Saturday, May 02, 2020

International mafias and our struggle to survive

== Those mob connections ==


We all knew there were mob connections. Indeed, the thing the Trumpists fear most is release of the full swathe of documents from Deutsche Bank, proving that roughly a billion dollars of Russian oligarch mafia cash rescued the family from their multiple bankruptcies. Still, this book excerpt shows how far back it goes and a depth of mob links that swirl so thick you'd need more than a respirator... more like a spacesuit... not to choke.

Will the Deutsche Bank revelations ever “hit the fan” and save us? The exact correlations to the laundering through the Trump Co. of tens of billions in Russian oligarch cash are blatantly there, but will those powers succeed in keeping the flames concealed by smoke? Oh, but so much smoke! In his best-selling book Dark Towers, David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, chronicles the complicated history of Deutsche Bank and its entanglement with Donald Trump. 

Reviewing Dark Towers, Roger Lowenstein writes, 

"Enrich’s most tantalizing nugget is that in the summer of 2016, Jared Kushner’s real estate company (which received lavish financing from Deutsche) was moving money to various Russians. A bank compliance officer filed a “suspicious activity report,” but the report was quashed and she was fired. The suggestion that maybe the money was payback for Russian campaign meddling isn’t one that Enrich can prove. Similarly, we will have to wait to see if Deutsche can recover from years of banking malpractice that destroyed its capital and wiped out 95 percent of its stock price. In the meantime, Enrich has given us a thorough, clearly written and generally levelheaded account of a bank that lost its way." (Courtesy of Phil’s Stock World.)

And this is one more reason to wage open war not just on the reputation of the FBI and other law professionals, but all independent civil servants, especially inspectors general.

== Cyberwar - Cold War ==
  
Scary stuff re cyber warfare: During the Cold War, opposing military commanders and national leaders spent decades figuring out how to posture and signal to one another so they could resolve disputes without fighting. In nearly every major depiction of an imagined cyberwar, the purpose of the attacks is obvious and usually involves cowing the United States into concessions. In his book “Glass Houses,” for example, former National Security Council inspector general Joel Brenner imagines China using a series of devastating cyberattacks to force the United States to back down in a confrontation over Taiwan.”

The real danger though comes in a second Trump term, when his hollowing out of the so-called "deep state" finally lets him hand over our intel agencies to the Kremlin

Putin backs Russian constitutional amendment allowing him to stay in office till 2036.”  It's not just that these President-for-Life moves are boringly predictable aspects of despotism. Or that they show why delusional, macho-male leaders ruled so execrably in 99% of human cultures for 6000 years. 

On a more fundamental level, these actions by Putin, Xi and others insult their own people and nations! Doesn't the "indispensable man" justification imply the entire nation can't sift a vast pool of talent for one other... or several or many other... leaders just as qualified? What, not even one? So the lesson is that you are a fluke genius, without whom the entire, fragile edifice would collapse?

The never-mentioned silver lining to all of this mess - an oligarchic-confederate putsch that aims to demolish the Enlightenment Experiment? It is that the U.S. has been robust, so far, in the face of the very worst-case scenario, takeover of our executive, legislative and judicial branches by either moronic-maniacs or enemies, or both. The very thing that Vlad has aimed to prove - that democracy is a decadent failure - is exactly what we have disproved.

So far. In the short term.

But yes, 6000 years of history shows the odds were always stacked against any effort to rise above oligarchism. Indeed, each generation in this Great Experiment has had to show heroism to some degree. And the magical, almost godlike power of citizenship.

It's our turn.


== The great warner ==

As often the case, George Orwell had insights into what these monsters aim to achieve:

"For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”

  - O’Brien, speaking for the Party in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four


== Worries and concerns ==

Yes, added to the long list of “he actually said that”: 

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. Having to support vote-suppression is now a core matter of survival to a Republican Party that has been losing members – especially from the fact-professions – faster than leaves from a dying tree. 


Next. While this article contains loads of “stuff I never knew” about far-right hackers and their backers, it is also tendentious and untrustworthy at some levels, including especially the very notion that “facial recognition” is some sort of plot, instead of an absolutely inevitable aspect of technology, as natural and unstoppable as the tide. 

Yes, shine light on abuses or uneven distributions of access or power. But there are better ways to prevent all that and get positive sum benefits. This article ironically demonstrates the very process that can offer that path.  “The Far-Right Helped Create The World’s Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology - Clearview AI, which has alarmed privacy experts, hired several far-right employees, a HuffPost investigation found."

California proposes 3-day backup power for cell towers, communication networks.” A small step toward the kind of systemic resilience I’ve been pushing for decades. Still, towers are the most unreliable piece of infrastructure we’ve got. Vastly better would be to require the cell-cos to turn on the backup peer-to-peer text-passing capability that is already available on Qualcomm chip sets.  See other recommendations to make society more robust here… or copied into a chapter of Polemical Judo.

153 comments:

Tony Fisk said...

Sarah Kendzior's latest "Hiding in Plain Sight" complements Enrich's work by covering the means by which the Kremlin was able to manipulate Trump into power. Worth a look, even if only to acknowledge some folk in 'flyover country' know the score all too well.

yana said...


One benefit of the rise of nationalism this time, is that every country will want to assure it's own supply of vaccine. That means vast and supranational networking among medics, firmly embedding science professionals into the governance of each of this world's 220+ pol divisions. Nothing but good can come of that.

So many young people, in so many countries. Obviously, this circus will churn over leadership in many nations, but not all at once. The demographic shift downward will be more pronounced in the 1st World, where ripe old lives were routine, but stable political institutions will retard the turnover. In poorer nations, where the demographic was much younger all along, the passage of political power will be more swift and sporadic, more violent.

None of this is any surprise. The novelty comes when we fold into the batter a dollop of new communication ability. The new breads which rise in each national pan will bear more resemblance to each other. Think of the internet as freerange yeast. Populist yes, but a more interpopulist political and social regime than before. Don't forget that each new gov't will have a greatly enhanced role for health care officials, real scientists.

Maybe it's not a coincidence that this happens just after 50.1% of people live in cities. One thing for certain, scholarly demand for access to manuscripts circa 1350 AD will spike. How did humanity cope before? Maybe, just maybe, it's not a coincidence that the survivors of the Black Death spawned both the printing press, and witchburnings.

Transitions of power happen all the time across the globe. The new thing is that they will skew towards each other, ideologically. Currently four templates for new regimes to choose from.

* The American, which says more freedom naturally leads to innovation, and more general wealth.

* The Russian, where vast economic concentration can manage the spill-over to make one select prole in 300 wealthy.

* The European, removing social uncertainty jacks productivity to cosmic levels, thus general wealth.

* The Chinese, if everyone just sits down and shuts up, there is no societal drag of litigation, so more money for everyone.

Don't know where you land on the socio-economic spectrum, but i'm partial to #1. Where else would you find a century-old Anarchist Party, all oxymoronics aside? It's the mess which truly keeps us sane and healthy, the filthy push-me-pull-you of interests and altruists.

Daniel Duffy said...

A left over from the last thread.

Looks like we discovered Earth II around a red dwarf star.

However, any planet orbiting a red dwarf star in its habitable ("Goldilocks") that is not too hot (Venus) or too cold (Mars) so that liquid water can exist (Earth) will probably be tidally locked with the same face always facing the sun. This creates a world of a permanently scorched sun-side and a permanently frozen dark-side with the potentially temperate twilight zone along the border of of the two being forever buffeted by hurricane force winds.

Keep looking.

George Carty said...

If you look at the companies listed on the S&P 500 Index, the companies based in California, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts have a capitalization-weighted gross profit margin 20 percentage points higher than that for the companies based in the rest of the United States. Doesn't this suggest that the root of inequality in the United States is in the blue states not the red states?

The corporations based in blue-state metropoles are hugely profitable thanks to often globe-spanning monopoly power: based on patents (pharmaceutical companies), copyrights (entertainment and computer software) or network effects (FANG companies) while red state corporations deal in commoditized products and (in spite of doing the most capital investment and thus the most wealth creation) are much less profitable: more comparable to European or Asian corporations.

This explains why blue states support free trade (because it supplies them with lots of cheap imports from Asia, and they don't have to worry about being out-competed themselves) while red states flocked to the protectionist Trump (because they were the ones whom the Asians were out-competing).

Even the June Trauma is a symptom rather than a disease: the main thing that attracts the red states' best and brightest school leavers to the blue states isn't multiculturalism but high salaries, made possible by the monopoly power enjoyed by corporations there. Although the migrants themselves aren't the biggest beneficiaries of such migration: the landlords in expensive areas of the US like the Bay Area, Seattle and New York City are, as they exploit the monopoly rents collected by the intellectual property corporations much as remoras exploit sharks.

The brain drain is the cause of the rise of red state anti-intellectualism rather than its consequence, and the impoverishment of the red states by blue state monopoly power (which is only partly counterbalanced by blue-to-red fiscal transfers) makes racist zero-sum thinking very attractive.

Dwight Williams said...

A disturbing collection of reports. Disturbing because I suspect, based on the documentation we've already seen here and elsewhere, that this is true.

Making sure that users can turn on and off the FM chips in their phones as they choose would be good.

Dwight Williams said...

Yana: I'm convinced that American and European schools of thought as you describe them need to band together, and that this is not the paradox it might first appear to be.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Leaving Mafio thugs aside for the instant, there is the ongoing war on science. Today's Guardian has an excellent article on that: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/science-donald-trump-coronavirus

scidata said...

yana: firmly embedding science professionals into the governance

We are perhaps seeing the rise of scientocracy. Even clownish wannabe-oligarchs are racing to embrace the nearest white coat (hoping to secure their steadfast loyalty, without the slightest notion of what drives good scientists). For it to succeed, a strong and widespread scientific literacy in the citizenry will be vital. Much more than scientist baseball cards; citizen science could do the trick.

matthew said...

A twilight zone buffeted by permanent hurricane winds might also be used by relatively primitive tool users to have a quite large energy surplus. If you have permanent hurricane winds then kites and windmills could be rather powerful. Built like a tank, yes, but capable of moving a lot of gears or pulleys.

George makes a more measured version of Loco's canard - that the Blue States, which heavily subsidize the Red States via federal taxes, are in fact the reason for wealth inequality. George is at least as delusional as Loco is, but is trying the same arguments (brain drain,globalism is bad, resource extraction is somehow more moral than intellectual pursuits) in a more polished way. It is the same bullshit argument though.

Blue states have higher wealth concentration because blue states have greater wealth creation and trade capability. Everywhere you see a concentration of "learned" professions in Red States, you also get little Blue islands. Those little Blue islands in Red states are also concentrations of greater wealth creation and trade capability.

I submit that the wealth creation and the "blue"-ness of an area are linked because of the anti-intellectualism of Red areas leads to stunted trade, and local accumulations of power to a small local elite, which tends to be massively inefficient and also anti-competitive.

Nice trolling, George, but I am unconvinced by your assertions.


TheMadLibrarian said...

@George Carly: How, then, do you explain the states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and yes, even Texas who are flip-flopping right now towards blue? Many of them are previous industrial giants who have been gutted by the last couple of decades of red rule, and are now trying something different, in the hopes of recovering from some disastrous policies.

David Brin said...

George C raises important points. Rent farming by the landlord caste has reached systemic-peonage levels in places like Hong Kong, where most wages go to service rents. In the US, covid may lead many companies to set up satellite offices in suburbs, where such peonage is harder. But yes, during every downturn those with cash buy up distressed real estate and the trend is toward an owner caste.

While we are in agreement that we need anti-monopoly enforcement… to credit a couple dozen tech monopolies a with the vast blue-vs-red productivity difference is laughable when the cultural differences - e.g. utter, bilious hatred of knowledge and mental life, a tradition going way back before the 1850s — are so much stronger.

Moreover the social/political forces that might bring about monopoly breakup are so vastly stronger in those blue zones.

But before monopolies are broken up we need to change the international order toward super transparency and end the practice of nations cheating with National Champion companies.

Matthew, please don’t taunt locumranch, now that he is banned and unable to speak up in defense.

David Brin said...

"That means vast and supranational networking among medics, firmly embedding science professionals into the governance of each of this world's 220+ pol divisions. Nothing but good can come of that.”

Alas, I believe you underestimate the determination of neo-feudalists to crush such folks into a busy clade of obedient boffins. Likewise, I think you underestimate the degree to which Orwellian bosses will use tribal hostilities to keep young people supping paranoid memes against ‘others’ rather than aiming ire upward.

Your four templates are pretty good, though! Though there are cancerous versions of all four. Well, the Russian one is already metastasized.

DD: the bigger problem of orbiting a red dwarf is that most of them issue periodic flares that might do a real number on the planetary atmosphere.

Smurphs said...

