Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Things to watch for in the debate... plus many paranoias!

Let’s get right to the point. Is there anything that Barack Obama might do to nail it tonight? Or anything you or I can do, to help our neighbors notice what’s significant?

One thing I’ve noted is that both McCain and Palin eagerly and strenuously grabbed the chance to be the louder -- and first -- supporters of Israel, forcing both Obama and Biden to play catch up. If he's totally smart, Obama will mention Israel FIRST THING, even in mild terms, so that MCC will seem to be playing catch up when he does his thump.

While I am at it, I’ll mention a few core things that I’ve also told my cousin on the Obama campaign, about missed opportunities. Obama should at least mention in passing:

* - that McCain backed the Bush plan to invest social security in the stock market.
* - that Iran is the chief beneficiary of our self-ruining adventure in Iraq.
* - that Phil Gramm and several hundred other Bush-crony sidekicks prove McPalin and Busheney are siblings, they are not reformers.
* - Mexico (!) - helping it not to fail. (A great reach to hispanics while showing that Republicans have foreign affairs tunnel vision.)
* - Science and Technology(!)
* - The readiness issue.
* - The abused civil service and officer corps

We’ll see. Meanwhile, what about you and I?

Well, it may not be the most dignified thing to suggest, but just spreading the viral message to watch McCain’s tongue-flick might be useful. Tawdry, but, well, they started it.

But there’s more... and some of it is worrisome.

-- One possible silver lining to the financial crisis...

I wrote a while back that the economic news should derail lesser culture-war distractions, e.g. 527 Swift Boat stuff. And this (so-far) has proved true, with the attempts to smear Obama with pathetic “connections” to Bill Ayers, who long ago planted bombs before recanting. Most people have little patience for such minutiae, at the moment. Not even “he’s a muslim.” (Have any of you in battleground states witnessed much of this?)

An aside: see an important article in Salon that starts with this quotation: “My government is my worst enemy. I'm going to fight them with any means at hand." Only this is from the leader of the Alaska secessionist party that Palin’s husband joined for seven years and of which she has spoken highly and repeatedly.

Will these theatrically stupid attempts at swiftboating fail? Likely. Only then will the other side, growing desperate, benefit from a different type of distraction, something much larger, may be in the works. You know what I mean. Yes, many of those who are forecasting an “October Surprise” come from the loony fringes. Still, the aromas swirl all about us. Can it hurt to take precautions?

I believe there are a few small things that Barack Obama can say - even in passing - that would "bruise" the possibility of an October Surprise, without openly referring to one. Things that people would simply nod-to, in agreement.. but that would make him seem prescient and ready, if something happened.

Right now, I have to tell you -- the prospect of Bush issuing 1,000 blanket pardons in December fills me with wrath. And yet, another part of me has to be glad that he has that power to get his cronies and fellow gang-members off scot-free! Because, otherwise, the prospect of prison would probably make his core cabal so desperate they'd be sure to do something really stupid. His promise of a Get Out Of Jail Card may be the one thing that lets us get all the way through till January, somewhat okay.

Still, I wish the topic of the coming “Pardon Tsunami” would start getting discussed. For one thing, it distills how badly we’ve been reamed. For another, Nancy Pelosi et al should do something to constrain those pardons -- putting fences and conditions around them, in advance. Don’t assume it's impossible! Elsewhere, I described how it might be done, in a way that has a chance of getting by the Courts.

Anyway, one thing is obvious - the best way to prevent an “October Surprise” is simply to make the election such an utter blowout-landslide that the SOBs can’t imagine winning, even by wreaking massive harm upon America.

-- Nevertheless prepare -- on the off chance -- for bad events!

One final thought about those paranoid fantasies. These days it is prudent -- not paranoid -- to take basic precautions. There are too many variables. Too many of the super-mighty see their interests teetering. Too many are desperate to avoid accountability. And of course we do still have those Jihadists to worry about, as well.

What else can we do? Well, I’ve long urged folks to take CERT training and join their local Community Emergency Response Team -- the tiny (but still significant) remnant of civil defense that the Bushites have left still standing. You’ll get 20 hours of class in useful skills, a meaningful ID card -- and accompanying duties to care for your neighborhood and family, if anything major happens, plus some nifty tools and a shopping list of things to store in your shed as any responsible citizen should do. This isn’t militia/survivalist stuff but the government-sanctioned and totally mainstream thing that a large fraction of us ought to volunteer to do. The sort of thing prior generations did, as a matter of simple habit.

At least do the minimal things - buy those Costco bins of things you’ll eventually wind up using/eating anyway (and do live up to that.) Batteries, solar radio, safely stored cans of gas. And get your neighbors doing the same, without sounding kooky.
Just in case.

-- And more paranoia! ;-)

One more reason for us to pray for an utter blowout-landslide. If they see that coming, corrupt red-officials (in league with Diebold) won't dare try much cheating at the polls, to swing the election for president. Anything too glaring will invite scrutiny... and prison time. (A recent effort to do just that, in Michigan, blew up in their faces, thanks to wary citizens, and now the GOP campaign has fled the state.)

Alas, though, the prospect of an Obama blowout may only change the nature of their efforts, diverting them down more subtle avenues. If Obama seems destined for a landslide, there won't be giant plays for electoral votes, but instead tweaks that are concentrated on local races, where Diebold and company might get away with it. For example, amid all the excitement, nobody will be looking very closely at state assembly and state senate contests. But those are exactly where you can bet there will be wholesale vote rigging.

Especially in states where it seems possible that the legislature may slide into Democratic hands. Remember, these legislatures redraw every district, in a collusive crime that both parties engage-in, called gerrymandering. If the dems squeak into complete power in a formerly "red" state, they will be able to transform that squeaker into a new lock. The GOP can't allow that to happen. And you can be sure they won’t.

(In fact, there are some surpising and rather bizarre aspects to this gerrymandering scam, that I explain in detail, elsewhere.)

In the short term, voters should check their paper receipts on election day, and not just for president! We need poll watchers! And media must recognize the importance of these lower level offices.

--- From the 2004 Republican Platform -- ah such a marvelous/historical document:

"The most significant barrier to homeownership is the down payment. We support efforts to reduce that barrier, like the American Dream Downpayment Act and Zero Downpayment Mortgages."

Ah, but now they blame the poor folks... gurggle...

--- And Now Some Political Miscellany ---

Top Ten viral political videos.

“If elected he will be the first to enter the office without financial backing from the major business, industrial or professional groups with their PACs, their contribution bundlers and lobbyists. That first day, which Hillary Clinton has made famous, will find Obama not owing a thing to the big money pressure groups. You would have to go back a century and a half to name an incoming president with so few debts to repay.” http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080324/vonhoffman

Also...some fun satire of Obama as an elitist.

Stefan offered this hilarious gem.

A theme I go into... along with other aspects of this vital election.

And more from the War Against Science.

And finally, continuing a fascinating topic... whether there is underlying psychology or biology, behind whether a person chooses to be Republican or Democrat. Individuals who are more easily startled by threats are more likely than others to support protective policies, such as military spending, the Iraq War and the death penalty and other classically conservative views, finds a new study.


Acacia H. said...

No doubt McCain will do everything possible to shift the discussion off of the economy. Considering the massive drops in the Dow and the financial markets worldwide hemorrhaging (with the exception of Asia... are they next, though?) I cannot see how the discussion won't focus primarily on the economy. Every single time McCain tries to shift the discussion to minutia about Obama, it will look bad for McCain.

This debate will likely break the McCain camp. McCain is desperate at the moment and needs desperately to change the game right now. Sadly, he can't. Pretty much the only thing he could do is to unveil a new economic plan that was so miraculous that people would be awed in amazement. McCain doesn't have one. Obama doesn't have one, but people at least believe he can help get us out of the current crisis.

You know... I'm looking at the economy right now and I'm wondering... was this what it looked like at the start of the Great Depression? Are we going to start seeing stock brokers jumping out of windows? (I'm quite glad that my retirement is tied up in Roth IRAs and a regular IRA for the most part, and only $3,000 are in stocks (though that's probably significantly lower at this point in time.)

Fortunately... we've walked this path before. We know the way out. FDR already paved those roads... and Obama knows his history well. If he gets in (and barring someone shooting him or him stumbling something fierce tonight he will), then we'll no doubt see programs starting up that are reminiscent of the 1930s. Only this time the Supreme Court won't be as opposed to those measures.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

David Brin said...

Only this time we don't have to wait as long (1929-1933) for a change in administration.

Don't underestimate the cunning to some of the guys around McCain. They may have some clever jugulars... it's just that the nation has changed and the red part is going into hysterics.

See zorgon's final comment, last time, in case you missed it. We will see a whirlwind of McVeighs I am afraid. Buy canned good. And keep Obama and Biden APART FROM EACH OTHER FROM NOW ON.

I mean that. They should never, ever again be in the same room. Ever.

Completely non political but a must!


Anonymous said...

McCain needs to come out swinging tonight... If Obama can say he is taking off the gloves so should McCain. I am a Democrat who will be voting for McCain Palin this time around. I am so sick and tired of hearing about Obama. He is the extreme left. He is not mainstream and associated with radicals. There is no way this guy could pass a background check to receive a government clearance. The list of his friends (even Pakistani) roommate would throw him off any clearance list. Period. So why would we want a person who associates with Ayers, Farrakahn, Rev. Wright, Rashind Kalid, and his unknown Pakistani friend who he won't talk about from college?????

This guy is too radical for even a mainstream Democrat like myself. Voting for Obama will put lead us to socialism.... within a year.

Acacia H. said...

You know, the funny thing is that only by one metric is Obama considered the far left, and that metric is known to be biased against Democrats. Another metric shows him to be almost dead center in the middle... and shows that McCain is almost all the way to the right, with only a few things keeping him from being considered the most conservative Senator around.

Remember. Truth is a three-edged blade. There is Side 1, Side 2, and what is really the truth. Side 1 and Side 2 are biased on perceptions and beliefs.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

A truly scary view of the financial crisis from NPR this American life program.


This is the same program that told the truth before the second Iraq war and about the only program I really trust to give me and honest view.

As they state it: the cause was the lack of transparency in credit default swaps and Hedge funds etc.

No one trusts anyone because without transparency they could lose it all.

Brother Doug

Anonymous said...

"with the exception of Asia... are they next, though?"

The Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges have been rollercoasters lately (even moreso than usual)... the Korean Won is dropping like a stone... there's an intense fear that if any more major American or European banks go down, China's big four (Bank of China, CCB, ICBC, and Agricultural Bank) will go over like dominoes. Given that each one has about a trillion dollars under management, the effects would be catastrophic. The big four- and Japan's postal bank- are the cash reserves anchoring the world economy right now. If they go... we're looking at complete meltdown of the international system.

The bosses in Beijing are terrified, of course, because a major economic disruption could easily lead to the biggest riots and demonstrations since 1989- and demolish the last underpinnings of their legitimacy.

This could get catastrophic. Most people I know are ready to bite more inflation just to avoid a complete seizure of liquidity.

Cliff said...

I saw that Obama mentioned Warren Buffet tonight as a person to be in charge of financial matters.
The question that immediately popped into my mind at that point was, "Was anybody filming David Brin's reaction to that?"

Cliff said...

I am a Democrat who will be voting for McCain Palin this time around.

Then, sir, I call you no Democrat at all.

Anonymous said...

Nice Post. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone - I've been watching David Brin's blog for about a month now and I've been very impressed with the discourse I'm seeing. Naturally, I'm a fan of Brin's science fiction and I also heavily approve of the slant, of course.

This is my first comment, so my apologies if it sidetracks the discussion too much, but I'm rather surprised about one particular thing.

In the comments on the previous post, David Brin mentioned the Arlington Institute's dream collecting efforts, perhaps as a joke. Exploring that avenue very quickly leads to the curiosity of HalfPastHuman.com and their outlet Urbansurvival.com.

I'll try to explain succinctly. They have a linguistics program which use bots to survey the web measuring the emotional temperature of writing they come across and identify it as either 'growing tension' or 'releasing tension' and they capture the context these words are related to. Another way to phrase it is they measure 'anticipation' and 'reaction' until the reaction disappears, estimating time based upon the severity of the language being used.

Apparently they've been measuring a rising tension connected to economics for a very long time, marked Sept. 22-27 as precursor dates to a big event, October 7 as the turn of the language from dread to reaction, and all the way out to March as the reaction / fallout / absorption duration.

I cannot give much credit to their long term analyses, but I think it is a very fascinating concept. I was wondering why it was passed over and if anyone thinks this has any chance for credibility? I also thought there might be some appreciation for it as a technology concept.

Possibly the best introduction is a radio interview they recorded on September 22nd.

Anonymous said...

I should also mention that, while it is a subscription thing, I haven't found any need to go beyond the public daily report.

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David Brin said...
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David Brin said...

wow, arcanedesigns looks like a cool new up-speaker and former lurker. Interesting stuff! And yes, the Arlington Inst dream thing is flakey. But if it collects a lot of October Surprise fantasies... and something happens... then any that were precursors in detail will draw attention and study. One of the goals of my proposed Predictions Registry.

We just attended the Neil Diamond concert! He's 67 years old (I turned 58 yesterday.) The bad news? My wife still adores him. The good news? If he can rock like that at 67.... Yeow!!!

Reactions to the debate tomorrow. Because I only listened to parts of it on radio on the way to Neil. A man's gotta prioritize!

But, seriously, if only BHo had said....."____"

Oh, anonymous? Any true democrat is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. We leave that shit to Commies, pinkos and (almost) all republicans. (Sorry Tacitus and Rob! Just teasing. But then, you are sane ones.)

