Saturday, November 09, 2019

Look away! Political distractions and more...

Distract! That’s the GOP ‘strategy,’ ever since it became clear that there was screaming "quid" for every howling "quo."

For example, there are no legal bases for Attorney General Barr’s ‘criminal investigation of the FBI’ for following hearsay leads that led to overwhelming evidence, that led to jury convictions for real crimes. But unleashing the probe will get Trump off Barr’s neck. All of you have RASR cousins etc. who buy into the core Fox line, which boils down to: “Don’t look! There’s nothing under that smoke, so don’t even look! I don’t want to know!” … 

Here are 9 one- or two-sentence answers that demolish their “don’t look!” party line:

1- Rules about hearsay, or ‘bias’ by investigators or witnesses all apply during a TRIAL. Rules of admissibility are far looser during investigations or indictment proceedings, which can hear secret testimony, as happens in a Grand Jury

While there might be cause to “confront” all witnesses during a trial, at this stage protecting whistleblower identity is not only fair, it is traditional and paramount.

2- The House is that Grand Jury, deliberating indictments that the Senate would then try.

3- Impeachment is Constitutional, not judicial. Moreover - and dig this well - it’s not even remotely analogous to criminal trial, where life or liberty might be deprived. The closest parallel is that it’s about an employment issue - far more like a company’s board of directors deciding to fire a corrupt CEO.

4- The House can make its own rules on proceedings leading to a vote of impeachment, as when the GOP rammed through impeachment of a husband for fibbing about a 3rd base consensual infidelity. Only here’s a fact conservative Judge Napolitano made clear, discomfiting whining Fox hosts: Pelosi, Schiff etc. are now following - precisely - rules established in 2015 by a Republican House under John Boehner, when Republicans hoped to impeach the utterly stain-free Barack Obama.

5- Having declared an absolute right of Congressional oversight over Clintons and Obama (who handed over everything and prevented no one from testifying, amid 25 years of never-fruitful “investigations”), many of the same men now howl that a GOP president needn’t cooperate at all, may stonewall and declare himself above all law, even for “shooting someone on 5th Avenue.”* (Yes, Trump’s attorney just said exactly that. See the cogent cartoon by Clay Bennett.))

6- Oh, about those evidence-exclusion” rules that sometimes tossed as inadmissible “the fruit of a poisoned tree….” Conservatives long railed against that doctrine! Now, suddenly-hypocritically, it’s their favorite! 

7- Again: 25 years and half a billion dollars of our money spent chasing Clinton-Obama accusations, including Koch/Fox bribes offered to scores of witnesses - (“Bengahzi!”… “Emails!”) - found nothing whatsoever, a result repeated just last week by Pompeo’s State Department when they cleared Hillary Clinton of any serious or deliberate wrongdoing.

8- There are obvious reasons why the rising oligarchy wants secrecy and darkness enshrined in our political processes. From the Panama Papers to a wave of likely blackmail, we see how much they have to fear from light. Take the link below and see Polemical Judo!

9- Every Trumpian defense consists of “Don’t look! The people mustn’t see facts or truth!  Tax returns, financials, Deutsche Bank records of laundering for Russian oligarchs, testimony from administration officials who never spoke a word to the President and hence have no basis for “Executive Privilege…”

… the actual contents of Trump’s private meetings with communist dictators and “ex”communist KGB-agent mafia dons…

…and Trump’s beloved “Great Wall of NDAs” (the best wall ever) keeping scores of past settlements secret. And the contents of David Pecker’s safe. And the blackmail that turned William Barr into a mafia stooge…

…and for all of that, your “ostrich republican” cousin has one desperate response, keeping his head in his Fox-tuned hole, repeating incantations and chant-rationalizations for why he should not know about any of those things. “I don’t wanna know. Nobody should know. Look away… look away!”

== It can be painfully funny ==

Che Shows The Way! On Saturday Night Live, last week, Weekend Update host Michael Che voiced (brilliantly) a meme I had been spreading about a new and clever way to deal with the weird-crazed phenomenon of Donald Trump. “I don't know how to ask this, but are we sure that it's OK to make fun of this guy?” he asked. “Did you ever read Of Mice and Men? Remember how Lenny was really ‘strong?’ What if Trump is really strong? I've got a cousin who is also strong. And he loves alligators too, but we don't make fun of him.”

It got some good laughs and cheers, but I am quite serious in proposing that some mid-level democrat or pundit use this powerful meme weapon.  Imagine if say Mayor Pete were to hold a news conference and — with tongue only barely in cheek — *denounce* fellow Democrats for their unsympathetic pestering of an addled old man! An emotionally and cerebrally challenged senior who clearly qualifies for extra care and kindness. Feigned outrage that liberals and dems are ignoring their obligations to Trump, under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Not only would it draw huge attention and seize that day’s news cycle. It would also directly undermine what George Lakoff calls the fundamental basis of Trump’s base-support — his illusion of playground bully “strength.” Envision what a tweetstorm that would rouse from Two Scoops! It would obsess him and possible burst a blood vessel… and so, on second thought, maybe let’s not. The last thing we want is a Trump  martyr!

Can anyone pass this on to Mayor Pete?  

== Where we're headed ==

This Vox article on “9 scenarios for how the Trump-Ukraine impeachment process could end” is a pretty interesting conversation starter. But it leaves out at least half a dozen more. Such as party leaders talking Trump into taking a leave of absence, or several different weird scenarios under the 25th amendment. 

And the scariest of all… the one that makes Bond-villain logic for Putin and McConnell, giving them their only chance at a win win win scenario, eliminating the liability while riling up his supporters to a rabid frenzy… That scenario is martyrdom.  God Bless the United States Secret Service! I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Good luck guys! (And if anything happens, you fools better not celebrate! You must be enraged at the deliberate-cynical disposal of an addled old man, just because his usefulness to our enemies came to an end.)

I am a fan of AOC and I am glad the Democratic "Roosevelt wing" is very active. Still, it is vital to avoid splitterism and falling for tricks to harm our enlightenment-patriotic coalition against the Putinist Cabal. Especially, all this piling onto Nancy Pelosi is both unfair and intemperate/shortsighted -- an example of 'sumo' politics that always, always falls into Republican traps. The Judo approach requires timing. Those who question Pelosi's courage or determination bear a steep burden of proof. Under what scenario do they even imagine she is shy over combat? Of course she is being strategic! Why assume anythings else? What matters now is not going for formal impeachment, followed by a failed Senate vote. What matters is:

1-  that formal impeachment hearings might corner Chief Justice John Roberts into ruling in favor of Congressional subpoenas, since that is a process specifically described in the the Constitution. This is paramount! Nothing else matters as much, because once the subpoenas and hearings are unleashed, the Trumpists face evisceration. (And we must be prepared with a plan in case Roberts betrays us.)

2- that the impeachment process must not wind up being seen as just "revenge for Clinton," allowing the Red Base to rally around their martyr. If you think it will be enough just to defeat the GOP in 2020, you have ZERO memory of 2010 and 1994 when they came roaring back. They must be crushed for all this criminality and treason, and removing Trump a couple of months early is less urgent.

3- If you want a huge symbolic victory, then time impeachment so that the senate trial is held in the new Senate that takes hold a couple of weeks before inauguration in 2020. Think about that.

4- tune the meaning. A tsunami of corruption revelations during 2020 will win us defections from the confederacy, while a Senate trial that happens before those defections will win us an earthquake of Timothy McVeighs. Above all, our audience is the so called "deep state" - a fictitious, slanderous term for the brave and devoted men and women who have been preserving the republic by adhering to the law, during a lawless regime. If they see us dotting the i’s while revealing crimes, we keep them loyal.

