Saturday, October 19, 2019

Impeachment and other exit strategies. Twenty different chess moves! A sample chapter from POLEMICAL JUDO.

Here's a chapter-excerpt from the book you'll all be pre-ordering, by the time you get five paragraphs in! Chapter 1 is already posted as a free sample, along with half of Chapter 2.

This chapter is the most topical timely as everything might change at any minute! I attempt to do what no TV or online pundit seems inclined to do... look at the chessboard and think three moves ahead.

POLEMICAL JUDO
Memes for our political knife-fight

Chapter 16

Exit Strategies – Impeachment, Indictment,
the 25th Amendment and all that[1]

You desperately want to envision a quick way out of this torment. Okay then, without any preamble or delay – and from the fast-changing perspective of mid-October 2019 – let’s ponder four general scenarios - and their many variants: 

Impeachment

Sorry, but as of October 2019, despite the frenzied urgings of sumo-fighters, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right about investigating first and impeaching later. Even if the House indicts[2] Donald Trump, Senate conviction requires cooperation from eighteen GOP Senators. That is extremely unlikely till conditions are right. 

Those conditions may occur! Trump revelations may pass a certain (as yet unknown) threshold, especially if disclosures from Deutsche Bank[3] bear any resemblance to rumors, or in the event of a truly major national crisis. When President Trump becomes a terminal liability to his masters… if they perceive him dragging down their investment in a worldwide oligarchic putsch… they may seek a new formula to salvage a win-win. 

How? By letting the Democrats clean up the GOP's mess? By extorting or bribing just enough Republican Senator ‘defectors’ to help remove Donald Trump despite fury from the base, compensating those “defectors” with enough cash (or blackmailing them) to compensate for the end of their political careers. (And perhaps not even that, if the volunteers have four years till their own re-election campaigns.) 

There is a rub to this scenario, and we’ll get to it. Till then, you’ll never get the 18 Republican Senate votes needed for conviction and removal. And that’s why we don’t hurry, but look at this tactically, in phases.

         Phases. I am not an expert politician like Pelosi and Schiff, but here are my guesses at how they view timing, during the months ahead. 

         a) Hurrying to impeach before the 2020 primary season, there are risks at both the high and low end. 

Low end. Assume further revelations just keep perking along, piling ever-higher at a rate similar to the last 3 years, then RASRs and ostriches and professionals will keep leaking away from the Republican Party, but the Trump-rally core of Red America will be like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, never confronting a break-point they can’t rationalize.

Especially if none of the polemical methods in this book are used to corner them. 

Mountains of turpitudes will be shrugged off as ‘witch hunt’ stuff. Any premature House impeachment vote will be seen as just a sterile, partisan gesture – a tit-for-tat against Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the nineties. [4] That’s how they’ll spin it, as comparable events, despite one being a zit and the other a basketball-sized tumor. The Senate will vote “no,” and that will be that. 

At the high end, even supposing revelations accelerate to some breaking point (which they might, even as I am typing this, canceling out much of my book!), think about the consequences if impeachment and Senate removal come too soon. Republicans might just go ahead and replace Trump, then campaign for Paul Ryan (or Romney, or worst-case Pence), without breaking stride, pretending it all never happened! Remember, they did exactly that recently, when the 2016 GOP Convention omitted mention of every party leader between Reagan and Ryan, even two Republican presidents.[5]

And they got away with it. Because Democrats let that happen without mention or comment.

Either way, McConnell wants a rapid pace! The eagerness of liberals for a Thanksgiving season vote is dumb and plays into his hands. Rushing in is not judo.


         b) Impeach during primary season. Time it right and continuing revelations might help challengers like William Weld to become noticeable irritants. Not enough, probably, to deny Trump the nomination, but sufficient to drive him into ever greater hysteria. Again that depends on the magnitude of revelations. But short of that putative video of him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, actual impeachment during this phase would be risky – Dems will be accused of doing it as an election ploy. Still, it’s a better time than before or after.

A sweet spot? Cornered by revelations and outrages, but terrified of home voters, GOP Senators don’t dare convict Trump - but they do collaborate on emergency bills limiting his powers.[6] He is lethally wounded for November. Republicans cry sauve qui peut! and scurry to the lifeboats, trying to save themselves while Romney (or some Russian front) tries to form a third party.

         c) Impeach during the general election season. Oy, what a mess. Howls of “Let the voters decide!” While voting machines go haywire.

         d) Final revenge. A deliciously awful opportunity might come after a major victory for America in November 2020 – during a brief window between the seating of a new, Dem-majority Senate and Inauguration Day, 2021.[7] With a little help from off-year GOP Senators, Trump might be removed from office, dragged out of the White House, and kept off the inaugural stage -- an indignity that would be mostly about vengeance. I mention it because, frankly, I expect revelations to mount that high.

All told, it’s a minefield. And liberals who play armchair general shouldn’t just assume they know what’s best. The way I’m behaving, for example.

    Chess-moves 

Now for a rub. The fact that must keep Vlad and Rupert up at night. Suppose Trump becomes an unbearable liability, dragging down everything they’ve built, but he refuses to go quietly? No buy-out offer or threat works and he sees the Republican Party trying to rally around a new, “fresh” standard bearer. Well, this would finally give Donald Trump the reality show role he was born for –

– as furious, livid-living martyr. Liberated from the prison of the White House. Free to stage rally after rally, howling about schemes and injustices 24/7, while riling the confed base to volcanic fury. And he turns it all against the GOP. 

There are two ways out for Rupert and Vlad. 

(i) make democrats do all the work and arm-twist just enough Republican Senators to go along, drawing Trump’s wrath mostly upon Democrats and just individual Republicans. Or else…

(ii) real martyrdom. The biggest win-win for Fox and Moscow. Eliminate their irritant the same way that cynical executives got rid of their liability, Howard Beale, in Network. Blame those cityfolk and liberals! Or an ethnic patsy. And it’s likely we'd tumble into hot civil war. Putin’s win-win.

Ponder these chess moves in advance and don't fall for them. If it comes to (i) then I’d ask a dozen Democratic Senators to play sick, so the GOP must pony up an equal number of their own, to reach two-thirds and removal. 

And if it ever comes down to possibility (ii) then it is vital that Democrats not pour into the streets, celebrating! Rather, react with rage at the blatant culprits -- an oligarchy that cruelly used-up and then disposed of a sick, addled old man, as soon as they were done with him.

Pity.[8]
It will work, at so many levels.

Does all of this sound like fantasy? 

No, what is stupid is not to work out possible chess moves, in advance. 


The Secret Santa Variant

Let's dig further down the rabbit hole of Mitch McConnell's possible ploys. All right, so imagine that he and his masters have deemed Donald Trump a liability. Mike Pence has agreed to follow orders. Ideally, Trump would resign or take a leave of absence and head off to have fun riling his base against Democrats... but he refuses, or he can’t be trusted not to blab the deal.

Moreover, thanks to the skill and professionalism of the Secret Service, any “Howard Beale” martyrdom option is off the table.

Well, there’s impeachment and removal, under the Constitution. But were McConnell to go along by providing 18 Republican votes for Senate conviction, Trump would go off the assigned rails, turning volcanic rage -- and his base -- against the Republican Party and possibly even the oligarchy that controls it! 

Are there ways that Mitch (with likely nods from John Roberts) might arrange this to happen without incurring Trumpian fury on the GOP?

Well, for starters, there is nothing preventing either the House or the Senate from holding a secret vote (with the tally put under seal until past the next election cycle). This would free people to vote their conscience. In fact, this is already being discussed re: the House impeachment decision, perhaps giving some protection to Democrats who represent reddish districts. (It won’t work, but it does help give Speaker Pelosi an excuse to follow her own tactical timetable.)

In the Senate, secret voting would almost certainly result in conviction, as at least two dozen Republicans eagerly cast folded ballots into a box to rid the nation of their party’s greatest embarrassment. There are two problems with this option though:

1. It would raise a fire storm in public and press, especially when every Republican Senator claims to have voted “nay.”.

2. It would not mollify Trump’s reflex to lash out at the GOP leaders who ‘betrayed’ him.

The Go-Limp Option

There is a sneaky – if barely plausible – way out of this trap. Who says the number of Republican defectors has to be 18? That's only required if every Senator attends the trial. Only now look at the Constitution:

Art. I, Sec. 3, Cl. 6 & 7: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: and no Person shall be convicted without Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

“Two thirds of the Members present.” A quorum of at least 51 Senators is required, in order to be in session, hence it might theoretically take just 34 to convict and remove a sitting president! And if those voting 'yea' are 100% Democrats, then a deposed and enraged Trump wouldn't go after the GOP, would he? 

Let's assume all 47 Democrats (and partners) vote to convict. That will amount to the required two-thirds if no more than 70 Senators are present, 23 of them Republicans. That can happen if thirty GOP Senators somehow don't show up. Perhaps they call in sick. Or they declare a “boycott” of a "kangaroo proceeding." (Or, if you are writing a cheap thriller novel, you'd portray thirty of them blown up at a conference, blame Democrats and the "deep state," and trigger a truly hot war, leaving Putin on top of the world.[1]) However Mitch arranges such a mass absence, Democrats could then remove Trump all by themselves, on a party line vote.[2]

Would they be so stupid? So propelled by reflex hate that they fall into such a trap? 

Not if they reply “He's your problem, Mitch. Deal with it.” And especially not if they look at the alternative.

[1] A good reason for Republican Senators to avoid caucus meetings outside the Capitol?
[2] Or make it less obvious by letting just a few RINOS vote to convict. Few enough not to trigger Trump against the GOP.

Trump’s impeachment insurance.

Sure premature impeachment might be a trap that a hundred million liberals will eagerly charge into. But that’s not my biggest reason for siding with Pelosi’s go-slow approach. My worry is… the alternative. While Donald Trump is a dangerous/loony foreign agent, at least his Murdoch/Moscow masters don’t want the world to end

It is absolutely verified that Mike Pence does. We’re talking literally. So let me lay it out.

With only one exception, GOP presidents always appoint someone utterly unqualified as their Vice President. (Reagan did choose a qualified VP… who became the worst president of the 20th Century.) Whether or not this is done as impeachment insurance, we need to consider all potential outcomes. 

Right now, Trump’s White House leaks like a sieve. The civil service and intel/military officers are wary and careful. Cauterized, he can do limited harm. In contrast, Mike Pence would fill the Executive Mansion with dedicated and utterly disciplined Dominionists who would strive - tight-lipped - toward the same goal. Each and every one prays daily for events described in the Book of Revelation to all come true. They are open about it, as is the president-in-waiting.

An end to all human ambition, democracy or science. An end to all generations of children. An end to the United States of America. And brutal endless torment for 90%+ of Americans.

President Pence will croon smoothly about ending our “national nightmare.” Hundreds of thousands of officers etc. will moan with relief and hurry to serve. Pence might even pull his name from consideration as a candidate. All that will mean is that the clock is ticking a rapid countdown.

The 25th Amendment  

I talk about this Constitutional quirk in detail, in the rest of CHAPTER 16. (See the book.) Alas, I see little chance it will work, unless the Republican masters forsake Don as a liability. And if that happens, they’ll prefer martyrdom over making VP Mike Pence the fall guy, which would happen under the 25th.

Let’s suppose Pence corralled a majority of cabinet officers (do “acting” secretaries count?) into invoking the 25th. Trump and Pence would then send "letters" back and forth at an ever-accelerating rate until the email servers melt. Congressional Republicans will dither, covering their ears to the blatant psychological meltdown of the man-with-nukes.  Till the Supreme Court has to step in with some kind of non-Constitutional arbiter. Insane amounts of damage. Which of course will make some parties giggle with glee. 

Yes, Congress could appoint that “other body” I described elsewhere, to bypass the Cabinet… a commission of sages that could have real power for good, under the 25th. If the right people were on it, our nation could ease out of civil war. And the chances that McConnell would go along, or that a Trump veto could be over-ridden, are nil.

I comment further on this, in the second half of Chapter 16

Donald Trump is pressured to resign

Um right. That would require something on the order of the Pee Tape. Nothing less and probably much more. You got hopes.

A hybrid seems possible.  DT takes a “stress break.” A vacation with no electronics of any kind. Or maybe blame his recent worsening hysteria on a brain tumor. (Ideally one induced by Democratic windmills.) Dems should insist on independent examinations and that they get to see him, daily.