So please take it from a community here that is dedicated to pragmatically restoring a vibrant Western Civilization led by a decent and thriving American pax (l.c.) You are drinking kool-aid. You are letting silly and extremely minor slanders divert you from the blatantly obvious.

The trait that Obama exhibits above all else -- which Bill Clinton also had -- is curiosity!!! He fizzes with it. I know several people who have met him, and they all report the same thing. He doesn't go after their money or their votes as much as he dives straight into asking questions and squeezing their minds, wondering how they might surprise him. I know the type, and it is to dogmatism what a positron is to an electron.

After 14 years of America being bullied by dogmatically incurious assholes who were absolutely sure of absolutely everything (and wrong about 90% of it)... and the last 8 years of it being utterly dominated by a team of lying, thieving traitors who surrounded themselves with yes-men (the same ones McCain NOW surrounds himself with), I am sick of being ruled by smugly certain incurious morons. And you should be, too.

I know Obama's type rather well, from my life spanning science to tach to the arts, I see it in his eyes. Curiosity and love of vividly diverse argument is BHO's main character trait. And in everything he says, you hear the mantra of science. "I have a theory, but I might be wrong. Let's find out."

Even if he had a dogmatic leaning, that character trait would draw him to hear all sides. And that's what we need, right now.

That does NOT square with your paranoid fantasy of a dogmatic traitor. A fantasy that you have suckled from the teat of a band of true and proven traitors.


Great and reassuring post, zorgon.

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Tony Fisk said...

The 1930s Great Depression also coincided with a hundred-year drought that produce dust bowl conditions throughout the Midwest. Once again, that isn't happening this time around.

That depends on where you live

Unknown said...

Seems that most of the political discussion in here misses the mark.

are all responsible for this enormous failure of our representation in Washington to mind OUR store.

"Sits, listening to all the fiddle music, watching the fires blaze as they spread, uncontrolled".

Kinda fiddling while the country burns to the ground, don't you think? Isn't it obvious that Republicrates are not the answer. Where is "none of the above" on that ballot??!!

The same old two sided political game that is played every two and four years and the spoils system that these two political groups so enjoy, are no longer acceptable to the majority of Americans. Just very old turkey that needs it's neck wrung in time for Thanksgiving....

Acacia H. said...

That's why this is another situation of the lesser of two perceived evils. The difference is of course that of the two candidates, Obama has far less dirt on him and seems far more likely to be what he claims to be.

@Zorgon: While part of my comments were on the financial and social situation behind the Great Depression, there is also a spiritual aspect. I've never hidden (here at least) my belief in the power of faith and collective belief to alter reality.

(Indeed, I even mapped out once a belief system for reality alteration that starts with mass diffused belief (faith) and slowly coagulates into more and more compact groups wielding their minds to alter reality on a small scale. Ultimately, I believe that ritualism and the like is unnecessary for this change in reality, but is a "comfort" for the person's mind to shift into a mindset of "change" (and it makes for a good basis for contemporary fantasy fiction).)

Whether you actually believe in the collective ability of peoples minds to shift reality or not, there is a more fundamental aspect to it: personal perceptions can alter personal behaviors and bring about an expected end. In short, people become pessimistic about the financial market. They pull out their money. This causes stocks to fall. More people pull out their money believing the naysayers were right, and it perpetuates this cycle psychologically.

In short, people believe that a Great Depression is coming (polls and news articles helping in spreading this belief), resulting in an actual Great Depression because these people end up pulling out of the financial system and keeping their money close to their vest instead.

Measuring a spiritual or psychological malaise is far more difficult than looking at the historical similarities between the 1930s and now. But it is still something to wonder about. Is the world heading toward an economic depression as the ordinary person does a run on the stock market? Is personal belief, run amok, killing a goose that has a bad cough and in doing so removing needed money that could help keep businesses solvent and thus resulting in business closures, job layoffs, increased unemployment, and a series of dominoes that could result in another Great Depression?

There are no easy methods of answering this. But it is something to think about.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

Watched a bit of the debate. Nothing new at all. I have disengaged from the election, some may recall that I declared it over the night of McCain's acceptance speech. And that was before the financial mess.

Speaking of which, nice post Z. Have you read Gailbraith's Crash of 1929? If not, do so. I read it over the summer, and it has helped my serenity. The hallmark of that event was the steady, grinding, unending downward march of value. Swoons of short duration I can handle. But of course I run my personal finances in a small c conservative fashion.

Interesting that the crisis is laying low markets in many places. Europe, England, very regulated, semi-socialist (? if I step too far here correct me) economies. And still, nobody in a position of authority realized that this commercial paper was Magic Unicorn Dollars?

The true history of this will be many years in the writing, and I do not know how it will read. I admit that my point of view is Contrary, how fitting on Contrary Brin, but I think there were donkey snouts pretty deep in the subprime feeding trough, along with elephant trunks and apparently whatever sort of appendeges Tories, Liberals, and Christian Democrats swill from on the other side of the pond.

But it is important to not allow those at the helm to avoid blame. It happens on your watch, you get the credit or discredit.

I am practicing my Loyal Opposition mantra for the years ahead. "George Bush's fault" will not pass muster forever.


JuhnDonn said...

One thing I wonder; if real estate is overvalued, what about the folks who keep making their payments? Especially, the ones who have just started out on a 30 year loan (we closed June 12). Now, we have a fair bit of equity in the house so far (improved land, built road, drilled well, etc. and are doing the finishing work myself, getting house built for under $90/sq ft) but how will things be after a correction? Being upside down will suck for a few years but if it's a major correction, man, I don't know. We were planning on refinancing down to a 15 year in a year or two but we may not be able to do that, if appraised value will be less than it cost to build the house. I'm not planning on moving again but I wonder what folks will do who do have to move.

Acacia H. said...


The truth? Those people are screwed. I've already heard stories of people who are forced to work two jobs, cutting everything but the absolute barest essentials, trying to make their mortgage payments after their rates jumped through the roof because of predatory loans... and who cannot get refinancing because the banks smugly tell them "your house isn't worth what you paid for it, so we're unable to refinance. Unless you give us a massive downpayment of course."

Yes, there were absolute bastards out there who were buying homes, doing small repairs and repainting them, making them look nicer, and half a year to a year down the line reselling that home for a profit. Those people (upon the housing market crash) wiped their hands of the whole affair and abandoned their mortgages upon being caught in this situation.

But the average lower-income homeowner? They're struggling and doing everything in their power to try and hold onto their homes. And they are failing, one by one, and slipping into the icy cold waters as the U.S.S. Finance slowly goes bottom-up after being struck by the minefield Derivatives. And what's worse... the rest of the finance fleet of the world was following the U.S.S. Finance closely, and are being struck by other finance-related mines as well.

In all likelihood, your home will not regain the value you paid for it. Not for 20 to 30 years. And perhaps not for even longer. Ultimately, you may lose money on this mortgage. But seeing that you had the house built, and was able to save some money in doing so, you probably won't be as badly screwed as someone who bought a pre-existing home just before the real estate market crashed.

Rob H.

Rocky Persaud said...
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Rocky Persaud said...

I was watching a video featuring Ester Dyson (who was recently announced as a backup tourist for Charles Simonyi's second trip to the ISS) about her investments, and one mentioned at first sounded awfully like a social network predictions registry, but on investigation seems to be more like Issuepedia, allowing people to weigh the merits of any quote on any issue.

It's called Ameritocracy.

Rob Perkins said...


Please take some advice from an old hand at home ownership.

If your interest rate is acceptable, do NOT refinance to a 15 year from a 30 year. Instead, simply compute what you would pay if the loan had a 15 year term instead of a 30 year term. Send in that larger amount of money.

You will be paid off in 12 years, generally.

Do not refinance. Don't do it unless you have to to stay afloat. Refinancing triggers all the broker and insurance and closing fees a second time, piled right back up on your loan. FAR wiser is to take the money you would have been charged an apply it to principal, especially if your interest rate hovers around 5%-7%.

Refinancing made marvelous sense when interest rates changed from 18% to 12%, and then again down to 6%. These days... meh. I've run the numbers on five separate refi deals and found the break-even point to be more than eight years down the road, even for a whole point of interest less.

Unless you're on some monstrous intro-rate deal, or your rate adjusts, steer clear.

David Brin said...

tolo, cynicism has many forms, of course. JRR Tolkien’s rejection of modernity is understandable, having see his classmates mown down by modern machine guns at the Somme. But generally it is a very lame and feeble refuge. A way to feel superior and above-the-fray and contemptuous... while actually utterly slothful-lazy.

What’s your excuse?

“Both parties are the some” is so utterly counterfactual that it is like calling a galaxy an atom. There are NO metrics by which the GOP and the dems are the same. Under Clinton, we were governed well, by almost all measures of actual pragmatic outcome. And the neocons have damn near destroyed America, so thoroughly it might as well have been deliberate.

Try this comparison, written long BEFORE the economic meltdow! Today it is vastly worse

Oh, Obama’s chief economic advisor was the LOUDEST voice decrying the “derivative gambling” that brought this mess about... and last night even McCain last night named Warren Buffet as his top choice for Treasury!

(Was that a hoot, guys????)

Even though his OWN top economic advisor - Phil Gramm - was the principal architect of our present mess. Rammed thru legislation specifically releasing all supervision from derivatives gambling.

Oh, I get it. You just wanted to waste some of my time. Did! Got me! Oh you rascal....

Tacitus, the most natural thing in the world is -when ashamed of your side - to lie low a while. But I suggest an alternative. To get MAD at the monsters who hijacked conservatism. A guy like you should have his better conservative views represented by honorable women and men. Guys like you OWE it to us to help rebuild the movement and bring it back to the table.

We need the conscience of Barry Goldwater at the table. Heck, there are was I even miss Ronald Reagan.

Rob- what if our 5 year ARM was super-duper-low... & comes due next year?

Anonymous said...

I actually engage in fantasies pretty often. The ones with Seven of Nine in them are the best, but I also think, heck, it might be fun to run for Congress! Only trouble is that my district is represented by a senior committee chair, whose Power Ranking is somewhere between Cthulu and Jehovah!

But not to fear, I won't go dormant.


Anonymous said...

One thing that would help Obama firm up his lead and bring some confidence to the market is to pretend he's won and convene a financial recovery war council.

I'd bring William Gates Sr. to the party. A very rich guy who has publicly stated that he wants his taxes raised.

* * *

Didn't buy $31K of dividend stocks yesterday. The price of the bundle I was looking at dropped from $30.5 yesterday to $28.9. I can wait.

Or not. They're going up again. Argh!

Anonymous said...

By the time this is over, we're going to have more state control over our formerly free market economies than the USSR did.

Given that the big corporations are intimately involved with the governments, I wouldn't be looking to the USSR as a model for what's happening today.

David Brin said...

I'll post later about this idea, but in raw form -- if BHO seems headed for a surefire win, he needs to turn his attention to the Congressional races. Last night, while listening to the debate on our way to see Neil Diamond (yeow!), I came up with these two suggested riffs. One of them you've heard before.


1 - "There are a couple of areas where I think John was farther ahead of the curve than I was. His attacks on earmark spending have been a bit theatrical, and the amount saved would be small. Still, I believe that if John were president, he would attack that one problem with vigor.

And you know what? When I am president, John McCain will attack Earmarks with vigor! Because - if he'd accept - I will appoint him to head a team to do just that!

This isn't grandstanding. After all, John did it first! He said his top candidate for Treasury Secretary would be MY economic advisor, Warren Buffett, who warned us all about this looming economic crisis, since 2002. Of course, it would be even better if John fired his own economic advisor - Phil Gramm -- who rammed through the total deregulation of the derivatives market and sent us down this road.

But If John will praise and hire Warren Buffett, then I'll praise and hire John McCain. Along with dozens of smart, capable Republicans, I'll find tasks for him, don't you worry. Ways for John to keep serving America.

Now THAT would be jiu jitsu! And here's another one

#2 - "Look, I honor John McCain, not only for his military service and inspiring spirit of utter determination, but also for the fact that, yes, he has been a maverick at times... maybe ten percent as often as he says he's been!

True, he supported George Bush 90% of the time and has surrounded himself with the same crowd of Usual Suspects. But let's give him credit for having at least verbally distanced himself from his own Party.

He joins me and millions of Americans in blaming the 12 year Republican Congress for removing most regulation and supervision of Wall Street, for plunging our children into debt, for refusing to act on climate change, for neglecting our science and infrastructure and for sabotaging energy research for an entire wasted decade. Since his nominating convention, he's reversed official GOP policy on dozens of issues.

Look, whether you believe McCain and Palin are true "rebel-maverick-reformers"... or you see their long list of Bush -era advisors as proof that they aren't... either way, I am glad John McCain has joined me in urging that American out there fire the Republican members of Congress who did all that!

Let the GOP clean its own house, before we let them back into power. Let fresh blood and fresh ideas rise up within the Republican Party, so it can come back to us in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater.

I'm glad John and I agree on the need for that era of change, in a Party that promised so much and delivered us only pain. Especially Republican Congressfolk who really should have served us better.


Anonymous said...

I completely disagree about Israel. I was so glad Obama didn't gush all over himself when the question came up last night. I do not have a dog in this hunt. Hell, if I could, I would have all the Jews in Israel moved to the US. They would make good citizens and they could live in peace. But our unequiveqal support of Israel does neither side any good. I hope Obama takes a more even stance toward the Middle East peace process. We need just a little more pragmatism in our foreign policy after Bush!!!!


Doug said...

This is the third time today I've read someone suggesting Obama couldn't get a security clearance. As someone who's had one, and who works and is friends with several people with clearances, including a friend who processes security clearance applications for DOE, that's nonsense.

