Thursday, October 29, 2020

YOU can use our military to defend us!... and final zingers... and Trump's by-far most-sincere plea.

Okay, I’m cheating you. I promised to post every chapter of Polemical Judo before the election. But a couple of them won't change anyone's minds and are more about sage arguments over policy. Like Chapter 9: "America’s place in the world - Pax Americana and the rise of China." No time for that one. And Chapter 15: "Exit Strategies" - is now a year old, discussing everything from the 25th Amendment to what Vladimir Putin might do, if his "assets" become liabilities.

The latter has happened already, with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell tearing down what little remained of Republican credibility, rendering that tool of oligarchs ineffective (one hopes)... though several of the darker scenarios in Chapter Nine actually came true! And several even darker ones may yet.


No. with just two postings left before the very few undecideds join sparse lines of voters on actual Election Day, let me admit: almost no one was interested in Polemical Judo - who reads anymore? - and I shoulda done a 'podcast' right?


== More effective, by far… ==


I recently exchanged signed books (and admiring remarks) with retired Adm. William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who forged the modern standards for Special Operations and who oversaw the toppling of Khaddafi, Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Yes, all three! He tells those tales grippingly in "SEA STORIES: My Life in Special Operations." 

 

While serving as Chancellor of the University of Texas, he had a best seller - "MAKE YOUR BED" - of advice how to inspire boys to become better men.

 

I've long held admirals in special respect. There is very little slop-room for error in the US Navy. Having given lecture series at the Naval Postgraduate School, I know the high level of intellect and fact-centered sagacity of most of the officer corps, in general... with some glaring exceptions. I've long recommended that retired senior officers be enlisted – along with retired judges, scientists etc. - into a fact-checking corps that might help restore Americans' confidence in a much-maligned thing called Objective Reality.

 

Also someone I've had contact with when I consulted with ODNI and some alphabet agencies. James Stavridis is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, who tells here about how the most dangerous waters in the world may be the eastern Mediterranean, with Turkey in friction vs. Russia near Syria and Libya... and Turkey vs. Greece in the Aegean and Russia flexing against NATO and on and on. 

 

At least with general energy independence achieved by the US around 2014, there is no longer any excuse to keep valuable carrier groups guarding the increasingly irrelevant but volatile and dangerous Persian Gulf or Straits of Hormuz.

 

More from that very respect-worthy admiral. 

 

== And more so-called "deep staters" (actually heroes) are standing up for us… ==

 

A group of 73 former U.S. National Security officials who served under GOP administrations, including former CIA and FBI chiefs, endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a joint statement on During the Democratic Party Convention, joining the growing number of prominent Republicans to depart from their party for the 2020 election.  Yeah, yeah. “Deep-State.” 


And: "Former U.S. attorneys — all Republicans — back Biden, saying Trump threatens ‘the rule of law’. Indeed, name for me a fact-centered caste in our society, a vast majority of whom... including most former Republicans... are joining in this tsunami? The MAGA meme most-current is "education makes you a traitor."

 

== Why do I raise this right now, in the final week?  ==

 

Because no zinger is more powerful with MAGA males than to demand they back up their cult’s all out war on the reputations of the men and women who crushed Hitler, thwarted Stalin, won the Cold War and the War on Terror… and who Foxites now denounce – without a scintilla of evidence – as “deep state” enemies. 

 

This hypocrisy… when laid bare exactly as I just did… really rocks them back. Not enough to change parties… but maybe enough to stay home and get drunk when it matters – on Election Day. When that thing... staying home and getting MAGA pals to do it too, even in sullen torpor... would be an act of genuine patriotism.


You might be able to get that much from them. By saying the generals and admirals and real heroes want them to.

 

== Of some potential zinger value ==

 

We’ve seen a raft of videos by the Lincoln Project – searing stuff. But. Dang this channel of videos against Trump are personally financed by one fellow - a fellow author of thriller/scifi novels - who has more of a sense of political knife-fighting than any official democrat, or even the Lincoln Project’s upright Republicans. The Ivanka riff is cringeworthy. The one about Democrats having served and fought for our country devastates the lying slander pushed by Fox.


When they raise Hunter Biden, ask them to name the actual crime! Then ask what crime they got out of 25 years and half a billion dollars of "Clinton investigations." Finally, demand they bet real cash stakes whether in a year the sum total of "Hunter revelations" amount to more than what Eric, Don Jr., Pompeo, Mulvaney and the rest have done on every single weekday. Or ask them to bet whether Obama or the Clintons ever did 1% of this crap -- How Donald Trump Moved Millions From His Campaign Donors To His Private Business. Or Emails show how Pompeos mixed personal, official business "We view this as a family endeavor," Pompeo's son, Nick Pompeo, wrote to State Department officials.


Whenever you demand a wager -- one to be judged by retired, senior military officers -- they always run. It would be funny, if not pathetic.

 

== And finally … a lying meme re-interpreted as true! ==

 

Here's the poster he sends to every one of his despot pals and the world's casino moguls, mafia dons, petro sheiks, former-commissar billionaires, inheritance brats and would-be feudal lords. 

  Oh, sure, the Tea Party guys are circulating it so their idiot-confed followers think Trump is talking to them


But it is totally about and directed to Putin, MBS and Kim and Murdoch and all the world mafias.  Re-interpret it that way and it becomes powerfully, terrifyingly true.


Look at it that way and see he's pleading with them not to deem their asset obsolete. A liability.

That re-interpretation makes you so want it to be true.

