Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Satirical music video riffs - can they get through where facts fail?

Many of you have seen the latest, politically pungent, satirical, music video. Dismiss it as propaganda if you like. But first put money on whether any of the accusations are false, or things to be shrugged off.

Not just one of the best song parodies I've ever seen, but brilliant political commentary.

And yes, I have written a few myself.  For example, if only I had found talented folks like these to implement a satire-chant making fun of our tendency to nominate from "royal families." (All but two US presidential elections since 1980 had either a Bush or a Clinton (or both) on the tickets. Might my video - if it got made - have helped us dodge the 2016 debacle? I guess we'll never know.

I do have others though! In the lead-up to impeachment, I offered the following script, skewering the one common element of every GOP whine and writhe. From Strzock and Steele to subpoenas and tax returns to Deutsche Bank and refusal to call witnesses ... it always, always comes down to "The American voters should not see or know any facts! Don't look!"

== In the Danger Zone ==

To the tune and beat of “Into the Danger Zone” in the flick TOP GUN.

Putin pushed corruption - twisted our elections - Don’t look!
All our Intel people - say it really happened - Deep State!

Tax returns he promised - ‘audit’ never happened - Don’t look!
Golf trips cost us plenty - never mind the tally - Tastes great!

  Don’t look, don’t hear the censored zone…
  * We all live in the censored zone! 

Every Foxite defense - boils down to one cry - Don’t look!
Mafia connections - Russian money laundry - Eyes closed!

Steele file bias! - Disloyal Jim Comey! - so Don’t look!
We don’t want no answers - Block all testimony - MINDS closed!

    Any excuse - don’t investigate!
    * Same excuse made for Watergate!

Every Clinton crevice - probed up to the elbow - Let’s look!
Always came up empty - that means they were clever - Probe deep!

When the light shines on you - suddenly you fear it - Don’t look!
Nothing here to look at - looking is forbidden - Go sleep!

  Don’t look, don’t hear the censored zone…

  * We all live in the censored zone!


Bart Massey said...

Betteridge's Law of Headlines seems to apply, sadly.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 Ashley said...

Very clever lyrics, amazingly effective face animation, and fun; I shared because I care.

Larry Hart said...

The profile in courage that is Susan Collins:

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, seemed to grow frustrated on Wednesday when reporters pressed her to reconcile Mr. Trump’s recent actions with her assertion last week that he would be “much more cautious in the future” after having been impeached.

“My vote to acquit the president was not based on predicting his future behavior,” Ms. Collins said.

Larry Hart said...

On the subject at hand--I'm not sure how well such satiric music works on those who don't already subscribe to our POV.

If it could make the point, say to libertarians that Trump is an exestential threat to libertarianism, then it might have a chance of waking them up. But as long as the essential message is that Trump is a threat to liberalism and tolerance and decorum, the reaction from Trump supporters is going to be "That's a feature, not a bug."

Tacitus said...

I'm liking the new moderated comments. The delay in communication makes me think of colonies separated by considerable interstellar space trying to communicate by sublight radio!

T. Wolter

TCB said...

Here's one I wrote a few weeks ago, about Rush Limbaugh, Fox, and their ilk.

Mister Hate

You’ll think me mad when I explain how I got poisoned in my brain
You’ll say I must have let my paranoia win
When I tell you I diagnosed the mark of that unholy ghost
Who poured his bile into the vessel of my skin

There are oils that turn to tumors, there are venoms, there are rumors
There is acid that can set a stone on fire
There is gas that steals the breath, a thousand powders full of death
But in the end, the purest poison is a liar

And my hopes make fun of me, and my dreams just ran away
And regrets keep me company, and my doubts want me to stay inside all day
And my love don’t like me much, she says I did too little and I did it all a lot too late
And peeking in the window, it’s that stalker, Mister Hate

I didn’t know what I was tasting, I got hooked and started wasting
All the time I thought that I could turn it down
There was sewage in my veins and there were splinters in the rain
And there was blight and it was spreading town to town

And my hopes make fun of me, and my dreams just ran away
And regrets keep me company, and my doubts want me to stay inside all day
And my love don’t like me much, she says I did too little and I did it all a lot too late
And knocking at the door, it’s that old salesman, Mister Hate

Radioactive voices drowning out my inner peace
Choking off the airwaves, like the smoke of burning grease
Until it stinks too much to think and we can’t see because it’s all as dark as ink
When we all walk right off the brink
Right off the brink, right off the brink

You must have heard the dam had burst, but Mister Hate had got there first
And poisoned every well and spring across the land
And it was him behind it all, and it’s no good to build a wall,
Where can you run when you can barely even stand

And now we don’t believe in fairies, we accept the ordinary
If the leaders say we kill, then we must kill
What the powerful command, we obey, we understand
Our life’s a loop of Triumph of the Will

And my hopes make fun of me, and my dreams packed up and ran away
And regrets keep me company, and my doubts want me to stay inside all day
And my love don’t like me much, she says I did too little and I did it all a lot too late
And sitting in my chair, there’s my new master, Mister Hate

TCB said...