Status quo

The circus goes on and on. We depend utterly on the sane adults of the civil service, intel community, law professionals and the U.S. military officer corps to keep us safe (though alas not the Kurds), while Donald Trump adds fuel to phase 8 of the Civil War, destroying the Republican brand and riling up the Union to truly take up the fight.... ending ideally with America – not the confederacy – winning overwhelming victory at the ballot box. (Though that will also require dems wising up on tactics.)[9]

Status Quo doesn't mean passivity! Congress must rescind the 2001 War Powers Act now! And set up a commission of sages that can (if unanimous) allow the military to pause a presidential command. That commission could be explicitly granted 25th Amendment “other body” powers giving it real muscle. (If it is partisan, then we're entering Venezuela territory.  So start with all the ex-presidents, ex-Vice Presidents and ex Supreme Court Justices. Throw in every U.S. Nobel laureate?) 

The unspeakable

Any “fifth option” I can think of is too horrific for words – though one of them starts with “M” and I’ve used it several times here in this chapter. A way for Trump’s masters to both eliminate a liability and rile up the base to hot-war violence. I denounce it, in advance. In fact I am on record asking that Trump be careful what he eats, especially with his foreign “friends.” And God bless the U.S. Secret Service.

My advice, especially to Democratic politicians, remains not to fall for traps. Calm down. 

We're supposed to be smart people, it’s what Putin/Murdoch fear about us, right? We have all of the fact-user professions. Use that. Think.

---------

That was half of Chapter 16 of POLEMICAL JUDO. 
Want more? Chapter One and half of Chapter Two are posted, as well as the Table of Contents, all for FREE.

POLEMICAL JUDO is now available for pre-order (cheap!) and purchase (Kindle format). 

I'll be coming back repeatedly to urge you to help spread the word!  Seriously, if you don't find dozens of concepts, tactics and needed chess moves you never saw elsewhere, I will eat a bug.



[1] Sources: Exit strategies – 25th Amendment  https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/Brin20170903
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/08/gloom-and-doom-scenarios.html and https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/Brin20170903

[2] Impeachment is like grand jury indictment. GOP complaints about prim witness confrontation due process are specious. (1) this is constitutional, not judicial; (2) it is more about a board of directors firing a corrupt employee; and (3) It is the Senate trial that should be primly like a courtroom.

[3] Rumored revelations from Deutsche Bank. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-banks/trump-urges-u-s-court-to-shield-deutsche-bank-records-from-house-democrats-idUSKCN1VD0Y2

[4] For fibbing about some 3rd base marital infidelity, which both his wife and a majority of female voters forgave? Do you want the tsunami of Trumpist horrors dismissed as equivalent? 

[5] Except Newt Gingrich.
[6] Limit presidential powers? At surface, they’ll cooperate to constrain a loose cannon Trump, but with an eye to weakening the coming Dem president. Do this carefully!

[7] Of course, that would be about revenge. 

[8] At last! On October 16, 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of praying for the mental health of a clearly sick Donald Trump. It played out as I predicted, rousing effective responses in all directions.

[9] http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/06/a-time-for-colonels-part-two-working.html

174 comments:

Stefan Jones said...

Read, but haven't verified, an intriguing claim:

Conviction by the senate requires a 2/3rds majority . . . of MEMBERS PRESENT.

The quorum level is 51 senators.

If this is true, imagine if, and the big day, a bunch of Republican senators all have family emergencies. Or their car breaks down. Or they get the flu. Just enough that the Democrats and Independents present are able to convict.

locumranch said...


Those who believe that Russian Support provides grounds for impeachment fall victim to the Liar's Paradox:

To whit, they argue that the Russian-Putin contingent are truth-telling liars, insomuch as the lies they tell are truthful, leading certain low-grade morons to conclude that those who receive the apparent support of Russian liars are Russian dupes.

But, what if these lying Russians offer only FALSE support?

That would make the reflexive Russian-hating Impeachment Advocates like Matthew, David & the MSM the most credulous of dupes.


Best

David Brin said...

Stefan could you dive into this and see if it's been worked out by some scholar?

If it is true, then all the more reason why DEMS SHOULD SICK-OUT TOO. Schumer should not walk into such a trap. If it takes 34 votes, then demand those 18 from the GOP anyway! It is not our job to clean up their problem...

... and unleash a joyfully livid Trump across the landscape riling civil war against all city folk. Go along with this gambit only if Goppers share his wrath.

Treebeard said...

Locum, obviously the Russian meddling story was planted by the KGB to turn Americans on each other, discredit democracy and make its elites crazy and paranoid (see Hillary Clinton). Seems to have worked like a charm. I, for one, am not taking the Russkies' bait.

duncan cairncross said...

I have pre-ordered - look forwards to reading the finished book soon

David Brin said...

Vitamins calmed the mood, but not the loco. For the Russian meddling story to be false, the "deep state" story must be true. We're asked to believe a quarter of a million diverse and dedicated/skilled men and women who defeated Hitler, Stalin & bin Laden are somehow united in the most disciplined conspiracy of all time, for reasons never even suggested, to destroy the nation that they love...

...rather than believe that a thousand or so oligarchs connive in their own greedy interest (as they did incessantly for 6000 years) plotting with KGB agents who are acting as they always did, before and after dropping the hammers and sickles.

Um... let's see... which sounds more plausible?

Drooling imbeciles and traitors.

Alfred Differ said...

(from last thread)

I sincerely doubt Gabbard is a Russian puppet/stooge. I don't doubt, though, that they would like to use her to help divide the Democrats. To that end, the Democrats should be pointing that out to her whether she likes to hear the message or not. HRC is not the first to offer the message, but she has managed to be blunt enough about it to produce a response from Gabbard.

I doubt her power to divide Democrats is all that powerful, though. She barely qualifies as a Democrat if you go by her voting record and she is talked up more at Fox than anywhere else. Since Fox benefits from a divided Democratic party, they are doing what makes sense to their bottom line... which aligns nicely with Russian interests for dividing Trump's opponents.

If she runs third party, I half expect the Libertarians to nominate her. Just because. Yah. Some of them are that stupid. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Vitamins or not, I can't see the point of responding to locumranch. His pretzel logic is designed to ensure his statements are Truth, but he's included an obvious falsehood as an axiom, thus can prove the truth of an inconsistency. Just not worth it.

As for treebeard, if he wants to retreat to nature and commune with the mountains and sky, by all means. Pick up a guitar and sing about it. Beauty can be perceived even by right wing authoritarian followers.

Lucius Cornelius said...

Here is a resource: https://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/98-806.pdf

Lucius Cornelius said...

Also, remember that for the current Senate, the Republicans have the majority, so the President pro tempore is Chuck Grassley. I am not an expert on Senate rules, but my belief is that as long as McConnell opposes impeachment, the timing for a vote will only take place when enough anti-impeachment votes are present.

After the 2020 election, assuming the Democrats take control of the Senate, then the vote could be timed. However, gaming the rules to get a conviction would probably be a tactical victory (removing Trump) and a strategic loss. Pence would become President and the political environment would become even worse.

scidata said...

Dr Brin: Congrats on the new book. I'm not much into political judo, but I'll add it to my list. I hope that citizen science got a line or two.


Scientists play too:
https://insidetheperimeter.ca/11-hilariously-bizarre-winners-of-the-ig-nobel-prize

Larry Hart said...


https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/elections/ct-hillary-clinton-tulsi-gabbard-russia-20191018-5ljt5lnklfek7o2ysbl4fgxdmm-story.html

The Hawaii congresswoman fought back unsparingly after Clinton appeared to call her "the favorite of the Russians" in a recent interview and said she believes the Russians have "got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate." Clinton, the former senator, U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, did not name Gabbard directly.


So if I'm reading this correctly, Gabbard confirmed that the unspecified somebody the Russians had their eye on was indeed herself, and "fought back unsparingly" at the notion that Hillary Clinton was so uncouth as to mention such a fact in public.

John S. said...

Though there is plenty of information out there to show that Pence considers his religion more important than political party or beliefs, I'm finding nothing that says he would like to bring about the prophesies of the book of Revelations.

Oh, he definitely hates gays, but Dominionism? That idea, as emotionally appealing as it is, comes across as fundamentally a conspiracy theory along the same lines as the ones you have previously pooh-poohed as being impractical in the extreme.

Citation needed.

Larry Hart said...

@scidata, re: Ig Nobel Prize,

My wife and I have long held that cats are a liquid. I do like the variation on the theme that says they are both solid and liquid simultaneously. More Schrodinger-like that way.

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

Re: Ig Nobel Prize

Interesting that Andre Geim won both the Ig Nobel and the real Nobel Prize in Physics. Reminds me of Buckminster Fuller getting kicked out of Harvard - twice.

Jon S. said...

My understanding, Lucius, is that if the House prefers impeachment charges, the trial will be held in the Senate. It would be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, not the Senate majority leader or the senate president pro tempore, and the only part the Senate votes on before the trial ends is when (not whether) it begins.

The trial itself can last for quite some time, particularly given the number of impeachable offenses currently being investigated and the courtroom antics Trump has indulged in during past trials. It comes to an end when both prosecution and defense have finished their arguments, not when the Senate votes to end it.

That being said, I again would urge all deliberate speed in the process. For me, the ideal would be to have the Articles of Impeachment published shortly after the Republican convention, when they've committed to their candidate (who until those are published will almost certainly be Trump - any other choice would be seen as capitulating, and an admission of guilt, two things Donnie is absolutely desperate not to be perceived as doing).

Phaedrusnailfile said...

I promise this will be my last post on the matter of Tulsi Gabbard. She is not my preferred candidate and i understand that there are many principled reasons a person might not want to vote for her. My defense of her rests solely on the fact that calling her a Russian agent is almost certainly false. It may be true that her steadfast insistance that the US change the manner they conduct their foriegn policy aligns with Putin's desire to increase Russian stature in world affairs and so he has directed his bot farms to generate support for her. This does not mean she is seeking out Russian assistance. To close, scenario one: Tulsi Gabbard a sitting US congressperson and veteran meets with her Russian handler to discuss campaign strategy and how to advance Russian interests. Or scenario 2, angry at Tulsi for endorsing Bernie in the previous primary and for her vocal criticism of the DNC Hillary's people write numerous smear pieces in the NYT describing her as being an asset to the Russians. These articles are then discussed on various news shows by various talking heads that have been exposed as having an all too cozy relationship with DNC party leadership. Then Hillary is interviewed and claims that the Russians have an agent being groomed for a third party run.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

If the NYT were to write an article descibing our host as being on a short list of the world best purveyors of science fiction, then the next day i came on to say that the worlds best scifi writer has written some books about dolphins. And then our host came on and said awe shucks thanks for describing him as the worlds best writer no one would think he was exposing his hubris of being the worlds best writer. Likewise if Tulsi has noticed a string of hit pieces aimed at her by people with ties to Hillary and then assumes that when Hillary makes a evidence free claim of a Russian agent being groomed for a third party run, that she was talking about her it doesn't expose a guilty conscience. In fact most people who follow democratic politics knew precisely who she was talking about as well.

David Brin said...

I posted a new version of this blog entry detailing our discussions of the 2/3 quorum gambit... and have inserted it into the book. Thanks. Weird!

locumranch said...


For the Russian meddling story to be false, the "deep state" story must be true. We're asked to believe a quarter of a million diverse and dedicated/skilled men and women (...) are somehow united in the most disciplined conspiracy of all time, for reasons never even suggested, to destroy the nation that they love[DB].

This is yet another false dichotomy that David offers, a forced choice between an impossibly evil Deep State conspiracy theory & a ludicrous Russian Meddling fantasy.

But, there is yet a third option, one that even our fine host would find eminently reasonable, that the so-called Deep State, also known as the Autonomous Self-Replicating Bureaucracies, are merely doing their job quite well, which is the zealous defence of the political status quo, against all those (foreign and domestic) who would attempt to change it.

Unfortunately for all concerned, this zealous defence of the status quo translates as obstructionism on a grand scale, a silent deep state coup against democracy in action, the perpetuation of both the military-industrial complex & endless foreign wars, the bureaucratic use of propaganda to 'manufacture consent', and intelligence agencies that manipulate the greater elected government.

Imagining some grand contest between Good & Evil allegory, David errs when he identifies 'evil' as anything other than the ordinary, commonplace or banal and what, pray tell, could be more banal than a hide-bound & pedantic bureaucracy at work?

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


Best

David Brin said...

I made an exception, on impulse, and was rewarded. Locumranch must have downed a whole bottle, cause he made his case with sequential logic.

Of course it's all drooling nonsense based - as Alfred points out - on begging an absurd axiom and basing everything upon it. In this case, that 200,000 sworn officers who have proved their dedication to the republic and constitution and people of the U.S. over and over, all betray their oaths in order to concoct evidence of a Kremlin scheme that is totally consistent with all other Kremlin behaviors for 500 years.

Instead of the absurd notion that it's a CONSCIOUS conspiracy of treason, he now claims that the mountians of evidence of neo-KGB -GOP collusion were concocted out of some UNCONSCIOUS shared imperative. Including all the specious "american" Identities who posted from a Moscow building and all the confessed proof of Cambridge Analytica and more mountains we haven't seen but are attested to by sober and experienced officers who won us the Cold War and tracked down bin Laden.