82 comments:

David Brin said...

OMG see this!
https://www.networthlist.org/david-brin-net-worth-259225?fbclid=IwAR3D9yOmrN6FLL8L_3JCU2ywuX6pK2WII5IDCYB2luWIvcUvcfwBfww9wWo

What the f#$$#! MY NET WORTH IS WHAAAAAAAT? $120million???? Jesus, someone must be tallying if EVERY novel of mine became a Hollywood blockbust for fifty years! Does anyone know a crazed-gullible banker who would let me borrow against this?

Der Oger said...

"Does anyone know a crazed-gullible banker who would let me borrow against this?"

Hmmh ... I know one ... if you don't ask where the money you borrow comes from ... they even seem to forgive loans ... :-)

I just saw the Kopp Verlag advertisements and left.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopp_Verlag

Mark said...

I served with Stavrodis early in career. Smart cookie even back then (late 70’s)

Der Oger said...

Something I had in my Facebook feed today:

https://inventr.io/product/adventure-kit-30-days-lost-in-space/?fbclid=IwAR1ejvf9t6Hby3Wt5b_svbdyhoRn25GjYZI0z-9kZUz_n3C3reBUJ5CovuQ

I am tempted.

Zepp Jamieson said...

The Hunter Biden dossier collapsed once and for all when it came to light that the "author" of the dossier didn't actually exist, but was a fictious person who was never in any intelligence agency and that there was nobody by that name in Switzerland. Further, the author's photo turned out to be a computer generated composite.
Most of you already know that about a dozen hospitals have been crippled by a randsomware attack, including one local to me. Now intelligence agencies are warning that the same people--presumed to be Russian--will be vigorously attacking the state secretary of states election software next week, potentially throwing the system into chaos.

David Brin said...

Zepp.... links?

scidata said...

Pandemics can cause a general dismissal of institutions, norms, and even religious beliefs. Thucydides saw this during the Athens plague:
“in the end people were so overcome by their sufferings that they paid no further attention to such things”

This is why scientific literacy must be internalized by each individual. It truly is the only brain-stuff that exists objectively, and is therefore impervious to panic and despair. We should care about science precisely because it doesn't care about us.

David Brin said...

It took a series of hammer blows to bring down Athens.

BTW has anyone seen the meme: "Bored Again Citizen"? Is that what we'd all love to be? (just thought of that.)

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

and is therefore impervious to panic and despair

I wish that were true, but I don't think it is.
Science is Human and we aren't impervious.
It's still a better option, though, so I'm mostly nit-picking.

David,

Heh. If you were worth that much, I'm sure you could get an Op-Ed published in a few places. You could also host that EC event you've mentioned elsewhere. 8)

Ahcuah said...

Here's the link to the story Zepp seems to be referring to:

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/how-fake-persona-laid-groundwork-hunter-biden-conspiracy-deluge-n1245387

It's not the "document" that Giuliani put out, but a different dossier, from about a month earlier, that appears to have laid the groundwork for Giuliani.

One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden's laptop, a fake "intelligence" document about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son and business in China.

The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake "intelligence firm" called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents.

The author of the document, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen's profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator.

B.J. said...

Man, you've got it made. Open up a tab for the rest of your life, and remember to generously gift your children and favorite causes.

Larry Hart said...

Last word on why I'm not "curious" about the Hunter Biden "scandal":

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/Oct30.html#item-4

First up, the Hunter Biden e-mail/corruption story, which simply hasn't taken hold outside of the far-right-wing media bubble. There are a number of reasons why: (1) the story is so full of holes it could pass for Swiss cheese; (2) the whole thing reeks of desperation; (3) the key figures in bringing "the truth" to light are Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, who aren't exactly the most credible folks in the world; (4) every time there are new "revelations," they are published by outlets like The Daily Mail, The New York Post, and Gateway Pundit, which aren't exactly the most credible media outlets in the world; and (5) even many right-wing outlets, like Fox and The Wall Street Journal, have conceded that even if the claims about Hunter Biden are true, there is nothing to implicate his father.

In view of this, and with Election Day just four days away, TrumpWorld (politicians and media) have shifted their approach. Now, instead of focusing on corruption in the Biden family, they are trying to spin this into a story about corruption in the media. "Why is the fake news trying to bury this story?" is the general idea. Of course, that spin implicitly acknowledges that there is little smoke and no fire here, and so provides its own answer to the question that is being raised.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Just quacking "Hunter Biden dossier" will get you dozens, but here's a good place to start: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/how-fake-persona-laid-groundwork-hunter-biden-conspiracy-deluge-n1245387

I think this October Surprise is what's known as a "Reverse Comey".

Robert said...

Re the dossier's fake author:

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/how-fake-persona-laid-groundwork-hunter-biden-conspiracy-deluge-n1245387


scidata said...

Re: "Bored Again Citizen"
Reminds me of Norm Macdonald, whose wit was way too dry for TV audiences, even SNL, and he was eventually set adrift. Once on a variety show, Macdonald was jabbing a guest who was trying to promote her recent movie. When she mentioned it had Carrot Top in it, Macdonald said it should be called "Box Office Poison". Conan asked her what the actual name was, she replied "Chairman of the Board". Crickets. (timing is everything in comedy) An exasperated Conan challenged Macdonald, "ok [smarty pants], do something with that!". Macdonald quipped, "Is that spelled B-o-r-e-d?"

David Brin said...

