Tuesday, August 16, 2005

...and now, misc catching up...

philanthropySo much for Diamonds and pyramids and SOA. Again, you can find much of that at: Horizons and Hope: The Future of Philanthropy. I am sure we'll discuss these matters again, as we keep trying to come up with metaphors that can serve as weapons for the Enlightenment, capable of taking on the seductive insanity of an insipid "left-right political axis."

This blog has (as I feared) turned into a major time sink. While I am impressed with the intelligence and cogency of many participants, I have no idea whether there are enough of you to merit such effort, at some cost to writing novels.

What HAS been positive is that I've been inspired to dredge up some older projects to put online. One of these will be the "religion" essay that I plan to post next month, episodically. It's title alone -- "Twelve Modern Questions About Humanity’s Relationship With its Creator In the Context of an Age of Science" - should provoke interest and argument.

culturewarbattlegroundEven before delivering that promised bombshell, some of our discussions have spurred me to revisit a longstanding frustration, having to do with the ongoing epidemic of bilious partisanship and romantic dogmatism that has been polluting our great nation's grand experiment in pragmatism, propelling the so called "culture war". One place where I've explored this issue is at: The Real Culture War: Defining the Background.

...but it is a topic with many levels. Those hoping to rescue a scientific society from indignant jerks might consider ways to use science as a weapon against indignation itself!

To this end, I have corresponded for years with experts in several fields, suggesting certain lines of investigation. (I'm not shy.) And now... you are all invited to drop in and view An Open Letter To Researchers In The Fields Of Addiction, Brain Chemistry And Social Psychology.

 ... and feel free to tell your biologist pals. I cannot think of any single scientific result that might do more to help heal society and empower the pragmatists, while marginalizing screeching dogmatists of every stripe.


Well... there are some other things we can try. (We’re supposed to be problem-solvers, right?) So do not let me forget to raise these possible methodologies:

* a citizen rebellion against gerrymandering
* the “Bill Clinton Gambit”
* “all right, it’s a 2. Get over it.”

...and others. We gotta start brainstorming, boys and girls. I have been following reports that show one of the prime tests of the health of modernism... the market for science fiction novels... is at a low ebb for 4 decades! If anything should be a dangerous sign....


And now... after proving my evenhandedness by skewering hypocrisies of the left... let's have another kick to the right! Or several kicks. There are so many, we have to stack them efficiently!

(Don't any conservatives have the imagination to picture what would have happened, if Bill Clinton had tried to get away with even ONE of these things? The skyrocketing deficits? The relentless secrecy & lying? The mega scale cronyism and outright thievery? The PORK? Dang, what hypocrites.)

* This one is supplied by Russ Daggatt: We are creating terrorists:

New investigations by the Saudi Arabian government and an Israeli think tank -- both of which painstakingly analyzed the backgrounds and motivations of hundreds of foreigners entering Iraq to fight the United States -- have found that the vast majority of these foreign fighters are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself.

The studies, which together constitute the most detailed picture available of foreign fighters, cast serious doubt on President Bush's claim that those responsible for some of the worst violence are terrorists who seized on the opportunity to make Iraq the ''central front" in a battle against the United States. ''The terrorists know that the outcome [in Iraq] will leave them emboldened or defeated," Bush said in his nationally televised address on the war at Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month. ''So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction." The US military is fighting the terrorists in Iraq, he repeated this month, ''so we do not have to face them here at home."

However, interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis captured while trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were heeding the calls from clerics and activists to drive infidels out of Arab land, according to a study by Saudi investigator Nawaf Obaid, a US-trained analyst who was commissioned by the Saudi government and given access to Saudi officials and intelligence.

A separate Israeli analysis of 154 foreign fighters compiled by a leading terrorism researcher found that despite the presence of some senior Al Qaeda operatives who are organizing the volunteers, ''the vast majority of [non-Iraqi] Arabs killed in Iraq have never taken part in any terrorist activity prior to their arrival in Iraq."

As I’ve often said, I do NOT contend that it’s proved that our rulers have been suborned by a foreign power. But seriously, is incompetence any longer as effective or likely an explanation for (say) the savage demolition of our alliances and military readiness and officer corps and social cohesion... while recruiting enemies at such a furious (and apparently deliberate) rate? Which theory is gaining ground? The rational one of outrageous, shortsighted incompetence? Or the outright screeching paranoid explanation? The explanation that creepily fits every single fact.

