Saturday, August 17, 2019

Electoral reform + the best issue for wagers

== Electoral fixes ==

Am I alone in liking the recent Democratic Party presidential debates? I like the well-tuned level of mutual probing.  I like the exposure given to future important cabinet members. And one whole year ahead of the 2020 DP convention, I see no rush to "narrow the field." Sure, there are some I wish would go away. Delaney, Gillibrand for example. But Williamson's bizarro trip has swung toward harmlessly entertaining, and possibly slightly helpful pulling in more of the Goop Community.

Does anyone else wish Lawrence Lessig, who failed to make the debate cut under far-harsher rules back in 2016, had been onstagethis time? Lessig’s Equal Citizen campaign asks the mass brain - (you folks) - to offer debate questions via hashtag #askaboutdemocracy
     
I submitted one. Every Democratic proposal - from climate action and Health Care to student debt, consumer protection, equal rights and repairing democracy - can be supported not just morally, but by fair appraisal of facts. That's why the top agenda of today's right is fomenting hate toward all fact-using professions! From science, medicine, teaching and journalism to the "deep state" officers of law, military and intelligence agencies. Since (almost) every Democratic proposal is supported by facts, shouldn't we combat the War on Fact first? 

Hence my question to candidates:

"What would you do to restore Americans' ability to get past today's fog of confusion that's spread deliberately by right wing media and their foreign sponsors, and get back to negotiating based on demonstrable verifiable facts?" 

Sound impossible? See a dozen ways we can fight back for the very concept of objective, verifiable reality.

And here’s another encouraging item: researchers found that "psychological resistance" to fake news could be increased by having the subjects play an online gameIn the browser game, called Bad News, launched in February 2018, players become propaganda producers. They are allowed to manipulate the news and social media, invoking anger and fear. Tactics at their disposal include twitter bots, conspiracy theories, impersonation and photoshopped evidence. Still, while they use such Machiavellian approaches to attract followers, the players must maintain a "credibility score" to continue to be persuasive.

Huh. Find anyone who used that phrase “credibility score” before my novel EARTH, wherein it had a very similar purpose and use. Anyway, it’s not too soon to lure every “susceptible” you know into playing this game.

Meanwhile...

Workers in mostly red states aren’t seeing minimum-wage hikes, even though local lawmakers passed them. State-level officials and legislators in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin have all invalidated wage increases passed by cities, costing nearly 350,000 workers a total of $1.5 billion per year, a study finds. Even the smartest Democrat hasn’t figured out how to package this… and a myriad other travesties… so that our red neighbors wake up and remember who their parents’ favorite living human was.

== The acid test ==

WAGERS can be effective! But start with a wriggle-proof bet that corners denialist cultists and their Exxon/Russia/ Saudi/Koch masters. If you prove glaciers are retreating and every U.S. Navy officer is fretting the warming, they’ll just beat a retreat to the next magical incantation. (“Cow farts!” one idiot snarked at me, as a voodoo protective spell.) See my posting: Fight disinformation with wagers!

Above all, two words send every Fox-head fleeing: “ocean acidification.” They stammer and change the subject. There’s no goalpost shifting. Use those two words for wagers! 

Here goes. Demand your denialist cultist either refute these charges or pay up:

1. Acidification and eutrofication are killing the oceans and thus our planet. The Black and Caspian Seas are almost dead. The Mediterranean, Caribbean and East China Seas, plus the Gulf of Mexico are dying, as are much of the Pacific and Atlantic. Eutrofication is inarguably from human pollution. 

2. Acidification happens when you add Carbon-Dioxide to water (prove it with a 2 minute experiment! A straw, a glass of water and a swimming pool test strip.)

3. The source of rapidly skyrocketing CO2 is humans burning fossil fuels. Period. 

4. Foreign meddlers - coal barons, petro-boyars and oil-sheiks warring on our children for short-term greed - have stymied US creative response by ordering the GOP to slash R&D, thwart sustainables, block sensible legislation and mileage standards that saved us billions at the pump. They cancelled NASA and NOAA satellites, suppressed scientists. They ordered actual words, like “Earth” and “climate,” banned at federal agencies. (Part of the larger GOP war on all fact-professions.) 

Of course, there are more climate effects than acid-burnt and fertilizer-choked seas. (Red America is hard-hit!) But those two words “ocean acidification” are especially effective. They leave no room for even a squirming, wriggling, incantation-spewing confed-foxite to escape. And hence, you start here.

Demand your foxites either bet on points #1-4 above (and pay $) or admit their side is monstrous… or else (the usual result) they flee in panic while you get to slash their credibility before witnesses, by casting after their scurrying butts a single, manhood-demolishing hex-word: 

“Coward!”

 

== A structural improvement that matters ==

From cowards back to heroes and another Lessig project. The Maine legislature passed a bill for “ranked-choice voting” in selecting electors for President. The "we're the opposite of Florida" state has passed a number of intelligent reforms - this one long pushed by Lessig's Equal Citizens campaign. 

If more states did this, the folks who dream of fostering 3rd party candidates could do their thing without screwing us up, as they did with their preening Nader and Jill Stein gestures. It would prevent many (not all) kinds of noxious outcomes. We need it nationwide.

It is also the way that people of the UK should have a second Brexit referendum. The insipid Remain vs. Leave dichotomy never captured the public's want, which would win any multi-choice, RCV-style poll: 

"Remain, if the EU negotiates some changes like better residency sovereignty."

Lessig urges you to send the Maine governor (@GovJanetMills) a tweet saying we need RCV for president. 

172 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Above all, two words send every Fox-head fleeing: “ocean acidification.” They stammer and change the subject. There’s no goalpost shifting. Use those two words for wagers!


Does this really work? I know you consider it a slam dunk, but my sense is that most FOXites would legitimately see this as a changing of the subject. "We were discussing global warming. Why the f*** did you bring up a completely different subject, and why would I ever care about 'osh-un ass-idd-iff-uck-ation"?

David Brin said...

When they try that I nail. "YOUR cult blocks our government from considering POLICIES that might reduce carbon pollution. This proves carbon pollution is killing the world. And hence either it's true, and you are a planet-killer-accomplice, or you can disprove it."

They flee.

Mark H said...

If the Democrats were so great as you suppose; a third party candidate couldn't "screw you up". The fact is, Democrats lose and it is mostly due to the fact they eat their own (clinton v. Sanders). They have the back bone of tapioca again Sanders. What needs to happen is all Americans refuse to support either the Democrats or Republicans and then watch what happens.

David Brin said...

Mark H if you were anything more thnan spewing Alex-Jones type sputum, you might be worth answering. (e.g. there was no Clinton-Sanders feud. The fact that you think there was is proof of psychosis.) Any one of the democrats on the debate stage accomplishes more for the good side than you will, across your entire life, spent carping and whining at "no-backbone" men and women you aren't worthy to boot-clean.

David Brin said...

Sorry, I meant to say "Any one of the democrats on the debate stage accomplishes more for the good side DURING ANY FIVE MINUTE STRETCH than you will, across your entire life, spent carping and whining at "no-backbone" men and women you aren't worthy to boot-clean."

David Brin said...

Take that, Ivan.

Alfred Differ said...

From what I've seen, the denialists play the same game with acidification as they do with warming.

1. Doubt the data.
2. Accuse fact people of faking the data (even unintentionally when they believe model results over 'real' data)
3. Argue that the change is very small and can't matter.
4. Argue it isn't humans doing it.
5. Argue that there is no stopping it anyway.

Same game, same progression.

For example...

Pre-industrial revolution pH average for the ocean was around 8.25. Really? How do you know? Who was measuring it back then? Why should I believe your proxies for the various periods are calibrated right?

Next up. How do I know you aren't tossing data that could invalidate your proxies by calling them excludable outliers? Really. I've heard some of you are motivated by grant money and HAVE faked your data. Convince me otherwise!

Next up. The current average is around 8.14. That's not that big a difference. Besides, it is different in different places. Can't matter much, so I think you are blowing it out of proportion. You have an obvious political axe to grind, so I'm sure of it now.

Next up...


We all know this game and can think of arguments against each piece, but the game isn't won by argument. It's won by pain. Being able to call them coward is certainly one way to try that... if you can catch some of them who don't know all the steps sketched above. I'm not sure it works, though, because the actual pain they feel could drive them to learn the game better. There are websites that teach each piece to them or they can catch it from their favorite denier eventually.

So, unless the wager is VERY carefully set up with a sufficiently good con to get them to escrow their money, I don't see it working often. If not set up right, it will just make us look like wannabe smartypants. I know something you don't... neener neener. Their response to that should range from dismissal to a punch in the nose.


I'm reminded of classic bar bets where the mark can avoid losing by knowing them in advance. They still don't have to believe your amazing knowledge... they just have to anticipate the trap.

Laurence said...


"Remain, if the EU negotiates some changes like better residency sovereignty."

Not going to happen. The EU is sick and tired of the UK demanding rules be upended just for our benefit. Of course if we do remain we can work with other EU states to push for reforms (ditching the Common Agricultural Policy would be my favourite) but we cant just call a referendum on EU policy and expect the rest of Europe to listen.

Daniel Duffy said...

The UK is preparing for the worst Brexit Outcome, Operation Yellowhammer:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/operation-chaos-whitehalls-secret-no-deal-brexit-plan-leaked-j6ntwvhll?region=global

Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, a three-month meltdown at its ports, a hard border with Ireland and rising costs in social care in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to an unprecedented leak of government documents that lay bare the gaps in contingency planning.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/uk-food-drug-fuel-shortage-risk-brexit_n_5d589a5fe4b0eb875f24d5f9

They said up to 85% of trucks using the main channel crossings “may not be ready” for French customs, meaning disruption at ports would potentially last up to three months before the flow of traffic improves.
The government also believes a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic will be likely as current plans to avoid widespread checks will prove unsustainable, the Times said.
“Compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, the dossier offers a rare glimpse into the covert planning being carried out by the government to avert a catastrophic collapse in the nation’s infrastructure,” the Times reported.

“The file, marked “official-sensitive” — requiring security clearance on a “need to know” basis — is remarkable because it gives the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s readiness for a no-deal Brexit.”
The United Kingdom is heading towards a constitutional crisis at home and a showdown with the EU as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without a deal unless it agrees to renegotiate the Brexit divorce.
There is no way an economic collapse of the world's 5th largest economy can be confined to Britain. I am already making plans (shifting 401K to bonds, getting out of debt, etc.) in anticipation of a Halloween Horror after a no-deal Brexit.

The entire world economy is teetering on the edge of recession and there are no tools left (deficit spending, cutting interest rates, etc.) to fight it.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/recession-yield-curve-poverty-tax-cuts-trump-871198/?fbclid=IwAR1xrHiMVfFeUZryYE-h73MK0NM32K4PZIubM4MYC0jTflMuLyngIpb2s_8

Some 40 percent of American families struggled to cover the cost of food, health care, housing or utilities last year, according to a report from the Urban Institute. A Fed found four in 10 adults couldn’t cover a $400 emergency expense. Even at the current low unemployment rate, about 6 million workers are actively looking for jobs right now — and that doesn’t include part-time workers looking for more hours or those who want work but have stopped looking. Men in the prime of their lives are employed at lower rates than they were before the last recession. Suicide rates are spiking, driving down U.S. life expectancy.

This is going to be bad, very bad.

The only satisfaction I will get is watching Trump lose in a blow out - then go to prison, the GOP die at the national level when Texas turns blue, and watching all of those drooling racist morons who support Trump suffer the most.

Daniel Duffy said...

I look at the world today and see a great unraveling. I'm reminded of Yeat's "Second coming"

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

The UK is preparing for the worst Brexit Outcome...


There's a scene in our host's novel Earth in which we learn that, prior to the Helvetian War, there had been voices of moderation, but the oligarchs had made sure they were all bribed or blackmailed or threatened into obscurity, so that only demagoguery remained as an option. Your description of the way Boris Johnson and Britain are handling Brexit seems to mark that passage as a prescient one.

Larry Hart said...

This will seem ridiculously obscure, but it does relate, in the final analysis.