Macdonald was a real wit and I am amazed the rightists didn't subsidize him with a late night talk show to compete with the ten or so that all hate Trump. Probably because Macdonald would still have eviscerated Trump. The target it just to rich and huge. They must have calculated his net cred with a conservative audience would have been a net loss, no matter how much he attacked liberals.

A.F. Rey said...

Wow. $120 million. I'm impressed.

Say, could I borrow five bucks? :)

David Brin said...

Neither Obama nor Harris are descended from US slaves, interesting. Though her father is very likely descended from survivors of horrible Jamaican sugar plantations. It's a minor(very) point. But no doubt someone will try to make a hyper-woke point of it, some time.

David Brin said...

AFR That'd be .00000004 of my wealth if it were true. Want a couple cents?

David Brin said...

Wracking my brain for a funny take on "Joe" riffing off "John the Baptist." Joe-the-...

David Brin said...

Joe the Boringest? Joe the Bore-zzzzzzzt?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Neither Obama nor Harris are descended from US slaves, interesting. Though her father is very likely descended from survivors of horrible Jamaican sugar plantations. It's a minor(very) point. But no doubt someone will try to make a hyper-woke point of it, some time.
...

Joe the Boringest? Joe the Bore-zzzzzzzt?


You're not trying to narrow the polls, I hope?

The slave thing--maybe that's supposed to be a knock against liberals that the blacks we nominate for office aren't the ones who have most suffered discrimination. But doesn't that make our point instead? That the descendants of slaves are not on an even playing field with other Americans?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Good heavens, doctor, did someone inject you with Trump brain cells?
After the past four years, it would be really nice to have a boring president, don't you think?
Although I doubt Joe is going to get the chance to be boring.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/27/politics/trump-false-claim-pennsylvania-cant-go-to-church-fact-check/index.html

On Monday, when he made three speeches in Pennsylvania, Trump added an extra detail to his usual inaccurate criticism of pandemic restrictions imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. He suggested that Wolf is preventing state residents from attending church.
...
"The only thing you can do in Pennsylvania is a protest," Trump said in his first speech of the day, in Allentown. "You can't go to church. You can't pray to your God. You can't be with your pastors, your priests, your rabbis. You can't be -- none of that. You can't do anything."


I know this is supposed to be a winning issue with Christians, but is "You can't go to church" really felt to be a bad thing? I always thought that most Americans' view was aligned with Homer Simpson's "Ahh, the best time of the week (right after church). The furthest away from having to go back to church!" I know that when I was in Sunday School, I would have supported Nixon if he had made it so I didn't have to go.

I know people publicly stress the importance of church and "virtue-signal" their attendance, but does anyone really like going to church so much that being able to do so when there's a valid excuse not to is a campaign issue?

TCB said...

Wallace Shawn on the America we thought we lived in and the America we really live in.

David Brin said...

Joe the Optimist? Need something better.

David Brin said...

I expect many fights and hard work, Zepp. Joe will put in 5x as many daily hours of work as Two Scoops... and still get the rest we all want him to have for stamina.

Even so, he should promise to "Try for low stress weekends and Wednesdays."

Larry Hart said...

Apropos nothing, what subatomic particle are you?

Because of our overly-jumpy cats, my wife and I are leptons.

Larry Hart said...

Of particular note from that Wallace Shawn article TCB linked to above:

...
It turns out that by the time the American public learned the sorts of things I’d felt they needed to learn, by the time they came to look in the mirror, what they saw there didn’t look so bad to them. And so, yes, an awful lot of people don’t get upset when they hear Trump talk.

On the contrary, they seem to feel a great sense of relief. Trump has liberated a lot of people from the last vestiges of the Sermon on the Mount. A lot of people turn out to have been sick and tired of pretending to be good. The fact that the leader of one of our two parties—the party, in fact, that has for many decades represented what was normal, acceptable, and respectable—was not ashamed to reveal his own selfishness, was not ashamed to reveal his own indifference to the suffering of others, was not even ashamed to reveal his own cheerful enjoyment of cruelty…all of this helped people to feel that they no longer needed to be ashamed of those qualities in themselves either. They didn’t need to feel bad because they didn’t care about other people.
...

David Brin said...

LH one of our cats was actually named... Lepton!

We had one named Mew-on.

Our dog is Neutron and the best I ever had.

Zepp Jamieson said...

If Joe worked five times as hard as Trump, what would he do with the other twenty-three and a half hours in each day?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

We had one named Mew-on.


My wife calls the cats sleepyons. But I say they are cations.

But "Neutron"? Ouch!

john fremont said...

@Larry Hart

Exactly.I can't recall how many jokes and comics about the preacher asking for money in the collection basket or the priest with the never ending homily

Larry Hart said...

Well, I thought the cats would be cations, but they seem to be annoy-ons instead.

Alfred Differ said...

Grandpa Joe

Charmed quark here

A.F. Rey said...

In case anyone would like to know for Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight has a nice guide to when to expect election results for every state.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-results-timing/

And come on, Dr. Brin, you can afford more than a couple of cents. Your house alone is worth more than that. Remember, you live in California! ;)

David Brin said...

AFR the $5 was against $120 million. With proportionate reductions in same-scale, yoy are lucky to get a few cents!

David Brin said...

Yeah sure Steve Miller looks like Goebbels and shares many traits. Didn't think much of it till I remembered how much Steve Bannon looks like Martin Bormann. Someone pore through other top figures & report back?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Someone pore through other top figures & report back?


