Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Stark Difference - make it count!

The news cycle moves so fast it may be intentional, giving us no time for thought about particular outrages. For example, do you recall how retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan? “McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who led US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, not only called Brennan "a man of unparalleled integrity," but volunteered to have his own security clearance revoked in an act of solidarity.”

The context for this all-out struggle — not between left-and-right but between America’s adult side and our raving toddler-men — could not be more clear. Between those who spew machismo through posturing and screeches…and those like McRaven who quietly and effectively performed the most decisively important and surgical and efficient elimination of a deadly national foe. And yes, those who appointed good people. 

And yes, Obama killed Osama. Live with it. 

== The Stark Difference: make your mad uncles listen ==

John Brennan and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon both issued dire, contradictory warnings. Brennan says Kremlin-led forces have interfered with the U.S. actively helping - and helped by - Trump. Bannon released a movie trailer screaming that “the media” is bent on bringing Trump down.  

This is not something we can soothe your mad uncle (MU) out of, by comparing facts - not when all fact-using professions are condemned as enemies, on Fox and Jones etc. converting good American reflexes like suspicion of authority into cancers. 

So, use bullets of logic. Read one page to your MU aloud. Because asking him to read is futile.

1. “There are roughly HALF A MILLION men and women working in the so-called “deep state”… members of the law (e.g. FBI), intelligence or military officer communities… folks who always leaned crewcut conservative, and who nearly all are gun-owners. Quietly skilled and effective, they led in winning the Cold War against the Soviet/Kremlin empire. They hunted down bin Laden.

“Now, a vast majority of these dedicated men and women are deeply worried about a new, growing Kremlin empire, led by many of the same KGB thugs, using skulking methods that our skilled protectors clearly see… Yet, suddenly you are hostile to these half a million loyal, dedicated folks? All in the same conspiracy? Why? 

"Because Rupert Murdoch’s pretty yammerheads tell you to.”

(This cogent essay compares Moscow's current cozy support of the U.S. radical right to their 1930s subversion via the American far-left. Read also about the 12 new Russian naval bases along the ice-free arctic, and dare your MU to find one senior naval officer who's still a Republican.) 

2.  “There are roughly HALF A MILLION American scientists or high tech entrepreneurs who did the R&D and invention that made America rich and gave YOU all the comforts and machines and toys you depend on daily, ensuring safe food and clean air, sending miracle space probes to distant planets, rapidly improving medicine, and creating spectacular atmospheric models that predict weather often ten days in advance.* They may not wear crewcuts and not all are gun-owners, but they are key to winning future prosperity.

“Now, a vast majority of these dedicated men and women are deeply worried about terrible dangers to our children’s future, that they can see clearly in the data and in every model and analysis. But suddenly you are hostile to these half a million brilliant, dedicated folks, who know a whole lot more than you do. Why? 

"Because Rupert Murdoch’s pretty yammerheads tell you to.”

3. "There are roughly a QUARTER OF A MILLION U.S. journalists at various levels, men and women who took up the profession because they are curious people who ask a lot of questions.  Yeah, yeah, almost none of them have crewcuts and many lean liberal, in part because they travel all over and see a lot of pain.  But suddenly you are hostile to these curious and thoughtful folks, en masse, dismissing a quarter of a million professionals as “the media.” Why? 

"Because Fox-yammerheads and Steve Bannon tell you they are engaged in a vast conspiracy aimed at destroying the country they love, every bit as much as you do? What all of them? A conspiracy that involves hundreds of thousands, yet doesn’t leak? 

Now add in the other “elites” that Sean Hannity gets you raging-at. A MILLION teachers! And then a MILLION doctors and health workers. Unions have been declining for 40 years, yet somehow they are demons! Yet we should trust Wall Street. No, no. Never look at oil lords or Wall Street.

Hey, uncle, name one fact-using profession that your cult isn't waging war against? One? Science, journalism, teaching, medicine, law, public service... name an exception! And now the "deep state" FBI, Intel Agencies and US military officer corps. The one thing they all have in common? Grownups who use facts.

Steve Bannon wants you to hate every skilled “elite” profession. But never doubt the good intentions of three dozen casino moguls and oil barons and slumlords all with mafia ties and debt entanglements with Saudi princes and Moscow oligarchs! 