Not music, but this Some More News guy on youtube does a good (and informative) satirical channel in the Daily Show style.

7 Ways The Media Sure Is Freaking Out About Bernie Sanders - SOME MORE NEWS I.e. the corporate media really don't want President Bernie, and even the 'liberals' at MSNBC say some things they ought to be ashamed of.

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg - SOME MORE NEWS in which Mayor Pete's utter unsuitability to be the Dem nominee is unpacked. He's VERY problematical on closer examination. Like Bloomberg, he'd make a much better Republican.

Larry Hart said...

If I were inclined to respond to the troll, it would be along the lines of...

Captain James T. Kirk : [to the alien entity] Get off my ship. You're a dead duck here, you're powerless. We know about you, and we don't want to play. Maybe... maybe there're others like you around, maybe you've caused a lot of suffering, a lot of history; but that's all over. We'll be on guard now, we'll be ready for you, so ship out! Come on, haul it!

Dr. McCoy : Yeah, out already!

Kang : Out! We need no urging to hate Humans. But for the present, only a fool fights in a burning house. Out!

David Brin said...

This one is hilarious, savage and well-produced...

...but the difference is that it will persuade no one. The Founding Fathers one just might affect a fence sitter.

David Brin said...

So in addition to being nasty, rude and obsessive, our little creep is a tricky liar, using "Robert here..." to get past my 1-second spam clicks. Clearly obsessed, he'll manage that now and then. And accomplish... what?... from all that effort?

Meh. I won't waste more than those few seconds, you you guys need to shrug off those that do get through.. Please don't feed.

Acacia H. said...

How many Roberts are there here anyway? ^^;; Ah well, one of the nice things about becoming Acacia. :)

The video was amusing, nicely animated, and I truly wonder how I can get away with showing it to my Ostrich Republican friend. Then again, he lives in Mass. so he's harmless. That and his dad and mom are on Medicaid and he's a home caregiver so Trump's promised cuts to those programs are going to be far more effective in pulling his head out of the sand than any witty song.

Acacia H.

Larry Hart said...

For parody songs, no one holds a candle to Rocky Mountain Mike.

He's got dozens of them, some more biting than others. This one was espeically poignant on the Stephanie Miller show on the morning Trump was about to take office, but while President Obama was still (for a few hours more) President Obama.

Obama, stay
Just a little bit longer.
Why don't you stay
Just a little bit more.

Anonymous said...

@ Everybody: ISTM that what Trump could not recover from would to be laughed at, over and over again in public.
Examples of silly, immature, HARMLESS, yet embarrassing things:
1) Whenever Trump or a Trump official is about to speak, either the "Imperial March" from Star Wars or "Yakety Sax" by Boots Randolph, aka, "the Benny Hill Theme" is played for all to hear.
2) Whoopy cushions during a speech or interview.
3) Cell phones ringing during the same.
4) Crazy glue in a chair or on something he'd hold.
5) Dribble glass or melting spoon at a State Dinner.
6) Dark or weird-colored indelible dye in whatever he puts on his hair.
7) Vulgar, lascivious, obscene behavior toward Trump at rally from "plants".

Your thoughts...

Larry Hart said...

Keith Halperin:

Your thoughts...

Fun ideas, but they'd get you killed at his rallies. And he'd just pardon the killers.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Yeah, even that "Founding Fathers" parody would only work with someone already on the verge of being turned. That's very effective though, and a clever use of warping algorithms. Ten years ago that was cutting-edge Hollywood stuff that would get you an Oscar for special effects... and now average YouTubers can do cheap knockoffs. What a time to be alive!

What we need worst, though, is stuff that gets under the edge of the sticky, that pries open the jar of doubt -- while also being viral enough to make a difference (or otherwise is readily transmitted). House Bloomberg is doing a fair job with their blanket advertisements pointing out that Mike is everything Trump claimed he was -- but with the cash and election results to prove it, not to mention doing it all without a semblance of showmanship. But that's a blunt instrument.

If the enemy can induce people to question reality and embrace conspiracy, we need to induce people to question conspiracy and embrace reality. People know we have a failing, unjust society; the hoodwink is who's causing it.

David Brin said...

Keith, some of your ideas are cool, though you'd lose your press credential. The Darth Vader theme or Yakety Sax could get smuggled in as a happy birthday card. Maybe trigger the little thing with your toe.