Clearances are based, essentially, on if you're a potential security liability -- would you sell secrets, steal government property, or be easily blackmailable. Nothing in Obama's past suggests any of that would be true.

McCain, OTOH, well . . . Look at his behavior, in the public record, when he was captured in Vietnam. Go Google it, as I'd rather avoid repeating what is so easily looked up. Let's just say I wouldn't give him a clearance.

Anonymous said...

Whack-job liberal that I am (or, middle of the road Labour Party if I was British), I still miss what I think of as "Real Republicans".

For schools lunches and free vaccines and public universities...against people making Welfare a lifestyle and medicare fraud and affirmative action.


Sorry, Zorg, someone caught you with a Big Lie.

Smoot-Hawley passed in June of 1930. Check Wiki.

Happens to the best of us.

David Brin said...

A reminder that the ostrich ammo pages

have much more compact versions:

and a chart:

All of which seem dated and innocent, because they predate the Meltdow!

(How do you like my neologism?)

Russ Daggatt has a new blog entry about earmarks


Anonymous said...


1) Saying the "Soviets" won is pretty fallacious, considering that the Soviets were never following Marx's script in the first place, and that their script changed several times in the course of their run. The closest you might come is to say that things might look a little similar to Lenin's New Economic Policy.

It is much more accurate to say that the financial sectors are being partially socialized.

2) The analogue for Germany in this cycle is Russia. Sure, their grievances are much less than Germany's were less cycle, but they are nonetheless a defeated, vengeful, and paranoid foe. They have thousands of nukes yet, and they (irrationally) blame us for their current state.

@Dr. Brin:

1) Obama and Biden will have to be in the same "room" on Inauguration Day, and every State of the Union. But at those events only a Tom Clancy 9/11 or a nuke could kill them anyway...

It is true that Team McPalin is playing the race card surreptitiously. It is also true that by doing so they encourage by a miniscule amount the probability of assassination by crazed racist. But isn't the mere likelihood of Obama's coming landslide much more of an inducement? It seems to me the increased risk of assassination was a given from the get-go. And as careful planners as Team Obama are, this makes me think plans are already in place...

2) They didn't quite say so explicitly, but didn't Obama and McCain stipulate Buffett for SecTreas last night??

David Brin said...

Daggatt drinks the Brin Koolaid!

There are roughly 4000 political appointees in the federal government of which about 1100 require Senate confirmation. When you elect a president, you are electing a political party, including those 4000 political appointees and the people they hire.

Earlier this month, a CBS News poll had Bush’s approval rating at 22% -- the lowest presidential approval level in ANY poll EVER. That poll had Bush’s disapproval rate at 70% That is the same disapproval rate found by Gallup a few days ago – the highest in its 70-year history. But it isn’t the highest disapproval rate found in any poll. That would be the 74% rate found in a CNN poll during the same polling period.

And check out this graph:
(Shows Clinton's job approval rising steadily till topping at 70% at the end... and W's starting that high at Afghanistan, then plummeting to 70% DIS approval. Worst in all of polling history.)

Historians argue now ONLY over whether he's worse than Buchanan, the fellow who fiddled while we headed into the Civil War.

The percentage of Americans who are satisfied with the way things are going in this country is now in single digits – the lowest in Gallup ’s polling history. That is down from around 70% at the end of the Clinton administration.

Why would anyone leave the Republican party in control of the federal government for another four years?

Fake_William_Shatner said...

stefan jones said...
One thing that would help Obama firm up his lead and bring some confidence to the market is to pretend he's won and convene a financial recovery war council.

I'd bring William Gates Sr. to the party. A very rich guy who has publicly stated that he wants his taxes raised.

* * *

Didn't buy $31K of dividend stocks yesterday. The price of the bundle I was looking at dropped from $30.5 yesterday to $28.9. I can wait.

Or not. They're going up again. Argh!

Absolutely Brilliant! Of course the usual talking heads would be crying "Uppity!" But really, convening his own round table would be brilliant -- either the press attends or he pays for it on an info-mercial.

Who else on the Guest list?
Robert Reich maybe... this would be a great topic for everyone to suggest who to put on an economic summit that could actually get some good ideas. Hopefully people that aren't too much hot potatoes that the consensus won't look askance at.

>> Anyone think it's a good idea to buy Iceland's currency -- have they hit bottom? I can imagine that this currency devaluation is going to cycle around the world.

Acacia H. said...

Here's a little bit of politi-jitsu for you, Dr. Brin. It seems a group of protesters bought time on an electronic billboard next to her Los Angeles rally on Saturday. Questions for Palin kept flashing up on the billboard, and the ability to text message in your own questions was also possible (and done).

From what I can tell, this was done just by the California Democratic Party without any effort from the Obama campaign. Still, I would love to know what Palin's reaction to the billboard was... and the reaction of her supporters at the rally.

To be honest, I'm surprised someone didn't take a gun to the billboard and claim it was a moose-hunting-accident. ;)

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

McCain is melting down.

"Across this country, this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners, and the same standards of clarity and candor must now be applied to my opponent."

Yeah. His fellow prisoners.

We're in jail, guys.

Unknown said...

"ToLo: McCain/Obama/Clinton/Biden/Bush are all responsible for this enormous failure of our representation in Washington to mind OUR store.

The same old, two sided, political game that is played every two and four years….. “

"David Brin: Tolo, cynicism has many forms, of course. But generally it is a very lame and feeble refuge. A way to feel superior and above-the-fray and contemptuous... while actually utterly slothful-lazy. What’s your excuse?

"Both parties are the same is so utterly counterfactual that it is like calling a galaxy an atom. There are NO metrics by which the GOP and the dems are the same. Under Clinton, we were governed well, by almost all measures of actual pragmatic outcome. And the neocons have damn near destroyed America, so thoroughly it might as well have been deliberate.

Oh, Obama’s chief economic advisor was the LOUDEST voice decrying the derivative gambling that brought this mess about... and last night even McCain last night named Warren Buffet as his top choice for Treasury!

Oh, I get it. You just wanted to waste some of my time. Did! Got me! Oh you rascal...."

And in another message on recommendations of suggested riffs for Obama to say,

"David Brin: And you know what? When I am president, John McCain will attack Earmarks with vigor! Because - if he'd accept - I will appoint him to head a team to do just that!

This isn't grandstanding. After all, John did it first! He said his top candidate for Treasury Secretary would be MY economic advisor, Warren Buffett, who warned us all about this looming economic crisis, since 2002."

Sorry, David, not cynical, just pragmatic.

I did not mean to say that both parties ARE the same; I think I said that the game they play is the same and the role played by each party serves the same end. A game that is basically winner takes all. A game with the only strategy that you point aggressively at the other side and fix blame and try to make it stick. A game with one rule, that you stand against anything that the opponent favors and favor what he opposes; a game where play is limited to the two 1000 pound gorillas with the lock on the body politic and with the financial wherewith all to limit the playing field to just two players.

Our political system has devolved in recent times. Both parties keep score by counting how many Americans they can get to hate or denigrate the other side. Remember, I said side. And therein lays the main problem. To "win", they require an opposition to beat. No fight = no win for the team. Cooperation, communication, solution play no roles in this game. Only party victory counts, to the exclusion of the welfare of THE American people as a whole.

You may look at these two PARTIES and see a difference. I see a SYSTEM that is failing and has been failing for much longer than just this decade. Everywhere you cast your attention; you will see horrible problems, ignored. Ignored and getting more problematic year after year while the government entrusted by the American People with the resources and power to remedy these problems, all sit around and play this finger pointing game while slopping at the trough of public largess. If they can’t solve these items, at the very least, they could make a little effort not to exacerbate them, or even worse, create new ones...

Just recently with the financial crises, these bums rushed back into the Congress, (you don’t have to do your job while playing in the game) and came up with half baked plans formulated primarily by the very people who occasioned the crises.

Did they study? Did they get authoritative, valid data? Did they formulate any plan based on a rational and comprehensive evaluation of the causes and the possible ramifications of their proposed solutions? No! We got a mad rush to do something so as to convince the populous that they were really in charge and “doing something” and amidst a frenzy of bipartisanship. Finger pointing, loud bellows of “he done it”, my side is not to blame.

Don't get me wrong. With the prevailing system, I am a firm believer in the old adage, "when in doubt, throw them (the bums) out". I'm just not convinced that this is a long term solution. We just get the cyclical same old, same old. (Though Bill Clinton did sound awfully good on Letterman the other day, and, yes, he would get my vote!!!)

Two large aggregate parties are contraindicated when we have as many viewpoints and issues as we do in this country. This polarization does not favor diverse, proactive and effective governance. These parties really don’t even fully represent their own members in a very meaningful way. Important items are glossed over or completely ignored, in the rush to the goal posts and the win.

We need to re-evaluate and somehow promote an inclusive system where we get together, evaluate data, make decisions and implement problem solutions that benefit us all and not just a particular "side" of the fence; a system where we deal with a multitude of issues and solution sets and not only those items focused on by the big two while they are jousting in the game.

I favor your idea of using all our resources to fix things. Yes, McCain, Buffet, whoever is of value regardless of which side they are on. Even Brin... I doubt we will see this soon. The concept only gets lip service while the end game is in play.

It isn’t a book. To the death protagonists are not necessary for the political story to flow and end well.

Did it again? LOL, uplift bro! Where you think George is stupid, I think he is immoral and evil (maybe with a touch of Tandu in his genetic makeup). He did it all with purpose. And, yes, I blame the people who promote and laud the broken system that put him there.

The LOL is indeed a poke...

Unknown said...

Robert, what scare the hell out of me is that while the US seems to have contracted a bad case of the flu, or maybe pneumonia, we have somehow managed to infect a large part of the remainder of the world with a massive coronary infraction. Their financial houses seem to be dropping like dominoes. Total economies are at risk in some. Governments may topple.

Guess rumors of the decline of American influence in the world were somewhat premature.

Makes one shudder a bit when contemplating the responsibilities we shoulder and the ramification of our actions on those others.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

tolo lucerne said...
I did not mean to say that both parties ARE the same; I think I said that the game they play is the same and the role played by each party serves the same end.

Tolo, I don't have an easy answer for that. I've wondered many times why the Dems seem to cooperate in their own downfall. Voting FOR the bail-out might have been because they really were fearful of an economic domino effect. Part of the bill was good -- but the money going to banks and still crooked financial institutions is 100% wasted. More gas on a fire.

Here are a few things I think might be true of the Dems;
1) Charlie Brown syndrome. They are nice and unassuming and keep thinking they can kick the football but Lucy keeps pulling it away. They think that Republicans are like them -- but merely on the other side of things. A crazy assumption.
2) If the Corporate Media, really is only reporting on the Pillow fight between Liberals and Conservatives, but ALWAYS supporting their interests -- like war. Then you can see a pattern where they tolerated Bush right up to the War and all its folly, and only allowed criticism AFTER Bush gave them what they wanted. In this scenario -- the Dems were damned if they do, damned harder if they don't. Maybe they were aware of how bad this would be -- or maybe we still have too many Blue Dog Democrats. This scenario I think is most likely.
3) The Dems are in cahoots with Republicans. They play good cop and Repubs play bad cop -- kind of what you are suggesting. If this is true we are all screwed. But I see too many valiant Dems and I cry for humanity if Barack Obama is a phony after his speech about Racism. I think there are some wisdoms you cannot fake. A colorblind person cannot describe the subtle hues and a psychopath can't fake empathy -- at least I hope.
4) The Dems are compromised. Another likely scenario. The internal spying, coupled with years of trying to bribe or ensnare Democrats have left the NeoCon agents like Rove with enough information to trash their careers or at least lifestyle. There is a lot of corporate money as well -- so if you compromise on the Bail Out but get a Billion dollars in pork, maybe they think they can do some good in the future... of course they would be wrong -- but that is the slippery slope of rationalizing. That there are too many politicos who think their hanging on to office is more important than any single vote -- such that ALL their votes are just part of a cynical game.

Congress and the Senate constantly "just barely" vote in bills that are really unpopular. I'm sure that "election safe" politicos do the most bad voting in off years and trade those coming up for re-election for goodies and influence.

But we have supreme court justices coming up. Where we have to balance out-going Liberal justices, with the incumbent, full-bore fascist ones. Not that our justice system is functioning beyond going after whistle-blowers and hackers who dare to reveal Palin's illegal emails (who broke the law first, eh?).

>> I can't be SURE about Democrats -- it's just that I'm 100% sure things will get worse with the Republicans. Things will get worse no matter what for the next two years I'm afraid.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Tolo Lucerne said...

Robert, what scare the hell out of me is that while the US seems to have contracted a bad case of the flu,

>> I have to wonder about this. When I look at Bear Sterns -- one of the first that fell, and compare it to the winner; Goldman Sachs. I have to wonder if there wasn't some "nice offers" made to the top execs, with some combination of short-selling to devalue the companies with larger players.

I wonder if the big players aren't using these over-leveraged companies as a way to get larger by using financial judo. You short-sell a company that has 40x leverage by 5% -- they can almost overnight become devalued. Then you buy them up and repeat the process.

This may be why the FBI stopped their investigations -- well, of course someone got paid to do that, and they don't want to investigate anywhere they might actually find a crime.

Iceland and AIG -- neither were unstable or poorly run. Just a few exposed Achilles heels.

If you want to control the whole system, there is no better way than to corrupt the regulators, let companies get over-extended, and then use judo to flip them.

Money is all relative -- nothing is being "lost." If the US goes down in value 25% but Iceland goes down 50%, then you move currency. If you can time this, you can devalue everyone, and they can all eventually settle with the same relative values -- but YOU can make a killing if you can time it.

We are going to be left with a few really enormous financial entities that can call the shots for most countries -- that's my prediction.