I recall a (printed) conversation between comics artists Dave Sim and Alan Moore in which Moore related an anecdote of his youth. He remembers hugging his mother in the kitchen and realizing quite clearly that he was capable of grabbing a butcher knife from the rack and plunging it into his mother's back. He made clear that he was not angry at his mother--didn't actually want her to suffer or die. What he had felt at that time was that such an act would have derailed predestination itself--caused God (or whatever equivalent) to walk onto the set yelling "Cut!" and reboot the scene.

I get the sense that the voters in Europe and America who keep foregoing reasonable compromise in favor of more and more outrageous officials and policies--even ones who hurt those very voters' own interests--are similarly motivated. Everything from hard-Brexit to outright Putin-love to children in cages to farmers supporting tariffs that kill their own exports suddenly makes sense in this light. They don't really like or want those things. What they want is for the process to so mess things up that the director has to come running onto the set screaming, "Cut!" and reboot us back to a different, stable point, thus Making America Great Again.

Alfred Differ said...

That sounds like tantrum behavior. Those brief seconds before the wailing starts.

scidata said...

Re: Brexit

The UK has a very quickly closing window to (re)join the Rational West. This global dalliance with infantile populism will draw to a close sooner or later (it invariably does). Then we'll see who's who and what's what.


Duncan Ocel said...

Read this well-written essay on American capitalism as a precursor to fascism: http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/americanism-personified-fascism.html#.XVl49G5FxPb

I would love to hear all of your thoughts on this phase of the American Civil War. This essay is a little farther left than Brin, but chews on many of David's favorite issues. Something that troubled me and interested me was the authors' endorsement of hardcore Antifa activities as a valuable way to directly combat fascist-leaning right populists.

Maybe you have thoughts on this essay as well, David.

TCB said...

I fed Spiritus mundi into an anagram generator, and one of the more appropriate results was

Id In Its Rumpus

David Brin said...

Alfred, that's why a glass or water, a straw and two swimming pool test strips are so effective. It not only proves what the textbooks say about adding CO2 to water, it also shows you are the one aggressively pushing experimental testing. Followed by an offer to take a Ph meter to the nearest ocean.

Yes, they'll writhe and twist but also refuse to escrow stakes when you say "Let's get the chemistry teachers at ten local community colleges and nearby industrial corporations to rule on whether past Ph readings are unreliable. And the loser pays their meals and travel and fees."

Yes, they'll writhe and twist . But is all comes down to WHY they writhe and twist. "Your aim is to prevent our national leaders from acting on the advice of experts. If you were sincere, you'd say "let's act on expert advice WHILE checking further. You wouldn't be sabotaging satelites and research. You wouldn't be commanding scientists not to study the problem. You wouldn't be a traitor."


Yes, they'll writhe and twist, still. But you'll get to use "coward!" and "traitor!" And they'l
writhe and twist in bed.

David Brin said...

You guys seem to be having some good, weekend fun. Articulate stuff.

Has anyone other than Alfred looked at my proposed table of contents for a quick (blog based) book on Judo Politics?

Duncan, sorry, but "capitalism" is used as a whipping boy term that loses all meaning. It is also done stupidly. In fact, flat-fair-competitive-accountable market enterprise has been the cornucopia goose that's laid our golden eggs, creating tha vast wealth that enabled us to build universities and water systems, schools and research labs. The wealth that gave us confidence to go after ancient crimes like racism and sexism.

Moreover, flat-fair-competitive-accountable market enterprise has had one main enemy across 4000 years and it wasn't "socialism." It was oligarchy. It was cheating by owner-lords and monop[olists or the sort the American Revolution was truly about. And yes, flat-fair-competitive-accountable market enterprise does better... far better, as a matter of measurable outcomes ... across the span of Democratic administrations that GOP ones.

Yes, there are many problems with capitalism. As Marx showed, there are inherent contradictions that can... that can, unless countered by enlightened rules and referees... lead to the collapse of flat-fair-creative competition. Those on the right who scream hate at the word "regulation" are either fools or tools or oligarchs. But equally unwise is the left's reflex to despise "competition," which is almost as deeply human as cooperation or love. Regulated Competition is what works! Look at any sports league and tell me what would happen if you removed either word, for even a single weekend.

scidata said...

Re: Judo Politics

From my perch well up in the bleacher seats, I applaud the effort. Especially any mention of citizen science and widespread scientific literacy. That's the hope, not just valiant slings and arrows fired from lofty ivory towers.

Last week there was a symposium on fusion power at Princeton. I wasn't there, but happily someone who knows (and shares) my love of Asimov and citizen science was, and posted a couple of pics and updates. Scientific literacy is not a movement or belief system. It's much more like Lynn Margulis' strange slow wave. Nothing can stop it, because it's far too widely distributed, headless, innate, and natural. This wave cares naught about me or my concerns, which gives me great solace.

Alfred Differ said...

Helping our host with his TOC - comment

Anyone can do it. Set a timer for 30 minutes or two hours if you are generous. Spend that time searching his blog entries to see which one spoke best to you about the chapter title. Copy the URL to that section and maybe give a short explanation for why it did. If you can't find one or don't have a better one than the one he lists, move on.

By the end of the list (or the end of your time slot), you'll have some fodder for him that gives him how YOU think about his material. Maybe he will use it... maybe not. Doesn't matter. Like with the proxy activism point he makes elsewhere, your small investment will motivate him to make a larger one. He might get the book done on time and influence someone. Who knows? Doesn't matter. Trying to influence them is the point. That takes motivation and your short effort will be magnified whether he uses none of your suggestions or all of them.

Grab the TOC, set a timer, and try. It's pretty easy.
Do it and you'll get to say you contributed to something useful.




I used to make similar points to volunteers who wanted to fly stuff on rockets and try to be the first amateurs to put a rocket in space. After that I got to do it for volunteers who wanted to make other space advocacy projects work. After that, I got to try it with a small start-up I started. This approach DOES work when you have a dedicated core group. it's not perfect, but it's better than sitting on your butt complaining that nothing good happens in this world.

For those of you outside the US, don't hold back. Do your bit for Pax Americana's sanity. We obviously need your help. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

David,

Okay. Glass of water, straw, and pH strips. Not hard to acquire. 8)

I have to be careful with your last part, though. The one about stopping leaders from acting on the advice of experts. I have to admit there are times when that is EXACTLY my purpose. I'm not of the opinion that some of our nation's economic experts actually understand reality. They grok their economic models and theory, but that rarely impresses me. I've pointed out before how I think some of them work with the equivalent of a Ptolemaic model. It predicts... until it doesn't... and the underlying ontology is so far off as to be misleading at best when trying to adjust. Just insert more epicycles when Mars isn't where it should be!

Fortunately, that is not the case when it comes to climate science. I would wish advocates for action would knock it off with crazy economic policy suggestions, but the underlying science is plenty good enough to demand action. Innovation is the way out and that requires free (flat, fair, etc) markets. Other paths will likely fail or kill billions or both. Probably both.

jim said...

I think that it is kind of funny (strange) that you think that arguing and betting about climate change and ecological collapse is the right strategy for our current times.

The scientific argument was won a long time ago.

The problem is people are social creatures and they take their cues on how to behave by watching what others do. The majority of the people in the country say they believe that climate change is real and 30% believe it to be a crisis.

Now if 3 out of every 10 people actually acted like there was a climate / ecological crisis by never flying for fun, changing their leisure activities to be beneficial (or far less harmful) to the climate and rest of the living world, changing how they eat, spend and invest, the other 7 out of ten people would also start to change their behavior.

If you are a person who shouts “Climate Change is a Crisis and there is an Ecological Extinction Event ongoing!” but still act like you can have the world and eat it too, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously.

Larry Hart said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure how much credibility to give this, but for the sake of argument, if we take it at face value, can the Three Laws of Corporatics be far behind?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/business/business-roundtable-ceos-corporations.html

...

A coalition of executives representing some of America’s largest companies issued a statement on Monday that redefines “the purpose of a corporation.” No longer should the primary job of a corporation be to advance the interests of shareholders, the coalition, known as the Business Roundtable, said in a statement. Now, companies must also invest in employees, deliver value to customers and deal fairly and ethically with suppliers.

The statement was signed by nearly 200 chief executives, including the leaders of Apple, American Airlines, Accenture, AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing and BlackRock.

“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” the statement said. “We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

...

David Brin said...

"If you are a person who shouts “Climate Change is a Crisis and there is an Ecological Extinction Event ongoing!” but still act like you can have the world and eat it too, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously."

Zero sum crap of no iuse in the problem at large. Indeed, the Galaxy may be filled with races that despoiled their worlds and lost thei one chance to build and invest and get into space and stop over-using their home. Jared Diamond (COLLAPSE) showed how other societies fell because they did not notice or control eco-damage. Had we remained pastoral for another 10,000 years, we'd have accomplished it with goat herds and crude irrigation. (Look at the "Fertile Crescent.)

Our difference is that we got science super fast, once we innovated ways to get past feudal cheat hierarchies within 200 years. Unleashingg skilled/creative problem solving meant many short term "problems" of wealth generation got "solved" with fossil fuels, leading to other problems. It also meant universities pouring forth millions of bright explorers who were also tuned by Hollywood to seek errors to shout at.

(jim's" greatest (of several) hypocrisy is never admitting where he got his SoA and indignant-howling sanctimony.)

This all led to the white light LED, the revolution in sustainables tech, the legislative burst in places like California, and so on, that all matter vastly more than his sanctimony or puritanism, because they will change the footprints of billions whom he will never - even yelling insults - persuade.

jim said...

David
If you want to keep on with the useless arguments and ineffective betting strategy, go right ahead.

I am going to keep up with my strategy of finding ways to live a happy, fulfilling, meaningful life while reducing my usage of fossil fuels and increasing my beneficial interactions with other living beings.

(Vaclav Havel – Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turn out.)

David Brin said...

Ironic quotation from jim, since since I do more in any day - pushing methods that might be useful in this struggle to alter course - than he does in any year.

Sure it's more admirable to "... live a happy, fulfilling, meaningful life while reducing my usage of fossil fuels..."than to go "yee-haw! and rig your dirty truck to belch smoke "rolling coal." But it all takes us to the same place --

-- unless we build a civilization that uplifts all children, respects and invests in science, ends secret cheating and persuade 8 billions to do very well living like jim... with footprints far smaller than I have in a suburban US home. The latter might save the world. The former is just returning to the "kill her slowly" approach of those goat herders.

jim said...

More than 70% of Americans say they believe climate change is real and a problem.
30% of Americans say that Climate Change is a crisis.
The problem is people are not acting on their beliefs. If those 30% of the people acted like there really was a climate crisis the rest of the system would change.

So we have a situation in which most of the people have the belief that climate change is somewhere between a problem and a crisis. Lack of Belief is not the problem. What is lacking is people acting on their beliefs. It is a lot easier to act on those believes if you see others doing it as well.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

The thing is that investing in employees IS investing in the company. Human capital adds to the value of the company (assuming people don't leave too fast with it) and that adds to shareholder value. These are the same thing.

Same is true for delivering value to customers. Returning customers make sales and revenue more predictable and act as free advertising. This increases shareholder value again.

Same is true of caring for one's supply chain. Anyone who has tried to produce a production line of anything knows they benefit from the knowledge of their suppliers. Cheap access to human capital. Again, this adds to shareholder value.


The notion that the purpose of a business was ONLY to improve shareholder value comes about from a partial misquote of Friedman. They got the front half of the sentence and leave off the second half that talks about 'while being consistent with the rules of society'. Doing that requires that the corporation be ethical in a manner the humans within it, interacting with it, and outside it agree IS ethical.


Anyone who starts a business has a choice to make. They are composed of the organized behaviors of human beings interacting with other human beings, so the choice is whether or not to have the organization express itself in ways all those humans see as ethical. The choice is multi-dimensional, though, because ethics is multi-dimensional. Most of us who want something better than an amoral team simply let the people on the team be the ethical people they are inclined to be. If you hire right your team IS ethical.

[Yah. It gets hard to do right when the team gets large.]

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

Winning the debate in the science market isn't winning the debate in the democracy market.

It's cool that you are demonstrating by example. That might alter behaviors of people who see and know you. What about the other billions, though? Belief isn't enough when we need action.

Our host is trying for the broader market.
Are you?

Larry Hart said...

jim:

What is lacking is people acting on their beliefs.


I suspect what is lacking is a combination of two things"

+ Lack of belief that there is any meaningful way to act on those beliefs.

