of course, there's a reason they hate fact-users, even more than they hate minorities. Because facts disprove racism! Facts disprove gender bias! Facts prove we're putting the planet and our children in peril with pollution. Facts, prove that Supply Side was a 40 year ripoff scam. And facts prove Donald Trump to be a liar 10,000 times, since entering office."

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Jon S. said:

Well, for starters, I'm going to be extremely skeptical of the proposition that the warheads, once launched, have no failsafe. That's not just dangerous, it's stupid, and one thing the Soviet engineers who designed those warheads were not is stupid.

In the event of an accidental launch with several missiles, even if the warheads have a failsafe (or self-destruct) mechanism, it is far from certain that the Russian president would authorize the activation of the failsafe. The Russians would have good reason to expect a large-scale counter-attack to begin before detonations occur. So the Russian president may very well think that the safest thing for them is to go ahead and take out much of the U.S. civilian infrastructure, as well as damaging some of the U.S. retaliatory capability.

If the Russian warheads have proximity fusing, U.S. anti-ballistic missiles could very well trigger the warheads to detonate at altitude before any failsafe could be enabled, and those detonations would cause severe U.S. infrastructure damage.

In any case, once an accidental launch happens, all hell breaks loose, and everything becomes unpredictable. The only way to minimize the catastrophe is to have extremely cool heads prevail instantly at both ends of the incident.

As a question for presidential candidates, though, the question of Russian failsafe mechanisms is irrelevant. It would be interesting to see if any candidate would even bring up the subject of failsafe or self-destruct mechanisms on missile warheads. (Failsafe mechanisms risk the possibility of an enemy, with good espionage, learning how to activate the failsafe themselves.)

I should also add that my question is one that should be asked of presidential candidates, but not of any president in office.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" Kamala as Atty Gen..."

Yeah. And if she isn't on the ticket, I would love to see Warren as Sec'y of Treasury, or perhaps on the Federal Reserve Board. Assuming, of course that she has left her Senate seat to campaign. Otherwise, if she is on the Senate budget committee, perhaps the Chair, she could wield immense power knowledgeably.

David Smelser said...

Jerry,

Doesn't a public policy position of we won't launch our nukes first increase the chance the Russians (or other nuclear power) will pick up the phone and call before launching a counter attack instead of what is presented in your scenario (launching and then calling)?

Jerry Emanuelson said...

David Smelser said..

Doesn't a public policy position of we won't launch our nukes first increase the chance the Russians (or other nuclear power) will pick up the phone and call before launching a counter attack instead of what is presented in your scenario (launching and then calling)?

I don't know. It very well might help. Keep in mind, though, that the last (known) really close call happened on January 25 of 1995 when U.S.-Russian relations were probably better that at any time since the beginning of the 20th century. The U.S. and Russia had even been exchanging nuclear weapons effects information in 1994, with some Russian nuclear weapons experts actually visiting some of the U.S. National Laboratories responsible for nuclear weapons development in 1994.

Still, the Russian military saw a very real missile test launch and had the Russian nuclear briefcase opened and activated on Boris Yeltsin's desk urging him to order a nuclear strike against the U.S.

From the information that has been released, I have seen no evidence of a call to the U.S. during this event. The public only found out about it because Yeltsin was so shaken by the incident that he went off script in a public speech and talked about having the nuclear briefcase activated in front of him.

The whole problem was caused by a failure of communication within the Russian bureaucracy. If you're not familiar with that incident, see:

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

Tony Fisk said...

Just letting folks here know that the Planetary Society's member funded, proof of concept, Lightsail 2 mission has been declared a success.
Using solar radiation alone for thrust, the craft has managed to raise its apogee by 2 km. Orbital dynamics being what they are, its perigee has dipped 2km in compensation.

David Brin said...

Actually I am confused. I don't see why the perigee has to drop. That's not the orbital mechanics I learned. It implies they are unable to tack agains sunlight during apogee and are helpless to decelerate then. That does not sound right.

Hey guys! I emailed Catfish and he lives! Just been very busy with many life milestones. He promises to come by some time.

Nick said...

Gabbard has given no indication in any of her actions that she's reconsidered the propositions she came to adulthood with.

So voting in congress isn't an action? C'mon Jon S, you're just giving your opinion without even looking at any evidence.

Why do you think the Human Rights Campaign gives her 100 of 100?

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Jon S. said . . . .Gabbard has given no indication in any of her actions that she's reconsidered the propositions she came to adulthood with. Knowing how few adults do think twice about such things, I'm not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt here.

The majority of Western civilization has changed its mind about the things you are referring to within the span of a few short years. That civilization consists of millions of individuals who have changed their minds.

