Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Fighting a war on facts and fakes

Youtube has announced they'll ban deep-fake videos that have political slants. That might work in the near term, though across a longer span, might I suggest a chapter from The Transparent Society called "The End of Photography As Proof of Anything At All"?

Along similar lines, Have any of you seen Facebook’s announcement of a tepid/tiny and long overdue measure to “deal with” the tsunami of fakery and KGB-scams we’ll see during the U.S. election year? In early 2017, Facebook had me come by and talk about steps for fixing the glaring problem. I offered half a dozen concepts, several of which would have been simple, elegant and relatively unobtrusive. Alas they used none of them, till now. 

Shown below is a feeble-but-welcome version of one of the ideas I offered three years ago.


 Let's be clear -- this is the only matter of any importance! Because all other issues before us would go a long way toward being solved, if we first save the reputation and effectiveness of facts. 

I mean it. From racism to climate collapse to health care to international relations, it might be possible for all sides to adapt, to alter positions and and even to (gasp!) negotiate, if only we restored our ability to parse what’s actually true.

Dig it, the enemies of America and the Western Enlightenment have been empowered by undermining the very notion of verifiable objective reality. You cannot name more than one fact-profession not attacked by Fox & pals. From science, teachers and journalists to a million dedicated civil servants in the FBI, law, intel, foreign and military services who saved us from Hitler, Stalin and bin Laden, but who they now dismiss as “deep state” traitors, without one scintilla of real evidence. Nor have those screaming "fake news" ever offered to help set up a real, nonpartisan fact-checking service. And hence, all they will do is shrug off this version of Facebook’s pallid “fact check.”

To see how we truly could win this central fight – and hence so many others – see my chapter about the War on Fact in my book Polemical Judo

== Consider this ==


Justice Department winds down a Clinton-related inquiry championed by Trump after finding nothing of consequence.  Jennifer Rubin follows this up with observations: “The most exonerated politician ever.” Oh and the author of this piece was a lifelong Republican pundit, till she finally got fed up.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Those of you who have supported your civilization by buying and reading Polemical Judo might have a clue why I am stealing and posting this terrific cartoon from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, one of the greatest of all web comix. Seriously, I have made exactly this point regarding what democrats do with deficits.

In September, Russian police targeted the home of Sergey Boyko, a known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as part of a widespread raid. But Boyko was determined to prevent the officers from confiscating his electronics — so he used a drone to fly them out of his high-rise apartment via an open window.

Trump remains slightly less unpopular in the military community than among the American public as a whole, but it is a relief to see that the difference isn't large, given that many noncoms come from confederacy states and that Fox News blares in many of the noncom lounges. Of course the Officer Corps is little short of enraged at what Republicans have done to American conservatism, turning into a howling mob vs. every fact and fact using profession. Combine these, and you'll see why I hope officers are growing eyes in the backs of their heads. (Many retired officers are the reason America may take back the Senate and keep the House, via veterans like McGrath and Kelly. You splitters take note!)

The latest Gallup poll had the president’s disapproval rating among the public at 54 percent, and his approval at 43 percent. Among the military: some 50 percent of troops said they had an unfavorable view of him. And the leading candidate in contributions from military folks has been (I saw somewhere) Bernie Sanders.

Read Polemical Judo about how better to welcome and make best use of these patriots in crewcuts and hairbuns. Start by dropping any insulting stereotypes.


== Save the NGOs! ==

Republicans and the Trump Administration are seeking a hugely evil win-win — a $1 billion deal that would hand control over the .ORG domain registry to private equity. This would let them crow over a ‘privatization’ that reduced their screaming-huge Supply Side budget deficits by a smidge, while giving oligarchs a stranglehold over NGOs or Non Governmental Organizations who mostly use the .org domain range.

The NGO was among the greatest inventions of the 2nd half of the 20th Century, empowering citizens to pool memberships with enough clout and funding to hire lawyers and researchers on a par with corporations or even governments. Orgs such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are top reasons we acted on countless environmental threats, in many cases before it was too late. The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fight for transparency and rights daily. (And if you aren’t members, shame on you.) The Soros-founded Open Society initiative is credited with pivotally helping liberate the Warsaw Pact nations that had been enslaved by the USSR.

(Let’s be clear. Soros is repeatedly credited with that feat - along with Obama and the Clintons - by no less than Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Vladimir Putin, himself, who has openly and repeatedly spewed hate at them and vowed to curb the power of international NGOs, starting by passing Russian laws to terrorize them. This .ORG plan is related to international efforts to curb NGOs, which Putin believes enable the West to wage “deniability wars” against him.)

Every December I urge folks to join as many activist orgs as they comfortably can, in effect hiring each one to save the world FOR you, on your behalf. You can tailor-pick your own dozen orgs, from the Planetary Society or an amateur science club, to Oxfam and Save the Children… heck even the NRA, because this is about YOU choosing to amplify YOUR beliefs by pooling with other members to become a force in the world.

It’s a lazy but karmically-acceptable form of minimally activism, if you do it earnestly. You - yes, YOU - can use this PROXY ACTIVISM method to help shift the needle away from feudal or eco calamity toward Star Trek. (And yes, that includes political donations, in 2020.) 

Meanwhile, spread word about this effort to cripple the NGOs that make our civilization about something much more than just hierarchies of government. It’s part of what makes us better… simply better, despite all our flaws.… than all those adversaries.

97 comments:

duncan cairncross said...

Just a comment about Civil Defense -
I have never previously had the misfortune to be involved personally

On Tuesday night my cell phone told me I was on "evacuation alert" and to pack a bag
On Wednesday morning at 6 am the damn thing told me to evacuate - and a guy from the council knocked on my door to make sure
My son and I along with the cat and the dog drove over to a friend who lives on higher ground until at 6 pm we were told it was OK to return

The Mataura river has a normal flow of 40 cumecs - it reached 2500 cumecs - 4.8 meters above the usual level
The flood defenses were designed for 2400 cumecs - but they held at 2500 - so most houses were not damaged
We will be boiling water for a while as one of the pumping stations was flooded

Very impressed with the overall Civil Defense organization

Today has been spent putting things back in their usual locations after we spent hours on Tuesday moving everything as high in the air as we could "just in case"

Keith Halperin said...

The War on Facts, Redux:
https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/trump-state-of-the-union-address-factchecking-factcheckers/#slide-1
...And I thought the National Review might be some of those "honest conservatives".

-Keith

David Brin said...

Wow Duncan, so glad you were spared and that tech was working.
National Review are mostly not-whores, but mostly cowards.
Was there a 3rd comment by someone that I accidentally trashed?

Jon S. said...

Adding to a discussion from last time (as the new post came up before I had a chance to read the comments on the last one):

Modern music?

The Stupendium - "Impossible Geometry" (a song about the game "Beat Saber")
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnKxhbRqqx0&list=PLVVOXbE6Ls1glsfzH9tldq-KqPI-g84LA&index=8&t=0s

Twenty One Pilots - "Chlorine"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJnQBXmZ7Ek

Kendrick Lamar - "All the Stars" (fwiw, Lamar was the first artist to win a Pulitzer for rap music)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQbjS0_ZfJ0

I dunno, maybe it's listening to radio that leaves you exposed only to older music - a lot of modern stuff is either on XM or streaming online.

TCB said...

One of the cruelest failures of the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democratic Party is that, unlike the GOP, they failed to understand the GOP's dependence on its propaganda arm in laying the rails for a far-right dictatorship. Trump knows: he just hung a medal on Rush Limbaugh; and Wikipedia notes that "When the Republican Party won control of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh an honorary membership in their caucus believing he had a role in their success.[33]"

When Democrats did control the White House they should have been doing everything in their power to put Rush and Ailes literally out of business and build opposing propaganda arms. Many people, hearing this sort of talk, will say "oh no censorship" and "my free speech", but look where this unilateral disarmament got them.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson in the previous comments:

Larry: Understood, and I hope you don't think I was taking an adversarial tack. I just wanted you to mirror-consider the situation.


's cool.


I do believe Sanders is a viable candidate. He's got a reputation for straight shooting that few politicians have and enjoys a level of trust shared by few. He can counterpunch, and has done his time in the trenches of politics. I'll fight the lies of Trump with the truths of Trump.


I thought so in 2016. I voted for Bernie in the primary, though I supported Hillary once she was nominated. And I did wonder after the election if Bernie would have done better in the states she lost.

But I'm conflicted. Because it seems obvious that the Trump campaign wants Bernie to be the candidate, expecting a repeat of George McGovern or Walter Mondale. If it was just Trump himself, I'd write that off as him being an idiot, but he does have strategists who seem to know what to do in a campaign. So what does it say that they want to run against Bernie? Are they chess-players enough to strategize that if they act as if they want Bernie as an opponent, we'll nominate someone else? Maybe, but I have a hard time crediting that.

Larry Hart said...

Keith Halperin:

And I thought the National Review might be some of those "honest conservatives".


#ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans

Mitt Romney slightly redeemed himself in the record, but I have no doubt he'd have voted the other way had it mattered to the outcome.

Darrell E said...

duncan,

Thank goodness!

Zepp Jamieson said...

Carried over from previous conversation:

Larry wrote: "'Turn it around, Larry. "So I beg you, centrists, act like there’s only one thing that matters.'
"I'm not sure exactly how you mean that. My guess is that it's along the lines of 'Why is your issue the only one that matters? What if I say mine is?'"

