Saturday, November 23, 2019

Breaking the "Great Wall of NDAs" and Republican defectors - and more

Below I'll offer on-blog a riff about the "real Kremlin plan" that blew up likes and shares on FB. Plus a suggestion for Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg and other "good billionaires." But first a reminder!

My e-book about our current political/social crises - Polemical Judo -  offers perspectives on our crisis - many that you’ve never seen. Over 100+ tactics to help defend our Great Experiment. Now in both e-book and paperback More ideas, meme-weapons and  perspectives than you could shake a stick at. See the intro and Table of Contents plus Chapters One and Two as well as Chapter 16 posted online.

Verifying what you already know about my ego, I believe we’re more likely to win this fight for the heart, mind and (yes) soul of civilization, moving forward with sapience and sense, if any of the 100+ now-unused tactics in this book get picked up by someone with position and sagacity to wield them well. Tell someone! Thanks and good luck to us all. 

== Electoral Updates ==


“Inventing a right to be a faithless elector invites chaos, elevates formalism over democracy, and shows how indefensible originalism is when applied to evolving norms of democracy.”

Meanwhile voting machines in Texas and Mississippi, where there are no paper audits possible (as in many red states) dry runs for next year's tsunami of cheating are already underway, with machines made by notorious right-and-russia-connected companies blatantly switching votes before the voter's eyes. See videos of it happening - in Missisippi and in Texas! But don't worry. They'll fix the "blatantly" part and hide it from the voter in the booth. Problem solved.  
Spread the word. ONE RICH DUDE could fix this! By offering a $5million whistleblower prize - plus guaranteed protection and hero status - for the employee of any company who brings forth proof of cheating. If proof doesn't appear, you don't pay! (But you'll still instill fear in those bastards.) If you do wind up paying, you become a hero for saving the nation.

See my Henchman posting about how this could work. Or the chapter in Polemical Judo.

== the Bloomberg example ==


If Michael Bloomberg truly wants to fight Trump - and be viewed as a hero, not an egotist - there’s an approach that’s cheaper, more dignified and likely far more effective than running for president. Let him - or any other civilization-loving zillionaire - offer to pay the legal expenses of anyone who’s thinking about breaking a Trump Non Disclosure Agreement. Trump has openly bragged about his Great Wall of NDAs.

Better yet, offer to pay the NDA's disclosure penalty. Yes, many rich dudes have NDAs and might fear the resulting releases aimed at them.  So? Make that a feature, not a bug, by openly embracing transparency and being seen as a hero.

Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are just the crust we see. Breaking through Trump’s mythology of vengefully-enforced coerced silence just a couple of times might shatter the whole edifice, unleashing a tsunami of revelation.

Or see elsewhere my much broader proposals for subsidies for whistleblowers and or repentant henchmen!

== International tensions ==


Regarding the recent attack on Saudi oil: If this is what some tribesmen can do (possibly with help from Iran and Saudi shiite rebels) can you imagine what will happen when the worldwide oligarchic putsch finally awakens a hundred million "boffins" to the war being waged against them? The one common thread across the Fox-Putin-Trumpist-Saudi right and the Maduro-Kim-Putin left is not racism... it is all out suppression of fact professions, from science, journalism and medicine to the "deep state" civil servants and intel/fbi/military officers, the ones most vested in our Great Enlightenment Experiment.


Yes, those are the ones standing in the way of a return to 10,000 years of inheritance feudalism. But you aristos are doing what your predecessors all did, surrounding yourself with flatterers instead of advisors who can warn you -- that the "boffins" are waking up. And when they do, those who know genetics, electronics, nuclear, bio and cyber won't be limited to tumbrels and guillotines. And they will know where to find those mansion holes in the desert or mountains or under the sea.

The smart rich know better. And if you don't then you should wake up and get better advisors. Here's a hint. If they flatter you, then they are your guides to the guillotine.

== Moscow Mitch “defends minority party rights! ==

Sorry but it just keeps on coming. Now "Moscow Mitch" defends the filibuster... which is great news because it suggests he foresees a collapse in GOP Senate ownership coming! While his op-ed overflows with lies and hypocrisy, I have a special take on one aspect, one of 100+ "agile moves" you'll find in Polemical Judo.

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

Above all, if gopper reps used theirs, it could establish a firm precedent for when -- not if -- dems are back in the minority! Think how valuable that would have been, during the 24 out of 26 years the GOP owned Congress. Especially 2017-2019, when that rule would have peeled away Trumpian travesties.

Pelosi could do that now! and demolish forever any accusations that "Democrats run roughshod over minority party rights." (Indeed, has she read my blogs? Because the new impeachment hearings have been generous with minority subpoenas.)

== Where are the GOP defectors? ==

I've been (as you know) tracking signs of an underground movement by retired or retiring GOP figures, simmering and trying to scheme for the "salvation of US conservatism." I doubt Gov. Weld (the only one with guts to step up, so far) is part of it. Nor would be the stand-up Schindler-figure, Justin Amash (resembling Oskar Schindler, a creep who refuses to sink alongside his comrades into outright evil.) Certainly Romney is scheming - that's a given, no matter what else! But the flood of recent Texas retirees? Who knows?

The figure we aren't seeing, who is doubtless talking to desperate zillionaires is - of course - Paul Ryan. (Remember him? You will, soon.)

Deterring all of this, of course, is the 88% approval rating of Trump among Republican voters. Left out of those polls? The plummet in self-identified Republicans, nationwide, threatening the zombie implement that has served Murdoch and Putin so well. (And yes, I deeply worry what will happen when Two Scoops is seen by them as more a liability than asset: Don't eat anything fed to you by your commie pals, Don, lest you be more valuable to them as a martyr.) (God bless the U.S. Secret Service!)

Also, just how *brittle* is that 88% gopper support? I recall Watergate, when Nixon's devoted backing collapsed, like sediment raining from a supersaturated solution, or like sentiment draining from tens of millions of Republican women.

Final thought: the GOP masters should ponder deeply the fate of the Junkers-caste 1930s Prussian oligarchs, who thought they could control a populist beast they helped stir into hydrophobic frenzy. Surprise, surprise! In its froth, the beast threw its riders and a gifted svengali leaped aboard, grabbing the reins. (Remember the line from Cabaret: "Do you still think you can control them?")

The beast is not to be blamed as much as the beastmasters who crafted this outbreak. You who thought you could control this weren't as smart as you thought you were. And the smartaleck "fact-people" you've waged war against are not as stupid as you envisioned.

History would have predicted this. If you bothered to learn any.

128 comments:

gregory byshenk said...

duncan cairncross said... (in the last instance...)
The problem is that the model the founders used was the French model of a KING - with limits to his power

Rather than the Parliamentarian model with Parliament having the power and the King just being a figurehead

IMHO there are two problems with the US system
(1) It gives an individual too much power
(2) - Controversially - I'm coming to the conclusion that we should NOT elect the LEADER. We should elect the legislature and THEY should elect one of their members to be "Leader".


Just to ride one of my hobbyhorses: I agree with your conclusion, but not with your argument.

The US Constitution was created to limit the power of the executive - under whatever name. (In a parliamentary system, there is generally a distinction between the 'head of state' and the 'head of government', but that is somewhat different than this point.) And indeed, the power of the executive is limited by Congress, just as the power of a PM is limited by parliament - to the extent that the legislature chooses to exercise control. It is that last which is critical. So long as the legislature allows (or encourages!) the executive to act "imperially", no formal consitutional limitation of powers is relevant.

I agree with your conclusion, though, for different reasons. The problem with the "separation of powers" as enacted in the US constitution (and the structure of the selection of president and representatives) is that no one is truly responsible for governing. In a parliamentary system, the parliament is elected, a government is formed, and that government is responsible for running the affairs of state. Under the US system, many things fail to function because the president blames the congress, the senate blames the house, the house blames the senate, and so on.

Some might argue that this was intentional, and to at least some extent that is true. But what was intended in the 18th century - when the federal government had very little to do - is no longer applicable in the 21st. (And any who say that the scale of government should be returned to that of 1781 are living in a fantasy world, so I seen no reason to debate them.)

scidata said...

Simply put, the founders rejected the English system and adopted the French for obvious reasons. Ben Franklin flirted oh so closely with Scottish Enlightenment. The saddest words are these: it might have been.

Larry Hart said...

I'm not sure why everyone seems to take as given that the US system was designed on the model of a King. The Constitution puts the most important powers in the hands of Congress, not the presidency. The fact that Congress is defined in Article I while the presidency waits for Article II is further evidence. The president is the chief administrator, but the decisions on what to allow and what to forbid, not to mention the purse strings, are supposed to rest with Congress.

It seems to me that the American people rather than the designers of the Constitution are the ones who feel some pressing need for at least the celebrity aspects of a King, and who therefore vest that role in the president. But I don't see any way in which the government of the US was designed around the concept of a kingly unitary executive.

I agree with the above posters that the US system isn't designed with party politics in mind, whereas a parliamentary system is. The US founders seemed to want to wish away the idea of partisan politics, which today bears very little resemblance to actual reality.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

A federal appeals court has held that members of the Electoral College have a constitutional right to vote for a different presidential candidate than the one they swore to support — and whom the voting public in their states actually chose.


This is the most blatantly ridiculous notion I can conceive of in a democratic form of government.

If they're trying to say that this is how the Electoral College was designed, well, back in the day, didn't the voters at least vote for a particular elector whom they knew something about? One could argue that the elector was chosen for his character and judgement, and that it was up to him to choose which candidate to cast his vote for.

In the modern system, at least typically, all the voter has to go on is which candidate the elector is pledged to. You don't see names of electors for whom you have information about on the ballot--you just see that you're voting for a "Hillary" elector or for a "Trump" elector. So if the identity of that elector is unknown, but he has every right to change his affiliation a month later, then what exactly is the November election supposed to be about at all?

