Friday, July 12, 2024

Joe, please consider more suggestions? For 'win-win-win' judo moves!

Did you ever bang your head repeatedly against a wall, insisting over and over that "There ought to be a door here!" 

It's how Lincoln must have felt, searching for generals who could defeat Bobby Lee. Till he found some. Till he found that door.

Likewise, I keep hoping the good side in this phase 8 of the U.S. Civil War will try agility and judo, rather than the same, tired sumo grunt-n-shove tactics, over and over and over, leaving the initiative to the other side... as they are doing in this current, crucial battle over the fate of civilization, the nation and our future.

I can't help it. While my head aches from wall-banging, I have to keep trying, as when I wrote Polemical Judo.  And so, again, here are suggested tactics that could help, right now.


== Biden's "age thing." Getting a win-win-win. ==

Last week, I concluded a long, multi-topic blog with a proposed maneuver for President Joe Biden to deal with the age issue. This time - revised - it comes up topOne way that he could satisfy both his many strong supporters within the Democratic Party and those urging him to step aside, for the good of the nation.  

This move would show his sincerity about doing the right thing, while also displaying his legendary courage and fighting spirit! Depending on the outcome, it would either reinforce his position as dynamic leader, or ease his way to gracefully annointing a successor. 

It would also anchor-in what's fundamental here. That this is not about one man! 

In fact, it would show that all leading Democrats are light years better than all leading Republicans. At all levels and in all ways.

Would you give it a try in your minds? Weigh the idea... and maybe pass it along?


              == Mr. President, say this now! ==

 "Look, I had a bad debate. I and millions of others don't believe that it means much. Nor do some slips of the tongue. 

"But I do listen! And I know some of you out there are concerned,  Moreover, unlike my opponent, I know that wishing something and yelling it doesn't make it so. 

"Hey, I am showing signs of time's passage!  I surround myself with the best folks the nation has to offer and I have vast experience. And some say I'm generally kind of a wise-guy... 

"But I won't be obstinate. So let's test this!

"I hearby invite seven of the top members of my party... truly fine, brilliant men and women with proved chops as leaders... to join me onstage for a series of three forums, leading up to the Democratic National Convention, a month from now in Chicago!

"These would not be 'debates' as such. We won't be attacking each other... much. But it will accomplish many things at once! 

- First, it will test me! If I can hold my own with these whippersnappers, that should anchor my rightful (already-earned) place as the party's nominee with joyful confidence!

- If I fail that challenge, then the best new leaders of our party -- and in-future the nation -- will get to show what they've got, before the party convention delegates, who will then have the authority given to them by voters this spring, to choose another slate. 

"I am confident they will pick Biden-Harris! But if not, I will campaign for any of these fine folks, with vigor and energy!

This will also show the depth of the Democratic Party's bench! The public will see that there are no flukes. Any and every person on the forum stage will be blatantly better - smarter, more grownup and vastly more moral - than any and every politician in the Republican Party!

- And finally, there's this. Jeepers. Should we turn down this opportunity for a vast TV audience? Let the forum participants disagree over this and that practical matter or proposal! Let them emphasize varied priorities, within our general consensus of goodness, courage, generosity of spirit. And dedication to facts!  We'll have a great chance to present our administration's accomplishments...

...plus proofs about the dangers facing the nation, planet, civilization, freedom and our children!  And a great chance to disprove the other party's mountain of volcanic, poisonous lies.

"I am consulting across a wide range of wise folks. But clearly, joining me onstage will be my own chosen running mate, world-respected stateswoman and my trusted friend, Vice President Kamala Harris! 

"Who else? Obviously, we need Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom up there! I want Pete Buttigieg, too, plus the dynamic and mature Hakeem Jeffries. 

"I'll let Bernie, Liz and AOC work out among themselves which of them to send from their wing.  And from the other wing...? Hey Joe Manchin! Care to come back for a few nights and try the waters? They're pretty darn foul over there in the Fox county of lies! Over here we argue fairly, about true things. And we'll welcome any true input from you.

"So there you have it. Unlike my opponent, who squelches any competition, who demands utter, slavish obedience and who denies any possible fault, I'll admit I might be wrong when I look in a mirror and say "You still got it, kid!" 

"Like any wise grampa, I'll listen to the best and wisest of later generations! 

"And so, we're gonna get seven of em up on stage with me. And I predict two things. 

"First, you'll see a terrific future for the Democratic Party and for America!

"But also, you will see that I still got it! 

"And when I don't any longer... as happens to all of God's creatures... we have a team that will keep America great and keep America winning!

"God bless you all and good night."


== Are there ANY ways that would not be a win-win-win? ==

...allowing Joe to either disprove the carps and re-unify the party and nation behind him... 