Since I was paraphrasing a question you asked of me, substituting the word "centrists" for "liberals", you can't ask that question of me, legitimate and reasonable as it is, without asking it of yourself.

I hope I never do fall into the narcissistic trap of thinking only my issues are the ones that matter. But if I'm not willing to stand up for and defend those issues, I've no business standing for anything, do I?

However, we've been subject to over a hundred years of propaganda that the left is evil and will reduce to poverty those they don't lock up in camps. It's a vile slander told by people who want to distract from the mass wealth they've extracted from this society, and it reached the point where Democrats lost their self-confidence in the late 70s and never really got it back. (I can remember Bloom County strips from the 1980s that showed Democrats wilting into despair and panic over being labled 'liberal'-- then, as now, the strips were funny because they held more than a little bit of truth.

How many times have you been told a centrist lost because he was "too liberal" and "alienated moderates"? It doesn't have to be true and usually isn't, Recent case in point: the Doctor has repeatedly asserted that Jeffrey Corbin lost the election for Labour because he was too far left. Never mind that he was to the right of just about every Labour leader in the past 100 years; it's the narrative the right put forth. In fact, he cost Labour the election because he was a gormless git who couldn't work up a firm opinion on Brexit, the biggest issue in British politics since the war. There's an old joke: Never elect a man who doesn't have an opinion on cats. If a politician can't take a stand on something where most people do have an opinion, he's a cipher, and won't do a good job of representing anyone, including his country.

Centrists have been an instrument of slow surrender to the right since 1980, and any gains America has made since then is despite them, not because of them. The Doctor loves to point to Obamacare as an example of what Democrats can get done given the chance, but was pretty upset when I pointed out that after nine months of debate and 300 odd concessions, they wound up with exactly the same number of Republican votes they would have had had they voted on it the first day. They weren't negotiating with Republicans; they were whittling it down to appease centrist Democrats.

Yes, a centrist can be elected. But a centrist isn't what the country needs right now. They need someone with strong opinions on cats.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH wrote: " it seems obvious that the Trump campaign wants Bernie to be the candidate, expecting a repeat of George McGovern or Walter Mondale."

The most striking thing about the Trump administration is the utter lack of competence they have, and how narrow their electoral focus is. For that reason, I'm not too worried about who their preference this week might be. I finally got to see "Song of the South" recently, and I am mindful of the story of B'rer Rabbit and the Briar Patch. The story is very well known outside of the movie, of course, and I've no doubt some Republican strategists are aware of it. But I doubt they could employ the subtlety and sophistication to carry it off.
Expect a huge drumbeat of fearmongering over Coronavirus; we saw them pull that off with the SARS epidemic (remember Christie locking up that doctor?) and they'll try the same thing again. They don't want their people to think: they want them to fear. Therefore, the world has a million nameless fears, and they're all Democrats.

David Brin said...


“When Democrats did control the White House they should have been doing everything in their power to put Rush and Ailes literally out of business and build opposing propaganda arms.”

Air America tried to copy Sinclair and MSNBC tried to copy the epically profitable Fox business model of ensaring a fanatical 25% into hyponotic zombiehood. Both attempts failed because American liberals and leftists are cats, impossible to herd. As the Comintern and KGB discovered in 70 years of efforts to suborn US leftists into zombie-commie obedience.

We’ve learned that this is less a difference in policy than in mental character. The left CAN have its insanities! The KGB is targeting those now, in the form of preening-puritan splitterism via internet memes.

We must put the Foxites out of business and I show 100+ tactics in Polemical Judo… and none of them involve trying to set up a liberal version of Fox.

Zepp makes several points here. “Centrists have been an instrument of slow surrender to the right since 1980, and any gains America has made since then is despite them, not because of them. The Doctor loves to point to Obamacare as an example of what Democrats can get done given the chance, but was pretty upset when I pointed out that after nine months of debate and 300 odd concessions, they wound up with exactly the same number of Republican votes they would have had had they voted on it the first day. They weren't negotiating with Republicans; they were whittling it down to appease centrist Democrats.”

Bullshit piled upon bullshit. Zepp has clearly made zero effort to grapple with my Five Challenges to Splitters. Moreover, he utterly lies re the “was pretty upset.” He ignores the 31 basic things all dems want. Basically it s of no use talking to him.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor, if Obama wasn't negotiating with Republicans (who were intransigent) and he wasn't negotiating with centrist Democrats, then who was he negotiating with?

David Brin said...

Zepp why should I bother, when your addiction to sanctimony memes prevents you from broadening your horizons enough to even read, let alone refuting or answering, my five challenges?

Briefly, Obama was the wrong guy to face the madness. His efforts to lure negotiators out of a cult were migiven and mistaken. That included offering the goppers THEIR OWN DAMN PLAN. Even worse, he did not attack them for biliously denouncing their own damn plan. So? That wasn't about "centrism." It was about hs almost clinically deluded belief in human reasonableness. And if we are going to err in any direction, I'll take that.

What, you think Liz & Bern are any different, except in style? You truly don't have a clue what's going on. But far worse is your utter incuriosity.

A.F. Rey said...

From the previous post:

If you dismiss anyone who steadfastly supports a liberal candidate as "a fair weather liberal" you're putting yourself in a really poor position in demanding liberal support, don't you think?
I notice that for all the blustering and strawmanning you're bringing to the discussion, you haven't addressed the fact that Democrats need support from the left, and they dismiss the left at their own peril.


You misunderstand me, Zepp. Democrats want your support. We need your support.

But if you will withdraw your support if your candidate doesn't win, or if you feel you're being disrespected, or any excuse, then you are a fair weather liberal who doesn't care about fighting for what you believe during non-Presidential-election years.

Because even if you "lose" and the Democrats nominate a corporalist candidate, you have to consider what you'll be up against.

You will either be fighting a hypocritical President who gives lip service to your causes but does little to nothing to advance them (at worst), or--

You will be fighting a sincere President who will actively and proudly oppose you every step of the way.

Which do you think you'll have better luck with? The person who will try to seem to appease you, or the one who will spit in your face and tell you to go away? Which do you think you'll have better chance in making him compromise with you?

The Democratic Party may not embrace everything that you want and believe in, but damn it, we don't hate you. We will give you at least a seat at the table and hear your concerns.

We won't hold you up as an example of what we are fighting against, what we are trying to prevent the country from becoming. We won't ridicule you at rallies and say we will defend in court anyone who might want to beat your up.

Because that is the choice that you have. You can support the party that doesn't hate you, wants your support, and will at least listen to your concerns, or you can stay at home and watch sit-coms for the next four years. Because the Republicans will have won without your support, and they don't want or need it. You will only be useful to them as a metaphorical (or perhaps literal) punching bag.

Any actions you can take with the Republicans, you can also do with the Democrats. But at least the Democrats will be sympathetic to your concerns. Republicans will at best find it amusing.

That's your choice: support those who are at least sympathetic with you, or let the chips fall where they may and face the real possibility that you've made your job much harder. If you plan on fighting, why make your job harder? You'd only do that if you didn't plan on doing anything for the next four years.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Duncan: Glad you're OK. Is your portion of South Island prone to flooding?

@ Dr.Brin: can "honest Republicans" be defined as "not-whores, not cowards"?
Somewhere, are there substantial numbers of Republicans (who if not actively opposing Trump) at least some who keep their heads down and their mouths shut, or as Larry Hart hash-tagged: #ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans?

@ Everybody:
Re: Music-related: Someone in the last blog (I'm too lazy to go back and see whom) talked about the difficulty in supporting oneself as a pro-musician.
Here's some info backing that up:
https://pitchfork.com/news/us-musicians-median-income-is-dollar35000-survey-finds/
U.S. Musicians’ Median Income Is $35,000, Survey Finds
But only $21,300 of their income comes from music-related activities...
"… And Harry doesn't mind, if he doesn't, make the scene
He's got a daytime job, he's doing alright
He can play the Honky Tonk like anything
Savin' it up, for Friday night…"
"Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits-1978

Heres the skinny for writers:
https://work.chron.com/much-novelists-make-7670.html
2016 Salary Information for Writers and Authors
Writers and authors earned a median annual salary of $61,240 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, writers and authors earned a 25th percentile salary of $43,130, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,500, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 131,200 people were employed in the U.S. as writers and authors.

And for artists:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/study-reveals-artists-hav_n_1068017
The median salary for artists is $43,000, compared to the $39,000 averaged labor force as a whole. (Professionals, however, average $54,000.) Within the subdivisions of artists, architects come out the wealthiest—averaging around $63,000—while ‘other entertainers’ bring up the rear with $25,000. Women are earning $0.81 to the men’s dollar, a whole penny more than the general workforce’s $0.80 to the dollar. Furthermore, 6 in 10 artists have college degrees, compared with 1 in 3 over all.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everybody: Re "Moderates", "Centrists"-
The Moderate Middle Is A Myth
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-moderate-middle-is-a-myth/

@ Dr. Brin:
If it's impossible to create a unified cadre of hard-core, true-believing folks on the Left, why not doing to the Right what the Oligarchs are doing to our side- split it (https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publication/the-five-types-trump-voters)?
Get the White Nationalists fighting the (hypocritical) Evangelicals fighting the rest.
Or consider this option: with a carefully thought-out campaign of using their own words against them, send out the nastiest, most vile, hateful, and revolting statements that pro-Trump people have said and put them out as (apparently) pro-Trump ads in swing areas (and anywhere there's likely to be vote suppression) where they might make some difference?