Can someone please explain the Michigan protest to me? Maybe someone from Michigan.

I get the anger over the lock-down. If you want to gather in public, feel free. But entering public buildings is NOT exercising the right to assemble.

Armed men invading the Statehouse with American Flags (yay), and Swastikas, Confederate Flags and nooses? Senators feeling the need for bullet-proof vests. And if gunfire had started, I am sure we would be hearing about "good people on both sides" from you know who.

If they weren't white, Christian and right-wing, they would have been shot.

Can you imagine some armed black men trying that?

Happy Kent State Massacre Adversary. (ironic, isn't it?)

Dwight Williams said...

At least one theory I've read suggests that the Michigan "crowd" is DeVos-backed. Historically, another theorist has compared them to Rohm's Sturmabteilung.

Dwight Williams said...

And it is not confined to Lansing. We've seen similar in Sacramento as well...?

Treebeard said...

Speaking of international mafias, I see that this virus being used as a pretext to accelerate authoritarianism worldwide, and that a lot of people here think this is a positive development. Look how easy it was to turn the planet into a prison on the advice of a few “experts”, and how giant corporations are using it to shut down troublesome people, on the pretext that they disputed the official stories about the virus from the WHO and the NHS. This looks like Orwellianism in action, coming from scientific and technocratic institutions.

As I’ve pointed out before, Enlightenment cultism leads easily to authoritarianism, because it has this idea, inherited from monotheism, that on any important question there is One Objective Truth which can only be discovered by the One True Method, and anything else amounts to heresy. Instead of a Church, it has institutions like the WHO, instead of priests it has credentialed scientific experts, instead of a pope it has guys like Bill Gates, instead of witches, it has “conspiracy theorists”, “anti-vaxxers” and the like.

My alternative approach to health is to keep it simple and do what our ancestors did: spend time in nature, get lots of exercise and sunshine, eat natural foods, and your immune system will be as good as it’s ever gonna get. No institutions, technology or drugs required. By doing this, I basically never get sick or need to deal with the medical system—which to me resembles a giant social control system/highly profitable racket. Closing down society, telling people to stay indoors and spreading hysteria via the media is pretty much guaranteed to weaken people’s immune systems and make things worse.

In general, the mentality that it’s a good idea to outsource your health, mind, culture, sovereignty, etc. to giant industrial complexes and their experts is a toxically bad idea on every count, as this pandemic is demonstrating. It’s also useful to remember that “this, too, shall pass”, “memento mori”, and there are worse things than death, like living in slavery and indignity, even when your slave-masters claim to be experts acting in your best interests. Only I can know that, and they can all go to hell.

matthew said...

Sorry I wasn't aware that Locumranch got banned. I thought he was lying low for a while. I wont use him as an example then.

TCB said...

Reminder: anyone who tells you democracy is unnatural and unworkable is just wrong. Bees vote. And it's worked out just fine for them over millions of years.

Larry Hart said...

Smurphs:

Can someone please explain the Michigan protest to me? Maybe someone from Michigan.
...
If they weren't white, Christian and right-wing, they would have been shot.


That's the explanation, although it hardly sounds like one. White Christian right-wing protesters receive all sorts of deference from law enforcement when they engage in activities for which police would shoot to kill any other group engaging in the same behavior. And yet, they consider themselves to be the victims of tyrannical government rule.

Dave Sim used to say of women that no amount of giving in to their demands ever satisfies them, and only leads to more and more escalating demands. That goes orders of magnitude for right-wing terrorists as well. They're the sorest winners I have ever seen.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

My alternative approach to health is to keep it simple and do what our ancestors did: spend time in nature, get lots of exercise and sunshine, eat natural foods, and your immune system will be as good as it’s ever gonna get. No institutions, technology or drugs required. By doing this, I basically never get sick or need to deal with the medical system—which to me resembles a giant social control system/highly profitable racket.


I hate it when he's right, dang it!

David Brin said...

That beaded back-to-the-Earth hippie Treebeard is onto something... minimally, in that his 'alternative' is certainly desirable for all humans, everywhere and is followed far more in places he despises. Alas for his MACRO points - insane ones -- the countries who best handled the crisis have been New Zealand (spectacularly) Australia, South Korea, etc, all of which democracies used basic public health powers in context of utter transparency and accountability, out performing both despotisms and our own nascent one.

Alfred Differ said...

By doing this, I basically never get sick or need to deal with the medical system...

I used to say and believe similar things... when I was younger. Not so much anymore.

No institutions, technology or drugs required.

That's a nice hope. Works quite well... until it doesn't.

One of the many things that distinguishes the current era is that we can DO SOMETHING about it that is measurably better than fresh air and sunshine alone. I'm still alive because of this.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"I believe you underestimate the determination of neo-feudalists to crush such folks [science professionals] into a busy clade of obedient boffins."

Understand that, but simply don't think it works with urgent medicine. Consider the Wuhan doctor who raised the alarm in Nov/Dec '19. Crushed by Emperor Xi's agents, and they're still paying political prices for that. Now he's a national hero (posthumously), a People's Hero, moreso since he can't say anything any longer. Kings called "president" can appoint toadies to science positions all they like, but it will always cause them political harm. Science doesn't work like politics, which Treebeard tragically misunderstands.

"Likewise, I think you underestimate the degree to which Orwellian bosses will use tribal hostilities to keep young people supping paranoid memes against ‘others’ rather than aiming ire upward."

That thing, i do not underestimate, but have not found a good answer for yet. GX'ers and Millys are already inured to lies coming out of their phones, not quite immune but socially innoculated in varying degrees. Doing my part, face-to-face with peers, trying to keep up a steady stream of rational and sane ideas, using banter and humor. Yesterday, talked a Boomer off a bit of a depressive ledge. But there has got to be a better way.

This idea has been gestating for some years, there are sweatshop meme factories pumping out clickbait idiocy, the more divisive the more profitable. How could someone set up a counterbalancing meme factory where the product combines comedy and sanity to cast a glaring light on inequality?

It'd be a slippery tightrope, to avoid dipping into conspiracy nutjobbery on one side, and the hollowing effect of moral equivalence on the other, the trap of What-about-ism. Requires accepting that all people have warts, while pointing out the ones which have scraggly hairs and seeping pus.

Most important, how to do this with no money? Would have to be a volunteer effort, not a captain of industry nor have contact info for any wealthy people. But with plenty of creatives idled and an election coming, seems like time to smack some hot iron.

jim said...

Ok so now we have been through 1/3 of the year and boy oh boy has this year been living up to its Astrological billing of being a year of a Grand Mutation………(LOL)

So I was thinking how can this year get any crazier?

Looks like Jessi Ventura is going to run for president on the Green Party ticket.
(Medicare for ALL and a Green New Deal at the center of the Green Party Platform)

If he does and is able to get on the debate stage with Trump and Biden the election will get wild.
Biden is a crappy candidate but has the support of the democratic establishment.
Trump has huge negatives but still seems to have a loyal base.
Jessi could really seize the mantle of change. And be a vehicle for the anti-Trump anti-Biden voters.

(that may not be totally bad for democrats, Ventura as president with a democratic senate and house could be pretty good.)

David Brin said...

jim, who are you and what have you done with our "jim"? That was an amusing and informative and interesting posting.

"Biden is a crappy candidate but has the support of the democratic establishment."

And almost every black and minority Democratic primary voter. Except every "establishment" yawp implies some nefarious meddling actions without ever actually naming any, any at all, of any kind. Not only zero proof, but zero in the way of actual specific accusations!

Except for those two things.

But Jesse Ventura. Huh. Yes, he might pull from the Trumpists, which principal reason for admiring Trump is his macho bluster. Ventura can certainly one-up that.

And yes, the 2nd from worst case... a Ventura presidency... would likely be bearable, even if we're laughingstocks.

But the worst case is anything short of totally crushing the entire confederate treason.

jim said...

We lets have a little more fun and sketch out a pathway to electoral victory for Jessi “THE BODY” Ventura.

He gets the green party nomination.

Treated at first as a joke by the press.

Sanders supports realize Ventura is a better candidate than Biden.

Some Trump supporters notice Ventura is tough guy but not an idiot like Trump and not a Democrat.

Pollsters start to find out that Ventura is only polling at 10-15% but that the projections for the November election just got scrambled, what was looking like a Biden win now is up in the air.

Trump demands that Ventura be included in the debates.

The three of them are on stage:
One incompetent bullshitter
One prol with obvious mental impairment
And Jessi Ventura

After the debate, the trickle away from Biden and Trump becomes a steady stream.

Panic sets in among the Democrat as they realize that Biden has a good chance of losing.

The Damn breaks in October and most of the Anti-Trump voters coalesce around Ventura.

David Brin said...

Cute. Except...
Minority voters won't ditch Biden for Ventura, period.*
The fact professions and civil servants won't. Period.
People sick of the world laughing at us. Period.

* Unless big sexual or senility issues cause JB to step aside, likely for Liz. Maybe Cuomo.

One might hope that JV would draw heavily from Trump and get those folks permanently to change their type of populism to care about the environment and monopolist oppressors, while retaining thei macho bluster... Other than that, it's a pretty dopey scenario. But YOU like it. And that's information.

SteveO said...

Dr. Brin, popping in on Holocene Chat again.

If you are interested in pushing on that, these guys seem to have the infrastructure and market that could get it going.

https://remesh.ai/

Bowing out now...

:)

scidata said...

JV: The Sexual Tyrannosaurus from "Predator". Brilliant move. Bug spray for Cheeto.

jim said...

Yes that is possible too.
But if enough of the Democrats stick by Biden (in the Ventura scenario) you get no clear winner of the election. And that might be bad.

Although it would be hilarious if the Ventura campaign starts to use: “A VOTE FOR BIDEN IS A VOTE FOR TRUMP!” the way the Democratic activists said a vote for Jill Stein was a vote for Trump.

(David, it should come as no surprise to you that I don’t want Biden to be president. I am not going to vote for Biden, I am not going to vote for Trump.)

Larry Hart said...

jim:

Trump demands that Ventura be included in the debates.


I don't see that happening. "It takes one to know one,", and Trump would certainly perceive that Ventura is a threat to his control of the base.


The three of them are on stage:
One incompetent bullshitter
One prol with obvious mental impairment
And Jessi Ventura


Except that Jesse has a good chance of coming off more like Clint Eastwood vs the empty chair, or Admiral "What am I doing here?" Stockdale, or Micheal Avanati.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everyone: ISTM that unfortunately, the *Olies and the Meme-meisters could go deeper than they have already-
1) Instead of making it implicit, make it explicit that the ultimately most-evil meta-beliefs are empathy, moderation, and tolerance, and if someone disagrees with you they are to be converted or destroyed.
2) Strongly emphasize "the gut" as the way to decide what to do, and discredit the mind.
3) Destroy a belief in anything that you don't see and hear onsite with your eyes and ears, by showing how all other sources (particularly digital ones) can be corrupted (as you do the corrupting, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Capture_(TV_series)).
4) Encourage "splitting" and a willingness to use **violence not just in politics but in EVERYTHING. Instead of "Let's Make America Great Again!" it would be: "Let's Make America Afghanistan!"

.......................................

On a different discussion of splitting:
Would it make sense to encourage Bloomberg and Steyer to contribute heavilu to the campaigns of Michigan MC and Libertarian candidate Justin Amash (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Amash) inswing states LIKE MICHIGAN?
As an anti-abortion Libertarian (I thought the Libertarians believed in "right to choose?) endorsed by the Olies' Club for Growth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_for_Growth)and Americans for Prosperity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_for_Prosperity),
I don't think he'd take too many votes away from Biden....


SWA,

KH


*Another good name for a '60's-retro band
** Happy 50th Anniversary of Kent State, everyone...

Alfred Differ said...

That 'mental impairment' is a life-long stutter.
Some people do that and the rest of us think there is something wrong with their mental acuity.
Not so.

I don't see why Biden would get on a debate stage with any of them, but he knows his capabilities better than we do.
I'll wait and watch.

For vote pulling, I'd take Amash more seriously.

A German Nurse said...

I demand from Ventura to wear one of his old Captain Freedom suits from The Running Man during his debates and rallies.

David Brin said...

I'm sure you've all seen this:'global anti-China sentiment has reached a high not seen since 1989's Tiananmen Square crackdown'

https://www.newsweek.com/global-anti-china-sentiment-highest-since-1989-tiananmen-square-crackdown-says-internal-chinese-1501815

The irony being that everything the spokesman said in Chin's defense is ALSO true:

""The U.S. government has ignored the facts, diverted public attention and engaged in buck passing in an attempt to shirk its responsibility for incompetence in the fight against the epidemic," Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on May 1."

I would use Mercutio's final words from Romeo and Juliet - "A plague on both your houses!" Except no. Just... no.

David Brin said...