That the Democrats can't make a winning issue out of the fact that the Republican Party is openly anti-democracy and pro-cheating seems to be the tragedy of our time.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross in the previous post:

Controversially - I'm coming to the conclusion that we should NOT elect the LEADER
We should elect the legislature and THEY should elect one of their members to be "Leader"


That's a misreading of the US system, though. The presidency is not intended to be the LEADER of the congress. If anything, it's the other way around. The job of the executive branch is to faithfully execute (hence the term) the laws enacted by the legislature.

It's a bug, not a feature, of the current system that Congress has abdicated much of its own power to the executive branch, creating the conditions under which the president is treated as a de-facto king or, in the present case, a mob boss.

Larry Hart said...

I'm looking at the John Oliver video linked in the main post as well as the links showing voting machines registering incorrect tallies in Mississippi and Texas. Strangely (1960 Chicago notwithstanding) the "mistakes" always seem to favor one particular party and never the other one. Funny how that works.

So federal courts are ruling that electors chosen to vote for (say) Joe Biden are allowed to switch their vote to Trump, or more likely, to switch to Jill Stein so that the election gets thrown to the Republican-dominated state delegations of the House. I wonder if they've considered the possibility of a "faithful" elector being so disgusted that his state was thrown to Trump by insultingly-obvious cheating machines that he "does the right thing" and casts his vote for the one who would have won his state in a fair counting of the votes.

If nothing else, it would be fun to watch the same federal courts explain whey they suddenly think electors don't have the right to do that.

For whoever it was last post who stated the obvious, that Republicans have different rules for DEMOCRATIC presidents than they do for their own--the point isn't to expect them to rule consistently as a final outcome. It's to watch how clearly they out themselves as completely lacking in principle when they put forth the arguments they justify their flip-flops with. At some point, even their supporters must experience waves of cognitive dissonance at how stupid their leaders must expect them to be to swallow such tripe. I mean, Donald Trump Junior publishing an op-ed complaining about the someone else's nepotism? If I were on Trump's side, I would still have to be thinking, "Really? In order to be a good citizen, I have to pretend to have no difficulty believing this? Why must you insult me so?"

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ in the previous post:

The precedents Two Scoops is trying to set are obviously... unprecedented. It would be as Larry suggested. President as King. If one is going to sit on the sideline for smaller escalations and act only when the big ones are tried, now is the time to act. All I point out is that what Two Scoops is doing is 'just' a matter of degree in difference from what other Presidents have tried. Congresses too. Divided power protects us to some degree, but it only really works well when we recognize the smaller ones and find them irritating enough to act in a proportional manner.


That last is why I tried to convince you early on that Trump was an illegitimate president. the large infraction would have been if he had been installed without winning the Electoral College vote, but I always saw his incompetence, self-dealing, and treacherous actions as smaller infractions worth reacting to.

Worth noting as well, many presidents before him (Nixon obviously, and some--though not I--would say Obama) may have tried to invoke kingly powers, but the dangerous precedent being set now is for Congress and the courts to agree rather than to vigorously oppose such a move. That's the part that they may come to regret when the next President Obama is in office. A definitive ruling by the US supreme court that Article II says "The president can do whatever he wants" won't be as easily rolled back as a mere executive order.

Larry Hart said...

Heh.

I said I was finally getting around to re-reading Kiln People. Here's one that fails to make it into the predictions registry:


It's one thing to see death coming at the hands of your own creation. That's part of the human epic tradition, after all. Oedipus and his father. Baron Frankenstein and his monster. William Henry Gates and Windows '09.

locumranch said...


Regarding 'good' billionaires, compromised voting machines, the fact-user rebellion, the illegitimate presidency & state-level nullification, that's an anti-democratic, toxic & largely irreversible stew you're brewing.

Once started, this process of delegitimisation cannot be stopped, and all of your proposed corrective actions can only lend fuel to metaphorical fire.

Yet, you have the temerity to argue that "ONE RICH DUDE could fix this" by suborning false testimony with large cash payments, even though the infusion of large amounts of cash can only provide proof-positive of corruption.

Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value.

It goes without saying, then, that money has NO value when trust & the will to trade is gone.


Best

Zepp Jamieson said...

Duncan wrote: "We should elect the legislature and THEY should elect one of their members to be "Leader""

Yeah. It's called the Parliamentary system. Canada and the UK both have it. Like the US system, it works well enough in ordinary times, and can become a fiasco in times like what we're going through now. Canada isn't that badly off: Trudeau is a putz, but managed to win enough ridings to maintain minority control, which he'll keep unless he pisses off the Bloc or the NDP. The People's Party, Canada's version of the Republicans, winked out of existence altogether, losing the one seat in Parliament they had.
The UK government system is trying to cope with Brexit and Boris, and not doing at all well. Blojo will probably get a majority in Parliament because the head of Labour is doing a weak "me too" on Brexit, and nobody trusts the LibDems after their coalition fiasco.
Congress works when both parties are sane and willing to negotiate. Been a while since those days, though.

duncan cairncross said...

I will go further into controversy

China
The way I understand the Chinese system is that it is a democracy
The Chinese people vote for their representatives

However in order to be a representative you must
Join the "Party"
and work your nuts off by helping people
Display competence
Be Honest

You can be thrown out of the party for any signs of venality - and there are hot lines to make it easy to dob someone in

They don't "Select the Voters"
But they DO "select the representatives"

I can see many ways that this could go wrong - but also ways of preventing those failures - most importantly Dr Brins "Transparency"

TCB said...

I read a comment on Reddit the other day, from someone who lives in New York City and said they have extensive contacts in the Chinese community there. These contacts include ex-pats, exiles/splinter groups, and people connected to the Chinese Communist Party as well, people connected to the government. New York is considered a safe corner, a kind of Casablanca for dissidents. Anyway...

The commenter then listed several political splinter groups, most unknown to me. One I did recognize is Falun Dafa aka Falun Gong, which is said to have something like 20 million adherents. But in China that's bupkes. China spent the early decade of the present century beating Falun Gong down and they are now considered less a threat now. China is busier clamping down on Uighur Muslims and Hong Kong democrats.

In any case, that commenter said democracy in China was almost guaranteed not to happen. The present despotic CCP government is popular, since it promises stability and prosperity and has delivered the same. If China were a democracy, we still wouldn't like it: it seems the other major faction, which in a democracy would be the other major party, would be the Chinese ultranationalists who just want to destroy the West and subjugate the planet.

And maybe they could. Maybe not. But the last time China was this strong compared to the West and the rest of the world, was circa AD 1500.

Zepp Jamieson said...

How cool is this? NASA and the ESA plan to gather rocks on Mars and bring them back, looking for signs of microbial life! https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/nov/24/mars-robot-will-send-samples-to-earth

Alfred Differ said...

I thought about ranting at the notion that the US model is based on a French king the other day, but decided instead to let the idea simmer a while and see who else thought along similar lines. Seems to be a common thread to it. People who live in parliamentary systems think ours is based on a king? Pfft. I suppose it makes SOME sense, but not to this American.

What our Framers rejected was the notion of an Executive chosen by the Legislature. They wanted a branch of government with more independence. They argued that the British Parliament had too much concentrated power and worse yet it was concentrated in the hands of the aristocracy. They fretted a great deal, though, about the executive having too much power, so they did wind up having that office chosen by 'the legislature'. State legislatures to be precise. Many State legislatures choosing Electors to represent them. The point of all this was to deprive the federal legislature of that power, but leave it connected to elected legislators closer to the people they represented, hence State legislators.

It is very important to remember that the more accurate name for our nation back then was "These United States". Post civil war, the correct name became "The United States". Amendment #14 began to seriously entangle rights the federal government was required to respect with those the states had to respect. Amendment #17 further stripped States of power by forcing US Senators to be subject to popular vote. Our history is one long trend diminishing the power of States in favor of the central federal government, but one step we have yet to take is one associated with Electors. Heaven knows we've tried, though. The most common amendment attempt type that has failed involves the electoral college. Scads of attempts have been made, but the last successful attempt was amendment #12. What we've done instead, is circumscribed how Electors are chosen and expected to behave. This has been done with State law which cannot (by definition) supersede the Constitution.

What used to constrain Electors best, though, was our old party boss system. Very undemocratic. It eventually fell (partially) to our modern system of primary elections. In that fall, though, there is no one left to crack the whip if Electors choose to do PRECISELY what our Framers said they could. It's worth re-reading Hamilton's essay in Federalist #68. The issue isn't Electors voting as they chose. The issue is really whether we get to chose THEM. The old party boss system provided a very undemocratic way to do it and hold them accountable. Who does it now? Well… it turns out most States let the Parties choose. It's a vestige of the old party boss system. Trump wins in State X, them Trump's people have a slate of Electors who get sent. What if they don't chose their slate well? Their problem! So… where is your average citizen of State X involved in choosing Electors? Turns out it is the hyper-partisans doing the deciding.

Read Federalist #68, though, and you'll get an extra benefit. Hamilton makes it obvious they were not thinking of President as King. The anti-federalists made it seem so, but Hamilton crushes that idea.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

That last is why I tried to convince you early on that Trump was an illegitimate president.

I remember. I also remember that my beef was that you went just a little too far for me to consider it a proportional response. 'Illegitimate President' implied things I did not yet accept. 'Incompetent President' was fully acceptable to me. 'Idiot/con artist/mafia Don President' was all in easy reach. 'Utter F@#%ing Fake of a Man as President' I could easily say. 'Illegitimate', though, implied something we did not yet know (but did suspect) about the election process in 2016. We know now. I have no trouble at all believing his campaign solicited foreign intervention AND received it. I assign high probability to him being directly knowledgeable AND involved. Now, I can use 'illegitimate.'

A definitive ruling by the US supreme court that Article II says "The president can do whatever he wants" won't be as easily rolled back as a mere executive order.

