Saturday, October 23, 2021

Betting for - or against our future

Amid yammerings about a "national divorce" and a new-secession*, the sane majority on the Union side of this phase of the 250 year American Civil War is having great difficulty penetrating past Kremlin-basement propaganda to persuade bewitched neighbors to rejoin a Great Experiment in rational thinking, facts and justice.


Some smart folks are trying to figure out why it’s so hard. The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, by linguistics genius George Lakoff (author of Don't Think of An Elephant) and Elisabeth Wehling is one such effort.


Voters cast their ballots for what they believe is right, for the things that make moral sense. Yet Democrats have too often failed to use language linking their moral values with their policies. The Little Blue Book demonstrates how to make that connection clearly and forcefully, with hands-on advice for discussing the most pressing issues of our time: the economy, health care, women’s issues, energy and environmental policy, education, food policy, and more.


My respect for Lakoff is boundless and I quote or cite him frequently in Polemical Judo. But this advice (above) is myopic and self-referential. This approach will only nibble at the edges of the MAGA movement, whose insulated Nuremberg rallies are all about chanted incantations of outrage-at-fantasies, and not appeals to values. (See an example of how deep down the rabbit hole these cult circle-jerks have gone, with almost every paragraph telling – or based upon – an outright lie.)


 If you actually want to chip or chop away at that mad cult, then you are better off using methods I offer in Polemical Judo. 


Where we agree is that the effort is worthwhile! First, because if we can peel just 100,000 more wakened Americans away from today's mad, re-ignited Confederacy, it could collapse their fragile demographics in scores of gerrymandered GOP districts. But also because these are your neighbors and countrymen/women/x, and they deserve your ministry. 


Just look up the phrase: “All Heaven rejoices when…”


But sure, this Little Blue Book is welcome for an entirely different reason. Not to convert MAGAs, but because it could help to maintain the Union coalition! By emphasizing shared values and goals, we might assist Bernie and AOC and Stacey and Liz and DNC Chair Jaime Harrison in their hardest task...


...which is riding herd on the least reliable and most self-indulgent-flakey members of our coalition, preventing a pompously-preening, indignantly impractical far-left from betraying the cause, the way they did, reliably and predictably -- with devastating effects -- in 1980, in 88, in 94, in 2000, in 2010 and again in 2016. 


== Ministering to our neighbors… before the McVeigh Tsunami can build ==


But let's consider just one of my suggested methods... I've been testing it for years and found it to be stunningly, dazzlingly effective. A fact almost as surprising as the near-utter refusal of any Democratic or neutral politician or pundit or citizen to try it, even experimentally!


In Polemical Judo and elsewhere, I’ve pushed hard the notion – proved again and again – that you can corner political fanatics with wagers.  Or rather, by demanding they back up their incantations, their magical chants and rationalizations with cold, hard cash. 


 At one level, it always works. In fact, it is the only thing that ever works with MAGAs. I go into this elsewhere


Of course I am not the only one saying this in a general sense. Take the Long Bets site offered by the Long Now Foundation and Stewart Brand and Kevil Kelly, that has for a decade mediated longer term wagers over arguments that can be settled – among adults – by the passage of time. (In an earlier blog I described Kevin’s failure to collect from a famous non-adult!)


Here’s another. A standing offer of (as of 2018) $100,000 of stakes for wagers over climate change that (surprise?) has had no serious takers among the cowardly blowhard denialists. 

For the fourth year in a row, I am offering a $25,000 climate bet to anyone who thinks he or she is smarter than a climate scientist. The “definition of insanity” meme is as absurd as it is overused. But in fact I don’t expect different results this time. I predict more of the same: 

1. Lack of courage by deniers and conspiracy cranks to accept the bet.

2. Hand-wringing, insults, and excuses by bloggers.

3. Another new global climatological temperature record.

Most deniers know full well that global warming is real, that it is caused by humans, and that it will continue. Why take a personal risk with actual money when it is easier and less expensive just to continue denying, blogging, and harassing scientists?” 


I hope this endeavor is still active.  I've found that the Confederate 'movement' is driven in large part by a desperate, overcompensating need to express pushy masculinity and that nothing terrifies those preeners more than being challenged to actually step up "like a man" and back up their blowhard assertions with pre-escrowed major wager stakes!


Alas, I also offer a side bet. We’ll get to 2024 without a single pundit or Democratic politician or – (best case) – scientifically-inclined zillionaire realizing how potent – if properly executed – this method could be. 


== Pertinent aside about conspiracy theories ==


As for vast conspiracies, David Robert Grimes has demonstrated that the likelihood of a leak is proportional to the number in on the conspiracy and the passage of time. He approaches the question mathematically here: On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs. It's quite a read. 


But I have an entire chapter dissecting conspiracy theories in ways you never saw before... and it's (you guessed it) in Polemical Judo.


And finally.


== Back to George F. Will… the “worst American.” ==


I admit to polemical excess when I called GFW "The Worst American." My standards were particular... 


That he is clearly not a stupid or misled person, but rather one who is both brilliant and well-trained in the skeptical arts. Moreover, he is fully aware that nearly all of human history was a cesspit of malgovernance by owner-cheater-lords and their inheritance brats... and that delusionally non-sapient oligarchy has been tried endlessly and found valueless, compared to the rare, vivid, fecund, creative and vastly more-just Periclean experiments.


Erudite and educated, he knows well that Marxism was halted in its tracks not by Republican-Confederatism, or by Wall Street scions, but by the Rooseveltean social contract, accomplishing what Marx never imagined possible -- inviting the working class into the bourgeoisie and their most-vigorous children into the best schools and marriages. That experiment has by far the best track record, under any criterion of human success. Including success at generating flat-fair-creative competition and reducing the wastage of talent that Adam Smith despised, above all else.


George Will knows all this... 


...as he knows that the current counter-putsch by world oligarchy has one paramount aim -- to restore the default human condition of deeply-stupid inherited privilege. And hence, Karl Marx is now risen from his deserved dustbin-sepulchre, to shamble once again across every university campus around the world. That feat of resurrection is arguably the only enduring accomplishment of Supply Side 'economics.'


He knows all this. Therefore, alas, it is with open eyes and by deliberate choice that George F. Will spent decades concocting polysyllabic incantations on behalf of an oligarchic world-cabal that he knew, full-well, aims for utter destruction of the civilization and experiment to which GFW owes everything. 


And so, when he saw, at last, what he had wrought, his ensuing denunciations of Confederate/Putinist/Salafist/Scudderite/Trumpite troglodytism and treason were decades late and a 1780 dollar short... and nothing at all like what we need from him, even now.


Is he waiting to see any residual glimmers of sanity flicker on the gone-mad U.S. right? I am sure he will spy some and leap upon them, issuing joyful incantations of "both-sides-ism." And thus evade his one chance at redemption. Alas.

======


* Re: the "national divorce" crap out there... well, I told-you-so. For years now. 

Bill Maher offers a palliative of "toning down the hate a notch." Though he also admits there's no way that

return-to-dialogue will be done by the 25% of the country that's in a hate-drenched psychotic break. I agree

that his prescription would normally be wise, except that it's not how confederates work. Any offer to

"reason together" will be viewed as weakness...


...unless it is couched as strength. And I have repeatedly told you all how to simultaneously offer reasoned discourse

while projecting strength.


"Come, let us check the factual basis for your mad assertions, before panels of senior retired military officers...

with cash money riding on the outcome."


THAT is how you can offer a reasoned, evidence-based negotiation over facts... but in a way that makes you look strong

and confident and that exposes the confederate or oligarch-shill as a yammering blowhard. And a coward, because he will

run away. They always do. And that is always, always and always and always...


...shaming themselves in front of others. And that is a victory. Not the kind we'd like. But the one that we can get.


Oh, one last thing. Maher said that Reds "have all the guns." Wrong. They have MORE guns. But in fact they have

fewer actual trigger fingers. And Maher seems not to know that liberals and minorities have been quietly buying

since 2001. So no. A hot Phase Nine will not be a slam-dunk for reds. Especially after they have spat in the faces

of every single US profession that actually knows stuff. Seriously, guys. How is that supposed to go for you?


Oh, final note: You think Texas can scoop up its marbles and gerrymander-ignore the majority of Texans

and go its own way? Oh, we may allow it! After Dallas-Austin-SA-Houston corridor gets their own secession

plebescite FROM Texas. And the entire Rio Grande basin. Sure. Sell us beef and oil... and watch how quickly

we make those commodities obsolete without your science-hating drag at our ankles. And then, we'll welcome

back counties that wake up and vote and beg to return. Same holds for every sessesh state. It's the deal that's

ACTUALLY plausible. Come on and step up fellahs. And till then, let's bet. No? I thought not.


125 comments:

Treebeard said...

My long bets would be along the lines of: “in 1000 years, the USA will no longer exist and almost no one will remember it, but China will still exist”, or “in 100 years, influential current thinker X will be totally forgotten”, or “in 30 years, AI, nuclear fusion, space colonization and flying cars will still not exist”, or “in X years, every evil that ever existed will still exist.” It’s a fun game, but kinda pointless. Political differences aren't a matter of “objective facts” and can’t be settled by bets on those facts. The only people who seem to have a hard time understanding that are WEIRDos like you guys.

David Brin said...

Blah blah. Treebeard is welcome here, despite his clearly desperate need to irk anyone with a shred of optimism or hope. Well, that's him and let's set aside the aspect of dishonorable ingratitude for having lived a life that most other generations would have called that of a god.

No, what's telling is how it looks in light of Maslowe's Hierarchy of Needs. Generally, satiation of one lower level results in declines of FEAR about that level and some movement to higher levels. It's why such a large fraction of Ent's neighbors move on from paranoia about their neighbors... and the sick-sweet-masturbatory pleasure of pssimism... to things like inclusion and curiosity.

But just having your needs satisfied doesn't lead to satiation and rising higher on the MHN. Satiation also needs SATIABILITY. And if you don't got that... well. we gotta be nice to such people, though they will never be nice to us. Or to themselves.

scidata said...

Optimism is not simply the schmaltzy, romantic prattle of suckers. It's trading the known security of the cave for the unknown potential of the horizon - a fully conscious and deadly serious decision. It's the choice that ancestral lines made and and extinct lines didn't. Not everyone has to reach for the stars, but squelching those who do is suicide.

David Brin said...

What scidata said.

Dwight Williams said...

I know damned well that the cave was never secure enough, thanks much. I want better, so I can be safe enough to help built better than I had.

Jon S. said...

The red states may have more trigger fingers, but thanks to what the Iraq and Afghanistan wars did to people (and their political leanings), the blue states probably have more experts in making IEDs.

David Brin said...

Jon S. IEDs? Seriously? The Foxites have threatened, demeaned and attacked every fact profession including those who know nuclear, biological, genetic, chemical, military and cyber sciences. As in the 1860s, today's plantation lords think they are safe behind a swarm of obedient Johnny Rebs and then in their Patagonian/Siberian/undersea prepper retreats. Depends how angry they make us, yes?

duncan cairncross said...

Some of the very rich are buying here (NZ) - with a mixture of Scottish and Maori heritage I suspect the NZ people are not going to provide a safe sanctuary for the perpetrators if they do try to retreat here

Long bets!
IMHO the USA will still exist but it will have joined the rest of the democracies in some form of Parliament system

I'm very interested in how the Chinese "experiment" unfolds - that may be the model for the future - or it may fall into political dynasties and fail

Fusion and flying cars will probably not exist - but low cost access to orbit will make a huge difference

Every evil will still exist - That is what I used to believe - but the DATA shows that we ARE getting better!!
My generation (boomers) lost empathy due to lead poisoning but later generations are nicer and smarter than we are/were

Daniel Duffy said...

Sorry Dr. Brin but polemic judo ain't going to cut it.

You can't bring logic to a gun fight - you will lose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cR4fXcsu9w

P00dles said...

Wow. Never thought about it like that. Reminds me about the debate on what her to have kids, and the observation (not mine) that “if you don’t reproduce, you will be the first of your line, going back X billion years to the first living organism, to do so.” Perspective

P00dles said...

I read an interview with a former Marine Expeditionary sniper working with the Federal Marshalls. He was asked about standoffs with violent succession it’s. He laughed. He said (paraphrasing) when these guys become a problem, they’ll send somebody like me. You will get capped from 700 yardsaway, through the walls of your house, while you’re taking a dump. Your guns won’t matter, your politics won’t matter.”