...or else ease aside, amid a love fest of admiration for his wisdom, as the convention delegates demonstrate democracy and sensible adulthood in action, choosing from a deep bench of brilliant, next-wave leaders.

Either way, a vast TV audience will see and hear that this is about a lot more than one or two men. And especially this: a person who appoints - or mentors - folks like these can be trusted to do a lot more for us all.


== More suggestions? Seriously Brin? End on a high note! ==

Naw, I can't help it.  There's just too much. While I believe those seven-plus-Biden folks are good and wise leaders, only one of them has any chops when it comes to polemic. (There's that word again!) And even that one could use some outside help.

Last time I addressed some basic, polemical ways to slash at the Supreme Cult majority's travesty "Presidential Immunity Ruling." 

I also addressed the dems' incredible failure to properly exploit the vast number of Trump appointees who later 'betrayed' him -- a devastating fact that only the Lincoln Project has handled well.

Speaking of 'projects'... Some folks are doing well polemically, attacking the treasonous, loathsome Project 2025. But I also added some potential knives about that, too. Last time.

But the one that really kills me is how NO Dem-leader is zeroing in on the one central issue - in my view. 

That issue is the mad right's blatant campaign to debase the very word 'fact.'  


== POUND on this one! ==

No one... no pol or pundit... categorically and relentlessly exposes the core GOP agenda -- waging all-out war vs. all fact using professions! From science and teaching, medicine and law and civil service to the heroes of the FBI/Intel/Military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on terror. 

I assert that this matters, more than any other issue! For one reason. Facts can disprove the lie-ravings about every other topic, from racism to communism-turned-fascism. From abortion to gender-slanders, to planetary neglect. From lies about the economy to damned-lies about Russia and 'stolen' elections. 

Facts are the only bullets that actually kill lies.

Alas. We have instead an era when all sides rave assertions, with an underlying assumption that all assertions are equal, under Freedom of Speech.

You say there are 'fact-checking services?'  How's that going for you? So-called 'fact-checkers' aren't working for some very basic reasons. And shrugging off those reasons is what makes you no damn help, at all.

Here's the deal: Demolition of the centrality of FACT in politics and policy is arguably the greatest crime committed by the undead were-elephant that has taken over the decaying, putrifying body of the Party of Lincoln.

It is the top reason why the State of Arizona now draws 17% of its electrical power from the spinning in Barry Goldwater's grave.

This polemical failure by Democrats and moderates was most telling during the 'bad day' presidential debate, a couple of weeks ago. Joe Biden kept muttering 'That's not true,' never realizing what should be obvious. 

That phrase is meat to Trumpists! 

It's like the schoolyard whine "th-that's no f-fair!"  The plaint that every playground bully positively lives to hear from the kids he is tormenting! WATCH as Trump smiles, whenever Biden says it.

"That's not true," can be said in ways that devastate liars. But those methods all involve tenacious pursuit. Sinking your teeth into the lies and not letting go!

And so...


== Another thing for Joe to shout! ==

"Hey Donald. Everyone knows you lie like crazy. Not a single minute of your debate performance wasn't a fib firehose of falsehoods. But okay sure, that's what your guys say about me!  

"So, how about this? How about we check?

"Right now, I demand that you step forth and help us create a neutral commission of great American sages that voters can trust, to shed at least some light on which of us is lying, nonstop!  FACT professionals who aren't overtly on either side. 

"Let's each of us start with a dozen randomly chosen, not-overtly political, senior retired military officers! And if you don't trust them - like you howl at the FBI and all the intel agencies and civil servants and scientists... well... doesn't your enemies list now include most of the folks who Vlad Putin blames for the fall of the USSR? An event that he called 'history's worst tragedy'?

"Sure, you'll proclaim that we don't need no stinking commissions! That folks can 'do their own research'! Yeah, like Fox dittoheads clinging desperately to the glass bosom, repeating every chant and incantation. "Do your own research" my aunt Tillie's glass eye!  

"Especially, your jabber heads denounce 'experts' of all kinds. Yeah right. The tens of millions of folks who spent all their lives learning and inventing and discovering, to make America not only great, but the marvel of all ages! Well I am calling your bluff.

"So, here it is, Don. Put up names of great American sages of high renown and known for non-partisan -- or at least not-very-partisan -- wisdom. Pick your nominees and I'll put foward ours. We'll let the resulting bunch of wise folks choose the commission, to help us penetrate the fog! 

"I may not like everyone on your list and you will surely demean those on mine. But that's okay. The American people will compare the lists and that comparison is where the search for truth will begin!

"And if you don't offer a list? Could it be because you can't? Because those mighty American sages are exactly the folks - even old timey conservatives - who you can't control?

"Whatever. In making this offer... knowing full well that such a commission will find some howler mistakes I've made, as well... I at least show that I am willing to be judged in an arena of facts, not incantations. 

"And perhaps the Truth shall make us free."