Given that jim has utterly refused ever to grapple with any of the challenges to splitters and doesn't give a crap about what minorities or kids-in-cages or scientists or anyone else with real stakes might think...

...I figure I can safely ignore his effort to get a rise out of us with his grand vote-declaration preening. Yawn... Go thou forth proudly into utter irrelevance.

TCB said...

From Vice: Trump Says America's Coronavirus Death Toll Could Hit 100,000. Experts Say It Already Has.

Reason: lots of deaths not explicitly known to be COVID (lack of testing, you know) but in excess of what numbers would be expected in the same time frame. Could be listed as cardiac events, for example.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Go thou forth proudly into utter irrelevance.


In 2008, my then-dementia-addled father voted for McCain/Palin. My mother had to assist him, and I had never heard her express a political opinion before, but she was very apologetic about letting him do so. I told her not to sweat it, as his vote was not going to swing Illinois.

At this point, I presume that anyone who insists they are "not voting for the Democrat" is a closet or not-so-closet Trump supporter. Just as anyone who calls into a radio show with "I'm not partisan--I listen to both sides," is then about to push some right-wing talking point. I may not always be right with those presumptions, but I won't lose my house by betting in that direction.

Curiously enough, I have to grant jim points for consistency. If I'm recalling the right person, when he says Biden and Trump are just as bad, he means it. He actually sees several upsides to the Trump presidency and finds those things preferable to an establishment Democrat. Like the CBS executive who said back in 2016, "Trump may be bad for the Republican Party and bad for the country, but he's great for CBS."

duncan cairncross said...

Here (NZ) we have a pretty good handle on our numbers
1487 cases - 20 Deaths - 1.3% death rate
10 of those were one rest home - so that may be a little high

The USA has 1.2 million confirmed Coronavirus cases
At 1.3% that would mean - 15,600 deaths

The actual US death toll is over 69,000 - possibly a lot more

Something is wrong somewhere - it looks as if over 4 million Americans have actually had the virus

A German Nurse said...

The infection rate could even be Higher. The Heinsberg study assumes a mortality rate of 0.37, which leads to a possibly tenfold number of infected in Germany (1,8 Mio)

Alfred Differ said...

TCB,

A few libertarians I know are arguing that some of the COVID deaths could be cardiac events. Their quick study of how doctors choose to describe 'cause' on death certificates leads them to suspect all sorts of motives for inflating the truth.

Me? These things are judgement calls and I'm inclined to leave that to the subject matter experts... until they do something so blatant I can't ignore it. I usually don't have to wait long. Cheaters abound.

Pachydermis2 said...

German Nurse

These days in solidarity we all say "Ich bin ein Statiskiker"

T. Wolter

Anonymous said...

Robert here:

From Vice: Trump Says America's Coronavirus Death Toll Could Hit 100,000. Experts Say It Already Has.

Reason: lots of deaths not explicitly known to be COVID (lack of testing, you know) but in excess of what numbers would be expected in the same time frame. Could be listed as cardiac events, for example.


NYC firefighters are picking up four times the number of people dead at home as usual. Given that the dead are not being tested (not enough tests, still) and that we know Covid-19 causes blood clotting (and thus strokes and heart attacks as well as pneumonia), it seems reasonable to roll some large fraction of the excess death rate into the pandemic death count.

Darrell E said...

From my non-expert perspective it seems to me that infected numbers are likely no better than SWAGs (Scientific Wild Ass Guess, a technical term).

1) The numbers rely heavily on test results. Percentage of people tested varies wildly from place to place, some very low some very high.

2) The virus is novel so modeling of infection rates based on test results of a sampling of a population likely has very large error bars. All the numbers typically used to model such things have large error bars for the same reason, this is our first look at it.

3) Reporting of test results varies wildly from accurate and transparent to inaccurate and likely misleading.

Another issue is that many sources don't clarify whether the numbers they are reporting are positive results or guestimates based on modeling. There is no doubt that in most places infection numbers based solely on positive test results will be significantly lower than actual numbers.

There is no doubt at all that the US missed its chance to get on top of this right from the start. The evidence indicates that we could have limited this to an order of magnitude fewer deaths, perhaps 2 orders, while keeping the economy going at much closer to normal levels and avoiding the severe economic disaster we are now stuck with. How? South Korea and a few other countries have shown a way. Immediate, massive scale and continuous testing, isolating anyone who tests positive and back-tracing their contacts and isolating them too.

This bullshit debate in the media and the internet-verse about whether or not testing is useful is just that, bullshit. Anyone arguing that testing isn't useful is being an idiot and or a tool.

The entity most to blame for the US fucking this up so bad is, of course, the executive branch of the federal government. It may be that a competent administration would have chosen a different strategy than SK's, but at least it would have been competently executed and thus led to a better outcome for us. In any case, the greatest nation on Earth has once again be shown up by other lesser nations. Perhaps someday we will get a fucking clue.

scidata said...

Yesterday, my son asked me who has made the greatest contribution yet in humanity's battle against COVID-19. I said, "the Denisovans". Blank face. I started my dad-lecture on diversity and Fisher's theorem. He rolled his eyes and walked away.

jim said...

You know David,
If the democratic party can’t win after a bungled response to a pandemic and at the start of a greater depression, you guys should just pack it up and go home. You will never have a better chance, too bad the Democrats chose Biden.

He is very vulnerable to any 3rd party candidate who can channel FDR, and the republicans now know the only chance they have to keep the presidency is if there is a viable 3rd party candidate. This year is not done screwing with us yet.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

A few libertarians I know are arguing that some of the COVID deaths could be cardiac events. Their quick study of how doctors choose to describe 'cause' on death certificates leads them to suspect all sorts of motives for inflating the truth.


So their argument is that, instead of lowballing the COVID-19 death counts (because patients die without ever being tested), doctors are intentionally inflating those numbers by counting people who simply died of "routine" heart attacks as if they were COVID deaths?

And how do those geniuses explain why so many more people in general happen to be dying now than usually do in the same period of time? Just a coincidence that those nefarious doctors are capitalizing on for..what nefarious purpose, exactly?

Your libertarian friends sound a lot like the Trump supporters who defended his re-tweet of a "Daily Stormer" image of Hillary Clinton with text inside of a Jewish Star. "It doesn't have to be a Jewish star--it could be a sheriff's star." Well, yes it could, but given the context and the source of the image, there would be no reason for it to be a sheriff's star and every reason for it to be a derogatory anti-Semitic reference. Or the argument that when Trump said there were "good people on both sides" in Charlottesville, "He was talking about antifa." If he was talking about antifa, he would have had to say "There are bad people on both sides."

So yes, one can always find a twisted pretzel of a chain of events which just might explain the evidence in a different way. But one really must take plausibility into account.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

doctors are intentionally inflating those numbers

You got it. It is essentially the same argument as some make against climate scientists who steer their findings toward statements that ensure future funding. If one starts with a belief that this is happening, one can interpret evidence in seemingly opposite ways from what the rest of us do. For example...

_________
why so many more people in general happen to be dying now than usually do

Not so. Statistically, we aren't facing a significant issue. Many people die from car accidents and falling accidents during a regular month. A lot of that isn't happening right now because we are hunkered down. It's a wash. What we think is happening is more a reflection of how intense our focus is on THESE deaths and how we don't focus (usually) on the OTHER causes of death.
_________

Personally, I recognize there are statistical flaws in a lot of the arguments people use. There are huge uncertainties in what we know as well. I think pointing that out is a fool's game, though. This is about surprise deaths. We hate being surprised by death. We get emotional about it. Once we start down that path, reason serves a vulgar master. Who cares about statistics! I'm UPSET! That's where we go when surprised, forced to contemplate how we screwed up, and face the fact that the surprise death toll increased by orders of magnitude.

What I find interesting (when I'm calm about it) is that my local libertarian friends are divided on this. The folks who are most suspicious of government work backwards from that belief to a useful conspiracy theory rationalizing their protest. The folks who are focused on growing freedom using the hand we've been dealt don't go there. The local party officers are walking a fine line and avoiding official support of protests, but our rank-and-file are not... and they aren't of one voice. I shouldn't be surprised at this, though. We ARE libertarians. 8)

As for your Daily Stormer analogy, I think we are clear of that. I know what gas lighting looks and feels like. None of us are doing that. What we ARE doing is 'cherry picking' and 'confirming bias'. Different problems, but not quite so insulting to my mind.


Keith Halperin said...

@Everybody:From Electoral Vote.com-
....................................
The George Conway-led Never-Trump-Republican group The Lincoln Project has just released an ad of its own:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/campaign-ads-2020/the-lincoln-project-mourning-in-america--campaign-2020/2020/05/05/2f99f36a-9761-4011-9b20-9258d3429f1a_video.html

Entitled "Mourning in America," it's a takeoff on Ronald Reagan's famous
"Morning in America" ad from 1984.
In other words, for Americans of a certain age—and, let's be honest, most Trump voters are of that age—the argument is:
"We served with Ronald Reagan. We knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of ours. Mr. President, you're no Ronald Reagan."
We doubt there are all that many disaffected Republican votes left out there to be won over to the Biden banner, but if anyone knows how to find such people and speak to them, it's presumably the members of The Lincoln Project.
..............................................

-KH

A.F. Rey said...

Interesting article at FiveThirtyEight, arguing that the Never Trumpers have become a significant influence on the Democratic party.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-never-trumpers-crashed-the-democratic-party/

A.F. Rey said...

Oh, yes, and for all of you who invested in guillotine stocks, this might be a good time to sell.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/05/04/a-good-project-for-my-downtime/

When they start selling tumbrel kits, you'll know things are about to come to a head. :)

David Brin said...

Stupid Ikea. That guillotine kit doesn't include rope or pulleys or catch release! And basket.

Keith Halperin said...

@ A.F. Rey: Re: Article-
Thank you. Good Article. Says: "..it is possible that 5 to 10 percent of the people who will vote for Biden in November backed either Romney in 2012 or Trump in 2016 and at some point identified as conservative or Republican."

Keith Halperin said...

Sorry to do another post so quickly, but just saw this and wanted to add it:
https://io9.gizmodo.com/space-forces-first-trailer-is-funny-until-you-realize-h-1843259514
Good cast- hope the writing, direction is as good...

David Brin said...

The original SARS epidemic was isolated and dealt with quickly, after just 8000 cases worldwide and 700 deaths. SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 are closely related viruses. Scientists believe that both viruses originated in bats. The RNA genomes of the viruses (both found in bats, explaining why our CDC contracted for samples from Chinese caves) are about 80% identical. SARS-CoV-1 (O.R. or original recipe) was more aggressive and lethal than SARS-CoV-2 However, SARS-CoV-2 (E.C. or extra crispy).spreads faster, sometimes with hidden symptoms, allowing each infected person to infect several others.

"You can accurately remember most people you had contact with for the past two days, but two weeks? This critical tool for pandemic control is very challenging to implement. This means that the only safe thing to do is to maintain quarantine of everyone until the pandemic is under control."

For O.R. contact tracing was rapid and effective. But how to do that when E.C. can lurk in symptom-free carriers for weeks or... a terrifying possibility... indefinitely? Could we live in a world filled with unknowing Typhoid Marys? Worse, there are tales of unseen damage even to the asymptomatic.

For all of these reasons, those "leaders" who failed to emphasize National Emergency levels of investment in varied testing systems are directly culpable for our present ignorance, fumbling in the dark.

https://www.philstockworld.com/2020/05/05/the-mysterious-disappearance-of-the-first-sars-virus-and-why-we-need-a-vaccine-for-the-current-one-but-didnt-for-the-other/?utm_source=psw&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=2020-05-05%20Evening

yana said...


Deaths of the "untested" won't go uncounted. We have very good mortality data from a very similar full year, 2019. As long as the local king's men don't fudge data to maintain monarchy (sorry China, you're disqualified), all we'll have to do is tally and subtract.

Couple weeks ago, read a detail of social stats in a district in England, think it was in West Midlands. They had about 800 "confirmed" fatalities from the 'rona but 2300 deaths in Q1 2020. Last year, same time frame, same place, there were 600 deaths from all causes.

Thus, the real effect of the 'rona was about 1700 deaths. As testing ramps up in places where science outweighs greed, the disparity will shrink. Eventually, as the datasets for 2020 fill in, it will be easy to tell the true number of deaths.

Tony Fisk said...

@duncan: simply extrapolating NZ to US covid numbers ignores the effect an overwhelmed medical system will have on mortality rates. People who don't receive proper treatment are more likely to die. That being the case, the number of actual infections doesn't have to be as high as the four million you arrived at.

More worrying is the stats. showing a significant excess in current death rates, which suggests a significant number of cases are dying at home.

Oh, for those folk talking about 'strong results' in Covid management who probably associate the All ords graph trends with that sentiment, I re-interpreted the results.