P00dles said...

The billionaire class depends on an army of what they probably consider “breeders” to support their lifestyle. It only takes one bodyguard or yacht captain or waiter with a conscience to bring it all crashing down. Remember it was a waiter’s camera phone that recorded Mitt Romney’s “40%” comment and probably ended his Presidential hopes. Sousveillance will save us all.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

I think Jon meant the opposite of what you think he said.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

An observation:

From the consolidation of the first hard-core American oligarchy in the 1650's through the Slavers' Insurrection, the primary strategies used for subjugation and control were all about separation. Keep the slaves on plantations isolated in everyday work; keep family and social relationships unstable through constant separations and unpredictable forced migrations "down the river"; keep resources separate from those producing them; keep as much knowledge and skill as possible separated from the subjugated -- and suppress any prior knowledge deemed unprofitable.

It is a testament to how profitable "King Cotton" was that it could pay for the heavy infrastructure cost required to maintain such totalitarian policies with the tech base of the early 1800's... and the crippling overspecialization was a major reason the Old South was doomed by its own hand, as most planters could not diversify without destabilizing the system that kept the oligarchs wealthy and powerful.

The failure of the Insurrection did not result, as the abolitionists had hoped, in breaking this system entirely; despite the decapitalization and extensive interventions, fear kept the oligarchs' social structure intact. However, the incomplete "Reconstruction" did bring (as a later pragmatist put it) "the freedom to achieve freedom", as it broke (or at least cracked) several of the control systems. Landlords could try to trap newly minted Black citizens with debts and contracts, but they couldn't demand the kidnapping and government-sanctioned forcible return of their intended peasantry. They were allowed to play games by establishing hypocritical "separate but equal" education systems, but they couldn't forcibly bar all education. They could terrorize and murder Black voters, leaders, and budding politicians; they couldn't legally pretend they were only exerting control over subhuman creatures without "inalienable rights" (even if many continued to believe just that).

Jim Crow fooled the White South into thinking their system still worked, but by the early 20th century it wasn't working as well -- events like Wilmington and Tulsa made that clear. Hence the ghetto project dreamed up in the Klan-curious Wilson administration and forced on FDR as the price for the New Deal supermajorities. This plan worked in the opposite manner; rather than try to keep Black folks separated from each other, the new idea was to force them to all stay together -- making resource control and exploitation easier, at the cost of fostering the very society that the first plan desperately tried to eradicate from existence.

We are more familiar with the next stage, when coordination of the oppressed reached parity with that of the oppressors; combined with savvy media policy and nonviolent tactics, the civil rights movement cracked the Jim Crow / Ghetto system in the same way. Again, for a couple of generations, the oligarchy and its allies could pretend things hadn't really changed. The election of a Black president broke the pretense, while realities made the illusion of a "post-racial society" equally untenable. We all have seen the direct consequences.

Keeping "them" isolated from each other didn't work. Keeping "them" isolated from everyone else didn't work. Neither the oligarchs nor the minions have confidence in their ability to play defense against an Enlightenment-powered majority... hence the current bid (along with oligarchs of all sorts, across the world) for All The Marbles.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Jon S.: The blue states have more experts in pretty much everything. That's the inevitable result of culturally ingrained contempt for knowing stuff and having productive skills. And even in red states, the experts are in blue areas. Texas would grind to a halt without the blue cities of its Triangle, and if they continue on their current trajectory, the Triangle will start making that clear...

The ent jests if he thinks the USA will be forgotten. That's like saying the Crusades were an irrelevant blip in history; even if we fail in our immediate mission, we made way too big a splash to forget. That is, unless a 'singleton' regime exerts centuries of effort to erase us. (Daneel, are you listening?)

I wouldn't take bets from him anyway; they're too ill-formed. What does it mean that "the USA will still exist"? The regime that fell in Constantinople had legal and procedural continuity with the revolutionaries that overthrew the Tarquin the Proud twenty-two centuries prior, but it would be bending the language considerably to say that it was the same state.

There are two better-formed propositions (though still not good enough) that could be salvaged here:

(1) In 1000 years, will there be a legal entity that directly descends from the current Federal Government of the United States of America?
(2) In 1000 years, will the polity or polities occupying a majority of the current territory of the United States of America exhibit more or less freedom than at present?

I have no idea about (1), but it's not as important to me as (2).

Treebeard said...

@Catfish My main point was that these bets are silly, especially when you get into longer time scales. I do find it intriguing that it’s important to you what happens to people a thousand years from now, and are interested in judging them by your standards. I suppose this is a kind of “temporal imperialism”—imposing your standards across time instead of space. Do you care about what the people who lived here a thousand years ago would think about America today? Didn’t think so. My guess is that if people remember the USA at all in a thousand years, it will be as an example of how delusional, hubristic and excessive a culture can get. But that’s more pointless speculation.

David Brin said...

Daniel, the aggressive, in yer face logic I propose is the kind that leaves no weasel-wriggle room and make clear BEFORE the knife fight that the cultist must choose and cannot pretend his mania is based upon facts.

We need only peel away 1 million or so and their grip on democratic process will collapse.

---

AGain, Treebeard, sigh, ought to read Pericles's Funeral Oration in Thucydides. Yes, the oligarchs of the Mediterranean swarmed in to crush Athens when that prodigiously creative democracy made crucial mistakes. But the idea spread to Rome which modified it, grew strong using it... then the Empire could not repress the basic notions , which simmered till Florence and Amsterdam and then America made them burgeon with more creativity and potency than ALL feudalisms, combined.

Sure, the odds are always against these departures from preening feudal stupidity. Under which MOST men are 'incels' because the top dog lords take all the women.

But despite 2000 years of propaganda to suppress it, the legends and ideas of Athens still dominated the human imagination. So no, fellah. America won't be forgotten.

scidata said...

Dr. Brin: We need only peel away...

This is the path to victory.
Defeat one adversary = --1 = +1
Turn one adversary = --1 +1 = +2 (and maybe more)

Plus, it's much easier to enlighten than it is to de-enlighten. As you point out, Pericles's ghost persists, and he had no Blockchain to cement his memory. Time Vault level technology isn't far away. Or at least a pocket Voltaire.

Paradoctor said...

About AI, fusion, space colonies and flying cars:

To Hell with flying cars and jet packs! The latter will burn off your rear end; and as for the former, one engine stall and you’re in tons of metal falling out of the sky. Hard pass! The only way a flying car works, as more than a toy for exurbans with too much money, is if its levity does not require continuous power. So, either a bulky zeppelin that’ll blow away in a stiff breeze, or you forge its frame out of upsidaisium.

Hey, why not a flying car... that’s also self-driving? By a quantum computer? With an AI! And it’s on the Internet of Things! And it’s powered by cold fusion! Put all of the most ambitious not-yet-successful tech into one device! What could possibly go wrong?

Nuclear fusion is tough, it’s not on the near horizon, and I’m not sure it’ll ever turn a profit. But decades ago, Oak Ridge ran liquid salt thorium reactors. Those got shut down because LFTRs are useless for making bombs. I say that’s a plus point.

Space colonization? You mean by humans and not robots? Another negative-profit venture. Maybe you can con some cultists to live in a tin can forever, right next to the convicts: but it’ll be cheaper to put those losers on Antarctica. Meanwhile robots will do the exploring and mining. Robots are made for space; we’re made for this paradise planet. Telepresence is the best spacesuit! I speculate that the main use for FTL communication will be to control telepresence robots. Put on the gloves and goggles, and you are there!

And as for AI: I speculate that we’ll figure out how to simulate human intelligence, but only after science definitively proves that human intelligence is also simulated. That’s the normal course of science: wisdom and wealth but only after humiliation.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

It's almost like the ent is trying to win a contest of their own devising: "How many ways can I miss my respondent's point?"

I do agree that a thousand-year bet is silly as long as there is no one who can keep the continuity of the intent of the bet; there is little point in letting my heirs of the thirtieth generation collect a trifle from yours. But nearly every other sentence of your reply evinces a paraphrase of Luke Skywalker's fabulous line from The Last Jedi: "Amazing. Every sentence in that paragraph was wrong."

1) Yes, I do care about what happens to people in a thousand years, because among them will be my descendants. It's actually telling that you assume the default is not to care.
2) No, I don't propose to judge them by my standards. I propose that they judge us by theirs -- which they will likely do anyway, so little further assumption is required. I expect Terragen sophonts of the 31st century -- human or otherwise -- to have better definitions of "freedom" than I do, in the same way and for the same reasons that my definitions beat those of the 11th century hollow. "Temporal imperialism" is a lot easier backwards than forwards.
3) Yes, I do care what people here a thousand years ago would think- or rather, I care that I can't extrapolate even a bad guess, because of a lack of written records and a loss of cultural continuity. I can extrapolate what my 11th century European ancestors would think... most of which would be amazement at my height, weight, intact teeth, lack of infection scars, confidence in the future, and so forth.
4) Your description applies pretty well to the rural, predominantly Southern culture I was first exposed to. Thank God that one of those delusional and hubristic excesses is the conceit that their strand of American culture is the One True America that acts as the keystone for everything else. I submit that, if that ever were true, it has long since become false. Thankfully, America is a much larger people -- and much, MUCH larger idea -- than that.

Paradoctor said...

Post script, about that flying car:

The cold-fusion-powered self-driving flying car with quantum AI on the Internet of Things is made mostly of graphene and upsidaisium.

It's manufactured by an intensional community based upon anarchocapitalist principles. They accept payment only in bitcoin.

Suggestions for further utopian improvements are welcome. What could possibly go wrong?

Larry Hart said...

Catfish 'n Cod:

I can extrapolate what my 11th century European ancestors would think... most of which would be amazement at my height, weight, intact teeth, lack of infection scars, confidence in the future, and so forth.


Plus the fact that the 21st century "hasn't got shit all over [it]."

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

The cold-fusion-powered self-driving flying car with quantum AI on the Internet of Things is made mostly of graphene and upsidaisium.


Yes, to avoid the problem of "What happens when the engine quits in flight?", the car itself would ideally be very close to weightless, preferably including the weight of the riders and cargo. You wouldn't want to require engines to keep it up or to keep it from ascending beyond the troposphere. Ideally, in the case of engine failure, you would coast to a feather-soft landing.


It's manufactured by an intensional community based upon anarchocapitalist principles. They accept payment only in bitcoin.


A complete tangent, but I've lately been hearing radio ads touting how "everyone--even that lady with the house full of cats" is buying Bitcoin. That's supposed to make you want to jump on board--to not be left behind. But isn't the time when "everybody" is after the same thing the worst time to jump in? It reminds me of a 1929-era tale I heard about someone who knew it was time to bail on stocks when even his shoeshine boy was giving with the investment tips.

David Brin said...

If the flying car uses 8 spinning copter blades then loss of two would be fine... and loss of power to all of them would auto-gyro to a relatively soft landing.

--- Key to our responses to Treebeard is that he's still kinda fun to have around. His reflexive dissents from every standard model or moral is instructive, in that the predictability and sameness of his misanthrope reflex tells us a lot abount the hyper-emotionality of what we're up against.

Still, the fact that he's actually a little bit interesting makes me wish locum hadn't gone nasty and rug-shitty, teetering on the edge of banning. We could use a few more varieties of ent, I reckon. Maybe I'll pull up my waders and look in the spam bucket next month, It might be tuned a bit high/

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

His reflexive dissents from every standard model or moral is instructive, in that the predictability and sameness of his misanthrope reflex tells us a lot abount the hyper-emotionality of what we're up against.


Treebeard acts here as a cliché that I despise in comic book stories--the villain as "dark mirror" of the hero without which the hero supposedly can't function.

We learned in November 2016 that a third to two-fifths of our fellow Americans hold values similar to his. We learned in January 2021 and since then how far they're willing to go to defend their vision of America. The goal isn't to silence them, but to defend ourselves by opposing their claims to power. Because there's no place for my kind in their America, and no refuge available outside of it.

Paradoctor said...

If upsidaisium is unavailable, then Cavorite will do.

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:
The flying car should indeed be weightless. It should carry ballast.