I would perhaps look at this as more of a "financial shake up" where the Super Rich, are screwing the Wanna-be Rich. Some kind of Financial World War.

Either that, or nobody expected that doing EXACTLY the same things that got us into the first Great Depression, would help stave off the next one -- but I find that pretty far fetched to think that Billionaires can be so dumb and still walk away with a $300 Million bonus.

Whos the sucker, eh?

Anonymous said...

Stop. Drop. Roll. And read this from Firedoglake.

I'm seeing links to this essay from all points in the blogosphere -- excepting, of course, those still rearranging deck chairs on the USS McPalin. It is superficially about organizing efforts in the Obama campaign, but a greater theme emerges rapidly from the tale: the first spark of the renaissance of civic spirit, which begins for this generation the way the '32 election and the alphabet soup agencies began civic spirit in the heart of the Depression.

After reading the page, I began to wonder if CERT teams could be developed out of the former Obama election committees... and if sane and ostrich "Obamacons", and libertarians too, could be induced to join to supply the multipartisan balance and constructive criticism needed.

If this is truly the start of the pattern for the next few years, I am encouraged. This is not the bureaucratic, top-down control of the Depression and the Second World War -- the Technocracy mindset that dominated not only America but the world in the years 1933-1968. Nor is it the people power anarchy born in the '68 upheavals, the bottom-up fragmented thousand points of light all crying ME ME ME and "my way or the highway" at the uncaring universe and the quite caring antagonists. No, this is a new hybrid of the two. It may work better than either did before.

It occurred to me that this new system works so well because the entire networked hierarchy, all the way to the President himself, is made up of community organizers.

My next thought was utter shock: with twenty-seven days to the election, the outcome still uncertain... I have already begun thinking of Barack Obama as the President.

Acacia H. said...

I've been commenting on this with my friend Steve Anderson. We've coined a phrase (though I might have borrowed it from someone else, I'm not entirely sure) and I feel it's apt not only for the Finance industry, but all industries as a whole.

Too Big To Fail = Too Big To Exist.

Seriously. If the banks had been split into dozens of smaller entities that didn't undergo mergers and all that, if they used strategic alliances with one another without having a central management and everything interconnected on an epic scale, then the loss of five or ten banks wouldn't matter.

It's when a bank is so big that when it fails it threatens to take down its compatriots that you find Too Big To Fair to come into existence... and it shows something far more insidious. This monopolistic form of finance is inherently unstable and dangerous... for it's putting all the eggs into a couple of baskets... and leaning the baskets against each other.

I truly hope that when Obama gets elected, he starts tearing apart these mega-financial corps and bringing the anti-trust laws back into play.

Rob H.

Unknown said...

William_Shatner said...Money is all relative -- nothing is being "lost." If the US goes down in value 25% but Iceland goes down 50%, then you move currency. If you can time this, you can devalue everyone, and they can all eventually settle with the same relative values -- but YOU can make a killing if you can time it.

Interesting. I did tell my friends that I expected the stock market to tank near the end of this administration and that there would be a lot of short selling with huge profits for the in crowd. I expected the powers in office to reward their puppeteers with lots of opportunity for enrichment. Course they get their cut too. Seem that our country is all about the greed today. We lost something in translation.

Last few days, friends have thanked me for the advice. Only one who didn't take the advice was, ah, me!! Talk about suckers....

William_Shatner said: Here are a few things I think might be true of the Dems;

3)The Dems are in cahoots with Republicans. They play good cop and Repubs play bad cop -- kind of what you are suggesting. If this is true we are all screwed. But I see too many valiant Dems and I cry for humanity if Barack Obama is a phony after his speech about Racism. I think there are some wisdoms you cannot fake. A colorblind person cannot describe the subtle hues and a psychopath can't fake empathy -- at least I hope.

Reminds me of an article in the NY Times: "But they point out that the frenzied nature of modern business -- the constant downsizing, the relentless merging and acquiring -- provides a very fertile environment for havoc-wreaking psychopaths, who thrive on chaos and risk-taking. As Hare put it in one interview, ''If I couldn't study psychopaths in prison, I would go down to the Stock Exchange.'"

Somehow, I believe the premise of the article a lot more now than I did before.

Missed the speech about racism. I worked for the election of a black man on the Libertarian ticket to the office of the president in the mid '80s but he lost out to Andre Marrou for the spot. He would have made a great president. Been so long that I've misplaced his name! Or lost that brain cell. (And I made no smart ass remark about Dave's growing influence, I really didn't!!)

I've since decided that the LP hasn't a good solution. Their naivety in certain of their stands does not a good match make in today's world; for one, their idea of completely wide open borders with absolutely no controls. Their philosophy on finance also seems a precursor to the mess we have going on today. The world isn't ready.

Honorary Member of the Denny Crane for President National committee.

David Brin said...

Tolo, your subsequent postings were articulate and well-formulated and easy to read, so welcome to the blogmunity!

Nevertheless, I don't buy it. You are thrashing around making up just-so stories about what MIGHT be going on below the surface, in order to explain how the two parties can look so different, while still fitting your beloved cynical image.

Sorry. They do have some overlaps and collusions -- gerrymandering, for instance, which is a crime committed against citizens by the entire political caste, completely apart from arguments about policy or theft.

But no, there aren't many more. Because dems are inept at keeping secrets. And because there are just too many diametric opposites between the two to be denied or pushed aside.

The American republic always does far better under democrats, period, by nearly all metrics, including the ones the neocons tout so flamboyantly, like the military or Pax Americana. The correlation is vastly too overwhelming.

And - get this - if the dems governing us well is part of some secret-master plot? Well then that's a better set of secret masters than the ones who have been relentlessly, consistently and (perhaps) deliberately destroying this nation, top to bottom.

Am I pissed as hell that Pelosi et al have been ineffectual and not followed my advice?


Acacia H. said...

Which is the arrogance of the critic, when you think of it. I'm the same way. I review a story or a webcomic and when the writer or cartoonist continues blithely down his or her path without having the consideration to realize I'm right and they're wrong... hey, it's annoying. ;)

There's an old saying. If you want something done right, do it yourself. However, seeing that the path to Pelosi's position of power is not an easy one... perhaps she has a good reason for the path she's chosen.

And as I constantly tell myself, just because a critic says something doesn't mean it's right. Often it's best for each person to make up his or her mind on their own. Your ideas are good... but perhaps there are reasons why they aren't chosen.

Or maybe Pelosi just doesn't know you exist. ;)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Hrm. You mean... she... might not even have READ my suggestions? MINE? Oh perish the thought! ;-)

matthew said...

McCain's statement last night about 3 mil$ in earmarks to the Alder planatarium were lies

McCain: "While we were working to eliminate these pork barrel earmarks he (Senator Obama) voted for nearly $1 billion in pork barrel earmark projects. Including $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?"

Here is the statement released by the Adler planetarium in response:


With a nod and a wink (and !lies! - the appropriation was not an earmark), McCain shows his base that he'll continue their attack on science. Was it a coincidence that McCain targeted a planatarium? ..hearty laugh..

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Well, really, if we just bought the whole Afghan opium crop, and then traded it to the Chinese for silk and tea cups....


Whatever the hell the Spice happens to be this century. Tin, salt, saffron, cinnamon, silk, opium, tea, tabacco, coal, petroleum, it all works.

Anonymous said...

In Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina, as many as two voters have been purged for every new registration this year.

It is, under Federal Law, illegal to purge a voter within 90 days of an election unless they die or notify election officials they have moved out of state.

From what I understand, some of these people have been purged because their Social Security card spells out "Junior" and their registration card used "Jr.". A 70 year old man in Nevada was Purged for not putting III (the third) on his voter registration, although it appears on his SS card (gee...wonder why he stopped using it...at 70).

Many of these purges are entirely illegal, having occured after the 90 day limit.

Links are too long. Use google-fu. The AP is finally covering it.

If you know anyone in these six states, tell them to get in touch with their country registrar NOW and not back off untill they know they are still registered. This cannot wait untill they show up at the polls. Make sure they notify friends and family.

Also, the use of SS data in the first place may or may not have been illegal.

I don't think they're trying to steal the Presidential Election this time. I think the goal is to prevent the stunning repudiation of neo-con dogma they would otherwise face, and to save a few House and Senate seats.

Matt DeBlass said...

The New York Times finally has a piece on purging voter rolls http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/us/politics/09voting.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Of course there are some voices chiming in to make sure "unqualified people don't vote"

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Expect a bounce today, and sustained on Friday. Friday afternoon should go slightly down again.

It's a good time to get out of the Market if you haven't already. This is not a game for the little guys. Every dealer is pulling from the bottom of the deck right now and hoping there is honor amongst thieves. If they could sell everything and found someone to buy it -- they would.

I think the main mitigating factor from a 100% sell-off is that now the game of chicken going up to see how big CDS and derivatives could be, is a game of chicken going down.

>> Dr. Brin, don't be so hard on Lucerne. While I am proud to support the Democrats and have for some time -- there has to be some collusion, or somehow the Dems are compromised. If Pelosi was just giving Bush enough rope to hang the Republicans with - she doesn't know what she is messing with or how low he will go.

If Obama only gets 5-10% of a lead on McCain, he will win an close election with lots of controversy. If it is around 12% over McCain, McCain will win with riots in the streets. If Obama gets 15% lead -- expect the darker side of BushCo to come out. Because they are playing double-up, betting a lifetime in jail against being the riches SOBs on the planet. With perhaps trillions in stolen loot, the NeoCons don't need to win the election to influence all politics from here on out. Kicking the Republicans out of office is just knocking off one head on this hydra. And they love the different heads to pretend to be enemies.

So the best thing is less than a 10% lead for Obama -- right up to a few days before the election, when he pulls way ahead. Giving BushCo little time for their tricks.

I've heard that in some states, almost 1 in 5 voters has been purged.... in 2006, they stole between 5 million to 7 million votes. We really have to depend upon Republicans waking up and smelling the coffee to route their leadership.

What we have seen so far, is nothing compared to how bad this can get -- this is just the gas fumes in the tank and conservation of motion trying to get this bus past November elections. After that, the real consequences of 36 years of Reaganomics and outsourcing will be in our headlights.

>> People seem to be confused about the media, because they seem to report both sides -- at least for the pillow fights. They don't report the criminal activity, the maneuvers of the key players that lead up to our collapsing stock market. The Media is Corporate and driven by the interests of the corporations that own the media. Right now they are reporting the car crash, but hiding the bodies from view. Nothing to see, move along....

>> I thought the Sheriff refusing to evict was a good sign. There is a good chance, if people come together, that we can shortcut the process that our "Leaders" went through in the great Depression to finally realize that a bottom up approach is the only one that actually creates value. Rich people shuffle paper and organize things -- they don't create value (sorry, that is a sweeping generalization, but the assumption for the last 30 years is that valuable people make more money -- take a look at what most of the great inventors died with and tell me that).

But it is going to get worse before it gets better. The BEST thing would be to punish those that created this mess for their own gain -- history tells us that crime doesn't pay, unless it is a really big crime. The best way to rob a bank is to own one. Keating got a slap on the wrist for cleaning out his entire bank -- the exception to the rule.

Acacia H. said...

On a positive note, President Bush has signed orders meant to ease a transition of administrations. A lot of naysayers have been claiming that the Shrub would pull something like martial law or the like to stay in office. While signing this order might be obfuscation to hide their desire to remain in power, I suspect otherwise.

In all likelihood, Bush and his cronies know it's a done deal that Obama will get in. They're pillaging what's left that they can reach, and then getting out of Dodge. What's more, they're leaving Obama (or McCain) with a huge mess to clean up... and if it is Obama that gets in, then they're likely hoping that things will get so bad that in 2012 the Republicans will have a resurgence and regain control of the U.S.

After all, why use force when you can use stupidity and misery for your weapons?

Rob H.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

From UrbanSurvival.com;
"But capital alone is not worth of credit, unless associated with moral qualities in the tradesman; for a prudent man of great industry, integrity, and knowledge in his business is more worthy of credit without capital, than a rich man ignorant in his business...
Persons who begin with large capitals do not succeed, generally speaking, so well as those who begin with small ones cautiously administered..."
As long as the little guys can climb faster than the 'old rich' you've got a workable political proposition. What the Framer's of America had in mind. When you don't, you end up with an uberklassen and unterklassen with a corrupt police layer between. If that's not clear enough, go look at the downtrodden masses globally with no upward migration path. When hard work doesn't pay off, you get revolution and extremism.

So when people realize that their hard work and playing by the rules did not matter -- and the pointing the finger at their neighbors for getting a line of credit on their homes doesn't seem to redirect the ire when they notice that Paulson has $900 Million and someone has to get it through their thick heads; "Always follow the money." We are going to have a real changing dynamic in the public.

>> You are going to keep hearing about the bottom being reached on the TV. If there is no liquidity no matter how low interest rates go from the Fed what does that mean? The bankers don't think you can pay it back. Why? Because they don't believe we have reached the bottom.

The markets cannot instantly collapse because you have to have a buyer. People are not desperate enough to sell for $1. The CDS and Derivatives market are fantasy football money, and nobody can cash out because that is the only place in the world where there is enough money to buy it -- they can't cash out.

The only way the smart money can get a buyer for their fantasy money, is to create a problem for mainstreet, such that governments will buy them out. That is the last sucker with enough money to ease their pain. All the governments in the world, however, don't have enough money. Billionaires on paper will have to settle for being Millionaires in cash and they can not reconcile that.

Meanwhile, the Uber-NeoCons who are smarter than the merely greedy, understand the relativity of money (I'm guessing these people are at least smarter than me), and will be orchestrating the collapses with attacks on the over-leveraged. Since they have friends in the regulatory and government agencies overseeing the money -- they can get the penny stocks and hope for a buy out.