Well… he CAN do whatever he wants. Co-equal branch of government and all that. What he can't do is all that and not face consequences. 8)

Our Constitution spells out consequences for high crimes and misdemeanors. I really don't see how any sane Court to f#ck that up. If they do, though, we still have the usual options at the ballot box and at the Tree of Liberty if necessary.

ps

I view Obama's EO's as part of the usual tussle between Legislature and Executive. The Post-WWII era has seen the US become an empire and our President become MUCH more powerful. Congress lost power in that change. They want some of it back now? Okay. Let them try. I view that as healthy for the nation even if the Senate filibuster finally dies. We haven't fought a war legally since WWII ended, so I don't mind the branches fighting it out.

Seriously, though, I think y'all fret too much about what SCOTUS will do. When the House impeaches the President, they will be entirely within their powers as defined in the Constitution. Entirely. There is NO wiggle room for strict interpreters.

If you want something real to fret about, consider the perspective of those responsible for the health and welfare of Ukraine's citizens. They are getting a whopping big plate full of examples of what can go wrong when government proves to be corrupt, but they have to decide whether to do what is right or what improves their chance for survival since they ARE at war right now. Those options might not be the same thing at the moment.

Alfred Differ said...

The Chinese ultra-nationalists don't scare me much. They have existed in the past and usually take the form of the force that brings the coastal provinces into line, imposes order on the entire civilization, and redistributes money away from the coast inward to the inner provinces. In doing that, they weaken the coastal, trading cities and kill the geese laying gold eggs when their only real power over the coast is to cut off their trade options when the coastal cities misbehave. No trade… no income… no taxable income… impoverished central authority… collapse. A couple generations later, the coastal folks are back doing what they know how to do well. Trade with the world… and barely get along with each other. 8)

The Chinese 'people' are at their strongest when they trade with all of us, but they are also at their weakest when it comes to the cohesion necessary to hold their civilization together. Last time they were in that part of their meta-stable cycle was when Europeans began to show up in deep-water vessels with not much of anything worth trading. Just a little before that, China had turned the Indian Ocean into a big trading lake connecting everyone they thought worth knowing… which didn't really include NW Europe.

scidata said...
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scidata said...
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scidata said...

Americans seem to be enamored of the idea of a king. A tinge of Lafayette perhaps. For all our royal pomp and ceremony in Commonwealth countries, the top dog is entirely a figurehead - a symbol, not an executive. Not so in the Excited States. Of course I'm not arguing constitutional law with Alfred.

TCB said...

Alfred Differ said, upthread: "If you want something real to fret about, consider the perspective of those responsible for the health and welfare of Ukraine's citizens. They are getting a whopping big plate full of examples of what can go wrong when government proves to be corrupt, but they have to decide whether to do what is right or what improves their chance for survival since they ARE at war right now. Those options might not be the same thing at the moment."

The Ukrainians, and many other observers in North Korea and elsewhere, have already learned a very bad lesson from this whole mess:

Never give up your nukes! No matter what anyone promises, twenty years from now their promises may be dust. Get nuclear weapons, and keep them, and be ready to use them, and nobody will dare put a single boot on your land.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunfortunately, that 'lesson' runs a fine chance of getting us all killed, maybe soon. The US should have been a lot more careful about keeping promises.

Be careful what lessons you teach other people.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

It's worth re-reading Hamilton's essay in Federalist #68. The issue isn't Electors voting as they chose. The issue is really whether we get to chose THEM.


Exactly! I'd have less of a problem if the (statewide) popular election was explicitly for a choice between identified-and-known electors themselves. Obviously, you'd vote for the elector most likely to vote your way, but you'd have some idea of that elector's issues and ideals and character, and that's what you'd be voting for. Then, that guy would have the right to cast his electoral votes however he chooses. But he's not a complete cypher.

In the current system, what's on the ballot is the presidential (and VP) candidate's name. You're really voting for an elector, but you have no idea who that elector is or what he's about other than that he's pledged to vote for Candidate X. If he doesn't actually have to vote for Candidate X, then what are we even voting for (in both senses of that question)?


The old party boss system provided a very undemocratic way to do it and hold them accountable. Who does it now? Well… it turns out most States let the Parties choose. It's a vestige of the old party boss system.


It's an un-democratic way of choosing the electors for a particular candidate, but the voters still have a choice of which candidate's electors they are voting for. It actually makes sense (to me) to have the party insiders choose electors who they expect to remain faithful to their pledge. It's the pledge that "the people" have voted for, after all.

The way I thought the Colorado lawsuit was worded was that the state itself chose its electors, and they were essentially the same guys no matter who won the November election--they were simply pledged to vote for the candidate who won Colorado's popular vote. If that's the case, and if they are allowed to be faithless, then the election has no meaning whatsoever. I might be wrong about the specifics, though.


Read Federalist #68, though, and you'll get an extra benefit. Hamilton makes it obvious they were not thinking of President as King. The anti-federalists made it seem so, but Hamilton crushes that idea


Well, except for John Adams, who was a Federalist and who very much saw himself as a king when he was president. So the waters are a bit muddy there. Maybe that's how the "Federalist Society" gets to be against a strong central government when the actual Federalists were for it.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"A definitive ruling by the US supreme court that Article II says "The president can do whatever he wants" won't be as easily rolled back as a mere executive order."

Well… he CAN do whatever he wants. Co-equal branch of government and all that. What he can't do is all that and not face consequences. 8)


Well, that's obviously the sense in which he means the phrase when he uses it to justify the notion that a sitting president can't even be investigated for a crime, even if he shoots someone on Fifth Avenue.

And since Article II doesn't say anything remotely like that, his assertion that it does is truly a 1984-esque invocation akin to "Two plus two equals whatever the Party says it is." That his supporters take no insult from this is truly scary.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I view Obama's EO's as part of the usual tussle between Legislature and Executive. The Post-WWII era has seen the US become an empire and our President become MUCH more powerful.


An interesting thought--maybe the US president isn't a king, but he is a de-facto emperor? A role that the Constitution doesn't cover?

Since WWII, the US president has been synonymous with the unofficial title, "Leader of the Free World". Can we agree that that designation is no longer accurate?

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

For all our royal pomp and ceremony in Commonwealth countries, the top dog is entirely a figurehead - a symbol, not an executive. Not so in the Excited States.


The Founding Fathers tried to be very pragmatic. They didn't want a role for pomp and circumstance that had no actual political meaning. So there's no separate "head of state" figurehead apart from the head of government. And the president is not meant to be "Dear Leader" or anything like the living embodiment of the country ("L'etat, C'est moi!"). He's really meant to be the administrator in charge of bureaucrats.

The American people, OTOH, do seem to want something on the order of the figurehead royalty you speak of, so we do tend to invest that into the presidency. That's a bug, not a feature, but one that's been around pretty much since George Washington stepped down, and maybe even before that.

Jon S. said...

"Since WWII, the US president has been synonymous with the unofficial title, "Leader of the Free World". Can we agree that that designation is no longer accurate?"

It's pretty much agreed, outside the current White House, that since Trump's election that role has moved to, for some reason, Angela Merkel.

Larry Hart said...

@Jon S,

I find it distressingly ironic that, if we were to re-enact WWII now, the roles of the authoritarians vs the defenders of freedom would be essentially reversed.

scidata said...

Conspiracy theories are really problematic (Congress is scaring the children). Perhaps one way around them is to provide science stories, which are just as sensational and compelling, but have the added benefit of being true.
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/mammoth-tusk-hunters-russia-china

Larry Hart said...

The NY Times states the obvious...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/24/opinion/trump-impeachment-hearings.html

...

Throughout the hearings, House Democrats have done their job as representatives of a coequal branch of government, attempting to get to the bottom of grave allegations of wrongdoing by the president. Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has behaved with admirable focus and restraint as his Republican colleagues have acted like children, yelling at witnesses and leaving the room when they didn’t want to hear damaging testimony.

...

In July Mr. Trump said that the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want.” Those are the words of a despot, not an American president. As the impeachment inquiry proceeds, Republicans who claim they have no problem with this sort of talk should ask themselves how they would feel if it were coming from a President Joe Biden.

A.F. Rey said...

Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has behaved with admirable focus and restraint as his Republican colleagues have acted like children, yelling at witnesses and leaving the room when they didn’t want to hear damaging testimony.

https://theweek.com/cartoons/880381/political-cartoon-adam-schiff-sainthood

Larry Hart said...

BTW, this is the text of Article II (I'm skipping the long Section 1 which talks about the means of electing a president and VP). Nowhere in here does it say the president "can do anything he wants." Not even anything resembling that. It does talk a bit about things that the president must do, and under what conditions he can be impeached and removed. Which is a different thing, in fact the opposite thing:


...

Section 2
1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Heh. I'd resist the use of the word 'emperor' too and not just because I'd rather it wasn't so. Hamilton said they were aiming for 'magistrate' and I think he got it right up until Lincoln decided to hold the Union together. There were Presidents before (Polk) and after (TR) Lincoln who behaved more like emperors than most of our post-WWII Presidents have, but Lincoln pointed that force inward against the States and altered the balance of federal power. Most of them, though, have been reasonably close to 'potent magistrate'.

I hold to that because of one thing the US does... actually... doesn't do. Most of the time we do not want to rule in a foreign nation. Our corporations might want that, but our federal government often avoids it or is torn over it. Consider the annexation of Hawaii for example. Imperial ambitions, right? Look deeper and there was a strong faction opposing it and not just because 'they aren't Americans'. Consider the abandoned idea of annexing Canada. Could we have done it? Sure. To keep the North/South balance we would have had to annex Mexico too. We could have done all that before the Civil War even started, but we didn't. (Yah, okay, we annexed 1/3 of Mexico.)

The US is a reluctant empire. Our people ARE inclined to tell others what to buy, how to live, and what the good life is. Our government is less so... because we don't trust them enough to want a dynastic head of state. What's to stop such people from pointing their ambitions inward and taking what we have next?

his assertion that it does is truly a 1984-esque invocation

I'd give you that if his assertion didn't look so child-like in his bluster to avoid blame. What he is doing COULD become Orwellian, but he's so damn lame at it that I think it unlikely to happen. We are scaring ourselves more by what we imagine he might be able to do than by what he actually can.