Also, it should be like Wonder Woman's plane: invisible! But then how do you find it on the parking lot?

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

Also, it should be like Wonder Woman's plane: invisible!


Are you freakin' kidding? Invisible cars are a recipe for the worlds biggest traffic pile-up.

Tony Fisk said...

Paradoctor's little thread has me checking up on an old favourite: Moller industries' last newsletter was four years ago, but the site is still up. One of those enterprises I wouldn't bet the farm on, but possibly the front gate...

Wonder Woman's invisible car doubtless has an electronic lock that beeps.

Pappenheimer said...

Pity the fool that tries to use that apparently empty parking spot

A.F. Rey said...

[i]We learned in November 2016 that a third to two-fifths of our fellow Americans hold values similar to his.[/i]

I pray that it is that low. Biden won with 51.6 percent of the popular vote, but Trump got 46.8 percent. Maybe only 40 percent are strong followers of the Don, but that means he's got another 6 - 8 percent who prefer any Republican over any Democrat, and don't mind him and his "values."

The 6 - 8 percent are the ones we need to turn, but until that time, if push comes to shove, they'll stand with him against us. IF we can turn them. :(

David Brin said...

What I never hear-of... and I didn't even mention it in Polemical Judo... is the tactical maneuver of choosing specific towns or even precincts that would... if just 5% of republicans woke up ... completely mess up a gerrymandered district. I am amazed that no one seems to have done that modeling on the dem side.

It could take as little as siting a new factory or warehouse or research center that employs and lures into town a few hundreds of techies or minorities or union members.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, so I know I'm somehow on some right-wing mailing lists which had me receiving offers to give money to Trump in various ways last year.

I just received an application for membership in something called "The Heritage Foundation", whose pitch is a check box labeled: "Yes! I'm joining The Heritage Foundation to stop Big Government leftist extremism and restore America's greatness. Enclosed is my contribution of:..."

But here's the part that gets me:

Your contribution is tax-deductible. Thank you!


How in holy Hell does this get to be tax deductible when contributions to the Sierra Club or Greenpeace do not? Seriously asking.

Treebeard said...

I love this mentality that by being more clever Machiavellian manipulators than the other side you can get to a good society. It’s a classic ideologue’s mistake: thinking that your ends are so noble that any means are justified, and becoming ignoble people who discredit your ends thereby.

When it gets to that point, isn't it much better for both sides to accept that the magic is gone, your spouse doesn’t love you anymore, you've both become toxic, and file for a peaceful divorce? But to do that requires a little humility, to accept that your spouse’s opinion matters, that you aren’t her savior (let alone the world’s savior), and her children don't belong to you—all of which still seems a bridge too far.

Robert said...

Invisible cars are a recipe for the worlds biggest traffic pile-up.

Flying cars are a recipe for the world's biggest pileup. Seriously, consider how people drive in 2D, and extrapolate that to 3D.

Only way to have flying cars to either centralized traffic control or really good sensors and a reliable flocking algorithm that can override the pilot to prevent a crash.

And considering what idiots throw out of cars on the ground, those flying cars better have sealed windows…

Paradoctor said...

Robert:
That's why flying cars should be on the Internet of Things. But then they can be hacked! O what fun to a psychopath, to send an endless line of them straight into the ground.

One of the problems with self-driving cars (whether ground and visible or flying and invisible) is that the maker has deep pockets, so the first big pile-up will be a mass litigation event. First ambulances will converge on the scene, and then lawyers.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

When it gets to that point, isn't it much better for both sides to accept that the magic is gone, your spouse doesn’t love you anymore, you've both become toxic, and file for a peaceful divorce? But to do that requires a little humility, to accept that your spouse’s opinion matters,...


Wrong metaphor. When your rabid dog comes after you, you don't accept that his opinion matters. You save yourself from him before he kills you.

David Brin said...

Treebeard... except for the fact that you are mistaking that face you see in the mirror with us. It is a common illness which you exhibit in spades. Almost nothing you just said applies to any of us or anything we said or mean.

paradoc, that's why I think the first major adopters will be new sky limo and then sky taxi services.

Some newbie railed a comment about obamacare that I was going to answer... and it might have gone to an earlier posting...

...but sure man, rail ypour counterfactuals! Obamacare WAS the old GOP/Romney plan, yes. It's what was possible, given what happened to Hillarycare in 93. And ending bias and dumping for pre-existing conditions was huge. As was getting 20 million poor kids regular checkups.

Quite Likely said...


"...which is riding herd on the least reliable and most self-indulgent-flakey members of our coalition, preventing a pompously-preening, indignantly impractical far-left from betraying the cause, the way they did, reliably and predictably -- with devastating effects -- in 1980, in 88, in 94, in 2000, in 2010 and again in 2016."

So 2000 I assume is a Nader reference... but how are you claiming the far left betrayed the cause in any of the rest of those elections? Seems like what they have in common is poor turnout on the Democratic side, not some betrayal by that side's most committed faction. Seems pretty clear that at the moment the flakey and self-indulgent part of the coalition is the Manchin / Sinema corporate wing of the party who prevented the Dems from accomplishing anything in 2008-2010 and are doing it again now.

David Brin said...

QL thanks.

But a 'betrayal' does not have to be well-organized. The sourpuss grumblings and indulgent "I'm sitting out this round" were more than enough to tip 2000. In fact, "I'm holding my nose and voting for (Gore/Hillary etc.)" is more than adequate to give others license to shrug and stay home.

This is an existential crisis and the soldiers who wore blue in the 1860s had a wide range of opinions, but still f$#@! showed up at the front.

If you want Manchin/Sinema to have less power, the trick is to help there be MORE of them! Because that's the sort of democrat who gets elected in f#$@ red districts and states. And if you can't figure that out, then so much for the vaunted intellect advantage among democrats.

Der Oger said...

f you want Manchin/Sinema to have less power, the trick is to help there be MORE of them! Because that's the sort of democrat who gets elected in f#$@ red districts and states. And if you can't figure that out, then so much for the vaunted intellect advantage among democrats.

It is not even the problem that they block one of the last chances to stop a fascist theocratic regime with nuclear weapons rising.

The far greater damage these two (or at least Manchin) has done was to block a somewhat greener legislature, and thus, the oceans will rise, once arable lands will become deserts, forests will burn down, storms will intensify, entire species will perish and millions will die or become refugees.

And for what? The intoxicating sensation of holding that much of power over a nation? Sheer Greed? Or Blackmail?

And Manchin could have asked for many things - transformation of a dying industry, new training for coal miners, etc ad nauseam - but he didn't ... and you still dare to point your fingers at the "extreme liberal left"? He and Sinema are the traitors, the agents of the oligarchs you so often claim to fight ... and you want more of them?
(But maybe Trump keeps them as "pet opposition" ... much like Putin does with the other parties in the Duma.)

The "trick" is to end gerrymandering, to abandon first-past-the-post and the electoral college, to install fair voting systems, to increase political representation and transparency, and to fight corruption ... not doing more of the same.

And: Should't you castigate Manchin for his science-hostile politics? And what means losing him as a Senator if he only votes in favor of the opposition party? Wouldn't it be more honest to say "Okay folks, let's face reality, Senate is 52 R /48 D?"

duncan cairncross said...

Hi
In your failed election years who didn't turn up?

Was it the "progressives" - or was it the "conservative democrats" ??

David Brin said...

I am fine with folks yelling at Manchin and wishing he were different. What ifuriates me is ingrate refusal to recognize that we have a F--- Democratic Senator from the reddest state. Making the difference between $3.5 trillion (incl infrastructure) and ZERO. 100 million Americans will feel that difference and vote in 2022 for the party that did it. And if that happens then 2023 can be a chance for more.

I am pissed we are only getting half of the green stuff... and that beats zero!

Cripes do you know nothing about 1994? or 2000? Or 2010? Scheiss, must we go through that again. MAN UP and do politics.

Again, if you want to make Manchin weaker, help elect more like him! It's how to invade purple and red states and end this crap/

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

And what means losing him as a Senator if he only votes in favor of the opposition party? Wouldn't it be more honest to say "Okay folks, let's face reality, Senate is 52 R /48 D?"


If all that mattered in the Senate was individual votes, then I'd agree with you. But the way the Senate operates, the majority leader has control over the agenda--what even comes to the floor for a vote. The majority party controls all committees and investigations. McConnell as majority leader could refuse to even bring President Obama's supreme court nominee up for a vote for a year. If Breyer or (please, God) Clarence Thomas vacates a seat during Biden's term, McConnell would do the same if he were still majority leadeer. Chuck Schumer will not.

And (this is Dr Brin's point), by being part of the majority Democratic caucus, Manchin and Sinema enable that.

In the olden days before 2009 or so, a popular program like Biden's "Build Back Better" would get votes from both sides of the aisle. If Manchin or Sinema didn't vote for it, Romney or even Rubio might. It's only recently that the Republican strategy has been to deny the Democrats any victories, and then claim that as a reason to vote Republican. The tragic thing is that this strategy works for them. Instead of saying, "Republican obstructionism is the problem, so let's vote them out," voters seem to say "Democrats are too weak to do anything, so let's vote them out."

One more thing. Dr Brin's heart is in the right place when he admonishes us to vote more Democrats in so that no one (or two) Dem Senators can hold everything hostage. But we can only vote for Senators in our own states. It matters not a whit that (say) 60% of the voters would prefer a Democratic majority to a Republican majority. The fact is that we're heading for the point at which 30% of the voting population elects 70% of the Senate. The only strategy I can think of to overcome that is for millions of urbanites to move to rural states and overwhelm the local population. Short of that, we're at the mercy of Wyoming and South Dakota and Arkansas, despite their combined population most likely being less than that of Los Angeles or Chicago.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/opinion/jan-6-congress-republicans.html

[Congresswoman Cori] Bush’s resolution rests on section three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which cleared Congress in 1866 and was ratified in 1868:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.


That last sentence doesn't mean that 2/3 of each house may (if they feel like it) vote to remove insurrectionists from congress. It means that 2/3 of each house may choose to allow an insurrectionist to remain seated. Absent such a vote, the "textualist/originalist/Constitutionalst" meaning of the words is clear--such insurrectionists may not serve in Congress .

David Brin said...

Duncan it was the left who ran to Nader and Stein and who betrayed Clinton in 94 and Obama in 2010. Especially if there's a multiplier that we needed their passion, which they withheld. Don't even try to pretend you've forgotten all the "DNC Corporatists are no different than Republicans!" crap.

duncan cairncross said...

Dr Brin
You are probably correct - your "Left" would be considered to be very very right wing here!

But the "Both Parties are the same" lie is the most effective one EVER

Robert said...

I still don't know what is wrong with this my esponse to my own question.

So, I have a class of 35 kids and only 20 textbooks with working devices, the rest are broken. How do you see those 20 working devices being distributed? (I know how it would work at any school I've taught in, but I'm curious to see what you think, so I'll hold off my answer until you have a chance to respond.)

And here's the answer to that test.
Books distributed for pupils to work in pairs.
Boy and girl pairs preferably.
Where girls will shrug off all work on boys.
If that boy is nerdy, work would be done. If not, not.
Well, in most extreme cases that nerd will do work for all group.

Result: nerd hardly would learn anything new, other would learn that "that stuff is for eggheads, pushovers and losers".

Der Oger said...

If all that mattered in the Senate was individual votes, then I'd agree with you. But the way the Senate operates, the majority leader has control over the agenda--what even comes to the floor for a vote.

and ...

I am pissed we are only getting half of the green stuff... and that beats zero!

Good points. Some progress is better than none, and no progress is (somewhat) better than further erosion. The question is if the stuff done is enough advancement that it can avert what is likely to come (both in the elections and with climate).

Other than that, I believe leftist politicians and voters to be far less of a danger to democracy than corrupt centrist/center right politicians ... because the latter undermine trust in the system and the political class far more than the former ... and makes people look for other choices. And still I find it questionable to condemn anyone for his vote.

On the other had, any mayor political party in a democracy has players who are needed on the one hand, but a pain in the ass for that parties' leadership because of contrary positions. That is to be respected, too.

The only strategy I can think of to overcome that is for millions of urbanites to move to rural states and overwhelm the local population.

Wyoming only needs 121.000 or so ...

Tim H. said...