Many big banks will become a few huge ones. Even if we get rid of all the NeoCons in politics, with a few Trillion Dollars -- they will OWN the political system if it remains as it is. With that much money, they can afford their own armies -- especially if everyone goes out of work.

This game is for total world domination -- not how much money is left. It is all relative anyway. If you can make someone poorer, your cash is worth more. The trick will be to make everyone confused about who everyone is in debt to and for what reason. If they can keep us busy enough looking for food -- that would work too.

Naomi Klein has been the best prognosticator on this unfolding with her book; "Disaster Capitalism." They have all these plans sitting around, and implement them whenever a disaster happens. You don't need to create the disaster -- just be ready to profit from them. But it is clear that Paulson and Bernanke were either stupid or criminal -- isn't that always the question in our minds these past 8 years? Does it matter which? The $900 Million in Paulson's pocket makes me think he isn't stupid.

After each government "investment" or bail out, you will see money get out. That's fantasy money traded for ours.

>> If we don't convict these people under the law, they will have so much money that they can fix elections or make the outcome pointless. More money than the top ten industries in the world is influence and control.

Look at the pattern, and WHY we get a tax cut and go into a war that costs ten times what it should because they outsourced everything. Even the relatively rich in this country are going to realize they were suckers. But it is hard when you've got so many fantasy dollars and stars in your eyes.

>> The people at work are suddenly NOT thinking I'm silly anymore. That worries me as much as anything.

Fake_William_Shatner said...


That they are stealing enough and getting out of dodge may be Plan C for them. Plan A would be to steal the election. Plan B would be, that failing to steal the election, they stay in power anyway.

With all that they have stolen, we will need all the Democrats that have not been compromised as we can get -- because an impoverished country with perhaps Trillions in the hands of the Robber Barons is still not in control.

>> I think their crimes are so great, and their paranoia so complete -- that they cannot risk their future on Obama. The US will have to be in turmoil, too busy to go after them, if the Democrats get control.

I don't think a lot of Dems are cynical enough because they suspect that the NeoCons are much like them. They couldn't be more wrong.

Anonymous said...

I too have frequently said there's little difference between the Democrats and Republicans, but that's not really true. The most significant difference in traits: The Republicans are corrupt; The Democrats are incompetent.

Frankly, it's hard for me to say which is worse. Certainly the problems of the last two years have been exacerbated by having a corrupt President and an incompetent Congress. (Who knows what an incompetent President AND Congress can accomplish... We may find out soon - Woohoo I just can't wait to see. Not.)

But on what is, IMHO, the single key trait that is most important to me, both parties are 100% dyed-in-the-wool identical twins: They both want to increase the power of government to their own purposes. Their purposes may be different, but the desire to increase the power of government is exactly the same.

I will give the Dems credit though -- they're more willing to admit that, even though they cloak their power grabs in programs designed to gain them brownie points from the masses. The Republicans have been doing this as well, but they're less willing to admit it, especially to themselves.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

@Steve B said...

Please read; http://www.davidbrin.com/ostrich2a.html

and THEN get back to us so we don't have to waste time here on the same old "they are all the same" talking points.

Anyone paying attention knows there is a difference between Dems and Reps.
The only competency I've seen in the past 20 years from Republicans has been in stealing things, then acting like it was a big mistake or finding a way to blame whatever Sandy Burger put in his pants. Who benefitted, who got away with something? Which one of these groups is about de-regulation ALWAYS?

Now, the Dems have NOT been doing their job by filibustering everything Bush proposes and we have to wonder why. But the big difference I see between Dems and Reps is that we Democrats and Progressives are pissed as hell and don't like our Democrats not following our ideals -- and the Republican leaders, did exactly what they said and made Republicans happy in a quasi-relgious-racist-fascist manner and THAT IS WHAT FAILED, and still, Conservatives blame Democrats -- but only when they've engaged in Conservative ideals -- like getting rid of the Glass/Stegall act -- which Clinton didn't have much choice on with a Republican Senate and House and Prosecutor. Did Liberals LIKE the NAFTA scam? Did we LIKE letting banks play in risky finance ventures in the 80's and 2000's -- Hell no. We've done very little but Reagonomics/Globalism/Thatcherism for 30 years and there is no more debt that can be put on consumers to keep this party going.

You have one doctor who is fat but diets, and another doctor who is fat but tells you to eat ice cream. Hint; the second doctor is going to make you fat. Stop waiting for perfect and just choose better.

And Dems have not been "big government/bit taxers." Bill Clinton, FDR and JFK did a lot to reduce the size of government and cut taxes for the middle classes and helped move budgets toward the black. To the Conservatives apparently, growing the size of our military is NOT government -- how is that? Or outsourcing at twice or more the price -- is that GOOD government? Printing more money is worse than taxing you more -- because you don't pay for the costs and can't control them, but apparently, Conservatives don't pay attention beyond what they send to the IRS and don't notice the increase in fines, fees, bake sales, utility costs, and everything else as a byproduct of low taxes and high spending.

Cliff said...

My impression of Hitchen's piece was that he was advocating buying opium crops in order to provide income to Afghanistan, and help rebuild it. The "War on Drugs" thing seemed purely incidental.

But I agree that Hitchens is, in general, a vile toad.

Acacia H. said...

The Dow plummeted 679 points today. Zorgon... are you perhaps interested in revamping your theory about a second Great Depression here? I think things are going to be getting far far worse before they get any better.

I foresee one thing in the future as a result of the stock market going into freefall. I think it's going to be at least 10 years before you see small investors going into the market once again. So many people have been burned, and quite bad, that we may very well see 401(k) plans going the way of the dodo (with the plans currently out there being the last remnants that will fade, one by one, like white dwarf stars in an ancient galaxy).

If it gets much worse... I honestly don't know if there will be anyone left in the Republican party. All of the moderates will abandon it for the Democrats and the remnants will exist in some southern states, voted in by the religious right and a few die-hards who refuse to go Democrat, no matter what.

But I'm not sure if the Democrats will be in any better condition in two to four years.

Rob H.

Killing Moon said...

America's Future: Secure.

The proof, Part 1 & Part 2.

Woozle said...

(my apologies if this has already been discussed; no time to catch up on the comments)

Does anyone have any thoughts on this video? It's an interview with writer Naomi Wolf, who basically argues that a coup has taken place and we have a very narrow window in which to prevent the coup-ers from finalizing their grab.

I'm sure some of you will find it rampant paranoia, but if so could you please be specific: in what factual areas does her conclusion fail to be reasonable?

Hoping I'm just overreacting, but pre-fall flashback scenes from The Postman are going through my head...

David Brin said...

Y'know, it's kind of funny being the calm paranoic.

I disagree with Wolfe that we've tumbled off the edge, when it comes to civil liberties etc. Despite aberrations like Guantanamo, etc, I don't see any sign that "they" are interested in or capable of hauling us off to camps.

If anything became anywhere near that overt, the great mass of civil servants, who would be asked to enforce such an order, would rise up in revolt. There aren't enough troops left in the Homeland to hold even one city. Maybe two if all the troops came home from Iraq... but most of them would either desert or join the revolution!

No, as usual, Wolfe and her pals are missing the point. This putsch is not an attempted takeover (though some members of the Cabal -- the fundies -- want that, and will feel betrayed when they don't get it.

No, what we are seeing at a higher level is a Great Kleptocratic Raid. An attempt to steal the republic blind, while the core group represses the civil servants and all rule of law, so it can be done with impunity. Followed by the Great Pardon Tsunami.

And then, like Halliburton, they all renew their charters as companies based in Dubai and take Emirates citizenship. They know they cannot hold onto America. But they can rape it.

Up to there, the case is clear. Oh, but it MIGHT go higher and more evil than that. While the Fundies dream of a coup, like Naomi Wolfe describes, and maintain the 25% who still worship W, and will spiral off into orgies of McVeigh-violence when they find out they've been betrayed... and while the kleptos scurry off to the Gulf, to become bonded servants of the Saudi Royal House...

... there remains the strong - if minority- theory as to what has REALLY happened here. The Klepto rape was only a means to an end. So was Culture War, driving the Old Confederacy and its outposts into a state of savage lunacy that will tear us apart from within. Both of these were methods, used by a central, small and very secretive core group.

You know who I mean. and what they have done.

Oh... but it's only a theory.

Acacia H. said...

I didn't do it.
Nobody saw me do it.
And nobody can prove a thing. ^^

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

I've often imagined "Community" or something like that, a Brin tale of people sticking together through The Fall. A "prequel", but easily set in a totally different part of America in the same "world".

After all, we have to ask why the Fall wasn't harder, don't we? Why there were still strong communities clinging to the notions of decency and community?

The story of those who through the absolute hell of a society blowing up around them, ravaged by disease and famine, stayed human and kept their town alive, refused to join the survivalists, refused to turn away the needy who ALSO had the skills they needed to survive...

But, Hey, I just dream. A guy has to write his own thing.

The honest truth is, I'm not entirely certain this is still the Nation that made it through the Depression. People are living in tent cities, and 30 year olds are bitching about 401k losses.

I remember my grandfather getting kind of choked up when he saw a locked dumpster behind a resturant. The first thing he learned working as a box-boy in his Uncles grocery store during the Depression was to put the garbage in the bottom of the can, the papers and carboard and stuff next, and then to put things like wormy apples on top.

Are we any longer a nation of people who are willing to do that much?

I hope, but I don't know.

Stay Human.

Anonymous said...

Jester, missile silos may still be purchased in the lower 48 for pennies on the dollar. A commodious nuke-proof habitat for your "Community".

Or buy a boat and plenty of fishing line.

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Anonymous said...

Rethugnican't -

Dude, you understand I was talking about a "Brin tale" I would enjoy reading, right?

Woozle said...

"Only a theory" -- you mean, like evolution? ;-) Like evolution, the Kleptocratic Raid theory has been accumulating masses of evidence to the point where it now seems almost blindingly obvious to me. The playground bullies have taken over the main office and are running the place like a cross between a Mafia "protection" scam and a... well, a gang of unimaginative* thieves who have managed to acquire more power than any thieves in history. All Ur Lunch Munneez Are Belong To Us. (*unimaginative in some ways; frightfully creative when it comes to "gaming" Democracy and generally wrecking things so we are increasingly dependent on their hoarded resources.)

I do hope you're right, Dr.B, about Wolf being wrong, because I currently lack the resources to do anything about it if she's right (and my Plan For Saving The World is still bubbling away in the laboratory, not yet in any condition to deal with a problem on the scope of Wolf's scenario).

Zorgon: This makes me glad that we've been buying local food wherever possible for the past few years, and are on friendly terms with several local farmers. (Of course, I have to wonder: are local farmers locally self-sufficient, or do they too depend on imported goods to keep their farms running?)

Anonymous said...

So, not only has the NSA been tapping officers and servicemen having erotic conversations with their mates back home, they've been passing them around for a good laugh.

They've also been tapping the communications of the ICRC and Doctors without Borders, and using these conversation to determine where to launch strikes - so that widespread mistrust of aid workers and the suspicion that they're spies is explained.

I wonder how many aid workers have been killed because of the mistrust this created?



I'm just so darn glad Obama backed down on FISA...damnit.

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Unknown said...

Zorgon said: Anecdotal reports now confirm that freighters around the world are stuck in port.....

Anyone know if this is having an impact on oil movement? This would be the biggy. I tried to find data but not successful it. This would have a far greater impact than food which we produce in excess. Of course, we do have a long supply line for oil, well, I hope.. Effects might be delayed if true.

Anonymous said...


I keep coming back here to read you even when I am not in a posting mood. Yours is such an exotic blend of singing truth and frothy nonsense. You are like the impassioned street preacher with fire in his eyes railing at the bourgeois that they are in line not for theater tickets but for the tortures of perdition.

But in troubled times such as these we all are a bit less certain of where the truth/froth interface lies....

The sun came up again today. By the standards of most citizens of the third world our pets live like minor royalty (clean water! shelter! regular food and medical care!).

If Zorgon is in fact a dualistic nom-de-cursor for our esteemed host then I would say that the proposed Postman prequel will write itsself.*

Iraq war no longer a campaign issue. Oil prices in free fall. Global financial crisis bankrupts Iceland. Iceland!

Nobody honest really knows what is going to happen next.


*and if that happens to be anywhere near the mark, tell me not!

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Robert said...

The Dow plummeted 679 points today. Zorgon... are you perhaps interested in revamping your theory about a second Great Depression here? I think things are going to be getting far far worse before they get any better.

To be the life of the party -- everyone likes someone who is positive. I can pretend to be for short periods of time.

When you look at the Straussian's behind the NeoCons -- and PLEASE look up that word and its history, and the foreign interests like the Moonies who have backed Free Trade think tanks and the Iranians financially backing the Alaskan Separatists, and Ukrainian separatists backing various Bush family companies along with the Saudis -- it's obvious to at least some, who is going to do the most damage to this country.

>> Let me once again paint a scenario:
>The Spanish have bought up major roads.
>The Oil Companies aren't investing in drill bits but in Municipal Water Supplies.
>Saudi Arabia and Dubai are buying up Weapons Manufacturing Plants -- yes, and even our nuclear bomb production is privatized now and the security guards went on strike because of unfit working conditions for engineers -- no kidding.
>Blackwater, is a private Mercenary army.
>The US imports about 40% of its oil.
>The US now imports food.
>The US is the largest imported of finished goods and exporter of materials.
>We owe most countries where in 1929 most countries owed us money.

>> This time we are NOT in as good a situation as we were in the 1930's.