Darrell E said...

Dr. Brin,

Have you heard of the phone app that the Australian government has required it's citizens to download and that New Zealand will also be implementing shortly? I don't know the details but the basic outline is that the app logs all other phones that it encounters within a certain distance, presumably with time, location and phone ID information. The idea is of course to make contact tracing much easier.

Perhaps Duncan can add some details?

Sounds like it could be a very effective tool. But it would probably never work in the US.

A.F. Rey said...

Stupid Ikea. That guillotine kit doesn't include rope or pulleys or catch release! And basket.

That's because Ikea sells a variety of different baskets you can choose from, in colors to match your d├ęcor. :)

Pachydermis2 said...

"SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 are closely related viruses."

Not relevant. For that matter Chicken Pox and Small Pox are closely related. Science trivia of the day, when checking my facts before posting I learned that there are also diseases called: camelpox, raccoonpox and penguinpox!

You can't always predict the impact of a possible pandemic agent. Swine flu, MERS and SARS never really took off. For reasons that I don't believe are fully understood or likely to be related to Administrative Incompetence.

We are still learning about Covid-19 but it is clearly a different breed of critter than SARS.

Apologies to the poster who earlier took me to task for being racist in my viral designations. M(iddle)E(ast) Respiratory Syndrome is likely also double plus ungood. I denounce myself and will volunteer for re-education.

To be serious on a serious topic, the menace of SARS may have encouraged places like Taiwan to be better prepared, but having an island with limited entry points helps even more.

T.Wolter

Gator said...

Alfred Differ,
Excess deaths:
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

There is a clear spike in deaths in the USA -- I've seen similar analyses for other countries. This is despite perhaps lower death rates from automobile accidents.
It is clear that COVID is having a large effect on public health.

Alfred Differ said...

Darrell E,

The libertarians I know likely would unite against forcing individuals to load an app like that. They are already vocalizing that fear.

What would likely work is getting the telcos to keep records of where they think each cell phone is and then requiring it be shared during public health emergencies. That log won't be as precise, but the people keeping it would probably be easier to convince.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Couple weeks ago, read a detail of social stats in a district in England, think it was in West Midlands. They had about 800 "confirmed" fatalities from the 'rona but 2300 deaths in Q1 2020. Last year, same time frame, same place, there were 600 deaths from all causes.

Thus, the real effect of the 'rona was about 1700 deaths.


It might be even more than that. Remember that most places are experiencing fewer non-COVID deaths than usual because people aren't driving as much (fewer accidents) and because mitigation efforts like isolation and hand-washing are cutting back on seasonal flu.

'Course there are also increased deaths due to the stress of our time, including but not limited to suicides.

matthew said...

Alfred says "The libertarians I know likely would unite against forcing individuals to load an app like that. They are already vocalizing that fear."

Which could also be taken as evidence #1 that libertarians are a clear and present danger in a pandemic. The same point could be made regarding the libertarian disregard for the seriousness of climate science.

The libertarian argument that they should have the freedom to kill those they come in contact with because ... "Mah personal liberty" ... is just evil. It's selfish and it will add thousands to the death counts.

A mature libertarian would try to find a middle ground, like a guaranteed removal date for the app and strict definitions of when the emergency ended. That's not what's happening.

Once again, what Alfred is reporting is "my personal liberty trumps all potential side effects, including death of others." Outsourcing of responsibility. It's pure evil. It's unjustifiable. It's stupid. It's the Libertarian Party(tm).

If the national Lib party actually ever puts such policy on a platform, they should be sued for damages and bankrupted, just like the climate deniers will be.

David Brin said...

One of the top guys in the FreedomFest libertarian wing wrote to me he was shocked that I'd defend the nanny state's coercion to wear masks. I responded:

"You and I are both devoted to fighting against Orwellian power-grabs that might end this narrow window of freedom in benighted human history. See here where I talk about WHY there are so many liberty defenders now, compared to ancient times that accepted rule by kings, priests and oligarchs: https://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/1984.html

"If YOU see that threat looming most from meddlesome socialists and bureaucrats, others - just as sincerely desperate to defend this renaissance - perceive power grabs by Wall Street parasites, KGB cabals and inheritance brats, of the sort who dominated 99% of the last 6000 years. What freedom's enemies fear most is if All of us suddenly realize: "Cheaters will grab for power from any point of leverage, and we need to watch out for all of the above." That is why I wrote The Transparent Society - because every accumulation of power should be exposed to light. And that especially includes whatever power center you deem harmless.

"I am enough of a libertarian that I definitely get vexed by meddlers and nanny-state bureaucrats! But I got much bigger worries when those bureaucrats are subject to light and criticism... while dark pools of feudal lordship and theocracy are stealing trillions and blackmailing and suborning whole swathes of public life, gathering puppet strings into a cabal of mafiosi, inheritance brats, parasites and confederates."

Darrell E said...

Alfred Differ said...

"The libertarians I know likely would unite against forcing individuals to load an app like that. They are already vocalizing that fear."

I can imagine. I've heard a bit of that vocalizing too. I understand that concern and share it. I wouldn't want an app like that on my phone either. But I wouldn't hesitate to load it for the duration of a specific crisis like this.

"What would likely work is getting the telcos to keep records of where they think each cell phone is and then requiring it be shared during public health emergencies. That log won't be as precise, but the people keeping it would probably be easier to convince."

I think you are right, on all counts.

Alfred Differ said...

Gator,

Take a peek at that same site and look at the graph showing excess deaths with and without weighting.

When I put my argumentative hat on, I'd point out that the difference between the reported (unweighted) and predicted (weighted) data involves a data model that can reasonably be questioned. Extrapolating from available evidence to what it actually implies is happening requires a good model which can easily be dismissed as biases by people who start from the assumption I described to Larry.

Another group likes to point out that with 50K deaths per week in the US during normal times, how many more have to happen before it justifies us doing huge economic damage to the world with quarantines? This is like the Trolley Problem from Ethics 101. There is no right answer, but contemplating it is still worth the effort. Saving 10K and harming (to a lesser extent) 328M is the problem to be pondered.

Anyway... I was mostly interested in reporting the thought processes I see going on around me so folks here could realize these folks aren't monsters wanting people to die.

Alfred Differ said...

Darrell E,

Yah. I would load it too, but not if they told me I had to do it. 8)

Seriously, I look upon this situation as a "legitimate purpose of government" demonstration. If an enemy has mobilized an army just outside our border, I expect government to use war powers to defend us. When that threat is over, I expect them to return to the default approach of letting us (mostly) be as we wish. There is always the risk that the actual threat and perceived threat will diverge, but that's why we have Amendment #1. It's a challenge to defend it while war powers are activated, but liberal democracy isn't supposed to be easy.

There is a mobilized enemy among us right now and I'm willing to support use of powers I would otherwise reject. To a point.
I'm not an anarchist and not even a good min-archist though I understand them a little better.

Keith Halperin said...

@Everybody: re Libertarians:
Is there a group of Libertarian "We Hate People Like the Koch Brothers Who Claim to Be Libertarian but Are Really Oligarchs"?

Alfred Differ said...

matthew,

The libertarian argument that they should have the freedom to kill those they come in contact with because ... "Mah personal liberty" ... is just evil. It's selfish and it will add thousands to the death counts.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. The protest responses have helped be see their perspectives in a clearer light.

I don't see it as 'Evil'. I see it as 'unvirtuous' in the sense that a lacking of a particular virtue is a vice. The particular virtue being rejected is Justice because it is socially defined and they object to your definition.

All virtues are subject to definition by our fellow humans, but some of them are defined as individual or small group virtues. Prudence is entirely an individual thing. Temperance is for small groups... maybe just two. Justice, however, involves the entire community. You can't be 'Just' unless we have consensus on what 'just behaviors' are. It's a mostly unspoken, unwritten consensus and THAT is what they are rejecting.

They aren't evil, but I get your point that they are a clear and present danger. I don't know how big that danger is, but this is about surprise deaths, so there isn't much point discussing it rationally.

Acacia H. said...

One thing a lot of people are failing to do is account for the economic impact of multiple illnesses and deaths caused by a resurgence of COVID-19. It is very easy to use statistics to claim Social Distancing and shutting down the economy will cause widescale disruptions to society and have long-term economic repercussions... but the thing that these pessimists are forgetting is there is also a huge economic impact caused by a million or more people dying due to COVID and hospitals being overwhelmed, along with multiple millions of people suffering long-term health problems from being sick with COVID-19.

The "reopen the economy" folk think "acceptable losses" but it's not like COVID-19 is a bullet you put in people's heads and that's done. It's more akin to that bastard who lurked in a hotel room and rained bullets down on a large group of people murdering a number of people, wounding a lot more people than who died, and psychologically scarring thousands of people who lived through the incident.

Grandma dying because you brought your kids to see your mom and were carrying the virus is going to leave your kids thinking they killed grandma. Meanwhile you may very well suffer shortness of breath for years afterward. Your spouse may suffer a heart attack or suffer COVID Toe and lose a piece of a toe because of a blood clot in their extremities.

Now multiply this a million-fold. A million dead. Several million with long-term health problems. Millions more with mental health problems. All because some billionaires were whining because they were losing profits. Is it worth that price?

https://www.barrons.com/articles/open-the-economy-slowly-or-the-second-coronavirus-wave-will-come-too-soon-51587761701

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/493521-the-economic-costs-of-reopening-too-soon

Acacia

scidata said...

There's a task to finish before we settle on the exactly proper mix of order/liberty/authority/anarchy. In order for these weights to be argued, and for the great experiment to continue, first we must secure an open, democratic, transparent, diverse, tolerant, decent society. Otherwise, we're just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. This is not a political task as much as it is a literacy one, at least down at my level.

Alfred Differ said...

Acacia H.,

All because some billionaires were whining because they were losing profits.

I was with you up to this point. It's not that simple.
They ARE losing profits, but many people lower on the SES ladder are losing livelihoods and face similarly traumatic memories in the future.

Anonymous said...

Acacia, given that protestors are out there waving "Sacrifice the Weak" signs I think that they are quite willing to call a million deaths acceptable collateral damage. They don't think it will be them doing the dying, just those lazy effete urban liberals.

It's like they're channeling Lord Farquaad: "Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."


Robert

David Brin said...

Robert I hope you'll get an account. I have good AI that's semi-automatically spamming the daily attempted tsunami of fecal matter coming at us from roughly longitude 35 east (In fact I have it precisely). But sometimes I scan the auto-flush quickly to see if any pearls have floated up. You got in because I happened to recognize you.

Keith Halperin said...

@Acacia: Re: State opening up too soon-
Well said. I think it's realistic to say that some states (https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-coronavirus-trnd/) will open up too soon- those with low population density will likely not feel the effects very quickly, while those with higher population density are likely to have spikes. Other states will be more prudent/cautious. What happens then???

@Scidata: Re"...we must secure an open, democratic, transparent, diverse, tolerant, decent society."-
"We should live so long (as to see that)..."

David Smelser said...

Re: Contact tracing apps.

If I test positive, I think I've got a moral obligation that notify those I've been in close contact with in the last few weeks so that they can get tested or self isolate. I'd like it if this moral obligation was reciprocal and that others would notify me if they ever tested positive.

I see nothing wrong with my cellphone augmenting my ability to remember who I've been in proximity with.

The apps I'm most familiar with are bluetooth apps that record the date and ID of nearby bluetooth devices that are also running the app. The apps do not record GPS data and the data they do store only store it locally on the device and only for a relatively short period of time (~3 weeks). If the device owner ever tests positive, they push a button on the app and this sends the list of bluetooth ids to a central location who then push notifications to the devices that were within range in the last two weeks telling them that they may have been exposed and to seek out testing/isolation.


Here are some of the data accountability suggestions that the Center for American Progress recommends:

The entity that hosts the data must be a trusted, nonprofit organization—not private technology companies or the federal government. The app could be developed for a purely public health nonprofit entity such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)—an organization that represents state health officials—which would host the data. Congress or foundations could provide funding to develop and operate the technology. States licensing the app could provide ongoing operational funding to ASTHO, provided states receive federal funding for this purpose.

• Additional protections must include the following:

• The amount of data needed and shared must be minimized

• This system must be transparent

• Data must be collected, secured, and stored within the United States

• Data must be automatically deleted after every 45 days

• The sharing of data with the federal government, except for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), must be prohibited

• The sharing of data with state and local government agencies that are not public health agencies must be prohibited

• The sharing of data with third parties and the sale of data must be prohibited

• Any data shared publicly must be anonymized

As a condition of receiving a COVID-19 test in the future, individuals may be required to download the app, which would include their test result. For others, the app would be voluntary, although the vast majority of people could be expected to download it to see if there are cases in their neighborhood or near their workplace.

source: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2020/04/03/482613/national-state-plan-end-coronavirus-crisis/

I also found this article on testing and contact tracing helpful:
https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-how-to-do-testing-and-contact-tracing-bde85b64072e



Dwight Williams said...