Dr. Brin, I would like to point out that, while we know that the half measures that make it past conservative Democrats* are immeasurably better than anything the RINOs** might do, the "Drumph!" or one of his fellow travelers will use those half measures as a blunt object to pummel Democrats and any surviving Republicans with come election time, aided by the "Bothsiderism" practiced by the mainstream media. From my working class perspective, it seems while the .01% know that a prosperous 99.9% benefits them by increased sales, many of them can't work around the notion that someone not of their class injures their self-affirmation. For those, someone else losing is nearly as desirable as their winning.

*AKA, some of the last actual conservatives, not reactionaries posing.
**RINO, because they're mostly "Dixiecrats", the next layer under that dead elephant hide is a sheet.

Jon S. said...

"Don't even try to pretend you've forgotten all the "DNC Corporatists are no different than Republicans!" crap."

And if you have forgotten, just go on social media. You'll hear it all over again.

Larry Hart said...

Seen on Stonekettle's Twitter feed, an image of neo-Nazis on a bridge giving Nazi salutes and hanging a sign that says:

"VAX THE JEWS"

Heh. Yeah, that'll show us.

David Brin said...

Der Oger makes good points and I wish som billionaire would finance say an Amazon warehouse in a place that would attract 50,000 blue voting workers into JUST the right spt to screw GOP gerrymandering…

…but this is BS: “I believe leftist politicians and voters to be far less of a danger to democracy than corrupt centrist/center right politicians ... because the latter undermine trust in the system…”

SHOW me those corrupt center pols! List them, please. And not just anecdotally (Manchin is probably partly/satiably corrupt to coal interests, in the old-fashioned way), but show statistically how they have blocked progress anywhere near as much as the leftist betrayals of 80, 88, 94, 2000, 2010 and 2016. In every case, especially 94, 2000 and 2010, one HUNDRED million Americans and the planet would have been vastly better off my now if the HALF measures the centrists were willing to back got passed, instead of torpedoed by lefty fools who railed “centrists are the same as Republicans!”

Tim H: “it seems while the .01% know that a prosperous 99.9% benefits them by increased sales, many of them can't work around the notion that someone not of their class injures their self-affirmation.”

Exactly. We need to have voices out there… louder than mine or Krugman’s … making clear that the alternative to Rooseveltism is marxism.

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

The only strategy I can think of to overcome that is for millions of urbanites to move to rural states and overwhelm the local population.

Wyoming only needs 121.000 or so ...


I'm sure the Republican legislature would pass some sort of onerous BS residency requirement. For example: If you work remotely, then you are a resident of the state where the office you dial into sits, not of Wyoming. Or if you purchased your car in a different state, then you're not really a resident.

I re-read the novel The Grapes of Wrath not too long ago, and if the sense of the setting is accurate, California did all sorts of things like that in the 30s to keep the migrating Okies from settling in as actual residents of the state.

(A very different California from today)

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

We need to have voices out there… louder than mine or Krugman’s … making clear that the alternative to Rooseveltism is marxism.


We also need voices out there making clear that the alternative to Democratic power is fascism. It does not require a belief that Democrats are saints to recognize that in the current system, Democrats are the only reliable placeholders for filling offices with "not Republicans", which in 2021 is the same as "not fascists". If you're disappointed with Democrats enough to "punish them" by allowing fascists to take their place...well, I don't even know how to finish that sentence.

Gator said...

The Left hasn't "betrayed" anyone. The Left doesn't owe you anything.
Gore lost because he ignored the left and went for the unexciting center. He lost because he couldn't get out the vote.
http://www.electproject.org/2000g
Look at Tennessee - Gore's home state, only 50% of eligible voters voted in the general election! If Gore had won his own state Florida would have been moot. (Not to mention all of the other other shennanigans in Florida with disallowed "double votes", the butterfly ballot giving votes to Buchanan etc. http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html)
People voting for Nader is a symptom of the democrats taking people for granted. How hard would it have been to coopt even a tiny bit of what the more progressive side of the political spectrum is looking for? Instead we get angry centrists (like Dr. Brin here) railing about betrayal and further driving the left wing away from the party. Try some judo to rope in the left wing!

scidata said...

@Robert

I assume the question was for me (BASIC computers inside textbooks). I have no idea how to solve the problems you list, which is why I only answered, "Parents."

When I was a pupil, teachers often worked with one kid until they 'got it', then moved on. Kids helped each other, and education was more a function of compassion and empathy than competition. Classmates often still knew each other even thru high school (in rural Ontario at least). Obviously those days are gone, and there's no tech fix.

My concern is way more specific. Unless we dramatically ramp up and spread computational thinking, it won't be civil war that's the danger, it will be eternal enslavement (by either tyrants or machines, take your pick).

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@Larry Hart:
(1) There is a correlation between most (if not all) of the improvements and the lack of $%!+ all over me. I suspect my 31st century descendant would be able to say much the same thing about, say, the toxic memetics we all were exposed to.

(2) There IS another way to break the Senate's effect of empowering wealthy elites via rural supporters -- strategic splitting of states. It would be difficult logistically, but consider:

* What if each of New York City's five boroughs was a state of its own? Eight new deep-blue Senators, two Northeastern somewhat-red Senators, and the rump Upper New York State is still a purple state.

* Too iffy for you? Then try this: there are five Bay Area counties large enough to justifiably count as states, and the three North Bay counties (Marin, Napa, and Sonoma) could combine to make a sixth. Every single one of those would have a 45%+ margin for a deep-blue identity... and (because Southern California and the North and Central Coasts) the Bay-less California is still a strongly blue state! (Yes, I'm enough of a stat geek that I ran these numbers.)

It does require Congressional assent to pull this off, and it would be a bother to actually implement. (Though a pre-drafted interstate compact to fast-track concurrent passage of new state legislation and share resources would help some.) But the threat to create twelve new deep-blue Senators without any balance at all should (but might not) refocus all the strategies that pre-suppose leveraging the margins of the fifty-state Senate -- which include not just all the things being filibustered, but matters like judicial appointments, swift confirmations, and more.

On flying cars: People keep complaining about the need for soft-landing and talking about the need for automated traffic control, but the one I keep coming back to is the power, or rather power density, requirements -- especially if it has to maintain its own lift. The problem of powered flight for centuries was the power/weight ratio; da Vinci's creations would have flown (badly) if he had an engine for them. This is why dirigibles were commercially available for at-scale passenger transport before airplanes were.

Basically you are either requiring unavoidable use of more fossil fuels, or a need for bags of H/He (with a drag penalty), or a need for massive infrastructure for near-continuous power beaming to keep all the batteries charged.

Right now that's an intractable problem, because of the multiple steps involved; look how hard it's been to get EV infrastructure in place. I expect flying cars to, ahem, "take off" soon after at-will beamed power from orbital solar becomes commercially available. Which will be a while even if we launched an Apollo Project (Helios Project? Invictus Project?).

David Brin said...

Gator you lie. You utterly lie. You totally lie. Even if you actually believe that BS you are still lying.

"People voting for Nader is a symptom of the democrats taking people for granted. How hard would it have been to coopt even a tiny bit of what the more progressive side of the political spectrum is looking for? Instead we get angry centrists (like Dr. Brin here) railing about betrayal and further driving the left wing away from the party. Try some judo to rope in the left wing!"

It is impossible to dissect the utter howling stink of that paragraph. Gore offered VASTLY more than "even a tiny bit" - as did Clinton in 94 and Obama in 2010. I defy you to look at the list of common-shared desires across left and center that are offered here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html

Then tell us whichitems Biden andf Pelosi oppose.

Nader and Stein could have said "I withdraw from Florida and these five other states, so Gore can win. And in return I ask a million liberals in each of California and New York to come over to me, to make a statement." If they had done this, Gore would have been president and are you ACTUALLY telling us now the Earth would not be better off? And the people of Iraq? Seriously? You are THAT insane?

You ignore the fact that progressives RIGHT NOW control the agenda in the DP.
Of 230 DP reps, 200 supported the full, original Reconciliation Bill.

Yes, they have had to compromise with a dozen less-liberals Dems in the House and TWO in the Senate. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO PARTIES FORM A COALITION GOVERNMENT. A 200 member progrtessive party and a dozen in a 'party' that's anti-Fox/Putin but also pro-business, This sort of thing is intensely frustrating for the bigger party that wants to do more...

... but it is different than YOUR utterly insane image of things.

David Brin said...

Oh, Biden is SUCH a sell-out to billionaires and corporations!

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-10-27/billionaire-death-tax-may-get-democrats-revenue-they-seek

By the way, the traditional thing would have been for Nader to pull out of FLA in exchange for getting to appoint two cabinet members. But he was a jibbering egomaniac lunatice who might personally have assassinated the planet he was dedicated to saving.

Larry Hart said...

Bill Maher and even some sidekicks on the Stephanie Miller Show clutch their pearls at the notion that "both sides" seem anxious to secede or to allow the other side to secede instead of working things out amicably. This completely ignores the fact that one side refuses to work things out, and the other side is only slowly coming to understand that reality. If one country's army starts shooting at you, and you say, "Hey, maybe we'd better shoot back before they kill us", that is not "both sides wanting a war."

These guys get it.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Oct27.html#item-3

In retrospect, we wish we'd been a little more clear in our original answer [about whether the US is in a cold Civil War]. Rival countries and rival political parties both do things to compete with, hurt, embarrass, outperform, etc. their opponents. What made the Cold War distinctive was the degree. The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. did just about everything they could think of to hurt the other nation, often taking things to absolutely ridiculous degrees. A film like "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" would not work as comedy, except in circumstances like those.

And so, having read the back-and-forth across those three Sundays, we stand by our original assertion: The Cold Civil War exists, and it is unilateral. There is no question that the Democratic Party is in competition with the Republican Party, and often takes delights in the missteps and failures of the red team. However, it is only the Republicans that take things to extremes that border on satire, and that bring to mind Poe's law. And as the latest case study in this, we give you "Let's go Brandon."
...
And actually, as long as we are at it, we have a second item for the list. As nearly everyone has heard by now, actor Alec Baldwin was handling a gun as part of an independent movie he was filming, the gun was—contrary to what he had been told—loaded with either a blank or a live round, and it misfired and killed the cinematographer. Baldwin is clearly devastated by the mishap; pictures of him in tears (and possibly throwing up) have been circulating around the Internet.

Of course, Baldwin used to go on Saturday Night Live—a TV show based on satire—and make fun of Donald Trump. It was not an affectionate portrayal, by any means, but it was well within the bounds of acceptable comic performance (quite similar to SNL's portrayals of Richard Nixon). After the accident on the movie set, paragon of class Donald Trump Jr. immediately posted for sale on his website t-shirts that read "Guns Don't Kill People, Alec Baldwin Kills People."
...
Again, the Cold War was about extremes, and when we answered that question a month ago, we saw that level of extremism—you know, "Gentlemen. You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!" type absurdity—on just one side of the political aisle. We have only grown more persuaded of our answer since.

Treebeard said...

I am intrigued by this equation Republicans = fascism, Democrats = freedom. Empirically I haven’t found that to be the case (note that I am a non-voter, so it’s not partisan for me). For example, when I drove across 13 western states last year I noticed that the Republican areas had little to no covid restrictions; the more rural and Republican, the less anyone cared and the more normal it was. Meanwhile, I see Democrats aggressively locking down cities and states, mandating Big Pharma shots nationwide, colluding with Big Media and Big Tech, decimating small businesses in favor of giant corporations, punishing and demonizing dissenters, and various other measures that seem classically fascistic to a non-partisan observer like myself. None of this discredits criticisms of Trump or Republicans (who I didn't vote for) of course. I think both sides are largely right about the other side, but living in bubbles of propaganda with respect to themselves. But I find this accusation of "fascism" particularly ironic coming from today's Democrats.

Gator said...

"Gator you lie. You utterly lie. You totally lie. Even if you actually believe that BS you are still lying."
Exactly the response I expected, and exactly the reason that the right finds it so easy to move the Overton window but the left gets yelled at. You're not convincing anyone with this rhetoric.