===   ===   ===

Of course, this was all based on preventing use of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction against us, right? Hmmm... Well, here's an interesting item. A suspected chemical weapons lab has been found in Mosul. One of recent origin. Presumably for use against US soldiers. So while Pres. Bush never found the WMDs he used as a pretext for this war, that very war is now generating the WMD we were supposed to be worried about! Ironies abound.

Still, one has to sympathize. Like when VP Dick Cheney took a lot of flak last year for saying that the insurgency in Iraq is in its "last throes". Now SoS Condoleeza Rice is saying that the insurgency is "losing steam."

No wonder this administration holds open press conferences at a rate lower than any other administration in a century. (Can conservatives defend even THAT factoid? At all?)


...and finally.... on the direct topic of Modernism and its Enemies... Stefan has provided another wonderful mini-rant, about what has been rightfully called "the American Taliban". From the same guy as last time. This fellow is apparently on a real roll. Keep your eye on him. He may be the next Bruce Sterling (hopefully just as smart and on-target, but nicer).

"Remember Republicans? Sober men in suits, pipes, who'd nod
thoughtfully over their latest tract on market-driven fiscal conservatism while grinding out the numbers on rocket science. Remember those serious-looking 1950's-1960s science guys in the movies -- Republican to a one.

"They were the grown-ups. They were the realists. Sure they were a bummer, maaaaan, but on the way to La Revolution you need somebody to remember where you parked the car. I was never one (nor a Democrat,  really, more an agnostic libertarian big on the social contract, but we don't have a party ...), but I genuinely liked them.

"How did they become the party of fairy dust and make believe? How did they become the anti-science guys? The anti-fact guys? The anti-logic guys?"

For the rest of this piece, go to: http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2004/12/i-miss-republicans.html

--- next... more clearing the decks....


Joel said...

A real indignation junky would probably explain away the lack of press conferences by saying "The media is corrupt and incompetent and distorts anything anyways!" or some similarly grammatically incorrect ad-hominem attack.

Anonymous said...

What a dilemma! If we participate in your blog and let you know that’s you’re provoking enlightening discussions, it’s taking your time “at some cost to writing novels!” But if we don’t participate, we miss a huge opportunity.

Well, since I don’t have many other opportunities to talk about these subjects (I suspect my wife’s just being tolerant), I’ll hazard a brief post.

I’m looking forward to your religion essay. I’m an Aristotelian-Thomist, which means I take as fact the statement that between faith and reason there is no conflict. Ever. Period. Empirical science proves that Earth orbits the sun? It orbits. From the opposite perspective, if through faith you accept that the Incarnation was an actual event in space/time, you can examine it and see that it involves nothing that’s inherently unreasonable. However, you can trace its effects – reasonably – through reality. That reasonable tracing is calling theology, and it obeys the same strict rules of logic as any science.

Even my friends just shake their heads when I describe theology as the queen of the sciences, so I’m used to it.

Remember when you asked why the “soft” sciences haven’t advanced as far as the empirical sciences? It’s because of all the danged Augustinians running around. Well, more specifically, it’s what those in power within the Church did with Augustinian and Platonist philosophies. If you’re in power and are trying to deceive people, the last thing you want is a solid tie between matters of faith and matters of reason. You can’t deceive people as easy if their intellects are awakened. That’s why Aquinas had such a hard time (though, of course, the Dominicans are rather fond of him).

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to your essay on religion.

One more note: I read http://www.davidbrin.com/addiction.html today. I’d always thought the extremists/fanatics you described were addicted to their own adrenalin, but I think you might have it right; the addiction’s more complex. At the very least, your theory fits the facts. I’ll be interested to see what responses you get.

Anonymous said...

Brin said:
"I have no idea whether there are enough of you to merit such effort, at some cost to writing novels."

Definitely not. You reach a lot more people with greater clarity and power by writing a novel.

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton...The relentless secrecy & lying? The mega scale cronyism and outright thievery?

You're joking, right? Boy, I hope you're joking.

Tony Fisk said...