All in order to preserve a corrupt system from.... um, vastly MORE corrupt?

Vitamins help, but they do not replace missing neurons.

locumranch said...


The phrase "The Banality of Evil" was coined by Hannah Arendt:

Arendt objected to the prosecution’s depiction of Eichmann as having been guided by a racist, murderous ideology. She offered an alternative interpretation: Eichmann as a bureaucrat engaged in advancing his career, who avoided contending with the consequences of his own deeds. Arendt contemplated the possible emergence of a “desk murderer” who perpetrates his harrowing crimes from afar, doing no actual killing himself and viewing himself as a law-abiding citizen who obeys his superiors’ orders. This was the context in which she coined her contentious and most widely misunderstood concept of the “banality of evil.”


Best

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin

The idea of the "Deep State" - or in the UK and here the "Civil Service" as a vast - not conspiracy but automatic "sheet anchor" - a small "c" "conservatism" - automatically resisting change is the core of such programs as "Yes Minister"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister

The key from my POV is that such a "conservatism" requires people like me to have done our homework - dotted the i's and crossed the t's - which is not necessarily a BAD thing

but that type of resistance is necessarily passive - Loco and Trump are arguing for something completely different an "Active" resistance

Passive resistance would be slowing things down - finding issues that need to be resolved - and in it's ultimate losing papers

Loco and the Orange cockwomble are arguing about active resistance - making stuff up - and that is NOT going to happen

Larry Hart said...

@Phaedrusnailfile,

Either willfully or not, you are accusing those calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian asset of calling her a Russian agent.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

Loco and the Orange cockwomble are arguing about active resistance - making stuff up - and that is NOT going to happen


On the contrary, it is happening all the time. But it's not the deep state doing the deed. It's Loco and the Orange cockwomble.

Remember how Cheney knew that Saddam Hussein had WMDs because "We're the ones who sold them to him"? Likewise, Benedict Donald knows very well that there is corruption inside the US government. He's the one doing the corrupting.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Larry Hart, Hillary Clinton used the term agent. What I had hoped to demonstrate is how it goes from stories of Russian bots aiding a campaign, to stories of that campaigner being a Russian asset, to Hillary claiming that she is an agent. I am sorry that I do not share your belief that Hillary might have been talking about Warren, Cloud boot jar or Williamson and that TG exposed her guilt by assuming HRC was talking about her. As I said there is history there.

Larry Hart said...

@Phaedrusnailfile,

That's ok. I don't share your belief that the NY Times is in the bag for Hillary. So we're even.

I also don't share your belief that you've made your last post about Tulsi Gabbard. :)

Larry Hart said...

Phaedrusnailfile:

Hillary Clinton used the term agent.


You'll have to show me where. So far, everything I've seen is like this...

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/18/hillary-clinton-hints-russia-is-grooming-tulsi-gabbard-as-third-party-candidate

Hillary Clinton has said Russia, which interfered in the US election she lost in 2016, is “grooming” a Democratic candidate for a third-party run next year, signalling she believes congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard could fill the role.

The goal of this would essentially be to divide the US electorate and help Donald Trump win re-election, Clinton said. In the interview, Clinton also said she believes Russia had compromising information, or kompromat, on Trump.

“I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary, and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” the former secretary of state told David Plouffe in his “Campaign HQ” podcast without providing evidence.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
...


Nothing about the candidate's active involvement or dare I say collusion.

And there's really not much point speculating whether Gabbard will be the next Jill Stein or Ralph Nader. In less than a year, she'll either launch a third-party candidacy or she won't, and then we'll know.

I wasn't so much arguing that Hillary could have been describing anyone and Gabbard foolishly outed herslf. It was more like the idea that Gabbard is operating as a weakener of the Democratic Party is an open secret, but one that it is uncouth to mention out loud lest we offend the delicate sensibilities of her supporters. Hillary had the nerve to assert as fact what everyone already knew.

scidata said...

TG on TMT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYIzhjvde5U

So... should we abandon Western civilization out of respect for Zeus?

Alfred Differ said...

Deep State aka Autonomous Self-Replicating Bureaucracies Merely Doing Their Job Well

Okay. I have to give some credit here. My libertarian (classical liberal really) inclination here is to be deeply suspicious of self-replicating power structures. They can do some spectacularly evil things without anyone in them feeling they were responsible for doing it, let alone stopping it. Fortunately for the world, they can also do spectacularly good things without anyone in them feeling that they are solely responsible for doing it or even being aware of it.

"Deep State" as a term obviously makes an emotional play for dark suspicion. I can feel the lure to listen, but in doing so I can also hear the puppet voices of oligarchs who would do far worse if they could. Hayek described this in detail. By turning me against my own institutions, they invite me to tear them down… or corrupt them… or simply make a mockery of them. [Yah. I can hear them for they have many puppets including some among the libertarians who would never admit to having strings tied to them.]

Locumranch… I get your suspicion of the institutions. I won't help do anything to them, though, that doesn't get paraphrased as 'incremental change'. I'm FAR, FAR more suspicious of small groups of rich people. They are far better at coordinating their actions and have the resources to amplify their beliefs. Small groups can more easily rationalize their particular evil and be active participants in it. We desperately need them to innovate improvements, but oh-my-goodess are they dangerous.

The institutions ARE a threat and Hayek described them well enough for us never to let our guard down, but they tend to blunder along being much larger… and we know how to deal with them much better. Divide, divide, divide. While we do that, teach the kids WHY we respect liberty. Teach, teach, teach.

On Eichmann, I think Arendt had a valid point. My take away, though, isn't about passive evil. It's about how we allow institutions to run unchecked. We must expect them to operate reasonably well even when populated by about 5% sociopaths. We simply must expect this because we aren't very good at spotting the sociopaths until after they've done something horrible AND we need the institutions to avoid Rule By Whim.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

My libertarian (classical liberal really) inclination here is to be deeply suspicious of self-replicating power structures. They can do some spectacularly evil things without anyone in them feeling they were responsible for doing it, let alone stopping it. Fortunately for the world, they can also do spectacularly good things without anyone in them feeling that they are solely responsible for doing it or even being aware of it.


You seem to be describing corporations, which Libertarians tend to worship. Just sayin'

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

we aren't very good at spotting the sociopaths until after they've done something horrible


Au contraire. Some of us were very good at spotting a particular sociopath long before he was elected or even nominated. What "we" collectively aren't very good at is accepting the evidence that someone in authority really is that bad (that "This sophont is dangerous"). In this, I don't just mean Benedict Donald. My dad was like that about Nixon. He could not wrap his head around the fact that a president could act villainously. And WGN radio host John Williams was like that about W's contention that Iraq had WMDs. That a president would lie about such a thing was just inconceivable to him--until it wasn't.

David Brin said...

I well remember “Yes, Minister.”

Tulsi doesn’t even need Moscow. Fox and rightist paranoia sites do lots of her fundraising.

Anyway… Hawaii? Seriously? Like she thinks all this will help her get re-elected there?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

A quorum of at least 51 Senators is required, in order to be in session, hence it might theoretically take just 34 to convict and remove a sitting president! And if those voting 'yea' are 100% Democrats, then a deposed and enraged Trump wouldn't go after the GOP, would he?

Let's assume all 47 Democrats (and partners) vote to convict. That will amount to the required two-thirds if no more than 70 Senators are present, 23 of them Republicans. That can happen if thirty GOP Senators somehow don't show up.


I know Trump supporters aren't the brightest bulbs in the box, but I don't see how this would stave off ire at the Republican Party. It would be obvious even to the most obtuse that Senators happening to not show up for a vote would be an intentional act for which they'd have to take some blame. I mean, they got McCain out of intensive care to fly to Washington for a close vote. The idea that anyone not showing up for a vote on impeachment could fail to take responsibility for the outcome of that absence is absurd.

Larry Hart said...

Hey, would this count as a judo move? Republicans pull that "don't show up" strategy, and Democrats make a deal with Trump--they (Democrats) don't vote to remove him from office and he stops appointing right-wing judges and destroying American institutions.

Trump might even go for the deal. He might even campaign as the savior of American institutions against those traitorous Republicans. And his supporters would easily accept that they've always been at war with Eastasia--I mean McConnell.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Larry Hart
That is evil and cunning and I like it !

David Brin said...

LH that's why I also mentioned the "cheap thriller novel" option for how to keep 30 senators from showing up.

Also, Pelosi is smart but nowhere near smart enough to dicker a reversal from Two Scoops.

A.F. Rey said...

Well, the first episode of the new series, "The Watchmen," aired tonight on HBO. So far, it looks pretty good.

What I really look forward to is seeing the demographics of the show's viewership over the next few weeks. For some unknown reason, I am extremely interested in finding out who watches "The Watchmen." ;)

David Brin said...

Much as I despised Snyder's collaborations with Frank Miller, I realized it is for a particular reason -- that Snyder is probably the director most dedicated to conveying the original material accurately! His "300" was truly faithful to Miller's "300" -- hence gorgeous, disturbing and morally deeply evil. His rendition of "Watchmen" was similarly spectacularly faithful... and hence interesting, complex, morally elevated and thought provoking.

The variant TV series looks good but who has time?

' who watches "The Watchmen." ;)' heh

A variant LH... 30 senators at a Republican conference get food poisoning, non-lethal but blamed on dems as a plot to get their 2/3 of a quorum. I trust Schumer to see right through it and say "dear colleagues, we'll wait for you."

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Just sayin

corporations (profit and non-profit), clubs, churches
government agencies, universities, HOA's
etc. 8)

The list goes on and includes the generic 'institutions' when made plural.

The big, lumbering ones have a kind of inertia once moving that can result in a lot of damage… or good… depending in which direction they are set in motion.

The small, nimble ones have a kind of agility to bite off a hunk of your flesh before you realize they are in range… or bite at your nearest foe… depending on what the leadership within them sees as yummy.

When it comes to worries, I pay more attention to the small, piranha-like ones composed of a few, very rich people. Lots of people are already watching the lumbering whales, so I'm more interested in the razor-toothed swarm of fingerlings and what they intend to eat.

Some of us were very good at spotting a particular sociopath

Come now. Many millions of us knew Two Scoops was a sociopath. The issue was whether or not he had been duly elected. 8)

[My mother made it clear she thought Nixon was too. From the start she despised him.]

Sociopaths can't really be avoided. There are simply too many of them. If we can't govern ourselves using institutions that are robust (preferably self-healing) in the face of a moderate percentage of sociopathic leaders, we are in deep doo-doo. We can try to spot them and keep them from power, but some of them IN power can help accomplish that in ways the rest of us can't. It's way too easy for those of us who aren't to be trusting and loyal (as you rightly point out), so a sprinkling of known(?) sociopaths can actually work as sensors. [Why does Bob react so badly to George? Hmm. I don't get it. Let's ask. Oh. They ARE a lot alike.]

On thinking about that, I now have to wonder if my mother was a well-hidden sociopath. 8)
Possibly. Hmm… Nah. I can't accept that. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Democrats make a deal with Trump--they (Democrats) don't vote to remove him from office and he stops appointing right-wing judges and destroying American institutions.

I wouldn't trust him further than I could spit. 8)
Would they?

Dealing with the faithless is stupid.
I'd vote against anyone who tried on the grounds they are too damn dumb to lead us.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Much as I despised Snyder's collaborations with Frank Miller, I realized it is for a particular reason -- that Snyder is probably the director most dedicated to conveying the original material accurately! His "300" was truly faithful to Miller's "300" -- hence gorgeous, disturbing and morally deeply evil.


It was weird for me. I had read the graphic novel 300 when it came out, which was before 9/11. I watched the movie (part of it--I couldn't bear it enough to make it through) which I knew to be a "subtle" commentary on how white Europeans are the good guys and Persians (Iranians, therefore all Muslims) are evil. While watching the movie, I realized two seemingly-contradictory things:

1) It was completely faithful to the graphic novel
2) The theme was something completely different in a very disturbing way


The variant [Watchmen] TV series looks good but who has time?


I'll probably get around to it the same way I did with Designated Survivor and Game of Thrones. On DVD when the entire series is collected.


' who watches "The Watchmen." ;)' heh


I caught that one too. :)


A variant LH... 30 senators at a Republican conference get food poisoning, non-lethal but blamed on dems as a plot to get their 2/3 of a quorum. I trust Schumer to see right through it and say "dear colleagues, we'll wait for you."


