Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pray for his health (I mean it.) And justifying the unjustifiable.


One of the greatest of all films - "Network" - was prophetic in so many ways. So why is the "Howard Beale Scenario" scaring me to death, right now, praying for the health of a president I detest? 

First, Network gave Baby Boomers our generational anthem, when a raving Beale urged everyone to scream: "I'm as mad as hell!" And, as spoiled, sanctimony junkies, boy have we boomers shot-up the drug high of rage, bringing the U.S. to the verge of ruin. (Our calmer/nicer/smarter kids will be better off without us!) But there is another lesson from Howard Beale..

...in the way that he meets his end, when his deranged mania no longer serves the purposes of oligarchic masters, who realize he'll be more useful to them as a martyr.

Now ponder last week's by-election in Ohio - a nail-biter in what should be a safely-red district. As Trump's toddler rants get ever-more unhinged, he's solidifying a jibbering-loony confederate base that grows more fanatical as it shrinks, while driving away a growing trickle of residually sane "ostrich" conservatives.

Yes, the GOP has perfected (with foreign help) dozens of cheats and some we'll only discover in November. Still, a big enough Blue Wave could result in a Congress that actually represents sanity, issuing real subpoenas and holding real hearings... and that could be death to the Putin/Murdoch/oligarchy's putsch. (State assemblies are more important! Find a candidate in a swing district to help.)

If a living Donald Trump is a Beale-like hemorrhage/liability to oligarchs like Murdoch-Mercer-Putin, envision instead a martyr, idolized by millions who are enraged at the sight of liberals stupidly celebrating in the streets. A rage only just barely restrained by the sainted one's newly-annointed successor, a smooth-voiced President Mike Pence, whose soft words lure back those wavering ostriches just in time to stave off republican extinction.

Elsewhere I've urged "don't impeach!" because a President Pence will smoothly and efficiently-relentlessly seek to implement the prophesied end-times that he openly avows to praying-for. (There are things much worse than a toddler-narcissist, fools! Are you listening, Mr. Colbert?)

Anyway, impeachment isn't the only way to deliver us into the hands of dominionist fanatics.

No, no. God bless the United States Secret Service! Along with 99% of the rest of the so-called "Deep State," hundreds of thousands of dedicated men and women professionals in the fact-using community, who do their jobs with skill, every day. Keep ol' Two Scoops alive! Even as you navigate a minefield, working to obey your oaths to keep us all alive.

As for the rest of you, wise up! Stop playing checkers while Vlad and Rupert are cheating at chess. You have three months, but that means starting now, finding some way to help. You are made of no lesser stuff than the heroes of Antietam, Gettysburg and Normandy. So stand up and prove it.

And here's a long, tall drink to the continued health of the President (alack) of the United States.


== All of this HAS to be a simulation, right? ==

A few years ago I pointed out that for 400 years, it seemed that each century in the West had a ‘theme,’ and that theme only manifested during its second decade. The “French Century” lasted till 1815 to be replaced by the fizzing optimistic British era, which crashed in 1918 at the end of the first world war…. commencing what I call the Concave Century, which seemed bound for hell, hitting its nadir in 1941, before rising into the greatest era of peace and progress the world ever saw.

Are we seeing the next theme transformation? See where I lay all of this out. (The magazine editors insisted I make it precisely about 2014.)

Or is this more a parallel to 1990 and the fall of the Soviet Union? Putin blames that collapse on a western agent at the very top of the USSR, he names as Gorbachev. Is he now using the exact same method to bring down the West?

Name one western strength that won the Cold War, that the enemy agent in the White House is not dismantling, with meticulous care. 

(Ah, have you see anyone else compare Donald Trump to Mikhail Gorbachev? My guess is that Putin views Donald Trump has Gorbachev's reciprocal. And his revenge.)

Worth following: this appraisal of why today’s Europe is America’s greatest creation. And subsidizing their defense has been the best deal any pax power could ever have achieved. And breaking up our alliances must be the number one goal of anyone aiming to bring us down.  Follow these points in tweet form, by a reputable scholar of the modern era. 


== Diplomacy by Twitter ==

It just pours in. Can he let us rest for ONE day? Two Scoops declared that his tweets are "official statements of the presidency." Did anyone warn him that would lead to this court ruling - that blocking followers is unconstitutional? He's fired everyone with an IQ over forty.

What the Idiocracy calls “diplomacy.”  Seriously.  This is lunacy. Show this to your mad uncle. This timeshare sales pitch is how Donald Trump "prepared" while pushing away briefing books and advisors.

Your uncle will answer that "gut" matters more than knowledge or brains.  You'll answer. "What happens when knowledge and brains finally get fed up and fight back?"  Uncle will say "Bring it on, brain-boy!"

Here's the key: Your aunt is listening, from the next room. She's the one who matters... who can tip the scales.

"I have the absolute right to PARDON myself..." tweeted Trump. "...it means he could announce pardons for sale at $10 million. If indicted for taking bribes, he could just pardon himself. It is doubtful that James Madison had that in mind, but courts have never ruled on this." - from Electoral-Vote.com.
  
== Russia ==

"Putin must wonder what else America knows about Russia." Don't worry Vlad, Two Scoops will tell you... then listen to your code words and fresh orders.  Putting that aside, there is something I spoke about at a certain agency, two months ago. 

During the Cold War, the KGB always had huge advantages, e.g. our open society where their agents could roam at will. So, how did we compensate?

Defections. Suddenly, someone would ask for help bringing over his family, and in a shot, they'd be spilling everything, before assuming a new identity in safe, rich America. Defections were always an ace card in our hand...

...which is why Putin's guys are sparing no effort to eliminate that failure mode. Dig this caarefully. You encourage defections by offering safety, good prospects (it can include cash), and the moral high ground. Three essential ingredients.

Look at how the Kremlin and its stooges have been systematically erasing all three. Have you kept count of the number of defectors lately murdered in the West? And what our moral "leadership" in the world is like, especially after grabbing and tormenting thousands of kids? Do you think any of it is coincidental?

Oh, about that creative open society? That was our biggest advantage. And notice how the Kremlin/Saudi/Murdoch/Koch-supported confederacy is now waging open war on every profession that either uses facts or can be called creative.  Coincidental?

Every strength that won us the Cold War is being systematically and unambiguously dismantled.  And the idiocracy - egged on by Fox shills - calls it all a gooood thing!

Good doggies.

== Unforgiven ==

Oh, oh, must we choose between monsters? I stand by naming George F. Will the "Worst American." Because he knowingly - with brilliant skill and foresight - helped to pilot the American right away from pragmatic respect for facts and enterprise and probity, pushing the tiller to veer down hellscapes of rationalization, confederate dogmatism and madness. Mr. Will knew it would all come to this... and now he has regrets? 

Donald Trump is an unsapient, reflexive-toddler tool wielded by conniving enemies of everything the American Experiment has stood for. Everything that Mr. Will describes in this article is true! And hence, I know that the title of Mr. Will's article is autobiographical. We see you, too, sir. We can see which vile enemy of the republic chose treason long ago, with open, canny eyes.


== Enough for now ==

Again, confront your mad uncle with this: Russia will try again this fall. Congress doesn't seem to care. It won't change his lunacy... but your aunt is listening from the next room.

When will even one democratic pol get that polemic is an art? Try saying the obvious!

 "Many of the very same men who Republicans loathed with volcanic paranoia, back when they wore hammer and sickle pins are now suddenly okay guys, now that they wear orthodox crosses."

 Do you recall Christopher Walken's last words in BLAST FROM THE PAST? 

"You mean one day the Politburo guys suddenly threw up their hands and shouted 'we surrender'?"

"Yeah dad, that's about it."

Walken shakes his head and sighs:

 "Got to hand it to them." 

What a maneuver. What an incredible judo move.

102 comments:

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | I think the innovation is in convincing 30 to 40 percent of Americans to hate everything American while simultaneously thinking of themselves as American patriots.

Nah. You should take it more personal. They don't hate everything American. They hate what YOU think is American.

Okay. You and many other people are thinking along similar lines. They hate where y'all are going.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Russia will try again this fall. Congress doesn't seem to care.


It's not that they don't care. They actively desire the help. They have to pretend not to care in order not to look so complicit.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

They don't hate everything American. They hate what YOU think is American.


I get your point. For example, I think of America as a nation of laws rather than a nation of strongmen, a nation where you're judged by your works rather than your parentage, a nation who wants to still be the good guys when we win. Other's have different opinions, and who am I to say they're wrong?

But they are wrong. They have no use for anything in the Constitution other than the second amemdment. Freedom of the press? No religious test? Birthright citizenship? Checks and balances? You can argue that one can disagree that any of those things are implicit in "Americanism". But then you'd be wrong too. :)

In any case, it's not just that. Why must we Make America Great Again? It's not already great? There's an implicit criticism of America in their rhetoric which those same people would never have tolerated from liberals. And their very outrage is hyporcitical too. They hate Colin Kaepernick for disrespecting America, and they disdained President Obama for failing to wear a flag pin, but they're ok with the likes of Sarah Palin's husband being part of an Alaskan Separatist movement who insists on "not being buried under that damned flag!" They celebrate the Confederacy from the Civil War, for gosh sakes--an actual, honest to God rebellion against the United States. How much less American can one get than that? Nazi sympathizers? Check.

Larry Hart said...

#AWGA

America was Great Already!

Winter7 said...

