Sunday, June 28, 2020

Some weapons work in this civil war... oh and the statues thing... and more

From perspectives across evolution and deep time, we must now veer back our current crises dividing America and the world....

== Start with our Covid-transformed politics... ==

First see the 15 times Trump publicly praised China's handling of the coronavirus. Was he lying then or is he lying now? Note that the only action that Trump points to having taken in March (there are none - zero - in January or February) is the travel ban from China, which his officials swiss-cheesed with 40,000 holes and exceptions.

Talk about a first class RTNIT (Rub Their Noses In This). And if your MAGA cries "Fake news!" repeatedly demand cash wagers to be settled before a respected neutral... some retired military officer will do nicely. See MAGA run.

But the President's Intelligence Briefing is the great big RTNIT of the week -- how often Trump was urgently warned and ignored every opportunity to get us ready. Read the article, especially how cabinet officials get an adjusted version of the PIB, so there's a paper trail to prove every bit of this.

Meanwhile, here is Joe Biden in a USAToday op-ed way back on January 27th: "The outbreak of a new coronavirus, which has already infected more than 2,700 people and killed over 80 in China, will get worse before it gets better. Cases have been confirmed in a dozen countries, with at least five in the United States. There will likely be more."


And yes, analyses show that Fox/Limbaugh watchers have swarmed in misinformation, much of it dangerous, even life-threatening. And why does no one at all confront Hannity & co with wager demands? I tell you, it works.

Don't you dare let your RASRs swallow the line of Justin Amash - till recently running for the Libertarian Party nomination - asserting that "both parties are the same and Biden is as bad as Trump." That is the stalking horse of a factotum who's been assigned the job of distracting fed-up, decent Republicans and Libertarians, to keep them from defecting all the way to the Union side of this desperate phase of our 240 year civil war.  

== They have no answer for this one ==

Every few years I come back to disprove the most persistent and insane of all political myths... that Republicans are somehow more fiscally responsible than democrats. It is not only false, but totally 100% diametrically opposite to true, ever, at any level. 

Sure I speak of the "Second Derivative of Debt." Is that arcane? Then think of the brakes and accelerator of your car. And actually think about this slide I offered just three months ago (based on the blue chart of 2016).



Then look at the new version I made today. Cram this in the face of any MAGA or RASR who claims "well Trump is insane, but Democrats will spend us into poverty!"

Better yet, make a cash bet of that hoary cliché! It... is... an... easily... disproved... lie.



== The statues thing ==
Okay this renaming thing has proceeded to demands that NASA rename its John Stennis Center. Wow. Won’t happen right away, but with Mississippi changing its flag, we sure are moving along.
But while you're at it, there's an aircraft carrier - a top US capital ship - also named for Stennis. Also the Carl Vinson. Both of them segregationists. The excuse? "Named after Democrats!" in order to offer “balance" while Republican Congresses rushed to label carriers Reagan, Bush and… Ford? Seriously? While giving LBJ - MLK’s ally who got us the Civil Rights Acts - a destroyer and Carter a sub, in order to ensure neither will ever get carriers. See where I work it out, here.
Alas, while I agree with much of this renaming trend (Bragg and Hood weren't just slavers but BAD generals!) and relish the toppling of confederate monuments to treason, I must point out that symbolism-obsession used to be a largely GOP phenomenon. It is important to a degree, after which it becomes symptomatic and counter productive. Take the toppling of a statue to... um... US Grant who did as much as any human to ensure all slaves would be freed?
Likewise the Emancipation Monument in DC. Frederick Douglass attended the opening of this memorial to Lincoln freeing the slaves. It is an even better example than the Teddy Roosevelt statue of something that was woke in its time and hated then only by racists, that appears horrific(!) to our modern eyes! The TR statue can be saved by separating the Native American and African figures - noble looking in their own right - to their own new settings commissioned from modern artists, and let the 90% decent TR stand alone.
But this Emancipation Monument, paid for by freedmen and approved by every black leader of the time? Okay, times change. Keep Lincoln, he deserves it. But take the kneeling slave to the African American Experience Museum as a cautionary tale! Commission a new version of the same fellah standing on his own! (Symbolism experts, many of them black scholars, say that is exactly what the liberated slave is doing, in the current version. But it's still cringeworthy and demeaning to our eyes.)
 In its place next to Lincoln, put up a statue to Frederick Douglass! Lincoln's equal in all ways except power and in fact the conscience who nagged and irked and pricked and drove Lincoln to finally keep his promises.
 The crux -- there is one criterion that pierces all of these arguments. Did you try hard to be better than your times? To move the arc of justice forward, despite your own blind spots and personal flaws? Each case raises interesting perspectives! Douglass himself said Lincoln's effective good deeds vastly outweighed his sin of waffling. Jefferson and Washington were guilt ridden over their own hypocricies and they did set us on the path --grinding and too-ponderous -- away from 6000 years of feudal oppression. Can you say as much?
 On the other hand, Andrew Jackson was a bastard through and through, though his cynical populism did spread the vote to poorer men. He'll be off the $20 in two years and good riddance! As for Woodrow Wilson, he did great good for democracy, self-determination and fought to create a fair international order -- and was a neo-confederate bigot who winked at the Klan. Even if a future generation rehabilitates him for the good stuff, it is our time now! This generation has a right to its priorities! And so let's rub him out of sight, for the bad stuff.
 Only now pause. Look around at things you take for granted. Use your SFnal powers to look back at them from the year 2200. 
My nomination for something we take for granted today, that those future folks - our descendants - will abhor? Something you routinely do that is - in essence - truly a terrible thing?
 I have a candidate for that evil thing you and I do, that our better descendants won't.
Gossip.



== And finally... for you splitters, out there... ==
I've offered many reasons to quash "splitters" trying to break up our coalition to save the Great Experiment. Their prissy invectives against "DNC types" are refuted overwhelmingly in FIVE rebuttals that refute every splitter rationalization. But like numbskulls of the right, they don't read. So let's simplify. If Dems win overwhelmingly, DC becomes a state. And if you don't help make that happen, then you are proved to prefer pompous posing (or helping Putin) over helping achieve citizen justice. Yes it's that simple.
So get off your butt, cut the pretentiousness and help register folks. Fight! Then complain about Biden and Pelosi in 2022, after the nation has been saved.
And heck yeah, it's part of Polemical Judo.  And if you really want better generalship in this political phase of Civil War, then get folks in high places to read that book, filled with 100+ original and effective tactics that no pundit or politician seems yet to have come up with. 

119 comments:

Tim Illingworth said...

My take on "thing done now that future generations find abhorrent": eat (particularly farmed) meat.

Doug S. said...

Where can we find retired military officers to adjudicate such bets?

ZarPaulus said...

Woodrow Wilson's news policies also didn't help with the Spanish Flu.

Of course, he wound up catching the very disease he kept downplaying.

David Brin said...

Good question. I met a number of those I know through boy scouts. A fraction of the dads and scoutmasters. I met a lot more through speaking/consulting.

But one place to start might be your local dem congressperson's office. Actually their campaign. They ought to answer if you ask "who is your military affairs adviser?" Then that person might be able to name an acquaintance who seems sagacious, fact oriented and balanced.

Unknown said...

Future us will think lawns were weird status symbols like sports cars. We'll think it is strange that not every neighborhood used to have a tool sharing system.

We'll likely think that single generation households are weird, except for those young adults who group together to explore being independent and interdependent together.

We'll think it is barbaric how parents used to have to be both full time employees and full time parents with minimal social and economic support.

We'll think it is barbaric that children were fed super refined sugars and grains. It will socially be treated like adults giving children alcohol.

And yeah, as already said we'll wise up to factory farming in all its guises.

A German Nurse said...

Future generations ...
... will protect whales, great apes and other pre-sophont species, and rule that hunting them is only a step away from genocide;
... will be have abandoned radical vampire capitalism;
... will introduce regulations and organisations to clean up the seas as well as the orbit;
... will have abolished death penalty and torture;
... will go to courts instead of war to regulate disputes;
... will look horrified at those times when people drowned in the Mediterranean, fleeing poverty and war;
... will shudder when thinking that humanity once had the ability to exterminate itself with its WoMD arsenals.