+ The cynical sense that one is being played for a fool--that any meager savings provided by my actions will simply be gobbled up into the orders-of-magnitude greater damage done by powerful governments and corporations.

People will sacrifice for the greater good to a community who appreciates and shares the values being sacrificed for. They are less likely to sacrifice just to virtue-signal while others reap the selfish benefits that they are giving up.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The thing is that investing in employees IS investing in the company...


I've always agreed with that. So that manifesto or whatever you call it was not so much a statement to abandon shareholder value as to define that value as something other than the common focus on the stock price.

Since the stock price is something that one only realizes upon selling their shares, I consider that to be a focus on ex-shareholder value, not shareholder value.

jim said...

Larry, Alfred, David

You know sense I decided to walk the walk with regards to climate change, I have been happier, healthier and more at peace with myself than I have been in a long time. I eat good fresh food, get more exercise, am more creative with my spare time, my house is more comfortable and attractive and my life just better ( and I am a lot less angry ). For vacation this year I am going on a trilobite hunt with my nephews and niece. We are traveling back to the Cambrian but not leaving the area ;-)

I would not call what I am doing “sacrifice” I am having an adventure.

Larry Hart said...



https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/us/politics/trump-economy-recession.html


...

Mr. Trump has also struck an increasingly strident economic tone.

“You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k), everything is going to be down the tubes” if Democrats win, he told a crowd at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., last week. “Whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”

...


Even if that were true, which it isn't, I'm with Bill Maher on this one. A recession is a small price to pay to be done with Benedict Donald. I consider any subsequent loss to my retirement fund as a campaign contribution.

Jon S. said...

I am strongly reminded of this recent tweet from the official Archie Comics account:

archie: hey jughead, what's up?

jughead: just thinking about how only 100 companies are responsible for 70% of the world's carbon emissions and that putting emphasis on individuals to reduce their carbon footprint lets the wealthy off the hook

archie: what

jughead: what

jim said...

Jon S
Are you buying what those 100 companies are making? if the answer is yes than you are part of the problem.

Also if you do a global comparison - you most likely are one of the wealthy (just like almost everyone else here, so don't let yourself off the hook. )

A.F. Rey said...

Jim, do you eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of sleep? Kinda sounds like you do.

Do you believe all people should do so, since our health experts believe it is healthier to do so?

If so, how effective has your lifestyle been in changing your friends and neighbors habits?

I suspect it hasn't been very effective so far. Maybe a few individuals here and there, but not your town, or county, or state.

So I suspect your low-carbon lifestyle is having an equal effect on changing lifestyles.

For an individual's health, we can live with it. After all, my getting a heart attack won't change your life very much. But when it comes to global warming, which will affect all our lives, and even more, the lives of all our children and grandchildren, we need something much more effective. Something more like a war response than the drug problem response ("Just say no"). :)

Yes, it carries more weight when someone is already sacrificing for their beliefs. But it carries far more weight when our leadership makes it a priority for everyone to make the necessary sacrifices.

Wars are not won by individuals deciding when and where to fight. They are won with a united front from an entire nation, or an entire world.

David Brin said...

" If those 30% of the people acted like there really was a climate crisis the rest of the system would change."

Sorry, you've been polite, but seriously, you don't know shit. Grand, grad declarations. Oof!

That's 30% of Americans. That's not nothing. But fighting to empower that 70% to actually be heard in Washington... as they very much are in Sacramento... is what will change the world. It's what I (and not you) am fighting for.


David Brin said...

I already do most of what jim recommends - our cars last forever and are used little. The van is pristine from 2003. We have a huge vegetable garden, we eat almost no meat and I just harvested a dozen jars of honey from my bees. And while all that makes for healthy living and lowers my footprint a bit, that's not gonna win this war. Sanctimonious purity lectures won't accomplish a tenth as much as slogging through some of our political/social fights by actually putting it out there.

scidata said...

There is no sweeter moment than one in which a closed-minded dopamine zombie wakes up to rationality. It's an electrifying thing to witness -- or experience.

Larry Hart said...

Just watched the movie Gaslight.

As a fan of 1940s thrillers, I enjoyed it. I don't want to give spoilers because others here sounded interested as well. I will say this one comment--the relationship between the modern term "gaslighting" and the physical gaslights in the film isn't quite what I had expected it to be. The term is indeed appropriate as a reference to this film, but just not quite the way I imagined it.

Also, the younger maid looks awfully familiar. No, don't look it up on line. Just see if you recognize her as you're watching. A very young her.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I think it's important to understand that we face an adversary that has a vested, albeit short-sighted interest in denying basic facts, and to that end they've pretty much turned the Republican Party and the American right into a cult. And cultists are trained to be impervious to reason.
I actually got into a debate with a flat-earther this past week end. Didn't mean to--he said something about the science cabal and probably saw me twitch my mouth. So he accosted me. "You believe what they taught you in school. Tell me something that disproves the possibility of a flat earth."
So I asked him if the Earth was flat, what caused the seasons?
"See!" he shouted triumphantly. "You were taught in school to ask that!"
I wasn't, actually. I doubt it ever occurred to anyone that 50 years later, I might be asked to demonstrate why the Earth was a globe.
But I took several meteorology courses in college, and while the "Bowling Gods" theory of thunderstorms has since been deprecated, I still know about the great oceanic and atmospheric currents that guide our weather and recognize that the mechanics of Earth's motions are the only possible explanation.
Reason, I believe, will work with most people. But about a third of the population is resistant.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I view their effort as one of taking back the definition from those who would have people believe we are inherently amoral when engaged in business. At best, prudence is the only virtue on display for people who believe the erroneous definition, but we know what happens when too much emphasis is placed there and recognize it as vice.

I applaud their effort to fix things, but I don't expect they'll win. Language is an emergent thing and a lot of people like to define corporate purpose as something Homo Economicus would understand. It sounds scientific. Maximal Shareholder Value. Even works as an incantation. 8)


I'm just saying I don't think we need the three laws as long as we recognize that corporations are composed of people who may be free enough to behave ethically. It's been a while since I looked at those proposed laws, though. Maybe they cover that?

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

I wouldn't dare try to convince you to change what makes you happy. However, I will point out that you are doing a bit more than doing what you think is right locally. By being here and talking about it, you are talking to a group of people who can't see what you do. You are a potential influencer of opinion in a remote (and distributed) social subnet. Whether you convince the node at the hub of the net to see things your way or not, you potentially influence the other nodes... like me... and some of us have our own subnets elsewhere.

Something to consider for you, though. Our host is pointing out a way you might be mistaken. Is it possible to live a life with a relatively small footprint and then occasionally splurge in order to influence other networks in a way that makes up for the expense? He's telling you he thinks it is and that it is the only way to convince billions. Think about it on a theoretical level first. Is that possibly true for some set of behaviors? Might he being doing it? I suspect the answer to the first is yes and the answer to the second is 'I do not know without further information.'

Alfred Differ said...

1. Round shadow of Earth on the Moon during lunar eclipses no matter where the Moon is in the sky.


One eclipse with a curved shadow leaves open a disc shaped Earth.
All eclipses for all viewers with curved shadows does not.


I learned that in the very first and only logic class I ever took. (by correspondence before I was old enough to have learned a stubborn stick-to-it-ness) The lesson involved drawing Venn-like diagrams for statements that suggested set properties. I was puzzled why a curved shadow on the Moon wasn't enough as my diagram clearly told me it wasn't. Then it hit me and changed by view of astronomy by making it a bit more 3-D. Every history show I've watched since where the narrator tries to explain the large impact Aristotle's Logic had in Europe when it was re-discovered/re-introduced leaves me saying "Yah. I get it!"

Not that it will convince Flat Earther's.
They'll just reject Logic too.

David Brin said...

That's why I go instead to the pathetic narcissism of conspiracy theories involving vast numbers of super-coordinated, utterly disciplined henchmen. In the flat-Earth case it requires not thousands, not millions, but at lease a billion people in scores of languages and cultures, some of them hating each other furiously, but in agreement to cover up what many (by now) would easily have observed by now, far, far more extnsively than a few parochially limited and microcephalic flat earthers.

"The alternative hypothesis is that YOU are a dunce who is desperate to deny that fact, by glomming into a way so self-declare being in-the-know and bravely opposing villainous deceivers."

That does work in some scenarios, thouhg. e.g. "THis is all a giant simulation that controls all the NPCs so they'll spout the same story."

David Brin said...

Especially airline pilots, of course. Heck all pilots. But that's faked, too.

duncan cairncross said...

Flat earthers
Not so many down here in the antipodes - probably because almost everybody has got at least one friend or relative back in the northern hemisphere and

Here we go "ask my brother what time it is and where the sun is" - is a winning argument -ask YOUR brother is an even better one

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

So he accosted me. "You believe what they taught you in school. Tell me something that disproves the possibility of a flat earth."


The fact that I can't see the Empire State Building from atop the Hancock Building in Chicago would do for a start. Or why I can't see Australia from an airplane.

This isn't rocket science.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Reason, I believe, will work with most people. But about a third of the population is resistant.


We reality-based folks believe that refusal to acknowledge basic reality puts one at a disadvantage--that they'll get things wrong and lose battles because of it.

They have a different faith. They are "Triumph Of The Will" people who think that if as little as 1000 of them dream something, reality will bend to them. And unlike cats (or liberals), it's not difficult at all to convince 1000 of them to believe the same thing.

We saw which worldview prevails in WWII, and it looks like all of us latecomers to that conflict will have another chance.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:




The Three Laws of Corporatics were first discussed in the comments under that Ayn Rand post I just recently looked up for Dr Brin:

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2011/11/atlas-shrugged-hidden-context-of-book_27.html

The wording of the laws was always a work in progress, so that wasn't even the final state of our discussion. But the intent of the analogy was always that Asimov conceived his Three Laws as a way of de-Frankensteining robots--of casting them as safe and useful tools rather than menacing Pandora's Box threats--and that something similar could perhaps be done with corporations.

Stripped of specificity, the Three Laws of Corporatics were as such:

1) Don't produce net-negative value
2) Perform your function
3) Keep yourself viable

I consider "maximizing shareholder value" (or at least "producing good enough return on investment") to be part of the Third Law. And one of the points was to put that piece in its place, so to speak, rather than treating it as the One And Only Law Of Corporatics.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Not that it will convince Flat Earther's.
They'll just reject Logic too.


Sort of repeating a point.

They think "rejecting logic" is a winning strategy. Do we fear them or pity them for this viewpoint? In any case, I think we'll see who wins within our lifetimes, and I say that as someone catching up to 60 very soon.

scidata said...

It's possible that the space race saved us from conflagration in the 1960s. Hopefully India's Chandrayaan-2 ("moon vehicle") is a step along the same path. SciFi futurism helps too. As I've said before, the best way to defeat Big Brother is to out-dream him. We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. - Oscar Wilde

Zepp Jamieson said...

Exactly so, Alfred. Mediaeval farmers could see the Earth was a disk from the shape of the shadow, and they could see the Moon, the Sun, and the five visible planets were disks, so it stood to reason...
And Eratosthenes stuck a couple of sticks in the ground back around 300 BCE and showed it was a globe. He even calculated the circumference to about 1% of accuracy.

There's that old line about how you can't use reason to dissuade someone from a belief they didn't use reason to arrive at in the first place, but it is fun making them flail around, stuck for an answer to support an impossible belief.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"It's possible that the space race saved us from conflagration in the 1960s."

I think it did. Quite aside from the distracting wonder of it all, it gave the Pentagon a healthy respect for the sheer power of Soviet rockets, and it gave the Soviets pause, contemplating the accuracy of American proto-military manoeuvers.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH said, "We reality-based folks believe that refusal to acknowledge basic reality puts one at a disadvantage--that they'll get things wrong and lose battles because of it."

Eventually, perhaps. Although Galileo might have some thoughts to share on the relative strengths of logic and evidence versus reactionary dogma.