Well, this isn't exactly what you were asking, but remember that Star Trek episode with the Nazi planet? The captain who turned out to be their fuhrer looked an awful lot like Mike Pence.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Yeah sure Steve Miller looks like Goebbels and shares many traits


First of all, where did this comment come from? Was it a response to something?

Noticing the existence of groups like "Women for Trump" and such, I've been actively wondering whether there were "Jews for Hitler" groups back in 1932 or so. I'd be more surprised to find out that there weren't than that there were.

Larry Hart said...

Bill Maher on Jimmy Kimmel's show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6iitbygobQ

Specifically around minute 14, toward the end of the clip. Maher explains Trump by referring to an old Disney movie called "Gus" in which a football team uses a mule as a field-goal kicker. When the other team objects, they say that the rule book doesn't specifically say that the field goal kicker can't be a mule. This is his metaphor for the norms and decorum that Trump refuses to honor.

But what perked my ears up was...he's comparing Trump to a Mule.

I knew it! :)

Pachydermis2 said...

After a continuous campaign since election night 2016 I guess we'll have a new landmark in a few days. Perhaps not a point of clarity because we've entered an age in which questioning the legitimacy of an election has become not only acceptable but expected in some circles.

For the record I will accept the outcome as I have every previous one. But what will it be?

Larry a few comments back indicated, iirc, that the outcome would either be a legitimate Biden win or a flat out cheat by Trump. I think the possibility of a flat out Trump win should be added to that list although I of course don't claim to be smart enough to read the tea leaves.

There are of course the polls. But you should not place great faith in them. Polling accuracy can't be considered to be what it used to be. I'd like to see the percentage of people who will answer no polls of any sort. I'm in that number btw. In an age of promiscuous data sharing and stealing I'm not about to have anything about me tossed out voluntarily. This may be more true of conservatives, perhaps by several percentage points. Also, how do the pollsters even generate their numbers these days? Door to door? Land line? Internet? Cell phones? Each has baked in a level of error. The fixes and adjustments the pollsters attempt may be pure handwavium. Trump could easily be ahead in enough swing states that this could be 2016 redux.

Or maybe not. I consider Biden Harris to be an implausible slate of candidates to ride to victory for reasons that need not be discussed at length, but if 2016 taught us anything it is that the implausible can certainly happen.

In some ways a Biden victory would be reassuring in a conservative sense. He's a career politician, perhaps the last such we'll ever elect as President in a new era where forced diversity and hyped celebrity seem to be the future. It would encourage the Republicans to find articulate counter weights to whatever nonsense the Progressive wing of the Democrats tries to enact. About half the country would be behind them.

But who can say. Maybe the example of Resistance! from day one will be what is taken away. That would be ugly.

Perhaps if people here are willing to set aside the passions that a campaign always stirs up - indeed, that it is designed and profligately funded to so do - and report on the situation where they are?

Rural Wisconsin will break 70/30 for Trump. Historically Madison and Milwaukee proper will go about the same for Biden. I have no insights into suburbia.

Anyways, be calm, have faith in your fellow citizens. We're going to be OK.

Pachydermis2

Daniel Duffy said...

We need to repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which fixed the number of Representatives at 435, and then institute the Wyoming Rule (the smallest state population - Wyoming - gets one representative and all other states get a number of representatives equal to the number of "Wyomings" that their population contains).

The total number of reps in the US House increases from 435 to 573, which also affects the Electoral College. Wyoming still stays at 1 rep while the California delegation increase from 53 to 68. Blue states in general do much better.

By matching the number of reps to actual population a lot of the unfairness of the Electoral College is mitigated. The number of EC votes needed to win the White House increases from 270 to 339.

Simple legislation from a Blue Congress (assuming the filibuster is eliminated) can completely change American politics.

No constitutional amendment needed.

Jon S. said...

"Neither Obama nor Harris are descended from US slaves, interesting. Though her father is very likely descended from survivors of horrible Jamaican sugar plantations. It's a minor(very) point. But no doubt someone will try to make a hyper-woke point of it, some time."

Someone already has, in fact. Harris' campaign at one point alluded to the high probability that several of her ancestors were in fact slaves, and the Republicans claimed that was impossible because they were from Jamaica. Apparently modern Rs are completely unaware of the history of the Jamaican sugar plantations.

Man, I hope we get ol' Boring Joe. I want to be able to be uninterested in national politics again. I miss those days.

David Brin said...

Daniel that is very interesting! Did you think of that? I'd love a citation.


Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2:

Perhaps not a point of clarity because we've entered an age in which questioning the legitimacy of an election has become not only acceptable but expected in some circles.


Your both-siderism is duly noted. I'm willing to leave as an exercise to the reader whether a result is illegitimate when the will of the voters is thwarted by voter suppression and a rigged supreme court or whether the result is illegitimate because the media has been unfair to Trump. And whether those two claims carry equivalent weight.

I mean, in 1943, it was probably a true statement that "Jews and Nazis both hate each other." That doesn't make both sides equally responsible for that state of affairs.


Perhaps if people here are willing to set aside the passions that a campaign always stirs up - indeed, that it is designed and profligately funded to so do


With all due respect, it's not the campaign causing my outrage. It's the cheating in the mechanics of the election itself.


- and report on the situation where they are?


Illinois will go for Biden and re-elect Senator Dick Durbin. I'm not worried at all about "where I am".


Anyways, be calm, have faith in your fellow citizens. We're going to be OK.