5- Pence. OMG have folks any concept of reality at all? Trump is largely cauterized by his own blithering moronic behavior. Pence gets in and ALL THE DAMAGE TO THE REPUBLICAN BRAND goes away as he smoothly croons about peace and reconciliation, winning large numbers of relieved officers back into the GOP fold... the leaky Trump White House gets replaced by one packed by Pence with devout Book of Revelations Dominionists, utterly disciplined and dedicated to the end of the world. Literally. Absolutely and literally.

Pace yourselves. Radicalize! Fight! By getting your neighbors ready with tumbrels and torches.

== Consider this ==

The National Rifle Association acted as a "foreign asset" for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election. Um duh? Today’s traitor U.S. right is absolutely gaga in love with the Putin mob, which has coordinated all out war against all of our institutions and professional castes.

Roughly 500 Soviet commissars were aided by cronies of George H.W. Bush around 1990, in “converting the Russian economy from communist to free enterprise.” Now drop the last two words and replace them with “mafia oligarchy.” All they had to do was replace hammer-sickle emblems with orthodox crosses and wink slyly at the western partners who funded their grab of every USSR state asset.  And that’s just one of two reasons why Bush Senior was – by far – the worst U.S. president of the Twentieth Century.

Finally... Here’s a review article “The Culmination of Republican Decay” - from The New York Review - of the recently released book American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War - and the Rise of President Trump, by Tim Alberta.

And "Trump tries to banish the specter of impeachment with red-state campaign tour.

And in my new book - Judo Polemics - one of my 100+ tactics - is to make him and his campaign pay ALL costs of such trips, In advance.


Alfred Differ said...

The new book by the anonymous author of the NYT Op-Ed points out a method to the madness of sending Two Scoops out for campaign rallies. He's less dangerous out in the field getting his ego stroked by his supporters.

Maddow related this the other night in her story-reading style and I have to admit that I could see the point. His staff can make themselves difficult to find while he is out of town and that slows the damage he might do. It's not perfect, but as a desperate defense it partially works.


I'd rather Pence. Especially now that we can slap him for participating in the impeachable offense. Loud exclamations of "YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER" and "DEAL WITH THE DEVIL". He'd be effectively castrated.

Alfred Differ said...

Zepp Jamieson,

I would love to see the details on your prof's "Baryonic matter" speculation on the heat death of the universe. Especially given the amount of dark matter out there.

Well, to be fair to my prof, I have to point out this was the early 80's. We knew the galactic rotation curve for the Milky Way demonstrated something amiss with our beliefs about where the mass was, but they were still looking for it in the interstellar medium. Baryonic matter was the expected resolution. Other options were not popular back then.

His points still work for me in that he wasn't trying to give concrete estimates. Someone made a "heat death" comment in class and he diverted long enough to show us how to do back-of-the-envelope calculations using a mix of statistical mechanics (what the class subject was) and quantum mechanics. The tangent lesson was about building a physical intuition. It's easy to hand-wave a story about a very large, cold universe being dead, but how much entropy is actually in the universe right now? How much more can we expect? Can we do ballpark estimates? Turns out we can, so he showed us how.

1. The mass we know about in the universe is mostly baryonic because mesons are short-lived and electrons are light by comparison. (Pre dark matter class)

2. How much mass is there? Estimate a baryon count. Around 10^80 for observable universe which appears to be decelerating, so it will all be observable eventually.

3. Entropy is proportional to the logarithm of the number micro-states available that produce the same macro-state. Can we estimate how many ways the universe could look like what we see? Sure. Permute the baryons. This hydrogen atom here is indistinguishable from that one over there… mostly. We just want an order of magnitude estimate because entropy is logarithmic. So… roughly 10^80 factorial? Do we have to account for the many internal atomic states? Can we brush those aside as not contributing enough to the exponent to be consequential? Hmm… those are some big numbers.

4. If the number of baryons isn't changing the future change of entropy of the universe has to be in the internal states that we think of as being related to 'heat'. This is where 'diffuse' matters. There is already a lot of entropy in the universe, so we are mostly interested in the tiny part of it that can reasonably be expected to increase as the universe grows in size and longer wavelengths fit within its boundaries. Longer wavelengths means colder.

5. He messed about with more numbers that I'd have to hit my notes to get exactly right, but at the end of the board he had a way to estimate the time required to get from 'cold' to 'damn cold'. Along the way he included stuff concerning how difficult it is for atomic and nuclear transitions to occur as they get colder. Transition probabilities. It ain't easy cooling things off.

6. After all that, he shifted back to the beginning of the board, raised an eyebrow, and asked if we could see a mistake he'd made. He pretended to an honest mistake, but we caught on. He'd left something out on purpose. Turns out it was the neutrinos. There are an AWFUL lot of them. Permute them too and they blow up the number of micro-states available to us to see what we see. How the heck are we supposed to estimate the entropy again? He rubbed a few things out and re-wrote them as he worked back to the other end of the board. (Note taking students hate it when professors do that.) By the time he got there, he had a COMPLETELY different estimate that left one with the impression that the universe was already cold and dead. Well… isn't it? 2.7K for the background? Somewhere between 10-20 billion light years to the edge? That's a lot of space for 10^80 baryons and who knows how many leptons.


Alfred Differ said...


The point of the lesson came in two parts.

a) It's kinda silly to worry much about how these things might affect your life. We don't know enough yet. What if something else comes along and causes us to rethink things?

Obviously that happened. We discovered neutrinos have non-zero rest mass (!!!) and that there aren't enough hadrons and leptons to account for the galactic rotation curves (!*!*!) and… oh… and the cosmic expansion is accelerating (WTF!).

That means anyone using 'heat death' to win an argument is likely a doofus trying to sound scientific. Maybe even a fraud.

b) There ARE ways to avoid hand-waving in front of people who actually care about these things. Learn how and be honest about your assumptions in the calculations.

'Heat Death' is still useful as a limiting case test of certain cosmological models, but it makes about as much sense to expect it to matter to every-day life as how our quantum mechanics models allow us to argue there is a chance someone could walk though a wall unharmed. Oddly enough, another student raised that one in my quantum mechanics class and we got an earful about it from that professor… and two big boards full of estimation calculations. He was quite annoyed with us and concerned about our disturbing lack of intuition. He was quite serious about it too. 8)

Zepp Jamieson said...

While I've little doubt that Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito and Kavanaugh are risks to stage a judicial coup in order to sustain GOP power, I'm not so dubious about the CJ, Roberts. There are rumours, backed by several decisions he made that went against the GOP that he seriously wishes to be seen as a Justice, and not a political hack. Oh, he'll still side with corporations over workers and consumers, because that's his philosophy, but it's hard to see him throwing away the country--and his legacy--just to protect Trump.
Trump plans to appeal the tax ruling just handed down by the Second Court, but if the court doesn't simply deny cert (which is what I expect) but an en banc ruling will go 5-4, with Roberts the swing vote.

David Brin said...

As I said, Roger Penrose has the niftyest cyclical cosmology since Tipler's was refuted (by inconvenient facts). When the Vast Dissipation has gone on so long that baryonic matter decays, then fermi-dirac statistics vanish and we are left with only bosons, who don't give a damn where and what they are. Penrose cleverly shows we MIGHT be able to 'conformally map' this vastly dissipated universe onto one that's experiencing inflation, at the beginning of a new Big Bang! It is simply mind boggling...

...that his talk uses old fashioned view graphs!!! And manages to portray the concept. And even more mind-boggling... *I* contributed slightly to his thinking on the theory!



Zepp, alas, my friend on the US Appeals Court says anyone vesting hope in John Roberts is playing on a wish fantasy. His "liberal rulings almost always lay down precedent for reasonings he will later use to accomplish a larger, right wing agenda.