Some of your other proposals would (rightfully) run you afoul of the Secret Service. And martyrdom is not something I am anxious for.

Acacia, your friend might be convertible and those can spread contagiously.

They need a face-saving meme. And the best one is "I am not surrendering to you liberals! But I am incensed over the Putin-Murdoch-Saudi takeover of American Conservatism. So it fighting Trump and today's corrupt/insane GOP/Fox leadership, I am NOT becoming one of you! I am fighting not just for America, but to help revive and renewed and sane and decent American conservatism!"

Re Kelly's recent interview... finally intervening against Trump... note that he was primarily intervening for the integrity of fellow officers, and the Officer Corps was his target audience. The way to make political use of this is NOT to focus on any individual critic of Trump. He will just go howl against each one at MAGA rallies, deriding an "igrate, jealous, bad hombre!" Instead, what someone should do (if our Dem candidates and pundits were smarter than mere beta-plus) is distill it down to the "incontestable and inarguable." A fact that cannot be bent or twisted by Fox or Trump, because it is devastating in its own right.

In this case, the inarguable is: "Donald Trump is a really lousy judge of character!" Whatever the merits of any one case, and even if he's right that they're all bad hombres(!), he's been betrayed by more former "great guys" than any 20 other presidents *combined*!" Offer the whole list of such betrayers and ask: would a stable genius pick wrong so many times?

Jon S. said...

"Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg - SOME MORE NEWS in which Mayor Pete's utter unsuitability to be the Dem nominee is unpacked. He's VERY problematical on closer examination. Like Bloomberg, he'd make a much better Republican."

There was a fellow on Twitter yesterday who said that as a queer youth, he got used to seeing Republicans mocked as being closet gays. He's happy now that we've gotten to the point where Mayor Pete can be an openly gay man running as a closet Republican.

As for political-funny songs, here's the YouTube channel of Randy Rainbow:

David Brin said...

I deem the "closet Republican" accusations at Pete as utter bull.

Larry Hart said...

It's dated, but the kid's impressions still hold up, especially Trump and Sanders.

This has special meaning for me. The graduation ceremony is actually at my daughter's middle school four years ago. I'm in the room where it happened. :)

"Why should students have to pay for their own cinnamon rolls?
It doesn't make any sense!"

matthew said...

Since the Democratic party now contains *many* Never-Trumpers, it only makes sense that we'd see Dem POTUS candidates that would be in a sane GOP. While they're not my choice for the job I'm still happy with them if they can win the nomination and defeat the GOP. This isn't about ideology it's about who can fight and win.
Granted, I think liberal economic theory and rational policy are the most appealing and would drive the most enthusiasm / turnout. But I'm willing to be proven wrong.
If Buttigieg or Bloomberg or Klobachar can win the primary then I'll throw my support behind them.
I still think Warren is the best choice to unite the party, but, heck prove me wrong.
What matters is getting it done and winning. Worrying that the Dem tent is getting too big is for *after* the immediate crisis is over.

David Brin said...

Heh! Fun graduation satire LH!

duncan cairncross said...

Re the "Closet Republican"

All of the Dem candidates would have been right at home in Eisenhower's Republican Party

TCB said...

Bill Clinton famously complained "We're Eisenhower Republicans fighting against Reagan Republicans" and although I'd like to like Pete, I just can't. He's too neat a fit into that wing of the Democratic Party, and if that wing of the Dems could stop the fascist-Republicans, they'd have done it before 2016.

A big part of the problem is that the GOP far right had a true long term strategy (starting in the Nixon era, and still in effect). The centrist Dems, as far as I can tell, had no long term strategy at all, at all. Their idea of long term is two election cycles, maybe. The far right strategy may not be genius, it may not even be particularly good (I am no judge, I didn't go to West Point). But even a mediocre strategy beats none at all!

Be that as it may, there are several especially noticeable pincers of the long term far right strategy, which we (or at least those who pay attention) have known about for decades.

We've all heard of the Southern Strategy, still in use; that's a given.

One long right-wing strategy is the takeover of the media. I complain about this a lot. It is rooted in the 1960's, when newspapers and TV made southern racists and Vietnam War planners look like bums, simply with honest news coverage. The GOP realized they'd need to own media to change that. Roger Ailes was pretty much the godfather of this strategy. Almost half a century later, the far right controls much of the media, and most of the remainder is corporate center-right. Even NPR fears to take them on. If the Democratic Party had any long term strategy they'd have started pushing back on this situation at least a decade sooner.

Another long term far right strategy is stealing elections, by multiple means. Again, where are the establishment Dems who reacted seriously to this before 2016? It should have been all hands on deck after Florida 2000!