Remember, the Renaissance began in a land that in present times will allow 70 young girls to burn to death rather than risk allowing firefighters to see them in their nightgowns.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin: I've worked with a fair number of Woos in my community. And if you think the Christians are bad when it comes to fighting over obscure minutia, you should see this lot. They fight like wolverines over EVERYTHING!
One time one was leaving my office and a rival showed up. They exchanged glares, and the second one came in.
"Why do you work with him?" he groused. "He's a false prophet!"
I shrugged.
"He claims to be THE Saint Germain!"
"Yeah, I know. I did his business cards."
"Well?"
"Well what?"
"He's false!"
I shrugged again.
"How can you work with someone who says he's Saint Germain?"
At that point my patience wore out. "Al, YOU say that you're Saint Germain!"
"I am! I am the real Germain!"
I waited to see if the logic of the situation might sink in. It didn't.
I finally did point out that, being agnostic on the matter of what's germane and what's Germain, I couldn't reasonably refuse to do business with one without refusing to do business with the other. They were both good clients and in my opinion, nice people.
He finally allowed that this made sense, and even apologised for an unreasonable demand. Nice old guy. Died about ten years ago.

scidata said...

"All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer."
- Robert Owen


I'm careful to only use this quote in circles that can discern the Victorian parlance. Otherwise I risk getting punched in the beak :)

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

LH said, "We reality-based folks believe that refusal to acknowledge basic reality puts one at a disadvantage--that they'll get things wrong and lose battles because of it."

Eventually, perhaps. Although Galileo might have some thoughts to share on the relative strengths of logic and evidence versus reactionary dogma.


My point wasn't that logic and reason would win arguments, but that the arguments that it doesn't win will eventually bite the "winners" in the butt. Reality is a harsh mistress.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: speaking of rocket science, it's fun getting the flatheads to explain how orbits work. Most simply deny the existence of objects in orbit, of course.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"My point wasn't that logic and reason would win arguments, but that the arguments that it doesn't win will eventually bite the "winners" in the butt. Reality is a harsh mistress."

Ah. I misunderstood. And agreed. Although Galileo definitely got butt-bit, didn't he?

David Brin said...

While the lunar eclipse is important (!) and you can demand that theFE nut use a stopwatch from sunset till the eclipse, too... the Eratothsenes bit is the killer.

"Telephone a dozen people in cities all over the worldand have them measure at the same time the angle and length of a shadow from a 1 meter stick stuck in the ground vertically. Make a little clay model of each scene with a string heading toward the sun. See how they have to fit together for the strings to go to the same place. Hint: the last task will wok best with a beach ball."

Zepp Jamieson said...

"use a stopwatch from sunset till the eclipse, too"

That would work with people of normal intelligence, but in this instance, you're dealing with people who think Trigonometry was Roy Roger's horse.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Although Galileo definitely got butt-bit, didn't he?


Yes, the reality-deniers don't always lose right away.

Austria and Czechoslovakia and Poland and France got bit in the butt too. For awhile.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Yes, the reality-deniers don't always lose right away."

That's something to keep in mind. If the Trumpenfuhrer gets his way and America falls, it will eventually come back. It might take a while, perhaps longer than we can hope to live, but it will.

Larry Hart said...

speaking of...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/opinion/russia-disinformation-trump.html

...

But Pomerantsev’s most intriguing insight is about how a post-fact society emerges from despair and cynicism about the future.

Throughout the Cold War, he writes, “both sides were engaged in what had begun as a debate about which system — democratic capitalism or communism — would deliver a rosier future for all mankind. The only way to prove you were achieving this future was to provide evidence.” Obviously, this didn’t mean regimes told the truth, only that they were invested in being seen as truthful. That’s why facts that revealed their deceptions could endanger them.

But today, few leaders claim to have an ideological map to a better world. The march of history has been replaced by the will to power. Pomerantsev contrasts Soviet propaganda, which tried, however crudely, to be convincing to outsiders, with modern Russia disinformation, which just aims to confuse. You could make a similar comparison between Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric and Trump’s. One way of communicating points forward, the other, back. Pomerantsev quotes the Russian-American Harvard professor Svetlana Boym, who wrote, “The 20th century began with Utopia and ended with nostalgia.”

...

Jon S. said...

One thing that works for me with conspiracy theories is to ask, "Who benefits?" What's the upside of people believing this, and to whom?

Now admittedly, anyone who denies the very existence of satellites is probably beyond reach anyway, but - to conceal the flatness of Earth would require a vast conspiracy, involving at minimum half of the people alive. What's the purpose of the belief? Who benefits, and from what? What could possibly induce all these people to continue promoting what they know is a lie?

With things like the lunar landing, of course, it might be necessary to take the opposite tack - why would the USSR, at the height of the Cold War, not have revealed that their greatest ideological enemy was committing a massive fraud on the entire world? And of course some conspiracy theories have to fall to simple reason, but those tend to be the ones that mark their believers as harmless cranks rather than serious threats to our shared future (if you believe the CIA went to such elaborate lengths to assassinate JFK, well, at least you hold that our government institutions are capable of carrying out long-range planning with amazing efficiency!).

It's also necessary, at times, to remember the wise words of Thomas Paine, in The American Crisis: "To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture."

scidata said...

After nagging the bookstore to stock in some Brin, I finally gave up and ordered "Earth" myself. Larry Hart was right about paper vs e-books; I carried Le Guin's "Dispossessed" around all summer instead of a tablet - far more convenient and relaxing.

I wanted to get "Existence" too, but it was $40. Proof of what I've always suspected - SETI is where the big money is.

Darrell E said...

Zepp Jamieson said...
"There's that old line about how you can't use reason to dissuade someone from a belief they didn't use reason to arrive at in the first place, but it is fun making them flail around, stuck for an answer to support an impossible belief."

I like that old line too and the point it makes is accurate. But, the reality of it is more complicated and worse than that old line by itself suggests. Many reality deniers, like flat Earthers, do use reason to arrive at, be persuaded to, and to support their reality denying views. They can reason and depending on the context often pretty well.

2 key additional factors are that, 1) though they may reason just fine they do have a prior commitment to their version of reality, as that old line suggests. It may be beliefs founded by religious indoctrination, or perhaps a pathological desire to be one of the few in the know, or perhaps an unregulated suspicion of authority. This prior commitment then causes them use their reasoning abilities to reason towards the belief they already hold rather than to reason towards an accurate understanding of the reality of the issue. People that are better at reasoning can be harder to convince that they've been wrong.

The 2nd factor is assessment of how likely it is that a given bit of reasoning, or claim, maps to reality. This is something that humans in general find rather difficult. Even individual scientists. This is why science is prescribed processes rather than prescribed reasoning, to attempt to account for this weakness. This is also why societies that don't allow free collaboration don't do science very well. Good reasoning can be used to support any fanciful claim anyone could dream up. Theologians have been showcasing that for thousands of years.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S quoting Thomas Paine:

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture."


Well as to the latter, most if not all believers I know think "endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture" is not only a good idea, but a moral imperative.

Treebeard said...

Larry, the people I see pushing “triumph of the will”, “we are gods in the making” hubristic fantasies hardest these days are techno-progressive types like our host, or that Epstein dude and his (highly credentialed and scientific) pals. If you think this world and this life are all there is, then I guess you better get busy assembling that harem and building that transhuman utopia. Why not? Is it not SCIENCE? Flat Earthism is another way to troll and distract these arrogant busybrains, not a serious belief, as far as I can tell.

(I’ve been mostly off-grid lately, hiking in the mountains and such to get away from the madhouse called civilization. Highly recommended. Catch you all later down the trail.)

jim said...

"But Pomerantsev’s most intriguing insight is about how a post-fact society emerges from despair and cynicism about the future."

We are hitting the Limits to Growth right on schedule and the God of Progress's vision of limitless growth into a Star Trek Future has been loosing its hold over peoples imagination and is seen as a false and dangerous ideology by an increasing number of people.

It will be interesting to watch what takes the place of the God of Progress in our society over the next couple of decades.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Flat Earthism is another way to troll and distract these arrogant busybrains, not a serious belief, as far as I can tell.


I used to think so, until I saw some of them speak on television. I'm pretty sure I first encountered them on the Phil Donohue Show, and then other times after that as well.

Unless they're REALLY good actors, they actually do believe that s***.


Epstein dude and his (highly credentialed and scientific) pals


Don't think the anti-Semitism is oblique enough to escape notice.

Jon S. said...

"...most if not all believers I know think "endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture" is not only a good idea, but a moral imperative."

And they're generally about as successful as Paine would suggest. :-)

(Personally, I don't attempt to convert. I live my ideals as best I can, and hope that provides them sufficient impetus to look into the question for themselves. If they live lives that fulfill what Christ called for, without themselves believing, that's good enough for me, and I believe good enough for Him as well.)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Jon S: Conspiracy theorists are fairly easy to manipulate. Cambridge Analytica and other Shitpockets like them targeted conspiracy theories in the barrage of ads running up to Brexit and the 2016 elections. They are a favourite target of anyone who seeks to upset or replace established authority, because it's the very nature of conspiracy theorists that the authorities are a cabal that are Hiding Something Evil. I mentioned Saint Germain earlier: there is a Church of Saint Germain here, and while it's mostly well-meaning duffers who believe the Mountain has Lemurians, there was a very unsavoury link between them and the Silver Shirts back in the 30s. Conspiracy theories are rife in the Woo community: the evils of 5G is the flavour of the month. They are also a target of scam artists, who sell perpetual motion machines and the like, marketing them as things of incredible value the government (or Illuminati, or the Clintons, or Brin) are HIDING from you!

Zepp Jamieson said...

Darrell E: A lot of the "logic" used by conspiracy theorists is just intellectual pareidolia-- they find patterns where there are none. Throw enough kitchen sinks about, and someone will eventually shout, "Look! It All Adds Up!" Basically, it's reasoning, but it's flawed reasoning. Usually it stems from a false premise. There's an old "Bloom County" that has the brainy kid, Oliver, standing in front of a black board covered in scientifical squiggles. His teacher is looking at it, and says, "A profound and beautiful theory, Mr. Jones. But there is one flaw: hamsters cannot fly." The initial premise is key: if you can get people to believe the world is as it is and authorities are untrustworthy because, say, 'the world is run by evil Joo bankers' then you can build from that, and eventually you have people believe the Queen of England is a lizard, or that the Earth is flat.

Treebeard said...

Jim, it looks like it’s gonna be a rough transition, with a lot of hysteria, scapegoating and conspiracy theorizing to go around. I mean, if the Star Trek world of matter replicators and galactic socialism I grew up watching on TV doesn’t come to pass, it must mean that some evil Confederate Russkie Mafia Theocrats are sabotaging our society and contaminating our precious bodily fluids, right? It couldn’t be that we aren’t actually godlings, and we don’t have the ability to bend the universe infinitely to our wills like a giant vending machine cuz we are so damned clever like Spock and cocky like Kirk—that’s unthinkable!

Right Larry, I forgot to add Nazis to the above list of villains. No offense, but you sound like a guy who could really benefit from some off-grid time away from the madhouse I mentioned earlier.

Larry Hart said...

@Jon S (with apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber),


"One thing I'll say for him,
Jesus is cool!"

David Brin said...

"But Pomerantsev’s most intriguing insight is about how a post-fact society emerges from despair and cynicism about the future."

Diametrically opposite to what's happening. Faced with a likely SUCCESS of liberal civilization, as ever higher fractions of children reach educated/confident adulthood, the oligarchy and fanatic-thug allies have to demolish that confidence by spreading suspicion of facts and cynicism.

jim, despite consciously opposing them, is their unconscious lackey.

Treebeard enjoy ( i mean it) hiking through the nature you are helping to destroy. What's amusing is your pretense that the wave of perverts is not primarily Republican (it is, by probably a 10x factor)... and that troglodytes have a monopoly on religious foundation, when God clearly (in a dozen scriptural places) wants us to become scientific co-creators, picking up his tools. But the blatant proof isn't scriptural. It's the fact that we are so good at it!

scidata said...

Dr. Brin: But the blatant proof isn't scriptural. It's the fact that we are so good at it!

This is a strong argument. We're not good at destruction, barbarism, or genocide. It invariably ends up in the fall of empire, world courts, and perps falling on their swords. We are good at science. It invariably ends up with cures for disease, widespread literacy, and uplifting award ceremonies. And I say that as one who has not attended or been invited to such ceremonies since I was 18. I'm certainly not in the godly caste. As for Star Trek, I would say that Roddenberry's timetable was too pessimistic. We seem to have achieved much of his vision in half a century, not three.