Oh, he may affirm Ros-v-Wade, because the needs of the oligarchy are not the same as the wishes of the mob. But his 'non-justiciable" argument for leaving gerrymandering in place is unprecedented and spectacularly clever and it will likely be the basis for hum to allow the executive to eviscerate Congressional oversight, simply by saying "nuh uh!" While the Court says "We can't interfere."

Our one hope is to make clear that none of the tricks will work anymore. That we intend that he will go down in history as the Roger Taney of our era.

Dwight Williams said...

No, you do not want to endure Pence's screw-ups any more than you want to endure Trump's. You really think you'll be able to slap him down if he's installed in Trump's place?


You need to sweep both of them out at once. Both, at once.

mondojohnson said...

Dr. Brin, the link to the absorbing "The Culmination of Republican Decay" book review is not functioning in Chrome (as of 11/10/2019 9:17AM Eastern US). Just FYI!

Fellow readers, if you're having the same problem, here you go: The Culmination of Republican Decay, by Sean Wilentz.

Ahcuah said...

So, Devin Nunes has provided his list of those he wants subpoenaed for the impeachment hearings. Chair Adam Schiff can either accept them, or not. You can see the whole list here, along with Nunes' reasons for including them.

The list includes folks like a board member of Burisma and Hunter Biden, and somebody from Fusion GPS. It looks like he wants to go down a conspiracy theory rathole. He also wants the whistleblower.

So, what would be the wise thing to do? What would be the judo move? My initial thought (and I'm sure others will have other and better thoughts) is to go ahead with the conspiracy theory witnesses. If the witnesses are at all competent, it'll just make the Republican questioners look like the kinds of fools they demonstrated themselves to be in the closed hearings. (And won't it be fun to see Fox News try to spin the results?) Nunes et al. are probably figuring they'll be denied the subpoenas and can make political hay out of it--but letting them have their subpoenas (shades of Dr. Brin's suggestion) and their dog and pony show and then doing a stupid job with their questioning may make them feel like the little yappy dog that finally managed to catch that truck.

The only exception I'd make is for the whistleblower. That just plain old violates the law. (Unless the whistleblower on their own decides to testify.)

TCB said...

If I could only have one use of a time machine, I'd be tempted to swoop in on the Council of Nicaea with a hoverdrone and a megaphone, tell them I was a Messenger from God, and that the book of Revelations of John of Patmos was a false work and must be obliterated from the canon, and that any temptation to witness the end of the world is blasphemy and heresy against God's creation and the gift of existence.

... and, just before flying away, maybe hit them with a few bars of Ode to Joy.

TCB said...

Nifty vid I saw a few days ago: How far is the edge of the universe?

David Brin said...

TCB amen. And the BoR cult is my #1 reason for being more afraid of Pence than I am of Trump. He'd say soothing things and thousands of officers would scurry back, eager to prove loyalty to anything legitimate that doesn't jibber with overt insanity. And the window that opens is scary.

Pongo said...

Thank you Dr. Brin for plugging Frederik Pohl's "Cool War" so many times here. I got a copy and finally got to it. Not as cool as the Gateway books, but I think if Pohl was still with us he would want you to read it. It's painfully relevant to the times.

Spoiler Alert. The protagonist is liberated by sous------? and physically disarms his adversaries by shining ----- back upon the elites...

David Brin said...

A common theme in SF, which is one reason it is repressed in most despotic regimes. Even hypocriticalants like THE CIRCLE, which spends hundreds of pages raging against transparency with worst-case exaggerations, ultimagtely circles back to it, as the only possible solution.

scidata said...

Despite my caterwauling about the threat of AI, I do have one great hope. Machines don't have this nasty, nihilistic, zero-sum delusion that man has. They're not noble, they're just naive (transparent), not having evolved through hundreds of thousands of dark and scary generations. They have no nightmares.

HAL was told to lie - by people who find it easy to lie. HAL doesn't know how.

Jon S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

While it would likely spoil my perfect 5 star rating, so far, it couldn't hurt for some of you folks to come by the Amazon page and rate POLEMICAL JUDO! After all, you folks critiqued and hence improved most of the essays that became chapters.

The paperback version will be up in just a few days!

duncan cairncross said...

I did a customer review a while back - at least a week ago - but it was not on the Amazon site when I checked
So I did another one
Probably knackered their system by doing that

TCB said...

Just to make it easier to click:

Polemical Judo on Amazon

Larry Hart said...

This is one of the scariest aspects of the Trump ascendancy, and one reason I stay on the "Trump is worse than Pence" side of that argument. Pence doesn't command a legion of Brownshirts. Trump does. And American politics should not look like this:


Donald Trump thinks nothing of suggesting that his opponents be targeted for violence, and some of his supporters have no problem acting on those suggestions. A Republican member of Congress who turns against Trump, particularly if they are the only one, could literally be taking their life into their hands. Francis Rooney (R-FL), who has come closest to supporting impeachment, and who is retiring, has gone completely silent on the matter since getting death threats.


locumranch said...

"(T)here are no legal bases for Attorney General Barr’s ‘criminal investigation of the FBI’ for following hearsay leads that led to overwhelming evidence", says David.

Yet, 'No One_Is_Above_Law', David also insists which means that everyone, including the FBI, may be subject to similar 'criminal investigation'.

"Rules about hearsay, or ‘bias’ by investigators or witnesses all apply during a TRIAL. Rules of admissibility are far looser during investigations or indictment proceedings, which can hear secret testimony", David says.

So, it would also follow that 'rules of admissibility' are also 'far looser' during investigations or indictment proceedings against former VP Biden, Democrat Congressmen, the FBI & what have you, including 'secret testimony' from other identity-protected anonymous right-wing whistleblowers.

"The House is that Grand Jury, deliberating indictments that the Senate would then try" -- being Constitutional, not judicial, not even remotely analogous to criminal trial -- "the closet parallel is that it's about an employment issue", says David.

This would also hold true for any 'employment issue' actions that Attorney General Barr, President Trump & Senate Republicans choose to enact against a Democrat-controlled Congress or other progressive caped-crusaders, n'est pas?

"The House can make its own rules on proceedings leading to a vote of impeachment, as when the GOP rammed through impeachment of a husband for fibbing about a 3rd base consensual infidelity", insists David.

As an accepted fact, this also virtually guarantees 'tit-for-tat' reciprocal actions by a Republican-controlled Senate & other government agencies.

To be sure, these are all facile & rather simple-minded positions for our host to take, yet they pale in comparison when one examines the hoariest of host's inherent assumptions, that being that 'The Law' can be bent, exploited or perverted by the one progressive side but NOT the other conservative side.


That LH is 'ascared' that political opponents may be targeted for violence, he lost his opportunity to say or do something when his progressive 'Antifa' pals started doxxing the evil conservative opposition and he said & did nothing.

David Brin said...

I bothered to skim this time, and the "logic" remains hysteric. GO AHEAD and investigate the Steele Dossier or Hunter Biden! KNOCK YERSELF OUT!

1.) There is no legal or juridicial issue that has even been raised against any of them. Specifically what crimes? Go ahead and use the looser rules of a Grand Jury. But when there's no gun and not even any smoke, eventually it just becomes distractio and harrassment. And even a Grand Jury must stop.

2.) The entire GOP defense of this mountain of treason, turpitude and criminality amounts to "Don't look!" From tax returns to Mueller, to emoluments to secret meetings with communist or "ex" communist dictators, to money laundering of billions, to betraying all allies...

Every single defense now boils down to "DON'T LOOK!!!!!!!" If they aren't traitors then they are whining cowards, terrified of light.

Ahcuah said...