You can, of course, set up a web counter and see what traffic you're receiving.

But, much as I enjoy these discussions, I agree with whiskey1: your ideas reach more people via your novels. (especially if overall sales are down!!! Incidentally, I have never seen 'Kiln People' or 'Tomorrow Happens' in Australian bookstores)

On brainstorming: Do you think such ideas as 'social diamond' is ready for prime time in media such as a wikipedia reference? (nothing there currently)

On addictions: hmmm! Interesting slogan:

'Are You Hooked on the War on Drugs?'

...or any war, for that matter?

If I may be impertinent and apply a little proofreading critique: the letter is rather a long one, and tends to spend its time justifying itself before getting to the real purpose (asking the six core questions).
I think these questions should be presented earlier on (right after the introduction, in fact) before being expanded on.
That way, the reader can quickly determine whether those questions are worth their time (allowing this is, in itself, a form of respect).

@anonymous: (irony)they're still looking for proof in the Iraqi desert(/irony)

David Brin said...

Prove even a scintilla re Bill Clinton. The right's rabid froth over him has got to be one of the classic and most spectacular cases of self-hypnotic mass hysteria since the era of the shakers.

I spurn all "isn't it obvious that" crap. Prove it!

Fact. The neocons entered office promising... PROMISING... us that we would get atr chambers and grand juries working around the clock. "Just as soon as honest men entered the executive branch and got their hands on all the filing cabinets."

They promised theater and heads rolling and indictments and prison sentences and more indictments and more indictments and more! Huzzah!

But.... a funny thing happend amid the distractions of the Great Big War on Terror. All promises are forgotten. Balance the budget? Restrain spending? Make America strong and militarily ready? Make us respected?

Oh, but the real shattered promise was all those juicy, entertaining indictments. Come on! Where'd they go?

Oh the shame. For crimes and malfeasance in office, the Bush Administration has brought to dock a total number of Clinton Administration officials amounting to...

...zero. That's none. Zilch. They've had the records and filing cabinets and subpoena power and the FBI and EXTRA powers from PATRIOT... and it's been nil, nada, zip.

By the way, that's the first time it has EVER happened, that an 8 year administration has gone by without a single felonious peccadillo resulting in prison time. What can we conclude?

The mass hysteria has called white black and light dark. It's called the Big Lie, boys and girls. Except for grabbing some nookie in a windowless hallway, we had - back in the BC era - the least corrupt, most honest and open administration anyone can remember. More open meetings, fewer secrets, more accountability and less fear of the people.

Live with it. Eat crow. Be a man.

David Brin said...

Oh... one final word on that. Care to offer bets on how many Bush Administration officials will wind up in jail... or pardoned?

How many multiples of the BC administration? Oops that's not fair. Any number, divided by ZERO is infinite. So let's just make a bet on raw numbers.

We are witnessing the biggest Great Raid of the US Treasury... and our grandchildrens' inheritance... in all our lives. If we don't bring it to light and justice, then rest assured. Our children will.

Anonymous said...

"You reach a lot more people with greater clarity and power by writing a novel."

I'll third that!

Author blogs are great things, and there are audiances which are best served, when it comes to laying out memes, by reasoned essays and rants. But stories are how ideas really get legs!


Rob Perkins said...

I don't know what to think of Bill Clinton much anymore, actually. I certainly still don't trust him as far as I could throw his house, but there you are, my own brand of SOA shining a light on that man.

I saw the Right's impeachment attacks on Clinton as revenge for Watergate, actually. Nothing more. Just salvos in the ongoing war between the Democratic and Republican elites.

I guess mostly I see him as a status-quo caretaker president, and I'm glad that he had an opposition Congress during six years of his term in office. I certainly don't credit or blame Clinton *or* Congress for the economics of the time; *we* did that, we Americans. Their gridlock merely kept them from taking more of it from us than they did, whatever the reason, or overspending what they could collect. The end result was that surplus. For a little while.

The point is that WE DID IT, NOT THE PRESIDENT.

Blah blah blah, I could go on, but in the final analysis I think we'll all rank Clinton up there with Eisenhower, as a good caretaker and marvelously talented politician. And the Congress he was saddled with will be ranked with every other Congress we've ever had.

Me said...