If it were possible to find out the depravations of Mike Pence, to bring him down from his position; I suppose that then it would be possible to depose Donald Trump from the presidency. If some millionaire over there can get information about Mike Pence, (and I know they can) I think it would be a very patriotic work.

There was a miner called Seba Smith; He said; "There are more ways than one to skin a cat,"

We might also think: ¿Under what circumstances could Donald Trump and Mike Pence be fired?

Larry Hart said...

@dozelion,

You're saying that campaigning door to door actually works? I've always been lukewarm to the idea because I have a hard time imagining someone who isn't already inclined to agree with my politics to be swayed by argument into changing their vote.

I could see it working to get people to vote instead of just staying home, but even there, some people are determined not to vote as a philosophy, and I can't see changing their minds either.

What are those conversations like? Can you convince me that the effort is worthwhile and not just a way to make neighbors annoyed?

Winter7 said...

So; I suppose that all of us here know that the United States is currently under occupation by two enemies.
For Latin Americans, this situation is not a novelty. The oligarchs are ticks almost impossible to get rid of the skin of the republic. ¡Haaa, if the oligarchs were an enemy country at war with a true democracy that we can defend! But no. The oligarchs are mixed with the people, in such a way that it is very difficult to fight those bugs.
We are like the French under the Nazi occupation. Then, we should find out what the French did under that situation.

Winter7 said...

Germaine Tillion, who died in 2008, and de Gaulle-Anthonioz, a niece of former French leader Charles de Gaulle who died in 2002, were caught and deported to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany.

Brossolette, a radio journalist who broadcast on the BBC during the war, committed suicide after being arrested and tortured in 1944.

Zay, who was minister of education before the war, was killed in 1944, having tried to set up a government-in-exile in north Africa.

"Faced with the occupation, with submission, they gave the same response," "They said 'no', immediately, firmly, clearly."

Winter7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Winter7 said...

Hoooo, I had forgotten that we should choose peaceful options because we are the good guys in the movie.
Well ... I guess there must be other means. In the U.S.
I really hope I can remember what Nietzsche said:
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster”

David Brin said...

Not one DP politician is mentioning the name that would corner several million ostrich republicans, simply by asking: "Who was the favorite living person of the Greatest Generation that you admire so? His name was Franklin Roosevelt, and let me tell you about him." Are Democrats so stupid they cannot see how powerful a spin they could do with that... and countless other obvious polemics. What the heck has happened, Idiocracy? Have we shifted to a universe where we must choose between traitor-corrupt-racist-confederate idiots manipulated by suicidally stupid oligarchs... vs decent/honest/nice but too-stupid-to-breathe liberals? At least the Soviets - I mean Russians - and the Chinese still value a scintilla of machiavellian brains.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | I think of America as a nation of laws rather than a nation of strongmen

I'm pretty sure they believe in a nation of laws too, but are already convinced your side consistently flouts them when you get into power. They need a strongman to fight back.

Hayek described this process rather well.

Alfred Differ said...

@David | I get where you are pointing, but I don't see why they wouldn't just drag FDR through the mud too. I can easily imagine a number of the arguments they'd use because I hear them from libertarians. There is a reason the SCOTUS went left in mid-20th. His name was FDR.

Slim Moldie said...

"At least the Soviets - I mean Russians - and the Chinese still value a scintilla of machiavellian brains.


Dr. Brin, I'm afraid Locum's going to pounce on that one: trying to equate innovation with cheating again.

By the way Locum--your attempt to counter my argument was weirdly staccatissimo. Bravo! Music is positive sum. Bach and the Notorious B.I.G. are not innately antagonistic except perhaps in the ear of the beholder?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jyd10jaXqsU&index=4&list=RDKuYcI1yiw9E
and if you're not hip to that...maybe try
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2KJ_H8QRVg


Back to topicish...I agree DP politicians seem to be playing a reactive game rather than an aggressive game which is a lazy way of going about things...and the main reason I took Locum's bate on cheating and innovation is because I think he's stumbled onto something relevant and worth discussion. Our Host has brought up numerous ideas about dealing with cheaters. Wagers. Etc. short of fighting or quitting.

David Brin said...

Alfred, the operative thing I talked about wasn't FDR but the Greatest Generation. The MAGA folks are out on a limb that no democrat is smart enough to saw off. When was America "great"? They are sure to name the 1950s when unions were strong and FDR etc loved and wealth disparities low and their "side" has systematically destroyed every aspect of the social contract the GGs built.

Slim Moldie said...

David, I've tried some of your tactics on crazy uncles and if you really wanna go there, I'd suggest agreeing to some pre-conversation behavior norms (which could be a wager) starting with penalties for evasive subject changes, talk-overs, and interrupting after pauses less than two seconds. And I'm not joking.

And now I ponder on a notion that comes up now and among Libertarians. So what happens if every tax payer had two options for paying their federal taxes?

Option 1: your tax money is appropriated per usual.
Option 2: you get to choose the categories/programs your payment gets applied with perhaps rules in place to keep you from only spending on your own state.

Where would be the catastrophic failure making such a idea to dangerous to attempt?

Ask your ostrich republicans where they would put their money and be ready to discuss the consequences of what wouldn't be funded given their choices.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

Okay. Let me see if I can poke any holes in the notion that Dems should cut that branch.

1) Lots of us have an overly romantic view of the 50's that is probably invulnerable to the truth. Worse, it's probably not one single view. Leave it to Beaver? Marilyn Monroe? Mickey Mantle? Lots of us have a far less romantic view of the 60's, so a return to greatness argument immune to fact will tend to favor the 50's.

2) The Dems might have a reasonable argument for not doing much of anything in an active sense right now to avoid @#%@ing up the tsunami arriving in early November. In other words, the Dem voters are already fired up. Why risk messing that up?

I recall a 2008 interview between Maddow and Obama after his nomination. She was asking him the usual questions, but one of them came across as a suggestion for how to do better at selling a progressive message. In a reasonably polite manner, he essentially told her that he new what he was doing and wasn't going to change his approach. She wasn't impressed. In hindsight, it's obvious he was telling her that he didn't intend to swing left heading into the general election. Candidates were supposed to move back toward the middle knowing their wing voters didn't have much choice at that point. He did exactly that and then the economic implosion did the rest.

I'm thinking the Democrats focused on taking the House are in a similar position. Things are going their way right now and they should do as little as possible to help their opponents NOT do the stupid things that are riling Dem voters.

After the 2018 election, when they take the House and investigations start up again, THEN it makes sense to cut that branch. I think that might be close to their actual position. Cutting it now might not help much. You'd be correct in pointing out their dissonance, but the Dems might think it won't matter enough to be worth the risk.

Okay. That's enough of poking holes at your argument. Basically... they might NOT be stupid. They might see the risk/reward ratio different. Getting them to use your argument would seem to depend on getting them to recalculate.

Alfred Differ said...

@Slim Moldie | If I pick option 2, do I get money back if I don't assign it fully? I'd probably turn around and donate much of it to charities the feds can't/won't support, but I wouldn't ask for a tax deduction on that next year. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Alfred to Dr Brin:

but I don't see why they wouldn't just drag FDR through the mud too.


Isn't that already a done deal? I was under the impression that the FOX viewership (30-40 percent of America) already considers FDR right up (down) there with George Soros and Barack Obama.

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry I believe the door to door campaigning employs a strategy known as "deep canvassing". It is effective in changing opinion, but it is *slow*. Here's a TED talk about it

@David, my personal way of taking the pee is to refer to Trump as "The resident" (of 1600 Penn. Ave., which is true enough). That said, here's an image to go along with "Two Scoops", courtesy of Raymond Briggs and Elfrida Vipont.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

The MAGA folks are out on a limb that no democrat is smart enough to saw off. When was America "great"? They are sure to name the 1950s when unions were strong and FDR etc loved and wealth disparities low and their "side" has systematically destroyed every aspect of the social contract the GGs built.


They'll just go back further in time. America was great in the 1920s, when the stock market boomed and the KKK was a power in national elections.

Or the 1850s, before that pesky Abraham Lincoln ruined everything.

Or for the dominionists, the 1650s.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, a non-political, comics-related moment reading this commentary:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-pitts-charlottesville-trump-racism-0812-20180810-story.html


As a man who tweets as “Julius Goat” observed on Twitter a few days back, “While you are debating, your opponent is merely ‘using' debate. The fact that you are engaging means he's already succeeded.”


I'm reading the commentary above when that bolded portion hits me in the face. On my old haunt, the list dedicated to Dave Sim's "Cerebus" comic, I wouldn't have to explain any further. "Julius Goat" is a reference to an obscure off the cuff joke in an early issue of that comic book. The title character, Cerebus (an anthropomorphic aardvark) is running for Prime Minister, and the Machiavellian Lord Julius runs a goat as Cerebus's opponent--not an anthropomorphic talking goat, but an actual farm animal. The joke is how everyone including the news media treat this as a normal event, and that half the poll respondents say they like the goat's policies and that sort of thing. At first, it is referred to as "Lord Julius's goat" or "Julius's goat", but the headlines get things mangled, and at least one precinct reports that the winner of its delegates is "Julius Goat".

Now, I'm wondering if this "man who tweets as Julius Goat" is someone I know, at least as much as one can "know" someone you've never met in person.

Tim Wolter said...

LarryHart

Julius Goat is of course a pun. In our post agrarian world it might not be universally recognized.

Judas Goat, a trained goat taught to lead other farm animals around.

Tacitus

Larry Hart said...