Bob Neinast said...

Larry, you left out two important parts by omitting Article I. In Section 1, "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." In Section 8 (the oath): "I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States." The claim is that the power to do anything he wants lies there.

However, as you note, Section 3 contains the phrase that sure seems to limit what is meant by the "executive power": that he must "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed". Faithfully executing the Office entails taking care that the laws be faithfully executed (and those laws are enacted by Congress).

I was rather amazed the first time I looked at the power of the Supreme Court (and other courts), a separate branch. Despite their so-called judicial independence, the size of the court is determined by Congress; lesser courts are defined by Congress; the Rules of Criminal Procedure are defined by Congress; the Rules of Civil Procedure are defined by Congress. (The last two, in consultation with Congress.) But still, Congress is still in control. The Supreme Court cannot unilaterally say: "We are the Courts. We have unlimited power over the Courts. We will make a third level of Courts, and expand ourselves to 15 members." That is the equivalent of what Trump is claiming.

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

Congress is scaring the children.

Every generation needs fodder for the textbooks used to teach civics. 8)

science stories... being true

Are you sure?
One of the best science stories of all is how we cope with error. What we thought was true turns out not to be. We gnash and wail, but learn and grow. 8)

Aristotle's finite cosmology gave way to Newton's infinite one which gave way to Einstein's without the absolutes we so crave. All of them might wind up giving way to a holographic cosmology that argues what you think is there really isn't. It's just an information pattern. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

What he is doing COULD become Orwellian, but he's so damn lame at it that I think it unlikely to happen. We are scaring ourselves more by what we imagine he might be able to do than by what he actually can.


I scare myself with what his supporters will accept from him, and how many of them there are. I agree that without the Brownshirts, he's nothing.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: One of the best science stories of all is how we cope with error

Eg. Asimov's "The Relativity of Wrong" (repeatedly referenced by myself & Larry Hart.
I once leaned heavily on Bayesian inference for an article on Asimovian psychohistory.
Bayes' theorem has gathered wisdom over the years. eg Cromwell's rule (certainty is the enemy of evidence)
(from a line from letter Oliver Cromwell wrote to the Scottish Presbyterian Assembly in 1650)
Jacob Bronowski quoted that line in one heart-breaking scene in "The Ascent of Man" (lamenting totalitarianism):
"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."
That is the essence of science. Grasp that, and all else follows.

Alfred Differ said...

TCB,

Never give up your nukes!

I'm not so sure. The Pakistani's have nukes and we haven't treated them like we can't touch them.

With tongue only slightly in cheek, the thing not to give up is your McDonald's franchises. Was it Friedman who pointed out that we don't attack nations where a franchisee runs one? Does that record still hold? Seriously, though, western corporations are a better defense than nukes. Be part of The West (to some degree) and it costs us too much to mess with you.

TCB said...

The McDonald's effect works for deterring the West. Nukes work for deterring all comers.

Until someone miscalculates.

(In addition, the idea that democracies don't make war on each other assumes healthy democracies. Faltering democracies? Democracies where the popular will is thwarted by insiders? All bets are off.)

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

With tongue only slightly in cheek, the thing not to give up is your McDonald's franchises. Was it Friedman who pointed out that we don't attack nations where a franchisee runs one?


Has that now been replaced by "nations that have a Trump Tower"?

duncan cairncross said...

Historically letting western corporations in has led to much much MORE interference on behalf of those corporations

Just look at the history in South and Central America and Cuba and Iran

Alfred Differ said...

Interference by corporations isn't the same as being ruled by an Emperor.

Yah. I know. India as an example of corporate rule on behalf of an empress.
We aren't the British, but there are times when we rhymed.

The point I'm making is about dynastic emperors.
The US has a distinct lacking in that regard.
We've elected the sons of Presidents as President... what... twice?
That and the occasional appointment of family members to cabinet posts?
No kings. No emperors. Not here.

We DO have a weird fascination with UK royals, though.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The point I'm making is about dynastic emperors.
The US has a distinct lacking in that regard.


Ok, I get that. When I said the president wasn't a king, but is maybe an emperor, I wasn't thinking or talking about dynasties. I was thinking more of kingly powers and lack of checks-and-balances.

The role of "Leader of the Free World" was not designed or constrained within the Constitution. Except for formal treaties, Congress has little role and the courts have almost none. The president really can do (mostly) whatever he wants in how he treats allies and enemies, with the armed forces to back him up if necessary. He has powers at his disposal in the international realm that the American people would never tolerate at home, or at least wouldn't tolerate until now.

jim said...

Biden - Bloomberg 2020 –
campaign slogans:

Our Billionaires are Better (or at least less obnoxious on Twitter)

Hey, he is not Trump!

Once again, you can hope for change!

Orange Man Bad!!!! -anyone is better

Shut up and vote for the Democrats you dirty hippie!

Our corruption was not technically illegal !

Don’t let those evil, racist, corrupt Americans win !

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

So your counterpoint is...what? Do let those evil, racist, corrupt Americans win?

If your intention is that the Democrats can nominate a better candidate, then sure. Although I would include the caveat that anyone radical enough to satisfy your personal tastes would probably lose in November to Trump, so what good does that do?

If your intention is to say that any potential Democratic nominee--even Bloomberg, let alone Biden--is no worse than Trump, then you are not worth paying attention to.

scidata said...

Trump-Pence - 2020
Campaign slogan:

чизбургеры !

jim said...

Just having fun Larry. (oh and the Don't let those evil racist corrupt Americans win is a slogan that motivates your opponents as much as your supporters.)

If the democrats actually nominate Sanders -I will be totally on board. If they nominate Warren I will vote for her (even though her foreign policy is weak).

If it is Biden or the other corporate Democrats I will vote for someone other than the democrats or republican.

The coming primary is going to be really important in determining what kind of party is the democratic party.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

(oh and the Don't let those evil racist corrupt Americans win is a slogan that motivates your opponents as much as your supporters.)


As is "Don't let those evil Corporate Democrats win." You might take note yourself.


If it is Biden or the other corporate Democrats I will vote for someone other than the democrats or republican.


I'll remember whose name to curse during Trump's second term.


The coming primary is going to be really important in determining what kind of party is the democratic party.


We already know what kind of party the Republican Party is today. If removing them from the reins of power isn't motivation enough for you, I can't see what you hope to gain by bullying the Democrats into taking stands more to your liking but which are likely to lose elections. In order to win, our candidate must appeal to a broad coalition, which is exactly what you seem opposed to. So like Groucho Marx, you refuse to join any club whose standards are so low as to admit you as a member.

If you're really determined to have specific purity tests for the Democrats you would support to supplant Republicans, I would suggest you concentrate on members of Congress instead of the presidency. Congress is where something like Medicare For All or Free College will (or won't) be implemented. The importance of the presidency is which legislation he/she will sign and which he/she will veto. And who he/she might nominate to the federal courts. I'm sure you consider President Obama to have been a corporate democrat, but are you disappointed enough with his choices of Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan for the supreme court? McCain's picks would have been no different? Merrick Garland would have been as bad as Gorsuch and Kavanaugh?

jim said...

Larry
If the Democrats nominate someone I think is good I will vote for them.
If they don’t I will not. It is simple as that.

It is rather childish to curse me if democrats lose because they put up people that the American public don’t want to elect. But if that will make you feel better go right ahead.

David Brin said...

Blah blah de blah masturbatory blah.
Thirty one reforms that I assert would pass even under the most conservative of democrats.. look at the list.

David Brin said...

But he won't look, or compare worlds. If his "sellout corporatist" dems succeed, in alliance with Bernie and the squad and every other sensible socialist, at crushing the Putin/Murdoch treason, then those 31 will pass.

And thus 50 million poor Americans, women, minorities, young people, immigrants will get... more... power. And then it will be up to AOC and her squad - in 2022 - to continue primarying old dems in blue districts while Blue Dog veterans take territory from remnant confederates. That is the plan of AOC and their lot, because they are not flaming loonies, like jim.

If he likes Bernie so much, how about doing what Bernie will ASK you to do, in autumn 2020, whoever the candidate is?

Nah, jim will betray all 50 million poor Americans, women, minorities, young people, immigrants... all for the sake of pompous-prissy posturing and chants that amount to "uh! uh! Uuuuuuuuuuuuhh!"

jim said...

Blah blah blah
The 32 flavors of awesome democrats exist in my imagination.
Blah blah masturbatory blah blah
Don’t pay attention to what the democrats actually do blah blah blah.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

It is rather childish to curse me if democrats lose because they put up people that the American public don’t want to elect. But if that will make you feel better go right ahead.


The problem isn't just you, but you're articulating what it is very well. If 25% of Democrats will only vote for the Democrat if it's Bernie, and 20% will only vote if it's Warren, and 18% will only vote if it's Tulsi freakin' Gabbard, and each faction insists that the only way the Democratic Party is worth of their support is if their preferred candidate is nominated...well, the result is that the lock-step Republicans whose only concern is a candidate with four working fingers and a thumb to sign their legislation and nominate their judges will win yet again.

Placating you won't solve the problem as long as there are enough liberals who are just as stubborn as you are for a different Democratic candidate.

See, I'm not so interested in rewarding or punishing the Democratic Party for who they choose to nominate. I'm interested in being governed by someone who isn't a narcissistic sociopath. The election is not a sporting event for which ascension to office is a prize earned by a winner. It's how we choose what kind of government runs our country. Our choice next year is between a Democrat and an administration catering to sociopathic Nazis. And to you, what matters is what kind of party the Democrats are?

It may not seem like it, but words fail me.

Larry Hart said...

jim:
Don’t pay attention to what the democrats actually do blah blah blah.