@Unknown: I like the idea of multigenerational living communities. In fact, I can imagine to sell my property just to help to build one in the future.

frabjoustheelder said...

What will future generations be appalled by? Homelessness, hopefully. I deal with them everyday. I don't like them. Mostly it's just frustrating and sad being around them, but as long as there are human beings living outdoors like animals, we can't rightly call ourselves a civilization. Here is something that you might not know about the homeless if you're privileged enough to not be around them: people don't really live on the streets, it's where they go to die.

Here's a question. What will D.C. be called when it's a state? We've already got a Washington. My suggestion was Oceania. My friend has a way for us to get D.C. statehood right now; write it into the bill that the new state will be called "Trump" for as long as Donald's still alive. Can you honestly say that that wouldn't work, and that it wouldn't be worth it?

Larry Hart said...

A re-tweet by Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) on Twitter:

If you're surprised Donald Trump is comfortable with Russian bounties on a few U.S. troops, consider that he literally spent the last two weeks defending monuments to an army that killed 365,000 U.S. troops

Howard Brazee said...

I believe citizens in all territories should have real congressional representation. If it means D.C. and Micronesia have the same senators, so be it. But they all should count.

jim said...

Lets do this in two steps
2100 AD- With the Times of Troubles coming to an end, the people of today (especially the wealthy and powerful) will be hated with a white hot intensity. They will see that we knew that we were creating massive problems for them and that we refused to change our ways because we were greedy, lazy, selfish a-holes who destabilized the climate, poisoned the land, caused mass extinctions and unleashed new horrors of war.

2200 AD- With more time and distance form the Times of Troubles, I think that the hatred will mellow a bit into a cautionary tale. I would not be surprised if the people of north America in 2200AD thought that our civilization was possessed by the demon Wendigo. The Wendigo is a native American demon who’s defining characteristic is undying hunger that can never be satisfied, whenever it eats it gets bigger, stronger and hungrier. This unending hunger for more moved to the central animating feature of the Wendigo civilization and it nearly destroyed humanity.

David Brin said...

Some of you misunderstand what I meant by "future generations will be appalled by..." and filled in the blanks with today's bad things that we all are striving hard to oversome.

Fine, but in the sense I meant, I am talking about how my parents - FDR liberals - nevertheless were imbued with habits they took for granted. There is an expansion process and it sometimes involves what was NOT obvious becoming obvious.

Meat eating is becoming one of these. We're experiencing such a moment with confederate namings. Though both were already well known to a minority of folks, revolted.

A mentioned gossip because unlike those two, ir is almost NEVER mentioned, by anyone, yet is the greatest injustice-nastiness that most folks engage in without a thought.

scidata said...

Computational Thinking. "Why Johnny Can't Code" is one of the most important things I've ever read. Not AI, runaway automation, crushing surveillance, or transhumanism. Someday, a plurality of people will solve everyday problems quickly and efficiently using computational methods. Future generations will be appalled by our infantile numeracy. This was what I had in mind with my "banging sticks and rocks in a puddle" line in a recent discussion. Contrived, ivory tower 'mathiness' is the mind killer.

jim said...

In 2200 AD the economy should be steady-state (not growing or shrinking) so usury (money lending with interest) will be a crime once again.

john fremont said...

Historians may write about the American pastime of golf. Noting how much of a status symbol it was to play golf out in a desert i
e. Las Vegas, Scottsdale AZ, on a course made from imported sod, grasses and maintained with hazardous herbicides and comes water sharing agreements.

Larry Hart said...

Unknown:

We'll think it is barbaric that children were fed super refined sugars and grains. It will socially be treated like adults giving children alcohol.


Some of the nannyish aspects of our times could go either way. For example, I wonder if future generations will look back in horror that children were allowed to play outside unattended, or that they weren't allowed to do so.

Larry Hart said...

frabjoustheelder:

Here's a question. What will D.C. be called when it's a state? We've already got a Washington.


Columbia? As in "District of Columbia"?


My suggestion was Oceania.


Is that a 1984 reference. Otherwise, you're really gonna have to explain that one.


My friend has a way for us to get D.C. statehood right now; write it into the bill that the new state will be called "Trump" for as long as Donald's still alive. Can you honestly say that that wouldn't work, and that it wouldn't be worth it?


That's so stupid it's brilliant!

Seriously, I'm convinced that the only reason the DC airport wasn't shut down permanently after 9/11 is that it had already been named for Ronald Reagan.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

I would not be surprised if the people of north America in 2200AD thought that our civilization was possessed by the demon Wendigo. The Wendigo is a native American demon who’s defining characteristic is undying hunger that can never be satisfied,


That's almost as good an explanation as "Trump has Mule powers."

David Brin said...

JF... well, I am a big fan of Ultimate Frisbee, which is essentially golf, but with goals set up along any natural area with no need for expensive, invasive grounds-keeping!

Thanks scidata. It is proof of my lack of influence in the world that the simplest possible reform proposal - in "Why Johnny Can't Code" - gained absolutely zero traction when it could have been solved in one month by Apple, MS, Google, Dell asking one FTE each to fix it.

LH: "Some of the nannyish aspects of our times could go either way. For example, I wonder if future generations will look back in horror that children were allowed to play outside unattended, or that they weren't allowed to do so."

Truly excellent point.

"Oceania" naming is brilliant!

David Brin said...

Again and again, do not be fooled. John Roberts sides with liberals on social issues for three reasons: 1) because DACA and abortion and LGBTQ rights don’t affect his sole priority, defending the oligarchy’s ability to use cheating to keep POWER, and thus (2) by siding with liberals on social issues, he gets cred as a ‘moderate’ that protects him when he always - always - blocks reform of cheats like gerrymandering, voter suppression, and ending 250 years of Congressional oversight and subpoena power.

Finally (3) it helps propel MAGA support for fervently campaigning for the GOP for more “judges and tax cuts.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj8dr0qVHC8

frabjoustheelder said...

LH: somehow I forgot about the 1984 Oceania connection! Back when there were a bunch of different names for the Americas, "Oceania" was one of the names used. "Columbia" was my first thought, but Christopher Columbus isn't envogue at the moment (to say the least). Naming it Trump is so stupid that it would for certain work.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

John Roberts sides with liberals on social issues for three reasons:
...
Finally (3) it helps propel MAGA support for fervently campaigning for the GOP for more “judges and tax cuts.”


I'm not sure I see that last one. It likely turns off MAGA support by making Roberts--a Republican judge--look "just as bad" as Democratic judges. Many who dislike Trump's personal foibles but support him because Judges might come to the conclusion that Judges don't matter.

If you're saying that those supporters think they have to hang on for even more Republican judges, maybe, but I wonder which side of that dynamic tension will win out. If Roberts is purposely appearing "liberal" for the specific reason of riling voters up to demand even more right-wingers, the strategy might backfire.

Larry Hart said...

We'll have to see what the supreme court says about faithless electors.

jim said...

Larry
To paraphrase Jung
“we don’t just have ideas, sometimes ideas have us.”
And if the ideas that have gotten a hold of us are motivating us to be harmful and destructive, is it not some sense accurate to say we are possessed by demonic forces?

In other words, demonic possession is when a bad idea has gotten a hold of you and is motivating you to act in destructive ways.

If that is their understanding of demonic possession, then we are quite clearly living in a Wendigo possessed civilization. The Wendigo’s unsatisfiable hunger is the prime motivating force in our economy and has been for a long time.

David Brin said...

Heh. Last thing jim will do is apply all that to himself.

As for Oceania, thought that the 1984 link was the whole intent!

Larry Hart said...

frabjoustheelder:

LH: somehow I forgot about the 1984 Oceania connection! Back when there were a bunch of different names for the Americas, "Oceania" was one of the names used.