Cheers,

Keith

George Carty said...

How much do right-wing propaganda outlets like Fox News in the US (or the right-wing tabloid newspapers in the UK) prosper by preying on the loneliness that is all too common amongst older people in the Anglosphere?

Zepp Jamieson said...

I would ask why you think I'm utterly incurious, but I don't suppose it's all that important.
Obama's idealism or conciliatory nature or whatever you want to call it was part of the problem, but most of the negotiation occurred in Congress (as it's supposed to) and that's where most of the concessions were made. And I suspect southern Democrats caused most of those.
Inspired by the discussion we're having here, I'm going to write a piece this week dealing with how Democrats should handle a potential Bernie nomination. His odds are fairly good, and I don't argue that there will be challenges. But Democrats can meet those challenges and surmount them. So of the tactics I will propose would be right at home in Polemical Judo, although it's a political style I'm used since the 80s. With your permission, I will link to the article at my commentaries page, and invite comment from you and the folks here.
In the meantime, a question for everyone here: there is a lot of talk about leftists and how they will react to a centrist candidacy. I would like the moderates here to consider how they will react to a Bernie candidacy. Will they refuse to vote?

On a lighter note, the Onion had a headline yesterday: "Democrats ask Trump to run as Dem in hopes of stopping Bernie."

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Yes, a centrist can be elected. But a centrist isn't what the country needs right now. They need someone with strong opinions on cats.


The country needs someone who isn't a Republican. If there's a choice between two someone-who-aren't-Republicans who can win in November, I'm probably closer in preference to you than you think. However, if it's a choice between someone-I-agree-with-who-will-lose-to-Trump and someone-I-can-swallow-hard-and-accept-who-will beat-Trump, I'm firmly in the latter camp.

We can iron out the differences between non-Republicans after we've peeled the traitors' hands off of the levers of power. Before that happens, the differences between one powerless Democrat and another seem meaningless. A losing Bernie Sanders will accomplish no more for the left than a losing Joe Biden will.

jim said...

It is really rich that the corporate democrats who keep yelling “You must support the democratic nominee or else democracy dies!” when the democratic leadership is doing everything possible to rat fuck the Sanders campaign. The Iowa screw up looks like it was done on purpose to prevent Sanders from having the win, and it is blowing up in their faces.

And the democratic leadership now changes the rules on debates to let in a republican billionaire and Obama is showing up in his adds thanking him for being such an awesome oligarch.

We will need to watch out for primaries in states that don’t have a paper ballot for auditing, because we can not trust the democratic leadership to conduct a fair election.

duncan cairncross said...

Zepp is 100% correct on one thing

FEAR

The GOP has somehow made America AFRAID - and then uses that fear

The Nation that was not Afraid when there was good reason to be afraid

David Brin said...

"Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats must 'rally' behind the nominee 'no matter who it is'..."
https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/481171-ocasio-cortez-democrats-must-rally-behind-the-nominee-no-matter-who-it-is

“Bernie has said this, I absolutely believe this: whoever gets the nomination, we have to rally behind them, no matter who it is,” the freshman lawmaker told Time in an interview published the day before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. “And I would hope that everybody would do so if Bernie is the nominee as well.”

"Ocasio-Cortez also told the magazine she thinks Democratic Party attempts to stop Sanders from winning the nomination have been “overblown”..."

In other words, grow the heck up.

David Brin said...

AFR that is not the dichotomy. The dichotomy is
1) Total defeat for the Union and victory for the Confederacy and Putin.

or
2) Election of a "centrist" who would fight for EVERY SINGLE ONE of the 31 things I list here:
https://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html
... though maybe being satisfied with half of them being done only halfway as far as you'd like.

The world and the nation under #2 will be better, less cheating and you'll be better positioned to then fight for more in 2022.

Alas, Zepp can't be bothered to even look at that list. He dreads that is might sap the delicious, voluptuous hormonal rush of resentment! OH NO! Can't have that.

But "jim" is worse: "when the democratic leadership is doing everything possible to rat fuck the Sanders campaign."

You lie. You utterly lie. You totally lie. You despicably lie. From the hell pit of your Kremlin basement, you lie like the liar that you are.

A.F. Rey said...

[quote]I would like the moderates here to consider how they will react to a Bernie candidacy. Will they refuse to vote?[/quote]

I for one say "Hell, yes!" Bernie is head-and-shoulders better than Trump. Any of the Democratic candidates will do. I only worry that the Republicans' attacking him on being a "socialist" might persuade enough Independents to support Trump so that Bernie loses. :( Bernie would make a fine President.

A.F. Rey said...

AFR that is not the dichotomy.

Well, I'd say there is plenty of room for lots of dichotomies. :)

I'm looking at this from someone who truly believes that the most important issues are not being addressed by the Democratic establishment, and so there will be no progress on them regardless of who wins. That only one candidate, Bernie, actually believes these issues are important and will fight for them. I can understand why that person would feel that it wouldn't matter who elected if Bernie isn't.

What I'm trying to cajole such a person to realize is that, even if the Democratic establishment won't address the problems, they would still be a better choice than the Republicans. Because the issues that Bernie advocates are anathema to the Republicans' viewpoint and philosophy. It is better to fight with someone who is somewhat sympathetic to your views than someone who absolutely hates them. You'll have much better chances of making progress with the former.

So while your 31 things that any Democrat will fight for is a compelling list, it is still worthwhile for someone who doesn't find the list compelling to still vote Democrat. At least if the person strongly supports Bernie's positions and is willing to fight for them.

scidata said...

SpaceX has apparently filed with the FCC for a communications test of a sub-orbital flight late next month for .... Starship.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI_8cZwP5XA (5:45)

It's almost as if Musk has been listening to my pleas for rekindling scientific wonder in the citizenry. No preposterous dancing clown can compete for hearts and minds with blazing spaceships. Because Asimov.

David Brin said...

AFR Bernie wants all 31 items and that list covers most of what he wants... except that I talk of incremental steps toward Medicare for All. Seriously, I'd like to know what my dad -- I mean Bernie -- wants that's not there.

BTW my method to do medicare expansion is foolproof! No gopper politician would DARE to oppose Medicare for all children up to age 25. Because every parent would leap for it. Then include an escalator clause raising it to 26 the next year and dropping senior care to 64. And then 27 and 63... notice it always adds up to 100! And it will continue till the insurance industry finally caves and negotiates in good faith.

It immediately finishes off the "we can't afford it!" meme bcause this much would be paid for instantly by canceling the tax cuts on the rich. And if this works and we get infrastructure, then the ramp in ages can go faster.

But that evades the point. If we got all 31 items... even with 10 of them being halway measures... the Liberals would be very well positioned in 2022 to push their demands for much more, across a landscape where CHEATING has been defeated.

This liberal-vs-corporatist bullshit is a poison enemy meme, as is the insane utter lie of some vast DNC conspiracy against Bernie, who is mobilizing the very youth who the vast majority of democratic politicians desperately want to come to the polls in November.

While there may be this or that minor jab or tweak against Bernie, to say there's this conspiracy is a sign of a truly insane and defective mind. Or an utter liar.

duncan cairncross said...

The liberal v corporate bullshit is also part of the biggest GOP lie

Their biggest lie and by far the one that has had the most effect is

BOTH PARTIES ARE THE SAME

Today the lie is a little more nuanced - and is the "Corporate Dems are the same as the GOP

But its still the same lie

David Brin said...

Letme make it clearer. All democrats want a wave-tsunami victory in November. Some might fear a Sanders candidacy isn't the best ticket to get there... and there may be a few percentage points of dem pols who feel their interests migh be partly thwarted by Sanders policy... while they'd hunger for appointments under him.

Big deal. Bernie offers one thing above all, the ability to rouse zealous enthusiasm among young people/ students etc. UNTIL the convention, that is well-worth keeping him around as a happy warrior and happy enough that he'll fight for the nominee.

Again, if there's huge turnout, dem pols of ALL kinds will benefit. Fantasies about sabotaging the one candidate who is best stirring up campuses is simply insane hallucination that flies in the face of blatant self-interest on the part of nearly every democratic politician.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Dr. Brin:
"26 the next year and dropping senior care to 64. And then 27 and 63... notice it always adds up to 100!"
Ummm, it actually always adds up to 90, and if my math is correct that will take 20 years for full coverage...
As Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead.", and (for me) a 20 year implementation period is very much "the long run"...

Still, it's better than what he have now, and as the billionaire nonagenarian said about his very beautiful (if unfaithful wife):
"50% of a really good thing is better than 100% of nothing at all".

Cheers,

Keith "Not Yet a Nonagenarian" Halperin

Unknown said...

Dr. Brin said:

BTW my method to do medicare expansion is foolproof! No gopper politician would DARE to oppose Medicare for all children up to age 25.

Really, Doc? Most (all?) of them would oppose Jesus for President if he called himself a Democrat.

David Brin said...

"Ummm, it actually always adds up to 90"

Let's bet on it! I have a pee hache dee! (Um, what's that dear? It really does add up to 90? And I shouldn't do my "wager thing" without thinking first? Oh darn...) Um Never mind Keith.

(How to put a good face on this embarrassment? Got it!)

Keith, that means we can call this the "Ninety Plan"!

(Now let's brag that having a sense of humor about your mistakes makes your ego seem more bearable to those who must endure it.)

Oops! Silly me!