Which leaves another critical long-term right wing strategy: packing the courts! Certainly, that historic 2000 theft couldn't happen without a conservative Supreme Court majority. And a noteworthy contribution to the overall right-wing strategy of the last 5 decades is the Lewis Powell memo. The Republican Party has, for the most part, followed his recommendations and seized the levers of power. A New Republic article from last year asserts, After 48 Years, Democrats Still Haven’t Gotten the Memo. We did not just find out about GOP court-packing. There's a scene in Angels in America where a character brags about GOP judges all over the federal bench "like land mines" wherever liberals turn. This was written over thirty years ago. And I doubt playwright Tony Kushner was the first to notice, even then.

These are some of the reasons primary voters have started beating up the establishment candidates. Voters (especially younger ones) may not be versed in every detail about how we got into the current mess, but they do understand that the 'serious adults in the room' failed to address it a long time ago.

Bringing the focus back to Mayor Pete, the video I linked really does shine an unattractive spotlight on his career, especially the three years at McKinsey, a company that seems to specialize in helping other companies explore the outer limits of ethics.

David Brin said...

Duncan: "All of the Dem candidates would have been right at home in Eisenhower's Republican Party"

Oh what a-historical malarkey! The GOP nominated Ike out of desperation, having lost a 'sure thing" in Dewey vs Truman. They knew he was going to accept the Roosevelt social contract and they resigned themselves to that, at last,m intending a long slog back. But they imposed Nixon on Ike as a price. Think about that.

Ike was never representative of the GOP establishment. But that establishment at least was diverse, with some "liberals" re race etc. See E. Dirksen portrayed in the wonderful film ALL THE WAY. But soon the Nixon flip began and the south became the main GOP base.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@TCB: that's some great writing, and I'm impressed with it. But as a political tract, it might be too sophisticated. In an era of memes, you offer cogent philosophy.
Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong on that one.

Zepp Jamieson said...

C'nC wrote:"Yeah, even that "Founding Fathers" parody would only work with someone already on the verge of being turned."

Pointless to try to 'turn' Trumpkins; they are cultists, intransigent and in their own way, resolute. "Don't Vote for That Guy" firms up resolve amongst Democrats.

And Democrats need some help there. Klobacher wants to include pro-lifers in the Democratic coalition; Biden would consider a GOP running mate; Bloomberg's history suggests he would just be a Trump with brains, if anything even more dangerous.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor: Ike was a desperate choice (both parties wanted him, and nobody know where his politics lay). But this was 1952, and New England Republicans were socially liberal and fiscally moderate. To their surprise, Ike was a fairly good fit. It's a indicator of how things have changed that the Dems didn't make a bigger play for him because the South, still deep blue, would have revolted and left the party because they suspected Ike was a integrationist.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Regarding songs as political satire, does anyone remember JibJab from the Bush campaign? or the current contender, Randy Rainbow? Songs poking fun at various political candidates are as old as the hills; shoots, even 'Yankee Doodle' was making fun of the inept Colonials. Then the colonials owned it, much like the Republicans do currently with far less savory habits.

David Brin said...

It took more than sympathies to break the Democratic solid south. It took two huge civil rights bills AND George Wallace AND 1968 and Richard Nixon.

TCB said...

I've also ruminated on the fact that the Democrats/liberals/socialists of the US lost their most charismatic leaders to gunfire in the 1960's. (Yes, MLK, like Einstein, identified as a socialist by the end of his life). There's JFK in Dallas in 1963, his brother in 1968 (at the moment he would have been a lock on the Dem nomination and likely next president), MLK in Memphis a couple months before that, and also Malcolm X (that was an inside dispute unlike the others).

Martin Luther King, who knows, it's not entirely crazy to suppose he also might have been a president one day. In any case he was influential and strategic-minded. He also was, among those I mention, the most clearly murdered for purpose by the Right. Being rid of him helped the fascists a great deal. I have read that some unnamed person at FBI headquarters reacted to reports of his death by shouting "We got the son of a bitch!" It is a matter of record that Hoover spied on him and tried to get him to suicide.

All I am saying here is: try to imagine a world where the Kennedys and King lived, and led, and created policy for the next decades, but Reagan and Nixon were shot dead in 1968 and never sat in the Oval Office. It's so different we almost can't get a handle on it.

David Brin said...

I'd rather not ruminate about death to opponents and I discourage it here.

My father (Bernie's clone) was 40 ft from Bobby on the worst night of my life.

TCB said...

Yikes. Fair enough.

Larry Hart said...

The Mad Librarian:

does anyone remember JibJab from the Bush campaign?