For most people, the shift has not been a total 180-degree reversal in beliefs, but just a change in attitude to one of extreme indifference. Most people have better things to do than to care at all about what other people do in their personal lives.

It is easy to change from being an intolerant teenager to being indifferent to those things as an adult.

In fact, I suspect that the vast majority of 38-year-olds are ashamed of some of the beliefs that they held in their teens and early twenties.

Alfred Differ said...

Deploying a sail and managing its attitude are different levels of complexity. Eccentricity is the parameter that changes fastest when the sail orientation is unmanaged.


I hope they find a way to fund an attitude control mission next. It would be the same kind of step people take between lighting a rocket and pointing it along the flight path.

David Brin said...

In fact they have a reaction wheel aboard and electromagnetic torque bars to leverage against the magnetic field. So they've learned a lot about orientation. Anyway, to properly use a light sail you should deploy higher than 700km and they learned more about that, too.It's in that current height range that you actually do great with elkectrodynamic tethers.

A.F. Rey said...

My apologies in advance if I stepped over the line...

On OSC's website, I copied your list of consensus items that all Democratic candidates are for. I felt it would add to the conversation about "What are Democrats running on in 2020?" I did not include a link back here, since the responses can be a bit "in your face" at times, and I had a feeling your list might be somewhat controversial.

If you are curious about some of the responses, you can see them here:

http://www.ornery.org/forum/index.php/topic,693.msg30570.html#new

If you'd rather I not quote you on other website, let me know and I will say 20 Hail Marys in penance (once I look up what that prayer actually is).

David Brin said...

It's okay, AFR. Tossing a grenade into that nest of oligarchy-worshippers and haters of democratic enlightenment and science is not something I'd go out of my way to do, but I don't mind some of them bursting a blood vessel.

Glancing again at the list -- (there are 3 new items, after suggestions on FB) - I would guess that Scott and his clan of would-be Caesars would hate on nearly all of them, but especially the part about "restored respect for facts."

(When they howl that I am proposing a "Ministry of Truth," you can respond: "No, that's how YOU would do it. I would emphasize competitive practices that made the recent American enlightenment the wonder of all ages." http://davidbrin.com/nonfiction/factact.html

But here's the list again: Here again is my list of 29 consensus items that ALL of the Democratic candidates are for.

* Electoral reform: end gerrymandering, rigged voting machines, voter suppression and other cheats,
* Election money transparency,
* Restore our alliances.
* Deter acts of war (cyber/electoral/trade etc.) against our nation/institutions,
* End "supply side" vampirism by the aristocracy we rebelled against in 1776,
* Infrastructure, paid for by ending supply side voodoo,
* DACA,
* Children out of cages, refugees given safe places to live and process,
* Whistleblower protections and rewards for those revealing corruption and blackmail; ten year limit on non-disclosure agreements.
* A Marshall Plan for Central America + holding their corrupt elites accountable,
* Medicare for all Children (a start so popular the GOP can’t dare refuse),
* Climate action,
* Restore science, R&D and technological leadership as national strengths,
* Protect women’s autonomy, credibility and command over their own bodies,
* Consumer protection, empower the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
* At least allow student debt refinancing. Analyze and start doing much more.
* Restore the postal savings bank for the un-banked,
* Basic, efficient, universal background checks,
* Basic-level Net Neutrality for consumers,
* A revised-throttled War Powers Act and limit presidential emergency powers,
* Civil Service protection,
* Reject racism, gender-phobia, Nazism etc. as evils while calming all sanctimonies,
* Restored respect for things called facts. Support professions that use them,
* Restored rebuttal rules on "news" channels,
* Emoluments supervision. AUDIT the cheating, money-laundering oligarchy,
* Ease out of the damned drug war (at least don’t impede states),
* Anti-trust breakup of monopoly/duopolies,
* Allow pharma renegotiation and stop the tricks that stymie generics,
* Restore some of the social contract set up by the FDR-loving "Greatest Generation" (GG),

Anyone who shouts "socialism!" at that list is screaming at our parents, the GGs who crushed Hitler, contained Stalinism, took us to the moon, loved science and built the world's greatest middle class.

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

I will say 20 Hail Marys in penance (once I look up what that prayer actually is).


Hail Mary, full of grace.
Get me the heck out of this place!

At least that's the version I learned from a Catholic girlfriend. :)

Bob Neinast said...

Regarding those who scream "socialism", I wonder how well it would work to take a page out of the Republican playbook when they always call the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party:

Start calling the governmental retirement program "Socialism Security."

BTW, many here might be interested in Winter War, by historian Eric Rauchway. It covers the period between FDR's first election in November and his inauguration in March (before they jiggered that). Hoover spent a lot of that time trying to sabotage FDR's plans, or trying to convince him to renege. It also deals with the myth (started by Hooverites) that FDR had never actually told the country what he was planning--false.