No matter what the presumptive excuse, I can't believe that anyone, even Trump supporters, would fail to see through any excuse for not being present at such a vote when their absence affects the outcome. McConnell might be desperate to try something like that, but I can't believe it would have a chance of succeeding in preventing rebuke from the Brownshirts.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"Some of us were very good at spotting a particular sociopath"

Come now. Many millions of us knew Two Scoops was a sociopath. The issue was whether or not he had been duly elected. 8)


I meant when he was still contending for the election, or even for the nomination.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"Democrats make a deal with Trump--they (Democrats) don't vote to remove him from office and he stops appointing right-wing judges and destroying American institutions."

I wouldn't trust him further than I could spit. 8)
Would they?


You raise a good point, but look at the circumstances.

At that point, Trump is in the active process of being betrayed by the Republican Party. He's about to be removed from office (and therefore indictable). Schumer offers him a lifeline which allows him to stay in office and stick it to his betrayers.

Also, if we accept Dr Brin's premise, then the Democrats are about to commit political suicide if they remove Trump on a party-line vote. So they kinda need a deal too.

Your caution is commendable, but in the specific case, I think there are extenuating circumstances. Plus, it mirrors the Second Foundation neutralizing the Mule's powers but leaving him to live out his life in power at the end of that chapter of Foundation. :)

dav said...

I like how Brin waves away the Deep State by invoking some ridiculous fallacy how anyone that complains of government chicanery is accusing the lunch lady from the Federal Beaver Administration of being lockstep in the conspiracy, when actually it's only a few dozen high ranking apparatchiks and their cronies to blame for the whole mess. No need for a 200.000 person conspiracy.

Larry Hart said...

@dav,

We likewise "love" how you equate diligent performance of one's job in service to the nation under extraordinary attack with treason. Treason against whom? For whom? To what end?

Thank God for the deep state. And in the words of The Hound from Game of Thrones, "Fuck the king."

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/20/us/politics/trump-g7-doral.html

He knew he was inviting criticism by choosing his own luxury golf club in Miami for the site of a gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit in June, President Trump told his aides opposed to the choice, and he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats.

But what Mr. Trump was not prepared for was the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it.


Not to knock Republicans when they actually do the right thing, but...

Really? That crossed a line and they couldn't defend it? As opposed to...?

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/20/opinion/trump-impeachment-testimony.html

President Trump is right: The deep state is alive and well. But it is not the sinister, antidemocratic cabal of his fever dreams. It is, rather, a collection of patriotic public servants — career diplomats, scientists, intelligence officers and others — who, from within the bowels of this corrupt and corrupting administration, have somehow remembered that their duty is to protect the interests, not of a particular leader, but of the American people.

...

Larry Hart said...

Note that this article largely says what I also believe--that Tulsi Gabbard may well not be working with Russia, but that that fact is of little consequence compared to her perceived value by the Russians. Emphasis mine...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Oct21.html#item-4

While Elizabeth Warren is trying to get used to the yellow jersey, in a manner of speaking, her fellow candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is flailing. Her campaign has never gained traction, and she's not likely to make any future debate cuts. She's also resentful towards the DNC, which she sees as being hostile to her and to her efforts.

During this run, Gabbard has attracted support from a loyal cadre of supporters who largely think that she is not only the best candidate, she's the only one worth supporting (or, alternatively, that she and Bernie Sanders are the only ones worth supporting). She's also attracted much support from Russian troll farms, for reasons that are not entirely clear. It could be that they think she is friendly to their interests (which, at least on Syria, she is). Or, it could merely be that they think that she's a rabble-rouser who will cause the largest disruption among the Democratic candidates. The Russians support for Gabbard is not in dispute, though it should be clear that there is no evidence the candidate has had any contact with the Russkies, or that she's done anything to encourage them.

...

David Brin said...

Poor Dav is clutching at straws. The Putinists have reamed the top ranks of the “deep state” forcing a wave of retirements of skilled public servants, trying to eliminate men and women of stature in the scores, even hundreds and to intimidate those below. It hasn’t worked. The next civil servants to step into the slots then STEP UP and defend America, as they were sworn to do.

And what would be the aim of such a cabal? To get rich? Murdoch/Mercer/Koch/Saudis/Putin/WallStreet offer vast bribes and post-retirement sinecures which are refused. Power? Over what? The power to work 80 hour weeks? What Brennan and the others WERE loyal to is comrades and people exercising skill. Which does bring us to one "deep state" hypothesis that does have some small merit. The "Yes, Minister," syndrome.

Dav is a ditzy maroon compared to locumranch, who at least has a theory, that the Deep State is a mass psychosis and reflex of guild protection. In a much, much, milder form, of course here there is a grain of truth.

Just a grain, though. These are the folks who saved us from the KGB before it changed its name and dropped the hammer/sickle emblems and then staredat us in stuned suprise as the US mad-right scurried over to kiss their asses.

"A change of symbols? THAT is all it took, to conquer you Americans?"

locumranch said...



The Deep State is a mass psychosis and reflex of guild protection?[DB]

I said no such thing.

What I said is that the Deep State, by being both immune to consequence & devoid of human compassion, is a remorseless & implacable machine that may grind the unwary & unfortunate 'Beneath the Wheel' -- as first described by Herman Hesse in 1906 -- making it possible & even likely that the most dedicated, honest & loyal 'Public Servant' may become an unwitting participant in the most gruesome & unjust atrocity.

In order to describe the dedicated public servant who is 'just doing their job', I think I'll call this the 'Good German Syndrome', why not?, and then I'll sit back & bear witness as David sings praises to legendary efficiency & dedication of exemplary bureaucrats like Adolf Eichmann.


Best

Deuxglass said...

The Democrat Party is breaking down. Hillary Clinton accuses Tulsi Gabbard of being a Russian agent because she doesn't conform exactly with what Hillary Clinton believes or professes to believe then Tulsi Gabbard is a "Russian" spy, asset or whatever. I can't believe that I voted for this person. Someone should tell her that dissent from her personal opinions is not a bad thing and that the Democrats are better without her.

David Brin said...

Deuxglass you are welcome to your dislike. But do not ignore the tsunami of Kremlin and alt-right cash and fake news and fake supporters pouring after Tulsi. Yes, an alt theory is they are scared of her and mean for this to destroy he. But don't ignore it.

Locum I offered an out, but he's back at 250,000 skilled, dedicated men and women working 80 hour weeks to in PERFECT unison and discipline and secrecy destroy their country. Along with 5 million, scientists, teachers, journalists.... fool

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

Are you accusing her of treason? On what grounds?

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Deuxglass: Trump just stated that Gabbard is not a Russian agent.
She's toast.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Deuxglass:
From today's Guardian:
Trump defends Gabbard, says she is not a Russian agent

Speaking during his cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump defended Tulsi Gabbrd, saying the Democratic presidential candidate is not a Russian agent.

The question of Gabbard’s ties to Russia arose last week, when Hillary Clinton suggested that the Kremlin was “grooming” the Hawaii congresswoman to launch a third-party presidential bid. (Clinton did not provide evidence to back up this claim.)

Gabbard vigorously denied the claim, but news reports have pointed out that Russian state media frequently mention the candidate, even though she is one of the lower-polling contenders in the Democratic primary race.

Zepp Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

@Dr. Brin:
Funny you should mention the Russian tsunami. They take all sides, hoping to divide.

From this morning's Guardian

Facebook acknowledges Russian effort to meddle in 2020 election
Julia Carrie Wong

Facebook on Monday disclosed that it had taken down a new foreign interference operation targeting the US 2020 presidential elections that appears to be linked to the Russian troll agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).


The 50 Instagram accounts and one Facebook account “had the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation”, the company said in a blog post. The accounts had about 246,000 followers, and published nearly 75,000 posts, according to Graphika, a social network analysis company that reviewed the campaign for Facebook.

The campaign included accounts that promoted both “conservative” and “progressive” content, resharing memes and tweets on potentially divisive topics in a manner similar to the IRA’s 2016 social media influence campaign.

While most of the posts were focused on polarizing political issues, some specifically addressed the 2020 election, according to Graphika. These included posts supporting Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and attacking Joe Biden. Some also attacked Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Deuxglass said...

Zep,

So if Russian media reports on her then that means that she is a Russian agent? That is your reasoning. Russian media in the past said nice thing about Hillary Clinton so I should assume that she is a Russian agent too?

Deuxglass said...

The Democrats are losing the independents with bullshit like this.

Ken in Camarillo said...

I think the most productive approach is to see what AG Barr has found in his investigations. Barr is probably the reason so many Democrats want to move quickly; it wouldn't do to have so many high level FBI people charged with FISA warrant fraud (if that's what happens) before the Democrats reach the climax of their impeachment adventure. Dr Brin, you may remember me at Lloyd House as a water polo player.

Larry Hart said...

@Deuxglass,

You're the one sounding paranoid here. You conflate "asset, spy, whatever" as if the Dems are just throwing out interchangeable terms to be derogatory. There's a big difference between "Watch out for what Russian bots are doing around Tulsi Gabbard" and "Tulsi is actively engaged in collusion with Russian bots." People, including Hillary, keep saying the first, and you act outraged that they would suggest the second. They're not.

No, Dr Brin is not accusing Tulsi Gabbard of treason. He's echoing a warning to the rest of us voters to keep an eye on attempts to drive us to anger and division over Tulsi Gabbard.

Larry Hart said...

Deuxglass:

The Democrats are losing the independents with bullshit like this.


Independents will happily deliver us four more years of Benedict Donald unless the Democrats run a Republican as their nominee. Pretzeling ourselves in order not to lose support of independents when those independents don't have a problem with Trump is a mug's game. We really have to "do whatever we should do no matter what Lord Julius says" and hope for the best.

They'll like us when we win.

Treebeard said...

Deuxglass, it seems that you’re either with the Party, or you’re a Putin stooge. Clearly the Democrat establishment needs an outsider to kick their arrogant asses, like Trump did to the GOP. As a Putin stooge, might I suggest Sanders? ;)

I have no idea how much meddling Russians actually do in America, but certainly the McCarthy-level paranoia and absurd accusations, which our super-smart host himself likes to engage in (accusing presidents and entire parties of being mind-controlled from Moscow) are playing into their hands by making large elements of our intelligentsia sound like paranoid lunatics. If the Russians were this good, surely America’s opinion-makers would be getting on planes to Moscow trying to learn from these Sith Lords. As someone who has actually lived over there, I’m pretty confident they aren’t ruled by super-powered Sith Lords, but they do like vodka, ballet and chess. But hey, paranoia and moral panic are as American as apple pie and some times they get your guy elected. Fortunately this, too, shall pass.

Larry Hart said...

There are no independents. There are Democrats, self-described Republicans, and those who might vote for what they consider a perfect Democrat, but otherwise vote Republican.

If there were voters who might vote for what they consider a perfect Republican, but otherwise vote Democratc, then I might allow that the concept of an independent voter is a real thing. So far, I haven't seen such things.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Deuxglass, it seems that you’re either with the Party, or you’re a Putin stooge.


Well, we know which one you are.


Clearly the Democrat establishment needs an outsider to kick their arrogant asses, like Trump did to the GOP.


How about having Trump kick our asses just "like he did to the GOP"? Y'know, filling up the judiciary with our picks and riling up his base to elect our Senators? I could live with that.

Deuxglass said...

Larry,

The anger and division is coming from a former major figure of the Democrats who decided to smear someone who is not a threat. It is shear stupidity and although it might work to solidify those who would have already voted Democrat no matter what, it repulses the independents who by the way are more numerous than either the Republicans and the Democrats. You lose enough of them and you lose the election period.

Deuxglass said...

You encourage people to vote for a third party candidate with antics like this. Remember that Ross Perot's candidacy pulled away enough vote from Bush senior to allow Bill Clinton to win the election with only 42% of the popular vote. Hillary should just shut up.

locumranch said...


In no way did I impugn the efforts, dedication, efficiency or the intent of the "5 million, scientists, teachers, journalists" and/or the "250,000 skilled, dedicated men and women working 80 hour weeks in PERFECT unison and discipline", mostly because their dedication, efficiency and intent is entirely beside the point.

I am most concerned about what these millions of hard-working, honest & dedicated bureaucrats create in terms of RESULTS which, in this case, appears to be the perpetuation of an immoral Summum Malum Leviathan intent on bureaucratic dominance, the elimination of constitutional protections, the destruction of Democracy & the pursuit of endless foreign wars.

Intent, intent, intent: I am sickened by all this lip service to INTENT, as if the existence of INTENT somehow excuses the perpetuation of irredeemable evil.

"I thought all those ovens were for baking COOKIES," protests Eichmann, immediately before he receives a full pardon, after tearfully explaining how he never INTENDED the extermination of 6 Million plus.

Case Dismissed.


_____

Nice try, Treebeard. Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders has already been denounced as a Russian Stooge by Rachel Maddow waaaay back in 2017.

Andy said...