Nice sentiment, and I'd like to go with it. Certainly, if my fellow citizens dump Trump, it will restore some faith.

But "faith in my fellow citizens" is exactly what was devastated in November 2016. It wasn't just that Trump eked out a win. It was that apparently 40% of my fellow citizens actually applaud that result. 40% of American voters think it's ok to betray allies, support dictators, use the government as an ATM (and a personal law firm), and demonize scientists as long as you make liberals feel bad.

"And that, I do not forgive."

Zepp Jamieson said...

" FiveThirtyEight has a nice guide to when to expect election results for every state."

It's important to note that the eastern states that may be delayed include Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and while Florida isn't on 538's list, who are we kidding? They'll take at least 24 hours.

So don't be surprised if the EC map shows Trump with a small lead Wednesday morning, and don't panic; most of the late counting will be absentee voting, and that is leaning heavily Democratic. When the dust settles, Biden should have over 350 electoral votes.

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

By matching the number of reps to actual population a lot of the unfairness of the Electoral College is mitigated. The number of EC votes needed to win the White House increases from 270 to 339.

Simple legislation from a Blue Congress (assuming the filibuster is eliminated) can completely change American politics.

No constitutional amendment needed.


I've seen a convincing argument on electoral-vote.com that the number of electors for each state isn't as important as the fact that most states are "winner take all". Fixing that would do more to even the playing field than changing the total numbers in each state.

I guarantee you that the moment Texas is ready to go blue, the state will suddenly see the benefit of allocating its EVs proportionally. Or by (gerrymandered) district. Anything but the current winner-take-all system.

matthew said...

538 still has Trump as a ~10% chance of winning, solely due to the Electoral College effects. As a long-time table top role player, I know how easy it is to roll a 1 on a 10 sided die. So, yes, Trump could win legitimately.

But Trump is also planning on stopping the vote counting wherever he is ahead on midnight Nov. 3rd, and at least Kavenaugh (attempted rape, huge debt paid off by ??) has shown in his concurrence in PA that he is open to this sort of cheating. A 1/10 chance of winning is not enough for the GOP, so they *will* cheat unless Biden wins outright on the night of 11/3.

It is what comes next that matters. If SCOTUS tries Bush v. Gore Mark II on November 4th (and if it is close, they will), the only answer will be a general strike, where the Blue 60% of America shut down the nation until we win. This is not "Resistance," this is standing up for our nation.

We are on the knife edge.

****

Portland suburbs are about 75% Blue, Portland proper about 90%. Rural Oregon has these numbers reversed. Good thing that Blue outweighs Red statewide by about 5:1.

And more violence in the area last night. Vancouver, WA (a Portland suburb) police killed a Black man on Thursday. A large vigil last night for him last night was attacked with shots fired by far right assholes.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/31/vancouver-wa-shooting-kevin-peterson-protest-black-lives-matter/6101413002/

We are on the edge of civil war here.

And everywhere.

Stay safe (unless you are a Nazi, in which case I hope you shoot yourself in the groin with the gun you've stuffed in your waistband, which is something that really happened to one of the local Proud Boys at a demonstration. LOL.).

Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2:

Larry a few comments back indicated, iirc, that the outcome would either be a legitimate Biden win or a flat out cheat by Trump. I think the possibility of a flat out Trump win should be added to that list although I of course don't claim to be smart enough to read the tea leaves.

There are of course the polls. But you should not place great faith in them. Polling accuracy can't be considered to be what it used to be...


My claim that Republicans are cheating is not based on polling. It's based on what they are doing, partially in response to that polling. I've given up on formulating more of a response as anything I say will be greeted by more sealioning, demanding ad nauseum that I explain in detail how resistance against authoritarianism is not equivalent to resistance against democracy.

David Brin said...

Talk of the "shy Trump voter" is scary, but it leaves out the "shy wife of a Trump voter" who won't poll honestly when she's within earshot of him.

And will any of the latter use the DOLORES CLAIBORNE method - getting him + pals sated and drunk and lazy on Election Day? (Tho not luring him into an abandoned well, I hope.)

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, proportional electoral votes is a god-awful idea if blue states split EV's and red states remain winner-take-all. Trumpists would LOVE to share California's EV's but not for instance Oklahoma's.

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

@ Larry Hart, proportional electoral votes is a god-awful idea if blue states split EV's and red states remain winner-take-all.


I didn't say blue states should disarm unilaterally. I said--actually I didn't even say this, but the op-ed I read seemed convincing at the time--that universal proportionality in allocation of EVs would do more to level the field than would increasing the number of representatives (and therefore of EVs) under the winner-take-all system.

Larry Hart said...

...and in practice, I wonder if it is more likely that red states will disarm unilaterally. Not in a vacuum, but just as they are about to turn blue. Texas Republicans might soon see the wisdom in allocating their EVs proportionally rather than going completely blue, at which point no Republican would ever win the presidency again.

So I see it as entirely plausible that Texas goes proportional while California and Illinois and New York still give all their EVs to the Democrats. Under those conditions, I could easily imagine a federal law dictating universal proportionality in all states, based on the unwritten rule that rules are meant to protect Republicans and bind Democrats, never the other way around.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

It is what comes next that matters. If SCOTUS tries Bush v. Gore Mark II on November 4th (and if it is close, they will), the only answer will be a general strike, where the Blue 60% of America shut down the nation until we win. This is not "Resistance," this is standing up for our nation.


I'm with you, brother!