TCB said...

Upthread, Dr. Brin says "Air America tried to copy Sinclair and MSNBC tried to copy the epically profitable Fox business model of ensaring a fanatical 25% into hyponotic zombiehood. Both attempts failed because American liberals and leftists are cats, impossible to herd."

That's not exactly how it went down. In the case of liberal radio, most Americans never got to hear it and decide if they liked it in the first place. Norman Goldman has a series of clips on his website explaining why that happened. As for his own show, which was shuttered a year ago, he wrote "The two giant radio companies that own the AM political talk radio stations have essentially boycotted us and we got lost in the middle of the half-million-plus podcasts that are out there now - very few making money."

Some right wing media outlets (such as the Moonie-owned Washington Times) have lost incredible amounts of money for many years, but their owners could afford to take the hit and believed it worthwhile. I won't link them, but they admit that "The Times achieved outsize influence in the nation’s capital while accumulating losses that far exceeded $1 billion since its inception in 1982." How did they not go broke? The owner ran a brainwash cult, much like Scientology. I'd be rich if I had thousands of slaves, too.

Operations like the Washington Times could use their propaganda to install politicians who would eventually cut the propaganda owner's taxes by hundreds of millions, and benefit them in other ways.

As for Fox vs. MSNBC, Fox netted $529 million last year; MSNBC seems to be just over 500 million for the same period. Not that different. MSNBC is ultimately owned by Comcast, an odious cable cartelist, while Fox is part of News Corp. Both are in the five largest media corporations, and both MSNBC and Fox News generate less than 5% of the parent's total revenue. MSNBC is flaming-liberal compared to Fox, but in a sane world would be considered genteel pro-business center-right. In any case, MSNBC is still keeping the lights on; Air America and its spiritual successors, to my understanding, were run on a shoestring from day one, and the surviving shows still are.

Stephanie Miller's show is currently on about 40 radio stations; Rush Limbaugh is currently on about 590. Glom the list on this anti-Rush website. Even in blue Massachusetts he has four stations (Pittsfield dropped him). Stephanie (whose show is far more entertaining) doesn't even have one in every state. This was never really decided by listeners; at no point did Stephanie Miller have 590 stations and 550 of those bombed with listeners. Millions tuned in, heard Sexy Mama crack jokes about her predilection for box wine and the latest lurid GOP scandal, said "Feh!" and switched over to Rush Limbaugh? No. That didn't happen. Millions never heard her in the first place.

If I had to guess, she may have had 80 stations on a really good day at some point... and they were probably lower-powered than Rush's and therefore the signal fizzled out just past the county line... that's how it was with the Asheville one, which is gone now. But Rush is still there. And according to Norman Goldman, Rush is not very profitable either... but the radio networks are contractually stuck with him.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Air America tried to copy Sinclair and MSNBC tried to copy the epically profitable Fox business model of ensaring a fanatical 25% into hyponotic zombiehood. Both attempts failed because American liberals and leftists are cats, impossible to herd."

That is my experience. I absolutely loved the idea of Air America--liberal radio at at time when liberalism was pretty much limited to Bartcop and Rack Jite. But with one exception (Maddow) the hosts were repetitive and not very informative (even Al Franken), and the endlessly repeating ads drove me crazy. I quit listening after about three week, with the exception of Maddow. The business model was basically "Rush Limbaugh for Lefties" but there was a problem: lefties aren't drooling morons.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" "Corporate Dems are the same as the GOP"

No, not by a long shot. But the Goldman-Sachs crowd do not have your best interests at heart.

Daniel Duffy said...

Americans will chose a racist over a socialist.

And that is exactly what will happen in November if the Dems nominate Bernie.

Trump will defeat Sanders for the same reasons that Boris Johnson crushed Corbyn and the Labor party.

jim said...

Well if you centrists democrats really want to defeat Trump, it looks like you really don’t have any choice but to support Sanders.

https://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-poll-warren-biden-2020-nominee-emerson-college-1483831

Only ~50% of Sanders supporters will definitely support the Democratic nominee if it is not Sanders.
Now you can bitch and moan how splitters are the most horrible people in the world or you can accept the fact that you have to deal with the voters you (potentially) have and give them what they want.

If you think that you can beat Trump without the full enthusiastic support of the Sanders voters it may not be impossible just much less likely.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I absolutely loved the idea of Air America--liberal radio at at time when liberalism was pretty much limited to Bartcop and Rack Jite. But with one exception (Maddow) the hosts were repetitive and not very informative (even Al Franken), and the endlessly repeating ads drove me crazy.


Norman Goldman was quite different and refreshing, and I still miss his show which went off the air last winter after he had essentially bankrolled it himself, losing over a million dollars in the process.

He was a successor to Ed Schultz, who also didn't quite fit the model you describe. Of course, neither of them were Air America personalities.


But the Goldman-Sachs crowd do not have your best interests at heart.


Point taken. When I say I support the Democrat no matter who it is, I don't mean I love all Democrats equally. I mean any one of them (or even my cat) are better than Trump. Not just "a little bit better", but qualitatively better. I might disagree with a Democrat on policy, but not on whether the Constitution of the United States matters, or whether Article II says that the president can do whatever he wants.

Larry Hart said...

One way the parties are not the same...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/opinion/economy-republicans-deficit.html

...

Put it this way: Republicans used the pretense that they cared about fiscal responsibility to engage in de facto economic sabotage as long as a Democrat was in the White House. Then they abandoned the pretense and opened up the spending taps as soon as one of their own was in power. And far from paying a price for their duplicity, they are being politically rewarded.

The implications for party strategy are stark: Maximum cynicism is the best policy. Obstruct, disrupt, and hurt the economy as much as you can, deploying whatever hypocritical excuses you think the media will buy, when the other party holds the presidency. Then abandon all concerns for the future and buy votes once you’re back in control.

For whatever reason, Democrats haven’t been willing or able to behave that cynically. Republicans, however, have. And if Trump is re-elected, that asymmetric cynicism will be the main reason.

David Smelser said...

Since the GOP has refused to remove trump after his impeachment, we can expect Trump and foreign allies to cheat in the 2020 election.

We should expect the GOP to start priming us for the eventuality by spreading stories that the democrats cheat.

This serves a couple of purposes:
- If everyone cheats then just support the tribe you belong to.
- The media will respond to the Trump cheating in 2020 by reporting that "both sides allege that the other side cheats"
- Allegations of cheating in the primary process will disenfrance supporters of non-nominee candidates.

Foreign actors will applify this on social media. Be prepared for the deluge of stories. The most effective intelligence operations will be based on events that are partially true (when you can validate parts of a story, you will tend to believe the entire story).

For example, jim's points to the iowa caucus screw up (true) and asserts that the corporate democrats did this deliberately (zero evidence).

The best preparation you can do for the deluge is to wear a raincoat, know that it is coming, so you won't be caught off guard when it happens.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: Goldman and Schultz were both fun to listen to, but, as you say, not part of Air America. But the Air America model, designed to copy right wing radio, just simply did not work with a liberal audience. While liberals can be influenced by propaganda, the simplistic and endlessly repetative Goebbels model doesn't have much impact.

On Goldman-Sachs: Buttigieg just named a former G-S VP his director of policy.

David Brin said...

Interesting to agree with Zepp and not TCB - re the fate of Air America and MSNBC. I’ll note that Fox guys always are raving about how much more profitable and more of a captive audience they have than MSNBC. Nevertheless, TCB offered interesting stats and pending sources, I guess I mustn’t assume I was right about their comparisons.

I do mourn what Al Franken might have been able to do and say during the trial. Gillibrand was how useful, remind me?

“the Goldman-Sachs crowd do not have your best interests at heart.”

Oh, I am fine with banishing GS from government influence. They cycle through a lot of top economics folks IN ORDER for their execs to overlap with government. That does not impugn them all or even most. but every GS exec should be considered a lobbyist and the govt-lobby recycle rules should be tightened.

Having said that, nearly all the GS types I’ve seen appear to be deeply worried about the Golden Goose Effect. It is insane for a parasite to kill its host when in does better with a healthy goose laying golden eggs. Most of them seem tho think the wealth disparity effect has gone WAY too far and some may even realize their own lives might be at stake.

Putin’s branch of oligarchy has no such concerns. Nor the Saudis or Murdochs.

DD is likely right. Bernie is not our best bet for November. OTOH his ability to stir up the youth and the left is of great importance and shrugging him off would be a disaster. I think he should be asked to appoint the chair of an electoral fairness oversight commission. Oh, an Pelosi’s tearing of the speech was clearly an outreach to the party’s left.

Oh, proof of loonyness? How desperate do you have to be, to feed your paranoia, when the co-winners in Iowa are the socialist and the Gay Guy, and the establishment guy came in last among the Top Four... yet jim still writhes to find an excuse to shout "it's all rigged!' Feh.

A.F. Rey said...

Only ~50% of Sanders supporters will definitely support the Democratic nominee if it is not Sanders.
Now you can bitch and moan how splitters are the most horrible people in the world or you can accept the fact that you have to deal with the voters you (potentially) have and give them what they want.

If you think that you can beat Trump without the full enthusiastic support of the Sanders voters it may not be impossible just much less likely.


Reading the article you linked, it was 53% that said they would definitely support the Democratic nominee, and another 31% would depending on who it was. Only 16% said definitely no.

So that's really only 16% that wouldn't, with maybe around 15% or so on top of that.