For naming the continent sure. It seemed a strange name for the new state as DC isn't even on an ocean.


"Columbia" was my first thought, but Christopher Columbus isn't envogue at the moment (to say the least).


True. I wasn't thinking so much of naming it for the man as simply keeping the name of the district.


Naming it Trump is so stupid that it would for certain work.


Much as it galls me to think that such pandering is either essential or effective, I have to agree.

Dr Brin:

As for Oceania, thought that the 1984 link was the whole intent!


These things write themselves.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

In other words, demonic possession is when a bad idea has gotten a hold of you and is motivating you to act in destructive ways.


There's some merit to that, although the concept of "demons" usually means to anthropomorphize and supernaturalize (if that's a word) the ideas.

But still, there's not much difference between that and "...when someone with Mule powers has altered your emotions and is motivating you to act in destructive ways." I acknowledge that I am also anthrompomorphizing, but not supernaturalizing. Also, most of me doesn't believe that Mule powers really exist. It's just that the part that notices the uncanny way Trump's rise mirrored that of The Mule isn't convinced by that other part.

jim said...

David
you are just another ecological overshoot denier. They are much worse than climate change deniers because the problem is much deeper.

Jon S. said...

"Here's a question. What will D.C. be called when it's a state? We've already got a Washington."


Columbia? As in "District of Columbia"?


When Washington was being named, one of the leading candidates for a name was actually "Columbia", as in the river the flows through the state and forms part of the border with Oregon. But there was fear among some that it would be confused with the District of Columbia.

Sometimes, time really is a flat circle...

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Oh this is fun i will give it a go. Future generations will find the haphazard manner their ancestors used psychedelic drugs to be archaic as most ailments of the mind will be alleviated by periodic guided meditation sessions that are extraordinarily effective.
-Shane

Ahcuah said...

Larry: Columbia? As in "District of Columbia"?

Aaaaaah-hahahahaha. (As noted by frabjoustheelder.)

How about "Vespucci"?

Actually, purely as a purist, oughtn't most of it just go back to Maryland? (Which gives the inhabitants the vote.)

As a side note: for a new "State", how about the "First Nation", made up of all the Native American tribes/reservations? Yes, it would be a highly fractured State, but so what? The harder problem would be that it would be dominated by the Navajo.

David Brin said...

jim: "David you are just another ecological overshoot denier.

Har! With any one page of EARTH I raised more environmental awareness and activity than you will, across your entire life. I'd call you an imbecile but folks have urged me to be less crude, so, more appropriately.... Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Alfred Differ said...

In 2200 AD the economy should be steady-state (not growing or shrinking) so usury (money lending with interest) will be a crime once again.

Ha! I wouldn't have expected jim to be a soft-landing believer.

(Steady State will kill 99.9% of us when the Ice Age returns to its normal schedule.)


If there is one thing I think I can predict about 2200 AD is that it won't look like today. The adults alive at the time will recognize how they got there from here, but we wouldn't even if we were given the information via time machine. We'd ask the same questions our ancestors of 200 years ago would have asked in the same situation.

1. What? Really?! That's possible?
2. How could that possibly be true?
3. That's a terrible idea! Why would you do that?
4. OMG! This action leads there? Sure not!

... and my favorite...
5. Huh! Why did you all think to do that? I wouldn't have.

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding things we do today that we won't do by 2200, I don't think Gossip will go down that easily. Traceable gossip might take a hit, but there is a legit purpose for gossip that won't go away, thus gossip won't either. Dangerous males have to be tracked and and labelled as such. As long as that is true about us, women WILL retain the tool.

If it goes down, though, I'll offer a similar one that should do. Our inclination toward disgust at sexual practices we are disinclined to do ourselves. I don't mean the social and legal frameworks making some of those things taboo or illegal. I mean the physical disgust response that made for a damn good defense against disease in pre-science societies.

If gossip can be driven down, so can our very-non-bonobo-like disgust response. I don't know if 2200 is a good target for the prediction, but medical advances will mitigate risks of one before the risks of the other.

Acacia H. said...

I do seem wont to go off on tangents in the direction opposite of the topic of discussion...

Then again, climate change and preventing it is political to some...

Here's an article on the use of "green sands" to help alleviate the impact of carbon dioxide in the air and oceans. If used on a wide scale, it could even completely absorb all human-created carbon dioxide. The only problem I do see is this is a stopgap measure meant to give us some more years to wean ourselves from a carbon-based economy but the greedy out there would just ramp up their production of CO2 instead... because of stupidity. And greed.

Acacia

Larry Hart said...

Ahcuah:

Larry: Columbia? As in "District of Columbia"?

Aaaaaah-hahahahaha. (As noted by frabjoustheelder.)

How about "Vespucci"?


Amerigo? That would be almost as "good" (for the same reasons) as calling it "Trump". And Italians would still get the point of pride without all the slavery and genocide.


Actually, purely as a purist, oughtn't most of it just go back to Maryland? (Which gives the inhabitants the vote.)


Well, as a purist, oughtn't the old Dakota Territory be one state rather than two? Maybe that would be a good compromise. Democrats don't carve out a whole new state out of a single city, but Republicans lose one.

Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

When Washington [state] was being named, one of the leading candidates for a name was actually "Columbia", as in the river the flows through the state and forms part of the border with Oregon. But there was fear among some that it would be confused with the District of Columbia.


So rather than give the new state the same name as the federal district, they gave it the same name as the city that is contiguous with that same federal district? And this was supposed to be less confusing?

I wonder how much the decision not to call the new state "Columbia" was to avoid making it sound like an part of Canada. I suppose they could have called it "Baja Columbia".

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

It is proof of my lack of influence in the world that the simplest possible reform proposal - in "Why Johnny Can't Code" - gained absolutely zero traction when it could have been solved in one month by Apple, MS, Google, Dell asking one FTE each to fix it.


Maybe your non-fiction how-to manuals should be published under the pen name "Cassandra Brin".

Alfred Differ said...

While I'd be tempted to call it District 51, it would probably be better to name it after Hamilton.

David Brin said...

What a hoot if it were Hamilton. Lin M. Miranda has had more effect on US currency than anyone since Salmon P Chase.
Hamilton was on his way out. Now they won't dare take an honorary black man off the $10. But Andy Jackson is so outta here. Welcome Harriet.

A German Nurse said...

@DC State names: What about...
Potomac?
L'Enfant?
Nacotchtank?

David Brin said...

I think Potomac is even likely.

Alfred Differ said...

Potomac would work. Makes sense. However, DC is kinda small.
Making it a State would invite a mess from other cities.
Cities aren't really States. They are economic entities within States.
So... I'd rather hand much of it back to Maryland.
[Which has the added bonus of annoying some of my cousins.]. 8)

I'd rather see Puerto Rico as a State.
Given their recent treatment, they should be demanding better representation.

gregory byshenk said...

Regarding olivine, there was just this last week an article in the NRC about some testing being done here.

A link to an offprint of the article - in Dutch.

Larry Hart said...

A German Nurse:

@DC State names: What about...
Potomac?
L'Enfant?
Nacotchtank?


How about LaFayette? It's already got a park by that name.

Pachydermis2 said...

"L'Enfant?"

Enough infantile behaviour out of DC, we don't need to officially recognize it.

Pac2

scidata said...

These days hope is vital. How about DC=Terminus?

Ahcuah said...

Larry: Amerigo? That would be almost as "good" (for the same reasons) as calling it "Trump". And Italians would still get the point of pride without all the slavery and genocide.

Yeah, the guy the continents are named after. But there's another Trumpian connection: Amerigo probably lied about quite a few of his voyages.

Well, as a purist, oughtn't the old Dakota Territory be one state rather than two?

Not sure what kind of "purist" you mean here. The Dakotas were a "policy" decision. Kind of like instead of having a single state named "Northwest", dividing it into Ohio, Indiana, etc.. What I was referring to was that the original intent in the Constitution included a chunk out of Virginia (that made the perfect square). However, when they decided they didn't need that part, they just gave it back to Virginia. There's that precedent.