Acacia calls it: we ourselves, our families, our friends, our co-workers (if we're lucky enough to have those), our neighbours (whether we know them or not) are quite probably going to be deemed the "acceptable losses" in the eyes of those specific millionaires and billionaires - the most militantly irresponsible of the oligarchs of the several nations of our planet right now - doing that whining...and of the people who choose to do the bidding of such people. Including the Manhattan Vandal himself, DT-45. Our lives, what little fortunes we have, our health and safety and our four freedoms...across this planet, whatever nations we call home.

I'm sorry, Professor. I've fallen into rant mode again here.

duncan cairncross said...

Re- Tracing App
We (NZ) are holding fire on that at the moment
One of the reasons is that there is a plan for Parliament to legislate
The intention is for the data from the app to be legally limited in

Expiry time ----- Data to expire after it would not be useful (two weeks??)
Who can access it and why -- Access ONLY by the Virus contact team - nobody else - NOT the police

The intention is to try and balance the risks to liberty with the positive aspect of tracing contacts

There was a comment about having such an App reducing battery life - that may be a larger problem

The European Countries and US States "reopening" looks totally INSANE from here
We have had single digit "new cases" for the last four weeks and we are just NOW looking at moving to Level Two - probably next week

Level Two - appears to me to be about where the US "lockdown" is

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"All because some billionaires were whining because they were losing profits."

I was with you up to this point. It's not that simple.
They ARE losing profits, but many people lower on the SES ladder are losing livelihoods and face similarly traumatic memories in the future.


This passage from Mustapha Mond in Brave New World is eerily appropriate, though for a different reason than the character meant:


The machine turns, turns and must keep on turning—for ever. It is death if it stands still. A thousand millions scrabbled the crust of the earth. The wheels began to turn. In a hundred and fifty years there were two thousand millions. Stop all the wheels. In a hundred and fifty weeks there are once more only a thousand millions; a thousand thousand thousand men and women have starved to death.

Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axles, sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment.

Crying: My baby, my mother, my only, only love groaning: My sin, my terrible God; screaming with pain, muttering with fever, bemoaning old age and poverty—how can they tend the wheels? And if they cannot tend the wheels … The corpses of a thousand thousand thousand men and women would be hard to bury or burn.

David Brin said...

Huxley's work was far more chilling than Orwell, because 1984 represented pure evil that must be fought unto death. But Mustafa Mond has a point, has many points and want people to be happy, and is even willing to admit his tyranny ought to be surpassed by something better... if only Bernard & fellow dissidents come up with something convincing. Which they haven't done yet. We must refuse the temptation to sympathize with such rationalizations. And in our resistance we declare our humanity.

yana said...


yana thought:

"Thus, the real effect of the 'rona was about 1700 deaths. "

Larry Hart thought:

"It might be even more than that. Remember that most places are experiencing fewer non-COVID deaths than usual because people aren't driving as much (fewer accidents) and because mitigation efforts like isolation and hand-washing are cutting back on seasonal flu.

'Course there are also increased deaths due to the stress of our time, including but not limited to suicides.
"

OMG, you're a mind reader! I had a paragraph saying just such as that, but started to think: "this is getting too long a post to say something so short," so i cut it out before posting! I also sliced out the sentence about decreased workplace injuries, and violent crime has plunged as well.

yana said...


Robert thought:

"It's like they're channeling Lord Farquaad: "Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.""

Or the old tune by Genesis: "Some of you are going to die, martyrs of course, for the freedom I will provide."

And that old warm croon by Motorhead: "All my promises are lies, all my love is hate, I am the Politician"

Acacia H. said...

Many people outside of millionaires and billionaires are losing their livelihoods, yes. But you know? If we enacted a Universal Basic Income for people during these times of tribulation then those who were losing their livelihoods could continue to pay rent and buy groceries. And if mandatory safety protocols for meat factory workers was put in place then we'd not see food shortages. If machinery was put on loan for farmers to gather crops and the government paid money for crops and ensured it got to those in need... then again, we'd not have nearly as many problems.

But it takes money to do that. And the only people who could afford to help pay for that with taxes are the billionaires and many of the millionaires but if you tried to force that tax out then the cries would be so loud you'd think we were murdering the rich instead of having them pay back some of those millions and billions they gained using the infrastructure that tax dollars paid for and hard work by their workers, many of who were let go rather than risk the bottom line of industry.

I have zero sympathy for the rich. My concern is for humanity as a whole. And my disdain and derision is for those who have drunk the Koolaid and are wiping their faces on retail employees' shirts because they didn't want to wear a mask or fucking shoot security guards because they were asked to put on a mask.

Acacia H. who has kind of run out of sympathy for conservatives, Republicans, and bastards

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Yup.
Those thousand millions ARE the wheels.
There is nothing other than the structures they imagine to exist.
Stop them and it all dies back.
I'm pretty sure the author understood this.


scidata,

first we must secure...

How would you know when we did that?
I detect a halting condition error.

I also put to you that there IS NO 'exactly proper mix'.
We wouldn't achieve consensus on it, thus it won't ever exist.

We bring to the agora instincts honed for the forum.
It is an error we barely suppress and only some of the time.

jim said...

For all of you who think that the corporate democrats will actually have better results than the republicans (as opposed to just giving better press conferences) you may want to tap down those expectations.

Take for example the sexual assault situation: compare what Kavanaugh did to what Biden did.
The Republican - a drunken teen ager at a party assaulted a young woman.
The Democrat – a stone cold sober, 50 year old sitting US senator, assaulted his underling at the workplace.

And then there is the reaction to Michael Moore’s new film “planet of the humans” the central point of the film is that corporate crap sacks have taken over the environmental movement and completely neutered it. Before the corporate take over of the environmental movement one of the central messages that wealthy people need to “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” in that order. And now that message has been replace with the corporate friendly message of “Green Consumption” you know, save the world by eating it as quickly as possible.

And all the praise for Cuomo and De Blassio from democrats, the New York pandemic situation was the worst in the whole country!!!!!!


And why do democrats praise Cuomo?
He is not as horrible at giving press conferences as Trump.

And that is the whole modus operandi of the corporate democrats.
Vote for us – we are not as bad as Republicans
We don’t actually have to make things better for the people, cause what are they going to do? The republicans are worse.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: there IS NO 'exactly proper mix'... it won't ever exist

Entirely agree. It's not any mix we must secure, it's the civilized struggle that spins off trinkets and treasures, and keeps the swords sheathed.

BTW "Agora" (2009) is a great movie, well worth watching.
I occasionally get politely trolled elsewhere by Brin haters who know me from this blog. While I am flattered by the association, I'm not a vacuous disciple of David Brin, Elon Musk, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Michael Faraday, or even Hypatia. I'm way too feckless for discipling. I like to solder stuff while listening to (old) baseball games.

David Brin said...

Um is the rant-incantation over? Hey jim... offer wager stakes on any of your outright and deliberate lies. How about if dems don't have a fantastically better record or outcomes actual outcomes for real people, especially minorities and the vulnerable and the planet and good government and fact-based policy, you get my house. And if those metrics, real metrics, show profound differences in policies and outcomes, I get yours. (Mine is likely bigger.)

No? You are exactly the same as MAGAs in every way except the direction you claim... claim... to support. Raving incantations are all that matter.

But in your actual effects, trying hard to spread low morale and disaffection among the union-blue forces, you ARE a MAGA agent, down the line. And I am starting to think that may be more than metaphorical.

Keith Halperin said...

@ David Smelser:
This seems like a very reasonable proposal.
Turning the operation over to the telcos means turning the data over to US intelligence agencies.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A https://www.sfchronicle.com/tech/article/nsa-spying-network-att-folsom-room-641a-13028155.php https://www.businessinsider.com/att-buildings-around-us-reportedly-used-as-part-of-nsa-spying-2018-6)

jim said...

Well David, it is very clear to me that you are a corporate democrat and your preferred policies are very similar to the ones promoted by corporate democrats.
You advocate that people donate to the corporate friendly environmental groups who promote “green consumption” rather than any real solution, for example.

I still think that it is very likely that the democrats will take the presidency, keep the house and take the senate with their slate of corporate handmaidens. (could be wrong but the 100,000s of dead Americans and the start of the greater depression should be enough to get them into office in November. The corporations are making their investments now.)

And come April and May of next year, you will be leading up the excuse parade on why the corporate democrats have slow walked , low balled and / or sabotaged any real changes that need to happen.
And you will be telling us pay no attention to how Biden and the corporate dems have continued many of the corporate friendly policies of the Trump administration.

And then 2022 will come along and the corporate democrats loose the house and senate and you will blame progressive splitters for the defeat.

jim said...

David,
I don’t want your big expensive house in California.
I am very happy in my little, well insulated house with my small yard and big garden in an old neighborhood in Cincinnati. I have good working class neighbors and significant part of my family is close by.

I am not so stupid as to choose more stuff over a good life.

Gator said...

Alfred Differ,
"Take a peek at that same site and look at the graph showing excess deaths with and without weighting"
Actually, take a peek at the description of the technical details.
And note the little red x "observed count above threshold".
The technical details describe that the little line above the historical actuals is used for definition of excess deaths; it indicates a 95% CI on the historical data. Check out the percent excess deaths for a graphic representation by time and state. They had to make a scale that includes a ">500%" bucket.
And notice that in the technical notes they state that deaths are always underreported, and they don't typically expect full data to be finalized for up to 12 months. So this is just an early indication, the real situation is actually almost certainly worse.
This is not just "modeling".
And modeling is one tool in a scientist's toolbox. Rejecting CDC stats, and stats from all other countries reporting excess deaths around the world because of "modeling" is equivalent to any other science denialism, from "there's no proof smoking causes harm" to asbestos to climate change. The common thread behind all these denialist belief systems is "if it's true it will cost money".

jim said...

Sometimes it seems that the Universe has a hilarious sense of humor.

Guess what, the democratic leadership now wants to bail out K Street lobbyists.
The republicans will likely help, I mean there is bipartisan agreement that the bribes must flow!!!

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

I am not so stupid as to choose more stuff over a good life.

Cowardly approach.

After winning it, you'd sell his house and donate the cash to a good cause of your choosing.
Or burn the cash. It wouldn't matter.

You are virtue signaling.
Mildly annoying.

David Brin said...

I'm now quite convinced that "jim" is a putinist agent provocateur. I've been tracking his methods and they are absolutely identical.

- generalizations based on (usually false or exaggerated) anecdotes, never verifiable statistics

- repetition of incantations that are hard to falsify/test

- when tested and disproved they are conveniently shrugged aside... then trotted out a month later, as if nothing ever happened

- a "liberal" who contemptuously ignores the clearly-expressed wishes or needs of minorities, women, immigrants, environmentalists and every other liberal constituency that has far more at stake than his comfy ass

- a "liberal" who ignores every success story from the liberal past, never pointing to any of them (this is a smoking gun, because a confederate who did that would suffer cognitive dissonance.)

I could go on with shared traits and agendas, but the biggest commonality is squirming evasion of accountability. Like having the cojones to back up bold/brash/huge assertions with wager stakes. Each squirm is easily answered. In this case: "Okay jim! Don't want my house? Then let's have the proceeds of our wager go to the winner's favorite charity, hm?"

Crickets. The sound of crickets chirping the words "coward!" and "blowhard!" over and over.

Alfred Differ said...

Gator,

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not. The definition of 'excess deaths' still has a model that converts from reported deaths to 'predicted' deaths. By predicted, they mean what they would have seen in the data except for the under-reporting causes. 'Excess' is a measure of the statistical noise they expect. Anything below that line should not cause alarm by their definition.

I'm playing the role of cynic, not because I am one, but because that is how some people are when they arrive at the evidence we present to them. They WILL find some modeling assumption you make and pick at it enough to decide it justifies their already-made conclusion. I'm just providing an example of how it is done using the evidence you provide.

When I'm not playing cynic, though, I actually agree with you. I see no reason to doubt their data model, but I haven't studied it enough to do more than trust them. I'm willing to trust many civil servants until they give me good reason to do otherwise. Most of them don't. Most of them want to do a decent job of what they do and feel it is important enough to do it that they get up every morning and go in to work.

You are right about 'science denialism'. That is what some of them are doing. Our host calls it a 'war on smartypants' and I'm sympathetic most of the time. I get why they deny it, though. It's not complicated. They don't like what they are being told.

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

It's not any mix we must secure, it's the civilized struggle that spins off trinkets and treasures, and keeps the swords sheathed.

Heh. Okay. We are mostly on the same side then. Cool.