In contrast, what is the dedicated pro, John Brennan, asking you to consider?  That the same Kremlin agents you hated, back when they wore hammer and sickle pins and conspired against America, might… still… be… doing it? In collusion with Rupert Murdoch and a few pals.

That seems a simpler hypothesis.

== A public servant strikes back? Or a self-serving coward? ==

Alas, the news cycle requires that I add yet more.

The secret “high official” who wrote the recent op-ed denouncing his own boss as immoral and un-moored, in the NY Times, also alluded that a large fraction of Trump’s cabinet had informally mulled whether to invoke the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, in order to protect the republic and its people from a jabbering, terror-stricken, bully-toddler. According to reports, those worried officials decided instead “to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”

Woof, so many aspects to this:

1) I have long said there are grownups, in the civil service, along with the justice, intel and military professionals, etc., and even maybe a quarter of today’s billionaires, who are alerted to the danger, doing what they can to maintain a semblance of a strong and sane national government and economy, amid all this. It is this civil society of dedicated servants to the rule of law that Vladimir Putin will never understand.

2) In order for the 25th to be invoked, the Vice President must call an official cabinet meeting. And Mike Pence will only do this on his terms, at his own time, when it serves the interests of Mike Pence. That won’t happen while the MAGA Trumpists still seem a potent force, and while Murdoch’s shills are stoking that inferno..

…though it could be an unforeseen side effect if there truly is a huge “Blue Wave” in November. At which point the Casino and slumlords and mafia kingpins who help Murdoch run the GOP may decide to ditch the MAGAs as hard as they threw the Bushite neocons under the bus, in 2005. (Oh, this time there will be violence. But if DT is martyred in just the right way, they might figure they can turn it to advantage, like the death of Hindenburg, in 1933. God bless the Secret Service.)

3) Remember that this op-ed writer – whoever it is – was appointed by Two Scoops, whose bizarro “excellent judge of people” power has picked a higher proportion of “disloyal betrayers” than any national leader in the history of our species. Dig that well and use it in your arguments with confeds.

“No squirming rationalization gets you off the pure fact that Donald Trump is a wretchedly awful judge of character.” ("Donald Trump Jr. complains his father has few he can trust.") Whoever the anonymous “high official” is, we should

(a) be glad he/she is trying to reduce the damage and  (b) still know that it’s probably not a person qualified to strike a match with five tries. 
Oh, there are a few exceptions. 
But on the first order: anyone chosen by Donald Trump for high office should bear a presumption of utter disqualification for service or office. And yes, op-ed writer, this includes you. Look in a mirror. He… picked… you.

4) If the scenario reported by the anonymous official is true, then he just did us all a profound disservice by bragging! By alerting His Highness to the extent of the “resistance.” How is that helpful? This self-serving betrayal - plus the Woodward book - may have rendered untenable James Mattis’s strategy of defending us by flattering the toddler.

As for the 25th Amendment, consider my posting about it. Exit strategies Part II: Surprising aspects of the 25th Amendment.

5) Then there is the op-ed writer's hypocrisy assailing Trump while defending overall GOP policy – e.g. “Supply Side” voodoo “economics” that never across 40 years correctly predicted a single outcome, always achieving opposite results. This is your silver lining?

6) And finally: "There is no redemption... You think an op-ed ... is going to cut it? You cannot write an article admitting to the president’s “anti-democratic” impulses while also saying you want his administration “to succeed.” ...while omitting any and all references to his racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and white nationalism." writes Mehdi Hasan in The Intercept.

Again, pass word about my posting about wagers!

== Speaking of all-out war ==

Apparently our diplomats were attacked in communist Cuba and communist China by a Russia-developed microwave weapon. And your MU thinks we’re not already at war? Read about the Kremlin-ordered malware attacks bringing down systems around the globe, turning millions of private laptops into ‘bots,’ (yours, maybe?), and preparing for worse.

Why do this now, so brazenly? (1) to cow the Ukrainians into coming back under Moscow control, (2) to help breakup the Western Alliance, (protected from consequence by their agent in the White House), and (3) because, facing demographic and economic collapse, they must act now to both raise oil prices and conquer enough surrounding territory to feel safe.

If the West stays strong another decade, all hope of rule by mafia-oligarchy will pass away like a bad fog. It must be now.