Everyone also glosses over the fact that Trump won by a very, very slim margin. Clinton got 3 million more votes as I recall. That's the total population of Vermont, Alaska and North and South Dakota. That's like saying Trump won the popular vote, so long as you ignore all votes for Clinton from HI, NM, NV, CT, VT, NH, ME, RI, DE, Washington DC, and 500,000 more.

Furthermore, he won MI by 10,704 votes (0.24% of the total votes for either Trump or Clinton); WI by 22,748 votes (0.82%); PA by 44,292 votes (0.75%), and AZ by 91,234 votes (3.78%). If those 168,978 votes had gone the other way, we would have been watching Hillary being acquitted by Senate this week instead of Trump. :)

So while we do want every vote possible, we don't need to go crazy over it.

(Besides, you also have to count those Democrats and Independents that definitely won't vote for Bernie in your equation.)

David Brin said...

pbot keep raving. It's kind of a pity. Only half of his tries are fecal spews. Maybe 20% of them I can tell have actual content. You'll recall that he was actually welcomed for unusual insights, maybe a year ago. No matter. One spew earns a month's spamming, no matter what. And if you saw some of the swill, you'd call be outrageously generous and forgiving.

Most paranoid-loony-nasty troills don't have a smart-cogent side. This case is kinda tragic. But...

Larry Hart said...

jim:

Well if you centrists democrats really want to defeat Trump, it looks like you really don’t have any choice but to support Sanders.

https://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-poll-warren-biden-2020-nominee-emerson-college-1483831

Only ~50% of Sanders supporters will definitely support the Democratic nominee if it is not Sanders.


If Bernie were the only candidate for whom that was true, then you'd have a point.

There are other voters who insist they'd vote for Biden or Bloomburg against Trump, but if the candidate is Bernie or Warren, they'd have to vote for the Republican.

If every candidate's supporters insist they won't vote a different nominee, then Trump with his 40% or so will win. Which is the worst case for all of those candidates' supporters.

So your version of splitterism really is dangerous. At best interpretation, you're saying that you really do consider a Biden presidency to be just as bad as a Trump one, so you're ok with Biden losing to Trump. At worst, you're playing a game of chicken in which you know Trump is orders of magnitude worse, but you're willing to withhold your vote as blackmail, bringing that harm down on the country if the Dems have the nerve to nominate someone else.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

But the Air America model, designed to copy right wing radio, just simply did not work with a liberal audience.


Agreed. When Air America began, I listened to it, but not because I wanted an echo chamber. It was just nice to hear talk radio that wasn't right-wing hate.

Back when AA was new, there were competing ad campaigns on Chicago-area billboards which I thought nicely summed up the difference between consumers of the two types of radio. An ad for right-wing talk station WIND just had three huge words against a blank background:

LIBERALS
HATE
US


That was supposed to be sufficient to entice conservative listeners.

So Al Franken posted an ad for the then-Air America station, WCPT, that said:
LIBERALS LOVE US!
It also had Al's smiling face and the station's logo and stuff like that, so it wasn't as stark as the right-wing ad. I felt that the two campaigns said a lot about their respective audiences.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Interesting to agree with Zepp and not TCB - re the fate of Air America and MSNBC.


He sounds like a former fan of Norman Goldman, who I also listened to religiously until he went off the air, almost exactly a year ago. He did a lot of explaining about the state of the contemporary radio business, including the fact that long-term contracts with unprofitable Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity essentially bankrupted the Clear Channel and Cumulus chains, who own most US stations.

And yes, if Norman is to be believed, hosts like himself, Stephanie Miller, and Randi Rhodes consistently beat Limbaugh in the ratings, but the stations cancel (or don't take on) the liberal talkers anyway, and then they disingenuously claim that no one wants to listen to liberal talk. The same way Republicans in congress block testimony from first-hand witnesses while claiming that all of the testimony is second-hand.

David Brin said...

It's not about whether pompous preeners shout "Bernie or no one!" It's about turnout. And ideally active volunteer work by young people. And even tactics like registering in a student's home district if it's purple, instead of already blue campus, then making sure every student does an absentee ballt and gets it sent in a month in advance rather than flaking out.

jim said...

The gay guy is a one term small town mayor. He has essentially no track record of doing anything good as mayor. People from his campaign and former Clinton folks are the ones responsible for the app disaster (incompetence or rat shagging?) He seems to be supported by banksters and spooks. And if he did get into the presidency hate crimes against gay people would spike up just like racism spiked up after Obama was elected. He seems to have problems attracting the black vote (like Bloomberg). He is a far more risky bet than Sanders.

jim said...

Well Larry
As I have said several times Trump is the least horrible republican president in my entire life. (admittedly that bar is practically subterranean)

And although I think that Trump is personally corrupt and has done a whole lot of things as president I do hate, I am 100% supportive of his attacks on globalization and the trade war with China. This is a giant win for me, my community and in the long run the vast majority of America. Trumps treatment of our allies is also the kick in the pants that they need, Pax Americana is falling apart, and our allies need to start thinking and acting in their own best interest.

So if Trump wins a second term it will suck, but not as much as Bush’s second term or Reagan’s second term or Nixon’s second term.

Treebeard said...

Jim you gotta stick to the narrative: Trump is the most evil, corrupt, horrible life form in the known universe, who hasn’t done a single good thing and will destroy not only America, but all life and be personally responsible for the Apocalypse and the Fermi Paradox if he isn’t defeated in November. To suggest otherwise it to be a splitter, a traitor, a foreign stooge and an enabler of cosmic evil. It’s really that simple, and that serious, dude.

matthew said...

Jim reveals himself as utterly beyond hope with his "Trump is the least-bad Republican of my lifetime" comment. I still believe he's a bot or paid troll.

TCB the top 20 list would be based on a "10 classic songs that TCB (or Brin) gives for a seed generator." My personal top 20 of this millennium or decade or whatever "modern" is defined as by mutual agreement would not be the same as a list I generate based on someone else's taste.

Jon S. said...

jim, remember Hanlon's Razor. It seems more than sufficient to shave this problem.

Re talk radio: AM radio? Really? The last time I recall listening to AM radio was back when I was delivering newspapers in a rural area of San Diego County back in '95 or so, because my truck's radio was broken and I used a tiny AM radio stuck to my dash with velcro. And even then I didn't listen to "talk radio", because that would have put me right to sleep. Instead, there was a station in LA that used to run old radio-play shows from midnight to 4am; I listened to a lot of "The Shadow" and the Jack Benny Program and "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" and that sort of thing.

So far as I can tell, the only reason "conservative" talk radio does so well on AM is because its listeners are incurious technophobes who don't mind being spoon-fed the same twaddle over and over, and don't want one of those "complicated" satellite radios or streaming services. As long as they're listening to Limbaugh and the like, they can pretend that there are a lot of other people who are just as close-minded and frightened of the future as they are, because that's all they hear from.

Problem is, if your vision of the future is more open, if you're more curious and less scared, you quickly get bored listening to an echo chamber, even if it's echoing you. "Liberals", by and large, seem to have less interest in wallowing in the past.

Jon S. said...

"So if Trump wins a second term it will suck, but not as much as Bush’s second term or Reagan’s second term or Nixon’s second term."

And with that profoundly ludicrous statement, jim goes right back under the shroud. The Trump White House has already begun retaliatory strikes against the insufficiently loyal; just yesterday news was floated about LtCol Vindman being removed from the NSC, the entire state of New York was disallowed from the Global Entry program, and the IRS released Hunter Biden's tax information without so much as a subpoena from the Republicans requesting it (meanwhile, we still haven't seen the info for anyone from the Trump administration). You think a second Trump term wouldn't be worse than anything that's gone before? I mean, at least Nixon and Reagan cared whether there was a United States after they were done...

David Brin said...

jim try studying. The Gay Guy was RE-elected by a landslide by a town that challenged anyone. Your cred just plummeted from its low level.

His rationalizations are pure insanity. Trump and the GOP have been thwarted by the civil servants who have worked according to the law. But the promotion stack has already shifted, first with oligarch-suborned judges and with military officers. A 2nd term will feature total reaming of the civil service. and jim knows this. Hence he is proved to be a Kremlin shill.

And yes, Treebeard? Sarcasm works best when your taunting exaggerations are not merely double the actual situation.

Example of failed sarcasm: Oh Jeffrey Epstein killed and ate pubescent girls! No, he merely lured and raped and sold them. Doesn't work.

Smurphs said...

Daniel Duffy said:

Americans will chose a racist over a socialist.
And that is exactly what will happen in November if the Dems nominate Bernie.


Not exactly.

It doesn't matter who the Dems nominate, Biden, Sanders, Warren, Daffy Duck. The GOP will use the same tactics regardless.

They will call them Socialist. They will call them anti-gun. They will call them anti-business. They will call them higher taxers. They will call them anti-American. They will call them anti-military. They will call them America haters. They will use dog whistles for the racists and the Nazis and the Holnists.

They will use fear. (It works!)

The playbook will be the same no matter who the Democratic candidate is. The only thing that will be different is the historical sound-bites used.

Whoever the candidate is, they MUST find a way to break through this wall of lies. Using the truth is not enough. They must break through the wall somehow. (I don't know how, but I'm not running for President.)

Or they will lose.

A.F. Rey said...

Electability is extremely subjective.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/youll-never-know-which-candidate-is-electable/

Keith Halperin said...

