Saturday, August 04, 2018

Seeking solutions - Sci & Tech


Veering away from the putsch against democracy, let's have a look at cool science! And reasons why it should engender optimism, not riled-up resentment. Here's your roundup of cool (and maybe some chilling) reasons to pump up your morale about being a member of a wonderful civilization.

== Okay it's (well-supported) propaganda... that we need ==

Bill Gates is presenting 4 million collage graduates with a free download of Hans Rosling's important nonfiction title, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things are Better Than You Think - which argues that our future is more hopeful than we're allowed to realize. Despair is a poison that FDR denounced (and the Greatest Generation listened.) 

You know what fear itself fears most? Confidence.

Mathematica maven and brilliant funguy (several mushrooms?) Stephen Wolfram runs a blog that is far deeper-plunging and longer than my own.  Always on fascinating subjects.  In this one he took on “buzzwords” and whether strings of them can be peered at – with the wondrous ambiguity of English – to actually make sense.  In: “Buzzword Convergence: Making Sense of Quantum Neural Blockchain AI.” Try it out (or any of Stephen’s missives) only if you care for serious mental exercise!

Speaking of brainpower, you would not believe the estimates for what fraction of our total electric load goes to server farms for internet traffic and the cloud. Especially for cooling, as those GPUs etc generate vast amounts of heat. There are many proposals for new ways to cool down these massive data centers, offering improved efficiency because, well, Intel is coming out with a new server processor that puts out 3 times the heat of last year's model! But little is invested in the obvious – liquid cooling, where the heat carried off could then be applied to other purposes, like power-generation. One thing keeping data centers from moving to liquid is fear of leaks. Chilldyne's negative pressure system never leaks, watch what happens when you cut the line. 

FarmBot!  Uses CNC methods to run your backyard garden, from seeding to weeding to watering to soil-testing…and alerting you which to harvest.  Yeah, as a backyard gardener, I deem it presently silly.  But as a NASA advisor and scifi author with an eye to the future….

Technology Review offers Ten Breakthrough Technologies for 2018: from 3D metal printing to dueling Neural Networks to zero-carbon natural gas, for example....

My friend Miles Palmer is involved with NET Power’s unique demonstration power plant in La Porte,Texas, that burns natural gas but releases no emissions into the atmosphere. “How can it do this? The natural gas is burned in pure oxygen rather than ambient air, and the resulting heated carbon dioxide (CO2) is used to power a turbine instead of heating steam or gas.” A combustor then ignites a mixture of natural gas and oxygen, which is extracted from the atmosphere in a separate facility. This heats up the CO2 in the loop that drives the turbine.  One product is a stream of pure CO2 that doesn’t have to be separated, to drive underground oil extraction or use in industry.  I asked: “Is your initial air separator (N2 and Argon from O2) more efficient than a separator taking CO2 out of exhaust gas?” Miles said "Yes."

== New in Robo-Tech ==

See the latest awesome robot videos, including BionicFinWave which  swims as fluidly as a fish.

MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can now leap and gallop across rough terrain, climb a staircase littered with debris, and quickly recover its balance when suddenly yanked or shoved — all while essentially blind. 

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have built a drone that can change shapes, and slither through the air like a snake. 

University of Hong Kong researchers have found an inexpensive, nickel-based substance that gan bend or make “actuation” motions stimulated only by light, and lift up to 3000 times their own weight.

Incredible drone footage from a river of lava at Kilauea volcano.

Mars Bioimaging, a company spun out of CERN, has developed a 3D scanner capable of creating full color X-ray images. Based on the Medipix3 imaging chip family developed for particle accelerators and the Large Hadron Collider, the scanner enables better visualization through extremely high resolution scans. When coupled with algorithms for generating 3D images and color coding based on energy levels, MARS is able to visualize different body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers. In clinical settings so far, this is enabling improved diagnostics and personalized treatments in areas as varied as cancer and heart disease.  (From the Diamandis Abundance Insider newsletter.)

Another super visualization company - Nanome - uses AR goggles and manipulators to immerse you inside the microscopic world of molecules, empowering you to manipulate them by hand. (Full disclosure, I'm on their advisory board.)

Apple and Samsung are both developing phones with foldable displays -- expected out in 2019. About freaking time.  I hate these slabs of glass.

== Treasure Hunters ==

How cool. A Woods Hole submersible may have found the greatest of all treasure galleons. “On June 8, 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the San José’s gunpowder ignited during a battle with British ships, sending 600 sailors to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — along with gold, silver and emeralds from mines in Peru, a total haul valued at some $17 billion in today’s dollars.”

Niche business or scam? The former Soviet nation of Georgia now consumes more power in mining cryptocurrencies than the United States. (Note, while all the attention in the West has gone to Vladimir Putin's aggressive "deniability wars" of annexation in Crimea and the Donbass... and the high probability he'll do more to Estonia and Latvia, now that NATO is neutralized. Few are aware of how he dismembered Georgia, seizing about a third and then cowing the rest into becoming a mafia-like client protectorate. Hence, a context for the bitcoin mining operations. Putin's rage toward Obama and Clinton had a lot to do with their resistance to these annexations... which Trump has never mentioned.)

On June 21 - solstice day - the Supreme Court of Hawaii heard oral arguments in Honolulu on whether to approve a building permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope, which would be the biggest and most expensive in the Northern Hemisphere. And it is a real fight. Yes, indigenous peoples have a perfect right to be pissed off and suspicious over honkies who want to set up camp on sacred spots. But if truly this is a theological issue, then should it not be argued and settled theologically? 

See an expanded version of my proposal for a sensible and culturally respectful answer to this conundrum.

89 comments:

TheMadLibrarian said...

King Kalakaua was very forward thinking and scientifically literate; he electrified Iolani Palace for light. He insisted that Hawaiians become educated so as to take their place among the other cultured nations. He also wanted to bring back respect for traditional Hawaiian cultural practices, such as the hula and yes, celestial navigation. The King would probably have been quite favorably disposed towards installing the TMT on top of Mauna Kea, both as a scientific achievement and for a very traditional role, that of observing the heavens. You can't say that the ancient kahuna would have objected to having more powerful viewing tools at their disposal than the naked eye.

David Brin said...

MadLibrarian thanks. Please paste that comment also at

https://medium.com/@david.brin/its-a-cosmic-miracle-embrace-it-f2e64aa86aae
???

David Brin said...

Are people having trouble posting?

Cormac Williams said...

Test, ok working now.

Larry Hart said...

I can post now. Was out for most of Saturday, so I can't speak for then.

Winter7 said...

David brin:
"Do people have problems publishing?"
I guess the problem is that it's Sunday. And although it was faster to publish on this site before, I think we should all see the changes here as something convenient. Anyway, it is necessary that we all log in to Gmail to see if we receive any mail.
I had such a busy morning that until this moment I was able to have my breakfast. On Sunday almost everyone goes with the family. I suppose.
I see that today's tone is to be positive. All right. I suppose that, if I mix my somber comments with positive comments, then I will be able to create comments in a gray tone:
First, something positive:
It is certainly difficult to approach the sun to take advantage of its energy. (Thermal shields are required and any station for energy production would have to be automated, because humans can not get close to the sun without being sterilized and irradiated generously by the glorious solar disk.) That leaves the sun far from our most amazing projects. production of energy But ... What if instead of the sun we had a failed star?
Recently, a huge planet was detected. Huge! So big, it generates a powerful radio signal (so they discovered) So. I suppose that when humanity expands across the galaxy, we can find a way to use the energy of the "rogue planets" to produce amounts of energy never before dreamed of.
In fact, I suspect that we could use the energy of the jupiter magnetosphere to produce a large amount of energy, placing in a certain jupiter moon an energy production station with thick shielding against radiation. We need more powerful systems to produce electricity. The use of turbines with heavy electric generators is something that seems very primitive to me. If there were a way to convert the powerful magnetic fields of Jupiter or the heat of the sun directly into electricity. Something more efficient than Peltier thermoelectric plates. There must be a way.