BTW I ordered "Earth" through the bookstore (Indigo in Canada). It seemed like the only way to make this customer's preferences known.

David Brin said...

Scidata amen. See: http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/2001.html

What I fear is some oligarchs read this very essay and decided to prevent it.

Jon S. said...

Part of the reason the Trek future took three centuries, of course, was because of the massive setback when the Third World War happened in the early 2000s, after the damage wrought by the Eugenics Wars in the 1990s.

We have the advantage of never having experienced either. :-)

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

Part of the reason the Trek future took three centuries, of course, ...


Was "The 23rd Century" ever actually alluded to in TOS? My sense is that the setting of a particular time-frame was a retcon that happened around the time of the first movies.

When I used to watch Star Trek (reruns) as a teenager in the early 70s, I always imagined it taking place WAAAAAAYYYY in the future, like a Foundation-level time frame.

Larry Hart said...

Right-wingers seem to be in a bubble in which their consensus view of liberals is diametrically opposite of reality.

On my way home yesterday, I was in traffic behind an SUV covered with right-wing bumper stickers. There was "Trump 2020" "Keep America Great", etc, but also some very long (for a bumper sticker) screeds like "Liberals want you to think exactly like them. Conservatives just want you to think!" Which is true the way locumranch's missives are sometimes true--if you switch the labels around.

Likewise, I hear on the radio that Benedict Donald has been asserting that any Jews who vote for Democrats are either stupid or traitorous. Again, quite true if by "Democrats" one means "Republicans".

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart said...
Was "The 23rd Century" ever actually alluded to in TOS? My sense is that the setting of a particular time-frame was a retcon that happened around the time of the first movies.

Well, 22nd/23rd century, based on the original show. According to the writers' guide from TOS:
We invented "Stardate" to avoid continually mentioning Star Trek's century (actually, about two hundred years from now), and getting into arguments about whether this or that would have developed by then.

scidata said...

Dr. Brin's 2001 essay covers the social changes very nicely.

It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future
- Danish proverb (probably Greenlanders too)

The stultifyingly slow ship's computer in TOS is the glaring misfire for me. Working........ dit dit dit. And Daystrom's Multitronic M-5's gameplay would look like Pong by 2000 standards. There's IBM Watson on Jeopardy or AlphaGo doing what experts said would take 100 years. And that pocket calculator Spock had would be put to shame by a TI-30 (circa 1977).

Larry Hart said...

@scidata et al,

It's fine to pick apart the predictive nature of Star Trek in good fun, but I don't like getting bogged down in judging the series based upon what seems like a realistic prediction of technological progress between 1966 and 2266. That isn't the intent of a show like Star Trek. It's primarily an action/adventure show set in outer space, although admittedly more "written for adults" (as our host might have it) than Lost in Space or Star Wars.

The technology looked futuristic in 1966 and (to me, anyway) worked as such to provide plausibility. It matters little to me except as an amusing exercise--that is, it doesn't ruin the show for me--whether it continues to provide a blueprint of how our real world will become that world in the correct time frame.

I have the same personal issue about the Foundation trilogy. I enjoy the original stories much more than the ones which attempt to reconcile those stories with other stories or with reality. No offense to Dr Brin who did some of those stories. They were enjoyable for what they were, but "what they were" isn't as much my cup of tea as the originals.

David Brin said...

The rapid diagnosing tricorder is still impressive.

Larry Hart said...

gregory byshenk:

Well, 22nd/23rd century, based on the original show. According to the writers' guide from TOS:


Well, that's something anyway. I guess the writers always did have the 23rd Century in mind as the setting of the show, but it looks as if I was correct that they purposely avoided nailing it down that specifically in the episodes themselves.

Larry Hart said...

Weren't the early "flip-phones" purposely designed to resemble Star Trek communicators? How would you even begin to reconcile that with the in-universe timeline of the show? In fact, that's a problem with any popular fiction set in the future. During the action in (say) 2001 or Soylent Green, you'd have to expect at least someone to go, "Hey, didn't I see this in a movie a few decades ago?"

And while much of real tech has already surpassed the "futuristic" technology of Star Trek, I think it's a pretty safe bet that there won't be the sort of transporter technology seen in the show by 2266.

Alfred Differ said...

Check the time-travel TOS scripts. Those would be the ones to mention the century.
For me, I don't remember it being mentioned until one of the later movies did.


“The 20th century began with Utopia and ended with nostalgia.”

Honestly, I don't think that works for the US or Russia. Neither place was a utopia in 1900 and the US wasn't nostalgic in 1999. As I recall, some of us were laying fiber optic cable across the oceans to connect the world and others were expect 'great things' from that.

Sounds like There Once Was A Golden Age bullshit to me.

scidata said...

@Larry Hart

Of course dissing TOS's predictions is not fair. I mainly wanted to point out that regarding it as crazy fantasy that will never happen (as some in here occasionally do) is dead wrong. We're w-a-a-y ahead of schedule, not behind. This strikes fear into the trog heart.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

“The 20th century began with Utopia and ended with nostalgia.”

Honestly, I don't think that works for the US or Russia. Neither place was a utopia in 1900 and the US wasn't nostalgic in 1999.


I read that differently from the way you did--that hopes and expectations at the turn of the century were Utopian in nature. That "Utopia is just around the corner", one might say.

But nostalgia? There was a lot of wistful looking back at the 60s and 70 in popular culture, and the 70s themselves had been largely dominated by nostalgia for the 50s. "Happy Days" begat "That 70s Show".

And I don't remember exactly when the trend started that all big movies were either remakes or sequels, but somoe of that was already going on by the 1990s. The Star Wars prequels and Gus Van Sant's Psycho, for example.

David Brin said...

Alfred the MYTHOLOGIES of 1900 were mostly positive and those of 1999 were largely dour.

There's a rule. If the tech is magically super-future then it can be anything - hyperdrive, transporters. But if it's an extrapolation of something existing...

In Buch Rogers they are abandoning their spaceship over a distant planet. "Got your Gravity belt? Check! Ray-gun? Check! Oh, don't forget the PORTABLE RADIO! Buck comes back l;ucking this mahogany monster box with dials.

Larry Hart said...

@scidata,

I don't mind noting the missed predictions if it's done in fun. What I don't like is when people let it ruin the show for them--as if there's no reason to watch because it's not the future of our reality any longer. As if it ever was, and as if that was ever the point of the stories in the first place.

Zepp Jamieson said...

There isn't much SF that does well in the prediction department. Stand on Zanzibar, Earth, a couple of Stephenson's novels, and REALLY near future ones such as Robinson's Antarctica, and that's about it. And none of us, not even Dr. Futurist, can say with any high degree of certainty what the world will be like in the 23rd century. And the Doctor does have a pretty good batting average in his field.

David Brin said...

Fred Pohl AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT had pocket assistants that could research for you (or make calls) back when even a car phone was sci fi.

scidata said...

How about Marconi and friends musing about cell phones in... 1901?
http://earlyradiohistory.us/1901ayrt.htm

Alfred Differ said...

Ah. Okay. I guess I didn't get the memo.

By the late 90's my marriage was fairly new, had a kid on the way, I was employed, Cold War was over without everyone dead, predicted global famine wasn't happening, the open source coder folks were effectively preventing the capture of the new knowledge tools, and my friends were trying to put stuff in space. I wasn't paying attention to 'dour', so I'm guilty of selection effect. 8)

I'm familiar with the watch we are supposed to keep for when Americans get too into violent movies. Read somewhere that is a sign that we aren't getting enough 'war' in our lives. Our barbarian nature needs an outlet, so be careful in the next election. I'm familiar with the vampires/zombie metaphor some have discussed here. Honestly, though, most people I know seem too wrapped up in their lives to have gotten the memo either. Okay... I'll be careful in the election, but I'm not much of a believer.

Deuxglass said...

The Star Trek communicators are awesome but they lack a couple very necessary features. They can't take pictures or stream video although I suppose a tricorder could make up for that.

One thing I find puzzling is trade between the planets. What use is trade when you can just replicate anything you get your hands on? You find something new, buy one and then replicate all you want. That would definitely disincentive inventors. I suppose copyright laws would have to be very strong in that universe. Maybe Star Fleet is basically there to fight counterfeiters such as the Klingons, the Romulans and the Cardassians.

Larry Hart said...

@Alfred Differ,

Alan Moore's somewhat-famous "Watchmen" comic, published in 1986, had a character noticing that tv was full of infantile imagery (like "Care Bears") juxtaposed with oiled musclemen (like "Rambo"), and concluding that humanity was scared witless by the cold war and retreating into nostalgia over innocent youth. His plan was to cause an event which would jar humanity out of its funk and make it forward-looking again, and he was adjusting his company's investment portfolio and advertisements to take advantage of the to-be-effected change in popular attitude. The "Nostalgia" line of cologne being replaced by the "Millennium" line, for example.

For what that's worth.

Larry Hart said...

@Deuxglass,

Well, the original series didn't have replicators yet.

Maybe commerce in the 24th Century is all about things that replicators can't reproduce, like porn and cat videos. :)

Deuxglass said...

Larry Hart,

Yes they did. Remember the episode where they go back in time and they have to beam up a policeman by accident? They asked him what do you want to eat and he replied "chicken soup". The crewman punched in the order and voila. The soup appeared.

Interplanetary trade in porn stars in the flesh would be a money-maker although going to war to protect that trade might be a hard sell.

If everybody easy access to replicators then they could make phasers, photon torpedoes and the like so replicators would have to be under strict control. I suppose the Amazon would capture that function very well. Anything you want to replicate would have to go through Amazon headquartered on the planet Bezos who would replicate it at your local replicator.

Deuxglass said...

Larry Hart,

Episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday", season 1 of the original Star Trek I think it was.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Heh. I wouldn't be surprised if that is what I read that crystalized the idea in my head.
He was the one who took off his mask early. The smart one who realized he had to hatch a plan after the Comedian burns the map.

I gotta be careful as I don't always remember the pedigree of the ideas I hold in my head.
Some of those people need to stay on the pages. 8)

Bob Neinast said...

Regarding replicators, has anybody else read the "Venus Equilateral" stories by George O. Smith?

It takes them a story or two, but the protagonists finally figure out that transporters are essentially replicators.

David Brin said...

No, the killer tech is the Holodeck.

No male human is ever seen again.

Larry Hart said...

Deuxglass:

Remember the episode where they go back in time and they have to beam up a policeman by accident? They asked him what do you want to eat and he replied "chicken soup". The crewman punched in the order and voila. The soup appeared.


Ah, yes, you are correct that they had "food replicators". Now that you mention that, I recall them being mentioned in at least one other episode (Space Seed? Or maybe the one with Abraham Lincoln?), something about how you'd have a hard time distinguishing its meat from the real thing.

I never got the idea that they could replicate anything, though. Nothing in any episode seemed to imply that any substance was readily available at almost no cost.

And even in the 24th Century, I believe replicators couldn't produce dilithium crystals. It seems that for every technology, there's always some analog to Kryptonite.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

No, the killer tech is the Holodeck.

No male human is ever seen again.


Holodeck technology has the potential to function as the Golgafrincham B-Ark.

Or The Rapture, for that matter.

The possibilities are endless.

scidata said...

Dr. Brin:
No, the killer tech is the Holodeck.
No male human is ever seen again.



Does this mean that you've finally come around to my greater fear of BNW over 1984?

scidata said...

Re: Lunar geology (not trying to re-open that can of worms, but...)
https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Preparing_for_the_Future/Discovery_and_Preparation/Seeking_innovative_ideas_for_exploring_lunar_caves


I once programmed a marine ROV for a mining company. Also looked at autonomous terrestrial mining robots. Even if all you care about are asteroids, this is a career with a future IMHO. The ESA is cool because it's a slightly tilted-head next to NASA.

David Brin said...

TOS soup maker could be a spray printer using organic feedstock, not a make-everything-including-elements miracle device.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

Does this mean that you've finally come around to my greater fear of BNW over 1984?


I think most of us are in agreement that 1984 is the scarier scenario to think about being in, but that Brave New World is the more likely scenario to actually come to pass.

duncan cairncross said...

The scary thing about BNW is that it would be stable - and could last forever

1984 has a short shelf life - even if it is replaced by something worse

Zepp Jamieson said...