== Judo moves. C'mon man, what d'you have to lose? ==

Just making that open demand - and triggering Trump's volcano of excuses - would do more good than any mountain of statistics.

Just as inviting seven brilliant, younger Democrats onstage could lead to a win-win-win for us all.

It truly ought to be obvious. Though... 

... though why do I bother? 

The politicos on the good side of this phase of the 250 year U.S. Civil War are worthy of our vigorous support. But ever since Jerry Brown or Al Franken, I have yet to see one willing to even consider fresh ideas. 

If there's any common trait among all politicians, across every chasm or divide, it is the trait of Not Invented Here.


Friday, July 05, 2024

Biden's judo moves, part two: The Age Thing, the Immunity Thing, and more on FACTS

I keep saying it. You kids survived covid and boomers survived '68. We can survive this. Just buckle down and fight. As I am doing here.  By proposing judo tactics instead of grunting sumo.

Today -- three topical issues. Two of them somewhat overblown and one of them truly important.

1. I tried to cover the important one, last time. It's the only truly central issue in this U.S. presidential election year, and one that Democrats always ignore.  

That issue is the vastly consistent right wing, all-out war vs. all fact using professions, from science and teaching, medicine and law and civil service to the heroes of the FBI/Intel/Military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on terror. Indeed, their core agenda is to wage war against the very notion of fact as a thing.

No other matter is as important! Because MOST other matters - from climate change to election denialism, to racism, to abortion, to the state of the economy - will be settled, quickly, if we restore disproof of lies.

Indeed, last time I spoke of a way that Joe Biden could raise this as a readilachievable goal.  If nothing else, just proposing that method would emphasize that Democrats are generally the ones standing up for use of actual, demonstrable facts...


2. ... just as Democrats are the ones who don't want immunity from rampant law-breaking by presidents. And yes, the 'ruling' for blanket presidential criminal immunity, by the Trump-appointed (and blatantly corrupt) Supreme Court majority, was so utterly insane and treasonous that it shocked even cynical Rachel Maddow

So, why aren't Democrats eager to claim and use that immunity, while they are in office? All those jokes about Biden dispatching 'Seal Team Six' miss the point. The real reason is simple. They don't need it

Just look at the ratio of indictments and convictions for malfeasance-of-office and other felonies like child predation, between the two parties. It's about forty-to-one Republican/Democrat, across the last 40 or so years! And the ratio is infinite, when it comes to presidents and top tier cabinet officers. (In other words, the Clinton, Obama and Biden admins had none. The most honest and least corrupt national administrations of any and all nations, across all of human history.)

This explains the desperation of high goppers to make the whole thing all-or-nothing. They know that if we go back to a nation of transparency and laws, using calm disproof to lance the Kremlin-run lie pustules, then sooner or later the blackmail will spill and hundreds of them will see their darkest secrets revealed, changing that crime ratio from double to triple digits. And John Roberts will be remembered by history next to Roger Taney.  

That is why they must now go all-in brownshirt, as forecast in their horrendous Mein Kampf called Project 2025. For many of them, the only alternative to prison, or shamed retirement, or just universal ridicule is to emulate 1934's Night of the Long Knives. Perhaps with a triggering Reichstag Fire.

There are things that JoeB and the dems could say, that they aren't saying. 

Example: every lame argument by the suborned SC majority - that 'presidents shouldn't be distracted from hard choices by legal second guessing' - could be satisfied by something called "slow process," where presidents might limit their time dealing with legal matters to (say) an externally prioritized ten hours a week. Slow... yet with justice wheels still rolling. 

That plus an added layer of 'presumption of good faith' in post-hoc jury instructions should enable a president with decent legal advisors to navigate difficult ground, as Commander-In-Chief - as presidents have done for 240 years. Both of those clarifications could be arranged by legislation, negotiated in good faith, with an aim at finding a sweet spot between presidential flexibility and ... the Law. But that was never the intent of this corrupt SC majority.

Instead, they gave us a Tyrant's Bill of Spites. 

I'd go deeper into that travesty. But what'd be the point? No one will care about my 'slow process' proposal... nor my suggestions re: the War on Facts. (Though I may do a midweek posting about the latter, in more detail.)

What I WILL spend the rest of this missive on is matter #3. The whole 'age thing.'


== A sweet-spot win-win-win re: the 'issue' of Joe Biden's age ==

3. Joe Biden's poor performance in the first debate is now history, with lingering distraction ripples all over. (So much for his being 'jacked up'!) Several tiring foreign trips likely roused his lifelong stuttering debility... but he also admits now that he needs to nap more.

Okay then, it happens that I have another Big Suggestion, how JoeB could deal with this matter decisively, in what could be a win-win-win-win for Democrats. And for the nation, world and future.