Turning to another issue: As almost everyone knows, it turns out that the companies that are in charge of keeping undocumented children prisoner have business ties with Donald Trump.
As it happens that an employee of detention centers and confessed that they are raping girls in detention centers. And that's not all. They have chairs to tie up and torture children. And they put a mask on them, like the one they put on Aníbal Lecter in the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" ... Girls raped; tortured and subjected to horror ... Remember I told you that this was going to happen? Sometimes it is bitter and sad to be right ... The Trump era will be written in American history as one of the most horrific chapters in the history of mankind.
Moving to another subject:
The private spacecraft, SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner, will finally be launched next year. That is great. They should never leave the space shuttles until they have an acceptable substitute!
Russia charges 75 million dollars for each astronaut sent into space. ¡How is it possible!
¡And in the end, it seems that Russia will manage to rob NASA of 3.3 billion dollars!. ¿Do you have any idea of all the sophisticated weapons of mass destruction that Russia can create with all that money? ¡And we know that Russia supplies weapons of mass destruction to Syria! Chemical weapons! ¡NASA is funding someone who wants to invade them!
https://www.businessinsider.com/astronaut-cost-per-soyuz-seat-2016-9

Bien. Debo ir a reparar algo, (de nuevo) Siempre hay algo que se descompone en la casa.

jim said...

Are you s worshiper of Poli'ahu?
Do you understand what She values?
Do you understand the nature of the relationship between the Goddess and her followers?
I did not see any theological discussion of anything like the topics above.
But I did see you shoving your words into Poli'ahu's mouth. What makes you think she would say that? (other than it is what you want to hear)

It seems that your proposal amounts to the scientists getting the telescope where they want it in exchange for saying nice things about Hawaiians.

locumranch said...

Chill out, Jim.

Cultural Appropriation (which is bad & unacceptable when conservatives do it) is PC & completely appropriate when progressives do it.

It's sort of like antitrust, election meddling & racism:

Google & Microsoft are still 'good guys' despite record-setting criminal EU convictions for antitrust violations -- $2.7 Billion in the case of Google's recent conviction and $732 Million in the case of Microsoft's 2013 settlement.

It's likewise fine & dandy when the US meddles in the elections of foreign governments -- it's 'pro-democracy', even -- but it's an inexcusable crime against democracy if & when foreign governments meddle in US elections; and

It's 'freedom of the press' when a progressive New York Times reporter describes a majority ethnic identity group as detestable 'gnomes & grubs' deserving of genocide, but it's unacceptable 'hate speech' when the non-progressive tweets anything uncomplimentary about other identity groups.

In summary, hypocrisy is only hypocrisy when conservatives do it.

Mahalo.

Jon S. said...

Luis, that "giant planet" is in fact a brown-dwarf star, very close to the mass needed for sustained nuclear fusion. That's why it's able to put out such a strong magnetic field.

And if we had a brown dwarf, there probably wouldn't have been enough mass in the original nebula for there to be planets here, so...

Donald Gisselbeck said...

It looks like they can't get robots to ski gates on a beginner slope, much less ski icy moguls or breakable crust.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch is correct when he implies that since conservatives have perfected the art of hypocrisy, they do it much better than progressives could ever hope to.

David Brin said...

Jim is in such a rush (as usual) to be the lefty locumranch and react with indignant fury, that he cannot spare a moment to paraphrase or to grasp what the other person was actually... actually... saying. Observe, my friends, how the reflex to strawman and take zero-sum, no-prisoners, indignation-focused stances is not limited to the mad right. It's just more deadly and omnipresent and lethal to all our hopes, over there. The left contains junkies, too.

Sighing, let me reiterate. Any theological interpretation of a god's will can revolve around sacred legends and texts. But all of them posit that the god or goddess speaks through miracles. It is a perfectly reasonable position to assert that one should look for whatever is anomalous, unusual or even "miraculous" happening within the goddess's purview. And one trait of her mountain is inarguably both unique - even miraculous - and arguably related to Polynesian heritage.

It's not that this argument is necessarily convincing. It's that there's no reason to dismiss it with rage. It is - at worst - "interesting." And the rage itself is then a symptom of real sickness.

See http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/addiction.html

Again, Jim, what have you ever done for Hawaii and Hawaiians? I portrayed them independent and powerful in the 2080s, in a popular novel. I've been on professional group recordings performing many of their songs. I've publicly predicted someday we ALL may be speaking Hawaiian. Oh, none of that is very much... I'm spread very thin.

But again I'll bet it's one helluva lot more than your preening, sanctimonious *** has ever done..


Cari Burstein said...

One possible explanation for the lack of posts could be that people may not have realized the previous thread went past 200 posts and maybe haven't seen the onward. Everytime we get to 200 posts, it's very easy to miss the next link and I sometimes don't realize until the next day when there still haven't been any new posts and I notice that small text link at the bottom.

jim said...

When I first read the article I though you were trying to persuade the worshipers of Poli'ahu to accept the telescope.

But now I think that the intended audience is liberals who both like science and like to respect the scared spaces of native Americans. And the purpose is to provide a religious like argument for Liberals to accept the desecration of the sacred spaces of others.

And as far as native Hawaiians, I haven't really done anything. I just think that if you actually respected their beliefs you would not put a telescope in their sacred pace without their permission.

Maybe they really will appreciate a famous wealthy white scientist from the mainland explaining to them what their religion really means.
But I kind of think it will go over like a pork producer say things " the Jewish people are smart and nice and like good things and the Jewish Bible talks a lot about food. So what I think Yahweh is saying is "Bacon tastes good. Try it with eggs and cheese ...It is Divine."

Larry Hart said...

People who weren't following www.electoral-vote.com prior to the Trump nomination just can't understand how completely its tone has changed from generic journalistic language to out-and-out snark. I think that is the precisely correct reaction to the sorts of news that comes out of the current administration these days:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Aug06.html#item-1


...

Now, all of this came out on a Sunday. Special counsel Robert Mueller is an Episcopalian and maybe he was in church yesterday and missed the news. However, his teammate Andrew Weissmann is Jewish and probably wasn't in church yesterday so he can bring Mueller up to speed today if need be. While this isn't exactly a smoking gun, having the president basically admit that his son was part of a criminal conspiracy isn't going to help the Trump family much.

...

David Brin said...

So, it's a matter of character. "jim" here truly is our liberal locumranch, propelled by insipid sanctimony and a desperate need to strawman and completely unaware of how his smug righteousness proves this point.

A dogmatic incuriosity that most of us here would find ... puzzling.

I can keep a thick skin toward the pus oozing from sick minds. Why do you think I've been friendlier - or more tolerant - toward locum than most of you? It's sad, and from time to time I will be lured into trying (yet again) to explain, knowing it to be futile. But seriously, it's instructive of our uphill fight toward a decent civilization, that we are hobbled by obstinately - addictively negative sum minds.

Aw heck: compare my point about the Mauna Kea sky with yours about pork. How dullard stupid is it to ignore the words "unique" and "consistent with your highest traditions?" That's not just dogmatic or stupid. It is deeply dishonest.

Greg Byshenk said...

David, there seem to be people who simply cannot imagine trying to understand someone else's premises and working from there.

locumranch said...

There seem to be people who simply cannot imagine trying to understand someone else's premises and working from there...

A funnier, truer & less self-aware phrase has never been spoken.


Best

jim said...

Well I was trying to say something that was as obviously:
self serving
arrogant
and showing a lack of understanding of religious thought
as the article you wrote.

If you really respected the native Hawaiians beliefs when they told you that was a sacred place, you would have said Drat! we have to put the telescope in another place. Rather than arguing with them and telling them that their God really wants your project.

What if the best place your intrusive scientific interment was in the Walling Wall and that you guys would only be desecrating part of it. Do you think that would work?

Jon S. said...

I'm starting to think jim is locoranch. Their styles are similar, and jim seems to be trying to be a reactionary's idea of a liberal.

Accordingly, jim has the dubious honor of being the third person on my shroud list.

David Brin said...

Gawd, it is amazing! Words... polysyllabic ones... issue forth. They string together conveying faux logic and genuine passion, including mind-clouding sanctimony and hate... Yet, despite clear intelligence, the source brain is simply unable to parse. It actually, actually thinks that its defense of illogic is... logical.

Sighing because it is futile: Fellah, I totally understood your "pork" allegory. I was not offended by it, just saddened because it had no overlap or relevance with my theological assertion about Mauna Kea. The fact that you cannot see why is your own deficiency and a product of your own blatant sin -- incuriosity. I am not responsible for your prioritization of sanctimony above curiosity, nor duty-bound to instruct the hopeless.