@David Brin:
...And even tactics like registering in a student's home district if it's purple, instead of already blue campus, then making sure every student does an absentee ballot and gets it sent in a month in advance rather than flaking out.

This sounds EXTREMELY powerful!
ISTM that identifying "purple precincts" in swing states and maximizing turnout there (through strategies like the above) is the key to victory.
How can I contribute to that, aka, "where can I send my money"?

Keith "Nickel and Dime Activist" Halperin

David Brin said...

Smurphs, that is why I think the WHOLE dem-lib emphasis in this is all wrong. Bernie would not turn the US commie, especially with a Congress to deal with. My only objection to Bernie is that he and Liz do not have lively-humor or ready wit. And those will devastate Trump on a debate stage.

Pete seems to have some. Joe has some but then turns around and gaffes. Harris had some but also a bitter tone. Yang? A teensy bit, meh.

Gillibrand robbed us of the comic who coulda reamed them, crotch to sternum.

Policy? See my list of 31 things. Unlike Obama, not one of these folks will fall for any bait and switch lures to "negotiate." They will know it is useless to pretend there's anyone to talk to. It is time for political ruthlessness... but with savvy, agility and humor.

David Brin said...

Keith the Dem Congr Campaign Committee has its list of target districts. But in my opinion the biggest want is to target STAT ASSEMBLY districts. Those could flip with just a few hundred registrations and absentee ballots.

The biggest gerrymander is the States, of course. Partly solved if we admit Puerto Rico and DC and Oceania, but also if some billionair bought up strategically located black and white neighborhoods in Mississippi and Alabama for a population swap. (Even white racists might love it, think about it.

If it worked then get a slew of Native Americans to move from north to south Dakota. And blacks from W. VA and Kentucy to well-chosen sites in SCarolina. THAT woulkd be delicious.

jim said...

Treebeard – man that was funny, maybe David will add Trump to the solutions for the Fermi Paradox.

Mathew – I am curious which republican president was better than Trump in terms of policy?

Jon S – wow I never considered that firing a staff member was worse than torturing and war.

David which civil servants are we talking about? The ones keeping our endless wars going? The ones trying to overthrow governments in south America and elsewhere? The ones who worked so hard to stab working men and women in the back with globalization?


I work with a lot of blue color folks and I live in a blue color neighborhood here in flyover country, and let me tell you lots of them absolutely love Trump – white ones, black ones, Hispanic ones, men and women. It can be really funny in the lunch room when the older black guys start into the “ I am a deplorable racist for supporting the first president who doesn’t want to screw me over in favor of china.” And then the Hispanic guys go “no I am more a deplorable racist because I am against illegal aliens driving down wages.” And then the moms go “ no I am the most deplorable racist because I don’t want my son to go on another god damn deployment in the middle east.” We all have a big laugh.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

A 2nd term will feature total reaming of the civil service. and jim knows this. Hence he is proved to be a Kremlin shill


Maybe, but that's not the vibe I get.

More like he's willing to lose the Republic because Trump talks a good game about some issues he cares about, like war. Trump has made war more likely, not less, but he says he's against it, and jim is willing to live with that.

Remember Silence of the Lambs and "His essential nature is 'He covets'?" Well, Trump's essential nature is "He's a con man". And jim sounds like an enthusiastically willing mark.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Dr. Brin: Thanks.
Re: moving people: If this is still occurring in 2020 for the same reasons as when the book was written in 2008 we're already doing something like that:
https://www.c-span.org/video/?205962-1/the-big-sort, http://www.thebigsort.com/book.php and
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/the-truth-about-the-california- exodus/605833/ "Why Texans Don’t Want Any More Californians".
Along these lines (Texas, North Carolina, Virginia becoming bluer) are any purple or blue states getting redder?

-kh

duncan cairncross said...

IMHO - Jim is talking complete bollocks about Trade, China, NATO

But he is correct that the Orange Cockwomble has done LESS damage than four of the last five
GOP presidents


He is probably a worse person and would have been worse if he could but his total incompetence has protected us from that

TCB said...

Zepp is right about Franken's Air America radio show, it was by far the dullest of the lot. He made a much better senator than radio host. Stephanie Miller is the funniest by a mile. Maddow was good enough to go to the big leagues, and so was the late Ed Schultz. Thom Hartmann and Norman Goldman are both brilliant and criminally overlooked.

But I normally listened in my car on commutes or long drives, and as a somewhat captive audience I would listen even to Al Franken's soporific show most times, because it didn't need to be scintillating; it only needed to be better than the other dreary dreck on the dial during my daily drive. (Alliteration achieved). And when the alternatives ran from Limbaugh and Christian stations to sports and bro country, the only real competitors on the dial would be a couple of decent music stations and NPR. Now NPR is all I have to work with and you'd be shocked how often they have some Republican liar fielding softball questions.

So yeah, still bitter about that.

Hartmann and Goldman are REALLY GOOD. Thom Hartmann is the guy who actually went to the archives and discovered the dirty truth about how the Supreme Court awarded personhood to corporations in the 1886 Santa Clara County decision.

And Goldman, a lawyer, used to have a segment called Senior Legal Analyst Time on his show. He'd explain for us laypeople the inner machinations of some current court case. In his second-to-last show a year ago it was "Senior Legal Analyst time is back with Roger Stone in the barrel this time. He apologized profusely to the federal judge who was on the receiving end of his death threats. Is that all that will happen? And, Michael Cohen once again is scheduled to testify before Congress. Will it happen this time?" He spent eight years trying to get on stations in places like Alabama and Mississippi, where he insisted he could be competitive. But no station down there ever let him try.

locumranch said...


"Amen" is the proper response when David talks about that big IF -- 'if only we restored our ability to parse what’s actually true' -- even though the Age of Theodicy has long since passed.

If only things were as they SHOULD, OUGHT TO, or are SUPPOSED TO be.

This is a PRAYER, this attempt to WISH AWAY all the most problematic facets of human interaction, from "racism to climate collapse to health care to international relations".

IF ONLY those deplorables would 'learn-to-code', IF ONLY the lion would lay down with the lamb, IF ONLY Trump was impeached, IF ONLY everyone believed as David does, IF ONLY the moon was made of green cheese ... what a wonderful wonderful world it would be.

Amen, Brudders & Sisterns, Amen.


Best

Zepp Jamieson said...

Daniel Duffy: If Americans will choose a racist over a democratic socialist, they are not a free country, not even remotely. I have a higher opinion of Americans than you do.
As for Corbyn, he didn't lose because he was "too far left"--he was well to the right of Labour party leaders over the past 100 years. He lost because he couldn't figure out where he stood on Brexit.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"We should expect the GOP to start priming us for the eventuality by spreading stories that the democrats cheat."

Already began. There's more and more evidence that the Iowa tabulation was disrupted by a DDOS from Republican operatives.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" It is insane for a parasite to kill its host when in does better with a healthy goose laying golden eggs. Most of them seem tho think the wealth disparity effect has gone WAY too far and some may even realize their own lives might be at stake."

Well said. There was a petition a couple of years ago, signed by 350 people with over ten million dollars, begging the government to raise their taxes. It included some of the wealthiest people in the country (Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, for examples) and even some Republican donors.

Unfortunately, if we do reach a flash point, the mob isn't likely to observe such subtleties.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Trump is the most evil, corrupt, horrible life form in the known universe, who hasn’t done a single good thing and will destroy not only America, but all life and be personally responsible for the Apocalypse and the Fermi Paradox if he isn’t defeated in November.


And what, we're supposed to disagree because you said it? The devil can quote scripture for his own purposes, and apparently you can occasionally describe something accurately. The funny part is that you think what you said sounds so ridiculous that it must be immediately dismissed, instead of summing up what's really happening.

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

While jim's anecdote from the lunch room was interesting, the rest reminded me not to trust a word he says. Stark jibbering jibber-jabber by a dullard who actually thinks he is smart, then flees every opportunity that I offer him, to stand up and prove which of us is right.

David Brin said...

As for the Fermi Paradox implications of a return to feudalism, hey guys, instead of mocking-sneering playground sarcasm, how about you guys in our dullard wing grapple ONCE with the conceptual quandaries that interest the rest of us? (Have you ever noticed that none of you four or five nitwits ever diverge from your snarking SOP? Wait, I recall that Treebeard, of all people, actually did... twice!)

Given that enlightenment civilization has accomplished more than ALL of the feudal/traditionalist societies that dominated the 99% of the rest of human history, combined, and their vigorous science suppression combined with COLLAPSE mistakes and environmental stupidity would certainly keep a species out of the galaxy, or even space, how is the feudal attractor state NOT a prime candidate for "fermi" reasons many/most civilizations fail to expand?

---

After letting it lie for a while, jim returned with his rant catechism on globalization. So again I ask him to prove his case. Show us how a 20% decline in US manufacturing jobs outweighs the raising of the fraction of Earth's children with full bellies and schoolbooks they study under electric lights, with sanitation, from 10% in 1945 to 90%+ today? Jim's prescription would consign the 80% difference to poverty, starvation, ignorance and pain and death. Six months ago he slunk away when I asked how he defends that choice. Does your raising the issue again mean you are ready now, fellah?

Oh, BTW, we'll be bringing manufacturing home as new methods and local energy stop the insane waste of shipping goods across oceans. But the factories will be automated. And automation is the job-killer. But the maker of all our cornucopia of stuff. Tradeoffs.

scidata said...