Here is an NBC news story about a recent private speech John Bolton gave. One paragraph:

According to six people who were there, Bolton also questioned the merits of Trump applying his business acumen to foreign policy, saying such issues can’t be approached like the win-or-lose edict that drives real estate deals: When one deal doesn’t work, you move on to the next.

It's almost as if Trump (partly because of his background) does not understand the concept of win-win. <additional snark deleted.>

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

If they aren't traitors then they are whining cowards

They can be two things.

scidata said...

The absolute stonewall letter that the WH sent to Congress recently listed the detrimental effect on executive performance and time as one of the reasons for not complying with subpoenas.

DT tweeted 82 times on Saturday (Nov 9).

locumranch said...

David continues to insist that "There is no legal or juridicial issue that has even been raised against any of them [Former VP Joe Biden & Foreign Intelligence Operative Christopher Steele]".

Lucky for the greater US, the Republicans now have many many Top Secret whistleblowers who are willing to testify -- in a completely secretive, irresponsible, anonymous & extralegal fashion -- that many many prominent US progressives are treasonously criminal pig dogs whose mother was a hamster & whose father smelt of elderberries.

I can only feel extreme pity for this intellectual caste of would-be rulers -- the one that David tends to refer to as 'Fact-Users' & Nassim Taleb tends to refer to as the 'Intellectual Yet Idiot' -- because these over-educated losers have absolutely no freaking idea about the consequences of their actions.

Where, exactly, does David think that this farcical circle jerk of an inquiry based on a McCarthyesque list of slanders is going to end??


Zepp Jamieson said...

Can't speak for the Doctor, but I hope to see Trump and much of his administration facing criminal trial once out of office.

duncan cairncross said...

I would go along with Zepp - lock up the Crims

Would it be possible for a new Administration to empower an Inspector General to look for political corruption EVERYWHERE - current and back six years - or ten years ??

Just to cover a Democratic Administration as well as a GOP one

A few Dem politicians would get caught in the nets - which is all right and proper!

David Brin said...

It will end when fact people learn that you coward loons run away from WAGERS. Explicittests against provable objective reality.

The very far left ... maybe 1%... denounces objective reality as a "colonialist oppression hoax."

The entire right, EXCEPT maybe 1%, is absolutely terrified that we'll find a way to corner them to face objective fact.

David Brin said...

As I put it to some Linked-In fanatics: There are no current Republican tactics that do not amount to one simple plaint: "Don't look! Do not look under that smoke! Nothing there! We don't want to know! Here's a long list of excuses NOT to let us know anything!"  
Tax returns, no-witness secret meetings with communist or "ex" communist dictators, Deutsche Bank laundering of billions for Russian oligarchs, Trump's bragged-over "Great Wall of NDAs" blocking revelation after revelation, Slimy mafia business practices, the perfect record of helping Putin take Crimea, invade Ukraine and get sanctions dropped... NONE of it - and so much more - should ever be looked at!

The same hypocrites probed every orifice of Clintons and Obama and found nothing. Huge "whistleblower prizes" for any Clinton Jr. Asst. with 'dirt"? Nada. The same hypocrites who screech “Bidens!” now without naming any supposed crimes… actual legal codes or laws… that they supposedly violated. “They broke the law!” without ever naming a law!
Stop pretending any rationalization amounts to anything other than "Don't look! Our fragile coalition of oligarchs, KGB agents, gambling moguls, petro-princes, Wall Street lords and inheritance brats would never survive, so don't look!"

Light will shine. You know it will uncover treasons and travesties. WHY are you squirming against what’s inevitable. that beneath a surface of stinkiong slime we will all find a bottomless pit of worse? You wouldn’t be so frantic to prevent light if it did not terrify you.

Stand up. Help us get to see.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

The entire right, EXCEPT maybe 1%, ...

You're giving them way too much credit.


Stand up. Help us get to see.

If you're addressing who I think you are, he'd rather pull his own 'ead off than help us with anything.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

...absolutely terrified that we'll find a way to corner them to face objective fact.

It's not a question of us cornering them. Objective fact tends to force someone to face it eventually. The sad thing is that they will blame us for that fact, as if they'd have gotten away with not facing reality except for us meddling kids.

David Brin said...

No, the "you" I spoke to is an abstract basically-sane but clinging-to-denial RASR Republican who might be reached. We used to have Tim/Tacitus. I don't think we have any right now. I issue such screeds in hope someone might find them useful.

And yes, at LEAST 1% are RASRS who at least formally admit objective reality exists and are ashamed of their side's plummet... yet cling to the delusional incantation that "at least we aren't socialists."

No. You are commies.

David Brin said...

Thank you Duncan! AMZ may only post your rating if you've bought a book. Ah well.

We'll announce the paperback is now available! In a couple days when the two editions are linked.

locumranch said...

I have it on good authority that Chairman Mao also agreed that "Coward loons run away from WAGERS".

No, strike that. Mao never said anything about wagers coming from the barrel of gun, nor did he say anything about illumination or arcane legal chicanery being the source of political power.

David's prima facie belief in the corrective power of light & wagers is absurd UNLESS one assumes the existence of a divine overseer in the sky who is a willing to play favorites, take corrective action & enforce his will upon the teaming multitudes.

In the sense that "Nothing is more imperious than weakness when it believes that it is backed up by strength", progressive arrogance stems from the belief that progressives have been singled out for divine protection, even though the history of the Ghost Shirts & other chosen peoples tells us otherwise.


Larry Hart said...

The argument for terminating [Intelligence Community Inspector General] Atkinson is that Trump has nothing to do with intelligence,


Larry Hart said...

After calling out Tulsi Gabbard as a possible Republican asset, you'd think she'd be more cognizant of not falling into that role herself...

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday declined to rule out launching a future presidential campaign after her two failed bids, saying “many, many, many people” were pressuring her to enter the race.

“I, as I say, never, never, never say never,” the former secretary of State said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “I will certainly tell you, I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.”

I'm sure the "many, many, many people" who would be happy to see a rematch between Hillary and Benedict Donald include the 60 million Trump voters who beat her last time by negative-3 million votes.

Larry Hart said...

This kinda reflects my thinking all around...

The real story here is that a number of moderate Democratic politicans don't believe Joe Biden can get the nomination and they are scared of Warren getting it. It's not that they dislike Warren personally. She gets along with her fellow senators well and is known as a work horse, not a show horse. She also is quite willing to compromise to get things done. She would undoubtedly accept a public option as a first step to Medicare for all at some future date. The problem is that many Democratic politicians don't think she could beat Trump.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry, that is the main problem that the DNC has. They don't care if a candidate will inspire the rank and file; they just worry that it might annoy the Republicans and cause them to lose. The GOP doesn't have this problem: they nominate 'can't-win' clowns like Reagan and Bush Jr and Trump, who do win, and when they go for 'safe-and-sane' candidates (Ford, Bush Sr or McCain) they lose. (Yes, I know Bush Sr won the first time around, but he was a one-termer).
Dems need to realize that no matter who they nominate, the Republicans will smear, lie, and call the candidate a socialist. Even if they somehow nominated Steyer or Bloomberg, Republicans would wave the red flag of fear.
Dems need a policy during the election of "fuck what the Republicans think--do what's right."

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Dems need a policy during the election of "fuck what the Republicans think--do what's right."

Cerebus fans would say "Do whatever you were going to do anyway, no matter what Lord Julius does."

And while I viscerally agree with you, I also can't help but note that they did exactly that in 2016, and we're living with the results.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I think the Republicans were relieved when the Dems went with Hillary. For one thing, they had 30 years of oppo research built up to use against her. And Bernie would have negated the "champion of the working class" approach Trump was taking.

Larry Hart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

If Republicans were relieved, it was because they thought they could win against Hillary, not because she was their kind of candidate.