The difference between Gore losing in 2000 and Biden winning in 2020 was voter turnout. Gore ran a terrible campaign, refused to let Clinton campaign for him (a very popular sitting president!) and couldn't even win his own home state. In 2000 less than 50% of the eligible voters turned out in Tennessee to cast a vote for president. If you look at other key states like Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania, you see similar numbers. Terrible turnout for Gore, great turn out for Biden. Biden won because of a very driven grassroots effort determined to prevent Trump from taking office for a second term. GA went from 42% voting for president in 2000 to 68% in 2020.

Speaking of Georgia, if you want to complain about 3rd party voters, how come you're not screeching about Libertarians? That's your party, right? 62K votes for the Libertarian candidate, probably less than 2000 votes for all other third parties including Green and PSL. The "Left" has much less to do with Democrats losing than you make out. Libertarian voters in the end decided the election by voting third party.

Gator said...

"By the way, the traditional thing would have been for Nader to pull out of FLA in exchange for getting to appoint two cabinet members."
Did the Gore campaign ever approach the Nader campaign with this kind of deal?

Again, why not blame Libertarians? More than enough people voted Libertarian to swing the election in Florida. From the link above: "It is noteworthy that every third-party candidate received enough votes in Florida to have cost Al Gore the election." I guess it is everyone's fault.

David Brin said...

LH a few points.
1. Did SNL spoof Nixon? You may be thinking of Laugh-In. I think Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford was the first SNL president, tho too lazy to look it up.

2. Bill Maher fills a vastly important role. I love Colbert and think the other late nighters are mostly great. But not one has had the guts to say “Only 95% of our problems are on the Mad and treasonous right. We do have nutter bullies on our own side… less of an existential threat to the nation, sure… and the DIRECTION they want to go is the correct one, toward respect for both the planet and human diversity. But I have a right to criticize self-defeating tactics that serve only to give them a sanctimony rush and do NOT help our side.”

3. The cited article pretends the Cold War was equal in sin. Utter bull. Tell it to people in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, E.Germany, Poland… Ike offered Open Skies and supervision of nuclear stockpiles. The USSR always refused.

Oh, in Strangelove the end of the world was inadvertently triggered by US carelessness and fanatical fringes... but the actual destruction was ALL the USSR.


Gator I don’t give a flick about your attempted distraction by faulting my courtesy. You fault my language when your cult hurls hate-hate-hate at its ALLIES with relentless glee? The only thing keeping you lot in the coalition is not the pragmatic interests of 100 million poor and working class Americans, who will benefit hugely even from Manchin accepted parts.

No, what you realize is that after 80, 88, 94, 2000, 2010 and 2016, the real progressives, those caring about results and who know nothing will happen without coalition, are wise to the insanity of your cult. THIS time, if you betray the coalition with flouncing masturbatory righteousness… Stacey and AOC and Bernie and Liz and DNC Chair Jaime Harrison with hunt you down with a stick.

You have proved that arguing with you on the basis of fact is futile. You refuse to look at the 31 desiderata I listed, or to tell us which ones you assert Pelosi & co oppose. Coward.

You know damned well that had Nader simply said… "Followers, vote for Gore in Florida and he’s agreed to make a Department of Ecology,” We might have saved the planet by now.

Your assertion of a “lousy campaign” is drool. An incantation to stave off the utter guilt that you should feel. Nader could have provided the 1000 votes needed. Trivially, and that is but one example.

“GA went from 42% voting for president in 2000 to 68% in 2020."

Because of Trump of course, but also Stacey Abrams. Who made it clear she would personally hunt down anyone who did not join the coalition.

"Speaking of Georgia, if you want to complain about 3rd party voters, how come you're not screeching about Libertarians? That's your party, right?”

You stunning ass. No one has confronted Libertarians more than I have. The difference is that I have bothered to study them. Just as I have studied leftism in detail. Let’s BET over which of us better understands the variants of Marxist teleology, or what happened in Russia or Spain in the 1930s, or the US labor movement.

No, the most ludicrous thing about you is your complete incuriosity.

David Brin said...

Treebeard, have all of your submissions actually showed up here? I ask because a couple times a month the Blogger spam filter shows me a compilation of submissions that it wasn't sure about. Especially, each month I see half a dozen attempts by some pathetic person down there, who tries to hijack the names of regular posters. It's usually pretty easy to tell and to flush them in less than a few seconds. But in your case... well... the hostility was pretty much the same and you do 'disagree' in ways that almost resemble rug-shitting.

A couple sent up by the filter crossed that line and I flushed them only because the faker seemed so NEEDY and desperate to get in.

Oh, if THIS one was you... it's just plain silly. Urban populations breathe each other's air and must take stronger measures to protect themselves. So? No one said rural folks couldn't have looser standards... just that they should have SOME.

The fact that rural folks, with all their inherent advantages of space, STILL suffered far more in this wave shows just how incompetent their leaders are.

Oh, and "masks are oppression!" while suppressing democracy is absolutely stunning and you know it.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

1. Did SNL spoof Nixon? You may be thinking of Laugh-In.


That reference was part of the quoted article. They might have got it wrong.

* * *

Treebeard:

I am intrigued by this equation Republicans = fascism, Democrats = freedom.


I can believe the first part without granting the second. I'm ok with "Democrats = better than fascists."


Empirically I haven’t found that to be the case ...For example, when I drove across 13 western states last year I noticed that the Republican areas had little to no covid restrictions;


If you equate covid restrictions with fascism, we're kind of talking past each other. What I equate with fascism is intimidation of both voters and election officials.


the more rural and Republican, the less anyone cared and the more normal it was.


It's kinda like the gun debate. Rural people have a completely different view of guns from urbanites. It's not that one is delusional, but that the situations are so different that the rules for one simply don't apply to the other. In urban settings, you're packed in with other people, and it makes sense (during a pandemic) to apply restrictions to keep a disease from running rampant through the population. In less populated areas, it's easier to avoid transmission.

I must also point out that here in my state of Illinois, the more rural and Republican areas of the state are the ones running out of hospital beds and ventilators and begging for doctors and nurses from the part of the state where cases per thousand are dropping. So if that's what you mean by "not caring", ok.


Meanwhile, I see Democrats aggressively locking down cities and states, ...


What I see is aggressive bullying and fighting by those Republicans defying mask and vaccination mandates. I don't see any cases of mask/vaccine proponents threatening violence against MAGAts. Do you?


But I find this accusation of "fascism" particularly ironic coming from today's Democrats.


Again, we're talking about two different things. I don't perceive Republicans as fascists because of their tax policies or their views on abortion. I perceive them as fascists because they have made clear that they no longer believe in representative democracy, and are willing to rig the game so that they can never lose elections.

Treebeard said...

Yes, all of my posts showed up except maybe one a month ago which was slightly nastier than average.

David Brin said...

Ah good, thanks, that helps me calibrate the filter. You are a pain in the -- but not deliberatly nasty, the way locumranch tries to skte the edge of being banned.

Der Oger said...

@ Larry Hart:
I'm sure the Republican legislature would pass some sort of onerous BS residency requirement.

I thought so, too. I also could imagine the natives could resist such a form of colonization...

@ Dr. Brin:
SHOW me those corrupt center pols! List them, please.

Look at this chart and just count how often CDU/CSU (Center-Right), FDP (Libertarians), SPD (Social Democrats), AFD (Far Right, founded in 2015), and Greens appear ...and then guess which party opposed political transparency, the broadening of civil and worker's rights, environmental policies the most ...or the centrist-conservative wing of the SPD (including Gerhard Schröder, now Putin's shill)...or look at the last conservative President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy... or Hungary's Victor Orban, who started out as a moderate centrist. Etcetera ad pp ad nauseam.

That said, we might differ in a central viewpoint: It is more my right, my privilege or my duty to vote?
And what it says about the state of a democracy/republic if one of them becomes central to the discourse, so much, that abstaining from voting becomes treason to democracy itself? And if so: When it became so obvious that no one could have an excuse for not voting for a specific party or at all without being a traitor? 1980? 1988? 1994? 2000? 2016? 2020?



matthew said...

Something to keep in mind regarding progressive memes and voting is the change that happened in 2008. Obama showed that social media engagement and small donations could win elections in 2008. The entire political world took note and moved to catch up quickly.

The level of progressive anger in 2010 and (especially) 2016 was primarily a function of enemy action, not native discontent with the state of the Democrats. Track paid social media engagement and troll farms and the number one meme fed to the left was the "centrist democrats are worse than Republicans" meme. Depressed progressive turnout was engineered, primarily by Russia with the active involvement of the GOP. Read the FBI and Special Councel reports and this is very clear.

Stein was supported by Russia and the GOP. Easily proven. There is a paper trail. Nader in 2000 was supported by the GOP. Easy to prove, there is a paper trail.

Should progressive voters be blamed for being easily manipulated? Yes.
Should the extreme level of targeted ad buys and troll farm bots be taken into account? Also yes. The anger of 2016 progressives with the central Dem leadership was largely engineered by outside forces, not by progressives.

I supported Sanders in the 2016 primary and was *very* vocal about how I thought he'd be a better candidate than Clinton (neptism on her part, misogeny on the part of the nation). When he lost, I sucked it up and sent her money to try to win. And I was *very* vocal against a lot of crap that was later revealed to be GOP /Russian ratfucking.

We are going to see GOP / Russian influence actions ramp up again in 2022/4. Defeating *that* social engineering had better be high on everyone's list.

Gator said...

"Gator I don’t give a flick about your attempted distraction by faulting my courtesy. You fault my language when your cult hurls hate-hate-hate at its ALLIES with relentless glee? The only thing keeping you lot in the coalition is not the pragmatic interests of 100 million poor and working class Americans, who will benefit hugely even from Manchin accepted parts."
For someone who has written about addiction to outrage, and how terrible it is for our democracy, you certainly seem to have a bang-up jonesing for it. You ASSUMED I'm part of the "cult" simply because I said the Left doesn't owe you anything. I said you could just as well blame EVERY OTHER THIRD PARTY in that election for Gore's loss, yet you continue to blame Nader. You could blame Gore's campaign, the Florida governor, sec of state, the supreme court, but NO IT'S ALL NADERS FAULT AND OUR CURRENT CROP OF LOONEYTOON PUTINIST TRAITORS!

Here's my one point. Screeching at "the Left" will not win you a single vote. It's not useful. I'm not even "not on your side". You seem to have zero understanding of someone who might have voted for Nader, and a seeming incuriosity about that segment of the voting population. You've spent a lot of time and effort on judo for MAGA types -- I would love to see you do the same for Lefty types. (I get your list of Democratic goals is a start there, and I think that it is a useful reminder!) Just ranting about "betrayal" is going to drive people away from the Democratic party. People will either vote third party (and I agree that's a problem in swing states) or not vote at all (again, a problem in swing states.) The Democratic party needs to get out the vote. That's how they win. I think you're right that in some states it means running candidates who have military or other "traditional" red backgrounds. But in other states it means running lefties like AOC who can excite their constituents and get them off their ass.

Robert said...

I still don't know what is wrong with this my esponse to my own question.

David and company, I'll just note that this post is NOT a response from me, despite the poster using my name.

If you read it, the English mistakes should be a clue to that!

Also, I wouldn't imply that the girls would "shrug off" all the work on the boys. The problem in a mixed class is usually shutting the boys up so the girls get a chance to talk (or to use the equipment, if it's being shared).

Robert said...

When I was a pupil, teachers often worked with one kid until they 'got it', then moved on. Kids helped each other, and education was more a function of compassion and empathy than competition. Classmates often still knew each other even thru high school (in rural Ontario at least).

That may still be the case in rural Ontario. Never taught there, so I can't speak to that.

Some kids do help each other, but not all do. Same as when I went to school in Saskatoon in the 70s.

And some kids actively sabotage other kids (like their parents) — university-bound kids are well aware it's a competition for places. This is not what I remember from when I was in school*, and has become more common in the last decade or so.

Parents have got a lot pushier over the last three decades. Parental involvement in a school can be great, if the parent is (a) competent and (b) trying to improve the school as a whole, but over the years I have found that parental concern is increasingly about how to improve things for their own child only, even at the cost to other children. (Not all by any means, but virtually all the cases I can recall happened in the last decade.)

As to groupwork, I could rant about that for ages, but shouldn't as this isn't my blog. If you're near the GTA and want to chat in person I'd be up for that.