But first let's deal with the Fox-o-sphere ravings - "Do you want a geezer answering that terrible phone call at 3 am?"

Well, yes, I do, if it's this geezer. For several reasons.

3a. It's the appointments, stupid! We are a nation of institutions. For those 3am calls, we have a Defense Department and a State Department and a Cabinet filled with civil servants* and appointed officials. And selecting the latter is the President's most vital task. 

Biden has done so, superbly! 5000 or so skilled, dedicated, brilliant professionals - without a single legal blemish among them - replaced Donald Trump's 5000 horrifically corrupt, stoopid dogmatists and Kremlin agents like Flynn & Manafort. Plus a few potemkin semi-'adults' like Tillerson and Kelly, who later denounced their ex-boss as a living monster.** 

A man - even elderly - who works hard to appoint folks of character - in the caliber of Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris - is someone who is unafraid of being in a room filled with smarter people. That's diametrically opposite to Two Scoops Trump. Moreover, with such Very Best Folks working out all the plausible options for him, I am unafraid that such a wise grampa might face decisions at 3am.

Again: It's the appointments, stupid. And with those 5000 on the job... and 100,000 qualified civil servants protected from the Project 2025 plan (to return to a Spoils System)... I can sleep at night. And I do not care if Grampa takes some naps.

3b. Joe cares. Being human, he might resist a bit. Still, he will confront the matter of the age thing, if it gets worse after re-election. At which point he'll simply retire, allowing a vigorously qualified and now fully trained VP Kamala to take his place. (Down below, in comments if someone reminds me, I will describe how Democratic Presidential candidates always choose a qualified running mate and all but one GOP nominee chose some living horror.)

Was Kamala my first choice? No. But she is calm and balanced and totally qualified, and we'd be just fine.

But still, I'm not done with the 'age thing.'  In fact, here comes my crackpot idea!


== A judo move for Biden to get a win-win-win-win out of the 'age thing' ==

This one wasn't in my book Polemical Judo. But it's in the same, jiu jitsu spirit. The sort of move that could stagger the opposition, leaving them speechless and then shrill, while proving to the public how serious and thoughtful you are... and so much more.

3c. Call for 'debates' among the top tier of Democrats! 

Yep. Do this now! Joe Biden could announce:

"Look, I had a bad debate. I and millions of others don't think it means that much. But I do listen! And I know some of you out there are concerned,  Moreover, unlike my opponent, I know that wishing something and yelling it doesn't make it so. 

"Hey, I am showing some signs of time's passage!  I surround myself with the best folks the nation has to offer and I have vast experience. And some say I'm generally kind of a wise-guy... 

"But I won't be obstinate. So let's test this!

"I hearby invite six of the top members of my party... truly fine and brilliant men and women with utterly proved chops as leaders... to join me onstage for a series of three forums, leading up to the Democratic National Convention, a month from now in Chicago!

"These would not be 'debates' as such. We won't be attacking each other... much. But it will accomplish many things at once! 

- First, it would test me! If I can hold my own with these whippersnappers, that should anchor my rightful (already-earned) place as the party nominee with joyful confidence!

- If I fail that challenge, then the best new leaders of our party - and in-future the nation - will have a chance to show what they've got, before the party convention delegates, who will then have the authority given to them by voters this spring, to choose another slate. 

"I am confident they will pick Biden-Harris! But if not, I will campaign for any of these fine folks, with vigor and energy!

- This will also show the depth of the Democratic Party's bench! The public will see that there are no flukes. Any and every person on the forum stage will be blatantly better - smarter, more grownup and vastly more moral - than any and every politician in the Republican Party.

- And finally, jeepers, why should we turn down this opportunity for a vast TV audience? Let the forum participants disagree over this and that practical matter or proposal! We'll still have a great chance to present our accomplishments, plus proofs about the dangers facing our nation, our planet, civilization, freedom and our children!  And a chance to disprove the other party's mountain of volcanic, poisonous lies.

"I am consulting across a wide range of wise folks. But clearly, joining me onstage will be my own chosen running mate, world respected stateswoman and my trusted friend, Vice President Kamala Harris! 

"Who else? Obviously, we need Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom up there! I want Pete Buttigieg, too. I'll let Bernie, Liz and AOC thrash out among themselves which of them to send from their wing.  And from the other wing...? Hey Joe Manchin! Care to come back for a few nights and try the waters? They're pretty darn foul over in Fox country. Over here we argue fairly, about true things.

"So there you have it. Unlike my opponent, who squelches any competition, who demands utter obedience and denies any possible fault, I'll admit I might be wrong when I look in a mirror and say "You still got it, kid!" 

"Like any wise grampa, I'll listen to the best and wisest of later generations! 

"And so, we're gonna get six of em up on stage with me. And I predict two things. 

"First, you'll see a terrific future for the Democratic Party and for America!