But thank you for unintentionally illustrating how negative sum minds can arise on the left.

Live & learn guys. I am reminded of Olaf Stapledon's LAST AND FIRST MEN, in which he says "For all of their accomplishments, the First Men were doomed. Because - although many of them tried - they were unable to consistently pursue their own (logical) self-interest."

Jim Satterfield said...

I'm curious as to your take on new nuclear technology as in this Wired article.

https://www.wired.com/story/next-gen-nuclear/

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | There seem to be people who simply cannot imagine trying to understand someone else's premises and working from there...

A funnier, truer & less self-aware phrase has never been spoken.


Nah. I your case, they CAN imagine it and DID try. I think some of them DO get you, but they reject your way too.

That's far from failing to imagine trying.

jim said...

I don't think it is incuriosity and sanctimony. I think, I am just respecting the native Hawaiian's belief that the mountaintop is a sacred place and they get to decide what happens there not you or me.

I apparently lack your level of power and privilege to tell other people that their religion and God actually supports your position rather than what they actually believe.

Alfred Differ said...

If the US avoided doing anything our native groups preferred we avoided, we wouldn't do much of anything. That applies to a number of non-native groups too. That we bow to any of them lately is a non-democracy action.

For the native people of Hawaii, their recourse is through the State. Since I'm not a native of Hawaii or a resident of Hawaii, I'll back off and let them work it out unless someone commits an error requiring federal attention.

David's advice to them all is reasonable and we can all do the same in our own ways, but we are mostly part of the peanut gallery. It is for them to decide.

Alfred Differ said...

@jim | Your unwillingness to research our host's background is showing again. He's actually studied on this topic.

jim said...


Alfred,
How much research is need before realizing that When a non-believer starts telling a bunch of religious folks what their religion really means, it typiccaly doesn't go over well.

Was the article submitted to some native Hawaiian believers for feedback before publishing?

donzelion said...

Don't think that Jim is equivalent to our Locum. His arguments are cogent and in good faith; if I disagree, it's not because he's silly or sanctimonious. After all, the Hawaii Supreme Court agreed with him, on a certain level...

For sacred sites, the effort to strike a balance tends to follow pretty standard rules on development generally - a variation on normal give'n'take.

"But if truly this is a theological issue, then should it not be argued and settled theologically?"
Theological arguments lack means of enforcing an emergency stay to halt construction, not to mention the difficulty compelling God/gods to testify.

Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled that the original decision to issue the permit was not conducted using a requisite hearing, but instead, the Land Board made a decision, then convened a hearing to test whether that hearing was acceptable. That's the reverse of how it's supposed to work - the hearing should come BEFORE making the decision, not after in a context of evaluating whether to uphold the decision. Setting it up that way shifts the burden from the developer to the opponent - violating due process. Hence, the permits were struck in 2015, and the whole project sent back for the formative work to be done.

The history is pretty extensive - the Proposed Findings of Fact in 2016 are 300+ pages. https://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FOFCOLDO-AMANO-7-26-2017-FINAL.pdf I'll defer reading through the whole thing (plus the hundreds of pages of subsequent challenges). It does appear that the project has been restarted using due process this time around, with the permit reviewed carte blanche and still approved.

The gods built these mountains over millions of years, and planted the stars over billions of years. While it may seem quaint to give the locals a few years' time to complain, they do have rights here and it's worth upholding them. The Thirty Meter Telescope looks exciting: I'd expect it'll still go forward, and if the miraculous discoveries it unveils come in 2025, rather than 2020...all that we've really lost is that a certain set of founders will be less likely to get credit for initial discoveries, and those benefits will flow to others.

Winter7 said...

I thought about proposing a new location for the telescope: Haleakalā volcano, 10,023 feet high. But it turns out that this site, according to legends, was the home of the grandmother of the demigod Māui; and, because of that, it is very likely that the Hawaiians consider an offense to build something there.
Another option is to win the favor of the Hawaiians by placing a temple next to the new telescope. A huge temple. With walls full of reliefs that recall the legends of the Hawaiians. With large columns and a huge glass dome with a huge stained glass window of a large Polynesian ship. Well, the temple should be at least 300 meters from the new telescope and never aligned with the telescope in the direction of the wind currents. Offer that to the Polynesian high priests and let's see what happens. A priest of Pele could say that he had a vision, in which, Maui ordered him to allow the construction of the telescope, in order to see in time a danger that will come some day from the abyss of the sky.
Doug Simons, executive director of the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope, was a very clever teenager, when he was only 16 years old, he built an eight-inch mirror for his own homemade telescope, to which he then added a spectrometer, with which He made an analysis of the minerals on the surface of the moon.
Doug is a Catholic believer, meaning he believes in the existence of powerful spirits. Because of this, it seems that he could be the ideal person to solve the religious problem with the Hawaiians.
Optional places to build the telescope:
In the Himalayas, north of India, in the vicinity of the Saltoro Kangri mountain, there are flat and dry places, at the same height as the Mauna Kea and higher places.
Mount Drakensberg, on the border between South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland seems to be an excellent place, because there do not seem to be "sacred areas"
but the ideal, without clouds, would be Mount Elgon, on the border between Uganda and Kenya, but there are tombs of native kings.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "If the US avoided doing anything our native groups preferred we avoided, we wouldn't do much of anything."

'Native groups' are hardly a monolithic bloc with identical beliefs, so that's rather improbable.

"That we bow to any of them lately is a non-democracy action."
It's 'constitutional democracy' - same as it always was. Minorities can stop majorities from doing what they wish - and if they couldn't, democracy as we know it wouldn't persist for long.

"David's advice to them all is reasonable"
Pondering what the goddess has to say about her sacred mountain strikes me more as 'romantic' than 'reasonable', though he'd probably be rather insulted by that observation.

As with many romantic conceits, men often put words into the mouths of ladies (or goddesses) who demur from speaking for themselves. As she's not speaking, and we have to figure out what to do on Earth, I think it's fair to go through the whole challenge: listen to the locals BEFORE making up our minds, determine what is proper in each case fairly, then decide. Usually, science harmonizes nicely with religion. Where they do not, we work through it, slowly, conscientiously.

donzelion said...

Winter7: "I thought about proposing a new location for the telescope: Haleakalā volcano, 10,023 feet high."

Read up on the Inouye Telescope up there already, or the facts I linked to for why the current site remains the preferred location. The planners considered alternatives already: this is a unique location (which is why so many telescopes have already been mounted up there).

"Another option is to win the favor of the Hawaiians by placing a temple next to the new telescope."
Most polls show Hawaiians actually favor the TMT at its present intended location. This isn't an 'unpopular' project that the locals all resist - it's SOME of the locals.

But whether it's a few locals, many, most, or almost all of them is beside the point: the first question remains 'was the original permit issued properly'? The court said no, it wasn't. Now the question is, 'was the process cured (or can it be cured) by subsequent actions'?

While that question works its way through minds of judges, Hawaiians can answer other questions about what their faith tradition means to them today. Yet even if 95% of them say "we are stargazers! more telescopes!" - that 5% still has rights to be heard.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Nah. I your case, they CAN imagine it and DID try. I think some of them DO get you, but they reject your way too.


Dave Sim again. "It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. I understand what you're saying. I just don't agree with it. And I'll keep on not agreeing no matter how many times you say the same stupid thing."


That's far from failing to imagine trying.


In fact, the opposite thing.

:)

Winter7 said...


“Tyrants are willing to commit to anything…including mass murder to maintain their domination over every human being alive. They abuse the lives of the people they are entrusted with by the perverse dictates that they, themselves, would never live by. And they feel justified in this by their own self-righteous elite morality, which sets them high above everyone else in their own minds.

You and I, however, are made of quite different stuff. Our words are filled with our true beliefs and backed by the honesty of our actions. We take great pride in not only who we are…but overcoming the struggle it took to make us this way. We are men and women of character…principles…and courage!”
― R.G. Risch

Donzelion; you were right in suggesting that we must observe the actions of the oligarchs very closely:

http://www.guacamoley.com/covfefe/2018/07/31/Z2m04jk/trump-basically-just-admitted-

Winter7 said...