*Well, when I was in high school. When I was in university the engineering students did a project with the law students: a mock technical trial where we were the expert witnesses and they were the lawyers. The law students were astounded that the engineering students all worked together to figure out the technical details of the case — apparently in law school everyone knew that marks determined who got the best clerkships and thus the best careers, so they would surreptitiously actively work against their classmates.

Jon S. said...

I must also point out that here in my state of Illinois, the more rural and Republican areas of the state are the ones running out of hospital beds and ventilators and begging for doctors and nurses from the part of the state where cases per thousand are dropping. So if that's what you mean by "not caring", ok.

The same is true here in Washington - the east side of the state is being ravaged by COVID, while here on the west side there are some nasty places, but the heavily-urbanized - and heavily-blue - Puget Sound region is getting under control.

Meanwhile, on the eastern edge of the state, the situation is being complicated by overflow from Idaho, which apparently declined to take any precautions at all and whose hospitals are packed far beyond capacity. So cities like Spokane, which were already pretty much on the verge of overload, are running out of resources trying to take up the slack.

scidata said...

There's a lot of suffering going on. Concentration of wealth may be the cause, but diminishment of compassion is the brutal effect. I'm finding the Anacreon storyline in FOUNDATION quite compelling.
“Those who are hardest to love need it the most.” - Socrates

And GFW is indeed an interesting case. I've given a lot of thought as to "what we need from him", I'm hoping that he has too.
"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates

David Brin said...

No one is ‘screeching at the left.' AOC is a genius and I am a big fan, even disagreeing about some policies. Likewise Bernie, Liz, Stacey and Jamie. ALL of whom agree with me that we need to make clear to our own side’s sanctimony junkies and cultists that another flouncing-preening betrayal will NOT be accepted.

I have cited those 5 leftists repeatedly and hence your inability to parse the difference between them and those who are howling “DNC sellouts!” is very clear… as it is clear which side of that divide you are on.

Get out the vote will work to a degree but it will mostely work in blue zones and hence will NOTG take back control of gerrymandered state legislatures, where the real power lies.

It will not TAKE TERRITORY.

We will get $3T in stuff done because we took a senate seat in deep red West Virginia and it took a Manchin to do it. And your inability to feel any gratitude for that (WHILE pushing for more) is a true sign or political naivete and the kind of sanctimonious flouncing reflex that may have killed this planet. And yes, Ralph Nader can go to HELL for what he did to us.


===
Robert yeah I know, some doofus in the spam bucket has orgasms every time he manages to sneak something up here. I don’t have the heart to spoil his pleasure by pointing out that no one actually cares.

===
Scidata the oligarchic putsch WANTS us at each other’s throats. The Plantation lords in 1861 were delighted that poor whites on both sides killed each other. They were less pleased when the technological bourgeoisie in the north joined with workers and free farmers and freed slaves to crush their pocket feudalism.

The ones pushing war against all fact clades today think it will distract from their own elite power grab. The forget to realize just how much we fact folks know. Like where every one of their prepper hideaways sits.

Larry Hart said...

@Treebeard,

This is what I mean by "fascist".

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Oct28.html#item-6

Secretaries of state who certified that Joe Biden won in 2020 are getting hate mail and death threats. They know that Trump supporters can be armed, have no problem with violence, and so they are scared silly. In a voicemail, Arizona's Katie Hobbs (D) got a message saying: "I am a hunter—and I think you should be hunted. You will never be safe in Arizona again." Another message said: "Die you bi**h, die! Die you bi**h, die!" Hobbs said: "I take these threats very seriously. It's absolutely getting worse."

She isn't the only one who is worried. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) got a message that read: "Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days... anything can happen to anyone." Actually, Griswold doesn't have a security detail and her small office budget doesn't have a line-item for security. She asked Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) for protection. She got the state police to protect her for 2 weeks, then they stopped. She said: "When someone says they know where I live and I should be afraid for my life, I take that as a threat and I believe the state of Colorado should, too."

And then there is Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D). The threats against her have spiked and gotten very specific. She got 24-hour police protection, but when the protection stopped, the threats continued. Dozens of people showed up at her house last December, while she was inside with her husband and young child.
...

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@Der Oger: That said, we might differ in a central viewpoint: It is more my right, my privilege or my duty to vote?

Well. Certainly the BRD and the USA have different experiences with this question; I can only reply in my own context. What I do know -- from personal experience and oral history as well as scholarly study -- is that if voting is a privilege, then more rights than just voting are excluded. Whenever voting can be restricted, only time and patience stand between your enemies and your life, liberty, and happiness (or property, equality, fraternity, Einigkeit, Recht, Frieheit, what have you).

It is no coincidence that our Supreme Court has been moving in tandem to unleash campaign finance, restrict voting rights, increase immunity (impunity?) for law enforcement, and reduce federal protections for constitutional guarantees. Indeed, they are preparing to discuss whether to permit states to violate the federal Constitution at will. That would be a breach on the scale of Dred Scott -- an open challenge to the Constitution's guarantee of any rights at all. Would the BVerfG let, say, Bavarian law violate GG Article 28.2 and seize control of all municipal taxation? Or to "modify" the rules on religious freedom that date back to Weimar? This is the level we have reached here.

I have not reached the point of the Australians, who tax people who fail to vote (though not people who vote "present" and give no preference). But I most certainly DO say that people who wish to have a political voice have a duty to understand the effects of their choices -- which includes whether they will cause a paradoxical result and harm their own cause(s). This is a consistent failure among the Green Party and its affiliates here in the States, going back at least twenty-five years.

@matthew has a key point as well, and I direct @Dr. Brin's attention to it. With all due respect, sir, you do sometimes let your anger at the lies get in the way of advocating against the lies. Gator's misled, and in part that's from oligarchic action.

@robert, great point. I noticed the same difference between aspiring surgeons and other types of physicians. And @scidata, I'd not seen that first Socrates quote before, very apropos. (Note to all: even if the legislature votes that you should commit suicide, don't.)

@Dr. Brin - GOTV can make a difference in marginal districts and shifting districts, too. It can take territory. But it can't hold it. And I'm skeptical about your targeted-investment flip plan... while the local barons will happily take the money, they'll notice their own power loss before it hits the state legislature and take action against it. Locally directed defense against incursion is, alas, one of the few things feudalism is actually well-designed for.

scidata said...

@Robert
It would be an honour to chat. Post a non-Forth comment on scidata.ca and nobody will ever see it but me (debating/flaming/trolling is verboten there - I'm not as patient/nice/democratic as OGH is).


Re: "technological bourgeoisie"

Imagine if both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat were widely literate in numeracy and computation, able to safely dance on the boundary between complexity and chaos. No more Somabook. More crosstalk between castes.

Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) released its latest board, the Pi Zero 2 W: 4-cores, decent GPU, all necessary ports for use as a desktop PC - $15. It uses density tricks similar to Apple's M1 chip, only with 3D integration instead of 2D. RPF's incredible volume enables them to do this type of innovation. "Quantity has a quality all its own." [throws a bone to Russo-trollbots]
It even has a raspberry logo inside the chip, made with clever arrangement of micropads, and only visible by X-ray. Sort of illustrates "just how much we fact folks know".
Score one for the Enlightenment.

Calculemus!

locumranch said...


Treebeard's error is to describe our host's mindset as the "classic ideologue’s mistake", especially when our host's own words define his position more succinctly:

What we agree is that the effort is worthwhile! First, because if we can peel just 100,000 more wakened Americans away from today's mad, re-ignited Confederacy, it could collapse their fragile demographics ... But also because these are your neighbors and countrymen/women/x, and they deserve your ministry.

The key word (above) is the word "ministry", as in the subsequent bold-faced subtitle labelled "Ministering to our neighbors".

This, then, is an evangelical and/or religious mission that our host calls us to, to target the infidel, the yokel, the climate change denier, the antivaxxer & the random 'villein' (quite literally, the non-urbanite) for religious conversion, redemption & reabsorption into the Church of Scientific Revelation & Universal Urbanity which, by remarkable coincidence, is now believed to be the 'only way' to go forward, to get saved, get right with God, to save the planet, to defeat Covid, and to be 'born again'.

It is the liturgy of Star Trek that it is our faith in an imagined & yet unrealised science, rather than the science of the realised, that will someday allow us to overcome each & every obstacle that may be set before humanity, forever & ever, amen.

And, an exercise in futility it is, to argue religious revelation with an evangelist, a missionary or a true believer.

That said, I fully support your religious mission, especially your plans "for millions of urbanites to move to rural states and overwhelm the local population", thus rendering yourselves defenseless as you defund your police & surround yourselves with thine enemies.


Best

____

This canard about 'Covid causing a hospital bed shortage' is an outright lie, see for yourself by googling 'Total US Hospital Beds 1975' when there was 1.5 MILLION BEDS, when current best US Hospital Bed estimates are about 800,000 (excluding staffing shortages), so Covid has absolutely nothing to do with our current reduction in
healthcare capacity.

David Brin said...

Catfish said: "@matthew has a key point as well, and I direct @Dr. Brin's attention to it. With all due respect, sir, you do sometimes let your anger at the lies get in the way of advocating against the lies. Gator's misled, and in part that's from oligarchic action."

Chiding accepted and yes, I let my temper amplify 40 years of frustration and anger at our ouwn side's cultish puritan incantation bullies (of the sort who drove out America's best Fox-killer, Al Franken) and took it out on gator. Apologies.

STill, no, Gator's cult is not propelled into unreasoning viciousness toward allies and coalition betrayal by "oligarchic action." Read Orwell's HOMAGE TO CATALONIA and about Stalin's purges. The left is perfectly capable of forming up curcular firing squas on its own.

Got a notice and had to fish loncumranch out of the swill bucket (it's nasty down there!) Of course his submission this time is yet again jibbering garbeage. but it's not rug-pooping so...

Hey marroon.... "ministering" has a very general meaning and I used it im part ironically. Golly. The rest is just drool and spittle and the droplets don't carry farther than your monitor screen.

Treebeard said...

@locum I’ve been saying similar things here for years. It’s a religious ideology we’re dealing with, ultimately. The religious instinct is so powerful, even science geeks can’t resist it. Progressivism, Star Trekism, Transhumanism, Singularitarianism, Branch Covidians, the Rationality cult—these are all basically new religions for geeks. But precisely because they wear the anti-religion badge, don’t practice it and don’t know much about it, they are some of the easiest dupes for its methods and the least aware when they are falling victim to them.

For example, with Covidians the religious parallels are uncanny: the jab is like a sacrament, administered by the scientific priesthood; the mask is a sign of submission to the faith, like veils in other religions; getting more people vaccinated is like saving souls for the religion; Big Science is the Church; anti-vaxxers are heretics; lockdowns and firings are religious austerities and punishments like fasts and floggings. I have encountered people like this and it’s rather disturbing. I felt like I was talking to a Puritan fanatic from 400 years ago, if I just switched out a few words.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

This canard about 'Covid causing a hospital bed shortage' is an outright lie, see for yourself by googling 'Total US Hospital Beds 1975' when there was 1.5 MILLION BEDS, when current best US Hospital Bed estimates are about 800,000 (excluding staffing shortages), so Covid has absolutely nothing to do with our current reduction in
healthcare capacity.


You might have been called "doctor", but you must have been the lowest ranked graduate of medical school. Does it not occur to you that the length of stay in which a COVID patient occupies a bed and a ventilator might have something to do with a correlation between lots of COVID patients and bed shortages, regardless of the overall number of such beds and ventilators?

The portions of my state--and of Texas and Florida and Louisiana--in which COVID cases continue to climb--are the ones running out of hospital beds and ventilators and care professionals. Trying to argue the opposite is like trying to prove that bees can't fly.

Der Oger said...

@ Catfish: The motto would be "Unity, Law and Freedom" in English :-)

The process of replacing judges on the Federal Constitutional Court is somewhat complex and multipartisan, since most involved parties have a veto power of one kind or another. Yet, I have not heard of major dissents or scandals involving the nomination process.

The last more interesting ruling was that the climate policies of the former Federal Government were unconstitutional, since they placed more financial burdens on the future generations than the current ones. The next one could well be the decision whether if the State of Berlin is allowed to disown major real estate companies to battle the shortage of affordable housing.

What made my eyebrows rise this week was that the European Supreme Court sentenced Poland to pay 1 Million Euros per day in penalty payments for their reforms of that member state's judicial system.