I would argue it isn't about trinkets, though.
That's just the visible surface layer that keeps people fed, breeding, and happy.
What is actually going on in the agora is far sneakier.

We have instincts honed for Stone Age life. Nomadic hunter-gatherers are we.
Those instincts are well adapted for that life and maladapted to our current life.
What we are doing in the markets is finding ways to suppress those instincts.

It's not just the urge to violence. It's also the urge to control, manage, and plan.
Our instincts move us to plan for larger groups than ever existed in our Stone Age lives.
Our instincts lead us back to the Feudal attractor.
That could never have been anticipated by pre-agriculture peoples.
That is a problem for us. Our instincts fail us. They trap us with imbecilic leaders.
Fortunately, we found a way out.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

Take for example the sexual assault situation: compare what Kavanaugh did to what Biden did.
The Republican - a drunken teen ager at a party assaulted a young woman.
The Democrat – a stone cold sober, 50 year old sitting US senator, assaulted his underling at the workplace.


Well, nothing has been proven against either. All we know is:

The Democrat - accused by a partisan Republican Putin-phile at a convenient, embarrassing moment for the party, just as Al Franken was.
The Republican - accused by a Republican in a private letter meant to take care of business without publicity.

Then again, The Democrat isn't running against Kavanaugh. He's running against a different Republican.

If (and I don't concede the point, but if) The Democrat is guilty of what he's accused of doing once, then the Republican has already admitted doing that very thing to multiple women on national television, not to mention (though I'm happy to do so) that unlike The Democrat, The Republican has also been accused of multiple actual rapes.

All of which is beside the point. I didn't want Kavanaugh to be un-confirmed because of his juvenile behavior, but because of the kinds of decisions he's likely to make on the highest court in the land. Likewise, I'm not out to punish Trump for rape by denying him the office. Rather, I want a president who respects America as a Constitutional democracy. If evangelicals can support the anti-Christ because he gives them what they want, then I have no problem supporting an opponent of Trump's who I wouldn't necessarily want to have a beer with.

Trump has never killed birds in my neighbors' back yards, but even so, my cat would make a better president than he does.

David Brin said...

We need a new layer of adjudicated due process.

Top level... felonies where life and liberty are at stake... we long ago decided to give huge benefit of the doubt to the accused, via unanimous jury verdicts based on "beyond reasonable doubt) and the Sixth Amendment's power of compulsory testimony for exculpatory witnesses. Burden of proof is on the accuser.

2nd level civil torts: with some exceptions - with just money at stake - both sides are deems equal and majority jury decisions are based on preponderance of evidence. Accuser bears a stiff but not total burden of proof.

3rd level would be the court of REPUTATION... whether or not the person merits trust in voluntary associations like dating or being appointed or elected to high office. Currently handled largely via gossip or rumor or online equivalents -- or in some cases via the press and/or exposure during appointments and elections. What we NEED is a new layer of due process... headed by sagacious feminists, I'd assert... that would air grievances that either lack rigorous proof or concern crimes of CHARACTER... e.g. Gingrich telling his cancer-ridden wife he's leaving her for another woman.

At this level, the ACCUSER gets primacy of place! AT least at the beginning. Protected, at least at first, from intimidation and counter-attacks... BUT the defender is allowed to cite how unlikely it all seems in the context of his/her overall life.

And that is where Kavanaugh and Biden differ. Kavanaugh & Trump lived lived steeped in events utterly consistent with their accused character faults. Biden? Not even remotely.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ,

Like most critters, nature crafted (evolved) us to gather food, avoid predators, and reproduce. Collateral assets like imagination and language have wildly accelerated things. The knowledge doubling curve (maybe Bertrand Russell?) explains why we have indeed become "maladapted to our current life". The Santa Fe Institute (SFI) has lots of brains working on this, they seem to have the best handle on the formal math of social complexity. Several of their early researchers were cellular automata types (eg Doyne Farmer). If there is anything close to a real Asimovian Foundation, it's them.

jim said...

Well ok if you insist on betting your house:

You said Biden would be great for the environment.

Let us bet:
Me: Biden will fail at reducing the total fossil fuel usage in the US by 5% per year for 4 years.
You: Biden will succeeded at reducing the total fossil fuel usage in the US by an average of 5% per year over his 4 years.

Acacia H. said...

One thing I find interesting is that Joe Biden asked for the records to be released by the Senate to show if this complaint was made. The woman has already gone out and accused Biden of this act, so there is no confidentiality issue at play. And the Republican-controlled Senate has refused Biden's reasonable request.

This suggests to me that the Republican Party doesn't care if this is an actual accusation or not. All they want to do is humiliate and smear mud against the Democratic Presidential Candidate. This is a literal smear campaign. That it is being used to protect a Republican President who was accused of raping an underage woman whose followers have used doxxing and the threat of violence to silence is tragic. And telling.

What does this tell us? It no longer matters how decent and kind a political candidate is. You could have someone who never had sex once in their life and always remained a careful distance from anyone at all, who constantly recorded their lives to prove they never were inappropriate in language or actions, and the Republicans wouldn't care. They would fabricate accusations to smear this person who was so careful to never be in that situation. And there are people who would blindly believe the Republican lies.

It also says that a person could rape, abuse, or otherwise mistreat people and legitimate complaints could come about... but because the Republicans chose to support the Rapist in Chief with his locker room talk and claims of being like Jesus while working to smear the other side's candidate and refused to release his records when requested... the majority of people won't believe the accusations.

In essence, the Republicans are driving a stake into the heart of the #metoo movement. And I think even if Republicans lose to Biden and the Democrats in 2020, Republicans will still consider it a huge win by disenfranchising women by refusing a legitimate request for transparency.

Acacia

Pachydermis2 said...

David

It is possible I am misinterpreting your new adjudication system. I hope so because it is one of the most horrifying ideas I've encountered in a very long time.

Sagacious feminists? Or Madames Defarge?

BTW, I am by no means assuming that those accusing Biden are Republicans. Heck, he seems like the most beatable candidate on the D side of the stable. You sure it is not one or another of the "dark horses" hoping to ride up at Convention time?

There's so much back story of cringe inducing hands on, hair sniffing contact that it approaches a Franken level story. And good gracious, the "plausibly accused" Senator Dodd helping to screen the (all female) VP candidates? https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/05/01/dodds_alleged_past_misconduct_shadows_bidens_vp_panel.html

I actually doubt Biden did all that his accuser claims. But I also think he is headed for a historic defeat in November. jim is talking sense here.

As much as any of our politics makes sense any more...

T.Wolter

David Brin said...

Absolute drivel. You do NOT get to cram words in my mouth, Kremlin-boy. I made my stand explicit and clear here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html

And hell yes there are environmental bets there. No one can control specific outcomes, but whether dems + Biden TRY to pass significant legislation to shift us toward environmental sanity? Sure, I will take that bet. Let's get specific. Restoration of the Obama mileage and efficiency standards, support for sustainables and liberation of science. Have your lawyer contact me that you have escrowed your stakes, putin-shill.

Acacia, it tells us more than that. Not only is Biden willing to tear open confidentiality to prove his innocence, the goppers know that the precedent would mean future opponents and accusers of GOP Senators would then demand that THEY give archival permission to expose past accusations.

That's something they cannot allow.

jim said...

Bah
Of course you want to make the bet about something that will not actually address the problem of climate change.

Get back to me when you are actually willing to bet on the critical variable that will show us if we are responding to the reality of climate change---- the actual amount of fossil fuels used.

anything less is crowdedly, corporate crapola.

David Brin said...

Hah! Typical cowardice. Cram words in my mouth and dare me to bet things I never remotely said, then flounce away, pretending to have been willing to bet.

The issue is whether Biden and the swathe of dems who will range from AOC types to the crewcut-hairbun vets who can take red-territory... whether they will be different enough from the GOP monsters (jim's masters) to be worth fighting for. They absolutely will be diametrically opposite in a vast suite of issues that I lay down in the link that jim has never visited, because he'd be tormented by cognitive dissonance.

The history of the 111th Congress shows what Pelosi & co tried to do when nowhere near as furious and motivated as they are now. The history of democrats in California and WA, OR and other deep blue states is clear. And jim desperately changes the subject away from all of that. Knowing full well that he would lose any wager over explicit actions dem pols will take - even under Biden - he demands instead wagers over commodities prices, exactly the trap Paul Ehrlich fell into in wagers against Hanson.

Even if all the well-meaning measures that will be taken by Pelosi-Schumer-Biden et al in 2001 do NOT go as far or effectively as jim would like, we're arguing whether it will be a better nation and world than under Trump and the traitor GOP. Better enough to serve as a basis for AOC types to build upon. Knowing that he would lose any bet against all that, jim does exactly as predicted, weaving and evading.

Coward Kremlin-boy.

David Brin said...

Tim right now it's a catastrophe. Lacking any kind of due process, the accusers and accused have to take level three stuff into a crowded theater of gossip and he-said nonsense. It is time for a PROCESS and I outlined the parameters.

Acacia H. said...

I think the AI that deals with whose comments are approved and whose are not is a tad... off. I refreshed 10 minutes ago and a different list of posts was there chronologically compared to what I just now at 5:21 found when refreshing. Mind you, *not* moderating this site is no longer viable. But the system still needs tweaking, it seems. ^^;;

Acacia

David Brin said...

And yes, if sagacious feminists chaired the conference, that resulting process would not be viewed as the old establishment trying to crush accusers, yet again. That credibility is absolutely essential, as revolutionary cred was essential for those at the Constitutional Convention.

Faced with the need to balance accuser/accused rights, such a conference would have to seek ways to actually weigh matters like time, severity, victimhood, contrition and compensation and forgiveness. And yes, I believe that on those scales Franken and Northam would be adjudicated some glass to crawl across and then sent back to work.

Roy Moore and Dennis Hastert? Not so much.

Would the resulting arenas of level three reputation judgement by biased? Maybe too liberal? Fine. It's not about life or liberty or money, but reputation and women deserve to have such arenas to seek justice and the accused will be better off too. At least ex-doofuses like Franken would be.

David Brin said...

Acacia it's all I could manage to make it so the 35-East fecal boy gets mostly automatically flushed away. (Occasionally I have a glance and boy does he try hard to prove I was right to ban the jibbering loony.)

Sorry, I can't do much better. Blogger is crude and dumb, alas.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

3rd level would be the court of REPUTATION... whether or not the person merits trust in voluntary associations like dating or being appointed or elected to high office. Currently handled largely via gossip or rumor or online equivalents -- or in some cases via the press and/or exposure during appointments and elections. What we NEED is a new layer of due process... headed by sagacious feminists, I'd assert... that would air grievances that either lack rigorous proof or concern crimes of CHARACTER... e.g. Gingrich telling his cancer-ridden wife he's leaving her for another woman.

...

And that is where Kavanaugh and Biden differ. Kavanaugh & Trump lived lived steeped in events utterly consistent with their accused character faults. Biden? Not even remotely.


Character and reputation are in the eye of the beholder. That's why Trump gets away with bragging about pussy-grabbing while Biden is excoriated for a single accusation of perhaps-unwanted touching. Democrats are vulnerable to accusations of making women uncomfortable because we don't think women should be made uncomfortable. To Republican supporters, accusations of pussy-grabbing and even rape are water off a duck's back, because they're in favor of those things. Kavanaugh probably gained support among Republicans after the accusations came out because it made him look like their kind of guy.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

You said Biden would be great for the environment.

Let us bet:
Me: Biden will fail at reducing the total fossil fuel usage in the US by 5% per year for 4 years.


Though this can't be proven either way, I would assert that President Sanders would also fail at reducing the total fossil fuel usage as you describe. Because the president doesn't have a magic wand that gives him powers to do stuff like that all by himself.

You proceed from a false assumption. For example, President Hillary would have continued and expanded upon Obamacare, thus having more Americans than ever insured for health care. However, she would have failed to insure everybody as "Medicare for all" was never really her issue.

Donald Trump in turn tries to eliminate Obamacare entirely and is taken steps to return people with already-existing medical conditions to the ranks of the uninsurable. He not only completely fails to insure everybody, but is actively against the concept of even decreasing the numbers of uninsured.

One would do what she can and fall short, while the other is an opponent of the goal itself. To you, one is the same as the other because they both "fail to insure everybody". In your eyes, this makes life under President Hillary equally bad as life under Trump, and it makes no sense to you for progressives to prefer Hillary to Trump.

The phrase "can't see the forest for the trees" comes to mind.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:
I actually doubt Biden did all that his accuser claims. But I also think he is headed for a historic defeat in November. jim is talking sense here.


If you are correct, it can't be because voters who don't like men making women uncomfortable prefer Trump to Biden. That would be like refusing to vote for Mayor Quimby because he was so weak on crime that he let Sideshow Bob out of prison--and so voting instead for Sideshow Bob.