== A stunning prediction, out of a light SF flick ==

If you ever saw the film BLAST FROM THE PAST, recall Chistopher Walken's final words, when he asks:

"So I'm supposed to believe the Politburo just one day threw up their hands and surrendered?"

"Yeah, dad. That's pretty much it."


"Oh, you've got to hand it to them."

We've been handing it to them. Hand over fist.


Digital Dame said...

I'm really starting to despair. There is nothing you can say to change their minds, to enlighten them, to make them see reason. They're so brainwashed, it's like beating your head against the proverbial wall. Facts are anathema to them.

Larry Hart said...

Completely tangential, but I found this exchange at the end of the previous comments to be eerily poetic and appropriate. Almost an Alan Parsons Project song:

...under all glaciers in the Antarctic, where enormous tunnels have formed with rivers that flow continuously towards the sea ...

Dr Brin:


Treebeard said...

Maybe you're not speaking the same language as them. Maybe your "facts" don't address their deepest concerns, which are ultimately psychic, mythic and metaphysical, and thus beyond the reach of the mundane Enlightenment rationalist "the world is made of bricks and facts" crowd. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.", etc.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard | Maybe your "facts" don't address their deepest concerns

I don't doubt that.

From where I sit, it looks like we have to break the fever first before we deal with how they caught the infection.

Twominds said...

I'll read the new post tomorrow, but I wanted to react to Winter7 on banking before the comments are in a completely different direction again.

Regarding the issue of loans. (...) the important thing is to change the way banks abuse people.

I got an idea about that that could be kind of a middle road between banks earning money and people not being fleeced by compound interest.

At the moment, a loan of say $1000 can accrue many times its own amount in compound interest, if the borrower can't or won't pay it off. The problem gets worse every year until even the interest is a prohibitive amount. I've seen it happening, it ruined the person completely (other aspects in that too, not just the loan).

I'd say a loan can gather interest, but only up to a point. A $1000 loan will have a max of 100% interest, so the borrower will face max $2000 to pay back. Less if he pays in time, but no more than that. This way a loan stays manageable, and the banks will have their payment for the money they lent.

It will also encourage banks to look closely at what they think a customer can reasonably pay and be reluctant to offer outrageous amounts that they will almost be sure the borrower can't manage, trapping him in a situation of permanent debt with ever higher sums of interest.

I'm sure that at this point my idea is still very naive, full of bugs that I don't see, but I'd think it could be the basis for a useful option. Hardest would be getting the banks to agree to it!

Anyone who wants to weigh in on this?

Treebeard said...

I think maybe you have a fever too. Someone once compared Enlightenment cultism to a magic circle, that seeks to trap everyone in its materialistic worldview. People inside this circle are like madmen, insisting that everyone outside their circle is insane, evil, stupid or stricken with fever. People outside the circle just think they're blind madmen, and want to be left alone by them.

David Brin said...

LH I din’t notice that accidental poetry!

Digital Dame, have you tried the wager approach? Dmanding they show the same macho gits they’ddisplay over a sports bet. In my experience, it actually gets a reaction… fear. And flight.

David Brin said...

Treebeard… oh, what vitamins did you take? Did you store up calcium ions to fire in your first missive today? It was an actual, actual, cogent contribution to the conversation. And… yes, choke… true in its way.

Oh, the second blip from you went back to loony, accusing us of being like you. We’re not. And you are still crazy for thinking that romanticism should ever have anything to do with adult matters like negotiation, politics, policy, law or the running of a civilization. That was tried in every single human tribe for tens of thousands of years and we got nowhere. We got nothing from it but endless delusion, rationalization of theft and oppression and murder, and ruined hopes.

But yes, it is reasonable to hold in suspicion the replacement of failed feudal-bully and priestly elites, substituting them with lectury fact-bully technocrats. We Americans, who have been raised to be especially suspicious of any authority, can certainly be well-served by confronting all elites, even the smart nerds whose discoveries and inventions made a vastly better world, “Question authority” means making them account for their OWN potentially dangerous delusions.

But that IS the process of science. And it is the process of fair markets and fair courts and real democracy and every other grownup process.

The haters of Enlightenment cheat. They proclaim we are trying to kill romanticism completely. All those “psychic, mythic and metaphysical” things that sing in our hearts. And you know that is a lie. Romanticism propels the greatest tsunami of ART the world has ever known! Art is where such things fill us with wonder and power, without poisoning grownup policy. In our movies and novels and songs…

… and you know that I know that better than you do! Because I craft all those “ psychic, mythic and metaphysical” things with wizard skill. And I love them.