While you utterly fail to pay attention to what Republicans actually are doing in real time and will continue to do if they're not defeated. My cat would literally be a better president than Trump, and I don't even like the cat all that much.

Look, if nominating a candidate to your liking would guarantee a Democratic victory, I'd be all for it. What I take issue with is your insistence that you represent a winning coalition of voters, such that if a Democrat loses the election, it's the Dems' fault for not having done what you wanted. The fact is that 40% or so of voters like Republicans and would rather vote for Putin or Kim Jung Un than a Democrat. And they live in more states than we do. That's what we're up against.

A.F. Rey said...

Perhaps, jim, you should instead try to convince Republicans to nominate a better candidate than Trump. Why waste your time on Democrats when they refuse to consider a non-corporatist candidate? Get the Republicans to do it! After all, any other differences between the parties is insignificant, isn't it?

Of course, if you think that would be utter waste of time, then maybe you do get Dr. Brin's point. ;)

A.F. Rey said...

My cat would literally be a better president than Trump, and I don't even like the cat all that much.

I'm going to use that line, Larry! :D

jim said...

Trump is bad, but not nearly as bad as Bush was.

If the democrats put up someone good I will support them.

If they put up someone who is bad, I am not going to vote for them just because the republicans are also bad.

David Brin said...

Well he's honest enough to proclaim his fundamental principle:

"Don’t pay attention to what the democrats actually do blah blah blah."

Yep that's you. Don’t pay attention to what coalitions of moderate and leftist Democrats have done in California, Oregon and Washington, where they actually have had power for more than 70 days across 25 years.

Admit it. You know absolutely nothing about any of that, because you are terrified that knowing anything mightl undermine your desperate principle of "Don't look! It might interfere with my snit!"

Again, will you do what Bernie asks you to do, next September?

Larry Hart said...

@jim,

If you truly believe that a corporate Democrat is as bad as a Republican, then what you say makes sense.

If you understand that the Republican Party is in the process of dismantling the Constitution, and you still stick to that line, then how is that any different from:

"If the antidote tastes bad, I'm not going to drink it just because the poison is also bad."

jim said...

A F Rey
Trumps anti-globalization policy is a very good policy for American working men and women and non-coastal states. As a matter of fact, it looks like the Trump administration will kill the WTO next year something the anti-globalization left has wanted sense the World Trade Organization was formed.

It is not impossible that Republican party could become a socially conservative but economically liberal party and the Democrats complete their transition to the socially liberal but economically conservative party.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

It is not impossible that Republican party could become a socially conservative but economically liberal party


Not while they're the Party of Trump. And that's all they are right now. They're not even the party of literal Constitutionalism, or even law and order any more. They're the party of "Two plus two is whatever Mr. Trump says it is."

David Brin said...

Their aim is to destroy us, at behest of their Saudi and KGB masters. Ifg you see something "positive" it is likely yuour perceptions... which we know to be ill-informed, reflexively dogmatic and ... well... dumb.

David Brin said...

Talk 'positives' when climate change kills 100 million a year because prissy splitters allowed these insane Siberia shills to make Siberia balmy.

David Smelser said...

Jim wrote: It is not impossible that Republican party could become a socially conservative but economically liberal party.

I'm having a hard time picturing what socially conservative & economically liberal looks like.
Could you tell me more.

Treebeard said...

I do seriously wonder if our host is in the early stages of dementia with his increasingly unhinged Jack D. Ripperian rantings about the global commie/feudal/Manchurian candidate mind control conspiracy. Is this what happens to imaginative boomers with dementia--they start confusing the TV shows of their youth with reality? Can we agree that if you start talking about the contamination of our precious bodily fluids that it’s time for a doctor visit?

scidata said...

Voices from the Rational West. Emerging free and brave allies.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-silver-lining-in-the-impeachment-hearings-ukraine-has-emerged-as/

David Brin said...

Thank you treebeard for sharing. I find the three of you educational. Cowards who refuse wagers and wage war on every fact profession have little left except playground incantations. But fire away at your strawman image way over there.

Don Gisselbeck said...

To repeat, if we serially elect the lesser of two evils, eventually we will get someone tolerably good. (I called Obama a right wing, corporatist, militarist before his first election and have "Fire up the guillotines" on autocomplete.)

Larry Hart said...

Don Gisselbeck:

I called Obama a right wing, corporatist, militarist before his first election...


And yet, the militarists like McCain and Lindsey Graham despised everything about him. As did Wall Street, despite the tripling of the stock market indexes.

Sometimes, you can tell something about a man by who hates him.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

Trumps anti-globalization policy is a very good policy for American working men and women and non-coastal states. As a matter of fact, it looks like the Trump administration will kill the WTO next year something the anti-globalization left has wanted sense the World Trade Organization was formed.


I think I understand your position more. You really do think Trump is doing some good things, and that there are ways in which he's better than many Democrats would be. To you, his negatives are a cost of doing business, and just one more example of the fact that every president has some things you don't like about him--no more and no less than any other.

I'm just not in the rowboat with you. Naive as it may be, I actually do believe in the things about America that actually have made it great, and Donald Trump is tearing it all down in less than a decade. And he's brought one of the major parties along with him, so they're helping him do so and covering for him. Anything good he happens to do in the process pales in comparison to the harm that he represents. Politically, there is nothing more important to me than wresting the levers of power from the Republican Party--maybe this time actually severing the head and burying the body parts at separate crossroads. "What kind of party the Democrats are" is not even near the top of my list of concerns, aside from the fact that they are not Nazis.

David Brin said...

Never mind that the fraction of kids who have always had food and always went to school, coming home to a home with at least minimal sanitation and electricity has skyrocketed from roughly 10% to 90%+ during 'globalization.' And a hundred other statistics that show this to have been humanity's best era... even though every metric of US growth and middle class health went UP during DP administrations and DOWN during GOP ones...

...and every Supply Side voodoo tax cut for the rich always was followed by slower growth, slower money velocity, worse jobs and worse deficits. Except for that... and every other pertinent fact.

No, what stands out is jim's racist nativism. His demand that America isolate itself, even though that would cause collapse of every good thing happening in other lands. And here we get to something he can believe in. Under the Bushes, the GOP religion was neocoservatism, which was imperial based on the ravings of Leo Strauss. Trump has returned to older Republican roots, isolationism and pulpit thumping nativism/racism, as surfaces, at least.

But no. It's about Putin and the Saudis and gambling moguls and inheritance brats and mafiosi. And jim is fine with their rule, over (shudder) damned... INCREMENTALISTS!

locumranch said...


Don’t pay attention to what coalitions of moderate and leftist Democrats have done in California, Oregon and Washington, where they actually have had power for more than 70 days across 25 years[DB].

That's the problem, David, and there's nothing 'incremental' about it. The greater US electorate HAS BEEN paying attention to what coalitions of leftist Democrats have done in California, Oregon and Washington, and we are not amused:

(1) California has the highest minimum statewide sales tax rate in the United States (7.25%) which can total up to 10.50% with local sales taxes included, federal taxes not included.

(2) California has the highest state debt of $152.80 billion. California has about $1 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities, about one-fifth of the nationwide total.

(3) California has become the ultimate 'splitter', having NULLIFIED the Federal Supremacy clause, by passing SB 54 (aka 'California Values Act') which limits how much local law enforcement can cooperate with federal authorities to enforce immigration law.

(4) California's infrastructure is so rotten & so poorly maintained that they can no longer afford to keep the lights on, having sued their public utility provider PG&E into bankruptcy.

(5) California has implemented insane environmental policies that allow wildfires to rage out-of-control.

These leftist Democrats have turned their states into veritable hell-scapes. They scapegoat 'climate change' while they combust their countryside. They implement liberal policies which turned their downtown business districts into open sewers & homeless encampments. They pass laws like Proposition 47 which allow criminal activities to flourish. They even allow illegal aliens to murder US citizens without consequence because 'progress'.

Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.

California, Oregon & Washington have become the DELTA HOUSE of failed leftist fraternities.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

Do you live in a State where your (effective) non-vote will matter?

I do. I can safely vote for anyone I 'like' and my neighbors will still send our electors to choose the Democrat.

If you live in a state where the votes are historically close, our host is probably right in that you are better served by someone who will give you at least some of what you want. If so, you are better off with one of the two major party choices.

If not, do as you please. I do.

David Brin said...

Hellscapes. snork. Make that SNORK! Escrow your stakes, coward.

Alfred Differ said...

(3) California has become the ultimate 'splitter', having NULLIFIED the Federal Supremacy clause, by passing SB 54 (aka 'California Values Act') which limits how much local law enforcement can cooperate with federal authorities to enforce immigration law.

Ha ha!

Nevada has an ancient rule limiting what their local LE can do in support of federal LE because they got sick of doing the dirty work for the IRS.

Reciprocal agreements for LE require trust on both sides. When one abuses the other, executive branches clash. Neither Governors nor Presidents are Kings and the former is not a vassal to the latter. So... reciprocal enforcement and support agreements occasionally break.

(5) California has implemented insane environmental policies that allow wildfires to rage out-of-control.

Way too easy to write this just-so story. The drought out here did horrific damage to our forests. Good luck 'raking up' 150 million dead trees.

Alfred Differ said...

David Smelser,

I'm having a hard time picturing what socially conservative & economically liberal looks like.

There are many who fit in that category. For example, one mistake commonly made by Democrats is to believe that Latino voters are as socially liberal as they are. Typically, they are not. Neither are they monolithic in that regard. It is an error (sometimes) to lump Puerto Ricans with Cubans and Mexicans and others from just south of Mexico. There ARE cultural differences that show up in how 'socially conservative' they are. Sometimes they are significant.

locumranch said...


You're a laugh riot, Alfred, for implying that the federal Supremacy Clause requires RECIPROCITY:

The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States (Article VI, Clause 2), establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the “supreme Law of the Land”, and thus take priority over any conflicting state laws.