I got around the social impact of replicators (which I called 'imprinters' by having them be very slow and power-hungry to run. They had to construct things molecule by molecule, and of course required raw materials, so they didn't get used on a casual basis. Another type of imprinter worked on an atomic level, and could create spare parts for people, but was far slower and inefficient.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

1984 has a short shelf life - even if it is replaced by something worse


Maybe. Recall that in the actual story of 1984, O'Brien explains to Winston why the system, once in place, will be eternal. And Winston doesn't come up with any arguments to the contrary.



The scary thing about BNW is that it would be stable - and could last forever


Well, beware of claims to perpetual motion. At greatest remove, it couldn't outlast the supernova-ing of the sun, or the heat death of the universe. Or as someone here keeps pointing out, it would have a hard time outlasting the supply of fossil fuels.

David Brin said...

"The scary thing about BNW is that it would be stable - and could last forever"

Actually, when you meet Mustafa Mond, the impression is different. He listens to Bernard respectfully, argues, then sends him not to death but to an island to work on his ideas further. I get an impression the controllers know that change will come someday. They view their job as to solve all residual problems and then be skeptical toward change, but persuadable.

The problem is not intentional rigidity. It is the natural tendency of elites to rationalize continued power, and the attractor condition that awaits... a beehive.

locumranch said...


David believes the US Democrat Party wants to "get back to negotiating based on demonstrable verifiable facts" .

Heh. An interesting hypothesis, one easily disproved by simply asking Biden, Warren & the other Democrat Party hacks how many genders they see.

Then, there's the Ocean Acidification argument, a massive fail if there ever is one, especially when the US Red States are largely land-locked & under-populated when compared to the progressive Blue State coastal urban utopias which are busy crapping up THEIR planet's oceans with their discarded Fuji water bottles, their air-conditioned McMansions, their unprocessed human waste & their jet-setting lifestyles.

Most definitely, it's not the Red States that are crapping up the planet's oceans with our waste, for as sure as shooting, our waste never makes it to the sea because (1) we are land-locked in the continent's non-coastal interior and (2) it's not OUR sea.

Except for me & the other unenlightened white supremacists out there cause I got some ocean front property in Arizona and, if you buy that, I'll throw the Golden Gate in free.


Best

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch demonstrates his geographical acumen: " it's not the Red States that are crapping up the planet's oceans with our waste, for as sure as shooting, our waste never makes it to the sea because (1) we are land-locked in the continent's non-coastal interior and (2) it's not OUR sea. "

Hmm. North Carolina is landlocked?
South Carolina is is landlocked?
Florida is landlocked?
Georgia is landlocked?
Alabama is landlocked?
Louisiana is landlocked?
Mississippi is landlocked?
Texas is landlocked?
Alaska is landlocked?

Now, shall we discuss red states that have major ocean-bound rivers running through or past them?

Tony Fisk said...

@scidata's comment about Marconi's wireless phone in 1901 reminds me of a point Arthur C Clarke made in a 1979 speech:

"It is indeed quite impossible for even the most far-sighted prophet to visualise the effects of a really major technological development.
:
When Bell invented the telephone, the Chief Engineer of the British Post Office was asked if this amazing new device would ever catch on in the UK. He replied grandly: 'No sir. The Americans might have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.'

It's pleasant to record that this gentleman - Sir William Preece - subsequently laid the foundations of the British phone system, and later backed Marconi with his 'wireless' experiments. He was no fool; but he couldn't imagine, when he first heard about it, just what the telephone would do to human affairs.
:
The point I am trying to make is that really revolutionary inventions turn the world upside down."


- From "Electronics and Education", contained in "1984: Spring"

Since we were discussing the fantastical, my killer app would be a wearable 'gossamer' field generator that absorbs the kinetic energy of high speed projectiles.

Alfred Differ said...

The Greater Mississippi River Basin connects almost all interior states to the gulf. That’s why they have any money at all.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Actually, when you meet Mustafa Mond, the impression is different. ... I get an impression the controllers know that change will come someday. They view their job as to solve all residual problems and then be skeptical toward change, but persuadable.about


There's an early expository chapter in the book in which Mustafa Mond describes his own motivations, and they at least have a flavor of self-sacrifice for the good of the many. He talks about how the population had doubled from one billion to two billion once the industrial revolution got started, and that society has no choice but to flawlessly tend the machines, because if they ever break down, one billion people won't ever be able to bury the other billion dead. In his view, humanity had no choice but to organize itself in the best way possible to continually tend machines.

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Since we were discussing the fantastical, my killer app would be a wearable 'gossamer' field generator that absorbs the kinetic energy of high speed projectiles.


We'll never get any meaningful gun reform in the US until some innovation like that comes along which eliminates the advantage a gun confers. Me, I imagine something that can remotely cause a gun to jam and backfire.

David Brin said...

Zepp, it's worse than that. Blue America BOTH is less in danger and more eager to invent new ways to feed/support billions at a lower footprint.

The American southeast is by far the most vulnerable region to climate change, to coastal flooding, to tropical diseases, kunzu., parasites, intolerable temperatures etc... yet the most slavishly devoted to chanting denialist incantations at behest of their plantation lords.

One might deem that ironic and weird, were it not consistent with past episodes of immense stupidity and turpitude.

David Brin said...

LH in the ongoing, 4000 year back and forth between weapons and armor, the US military swung hard to armor 30 years ago. Today's troops suffer very few wounds in the torso. Extremities amputations are far more common.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yes, and long before sea level rise is a massive and immediate problem, pattern changes in everything else will have taken a huge toll, and as you note, the south eastern states will take the brunt of it. Current changes, wind changes, rain and drought changes, longer "spells" of hot, cold, dry and wet. More crop failures. Exotic diseases. New types of bugs. Die off of beneficial insects. Acidification of coastal waters. On and on, non stop...

Tony Fisk said...

A counterpoint to David's holodeck that eats males is a *real* 'killer' app: the recent discovery that certain gels can affect the speed of X and Y sperm, allowing them to be easily (ie bathroom easily) separated.

This would never be abused in certain societies who value male babies over female, would it?

locumranch said...


Since most US coastal enclaves are almost universally blue, perhaps Zepp & I are using different maps, a fact which is especially true for Florida & Texas. Also google plastic waste in our planet's oceans of which Asia accounts for 87% percent of the plastic waste soiling our seas, most of which is exported to Asia by Blue Urban FALSE environmentalist hypocrites:

https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-06-13/americas-grungy-recycled-plastic-creating-wastelands-asia

And, speaking of the US Democrat Party's predilection for "verifiable facts" : How many genders do US democrat party hacks see? I'll clue you in, it's greater than 42, so much so that Tony's "male babies over female" hysteria qualifies as genderqueer hate speech.


Best

Jon S. said...

In the original Star Trek, they didn't even have food replicators as seen in TNG - they had food synthesizers. It could synthesize an item from a preprogrammed menu, but had to have all the ingredients in the system (hence Kirk complaining about not having turkey in "Charlie X"). There was still interstellar trade in luxury food items. And of course without replicators any other items would still need to be either manufactured or transported through space - no making your own replacement parts when your ship is damaged, if you don't have a spare in stores you'd better head for a starbase for resupply.

That's also why TOS still had money (cf Uhura trying to spend ten credits to buy a tribble at K-7, or one episode where Kirk told Scotty, "You've earned your pay for the week!"). If you have trade, you need some medium of exchange.

And yes, Trek did inspire a lot of our modern technologies - flip phones were deliberately designed to echo the appearance of TOS communicators, for instance, while the TNG PADD was an enormous influence on the design of the iPad and similar tablet computers. Heck, the design of Naval ship bridges has been modified to take into account the way that the captain's chair of a starship can see the various bridge positions (personally I think having the captain's position elevated is more reminiscent of Klingon design than Starfleet, but either way...).

Larry Hart said...

Without further comment...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/opinion/economy-recession.html

...

As Alan Murray, the C.E.O. of Fortune, writes in a cover story chronicling the C-suite anxiety: “More and more C.E.O.s worry that public support for the system in which they’ve operated is in danger of disappearing.” They’re worried that when the next recession breaks, revolution might, too. This could be the hour that the ship comes in: The coming recession might finally prompt the masses to sharpen their pitchforks and demand a reckoning.

...

And because a public corporation’s most direct incentives — including the C.E.O.’s pay — remain tied to stock performance, there’s no reason to believe that corporations will voluntarily move away from pleasing shareholders alone, despite the new, high-minded ideals. In fact, the fanfare surrounding the Roundtable’s empty statement could be read as an effort to stave off structural economic reform rather than accelerate it. It’s a way for the C.E.O.s to tell us that they’re on the case, so we don’t have to resort to something unthinkable, like a Warren presidency.

If I sound cynical, it’s only because I’m not a complete idiot. In the Trump era, America’s C.E.O.s have become masterful at talking out of both sides of their mouths. They’ll rush to issue virtue-signaling denunciations of the latest outrage from President Trump in order to please their woke, restless customer bases, while on the down low, they’ll champion his tax cuts and regulatory dismantling. And when the president gets too rowdy, they’ll tell him to knock it off over a friendly dinner.

It’s all a game to the moguls in charge. Their greatest fear is that we’ll stop playing.

Larry Hart said...

So it doesn't matter who wins Wisconsin, as the state can appoint electors who will vote for the Republican anyway?

In the olden days, at least the voters knew the electors they were voting for. Nowadays, when you go into the voting booth, you cast a vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, expecting that (if you even know this) you are voting for your state's electors to cast a vote in that manner. What it sounds like in the story below is that the state is free to appoint electors to do whatever they want, irrespective of the actual presidential election results in the state.

Will Americans really stand for that state of affairs and insist that Trump (for example) was duly re-elected when they no longer have any say in the matter, even to the extent of choosing electors who will vote the way they want? Is this the inevitable result of the "I'd rather be Russian than a Democrat" attitude that these traitors have?

#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Aug22.html#item-7

Now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has just changed everything (for the moment, at least). It ruled 2-1 that electors in Colorado (and thus in the rest of the 10th Circuit) don't have to vote for the popular winner.

The case stems from the 2016 election. Three of Colorado's nine electors announced in advance that they were not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, who carried the state. The Colorado secretary of state, Wayne Williams, ordered them to vote for Clinton. Two of them grumpily conceded and did so, but one of them, Michael Baca, refused and was replaced. He went to court over this. Yesterday the 10th Circuit said that Baca should not have been replaced and was free to cast his electoral vote for anyone who was eligible for the presidency. The case is certainly going to be heard in the Supreme Court.

If the 10th Circuit is upheld, the manner in which the electors are chosen is going to come under enormous scrutiny. Normally, the political parties in each state chose their electors, but states are free to do it any way they want to. If the 10th Circuit ruling holds, there is nothing to prevent a Republican-controlled state legislature from picking diehard Republican activists as electors (and vice versa) and letting them vote for their personal favorite candidate. The next step would be to cancel the presidential election in the state, since it would no longer matter and canceling would save the taxpayers some money.

During the course of U.S. history, there have been 179 faithless electors (that is, electors who didn't vote the way their state did). If the Supreme Court legitimizes the practice, we are headed for a very uncertain future. If the public is outraged by such a decision, that could start a real movement to abolish the Electoral College altogether. It is not out of the question that the Supreme Court could find that electors should use their best judgment in casting their electoral votes. After all, that is what the founding parents wanted. They didn't trust the people to vote for president because they thought the people were too stupid to do that, so the idea was to have the people vote for wise men who understood government and who would make wise choices. So a decision to go back to the original intent of the Electoral College wouldn't actually be so strange

Darrell E said...

"It is not out of the question that the Supreme Court could find that electors should use their best judgment in casting their electoral votes. After all, that is what the founding parents wanted. They didn't trust the people to vote for president because they thought the people were too stupid to do that, so the idea was to have the people vote for wise men who understood government and who would make wise choices."

I've always thought that this was one of the biggest mistakes the "founding fathers" made. Kind of gives the lie to "A government by and for the people." Putting the power to elect the executive into the hands of a few elite and trusting that they will do what's best for the people. That's hardly different than all the ages before and precisely contrary to the concept of the US as an egalitarian society as described by so many of the "founding fathers'" other documents, writings and actions.

Larry Hart said...

And while I'm on a roll, Charles Blow tells us what some of us already know. They support Trump because he is mean to the people they like to be mean to.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/opinion/trump-immigrants-punishment.html

...