Jim Satterfield:
Honestly, since the unresolved Fukushima accident, nuclear reactors are synonymous with dirt and disease. However, I think that small nuclear reactors are necessary in the colonization of the solar system. I support the use of safe nuclear reactors, as long as it is possible to create small nuclear reactors with such efficient security systems that even if a perfect idiot, as Donald Trump tried to sabotage it, could not simply damage it.

David Brin said...

donzelion, alas, you, too, are exhibiting opacity... and incapacity to parse what I was saying in this case, leaping to and clutching an assumption of overlap between two different things ... the right of native peoples to be the final arbiters of their sacred things and places... which at ZERO point did I question... vs the right of people of good will to raise points about theology that merit discussion on their merits. You, too, have exhibited reflex inability to grasp the concept at-hand. But with differences.

-You do not leap to hold up an irrelevant strawman and then loudly denounce it with finger-wagging moral authority.

-When you do misunderstand, you are willing to consider that, as a possibility. Neither locu nor 'jim' are cerebrally capable of that... though I have seen a couple of occasions when treebeard actually was! In fact, you have on occasion exhibited the human gift of curiosity: "what did I mistake or get wrong?" (On occasion, the person asking that was NOT wrong!) Or "let's parse this out, to see which of us is confused?" (It can be both.)

As for "jim" all he can do is double-down. He just did it again, completely unaware that he is proving my diagnosis correct with every single howl.

What's bizarre is how he keeps choosing topics to confront me over in which I have PRACTICALLY been vastly more effective, helpful and good in the real world than he will ever, ever hope to be. How does he keep doing that?

Winter7 said...

And, speaking of the tyrant Donald Trump:

"This and no other is the root from
which a tyrant springs; when I have
first appears he is a protector. "
- Plate

"For PEOPLE to rule themselves in a REPUBLIC, they must have virtue; for a TYRANT to rule in a TYRANNY, I must use FEAR."
- William J. Federer,

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Native groups' are hardly a monolithic bloc

Yup. That's why I can claim what I claimed. Take the union of all the things they would prefer we not do and then avoid doing them. What's left to do? 8)

It's 'constitutional democracy' - same as it always was.

Agreed again... which is not the same thing as democracy. Minorities get to have a say and stop majorities as long as the thing they want to stop intrudes on some protected turf of theirs.

I'm all for it though I might quibble about how big the majority has to be to overturn or set up these protections.

Pondering what the goddess has to say about her sacred mountain strikes me more as 'romantic' than 'reasonable', though he'd probably be rather insulted by that observation.

I doubt it. Read between the lines when we start into conversations that deal with religion. He's pretty reasonable most of the time, but defends tolerant romantics. He IS one.

Usually, science harmonizes nicely with religion.

When we want that. I'm generally for it, though. Tolerance is the foundation under equality.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re- new smaller different Nuclear power

The problem is that the "competition" - wind solar and storage - is dropping in price

Nuclear has such long lead times - mostly because of irrational fears like Winter7 and Fukushima - that it's difficult to see any nuclear plant as an economic proposal

locumranch said...

Donzelion is correct when he argues that Jim is non-equivalent to Locum, mostly because Jim, Jon_S & David share in the same sanctimonious smugness typical of most progressives.

So brimming with respect for political correctness, diversity & minority rights are they that they are all quite willing to bulldoze each & every sacred cow, conservative, non-conformist & identity group that appears to stand in the way of their definition of PROGRESS.

To the forward-thinking individual, those Native Hawaiians are merely backwards-looking Luddites & Deniers who are (1) indistinguishable from the Conservative Right and (2) are to be placated & crushed.

Bow before the twin gods of Progress & Diversity!

Submit & Conform! Defiance will NOT be tolerated!


Best
_____

Equality does NOT mean what you think it means:
It means that the respect & the disrespect that you choose to show to others will be returned to you with interest.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "You, too, have exhibited reflex inability to grasp the concept at-hand. But with differences."

You put one concept at-hand (actually, you put a number of them at hand - and the only comment I can offer on the vast bulk of your science posts is - 'Wow! Thank you! I'd missed that! And that one too!' - but if I read without comment, that's only because I've little to add, and no great depth in those fields...). Some Hawaiians put a different concept at hand. Courts put still another concept at hand. One of these, at the moment, holds the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at its intended site in its hands.

Courts these days aren't much swayed by theology, thankfully.

"You do not leap to hold up an irrelevant strawman and then loudly denounce it with finger-wagging moral authority."
One should not...but it's good to have folks around to call us on that.

I'd suggest though that trying to raise a theological argument, rather than a legal one, won't expedite building the TMT. The report I linked to earlier noted a fair number of experts - e.g., para. 697 (p. 127) - "Dr. Coleman and Dr. Kaluna are native Hawaiians who conduct cultural practices on Mauna Kea and testified that the TMT Project would have no adverse impact on their practices. (Dr. Kaluna)" - there are many others interviewed, and the developers checked a LOT of locals before initiating the project. The developers polled Hawaiians, found nearly 75% support the TMT - yet even if that goes to 99.9%, the minority has delayed this for 8 years and may (but probably won't) delay it longer. Not a theological claim, but a simple legal one.

"As for "jim" all he can do is double-down."
Perhaps. He may show us what he's made of in his own time.

"What's bizarre is how he keeps choosing topics to confront me over in which I have PRACTICALLY been vastly more effective"
Well, his last point, "Was the article submitted to some native Hawaiian believers for feedback before publishing?" - sort of overlooks the obvious fact that simply voicing your thoughts publicly is an invitation for Hawaiian believers to offer their feedback - to agree, dissent, or offer an alternative perspective. But it does at least acknowledge they have a perspective, and imply some respect for it. That's closer to good faith than, say, Locum's general rants. Enough to learn? Perhaps we'll see.

And far better in any event than the 'death path car sitter' and his Daisy McLaren-wannabe eco-Jihadi fretting.

donzelion said...

Locum: "To the forward-thinking individual, those Native Hawaiians are merely backwards-looking Luddites & Deniers"

And yet, even if they were 'merely' such, I'd STILL defend their right to be heard. As I've done for a fair number of other hopeless cases over the years. BTW, the Luddites were never 'anti-science', they were anti-capitalism who recognized that the machinery tended to be used to make life worse for the workers, and significantly easier to sabotage than the owners in their mansions...

If by 'Deniers' you're referring to the intentionally ignorant - well, yeah, that is backwards looking. Once you've put your life in their hands a time or two, you learn to swallow your smugness and hope they don't kill you. Turns out we're all pretty ignorant about a lot of things, and most of the folks who reject what we have to say have reasons. The really vicious ones though know better, but choose to ignore what they know for the sake of what they can get by selling a fraud. They tend to piss me off, more than generate smugness - though perhaps from your vantage, it's all the same thing.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I doubt it. Read between the lines when we start into conversations that deal with religion. He's pretty reasonable most of the time, but defends tolerant romantics. He IS one."

Well, I definitely think I antagonized our host by calling him 'romantic'...but I think you're right. Isn't writing a novel itself a romantic enterprise, a labor of love, not an expression of pure rationality?

"When we want that. I'm generally for it, though. Tolerance is the foundation under equality."
Oddly, Locum neglected to sweep you along with Dr. Brin, Jim, Jon_S and I into the same 'smug' bunch of progressive tolerators. With sentiments like this...I should think that he'd quickly heap you along with us. ;-)

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

the respect & the disrespect that you choose to show to others will be returned to you with interest.


Does it ever occur to you that the disrespect you receive from others might be exactly what you're describing there?

Your whole "Just wait until I do the same to you," bit is water off a duck's back, because you've already been doing the same to us since forever. You've already shot your bolt.

David Brin said...

Locum's lickspittle whine against the fact-folks his masters don't like? Feh. Zzzzzzzz

Donzel: "I'd suggest though that trying to raise a theological argument, rather than a legal one, won't expedite building the TMT."

I never connected the two. I offered a simple - obvious - theological point that a god is no god if she does no miracles. Miracles can be subtle. But the ones that are powerfully unambiguous should not be ignored. (As fundie-dominionist heretics ignore the actual words of Jesus.)

Instead of finger wagging me that I should not try to boss Native Hawaiians... which I never attempted... it might have been interesting to consider what might be the benefits or losses were they to embrace what is blatantly the most-special trait of their sacred mountain. I know for certain that they could incrementally become the masters of its use and the most powerful gatekeepers in astronomy.