Good stuff! A couple minor remarks:

I'm not sure that you're using the word "putative" correctly. From merriam-webster.com:
1: commonly accepted or supposed
2: assumed to exist or to have existed

Perhaps use the word "hypothetical" or maybe "imagined" instead?

Also, a bit confused as to what you're getting at here: "Pence might even pull his name from consideration as a candidate. All that will mean is that the clock is ticking a rapid countdown."

David Brin said...

Deuxglass… you are right that guilt-by-association is immature. But we live in immature times. Clinton was foolish in the way she said it. Much better was when someone (Kamala?) berated Trump: “I don’t think the president is a racist, but the racists sure think he is.” Gabbard is probably not a Russian agent (who has said she is?) nor even a nod and wink complicit. But she’s been able to participate in the last two debates because of money and support metrics that were partly Kremlin-propelled.

And yes, they’ll do that even to Bernie, if it will drive wedges. So?
Tulsi can simply say (as Clinton should have asked) “I will support the Democratic Party nominee.”
Just say it. “I may complain about this or that DP policy or debate or primary method. But I will always act to quell divisions in our essential coalition.”

Just say that.

LloydHouse Ken! Hoping you’ve done great! I know the guy who designed the new ‘better’ FISA rules. They are better… about 10% better. Give us a link to this suspicion of yours?

ent snarked: “Deuxglass, it seems that you’re either with the Party, or you’re a Putin stooge. Clearly the Democrat establishment needs an outsider to kick their arrogant asses…”

Oh don’t you wish. ONLY Biden qualifies as “establishment” in this crowded field of extremely smart and talented candidates, any one of whom would bring daylight back to a nation under Russian-mafia-Saudi-confederate occupation. Though I like older outsider Liz and especially absolutely new and brilliant and no-scandals outsider Mayor Pete. Your assertions are totally evidence and logic free. They are nothing more than incantations.

Deuxglass you are fuming and fulminating in search of a reason to fulminate. It was reasonable to draw attention to Gabbard’s Russia-crypto support and she should have responded: “Putin fears me and wants to tar me with his support! I’ll make him sorry! Oh, and I’ll support any DP nominee.” Clinton just made it suicidal for Gabbard to pull a third party run. Good. Nasty, but good.

I am thrilled with every aspect of the pre-primary DP process. Large numbers of brilliant candidates. A great job audition for cabinet members and one leader of the meetings. Cabinet members who won't go around the circle kissing ass and taking graft. I wish Inslee had caught on. But I have hopes he'll be Liz's VP, since she really needs a manager.

getting cranky over all this is WAY premature.

Smurphs said...

Deuxglass, you are exactly the kind of "independent" the Russians are targeting.

And, it is working.

Deuxglass said...

Smurphs,

So independents are now Russian stooges? You are ridiculous.

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

Say that Hillary is immature and not representative of the Democrat Party. Just say it. Disavow her. If you do not then you agree with her.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

It seems clear to me having read through the posts from various people who i assume are Democratic voters and the rancor barely hidden or in some cases stated outright(myself included) that no Russian interference is need to sow division within Democratic circles. I stated earlier i was done posting re TG and will hold to that. It seems clear to me that the schism between Bernie people and Hillary people is being played out during this lead up to primary season. The Hillary people will say she barely lost and Trump is a dumster fire so Biden will almost certainly win this time. The Bernie people will point to the fact she lost and say it is time for a more progressive candidate to run so as to generate more excitement. I honestly am a long time Bernie supporter and would love to see him be president, but i dont want him to kill himself trying to become it. To that end i have decided to support Warren as the candidate i advocate for. She is progressive enough that she represents a change(at least hopefully) from the status quo centrism of Biden and having endorsed Hillary in the previous primary but adopting and advocating for many of Bernies positions on various issues she has positioned herself as the clear compromise candidate.

scidata said...

The Bear won't like the outcome of today's Canadian federal election. Either we'll get Trudeau back (staunch EU/UN supporter), or we'll get Scheer (dual Can/US citizen). Both are strongly pro-NATO.

David Brin said...

Phaedrusnailfile please don't conflate today's mostly minor bickers among Dem candidates as some sort of 'schism." How absurd. I love the headline: "Democratic candidates agree violently!"

Cripes. look at my list of 31 things dems and moderates and even lefties all AGREE upon and envision how much better the world and US would be if we just did all of those and put off internal fights till the next year!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html

oh and that (expanded) is now a chapter in POLEMICAL JUDO... which all of you should be pre-ordering now! It comes out FRIDAY!!! Your pre-order will help it to pop. Spread word!

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Dr. Brin thanks for the reply but in the most respectful way possible I disagree. There are two major fault lines. The first is the lingering hard feelings from the Bernie progressives over his barely acknowled mistreatment in the first primary. The Hillary people still resent Bernie as a party outsider that took away from Hillary's spotlight causing her to lose. The second is a fault line is what you have described as the loony left which I believe is growing due to the frustration of young people of all identies with a system that seems unable to fundamentally address corruption and the violence in the world which that corruption contributes directly to. This may be due to an entire generation coming of age in or entering middle age during the time of Reagonomics running up against the sensibilities and sometimes wisdom of a generation of people who witnessed firsthand the turmoil of the late 60's and early 70's and have no desire to repeat.

Larry Hart said...

Deuxglass:

Say that Hillary is immature and not representative of the Democrat Party. Just say it. Disavow her. If you do not then you agree with her.


What's not to agree with? She warned that Tulsi Gabbard might be playing into Russian troll hands, and to be aware of that possibility. She didn't say "agent" or "spy", so your outrage is misdirected.


you encourage people to vote for a third party candidate with antics like this.


Independents are offended on behalf of Tulsi Gabbard? How many potential voters who aren't glued to news outlets a year ahead of time even know who Tulsi Gabbard is?

AVR said...

Suppose Trump becomes the first POTUS ever to be removed by impeachment. With or without the support of some Republican senators. What can he actually do with that incandescent rage? Mess around with GOP primaries sure, rant to various news outlets no doubt, but without the Presidency what's he got other than celebrity?

David Brin said...

Andrew Yang rules out minor party or independent run if he’s not the Democratic nominee.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/21/andrew-yang-rules-out-third-party-or-independent-run-if-hes-not-democratic-nominee/

Was that so hard?

Phaedrusnailfile yes I get it. You have bought into the splitter narrative, hook line and sinker, even though it is a lot of preening and posing without a scintilla of substance to it. Well, maybe a scintilla.

OMG do you know ANY history of politics in 10,000 nations across centuries? Or the US across 250 years? And you call THAT STUFF a schism? What utter snowflakery! Oh, so sorry you got a little bruise on the elbow as siblings jostle a bit with each other, before facing real deadly enemies.

DID YOU read my posting on Splitterism? If so, dare you answer ANY of my Five Challenges to Splitters?

The mountains you exaggerate weren't even mole hills to start with, just magical incantations to justify wrath. BERNIE told his own followers to GROW UP!

Look at my list of 31 goals that ALL democrats and moderate decent people would want. Tell us which ones you think are wrong or that almost any dem would not want.

David Brin said...

AVR fact is we don't know what DT could achieve at post removal rallies. He's an unstable and narrowly focused genius and he could stir civil war.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

OMG do you know ANY history of politics in 10,000 nations across centuries? Or the US across 250 years? And you call THAT STUFF a schism?


I'm reminded of end of the Star Trek episode "Day of the Dove" after the humans and Klingons realize that their fight is artificial, egged on by an alien entity who feeds off of their hatred.

"We need no urging to hate humans!"

"But only a fool fights in a burning house."

David Brin said...

In my splitterism chapter, point #6 is -- "because Putin wants this split." That alone is enough.

Putin wanted Brexit. Proved. That should be all the argument needed by the VOTE AGAIN populace.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Well consider me properly cowed. Apparently by using the word schism I have apparently made a joke of the entirety of human history and it is a trigger word for Larry or some such. Once more a centrist type dismisses any objection or concern from anyone not in lock step agreement with them despite the fact that we agree which candidate should get the nomination. I'm sorry that the tone of your rhetoric in the comment section fails to match the spirit of the sentiment in the blog post section.

Jon S. said...

Okay, boys and girls and others, let's drag the discussion back to the tracks.

Hillary Clinton did not state that Tulsi Gabbard was a Russian spy, agent, stooge, or even asset. Hillary Clinton did state that she believed the Russians were grooming a female Democratic candidate to become an asset. No names were mentioned.

It was, I thought, rather telling that Gabbard was so ready to step up and assume she was the one intended, and not, say, Williamson (or even using it as an opportunity to denounce Harris and/or Warren). I mean, it's not like Gabbard is the only female running for the Democratic nomination. And to this day Clinton still has not named Gabbard - it's entirely Gabbard, her followers, and the Kremlin who are supporting this narrative.

And everyone here seems to be following along, which tells me that everyone here finds the insinuation more credible against Gabbard than against anyone else.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

I really can't imagine Schumer offering a lifeline no matter what.

The sick-out gambit won't work unless they change Senate rules now before putting Roberts in as the presiding judge. Current rules of the Senate regarding impeachment are still pretty much those adopted for Andrew Johnson. Roberts presides while Senate enforces. So, once the trial begins, there really isn't a way out that doesn't involve a vote and a party-line vote won't be enough for conviction. No lifeline would be in reach without GOP defectors who would be much more inclined than Schumer to offer ways out of conviction.

I actually DON'T accept our host's premise that the Democrats are about to commit political suicide if they produce a party-line vote. Conviction requires 2/3rds, thus 67 votes which is 20 more than Democrats can muster on their own. Nearly half the Senate GOP has to go along to get a conviction.

The most likely scenario I see in the crystal ball is a threat by GOP senators that they might vote to convict, but they'll refrain IF he resigns before the vote and the VP pardons him on the spot. No vote would happen then since the trial is about cleansing the office which has already happened. If he doesn't go for the deal, I suspect the conviction vote will fall a bit short, he will stay in office, and there will be Hell to Pay for some GOP senators during the election.

I expect retirement announcements from some who think they are screwed either way and the realness of the conviction threat will hinge on whether they feel free of the need to raise funds.

I REALLY don't see how the Democrats get harmed in this.
As long as they display courage, they should trust in the rest of us.

Alfred Differ said...

…when actually it's only a few dozen high ranking apparatchiks and their cronies to blame for the whole mess. No need for a 200.000 person conspiracy.

Heh. Spoken like someone who has never worked in our government. My life would be a helluva lot easier if there WERE just a few people pulling the strings. 8)

Nah. There is actually good research on how bureaucracies function in real life. The truth is they barely know what they are doing because they can't effectively communicate between all their parts. Arendt's 'evil' comes from that fact. It is far easier to go along with what the institution does than it is to create change, but even harder than that is to know what is actually happening.

Hayek described the root problem well in his essay "The Use of Knowledge in Society" in 1945. Though he pitched it as a rebuttal to Oskar Lange's suggestion for a planned economy, it works at describing a fundamental constraint on all large groups trying to coordinate action. Add it to work done by Coase regarding transaction costs and the limits they impose on how we organize and you get a more realistic view. Finally, toss in Public Choice theory. Never ignore that. 8)

Belief in a few dozen apparatchiks running the place through their cronies is, at best, a romantic fantasy. It's not even a good approximation once the organizations begin to involve more than 50K people. Even the 'implacable machine' is a poor description beyond its use to describe how ignorant many parts of the machine are.

Reality is closer to many, smaller fiefdoms engaged in territorial fights and squabbles over funding/manna from heaven/Congress. In the mix, there are rebels and reactionaries, the faithful and numb, and both zealots and cowards. If you think you know how this all works, you probably don't. You don't have the information you need to be knowledgeable any more than a planning board does. Bits and pieces? Sure. Just enough to lose your humility and make stupid decisions.

David Brin said...

" Once more a centrist type dismisses any objection or concern from anyone not in lock step agreement with them despite the fact that we agree which candidate should get the nomination"

I am such a bully. Even though you just conceded my point. That we're allies agreeing on the candidate and most things that must be done. Only you insist on playing victim, even knowing that endangers the coalition.

Maybe YOU have your priorities straight and can nurse grudges WHILE holding your nose and marching alongside hated moderates. But you are giving a pass to vast numbers just to your left, who are just a tad more angry than you, to preen and stay home or actively split us, or heed Kremlin agitprop pushing splitter memes.

Comment sections are where folks tussle. And I consider you a brother. One who needs to be tussled and noogied until he relents and admits that the enemy isn't just 100x or 1000x as bad as the mean old DLC but 10,000x or more. And note, there were reforms, lessened super-delegates etc.

I made clear there's a sweet spot. Take your splitter energies to safe blue districts and go ahead and primary some old fart moderate, the way AOC did. Build the left caucus in the House, fine! But meanwhile, help some crewcut or hair-bun military vet like Amy McGrath take down Mitch McConnell! Because those are the folks who took territory in 2018 and made Pelosi Speaker!