I just love my children more. And the world their children will inherit. And Freedom. And the stars.

And those will all die if romanticism regains power over policy.

I know we terrify you. We try to soothe that fear by telling you we are NOT like you zero-summers. We do not think we need to repress you, in order to explore and get great new things from the future. But we are learning thehard way that zero-summers simply cannot comprehend the possibility that we aren’t out to repress or kill them.

That’s your trip, not ours. Your way – the way of millennia – is boring.

Alfred Differ said...

@Twominds | The idea you are describing is essentially a form of price control. Interest rate and loan duration multiplied together produce the price. If you limit the maximum price this way, the banks will adjust the multipliers. Short term loans might see increased rates. Long term loans would likely become scarce.

Most price control ideas lead to shortages of the things being controlled. Your idea would shrink the number of people who can get legal loans at acceptable terms, so that's what you should be thinking about when considering any alterations.

In this case, I'd agree that certain risk groups should not be borrowing the way they do, but I'm not sure I want to cut them out of the market by making the banks avoid them. I'd rather ease the bankruptcy rules and use that as a way to convince creditors they should be more careful. People who can escape those large sums you worry about contribute to the delinquency rate which alters future interest rates the bank will consider. Delinquency rates also impact stock price on publicly traded banks, so they'll consider that too.

I used to work in the financial sector. The simple ideas people have rarely stand a chance of working. The field is far more complex than they realize.

David Brin said...

Yes to all that, Alfred. Yet, there is an argument for a backstop government alternative. A floor that prevents the worst predations and leave options for those the market won't serve. A Postal Bank that offers basic ATM/Checking, payroll savings plans and 4x per year stopgap loans, would annihilate the predatory payday check cashing"services." Emergency FEMA loans should come with rules demanding subsequent risk reduction, like moving out of flood areas, but the system works.

sociotard said...

Hey Dr. Brin, I don't suppose this is a news item where you are more "in the know"?

The FBI Mysteriously Close New Mexico Observatory
Staff have been evacuated and the FBI has sent agents and a Blackhawk helicopter to the site, without telling anyone what's going on.

I mean, I'm sure it is something banally awful, but this is how good movies start.

sociotard said...

An astronomer friend on another forum posted this:

The newspaper item linked from the Popular Mechanics thing you posted mentions National Solar Observatory, though the picture in the PopMech thing is of a nearby but different place, Apache Point Observatory. I have been to APO several times over the last 20-plus years, and I was WSU's science rep on the APO governing board for the last three years they were members of the consortium. Nothing seems to have happened at APO: there's no disruptions noted in their night logs or other operating reports.

NSO I do not know anywhere near as well, having been there only once and that as a tourist. It seems to be slowly being phased out of operation as its science gets shifted to better observing sites in Hawaii. (I haven't seen a clear, open declaration of that, but lots of functions have been moved out of New Mexico and the trend seems clear.) Roughly a year ago they closed their visitors center, apparently for good.

What remains there at NSO might (I emphasize "might") include some classified military (most likely USAF) project; that has certainly happened before, and there is a half-century history of observatories making their telescopes available to secret detector/sensor development projects in exchange for some limited scientific use of the new, hot, and otherwise unavailable new tech. If this is the situation, and if the largely depopulated observatory had some unauthorized outsider get in after hours and end up in a place they should not be, then I can imagine the feds entering immediately and not wanting to talk about it.

That would be my guess, but it is strictly a guess. I probably know people who know more, and maybe I can pass on more at some future time.

Acacia H. said...

So. It seems South Carolina isn't developing plans to evacuate their prison populations despite Florence's likely impact on the region... meaning that prisoners are going to be left to die. Again. And I doubt the news media will mention anything about it... and I also bet that the Conservative Judges will not rule this as Cruel and Unusual Punishment because? The people being abandoned are poor and often minorities.


Have you noticed lately that Trump has been slurring words during rallies? I'm wondering if he's getting drunk before each of these rallies... or if someone is slowly trying to medicate him and not getting the dose quite right. In either case, this slurring of words and the like has me wondering if, once the Republicans get their Supreme Court pick and as many Judges in as possible, if we will see the 25th Amendment invoked and Pence stepping in "reluctantly" to be a caretaker for the rest of Trump's term.