Just because we don't comment on what you've written, Mr. Brin, doesn't mean we're not reading! Since I discovered your blog, I've told several friends. It may take awhile, but your readership should rise steadily if even one of my friends tells a bunch of their friends, and one of those... well, you know how this works. Writing books is wonderful, and reading one of yours is always quite wonderful... but what you do here in these rants and ravings of a sane man among the insane is important to the planet.

David Brin said...

Thanks Jeanne!

And Rob P. Wow. I think you are generally right about Clinton comparing him to Eisenhower, a president I am (by the way) starting to like more and more as time passes.

They were NOT "caretakers. They were efficient administrators of a consensus reality that was going pretty well and did not need much major overhaul. Both faced opposition led congresses (though Ike faced politicians, not raving lunatics). So they concentrated on administering very well... a fact that nobody but ex-Clinton era civil servants will tell you.

They will say the town ran like a top, with lower corruption and inefficiency than anyone can remember. Proof is in Gore's "Reinventing Government" campaign which actually succeeded in reducing the number of laws, the number of LINES of federal law, the number of secrets and the number of non-defense federal employees for the first time since WWII.

Any credit for these things, or the budget surplus, or the Balkans and Afghanistan Wars, which were so vastly more effective and well-run than this mess?

Nada. The right cannot even perceive. They cannot ALLOW themselves to perceive.

Mind you, Clinton WANTED to be a very different kind of president. He wanted to be JFK, not Ike! (And that role model sure got him into trouble!)

But Hillary's overly ambitious Health Care Plan sank Clinton as a pro-active prexy. She could have done it pragmatically, incrementally, say, by insuring all American CHILDREN. And endeavor that Gingrich et al could not have opposed or thwarted.

But by going for a Grand Design, they got nothing. More uninsured today than ever. And the 94 Congress came in, determined to black any new governance through legislation. (I'll admit, in retrospect, Gingrich looks like a towering statesman, compared to today's GOP Congress.)

SO yes, Rob, Clinton bashing was indeed rooted in a desperate wish for a counter-humiliation from Watergate. In fact, the fact that they were NEVER able to nail him... and he retired with a 66% approval, is probably what drove the neocon Troika over the edge and sparked total Culture War.

We should have sacrificed him on the alter of Gray state vengeance. What a comely end for a southern boy. If he thus assuaged that insatiable anger, and saved us all, it would have been a higher calling than raking in endless speaker's fees and going "Nyah Nyah!" at those whose hatred never had more than a scintilla of real fairness or cause.

Anonymous said...

As one of the [many I'm sure] normally silent readers of your blog, kudos and keep up the great work! More than any other author that I've read, you are garanteed to put out stuff that makes a person really think about what they've just read. But as a big fan of your novels as well, please don't let any of those big ideas that only you can bring to print languish because of time spent here.

Just remember that this is a blog afterall, and most people don't spend more than 10-20 minutes thinking about what they blog on. With your gift for making people think, I'm sure that we'll all keep reading if you don't spend quite as much time on every entry either.

daveawayfromhome said...

To blog or not to blog...
Well, obviously, the books come first, if for no other reason than because a man's gotta eat.
But for the purposes of "provoking enlightening discussions" you could post haf as much and the discussions would still go on (witness August 06). As for Ike not facing raving lunatics, what about Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare?
This blog is one of the few hysteria-free discussion zones I've found so far, and I appreciate reading all the back and forth that manages to go on without degrading down to name calling (much).


By the way, has anyone put forth the idea that what's bringing down sales of Sci-Fi (and I think eventually hurt fantasy, too) is the industry's preoccupation with multiple volume stories. I must have read a half dozen story-lines that may never be finished, and it really irks me. One of the things that I appreciated about "Kiln People", was that, in addition to being an interesting idea and a darn good read, it was one book.

Anonymous said...

Obviously blogs don't pay the bills and they have to take a low priority. And I, too, have been a fan ever since this hairy, stereotypical grad student (y'know, beard jeans, sandals, Pendleton shirt) sat down and listened to a bunch of us talking at a picnic during my college graduation and then told us about his recently published book about an expedition into the sun that was on sale at the university book store. (You made two or three sales that day.)