Their Kerry/Bush video (This Land is Your Land) put them on the map, but the Obama/McCain one (with Hillary too) was pretty funny as well. I'll never forget swimming at the pool at my parents' complex and hearing some little kid singing to himself, "Sometimes a brain can come in handy...". Or my wife trying not to explain to our then-six year old daughter why Hillary slapped Bill Clinton after "You came so close, my darling, alas no cigar."

One problem with that sort of thing, though, is that they have to be painfully neutral, making equal fun of all candidates and sending the generic message "politicians suck" instead of "Republicans suck" or "Trump sucks".

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin,

I'd rather not ruminate about death to opponents and I discourage it here.

I know that, and respect your house in that regard. I hope it's not too much of a violation when I point out that rule of law and orderly transition of power are meant to prevent violence as a means of political change, and that when a president wields immunity as Trump is doing with respect to himself and Roger Stone, violence becomes the only resort. That's not a call to violence as much as a warning against transgressing the norms which foreclose it.

That said, I don't think TCB was calling for anyone to be killed (the individuals he mentioned are dead of natural causes already), but rather an "Imagine the roles were reversed" thought experiment.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I don't get this at all. Or maybe I just don't know who to root for. But it sounds as if Barr is bemoaning Trump's interference in Barr's job, even though Barr's job seems to be "running interference for Trump". Maybe the problem is that Trump makes it too hard for Barr to pretend to be independent? Trump gives Trumpism a bad name in the same way that Hitler gave anti-Semitism a bad name? I'm having trouble unpacking what his complaint is.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr delivered an extraordinary rebuke of President Trump on Thursday, saying that his attacks on the Justice Department had made it “impossible for me to do my job” and that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

Mr. Barr has been among the president’s most loyal allies and denigrated by Democrats as nothing more than his personal lawyer, but he publicly challenged Mr. Trump in a way that no sitting cabinet member has.

“Whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with ABC News, echoing comments he made a year ago at his confirmation hearing. “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Larry Hart said...

Just to be clear, if Sanders is indeed the nominee, the Democratic Party should give him its wholehearted support. He probably couldn’t turn America into Denmark, and even if he could, President Trump is trying to turn us into a white nationalist autocracy like Hungary. Which would you prefer?

Krugman makes a good point there, but to the Trump supporters in too many red states, I have a feeling that the answer is "Hungary, of course. Is that a trick question?" And only partially because of the white nationalist thing. Many of them seem to think that the whole point of life is for it to be short, hard, and filled with quiet desperation, and that any attempt to make it bearable, let alone pleasant, is some sort of affront to the natural order. During the early W Bush administration, I remember someone using the parody quote, "The long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is over." That seemed to hit the nail on the head.

BTW, this might be where people are getting that "Buttigieg Republican" thing from:

Speaking of unhelpful political posturing, the runner-up in New Hampshire has also been poisoning his own well. Over the past few days Pete Buttigieg has chosen to pose as a deficit hawk, thereby demonstrating that while he may be a fresh face, he has remarkably stale ideas.

Larry Hart said...


In Trump’s America, only a select class of criminals are shown magnanimity. As the former Peruvian president, ├ôscar Benavides, allegedly said, “For my friends, everything. For my enemies, the law.”


Outrage seems rather too mild a word. There is now one set of laws in this country for people who serve Trump, and another for everyone else. During Trump’s impeachment trial, the House managers repeated a quote attributed to Ben Franklin over and over again: “A republic, if you can keep it.” We haven’t kept it. The question now is whether we ever get it back.

Larry Hart said...

Terribly juvenile pun, but in the mood I'm in these days, I laughed out loud anyway:

Senate Republicans who acquitted Trump did Nazi this happening

Larry Hart said...

South Carolina Republicans sure seem to doubt that Bernie is the Democrat who can most easily beat Trump. In fact, he's the one they want to run against:

Under the banner of “Trump 2-29,” several tea party leaders are mobilizing on social media to encourage Republicans to take Democratic ballots in the state’s Feb. 29 open primary and vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most radical of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. At the same time, Operation Chaos 2020, an initiative of the Conservative Defense Fund of Greenville, South Carolina, is conducting an online poll to select “the craziest liberal looney” for Republicans to support. (As of Thursday, that poll had Sanders far ahead of the rest of the field.)

Of course, this kind of strategy may backfire even if it works. The idea is to force an unwinnable candidate on the Democrats, but then what happens if he does win in November? I mean, if the Democrats had tried a similar screw-with-the-opposition strategy to force an unwinnable candidate onto the Republicans in 2016, they probably would have chosen Donald Trump as the candidate they most wanted to run against.

Smurphs said...