What might bear noting is that generations change. And youths are always looking to point out the previous generation's mistakes. If this theological argument does not sway today's activists, it might interest their kids.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: read that snarky article on electoral-vote.com...it's precious in its attitude, but the snark overstates a few points. I can't say if it's a precisely correct reaction or not - seems to me the desired reaction is action and behavioral change. But be that as it may, here's some items it gets wrong:

But foreigners are not allowed to contribute anything of value to a campaign,
Mostly true.

"and that includes information."
Mostly false. Indeed, reading this snark literally, the implication is that accepting help
- from Russians or British intelligence agents (Steele) would be treason. In which case...well, one side in this fight has subpoena power and the Justice Department at their call, the other...may get a bit of influence in 3 months. There is no precedent showing that 'intel' provided to a campaign has been treated as a 'thing of value' - and the campaign finance laws don't stretch that far.

That said, skip the snark to the point about Hope Hicks, which is apt: in a normal criminal investigation, a defendant is fiercely cautioned against meeting with a material witness if such a meeting can possibly be avoided: witness tampering isn't easy to prove in any case, but that's usually because rich defendants listen to the smart lawyers they hired, who keep them from doing bonehead things like this. But then again, that only applies if Trump is himself a defendant (he's not charged...yet).

Or skip to the electoral updates (interesting), and the Manafort summary (even more so), though you could get that straight from Roll Call. Unstated: Trump is testing the waters to see how receptive the public is to his 'witch hunt' complaint, knowing Manafort will interpret that as a promise for a pardon. The important takeaway is whatever happens on November 6, 2018: unless Congress flips sides, all of this goes nowhere, and is just as real as most reality TV.

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

the implication is that accepting help
- from Russians or British intelligence agents (Steele) would be treason


I wouldn't go that far. The implication is that it is an illegal contribution to a campaign.


Or skip to the electoral updates (interesting),


That used to be the entire point of the site. In fact, until the Trump election, the normal course of business would be that they'd stop updating around Dec 2016 and wouldn't be back to regular updates for the 2018 elections until about next month. The reason for visiting the site was to see what the latest polling showed for congressional races (or the presidential race in those years). The news articles were just a sort of extra.

That all changed with Trump. They haven't missed a day since 2016.


Unstated: Trump is testing the waters to see how receptive the public is to his 'witch hunt' complaint, knowing Manafort will interpret that as a promise for a pardon.


I don't think Manafort will flip, pardon or no, because it's pretty clear he and his family are being threatened with worse than the US government can do to him. So he'll either end up taking the fall for the team, or get off with a pardon if Trump doesn't believe he'd suffer politically for granting one. My sense is that pardoning Manafort would pretty much admit that he (Trump) is guilty of obstruction of justice. The open question is how popular his obstruction of justice is with his base.


The important takeaway is whatever happens on November 6, 2018: unless Congress flips sides, all of this goes nowhere, and is just as real as most reality TV.


You're missing the fact that what comes out of the Manafort trial and the Mueller investigation might influence whether congress flips. Democrats uncharacteristically gained seats in the 1998 midterms because that election became a referendum on the Republican overreach to impeach Bill Clinton. If the public perceives "witch hunt", they might come out to elect Republicans in response, but if they (we) perceive congressional cover-up of corruption, the opposite might occur.

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart said...

My sense is that pardoning Manafort would pretty much admit that he (Trump) is guilty of obstruction of justice. The open question is how popular his obstruction of justice is with his base.

I think his base will rationalize anything he does as not just OK, but righteous. A great example is a picture I saw this morning of some Trump supporters wearing shirts that say, "I'd Rather Be Russian Than A Democrat." They are grade A morons and traitors to their country. These paragons of US-virtue are of the type that in their younger days wore “I Kill Commies For My Mommy” T-shirts as proudly as they wear their current ones. While they rabidly support a tool turned by one of the finest agents of the late Soviet era who now leads Russia and has as his goal the weakening of the US. Directly opposite of Trump’s MAGA, which his base actually seem to believe. They are just fine with Trump colluding with Russia and I don't think they'll flinch if Trump issues a few pardons to Trump collaborators / users.

And as long as enough of his base continues to support him we probably can't count on any real help from the Republicans in the house or senate to constrain or get of Trump no matter what he does or what may be revealed about what he has done. Here's hoping for the Big Blue Wave.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

I think his base will rationalize anything he does as not just OK, but righteous.


Yes, the unwavering support of his base is a given. I guess the open question driving anything he might do (like pardoning Manafort, or pardoning Don Jr, or pardoning himself) is whether it will lose him support of other Republicans--the ones who don't like him, but give him a Mulligan because they like what they're getting out of his presidency.


A great example is a picture I saw this morning of some Trump supporters wearing shirts that say, "I'd Rather Be Russian Than A Democrat."


We've come a long way (, baby!) from "Better dead than red!"


They are grade A morons and traitors to their country.


Is that a Simpsons reference? :)

Larry Hart said...

Even the NY Times gets in on the snark now...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/opinion/columnists/orange-county-california-midterm-democratic-party.html


The former Trump strategist Steve Bannon recently told Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, “The Republican college-educated woman is done.” Unlike many things he says, this appears to be true.



Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Rather that present a theological argument in court, it makes more sense to do so when the parties are in direct communication. Durable agreements are a bit more likely when the parties talk to each other, right? David's suggestion makes more sense in direct talks.

Isn't writing a novel itself a romantic enterprise, a labor of love, not an expression of pure rationality?

I suspect it is both. I've heard they take a while to write, thus the author goes through several states of mind. The correct answer is probably (d) All of the above. 8)

I should think that he'd quickly heap you along with us

Heh. Maybe he finally understands that I'm not a Progressive. 8)

I'm married to one, I have a lot of friends who are, and I sympathize with BOI objectives.
I'm not one, though. 8)

matthew said...

Alfred - no one that repeatedly repeats your childish "Taxation is theft" canard can be counted as a progressive. I don't think any of us here would mistake you for one. You've chosen to parrot the most corrosive part of libertarian ideology and resist any attempt to change your mind so I do think you're in ideological blinders as much as anyone else here. You are willing to hear arguments from those ideologically opposed to you though, so you are a good notch better than the average ideologue, I will concede.

I suspect that 'jim' is just another attempt at sowing discord here using a fake backstory. We've had a few over the years (like others, I noticed the similarity to our car-sitter nut) and usually they get bored with hijacking the conversation. In this case, I'd suspect that 'jim' has a bank account denominated in rubles and he will get paid depending on how often he can distort the conversation. Or maybe he is just another loony.

Note that loco is back to his revenge fantasy. I hope he never tries to get his 'payback' but since he has now spent years detailing his fantasy here I suspect he is far gone along the path.

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart,

Nope, sadly, not an intentional Simpson's reference. Just some "turn-about is fair play," or maybe "irony is dead," characterization that happens to be pretty close to what I think of the more committed Trumpsters. Like the ones proudly sporting those T-shirts. And how about those "Trump Can Grab My Pussy -> T-shirts? Aren't they awesome? How proud their husbands must be.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "Rather that present a theological argument in court, it makes more sense to do so when the parties are in direct communication."

I thought that my response to Dr. Brin/Jim indicated I understood that: Jim posturing as a 'champion' of Hawaiians makes sense if Dr. Brin were attacking them. As Dr. Brin is merely posting personal views about why this mountain is special, it's an invitation for opening conversations - not an attack such as warrants a defense like "did you submit this for their approval?"

I see two possibilities to account for Jim -
(1) He is trying to defend Hawaiians from what he interprets as a bully. This indicates to me misguided good faith. His attacks on Dr. Brin could convert into defenses, once he learns a bit more and sees more clearly.
(2) He is merely attacking whomever he can, for whatever reason. In which case, he will gradually become a misanthropic bully. There are indeed plenty of them on the Left too, though they don't control it the same way they do the Right.

I cannot say which one is accurate about Jim - insufficient evidence at this time. Only that a lot of people who mean well can learn to do well - and see clearly - and some cannot.

"Durable agreements are a bit more likely when the parties talk to each other, right?"
Agreed. In the case of the TMT, the developers tout their '20+ meetings with local actors' - but that wasn't enough for the opponents. I suspect whether they'd had 20 meetings, or 2000, it wouldn't have been enough. Still, interesting conversations with any number of Hawaiian astronomers might arise. There are several Hawaiian experts who reported on this telescope in the governor's proposed findings of fact and law, any number of whom would be worth engaging in further.