What's more, I see this happening after the general election but before the next Congress is sworn into office, and there is little concern about mollycoddling Trump supporters. At this point, Pence and crew will shut down Mueller's investigation and insist it's all finished. Because Pence doesn't want to be caught up in this traitor hunt. And he is a traitor, as is a good portion of the Republican Party at this point.


Going back to Florence again... this storm is going to be another Texas. It may in fact be worse, should Florence pause right at the coast and continue to feed off of the warm coastal waters and dump that and wind throughout the coastal region of North and South Carolina, and parts of Virginia.

They still are cleaning up after Trump's last fuckup. This one is going to be worse. And I doubt Trump and crew will prove at all more competent than with the last storm. A lot of people are going to die or be permanently displaced... and the Carolinas are going to be knocked back to a pre-industrial setting for months if things get bad enough, with cities devastated, roads washed out, and power lines needing to be replaced wholesale.

Rob H.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm generally FOR plans that produce more participants in the financial markets. I have a strong preference for knowledgeable participants instead of people who are lead through life. Anything that gets us moving in that direction will get my attention and at least some support.

Price controls demonstrate good intentions, but a lack of understanding the actual problem.

Annihilating predatory lenders is another 'good intention', but identifying them is problematic. A good chunk of my time in the financial industry was with a sub-prime lender. Maxine Waters called us out by name one day from the podium in the House and demonstrated an utter lack of understanding of how we marketed to the people we served.

The poor get used in many ways and the only way I know to get them out of that trap requires education, hope, and risk. It's not easy to guide them out, but it's not so hard to get out of the way of some of the ways that work to help at least a few of them.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard | I think maybe you have a fever too.

I can understand why it would seem that way. The problem with that viewpoint, though, is humanity has exploded in terms of population and managed to find a way to feed ourselves (overfeed often enough). We've managed to end a number of diseases and curb others so often that many of us grow up without ever encountering a dead person for many, many years. We've managed to put people on the Moon, curb our inclination to murder each other, and invent and propagate a technology that is putting education within the reach of every single human on the planet.

Disease? If so, that's a hellavu bug. Sign me up.

Magic? If so, it's the only effective magic. Sign me up.

Madness? Yah. That actually makes a kind of sense. We ditched the tried and true methods we used to organize our societies since before recorded history. These are the methods we had to invent so we could engage in agriculture and live in big cities and amongst our own filth. Hundreds of generations of experience getting by in a subsistence world where most of us saw famine once or twice each generation got pushed aside. Well... we didn't quite ditch them. We altered them a bit like a cancerous cell is only slightly different from its neighbors. What a dumb idea! This weirdness might kill us all!

Seriously, though, I don't doubt our ancestors would have seen this as madness. Back up a few more hundreds of generations, though, to before the ice melted and those ancestors would have seem our shift to farming as madness. How could their children be so stupid as to live among their own filth eating piss poor grains ground with stones that left gravel in the 'bread' that destroyed our teeth? Drinking cows milk past the age of weening? WFT?!

I think we are witnessing something akin to the revolution associated with the adoption of agriculture. Humanity v4.0 will be different than v3.0. Madness? Only if you can't imagine life after the singularity*... which is the situation we ALL find ourselves in.

* [I'm not implying the mystical singularity involving run away exponential capabilities. I'm referring to a more moderate one where the discontinuity occurs in the second derivative of our activity/capability/knowledge. Think more in terms of phase change than godhood.]

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Read also about the 12 new Russian naval bases along the ice-free arctic, and dare your MU to find one senior naval officer who's still a Republican.

I've always assumed that the rampant climate denialism in this country came from the fossil fuel industry wanting to hang onto the value of their commodities, but now I wonder how much of the propaganda is actually spread by a Russia which prefers to forestall corrective action because they like the effects of climate change.

While the rest of the world desertifies or submerges into a rising ocean, they get a temperate climate and a warm-water lake between themselves and Canada. What's not to like?

A.F. Rey said...

While the rest of the world desertifies or submerges into a rising ocean, they get a temperate climate and a warm-water lake between themselves and Canada. What's not to like?

I don't think they are too crazy about the heat waves and droughts that come with it.

Berial said...

Anyone interested can watch the Hurricane as it comes in here:
"Frying Pan Ocean Cam powered by"

Warning it's LOUD.