Larry Hart said...

While I'll be watching the supreme court mostly to see what they decide about faithless electors, there's also this pet bugaboo of mine that I thought was settled in 2014.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/Jun30.html#item-5

If you had just been watching the Democratic primaries and debates, you might have walked away thinking that the future of American healthcare was a choice between expanded Obamacare and Medicare for All. Not so fast, said the Trump administration, yanking the Overton window rightward with dizzying speed last week, as it asked the Supreme Court to strike the Affordable Care Act down.
...
Exactly what position the Republicans will run on is not clear to us. Ever since the Trump administration moved to eliminate people's healthcare in the middle of a pandemic last week, we've been watching for some indication of what their angle is going to be. But there really hasn't been anything, so far.


It's no secret that I have diabetes, and so am "uninsurable" in the private market, even though it is way under control with small doses of medication. Even discounting the many Americans who suffer from diabetes or hypertension, there will now be millions of Americans who have the pre-existing condition of COVID-19 making them untouchable.

I have two distinct problems with the American insurance system as it was practiced before Obamacare and presumably would be again if Republicans have their way. The first is that I've been insured my entire adult life (and probably before that by my parents) even including the 17 months in which my wife's entire salary pretty much went for COBRA payments larger than our mortgage. And yet, because insurance is tied to an employer, if I were to lose my job or retire, we'd be treated on the open market exactly the same as someone who waited until discovering an expensive malady before purchasing insurance. If politicians mean what they say about protecting those with pre-existing conditions after they kill Obamacare, the least they could do is to make sure that continuous coverage is treated as continuous coverage even between separate insurance companies and plans.

The other pet peeve I have is that while much is made over the possibility of bad actors cheating insurance companies by waiting until they are "sick" to purchase insurance, it is considered so normal as to be beneath notice that the insurance companies are free to drop coverage once they come into information indicating that you might become expensive to insure. I don't understand how individuals are forbidden from gaming the system based on personal information, but the companies have an entire business model built on just that.

A.F. Rey said...

Hmmm..."The State of Potomac." Sounds like a mental condition.

On the other hand, that might be an apt description. :)

Catfish 'n Cod said...

The current proposals are New Columbia and Douglass Commonwealth (to keep the D.C. abbreviation).

I like Potomac better than any of those. How about Washington, Douglass County, Potomac?

Atomsmith said...

David, I found an article that seems relevant to this blog: the various ways in which teens are screwing with Trump's campaign online (the "TikTok Army").

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

These days hope is vital. How about DC=Terminus?


Well, hopefully after November. For now, DC is more like Terminus after the Mule's takeover. Too close to home for me.

Larry Hart said...

Ahcuah:

Larry: Amerigo?...

Yeah, the guy the continents are named after.


Well, yes, I knew who you were referring to. My point was only that "Amerigo" might be a more popular name than "Vespucci", as it sounds like "America".

Actually, "America" might be a good name for the state after all. Variations aside, there is no entity actually named that at the moment.


The Dakotas were a "policy" decision. Kind of like instead of having a single state named "Northwest", dividing it into Ohio, Indiana, etc..


Sort of. But I think the intent of breaking it into two states (both essentially named Dakota) was a power grab by the Republican Party at the time, who knew they'd reliably have four new Senators. True, that was the good Republican Party, but still.


What I was referring to was that the original intent in the Constitution included a chunk out of Virginia (that made the perfect square). However, when they decided they didn't need that part, they just gave it back to Virginia. There's that precedent.


But that was long before the city/district had actually been established and lived in. I do agree with Alfred that a city as its own state is an abberation, but also understand that re-absorbing the modern DC into the existing Maryland would be like reabsorbing West Virginia into Virginia or reabsorbing Texas into Mexico. At this point, it's more like a foreign object invading the body.

I haven't quoted "Hamilton" in some time, but in all cases above, I believe the attitude of the larger body would be something like:

When your people say they hate you,
Don't come crawling back to me!

Larry Hart said...

Catfish 'n Cod:

How about Washington, Douglass County, Potomac?


Does DC even have a county now? I hadn't thought of that before.

Larry Hart said...

@Atomsmith, re: "Tik Tok Army",

Give my daughter's generation a chance, and they will save America for us.

And BTW, yours is one of the screen nyms which is quite amusing once someone parses it out in order to type it correctly. There are several other such amusing ones around here if one pays attention.

A German Nurse said...

Agree with Puerto Rico. The question is: Does DC have enough cultural identity to be a state of it's own? Fiscally, it could be a mess, though. It is at least with our three city-states.

Atomsmith said...

Forgot to mention relevance: it reminded me of the crowd-sourcing stuff in this blog and Existence.

jim said...

new names for the sate of DC
New Athens
Roosevelt
Franklin
Mason (as in free mason)
Terrapin (native American name for north America is turtle island)

matthew said...

I suspect that "Douglass" will be the name of the DC proto-state.
"Tubman" may get a few votes but will not prevail.
"DeBois" anyone? "Carver?" "X?"
Or just "King?"

I'll vote for "Clinton." No not that one, the *other* Clinton. The Atomic Dog himself.
"One nation under a groove/
Getting down just for the funk of it/
One nation and we're on the move/
Nothing can stop us now" - Funkadelic

How about "CC?" It's been known as "Chocolate City" for almost five decades now...

Alfred Differ said...

DC definitely has a culture distinct from the neighboring states. It is a capitol district in every sense of the term.

The portion of the square given back to Virginia back before our Civil War was done mostly because the people living on that side of the river saw themselves as Virginians, but without representation. Virginia agreed to the retro-cede and picked up a relatively strong pro-slavery bloc. Without them, Virginia was more evenly split between abolitionists and pro-slavery groups. No doubt there is an alt-history story in that choice. What if the West Virginia counties had managed to squeak a majority in the Commonwealth before our Civil War? What would have been different? 8)

David Brin said...

Douglass County... I love it!


DC was actually much larger at the beginning! They gave 3/4 back to Virginia.

Acacia H. said...

I'd say the simplest solution would be to remove 95% of Washington D.C. from the District of Columbia. D.C. should consist of the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court. The rest can become part of Maryland and thus be provided proper representation, and no longer under the control of the federal government.

Of course if you want simple, you can also put all of the U.S. Pacific Territories as part of Hawaii. They can be part of a larger state, increase Hawaii's representation, and have all the rights of citizenhood as a result.

As for Puerto Rico? At this point, after Trump, I suspect they want to secede rather than become a state. Even if they were granted statehood I doubt they would ever be treated equally to other states.

Acacia

Larry Hart said...

Acacia H:

Of course if you want simple, you can also put all of the U.S. Pacific Territories as part of Hawaii. They can be part of a larger state, increase Hawaii's representation, and have all the rights of citizenhood as a result.


Now that could be called Oceania.

Alfred Differ said...

A big reason for creating DC in the first place was Penn's governor NOT calling out the militia to defend the Congress in 1783. Congress asked when war vets showed up with demands. The Governor declined. [Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783] Congress fled Philadelphia for Princeton.

We SHOULD keep that in mind when pondering what to do with DC.

Tim H. said...

I respectfully suggest the madness in The District of Columbia is not produced there, it is carried there by Representatives, Senators and lobbyists, distilled to a frightening potency and unleashed on a public that doesn't recognize it's origins.

Tim H. said...

Rather than destroying monuments to the CSA, relegate them to sculpture gardens overlooking cemeteries, after all they did so much to fill them. "Death angels Memorial Gardens" might be a suitable name. Perhaps we could admit statues of non-CSA Generals whose "Leadership" resulted in unnecessarily high butchers bills.

Larry Hart said...

jim:

new names for the sate of DC
New Athens
...


An artistic/cultural center. Not sure that's appropriate.

With the modern focus on militarism, New Sparta may work better. :)

However, the essential function of DC is bureaucratic. So, New Brussels? New Zurich? Or keeping with some other suggestions on this thread, New Trantor?

scidata said...