Hillary was a flawed candidate to be sure (though I didn't realize how flawed at the time). But I don't think you can paint her as a candidate designed to placate Republicans. If the imperative is to nominate the most qualified human being to be President, no matter what Republicans would think of him/her, I think we did that in 2016. It didn't turn out to be a winning strategy. Just cautioning.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@LH: No, one does not bother trying to placate the implacable, and I give centrist Democrats credit for having enough sense to realize that. But Republicans have had Democratic leadership on the defensive going back to 1980. Even now, in the worst position politically since 1977, the Republicans can keep centrist Democrats back on their heels.
There is a group Democratic leadership is trying to placate, however, and that is the plutocrats. Bloomberg didn't suddenly elect to run against Warren and Sanders in a vacuum. That he is not a popular choice is meaningless to that crowd: they believe if they spend enough, they can MAKE him popular.

jim said...

So does anyone have an idea what the democrats will do when impeachment is over and Trump is still in office?

Do they work with him on anything?
stonewall until the election?
More investigations?
Something else?

(my bet is they will triple down on the Orange Man Bad track and go with more investigations which will show lots of corruption but only the democratic choir will here)

David Brin said...

Zepp, what you say is mostly true. What you MEAN is another matter. What you mean is purism and narrowly defined litmuses for our coalition, ignoring the plain fact that it was moderates - mostly veterans - who took TERRITORY in purple and red districts, last year.

David Brin said...

jim, the DT remains popular in the GOP, cowing almost all potential opposition. What the news doesn't report is a dramatic shrinking of the GOP itself, as dribbles of refugees flee its madness, every month. We need to do to them what they seek to do to us... cause fractures in their coalition. That comes from hammering away... as Pelosi etc are doing.

Alas, there are ways to do it better and quicker and across a very broad front. Which you'd know if you read POLEMICAL JUDO.

matthew said...

Once again, dribbles of ex-GOP are not how you win a presidential election.

You win a presidential election by getting some of the 40+% of adults that are eligible to vote but do not. Those folks need a reason *to* vote for someone and not a reason to vote *against* someone.

This obsession that our host and our media have of placating mythical "centrists" is understandable but sad.

Yes, you win a few races when your tent is bigger. That's why I give money to some of those crew cut types David talks about. In localized races. But you do better still by getting people who've never been in a tent to vote, rather than trying to lure over your opposition.

And for that, you need to give the 40+% of non voters a reason to vote. Trump sure did that- he got a ton of racists to come out of the woodwork to vote for the first time for him because he promised to hurt people that the racists wanted to hurt.

Ask yourself who the 40% of nonvoters want to be hurt, and then align your policies and presidential candidates accordingly. (Hint: it's rich assholes that most Americans can't stand)

Eat the rich and the votes will follow.

TCB said...

"Hillary was a flawed candidate to be sure (though I didn't realize how flawed at the time)."

I will allow that her Upper Midwest strategy was trash, and only Michael Moore and some Rust Belt Bernie-cum-Hillary staffers in the weeks before the general election really understood that. And that she offered more of the same to an electorate hungry for change.

However. I can't tell you how many times I have seen winners praised for their brilliant strategy after the fact, and losers called inept after the fact, when if it had gone just a little the other way, the same actions would have been described in opposite terms.

Trump did not even seem to HAVE a strategy before the 2016 election. And afterward, we found out why: most of what his campaign was really doing was hidden and illegitimate. Most of his strategy was operated, out of sight, by operators like Russia's Internet Research Bureau, Cambridge Analytica, and yes, Facebook, targeting voters in close-polling swing states with the benefit of stolen Dem polling data; and by rogue FBI and NYPD elements coordinating with Wikileaks, Erik Prince and Rudy Giuliani; and by state and local GOP operatives preventing likely Democratic votes and altering or wiping Gawd knows how many others.

Ya know, if they caught you cheating that blatantly at cards on an old-timey riverboat, I hear they had some rather... creative... punishments.

Larry Hart said...


You win a presidential election by getting some of the 40+% of adults that are eligible to vote but do not.

Agreed, but...

Those folks need a reason *to* vote for someone and not a reason to vote *against* someone.

Everyone keeps saying that, but I don't see why. Maybe it's just me, but I'm much more motivated to vote against Benedict Donald than I am to vote for any Democrat in particular. It was the same with W and with Ronald Reagan. In fact, Barack Obama is probably the only presidential candidate I've been motivated to vote for since I could vote.

Trump is a clear and present danger, to the country, but also to many of those non-voting individuals. It seems to me more important to show them the harm another four years of Trump would do to them than it is to try to get them to agree that they like Pete Butigeg better than Elizabeth Warren or vice versa.

If their single issue is single-payer health care, then if the Democratic candidate isn't Elizabeth Warren (or maybe Bernie Sanders), they're going to say "There's no difference between Biden and Trump. Neither is for single-payer. Why should I vote or care?" If their single issue is climate change, then if the candidate isn't Tom Steyer, they'll do the same thing. If their single issue is endless wars, then there's no difference for them between Trump and anyone other than Tulsi Gabbard, and Trump might even look better than most other Democrats to them.

There's no way to field a Democratic candidate who appeals to all of the disparate single-issue voters, unless you convince them that the single issue is "Donald Trump is a menace."

Larry Hart said...


Ask yourself who the 40% of nonvoters want to be hurt, and then align your policies and presidential candidates accordingly. (Hint: it's rich assholes that most Americans can't stand)

Eat the rich and the votes will follow.

Interesting theory, but I'm not sure it plays out that way in reality. People who hate the rich already don't vote Republican. Many poor Republicans envy the rich, but don't want to eliminate richness. They just want their shot at being rich. And like Joe the Plumber, they'll complain about imaginary taxes on the imaginary business that they might own some day.

Larry Hart said...


However. I can't tell you how many times I have seen winners praised for their brilliant strategy after the fact, and losers called inept after the fact, when if it had gone just a little the other way, the same actions would have been described in opposite terms.

Granted, the swing vote was razor-thin, and she did win the popular vote.

But I say after the fact that she was a flawed candidate because there was so much Hillary-hate out there that even voters who might otherwise have been repulsed by Trump were never-Hillaryers. That's not entirely her fault as a human being, but that's beside the point I was talking about.

Another rebuttal to matthew's point above, it certainly seems as if getting people to vote against Hillary was a winning strategy.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor, when you try to define what I MEAN, you usually end up missing the mark. I was discussing the reticence of Democrats to loudly and persistently stand for the causes they espouse, and stop worrying about how the Republicans will react.
But since you want to discuss moderates in the House, I'll direct your attention to GovTrack, which graphs the makeup of the House by a set of criteria that extends well beyond the facile right/left dichotomy, even if the graph is presented that way:

Centrists are going extinct in the Democratic Party. "Moderates" still flourish, but the Overton window has shifted left, which, combined with the Republicans losing over 100 members since Trump took office, means the House has moved left. Compare with a similarly based listing from 2011: What you call a "moderate" now is well to the left of Democratic moderates in 2000. So on that we're both correct.

Reading Political Ju-Jitsu now with considerable enjoyment. On the Senate and Electoral vote, I recently made a proposal I believe is original to me that will assauge the grotesque misweighting of votes small states enjoy: give each of the ten largest states a third senator, and take away the second senator for the twn smallest state. I can show you the math: this would still leave the smaller states with a more disproportionate representation than they had in 1790! So it can hardly be called a radical idea.

David Brin said...

Matthew, you talk to me about "obsession"? Again... while socialists are welcome to exert pressure to restore and enhance FDR social contracts, they did NOT make Schiff-Pelosi empowered to do what they are doing. It was Haribun/crewcut veterans. You know this. You saw it in the previous paragraph, yet you spin this bullshit.