The book is also faintly reminiscent (deliberately, says Rauchway) of what's going on today.

Tony Fisk said...

From the report, I gather the drop in Lightsail 2's perigee was expected. The primary goal was simply to prove that a spacecraft could gain thrust from sunlight.
Check.
Having said that, the Lightsail crew did say something about updating the software to improve orientation control (eg reducing momentum wheel 'saturation' rates), and will attempt to make use of it to control time of re-entry.

TCB said...

Re: Mitch McConnell: recently a LOT of people are calling him Moscow Mitch and he hates it. He HATESSSSS IT, PRECIOUSSSSS!

Re: Nuclear first strike: nobody sane favors it.

Re: Elizabeth Warren: I want her on the 2020 ticket, don't care if top slot or veep. Either is good. I want Bernie too. Warren/Sanders or Sanders/Warren. Biden would be a great candidate, forty years ago. P.S. As a Western North Carolina hillbilly, I heard similar unprovable rumors of some Cherokee ancestry comparable to Warren's experience. It's not that rare a thing to hear of, in this region... my genealogy only runs reliably to the early 1800's and my bunch were in the Americas at least 100 years before that, but the early historical records become more noise than signal.

Re: Perry Bible Fellowship: That is a great comic. Has been great for years.

Re: the Equal Time rule for broadcast TV and radio: Young people don't even know this was a thing. Getting rid of it was one of Racist Ronnie Raygun's ugliest moves. (Have you heard about the unearthed phone call with Reagan and Nixon complaining in execrable terms about African UN delegates? Pieces of shit, both of them.)

And not entirely unrelated... Karl Marx was a fan of Abraham Lincoln.

David Brin said...

There's talk of Warren Buttigieg. I'd fight for that ticket. But I'm not sure of things yet. I am FINE with the number of candidates onstage! This is an audition a whole YEAR before the convention! Let's have a peek at the cabinet and who works well under pressure. My very tentative preference is Inslee-Warren. Because a stable, popular and effective governor gets HUGE bonus points with me, and we'd still get Liz to keep the fires volcanic.

Every time they use Democrat Party the reponse should be "Party of Putin." Oh, you don't like it?

TCB thanks for that fascinating essay revealing the admiration with which Karl Marx wrote of Abraham Lincoln. It reaches many of the same conclusions I did, about how Lincoln’s election could never have happened had northern citizens not been radicalized by depredations by bands of rampaging southern irregular cavalry, from 1852-1860.

TCB said...

Yes, if I'm worried about global warming, and I am, Inslee rises to the top tier of my wish list. He started out with little name recognition, but then so did governors Carter and Clinton.

scidata said...

I've never understood the glaring dichotomy between the virtues of having name recognition and being an 'outsider' in US politics.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Every time they use Democrat Party the reponse should be "Party of Putin." Oh, you don't like it?


This is a few weeks old, but I just listened to this appearance of Malcolm Nance on the Stephanie Miller show. It's worth listening to the whole 16 minutes or so, but one point he made was that the Republicans have given up all right to refer to Democrats as communists. They are blatant commie-lovers. Even if one accepts the specious argument that Putin no longer counts in that category, there's no way to argue that Kim Jung Un does not.

He also mentions the obvious--that the entire Trump campaign and the entire Republican campaign is now about the permanent supremacy of the White tribe. The corollary point, which he does not make but is obvious in context, is that this is the Confederacy rising again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXYFkoe2WBc

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

I've never understood the glaring dichotomy between the virtues of having name recognition and being an 'outsider' in US politics.


Think of Donald Trump. He had name recognition as a tv celebrity, not as a politician.

scidata said...

I'm neither very media savvy, nor American, yet I've known for decades who and what DT is. He's been weighing in on political debate all that time too. I don't wish to be insulting, but US popular political discourse appears to be summed up by: SQUIRREL !!

Larry Hart said...

@scidata,

I see US popular discourse as exemplified by what Hari Seldon predicted in the very opening chapter of Foundation. Too many people seem to feel no stake in the future, and are therefore either in it for the humor/entertainment value or to grab as much as they can for themselves in the immediate time-frame, which is all that matters to them.

The whole theory of democracy is based upon the assumption of the wisdom of crowds. If a preponderance of the crowd is not faithful to the country, then it falls apart.

scidata said...

Setting up a TV network for demagoguery is becoming a lucrative enterprise (worldwide). Socrates would ex/implode simultaneously if he saw this :)

George Carty said...