But none of this will disturb the people who support Trump. This is a large part of the reason they like him.

People often wonder how Americans who had been traditional Republicans could line up behind Trump, who most assuredly is not a traditional Republican. They ask how the religious right could warm to a man who is the opposite in terms of character and piety to all that it has hitherto professed.

I have posited that this is in part because Trump has for them transcended the ordinary and mundane and attained the status of folk hero, a realm in which the rules no longer strictly apply.

But I think that there is also another facet worth exploring: the degree to which Trump’s own punitive spirit aligns with and gives voice and muscle to American conservatives’ long simmering punitive lust. And this insatiable desire to inflict pain has particular targets: women (specifically feminists), racial minorities, people who are L.G.B.T.Q. and religious minorities in this country. In short, the punishments are directed at anyone who isn’t part of, or supportive of, the white supremacist patriarchy.

...

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

I've always thought that this was one of the biggest mistakes the "founding fathers" made. Kind of gives the lie to "A government by and for the people." Putting the power to elect the executive into the hands of a few elite and trusting that they will do what's best for the people.


I mostly agree, but I'll take it further. In the olden days, you knew you were voting for an elector, and you'd vote for one who would pick the candidate you wanted or (if you didn't have a preference) would most likely make a wise decision in your estimation.

What the court ruling seems to say is that if (say) the Wisconsin election goes for Bernie Sanders, the slate of Bernie Sanders electors that the state sends to the Electoral College could be anyone the state legislature chooses. They might all be wearing MAGA hats. And that's perfectly acceptable. I think even Alexander Hamilton would have had a problem with that.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/opinion/trump-chosen-one.html

Some people wondered if it was a tad offensive to demand that Jews vote Republican or be seen as a traitor to their people.


Some didn't wonder.

And it's more than a tad offensive.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch, are you trying to say your maps show Florida and Texas to be landlocked? Who drew those maps? Guisseppe Americo?

I suspect your claim that 87% of plastic waste comes from Asia is equally ludicrously false. They aren't even accepting our plastic waste for recycling any more.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: I wonder what Israeli Jews made of Trump's claim that he was the Jewish Second Coming. American Jews tend to be more secular, but they considered that claim to reveal an interesting interpretation of Jewish theology, and were not impressed.

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

Yes indeed, I got your meaning and think it is a perfect example. My point is that expecting that the individuals in such an institution (electors) will remain honestly committed to representing the best interests, let alone will, of the people they are supposed to represent, at least to a degree that allows the system to work as intended reasonably well, ignores the evidence of thousands of years of history. Dishonest electors and the court ruling you are talking about are precisely what one would expect to happen over time based on all of past human history.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

I know I'm nit-picking here, but I don't think the Founders anticipated that we'd switch to a popular vote for the presidential candidates by name, but that vote is really for electors who are pledged to vote for that candidate in the Electoral College.

It's bad enough that Trump can win the Electoral Vote while having 3 million fewer votes than Hillary, but at least we knew the rules and he did win the EVs from the states that he needed to win in the Electoral Vote.

If it really sinks in that the Electoral Vote is up to the individual state legislatures and that the presidential election is completely cosmetic, having nothing to do with the outcome, even to the extent of choosing which candidate wins the state, I think there will be such a cry upon the land that they will surely let the people go.

Besides, what are the tv networks going to do without the horse-race?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: The second amendment, along with the electoral college, were included in the Constitution in order to maintain the power of slave owners. Likewise the Senate.
There's an interesting article on Alternet this morning. When Jefferson first penned the DoI, it contained this passage:

"He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their Transportation thither. This piratical Warfare, the opprobrium of infidel Powers, is the Warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.
"He has prostituted his Negative for Suppressing every legislative Attempt to prohibit or to restrain an execrable Commerce, determined to keep open a Markett where Men should be bought and sold, and that this assemblage of Horrors might want no Fact of distinguished Die
"He is now exciting those very People to rise in Arms among us, and to purchase their Liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the People upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off, former Crimes committed against the Liberties of one People, with Crimes which he urges them to commit against the Lives of another."

The founders elected to strike the passage, not because of the breathtaking hypocrisy, but because they didn't want to go on record as opposing slavery.

Larry Hart said...

I should have added the bold clause:

I know I'm nit-picking here, but I don't think the Founders anticipated that we'd switch to a popular vote for the presidential candidates by name, but that vote is really for electors who are pledged to vote for that candidate in the Electoral College while simultaneously insisting that the electors we are voting for are not bound to the candidate they are associated with.


And @Zepp Jamieson,

Yes, it's clear that the twisting of principles so as not to lose the white supremacists is a long and proud tradition.

The part I don't get is how any American Jews can consider white supremacists to be anything other than Threat or Menace. These are people who blatantly worship Hitler, for gosh sakes. "Do you still think you can control them?" I'd say they get what they deserve, except that I get the same thing.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: Wants to know how "American Jews can consider white supremacists to be anything other than Threat or Menace."

I know one who is blindly pro-Israel no matter what, and despite being anti-Trump in all other ways sides with him on the Tlaib/Omar thing, claiming that Israel did invite the two but they refused. She thinks anyone who supports Palestinians is anti-Semitic, and was furious when I pointed out that Netanyahu's son openly hobnobs with Euronazis, and daddy has accepted donations from such groups.

She hasn't had a word to say about Trump's latest insane ramblings. She may be strident, but she isn't nuts.

jim said...

This headline has got to troubling for American Jews

https://www.salon.com/2019/08/21/expect-3-authoritarian-regimes-israel-russia-and-saudi-arabia-to-get-trump-reelected-in-2020_partner/

Expect three authoritarian regimes — Israel, Russia and Saudi Arabia — to get Trump reelected in 2020.

Israel is now an authoritarian regime that wants to subvert American Democracy. How can democrats continue to support the state of Israel, now that it is acting just like Russia?

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

She thinks anyone who supports Palestinians is anti-Semitic, and was furious when I pointed out that Netanyahu's son openly hobnobs with Euronazis, and daddy has accepted donations from such groups.


Try pointing out that Palestinians are Semitic too. :)

I am a fervent believer in Israel's right to exist, but I can't be silent when they act like Nazis. Netenyahu's courting of white supremacists and the fact that Israeli voters still support him is as baffling to me as anything happening in America.

Notwithstanding "support" for Israel, Trump openly consorts with Hitler-heiling Nazis and re-tweets memes that come from Nazi websites. These people have slogans like "Jews will not replace us!" and "Hitler had the right idea." What the f*** do Jews who support him think is going to happen with Brownshirts in power???


She may be strident, but she isn't nuts.


With all due respect, she sounds a little nuts.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Try pointing out that Palestinians are Semitic too. :)"

I have. That drew outraged squawks that Palestinians weren't really a people, just a political entity created by the Crown or the Illuminati or something, and not really Semitic. And I was told that by subscribing to such a notion, I was revealing a bias against Israelis, the vast majority of whom are not Semitic. Need I mention that her last name is Germanic, and her skin is paler than mine, and I'm Scottish?

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart said...
"I should have added the bold clause:

"I know I'm nit-picking here, but I don't think the Founders anticipated that we'd switch to a popular vote for the presidential candidates by name, but that vote is really for electors who are pledged to vote for that candidate in the Electoral College while simultaneously insisting that the electors we are voting for are not bound to the candidate they are associated with.""

I don't mean the specific machinations that have actually evolved, I mean in general. A system that gives so much authority to certain people will inevitably be gamed in a variety of ways by liars cheaters and stealers until it is transformed into a tool that shafts the people rather than one which helps them.

A king and his noblemen. Even if by chance the king is a decent and capable sort and enough of his noblemen are too, his son or grandson will inevitably be an asshole and or an incompetent twit, the noblemen's get too. And the people will suffer.

A market with little and or poor regulation such that fairness is dependent on the character of those market players with the most money and power. Well, we all know what happens then. Same thing.

An executive elected by special electors who are supposed to represent the best interests of the people but have the authority to vote for whoever they want to. Such a system, as the Founders devised, is dangerously dependent on the character of the electors. It is inevitable that such a system will be effectively gamed by the liars, cheaters and stealers to their benefit. Just like the previous two examples. How exactly it may be gamed, who knows? That it will be and that it will involve some forms of bribery, threats, blackmail and worse, is quite obvious given the evidence of human history.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Need I mention that her last name is Germanic, and her skin is paler than mine, and I'm Scottish?


When I was in college in the 1980s, I read about a group in the northwest called the Posse Comitatus. The were (probably still are) a group of white supremacists who maintains that the Semitics who are called Jews today aren't the real Jews of the Old Testament. They claim that the Jews of the Bible are actually white Aryans.

And what exactly do they assert that the ones called Jews today really are. I always have to add "I'm not making this up." We are, in fact, Indo-Turkish Khazars fathered by Satan.

In fact, here is a Tribune story from 1986, which is proabably the one I remember reading:
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1986-11-16-8603260250-story.html

...

Wickstrom, of Tigerton Dells, Wis., enjoys a nationwide reputation for his stem-winding speeches at which he exhorts farmers to ''fire the government'' and adopt the Posse code that teaches that God personally revealed the U.S. Constitution, complete with the Bill of Rights, to the founding fathers.

Since then, the Posse holds, a conspiracy by a cabal of international Jews has amended the document in violation of God`s law, establishing a federal income tax, giving the vote to blacks and women and otherwise working for the downfall of the white race.

The hate-filled Wickstrom sermons warn that international bankers, led by the same Jewish conspiracy, are at work today foreclosing farm loans, passing laws making it ever easier for the minority population to grow while making it ever more difficult for whites to replenish their numbers.

...

The use of the term Yahweh, the Old Testament word for God, was part of Wickstrom`s credo based on the claim that the true chosen people of the Bible are the white peoples of Nordic and British descent and that the people known as Jews today are actually a tribe of Indo-Turkish Khazars fathered by Satan. This belief, called Christian Identity, is preached by various leaders around the country. Perhaps the best known Identity preacher is Richard Butler of Hayden Lake, Idaho, whose Aryan Nations compound is the frequent site of neo-Nazi rallies and Klan-style cross burnings.

Jeffrey Yitzak Santis of the Omaha office of the B`nai B`rith Anti-Defamation League explained that Posse Comitatus followers often take Identity one step further and maintain the same strict kosher dietary rules as do Orthodox Jews.

"They just reason that since they are the real Jews, that God is talking to them when he lays down the laws," said Santis.

...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Posse Commitatus is still alive and kicking in these parts. They hooked up with the Sagebrush Rebellion and the State of Jefferson loons to coalesce into a group that believes they can exempt themselves from paying taxes or using any form of government ID, and refuse to acknowledge the property rights of government. They usually recognize their county sheriff as the highest government authority. Many (but not all) of them are deeply racist. You hear a lot about the Rothchilds and International bankers, of course.

David Brin said...

>>Charles Blow tells us what some of us already know. They support Trump because he is mean to the people they like to be mean to. “Trump’s own punitive spirit aligns with and gives voice and muscle to American conservatives’ long simmering punitive lust. And this insatiable desire to inflict pain has particular targets: women (specifically feminists), racial minorities, people who are L.G.B.T.Q. and religious minorities in this country. In short, the punishments are directed at anyone who isn’t part of, or supportive of, the white supremacist patriarchy.”<<

So close! Racism is very real and terrible and harming millions and must be denounced and fought tooth and nail. But it also serves to distract attention from the confederacy's central aim and enemies. If you probe the average confederate, maybe only a third will be found to be propelled by racist hate. The rest will shrug and say "I don't feel racist and I got lots of minority heroes." Sure such folks are still racists! But it doesn't propel them. And guilt trips on racism, alone, flow off their backs.

Moreover, the mad-right alliance isn't all rednecks. There's a middle level of shills and the top owner caste of plutocrats, mafiosi, casino moguls, Wall Street cheaters, inheritance brats and foreign meddlers. The top level oligarchs who control the party & messages don't have any reason to be racist! They are in it to retain and gather power. The flick "GET OUT" nailed it. To them, racism is a tool to rile the base. Like the Junkers-aristocratic lords who incited Nazi populism in 1930s Germany, they think: "We can control this."