David Brin said...

Again and again Treebeard looks in a mirror and thinks he is denouncing us, when every trait he disparages is characteristic of his cult, not our movement. Science is COMPETITIVE, fellah. It is the most competitive enterprise in human existence. Which you'd recognize if your cult weren't the greatest enemy of fair competition in the world today.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

For example, with Covidians the religious parallels are uncanny: the jab is like a sacrament, administered by the scientific priesthood; the mask is a sign of submission to the faith, like veils in other religions; getting more people vaccinated is like saving souls for the religion; Big Science is the Church; anti-vaxxers are heretics; lockdowns and firings are religious austerities and punishments like fasts and floggings.


You sound like the Ayn Rand villain from Atlas Shrugged who assumed that all John Galt and his fellow industrialists wanted was for themselves to be the "gang" who was on top and for whom all the scales of justice were tipped in their favor.

The inconveniences of masking and vaccinating are prices we feel must be paid in order to make society safe from a highly transmissible and deadly pandemic. The suffering is not the end in itself. And we hardly care about saving your soul against your will--just about making you safe for others to be around.


I have encountered people like this and it’s rather disturbing. I felt like I was talking to a Puritan fanatic from 400 years ago, if I just switched out a few words.


Why disturbing? Isn't Puritan fanaticism from 400 years ago exactly the kind of religion-driven, asutere, anti-liberal community you have wet dreams about?

Gator said...

https://news.yahoo.com/aoc-threatens-apos-no-apos-214016658.html
Retweeted by AOC https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1450900038717161472
But rail at me again about how AOC is lock-step with Manchin and the centrists Democrats.
https://www.ocasiocortez.com/issues
Where does AOC say "I'm ditching progressive causes to stick with the center"?

Bernie on Manchin and Sinema: https://www.businessinsider.com/sanders-manchin-and-sinema-not-a-movie-2021-10 "He labeled Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as a pair of obstructionists holding up the bulk of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda."

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/21/bulls-how-a-manchin-bernie-blowup-helped-unstick-dems-agenda-516561
Note the focus here - the story is that by opposing the right-wing of the Democratic party, the left-wing might pull the final package their way. This is not splitterism, this is normal negotiation tactics. (Might even be good for both sides to have a public spat, imagine Manchin going home and talking about how he stood up to "that socialist" and vice versa for Sanders.)

Rick Ellrod said...

On the wager idea -- I've been trying to figure out how that would work in practice. Is it actually possible to get a MAGA enthusiast to agree on a wager precise enough to be resolved without ambiguity, and on a third-party judge or 'escrow holder' that both parties trust to render a true decision? It seems to me the MAGAist, faced with a lost wager, would simply look for a loophole to deny that they'd lost, or claim that the third-party arbiter was biased. I probably don't understand the method yet -- but I'd like to.

Larry Hart said...

Rick Ellrod:

It seems to me the MAGAist, faced with a lost wager, would simply look for a loophole to deny that they'd lost, or claim that the third-party arbiter was biased.


That's their whole strategy with the 2020 election. No reason to think they'd be any different concerning any other contest.


I probably don't understand the method yet -- but I'd like to.


Dr Brin can explain his own thinking better than I can, but my thought is that the only gain would be a pyrrhic one--you'd never collect money from the MAGAt, but you'd know and he'd know that you know that he's a welcher.

BTW, this is out of left field, but are you by any chance a fan of the comic Cerebus? I ask because both your first and last names could be Cerebus references. :)

David Brin said...

LH yes, but peering through the murk it clearly terrifies Treebeard that hi doesn't have a clue how positive-sum thinking works. He stares at us and at science and assumes we MUST think the way he does. Science MUST be a religious/theological/oppressive priestly tower of incantation spouting authorities because that's what he would do and what most elites across 6000 years have done.

The very idea of lateral accountability through competitive and open processes is not something he can parse, let alone visualize. Nor especially the notion hat it can be combined with ever expanding inclusivity and compassion.

Gator: "But rail at me again about how AOC is lock-step with Manchin and the centrists Democrats."

You lie again. You utterly and openly issue bald-faced and deliberate-knowing lies like the liar that you are.

I said very clearly that Bernie, AOC etc are fighting hard for their favored (somewhat leftist) policies within the Union coalition, some of which policies I disagree with, but admire them deeply.

What I did say whas that they also know they get nothing for their constituencies if they let arguments within the coalition destroy and shatter the coalitions ability to hold ont a thin reed of actual power. Power that flounding/preening sanctimony junkies threw away at least 5x in the past, in favor of masturbatory sanctimonious screams at allies.

If GW Bush had been defeated in 2000 then Gore might have been a 1 term president, if 9/11 still happened. But we'd have leaped ahead in nearly all things ecological and the GOP might have gone back to the well with a semi-grownup in 2004. AOC and Bernie etc know this. They know that the DP' soverton window has swung hard toward them, and if they get HALF of what they asked for, this round, it will be an immense, immense victory.

And they'll be well set to BOTH do turnout in blue areas AND support blue dogs to take territory in red zones.

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Stacey Abrams are busy every single day putting out arsons set by guys like you, who call Joe Biden 'corporatist sellout" and are starting murmurs, already of betrayal in 2022.

No, no. You won't get away with it, this time.

Get used to the idea. Joe Biden is YOUR president and you are free to disagree with any policy... but he is now our best hope to preserve that freedom. And if you stab him - instead of building the lefty caucus WITHIN the coalition - then you are no better than Nader and damn him, damn him, damn him to roast in hell.

David Brin said...

Rick Ellrod, yoiu will never get a MAGA to escrow wager stakes. He will squirm and wriggle and make excuses and pointing out - before witnesses - THAT he's writhing like a coward is where this method achieves victories.

But you, you must offer a plausible path to a wager, in order to win that play. So it starts with escrowing stakes with a reputable law firm, to be handed over to whomever the judges pick. And then you offer to choose a panel of judges from senior, retired military officers who have no known history of rabid partisanship. Ideally those with some technical background. Your MAGA will blink in despair, because he's supposed to admire them... yet has been screeching "deep state!" at them for years...

...and THAT is a point you can make powerfully, shaming them further.

Here is the short version I often paste into social media threads:

---

Here's my standard (paste-in) wager demand.

"Have a reputable attorney write to verify you've escrowed $5000 in wager stakes and we'll put the evidence before a politically neutral panel of not-notably-partisan retired senior military/intel officers. (A majority were lifelong Republicans.)
If you actually believe your conspiracy yammers, you'll do this eagerly, even borrowing or pooling with fellow MAGAs, in order to take MY money!
So far, no MAGA or Putin-puppet has ever shown the basic, manly guts to step up with stakes to back up their incantation-blathers, the way our dads and grampas would have. Proving that they are a pack of no-balls blowhards. Oh, and shills for the Kremlin. That too."

That usually sends em fleeing, amid the smoking ruin of their macho.

Larry Hart said...

Vaccination mandates are just "rules you don't feel like following." OTOH, this is actual fascism (emphasis mine) :

https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-gop-supports-death-threats-against.html

But, at the end of it all, what you come away with is that the GOP is trying to protect its base, the violent assholes trying to silence or run out of office officials they disagree with. It's of a piece with the reduction of January 6 to a mere protest than a riot of savage fucks bent on keeping Donald Trump in office. It's of a piece of screaming that mask and vaccine mandates are brutal government control of bodies rather than a public health measure. They want the assholes to keep threatening elections officials and school board members, driving them away, allowing the assholes to install their asshole leaders in positions of power.

And the senators and House members in a previous hearing who engage in this kind of unfounded attack on the mildest of reproaches, the recognition that fucked up shit is fucked up, ensure that those who might want to make more threats feel empowered to do so. This isn't a fucking political party. It's Al-Qaeda on the Potomac.

Larry Hart said...

Stonekettle:

https://www.stonekettle.com/2021/10/stimulus.html

...
I pumped gas while my son went into to use the restroom.

The restrooms were locked and the guy behind the counter said: "You wana use the toilet ya'll have to buy sometin'. Goddamn Joe Biden is ruining business and we can't afford to jus let people use the bathrooms! So you gotta buy sometin' and I'll unlock it."

My son had to go, so he bought a candy bar without comment and did his business and came back out and warned me before I went in. Also, apparently buying $40 in gas didn't count towards using the restroom.

I held it until we reached Springfield and civilization.

...

See, there's plenty of labor available. Q.E.D, but a Help Wanted sign in the window too often nowadays isn't a call out for future employees, instead it's a political statement.

Business could pay American workers a living wage and evolve a more equitable model of American labor.

Business could demand government let in immigrants and continue their current model of serfdom.

But they don't want to do either.

Their greed won't let them pay workers more, and their ideology of racism and white nationalism won't let them hire foreign labor.

Hell of a pickle, eh?

So instead they blame Joe Biden and pretend it's not their own lousy business model that's the problem.

The problem isn't a lack of labor in America.

For Conservatives and American Business, the problem is as it always was: a lack of slave labor.

David Brin said...

Again the value of the wager challenge is that it corners them in a way that none of their standard catechisms and maneuvers work against.

Let's TEST your incantation and prove it forces them to face the fact that facts actually exist and are more powerful than incantations.

A small fraction (rarely) will take a lesson from that. I've seen it. Generally, they get both angry and embarrassed. Some value multiplies when you can corner them in front of others. But above all, you get the satisfaction of saying "coward blowhard!" at their retreating butts.

Bob Neinast said...

Regarding Larry and locum on comparing the number of hospital beds in 1975 and now, in addition to agreeing with Larry, let me also point out that there have been major changes in medical care since then, so I really doubt a direct comparison is valid. The major revolution has been in outpatient facilities (which don't count as "hospital beds").

As an example, a few years back, I had to have my Achilles tendon repaired. I went into an outpatient facility in the morning and was home by 4:00pm. Back in 1975 you can be sure that required a hospital stay of at least a few days.

-----

On a completely separate note, I'm still not quite sold on the ideas of wagers. I admit that the following is not quite a wager, but a bounty, but it is similar enough that maybe it would fit into that framework.

We're aware about how, in Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered a large bounty for evidence of election fraud as part of "proving" that the election was stolen from Trump. He just recently paid out $25,000 for a single instance of fraud by a Pennsylvanian Republican. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/10/22/dan-patrick-reward-poll-watcher/

One would think that, having been proved wrong, this would ameliorate the claims that Trump won. Yet, we have seen nothing of the sort. The Ridiculous Republicans just ignore it, and things go on as before.

So what I don't get is how any wager would have any different outcome (either if won, or if one makes the wageree flee and instead make their claims again to somebody else).

Treebeard said...

Has this “wagering on facts” method ever actually worked anywhere outside your own rather over-heated head? Politics is mostly about unconscious hopes, fears, biases, instincts, etc. Facts are mostly beside the point, and so is wagering about them.

Btw, what is this “cult” you keep accusing me and others of belonging to? Is everyone a member of a cult who isn’t in your camp? I suppose I could challenge you to a wager on this matter, and imagine that I’ve scored some macho points if you refuse, but I’m not that silly.

David Brin said...

Wait, did Treebeard just offer a wager? BRING IT, fellah! Let's get definitions of "cult" from the world's greatest experts on the phenomenon and compare which side of this civial war deals in incantations instead of allowing facts to adjudicate disagreements. It sounds like more work than the simpler wagers I've offered. Like which side wages open war against nearly all fact using professions, MSNBC vs Fox? THAT one could be settled in a week, or even a day! But sure, escrow those stakes, fellah. I am quite sure your confederacy of oligarch-suckers is the cult.

Bob N. I find it mind-boggling the benefitsof the wager challenge seem so hard for anyone to grasp. The nut-cult is well equipped with glib (and largely Kremlin basement generated) jpegs and memes and chants and baseless assertions and we all know those magic spells are immune to refutation by any normal confrontation. If they face blatant disproof of their lies -- e.g. that "there's been no warming!" they simply scoot to the next thing.

But they quail when cornered by demands for systematic dissection of specific, individual, falsifiable assertions before panels of unimpeachable fact adjudicators. Especially if accompanied with "If you are the man you claim to be, you'd have the gut to bet like one. And if you're so sure, come and take MY house!"