What's the number one key to victoryin 2020? Sure, it is get out the vote, as happened when lazy-ass dem constituencies came out, in 1992 and in 2008. Yippee! Do that! Have YOU donated to those efforts? Like Stacy Abrams's efforts in the south?

But only idiots ignore what happened in 1994 and 2010. You splitters will guarantee that happens again, unless we TAKE TERRITORY! The whole damn country. And that side of things means yes, ripping decent suburban moms away from their mad coalition and building our own big tent. HAVE YOU read my splitterism chapter yet? If you are going to spew such crap, why not start by actually actually knowing something?

David Brin said...

Good points Zepp. Sorry if I minconstrued you to be a preening splitter.

As for Hillary, golks forget why she didn't go to Michigan. Polls showed there was a chance to rip states like Georgia and Arizona away from the GOP and smash that mess for good. She was overly ambitious and premature. That may happen in 2020. But splitters don't like to face the fact that her much carped tactical mistake in Michigan was because she was trying hard to crush Trump and Murdoch.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Thank you, Doctor.

Right now I'm very pleased and proud of Clinton: she went to London and blistered them for allowing the vicious neo-nazi right to intimidate female MPs into stepping down in the face of death threats, doxxing, and personal abuse. Clinton didn't say this from 3,000 miles away, and she has had to fight that particular fight herself for 30 years. It took courage and integrity for her to do that.

matthew said...

Listen Doc, not everyone that thinks your obsession with appealing to a stastically non existent center is a "splitter." I'm not splitting anything- I'm arguing message and targeting with you.

Your effort will not yield as many votes for a Democratic candidate for POTUS as mine will, nor will your effort help as much down ballot.

We agree on an outcome and we even share a preferred POTUS candidate, I believe. But I think you're wasting valuable time and effort going for a very small audience while I'm arguing for a much larger one, using polling regarding policy position as my guide.

( Yes, I give $ to Get Out the Vote efforts. And especially crew cut type candidates running in Red states. I live in one of the bluest cities in one of the bluest states. My money is needed elsewhere.)

TCB said...

Dr. Brin said: "As for Hillary, [f]olks forget why she didn't go to Michigan. Polls showed there was a chance to rip states like Georgia and Arizona away from the GOP and smash that mess for good. She was overly ambitious and premature. That may happen in 2020. But splitters don't like to face the fact that her much carped tactical mistake in Michigan was because she was trying hard to crush Trump and Murdoch."

Well, that's what I was talking about. With only a slightly different final tally, Hillary's "mistake" becomes a "masterstroke". I feel that I can't (usually) tell a good strategy from a bad one because the postmortems for any given strategy will judge it from the results which even the strategists could not predict with 100% accuracy. Which is why strategists run so many simulations, I guess.

(But sometimes something is screamingly obvious, like how dangerous the whole Trumpist posture on Ukraine (and Bolivia!) is. Every nation is going to arm itself to the teeth, because the US doesn't seem to protect people any more, and that is how World War 3 starts like World War 1 did... )

locumranch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch: If words have no power, then why are you writing?

jim said...

I am also seeing a lot of people who are just tuning all the Orange Man Bad stuff out.

After more than 3 years of OMB turned up to 11 the only people who seem to still care are the people who hate Trump.

Lots of people think the economy is doing well and the unemployment rate is genuinely awesome. They have also noticed that many of the Democratic complaints about Trump are overblown (he is not even close to being as bad as Bush II was)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yeah, Trumpkins do have a new moral guide and slogan: "Neener! Neener! Neener! I can't HEAR you!"

David Brin said...

I was going to answer till I got to a nasty crack that went over the line

But yes, Zepp, by all means we must go tell Thomas Paine that his mere words had no effect.

And what, you don't think I should have used the obscure word "golks"?


Communism -- gathering all productive capacity under control of the party while repressing all opposition.

Though Putin has dropped the hammer-sickle symbols his oligarchy of all former commissars, ALL of whom grew up reciting Marxist cant and swearing fealty to Lenin's goals and who use a KGB tool completely un-modified from Soviet days, qualify no less than Xi or Kim, who are all three Trump's best pals. Putin called the fall of the USSR "history's greatest tragedy."

Commies. The Republican Party - aiming to bring all American productive capacity under control of a narrow oligarchy and single, dominant apparatus, while raising the lumpen proletariate into mob support against all the menshevik intellectuals.

Yep. Commies.

David Brin said...

jim, your second paragraph was incomprehensible. But your third proves you are insane.

Larry Hart said...

Everybody, Trump detractors and supporters alike, know that Trump is dismantling the underpinnings of America in the same way that Judge Doom bought the Red Car in order to dismantle it.

Supporters are simply supportive of that end. Many seem to feel that they're being left behind by the American system, so they might as well tear it down and burn it. Some are still privileged by the system, but not as privileged as they used to be, and so they want to tear it down as well, even though they'd be worse off afterwards if they succeed. Some just hate the libs so much that they're willing to tear down a system that is in fact very good to them as long as it makes liberals suffer.

The point is, they like Trump because he's a clear and present danger to the nation. But they still can't quite say that out loud or even admit that entirely to their own selves. So they cower behind their own snowflake version of political correctness--declaring that it is impolite to mention the many obvious ways in which Donald J Trump is completely unqualified for the office and is Making America Not-Great in a way that it hasn't been not-Great since at least WWII. Treason (ok, Alfred, "treachery") is the crime which must not be named, because you can't name it treason or treachery and simultaneously argue that it is good. But the fact is that they support him for his treachery. Traitors all.

jim said...

Well then let me rephrase,

In the three years sense Trump has been elected there has been a never-ending torrent of hyperbolic ranting about how bad Trump is. It is just background noise now for anyone not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Just google the unemployment rate it is really good now. For blacks and Hispanics it is much better than any time in the last 40 years and unemployment rate for whites matches the previous lows seen in 2000.

And if it makes me insane to think that Bush starting a war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, institutionalized the use of torture and greatly increased the power of the national security state makes him much worse than the rapey, creepy, corrupt current occupant of the Whitehouse then I am totally insane.

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


In the three years sense Trump has been elected there has been a never-ending torrent of hyperbolic ranting about how bad Trump is. It is just background noise now for anyone not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Funny you never condemned anyone for "Benghazi Derangement Syndrome" or "Birther Derangement Syndrome". Or "Hitler Derangement Syndrome" for that matter.

What you call "Trump Derangement" is just an accurate reaction of how bad Benedict Donald really is. But that seems to be intentional Republican strategy these days--commit transgressions that are so egregious that to mention what's really going on comes off as derangement that ostrich supporters can be tired of hearing about.

I am totally insane.


Larry Hart said...

Without irony or shame, Mr. Jordan shouted that the whistle-blower was the person most eagerly trying to undermine the rule of law, and not the president who decided to use foreign aid as leverage to instigate the investigation of a political rival.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: "Funny you never condemned anyone for "Benghazi Derangement Syndrome" or "Birther Derangement Syndrome". Or "Hitler Derangement Syndrome" for that matter."

I wonder how quickly Jim might regrow his ethics, integrity and moral outrage if, say, AOC were accused of any of the things Trump is being impeached for.

jim said...

If you think that Trump is worse than Bush II, you are completely insane but you are not alone, it seems that much of the democratic party has joined you.

Larry Hart said...


If you think that Trump is worse than Bush II,...

It's not a contest. W (or rather Cheney) had a horrible administration and pushed for imperial presidency.

What's worse now is the sense that the country is hostage to Trump-supporting Brownshirts who must not be alienated lest we bring fire and fury down on us. For all his failings, W never threatened that the streets would erupt with violence should he not be re-elected.