What propels ALL of them -- all three levels of this traitor movement -- is hatred of the fact-professions. Because the scientists, journalists, civil servants, law/Intel/Military officers, doctors, teachers etc. STAND IN THEIR WAY! Those professions constitute the principal force blocking the oligarchs and shills and rednecks from taking full, confederate power. And the fact professions are publicly attacked by the Trumpists, more than any other foe.

Charles Blow says: "They support Trump because he is mean to the people they like to be mean to."

That's true, and horrific, but secondary. What's even higher in priority to these monsters is: "They support Trump because he enrages the people they like to enrage."

David Brin said...

Seaside blue enclaves like New York can be defended with sea walls. Heck, even the most valuable parts of Miami. The massive coastlines of Florida, Georgia, LA, TX, Alabama & Mississippi are another matter. Maps show them vanishing. The rest will broil in clouds of mosquitoes.
Ah, enlightened self-interest.

In 2016 I suggested a rich guy rent a luxury restort and invite all electors. Security and all meals paid without any influence.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Charles Blow says: "They support Trump because he is mean to the people they like to be mean to."

That's true, and horrific, but secondary. What's even higher in priority to these monsters is: "They support Trump because he enrages the people they like to enrage."


Ok, I'm willing to concede your wording, although I don't see much practical difference between the two.

I was more willing to concede that it's not just about racism. "The people they like to be mean to" can be smartypants as well as non-whites. And always the Jews. Those who sell themselves as lovers of Israel can't help but slip in comments about Jews.

Tom Lehrer was precient in "National Brotherhood Week" :

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems [sic],
And everybody hates the Jews.

Larry Hart said...

Oh you've got to be kidding me! Moscow Mitch writes an editorial defending the filibuster. Claiming that Republicans opposed the "nuclear option" on principle, expecting I presume that we've forgotten it was invented by Republicans during the W administration, and they even defended it semantically by trying to drop their own "nuclear" term and re-imagining it as "the constitutional option."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/22/opinion/mitch-mcconnell-senate-filibuster.html

...

Second, lacking the two-thirds supermajority needed to change the rules normally, Democrats decided to short-circuit standard procedure and muscle through the new rule with a simple majority as well — the first use of the infamous “nuclear option.”

Republicans opposed both moves on principle. Strong minority rights have always been the Senate’s distinguishing feature. But when appeals to principle fell on deaf ears, I tried a practical argument. The political winds shift often, I reminded my Democratic friends. And I doubted they’d like their new rules when the shoe was on the other foot.

...

So this is the legacy of the procedural avalanche Democrats set off: Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and 43 new lifetime circuit judges — the most ever at this point in a presidency. The consequences of taking Senator Reid’s advice will haunt liberals for decades.

A number of Democrats publicly regret their 2013 vote. One calls it “probably the biggest mistake I ever made.” Nevertheless, the far left now wants Democrats to touch the hot stove yet again. This time, they want to erase the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to end debate on legislation.

...


McConnell is leaving out an interesting intermediate step. The filibuster against supreme court nominees was not removed by Harry Reid, but by Moscow Mitch himself. Now he can argue that the Democrats are the ones who started playing that game, and he just gave as good as he got, but look at what he's saying here. It's Dems' fault for eliminating the filibuster for judges. The Democrats are about to compound that folly (How, without a majority?) by eliminating the filibuster for legislation. But the rule that McConnell himself changed by the same procedures--the elimination of the filibuster for supreme court nominees--is somehow also the Democrats' fault.

The only reason for not blowing up Senate rules like that is the understanding that the other side also won't do so. I get the line of thinking that says, "We should have left it in place so that it's there when we are in the minority. But these days, there is no doubt that the Republicans would change (or ignore) the rules whenever they wish no matter what Democrats had already done. Harry Reid should have eliminated the filibuster when there were 60 Democratic Senators. Knowing what we know now, what would have been the downside?

Larry Hart said...

I realize I'm getting too high on indignation, so I'll leave it alone for awhile, with this one final comment on Moscow Mitch's editorial. The number of diametrically-opposite-to-true statements in that column boggle the mind. Locumranch should bow down in reverence to the master.

jim said...

Sea level rise will end up being a giant problem but for the next 20-30 years it will likely only be a minor problem in most places.

The near term problem of climate change is the loss of the arctic sea ice and its effect on the jet stream in the northern hemisphere. On other words it is the ongoing and accelerating weather weirding that is and will be the major consequence of climate change for the next couple of decades.

Now of course, the loss of arctic sea ice is a positive feedback loop that will trigger other positive feedbacks ( decomposition of frozen tundra and destabilization of methane hydrates in the shallow waters in the arctic, etc.) and that will insure that Earth enters into a new climatic regime.

David Brin said...

Thanks LH. Yes, Mitch's column is filled with lies and hypocrisy. But I have a special take on one aspect, where Putin's Pal claims to be defending "rights of the minority party." Yeah, let go of your howls of Irony! and Hypocrisy! They aren't helpful...

... but as it happens, I have offered a way for the dems to make clear THEY are the ones supporting the rights of the minority party, even after they win majorities in both chambers. How to do that, without letting the insane GOP actually block vital legislation and appointments?

Simple: grant every member of Congress one SUBPOENA per term -- the ability to summon testimony from any person before one of the member's sub-committees, for three hours. Stop and think about it. Pelosi and Schumer can afford that. It would not block legislation. Some mad-rightists would use it to annoy. Most Republicans would hoard theirs, for use in some way that impresses the home district.

Above all, if gopper reps used theirs, it could establish a firm precedent for when -- not if -- dems are back in the minority! Think how valuable that would have been, during the 24 out of 26 years the GOP owned Congress. Especially 2017-2019. (And if they renege? Use that against them.

Pelosi could do that now! and demolish forever any accusations that "Democrats run roughshod over minority party rights."

David Brin said...

jim. Cogent remark. Who are you and what have you done with "jim"?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Not Miami. The most valuable areas are oceanfront properties, and even if you built levees, the water would just seep up through the soil.

David Brin said...

Yes but might Miami pioneer ways to "Venice" their city? Dig and defend the foundations and armor the ground floors so the 2nd floors become entrances? As I depict Houston doing, in EARTH?

And poor folks do it with drowned beachfront mansions, as I depict in EXISTENCE?

Alfred Differ said...

Old Sacramento gave up on being flooded by giving up the bottom floor in its earliest years. Walk around the oldest part of town and you'll see street entrances atop what look like ramps to the second floor. After they finally built the levees north and east enough to halt the frequent inundations, they got an extra basement level out of it. Some of the oldest buildings still use both.

Cities with enough money can adapt.
Whole coastlines take a LOT more money, but that is eventually how Sacramento was protected. Just treat the interior rivers as if they were oceans and build a couple hundred miles of levees. Rivers and coasts aren't quite the same, though. No tide action on a river levee. Fewer burrowing critters... probably.

Zepp Jamieson said...

The Existence scenario is plausible. I'm considering the dynamics to raising a 40 storey high-rise an additional twenty feet at its base (or more) from ground that is already unstable and sometimes partially liquidfied. I'm not an engineer, but that seems daunting to me.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Different form of flooding in Sac; they have problems with surface flooding from ARs and sometimes (as in 1861) ARks. With Miami, the ground is poreous, and as the tide rises, so does the water table under the city, and already during high tides you sometimes have water seeping up from the ground itself and flooding neighbourhoods. It's more of a nuisance now, but it won't stay that way.
Sac has little to fear from the Pacific, but Daniel Swain, the climatologist who specialises in California climate changes, thinks that Sac will have to deal with wider swings in wet versus dry years, deeper droughts and more ARs (Atmospheric Rivers for the non-head-in-the-clouds folk here). Warmer, too, so a really wet series of storms won't have the cushioning effect of landing as snow above 2,500 feet, but come all as water, which runs off immediately, flooding the central valleys.
I saw a list of cities most likely to be destroyed by natural disaster, and Sac was #5 on the list, behind Miami, New Orleans, Seattle and Galveston.

Tony Fisk said...

Melbourne could protect itself from modest rises of 2-3m by dykeing the entrance to Port Philip Bay. Much beyond that, and things start to leak from the sides.

I've taken to referring to MM as Gospodin Gabblerdictum due to resemblance to a Martian parrot, and to his sudden love of filibustering.

Twitter feed today has horrors from abroad, starting with:
- Netanyahu(!!??) defending Hitler from wanting to kill the Jews.
- Not content with trying to blame it all on NGOs, documents reveal Bolsanaro is complicit with burning the Amazon so as to destroy indigenous groups.

I'll let you look up the creation of permanent camps for illegal immigrants, and a proposal to lock up people who are 'mentally ill' (whatever *that* is taken to mean)

None of this has anything to do with economics. It is, as Larry Hart is so fond of saying, a different thing.

duncan cairncross said...

Having spent a few years working for the local council and becoming aware of how much underground infrastructure even a small town has I would say that you are all far too optimistic about being able to stay in place as the waters rise!

As the seas rise then so will the groundwater and all sorts of underground infrastructure will either flood - or even worse will try to float upwards

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Twitter feed today has horrors from abroad, starting with:
- Netanyahu(!!??) defending Hitler from wanting to kill the Jews.


Likud seems to have decided long ago that in order to defeat their enemies, they must become them.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/us/david-koch-dead.html


David Koch, Industrialist Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79

scidata said...

One tweet I saw:

In lieu of flowers, the family of David Koch requests that mourners simply purchase a Republican politician.

Larry Hart said...

There are all sorts of comments I feel like posting, and ultimately I figured there was no good way to do so that wouldn't make me the bad guy.

I'll just leave it as "I can't say anything good about him" and opt for nothing at all.

Larry Hart said...

Meanwhile, wow!

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-trump-has-made-it-official-he-is-the-greatest-anti-semite-of-our-age-1.7729391

...

I am a proud Democrat.

I am a proud Jew.

I see anti-Semitism as an enemy. I see Donald Trump the same way.

I am one of the 80 percent of American Jews who have observed Donald Trump foster, wink at, and benefit from Jew-baiting – along with Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and bigotry toward African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, disabled Americans and immigrants as a whole.

I just want to say this one thing of Stephen Miller, Steven Mnuchin, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the other court Jews who stand by, enable, protect and embolden Donald Trump’s innate anti-Semitism:

These Jews will not replace us.

jim said...

Well let me say it for you Larry,

David Koch was an evil piece of crap and I am glad that he is dead.

But how much of his wealth will flow to tax free organizations that will try to implement his undead wishes ?

His necro-funded organizations will continue to support efforts to destroy the living world and enhance the power of the oligarchs. So, although I will be going out tonight and celebrating his death, my joy will be tempered by the knowledge that his evil impacts are far from over.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Koch: No loss at all. Pity he spawned before he died.
If we die from climate change, he is the single most responsible party for that.

locumranch said...


Blogger Larry Hart said to Zepp Jamieson:

"She thinks anyone who supports Palestinians is anti-Semitic, and was furious when I pointed out that Netanyahu's son openly hobnobs with Euronazis, and daddy has accepted donations from such groups.

Try pointing out that Palestinians are Semitic too. :)

I am a fervent believer in Israel's right to exist, but I can't be silent when they act like Nazis. Netenyahu's courting of white supremacists".

Blogger Zepp adds that "the vast majority of (Israleis) are not Semitic, only to add that "her last name is Germanic, and her skin is paler than mine".


See what Larry & Zepp did there?

Offering only hate, intolerance & ethnic cleansing to those inhuman vermin that they choose to identify as "Nazis" or "White Supremacists", they argue that Israeli Jews act "anti-Semitic", "act like Nazis", appear too "Germanic" and "pale" (as in white) to qualify as an oppressed minority group in their humble opinion, only to conclude that Israeli Jews are Nazis in urgent need of ethnic cleansing.

This is where the perversity of Leftist Diversity Politics has led us, ffolks:

A belief that Israeli Jews are the New Nazi vermin in need of urgent ethnic cleansing.

Hitler would be so proud of Zepp, Larry_H & the new face of Progressive Fascism.



Best
____

Being "No loss at all, I guess Koch was inhuman Nazi vermin deserving of extermination too. Just like them evil above-mentioned Israeli Jews.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"inhuman vermin that they choose to identify as "Nazis" or "White Supremacists","

Nobody is born a Nazi or a white supremacists. But nobody becomes such unless they are utter moral and intellectual scum to begin with.

David Brin said...

onward