@Larry Hart,

Chris Dillow did a useful summary of when we should trust the people and when we should trust the elites: he argued that the "wisdom of crowds" holds where:

* Beliefs are uncorrelated, so there’s no herding or information cascades.
* There’s a diversity of belief, with people drawing on their personal and perhaps tacit knowledge of local circumstances.
* People have incentives to get the decision right.

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart said...
I see US popular discourse as exemplified by what Hari Seldon predicted in the very opening chapter of Foundation. Too many people seem to feel no stake in the future, and are therefore either in it for the humor/entertainment value or to grab as much as they can for themselves in the immediate time-frame, which is all that matters to them.

I am looking in from outside, but in part based on my experience living in the US, I would suggest something a bit different.

That is, too many people feel (wrongly or rightly - and that is probably open to debate) that their political choices don't actually make any difference to the future, so there is no reason to treat politics as anything other than entertainment.

Larry Hart said...

George Carty:

...the "wisdom of crowds" holds where:

...
* People have incentives to get the decision right.


gregory byshenk:

too many people feel (wrongly or rightly - and that is probably open to debate) that their political choices don't actually make any difference to the future, so there is no reason to treat politics as anything other than entertainment.


These are not incompatible thoughts with each other or with mine.

Some voters are happy to treat politics as entertainment, figuring that there's no point to treat it more seriously.

Some actively try to vote in ways to "stick it to the man" without regard to the harm caused because they feel aggrieved already and don't feel they can make things any worse.
A subset of these probably figure they can't actually do any harm, because the elites will get their way no matter the popular outcome. A different subset feel so aggrieved personally that they actually wish to do harm to the system. It's a bizarre love-child of "voter nullification" and Dave Sim's notion of "Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is the best way to demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off."

john fremont said...

@Larry Hart
THE GOP continues to be the Party Of Lincoln, but now it's George Lincoln Rockwell not Honest Abe

Larry Hart said...

@john fremont,

Even more ironic, the Republican Party is now the Party of the Confederacy, while the Democrats are the Unionists. The diametric opposite of the way the parties lined up during the actual Civil War.

Alfred Differ said...

Gabbard as a quisling. I get it now.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

The funny thing is, people like Gabbard, Sanders and Trump are popular precisely because they show some independence from their Party machine--for example their skepticism of endless interventionist wars abroad. Accusing everyone who deviates from the Party line of being Kremlin shills doesn't seem like a very productive line of argument-


And yet, every one you mentioned just happens to have connections to Moscow. Is it politically incorrect to mention or wonder about that?

Larry Hart said...

It's about time someone noticed that these flag-waving jingoists who tell everyone else to "love it or leave it" actually themselves hate America.

Could this sound any more Nazi-eseque without actually calling itself "national socialism"?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/02/opinion/national-conservatives-republicans-trump.html

At a recent conference in Washington, a group of conservatives did their level best to promote Trumpism without Trump (rebranded as “national conservatism”) as a cure for all that ails our frayed and faltering republic. But the exclusive Foggy Bottom confab served only to clarify that “national conservatism” is an abortive monstrosity, neither conservative nor national. Its animating principle is contempt for the actually existing United States of America, and the nation it proposes is not ours.

Larry Hart said...

from the same article as above. Jeez, this guy is on a roll. And everything he's saying is not only true, but self-evident. It's exactly what I've been trying to point out about the accepted sense of Republican entitlement.


The attackers — the nature-denying feminists, ungrateful blacks, babbling immigrants, ostentatiously wedded gays — bear full responsibility for any damage wrought by populist backlash, because they incited it by demanding and claiming a measure of equal freedom. But they aren’t entitled to it, because the conservative denizens of the fruited plain are entitled first to a country that feels like home to them. That’s what America is. So the blame for polarizing mutual animosity must always fall on those who fought for, or failed to prevent, the developments that made America into something else — a country “real Americans” find hard to recognize or love.

The practical implication of the nationalist’s entitled perspective is that unifying social reconciliation requires submission to a vision of national identity flatly incompatible with the existence and political equality of America’s urban multicultural majority. That’s a recipe for civil war, not social cohesion.

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

To me the most ironic flip-flop is that the Republican party has now become the Commie Lover's party. The guys that were proudly wearing "I kill Commies for my Mommy" T-shirts back in their good old days now praise Putin, proudly wear "I'd rather be Russian than Democrat" T-shirts and their idol has his nose deep in Putin's ass and strokes Kim Jong-un's . . ., err, ego.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

They'll tell you that Putin isn't a commie any longer, but a White Christian soldier.

I wonder how they explain Kim Jung Un to themsleves, though.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Howard Brazee said...

One big thing that doesn't get addressed enough—because politicians want their power now, and later on maybe they can address it is that most of us agree with the following quote:

You can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook. — Harry S Truman.