No, if this issue causes Biden to lose, it will be because voters who don't like men making women uncomfortable will be persuaded to desert Biden, while men who like making women uncomfortable will show up in droves to support the Rapist in Chief.

As I said to Dr Brin earlier, character and reputation are in the eye of the beholder.

David Brin said...

" character and reputation are in the eye of the beholder."
Yes! And hence the "due process" I speak of would simply lay all facts and testimony and exculpations along those axes I mentioned and let "folks" decide whom to believe and whether to forgive.

But being at least a little systematic would have made it blatantly obvious that Franken and Northam deserve a stint of groveling... and little more.

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

Get back to me when you are actually willing to bet on the critical variable that will show us if we are responding to the reality of climate change---- the actual amount of fossil fuels used.

Lame.

That's YOUR obsession.
What concerns US right now is whether we will TRY to make things better.
What concerns me is whether we will adopt an attitude of learned helplessness and never try.
Bet on that and it would be interesting.

[You don't have to stick to even money bets. If you think the other side is favored... demand odds... and bet something smaller than your house.]

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

The knowledge doubling curve (maybe Bertrand Russell?) explains why we have indeed become "maladapted to our current life".

If all that knowledge had to fit in one head, I'd ponder it more. I have no doubt we ARE changing what has to be stuffed in our kids heads to thrive, but I'm not sure it is more stuff. The shift from concrete to abstract knowledge is obvious now. We see it in IQ tests that measure something other than what some think. We see it in the time needed for children to acquire the abstractions before being let loose as functional adults. I don't know about 'more', though. Kids learn all sorts of things whether we intend them to do so or not.

What I think most interest (what holds my attention) is the shift we've had to make in how we reciprocate. In HG bands, the number of people each of us knew could be kept in our minds. Who shirked and who was generous could be remembered. There is decent evidence that we economized at the band level with cheating being the alt-strategy that occasionally gave someone and edge and an extra offspring. Trades were more about indirect reciprocity instead of the direct kind we often need today. 'Paying it forward' is nothing new. It is truly ancient. But in the agora, it begins to fail. We can't track who is generous and who shirks when millions are involved. We often can't spot the cheaters. Yet there are now billions of us instead of the roughly 10 million Mother Earth could support while the world was iced up.

Getting to billions has required the agora and the suppression of our instinct to track, plan, and judge. I truthfully don't care much about the lives of people halfway around the world who make my IT equipment. I care enough that they live decently, but I won't do much beyond buy their goods and services to make it happen. If they price them right. We've gotten to billions, though, and that shows we are onto something. Whether we know a mathematical model for it or not, we know the evidence is right in front of us at every counter where we buy stuff.

Cellular automata? I think that likely, but I expect the best models will be heuristic. Rough strategies for achieving objectives. Like when our host advocates for flat, fair, and free markets populated by well educated participants. Heuristics. Like chess students are taught to connect their rooks, get one to the 7th rank if possible, and keep their pawns unstacked. Generally good ideas, but not perfect predictors. Just decent ones. They point to the vague parts of fitness functions were we all CAN agree.

duncan cairncross said...

Re- Alfred and catching "Cheaters"

Have you read Ultrasociety
http://peterturchin.com/ultrasociety/

How 10,000 years of warfare made humans the greatest cooperators on earth

Which does NOT answer the question of how we handle this from now on
we need something to prevent the cheaters becoming the oligarchy as our host warns us

Larry Hart said...

It's not just me (emphasis mine) :

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/May08.html#item-5

The conventional wisdom is that higher turnout favors the Democrats, primarily because that party has a larger number of "Sometimes I vote, sometimes I don't" members. Consistent with that, the Democratic Party and affiliated super PACs and activist groups are filing lawsuits left, right, and sideways in an effort to make voting as easy as possible and as widely available as possible. Meanwhile, the Republicans are doing what they can to push back. Consequently, the Trump campaign will be spending its money on things in addition to its Death Star. That includes $20 million set aside for lawsuits meant to keep voting rights as limited as is possible.

One wonders how it is possible for a person to think of themselves as a patriot and a supporter of democracy, and yet want to limit voting rights.

A.F. Rey said...

Meanwhile, in other news, as the nation deals with the Covid-19 outbreak, Jurassic Park finally begins to reopen after the velociraptors escape from their enclosures.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/sure-the-velociraptors-are-still-on-the-loose-but-thats-no-reason-not-to-reopen-jurassic-park

(With hat tip to P.Z. Myers.) :)

David Brin said...

There are two rationalizations for voter suppression: (1) Those people aren't real Americans and (2) Mob rule will wreck everything, even for the lower orders, who must be protected from their own passions. Of course those are the rationalizations fed to the confederate low-brow marching morons, flattering them into a sense of supriority that Mark Twain talked about as the reason a million poor white southerners fought and died for the privileges of their plantation lord class oppressors. The Lords have their own reason...

...power.

Larry Hart said...

Just sayin'

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/opinion/coronavirus-trump.html

...
“The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful,” wrote Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. And he asked: “Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode?”
...

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

1) Those people aren't real Americans ...


Ironic in that the white supremacists, Christian theocrats, and oligarchs themselves reject American values, and as the United States of America is a nation founded on those values rather than on heredity, they are not real Americans.

In the early days of his so-called-presidency, Trump asserted that we should deport those who don't maintain our values, which if taken literally would refer not to Mexicans or Muslims, but to the white supremacists and "American is a Christian nation" people.

If actually carried out, Trump's call to action would mean no Republican would ever be elected in this country again. Of course, that's not what he meant.

jim said...

I keep coming here for the unintentional black comedy, sometimes I think you guys are actually pranking me with your comments.

I mean cone on Alfred,
We all know climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, any effective response to climate change has to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Here is the paraphrased augment that David, Alfred and Larry want environmentalist to accept.
Republicans – don’t think climate change is real and they are not going to do anything about it.
Democrats – believe that climate change is an existential threat to mankind ……. And their plan to deal with this existential threat is do purely symbolic actions like rejoining the Paris Accords, and the changes they want to make are minor and incremental. So minor and incremental that even if they work perfectly, they would only slightly reduce the rate climate change is getting worse. They would not actually start to make things better, just slow down the rate things are getting worse.


So who is worse?
The people who deny that there is a problem or the ones who say the situation is dire but refuse to take actions that would address the problem?

David Brin said...

"Democrats – believe that climate change is an existential threat to mankind ……. And their plan to deal with this existential threat is do purely symbolic actions like rejoining the Paris Accords"

You lie. You simply and plainly and blatantly lie. Knowing that you are lying and ignoring all evidence to the contrary... such as actions taken in CA,OR, WA where blues have had actual power... one can only conclude that

1- you think incantation-repetition works, exactly like the MAGA confeds
2-you are stupid, really stoopid,
or
3- My growing belief you are a Kremlin boy, a hireling who comes here to test memes on smaht-boy murrcans or else just to waste our....

jim said...

David you can whine, pout, and stamp your feet all you want, it doesn’t change the democrats very poor record on climate change.

Just look at the Obama / Biden administration.
They helped the oil and gas industries in every way they could, rapidly expand the extraction of oil and gas in the US from about 5 million barrel per day in 2009 to 9.5 in 2015. And natural gas extraction from ~60 billion cubic feet per day to 80 bcfpd and that does not count the natural gas that got vented, leaked or flared from fracking.

And the vast expansion of fracked oil and gas drove down the cost of fossil fuels leading to their increased use and harming he uptake of the alternative to fossil fuels.
Now much of the natural gas is being turned into plastic that will end up in the oceans killing a lot of sea creatures.
The frackers are all broke now and their investors will never be payed pack, but the wells will still be venting methane.
And 8 years that could have been spent trying to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels was wasted.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

So who is worse?
The people who deny that there is a problem or the ones who say the situation is dire but refuse to take actions that would address the problem?


I realize that you're focusing exclusively on the single issue of climate change and nothing else matters to you (although at other times, you've focused exclusively on endless wars and nothing else mattered to you). Perhaps there is some merit in saying, "If climate change is going to kill us all anyway, then who cares whether one party wipes its ass with the Constitution?"

I have no idea how young or old you are, but at my age, I've lived through too many bugaboos which were going to kill us all at any moment to believe that any single issue negates all of the others.

To me, the party that won't do anything about climate change but accepts the rule of law and the will of the people is better than the one that won't do anything about climate change and also thinks they are above the law and can hold power indefinitely by cheating. The former will be persuaded on your pet issue when the will of the people forces them to do so, while the latter will not.

A.F. Rey said...

So who is worse?
The people who deny that there is a problem or the ones who say the situation is dire but refuse to take actions that would address the problem?


Dr. Brin's got you, jim. Those who deny the problem are also actively trying to prevent any mitigation, and actively promote that which will make it worse. Those who at least acknowledge the problem are open to actual action, and are likely to oppose that which will make it worse. They just need a bit of a push to do actions that would address the problem, while the other side will fight you tooth and nail to prevent those actions.

They are not equal, and your refusal to acknowledge that shows that you are not serious about climate change. I don't know what you are actually serious about, but only a fool would follow your reasoning. And we are not fools.

David Brin said...

Now he's just getting boring. Again, let's put money on the actions taken by blue states where dems had real power... though nowhere near as much as Pelos+Biden will (we pray) have in 2021. Simply bet, man. Put up or shut up now.

You lie. You totally lie and rave magical incantations absolutely contrary to fact. You're not a spewer - your insults are no worse than mine, so I cannot ba you on that basis.

But till you agree to actually look at the Five Challenges and learn something about Blue State efforts and the 111th Congress, there's no point any longer reading or responding to your maniacal drivel.

Alfred Differ said...

Duncan,

I'm familiar with the argument. It appears in variations in a few places.

1. In a post-glaciation world, climate change forced a lot of us to change our social organizations to support a life of staying put to tend crops and herds. Between fouling our own nests and poorly fit domestic grains and animals, our life expectancy dropped, but our population boomed.
2. This approach provided static locations for raiders to attack, however. People adopting agricultural and pastoral lives were living near subsistence levels, but had to invest in defense structures and the occasional offensive foray.
3. The population boom ensured our older methods supporting indirect reciprocity would fail. There were too many people to track and we relied upon them to provide defense.

It goes on with the rise of strong-men/cheaters who did just enough to justify the local population supporting them. Racketeering mostly, but when your strong-man captures slaves your city can use effectively, your population eats a little better. Defense costs are amortized across a larger community.

It goes on further with the observation that people living well within a border don't have to spend as much on defense. That cost might be captured by the local lord, but imperfectly. More babies get fed and population goes up wherever people realize this efficiency.

Fast forward a few millennia (and past the Y-chromosome bottleneck) and you get survivors using a successful strategy that leverages local lords into Kings, Priests, and Dons. Most still live near subsistence levels, but we number over 500 million (somewhere between Rome's collapse and the start of recovery in Europe) instead of the 5 million or so alive when the ice sheets were a mile thick on top of Northern Europe. We have a multi-century civil war underway in Europe for who runs everything, but most people at a local level are better at cooperating than they were when we were nomadic HG's.

———

We'd still be doing this today except for the law of large-numbers-of-monkeys-at-typewriters. The Dutch tripped across a better way. It got copied by the envious English (who are on record as having despised it at first) and then spread like a virus.

I strongly suspect that the only viable way of preventing cheaters from dragging us back to the feudal attractor is moving forward with our unintended/unguided suppression of Stone Age instincts in our markets. That does NOT count the inclination of cheaters to give their off-spring advantages. THOSE instincts are far older than the Stone Age. That also does NOT mean blindly stumbling forward. Eyes open, but be wary of our inclination to apply all moral concepts applicable to nomadic HG's to urban life. Especially be wary of our inclination to apply moral concepts applicable for pastoralists. Some might still apply, but some don't scale.

Alfred Differ said...

jim,

We all know climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, any effective response to climate change has to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Yes, but that's not what we are discussing.

The debate is whether anyone will actually try to do something effective.

Democrats – believe [snip]……. And their plan to deal with this existential threat is do purely symbolic actions like…

You are arguing that neither side will try.
Our host argues one side will try.

THAT's the potential bet to make.
The shape of the bet is 'what constitutes trying'.
The odds depend on what both sides can agree would count as an attempt.

Whether one side is effective in what they try is dependent on one side actually trying, no?

WILL ANYONE TRY?

That's where we challenge you to plunk down a bet.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

One wonders how it is possible for a person to think of themselves as a patriot and a supporter of democracy, and yet want to limit voting rights.

Okay. I'll take a poke at this, but I'll give it a science fiction twist since I sense a new thread arriving soon.

_________
Imagine we lived in a world where an expensive drug could be acquired by men to give to their wives that would make their wives slavishly obedient in the voting booth. Any man who could afford the drug would effectively double his voting power. If we tolerate polygamy, the multiplier would be larger.