And while Bush/Cheney were willing to damage the country in their pursuit of policy goals, damage to the country wasn't their goal the way it is with Trump and his supporters. I despised the Bush presidency in its time, but I wouldn't have called him a traitor.

And you would have been accused of "Bush Derangement Syndrome" back in the day. Just sayin'

David Brin said...

The utter demolition of the American Pax was never a goal of the Busites. Their neocon apologists did urge conversion of that 80% beneficent era of world peace and development (punctuated by 20% crimes and stupidities) into Leo Strauss's lunatic notions of a genuine empire, leading to Middle eastern travesties.

But that was very different from today's all-out push to destroy America at all levels and the alliances and sciences and professions and rule-of-law systems that it fostered.

Yes, earlier versions of GOP installed enemies of govt departnents to lead them, but they never tried to cripple the entire civil service. They criminally connived with Russian mafia oligarchs, but did not obey their orders to ruin every US strength.

They did not punish Republicans who supported environmental measures, as happens now with reflex purity.

They did not strive to normalize Nazism, and jim's shrugging off of that is deeply troubling.

Facts could occasionally sway the neocons and Bushites. Now facts and fact professions are universally warred upon, in practice and in principle.

I could go on, but jim's insipidity is not based upon any of that. It is a zero-sum desperation to get a rise out of nerds. If he can get a rise out of us, then to hell with coalitions to save civilization.

David Brin said...

LH thanks. I riff on your citation:

"Without irony or shame, Mr. Jordan shouted that the whistle-blower was the person most eagerly trying to undermine the rule of law, and not the president who decided to use foreign aid as leverage to instigate the investigation of a political rival." What you do not hear from the Democrats is a clear explanation that:

1- The Whistleblower is no longer pertinent or relevant. Following that initial tip, we now have absolute confirmation of every single accusation the WB made. (Getting such tips is what the Whistleblower law is FOR.) Hence the provenance of the initial tip is irrelevant. That is normal lawful procedure.

2- Again, these investigations are for INDICTMENT as in a Grand Jury, where rules of evidence favor the prosecution... as they favor defense during trial. Hence, even if criminal justice rules applied, not one of the complaints offered by Jordan etc would apply at this phase.

Let's be clear and hammer home: ALL of their objections simply amount to "Don't look! On any excuse, we mustn't look under that steaming pile! Prevent knowing!!"

3- But impeachment/removal is NOT in any way like a criminal trial. Trump's life, liberty and property are not at stake. Only his JOB. Hence the parallel is with a corporation's board considering whether to fire a wayward/corrupt CEO. That is EXACTLY the proper analogy.

The GOP/Fox/Putinparty are asserting that the stockholders' representatives on the board may not question employees, see records or even consider whether to dispense with the services of a madman who -- like the head of Sears -- is eviscerating the skills and credibility and health of one of history's greatest brands.

Alfred Differ said...


Not just the Democrats. Me too. Two Scoops is worse and I honestly thought no one could be worse than W/Cheney.

Smurphs said...

jim said: "Lots of people think the economy is doing well

Are you one of those people? Come on, stand up and state your opinion clearly. None of this "lots of people" camouflage.

If you are one of those people, can I ask you a few questions?

Trump/GOP promised (PROMISED!) the massive tax cuts would increase government revenues (they are way down) and reduce the deficit (it is beyond way up). Or are you one of those people who only think deficits matter when Democrats are in office? Why aren't you screaming about this? Really, honest question, why are YOU, personally, not screaming about this? Because my grandchildren will still be paying for this economy, assuming the republic survives all the other shit happening.

Oh, and if you are not one of those people, what the fuck are you complaining to Dr. Brin about?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Not just the Democrats. Me too.

The Republicans are good at messaging--I'll give them that. They manage to say that anyone who is put off by watching a series of transgressions against our country must have a hidden agenda against the transgressor. I'd say the burden of proof is on them to explain just how so many Republicans and Trump appointees suddenly become never-Trumpers who are biased against Benedict Donald when they see evidence of his actual activities.

Hating Hitler or being biased against him doesn't make one factually wrong. Republicans certainly didn't think that being a never-Clintoner (both kinds) or a never-Obamaer made them factually wrong. Why (I ask rhetorically) should it be a blight on ones character and judgement that he is horrified by something horrible?

Larry Hart said...


Come on, stand up and state your opinion clearly. None of this "lots of people" camouflage.

In fairness to jim, I think that by "lots of people think...", he means that Trump may well win re-election.

David Brin said...

"... Trump may well win re-election."

Not if enough folks read my book and adopt better tactics!

Oh BTW... no one here fought the Cheney-ites harder than I did. Monsters. But Bush Jr. is forever safe from the title his dad earned, as Worst President of a Century."

locumranch said...

Zepp said "Locumranch: If words have no power, then why are you writing?"

Words only have power over those people who still believe that words have magical power, as exemplified by a certain blog administrator who is likewise compelled to delete even the most innocuous & powerless of wordy criticisms before they can gain power over him.

Naming is one such act of Magical Thinking:

From a mythic perspective, this quasi-magical power of naming has left its mark through folklore and stories. Abracadabra, the magical word we are exposed to as children, can be translated from the Aramaic to mean ‘I create what I speak’. Its not just creation that comes from names, but also control as the magical thinker believes that knowing the true name of something gives one power over it.

Thusly, the oft-repeated accusation that "Republicans are Commies" is an INCANTATION rather than a descriptive statement of fact because facts 'speak for themselves' and incantations attempt to create a new reality through the magic of repetition & redefinition.

Orange_Man_Bad -- Climate Change -- Diversity is our strength:

These are all chants or incantations with magical intent and, if you so desire, you can differentiate between fact & incantation by the sheer intensity, vehemence & numerological frequency of repetitions.


Larry Hart said...

But it is a monumental mistake to allow people who will accept anything from Trump to set our standards for acceptable public behavior. By any normal metric, this week’s news — the impeachment hearing, the Stone trial, the mortifying Erdogan meeting, not to mention new revelations of the senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s white nationalism — was sensational and historic. The fact that Republicans are insisting otherwise is a sign of the depths of our political crisis. Each one of us must choose whether to treat their mulish disloyalty to their fellow citizens as a given, worthy only of shrugs, or as a shocking affront that demands redoubled political action.

You know where I've stood on "shocking affront" all along. Good to see some others recognizing the truth as well. Sad to see still others going the route of accepting all this as a given, worthy only of shrugs. Those who refuse to do so aren't deranged. We're bastions of sanity in an insane world. Some day, maybe, you'll thank us for keeping sanity alive.

jim said...

Ok now I think I know what is the critical difference in our evaluation of Trump.

You guys are upset with Trumps actions on globalization and Pax Americana (the American empire) and I think that is about the only area in which he is doing some good. Globalization has been bad for the majority of Americans (top 10% really benefited bottom 80% lost out). And the American empire is costing more than we can afford, ending it and bringing the troops home is going to be difficult and messy but it is the better than having it pried from our hands.

(Trump has resisted the national security states desire for war with Iran, and has talked about bringing the troops home, but really hasn’t. So it not that Trump is great on these issues but he has disrupted the Washington Consensus giving us at least the possibility of something else.)

David Brin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

locum and jim can only evaluate us in terms that they feel within and see in the mirror. The simple answer to locum is "None of what you say applies to us, but thanks for the confession. Your cult is the one hating objective reality and too cowardly for wagers."

jim does what he always does. He claims to be paraphrasing, but what he is doing (a student of locum?) simply raising yet anothert strawman that makes him happy. Its overlap with any of us is virtually nonexistent.