From Smurphs:

Love the videos, as long as they are short. I don't have time to sit thru 30+ minutes several times a day. It's why I read (and why I hate the near-death of quality journalism).

RE: Trump/Barr: Don't pay it any mind, It's just Barr pretending to be independent so he doesn't have an internal revolt. Don't know if a revolt would really happen, or if this strategy would work, but I do know this: I trust what Barr says no more than I trust what Trump says.

RE: South Carolina vote flipping. Isn't this the same strategy our Good Doctor has been recommending for years, albeit in the other direction?

David Smelser said...


I suppose there are two ways to look at this. What democratic candidate give Trump the best chance of getting reelected? That is the type of analysis I've seen most on the internet.

What about the alternative, what democratic candidate does the least amount of damage (from the GOP point of view) if they were to actually win the election in Novemeber? And how does that answer change if we evaluate this from Putin's perspective?

Tacitus said...

It is a point in the political cycle when there is a lot of "stuff" circulating. Some of it is being pushed by Trump supporters trying to influence the system so that they get the opponant they most want to face. (Which is of course how the Dems encouraged the Trump candidacy!). I suspect a fair amount comes from the camps of the remaining contenders for the nomination. And a bit from the press who pursue their own agenda.

To some extent touting various D candidates as moderates is a reflection of deep DNC concern that a Saunders nomination will cause a 2020 defeat of epic proportions. Or perhaps a first bit of tack to the center post nomination spin?

I don't take too much of this seriously yet although once delegates are actually being selected there is a little substance to the vapor.

Discounting the possibility of a Bloomberg Purchase I begin to suspect the nomination goes to Saunders who picks Klobuchar as veep. If it is a brokered convention all bets are off. Buttegieg is an outside shot. I'm not sure who he'd pick as veep that would balance the ticket. To some extent this is terra incognito.

T. Wolter

David Brin said...

“Speaking of unhelpful political posturing, the runner-up in New Hampshire has also been poisoning his own well. Over the past few days Pete Buttigieg has chosen to pose as a deficit hawk, thereby demonstrating that while he may be a fresh face, he has remarkably stale ideas.”

In fact, it is one area where a democrat could make HUGE inroads into RASRS if we were to reposition the Dems to PROUDLY show that they are always, always more fiscally responsible. That the new endeavors in health care, education and infrastructure can be financed mainly by the rich and then the money acceleration that will come from infrastructure jobs.

“RE: South Carolina vote flipping. Isn't this the same strategy our Good Doctor has been recommending for years, albeit in the other direction?”

No it’s NOT what I’ve been recommending. The ONLY people I say should register Republican are those who live in gerrymandered districts and thus have no effective vote in the general election, and the primary is their only opportunity to have a say in representation. I do NOT say: ‘vote Republican in order to fuck them.” I say: “Vote AMONG the Republicans for the reasonable person who might answer your phone calls.”

My aim is to REDUCE partisanship that was caused by gerrymandering.

Tim: “Which is of course how the Dems encouraged the Trump candidacy…”

Please substantiate this urban legend. I have seen no serious sign of it, whatsoever and you don’t get to blame us!

As for Bernie, his age and health are issues. He must choose a VERY solid Veep. And if he has issues before the convention should fall back to the role of king-maker. Even demanding to BE veep. (Think about it.)

Tacitus said...

OK. Shallow dive only, busy times.

Now, not everything in the Wikileaks trove can be taken as gospel but the promotion of "Pied Piper" candidates rings true and I don't think has been contested.

Of course to those who feel that favorably inclined media outlets are, as one conservative site calls them "Democratic Operatives with bylines" the sheer volume of early media attention for Trump can't be denied. Donations in kind to the Trump campaign.

T. Wolter

Keith Halperin said...

@Dr. Brin:
ISTM that if the 2020 election can be decided on the basis of persuading some of the potential swing voters or disillusioned Trump supporters in swing states on the basis of reasonable positions and factual information, we should definitely travel this "higher road" and work toward it being the "main road" in upcoming electoral contests. (We should also work to maximize voter turnout in these same swing states.) At the same time, this may NOT be the optimal strategy- it may (in addition) be necessary to appeal to the raw emotions of people and "get downright Howard Beale on they ass". (
As (apocryphally) LBJ is said to have said:
"When you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds soon follow."

I think if a man is the nominee: Klobuchar, Harris, Abrams, or Warren could be good running mates, and if a woman: Sanders, Buttegieg, Booker, Castro. Could an all-woman team be elected in 2020?

Larry Hart said...


RE: South Carolina vote flipping. Isn't this the same strategy our Good Doctor has been recommending for years, albeit in the other direction?

Kind of, but not exactly. Dr Brin advocates joining the party who is firmly in control of your area and pushing them to field a candidate acceptable to you.