TIL that Asimov was fired in the late 1950s by some dude named Keefer. Apparently the authorities wanted Asimov to do academic research, but he much preferred to write scientific and SF books. The Ivory Tower won't save the world, widespread scientific literacy will. Vive L'Enlightenment (I'm Canadian - I'm allowed to mix French and English).

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everyone:
"What will future generations (in 2200 CE) be appalled by?"
My impression of these comments is that most of them are extrapolations of what we would LIKE them to be appalled by. If we went back to 1840 and asked "What will future generations (in 2020 CE) be appalled by?", *would there be any relationship to today's values except for an abhorrence of Chattel slavery?
@ Dr. Brin: re: "(Future generations wil be) appalled at gossip":
"That's not what I've heard on the street..."
IMHO, that's like being appalled by sweating; it's very probably innate.

Also, I believe I've said (or at least thought) that going forward, AIs will allow a multitude of very plausible (or even **factually true) stories to circulate, mutate, be properly quoted, misquoted, confirmed, denied, etc. leading to the concept of "truth" as being something witnessed through your non-augmented, real-time senses. BTW, we know now (and will know much more soon) how to confuse and mislead those non-augmented, real-time senses using cognitive biases and technology.

I can conceive of a Western version of the Chinese “Social Credit” system, which the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar aptly named “Plata O Plomo”- “Silver or Lead”. However, it would be much more subtle and sophisticated. It could be something like: “The Contrary-Contrary Brin” says something good about Trump, and some time later, he gets a better than expected book advance. “Contrary Brin” talks about the attacks on the experts, and the publishing date on his next book gets indefinitely postponed and his speaking engagements seem to be getting cancelled. What gets rewarded or punished can be modified to fit the circumstances, the particular individual, or the whims of those in power (whether public or private). Something like this could even be instituted with completely benevolent purposes, such as a system to make sure appreciation is shown for employees who put in exceptional effort on some project…



*(with the possible exception of some utopian groups)

**"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."
- Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac. Muthafucka got GAME!

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/opinion/trump-russia-afghanistan.html

American troops in Afghanistan. American service members were reportedly killed as a result.

To this day, the president of the United States has done nothing about it.

Instead, President Trump dismissed the intelligence as not “credible” and “possibly another fabricated Russia hoax, maybe by the Fake News” that is “wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”


How far have we fallen that "doing things that actually do look bad" isn't considered as much of a problem as "making you look bad by reporting what you actually did."?

Imagine the response if Hillary had (rightly) claimed that stories about Benghazi or her e-mails (or Pizzagate) were "not credible" and "possibly a hoax made by FOX News wanting to make Hillary look bad".

Note that whenever Trump is accused of out-and-out obvious malfeasance, including his impeachment trial, they can never credibly claim that he didn't do the thing he's accused of--only that the accusers have ulterior motives and that judges and deregulation are worth putting up with a little deplorability and treason.

The flag-hugging, troop-loving Republicans should be completely embarrassed that Rwanda has COVID-19 under control more than we do. But accepting as normal that Trump's puppet-master is paying for dead American soldiers? The whole party now consists of traitors. Not CONTAINS, but CONSISTS OF.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Making it a State would invite a mess from other cities.


Cities seceding from their states and becoming separate states on their own would be an electoral disaster for Democrats. If the Chicago metro area became a separate state, it would still be Democratic, but then the rump Illinois would probably become a red state. Republicans gain half a game in the standings.

Then again, in the 1990s, Illinois was reliably red, and a Chicago state still would have been blue. Dems would have gained a half game then. So who's to say?

More interestingly, if both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh became blue states and ur-Pennsylvania went from swingy to red, that's something like a game-and-a-half advantage for the blue team. Same with Los Angeles and San Francisco vs the rest of California, and I'm not even sure ur-California would go red all the time.

Ohio could conceivably produce three blue city-states while the rest of the state remains red (although I'm not entirely sure about Cincinnati).

Note, I don't really desire to see cities declaring themselves as states, for reasons Alfred has already mentioned. But it's kind of fun to play with the numbers.

Larry Hart said...

Yesterday, I said:

The other pet peeve I have is that while much is made over the possibility of bad actors cheating insurance companies by waiting until they are "sick" to purchase insurance, it is considered so normal as to be beneath notice that the insurance companies are free to drop coverage once they come into information indicating that you might become expensive to insure.


Even worse than that, if I lost my job or retired and had to buy a new insurance policy on the open market, the individual companies have the right to deny coverage or to charge ridiculously expensive premiums based on their knowledge of my personal or family medical history.

Yet I am denied the equal and opposite right--to not pay for insurance while I'm in no danger of needing it and only hedging my bets when I become convinced that I have an expensive medical condition. I understand how the latter presents a "moral hazard", but not how the former escapes that categorization.

David Smelser said...

I'd worry that most people will conclude that Terminus is a Walking Dead reference. (A town of survivors who turned to cannibalism).

David Brin said...

"If the Chicago metro area became a separate state, it would still be Democratic, but then the rump Illinois would probably become a red state. Republicans gain half a game in the standings."

On the other hand Austin? New Orleans? Atlanta?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

On the other hand Austin? New Orleans? Atlanta?


I did explore some other options further down in the post.

Cities becoming separate states is a bad idea, but at least it might not be as much a loser for Democrats as I first thought. Which is a good thing, if only because that fact alone might keep it from happening.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

On the other hand Austin? New Orleans? Atlanta?


One thing I didn't think about at first, if (say) Atlanta separates itself from Georgia, most of Georgia's representation in the House will come with it. That doesn't help with the Senate, but it does help with electoral votes.

Also, places like Austin are heavily gerrymandered into districts that overlap with the rural areas of Texas, watering down the Democrats' voting power. If the city was a separate state, that couldn't happen.

Larry Hart said...

Another argument for Thomas Paine's "citizens' dividend"...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/01/opinion/inequality-goverment-bailout.html

When the economy is in crisis, who do we turn to for help? Not corporations — it’s governments. But when the economy is flourishing, we ignore governments and let corporations soak up the rewards.

This was the story of the 2008 financial crisis. A similar story is unfolding today. Governments have spent trillions on stimulus packages without creating structures — like a citizens’ dividend, which would reward public investment — that turn short-term remedies into the means for an inclusive, sustainable economy.

This gets to the heart of what fuels inequality: We socialize risks but privatize rewards. In this view, only businesses create value; governments merely facilitate the process and fix “market failures.”
...
Clearly, value is not best measured by price or payment. What’s more, governments create value every day, from which citizens and businesses benefit. They benefit from “basic” structures like highways, education and other essential goods and services, but also from the technologies that shape our economy.

Public financing of research and development helped bring us innovations like the GPS technology that powers Uber and the internet that makes Google possible. The same is true for many blockbuster drugs, which received high-risk early research funding from the government, and renewable energy sources like solar and wind, which were also funded by taxpayers in their development. Indeed, so was fracking.

This is why something like a citizens’ dividend — where citizens own equal shares in a fund tied to the national wealth — would transform the story of government intervention and create a more equitable economy. By giving the population a direct stake in the value that a country produces, it would help establish a better system: Public investments for businesses and research would also produce rewards for citizens. That would help to reduce inequality — and socialize both risks and rewards.
...

A.F. Rey said...

For grins and giggles, here's a YouTube video I found with a compellation of Fox News hosts criticizing the President. You might have trouble guessing which one, though. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-cZG81-MPQ

Larry Hart said...

@A.F. Rey,

In rational times, the obvious relevance of every single one of those FOX criticisms to Trump would at least give them pause. Even if they continued to support Trump, they would have to understand what the other 66 million Americans see as being wrong with him. Or be embarrassed at the fact that they are willfully forgiving every one of those foibles in their own guy.

But they're not even pretending to have principles any more. They're stuck in 1984 land in which two plus two equals whatever Trump tells them it is, even if he told them it was something else five seconds ago. We can only wait patiently (or not so) now for them to meet Reality on a battlefield.