It is great to expect the best -- but you need to plan for the worst. I expected a global financial meltdown two years ago, I did not expect China and other countries to keep lending, but they've been selling the decking on this ship to keep it going -- we have been hollowed out. The defaults on home loans was not the cause -- only the straw that broke the camels back (to mix metaphors).

>> The Domino effect of money-tightening has not been thought through. Due to Just-in-time marketing, and the taxing of stored products, most supply chains have 3 days of storage. It took 3 days for Georgia to run out of gas after Ike. If there is no credit, then people won't be able to buy groceries, and a lot of things will stop shipping.

Now, if there were a government around that knew how to deal with an emergency -- they would just declare certain things keep shipping and that companies could guarantee payments by holding receipts -- or something. But this government doesn't know how or will have no interest in doing so. They didn't know how to stop this meltdown or had no interest.

So, if anyone thinks that this isn't going to get really serious when we have fools/and or Crooks at the helm -- please think again.

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Acacia H. said...

You know, Zorgon... after reading your posts today, I need a drink. A very strong drink. Something with more alcohol than the Scotch I traditionally drink.

I have to think that things are not that bad. I have to believe that there is still hope. I need to have that tiny glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, things can truly change for the better.

I'd love to see Obama President... and for his first acts in office to be the repeal of the Patriot Acts and other abusive executive powers. If he does that... then he will go down in history as perhaps the greatest President that the U.S. has ever had. Because it is not enough to have power and not to use it. You need to eliminate that power for the future... because not all Presidents may be so restrained in utilizing the power that the Shrub has gathered.

You know... people deride prayer and faith and magic and all of that... but not only does it comfort those who use it... it may actually work. At the very least, on a psychological level. Why are stocks plummeting? Because people have lost faith in the economy and believe we are going into another Great Depression... and are thus bringing it about through their actions, based on that belief.

Conversely... maybe it's time to shift focus and pray to something greater... because it doesn't matter if there is a God/Goddess or not, it doesn't matter if faith and prayer and magic exists or not, what matters is the mindset these beliefs bring about... which alter how WE act and in turn helps us act and behave in a manner that will bring stability to our markets and lives.

So I think I'm going to pray. Perhaps we all should... to the entity of our choice. Psychologically at least it'll have an effect on us... and in turn bring about a change on a local level to the world around us.

Each step helps.

Rob H.

Fake_William_Shatner said...


>> Unfortunately, this won't work. If people force a work-stoppage to try and send the message, the inevitable lock up in the markets will be blamed on those unruly hippies. We notice how "do gooders" were blamed for banks being forced to loan to poor people. Wow, a 3% default rate going to 4% really crushed their market. Did Clinton force lenders to give mortgages to illegal immigrants without Social Security Numbers too? Ask the "other minority" how easy it was for them to get loans and how great their rates were. People default more when you charge them more -- so where did THAT money go?
I'm listening to Neal Boortz for the 5 minutes I can stand him this morning. He is -- as predicted -- jumping all over the Acorn conspiracy. You see, an organization registering voters that occasionally passes on what they think are fraudulent registrations (like "Donald Duck"), to authorities, means that the Republicans have to have 15 federal prosecutors investigate ACORN -- rather than Wall Street. So they will claim, when their voter purges and electronic machines, fail to manipulate the vote the 15% they will need to win, that a few dozen people who registered twice is going to give Obama the election.
If the Repugs cannot steal this election, they are going to wreck the country and create unrest so that their Banksters and Robber Barons and traitorous politicians can get away under cover of the chaos. They will try and get their Base to attack some scapegoat. -- You know, like the people trying to warn everyone, or the people trying to end the war and promote peace, or to promote fair elections and participation in Democracy.
These SOBs planted in the Media and Think Tanks and paraded on financial shows have worked both ends for some time -- THEY frame the debate. The debate isn't about $63 Trillion in CDS -- it's about a few billion at Fanni Mae. Look, any one of these companies can be taken out if enough leverage is used to short them. The coordination and size of companies like Goldman Sacks and other banks can take out countries.
If I could, I'd move some money into Pesos -- because I expect that all the worlds currencies are going to go down. So look at currencies that have depreciated already. I expect interest rates to go up, and home values to go down further -- is THAT going to make the Derivatives and CDS market more stable? Who is going to buy these federal notes that are used to pay for the bailouts anyway?
>> The best thing we can do is find as many Conservatives and NeoCons right now and talk to them about "what do you plan to do?" They are in shell shock right now -- or will be shortly. You might be worried, but for 30 years, most of these folks have based their world view on a lie -- a corporate paradigm that was intended to get rid of the pesky middle class. These people are going to be willing to listen now -- I've seen it. They need to know WHY it went wrong and that someone is going to try and convince them to go after the wrong scapegoat.
But a protest? Give me a break. Democratic opposition is illegal unless you get 10 permits and sit inside a fenced yard 2 miles from anyone who might be annoyed. If you do get some attention, you will get arrested and the media will tell the story for you. Don't you crazy hippies know that?

I leave you with this;
9:53 - Again, for the second day, no OMO (Open Market Operations) at The Fed. Read this report carefully. Note that there are no Agencies and no Treasuries left on The Fed's balance sheet. All gone. All that is left is $80 billion of crappy MBS. Bluntly, without printing raw money, The Fed is out of Treasuries with which to lend into the market, and thus cannot perform OMO any more; they must do "other things" (like print money.) We are now officially into the twilight zone and Fed Solvency is an issue on the table. President Bush spoke again but none one word about forcing transparency among financial institutions. Raise cash now and be prepared for potential essential good and service disruptions as the supply pipelines could begin to go dry on these as soon as early next week.
So, expect the dollar to lose value. This is how you play world domination folks.

Anonymous said...

@william_shatner said:

Please read; http://www.davidbrin.com/ostrich2a.html

and THEN get back to us so we don't have to waste time here on the same old "they are all the same" talking points.

...as if I hadn't read it a half dozen times before (including when it was first written). I in fact agree with it.

What I've pointed out in the past is that yes, while Bush and his cronies are indeed responsible for what David has written there, not every Republican is Bush. Still, the piece makes excellent fodder for more resonable Republicans to get off their bums and try to reform the party from the inside.

My agreement with David on that piece does NOT mean I'm going to blindly vote Democrat, however. Yes, there are flaws in the Republican party, but I seriously disagree with David that a mass anti-Republican approach will accompish any real change in the party -- parties are changed from inside forces. External forces tend to cause the extremists in the party to gain more control. So I respectfully decline to use David's piece as the *sole* reason to vote Democrat or encourage others to do so.

Which doesn't mean I wouldn't vote Democrat. I in fact voted for Gore and Kerry because I knew what a lousy Republican Bush would be and was. But I find myself in the opposite stance today - I think McCain is a *much* more reasonable Republican, and Obama is a *much* less reasonable Democrat than either Gore or Kerry were.

See, the problem is, while David has done a great job of defining the problems with the Republican party, he's missed a huge opportunity to do the *same* for Ostrich Democrats. There's a lot of reasonable Democrats out there who need their eyes opened to their own party issues. No, they haven't been in solid control in a long time, which means their major flaws haven't been so obvious. But look at what they *try* to do and it's just as scary as the excesses of the Republicans.

Because you also missed the point I was making -- not about both parties wanting to increase the *size* of government, but instead the *power* of government, which is a very different thing. And not one word in David's paper makes me think that the Democrats don't want to do that just as much as the Republicans -- they're just trying to do it differently.

Woozle said...

McCain is "reasonable"?? Wow. You need a drink. I highly recommend regular doses of tequila until you sober up.

Not that I expect it will do any good; I've come to the conclusion that we will just have to find a way to work around people who aren't particularly interested in facts.

Acacia H. said...

@Steve B

So. Riling up your base to shout out death threats against your opposition and painting them to be terrorists and a threat to national security is reasonable? I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that, could you say that again please?

It almost feels like McCain is riling up his base so that when he loses, and it seems just about a foregone case due to his recent actions, people will rise up and start rioting. Martial law will be enacted to calm the situation, and pretty much we'll have the Shrub remaining in power until "things calm down" and people can accept a black president.

I honestly cannot see Obama doing the same if the situation was reversed. He wasn't pulling out all stops when he was behind in the polls. He wasn't advocating (or even tolerating) suggestions of violence when he was losing. He was telling people to calm down and to act rationally. Yet he's not as reasonable as McCain, who is advocating rioting through his inability to even suggest to people to calm down?!?

Don't let your fear of the Democrats blind you to the damage McCain is threatening to do to this country, just because things aren't going his way. I mean, I'm a social libertarian... and yet I see Obama as a far better choice for my social liberties and personal freedoms than McCain and the Republicans.

Under the Republicans we have had the Patriot Act and a number of other laws that take away our rights. Yet you fear the Democrats would be worse?


Just because they're Democrats?

Perhaps it's time to sit down and take a long hard impartial look at both political parties and what they have and have not done recently... and decide just which one is actually a threat to your civil liberties and personal freedom.

Rob H.

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Fake_William_Shatner said...

Steve B,

Sorry if you already read the Ostrich piece. But I still think you don't GET what it indicates. There are too many corrupt Dems, but based upon their platform alone, Republicans are dangerous.

There were also good Germans during WW II, and we had some nasty people on our side. Your point about some bad Dems and some good Republicans fails to appreciate the fact that we are kind of in a clandestine war.

If the Robber Barons make off with the Loot and NeoCons don't go to jail -- they will plague us forever. Depreciating our assets and snapping them up, or forever supporting "think tanks" that help a Corporate media smear us with propaganda. You have to cut out cancer and we are at stage 3 right now.

Sorry to put it like "you are either with us or against us." But we cannot afford ANY Republicans right now, and I hope they go the way of the Whig party. Conservatives have always been on the side of the Crown historically, and they've done nothing but adopt a thin veneer of rhetoric to cover up their true aims; destruction of the Middle Classes.

Once we have Democracy back, and a tighter reign over corporations -- then sure, go ahead and vote for the Torries, the Libertarians or the Green Party. Right now, we need all oars in the water.

And Mr. Brin, can you please do something about getting the Libertarians to denounce that hand tool John Stossil; http://www.crooksandliars.com/node/23298 -- he is doing another of his Corporatist hit jobs on voting while young.

And take out Neal Boortz while you are at it. All he ever does is pretend to be a Libertarian, and support whatever Fascist Republican comes down the line. He is now harping on Acorn and promoting the lie of voter fraud, as North Carolina and Virginia and Georgia use SS records to throw hundreds of thousands of voters off the roles. In some states there are fewer people who can legally vote than there were in 2006. Thanks -- you would win my undying gratitude and add some legitimacy to Libertarianism. These huge phonies are just around to frame the debate as if there were any other reason involved.

Anonymous said...

... zorgon, your analysis is broken.

The FDIC is broke. And this is not a liquidity crisis -- it is a solvency crisis.

I could read through more of your dreck, but when you fail to recognize the fundamental issues, well, I hope your history is more accurate!

Cliff said...

I think McCain is a *much* more reasonable Republican, and Obama is a *much* less reasonable Democrat than either Gore or Kerry were.


Wait, wait...So you mean, threatening to go to war with Iran is reasonable?

Threatening to kick Russia out of the G8 is reasonable?

How about going to war with them over a pissant nation like Georgia?

Or maybe refusing to talk to Syria, when Israel is already engaging in talks?

But Obama wants to engage in diplomacy before we bomb the shit out of people.

Hmmmm. Yeah, I can see where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to an economy held hostage by our financial institutions.

Paulson Knows This, Krugman Knows This -- our foremost economists (even the crazy liberals) supported this failout.

It didn't work.

So they tried a rate cut.

That didn't work.

The best people in the world are out of ideas... and the world is ending around us. This will be the end of the world as we know it.

Do enjoy your tea though!

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Brin said...
After 14 years of America being bullied by dogmatically incurious assholes who were absolutely sure of absolutely everything (and wrong about 90% of it)... and the last 8 years of it being utterly dominated by a team of lying, thieving traitors who surrounded themselves with yes-men (the same ones McCain NOW surrounds himself with), I am sick of being ruled by smugly certain incurious morons. And you should be, too.

Hey, with talk like that, you can sip Scotch and Smoke a cigar on my porch any day.

>> And speaking of curious -- the Stock Market went up before close and Goldman Sachs got shorted. Is this a possibility of oversight or the Plunge Protection Team in action? Anyway, it's the first bit of daylight. There are just too many things that can still go wrong.

>> And the main failing of the Dems in this mess, is they are letting Paulson and other "market geniuses" scare them into supporting bad ideas. Too trusting and desperate. Banks failing is not the end of the world. I suppose they held a gun to the economy's head and sprayed gasoline on the floor of the exchange. "Bail us out or we kill this Economy." In the movie version, a cute little kitty will play the economy.

>> Zorgon, good stuff as usual.
Anonymous said...

... zorgon, your analysis is broken.

The FDIC is broke. And this is not a liquidity crisis -- it is a solvency crisis.

Anonymous -- it is EVERY kind of crisis. And you can't carry the Molevolent one's Jock Strap with a full dose of steroids -- if 'Anonymous' really is your name...

-- fake William Shatner

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Speaking of incurious assholes... This could really help our pockets and the economy; Creationist offering $7.5 trillion if you prove evolution

>> Anyone up for it? I think when they mean "proof" unlike the two distinct species of Cyclids forming in lake Victoria right now from a previous single, species that could mate,... they are talking about; "Prove it to me such that it gets through my thick skull."

... if they would sign a waiver, I'll get back to the with a 1/8" drill and some water-boarding paraphernalia.

>> ON the upside, it appears that there is work on using Mushrooms of all things, to create fuel cell batteries. I wonder if they are the purple ones that grow in cow patties? They are at least purple.

Acacia H. said...