"But also, you will see the fact that I still got it! And when I don't any longer... we have a team that will keep America great and keep America winning!

God bless you all and good night."


=======================================

=======================================

Addenda

* Project 2025 includes utter trashing of the 140 year old Civil Service Act which ended the pyrotechnic corruption of the old Spoils System. The CSA insulated civil servants to do their jobs professionally, according to the law and enabled the U.S. to efficiently win our wars, build our industry and infrastructure, have clean food and water and obey laws. Trump felt frustrated by this and he intends to end it, finishing off one of the last bulwarks against a return to 6000 years of capricious rule by inheritance brat lords.

** Here's one of my standing wager demands... which no MAGA has ever had the guts to step up to meet:

Mike Pence, James Mattis, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, Mark Milley, Mark Esper, H.R. McMaster, Elaine Chao, Omarosa, Bill Barr... jeez, over fifty former "great guys" have authored books about what a wretchedly horrible man they worked for. All of those 'adults in the room' have been shrugged off by Trump as 'terrible people!' Well, maybe so, in one or two - or even a dozen - cases. But unquestionably,  Donald Trump has been 'betrayed' by more folks who he formerly called "great guys!" than across ALL other presidencies combined!

And hence there's one thing that no Fox ravings can obscure and that no MAGA can deny. 

It shows that Donald J. Two Scoops Trump is a terrible judge of character!


Sunday, June 30, 2024

Biden's Judo Moves, Part One: Who is the Big Fat Liar?

This could be won in so many ways! Loyal and sane Americans might apply so many under-used tactics to settle this latest phase (#8 I reckon) of the recurring U.S. Civil War, restoring peace and rationality to civilization. Elsewhere I offered 100+ such tactics. 

 

But right now - as frantic pearl-clutchers moan for Joe Biden to withdraw - two proposals stand out.

 

Today, please consider the most plausibly effective one.

 

 

== Joe, make it about facts. The very existence of facts. ==

 

Amid all the hoorow over Joe Biden’s shaky performance in the first presidential debate of 2024, Lawrence O’Donnell nailed it: 

 

“How come the (100%) liar is seen as ‘winning’ a debate?”

 

How come? The answer’s simple. Though our savvy ‘blue’ pols & pundits never get it. 


Somehow, here in the most scientific, technologically competent and progressive society the world ever saw, the word ‘fact’ is debased to a mere matter of opinion.

 

I’ve been railing about this for eons. Right after the debate, I crafted a careful description of how this mental trap likely has you ensnared and thus rendered politically useless. Only then I realized - you won’t read anything complicated.

 

So, instead I’ll just offer here a capsule of the only issue that truly matters in this election.

Instead of lamely murmuring “That’s not true,” as he did many times in the debate, Joe Biden (and every other Democrat) should shout:

 

>> There is no better test of who shouldn’t be president than which of us is lying!

 

So let’s check that now!

 

>> I propose right now that Donald Trump and I nominate respected, mostly-nonpartisan Americans for a commission to adjudicate just that one matter.

 

Which of us is a big, fat liar.  

 

>> I will offer a list of nominees tomorrow that includes Republicans and Independents, scientists, sages, biblical scholars, and retired senior military officers, all of whom should be acceptable to any opponent who is an honest person.

 

>> Let’s see your list, Don! Widely revered Americans who aren’t overtly partisan or under anyone’s thumb.* 

 

Let’s join in this one thing! Helping separate truth from lies, restoring FACT to some meaning in American political life.

 

>> Just don’t give us any crap about how “It’s all subjective” or “Truth isn’t decided by experts voting on it.” You use biased ‘experts’ all the time. (Many of them operating in Fox or Kremlin troll shops. Today it’s the same thing.) 

 

Look at the list I’ll offer!  If you don’t offer up a matching list of widely respected, judicious, mature and knowledgeable Americans to participate, we’ll all know why.  

 

It’s because you don’t have any! …and because you know that you are the big, fat liar. 

 

And that is why you run away from challenges like this one, screaming more lies as you flee.

 

 

                                    == WHY THIS WON’T HAPPEN ==

 

Sure. Yeah. I know all the reasons why you are shrugging this off, right now. Why you are muttering “It’ll never work, Brin. Trump and his minions will just ignore this, or mock it.” 

 

Alas, all that proves is your laziness. Because it’s worth a try!

 

(I get similar responses when I push the tactic of demanding pre-staked wagers over easily fact-verified challenges like ocean acidification. It always works, making the cultists flee in panic. Always. Yet, lazy bums make excuses to never even try it for themselves.)

 

Do I think Trump will actually accept, if Biden issues this challenge? Will Donald Two Scoops nominate a list of admirably cogent and responsible adults to join Biden’s nominees on such a fact-adjudicating commission? 