At best, this forum can be a proving ground for essays and speeches that do bring home the bacon. It may also inspire you in one or two ways or help you to refine one or two ideas, but it still has to come second (or third or even fourth).

The whole modernism article/series seems to have kind of taken on a life of its own and perhaps it provides a slightly skewed view of just how much time this blog really needs. After all, you were trying to distill your entire philosophy into a series of short articles and then defend it and refine it. (Sort of like getting a peer-reviewed article published.) But I'm also looking forward to the promised religion piece and (as an American who has lived in Germany for the last 6 years) your EU-takes-over-the-world nightmare scenario.

Just a couple of quick comments on the actual meat of the last post. You are dead on about us creating more terrorists. Worse yet, this is exactly what Bin Laden wanted and planned. Check this article out for a rather scary view of al-Qaida's long range planning: http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,369448,00.html

As for the whole Clinton thing, I think I have to agree with rob perkins. The opposition congress may have actually saved Clinton's whole administration. They pushed him into a few things like welfare reform and may have kept him a bit distracted. Certainly the first two years pointed to a far less admirable use of power. The health care reform committee started out violating a number of rules regarding openness (secret membership lists, closed meetings), free speech issues (hecklers arrested, neighborhood groups who opposed local homeless halfway houses sued, potential protesters shunted away -- a precursor to Ws "free speech zones"), and of course that aspirin factory in Sudan. As for the reduction in secrets, isn't a lot of that the fact that he happened to be there when classified documents from WWII and the early post-war years reached their intended release date? Still, it was better than what we're saddled with now.

Anonymous said...

Its a truism, I think, that the country benefits greatly when there is a strong opposition congress. The lack of opposition (1 dissent on Patriot!) is what has allowed Bush so much power!

David: Have you considered running a moodle instead of a blog? A moodle is an online course management system. A more academic Facilitator/Learner approach might be more effective for what you want to do. It would keep essay series intact, create a better channel for your responses, probably reduce your time spent online, while still promoting vigorous discussion of the concepts.

Also, there is no rule that you have to be the only facilitator. Surely you know people with great ideas that you would like to share with a community of modernists? Great possibilities.

Anyway, this stuff is all free to use, and your web guy would be able to take care of the install with no problem.

Anonymous said...


I'm a long-time reader of your works, and have found your essays in this blog very interesting and educational. I've also found the responses from many of the participants quite interesting as well. On the other hand, the temptation of another book from you is strong...

You live in California, right? Have you considered trying to get an initiative out there? Call it the "Openness in Government" initiative, mandate full public disclosure of every state government office, require 24/7 surveilliance of all state lawmakers, and revision control software tracking which legislator makes what changes to any given bill, all publicly accessable via the internet. Oh, and ban voice votes. All votes must be on record.

I'm from Washington state, and lack the funds to do something like that up here (one person I talked to said that an initiative backer needs to come up with around $100k, and that's for anything noncontroversial) but I think something like this could take off - especially since anybody who comes out against it could easily be smeared as wanting to hide their ties to special interest groups.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brin, I find myself in the awkward position of suggesting you’re using spin! I’m talking about this quote:

“Except for grabbing some nookie in a windowless hallway…”

It wasn’t the nookie I had a problem with. If President Clinton had gone so far as installing a revolving door for his groupies, I would have been fine with that as long as it didn’t interfere with his job. What I had a problem with was his lying about it under oath. To me, that’s catastrophic. He should have told the questioner that it was none of his business. Or just say, “Sure, I did it. What you gonna do about it?” But lying about it takes the problem to a whole other level.

Plus, according to published reports (and I can’t tell how accurate they are), Ms. Clinton was none to happy about the situation. Mr. Clinton hurt his wife in public, and I just can’t respect a man for that.

That doesn’t invalidate your assertions that his Administration made progress, though I tend to agree with Mr. Perkins and DemetriosX that the progress was an amazing (in retrospect) fusion of minds in both the Administration and Congress.

I wonder how different the Clinton presidency would have been if Ms. Clinton had had the courage and honesty to pick independent, critical thinking health care processionals for her health care panel? You called her effort “overly ambitious”. I call it unfortunately dishonest. She had an amazing opportunity to evolutionize the nation’s health care, but she chose instead to pack the task force with yes-folks. What a terrible waste!