Which maybe has something in common with switching primary parties in order to rat-f*** them, but isn't really the same thing. Maybe even the opposite thing.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

...trying to influence the system so that they get the opponant they most want to face. (Which is of course how the Dems encouraged the Trump candidacy!)

I certainly didn't do that. Ronald Reagan is still too fresh in my mind.

CP said...

I think an all-female ticket is a manageable risk. After all, they could say that "after 200+ years of all-male tickets (or loosing male/female tickets), it's high time to try an all-female ticket to counteract Trump". As I mentioned previously, there are few people who would accept a female presidential candidate and then object to a female VP.

One of Clinton's mistakes was picking Kaine for VP rather than Warren in 2016. She was overconfident and chose a VP who was ideologically similar to her--a comfortable "governing assistant" who provided little balance to the ticket. Warren would have added a much-needed tone of populism to offset her prior "coziness" with corporate interests. Plus, she's a stronger retail campaigner that Kaine. It's something of a catch-22 but one charge against Clinton was that she was too weak for the job. And, the largely unstated subtext that she "needed a man to help her govern" reinforced that attack.

Klobuchar/Abrams would be a strong ticket. So would Klobuchar/Warren in either order.

Smurphs said...

Hey, Doc. Sorry, I do get you point.

I was aiming for sarcasm and levity. I obviously missed the mark.

Smurphs said...

KH said:

"we should definitely travel this "higher road" and work toward it being the "main road" in upcoming electoral contests. ("

Good luck.

High road, low road, back road. We need to do anything and everything to win the coming elections, national and local. All dirty tricks* and even lies are fair game, anything short of illegal. Because our opponents are not even stopping there.

What's that definition of insanity, trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Personally, I am climbing down from the high road, because it leading us off another cliff.

I don't want to feel morally superior through another four years of Trump. I want to win.

*Of course, at my stage of life and health, the only "dirty trick" I am capable of would be stealing my neighbors lawn signs. But I'm open to suggestions.

scidata said...

On the positive side, the turmoil and fear over Mango Unchained has greatly ramped up interest in my citizen science and computational thinking efforts. People seem to take me much more seriously of late. But I'd still trade it for the halcyon days of yore.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

Of course to those who feel that favorably inclined media outlets are, as one conservative site calls them "Democratic Operatives with bylines" the sheer volume of early media attention for Trump can't be denied. Donations in kind to the Trump campaign.

With all due respect, "conservative site" sounds to my ear like "propaganda mill." Talking about the liberal media as if Walter Cronkite were still broadcasting is disingenuous. The news media haven't been "liberal" since the 1980s when their news divisions were subsumed into their entertainment divisions, and news became less about informing the public than about grabbing ratings. You didn't see the so-called-liberal media being against the Afghanistan or Iraq wars, did you? In fact, Phil Donohue was fired from NBC for not promoting the war.

The media attention to Trump was not about ideology, but about ratings. Trump was good for eyeballs and clicks, and so the media gave him all the attention he wanted. If I recall correctly, a high CBS executive commented to the effect "Trump may be bad for the country and bad for the Republican Party, but he's great for CBS." He didn't mean because he'd help elect Hillary Clinton.

A.F. Rey said...

As (apocryphally) LBJ is said to have said:
"When you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds soon follow."

It may be older than that. As Terry Pratchett wrote in Small Gods: "Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum. When you have their full attention in your grip, their hearts and minds will follow." ;) :)

Jon S. said...

Re: Trump/Barr - it's kayfabe. To borrow a line from Twitter, anyone who thinks Barr is actually opposing Trump in any significant fashion at all probably also believes that Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant actually hated each other back in the day.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

Re: Trump/Barr - it's kayfabe

Is that something like covfefe?

Alfred Differ said...

I sincerely hope Harris is NOT chosen for VP.
I'd much prefer her as AG. (evil grin)

I'm sure CA can find a suitably feisty replacement Senator.

Smurphs said...

Jon, not being a wrestling fan, I had to look up the word "kayfabe". Thanks for my new word of the day.

TCB said...

@ CP: Kaine was a stupid choice. If Hillary had picked Bernie as VP, she would be President now. I firmly believe that.

@ Tim Wolter: I dunno what that robot of yours is spose to do, but it's pretty cool.

@ Jon S.: Yep, it's kayfabe all right. Trumpigula is blowing Barr's cover.

Those Some More News vids are longish, but there's no filler, really. Here's something he mentioned that really must be seen to be believed: Chris Matthews loses his everlovin' MIND over Berniecrat SOCIALISM and is not so sure Bernie wouldn't have him executed in Central Park.