"I should think that [Locum would] quickly heap you along with us" "Heh. Maybe he finally understands that I'm not a Progressive. 8)"

He probably understood that all along...and is holding out hope that a libertarian will eventually come around to his side of the equation. One cannot fault him for wanting company.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "The implication is that it is an illegal contribution to a campaign."

It's still a problematic interpretation of the law though. If Hillary's people ever met with Steele, then they too were accepting illegal campaign contributions. ANY hint of unclean hands by 'the other side' will tarnish the claims of impropriety (not to mention reflecting an inaccurate interpretation of campaign finance laws - intelligence is not treated as 'finance').

"I don't think Manafort will flip"
I would expect him to do whatever he calculates will best serve his personal interest. I cannot say how he's calculating that, or based on what data points.

"what comes out of the Manafort trial and the Mueller investigation might influence whether congress flips."
It might indeed. I had a fair number of conversations with Republicans backing the other side over the weekend; they're nonplussed. Adam Schiff has been careful about the 'impeachment gambit' (since the failed impeachment of Clinton is what brought him to office) - the key is just ensuring that the evidence is ironclad, and leaving it out there.

"If the public perceives "witch hunt", they might come out to elect Republicans"
Indeed, they may. How this plays is in our hands - we cannot control the air game, but have a lot of power on the ground game.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

Nope, sadly, not an intentional Simpson's reference.


I was thinking of the one where Lisa became vegetarian, and Ralph called her "a grade-A moron."

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

I had a fair number of conversations with Republicans backing the other side over the weekend; they're nonplussed.


I can't tell if that means they're even more determined to support Trump or that they're getting hinky over the evidence of wrongdoing.


Adam Schiff has been careful about the 'impeachment gambit' (since the failed impeachment of Clinton is what brought him to office)


I'd be wary too. Much as I want to see Trump disappear, running on impeachment is bad strategy, as I could tell in 1998 even before that observation was validated by the elections. And since it is not mathematically possible to actually convict in the Senate without Republicans on board, there's no upside to the attempt.


- the key is just ensuring that the evidence is ironclad, and leaving it out there.


Yep, we have to wait until Republicans themselves are calling for impeachment. In fact, make them be the ones to call for it. The point of Dems taking over the House is not to impeach, but to have a real live investigation.

Alfred Differ said...

@matthew | I’m glad it’s obvious, but I’m going to help refine a couple of points.

1) I’m not parroting. I have thought about my positions and make them my own. Ask about any of them and you might find I only partially agree with some of my fellow libertarians. For example, I tend to restrict my use of the theft argument to taxation that supports actions for which I would not offer voluntary support if I were asked to give it. Road construction and public school support would likely get me to fork over money voluntarily. So would many other things. The drug war would not. Rehab help for addicts would. Death penalty support would not.

2) ‘Childish’ as a label suggests that I might not be mature enough to understand your positions. That is very unlikely as much of my family is progressive. I get it and I’m sympathetic. I don’t agree, though, and that’s not childish. My horizon of inclusion is probably as broad as yours. Maybe broader. However, I think I know a truth about humanity that many progressives 'see but don't see'. If that sounds like a faith position... well... it is... but it has nothing to do with religion. 8)

As for jim, my personal suspicion is he is doing the ‘holier than thou’ routine many progressives use. Conservatives have their own variation, but it isn’t relevant here. He’s made some assumptions about our host that are decent bets if one is interacting with an average joe on the internet. Our host ain’t so average. None of us here are.

As for locumranch, my suspicion is he feels someone stabbed him in the back. Probably several people since a dark mood resulting from one event may produce consequences among one’s friends and acquaintances that lead to a snowball of stabbing. I’ve been in one of those situations in a business setting. The partnership had N people and there were at least N+1 stories about who screwed whom. I doubt any of us were correct now. Revenge fantasies were pretty common among us for a while.

As for you… I respect your ability to perceive differences between us all. I also respect your intentions to do good. Thank you. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | I see two possibilities to account for Jim

I can see a couple others, but they begin to look like variations and combinations on the two you offered. My money is currently on 'correcting people on the internet'. Lots of us do this. Errors are offensive if they hit against 'Truths You Know.' Action is required. 8)

is holding out hope

Oof. If so, I hope he isn't holding his breath. I'm rather demanding of my allies. For example...

1) If you want to quote Hayek, read him and do it right.
2) More words, less sarcasm. Too much snark makes one sound like an elitist snob.
3) Less reliance on dictionaries to explain terms when people already know damn well what they mean.
4) Respect the person, trash the argument.

I can go on. 8)

David Smelser said...


Paying an American company (Fusion GPS) that hired a British citizen to go to Russia to get dirt on the opposition's dealings in Russia is not the same thing as being approached by Russia with research on the opposition's dealing in America, committing cyber-crime to obtain that information, and then turning it into a social media campaign and doing this all for free.

It's not the same thing, it the opposite thing.

matthew said...

Alfred-
"Childish" because "Taxation is Theft" is an assertion that ignores how humans (and other mammals) trade favors at the local / family level, which then scales into how societies pay for the sort of "favors" a group of millions offer each other.

"Taxation is Theft" has as much gravitas as a toddler demanding a treat and throwing a tantrum.

You gotta pay as you go. For all the ink spilled about how libertarians want the freedom to choose their associations with government, I've *never* seen a libertarian that comes close to describing a government designed by an adult, with an accurate cost-accounting for getting what a society pays for.

I keep picking on your libertaranism, Alfred, because you write well, you think out positions, you are articulate, and internet-kind to strangers. And yet you still believe in things that I think should be outgrown by about age 8 at the latest. "Taxation is Theft" is such a trite statement that I have a hard time believing that you believe it, even with qualifiers.

It's not you that I think is childish, but your position on this one issue. I think you have my emotional maturity beat by a mile, but I just cannot fathom this one part of your philosophy.

Slim Moldie said...

Larry Hart, Donzelian and David Smelser (you summed up most of what I wanted to say better than I will.)

“The implication is that accepting help from Russians or British intelligence agents is an illegal contribution to a campaign.” sounds like something from Alan Dershowitz who asserts:

A: that the constitution requires an open marketplace and that
B: you cannot construe a statute that was intended to prevent finantial contributions to apply to finofrmation and facts and thus
C: it cannot be a crime for a campaign to obtain information from any source even if it was obtained illegally.

Here’s the problem. Steel (a reputable MI6 RETIREE from a friendly nation co-founded the private intelligence agency Orbis . Fusion GPS subcontracted Orbis after the former’s services were retained (in the open marketplace) by the conservative Washington Free Beacon to get information on Candidate Trump. Once Trump had won the primary the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee retained the services of Fusion GPS…in the open marketplace.

Contrastingly, after Trump and his advisors were informed that the Russians were engaging in militaristic cyber operations with attacks aimed to disrupt and influence our elections –Trump’s transition team failed at the appropriate time to renounce their Russian contacts and chose to further engage and escalate their dubious activities by taking closed door/secret meetings to obtain stolen information (including deleted personal emails) obtained via identity theft and computer crimes in exchange for sanctions relief and other activities they are still perjuring themselves to keep hidden.

And if you still don’t get it. “It's perfectly simple. If you're not getting your hair cut, you don't have to move your brother's clothes down to the lower peg. You simply collect his note before lunch, after you've done your scripture prep, when you've written your letter home, before rest, move your own clothes onto the lower peg, greet the visitors, and report to Mr. Viney that you've had your chit signed.”

Donzelian please assure me that in terms of legal analysis I am a degenerate moron and that Trump’s defense team isn’t going to try to argue that rather than establish circumstantial evidence of ongoing treason and criminal conspiracy, Trump’s “Russia if you are you listening…” request establishes that his attempt to obtain the illegal information was in the open marketplace and thus legal?

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "I can't tell if that means they're even more determined to support Trump or that they're getting hinky over the evidence of wrongdoing."

Their stalwarts watch FoxNews and shrug. They're immunized in a fact-free zone. So are millions of Americans.

At the event I attended, they had 6 people, we had 4. They had a city mayor backing them, we had...a local college student leader. They had schwag to give away, we had smiles. And CA-39 is among the best-financed of the Dem races. We increased voter turnout by 250% over the 2014 midterms, but that's from a low baseline, and not enough. This will not be an easy struggle, but a precinct-by-precinct slugfest.