I suspect our compulsive focus on the Clinton years are getting us off the point, but I’ll say this. I hadn’t really looked back on that period as being an example of statesmanship and consensus building, but compared to today’s political climate, the contrast illustrates just how far our political process has descended.

Anonymous said...

You may very well expect more visitors to make this more of a timesink, Dr. Brin. Brad DeLong just linked this site. And his blog gets a bunch of visits for politics and economics.


Anonymous said...

Drat, pasted the wrong part.

"David Brin Has a Weblog

David Brin's The Transparent Society is an excellent meditation on the dilemmas of the surveillance society. His Startide Rising is the second-best space opera ever written. And his "Thor Meets Captain America" is the best alternate-history story I have ever read."

I woner how he found it. Mainly because I'm just curious about things like information connections. It's interesting to trace how they propogate.

Anonymous said...

If you scroll down a bit on DeLong's blog, you can find a great link to a take-down of the notion -- recently touted by columnist Micheal Barone -- that the downturn of upward mobility in America is due to congenital low intelligence of the bottom-of-the-pyramid riff-raff:



David Brin said...

Rob, I agree that Al Quaeda wanted us to get aggressive in an inefficient manner, generating more Islamic radicalism. Efficient Pax Americana intervention, OTOH, gives little time for such radicalization. Which is one of many reasons that the Balkans & Afghanistan interventions were clearly planned by the same group of skilled professionals (Bush had only time to say “go!”) While the present Iraq War at best shows dim-witted amateur meddling by a band of wretched morons.

Actually, I believe Osama wanted to draw us into Afgh, where his glory days involved bringing down one imperium (the USSR). He thought he could repeat it. But to his amazement (and the world’s) America did what no one has since Alexander. Entered Afgh and did not start howling with regret. It’s not clean there.Never will be. But it’s much better without unbearable pain. And it was planned by Wesley Clarke’s professionals, under Clinton.

Welfare Reform was a stunning moment of cooperation between BC & the Gingrich Congress. It was an example of commonsense pragmatic reform. And his cooperation was relentlessly punished.

In fact, if you list the 50 greatest US accomplishments of the 20th Century (I have, with plenty of input from republicans) you wind up with an amazing result. At most five of the accomplishments had any roots in the GOP. At all. And only one of them gets unshared credit. It’s astonishing. (Make your own lists!)

A MOODLE? I am not aware of this. I must update my firmware. Alas, it sounds like an almost infinite time sink, unless a very well organized corps of volunteers were to help. And one problem of dealing with modernists... you ain’t my cult followers. ;-) You got businesses and jobs and families. Time enough to dip into a blog. Not much more.

Perhaps I’ll sweep a lot of this into a text and POD it. Make it available for sale thru my web site. Should cover costs.

You suggest local action in California? The only political office I’d ever want is state legislator! Dang what fun. I’d push a bill to “liberate” somewhere on the order of 50,000 SCREENPLAYS that currently languish in HWood studio vaults, the writers forbidden ever to show them to anybody. Not even as text-prose works of literature!

Seriously, CA is not in the worst shape for open government. Indeed, GuvAhnold is the type of Republican that’s gone extinct most places. The real focus of local action that I want to push will be my suggestion about gerrymandering.

Thane, it is you who is exercising spin. Though I know you are generally balanced and will take this response well.

The mania of the right is to focus on a single blurted lie - a married man going “Who...uh... me? Never! No!... Not me!” (As if that’s never happened.) And they thereupon screech that this one moment defines him entirely. When that lie had zero bearing upon public policy, his performance in office... oh... and the QUESTION ITSELF was later ruled illegal!

Compare this to a relentless SEA of lies that has poured from the present administration. Plus another ocean that has been shrouded in the great cloud of Secrecy. Plus a level of inaccessibility and remoteness that does not even let us ask questions.

Thane adds: “Plus, according to published reports (and I can’t tell how accurate they are), Ms. Clinton was none to happy about the situation. Mr. Clinton hurt his wife in public, and I just can’t respect a man for that. “

Typically, it is a man saying this. Look, my own respect for BC went down at that point. I call that punishment. Still. My wife explained to me why most of the WOMEN in America forgave Clinton while nearly all of those hounding him were males. (BTW, the utter hypocrisy of the GOP was shown in the choice of the House Prosecutors, Congressmen assigned to push the impeachment. A MAJORITY of them had had messy, volcanic divorces. Over a third of them featuring vastly worse betrayals and far angrier wives.)