I used to think Chris Matthews was a sane man from planet Earth, but somehow Bernie scares him more than Trump does. I mean, really now. We're close to Cuba being a more free country than Unistat. Really really close. But Chris Matthews cannot see it.

David Brin said...

Keith, SOME of my tactics in POLEMICAL JUDO are about logical/factual persuasion. Others are about using fact-based challenges to undermine and render untenable rightist talking points, forcing Republicans to either reconsider or retreat in ways that leave their credibility tattered. And some are meant to demoralize. And some to unify our own coalition and evade mistakes. All approaches have uses.

I believe Harris withdrew prematurely as part of a VP deal... She might be pissing over Biden's plummet.

David Brin said...

Smurphs, you don’t have to abandon the high road in order to fight with tactical ferocity. I give close to a hundred ways and examples in my book.

Tim, the polemical answer to “fake news!” is to demand “when have you ever offered to help set up a neutral or bipartisan commission of sages to help SOLVE this problem?" They never have and never will. Because any non-flaming, decent conservatives like retired officers/judges/scientists (or guys like you) whom they choose to serve will swiftly betray them, reporting the blatant fact that rightwing media lies 100x more often.

Harris would make a spectacular AG… but the fear is she could abandon team playing and go rogue at any moment.

I am disturbed by Klobuchar mania. I really must give her more of a fair hearing because I wasn’t impressed early on. Then there are her tantrum tales. Still, all of that is in context with the fact that ALL of the DP candidates were quality people, a deep bench. I wish one of them were an alpha, though.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Larry Hart: Thanks.

@ Smurphs: Damn straight!

@ A.F. Rey: Thanks.

@ Dr. Brin: Thanks. The more tools you have in your toolbox that you can use (and the more ways you can use them), the better.

Alfred Differ said...

Klobuchar is a charmer with all that implies when the glamour bursts.

Lloyd Flack said...

Some lovely Australian satirists called The Juice Media have produced a series of videos called Honest Government Ads. Some members of or government, including the Atourney General, would like to introduce legislation that could get them in trouble for impersonating government officials. Here for your edification and entertainment are some of thwem. Please try to imagine what they would do to Trump.

Lloyd Flack said...

Not being familiar with the targets,Americans will not get the full savagery of these ads but enough should come through.

TCB said...

Bloomberg gave millions to the GOP as late as 2018 and helped them get and keep the Senate.

Tacitus said...


The robot is supposed to compete (three to a team) to collect and launch foam balls, play defense, grab a hanging bar and pull itself off the ground. Then autobalance the bar. Thats the superficial explanation.
The truer purpose is to give a batch of 20 kids (8th-12th grades) a chance to learn and show off what they have learned. PID programming, advanced CAD, project management, Lidar, vision processing and infrared sensor integration.
The truest purpose is that I've been working with this particular cohort for up to five years now. We know each other well. They want me to suffer.

T. Wolter

Tacitus said...


You gave a rather stock answer to my specific reply. You asked for evidence that the DNC in 2016 wanted to give the Trump candidacy a boost as they thought he'd be a patsy. I linked to the DNC internal docs that describe the Pied Piper candidates. You can claim, as has not to my knowlege been claimed, that these docs are bogus, but to just ignore my answer and launch into stock Fake News stuff is superficial. But hey, I know you are a busy guy.

I do make a distinction between partisan news outlets and outright fakery. Both have long been with us and there is some overlap. That's not the matter we were discussing.

Anyways, back to another session of robot stuff. They've taken on a design so close to the technological and literal tipping point....sigh. They do want me to suffer.

T. Wolter

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Klobuchar is a charmer

Hmmmm, gotta watch out for that. That's where I'm especially susceptible. :)

Acacia H. said...

Tacitus, I'm disinclined to believe that the material in Wikileaks can be trusted due to its use as a Russian asset. The two best ways to tell a lie is to mix it in with two bits of the truth, or speak enough lies about it being the truth that people finally accept it as such. Admittedly I'm no longer one of the more conservative folk on here, seeing that being transgender is anathema among Republicans and the like (seeing how much Trump is building up to turn transpeople into the Other and strip us of identity and agency so to give his base something to sop up), but even so you know I'm not someone to diss your views as a matter of course.

Acacia H.

David Brin said...

Lloyd F. thanks for those links. Those JuiceMedia folks really are amazing. I’ll tout em, using your words!!

Tim W. Suffer on! We just watched the latest terminator movie and it is inspiring to know that 20,000 high schools are training kids for the roboapocalypse!

As for those DNC documents, I honestly tell you that I missed the link and hence never commented on them. This is the first time I have seen “Pied Piper documents.” Are you sure you posted that? Yes I sometimes skim, so try again.

David Brin said...