I'm reading and enjoying the banter. Even better, I've started writing a wee bit again, very 'uplifting'. These US tribulations remind me more every day of "Foundation".
http://www.scidata.ca/?p=1954

Thanks for this blog and all your contributions.

CP said...

Of course, the Republicans will attempt to scare the public using many of the same charges regardless of who they face. But, which candidate is nominated will make a difference in how hard it will be for them to make the changes "stick."

Trump clearly believes that he can beat Sanders or Buttigieg. And, I think he's probably right since it will be easier to convince people that they're an existential threat, respectively on economic and cultural grounds. It will be harder to make most people afraid of a Biden or Klobuchar presidency (outside the core right).

A brief summery--just my "take" on it (that may change...):

Sanders is the most vulnerable to Republican attacks because of his long history as a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. I know his actual positions aren't particularly extreme but that's how they will be portrayed. He'll also be attacked for his religion, age and regional culture. And, as an aside, it would cost the Democrats a seat in the senate, if he won, since New Hampshire has a Republican governor...

Buttigieg is bright and articulate but the Republicans would make the whole campaign about the "gay agenda." Unfortunately, too many otherwise-reachable people won't vote for an openly gay candidate.

Warren is less vulnerable than Sanders and is a good campaigner but she let herself get bogged down on the details of medicare and would be portrayed in much the same way (she's the one I'd personally prefer based on policy...).

Biden doesn't appear threatening to the center. Trump obviously fears him the most for that reason, hence the preemptive attempt to disqualify him as corrupt. But, he isn't a great campaigner and the Republican smears have probably had just enough impact to tarnish his bid. It will be difficult for him to prosecute the anti-corruption case effectively as the Republicans argue that "everyone does it."

Bloomberg has unlimited resources and Trump probably considers him his next most serious threat. But, he can't credibly argue against the oligarchy/establishment. And, he'd have trouble generating enthusiasm on the left--I doubt if there's much appetite for another egotistical billionaire...

Probably, the strongest opponent to Trump would be Klobuchar. She has little political baggage, doesn't appear threatening to the center and has strength in the Midwest.

None of the others have a realistic path.

I also think ticket balancing is important this year. The VP almost has to be a woman regardless of who wins (given the need to maximize turnout after the disappointment of 2016). Meanwhile, very few who would accept a woman at the top would object to an all-female ticket... Harris and Gillibrand are still possibilities but didn't do well in the primaries and don't bring any home state boost to the ticket (already safely democratic). So, I suspect that the VP, depending on scenario, will be Abrams, Klobuchar or Warren.

Abrams is a good campaigner who would place Georgia "in play" (with its two contested senate seats). She'd boost black turnout and has a record of opposing corruption that she could leverage to attack Trump. She'd fit with any of the top candidates for various reasons.

Klobuchar would balance Sanders or Warren to reassure the center and provide strength in the Midwest.

Warren would balance Biden, Buttigieg or Bloomberg.

Klobuchar/Abrams might well be the strongest pairing against Trump...

CP said...

On the question of which candidate best reflects "empirical reality" in his/her statements:

Here's an attempt to reduce the Politifact ratings to a single "credibility score." I've assigned a value of 3 to the highest rating, 2 to the next highest, etc down to -3 for the lowest. Applying that to the the percentiles and summing them yields a scale of 300 to -300 (and, equals 100 x the mean of the weighted raw score). I've left in the candidates that withdrew and added the Clintons, Obama, Kaine and Abrams for comparison. "Error bars" would be, roughly, inversely proportional to the number of ratings (in parenthesis). Of course, anything of this sort is imperfect, at best, (and there are other ways to do it...). But, I thought some of you might find it interesting.

Tim Ryan/185(12)
Amy Klobuchar/181(15)
Michael Bloomberg/175(17)
Julian Castro/171(19)
Stacey Abrams/155(7)
Tim Kaine/151(56)
Elizabeth Warren/147(31)
Cory Booker/109(30)
Beto O'Rourke/103(26)
Bill Clinton/102(43)
Hillery Clinton/102(298)
Barack Obama/101(600)
Bernie Sanders/97(157)
Kirsten Gillibrand/94(17)
Pete Buttigieg/93(12)
Andrew Yang/72(7)
Joe Biden/54(105)
Kamala Harris/51(26)
Tulsi Gabbard/27(7)
Mike Pence/4(52)
Donald Trump/-84(764)

David Brin said...

CP, sorry, I don't see Klobuchar as viable and Gillibrand is pure poison.

You left Harris off your VP list and I think she dropped out for that very reason. She gives me worry-creeps as potentially a loose cannon and not a team player. But she's sharp and fills several slots.

The one I wish had run is Maine Senator Angus King!

duncan cairncross said...

Globalization

Dr Brin is 100% correct about the way that has helped the rest of the world

But the damage done to the US worker was NOT necessary as part of that good - the damage was deliberate and separate

Up until the 70's US wages kept pace with productivity
Then wages stagnated - with a 10% rise in nearly 50 years
Meanwhile productivity continued to rise - 140% in the same time

THAT is where the US worker lost out

Not "Globalization"

US Median Household income reached about $60K last year
What would the economy look like if the Median Income was $120K ??

That disconnect in the 70's is the reason that the USA dropped from being the BEST place in the world for a working stiff to about 40th

In some alternative world without the Neoliberals the USA has helped the world even more than here while also helping it's own people

Daniel Duffy said...

According to this electoral model Trump and the GOP are already dead men walking, no matter who the Dems nominate:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.politico.com/amp/news/magazine/2020/02/06/rachel-bitecofer-profile-election-forecasting-new-theory-108944

An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter

Bitecofer’s theory, when you boil it down, is that modern American elections are rarely shaped by voters changing their minds, but rather by shifts in who decides to vote in the first place. To her critics, she’s an extreme apostle of the old saw that “turnout explains everything,” taking a long victory lap after getting lucky one time. She sees things slightly differently: That the last few elections show that American politics really has changed, and other experts have been slow to process what it means.

As she delved further into the data on 2016, Bitecofer noticed something else. As much as the media had harped on the narrative that a majority of white women had voted for Trump, the election also signaled the first time that a majority of college-educated white men had voted for the Democratic Party. There was a long-term-realignment happening in America, and 2016 had accelerated it.

When 2018 rolled around, she saw what was coming: “College educated white men, and especially college educated white women,” she said, “were going to be on fucking fire.”

It didn’t matter who was running; it mattered who was voting. From there, the model followed. She put out her forecast for the general election when there were still candidates battling it out in primaries

In a piece explaining his work in POLITICO Magazine, Abramowitz wrote: “Over the past few decades, American politics has become like a bitter sports rivalry, in which the parties hang together mainly out of sheer hatred of the other team, rather than a shared sense of purpose. Republicans might not love the president, but they absolutely loathe his Democratic adversaries. And it’s also true of Democrats, who might be consumed by their internal feuds over foreign policy and the proper role of government were it not for Trump.”

Daniel Duffy said...

(cont.)

Bitecofer took this insight and mapped it across the country. As she sees it, it isn’t quite right to refer to a Democratic or Republican “base.” Rather, there are Democratic and Republican coalitions, the first made of people of color, college-educated whites and people in metropolitan areas; the second, mostly noncollege whites, with a smattering of religious-minded voters, financiers and people in business, largely in rural and exurban counties.

Bitecofer has already released her 2020 model, and is alone among election forecasters in giving the Democrats—who, of course, do not yet have a nominee—the 270 electoral votes required to claim the presidency without a single toss-up state flipping their way. She sees anyone in the top tier, or even the second tier of candidates, as strong enough to win back most of the Trump states in the industrial Midwest, stealing a march in the South in places like North Carolina and Florida, and even competing in traditional red states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona. The Democrats are likely to pick up seats again in the House, she says, pegging the total at nine pickups in Texas alone, and have a decent chance of taking back the Senate.

And in a view that goes against years of accepted political wisdom that says the choice of a running mate doesn’t much matter, the key she says, to a 2020 Democratic victory will lie less in who is at the top of the ticket than in who gets chosen as veep. A good ticket-mate would be a person of color like Stacey Abrams or Juli├ín Castro, she suggests, someone who can further ignite Democratic partisans who might otherwise stay home. The reason Trump won in 2016 was not, she says, because of a bunch of disaffected blue-collar former Democrats in the Midwest; it is because a combination of Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin pulled away more than 6 percent of voters in a state like Michigan. These were anti-Hillary voters, yes—but they were anti-Trump voters especially, and they are likely to come to the Democratic fold this time around if they’re given a reason.

TCB said...

Among New Hampshire Democratic voters, Trump loses to Giant Meteor.

(Giant Meteorite, really, if we want to be pedantic science geeks. And we do.)

Larry Hart said...

jim:

David which civil servants are we talking about? The ones keeping our endless wars going? The ones trying to overthrow governments in south America and elsewhere? The ones who worked so hard to stab working men and women in the back with globalization?


Yeah, that's pretty much where I thought you were going. You won't support a non-Bernie Democrat against Trump because you actually prefer Trump to them. That's your right and all, but no need to pretend you're an anti-Trumper who just sees Biden or Bloomburg as so bad that you're reluctantly willing to risk Trump in order to defeat them. No, you see an upside to the Trump administration. I think you're being very short-sighted in that regard concerning the future of rule of law and justice for all. We'll probably know within our lifetimes which view is the correct one. The Roman Republic fell pretty quickly too when it did.