If you do both, then you're welcome to snarl at Biden all you like.

===
Alfred, I disagree. Rushing to impeach is suicidal and Pelosi is doing a great job using this to pry loose a lot more than Ukraine. If we are patient, we can get tax returns and Deutsche Bank and emoluments etc. Then, even if we don't get 20 GOP senators to convict, and DT refuses to compromise, then we're likely to get 2/3 majorities for emergency measure to constrain him. And THAT, in the run-up to elections, is what I care about.

constraining his war powers
constraining his "acting" appointees
...his war on the civil service...
...his screwing of allies...
... his cruelty to children...
...his travel budget!! and so much else. Lock him inside the White House with minders and let the American people settle this.

David Brin said...

I watched the video. Arguably Two Scoops flipped 'the bird' to the speace walking woman astronauts when they corrected his mistake... but I see it as ambiguous. This is not top of my list. Though in a second term, he'd have reamed civil service protections enough to make even astronauts fear the wrath.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7597647/Donald-Trump-accused-flipping-bird-female-astronaut-fact-checked-him.html

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Ok so wow Dr. Brin you have managed to actually suprise me, after the sarcastic and admittedly defensive tone of my last post i fully expected to come back to see you unload both barrels on me and spent my time thinking up clever comebacks only to read a downright down to earth genuinely cordial response. Your kung fu is strong. For what its worth i do admit the enemy is much worse, and when speaking to those angry people just to my left on various other forums i try to remind them of that as well, many times using arguments cribbed from notes taken reading your fine blog. I am not ready to join Vlad on his horse and wait for Trump to finish his chest rub so i can have my turn just yet.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

I'm content to go at Pelosi's pace as long... as the trial occurs in this Congress... before the election. I'd really rather the GOP not renominate Trump for the sake of the nation. It's the notion that the trial should occur in the next Senate that I oppose.

I DO want more than one article of impeachment, but I agree with Pelosi in that they ones they put up have to be really, really clear. I make one exception, though. I think Pelosi should include one article that the GOP can vote against. Let them have one and intentionally make less than an all-out push to win conviction. Even let a few House Democrats demur on it so it just barely passes. It's an old trick, but it works to insulate the other things we want to win.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm thinking HRC's recent comments might help provide fire cover for Biden. The more the nuts rant about her, the less they think about Biden's son.

Remember how talking about a falsehood even while rebutting it is still talking about it. She's sucking the oxygen away from that fire. Useful.

Daniel Duffy said...

While we have been discussing centrists on this thread, has anyone noticed that 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." and the world is starting to come unraveled:

Joining Venezuela, Chile has descended into chaos with army gunning down protesters in Santiago with live ammunition.

In addition to Hong Kong, Lebanon is now rocked by violent protests.

Turks invade Kurdistan while India clamps down on Kashmir in order to steal water from a nuclear armed Pakistan.

Mass unrest in Moscow in protest to a rigged political system.

Extinction Rebellion gets banned in London while a million march against Brexit.

Mexico is becoming a failed state with drug cartels taking over local governments there and in Central America.

Ongoing pro- and anti-Trump movements in America - 202 will be the most violent presidential campaign since 1968 and the dirtiest in American history.

Something is going on, something big.

It's looking like the spontaneous European revolutions of 1848.

Larry Hart said...

Phaedrusnailfile:

...and it ["schism"] is a trigger word for Larry or some such


???

Where did that come from?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I actually DON'T accept our host's premise that the Democrats are about to commit political suicide if they produce a party-line vote. Conviction requires 2/3rds, thus 67 votes which is 20 more than Democrats can muster on their own. Nearly half the Senate GOP has to go along to get a conviction.


Dr Brin seems to envision a possible scenario in which enough Republican Senators fail to show up such that all 48 Democrats would constitute a 2/3 majority of those present, and then they convict on a party-line vote.

While such a thing is mathematically possible, I don't see any way that the Republican Senators who allow this to happen by not showing up are let off the hook by the Trump supporters. Even if the excuse is something like mass food poisoning, are voters really going to accept the notion that such an occurrence is just a very unfortunate coincidence? Or that McConnell couldn't have postponed the vote until the Republicans returned to the Senate?

No, it will be obvious even to the most obtuse that those Republicans could easily have prevented the conviction and chose not to.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

the enemy isn't just 100x or 1000x as bad as the mean old DLC but 10,000x or more.


That's a point I've been trying to make here forever, which is why this whole "independent voters" thing keeps sticking in my craw. These are voters who are so independent that they can dislike both Hillary and Trump equally and throw their vote away, not caring who actually wins because "both candidates are bad." They can't recognize that they themselves and their country would be infinitely better off had Hillary become president even if they dislike both her policies and her personality? It's of a kind to them that, sure Trump has lost America's standing in the world and will fiddle as the climate burns, but Hillary used a private e-mail server? Really, we're supposed to woo these voters who will cut off their own nose to spite us if we're not pure enough for their tastes?

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Larry, apologies, still smarting a little from our host noggies and tussles i read your post about schisms a little hastily and thought you were piling on and tried to send an elbow in your direction. I was out of line there and i am sorry.
Jon S. The other day on this blog in the comment section i saw a discussion of gaslighting the film the term originated from etc. The assertion above regarding Hillary's statements is a subtle example of doing that, myself and others in this forum and various pundits and the other people running for president knew exactly what HC was doing and have their own theories as to her motivations. To suggest that our suspicions are totally unfounded can easily likened to saying no the lights are just as bright as they were yesterday your just crazy and paranoid. It seems like #32 should be added to that list; Hillary should shut the hell up and go back to whatever rock she went and crawled under after losing the last election.

locumranch said...


When former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Thursday the Russians are currently "grooming" a Democrat running in the presidential primary to run as a third-party candidate and champion their interests, the simplest & most correct assumption suggested by Ockham is that Hillary Clinton is talking about HERSELF.

Straight from the horse's mouth, this statement amounts to an admission & confession that Hillary Clinton is a Putin Puppet who is considering a third party run in 2020.

Similarly, if we apply Ockham's Razor to the current Trump impeachment hysteria, then we can only conclude that impeachment is "the continuation of politics by other means".

And, what do those nihilists who pursue impeachment most desire?

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?


Best

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

I entirely agree. I also have serious doubts about the common claim that Independents are a majority of potential voters. Almost certainly the reality is that the majority of potential voters don't spend the effort to participate in any political party let alone register with one. More accurately they should be called something like Lethargic voters. Calling such people Independents is bullshit.

On the current Clinton / Gabbard fiasco. Watch the misinformation spread. Watch the first little step beyond the truth, just a bit of exaggeration or interpretation, be used as a springboard for the next step until the story becomes a flat out lie. Hillary said . . .

"I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians."

"They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset—I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed."


So Clinton may have referred to Gabbard as a possible third-party candidate and perhaps indirectly a possible Russian asset, although that is clearly specifically aimed at Stein.

So, third-party candidate -> Russian asset -> Russian agent -> Russian spy -> She called her a traitor. Always coupled with the false claim that "there is no evidence." And finally, when other liberal minded people point out this bullshit this is then leveraged to support the "talk like that is forcing me to help give the election to Trump again," narrative. The people spreading this misinformation are being tools. This is why we can't have nice things that last. Because too many people think misrepresenting the truth in service to their ideology is okay. They become defensive dicks when it's pointed out and then they are in too deep, sunk too much face into it, to accept that they were wrong no matter what evidence you provide.

Larry Hart said...

Ya think?

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Oct22.html#item-2

...
And for those who are left-leaning, the blue team learned something from the shellacking they took at the state and local level in 2010, and has organized to fight back in 2020, so they can draw as many district maps as is possible after the next census. If we get to the point that gerrymanders help the Democrats more than they help Republicans, it will be interesting to see if any of the nine Supreme Court justices' opinions on the matter begin to "evolve."

David Brin said...

And you too Phaedrusnailfile , you used Tae Kwon Reasonableness to neutralized my force field! Seriously. My “splitter” chapter offers 6 arguments for holding the coalition together. The biggest SHOULD be “look at all the wants we share; can we get them done in the first year and THEN split?”

But even more effective is: “Find deep blue districts and hold our lefty rebellions there, WHILE supporting some hair-bun vet in purple-red ones. Get our radical marching mojo in the former while killing Putin with the latter.”

Alfred I am fine with your suggestions. Polemical Judo has 100+ (a few of them suggested by you and others here). If just five were circulated and used, I think we’d do much better.

Re Biden’s son, why have so few responded: (1) WHAT CRIME are you accusing him of? Name the actual statute! and (2) Yes, it is allowed for relatives of politicians to have ‘business’ ties that smell smarmy. Republicans ensured that it’s legal. So now Don Junior and Eric and Invanka, show faith by listing all your board memberships and such.

DD: The worst is Spain. HOW can a modern European country think they can imprison a dozen people for a political action? They have guaranteed Catalonia won’t be satisfied with anything short of a full break.

LH that’s why ‘food poisoning’ might not work, but the real thing might. If I were a GOP Senator I’d evade major caucus meetings outside the capitol.

LH: I have long urged more attention to state and local. Help flip an assembly seat and the winner will likely remember your name. That's kinda cool.

Larry Hart said...

Phaedrusnailfile:

Larry, apologies, still smarting a little from our host noggies and tussles i read your post about schisms a little hastily and thought you were piling on and tried to send an elbow in your direction.


That's cool. I mean, I was taking up the other side of the argument and all, but I didn't think I had acted "triggered" by a word.

jumping ahead...

The assertion above regarding Hillary's statements is a subtle example of doing that [gaslighting] , myself and others in this forum and various pundits and the other people running for president knew exactly what HC was doing and have their own theories as to her motivations. To suggest that our suspicions are totally unfounded can easily likened to saying no the lights are just as bright as they were yesterday your just crazy and paranoid.


See, to me, it's almost the exact opposite. You "Hillary should crawl into a hole" people are trying to tell us that there's no there there to any such accusations concerning Tulsi Gabbard, even though everybody seems to know that there is, but that it's not polite to mention.

jumping back to...

Jon S. The other day on this blog in the comment section i saw a discussion of gaslighting the film the term originated from etc.


I had heard the term "gaslighting" for years, but finally got around to seeing the movie just a few weeks ago. One thing very much surprised me. Yes, the protagonist's husband was making her think she was losing her mind by telling her things that were different from actual reality. But the thing about the gaslights themselves was not part of that scheme. The gaslights went down because of something else that was happening at the same time. It was another thing that made her question her sanity, but he wasn't doing that particular thing on purpose. So the metaphor "easily likened to saying no the lights are just as bright as they were yesterday" isn't quite accurate. Weird, huh?

Going completely off on a tangent, I'm reminded of a scene in Frank Miller's classic Batman comic "The Dark Knight Returns" which has a scene of Alfred the butler thinking back on young Bruce Wayne. In a moment intended to reveal something of young Bruce's character, Alfred recalls reading the young boy "The Purloined Letter", after which young Bruce insisted (as a statement, not a question) "The murderer WAS caught!" Years later, I read the original of Poe's story, and was amused to find that there was not a murder or a murderer to be found in the narrative.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brn:

LH that’s why ‘food poisoning’ might not work, but the real thing might. If I were a GOP Senator I’d evade major caucus meetings outside the capitol.


I appreciate the way your mind works developing possible scenarios. But do you honestly envision any scenario which would lead to both:

1) Democrats blatantly using such a situation to ram a party-line vote on the most important issue the Senate has taken up in our lifetimes instead of pausing for the absent Senators to be able to return

AND

2) Trump voters not smelling a big rat?

The only way I can envision Democrats suddenly taking control of the Senate on account of Republican absence is if the Republicans were all taken up by Jesus in The Rapture. And in that case, the MAGA crowd should be gone as well, so they're no longer a concern.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Larry Hart, you know honestly i was so confident in my position the thought never occurred to me that i might be doing the same in reverse. Given that and the information you gave me on the details of the film, i wonder if one could make a remake set in modern times where both parties engage in gaslighting the other, both accuse the other of doing it, and both are unaware of the outside factors causing them to do so.

Larry Hart said...

@Phaedrusnailfile,

Well, that was kinda/sorta the plot of the aforementioned Star Trek episode, "The Day of the Dove". If you lean out to your left and squint a bit, I mean.

David Brin said...

LH the other scenario... outright proof of blackmailed treason on the part of dozens of gopper senators.

Dig it, Hillary Clinton may have committed some offenses to the left. But she has fought in the trenches for good things far more than fifty lifetimes of Tulsi Gabbard or indeed any of her left-side haters. And she is loved by many tens of millions.