@Tim W,

Granted the pun, but I checked some of the guy's twitter posts and he uses a Groucho Marx face as an identifying icon. In the comic, Lord Julius was an obvious Groucho Marx doppelganger. So whatever prompted Dave Sim to come up with that phrasing, the Twitter guy must be a reader of "Cerebus".

David Brin said...

Slim the notion is that you pay an EXTRA dollar of taxes to be able to allocate where three dollars of it goes.

Alfred, I shredded 1950s romanticism here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2011/10/was-1957-america-better-than-today.html

And yet I also say that the country had a more positive attitude, then.

A crucial thing right now is whether enough dems can talk Pelosi into withdrawing from top leadership, in service of November victory.

“They'll just go back further in time. America was great in the 1920s, when the stock market boomed and the KKK was a power in national elections.”

==> “Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again!” It won’t work. They know the Greatest Generation was “greatest.” Their whole “4th Turning” mythology revolves around it.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, speaking of comics, so I caught up (backwards) on Marvel's Age of Ultron movie. Now I know where the Vision and the Scarlet Witch come from, and what would make Helmut Zemo (who I didn't see in the movie) angry at the Avengers.

I'm more confused about Pepper Potts, though. She was as conspicuously absent from this film as she was from Civil War. So I ask those in the know--when did she and Tony have a falling out, and when did they get back together prior to Spider-Man: Homecoming?

(I'm eventually just going to have to watch all the Marvel Studios films, right?)

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

“Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again!” It won’t work. They know the Greatest Generation was “greatest.” Their whole “4th Turning” mythology revolves around it.


I hope you're right, but I despair. They already seem to reconcile that America was "greatest" after winning WWII and taking over the world at the same time that they admire Adolf Hitler, the very enemy we smashed in that war.

Alfred dismisses the notion, and he's got some decent arguments backing him up, but I think I'm on to something in observing that the strength of Trump's base comes from their ability to simultaneously disrespect all that is American while swelling with pride at their American patriotism.

Jon S. said...

At the end of Iron Man 3, Pepper got Tony to agree to give up the superhero life. His destruction of his entire collection of old armors was supposed to be symbolic of that.

Next time we see him, which IIRC was in Age of Ultron (might have been Civil War - I'm taking a break from renovating a bathroom just now, and haven't the time to watch them and see which it was), he has a brand new armor set on. The falling out, from implications in dialog, came from that, and happened between movies. (They couldn't get Paltrow for that one, so it had to be offscreen.)

Larry Hart said...

@Jon S,

Age of Ultron came before Civil War, and Pepper was absent from both. The dialogue hinted at at least a temporary break-up, but didn't seem to go into detail. So ok, I can buy that Ms Paltrow wasn't available, so they wrote her out of the series for awhile.

Still, she was there at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming as if she and Stark were romantically together again, so I wondered whether something had happened on screen to explain that.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I'm pretty sure they believe in a nation of laws too, but are already convinced your side consistently flouts them when you get into power. They need a strongman to fight back.


That does jibe with their assertion that their activist judges are "Constitutionalist" or "originalist", as if all they're doing is fighting back against the liberal excesses of the Warren Court, following the letter of the law we have instead of the law we wish we had.

I get that they believe that, but they're wrong. Factually incorrect, I mean. It is not "Constitutionalist" or "originalist" or anything of that sort to find that portions of the Voting Rights Act are no longer needed because institutional racism no longer exists, or that "whole number of persons" means eligible voters only, or that a full recount of the votes in Florida would do irreparable harm to the election's presumptive winner by demonstrating that he actually lost.

Whether or not someone sincerely believes in the conservative side of any of those issues, the fact that they can support the supreme court pulling those decisions out of their collective asses while in the same breath championing those justices as "constitutionalist" or "originalist" is an example of the willful doublespeak I was talking about. They can cheer the victory of their side's activism over my side's, or they can call for an end to judicial activism, but doing both at the same time requires a shameless brand of chutzpah. As does Nazi sympathizers posing as friends of Israel. As does defenders of actual Confederate rebels who took up arms against the United States complaining about insufficient public patriotism on the part of Colin Kaepernick or President Obama.

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

my personal way of taking the pee is to refer to Trump as "The resident" (of 1600 Penn. Ave., which is true enough)


I prefer the further step of using Trump supporters' own delegitimizing memes against them. Hence #SoCalledPresident or #LugenPressident .

donzelion said...

Larry: "You're saying that campaigning door to door actually works?"
Yes.

The experts have measured it as thoroughly as they've measured anything in social movements for obvious reasons. On a dollar-per-hour basis, TV is more efficient; on a voter-impact basis, face-to-face contact has always been more effective. Efficiency wins over effectiveness for most campaigns - there's no time to train and deploy a strong ground team by the point where one has enough money to mobilize one effectively (if one can recruit them at all - Dems haven't been reliable vols since the unions started dying - Reps have been). Majorities follow from that, and power.

"I could see it working to get people to vote instead of just staying home..."
Converting 'unlikely voters' to slightly 'likelier voters' is the main tactic. It works in aggregate, and no volunteer knocking on a door ever knows whether a particular voter has been mobilized or not, not really. But over large enough numbers...

The immediate emotional resonance when a stranger knocks on the door is distinctly powerful psychologically: more than any ad, it breaches defenses, triggering a 'threat response' that opens pathways to curiosity, guilt, hope, compassion, isolation. What happens next? It depends...

"What are those conversations like?"
Every house is its own story. Mostly 1-2 minute affairs, yet every day I do it, there'll be a couple of 10-15 minute conversations. Mostly, I try to reach a point where I can listen to what voters have to say. Often, these are
-a strong but disillusioned Dem who hasn't voted for years because 'what's the point? they're all the same...' (at which point the simple fact that I'm there looking him or her in the eye makes it clear that whatever 'they' are or are not - we are here, in this space...)
-the husband of the targeted voter, who claims, "Hey, I'm a Republican, just give up on our house, OK?" - at which point, the wife may actually hear few words I say, but will grasp that I tried, came to her door, stood my ground - just as she may have done for decades - she's not alone - we can disagree politely, respectfully, firmly
-a harried caregiver, attending to a family of apathetic or Republican Foxnews watchers, who also feels alone, isolated - the only Dem in the neighborhood, desperately worried about some precise issue (medical care 75% of the time, but college costs as the next most common issue)

"Can you convince me that the effort is worthwhile and not just a way to make neighbors annoyed?"
For all my experience, there's nothing more important I can do right now. It's a small contribution, but every day I do it, I've done far more than write out a $100 check.

Try Swingleft, and give canvassing a try for 3-4 hours some day this summer or fall. See how it feels. It's energizing, just like jumping out of an airplane or scuba diving was energizing for me. After a session during debrief, I get to see other volunteers, who are excited, scared, jaded, cynical, and hopeful. There's a strange sense of shared enterprise. We cannot do this alone, but together.......?

David Brin said...

donzelion the ... hero ;-)

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

I believe the door to door campaigning employs a strategy known as "deep canvassing". It is effective in changing opinion, but it is *slow*.


Thanks for the TED Talk link (above). It's kind of blowing my mind.

First of all, when it asks "When is the last time you really changed your mind?", I'm reminded that I used to be firmly in the "Marriage is between a man and a woman" side, not for any anti-LGBT sentiment, but simply on the grounds of semantics. "That's what the word means."

One of the biggest fans of Cerebus on the internet is an out-and-proud lesbian who goes by the nym of CerebusFangirl. I'm not going to post her real name here, but it's not too hard to find. Anyway, she made it clear how hurtful that argument is to her and her partner, and that moved me into the other camp. I didn't change my opinion of the denotation of the word "marriage", but I changed my opinion about the appropriateness of hurting others by insisting on grammatical correctness.

As to door-to-door canvassing, I'm still not sure I have the nerve to engage complete strangers like that, but I do have an example of how it works with familiar acquaintances. There's a woman I've grown professionally close to at my new job. No, get your heads out of the gutter--neither of us is looking for extramarital noogie. I see in her someone who will quickly rise through the executive level, and I've made a point of appearing useful to her because I want my star hitched to that wagon. But the fact that she is an attractive and pleasant woman does help me get past my usual reticence at opening up to strangers. Anyhoo, where this is going...I know from hints at directions of conversations that we've purposely "not gone there" that she leans Republican, and she knows that I don't. We just don't talk politics unless a particular issue comes up, like our differing opinions on what the effects would be if health insurance was sold across state lines. But there's the thing--even though I know I don't agree with her politics, I can't see her as deplorable, and she doesn't seem to see me that way either. First and foremost, we're fellow human beings who are (professionally) on the same team. Now, I'm not going to vote Republican because of her, and she's certainly not going to vote Democratic for me, but if a particular issue came up where the Republican position would harm me or my family, I suspect I could make her see that and possibly soften her own position. I'd also be open to the same. I have a hard time imagining how a Democratic position harms others, but my ears wouldn't be closed if she were to make such a case.

I can go even further back in time to my Dad's grammar school days in the 1930s. He lived in a predominantly German-American neighborhood, and a schoolmate of his once made some statement about how when Hitler comes over here, they'll take care of the Jews. The boy didn't even realize that my dad was Jewish until he told him, and the way my dad tells the story, the other guy blanched and did a complete 180 almost on the spot. The proof of his sincerity was that he and my Dad remained good friends throughout their lives--my family drove from Chicago to Charlottesville, Virginia to visit his family in the 1980s, 50 years later.

locumranch said...


I have no idea what Larry_H & David are talking about when they choose to refer to the USA as a "nation of laws", a "nation of strongmen", a "nation of science" or a "nation of consensus".