 

Of course not. He doesn’t dare!  If Trump accepts the challenge and names qualified people, he’ll be fact-checked into oblivion. If he names shills, that will be clear!  And if he refuses…

 

No, of course Fox and the Kremlin trolls will shriek denunciations, like “You don’t vote on facts!” Or “Our viewers do their own research! By leaving ‘fact’ presentation to us!!!”

 

Only, that’s the point, fool. Their shrieks and excuses will be the silver bullet. Because millions will see the cowardice!  They will see Biden’s long list of respected American sages** and compare it to whatever list Trump provides… of shills and raving loonies and KGB agents. And just those lists, compared side by side… will say it all.

 

Okay. I know that I type too much, in an era when almost no one has the patience to read. I have so much more to say about this, like how Biden whining “That’s not true!” during the debate was utterly counterproductive.  I’ll follow this posting with all that stuff, even knowing how futile it is.

 

 

== Other ideas ==

 

I also have a second proposal, in case Joe-B wants to both soothe and satisfy those calling for him to withdraw. It’s potential gesture he could make that could be a win-win-win all around!  

 

I’ll post some of that, midweek… if I can find the heart for it. 

 

Only it can be hard, these days. Because (again) I know that it is futile.  If one side in this phase of the U.S. Civil War consists of confederate-Kremlinist incantation junkies flocking around Vlad Putin and a cabal of microcephalic inheritance brats…

 

…the other side – the side with all the cogent citizens and fact people and scientists and loyal Americans and just plain decent folks who can’t stand a pervert-traitor slathered in tanning dye, makeup, hairplugs and bad karma… alas, the good, loyal, Union side in this phase of the 250 year culture war over America’s soul…

 

… has the collective political/tactical IQ – en masse – of a crypto biotic tardigrade.

 

===

* We can interrogate each others’ nominees before cameras, like in jury selection. Televised. Let’s do it!

 

** The thing about such a list is the dems don’t even have to line up these folks, before listing them! The whole purpose is to list folks who AREN’T overtly very partisan! Being listed can be involuntary, since all you are saying is “here are people I respect and would listen-to.” 

 

Okay, in today’s polarized nation, most such folks have already taken sides. But still, just offering such a list is worthwhile!  Because you’ll get Trump to denounce them! And each august American he denounces will be a blow that rocks some supporters out there.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Marvels of space!

What a week! When Chang'e took off with samples from Luna's far side (congratulations!)...

... and Boeing's Starliner capsule finally made a crew delivery to the space station (with subsequent Helium leaks, alas)... 

... and with epic success of the SpaceX Big Rocket system achieving soft (wet) landing... and its orbital stage surviving re-entry to do the same... which means the system WILL work, even if there are more bugs. Which means the cost of doing most things out there is about to plummet!  (Oh, and I suppose we'll also get silly "Artemis" footprint stunts. Whatever. Zzzz...)

Meanwhile, let's get on with some news from 'out there' that you may not have noticed.

NASA is seeking public input on how to prioritize nearly 200 topics in space technology to improve how it invests limited funding on them. This is part of an effort by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) to provide a more rigorous approach to how it supports technology development. (I served STMD for 12 years as part-time advisor to NASA’s Innovative & Advanced Concepts program – (NIAC).

Hey, just because I am (very!) skeptical of the snake oil that’s touted out there about (mostly-nonexistent) ‘lunar resources,’ that doesn’t mean there aren’t great riches , just a little farther out! 


One company that got several highly touted projects from us at NIAC – TransAstra – is reviving interest in asteroid mining. (There had been a fad of early investors a decade ago - a bit premature, as I said at the time.) Now TransAstra is selling a telescope and software designed to detect objects like asteroids moving through the sky. And others are interested in the space rock ore-loads, like a Chinese corporation Origin Space that has an asteroid-observing satellite in orbit and is testing its mining-relevant technology there. Meanwhile, Colorado company Karman+ plans to go straight to an asteroid in 2026 and test excavation equipment.  


A meteorite-fragmented landscape near a CO2 icecap on Mars makes for another “Gosh!” image from the Red Planet. Spiders and Inca cities!  Alas all of it easily explained by science. 

In fact, by MY science, since the phenomenon… volatile gas sublimating (evaporating) under an insulating layer and bursting through violently… happens to be what my doctoral dissertation described happening on comets. (Now the standard theory of comets.) This here Martian scene is kinda way-kewl, even without it actually being gigantic alien spiders viewed from space!

Bouncing around out there... The brightest object in the universe?  A Quasar – a galactic center black hole tucking in so much matter that it outshines whole galaxies is a monster visible in light from the earliest days… in this case 12 billion years ago, blaring 500 Trillion times as bright as our poor sun.  Woof.