I expect it'll be the same where you are. Roskam (IL-6), Bost (IL-12), Davis (IL-13), and Hultgren (IL-14) are all on the radar as winnable but 'Rep leaning' - unless people like you get on the doors, it'll be a winnable battle but a defeat.

"running on impeachment is bad strategy"
Probably. But whatever they run on, it's gonna take a HUGE number of folks who've never stepped up and knocked on doors doing for the first time ever before it makes any difference.

One good volunteer knocking doors for 20 hours is worth about $1000 in donations; phone banking, that's worth about $50. If folks rise up nationally, we win. If they do not, we lose.

"The point of Dems taking over the House is not to impeach, but to have a real live investigation."
Indeed. Yet if Dems do NOT take over the House, Trump will contrast his 2018 performance with Obama's 2010 performance, and deduce that his support is stronger than it was for Obama.

donzelion said...

Slim Moldie: "Donzelian please assure me that in terms of legal analysis I am a degenerate moron"
Well, you're not a moron. It CAN be a crime for a campaign to obtain information in certain ways (e.g. burglary)...But the Pentagon Papers broke before Nixon won in a landslide in 1972, and mutterings about Watergate preceded that reelection.

"Trump’s transition team failed at the appropriate time to renounce their Russian contacts and chose to further engage and escalate their dubious activities by taking closed door/secret meetings to obtain stolen information"
That could be criminal conduct, BUT the rules are seldom enforced, and never have been against presidential staff during a transition process. That's probably why Mueller is focusing on financial crimes that predate the election: breaking the presumption of impunity. It could also be that Mueller doesn't have much on Trump personally...yet.

"they are still perjuring themselves to keep hidden."
It's not perjury unless they lied under oath.

David Brin said...

Sorry, I find Alfred's version of libertarianism to be quite cogent, adult and admirable. Especially since it meant swimming against the tide of his Movement. It is perfectly legit to have a segment of the population whose suspicion of authority reflex is to cast a skeptical eye toward government over-reach and meddling and domineering bureaucrats. Even liberal Kurt Vonnegut conveyed the value of such skepticism in his story "Harrison Bergeron," which made the point - in five pages - far better than Ayn Rand could in 5000.

What we must demand is that libertarians reconsider what their core word should be -- "competition" - and why Adam Smith said (and we've learned) that government is needed, to prevent cheating, maximize the number of competitors, keep the arenas flat-open-fair and stop wasting talent. Oh, plus incorporate externalities, do long range science, national defense and some (not all) infrastructure. Beyond that... and fair justice... libertarians can often have a point about deregulation and I share the ultimate dream of a graciously withering away state. Which is one of my aims in pushing transparency.

Alfred Differ said...

@matthew | It's not you that I think is childish, but your position on this one issue.

Ah. My bad then. I’ll take it all back because you are entirely within the rules of good behavior. I was mistaken.

which then scales into how societies pay for…

If it helps any, this is where we disagree. It does NOT scale. Families can economize. Communities cannot unless they adopt coherent objectives like families often have. Communities rarely do that except in times of stress or those rare cases where 90%+ actually agree a goal and how to achieve it. Most of what people want in a community does not have that kind of shared support.

When we do NOT have shared objectives, we do still have a method for achieving a reasonably close outcome to what most members of a community want. We trade this for that. I might not get all that what I want, but I might be able to trade for the #3 objective on my list. This kind of trading is NOT what families do when the economize their resources. Families generally have shared, agreed upon objectives and a willingness to tolerate the methods used by family leaders to achieve them.

The reason I object to the ‘pay as you go’ and ‘pay your dues’ arguments is that both assume shared objectives that I know do not exist. If they do not exist, we are actually working to achieve the objectives of a smaller group of people. In other words, the objectives of a few are being forced on many. This is a form of coercion supported by majority rule in a democracy or the King’s army in a feudal society. I’m far less tolerant of the second example, but I don’t like the first either. We can do better.

I don’t expect this to convince you, though, and I’m not saying that as a snark. It took me a long time to come to the realization that communities cannot economize without a loss of liberty. We do this in war for obvious reasons. We surrender some of our liberty voluntarily most of the time here in the US when we go to war. When it is taken by force, though, we know what to call it. Right? This argument extends to taxation often enough that you should think carefully about what it means to draft our incomes.

Alfred Differ said...

David | that government is needed

I’m not convinced of that yet, but since most people can’t imagine a social institution that blocks cheaters that isn’t government, I’ll go along with y’all for now.

I think we are in a situation that is still like the days when people couldn’t imagine governance without Kings and Priests. How will the commoners manage it? Heh. We’ve figured out a lot of things, but I suspect we can find ways forward that keep us moving toward V Vinge’s min-archist visions. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t happen through social engineering, and it won’t happen without mistakes. However, I suspect we CAN find ways to do away with most of government.

So… government is needed for now, but we should never teach that it is ACTUALLY needed. Hayek’s position on what should and should not be part of government evolved a bit over the years and in my view he picked up where Smith left off.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

but since most people can’t imagine a social institution that blocks cheaters that isn’t government


The part I can't imagine is something other than whoever is empowered to block cheaters becoming the cheaters themselves. It's practically an axiom of psychohistory. The best we seem to be able to do is the sort of system of competing interests implicit in the US Constitution, where congress can block the executive or vice versa. And even then, we're seeing what happens when all branches of government align their interests and conspire to cheat. Likewise, a free press is a check on government, but when the media profit from manipulation of elections...

Recognizing that aspect of human tendency, I at least favor a democratic form of government because it (theoretically anyway) gives the "little people" some say in how society is managed and some means of pushback against egregious cheating.

I've seen your past arguments about how private security can replace government as a means of enforcing contracts and resolving disputes, but I still can't fathom how the winning security firm--the one with the firepower to overcome opposition--doesn't become the new class of cheaters themselves. It seems to me to be turtles all the way down.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, many of you know more about corporate rules than I do, so I'll ask...

What does it mean that Tesla might "go private", but that shareholders can keep their shares if they wish, and that Elon Musk says he hopes they will. If the current shareholders remain shareholders, then what's the difference between public and private?

Serious question.

Larry Hart said...

And a late night observation on the Ohio special congressional election, which the Republican looks poised to win by a hairsbreadth...

Why is there always a Green Party candidate who gets just enough votes in a close election to insure that the Republican wins? Collusion?

Slim Moldie said...

Donzelion:

"It's not perjury unless they lied under oath."

Yeah. Prince and Sessions testified under oath to congress. But I stand corrected on Junior as he met with the senate voluntarily.

As to if we have proof they lied or not? To that I'll add my quote of the day from Burl Barer. "It all comes out in the wash. It's just the spin cycle that makes you crazy”


Larry and Alfred
I skim through these discussion but find my inner snark surfaces when I jump in too much, which I don't like. But since I'm hear, Re-Reading Ursula Le Guin novels for bedtime, right now the Dispossessed and am startled at how relevant to a lot of your conversations on government.

David Brin said...

Alfred an awful lot of cheating will be stymied by transparency. No, where government is needed is in refereeing a flat fair arena, in intervening to no child'd talent is needlessly or involuntarily wasted, providing truly neutral justice and defense... and providing society's prefrontal lobes by looking beyond any one person or company's ROI horizon.... through science and the incorporation of externalities like the environment into market costs.

ALL of these could get out of hand... as the "don't waste talent" injunction led to the US left's worst volcanic stupidity -- desegregation through forced school bussing. Hence, having libertarian skepticism at the table is fine by me. Alas, they have proved to be prone to being swayed (bought) by propaganda from the element of society that most wants government curtailed.

Lords.

David Brin said...

Trump is biting nails over this special election. Does he realize it's his life - literally - on the line? Gawd help us all, especially DT, if the oligarchy sees a coming Blue Wave and judges him to be a "Howard Beale" liability. God bless the U.S. Secret Service.

David Brin said...

Does anyone know how to order Spotlight - on a Mac - to do a fresh sort? It's been doing worse and worse at finding things on my computer.

I followed the instructions at http://osxdaily.com/2012/01/17/rebuild-spotlight-index/ to the letter... five times(!) and saw no change or any sign of a new indexing.

Winter7 said...