Berial said...

@Larry Hart

Even as Big Oil support denialism in the public at large, they acknowledge it in their plans.

Big Oil Seeks Billions from U.S. Government to Protect It From…Climate Change

"In a masterstroke of irony — and hubris — the oil industry wants the federal government to build and pay for “a nearly 60-mile ‘spine’ of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast” to protect “the crown jewels of the petroleum industry.”"

"The article notes near the beginning that communities and “delicate ecosystems” will be also protected by this project, but lower down, beyond where most people stop reading, we find this (emphasis added):

The proposals approved for funding originally called for building more protections along larger swaths of the Texas coast, but they were scaled back and now deliberately focus on refineries."

jim said...

The biggest threat to children today, is that they were born into a society in which the economic system is designed to have unquenchable greed as its basic organizing principle and its highest goal. And the main goal of our political system is to enable and justify this endless greed based economic system.

Larry Hart said...


That sounds a lot like the ancien regime in 1780s France.

Or at least Dickens's version of it. :)

David Brin said...

RobH, prisons are fortresses. I doubt Florence will do much to them.

Trump is slurring, some say, because of bad dentures. I would not bet much against a stroke, though. He supposedly doesn’t drink./

David Brin said...

Even to the extent that I agree with "jim"... and I do, some... I find it pathetic how unaware he is, that exaggeration-screeches are less effective that persuasion in the field.

DP said...

"History repeats itself, the first as tragedy, then as farce."

The argument about how to define a nation, either as "blood and soil" or as an ideal embodying the "better angels of our nature" has always been with us.

Not nearly enough attention has been paid in recent years to a late-19th-century French controversy that prefigured many of the debates of the 20th century, and has some clear echoes in the present.

The Dreyfus affair was triggered in 1894, when a traitor was discovered in the French army: Somebody had been passing information to Germany, which had defeated France a quarter century earlier and occupied Alsace-Lorraine. French military intelligence investigated and claimed that it had found the culprit. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an Alsatian, spoke with a German accent, and was a Jew—and therefore, in the eyes of some, not a real Frenchman. As it would turn out, he was also innocent. But French army investigators created fake evidence and gave false testimony; as a result, Dreyfus was court-martialed, found guilty, and sent into solitary confinement on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana.

The ensuing controversy divided French society along now-familiar lines. Those who maintained Dreyfus’s guilt were the alt-right—or the Law and Justice Party, or the National Front—of their time. They pushed a conspiracy theory. They were backed up by screaming headlines in France’s right-wing yellow press, the 19th-century version of a far-right trolling operation. Their leaders lied to uphold the honor of the army; adherents clung to their belief in Dreyfus’s guilt—and their absolute loyalty to the nation—even when this fakery was revealed.

Dreyfus was not a spy. To prove the unprovable, the anti-Dreyfusards had to disparage evidence, law, and even rational thought. Science itself was suspect, both because it was modern and universal and because it came into conflict with the emotional cult of ancestry and place. “In every scientific work,” wrote one anti-Dreyfusard, there is something “precarious” and “contingent.”

The Dreyfusards, meanwhile, argued that some principles are higher than national honor, and that it mattered whether Dreyfus was guilty or not. Above all, they argued, the French state had an obligation to treat all citizens equally, whatever their religion. They too were patriots, but of a different sort. They conceived of the nation not as an ethnic clan but as the embodiment of a set of ideals: justice, honesty, the neutrality of the courts. This was a more cerebral vision, more abstract and harder to grasp, but not without an appeal of its own.

Those two visions of the nation split France right down the middle. Tempers flared. Quarrels broke out in the dining rooms of Paris. Family members stopped speaking to one another, sometimes for more than a generation. The divide continued to be felt in 20th-century politics, in the different ideologies of Vichy France and the resistance. It persists today, in the struggle between Marine Le Pen’s “France for the French” nationalism and Emmanuel Macron’s broader vision of a France that stands for a set of abstract values: justice, honesty, and the neutrality of courts, as well as globalization and integration.

From my point of view, the Dreyfus affair is most interesting because it was sparked by a single cause célèbre. Just one court case—one disputed trial—plunged an entire country into an angry debate, creating unresolvable divisions between people who had previously not known that they disagreed with one another. But this shows that vastly different understandings of what is meant by “France” were already there, waiting to be discovered.