First & foremost, the USA has always been a voluntary nation of PEOPLE populated by iconoclasts, political & religious dissenters, non-conformists, criminals, opportunists & followers.

There is & has never been a United States of US, just a collection of loose identity groups & individuals, cooperating in common interest, occasionally united by a COMMON ENEMY but still determined to 'Go Their Own Way'.

This 'fact' -- which has not escaped the notice of the historically literate, btw -- is why progressives & tradcons alike tend to invoke the Common Enemy trope in order to (1) manufacture consensus and (2) consolidate their authority.

It's become quite tiresome, actually, as to how our would-be political leaders busy themselves imagining, marketing and (above all) CREATING a bigger, badder & more cartoonish 'common enemy', all in order to 'manufacture consent' & 'consolidate their authority', in a manner typical of the Marvel Universe franchise.

Hence our host's, the political establishment's & the US Military Intelligence Complex's ceaseless invocation of "the Soviet- I mean Russian" military threat although the USSR collapsed almost 30 years ago.

Hence the CREATION of both Al Quaeda (via US-supported Taliban) & ISIS (via the US-mediated destruction of Iraq) by the US Military Intelligence Complex.

Hence Larry_H's tiresome attempt to re-imagine Trump & his populist movement as Zombie Reincarnation of Hitler & his extinct Nazi hordes.

Hence pretty much EVERYTHING related to Climate Change.


Too bad, so sad, that the West has become increasingly WOKE to the machinations of our consensus-manufacturing media puppet masters and, in an obligatory 'Network' reference, we've become 'Mad as Hell & We're Not Going To Take It Anymore'.


Best
____
Read all about 'Manufacturing Consent' by Norm Chomsky, a quick overview available at the You're-a-boob link below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTBWfkE7BXU

David Brin said...

If almost every single thing weren't a howl contrary to absolutely provable fact, locum's screeches wouldn't be even worth skimming. But I did, anyway, because it so perfectly illustrates the current mania.

"I KNOW what I scream isn't true! I don't care! By listing a bunch of opposites-to-truth I can seem (to myself) a brave rebel against conventional wisdom, even if most of that conventional wisdom is factual! Hate facts! Hate facts! Hate facts! Hate facts! "

Wow. I just finished writing a review of a new book about SETI. This is likely why we're left alone. The Episiarch (from Startide Rising) is real.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

I've read the book three times, but at the moment, I can't recall what the episiarch's super-power actually was.

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk (reprising) :

my personal way of taking the pee is to refer to Trump as "The resident" (of 1600 Penn. Ave., which is true enough)


I just got the "take the P" pun.

Cute. :)

Treebeard said...

Exactly locum. America needs a big, bad comic book enemy or its internal incoherence starts to pull it apart. Our host understands this well; he's always hyping up some huge global threat to all that is good and holy, which America, defender of the same, has a divine duty to bomb to smithereens. The problem with a nation that is so artificial, being a rather arbitrary collection of hustlers, pariahs, fanatics and shopping addicts who were able to make it into God's country, is that it doesn't have any natural unity. So the opinion-makers must continually drum up a threat that unites a sufficient mass of Americans, but it's tricky right now because there's no consensus. Currently liberals favor Putin and the Axis of Evil Nationalists; some conservatives are looking at China, others at the Globalists, while others still favor Islam. Personally, I think the real threat is in the mirror. We have met the enemy, and he is us: the world's first comic book civilization.

BTW, John Michael Greer has a rather ingenious take on the Trump phenomenon in his latest post here: https://www.ecosophia.net/the-kek-wars-part-four-what-moves-in-the-darkness/. He compares Trump to the Native myth of the Changer: the one who faces resisters with various weapons who vow to fight him, but instead are transformed into beavers and deer. He gets into some Jungian “archetypes” and the idea that they vary in different places, which I'm sure good Enlightenment-types will dismiss as mystical nonsense, but is fascinating to think about. The point being that when an archetype is at work, it plays out according to it's own nature, and no matter how hard you “project your Shadow” (another archetype) onto the Changer, he just keeps going. And since the Changer is not the Wotan archetype that played out in Europe to Gotterdamerung, it's a profound error (or intentional distortion) to confuse the archetypes as the opinion-makers like to do. America is not Europe; it has different archetypes at work in its lands. There is no Wotan who brings a “final battle”, but there are Changers. As someone who lives on Native land and has been changed by it, I actually understand this and think there's something to it. But whatever; 6000 years of darkness, Enlightenment, Age of Ultron—carry on.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Factually incorrect, I mean.

I’m not sure it matters in this case. You assert the existence of a national identity. Locumranch asserts there is no such thing. Both of you are correct to a point, though I’ll tend to pick your version of the truth most of the time. His version has some technical truth to it, but ignores the fact that most of the people doing what he says they are doing don’t believe it either. They’d usually side with you on this being a nation of laws and so on up until y’all got into the details.

…doing both at the same time requires a shameless brand of chutzpah

Nah.It takes being an RWA follower as described by Altemeyer. Who here suggested we all read his pdf book? They deserve a medal. It’s not chutzpah. It’s the RWA follower mindset.
____________

For a comic book version of the Episiarch, imagine Wanda Maximoff’s power to adjust/deny reality. Imagine it only working, though, if she is really, completely, utterly pissed off at the universe not being as she imagined it. Righteous indignation level of anger. Imagine the hazards one would face being anywhere near her in that state. 8)

If I remember right, you can find them in the sections of the book that focus on the fleet battle above Kithrup.

Now I want to fire up the BBQ. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | The first door-to-door campaign folks I’ve seen in my entire life showed up a bit before the CA primary in 2016. They wanted to invite me to consider crossing party lines to vote for Hillary in the primary. I lived in a neighborhood that was fairly blue. The one to the east of us was over 80% blue, so they were in our neighborhood for efficiency reasons.

Three showed up with one leading the conversation. When I answered the door and did NOT bark at them, the lead guy glanced quickly at his clipboard to deliver the second set of lines he didn’t get to use often. It was obvious ha had different lines for independents and Republicans. The look on his face was priceless when he realized he was facing one of the rare registered libertarians. He didn’t have a prepped soundbite, but he improvised very well and I wanted him and his possible trainees to keep working in good spirits, so I smiled and talked with them awhile.

They didn’t convince me to cross party lines and I helped them understand why. I had nothing against Hillary or Sanders that felt strong enough that I preferred one over the other. I told them this was really their decision to make and that I’d only cross-over if I had a strong belief that one of the people they were offering was a scoundrel. I wiggled my eyebrows at that point and they each knew exactly who I meant. They also knew the GOP was NOT inviting people to cross-over. We finished up with an understanding that their nominee wasn’t likely to lose California, so I wouldn’t cross over in the general election either, but that I strongly agreed that they should be out doing what they were doing.

I’ve been a voter for almost 40 years and they were the very first to show up regarding a presidential race. I strongly suspect part of voter apathy comes from the lack of engagement we experience like this. I’ve engaged with many regarding ballot initiatives and local politics, but I have to seek them to do this. It’s as if we treat politics like religion much of the time. It’s a private thing, so don’t ask intrusive questions!

David Brin said...

Seriously, the hypocrisy is stunning. Right wingers here, who hated and feared KGB commisars, back when they wore hammer and sickle pins and used clever skullduggery to try to bring us down...

... are suddenly all in love with Kremlin lords who are the SAME GUYS, only having switched over to wearing orthodox crosses while using clever skullduggery to try to bring us down. You're a bunch of traitor monsters, without even a smidgeon of exaggeration.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

It’s as if we treat politics like religion much of the time. It’s a private thing, so don’t ask intrusive questions!


But we only treat liberal politics as intrusive. It's perfectly acceptable for conservatives to assert some talking point, and then say, "But let's not talk politics," as if that's not what they were doing.

I can give you an example from just a few hours ago. My sister-in-law is the Alex P Keaton of their family, the Republican in a family of Democrats. She happens to be visiting this weekend, and in deference to my daughter, we never talk politics at the dinner table. Except tonight, out of the blue, the sister-in-law had to let loose with "Republicans aren't snowflakes like Democrats." Well, I couldn't let that just lie, and I shot back with my "...they'll shut down the public schools" rant. But my unspoken question was, "Why is it ok for you to make a political statement, but impolite for me to respond in kind?"

This, BTW, is why I'm hinky about canvassing door to door. I feel that if I talk Democratic to Republican neighbors, I'd be seen as impolite, even though they'd be fine with the dynamic in the opposite direction.


His version has some technical truth to it, but ignores the fact that most of the people doing what he says they are doing don’t believe it either. They’d usually side with you on this being a nation of laws and so on up until y’all got into the details.


No true Scotsman would assert otherwise. :)


If I remember right, you can find them [episiarches] in the sections of the book that focus on the fleet battle above Kithrup.


Yeah, you reminded me enough--they can shift time or probabilities or something like that so that reality changes.

Now I want to fire up the BBQ.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Tandu strips!

donzelion said...

Alfred: What you're describing perplexes me, since that's quite different from how we're doing it.

Presidential canvassers in California in 2016? Odd. Sounds more like either a field test for their app, or a training exercise for an operative they were considering sending out elsewhere.

"Three showed up with one leading the conversation."
Three? We usually do it by 'twos' - but break into solo after the first couple houses once new volunteers see how it's done. A trio would intimidate some voters and prevent them from answering the door.