A.F. Rey said...

In rational times, the obvious relevance of every single one of those FOX criticisms to Trump would at least give them pause. Even if they continued to support Trump, they would have to understand what the other 66 million Americans see as being wrong with him. Or be embarrassed at the fact that they are willfully forgiving every one of those foibles in their own guy.

But they're not even pretending to have principles any more. They're stuck in 1984 land in which two plus two equals whatever Trump tells them it is, even if he told them it was something else five seconds ago. We can only wait patiently (or not so) now for them to meet Reality on a battlefield.


Yes, I know. The response I expect is something like, "See, Obama did all this stuff. How dare you criticize Trump for doing it? You only criticize him for these things because you hate his policies! And because he is succeeding!"

I think the Republican Party has made introspection illegal. :)

David Brin said...

AFR If only a prominent and rich dem person would demand a WAGER on whether there were any of their carps on Obama that DT didn't do worse. Almost any.

Howard Brazee said...

Trump has always accused his opponents of doing what he does bigly.

I don't think he conceives that any competent opponent wouldn't try to cheat the same way as he does.

Alfred Differ said...

On a pure politics level, the Democrats would win out if large cities seceded to form their own states. The House would be a bit more representative of the actual population IF the city-states didn't gerrymander much. The Senate would essentially become like the House. However, the only way I'd support such a move would be if we were on the brink of a shooting-style civil war. It wouldn't stop that war, but it would determine who seceded. That matters.

My issue with city-states is that cities are supposed to be economic entities. I get queasy when they double as political entities... especially when they have the power to raise an army. States do. Cities shouldn't.

The distinction is important. We should be able to regulate at the city level without those people having the ability to imply threats for non-conformance like states can manage. It's one thing to have a local police unit enforcing local ordinances and another to have the power to call in the national guard to enforce them. We blur this distinction when police have military equipment and powers... and that's a terrible idea. There really should be a Posse Comitatus Act type separation between States and Cities too.

Cities are economic entities in the sense that they should live and die according to the forces that drive the people who create them, live within them, and then move on if they so choose.

States are regions more akin to the environment for cities. These regions are like deserts, river basins, high mountains, and littoral coasts. They are what they are with many factors influencing how they change. They are the stage on which we place our sets. Cities are more like the stage actors.

Daniel Duffy said...

History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme.

We may see a stutterer that no one has taken seriously succeed a degenerate sociopath:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/?fbclid=IwAR0y3kGAL9eAVKoB2OTwBMPVHOM1v9kP_ncvTlXj2rw4bTbq3WWne-yrTvA

About 2,000 years ago, the same thing happened:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnrnhTBj8A

(Couldn't find a YT video of Derek Jacobi's incredible performance.)

Larry Hart said...

I may be late to the party, but is it common knowledge that Dilbert's Scott Adams has a Twitter feed that is as insane as Ted Nugent?

https://twitter.com/search?q=ScottAdamsSays

@ScottAdamsSays:

If Biden is elected, there's a good chance you will be dead within the year.

...

Republicans will be hunted.

...

Next time someone asks you if black live matter, I recommend this response: “Yes, and fuck you for asking. It shows you have doubts.”

...

David Brin said...

Alfred I seldom find anything you say I want to disagree with, but States are not always environments friendly to cities. Spinrad's recent THE PEOPLE'S POLICE predicted some cities taking their police forces to new directions and specifically shows how the folks of New Orleans hate their cenfed oppressors in Baton Rouge.

Daniel D... is that historical quip yours? Because I hurried to post it on FB!

David Brin said...

And yes, Scott Adams says... sometimes... really weird things.

duncan cairncross said...

Scott Adams used to be sensible

In his old strips/book everybody did something stupid - the best of us only once a day

In his new ones Dilbert is always right and it's the stupidity of others that is the problem

Personally I found the old "We ALL do stupid things" much much more true to life

Atomsmith said...

@Larry Hart, thanks, I was rather proud when I came up with it. It's both a subsequence of the letters in my name (but for the initial A, a subsequence of the syllables in my name), and someone who makes stuff with atoms! (But it's not the subsequence most people suspect!)

Daniel Duffy said...

The city v. country argument is moot since rural America is already a dead man walking.

The coming technological avalanche that is about to wipe out the rest of Red Rural America, not just coal country. Red Rural America does not have much demographic, economic or technological life left in it. The migration to Sun Belt states is to Sun Belt cities like liberal Houston, rural west Texas counties are actually depopulating — only a matter of time before it turns Texas blue. Most Red States, like Nebraska and West Virginia are losing population, leaving behind only very old uneducated white folks. As they say down South, nothing kicks harder than a dying mule. The 2016 election was that kick. Economically and technologically, Red Rural America will soon have no reason to exist.

Got coal?
Nobody cares because fracking gas is cheaper and solar energy is now cheaper in most areas (the Chinese just cancelled 103 coal burning plants in favor of expanding their already impressive renewable energy industry — so overseas markets won’t save the coal industry).

Got oil?
Nobody cares because we will be driving EVs (Tesla now has greater market valuation than the Ford Motor Company).

Got cattle and livestock?
Nobody cares because we will grow meat from stem cells (its already on the market and the price of a lab grown hamburger patty fell from $300,000 to $3 in a single year)

Got farms?
Nobody cares because we are turning old warehouses into vertical farms in the hearts of major cities worldwide from Newark, to Singapore to London to Tokyo — growing crops 24/7/365 more cheaply without the transportation costs needed to haul fruits and vegetables cross country.

Got farm labor?
Nobody cares because any remaining outdoor farming will be done with robots and drones.

Got small town manufacturing?
Nobody cares because we have robots, automation and algorithms that replace repetitive human labor on the factory floor and 3D printers that can customize batch production from anywhere.

Got a fishing boat?
Nobody cares because we will be harvesting multi-modal oceanic farms for kelp, fish and shellfish — and the fishing industry can finally advance from the hunter/gatherer stage.

A new technology — fracking — killed coal. These newer technologies will kill what is left of Red Rural America’s economy, leaving Blue Urban cities as the only source of economic growth and prosperity. Multicultural, cosmopolitan, globalist oriented cities based on advanced high technology economies with all sorts of non-white people from all over the world living in them. The “poorly educated” that Trump loves so much need not apply.
Within a generation all of Red Rural America becomes Appalachia.

It’s already happening, which explains the anger and despair of rural Trump voters.

TCB said...

This is the best thing all day:

The Lincoln Project, a Republican group set on defeating Donald Trump, has made its newest ad entirely in Russian.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

Scott Adams used to be sensible


A while back--I think even before Trump--he posted something about the then-raging argument about whether to permit Syrian refugees into the country. His argument was to the effect that, if say 0.1 of 1% of Muslims are terrorists, then for every 10,000 refugees admitted, we have to accept the fact that we're letting 10 terrorists into the country. The operative question, he argued, was whether that was a risk we were willing to take. His point was that we should bar Muslims, but rather that we should approach the question statistically with an eye toward cost/benefit analysis.

I don't fault his mathematics; just his selectivity. Why should that kind of statistical analysis apply solely to Muslims, and not, for example, to the cost/benefit analysis of allowing white Christians to own guns?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

It's one thing to have a local police unit enforcing local ordinances and another to have the power to call in the national guard to enforce them. We blur this distinction when police have military equipment and powers... and that's a terrible idea. There really should be a Posse Comitatus Act type separation between States and Cities too.


The Posse Comitatus Act is already essentially nullified when local police have and use actual full-blown military equipment. What's the difference between the army enforcing local law and the police doing so with army combat ordinance?

To the rest of your post--I agree that carving out cities as states of their own is a bad idea, but I'm not sure I reach that conclusion for the same reasons you do. I see the city as an organ which functions within the body of a state (or country), not something separate from that state (or country).