Should she stay hands off, this election? Sure. To the degree any private citizen won't influence the outcome.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH the other scenario... outright proof of blackmailed treason on the part of dozens of gopper senators.


Interesting thought, but what follows from that?

Do you imagine that proof of treason would lose those Republican Senators their public support? If not, then they just stay put in the Senate and nothing changes.

So what if instead, proof of treason is the straw that finally breaks the camel's back, and those traitors are forced to resign in disgrace? In that case, wouldn't the public be behind a housecleaning? The remaining Democrats taking control of the Senate and voting for conviction of Trump would have the public's backing.

So I don't see how this leads to your nightmare scenario of the Dems taking the blame for an unpopular removal of Benedict Donald.

matthew said...

The problem isn't that the removal of Trump will be *unpopular*. It is already supported by a majority of Americans. 54% and counting.
The problem is that 20% of Americans would see the removal of Trump to be the trigger to stop being American and take up arms against the rest of us. And that very large contingents (majorities?) of our military, police, and federal officers would be leading the charge.
The problem with impeaching Trump isn't Americans. It's Confederates. And we gave some of them the launch codes.
This is the dilemma that Pelosi et al are facing.

scidata said...

The Tycho Supernova, with the red and blue coloring used to give a 3D feel to it (retreating and advancing silicon and other stuff too).
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/the-tycho-supernova-death-of-a-star

matthew said...

David worries (rightly) about a wave of McVeigh's. I worry about a wave of Arnold's and Lee's.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Deuxglass: As my quote made clear, the Russians aren't taking sides as much as they are CREATING sides. The quote didn't even mention Gabbard, but simply pointed out that they sought to antagonize and alienate all points of political friction in America.
As for Gabbard, I've no idea if she's an asset or a dupe (I seriously doubt she's an agent) but she is an utter fool. Aside from her blanket "Ain't gonna study war no more" platform, her politics are incoherent and often self-contradictory. That she let herself be baited by Clinton as easily as she was shows that when it comes to self-control and impulsiveness, she's really no better than Trump.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

Yah. Even a few of the suggestions from Polemical Judo would be a big help. 8)

It’s been fun doing the pre-reading work. I haven’t been able to provide as much help as I’d like (it’s proposal writing season at work), but it has been a joy watching topics unfold from blog entries to book entries with the necessary stitching pulling them together.

Your punctuation style would give my English teachers howling fits, but the result is much more readable in an age of blogs, posts, and tweets. If I want old-style, academic, proper English I can go read Hayek’s oldest material. If I want to be swept up into the forces actively arrayed in the arena, I can read your book. Any reader who doesn’t come away with an urge to fight back should check with their doctor to see if they have a pulse. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Matthew,

The problem is that 20% of Americans would see the removal of Trump to be the trigger to stop being American and take up arms against the rest of us.

That IS the concern of many, but I think it is overblown. Y’all are too inclined to imagine your neighbors as monsters instead of the human beings they actually are. They have kids, jobs, and put their pants/skirts on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.

The danger is closer to the 2% level which is plenty large enough to make life Hell for law enforcement in any major city. It’s enough to get riots and counter-riots that pin LEO’s down causing governors to bring in the Guard. We can survive this, though. Been there before. Painful… but it ends in exhaustion someday.

And that very large contingents (majorities?) of our military, police, and federal officers would be leading the charge.

I think you are way off here. Had the removal occurred in 2017 on the first whiff of an emoluments violation… Yes. LEO might have split. DoD might have, but would have started on the apolitical fence. Nowadays, the split will be horribly lopsided because the guy to be removed has demonstrated a distinct lack of integrity and honor. These folks aren’t monsters either. They are closer to Boy Scouts (for the guys anyway). Courage, Honor, Service, Integrity! And the few who do split against us? Their peers will know them for what they are. It will be a career-ending move given the time to let it work out.

So the Confederates might burn some city blocks and blow up a few places. They’ll have a hell of a time organizing, though, because they won’t know who among them is informing against them. The split WILL be horribly lopsided. We just have to work it out.

Alfred Differ said...

That there is a tussle involving HRC and Gabbard should surprise no Democrats with any brain cells devoted to remembering the 2016 election. Gabbard was the DNC Vice Chair and endorsed Sanders.

The accusation that Gabbard is an asset is all about splitting the vote and EFFECTIVELY supporting Putin's interests.

Zepp Jamieson said...

The New York Times, which originally broke the story that Hillary accused Gabbard of being groomed by the Russians, is now admitting they screwed it up--like they often do about Democrats, it seems. It's already known that Hillary never named Gabbard. But now the Times is admitting the "being groomed by the Russians" was a fabrication. What Hillary actually said was "groomed by the Republicans." Granted, many might see that as a distinction without a difference, but it shows the NYTs ongoing bias against the Democrats.
Oh, and buried on page 16: Hillary cleared of any deliberate malfeasance in the matter of her emails being on a private server. Nothing mentioned about how many members of the Trump administration have official correspondence on private servers--including some overseas.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

The problem is that 20% of Americans would see the removal of Trump to be the trigger to stop being American and take up arms against the rest of us. And that very large contingents (majorities?) of our military, police, and federal officers would be leading the charge.


I think the fear of a Brownshirt uprising into a hot war is somewhat overdone, especially the idea that the military and police would be part of it. But what if you're right? This goes beyond Trump and his insipid corruption and self-dealing at America's expense. What you're suggesting is that a contingent of Nazis is so powerful that We The People can only do what they want and hope they won't hurt us. Even if that's true, it's no way to live.

So if your scenario is accurate, I have to say "Bring 'em on." Not because I'm so doggone sure my side would win, but because the only thing to do is to have it out and be done with one side or the other. The alternative--living in constant fear of the wrath of Nazis--is not an option.

Larry Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matthew said...

Larry, I certainly wasn't arguing for consenting to radical elements of our protector caste controlling us.
I was giving credence to the fears that many of the leaders of the Union are manifesting. A bunch of the tiptoeing about impeachment was tied to fears that the military, police and federal officers would see it as a coup and not a legal move.
But I do have faith that 80% of my neighbors would fight back and win. Despite Confederate claims of marital prowess, they are mostly the fat, the slow, and the stupid.

David Brin said...

"...mostly the fat, the slow, and the stupid."

Not all. And even those are armed to the teeth.

Moreover... A factor that I would include, were I writing a thriller, would be a violent divide between many of the non-commissioned officers, sergeants etc., a large fraction of whom are from Red America and keep Fox New blaring in their quarters and lounges... vs the U.S. military officer corps - the 3rd best-educated clade in American life, overflowing with masters degrees and doctorates and deep historical understanding, as well as quasi religious dedication to civilian authority and the rule of law.

It's not too soon for our officers to grow eyes in the backs of their heads. And those TVs should be programmed to cycle through ALL news outlets. Yes, including the so called "fake" ones.

scidata said...

Gosh Google is amazing. I was reading an article on Jorge Luis Borges' ideas about time and simultaneity. For example:
The vociferous catastrophes of a general order — fires, wars, epidemics — are one single pain, illusorily multiplied in many mirrors.

This article reminded a lot of Ursula K Le Guin's "The Dispossessed". I googled 'Le Guin Borges' to see if the two had ever met. Sure enough, she and he had collaborated on at least one book. Ebling Mis types might haved toiled away for years to come up with that nugget. Any clod can now find it in seconds.

Alfred Differ said...

Marital prowess? Heh. That would be a more interesting form of combat.


I'm not confident 80% of my neighbors would fight back, but I'm quite sure our side will out-number the other side on the field AND that non-combatants will close their doors to our enemies and maybe even point them out when we come through on the hunt. That would be enough.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Marital prowess? Heh. That would be a more interesting form of combat.


Heh. My teenage daughter is being commended for "biliteracy" at her school. I told her we've suspected something like that for years, but I didn't know the state gave out awards for such things. :)

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

But now the Times is admitting the "being groomed by the Russians" was a fabrication. What Hillary actually said was "groomed by the Republicans." Granted, many might see that as a distinction without a difference, but it shows the NYTs ongoing bias against the Democrats.


I don't know about "against Democrats", but they've definitely shown an antagonism toward the Clintons which makes the claim that the NY Times is in the bag for Hillary as absurd as was the assertion that the FBI was in the bag for Hillary.

Larry Hart said...

You go, girl!

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Oct23.html#item-2

...
We don't want to get too far away from dispassionate analysis, so we can't say more than that, but what we can do is quote former Barack Obama NSA Susan Rice. She witnessed what Graham had to say on Tuesday, and opined that "Lindsey Graham isn't just a piece of sh** now. He's been a piece of sh**, and he is a piece of sh**."

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: Funny you should mention the FBI. I wrote just last night:
"Speaking of which, remember “her emails”? Huge scandal from 2011 through yesterday. Probably cost Clinton the election, especially after that idiot FBI director, the feckless James Comey, blew up a chunk of her support by announcing that they may have to widen their investigation of the emails based on never-presented evidence. Polls suggest Clinton lost four points of support as a result of that. That made the races in some states close enough that Trump and the Republicans could steal the White House. Hillary still won the popular vote, but in a system rigged by slave owners and fostered by neofascist authoritarians, she lost the Electoral vote.

Well, they finally closed the case on the emails today. No deliberate malfeasance by Clinton. Absolved. Not a word uttered about how of the three Secretaries of State ALSO used mail on private servers, and many members of Trump’s chaotic administration, since. At least one CNN reporter said he regretted the overemphasis he placed on that story in 2016. Thanks, asshole. Now go learn how to be a journalist. They have schools for that."

I finished up by saying,
"I’m not a fan of Clinton, I don’t like her policies. But I don’t turn into a Republican at the mere mention of her name, and neither should any one else. She isn’t evil incarnate, and she’s no more a warmonger than any average American. I would remonstrate that the Times should do better, but I’m not sure they could be arsed."

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: Yes, it would seem our "Flower of the South" in the Senate is one of those corpse flowers from South America--and he's in full bloom now.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

outright proof of blackmailed treason on the part of dozens of gopper senators.


Someone should tell Lindsey Graham that whatever they have on him had better be worse than just proof that he's gay. Because if that's all they got, it's not exactly a secret already.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

it would seem our "Flower of the South" in the Senate is one of those corpse flowers from South America


You'd think the wall would have kept him out. :)

Phaedrusnailfile said...

I didnt believe the story about Hillary talking about republicans and not Russians for the context of her TG comments and decided to listen to the entire podcast to see for myself. I was surprised and embarrassed a little to learn that yes in context she was referring to Republicans. My take away from it all is that the media is not "in the tank" for anyone nor is it unfairly biased against anyone. It is sensasionalistic, incompetent, and worst of all completely untrustworthy. From now on i will only get my news from the contrarybrin comments section.

Larry Hart said...



I was surprised and embarrassed a little to learn that yes in context she was referring to Republicans


The fact that Donald Trump himself jumped onto Twitter to defend Tulsi Gabbard--a Democrat presumably more lefty than Elizabeth Warren--should be a clue.


From now on i will only get my news from the contrarybrin comments section.


Heh. I really can't tell how to interpret your sarcasm here, whether you're really being complimentary or if we're supposed to understand that your statement is ridiculous. I will say that while none of us here seem to be journalists or have any first-hand knowledge of news events other than what we hear from the media, this community does seem to be an excellent source of common-sense applied to commentary on news stories.

Me, I don't come here just to hear people agree with me (since they often do not), but for well-thought out opinions and a healthy dose of expertise. A breath of fresh air in today's political world.

Darrell E said...

Sorry to provide a negative example right after that Larry but, I agree with you.

locumranch said...


When Larry_H says "There are no independents. There are Democrats, self-described Republicans, and those who might vote for what they consider a perfect Democrat, but otherwise vote Republican", he demonstrates the failed Bivalent Pseudo-Logic that leads morons to conclude that the Universe consists of either interested friends or interested enemies, but ZERO parties who exhibit disinterest or indifference.

Such irrationality calls all his conclusions into question, including his assumptions of western cultural stability and the utility of pursuing impeachment, especially when current events have shown that western democracies like France, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil & Venezuela are just one transit fare hike away from open revolution.

Despite such moronic irrationalities as offered above, Universal Indifference is most likely the rule rather than the exception, and the best explanation of the so-called Fermi Paradox to date:

That the Universe, as a rule, just doesn't give a poop (one way or the other) about the probably temporary existence of a self-deluded & narcissistic humanity, much in the same way that I no longer give a poop about the delusional antics of both the US Republicrats or the US Demicans.


Best

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Larry Hart, it was intended to be complementary, and any sarcasm was directed towards myself at the idea that i will stop reading the news.

Treebeard said...