The Republicans gave up "Supreme Court Infallibility" when they resisted Brown v Board of Education and Roe v Wade. How dare anyone suggest that if we refuse to accept a dictum from the court that isn't based on any actual law, we're starting something that will only make the other side behave badly too. The other side is behaving badly. No point trying to mollify them (we can't) or get their buy-in on anything (they won't).

If Trump gets to pick his own judges who then decide that he wins the election no matter what the voters say, then we are no longer even pretending to be a democratic form of government, and there's no reason not to resist in any way possible against the traitors to America who make it so. When in the course of human events and all that.

Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin - I crunched the numbers on a simple spreadsheet. Could send it to you if you want.

David Brin said...

DD email is good via https://www.davidbrin.com. Do you have any sort of citation for this concept?

Der Oger said...

Stay safe during the coming days and weeks. Everyone of you.

I hope any worries are unfounded in the end.

TCB said...

Dr. Brin, I too have seen reference to the expansion of the House Daniel Duffy refers to. ...but where...?

Anyway, here's someone making the argument to Repeal the Reapportionment Act of 1929. A large part of the argument is that congressional districts once covered a much smaller number of people than they do now. Where a congressional district of 1911 averaged 212,000 people, an average 2020 congressional district is 758,000. This is far more than most other parliaments, only India being worse, and for instance the UK parliament has an average of a bit more than 44,000. The original US Congress was not much over 30,000 persons per seat.

@ Larry Hart, yep, I know you didn't mean unilateral disarmament, but the GOP would definitely try for that gambit if they think Dem lawmakers might fall for it. Your Texas scenario seems reasonable too. But who can predict anything nowadaze?

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

Your Texas scenario seems reasonable too. But who can predict anything nowadaze?


I hesitate to make specific predictions after being so wrong about Hillary. But one thing I'm comfortable predicting is that if we want to change a rule, we have to make the case that the existing rule hurts Republicans. Remember back when the world was cooling in 2012, private citizen Donald Trump wanted to abolish the electoral college because he somehow thought Romney would win the popular vote but lose the EC, and how "UNFAIR" that was? Even Republican icon Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, signed gun control legislation because the Black Panther Party was arming itself.

Ruby red Texas won't think of giving up its full slate of Republican electors, but the moment the state might go blue? A net gain of over 70 EVs to the Democrats? You can take to the bank that they'll discover the virtue of proportional representation.

Larry Hart said...

@TCB,

The article you link to doesn't mention "winner take all" at all. It just says that the increase in House members would reduce the anti-majoritarian effect of the EVs that each state gets for its two Senate seats.

Here is what I read a week ago. It's a letter from a reader written to the site, under the header "Graduating the Electoral College"

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/Oct25.html

...
Graduating the Electoral College
T.D. in Berkeley, CA, writes: In your answer to J.W. in Slingerlands, who asked about leveling the Electoral College playing field, you suggested adjusting the number of seats in the house to dilute overrepresentation of small states.

I ran the numbers, and it doesn't help. If there were 10,000 seats in the House (your hypothetical), the result of the 2016 election would have been 5,700 electoral votes for the GOP candidate and 4,403 for the Democrat, all other things being equal.

The culprit is winner-take-all, not unbalanced representation. Even making the vote strictly along population lines (that is, 1 EV per person and senators don't count extra), but still awarding each state's votes in a winner-take-all manner, would have given the GOP candidate a 173,763,090 to 134,982,448 win.

The only current suggestion that has any chance of changing the balance is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Whether that might be achievable is a question beyond my competence.

V & Z respond: Interesting point. Now here's your homework assignment. Suppose all states allocated EVs by CD as do Maine and Nebraska. How would that have worked in 2016 with (1) 435 representatives and (2) 10,000 representatives?

Tim H. said...

FDR explained where we needed to go as a Nation in 1944, instead we've wandered off course, in pursuit of a dark dream, a will of the wisp and the lost cause reborn. I don't need conservatives to be voiceless, I need them to not demand that I be voiceless.

David Brin said...

LH, DD's proposal includes not just increasing the size of the House but apportioning so every district has the same number of voters. That is hard to justify opposing. And if it happens, the urban areas get more districts... and so do blue states. And hence more electoral votes.

Pachydermis2 said...

Expanding the House is a concept worthy of discussion. It would of course have many ripple effects and would have support and opposition in unexpected places.

Current Reps rather like the power they wield and might in a bipartisan fashion resent its dilution.

It would make it harder for any individual voice to stand out in such a crowd. Not that we've had many Reps rise to greater things in recent years anyway.

It would greatly magnify the power of the Senate. That might be good, bad or who knows. The Founding Persons did anticipate a tension between the mob and the wise elder statespersons and had various Roman misadventures in mind when they deliberated.

If an expanded House were entertained as a stand alone proposal it might be more popular than you'd think. If it were paired with other measures the package deal would be met with considerable suspicion.

Absent in the prior discussion of Texas is the debatable "right" they have to split into as many as five states at their discretion. It was part of the initial deal that brought the Lone Star Republic into the Union but its questionable whether that is still the case.

Pachydermis2

scidata said...

Boca Chica:

High winds have delayed final static fire test, Musk says probably today (Sunday). The good news is that the risk of having it sit on the launch pad much longer may be greater than the risk of lighting that candle. It looks like a vertically launched Fireball XL5.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

DD's proposal includes not just increasing the size of the House but apportioning so every district has the same number of voters.


Isn't that what is already done? At least within each state?