I like the way you think, however, as I'm a big fan of federal nullification, freedom of association, an individual's right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an association to accept or decline membership as they see fit.

Down with Eagle and up with the Cross!! Shout shout, the Battle of Freedom.


Best

matthew said...

Oi! The stupid is getting thick around here.

Whatever experiment you're running has gone rotten, Dr. Brin. These three fools that you "encourage" to shitpost have gotten to be the main voices on your blog. A Nazi, a faux rancher with problems with women and mental problems, and a caricature of a caricature of progressives.

Time for some housecleaning, please. I've been here 20 years, more or less, depending on site and nym. Never has the discussion been so utterly screwed up. This is not a coincidence. What you see as "interesting examples of non-positive sum thinking" are probably paid trolls that are making their money by distracting and shaping your thoughts and conversation. I don't think they are as interesting as specimens. I suspect they are interesting in terms of foreign agency and / or AI bots. One *might* be real. I sincerely doubt that two or more of them are real and I would wager large $$ against all three being who they portray.

Wasting your time? Or enemy action? You decide.
Waste of my time? Yes.

Discussion here has been stolen from us. Please act.

David Brin said...

matthew, well, I get it. I do think I have learned all that I can learn from them. Well, not quite yet from jim. I am pretty sure I have him diagnosed, his cowardice toward actually answering questions that threaten his memes. But I'm still curious.

I confess, it has been some time since I've seen anything remotely unpredictable from locu or treebeard. Locumranch used to sometimes punctuate with interesting commentary on various topics. Now it's all: "Let's see what I can diametrically opposite, today and assert 'our host' 'believes' that hed find most offensive.

Since the ent chimes in rarely and jim is still slightly interesting, but locumranch comesfrequently with zero on hi mind but nastiness, I suppose he really ought to go.

Let's put it to a poll. Do others feel the same? He's one of our oldest members and I do recall he used to be much more interesting. But I'll go with what seems a consensus.

Treebeard said...

LOL, I'll take that bet all day. I know I'm not a bot, and I'm confident locum isn't; I suppose it's possible that jim's a bot, but I'd put the chances well below 50%. So whaddya say, pal? And no one is stealing your conversation, unless you think conversation is only talking to people who agree with you. I've never once tried to shut you or anyone else down and I never will, becuz it's not my blog and it's not how I roll. It's just words on a web site dude; taking it so serious that you get all authoritarian, paranoid and delusional about is probably not the smartest or healthiest way to be. I know these are trying times, but really, the conspiring demons you guys imagine to be everywhere exist almost entirely within your own heads.

David Brin said...

See now there's why these guys are valueless. But seriously matthew, we are tormented by amateurs. Trolls come in vastly worse types than three aging boomer dogmatist zero-summers.

Larry Hart said...

A vote?

No to banning. Yes to ignoring whoever you (the individual reader) wishes to.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Let's put it to a poll. Do others feel the same? He's one of our oldest members and I do recall he used to be much more interesting."

Erg. You don't usually come up with ideas that dumb, Doctor. You really want to turn your blog into a bad TV reality show? "Treebeard, you've been voted off the island. You're fired." This is your blog, and you do have the right to ban a user for any criteria you choose, although the less capricious the rules, the better the blog is likely to be. It's one of those types of things that really shouldn't be put up to a plebiscite, and I'm usually pro-Democracy. If you honestly feel those three are trolling and being disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive, then you have the right to ban them. But it's your call, not the crew's.

Alfred Differ said...

matthew,

I sincerely doubt that two or more of them are real and I would wager large $$ against all three being who they portray.

If I could figure out how we'd find out, I'd take you up on that bet.
I STRONGLY suspect all three are real people saying pretty much what they believe.
They are too consistent to be paid trolls and...
I don't think our host is famous enough yet to draw that kind of interest.
Vocal? Yes. Getting credit when he's right about something? Heh. Not so much. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

I agree with Zepp on the voting idea.
I've seen it tried many times and it always implodes. [It turns into a 'Who is next?' game.]
So does doing nothing when major contributors get upset. [A 'Who is next to leave?' game.]


Tor had her ad lib'd expertise team, right?
Did they all play nicey-nice with each other?
Did they get attention when they were not adding value?

It's a neat model I haven't seen any other site try to use, but it is being tried here.
I'd like to see how it works out.

Alfred Differ said...

locumranch,

If you are going to quote from the Constitution, you should get all the parts right. Don't neglect the stuff involving enumerated powers. Supremacy clause is toothless without an enumerated power backing up federal legislation.

Better yet, how about we both simply admit we aren't constitutional law experts and stick with "You all suck! No we don't! You do! THBT!" 8)

Much easier for others to ignore.

locumranch said...


Alfred speaks in half-truths when he says the Supremacy Clause is "toothless" because, truth be told, all laws are toothless without the potential application of deadly force.

That said, there's no need to vote on me being a Russian agent or bot because EVERYONE IS, apparently, especially if they dare take up a contrary position that smacks of either deplorable diversity or opposing otherness.

And, because CITOKATE, a hiatus from criticism could serve the dual purpose of doing me some good while compounding the error inherent in the dominant consensus here. This is a win-win positive sum outcome, some could say.

On this prospective mutual admiration society, I'll check in now & again if only to quantitate the proliferation of error & the potential decline in community participation.

I fully expect 'Jack Johnson vs John Jackson' quality dialogue in short order, along with the growing conviction that objective reality must necessarily conform to the whims & ideals of the popular consensus.


Best

TCB said...

Of course the trolls are trolls. Dr. Brin keeps them around purely as specimens to observe, and even he must hold his nose.

Ram Dass talked about the diff between a Sat Guru, an enlightened person who beckons you forward, and has much to teach, versus the Upa Guru, which can be anyone you meet, even your enemy. The Upa Guru still has something to teach.

On the other hand, we are willing to sit at the feet of a Sat Guru, perhaps for years, because that person may have years worth of knowledge to impart. The Upa Guru may not have any lesson to offer except "People like me exist! Beware! We do not mean well, do and say all things in bad faith, and can't be compromised with!"

After a very short time, you should quit listening to that particular person. Their words are pure ipsum lorem, and I skip right past.

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

The Upa Guru may not have any lesson to offer except "People like me exist! Beware! We do not mean well, do and say all things in bad faith, and can't be compromised with!"


That's exactly the value they provide. How else do we understand what happened in the 2016 election? We have to live in the real world, which means the one in which the Constitution enshrines the rights of a minority in 35 or so states not to be "tyrannized" by the majority who live in 15 or so states. It's easy to forget that if we just echo each other inside our own bubble.


After a very short time, you should quit listening to that particular person. Their words are pure ipsum lorem, and I skip right past.


I finally came to that conclusion with one particular poster. He apparently never learned the art of keeping the audience interested enough to wade through the attacks on our character in order to get to the nuggets of interesting, important information. I have no need to inflict the lies and slanders on myself when I know there is no payoff.

Larry Hart said...

David Smelser:

I'm having a hard time picturing what socially conservative & economically liberal looks like.


Medicare for All White People?

Larry Hart said...


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/27/opinion/barr-liberals-family.html

...

While there has been some willingness by liberals to come to terms with aspects of the conservative critique, the same cannot be said for the social issue right.

Patrick Deneen, whose book received near unanimous praise from conservative critics, defines the “culture war” that has characterized recent decades, and which seems to grow more virulent daily, in implacable terms: “Democracy, in fact, cannot ultimately function in a liberal regime.”

Barr, in turn, argues that

in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people — a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

...

The reality is that Barr is not only selling traditional values to conservative voters, some of whom are genuinely starved for them, he is also marketing apocalyptic hogwash because, for his boss to get re-elected, Trump’s supporters must continue to believe that liberals and the Democratic Party are the embodiment of evil, determined to destroy the American way of life.

Relentless pressure to maintain the urgency of that threat is crucial to Trump’s political survival. It is embedded in the president’s rhetoric, core to his manic ambition and essential to his re-election strategy. The unanswered question is whether it is necessary not only to bolster Trump’s at once inflated and fragile ego, but also for the continued competitive strength of the Republican Party. Based on the evidence before us now, it certainly seems that it is.

jim said...

I have been very clear, if the democrats nominate someone I trust and has good policies I will support them if they don’t I will not. I find it utterly bazar that you think because I support Sanders policies, he gets to tell me who to vote for. That just is not true, I decide who I vote for.

Don Gisselbeck
I wish that was true, but both good and evil are multidimensional. So you can easily have a choice between someone who is less evil in policy 1 and more evil in policy 2 vs someone who is more evil in area 1 and less evil in area 2.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

I have been very clear, if the democrats nominate someone I trust and has good policies I will support them if they don’t I will not.


If you really support Bernie on policy, you should want him to stay where he is--in the Senate--which (along with the House) is where policy is enacted. Mitch McConnell is aware that the requirement a party has for its president is that he is alive and able to sign there legislation.


I find it utterly bazar that you think because I support Sanders policies, he gets to tell me who to vote for. That just is not true, I decide who I vote for.


Well, when you put it that way... :)

But it does say something about how well you trust your candidate's judgement.


you can easily have a choice between someone who is less evil in policy 1 and more evil in policy 2 vs someone who is more evil in area 1 and less evil in area 2.


What you don't seem to recognize is that all areas are not weighted equally. You're unwilling to support evil in policy 1 and better in policy 2, even when policy 2 is an octillion times more important.

David Brin said...

For someone who declares dedication to eradicating the enlightenment and all its values... then to whine that his free speech rights are being repressed when we have our fill of deliberate nastiness... is well.... "Hypocrisy" used to be the one accusation that would shudder even a dogmatist. But no longer, apparently.

While you think you're being punished for truth-telling, it is actually just the nastiness and.... zzzz.... the... zzzz.... boredom.

Go in peace. Keep taking vitamins.

Meanwhile, all jim can do is double down and repeat his grand declaration.