Whether a similar reciprocal pill existed or not, we'd have a problem. One person/One vote would be out the window. What to do? Some would make a reasonable argument for preventing women from voting. Whether we liked it or not, we'd have to consider that option along with other expensive, intrusive methods for detecting whether women voters had free will when they arrived to vote. Early testing wouldn't be sufficient. We'd have to consider proof tests at polling stations. All of these options are ugly possibilities, but their purpose would be to restore 'one person/one vote'. One could construct ethics arguments in opposition AND in favor.
_________

One of the early arguments against suffrage for women was that they'd vote as their husbands required. In hindsight, this is a very silly argument for Americans suckled on SOA the moment they are born. Just on an anecdotal level, I know my sisters are more feisty than I am. Much more.

It's not such a bad argument, though, when it comes to people who are dependent on others for their livelihoods. My employer can't require slavish behavior of me, but they CAN take note of my politics and adjust my opportunities for advancement at work. How many women face such pressure today? Pfft. I could put this comment on Twitter and get rightly slapped around by thousands of women for even sounding like I doubt the possibility. As it happens, I don't doubt it.

So… should those of us captured by our employers vote? Whether we are allowed or not, aren't we risking breaking 'one person/one vote'? Can each of us look at ourselves in the mirror and reasonably believe we exercise free will in the voting booth? There is no right or wrong answer here, but the opportunity to think about it and realize that there might be a valid point to make favoring voter suppression.

… and now I have to go take a shower. It's a dirty argument I don't like describing. I'd rather believe that it will all wash out because our employers don't all agree, but I'm deeply concerned that it doesn't. Wash out. That's a big part of why I don't mind some people choosing not to vote.

Keith Halperin said...

@Everybody and Jim,

While I believe Jim makes some valid points, they way he does them makes me think (like OGH and others) that he is either a TAP (Trump Agent Provacatueur) or a "Bitter-Splitter.

In any case Jim, you might like this *site better: https://www.ecosophia.net/the-end-of-the-dream/.
Greer (who actually writes quite well, IMHO) decries "smarty pants" in favor of the common sense of ordinary people (which come across as mainly being working-class, non-college-educated white people), and uses that as a rationale to support Trump who understands and channels the non-elite's/ordinary people's sense of being lied- and condescended- to by these same "smarty pants" liberal elites. (I don't recall him decrying "olies" nearly as much, when I followed his blog.)

At any rate folks, we should follow the wisdom of ages and "**DON'T FEED THE TROLL!"

SWA,

KH



*Especially if you like mysticism, magic, and astrology.
**And that applies to me as well- should I become trollish (like Loco Ranchero, In Loco Parentis, Procol Harum, whoever they were), IGNORE ME...

Jon S. said...

I still suspect that jim is in fact loco, wearing a disguise in order to try to move among rational people. He's given away, however, by his insistence on maintaining this weird straw man of how libruls are "supposed to" act.

Because how jim's been behaving, on the rare occasions I've bothered skimming his blather, is pretty much exactly how loco used to claim libruls behave.

David Brin said...

You guys answered the "choose between two bad things" logically and correctly, AFR and LH. But it is a false dichotomy. California is a world leader on pushing the switch to sustainables, with other All-blue states close behind. The Obama Cafe car mileage standards eliminated the waste of millions of barrels of oil. Coal is dying, despite everything the GOP can do to prop it up. Part of the desperation of Russia and the Saudis to control US politics is based on their dread of liberal endeavors eviscerating their petroleum bottom line. I could go on and on...

...and this year is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Car Race when I accomplished more good for the Earth's atmosphere than jim ever will, with all his hot air.

Are the efforts of California, WA, OR and the rest sufficient? hell no. They lack federal power. Will Pelosi-Schumer-Biden emulate that blue agenda perfectly, if they get the power? Well, one hopes they've learned from 2009 and 1993 not to even try to compromise with the undead vampire elephant and to stomp it till decent conservatives wake up from the foxite trance. Even so, they likely won't satisfy 'jim'... and tthat's fine by me! We need a radical unsatisfied fringe that takes every new plateau and says "it's not enough!"

No, what's despicable here is the pompous posturing "there's no possible plateau! It'll never happen and I won't help it happen! And I refuse to even look at facts that say otherwise! I won't help and you can't make me! Waaaa!"

That's either dumbass or Kremlin-boy. And I don't care which.

Alfred Differ said...

That's either dumbass or Kremlin-boy.

Heh.

He strikes me more as the jilted lover heavily disappointed by a savior he placed on a pedestal who turned out to be quite human.
SO disappointed he will NEVER love again.
NEVER! 8)

I'm mildly curious who the demi-god was, but only mildly.

Acacia H. said...

According to New Scientist, the Universal Basic Income doesn't appear to lessen employment, and improves people's happiness and well-being. At the same time NS came out with this article I found a dozen or more articles from economics journals claiming the exact opposite, calling UBI a failure and more. It's an interesting dichotomy, between a scientific journal and a bunch of journals that exist to discuss methods of increasing capitalism across the world in one form or another....

Acacia

Alfred Differ said...

aw man. That guy is pissing on my blog comments now.

Sigh.

I'll just say this once.

I'm not willing to support a shadow conversation involving anonymous comments that contain copies of comments that people post here when it is obvious those anonymous commenters were banned here.

I don't even want to support shadow conversations about what is discussed here.

IF comments are directly relevant to my posts, they CAN be relevant here too and I'm okay with that.

Otherwise, I'll delete them mercilessly.

... and really. It's a waste of time.
No one is reading my stuff over there. I barely do.
It's a practical example of a honeypot.
Pissing into a blackhole.
cat comments >> /dev/null

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Acacia
The Finnish study (New Scientist) has the same sort of results as the other places a UBI has been trialled - people end up working at least as much but they tend to be more selective and put more emphasis into longer term things

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

You guys answered the "choose between two bad things" logically and correctly, AFR and LH. But it is a false dichotomy.


I was arguing as I often do that even if I grant the right-wing framing for the sake of argument, Biden is still preferable to Trump. It's an argument that my side is right even in a worst case scenario. That is not meant to imply that I believe the worst case scenario.

matthew said...

The thing about UBI is that people love to work on the stuff they love.

I love my job. I love making stuff that saves lives. I love making stuff that enables us to move things around more efficiently. I even love making weapons (because I'm a caveman deep inside that believes, against all recent evidence, that my nation-state tribe is somehow a force for what passes for good in this fucked up world). I get to makes stuff and make stuff better and better every day.

This has not always been true in my life. I've had to work jobs I hated. Shit that just sucks.

So I'm lucky. I worked myself into the right niche by education and persistence and luck.

UBI lets people find what I have found the hard way. It lets people figure out what they love to do and not starve while they do the mental / experimental / try-it-and-sse-if-it-sucks part of growing and evolving.

UBI unleashes the inner capitalist in all of us. It lets people try to figure out how they can be a business or where they fit in.

And if some folks spend their lives idling at a minimum level of aid from the rest of us? So what? Seriously, so fucking what? If you get to do what you love, and some folks take a free ride at a sustenance-level of existence, so fucking what?

The funny thing, proven by hard numbers, is that we could afford it.

The benefits of UBI safety net, on a societal level, far outweigh the drawbacks.

Most people would rather work. At something they love. Or something they tolerate, but provides enough extra $$ that they can then go do something they *love*.

The only people hurt by UBI are the people that need you to work at a job you hate.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

He strikes me more as the jilted lover heavily disappointed by a savior he placed on a pedestal who turned out to be quite human.
SO disappointed he will NEVER love again.
NEVER! 8)


Heh. I was literally at that point in mid 1991. Two years later, I met the woman I've been married to for almost 24 years now. I've come to believe that getting past that pedestal stage is a prerequisite for real love.

That might be true in the metaphorical sense as well.

scidata said...

From Elon Musk:
mass to Orbit: $10/kg
mass to Mars: $100/kg

Crazy. Maybe feeling competitive pressure from Long March :)

Acacia H. said...

Alfred, it's to improve their web search visibility. If their words are out there multiple times, especially "quoted" comments, then they become larger in Google's eyes. And thus at-risk young people who are more likely to accept these lies have a greater chance of coming across those comments in a search algorithm and can be recruited for these nationalist groups.

Delete the comments. Don't ignore them.

Acacia

David Brin said...

"UBI unleashes the inner capitalist in all of us." Well, not all. There will be bums and lotus eaters.

But Robert Heinlein - in BEYOND THIS HORIZON his utopian novel, agrees with you.

While we're at it. Grab every single semi-right RASR you know who thinks Heinlein is a libertarian hero and role model and read this aloud to him. All of it.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/03/looking-back-at-heinleins-future.html

Alfred Differ said...

Acacia,

Understood. No mercy for people pissing on my rug

scidata,

SpaceX is the one driving prices right now.
The question is... What do YOU want to do is space at those prices?

matthew,

UBI unleashes the inner capitalist in all of us. It lets people try to figure out how they can be a business or where they fit in.

You are persuasive.

I get that some fear freeloaders, but I don't. What I fear is making the promise to honest people and then not being able to deliver on it. If I promise to give someone time to find a way to make a living at what they love to do, I should be able to follow through with it.

There IS a way to move someone like me off that fear. It involves an incremental approach. Nibble away at the costs we incur that trap is in shit jobs. Even without UBI, someone might be tempted go entrepreneurial if they didn't fear catastrophic health care costs. We'd get to make smaller promises that grew with time, the evidence that we can deliver, and the evidence that it is actually good for innovation.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Funny how it works out. 8)

My wife and I just celebrated our 25th in this semi-quarantine.
I owe her some silver. In the mean time I make her lattes.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

The Finnish study (New Scientist) has the same sort of results as the other places a UBI has been trialled - people end up working at least as much but they tend to be more selective and put more emphasis into longer term things


To the oligarchs, workers being selective about who they take orders from and under what conditions they do so is tantamount to treason. To them, the whole point of capitalism is to provide a workforce desperate enough for scraps that they'll meekly do as they're told.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

My wife and I just celebrated our 25th in this semi-quarantine.


There's a song from Fiddler on the Roof that mentions that particular duration. I get to sing it next year. :)

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

I love my job...

This has not always been true in my life. I've had to work jobs I hated. Shit that just sucks.

So I'm lucky. I worked myself into the right niche by education and persistence and luck.


I'm gonna sound like a broken record, but that also mirrors my own life. I worked for twelve years in the IT department of a truck manufacturer, and then four more in the same position as a contract employee (after they outsourced my department). I didn't hate it, but as time went on, the pressure to work unpaid overtime made the job increasingly less tolerable. I hung on mostly out of inertia and the need to have my family covered by health insurance.

In 2016, with one week's notice, my contract which I had been assured would be renewed was not. I was out looking for work in the immediate aftermath of Trump's election.

After a year and a half with only a six month contract breaking it up, just as unemployment benefits and COBRA were about to expire, I landed the job I have now with a Health Care provider, also in their IT department. Not only did they offer me a higher salary than I had been making previously, they didn't require the usual "10 years experience with..." their particular ETL tool, but trusted that I could learn it in a few weeks (which I did). I'm enjoying my job for the first time in many years, I have a fun team to work with who all have each other's backs, and there's at least one person there who I would make a point of protecting in an active shooter situation. And being a Health Care provider, they have plenty of work for us at the moment.

The company that laid me off in 2016 did me the biggest favor of my life.

scidata said...

Re: SpaceX bargain prices
What I'd like to do is set up a space-based repair shop. Waiting 10 years for everything to be perfect before launching anything (eg the JWST, probes, stations) is insane. Top scientists and engineers sitting around, wasting the best years of their lives.

Ships' carpenters were commonplace in the days of sea exploration/exploitation. Just launch it now, and handle contingencies as req'd. Allons-y

David Brin said...

Good story LH.

Scidata: at least they are now making expensive satellites with grapples to attach upgraded systems for power/propulsion... and soon refueling. Only took 60 years.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

The Grand Moff Tarkin said...

Trump’s returns (personal and business) have been audited many times by the IRS and probably by the state of New York. If the government thought there was underreported income, they would have assessed unpaid or underpaid taxes. Trump and his companies would then either have to produce their books and records to disprove the assessments, or pay up. If the government thought there was criminal under reporting, the files would have been referred to the Justice Department (or the NY equivalent) for prosecution. I know this because I’ve been at government tax prosecutor for much of the last 30 years. I’ve seen some really dirty players in that time.

My guess is that Trump is fighting the release of his business records for 3 reasons. 1. It will show how bad a businessman he is. 2. There will be plenty of information that can be fairly or unfairly made to look bad (such as, DHMO, the silent killer - you can make water look like a dangerous chemical). 3. His business partners and deals could be subject to retaliation by people who hate Trump to the point of distraction.