Then again, the modern political divide in this country--moreso than liberal vs conservative or black vs white or even poor vs rich--seems to be urban vs rural. If city interests and surrounding state (or national) interests are so distinct from one another, then there is a problem with containing them within the same political unit. Rather than working together synergistically, one inevitably dominates and forces its will upon the other. I don't have a solution to suggest, but that is a big problem.

matthew said...

The arrest of Ghislane Maxwell ordered by SDNY is very interesting indeed.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ny-ghislaine-maxwell-arrested-20200702-bq25hilwpjdthktz4cbkl7srx4-story.html

So many questions -
Did Barr try to stop the arrest? Or control the narrative of it?
Will she be offered a plea deal? Will she be a cooperating witness?
Will she survive even one month in prison?

Lots of rich powerful men woke up this morning in a cold sweat panic...

matthew said...

Here is the indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell. Sorry for the earlier misspelling of her name.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6978750-U-S-v-Ghislaine-Maxwell-Indictment.html

The indictment is worth a read, if your blood pressure can handle it.

tl;dr - she is in big, big trouble and facing years in prison, if the DA can back up the charges.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

Scott Adams used to be sensible


His tweets remind me of my old conservative buddy Chris from the "Cerebus" list. During the Bush years, we could have respectful, intellectual arguments over policy differences, and even occasionally convince each other on some point. Then President Obama was elected, and suddenly the guy sounded like Glenn Beck, repeating any bizarre anti-Obama theory he had heard of as if it was established fact. When I mentioned that my daughter's grade school was singing patriotic songs with words like "Teach me about my freedom," he interpreted that as President Obama's version of Stalin suborning schoolchildren through indoctrination. And he insisted that "National Socialism" was identical with Socialism rather than the opposite thing. His "proof" was that Otto Von Bismarck was responsible for the first national health care program, so therefore Obama = Bismarck = Hitler.

I finally cut off communication when he screeched that my liberal leanings and lack of fear over the future made me an unfit parent, and that my child should be removed from my household for her own protection.

This is what Scott Adams's tweets remind me of.

If he's really going to assert that Republicans will be hunted to death if Biden is elected, he might first want to check with Ted Nugent to see if Nugent is either dead or in prison, as was to be the case were President Obama to be re-elected. If Adams was offering a wager, I'd be sure to take it.

I only looked at his Twitter feed because someone else mentioned how loony-right wing it was, and I couldn't believe they were talking about the writer of Dilbert. I won't be going back there again. Life's too short.

David Brin said...

In Polemical Judo in my “Crackpot ideas” chapter I ask why we aren’t buying up dying rural towns and converting them to dozens of fresh purposes? VASTLY better places for refugees to reside - healthy air & garden work with families while their cases are processed. Another 40 or so can offer non-coerced relocation for urban homeless. Minimum security prisons for crimes that were nonviolent but we need deterred. A few could offer safe relocation for sexual predators.

The towns are dying because living there and farming or businesses don’t make a profit. But if they ALMOST break even, then the state’s subsidy to the relocated would cost less than ANY othe measure taken to help them.

Larry Hart said...

mathew:

she is in big, big trouble and facing years in prison,


If she doesn't "commit suicide" first.

David Brin said...

I am stunned Epstein didn't have files stashed away as 'suicide insurance." Maybe SHE was his stash point? If so, stupid. But it mKes her a center of much "attention."

A German Nurse said...

Could be attributed to narcissm and a belief to be untouchable. Or, they have already found his stash and disposed of it.

matthew said...

Utter conspiracy nonsense:

I will bet a very large amount of money that Barr got his hands on Epstein's records. Barr and Epstein go back a long way - back to when Barr's father gave Epstein his first big break teaching at a private school where Barr's father was the headmaster. My suspicion is that the two families have been working together for a long, long time.

A little background for those that lack it:
https://time.com/5650974/william-barr-jeffrey-epstein/

I *do* suspect that Ms. Maxwell will "suicide" very soon. But it all depends on exactly who her guards are, doesn't it? Or who she is willing to testify against.

If she doesn't suicide:

Telling a partial truth may make her the most valuable pawn on the table. Picking targets may save her ugly life.

If she has deadly blackmail information on a large percentage of the political, financial, tech, and science world; and if the release of damaging information can be weaponized against *parts* of that world...

We might be about to see who is weaponizing her.

My bet is Barr.

The blackmail tsunami is about to crest.
Many, many may have dirt on them.
But the public dirt may all go in one direction.
If I had to bet, this is the way I'd put my money.

Titans of politics, tech, science, may soon fall.

I'll betcha that they are those, who've done really bad shit, not denying that...

But not our AG's friends.
Those folks will be protected. .

She could be a weapon aimed at *very* selective targets.
Once again, very bad people.
But not *all* the very bad people.


Alfred Differ said...

I understand that States are not necessarily friendly environments for cities. Much the same is true of Terran environments for plants and animals living in them. The metaphor works, though, because each influences the other... but is NOT the other.



Regarding Scott Adams, it is useful to look up his health history. He's been through Hell and back with respect to a disorder of some type that affected his brain. Look it up if you have the courage. It's scary stuff. Because of this, I don't think of his as the same Scott Adams he was before. Brain diseases/disorders/injuries change us in fundamental ways. Weird ways. The earlier person is sorta still there as part of the newer person, but not fully. Contiguous memory, discontinuous personality.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

The Posse Comitatus Act is already essentially nullified when local police have and use actual full-blown military equipment. What's the difference between the army enforcing local law and the police doing so with army combat ordinance?

The difference is huge in practice, but small in politics. Your local police force doesn't have the infrastructure the DoD has, nor the training. Somewhere between these two extremes you'll find the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. Posse Comitatus still matters at another level too. Police agencies have a different mission than war fighters.

Politically, though, you are right. When your neighbors can't distinguish one from the other visually, it's easy to expect the two to behave the same way. It is easy to slide from respecting veterans for the service they give to the nation to respecting police for something they haven't actually promised... and couldn't deliver upon even if their lives depended on it. The police might have the weapons, but they don't have the necessary infrastructure and training to make it all work.

The descriptions I offer distinguishing cities, states, and nations are intended to provide a structural narrative for policy decisions. We don't all agree on the narrative, but we can start a reasonable discussion about why we make certain distinctions so we make more informed decisions about changing traditions. US history has not made room for small city-states, so it is reasonable to ask 'Why not?' Surely the people of NY pondered this same situation almost 250 years ago. And besides... what about Rhode Island? 8)

The grandfathering argument only goes just so far. Most of the US isn't former colony territory. For example, New Orleans is not a State. That wasn't tried back then. Why not?

This all quickly moves into political philosophy... which I love to ponder. Not everyone's cup of tea, though. 8)

TCB said...

Alfred Differ writes: "Police agencies have a different mission than war fighters. Politically, though, you are right. When your neighbors can't distinguish one from the other visually, it's easy to expect the two to behave the same way."

I noticed a long time ago that in relatively free countries, the police looked like police and the soldiers looked like soldiers. Britain has its bobbies, we had Sheriff Andy and the guys in Car 54... they looked nothing like soldiers. In less free countries the police and the military were not much different, in appearance or in how they seemed to operate. Armed to the teeth and answerable to none.

Notice how the gap between has closed here. The blue (police) and the khaki (military) both roll up dressed in black, faces covered and ready to draw blood...

Larry Hart said...

It's not just me...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/opinion/trump-racism-2020-election.html

Trump’s Re-election Message Is White Grievance

A lot of Republicans are acting puzzled about Donald Trump’s re-election pitch. “He has no message,” one Republican source told Reuters. “He needs to articulate why he wants a second term,” said another. Some have expressed hope that Trump would find a way to become less polarizing, as if polarization were not the raison d’être of his presidency.

It’s hard to know if Republicans like this are truly naïve or if they’re just pretending so they don’t have to admit what a foul enterprise they’re part of. Because Trump does indeed have a re-election message, a stark and obvious one. It is “white power.”

...