No discussion of the 50 million poor/minorities/women/youth who would be incrementally more empowered under ANY Democrats... whose activism and votes will then count much more, allowing socialists more leverage for 2022 and beyond. No mention of the JUDGES who even Biden or Klobuchar or even Gabbard would appoint, who would reinstate the Voting Rights Act.

He knows all of that's absolutely true... so turn away and shout "squirrel!"

No mention of CA, OR, WA and other states where coalitions of socialist and moderate dems have had ACTUAL power for years (as opposed to national dems having only 72 days across 25 years, largely because of splitter betrayal.) In those states activity has been huge.
jim COULD look at those states and see models for action. But he prefers to stay ignorant.

Those are just two of 6 realms where splitters need to get informed and justify their preening-prissy purity. But they don't.

All of that is on the table jim. If your position is supportable, the ARGUE about those facts. Your refusal to grapple with any of it is simultaneously cowardice and hypocrisy. So don't you dare try moralizing at those of us who are fighting the evill many orders of magnitude harder than you are.

===

PS... a cause that any fringe group should take up is Lessig's push for Rank Choice Voting, which has made a few inroads, last year. Anyone who dreams of helping a 3rd party to rise should make RCV the focus of fanatical work and devotion, because it would mean a Jill Stein could get a true count of her support in the first round and grow her movement. But unlike those incrementalist reformers who actually do stuff, these guys are in it for the emotional rush.

Jon S. said...

"The Upa Guru may not have any lesson to offer except "People like me exist! Beware! We do not mean well, do and say all things in bad faith, and can't be compromised with!"

After a very short time, you should quit listening to that particular person. Their words are pure ipsum lorem, and I skip right past."


The example I use is from the first episode of an old TV series called The Paper Chase, about law students. One in particular so annoyed the professor that at one point the professor went to the student's seat and placed a shroud over him, thereafter ignoring everything that student said for the remainder of class time.

On another blog, the author used that analogy, and proceeded to simply hide the posts of anyone he had shrouded. If any of his readers cared to subject themselves to that person's rants, they were free to, but he never saw them.

The forum software here does not permit this option so far as I can tell (I can't experiment, nobody has ever commented on my blog here), but I've adopted the technique for my own use. When I hit certain names while scrolling through here, I just keep on scrolling until I see the next name. I avoid much inanity this way.

If these posts are intended to be "enemy action", then I take comfort in how terribly inept these "enemies" are.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin to locumranch:

While you think you're being punished for truth-telling,...


Now, THAT is funny.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

When I hit certain names while scrolling through here, I just keep on scrolling until I see the next name.


Actually, if you put your cursor to the right of the poster's name (it should still look like a hand at that point) and click, the post "folds" up, essentially shrouding it. It doesn't affect other posts by the same person, but it saves you the trouble of scrolling down to the next name.

I know--first world problems. :)

Larry Hart said...

An inconvenient truth:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/27/opinion/trump-apprentice.html

...

Mr. Jackson said the difference between Mr. Trump now and when he was on the show is that back then, “there was smoke” — housing discrimination, his public hatred of the Central Park Five — “but there was no raging fire.” Now, despite the raging fires of “Lock her up,” “Send her back,” the Muslim ban, the impeachment inquiry and much more, recent polls find the president in a relatively enviable position in battleground states, where he may have a greater demographic advantage in 2020 than in 2016.

55 percent of Republicans for whom Fox News is their primary news source told pollsters there is nothing Mr. Trump could do to lose their approval. And another poll found, “The overwhelming majority of Americans across both parties say nothing they hear in the impeachment inquiry will change their minds.” The president has long grasped that little of this fight is about principles or the republic; that there are Republicans who can’t stand that he behaves so odiously but who can’t stand Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “The Squad” even more. Republicans who’d rather back Mr. Trump than let that other team, those other people, win.

...

scidata said...

Re: nothing he could do to lose their approval

Once again, more is needed than just the logic/evidence/justice/decency approach. Guilt trips are ineffective at best. Instead, flood the zone with cool science stories and gleaming starships on the launchpad.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Larry Hart said...

Emphasis mine...

https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/rex-huppke/ct-impeachment-hearings-trump-nunes-jordan-taylor-huppke-20191113-4j37wip2hraq3kzqiwf7didt6m-story.html

...

The best hope Democrats have for convincing whatever sliver of the populace hasn’t already made up its mind between “HE SHOULD BE IMPEACHED!” and “HE COULDN’T BE MORE INNOCENT!” is to get out of the way while studied patriots such as Taylor and Kent calmly testify.

Hopefully some will see the difference between love of country and love of getting retweeted by the president.

And hopefully those folks will remember, and long for, a better version of America than what we have now.

Larry Hart said...


Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.

Ask every person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.

Camelot! Camelot!
Now, say it out with pride and joy.
"Camelot! Camelot!"
Yes, Camelot, my boy,

Where once it never rained till after sundown.
By 8 a.m the morning fog had flown.
Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment
That was known as Camelot.

matthew said...

The editorials that Larry has been posting reinforce my basic point of the last half-year or so. There is no evidence or behavior that will pry the GOP diehards away from Trump. Our only hope is to convince *everyone* to vote this time.

Trump is historically unpopular with a majority of Americans, but that majority is simply in the wrong geography.

This election will come down to enthusiasm to vote. The democratic nominee must, first and foremost, generate enthusiasm to vote. Not appeal to centrists, but instead get apathetic voters off their butts to save the Union. With enough enthusiasm, the Senate will flip. With enough enthusiasm, cheating in Red states will be overcome. With enough enthusiasm, the GOP becomes a minor party, relegated back to the dustbin of history.

Every decision by the Dems should focus on this goal. Yet, none of the contenders is focused this direction. Bernie comes the closest, but he has massive baggage and is simply too old. Booker tries for it but is failing to catch fire. Pete has enthusiasm in the suburbs but is historically weak with minority voters. Warren has the support of the "proficiency" caucus but has the same enemies as Bernie, and misogyny working against her as well. None of them are "fired up and ready to go!"

The Dem base will crawl over broken glass to vote against Trump. The GOP will do the same. This election will come down to the low-information voter. Grabbing attention is the key to our future.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

This election will come down to enthusiasm to vote. The democratic nominee must, first and foremost, generate enthusiasm to vote. Not appeal to centrists, but instead get apathetic voters off their butts to save the Union.


I tend to agree. And in his own way, I think that's what jim is saying too. But I'm concerned that the candidates he would find acceptable won't actually have that effect. At one time, I thought Elizabeth Warren could be Hillary without the baggage, but she seems to have been successfully demonized herself now. Bernie has some appeal, but he's too easily portrayed as a crazy old man in McCain's "Get off my lawn!" image.

For all his faults, President Obama did have that effect we need. Who else do we have available with that kind of appeal? Michelle? Oprah? Jon Stewart?

Smurphs said...

Re: Vote for banning certain members.

Much like censorship, I worry about when it might come for me.

This is a no vote for banning. The fact they draw so many responses is ample evidence of their value to at least some members of this community.

Like others have said, when I see Loco or the Ent, I just skim past without reading. Infrequently, another commenter will respond in such a way that I feel compelled to go back. But not often.

I am still reading Jim, but he is rapidly approaching the skim-past team. It is not his views that bother me, I share many and have sympathy and understanding even when I disagree. It is Jim's absolute refusal to answer direct questions, or engage a true dialogue. You know, paraphrasing, testing understanding or acknowledging he might be wrong bout something. CITOKATE. If Jim gets any push back, he he just screeches louder. It gets tiring and I start tuning him out.

But Doc, if the vote goes the other way, or you just get feed up and go for summary execution, go for it. Your house, your rules. I'm just happy to drop in sometimes.

scidata said...

I read an interesting piece on the one American who is beloved by all stripes, in all states. Pity the fool who disses Dolly Parton.

Bob Neinast said...

Larry quoted, "And hopefully those folks will remember, and long for, a better version of America than what we have now."

MAGA? ;-)

Larry Hart said...

AWGA

"America Was Great Already!"

Larry Hart said...

I often live by the Joe Walsh phrase, "I can't complain but sometimes I still do." But I do try to remain cognizant of all that I really do have to be thankful for. That's probably why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I know it's different times in different countries, but to all the Americans here, have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.

jim said...


Although it might upset Mathew, I pretty much agree with his analysis that democrats will need real enthusiasm from the American people for the democratic candidate to win in 2020. And Sanders is the only candidate that comes even remotely close to that. (although he does inspire the opposition, just like Trump)

Surprisingly enough Larry, this is also my favorite holiday, So happy thanksgiving everyone.

(if you guys don’t want me to post anymore, I will stop. There are plenty of other things for me to do.)

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

You are still capable of adding value here, but you are blocked on the realization that many here are your natural allies. You feel burned by the loss of Hope after the 2008 election did not produce sweeping change? Sure. Many feel that way, but your natural allies here weren't necessarily as sucked into the hype of that election as you were. Obama's campaign was wondrously stratospheric toward the end of 2008, so the reality later couldn't possibly match the fantasy earlier. Some of us get that and accept that incremental improvement is likely the only achievable way forward.

...both good and evil are multidimensional.

True, but if you get too picky in your attempt to optimize, you'll wind up being as irrelevant as some of my libertarian friends. Choose who you want, but beware of purity tests. You can lose a partial good that is otherwise achievable if you don't pay attention to what your natural allies can tolerate.

David Brin said...

Thanksgiving ammo for those calling Two Scoops God's anointed. The scene where Clintons and Obamas and Carters and Bidens all recite the Apostles' Creed largely by memory while the Trumps stand, bored and silent, then leave early. While rich televangelists preach a prosperity/Dominionist gospel that's opposite to Jesus's teachings, they blasphemously extol as "God's Chosen One" a tool of communist dictators who is the most opposite-to-Jesus human you can find. And yet, it does mean DT won't fry the world, which Pence will do the minute/day or month he gets a chance to trigger the Patmosian apocalypse.
See
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4ZjI1mycg8

"This election will come down to enthusiasm to vote. " Well, yes... except backwards. We need to zealously attack and crush the GOP treason. That is the focus. And while turnout is vital... as it was in 92 and 2008, we know the splitters will abandon us in 2022, as they did in 94 and 2010, making dogma excuses for their cynical/indolent laziness.