"They didn’t convince me to cross party lines and I helped them understand why."
I assume I'll never convince anyone of anything through logical argument about politics: best I can do is increase urgency and reduce threat perceptions by being polite. I only share in badmouthing Trump if the other side starts doing so themselves; I assume most doors with smart doorbells are recording me and sending camera footage to someone else for review, even if that's probably 1 in 1000.

"...I strongly agreed that they should be out doing what they were doing."
Even with the most hostile Trump Republicans I stumble across (usually a husband/Dad in a family where the kids are Democrats, still living at home and registered to vote there), begrudging respect tends to be the most common response (begrudging because everyone is busy, needs to go do something urgently, anything to get the stranger away from the door).

Out of several hundred conversations, only one was clearly angry at my presence (and seemed..unbalanced generally). The dogs are more unpredictable (though more friendly than hostile).

"I strongly suspect part of voter apathy comes from the lack of engagement we experience like this."
Agreed. I think FB, blogs, and other online forums give a slight sense of connection - you've referred to having a group of folks who argued about these things, and I bet that's pretty darn uncommon. Thing is, I respect the other side when I see them doing the same thing I'm doing (usually, we're assigned very different doors to knock): we're 'adversaries' - but the volunteers working for the other side aren't the enemy, aren't trying to spread hatred and Trump lies. Apathy is the real enemy. These are folks I'd sit down and have a drink and an argument with in a bar.

Jon S. said...

"For a comic book version of the Episiarch, imagine Wanda Maximoff’s power to adjust/deny reality. Imagine it only working, though, if she is really, completely, utterly pissed off at the universe not being as she imagined it. Righteous indignation level of anger. Imagine the hazards one would face being anywhere near her in that state."

Being anywhere when she's in that state. The first time led to the "House of M" storyline, where the world was ruled British-Empire-style by mutants, with one's standing based on the power level of one's mutation, and baseline humans being the bottommost tier (with, obviously, no way out). When that fell apart, she breathed three words ("No more mutants") and caused M-Day - back to the original timeline, except that abruptly all but about 200 mutants in the world lost their powers. (This proved to be fatal in a few cases; for instance, one winged mutant was almost a thousand feet up when his wings vanished...)

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry I agree that it's a bit daunting to knock on a door, and wonder what you're going to be greeted with. I've only done a bit of street canvassing. All I can say is that you'd probably find it easier as you go. Bear in mind that a properly organised canvassing event should provide training and support.
Bear in mind too, that you are inviting a conversation, not an argument. Avoid those, they achieve nothing, apart from a drain on your energy levels (easier said than done, sometimes.)

Alfred Differ said...

@David | I’ve seen a few articles shredding romanticism for the 50’s. What usually works best, I think, is to ask someone who was there as an adult. I’m not knocking the experiences of kids, but I know my experiences of the 60’s has to be different than yours. I was born in ’62 after all. 8)

You DO shred that romanticism, but only for people who will read it and except the possibility they could be wrong. Do the Democratic politicians really think they are up against such people? Those who are willing to consider this angle might be better moved by the lunacy of their confederate neighbors than by opposing politicians reaching out to them.

When my father was still here I could just ask him about the 50’s. Now I have to resort to the partial copy I have of him in my head… that ‘survives in me’ piece. Fifties romanticism strikes me as a cover illusion for a scary time that finally came to open boil in the 60’s. It’s a fantasy told to soothe nerves. (For example, it doesn’t mention the assassination attempt on Truman by Puerto Rican nationalists. It doesn’t mention Pope Pius XII coming to terms with Evolution. It points instead to sitcoms where women knew their place.) The truth was we were embroiled in a war that could extinguish our civilization. My father’s mark on the world was to be a cold warrior. His brother fought in WWII and survived, fought in Korea and didn’t. My father picked up that spear and carried on, though a bit further from the front lines. The 50’s weren’t that great, but they sure beat the 40’s. Neither were the 60’s or 70’s, but at least the missiles didn’t rain down from us all along suborbital paths. I’m pretty sure my father would say we worked our asses off to keep the world alive and make it a better place. Incrementally better. Oh… and we beat the predicted world-wide famine due to population growth.

Most of the people I know who are convinced by Trump were not alive in the 50’s let alone as adults. The fantasy is alluring. Some of my oldest cousins were there as adults, but they live near Baltimore. Violence colors their perspective today in the way you describe when considering shortening of our horizons of inclusion. My older cousins aren’t inclined to reason right now. In fact, they are near exhaustion. One of them has already said he’d rather be fishing. My younger cousins don’t need convincing. They don’t like Trump and don’t need any argument from Democratic politicians.

And yet I also say that the country had a more positive attitude, then.

If I look only at my older cousins, they aren’t pointing at the 50’s. They are pointing to a fantasy when they imagine America being great again. So… I don’t think the Dem politicians can do much better than what is already happening. Nixon and LBJ broke that positive attitude (trust) we used to have and it isn’t coming back anytime soon. WE get to fix things this time.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | I believe the Democrats were concerned by the size of the vote that was going to Bernie in the CA primary. They wanted a stronger showing in CA to help defeat the argument that Hillary would get the nomination because the super delegates would override what the people wanted. They sought people from outside the party to cross over and state a preference among the Democrats.

It’s possible the three who showed up at my place were in the early steps of training. It seemed like one experienced guy and two smiling faces. My original thought, though, is that they might be walking as groups for much the same reason many missionaries do. Sure… there is a risk of appearing intimidating, but the folks who came to my door dealt with that quickly and smoothly. They were polite and honest and didn’t crowd the door. They gave me plenty of room to step outside and close the door behind me too. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Jon S | The ‘House of M’ storyline is a useful example. I don’t think one’s standing was based strictly on one’s power as a mutant, though. It was based on one’s standing relative to Xavier as executed by one crazy lady. That world is an example of a ‘designed’ world limited by the imaginations of one guy who can know what you want and one lady who can give it to you. How to deal with the lack of coherent objectives gives shape to the story.

Our local episiarch isn’t able to do much to alter us here, but at least he is here spouting in front of us where we can see the shape of his denials. We might exhaust ourselves now and then working with new arrivals teaching them to see the denials, but we are numerous. We can take turns.

locumranch said...


Treebeard has outdone himself by dubbing this (our modern society) "the world's first comic book civilization".

This is all too true as evidenced by our society's simplistic narratives, its garish palette, its post-singularity superhuman pretensions, its grotesque lack of subtlety, its false sense of urgency & its 'Us v Them' moral extremism.

Gasp! Gee Willikers! It appears that the fate of ALL humanity rests on the actions of a single president, political ideology or pussy-hatted voter, the elimination of every '-ism', the acceptance of CAFE Standards & carbon offsets, 57 flavours of gender, Pax Americana, the provision of abortion on demand, and the timely recycling of every single aluminium can. The Horror! Is this dairy in my half cafe soy-based latte? I scream. I fall forward & press the detonator of the Alpha-Omega with one lactose-stained hand.

(World Explodes)


Best
_____
Mind blown. I'm actually interacting with adults who mistake comic book fictions for actuality.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Heh. Okay. That's funny. 8)

Would you rather we quoted from higher literature? Sip tea with our pinky finger extended?

If you are feeling a little overloaded by all the concerns progressives have about the world, you can take solace in the fact that there are quite a few progressives. Left to their own devices, they argue among themselves about which is more important. That gives the rest of us a chance to catch our breath, take a nap, or even leave the room. They often don't notice. 8)

dav said...

Funny that Brin exalts FDR, who had a lot of "uncle Joe" influenced characters in his administration, but now wants WW3 because some Russians posted memes on Facebook.

David Brin said...

dav, it's funny because it's baloney. FDR defended the west and saved capitalism. He had a wide coalition that included some naive lefty flakes, sure. BFD.

reason said...

Actually it has often been interesting to me, given his knack for making enemies and the fact that even his family would be happier if he was gone, isn't his long survival surprising?

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Exactly locum. America needs a big, bad comic book enemy or its internal incoherence starts to pull it apart. Our host understands this well; he's always hyping up some huge global threat to all that is good and holy, which America, defender of the same, has a divine duty to bomb to smithereens.


???

I don't hear Dr Brin calling for bombing enemies. I do hear conservatives doing so pretty consistently. Remember "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."? That wasn't Barack Obama's campaign jingle. Your guy is the one who bombed Syria.


The problem with a nation that is so artificial, being a rather arbitrary collection of hustlers, pariahs, fanatics and shopping addicts who were able to make it into God's country, is that it doesn't have any natural unity.


Well, the natural unity should be around a country that allows those different people to thrive and defends their right to do so. Sort of the exact opposite of the "Blood and Soil" fever dream that only the descendants of certain immigrants are the owners of the country.


Personally, I think the real threat is in the mirror.


That's one of the truest things you've ever said here.


We have met the enemy, and he is us: the world's first comic book civilization.

BTW, John Michael Greer has a rather ingenious take on the Trump phenomenon ... He gets into some Jungian “archetypes” and the idea that they vary in different places, which I'm sure good Enlightenment-types will dismiss as mystical nonsense, but is fascinating to think about.


How are your fascinating Jungian archetypes more relevant than comic books, and why is it ridiculous to consider one and ridiculous to dismiss the other?

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

@Larry I agree that it's a bit daunting to knock on a door, and wonder what you're going to be greeted with.


My younger self would have been too shy to even think about engaging strangers.

My older self is more concerned with effect. Does the conversation do any good, and conversely, does it turn people off to the politician this intrusive stranger is promoting?