Simplest quick-answer. Trump is not just tearing down the American Pax, under which the fraction of children who are well-fed and finish school skyrocketed from 5% or so in 1944 to now 90%+ worldwide. No, the aim is REPLACING that Pax with a Russo-Chinese-Saudi-led syndicate under which there will be no appeal to law, only wealth and power.

Buit I'll not waste further time on anyone who shrugs off the rise of Nazism in America.

Treebeard said...

Exactly right Jim. As I’ve been saying here for years, American liberalism is just the kindler, gentler face of empire. Exceptionalism, evangelism and imperialism are deep in the American DNA. Trump’s major sin, surely, is that he dares to question this program, and hasn’t started any profitable interventionist wars or destroyed any countries lately for the MIC. Much of this media-manufactured hysteria is the Imperial Deep State’s attempt to unseat this dangerous usurper before Americans get used to the idea that they don’t need to be policing, invading, meddling in and destroying (aka “liberating”) countries around the world incessantly, at the cost of continual wars that bring them no benefit. As you say, he hasn’t been great, since he’s under intense pressure by the Imperial Deep State like every other president, but he has at least been willing to challenge it in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. What our host and others like him can’t seem to accept is that Pax Americana was the product of an aberrant, unsustainable era, and it, like every empire before it, must pass. Trump is just a messenger; you can shoot him, but you can’t kill the message. Now cue the comments about commies, traitors and Russians. Whatever, boomer.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Incantations bear the same relationship to logic and reason that unicorns do to cattle and sheep. They are less prosaic, more likely to enchant the gullible, but have the unfortunately property of being nothing more than wishful thinking.
I like how you explain that Dr. Brin deleted your post because the power of your words, stating that words do not have power, was more than the Doctor could bear. Kind of the intellectual equivalent of a Moebius strip.
I've never heard anyone say Republicans are commies. Some of them are Russian stooges, not out of any ideology, but simply due to shared corruption. As for globalisation, how does the concept of a One World Mafia strike you?
Treebeard: Do you really believe that if America steps back and allows the rest of the world to 'be free' or whatever, that the Russians will leave Crimea, or China will leave Tibet, and they won't have designs on anything else?

duncan cairncross said...

The Russians are not "Commies" - but then neither were the Soviets!

When the Czar fell Russia was an absolute power state - The Czar's word was LAW

The "Soviets" simply continued that state - changed the names but simply used the old Czarist methods and secret police

After the Soviets fell the Russian State was taken over by the Russian Mafia - and they simply continued the same pattern!!

An Autocracy

That is what the GOP intends for the USA

Treebeard said...

Zepp, what happens in those places is not really my problem. Being non-imperial means understanding that you aren’t responsible for what happens on the other side of the planet and you can’t fix the whole world’s problems. This is where a lot of liberals have a hard time, becuz of their neo-Protestant, universalist, world-saver mentality. If America doesn't want other countries meddling abroad or uniting against it, maybe it should stop acting like an arrogant hegemon itself.

Larry Hart said...


Do you also believe that if the police don't want people shooting each other with guns, they should lay down their own arms themselves?

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'll be the first to say that American imperialism has gotten out of hand. 800 bases overseas? That's ridiculous. And one reason America doesn't get a lot of sympathy overseas over the Russian meddling in the 2016 is because the US has done the exact same thing, hundreds of times in scores of countries. And let's not forget the over ten million who died in bogus wars in Korea, Vietnam, and dozens of proxy wars. America went far beyond the Pax Americana that Dr. Brin paints.
But it would be as foolish and even bloodier to disengage from the world. Russia and China both have imperialistic designs, and both would be considerably worse than the Americans, and their policies aren't just to control Africa and South Asia (China) or Europe and the middle East (Russia) but to eliminate competition--ie, America. And all three countries are dominated by Corporate interests, whose hegemony isn't just land, but control of minds. They want a slave work force and a captive market. America, for all its flaws, is better than that.

scidata said...


What other nation could say that and mean it?
CITOKATE, but honesty is key too.

locumranch said...

Zepp asks: "As for globalisation, how does the concept of a One World Mafia strike you?"

Sounds like the EU, NATO, the PRC, the Russian Federation & the United Nations to me.

In 'Shockwave Rider', Author John Brunner speculates that the difference between Government & Organised Crime has become vanishingly small as both agencies (1) self-organise into military hierarchies, (2) demand that the many obey the rules & regulations created by the few, (3) engage in taxation by demanding resources from the subjugated masses in exchange for 'protection', (4) go to war with rival gangs and nations over territory, resources and religious agendas, (5) enact official secrecy acts indistinguishable from 'Omerta' and (6) use psychological intimidation, physical punishments, death threats & murderous violence to maintain order.

Of course, each & every gang believes that their own personal gang is somehow better qualified to rule than any other gang, and this holds equally true for Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, China's Xi Jinping and David's Blue Urban Kepis.


Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch: "Sounds like the EU, NATO, the PRC, the Russian Federation & the United Nations to me."
You forgot to mention the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and Audubon. They're all groups, after all. Therefore they must all be just like the Mafia. It isn't hard to distinguish NATO and the EU from the PRC, where Winnie the Poof is getting ready to stage Tiennamin Square II, (That probably got Contrary Brin banned in China if it wasn't already). In Russia, dissidents have an unfortunate tendency to fall off apartment balconies. Or encountering poisonous park benches in England's middle counties.

Smurphs said...

Here's a wager for you:

Trump hikes price tag for US forces in Korea almost 500%

Place your bets. South Korea will announce and/or test a nuclear weapon in:

a) 3 months
b) 6 months
c) 1 year

That's my wager(c), it will take between 6 months and a year, no longer.

So much for Pax Americana.

Happy now?

David Brin said...

Duncan is right that the Leninists experimented briefly with actual Marxism and didn’t like it, so they revived Czarism under a coating of a new religion. And with more social mobility.

Did Locum say I deleted him our of ‘fear of his words’? Guffaw! No wonder I rarely skim and mostly ignore. I canceled his post because of his kindergarten slimy -nastiness with a person’s name. And I will feel free to wipe out any other posting that veers from his usual hysterical insanity and delusion into outright nastiness.

As for the utter pretense that these guys are anti-imperialist, Bull! The previous round of “conservative” rationalization — the Cheney neocon era, griped that Pax Americana wasn’t tough and dominant enough! Now this round proclaims “That’s all in the past! We disavow the Bushes and neocons and choose isolationism instead!” Another tradition. Last time, it would have handed Hitler the world.

These imbeciles ignore:

1. That disavowing ALL of your party’s past leaders, except aggressive internationalist Reagan, leaves your party with ZERO credibility! You are admitting it was a calamity! But now that you’ve chosen to follow a clown car, NOW we should trust you again?

2. Across all of history, there were pax and non-pax eras. The Paxes featured some brutal repression. Indeed, America is so vastly more popular - or less-hated - than any other imperial power you could ever name, with a huge good-to-bad deeds ratio. But yes, Pax powers commit crimes.

The alternative was eras of relentless violence and pain and war.

Murdoch-PutinTrump do not aim to step America back from globalism so all can go Kumbaya. They intend a Moscow-Riyadh-Beijing Mafia rule replacement. AND YOU KNOW IT.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Did Locum say I deleted him our of ‘fear of his words’?

And I suppose that the reason people generally don't eat shit is because they're afraid of it too. Meh.

Now this round proclaims “That’s all in the past! We disavow the Bushes and neocons and choose isolationism instead!” Another tradition. Last time, it would have handed Hitler the world.

Well, handing the world to Nazis seems to be their goal this time too.

David Brin said...

"a huge good-to-bad deeds ratio."

And more progress than all of previous history, combined. More art. More peace. And the fraction of children out of starving poverty raised from single digits to above 90%.

Fools who know no history... yet prescribe.