THAT is why it must go beyond turnout. We have to take statehouses, becvause Roberts won't help eliminate the cheating We must do it ourselves. And that means more than turnout. We must invade and take territory! Purple districts. Red districts. And that can only be done by men and women who can talk to those folks. Folks who jim doesn't know and refuses to acknowledge.

Thanks guys and I am proud of you for exhibiting the generally thick skin that says: "heck, leave these dopes alone. I can always skim past them."

As for jim's latest... assertion... that's all it is. A magical incantation that red and purple district americans will only notice the guys HE notices as worthy. Ignore the pure fact that it was hairbun and crewcut Democrats mostly veterans who TOOK TERRITORY from the reds, this time. There's zero evidence for his assertion and tons against it.

But why do I bother. He ansers no questions, offers no paraphrasings, exhibits no curiosity and accepts no challenges.

Alfred Differ said...

locumranch,

...all laws are toothless without the potential application of deadly force.

Very libertarian of you, but factually incorrect. I try to point this out to my friends, but they don't want to hear it either. For them, the world is too much about tooth and claw.

'Law' is actually an emergent thing we typically call 'rule'. Most of them are unwritten. For example, don't fart in an elevator (if you can help it) when other people are in there with you. Violate that rule and there is a social response. Most law is like this and is called common law.

Common law is enforced mostly through shunning and not coercion.


What does this have to do with reciprocity between state and federal LE? Everything. More often than not, LE on both sides share a desire to do what they do well and recognize that cooperation is a win-win. Locally positive sum. More often than not, they don't have to be told to cooperate because they already know the emergent rule. Stopping them from doing this when extreme circumstances occur (breaches of trust) is harder than many of us realize. A new law might be written to force the new behavior, but those are usually partially effective. Mostly they provide cover to LE who already realize they must break with the old rule and face retaliation risks if they do it alone.

In Nevada, local LE was being used by IRS to track down possible tax cheats. Local LE was spending a fair amount of money doing this, pissing off local voters (yes... tax cheats DO vote), and Nevada wasn't get much in return for this black eye. The result of all this was Nevada choosing to end reciprocity agreements. Let the IRS do their own dirty work. Let locals realize that local LE weren't there to enforce federal tax law. Leave intact, though, reciprocity rules for other kinds of crimes like violence, kidnapping, etc.


I doubt this will register with you, though. I'm writing it for others who might stop by and read it. There ARE decent reasons to enforce separation of state and federal law enforcement and not just with recent causes.

jim said...

Well David, which democrat do you think will generate a lot of enthusiasm from the American people?

David Brin said...

If you define YOURSELF as "the American People," I might deem that a real issue. I don't. Any of them would appoint judges and restore the civil service and our alliances and sciences and help pass those 31 first-round needs.

How about maybe you trust the Dem primaries to sort it out? Both Clinton and Obama won by that route and generated huge enthusiasm in 92 and 2008, before guys like you stabbed them in the back, in 94 and 2010.

How about I answer your questions when you've answered any of mine.

Larry Hart said...

jim

Well David, which democrat do you think will generate a lot of enthusiasm from the American people?


Which alternative party that you'd vote for instead of a Democrat would do so?

Hillary generated plenty of enthusiasm. But she also generated plenty of negative enthusiasm, both people who would have otherwise sat out but voted against her and people who might have been down on Trump but still couldn't stomach Hillary.

Like it or not, Warren and Sanders would each inspire such negative enthusiasm. Biden would not. Which, now that I think it through, is the main reason I take issue with your "Biden bad; Warren and Sanders good" attitude. Maximizing enthusiasm isn't enough if the net-enthusiasm is negative.

Zepp Jamieson said...

For years, I thought Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was responsible for the saying, "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." That was actually Denis Diderot, another French writer so smart he died five years before the French Revolution.
de Saint-Exupéry did say one I absolutely love: Perfection is attained, not when no more can be added, but when no more can be removed. Valuable advice for anyone who writes!

matthew said...

David, if there was a crewcut-type running for POTUS in the primary that was capable of generating enthusiasm in low-information voters, I would be all in for them. I give to Amy McGrath and Doug Jones, for instance, because they are capable of beating much worse opponents.

But in the Dem POTUS field, none of the moderates are capable of generating the enthusiasm needed to take the election from Trump. Or at least they have not shown the capability yet.

Biden is low energy and severely wounded from Trump's false attacks. He is only where he is right now due to name recognition.

Pete is a regional candidate so far, and is polling at 0% with African Americans in SC. The stock photo idiocy from his campaign would cost several percentage points in a general election. He is making too many unforced errors.

Harris would be great, but the preemptive attacks from Biden's camp over her record as AG and as a prosecutor ended her chances before they started. She is VP material though.

Booker is trying for the lane but also failing to generate interest. VP.

No one likes Klobachar. Boring and mean is a bad combination.

Gabbard is another Russian stooge.

Bloomberg and Steyer are just running to make sure that Warren or Sanders doesn't get the nomination. If they really wanted to help, either one could put together a GOTV campaign that would be historic. If they would pledge to do so *regardless of who gets the nomination* I would consider supporting them because they would have shown that they are not just stroking their own egos and protecting their billions.

As for taking state houses? Getting low-information voters to the polls does that. And to be blunt, if the Dem nominee doesn't win in 2020 against Trump then state houses in 2022 are probably out of reach too. If Trump wins, it will show the GOP that asking publicly for foreign help was a good strategy and the deck will get more and more stacked in favor of the Dominionists. With the Judiciary being rapidly packed with GOP for at least a generation, hoping for good in 2022 is a mirage.

It's time for that "hopey-changey stuff." And the talent for that is not with any of the moderates that matter right now.

matthew said...

Larry's comment about generating negative enthusiasm is a good one. But right now, both Warren and Sanders have very high positives. Warren has low negatives too, and is the second choice of a plurality of Dem voters. See Nate Silver for polling on that.

scidata said...

@Zepp Jamieson: Valuable advice for anyone who writes!

And of course Pascal's "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."

Laplace's summary of the history of astronomy "is commonly esteemed one of the masterpieces of French literature" [Wikipedia]

Combining science and literature is kind of a French thing. I would give a lot for fluency in this beautiful language, above and beyond my obligations as a Canadian.



To have another language is to possess a second soul.
- Charlemagne

Alfred Differ said...

Come now. Klobuchar is a charmer. Just watch her a while.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: "Which alternative party that you'd vote for instead of a Democrat would do so?"

Most would just stay home, is my guess. Trump has 2% support amongst Democrats, so he won't get any help there.

matthew said...

Alfred, thanks for the lol.

Larry Hart said...


But right now, both Warren and Sanders have very high positives. Warren has low negatives too, and is the second choice of a plurality of Dem voters.


Are you talking about among Democratic primary voters, or among general election voters? I have no doubt that either Warren or Sanders could win the nomination. My concern is that they wouldn't do any better than Hillary did in November.

matthew said...

I really wanted Pete to do well. I think he's failing now.
Not a purity test, but c'mon, dude, you have to be smarter than this.

Pete Buttigieg took donations from Brett Kavenaugh's lawyers from his confirmation fight. Giving the money back now, but he has to step more gingerly, imo.

The learning curve may be too much for him.

What do the folks here think? Is taking money from Kavenaugh defenders a line that should not be crossed? I think so, but I'm pretty far out on the 3D political axes.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/26/pete-buttigieg-brett-kavanaugh-campaign-donations

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

With the Judiciary being rapidly packed with GOP for at least a generation, hoping for good in 2022 is a mirage.


If only The Rapture would happen. President Pelosi could immediately nominate five replacements to the supreme court, and we could move on from there.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

Is taking money from Kavenaugh defenders a line that should not be crossed?


This is going to sound like a flippant answer, but I don't mean it that way. Isn't taking money from Kavanaugh supporters a good thing? Better than giving money to Kavanaugh supporters? As long as he doesn't give in to their demands afterwards, it sounds like a win-win.

David Brin said...

Matthew you make good points about the current candidates and I see flaws in every one. STill, that is a different matter than declaring an unwillingness to take part in a grand coalition of national salvation led by any of them. Well, except Gabbard and now that Williamson and Gillibrand are out, thank heavens.

I half-suspect Biden will at some point say: “I stepped up because I knew someone would need to draw fire. And I did that. You’re welcome.”

Liz leads, in my book. I just wish I were her advisor because she’s doing a dozen things all wrong.

Pete is by far the smartest of them all, even smarter than brainy Liz, and his policies and positions are beyond sensible. I fret about him, though, for a range of reasons. Clearly the heir , however this goes.

Harris is a tough bird and bright… and far from my first choice. People sense she’s… meaner than Hillary. I don’t mind that, but — She’d be logical choice for AG, if it weren’t that any president would suspect she’ll be sharpening knives the whole time.

Bloomberg & Steyer could just as easily be hypothesized as HELPING to broaden the pre-nomination coalition. Let’s wait and see.

What I don’t get is why any of this should matter. We need to unite behind whomever it is and then focus attention on the devastatingly evil enemy agents that fill the GOP top to bottom. Stacey Abrams is as important as any of these folks, if she succeeds in truly galvanizing registration and GOTV across vulnerable swing states.

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, if Sanders won the nomination and did not get sabotaged by corporate media, he could mop the floor with Trump. Sanders has shown that he can charm shockingly large crowds in some very red parts of the country. Sadly, it is a fact that corporate media gave Trump billions of dollars worth of free media exposure in 2016 and it is another sad fact that the media have blacked out the story of how they have blacked out coverage on Bernie Sanders!

Sanders could be another FDR. If we would let him.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

john fremont said...

Government for the Herrenvolk