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Treebeard has outdone himself by dubbing this (our modern society) "the world's first comic book civilization".


Nazi Germany beat us to it.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

If you are feeling a little overloaded by all the concerns progressives have about the world, you can take solace in the fact that there are quite a few progressives. Left to their own devices, they argue among themselves about which is more important. That gives the rest of us a chance to catch our breath, take a nap, or even leave the room. They often don't notice. 8)


They (we) also don't all care about the same supposed transgressions. The caricature of a liberal who is in such a tizzy about everything from spotted owls and unsupervised children to gender-neutral pronouns that he doesn't know which way to look first is just that--a caricature.

Larry Hart said...

dav:

Funny that Brin exalts FDR, who had a lot of "uncle Joe" influenced characters in his administration, but now wants WW3 because some Russians posted memes on Facebook.


Funny that you think the only alternative to WWIII is the Neville Chamberlain option, which worked so well in the previous war.

Dr Brin isn't calling for war with Russia--just a recognition that they're doing stuff to us and a call not to be taken in by their con. Meanwhile, you conservatives are the ones who want to start WWIII in Iran.

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) has a new post up. Caveat emptor, I haven't read most of it yet, but the title "Zero Sum" suggests it might resonate with some discussions here.

http://www.stonekettle.com/

Larry Hart said...

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/12/charlottesville-anniversary-supremacists-protests-dc-virginia-219353


Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general and the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.

For me, Charlottesville highlighted the basic question of American self-identity. Will we continue to see ourselves as a creedal people, identified by the values we believe in and enshrined in our foundation documents and in the Federalist Papers? Or, are we changing our self image to be a people defined by blood, soil and even shared history? There are good nations that seem to be the latter; Germany comes to mind. But, that has not been our traditional view of self. The Irish rock star Bono has said that for the rest of the world, America was really an idea, and I think that most Americans for most of our history would agree with that: Believe in and swear allegiance to the idea, and you can be as much an American as anyone else.

But, for me, the president’s response to Charlottesville put the concept of nation as “blood and soil” back into play for the first time since Appomattox. After all, he said there were “very fine people on both sides,” and the president’s affinity for the “blood and soil” approach has since been reinforced by his actions toward immigrants, refugees and our international responsibilities.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Treebeard has outdone himself by dubbing this (our modern society) "the world's first comic book civilization".
...
Mind blown. I'm actually interacting with adults who mistake comic book fictions for actuality.


Do you even listen to yourself?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

You assert the existence of a national identity. Locumranch asserts there is no such thing. Both of you are correct to a point,


If there is no such thing, then there's nothing to be upset about when someone isn't sufficiently publicly patriotic. My beef isn't with those who disagree with me about what it means to be American, but with those who strongly assert a love and a hate for particular American ideals in the same breath.

For example, you'd think that those who insist that there is no such thing as a national identity wouldn't be so concerned about keeping those who don't conform to a national identity out. Loc is one of the most vociferous defenders of the "We must have secure borders" meme. Why is that so if there's no national identity to protect from those who don't share it?


It’s the RWA follower mindset.


I didn't remember what RWA stood for, and I still haven't found anything that explains the initials. But I located an RWA quiz online and scored a 40, which might explain why I don't comprehend the concept except to say that (based on the quiz questions) the "RWA mindset" is almost completely what the American Revolution was against.

So yes, you can be of a high-RWA mindset or you can believe in American ideals, but I don't see how you can do both at the same time. You might as well try to argue that there were plenty of good people on both sides at Charlottesville a year ago.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

America is not Europe; it has different archetypes at work in its lands.


Agreed, but I'm surprised to see you making that assertion. European nations may have formed around Blood and Soil. America doesn't fit into that pigeonhole. You don't get to tell immigrants to go find their own country and leave this one to its rightful owners, because they are just as rightful as you are.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, ten posts in a row is probably overstaying my welcome. :)

Someone else go next.

Deuxglass said...

donzelion,

You look to have good experience and connections with Turkey. What's going on there is very interesting and will have significant international political and economic effects. What is your take on Turkey and do you have any predictions? Strangely enough it's the financial press that is giving the best coverage.

Jon S. said...

Okay, after Googling, I gather that the RWA being referred to above is "right-wing authoritarianism", considered to be a variable in psychological profiling.

At least, I'm pretty sure it's not a reference to the Romance Writers of America, or the Research Works Act...

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

Berial said...

@Larry and Jon.

Since he mentioned it above I'm pretty sure RWA is referring to 'The Authoritarians' (IE: Right Wing Authoritarians) written by Bob Altemeyer.

A link: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | The caricature of a liberal who is in such a tizzy about everything…

Agreed. There is something to the caricature, though. Here in California, we got in a tizzy over plastic shopping bags. Now it’s about plastic straws. The ‘tizzy’ is often strong enough that our state legislature acts. A minority opinion can quickly become something we all start arguing about in the open.

It’s exhausting. Any particular issue is probably the result of Best Of Intentions (BOI) objectives, so it’s hard to fight back. Occasionally the fight turns into guilt tripping. When it does, it shifts from exhausting to annoying. THAT can be fought.

The problem for folks who become exhausted is you all begin to look alike. That caricature becomes about as much as people can mentally process. Mental exhaustion is described rather well in Sapolsky’s book. We get very simplistic when coping with the huge variety of social encounters we face. It becomes a case of “Y’all look the same to me.”

[I actually favor cutting back our use of plastic straws, but I’m not sure I want my state legislature getting involved yet. I’m already seeing people shift to paper straws or re-useable ones. We might have this covered without having to legislate.]

RWA refers to ‘right wing authoritarian’. It isn’t about the left-right political axis, though. Right wing in this case refers to the people ‘currently in power’. LWA folks would also be authoritarian, but currently in opposition. RWA followers are the folks who actually empower RWA leaders. The folks David currently refers to as Confederates are strongly RWA, but not all RWA followers would make good Confederates.

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

Alfred Differ said...

Berial,

Thanks. Beat me to it.

Someone here recommended we all read Altemeyer's book.
I have to agree with the recommendation. It's an eye opener.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"The caricature of a liberal who is in such a tizzy about everything… "

Agreed. There is something to the caricature, though. Here in California, we got in a tizzy over plastic shopping bags. Now it’s about plastic straws. The ‘tizzy’ is often strong enough that our state legislature acts. A minority opinion can quickly become something we all start arguing about in the open.


I'm saying it's not all the same liberals pushing every agenda at once. Ok, I can imagine a lot of crossover between "plastic shopping bags" opponents and "plastic straws" opponents, because they contribute to the same problem (as pork, bacon, and ham all come from the same wonderful, magical animal). But the ones who insist on safe spaces for snowflakes are not the same people who don't care if it costs jobs to save the spotted owl, and neither are the ones who call the police when they see an unattended child outdoors. When conservatives pretend that liberals are insane because "they" flit from issue to issue and will never be satisfied with any of them, they paint a comforting picture of political insanity that they don't have to care about, but that's all it is.

Ok, maybe there's a smidgen of truth in the stereotype. But still. :)


It’s exhausting.
...
The problem for folks who become exhausted is you all begin to look alike.


Then you're also ok when I think all Trump supporters look like deplorable racist Nazis, when many of them only tolerate the deplorable racist Nazis for their tax cuts, or because it's so much fun to own the libs? It's the same kind of thing at work, minus even the good intentions.

Larry Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Dr. Brin, remember when you were talking about low-lying fruit for longevity already being achieved by human cells? Researchers have been able to reduce cell senescence using low doses of hydrogen sulfide which boosts the effectiveness of mitochondria and restore cell division. Just thought you might find this interesting. Of course we probably should study this more on other animals first, those with shorter life spans, like mice and rats, but we can also do experiments on dogs and cats as well. If we can get some low-cost targeted therapies functioning, we might be able to let cats and dogs live another five or so years (or more), hopefully healthily. And then this might benefit people in time as well.

Anyway, just thought you'd enjoy the research.

Rob H.

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright's latest is even better than I was expecting.

It's hard to pick an excerpt, but here's a good part (emphasis mine) :

http://www.stonekettle.com/

...

Their [NFL players' ] outrage, it's not real! Why, they don't even know what they're mad about! I mean, look at how well off they are, what are they complaining about anyway?

That ignorance, that attitude, that dismissal, that is exactly what those players are protesting. The centuries of bigotry and racism and oppression that leads directly to that privileged blindness, that right there. That’s the thing. That’s the root of it. That’s the very essence, right there.

Talk about irony.

You could describe every Trump supporter at every Trump rally in the same manner, only you'd actually be accurate instead of wrong.

These white conservatives, they're all mad, pissed off, they have no idea why and they don't care. Pissed off is an identity, the identity, of modern conservatives. They're always mad about something, always certain they are being attacked, diminished, made lesser somehow, under assault, being invaded and violated.

It’s who they are.

Trump says unemployment is the lowest in history? The only jobs that are unfilled are the ones nobody wants? They're still mad about jobs. Immigrants, yeah, they’re taking our jobs! Those filthy bastards!

Trump tells you the GDP is the highest in history, the economy is booming like never before, the stock market is at an all time high, taxes are low, wages are up and companies are handing out bonuses! That’s what he says. His supporters are mad. They’re taking our money! Impose those tariffs! It’s those bad trade deals! Screw Europe! Screw China! They’re bleeding us dry, man! It’s so unfair! So unfair!

...

Larry Hart said...

Left off the emphasis:

Talk about irony.

You could describe every Trump supporter at every Trump rally in the same manner, only you'd actually be accurate instead of wrong.

donzelion said...