Daniel Duffy said...


https://medium.com/s/story/demographics-show-that-trump-can-only-lose-c55d9f79449

Trump Is Up Against a Demographic Time Bomb

The President is alienating future voters who will hold power in the next election
In the 2016 election, a majority of young voters (people under 50) and Hispanic voters voted against Trump. That’s not including the current wave of teenagers who are organizing a political movement in response to mass shootings in schools, many of whom will be voters by the next election.

In the United States, around 2.7 million people who are old enough to vote die every year, and around 3.8 million to 4 million people turn 18. In the last presidential election — and research since then suggests that this trend will continue — younger people were more likely to vote for Democrats, and older people were more likely to vote Republican. It is more complicated than that in detail, but the basic trend is there. This means that by age alone, between the 2016 and 2018 elections, more potential non-Trump voters will join the electorate, while more potential Trump voters, or non-Democrat voters, will depart from it.


Additionally, Hispanic and Black voters are more likely to support a non-Trump or Democratic candidate. They are also becoming an electoral majority. A 2015 study by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that “the Hispanic population in the United States has lower overall mortality and higher life expectancy at birth than the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations.” This gives Hispanics what is called a “mortality advantage,” which translates into a demographic, and electoral, advantage over time.

More specifically, white Americans will become a minority over time, starting with younger generations as demographic balance changes through both births and deaths.

Because minorities as a group are younger than whites, the minority white tipping point comes earlier for younger age groups. The new census projections indicate that for youth under 18—the post-millennial population—minorities will outnumber whites in 2020. For those ages 18 to 29—members of the younger labor force and voting age populations—the tipping point will occur in 2027.

David Brin said...

We had turnout in 92 and in 2008 and got Democratic presidents and Congresses who got very busy, but were thwarted bigly by the Hastert Ruled GOP.

Turnout utterly failed in 94 and 2010 when Republicans voted and prissy-lazy dem constituencies found excuses to stay home, and the final 6 years of BOTH Clinton and Obama were locked into legislative futility. All those two could do was administer excellently-well, which they did and America perked along. But the oligarchy kept winning concessions here and there. And the very instant GW Bush and Donald Trump took office they got their tsunami of aristo benefits.

One lesson? The Goppers are probably already thinking about 2022. Though the pattern seems likely to break.
1- Those demographic trends
2- Dems are in "fool me three times?" mode. They will pound on the cheats, especially gerrymandering and possibly Putin himself. Plus DMV registration and mail ballots.
3- Much will depend on WHEN the Recession hits.
4- Have enough Puerto Ricans fled to Florida to change it?

David Brin said...

Then there are the 31 goals.
https://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html

Larry Hart said...

Bill Maher explains the fall of a Republic...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kllPUCjKHI4

Bill Maher:

"And finally, New Rule:
Republicans have to admit, they don't just hate Democrats. They hate democracy.

...

"That's the old America. A nation of laws. We're living in the new America. With only one law--'Make me!'"

...

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

Additionally, Hispanic and Black voters are more likely to support a non-Trump or Democratic candidate.


Are they, though? Look at jim's anecdote about the lunchroom. Many of them buy Trump's line about him being good for minority employment and such. Many of them like his tough "Last Man Standing" style male-supremacy. And of course, the fact that Trump enables the Republican anti-gay and anti-abortion agendas. I remember hearing that Trump received as much Latino support as Romney had four years earlier.


More specifically, white Americans will become a minority over time,


Nor a minority of states though. And that's what matters.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/senate-impeachment-acquittal.html

...

It is what you would expect them to do, not because of any fear of the president or personal fealty to him, but because the party sees accountability, whether to voters or to the Constitution itself, as a threat to its interests. If the acquittal of Trump shows us anything, it’s a Republican Party free of pretense or artifice, ready to embrace its worst self without shame or embarrassment.

David Brin said...

"That's the old America. A nation of laws. We're living in the new America. With only one law--'Make me!'"

Yes, nearly all of DT's support comes from playground bully appearance of 'strength.' There is one path to defeating it thoroughly, and that is to expose bullies as cowards. And one method works. demands for wagers. Answer 'Make me!' with "Put up or shut up!"

They writhe and squirm and always, always flee. And the obstinate refusal of dem pols to grasp this dynamic - coming not just from me but also George Lakoff - and dozens of other scalpel tactics - proves there are no alphas on that debate stage. It's okay. A bunch of beta-plusses would govern well. But winning this civil war decisively will call for more than that.

Larry Hart said...

True dat...
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/mitt-romney-impeachment.html

The right-wing vituperations descending on Romney, directed by the president and amplified through his media minions, are no better than the left’s cancel-culture warriors, seeking to wreck the lives of anyone who falls short of expectations or doesn’t toe the ideological line.

CP said...

Dr. Brin,

I agree that Klobuchar is, at best, marginally viable in the primary. To win, she would have to do better than expected in New Hampshire, Biden would have to collapse in subsequent states, Buttigieg would have to fizzle, most centrist democrats would have to recoil from Bloomberg... But, that's a better chance than any of the other second-tier candidates.

And, I still think she might be the best choice for the general, particularity if paired with Abrams. As I said, it will be difficult to scare people about a prospective Klobuchar administration before the election or after it. And, "after it" also matters. Fewer people will be willing to literally take up arms if Trump looses...

On the subject of the aftermath of a Trump loss: He has two basic options to avoid legal consequences (retiring "normally" doesn't work for that). He can cry "fraud" and call his people into the streets to defend the "real government of real Americans"--an option that would be most in character (he may not be capable of realizing that he probably wouldn't live long in a shooting war...). Or, he can use his one obvious "get out of jail free" card: meet with Pence and Roberts, sign a document pardoning Pence (and anyone else still in his good graces?) for "anything and everything" then sign a letter of resignation. After which, Roberts could swear in Pence as the "president for 2.5 months," Pence could sign a document pardoning Trump for "anything and everything" and Trump could retire to Florida and have his lawyers fight extradition to New York. If that fails, he could always decamp to a country of his choice that lacks an extradition treaty with the US. I doubt if he has the foresight/stability to opt for the second path. But, the fact that he's moved his official place of residence to Florida might offer some hope that I'm wrong...

David Brin said...

Nevada and SCarolina are very different constituencies.

matthew said...

Let us talk disinformation warfare for a moment.

This blog has an audience of more than 500 people, therefore it is a target for modern disinformation warfare.

The author of this blog wrote a book *extremely threatening* to the opponents of transparency and accountability. He is *automatically* a target of disinformation warfare because of that book.
He is also a popular public figure in a second information field (SciFi). Look at that as an exponent in the calculation of "target of disinformation."

The author of the blog posts about politics and names those that he thinks *might* be compromised, using the rubric of "forecasting." Add in a few points in the calculation entitled "target of disinformation."

We have multiple resident trolls here. Open White Nationalist-Nazi, AI-generated chatbots, Mental-Health-Issue Red State Grumps, Caricature of Liberal-Position Ratfuckers and Sealion X3.

That being said, this is still home to some of the smartest conversation in the world, IMO.

Just take a grain of salt.

And know who is speaking here.

A *lot* of this is manufactured in one way or another. If you've been here for 15 years, you *might* be real. ;-)

Paranoia is a useful genetic flaw in 2020.

David Brin said...

matthew gets post of the day. Good stuff. Well said. Indeed, I think one reason most (not all) ogres and web-beasts wander away is because they gain little satisfaction provoking at worst mild irritation among smart folks who quickly move on.

Darrell E said...

duncan cairncross said...
"IMHO - Jim is talking complete bollocks about Trade, China, NATO

But he is correct that the Orange Cockwomble has done LESS damage than four of the last five
GOP presidents


He is probably a worse person and would have been worse if he could but his total incompetence has protected us from"


If the metric is "damage to other nations" then there may be some argument to be made that Trump has been less bad than the past 4 or so GOP presidents. Where Trump is the no-holds-barred, uncontested worst president in at least modern history is in damage to the US. That's why from any rational, non-delusional USian's perspective he is the worst president ever.

Jim either doesn't see it, is an idiot, or doesn't care because he wants it all to burn. Given that anyone who believes so many urban myths and conspiracy theories is very likely an idiot perhaps jim isn't a traitor.

TCB said...

@ cp, I would like to cut the presidential pardon out of Article 2 of the Constitution, burn it in a gas station toilet, and scatter the ashes on the unhallowed ground of a Chicago slaughterhouse. It is utter garbage and worthlessness. Donald Trump uses the pardon power to protect war criminals and the revolting Joe Arpaio.

Barack Obama failed to use the pardon for former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat who committed the crime of making an enemy of Karl Rove and was railroaded to federal prison on just about the flimsiest bribery charge imaginable. What the FUCK, Barry? (Barry hates being called Barry.)

Anyone who knows about the Siegelman case knows that the "Lock her up!" chants the Donald led against Hillary Clinton, and the Barr inquisition against Hunter Biden, are credible threats of weaponized selective prosecution. This is how modern dictatorships tend to work; there are laws, for a nation must have laws; the laws are enforced, for the law must be obeyed; but somehow the ruling elites and their minions are never truly accountable; at worst they are embarrassed. Enemies of the junta are accountable for every transgression; if all you do is speak ill of the junta, that alone can be made a crime. At this rate, some of us on this forum will not die in our own beds either.

And that is my case against the pardon. If it be only for the thugs to use, better it were available to none.

David Brin said...

onward

onward