The Space Show is a mostly audio podcast run by David Livingston.* I especially recommend the episodes featuring my friend Joe Carroll, the most innovative and agile independent space engineer I know, who pioneered the use of tethers and long cables in orbit and has wise insights into problems like space debris, space power and how to create artificial gravity in the near term, out there.


*(I named a space station after Joe … but did I name the main character of Existence after this “Livingston”?)



== And yet MORE from out there! ==


Even more organic molecules than we previously realized are spewing from water volcano-jets out of Saturn’s moon Enceladus


Uranus spins around its own axis at a highly unusual 98-degree tilt, giving it the "most extreme seasons in the solar system," per NASA. That means one pole spends 21 Earth years completely plunged in darkness as the Sun shines upon the other pole. This makes it a fascinating test of ideas bout tidal locked worlds, long a staple of SF. These images from the James Webb are truly amazing. Looking past the tiresomely tedious double entendres.


Researchers have found that key molecules needed for life (nucleic acid bases) are stable in concentrated sulfuric acid, advancing the notion that the Venus atmosphere environment may be able to support complex chemicals needed for life. (Thanks James Norris.) Note that Prof. Doug Van Belle’s fine novel “A World Adrift” is set amid human-built cloud cities floating amid and harvesting Venusian stratospheric life in a steam punk delight. 


(And I have both a novella and a cool screenplay set under the oceans of Venus! Shall we say after some serious terraforming. ;-)


Wow. The recently-returned samples of asteroid Bennu appear to contain unexpected minerals that seem likely to have come from contact with liquid water! It suggests the parent-body - a planetoid that was shattered to form much of the asteroid belt long ago - might have been like Enceladus, Saturn’s moon that spumes water jets from a liquid ocean through volcanoes in an icy ‘roof’.  


Side note: Our ability to peer back through time is amazing, like the Y-Chromosome ‘bottleneck’ telling of a brutal era for male-humans 8000 years ago…. Or new methods letting us read the charred scrolls recovered from Vesuvius-buried Herculaneum. Or your own 23&Me ancestry results.  


And more to come… if the War on Science can be soundly defeated, that is. There are forces who especially don’t want us peering the other way, into the future. My specialty.  



Saturday, June 08, 2024

Enemies so desperately want a US Civil War

I'll slip in some interesting misc. items below that you won't see elsewhere... but first there's the most obvious potential failure mode for our entire civilization, that's being pushed hard by vile men...

You've heard and seen me raise this topic for years. Lately, others have issued both warnings and science fiction exploring that most-chilling topic - worse than zombies or alien invasion. That of a new, hot phase of the recurring, 240 year American Civil War. 

I've touted two SF novels - Tears of Abraham and Our War - that tried for a multi-spectral view of this potential tragedy, if our current simmering Phase 8 boils over (as some seek) into a volcanic Phase 9. And this year we had a theatrical film, Civil War (from Alex Garland). Even the trailer is scarier n' shit. And do you doubt the very same social forces that ignited those earlier phases will start, sometime in 2024, perhaps with a flood of would-be McVeighs? 

Pay attention when Kremlin-lackey traitors like Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon rave about violence being the next step, if they don't win it all. 


The closer we come to ending this madness at the ballot box, the more desperate will be those who see this as their only way out.



== Better late than never? ==


Gen. John Kelly, former chief of staff for Donald Trump, offered his harshest criticism yet of the former president with on-the-record confirmation of a number of damning stories about statements Trump made behind closed doors, attacking U.S. service members and veterans. 

“A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.’ A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.”

Kelly continues: “A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women,” Kelly continued. “A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about. A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action. A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.

“There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.”


It isn't just Trump dismissing those heroes buried at a D-Day/Normandy cemetrery as "suckers and losers of course. In fact, the entire modern Republican Party now wages all-out war vs ALL fact-using professions, from science and teaching, medicine and law and civil service to the heroes of the FBI/Intel/Military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on terror.  


Still, thanks, Gen. Kelly. Better late than never, I guess. But is it all that helpful? 


Nah. Our gone-brownshirt neighbors will shrug off any one... or two, or ten... such fellows as traitors.  As Defectors from righteousness who fooled their saintly former casino mafioso boss and betrayed him. 


So? Then make that the issue!  How easily he was fooled.


Show your MAGA the long, long list of appointees - each of whom Trump formerly called "a great, terrific guy!!"  - who later joined the long list of those denouncing him.  At least a hundred former 'great guys,' who DT now call "terrible!"  


It's a list far longer than ALL previous U.S. presidents... combined. He himself says so "No one was ever betrayed as much as me!"


Agree with that!. Then follow up with this killer:


"Completely aside from all policies and party loyalties, and all the rest... 

...doesn't that long list of those he appointed and later denounced prove one thing with absolute perfection?  


"That Donald Trump is a lousy judge of character?"