My wife (and other women since) explained that they look to the wife to see what she wants done. And Hillary was clearly saying ”I am hurt, but will you all PLEASE let ME handle this bozo?” Implicit also was the fact that she clearly considered the marriage repairable. Which it has proved to be.

(Another rightwing Big Lie: “The Clintons hate each other and will divorce the day they leave office.” What towering and baseless nastiness! (I eyewitnessesed disproof, on one occasion.))

Enough. UR right. That’s the past. Back in the nineties when we were on top of the world.

......A news item I am sure some of you have seen.....


Plug-in hybrids are starting to get the backing of prominent hawks like former CIA director James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney, President Reagan's undersecretary of defense. They have joined Set America Free, a group that wants the government to spend $12 billion over four years on plug-in hybrids, alternative fuels and other measures to reduce foreign oil dependence.

Gaffney, who heads the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, said Americans would embrace plug-ins if they understood arguments from him and others who say gasoline contributes to oil-rich Middle Eastern governments that support terrorism. "The more we are consuming oil that either comes from places that are bent on our destruction or helping those who are ... the more we are enabling those who are trying to kill us," Gaffney said.

In other words, our own ingeniousness may help us escape the trap that the Troika have set for us, refusing to raise fuel standards or push research that might get us out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

Well, I’m not thane, but I hope I take your response as well as he would have!

The point I was trying to make with the spin comment is that I think lying under oath is a serious thing, whereas sexual acts between consenting adults isn’t any of my, or the public’s, business. I know it’s old fashioned, but honesty under oath really is important to me, and I expect it from elected officials.

Well, I hope for it from elected officials.

And yes, I have a similar disdain for any and all lies from this – or any other – administration. I haven’t commented at all on your examples from the current administration because you’re just fine without my input!

So if I came across with a rotation, I apologize. It certainly wasn’t my intent!

Anonymous said...

To Blog or not to blog. I say the immediacy of this blog is so great I am always checking it. It would be a shame if you stopped.

Anonymous said...

I know I’m perseverating here, but I want to clarify something I almost said in my last post.

I assumed spin when you focused on the scandal because I focused on the aftermath. I am so used to having to filter everything I read and hear that I assumed your focus wasn’t the product of an honest difference of opinion of the event’s historical importance, but of a desire to present the events in a different light – to spin the meaning of the event.

So not only do I apologize if I came across as trying to change the facts myself, I also apologize for suggesting you were.

I need to adopt a new motto: more thinking, less typing.

Anonymous said...

This blog is a great opportunity for us the readers. Hope you find the time to continue it, David.

David Brin said...

tc never fear. We have thick skins here. house rule.

Anonymous said...

I am probably one that is reached more so via this blog than novels. I don't read very much fiction, though I am blessed to be a speed reader, and go through many volumes of non-fiction…

I've been a frequent visitor to your blog, and while I don't always agree with your takes, I find it to be erudite and very provocative in a positive sense. I applaud your effort (and I have read **Transparent Society**) to bring to light that open > secret, and I believe this issue is the greatest of our time (in conjunction with an illegal/immoral "pre-emptive" invasion based on fraudulent claims of WMD).


Mark said...

I discovered your blog only recently and am recommending it as widely as I can. A gold mine of original thinking. Sorry about the "time sink" part. It's all much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

David Said: "A MOODLE? I am not aware of this. I must update my firmware. Alas, it sounds like an almost infinite time sink, unless a very well organized corps of volunteers were to help."

Moodle is an open source site management tool that creates an online university. My extremely Beta Moodle can be found here.

And in the best traditions of WikiMedia, the Moodle site is in fact a Moodle.

The reason I brought it up was to suggest that it allows for better archiving, and a more structured use of time. In a "course" driven site, it is expected that you will only comment "during office hours". Which would allow you to set office hours, thus keeping you from being on your blog 24-7.

You are welcome (of course) to try it out using my site at WB4BU. Anybody is, really, thats sort of the point.