Congratulations locum, for joining the silent majority of sane people: those who don’t vote, and don’t let the antics of far away political clowns and media propagandists affect their lives. The ability to do this is a real measure of freedom; a binary system, where you are either for A or for B, and participation is mandatory, is another form of totalitarianism. Free minds can think outside the boxes presented to them, and if we stop checking A or B and give them no power over our minds, they’ll eventually go away. The Roman empire didn’t end because people voted it out or side A beat side B in a civil war; it ended because people lost interest in the whole project, and didn’t find participation in it worthwhile.

A.F. Rey said...

The Roman empire didn’t end because people voted it out or side A beat side B in a civil war; it ended because people lost interest in the whole project, and didn’t find participation in it worthwhile.

And, as we recall, that worked out so well, ushering in what is commonly called "The Dark Ages," and the resultant population decline. ;)

Alfred Differ said...

Phaedrusnailfile,

Don't rely on us too much for your news. We don't look at enough stuff in depth or breadth to do that well. What we DO is offer skeptical alternative narratives. Delusion puncturing criticisms. All that is asked in return is that you do the same for us. 8)

Treebeard said...

Sometimes these things happen. But sometimes they don't (e.g. the British and Soviet empires). From what I've seen of the world, I'm not even slightly worried about the end of the US empire being the end of civilization.

locumranch said...


What other choice do I have, Treebeard?

Both political parties have become increasingly irrational & incapable of compromise, and there appears to be less & less of our failing political system left to save, even when the US Democrats know that impeachment will only represent a partisan Pyrrhic Victory at best:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/will-trump-shut-down-government-fight-impeachment-n1070106

"Cry, Beloved Country" with identical results, as the US Democrats dismantle the historical western social contract (because poverty, racism, sexism, apartheid and economic inequality), only to replace the putatively unjust traditional system with a dysfunctional ideology that creates 1000x more injustice (as in the 'Beloved Country' of South Africa).

It seems like my future has turned to shit -- with me just 7 months short of retirement -- an occurrence that the Simpsons once defined as 'Retirony', the transformation of my promised reward for good behaviour into ironic punishment.

The chips can fall where they may because I AM OUT, so I will leave you with only the following obscure science fiction reference:

"I hate you all, I hate you all, especially myself".


Best

Larry Hart said...

Trump's lawyer seriously argues that his client could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not be liable:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/23/nyregion/trump-taxes-vance.html

...

The judges on a three-member panel in Manhattan peppered a lawyer for Mr. Trump with questions, expressing skepticism about the president’s argument that he was immune from criminal investigation. A lower court judge earlier this month rejected Mr. Trump’s claim, which has not previously been tested in the courts.

Carey Dunne, the Manhattan district attorney’s general counsel, cited the president’s famous claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing political support.

Mr. Dunne asked what would happen in that extreme scenario? “Would we have to wait for an impeachment proceeding to be initiated?” he said.

Later, Judge Denny Chin posed the Fifth Avenue hypothetical to William S. Consovoy, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, and asked for his view.

“Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it?” Judge Chin asked, adding: “Nothing could be done? That’s your position?”

“That is correct. That is correct,” Mr. Consovoy said.

...

A.F. Rey said...

Here's a good one.

Trump lawyer argues that the President is immune from local prosecution while in office, even for murder.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/23/trump-lawyer-prosecuted-shooting-someone-055648

Larry Hart said...

@A F Rey,

I beat you by a few seconds. :)

A.F. Rey said...

Just goes to show, great minds think alike. :D

David Brin said...

While the rest of you argue interestingly, with good will and passionate eagerness to gain a clearer picture, I skimmed enough of our two dyspeptic confederates... three seconds each was enough. "Well, sure my side has gone completely corrupt-insane-treasonous! That means EVERYONE HAS!!!"

Even if true, I'd rather go down fighting for the civilization that my parents' generation built into the greatest light of all time.

David Brin said...

Oh, just so you know. It ain't remotely true.

Treebeard said...

There's that A or B thinking I'm talking about, where if someone is not with A, they must with B and a traitor. It's not very intelligent, and rather totalitarian. But here again, this, too, shall pass.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I'd rather go down fighting for the civilization that my parents' generation built into the greatest light of all time.


That was my thought to after matthew's warning about military and police backing Trump. It's not that I think I have a great chance of surviving such an authoritarian putsch, but that not trying to fight it isn't an option. At greatest remove, we'd be like the humans making a last moral stand against the Gubru at the climax of The Uplift War.

David Brin said...

No Treebeard, that is your one-dimensional brain making that interpretation. It is well documented that you have zero grasp of other dimensions or of positive sum. So you rave logic-y sounding incantations. And wave away the proof that has overwhelmed the dikes.

The American right used to have compensations and occasional times it was patriotic and even... right. It is now a universal cesspit and you know it.

The far-left can be dangerous, but we the multi-dimensional and positive-sum enlightenment loyalists need their help against a flood of toxic monsters, traitors and lunatics. If you want to keep the freedoms and prosperity you now enjoy... from which you get to snarl as a towering ingrate and go camping a lot... then maybe you should join us JUST long enough to save civilization... then go back to your snarls and your trees.

matthew said...

Can we all pause for a moment to admire the delicious irony that John Bolton may end up being the architect of the impeachment of Trump? I mean, we all knew that Bolton *loves* regime change, but this is ridiculous.

Also, perhaps *Bolton* is the super-villain in this movie.You know, the one that saves the heroes at the end only to plot his rise again in the sequel?

Alfred Differ said...

A super-villain takes out the two-bit crook along the way to ensure the story is about him?

If Bolton ever gets cast as a hero for this, I think I'd get queasy. 8)

George Carty said...

How much are Democrats compromised in their political effectiveness because they rely on the votes (and dollars) of monopolistic firms based in blue-state metropoles, and fail to see that bigoted red-state yokels aren't so much villains, as victims of said monopolies?

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1145911568799895552.html

Larry Hart said...

@matthew,

There is a Lord Bolton in Game of Thrones who does pretty well for himself in the subterfuge department.

BTW, I'm only up to the start of Season 5, so no spoilers, please. :)

Larry Hart said...

George Carty:

and fail to see that bigoted red-state yokels aren't so much villains, as victims of said monopolies?


I keep hearing how run-amok corporatism is the fault of urbanites, and therefore of Democrats. But that doesn't hold water. Republicans are much more in the tank for corporatism, and your "red state yokels" keep voting for them.

To misquote Herman Cain, "If you vote Republican and you're not rich, blame yourself!"

Larry Hart said...

Charles Blow has a good metaphor:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/23/opinion/donald-trump-republican-party.html

...

Trump was making himself into the voodoo doll of conservative politics: Whatever pain he felt, his supporters would feel, and they would object to it in unison.

There is no separation between the Republican Party and Donald Trump. In fact, Trump killed the old Republican Party and now he alone animates the zombie party that lurched forward after its death.

...

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: Bolton stays dogged right up 'till the end.

Jon S. said...

Blue-state monopolies??

Look into how many actual independent farms exist across the Midwest sometime. Then count the number of companies that in fact own the vast majority of farmland. How many companies mine coal in Kentucky (if any, at this point)? Where are the "mom and pop" auto manufacturers?

The myth of the rugged, individualistic red-state hero is exactly that - a myth.

Larry Hart said...


“What you’re seeing now, I believe, is a group of mostly career bureaucrats who are saying: ‘You know what? President Trump is a clear and present danger to the country, so I’m going to participate in this exercise in defending the Constitution that they’re undertaking on the Hill,’” Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told reporters last week.


I might have corrected some of his spelling errors. :)

Larry Hart said...

Needs to be said...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Oct24.html#item-1

It's also worth noting that for all the complaints about process, House Democrats are actually following the rules, which includes allowing Republican members of the relevant committees to be present for all of the hearings.

George Carty said...

Jon S,

It looks like both sides have a monopoly issue then, but while blue-state monopolies are based on patents (tech hardware, big pharma), copyrights (music, film and software) or network effects (Google, Facebook), red-state monopolies are based on ownership of natural resources or real estate, or on political cronyism (armaments).

Larry Hart said...

Benedict Donald surpasses locumranch in lying department. In fact, he lies when there's no benefit to it. Apparently it's like the GEICO commercial: "If you're Donald Trump, you lie. It's what you do."

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2019/Pres/Maps/Oct24.html#item-4

Donald Trump was in Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon to deliver a speech. And, as he usually does, he set aside a fair bit of time to extol some of the accomplishments of his administration. That included this revelation: "We're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado." Reportedly, there was a visible reaction from the crowd, whose members have apparently passed fourth grade geography, and who therefore know that Colorado doesn't border Mexico.

There is, of course, no wall being built in Colorado or anywhere else. There is also no plausible explanation for how Trump might have misspoken. Nope, it was just a baldfaced lie. Normally, we don't take note of his lies, because if we did so, we wouldn't have time to write about anything else. However, his always-tenuous relationship with the truth just seems to be getting worse and worse. Maybe it's desperation, maybe he feels empowered by having gotten away with so much for so long, or maybe it's some form of mental dysfunction. Whatever the case may be, one can only imagine what it's going to be like when he runs a whole presidential campaign in this state of mind. His base obviously tolerated a lot of bending of the truth in 2016, but is there a point at which some of them reach their limits?


A.F. Rey said...

Bolton stays dogged right up 'till the end.

Actually, he's the poster child of Dr. Brin's quip of someone who thinks he'll be top dog and ends up kibble. :)

David Brin said...

George Carty, how's the Kremlin basement koolaid taste? What utter drivel-hogwash. So some dems take some money from some 'corporatists." The test is what they'd do with power. And during the 72 DAYS(!) dems had true legislative power, across 25 years, they passed the ACA and made the CFPB and dozens of other reforms and planned to do more to get cash out of politics...

...till prissy purist splitters wrecked it all in 2010.

You take it as GIVEN that dems are sellouts. I say YOU bear the burden of proof, especially when you see what they do in states like California, where they've had power more than 72 days.

Go to http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html and then come back and tell your answers to those "Rebuttals vs. Splitterism." Any one of them shreds that Kremlin-sourced bullshit you repeat.

Come back with refutations. You won't because you have none.

Larry Hart said...

Sigh.

I said:

BTW, I'm only up to the start of Season 5, so no spoilers, please. :)


You had one job!

scidata said...

The best hope for a GOP return to vertebrate status are duty, honor, and 'what will your grandchildren say'. Those would immediately disqualify the zombies. The tombstone of one classic rugged individualist film star (a dem) simply reads:
LEE MARVIN
PFC
US MARINE CORPS
WORLD WAR II

David Brin said...

scidata. kewl.

David Brin said...

I'm using that.

jim said...

Lets go through it again:
Stimulus was too small by about 500 billion dollars. Where was the support for all the employees of the states - you know teachers, social workers, planners etc who got needlessly laid off?

ACA- mandatory shitty for profit insurance with large copays and deductibles (and surprise hospital bills) what’s not for issuance company to love and a sick person to hate?

Continuation of the global war of terror- I am pretty sure Obama killed far more innocent men women and children with drone strikes than Trump has.

Prosecutions for the war mongers , torture users, and corrupt bankers, Wall street insiders and CEO’s was not even on the table. Obama was there to protect them.

Continued and reinforced globalization – got to help the oligarchs turn America from a diamond shaped income distribution into a pyramid shaped distribution. Benefits for the wealthy and well educated cost for almost everyone else.

Massive subsidies for bankers, wall street and insurance companies.

Alfred Differ said...

George Carty,

It looks like both sides have a monopoly issue then

Nah. Some people like to look for other people to blame.
The world moves on and I missed the train.
Someone MUST be to blame!

A.F. Rey said...

Jim, remember that the Republicans think that the stimulus was too big; that insurance before the ACA was better; that withdrawing from the world stage and letting our allies be killed and our interests be damned is preferable; that war mongers, torture users, corrupt bankers, Wall street insiders and CEO’s are our close friends and allies, and should be appointed cabinet positions; and turning America into a pyramid shaped distribution isn't going fast enough.

It's one thing to criticize your side for not doing enough. It's another to throw your weight with those who oppose what you believe, or just letting those who oppose overwhelm those who are at least trying to make things better.

David Brin said...

Take it easy on jim. That was the best hw could come up with after a whole month of stewing.

Not even a glimmer of an attempt to actually debate the matter, by taking on the challenges I put forward at

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html

Just incantations. Chanted incantations, making him entirely similar to the Confederates.

Again, oh splitter captain. Try proving any of your splutter kremlin-generated crap honestly, taking on my Five Challenges.

David Brin said...

But let's move on to important stuff!

onward

onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'm deeply disgusted to learn that my district's rep, Doug LaMalfa, was one of those clowns who tried to shut down the impeachment hearings yesterday. What a goddam clown.
Already had several righties chant at me "the hearings are private! This is BAD! Must have public hearings!" I just tell them, "Be careful what you wish for."

David Brin said...

onward