== Reid Hoffman dishes on Rich Fools ==


Some rich dopes recently raised millions of dollars in support of Donald Trump, helping a known monster under the theory that somehow it will work out for them personally.  Tech maven and brilliant investor/speaker Reid Hoffman wrote a by-invitation essay in The Economist explaining their error. 


 “American business should not empower a criminal, says Reid Hoffman: No rational CEO would want a capricious strongman in the White House, argues the entrepreneur.”

 

Reid’s denunciation of such rich fools is cogent, incisive and worth your time! It is also far more polite than I would be. 


In fact, I have observed that fanatics of the entire Mad Right (and the loopy farthest Left) are all effectively immunized against mere argument. They are immune because the trend in lobotomizing modern cultism is to dismiss ALL assertions as equivalent. All assertions are just battling incantations that bear no relationship to objective reality.

 

In other words: 

You assert something and I assert something… and those incantation assertions cancel each other out!  I believe you are delusional… and you think that of me


"Hence we are left undisturbed – both of us – in our beloved smug assurance, while nothing at all can ever be disproved.”

Read that again. It is exactly the deal, the arrangement between left and right, screaming at each other, while leaving in place a tacit arrangement of reciprocal sanctimony addiction. 


Alas, we can’t afford this deal, anymore. Especially since allowing political polemic to be left in that condition gives the Putinist/fascist/commie/confederate cult an advantage that they should be denied. (And also the far smaller and less harmful, but still-noxious loopies of the very-far-left.)

 

There must be a way to FORCE comparison of the factual verifiability/falsifiability of assertions! 


== One method works... and no one will try it ==

Of course… you all know that I have pushed (in utter futility) just such a technique, one that worked well for our ancestors, for centuries.  Anchoring fact-checkability in actual CONSEQUENCES that blowhards fear most. And here I am referring specifically to the aristocratic fools addressed by Reid Hoffman.


What'd work, making them flee in shame, is to demand actual cash wagers over explicitly verifiable/falsifiable facts!  Truly explicit true-or-false assertions, like:

 

Which party has better economic outcomes across the last 40 years of administrations.  


Which party has a record of being far more fiscally responsible re debt. 


Which party supports US science. 


Which party has forty times the rate of high officials indicted and convicted for felonies, including child predation. 


Which party wages all-out war vs ALL fact using professions, from science and teaching, medicine and law and civil service to the heroes of the FBI/Intel/Military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on terror. 

 

This list goes on and on... assertions that are absolutely fact-checkable with utter explicitness. (In 1st comment, below, I will append a further list of fact verifiable wager demands.)


 Moreover, the cash wager aspect is crucial! Because it focuses on actual consequences, instead of blowhard incantations. 

 

Of course there’s another thing Reid could demand of his delusionally GOP-supporting peers. Have them watch the last 5 minutes of the movie CABARET and then ask the following question (uttered by Michael York in the film) about today's aristocratic fools, supporting brownshirt MAGAS: 

 

"So, you still think you can control them?"



== What happens if the masters grow desperate? ==

And finally...  Vladimir Putin appears eager to rewrite the past. Recently, he... signed a decree rendering the sale of Alaska to the U.S. illegal! 

Like declaring void all treaties guaranteeing Ukrainian independence... or merging Soviet flags and emblems with the Czarist escutcheons that his younger self ritualistically spat on, back when he was an 'idealistic' Leninist KGB agent. Only now he and his fellow 5000 "ex" commissars wear different lapel pins and raise statues to Nicholas II, whom Lenin 'righteously' murdered. 

And you wonder where Orwell got his ideas for the Ministry of Truth?

It's all very chuckle-worthy. Till tou wonder... what happens when Vlad starts getting desperate?  Faced with astonishing and devastating losses at the battlefront and plummeting morale. he speaks often and with passion about the Soldier's Revolt of 1917 that toppled the Czar and brought Lenin to power. And he speaks of that event with a rising sense of dread, now frantic to evade the same fate.

He has one great hope.... the November US election. Hence, it must be with horror and dismay that he sees his favorite tool, Donald Trump, rapidly deteriorate, before the world's eyes.

No one is talking about what the secret masters of the gone-undead Republican Party might do about Donald Trump, if it looks like their asset is dragging down down their prospects in 2024. But we must consider what they might do, in order to salvage their situation... by eliminating the liability in such a way that advances their central goal. Their core goal of dissolving the United States into chaos and self-immolation.

One approach would be the "Howard Beale Option"... referring to the last 5 minutes of another great film... NETWORK.  In other words, martyrdom... get rid of your asset-turned-liability and blame the dems, inciting a volcano of McVeighs, burning and destroying across the land. A win-win for Putin and the casino mafiosi and others in that anti-enlightenment Cabal. 

Hence I recite this mantra, again and again: 

“God bless the United States Secret Service. Stay on your toes, guys.

"Keep him safe.”