Others will notice that they flee, with their macho preening destroyed. A (very) few of THEM will notice and modify their process. None will every bet... and proclaiming THAT fact is the most effective thing of all.

Seriously, what alternative has worked? Nothing. At all. Ever.

David Brin said...

How rich the irony. Last time I told Treebeard "You are talking into a mirror at an image that has nothing to do with us and that terrifies you."

So he goes ahead and types: "Politics is mostly about unconscious hopes, fears, biases, instincts, etc. Facts are mostly beside the point, and so is wagering about them."

OMG did you have to prove my point so perfectly?

scidata said...

Re: "ministering"
This word comes up in FOUNDATION ep7. A powerful religious leader says defiantly to Brother Day that she cannot waste time with a 'reverberation' (clone) of a long dead man (Cleon I); she has 'souls' to minister to.

Thoughts:
1) Clone is an anagram of Cleon (I'm probably one of the last to notice this)
2) Ministering is an act not of arrogance, but of deep respect, acknowledging the inherent value of even a member of the lowest caste (shades of John Donne)
3) By ministering, this leader simply means comforting the dying
4) Fascists (tyrants, emperors, warlords, thugs, etc) don't minister to adversaries, they just exterminate them like bugs
5) Demagogues say they're ministering, but actually they're just applying a sieve of obedience

Ministering one of those tricky words that sometimes means a different thing than the speaker intends. In fact, the opposite thing.

Treebeard said...

It's all way too subjective for wagering. We could never agree on the meaning of words like "cult", "war", "incantations", "experts" or "facts". In other words, it's political. What point have I proven by saying politics is mostly unconscious/subjective? That you are silly for thinking otherwise? That you're in a cult that believes politics is a matter of objective facts? I think I'm gonna go ahead and declare myself the winner of this imaginary bet.

Paradoctor said...

Brin:
What you wish to wager is a meta-wager; namely, that the reactionaries don't dare to make, or honor, a wager. That they'll conspicuously run away.

They do not deal in facts or truth, indeed they don't believe in either. They say absurd things, knowing them false, to troll and only to troll. It's a flex, not a dissent. What they believe in is power. But running away from a wager is weak.

Perhaps this is sound. So... when will you issue a wager, and to whom?

David Brin said...

Paradoc I have issued wager challenges for at least 5 years and the blowhard cowards always squirm and run. Yes, the META (!) wager is whether these imbeceiles are a 'cult." They show every trait and Treebeard very openly and clearly admitted as much in declaring that he perceives politics as entirely emotional. (OMG.)

But that metawager, while obviously true based on comilation of traits like relentless recitation of emotionally pleasing masturbatory incantations EACH of which is generally factually refutable... is an assertion that would take huge labor to prove decisively.

I offer instead to disprove their insanely false assertions individually. ... or else defy them to disprove my own easily checkable assertions. e.g. that Fox wages open war on all fact using professions.

One that irks them is: "Let's pick at RANDOM any ten statements from Donald Trump's registered list of 35,000 lies while in office." They always, always run away. And chasing them, rubbing that in, does some good. It would do MORE good if more of us did it! I bet it would be great if hundreds or thousands did it!

They have become a cult who hate science, hate facts, project gloom, love hate, adore an oligarchy of casino moguls, mafiosi and former KGB agents, and their congressional districts except Mormon ones) are steeped in almost all turpitudes far more than most blue ones.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

1) Clone is an anagram of Cleon (I'm probably one of the last to notice this)


Heh. Only, does anyone have a sense that Asimov intended any of the Cleon emperors to be literal clones? I never did.

Tangent: I always thought that the line in the original Star Wars about the Clone Wars was just a throwaway sci-fi-sounding reference, rather than a plot thread which had to be resolved by revealing that the Empire was formed using an army of actual clones.

Nonetheless, considering that Lucas hadn't actually come up with the idea that Darth Vader and Princess Leia were related in any way, I find the princess's actual line of dialogue directed at Obi Wan Kenobi to be packed with unintentional meaning:

"You fought with my father in the Clone Wars."


Back in 1977, I'm sure "fought with" was intended as "fought alongside", and the father she mentions is Bail Organa of Alderaan. But think about what else that sentence can mean in light of what we find out later.


Ministering one of those tricky words that sometimes means a different thing than the speaker intends. In fact, the opposite thing.


My work is done.:)

David Brin said...

LH, there is not amount of writhing and wriggling and effort at dots-connecting that will ever make Star Wars anything but an utter mess. Alas.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Is there something wrong with using a dictionary definition of those various words that seem to stick in people's craw? Of course in some cases the term has been expanded beyond its strict dictionary definition.
i.e. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cult

David Brin said...

The French fo way too far keeping their languages frozen. In English, Webster is just too lax. Anything that get slang usage is suddenly canon.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH, there is not amount of writhing and wriggling and effort at dots-connecting that will ever make Star Wars anything but an utter mess. Alas.


Oh, I agree, but the exception is the original 1977 film. By itself, without worrying about how it fits into the larger saga, it's still worth remembering.


In English, Webster is just too lax. Anything that get slang usage is suddenly canon.


I don't think dictionaries should be schoolmarms which stubbornly describe how words should be used whether or not they are used that way. Neither am I comfortable with them giving equal weight to any corruption of the language. I guess the third way I seek is that in addition to a strict definition, the dictionary describes the evolution of a word. Where it came from and how its meaning changed over time.

And "irregardless" doesn't belong as a word! There are some things up with which I simply won't put. :)

David Brin said...

Oh I agree that the original Star Wars was goo kiddie fun... and I loved Empire Trikes! Yes, the "I am ur father" meant that Yoda and Obiwan were lying villains almost as bad as Vader. But if Lucas had run with that, what a story Return of the Jedi could have been!

Alas,

Larry Hart said...

The Mad Librarian:

Is there something wrong with using a dictionary definition of those various words that seem to stick in people's craw?


Well, when you argue about whether someone's philosophical community is a "cult" or not, the argument is much more over connotations, metaphor, and allusion about than the strict definition of a word. For that reason, when one side argues that mask/vaccine mandates are "fascism" and the other side argues that threats of violence against officials who don't agree with you are "fascism", the dictionary isn't going to be much help either.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

But if Lucas had run with that, what a story Return of the Jedi could have been!


I spent the three years between "Empire" and "Jedi" believing that Vader was lying to Luke. In the interim, a comic book story I read had the plot element of a masked villain who the protagonist suspected was his missing father. The clincher was the penultimate chapter's cliffhanger when one of the villain's soldiers refers to him for the first time as "Commander Falcon"--Falcon being the protagonists surname as well. Only the reveal in the final chapter was that "Commander Falcon" was the hero's uncle rather than his father. This led me to consider my theory that Darth Vader was really Uncle Owen, who faked his own death on Tattooine before shuttling up to the star destroyer and returning to the Death Star for the first time in decades. Despite the flaws in this theory, I still maintain it would have made a better story than the one we got.

I've heard that, in order to keep the secret from getting out, David Prowse (the actor playing Vader, though not his voice) was given a dummy line to read after Luke said, "He told me enough. He told me you killed him!" The dummy response was, "No, Luke. Obi Wan killed your father." What a story that would have made had the dialogue been left that way,

scidata said...

Two factoids from Michelle Thaller's talk tonight to our astronomy club:

1) In 2004, the shockwave from a 1cm starquake on a neutron star 50,000 ly away blew off the top-most layer of Earth's atmosphere and disrupted many satellites and observation instruments.

2) The density of space near a magnetar is 3x that of lead. That's because E=mc^2 runs as m=E/(c^2) with a magnetic field of 1 quadrillion gauss (Earth's field is 0.5 gauss), so matter is easily created out of energy.

Neutron stars are city-sized, so density calculations get 'stupid' as Dr. Thaller puts it.

David Brin said...

Scidata did Michelle actually say that? I find it very hard to believe.

LH. The common ground in most definitions of 'cult" is absolute impervious resistance to factual refutation. There are other traits oft associated with cults, but no orhwea that are both necessary and sufficient.

scidata said...

Re: Thaller talk

Yes, she used the adjective 'stupid' but I forget the exact topic.

Like many NASA folks, she also had a good practical justification for her work at the ready. If our GPS satellites get taken out by an enemy, we could possibly employ pulsars to create a solar system wide nav system.

The presentation will be put up on YouTube shortly. I'll post the link if I remember, or you can just search on RASC Mississauga. What a trooper she is, bad cold and a tough few years, but she has the enthusiasm of a little kid. Inspiring.

Robert said...

the dictionary describes the evolution of a word. Where it came from and how its meaning changed over time.

Sounds a bit like the Oxford dictionary — it is descriptive rather than prescriptive, and lists older meanings as well as current ones, with examples to you can see it used in context. (And generally tries to go all the way back to first written use, at least in my abridged copy.)

Robert said...

Post a non-Forth comment on scidata.ca and nobody will ever see it but me

Done.

Paradoctor said...

Brin:
The original trilogy is junk food, the prequels are garbage, and the sequels are plastic.

David Brin said...

Of the prequels, I found bearable the one everyone hates... #1 with jar jar... becasue it didn't have the evil hand of Yoda all over everything. Dumb but sweet, like #4.

The final 3 were JJ Abrams flicks. Terrific characters. Good dialogue. Horrendous plots.

scidata said...

Re: Thaller talk

If there's any mistake in the science factoids, it's definitely mine, not Dr. Thaller's. I'm not sure if you were disputing the factoids or the word 'stupid'. I wonder if the first one was some sort of burst radiation and not a starquake? Now I feel bad. Best to look at it when it's posted to check. In any event, we were so thankful for her talk.

Der Oger said...

Might be a decade or so ago I played/read them, but I always thought the "Tales of the Old Republic" Comic books and games had by far better stories and characters than the movies. At least, I enjoyed them more.

Jon S. said...

Might be a decade or so ago I played/read them, but I always thought the "Tales of the Old Republic" Comic books and games had by far better stories and characters than the movies.

Both Revan and the Exile had better stories of tragedy and, if you chose, redemption than anything in the movies. (And if you did go Dark Side, it explained why Anakin looked so terrible at the end of RoTJ with his mask off even though he was only about 45 when he died - turns out being evil is terrible for your skin.)

KotOR II was like the movies in one way, though - a potentially important plot point, the knockoff versions of HK-47 running around, was introduced, then completely dropped. (At least in the game's case, it was because LucasArts demanded the game be released on schedule even if it wasn't quite done yet, so an entire subplot had to be removed - you were supposed to go back to that one underground base and open the sealed door to access the HK-50 factory.)

Paradoctor said...

Brin:
The ent wrote in to call the meaning of the word 'fact' into question. I address this epistemological puzzle in the following Underfable: "Square Mirror":


Once upon a time, God, Mother Nature, Father Time, and the Devil walked into a bar. The bartender asked them, “How much is two plus two?”
God said, “Four.”
Mother Nature said, “Four plus or minus zero point oh oh one.”
Father Time said, “What was it yesterday?”
And the Devil said, “How much do you want it to be?”

Moral: Thought reflects character.

Comment: Another version of this tale replaces God, Mother Nature, Father Time, and the Devil with, respectively, a mathematician, an engineer, an historian, and a lawyer.

locumranch said...


To study epistemology is to plumb the depths of human perfidy, as one soon discovers that what we call 'fact' is not (in truth) fact and what we call 'truth' is not (in fact) truth.

As in the case of the mathematical zero, the term '0' is neither an integer nor a number, even though we often treat it as such, leading to all kinds of mathematical absurdities when we attempt to manipulate it, divide it or multiply it.

It follows that what we call 'certainty' is approximation, what we call 'fact' is assumption, and what we call 'language' is our best attempt to process approximation & assumption into some sort of durable human consensus.

All this is made much worse by linguistic relativists who insist that (1) the dictionary is only a suggestion and (2) words & language have no meaning beyond the user's momentary intention.

Even so, I absolutely love irony.

So, could someone please tell me again how a near 50% reduction in the absolute number of US hospital beds has absolutely nothing to do with our current reality of an insufficient number of US hospital beds?


Best

David Brin said...

blah blah de blah blah. Desperation to dispute the existence of objective reality. Your cult raves against all fact-using professions and against the very existence of facts.

Go jump into a freeway and tell it to an onrushing car, fellah. Till then, let's be clear, you are nutters.

David Brin said...

onward

onward