People voted for Trump for reasons besides racism. There was also sexism. Some voters were just partisan Republicans, or thought that reality TV is real and that Trump was as successful as “The Apprentice” made him seem. I once met a young man at a Trump rally who’d voted for Obama but was worried about the taxes he’d pay when he inherited his family’s car dealership.

Trump, however, seems to grasp that racism is what put him over the top. It’s what made his campaign seem wild and transgressive and hard to look away from.

...

In fact, Trump appears to think his problem is that he hasn’t been racist enough. On Wednesday, Axios’s Jonathan Swan reported that Trump regrets listening to his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “woke” ideas — as a source put it — including on criminal justice reform. Instead, he wants to double down on law and order. “He truly believes there is a silent majority out there that’s going to come out in droves in November,” a source told Swan.

...

The Times reported on the president’s rationale: “Mr. Trump and his campaign team, already concerned about his weakness in battleground states, have become increasingly alarmed by internal polling showing a softening of support among suburban voters.” Trump sees clearly — more clearly than most of his party — that racism is the main thing he has to offer.

There’s good reason to think that he’s misjudging these suburban voters. Polls show that a growing number of them, particularly women, are repelled by Trump’s race-baiting and divisiveness. But Republicans who complain that the president is undisciplined, that he can’t adhere to a strategy, miss the point: Bigotry has always been the strategy.

The Republicans who support him are yoked to that strategy. Their real frustration isn’t that it’s ugly but that it’s no longer working.

David Brin said...

While the author of that Times piece makes good points, it is also blitheringly myopic. OMG, attacks on races and women and LGBTQ etc pale in number next to the Foxite attacks on nerds, geeks, fact people, civil servants, Universities and expertise.

Yes, those oppressed minorities SUFFER more from abuse and racism and should remain top priorities. But again, the looming oligarchy of mafiosi, KGB agents, Gambling moguls, oil sheiks and so on are using those hates as dog whistles to rile up confederate mobs. Those oligarchslikely do not personally wallow and thrash in bed hating on minorities. The Powerful do not fear the Powerless. But they absolutely must crush the autonomous ability of fact people to block their schemes.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

While the author of that Times piece makes good points, it is also blitheringly myopic. OMG, attacks on races and women and LGBTQ etc pale in number next to the Foxite attacks on nerds, geeks, fact people, civil servants, Universities and expertise.


While I do take your point, it isn't really at odds with that of the Times article. The point of the writer was that it is inaccurate or disingenuous to proclaim that Trump doesn't seem to have a coherent strategy. Bigotry and bullying is his strategy. You insist that the intended victims of that bigotry are different from the ones she highlights. So be it. The point is that bullying is his strategy.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Yes, those oppressed minorities SUFFER more from abuse and racism and should remain top priorities. But again, the looming oligarchy of mafiosi, KGB agents, Gambling moguls, oil sheiks and so on are using those hates as dog whistles to rile up confederate mobs.


And again, that's not at odds with what either the Times article or I personally have been saying. You rightly point out that FOX uses white grievance to rile up the base, even as you (correctly) claim that the actual leaders don't care about powerless minorities.

But when Trump tweets out images of black rioters with the implicit message "Vote for me or you'll be attacked in your suburban homes", he's not appealing to a revulsion toward nerds, but to a revulsion toward blacks--regardless of whether he shares that revulsion personally.

I don't see why we're arguing. It doesn't matter to me whether Trump or McConnell or Putin actually hate black people or muslims or even Jews. What matters is that a strategy of riling up Brownshirts against those groups worked to allow the oligarchs to remain in power.

There are signs that it isn't going to work this time around. From my lips to God's ear.

Jon S. said...

I found an old Dilbert collection in a box recently. Decided to look back on some memories.

Yeah, this thing of Adams' isn't recent; he just used to hide it better.

Matthew, the problem with trying to "weaponize" someone like Maxwell is that it can turn out to be more akin to a biological weapon - you can't always control which way the attack runs. If she gets resentful, or fearful, of those who would use her as a directed weapon, she's liable to go off in all directions, under the assumption that she's dead anyway. (After all, she has Epstein as a case in point...) And the Trumpistas who are counting on "liberals" cooperating with them in order to protect, say, Clinton may find themselves rudely surprised, when they learn that not everyone is about political alliance uber alles.

David Brin said...

LH we were arguing? We see the same landscape. I would never say "The oligarchs hate nerds more" in any venue other than this one, where it's understand that doesn't remotely make me a racist, or any less devoted to conquering racism and rendering it extinct.

Alfred Differ said...

TCB,

It is with respect to the militarization of our police forces that my libertarianism tends to align with progressives more than conservatives. I think Pinker is largely correct about our trend toward less violence, so I view militarization of the police as factually misguided and a likely conspiracy by some to stoke the embers of fear they need to keep us chose them as leaders. I might be reading too much into this and imagining conspiracy where it isn't present, but after watching Trump and his goons the last few years, and then reviewing GOP behaviors during this century, well... I don't think so. My deep suspicion is that some of them are doing this intentionally while many more are too loyal to their clade that they aren't willing to suspect them of bad behavior.

Reminds me a bit of how believers don't like to think much about how their own local priests molested and sometimes raped children trusted to their care. When they finally confront the sin being committed, it is a terrible shock. Before that, though... denial.

Alfred Differ said...

The Fox attack on 'nerds' makes more sense to me when described in broader terms. If one splits us all into three large clades, we get peasants, bourgeoisie, and aristocrats. There aren't many peasants left on Earth since most of them have rolled up into the next group and become petite bourgeoisie. The middle rank is broad, though, with many clades. The 'nerd' clade is composed of fact generators, checkers, and finders. Among them is the Intelligencia.

What the Fox people are trying to do is get the petite bourgeoisie to attack the intelligencia. Blame them for their pain instead of the aristocrats. This isn't nonsense since much of the world IS managed by members of the bourgeoisie. They can point and say "THEM! THEY DID THIS TO YOU!" and be partially correct. Only partially, though, and not intentionally.

This about jim's earlier comment about how he perceives the world. Advocated of globalization targeted our incomes. Globalization advocates are obviously among the bourgeoisie. Which clade? heh. Not hard to figure out. Whose incomes were targeted? Well... I'd bet jim is not far off the average income. Maybe not petite, but certainly not haute/aristo-wanna-be's.

Fox wants to split the bourgeoisie. They have to try or the GOP loses. FEAR/DESPISE those smart people who control your lives! [Don't notice that those people really aren't paying much attention to you most of the time... because you aren't all that bad off... or that those smart people think they are helping wipe out age-old plagues-upon-humanity... because they are... and they people they are helping? Yah. They are brown.]

Howard Brazee said...

"The point is that bullying is his strategy."

Or that bullying is his personality, and his strategy is to be who he is. (Not that he has the ability to fake it).

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH we were arguing? We see the same landscape


Well, ok then.

It's just that we often have this discussion where I claim that Trump's support comes from White Grievance and then you say that the oligarchs pulling the strings are more concerned with fact-bashing. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive--the one is a means to the other.

Larry Hart said...

Seen on Twitter from The Lincoln Project...

@ProjectLincoln:

22: The number of times Donald Trump has tweeted in defense of the Confederacy.

0: The number of times Donald Trump has tweeted about our fallen soldiers Putin plotted to kill.

America deserves a president that defends our heroes, not our traitors.

Larry Hart said...

Howard Brazee:

"The point is that bullying is his strategy."

Or that bullying is his personality, and his strategy is to be who he is.


That explains why he is how he is. I was trying to explain why it succeeds.

scidata said...

Starship:
SN5 continues to pass tests, Raptor being installed, multiple static fire tests upcoming. Looks like ~10 days away from hop-ready barring further pyrotechnics (which would require moving to SN6). Super heavy vehicle ass'y building going up. Astonishing.

I'm sure Mango Unchained is trying desperately to find a way to take credit.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Brian Bohmueller said...

One can only hope. Better yet the fall of Carnism, Unequal Education, and Human Overpopulation. Well maybe by 2200 CE after a dozen pandemics.