If you mean that districts would have the same number of voters nationwide, I'm not sure exactly how that would be accomplished given the limitation on state boundaries. If, for example, the lowest-population state has 100,000 voters and the next lowest has 130,000. Short of giving the smallest state 10 reps and the next-smallest state 13, I don't see how you can even those out. And with 10,000 voters per district, wouldn't the California delegation become unmanageable.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Talk of the "shy Trump voter" is scary,


While I hesitate to be optimistic in any way, I don't see any evidence of this. In 2016, sure, there were probably many Trump voters ashamed to admit their preference in public. Now, though? Trump voters are loud and proud! To me, trying to imagine a shy Trump voter in 2020 is like trying to imagine a shy Jehovah's Witness, or a shy quad preacher.

I find it much easier to imagine shy Biden voters who are concerned with actual threats of violence and death.

David Brin said...

LH you ignore DD's addition of the Wyoming Gambit. Wyoming gets one rep and the House increases in size till every state gets its fair number of Wyomings. All the added 130 or so reps would go to populous states and so woulfd the associated electoral votes.

I think a major tipper could be the Shy Trump-fretting Wife of a MAGA. She won't answer a poll with "Biden" if he's in earshot. But in the polling booth.... one can hope

rewinn said...

It seems to me polls can be especially problematic in a year where USPS is refusing to guarantee mailed ballots arrived in time. A voter can tell a pollster "Yes I Voted For X!" having entrusted the ballot into the loving hands of a formerly reliable agent of the U.S. Government, but if the ballot doesn't arrive, it didn't happen - and the polls don't show it.

No doubt there will be lots of other cheats, but this may be the biggest. Let's hope it's not enough because if it works this year, why not every year?

Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2:

Anyways, be calm, have faith in your fellow citizens. We're going to be OK.


From your lips to God's ear. But ok, let's suss out the possible scenarios.

Trump wins fair and square:
To me, that means "Trump outright wins the electoral vote without having to resort to cheating". I'd consider the win already tainted by the cheating that is going on, but let's at least acknowledge that there are enough voters in the right states such that Trump pulls out a win regardless of gerrymandering, voter suppression and court mischief rather than because of such things.

In that case, it will be my fellow Americans in whom I have (permanently) lost faith. It will be like waking up in 1939 Austria and realizing that my fellow countrymen don't consider me a human being, let alone a citizen, and would like nothing better than to see me die.

Biden wins in the electoral vote as decided by the November 3 election, but Republicans pull parliamentary and court tricks to change the electoral vote or throw it to the House who picks Trump:

Faith in fellow Americans is restored. Faith in institutions is lost until some way can be found to pry their McConnell-diseased, Trump-sized hands off of the process forever. Hope those fellow Americans who had the good sense not to elect him join me in the Resistance! When in the course of human events...

Trump, stops the counting prematurely and declares himself winner:

If the premature "result" stands, then same as above

If counting is allowed to continue then faith is restored in institutions. If Biden also wins, then faith is somewhat restored in fellow Americans.

Biden wins and the win stands:

Faith in institutions is restored. Faith in fellow Americans depends on what happens next. If rampaging Proud Boys are shot down like dogs by police, then Blue Lives Matter! If police side with Proud Boys, then defund the f****rs back to the stone age.


Biden wins in an electoral landslide and the win stands:

Faith restored in fellow Americans, institutions, and maybe in God Himself.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH you ignore DD's addition of the Wyoming Gambit. Wyoming gets one rep and the House increases in size till every state gets its fair number of Wyomings.


Well, I don't know which state is second-least populated, but if it doesn't have two Wyomings' worth but does have something like 1.3, then I presume each of the states has one representative for its one state-wide district. Those districts will not be equal in size. If the next biggest state has 1.9 Wyomings, then it presumably gets 2 districts, each of which is even smaller in size than the previous two.

That's all I meant. Not really an argument for or against the idea, but a caution that it might not work as envisioned. I have similar misgivings about Ranked Choice Voting, which seems well tuned to ensure that the vote doesn't go to the candidate least desired (which is a good thing), but I'm not yet convinced it elects the most desired candidate.

Just an overabundance of caution about change, which seems like it should make me a conservative, but somehow does not.

Acacia H. said...

On that note from Larry Hart, there is a TED Talk video on how Trump could still do a "legal" coup and ways we can counter it. The one thing that will truly decide things is how overwhelming the Biden vote is. If there is a 10-point difference or more between Trump and Biden, the Republican Party may refuse to let Trump push things to the point of destroying American democracy. And honestly, at that point we could see a 25th Amendment Coup where Pence does the right thing for the country, removes Trump from office as incompetent, does a Concession speech, and Trump is locked up "for his health" and unable to act.

In that scenario (which I honestly don't see happening), the Republican Party ends up in the history books as a party that looked into its own darkness and pulled itself away from annihilation at the last minute. And it would likely ensure that the party itself does not fade into the history books either as yet another failed party or as the Party of Fascism that ends up overturned by the American people.

Even if Trump refuses to concede and the Republicans say "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" to annihilating American Democracy, peaceful widescale demonstrations could end up forcing the Republicans out of power. Because eventually, even the police will refuse to murder people on a wide scale to keep Trump in power... and the military has already stated it will not intervene and thus will not obey Trump's efforts to force a military coup against Democracy itself.

Acacia who is still going to have a bag packed in case she needs to flee to Canada and plea for asylum

David Brin said...

Acacia the very first thing would be calls for a General Strike.