Deuxglass: re Turkey - goodness, so many angles to explore. This article gets some things right - http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-turkey-trump-explained-20180810-story.html - but what they get wrong (in my view) is even more important.

- In 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over Syria
- in 2016, Turkey experienced a possible coup attempt, blaming a US-based Turkish cleric as the ringleader
- in 2016, they arrested American Andrew Brunson on espionage and proselytizing charges
- in 2017, Turkey purchased $2.5 bn worth of Russian air defense missiles, annoying many in NATO
- today, Congress just voted to ban transfer of certain key F-35 tech to Turkey in the defense appropriation bill

If you read that article on LA Times, what they see as evidence of positive, friendly relations between Trump and Erdogan, I interpret differently. LA Times may have assumed Trump's statements re Turkey were 'a personal effort to connect' with Erdogan (which some interpreted as 'authoritarians of the world unite!' - neither Trump nor Erdogan are much loved...). After all, president's take these foreign policy positions for national security reasons, right? A massive professional staff is deeply invested into Turkey geostrategically, financially, right? If he says friendly things to Erdogan, that must be America's actual position...right?

Wrong. My argument is that Trump has a tiny circle of friends who used his early, shallow 'friendly' gestures toward Erdogan as a tool to help build up positions against the Turkish lira starting in 2017. In trading circles, a single 'nice word' from Trump to Erdogan triggers trade-bot bets in favor of 'currency stability' - if the insider cabal knows this is a sham, they'll ignore that movement and bet the opposite way heavily, building a position in a few weeks that assumes a currency crash. They know roughly when Congress will 'rediscover' Andrew Brunson, when the media stories start circulating - and when the crash should accelerate. Once it's in motion, the johnnie-come-lately trade bots will come aboard - pushing that currency down further. Turkey could slide into chaos - but that screws long-term creditors (mostly European banks) and it screws a professional military establishment in the US and Turkey (which isn't on Trump's side anyway). They can turn a highly leveraged $500m investment into $10-20bn in profit in 2 years.

If the gambit works and nobody catches on to how and why it was done, then that sets the stage for even bigger experiments like it next year (e.g., Iran). If Americans mistakenly believe Putin orchestrated the 'loss of NATO ally, Turkey' - then that hides their hand: the more Americans blame Putin, the better it goes for them.

Mind you, I'm not a fan of Putin, nor of Erdogan, but by far the scariest possibility to me is this sort of gamesmanship by a cluster of American insiders. While American liberals and critics have asserted that US banks, oil cos, etc. controlled US foreign policy during the Cold War and subsequently, the reality is that the banks and corps served the policy goals, rather than driving them. Now...that may no longer be the case. We haven't witnessed that since WW2 (even with Iraq 2003, the investors didn't call the shots, so much as tried to mobilize the existing tools in foreign policy that did).

I fear that may not answer your questions about Turkey though...

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I believe the Democrats were concerned by the size of the vote that was going to Bernie in the CA primary."

Quite possible, and could be they were killing two birds with one stone...often, the donors earmark funds for 'in-state use only' - meaning things happen that aren't exactly efficient or effective for winning one campaign, but intended to help in another (e.g., by establishing credentials for volunteers 'with the Hillary campaign' who signed on as paid crew for other local campaigns later in 2016).

Still, 3 at a door? Weird. Inefficient. YOUR door during a primary? Even weirder. Our system does occasionally put me at the doors of libertarians and even Republicans (and many 'American Independents,' since it seems 20-50% of the folks who registered as 'independents' thought they weren't joining any party, when in fact, they actually joined a hard right group).

donzelion said...

Deuxglass - re Turkey, here's a better article by a Turkish authority I actually respect - https://www.politico.eu/article/recep-tayyip-erdogan-donald-trump-sanctions-turkey-perfect-storm/

I disagree with nothing in his article, only raise the possibility of a very different sort of 'hidden hand' operating behind the scenes to profit from the (deliberately manufactured?) 'chaos.' If there was one thing that ought to be scarier even than a 'foreign intervention' into American democracy, it's American anti-democracy players profiting by burning the infrastructure down. Let Putin do his worst: America can resist him, and any other foreign interference. But Americans who profit from that erosion? That is the threat that wrecks republics. We know that the president has shorted housing in America before...we should assume that he's exploring how to use the same ploys on a much larger scale.

jim said...

Treebeard,
It seems to me that the native American mythic creature being embodied in modern America is the Wendigo. The monster with insatiable hunger and never ending greed, looks a lot like our economic system. All we need now is marketing campaign for Soylent Green to include the traditional cannibalism theme that goes along with the Wendigo myth.

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

and many 'American Independents,' since it seems 20-50% of the folks who registered as 'independents' thought they weren't joining any party, when in fact, they actually joined a hard right group


Is that the same "American Independent" party that George Wallace ran under in 1968?

locumranch said...


Larry_H's ongoing reliance on the 'Zombie Nazi' trope reveals (1) virtue signaling, (2) an unwillingness to compromise, and (3) a lack of left-leaning political unity.

(1) It amounts to a humble-brag which references the 'Superior Virtue of the Oppressed' fallacy in regard to the superior virtue of his personal identity group.

(2) It dehumanises & redefines his political opposition as an existential threat with which he cannot EVER negotiate; and

(3) It represents the Left's last & ONLY means of achieving identity group unity among its (fractured) left-leaning power base.

And, no matter how much Larry_H fears & dislikes the opposition, the Left appears to despise itself most of all, shredding itself as we speak, as each identity group purges those of dubious 'privilege' & competes for the virtue-confirming status of most oppressed.

The left-leaning purge of its 'privileged' constituents has begun and, most assuredly, Joe Crowley (defeated by a self-described 'democratic socialist') will soon be followed by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi & many others.

That Larry_H & David become Alt-Right conservatives by default, it wouldn't surprise me at all.


Best
____

Another example of virtue-signaling: The accusation that one identity group "Hates Fact-Users' when & if the accusation is made by a fact-user, the implication being that those who 'are hated' possess more virtue than those who hate, even though hate reciprocated is still hate, all things being equal.

Treebeard said...

Larry, that's a good point. Comic books are all about archetypes, so they are interesting as a way to study them. I always found Jack Kirby to be particularly tuned into to them; he was a real savant, and it sounds like his archetypal visions now dominate the box office.

As for “blood and soil”, I think it gets a bad rap. I live around people who still kinda believe in that – a Native tribe – and it's not so bad. If you have deep roots in a place and identify with it, maybe you'll take care of it instead of trashing it and moving on. If there's one idea that challenges this whole “homo Americanus” global project, it's the idea of “sacred places” and “spirits of the land”. If a place is sacred to a particular people, then the whole project of building shopping malls and observatories and importing other populations into their lands is mistaken, destructive and rather evil. A lot of the reason that America has been almost continually at war is that it represents an invasion of people's sacred spaces. I understand Xi told Obama that all of Chinese territory is sacred to the Chinese. This sounds like a red line of the sort that we've seen before, which, if history is any guide, will be ignored with predictable consequences. Anyway, I think “blood and soil” can be a perfectly good, honorable and noble alternative to “laws and dollars”, but that's just me.

Alfred Differ said...

The American Independent Party used to be one thing and then got so thin that they were taken over. They are pretty weird now… and I’m saying that as a libertarian. They look to me like a cover story for hate speech masquerading as political speech. Yah. Some would say that about us. I resemble that remark. 8)

@donzelion | Weird. Inefficient.

The leader of the group did seem surprised when he read his clipboard after I answered. Maybe he just made a mistake in front of trainees. 8)

I’m a former Democrat, but someone would have had to be using a pre-2012 registration list to compose target addresses and then a post-2012 list for his clipboard. That doesn’t sound like the kind of mistake a major party makes in the thick of a presidential campaign. (It’s one libertarians would make, though. We have enough fun raising funds to get the lists in the first place. The county parties are the ones who really need them.)

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Dude. You are using ‘virtue signaling’ too broadly. It’s one thing when someone displays their virtues without expecting a response from those seeing the display. (Prius drivers used to do that.) It’s another thing when they do it in your face fully prepared for a response. The first is signaling. The second is about the virtue called justice.

Justice as a virtue is about social expectations. What is expected of you? What can you expect from others? If you know your place in society, justice to you is a subset of the expectations relative to you. Do your inferiors bow to you correctly? Do you use the correct honorifics in front of your superiors?

When folks here are in your face about what they perceive to be violations of the rules, they aren’t signaling. They are demanding justice from you. In Larry’s case, I think you can safely assume he’d be in your face about this stuff. Same with the nazi/white supremacists. I have no doubt he feels he knows the rules of justice better than you do. From where I sit, I agree. He does. So does David.

David Brin said...

"In response to the latest crackdown on Saudi human rights activists, the Canadian government tweeted its concern: “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights advocates in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, spoke out in part because Raif Badawi’s wife and three kids now live in Canada, and have been citizens since July.

"In response, MBS has thrown a hissy fit of Trumpian proportions. The Canadian ambassador was given 24 hours to leave; 15,000 Saudi students in Canada were recalled home; trade with Canada was suspended; an order to sell all Saudi central bank and state pension fund shares in Canadian interests was proclaimed, according to the Financial Times. Saudi subjects receiving medical treatment in Canada are being transferred out of care, and about 800 Saudi medical residents and fellows in Canada have been ordered home. Saudi television channels have been gushing with anti-Canadian invective, and a Saudi propaganda channel tweeted a picture of a large plane heading into the center of Toronto, with the words: “Sticking One’s Nose Where It Doesn’t Belong!” attached to this threat: “As the Arab saying goes: he who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.”