Doctor Brin:
On this Apple support page, there seems to be something:

https://support.apple.com/kb/index?page=search&type=organic&src=support_searchbox_main&locale=en_US&q=how+to+order+Spotlight+-+on+a+Mac+-+to+do+a+fresh+sort

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Privately held companies still have shareholders. It's just that trading shares isn't done through the public equity markets. The public markets assume many of the participants are not experts and can't necessarily afford to lose what they risk. Private trades don't have to make those assumptions. There are still a lot of rules, but they assume a more capable/trained trader.

Larry Hart said...

I get that 30-40% of my fellow Americans will agree with much of what this guy says, but to me, the level of projection and alternative facts in this article truly boggles the mind.

Bold emphasis is my own indication of 1984-level abuse of words...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/opinion/trump-treason-democrats-merkley-hoyer.html

When they talk about President Trump, why are so many Democratic politicians talking about treason? Whatever they may truly believe, why are they letting their inflammatory rhetoric become decoupled from the facts?

By doing so, they are setting the country on a dangerous, unpredictable trajectory that could lead to a crisis of political legitimacy. And by indulging their own worst instincts, these Democrats are guilty of fomenting the extreme, intemperate rhetoric for which they have consistently criticized the president.

...

But attacking the legitimacy of an election undermines the efficacy of the regime itself in a way that the president’s accusations never have.

...

As Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford’s Hoover Institution wrote recently in his column for American Greatness, the magazine I work for, “Almost every aspect of American culture has been weaponized to delegitimize Trump.” Trust in the American electoral system has already suffered collateral damage. Self-government requires trust. Once gone, it may never be restored. In this way, Mr. Trump’s opponents have turned legitimate political disagreement into an assault, perhaps unwitting, on the institution of self-government.

...

locumranch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
locumranch said...


Larry_H's post (above) reveals his inability to deal with or even recognise the contradictions inherent in his attempts to delegitimise the authority of President Trump, a person who the political left designates as an 'authoritarian' because he has done more to UNDERMINE the authority of the US government & its agencies than any other president in recent memory:

I guess that makes Trump an anti-authoritarian authoritarian!!


Best

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | It does not & cannot happen because inherent contradictions cannot be resolved.

No. Perfecting is not the same as perfection. Individuals can think they are engaged in the act of perfecting and even have an end state in mind, but society will be whatever it will be whether those individuals are right or wrong. Since society has been changing over the centuries and moving away from intrusive kings and priests, David's observation about withering is reasonable.

Only the blind would fail to notice The West is not different from previous civilizations in the relative reduction in power of the state.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | It's practically an axiom of psychohistory.

It IS a difficult one to imagine, but let me offer a small bit of help and then avoid writing a whole book on it. 8)

If I hire personal security, I'm not inclined to hire the kind of security that feels it has the option to exercise coercive powers in the 'law of the jungle' sense. If they overstep my preferred limits, I stop paying them. So... let's start with the possibility that SOME people will self-limit and avoid paying thuggish people if they can. Reasonable? We aren't ALL tigers.

If I hire personal security, I'm doing so in a community where others are doing the same. Some might settle for the default 'purchase' of police protection by paying their taxes like a good member of the community. That means my security people exist in an ecosystem with others who might use force if needed. If I'm smart, I'll buy services from people who have experience in that ecosystem meaning I might wind up hiring former LE officers. They would know what their limits are before other security people would choose to act, right? If I'm smart, I'll also pay my security to help keep ME in line so I don't trigger some other security group in the ecosystem. That would start as advice, but I might pre-authorize more to keep me out of 'I got drunk' situations too. This isn't unlike what we pay lawyers for when we need their advice to stay out of trouble.

Of course the trick to all this is figuring out how to opt-out of arrangements the rest of you feel we should be forced into as part of our desire to live in a community with you. This gets to the actual heart of the matter for many libertarians. It's not that we want to be animals. It's that we want to be able to opt-out or opt-in freely.

For a live example of this situation, consider the security risks faced by reporters attending Trump rallies. Do they rely on local LE for protection? Should they hire personal security? How would their security interact with local LE? What's allowed? What isn't? Who defines the terms of engagement?

No one is going to snap their fingers and solve this overnight, but we can examine what happens today and consider incremental adjustments that get tried in a practical sense to see if they work. We might inch our way forward that way.

matthew said...

Larry -
Typical of the New York Times. I canceled my subscription over just these sorts of false equivalence arguments. Our "paper of record" is a pile of trash and not worth the paper or electrons wasted on it.

Alfred Differ said...

@David | I agree that transparency will solve a lot of cheating, but I suspect the real fix comes from the fact that we are all generally wealthier. The very rich are getting very much richer, but the whole social pyramid floated off the ground and changed shape as it did. One doesn’t need a whole lot of money to acquire a basic education for children. One needs some money and some time. A mother’s biology takes care of the rest. 8)

I think the best argument for government as you imagine it is in ‘leveling’ and dealing with negative externalities. I pay some attention to the other issues, but I’m not overly concerned. I’d pay to support science and a lot of other things, but I really would prefer to be asked. I AM concerned with children getting a fair start and with the cost shifting that happens when two parties agree to stiff a third. I struggle with how we might deal with those without government. People love social status and the signaling that goes with it. Maybe we will find non-governmental solutions someday, but for now I’ll back reasonable governments.

You are right about my friends being 'bought', though. My FB feed has one particular lady who argues I should vote Republican in CA’s governor race on the basis that Democrats always raise taxes. My thought was that there are FAR worse things than someone picking my pocket. My next thought was about how many of us claim to be libertarian, but vote Republican. I am a former Democrat and that’s kinda rare among libertarians. The ones who tolerate the hard-right in the GOP worry too much about their wallets and not enough about the kind of world we make for the children. They'll come for your guns! They'll steal your money! Don't pay attention, though, to them destroying your child's future.

matthew said...

Alfred, this sort of argument in your "personal security" post above is exactly why I consider Libertarianism to be so wrong and evil. "Personal Security" will lead directly to David's fuedalism and Gibson's "rule by corporation."

Any deputation of use of force in a paid arrangement that does not represent all the people is inherently an attractor for a feudal state. Full stop.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | It's an opinion piece. What did you expect? 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@@Matthew | I believe you are sincere when you say that, but I also believe you are mistaken.

Police in a typical city are conflicted when people expect them to protect them and enforce the laws.

1) First there is the issue that it isn’t clear to whom they are loyal. Ideally, they are loyal to the city and enforce laws impartially. Typically, they are a bit more loyal to people higher on the SES ladder.

2) Protecting people is partially accomplished by arresting people who might harm them, but when LE enforces laws it is important to remember that the primary duty for LE is to enforce. Protection comes second. Ideally, it is a close second. Typically, protection applies to some better than others.

3) Police are authorized to use lethal force in some situations. This can be in direct conflict with enforcement and protection mandates. Ideally, lethal force is highly limited to situations where people need protection. Typically, LE officers are human and prone to occasional error. Also, every bullet fired goes somewhere.

I get that you want the interests of all people represented in security arrangements, but that is no more possible than meeting our interests in economic arrangements. We don’t necessarily have shared objectives. The humans you describe who would do this don’t exist.

Also, I can hire personal security today if I choose. We already cope with this to some degree. I know a guy who hired security for his daughter when she slipped up on the internet (in a way that made her look like a racist) and she started getting death threats. LE would have protected her to some degree, but no one was identified well enough for arrests to happen. No threats actually materialized. The security arrangement my friend had was useful for a time, but eventually wasn’t needed. Did he risk returning us to feudalism? I don’t think so. He dealt with a security gap to protect his daughter. He used his own money to do it instead of picking our pockets to make it happen.

matthew said...

ALfred, your argument regarding paid security has now devolved to "Nobody can make the police care about the poor, so you might as well sell the service to the highest bidder."

While I do believe that a good percentage of police act in the manner you describe, I also have clear evidence that not all police act this way.
On the other hand, I can point with certainty that privatization of security will leave the poor and homeless out of luck. We've seen that experiment run over and over again.



David Brin said...

I mostly ignore him, but sometimes skim. This time I noticed locumrach call me a "liar." That is different than his usual calumnies. And yes, I have so accused him in the past. He may reject such by refraining from coming back here. I will respond reciprocally by erasing such posts. He is now under probation.

David Brin said...

onward

onward