Larry Hart said...

Words of particular note toward the end of Acacia's linked Ted Talk:


"But I want to say to you, I will support the winner of a free and fair election, no matter which candidate wins. And I will oppose any so-called winner who prevails by twisting the process beyond recognition. Because any American should be willing to concede an election. But no American concede the core principles of democracy itself."

Larry Hart said...

Acacia H:

Acacia who is still going to have a bag packed in case she needs to flee to Canada and plea for asylum


You might have more luck requesting asylum in California.

Pachydermis2 said...

LarryH

My equivalent opinions on outcomes.

1. Clear Trump win. I'm sympathetic to your reaction. It would not be easy to have to acknowledge that the world was not as you thought/hoped/believed it to be.
2. Biden EC win reversed with chicanery. I think we'd have to define the latter, but in general I stand with you here. EC for better or worse makes the call. Hard to see the House of Reps getting involved other than an unlikely tie, or having them go with Trump.
3. Count stopped prematurely. Again, I'm generally with you on this one. I have a few things to say on the matter of mail in voting, but it's an odd election year.
4. Biden wins and it stands. Well I think he'd be a lousy president but nobody is going to get shot down in the street under this scenario. I'll ask though, because you are an honest man....seeing Biden fade and falter in the last debate...after five days of rest to get ready....and then having him be the Oldest President ever on Inauguration Day and every blessed day thereafter....are ya filled with confidence? The job has worn out much younger, sharper, more versatile men. Don't you just sort of see him as a safe caretaker?
5. Biden in a landslide. Huh. I Didn't see that coming. My world view is a bit more flexible than yours (imho) and I would not see the sky falling.

Pachy

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart:
Well, I don't know which state is second-least populated, but if it doesn't have two Wyomings' worth but does have something like 1.3, then I presume each of the states has one representative for its one state-wide district. Those districts will not be equal in size. If the next biggest state has 1.9 Wyomings, then it presumably gets 2 districts, each of which is even smaller in size than the previous two.

Obviously one will never have districs of exactly the same size. I think the idea is to have districts that are at least roughly proportional to population. In the current system, there is a variance of almost 50% in the population represented by a congressperson, and almost 400% in electoral votes. Something like "1 Wyoming" and adding an extra representative for each "full additional Wyoming" would be relatively straightforward - and (if my quick math is correct) would only change the size of the House by about 30%. As suggested, it would also bring the EC at least somewhat more in line with population.

That's all I meant. Not really an argument for or against the idea, but a caution that it might not work as envisioned.

That depends on what the vision is of 'working'. It would not guarantee more EVs to Democrats - Florida and Texas would get more votes, just as would California and New York - but it would limit the absurd overrepresentation in the EC for states with very small populations.

I have similar misgivings about Ranked Choice Voting, which seems well tuned to ensure that the vote doesn't go to the candidate least desired (which is a good thing), but I'm not yet convinced it elects the most desired candidate.

You shouldn't be. I think Arrow proved that there is no system guaranteed to elect the "most desired candidate". What ranked choice voiting does is ensure that the elected candidate has the (at least grudging) support of a majority of the voters - while eliminating the requirement for "strategic" voting if one's preference is for a "minor" party/candidate.

David Brin said...

" Well I think he'd be a lousy president..."

On what basis?

"... but nobody is going to get shot down in the street under this scenario. I'll ask though, because you are an honest man....seeing Biden fade and falter in the last debate...after five days of rest to get ready....and then having him be the Oldest President ever on Inauguration Day and every blessed day thereafter....are ya filled with confidence? The job has worn out much younger, sharper, more versatile men. Don't you just sort of see him as a safe caretaker?

BFD! If Joe appoints 10,000 skilled, competent, sane and non-blackmailed adults to replace 10,000 jibbering loony traitors and thieves, .. and then he signs what Pelosi & Schumer send him... your objection is what?

Caretaker? Who trains Kamala as VP and Pete B as chief of staff and McRaven as Sec Def and Liz Warren pushing legislation so on? I don't want any of them thrust into command without two years of such seasoning. But after that? Let Joe retire or be national grampa. Criminy, what's the problem here?

Pachydermis2 said...

David

The question was for Larry but you are free to answer it. Your answer is that you see no problem. Fair enough.


Pachy

David Brin said...

Not NO problem. But (1) little evidence to back up the assertion and (2) little to fear even if it is true.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

TCB said...

Current view from the mail truck here in North Carolina:

1. Remember I said I was writing to the National Association of Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando, and the pres of the APWU (the mail clerks' union) with thoughts on how to expedite ballots? Well, President Rolando wrote me back! Shocked I am, to get a response. In essence, the Union has already been working with management to do more or less what I was recommending. Feel pretty good about that... hope it helps.

2. I picked up far fewer absentee ballots than I expected this year. I suspect a LOT of people are hand delivering them to the county election board office (as I myself did six weeks ago).

3: My union, the NALC, is a part of the AFL-CIO which has over 12 million members in various trades. The AFL-CIO leadership has been thinking hard about calling a general strike in the event of a Trump coup or election theft. We of the unions may find ourselves at the nucleus of a general strike, in mere days. Unions have been badly weakened in recent decades but still stand astride many a logistical chokepoint. The shipping docks. The trucks. The freight trains? That'd be a hell of a thing. This nation has never seen a real general strike.

4. I wrote a song, posted the lyric here previously. Abe Lincoln risen from the grave, and angry. Bad recording but it has a certain mojo.