You know... those are rather pretty mushrooms. It's funny. Mother Nature sometimes takes the simplest of things and adds a splash of color to make it truly beautiful.

It may be the end of the financial world as we know it... but nature now... she'll continue. And the more we learn about the world around us... the more we're learning that we need to conserve our environment and work to preserve the world around us. Because not only is it beautiful... but there are many uses in even the simplest of things.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Hurry over to http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ and skim down a page, where you can catch a guest editorial by Rany Jazayerli, concerning how Osama Bin Laden -- who influenced our US elections on October 29, 2004, by railing against Bush (thus helping him) will almost certainly release a tape during the next few weeks, attempting to do the same thing.

"The McCain campaign has already to label Obama as the preferred choice of Muslim terrorists everywhere. Back in April, McCain seized on favorable comments about Obama by a member of Hamas, stating, “If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.” There’s no doubt the McCain campaign will pounce if bin Laden pops up with similar remarks. (It would hardly be a surprise if Hamas truly favors Obama, given that the Muslim world – and the rest of the world, for that matter – overwhelmingly favors him.)

"With McCain lagging in the polls, bin Laden might even try a Hail Mary – with Sarah Palin on the ballot, I’d imagine that he’ll throw in some misogynistic comments about how a woman’s place is inside the home and that a nation led by a woman is sure to be cursed by God. (Which would be particularly rich if he goes that route, given that he’s probably holed up somewhere in Pakistan, where they’ve already had a female chief executive.) And then there’s the worst-case scenario: while Obama’s lead is substantial enough that he probably could weather a bin Laden appearance, the real game-changer would be if – God forbid – bin Laden is able to launch another terrorist attack on U.S. soil."

==== Further paranoia. I believe it is not only time to talk about the "pardon tsunami" but also the ultimate "fuck you" from President Bush to the nation... if he were to resign a week ahead of the inauguration and force us to admit, into the registry of chief executives, "President Richard Cheney."

Sure, it's unlikely -- W will want to squeeze out every last "hail to the chief." Still, this has advantages from his point of view. It would:

1- let him pay off all debts to Cheney (and do you doubt RC has "leverage"?)
2- let him stick it to the historians and to the 75% who consider him "worst ever."
3- let him get HIS OWN PARDON from Prex Cheney, after he has pardoned Cheney and a thousand others.

The latter reason may be compelling. Of course, this would sink the Republican brand into the toilet so low that -- under a parliamentary system -- Obama would call immediate new elections and finish the GOP forever. Alas, that can't happen. But watch for major recall drives.... Oh, I'm just daydreaming aloud.

===Woozle, you know that I hold a 40% theory that there's a LOT more going on than a Klepto Raid. Mere kleptos would not have striven so hard to kill the golden goose.

=== Zorgon's Marine corporals... har! Though I'd make it a Navy Chief Petty officer. The Marine can guard her. OTOH, I wish you would moderate your tone, re the Police. This is a public forum and obviously "scanned" and I cannot countenance possible libel. I believe 95% of cops are still professionals. In fact, we absolutely count on that. Still, we need a return to a culture OF professionalism, or the rotten apples will make the barrel ever-more like Mexico.
As for your more colorful remarks just below that... well... I am still fuming and trying to decide whether to banish you for a week. It may happen, and not a single other list member will stand up and say I was wrong to do so. You owe me and my family a BIG and grovelling apology, right now. And don't pretend you don't know what I mean.

Bad Zorgon-minus! Bad dog.

==== Steve B -- I respect your position. But you really seem to be under a stress-induced delusion that the 33% of Republicans who are philosophical libertarians or decent "ostriches" stand a snowball's chance of reforming the party, unless it gets a titanic shellacking. As for "ostrich democrats" well, of course there are some. All parties have loons, but the difference is that the DP's loons don't control a political party! After Obama compromises a lot, some of them will start migrating to Nader. So?

Look, if the dems really aren't kleptos and are pragmatists, they will have only one agenda -- setting things right. Dems can be very sober about that. It will be a good time to give them full reign and see what they can do. The GOP congress delegation -- the laziest and most corrupt in the nation's history -- has got to go.

I agree with the guys who say McCain is now showing his colors. "If I can't have the presidency, let's make it worthless." He could have gone out as an elder statesman, consulted by Obama and with real influence. See: http://www.davidbrin.com/losingmajority.html

===William, comparing today's GOP to the Whigs is slandering the Whigs. I've said it before. Abe Lincoln and Ted Roosevelt would wrestle this undead, vampiric, were-elephant to the grand while Ike and Barry Goldwater drove a stake through its chest... perhaps shedding a nostalgic tear.

=== Country on the right track now polls under 12% for the 1st time. But a stubborn 26.8% keep giving Bush high job approvals... oh, we are in a culture war, all right. Prepare for the McVeighs.

===George Soros will be on TV discussing the financial crisis twice - tonight and Sunday:
- Tonight, October 10th at 9:00pm (ET) on Bill Moyers Journal Channel 13 (Thirteen/WNET New York)
- On Sunday, October 12th at 1:00pm (ET) on CNN on Farreed Zakaria GPS

===@Jester: your imaginings re a Postman prequel have some overlap with my own. It's amazing how catastrophe fiction elicits daydreams in the reader... it was an obscure post-apaco story in Analog that got me thinking about what *I* would have done... and led to the Postman novellas.

==== Stefan sent this one over. Ouch, it hurts.

CEO --Chief Embezzlement Officer.
CFO-- Corporate Fraud Officer.
BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
BROKER -- What my broker has made me.
CASH FLOW-- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.
MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks.
P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
PROFIT -- An archaic word no longer in use.
STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.
YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
WINDOWS -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

Unknown said...

Robert, now I really have to interject a little of my cynicism into this one..... Bla, bla, bla and compare how the two parties etc.

I agree that the current litter of politicos needs to be put in the old sack, and dropped in a very wet place. I do not agree that the present alternative, Fiddle Dee Dum, is the best that we can do. I think that ALL of the current holders of Congressional office need a taste of the old guillotine.

Elsewhere, David did a nice job of trying to define a better, more comprehensive, solution set to try to describe a political model. Obviously, the one-dimensional model was a terrible fit. He explains why a simplistic, one-dimensional model does little to represent the real world and the relationships thereof. And he does nicely, by similar example, of explaining why the one-dimensional (two party) model is such a terrible fit in the modern world. This model can not, in any meaningful way, serve our voterdom, nor does it represent a system which may allow for the diversity of issue, nor does it facilitate the delivery of effective services as required from a modern day government. This failure, to broadly represent, encourages the "lesser of two evils" voting paradigm which is so prevalent and detrimental to maintenance of an inclusive, and participatory democracy.


Whoa, can this be?? We use the exact same one-dimensional model to determine who will get our vote for, well, name any position; limited to one of two organizations, a Democrat or Republican? Sure, there are a number of other, minor, political Parties, but, lets face it, the powerful two have created an almost impossible political landscape where no other group is allowed to trespass. Exclusionary rules and procedures - State and local, access to the media and powers that be, MONEY, political environment, and MORE MONEY keep out any serious opposition. Libertarians are an example. They have made little progress after many years of toil and not just due to philosophical consideration.

"One problem may be the fact that we have been operating in only one dimension. Let's see if, by using careful definitions, we can improve matters by adding a second dimension to the landscape."

Even after adding 2 or more dimensions to this model, it is somewhat limited. Some say we should be satisfied with a two party system that not only tries to define our position but is also the main determinant of what policies will take the front and what actions will be taken to implement these policies??!! Absolutely no way for this simplistic model to suffice in the modern age.

I admit that to model a system to take into account a diversity of leanings and wants would be extremely intensive and complex and that even if we used fuzzy math or perturbed systems, it probably would bear little relation to the real world. (Hari Seldon, where are you; or even Edwin Abbott could do better than what we have)

Still, I can not believe that no changes can be made to improve what we have. Maybe we need at-large Federal representatives voted on by all the population who could take on issues that transcended the degenerative myopic views of the individual States and populations. We are stuck with but one representative of all the people right now, President, and this does not represent too well. Maybe take power away from the big two and make it an even playing field? Get more teams, a more diverse group of players???

William Shatner said: Dr. Brin, don't be so hard on Lucerne. While I am proud to support the Democrats and have for some time -- there has to be some collusion, or somehow the Dems are compromised. If Pelosi was just giving Bush enough rope to hang the Republicans with - she doesn't know what she is messing with or how low he will go.

Thanks, William!!

My point exactly. If the people that we elected were more beholding to all the people and far less to the political structures that put them in office, our government might actually work when compared to the paralyzed monstrosity with which we are currently saddled.

And nice mushrooms of the not political type!!!

**Fusion will cure it all**

Acacia H. said...

I will admit, I found Zorgon's comments offensive as well. I read this site during breaks at work, and I don't need something like that being seen by the Powers That Be that scan every site we visit to ensure we're not abusing company internet.

Hell, I recommend this blog to other people, including several women. I don't need THEM to see this sort of comment and think the less of me as a result of what I read.

So, Zorgon? Please, do apologize. It wasn't the most politic method of getting your point across.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Tolo, thanks for appreciating (in both senses of the word) that intense discussion of dimensions and axes in politics, that I posted when I thought someone might get through to the libertarians...

And sure, the nuanced approach seems contrary to my present extreme partisanship. But the explanation is really quite simple. I do not support an overwhelming and titanic stomp-victory by the Democratic party because I think they are wonderful.

I support an overwhelming and titanic stomp-victory by the Democratic party because their opponents have turned the entire GOP into a nest of vampires, know-nothing harpies and dogmatic nation-rapers. The democrats are the obvious instrument for correcting this historical monstrosity.

Any flaws they present - and I am aware of many -are insignificant, by comparison, and fall into the category of "I'll go after you, later." Believe me, as soon as they stomp the GOP, I am hoping the re-forged GOP will "discover" the sin of gerrymandering and start screaming for a national solution. And I will join in.

But it is a time of priorities. Democrats believe in transparency and the competence of civil servants. They believe in talking to allies. Their record at economic management is bright noon to the GOP's dark night. If JUST those four things happen, it will be worth making this a true, take-no-prisoners crusade.

Oh, last thing. If it is a true stomp, the troglodytes and Fox will not be able to retroactively blame : McCain, the "news media", democratic "lies", or an accidental coincidence of the stock crash. If it is stunning, they may actually decide (some of them) to let go of Culture War.

Anonymous said...

Wow. No one has linked to David Brooks' new column?

The Class War Before Palin

"And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away."

Unknown said...

David Brin said: I support an overwhelming and titanic stomp-victory by the Democratic party because their opponents have turned the entire GOP into a nest of vampires, know-nothing harpies and dogmatic nation-rapers. The democrats are the obvious instrument for correcting this historical monstrosity.

I don't in any way disagree with this. I plan on voting the same. There is no viable alternative right now.

But later, we really need to make changes to insure that our government works for the American people and not the highest bidder. We need a much more representative government. We are lucky that we have soooo many problems today else there might not be anyone at the polls. People in general, and this is an impression I get traveling the country, do not have a feeling that they are in any way represented by the powers that be in Washington. At least, this election is so polarizing (I know not why. The people in power obviously need removal. If I had my way, not one in office today would get an invitation of return trip.) and the prospects so grim that they are going to vote.

Interesting to see that I now have something in common with those Muslim terrorists even if by default.

David Brin said...

A new IMF study examines 124 episodes of “systemic banking distress” (defined as situations where all bank capital is wiped out) in 102 countries. Using these data, along with available information on governmental characteristics of these countries, there are some lessons from the experiences of those countries. Among the copnclusions: crises don’t always lead to governmental collapse — but changes in government keep recovery costs down.....

Also... On average, countries in which the executive was in the hands of left-wing parties at any time during the crisis suffered an output collapse of 14%, while for non-left governments' output fell 20%.

The fifth lesson is that centralized asset-recovery regimes have a poor record. It should be noted that government purchases of bad assets was rare — used only in Mexico, Japan, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Jamaica, Malaysia and Paraguay. Output declines and the gross fiscal cost were approximately twice as large in these countries compared to countries that did not opt for a centralized approach to recovery. Why such a dismal record? First, by removing bad assets from banks, centralized asset-management units (AMUs) do not force institutional “learning” where it is needed most — namely, in the core lending practices of financial institutions.

In the Czech Republic, for example, banks continued to make bad loans long after most of their bad debt burdens were removed and placed in a “hospital” bank. Second, AMUs are prone to bureaucratic misuse and corruption and rarely die when their missions have been completed. AMUs, once created, tend to perpetuate themselves, usually through a coalition of bankers and bureaucrats who support their continuation.


Unknown said...

David Brin said:

A new IMF study examines 124 episodes of "systemic banking distress" ...... Among the conclusions: crises don't always lead to governmental collapse — but changes in government keep recovery costs down.....

The fifth lesson is that centralized asset-recovery regimes have a poor record.


A similar story focused on one county, Sweden, where they faced the same issues in banking that we face today and explains how they solved the crisis there.

How Sweden Solved Its Bank Crisis - NYTimes.com

A banking system in crisis after the collapse of a housing bubble. An economy hemorrhaging jobs. A market-oriented government struggling to stem the panic. Sound familiar?

It does to Sweden. The country was so far in the hole in 1992 — after years of imprudent regulation, short-sighted economic policy and the end of its property boom — that its banking system was, for all practical purposes, insolvent.

But Sweden took a different course than the one now being proposed by the United States Treasury. And Swedish officials say there are lessons from their own nightmare that Washington may be missing.

Sweden did not just bail out its financial institutions by having the government take over the bad debts. It extracted pounds of flesh from bank shareholders before writing checks. Banks had to write down losses and issue warrants to the government.