So much for the "reformer" MLB. Then, of course, there is the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The crown prince has been waging a brutal war on the Shi’a of Yemen, the Houthis, in coalition with the U.S. and the U.K. The relentless bombing campaigns — including indiscriminate attacks on civilians — have killed thousands, uprooted more, and generated famine and disease.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/saudi-arabia-trump-human-rights.html

locumranch said...


Breaking news: Elon Musk says Saudis back Tesla buyout
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45173541

Still think Musk is a good guy??


Best

David Brin said...

I'd tell Elon "watch your ass." Depends who is the patsy.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Anyway, I think “blood and soil” can be a perfectly good, honorable and noble alternative to “laws and dollars”, but that's just me.


It's just you who thinks that's an exhaustive list of choices.

More to the point, though, "Blood and Soil" might be a good excuse for Native Americans to send us back to Europe. It's not a good excuse for white Americans to tell other Americans that they have to find their own country. The soil belongs as much to more recent immigrants as it does to earlier ones.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

and a Saudi propaganda channel tweeted a picture of a large plane heading into the center of Toronto, with the words: “Sticking One’s Nose Where It Doesn’t Belong!” attached to this threat: “As the Arab saying goes: he who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.”


Wait, so I'm confused. Are they admitting they did 9/11 now? It wasn't 4000 Jews who stayed home that day?

Alfred Differ said...

It's not a buyout. It's a 'take private' kind of thing.

His tweets from the other day made it clear there would be no one with a controlling interest.

I bought some shares after everyone calmed down enough to hire their lawyers. 8)

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: re the 'Saudi buyout' - bear in mind they own more of Tesla than they ever did of Fox (and the Saudi/Citibank conspiracy had stronger evidence than a Saudi/Murdoch plot). And more of Silicon Valley as a whole through venture capital and mezzanine finance. Musk already knows to watch himself...this isn't a new threat, so much as an old one that's changed form slightly (the Saudi public investment fund is trying to overtake the individual holdings by other royals, a few of which tend to keep 1% stakes in various tech firms, all trying to stay under 5%).

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”
I knew some of them. That shortened my time in the country significantly.

"an order to sell all Saudi central bank and state pension fund shares in Canadian interests was proclaimed,"
This is probably the real purpose. The crown prince wants to discipline and threaten the stakes other royals own personally, and redistribute those assets by setting a series of orders and watching to see who follows the orders.

But it's a shame about the students; I have Saudi friends up there as well (one or two in science related fields) who do not wish to go 'home.'

"So much for the "reformer" MLB."
Not exactly...other reforms are also underway, and it's very hard to weigh the balance for how things will pan out.

Crucifying a man in public last week was jarring. Putting senior members of the royal family under house arrest at the Ritz was jarring. These steps are...not so much.

Larry Hart: "Wait, so I'm confused. Are they admitting they did 9/11 now?"
They admitted that publicly in 2003 at the highest levels. Despite that, about as many STILL thought Jews had done it as Republicans believed Obama was a Muslim when I left a few years back.

Russell Osterlund said...

From Politico:

https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/08/13/wheres-the-blue-wave-voter-data-show-florida-democrats-arent-surging-555957

"'Where's the blue wave?' Voter data show Florida Democrats aren't surging" and from the text of the article (emphasis mine":

"A Democratic blue wave might still come. But so could a Republican red tide."

If this was unintentional, it was a great "slip of the tongue." If not, then one party would shout "Bias!"

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

"Wait, so I'm confused. Are they admitting they did 9/11 now?"
They admitted that publicly in 2003 at the highest levels. Despite that, about as many STILL thought Jews had done it as Republicans believed Obama was a Muslim when I left a few years back.


Classic doublethink allows supporters of al-Queada to praise Osama Bin Laden for the attack while simultaneously maintaining that it was perpetrated by Jews.

Just as Republicans can assert that President Obama is a Muslim while simultaneously insisting that his politics can't help but be influenced by the Christian pastor whose church he attended for 25 years.

Larry Hart said...

Russell Osterlund quotes Politico:

"'Where's the blue wave?' Voter data show Florida Democrats aren't surging" and from the text of the article (emphasis mine":


From what I understand, Republican Rick Scott is very popular among Florida Hispanics for some reason, while Democrat Ben Nelson seems to be floundering as Hillary did in Michigan and Wisconsin. Flipping Florida depends upon non-Cuban Hispanics overwhelming the advantage of solidly Republican expatriate Cubans. So if that ain't working, then Scott will probably win.

That said, I'm always leery of using primary participation as a measure of the voting strength of a party in the general election. Turnout in a primary will be driven by how exciting or important the primary race itself is, not by how much Democrats (or Republicans) want to beat the opposition later on. Enthusiasm for (or against) a particular Republican against other Republicans is not the same dynamic as enthusiasm for a Republican against a Democrat (and vice versa).

The most extreme example is when a candidate is running unopposed in his party, such as Bush's second term or Obama's second term. Since the primary result is a done deal before it starts, participation in that party's primary will be muted. That doesn't mean they won't vote for their candidate in November, even enthusiastically so. Reagan comes to mind as well.

In 2016, much was made about Pennsylvania having a lot more turnout in the Republican primary than the Democratic one, as if that meant the state was surging Republican. I suspect, though, that many Republican voters in the primary voted to stop Donald Trump from winning the nomination. If so, then the enthusiasm for voting against Trump in the primary doesn't necessarily translate to enthusiasm for voting for Trump in November. I did that exact same thing in the 2014 Illinois governor's race. I voted in the Republican primary against Bruce Rauner. Then I voted just as enthusiastically in November, also against Bruce Rauner. It would have been a mistake to interpret my first vote as indicative of support for the Republican against a Democrat.


locumranch said...


Larry_H makes the assertion that "Blood and Soil (is) not a good excuse for white Americans to tell other Americans that they have to find their own country (and t)he soil belongs as much to more recent immigrants as it does to earlier ones", but can he cite historical fact or legal precedent to support this assertion?

The 'fact' is that Americans can define the term 'American' howsoever they choose AND the historical precedent is that 'the soil' belongs to whosoever possesses the force majeure to claim it, which pretty much supports Treebeard's initial argument.

Understood? Or, do you also wish to assert that the wagging tongue is somehow mightier than the sword?

Talk has always been & will always be cheap.


Best

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

The 'fact' is that Americans can define the term 'American' howsoever they choose


Fine. I define you as an un-American traitor.


AND the historical precedent is that 'the soil' belongs to whosoever possesses the force majeure to claim it, which pretty much supports Treebeard's initial argument.


Well, Treebeard's initial argument was that America is not like Europe. You're arguing that it is very much like Europe, and that this somehow supports his initial argument. So, whatever. None of which argues against forceful opposition to those who would claim this country's soil as their own. In fact, you're presenting the best argument for such opposition. "If we let them get away with it, they'll steal America from us."

As usual, you conservative snowflakes want it both ways. Might makes right until that might is turned against you, in which case it becomes UNFAIR!!!!!! There's no such concept as "supposed to" except that your side is always supposed to win. "It's a victimless crime; the only victim is Moe."

Larry Hart said...

locumranch redux:

Larry_H makes the assertion that "Blood and Soil (is) not a good excuse for white Americans to tell other Americans that they have to find their own country (and t)he soil belongs as much to more recent immigrants as it does to earlier ones", but can he cite historical fact or legal precedent to support this assertion?


The Constitution. The 14th Amendment. The process of naturalization by which immigrants are legally conferred American citizenship.

Seriously, what the fuck are you demanding argumentative support for? That non-Europeans have been granted citizenship? That their citizenship actually counts as much as yours does? That U.S. law doesn't require a racial or ethnic or religious prerequisite for citizenship? That citizens are legally allowed to live here and vote?

What exactly is in question?

locumranch said...


Larry_H flaps his gums, defines other Americans as 'Un-American traitors', and proves my argument about how Americans are free to define the term 'American' howsoever they choose.

Waggle, waggle, little worm-tongue: Talk is cheap.


Best

Larry Hart said...

@loc,

You're arguing that I can define you however I want, and what I define is not of any import to you. That's all I'm saying about the white nationalists. They can say the country belongs to them, but it doesn't, just like I can say it belongs to me, but it doesn't.

So?

Darrell E said...

Rick Scott is a lying sack of shit. No big surprise there. He's playing a pretty interesting game. He's running some ads saying stuff that liberals / left leaning could easily agree with and also running some other ads that are so ridiculously anti-liberal / hard right that you wonder if they were made for a Monty Python appreciation contest. And lying his ass off while he's about it. No surprise there either, politics being what it is these days. He's trying to present himself as a reasonable middle of the spectrum guy, not looney right, not too liberal, respectable Republican. Can't stand the guy. If he's smiling at you beware because he's almost surely trying to steal your candy while you're distracted.

Bill Nelson (D) is nothing special himself and I'd like to see him replaced. No surprises there either. But if it comes down to Rick Scott or Bill Nelson there is a clear lesser evil. And it has come down to that. Sad. The Governor race in Florida looks much more interesting. 10 or so Rs & Ds running, a couple of real nuts on the R ticket.

David Brin said...

So it's down to "talk is cheap"? From a couch potato? People in the Fox-hated fact professions are doing the world-changing, possibly inventing enough game-changers to save your silly butt.

onward

onward

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