That strategy held banks responsible and turned the government into an owner. When distressed assets were sold, the profits flowed to taxpayers, and the government was able to recoup more money later by selling its shares in the companies as well.

This article seems to validate the above conclusions.

Unknown said...

I heard on NPR yesterday someone propose that Obama pull a Nixon-in-China in Iran...

...Either one of the DNC chiefs has realized the obvious, or someone up there is reading our eponymous blogger...

Anonymous said...

Khatami is pretty much a shoe-in in 2009 if Obama wins this year.

Imadinnerjacket is history.

I know the Iranian President has about as much power as the House Speaker does here, but getting rid of Mr. "Stinking Corpse" will make Diplomacy much more feasible.

Anonymous said...

But what kind of diplomacy would any president have with Iran. The Iranian regime has made it pretty clear that they consider uranium enrichment and nuclear power a national right. Most of the population agrees. What's the next step?

David Brin said...

All right, I hate to do this, because it means we all suffer... including Zorgon-plus. But my wife scanned this comment section (I hoped she wouldn't) and was personally insulted and distressed.

As he has refused to withdraw the posting or apologize, I have no other recourse than to banish Zorgon, until such time as he is willing to own up that he needs a serious upgrade-intervention in courtesy and tact.

Doug S. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Brin said...

Doug are you crazy? Why would you ask such a question in such a way? The answer is yes. Now you go take a class in tact, too. Or ask any woman.

Yeesh, you guys are starting to really bug me.

Unknown said...

How does one remove a post?

Anonymous said...

First, one writes half-dozen world class short stories, 9 World-class novels, and whole bunch of other "extremely good" fiction.

Then, one writes a bunch of interesting essays.

Then, one starts a blog, invites people to comment, and deletes what one feels like ;)

Representatives from the IMF are at the G7 summit going on right now, and they're dictating what they believe to be "acceptable policy" and Zorgon had to go be a putz?


Grrrrr. BAD ZORGON!!!

"The Malevolent" should have been a clue I guess.


Unknown said...

"As he has refused to withdraw the posting or"

I know how the owner of a blog does it, I just thought that from the above statement, there might be a way for the author of a comment to delete one. Sometimes when commenting from a Blackberry, errors creep in undetected.

David Brin said...

In some blogmunities, a comment-poster can withdraw his own posts. As I administer this one, I wasn't sure. So I went ahead and deleted them all myself.

This saddens me. Z was a net asset and helped attract some lively people, curious to see which direction the manic brilliance would go next. But anyone who would not recognize and own up to the need to make amends for offensive behavior is someone who is in no position to lecture to us -- no matter how many links he offers -- about morality.

Rob Perkins said...

If you're logged in, then your own comments come decorated with a small "garbage can" icon which you can use to delete your post. The icon appears on the "leave your comment" page.

If you post anonymously or with name/url, you have no such control.

I missed the offense-giving completely this round; Z's posts are simply far, far too long for the time I have.

Even so, I regret its necessity, too. But Z- gave offense to one of my own factions last round, so I understand it.

David Brin said...

Rob, I find a fleck of mud on my "group" less irksome than vile imagery that drags in my family. Let's drop it and hope Z decides we are worth an apology. If not, good luck to him finding as lively a community.

Unknown said...

Watched the George Soros interview on Bill Moyers Journal today on my TiVo. (Never travel without it...)

Did not make me warm and fuzzy.

George Soros sees solutions but didn't see a lot of hope that Bush would do what was necessary to avoid a disaster. Too little, too late. He says we need to get the banks flush with cash, but at the expense of the share holders. He also says that the bilked homeowners should not bear the brunt of this refinance. Estimates that 20+ million homes are at risk. He also thinks Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson should be replaced.

Am I the only one who noticed that every time Bush or Paulson hits the TV screen that the stock market takes a major hit??

Transcript: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10102008/watch.html

Unknown said...

Interesting that Bill Moyer is a member of that great unwashed group referred to below, hailing as he does from Marshall, Texas.

Great BBQ there, BTW.

David Brin said elsewhere: "the parts of the country that are net recipients of government largess (net tax-receivers) and who are NOT likely targets of terrorism, and who have the worst marriage/sex/morality statistics, obsessively sneer at the net-taxpayers who raise healthier kids and who live in the terror cross hairs."

HA HA HA, Like LA? Chicago?? NYC?? Detroit?? Washington D.C. and dozens of others?? Hmmm, need to get out a little more, don't ya think??

Spoken like a, well, true Californian... Ah, wait, there are whole bunch of Californians and New Yorkers in Texas. Actually far more of the people who live in Texas, and most of the other Red States, are from elsewhere and they outnumber the native born by a large percent.

US teenage pregnancy statistics: "In general, states with the largest numbers of teenagers also had the greatest number of teenage
pregnancies. California reported the highest number of adolescent pregnancies (113,000), followed by Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois (with about 37,000–80,000 each)."

Terrorists? One of the very fastest ways to reduce the US to third world country status, permanently, is to stop the production of our petrochemical based raw materials. Most are produced South of Houston. And don't forget oil and gas.

NPRA Reports 4th Quarter 2006 U.S. Petrochemical Production: "In the fourth quarter of 2006, total production of the 15 petrochemicals surveyed and reportable was 48.2 billion pounds."

Most of these are produced 100% South of Houston, and many of the others are 90%+ produced there. And this is only one of the many huge industrial bases in that city including electronics, machinery manufacturing, medical, agriculture, and many, many others.

They are even rumored to have a space center there.....

lol, lets see, Al Qaeda would rather hit, hmm, lets see, on the one hand, the basic infrastructure that would decimate our country's military and manufacturing sector and on the other, what? The three stooges next movie?? A few of supermarket quality tomatoes? Don't even make computers out there anymore since they outsourced it all to, um, would that be China??

Though, I would really miss Val's burgers in Hayward, Ca.

Anonymous said...

How's that karma sandwich tastin', Z?

David Brin said...

Guys & Gals, please? Let it rest.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Brin said...
And sure, the nuanced approach seems contrary to my present extreme partisanship. But the explanation is really quite simple. I do not support an overwhelming and titanic stomp-victory by the Democratic party because I think they are wonderful.

I support an overwhelming and titanic stomp-victory by the Democratic party because their opponents have turned the entire GOP into a nest of vampires, know-nothing harpies and dogmatic nation-rapers. The democrats are the obvious instrument for correcting this historical monstrosity.

I don't think that many here disagree with the main principles; Democrats are screwed up and slightly larcenous but the Republicans are have betrayed America and perhaps all of humanity as they've forced us on a road of consumption when the earth may just make us pay for the abuse. History abounds of examples of even primitive man killing himself off by abusing the environment. Usually, this was confined to one or two tribes. I'm just picking only one of the many that I'm angry about with the Republicans for the last 30 years.

We have to be above all pragmatic. We cannot have nearly a perfect system but maybe one that works. You must use one group in power to defeat another one. Punishing the Republicans can never happen if you also go after the Democrats -- choose a damn battle and win it.

And if you want Universal Healthcare -- which seems like Edwards had the most pragmatic idea of making the Government an insurer and competing them out of business -- then don't try and take on the Oil Industry, Banking, and big Agro. You can easily sell out to all these industries like our current Republicans did -- but you can't take them all on at once.

>> Brin, my apologies to the Whig party. I truly think that their ideas were noble but they just had no faith in commoners, they might not have sold us out to a foreign power for their own pockets. LOL...

>>I was trying to find a quote about Lincoln and banking -- this was at least interesting if not the target; http://www.xat.org/xat/usury.html
The speculation crazy, but the historical facts interesting. But it was definitely true that Lincoln feared the banks more than the Confederacy.

I don't know if it was Brin or I who first posted here regarding the Bush Presidency explained as a bank heist. It may be one of those rising consciousness memes that many people come to all at once.

Occasionally, you need to remind yourself that you really know nothing. Between the planted stories in the press and the poorly reported stories -- and then ones that nobody but the victim and the perpetrator know about -- nobody is going to tell you anything unless it serves their purpose.

Does a fractional reserve system, with a privatized fed that can skim profits every time it prints money or passes a treasury note coupled with privatized banks that can factor and charge interest even a workable system? I was listening to a lady who's name escapes me on Thom Hartmann's show -- and she was talking about the history of banking. They seemed to come to the conclusion that our banking system will ALWAYS create a deficit, because to pay off the money CREATED and the interest on a debt -- someone else in the system must take on more credit from a bank. There is a continuos growth of debt that requires the velocity of money to increase to provide enough value to service the ever extended credit. So, our crashes are inevitable. Perhaps pyrrhic victories are something well known by old money folks.

I imagine that a privileged few, look on the world with disdain, and wars and wealth are just momentary pockets in the sun. Germany is in control and then it falls, and from the ashes comes America, and then it falls -- and they've moved onto Dubai. One day it will have its equivalent of Reaganomics and worship profits over people and it will be their time for harvest.

But the shadow economy of CDS and Derivatives and God knows if even the Central Bank doesn't let offshore Accounts in the Caymans just digitally invent credits to keep the game rolling. Money is relative and the shadow economy is so many times bigger than any value in reality that it can never be cashed out. Maybe so many leaders know the score in this game and that entrance to the Billionaires club is this terrible secret; Wars are necessary because our system doesn't work -- but it maintains order. Our monetary system requires the building of Castles and the rescue of Knights against real or imagined enemies.

We think of the ancient Egyptians as quite foolish building their large pyramids to get into heaven. Such a wasteful and grandiose gesture. But the Pharaohs had to do something with the 6 months out of the year that no crops were farmed. So either they grew to adopt a convenient theology or it was invented to be convenient -- but building these structures kept people busy. You took the excess money and buried it in the ground to go on a river boat to heaven -- and someone else dug a hole and made new coins from all that treasure.

And all this makes me think of the forgotten story of a mysterious $3 Trillion in Federal Notes that showed up in Manilla -- allegedly forgeries. Or was it dug up from a Pyramid to be useful to send more credits to heaven?

Everything I think I know may likely be bullshit. I'm sure that more than one glass of thousand dollar scotch has been lifted by rich robber barons who thought themselves so very clever. But I hope at least, one day, that the little guy get back control, from these people who think that God wanted them to be in charge. Who knows if it is the Council on Foreign Relations or Leprechauns. I definitely think though that Bush and Paulson are on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

Odd reaction, Tolo, to get defensive about whose state lures terrorists best. A reflexive internecine antagonism borne, I fear, of our desiccated education system. Jefferson Davis would approve.

The emetic "retort" itself can hardly be addressed without shock and horror. Ignore California's "mere" 10% slice of the country's total population, disregard its "fifth largest economy in the world", woefully misapprehend the scope and indispensability of its agriculture and STILL The Golden State remains a treasury of mouthwatering terrorist-target delights.

To recognize them, one needn't Google any deeper than Onizuka AFS, Vandenberg AFB, Edwards AFB -- each of which are DoD Earth Terminals -- JPL, Stanford, UCB, Caltech, CalPoly, Lawrence Livermore, Lockheed Martin, NASA Ames Research Center, Xerox PARC, Almaden Research Center, SRI, Cisco, Google, Intel, every major tech company HQ (without which Chinese manufactories are disarticulated appendages), the list never ends. The state's prodigious culture spawn, characterized by the unobservant as needless cruft, is in fact an essential disseminator of American PR, crucial to our image.

The spiteful ignoramus might add, "and HP continues to make a better calculator than TI".

But spite prefigures division. Let's acknowledge the burden -- and the danger -- as shared.

Anonymous said...

David, Tolo, Renzo...

Are you all referring to the same terrorist events? Domestic vs. foreign?

Considering the frequency (7 and 13 years past), to me it is one of the strangest things to think of places as being actively targeted for terrorist events... If there are any lists of targets, I'd call them wish-lists... instead of thinking about them like a grocery-list.

To be frank, the most endangered 'targets' in the country are people and buildings connected to abortion, with seven large incidents over the past three years. In this sense the stereotypes of the right aren't merely sneering at the stereotypes of the left, they are actively trying to kill them.

Unknown said...

Renzo: Odd reaction, Tolo, to get defensive about whose state lures terrorists best. A reflexive internecine antagonism borne, I fear, of our desiccated education system. Jefferson Davis would approve.

I have to add to your list a significant and valuable California product, Contrary Brin. And I do enjoy SecondLife on occasion, played on my Imac. And my Huy Fong Sriracha hot chili sauce, and Caesar's Fried Chicken, and Val's makes one of the nation's best hamburger and a great steak sandwich, and E&J's BBQ ain't so bad.....

Living not too far from Fremont, and sometimes Riverside, for part of the year, I won't disagree with much of what you wrote. But also in Houston/Dallas, Charlotte, Minneapolis, NYC, and Birmingham, and others, and I write this reply from Fairfax, VA.

I am merely contrary to the premise (espoused in the quote from David) that somehow there is inherent and direct correlation between the very negative attribute list I quoted ( government dependency, immorality, sexual perversion, dishealth, and unworthy, that our enemies would disdain the reds in favor of the vaunted blue faces of the West/Northern alliance) and the latitude/longitude or even particular political bent of a fellow American..

IMHO, the underpinning of our troubles with our political structure, and the way we are ruled, is, to a great degree, because Americans, for all their we-the people exposition, are, in essence, myopically tribal in their thinking. MY little region is superior and the rest, unclean, unworthy, and beneath we the wonderful.

The red/blue divide is not a lot about basic philosophy, and much more about the regional/tribal divide. The essence of our two major parties is more a reflection of this idiopathic split rather than any cognitive dissonance.

Beside which, we needed a new main topic thread, this one grown somewhat old, nebulous, and stale, and it got us one! (thanks David..)

Rubbing salve on the wounds, jerking on that chain really.....