Alfred Differ said...


1) The economic system wasn't designed by anyone. Try it. Try to point to who designed it. Try to point to a group of people who designed it. You won't succeed. Anyone you pick will be (at best) someone with a lot of influence, but someone who couldn't do squat if others didn't help in some fashion.

The system is an emergent thing like language. It is what we ALL say it is. Some of us just have a louder say depending on how rich we are and whether we sit at a high density social network hub.

2) The system isn't unquenchably greedy. You are apply the morals of an individual to a thing that most certainly is NOT an individual. It's not even amoral. It is as moral as its participants choose to be which is pretty decent most of the time. Angels? No. Demons? No. Humans? Yes.

There are some among us who are insatiably greedy, but they are not the system.

3) That the main goal of our political system is to enable the economic system probably is true, though. We likely wouldn't bother inventing another emergent system like our political markets if it weren't for problems in the economic markets.


You are being WAY to simplistic and I'm being WAY to pedantic. The basic point I drive at, though, is that the system is basically moral/virtuous because most of us participating in it are. It's isn't angelic, but that's because we aren't either. Expecting angelic behavior from humans is basically futile. We are trending in that direction, but the goal posts move as we do. It used to be enough that I not murder people of my own nation. Now I'm expected to avoid murder all together. Seriously! What's up with that?! 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Don't forget there is a lot of oil in the Arctic and along the siberian coast that no one can get to market affordably right now. It's not just the military angle for an ice-free Arctic that matters.

I doubt the Russians really want a lot of climate change, though. Their leadership wants our Pax disrupted, so climate change might serve as a means to an end. Unfortunately, it will also lead to huge forests burning within their own territory, so it's not an ideal tool.

Alfred Differ said...

to=too=two. Sigh.Obviously I wrote these without my word processor smacking me first. 8)

David Brin said...

Daniel D, did you write all that about Dreyfus or is it a quote-extract. If the former, dang, you should post it and I'll link.

"jim" ignores WHY the oligarchs are so strenuous in their desperate cheating putsch right now. Because they want things to be the way jim says (and in some ways have succeeded) but they know that countervailing factors (that jim refuses to acknowledge, even though he owes them everything) threaten to end feudalism forever. They must act now.

Alas, what jim fundamentally shows is that there are wings in the Good Camp who are almost worse than useless, marching about raving as at a Trump rally.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

to=too=two. Sigh

Just this past weekend, I was talking about language to my daughter and her friends, and posed this question (which is not even possible to do correctly here):

You can say, "There are three different ways to spell 'too'", but how do you write that sentence? I had to resort to an imperfect solution just to post it here.

DP said...

It's a quote from the Atlantic article. The split still divides France. The Dreyfusards led France to victory in WW1. The anti-Dreyfusards (especially those on the French general staff) led France to defeat in WW2 and ruled the Vichy regime.

In his "Collapse of the Third Republic", William Shirer (also famous for "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich") strongly implied that the anti-Dreyfusards of the French officer corp deliberately betrayed France and preferred Nazi anti-Antisemitism to "liberte, egaletre et fraternite". On paper, the French army was vastly superior to the Germans and it took more than just incompetence to cause defeat.

Winter7 said...

All right. It seems to locate the cause of the disturbance in the solar lab. I attach the link.
The link will direct you to the site with the information. But the site is showing an incorrect date, I hope that by mistake. But if you put the date of today in the searched data above, you will get the data about the solar storm and the spot AR2722 that is pointing towards us.
Should not they warn us about these matters instead of turning the matter into a secret? ¿Does, Donald Trump think that “we can not handle the truth?”
¿Should we buy lead underpants? : )
All right. Probably everything will be fine and soon we will laugh at those who said that heaven would fall.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go panic shopping before they start looting the supermarkets. : )
Hummm I wonder if the magnetic field disturbed by the excess energy will cause alterations in the magma flows, in the convection cells, increasing the pressure on the subduction zones….
Repitiendo el dato:
The link will direct you to the site with the information. But the site is showing an incorrect date, I hope that by mistake. But if you put the date of today in the searched data above, you will get the data about the solar storm and the spot AR2722 that is pointing towards us:


Winter7 said...

Haaa This whole thing reminds me of the movie where John Cusack and Woody Harrelson play. They are talking in the yellowstone park when suddenly: Booooommm. Kabooooooom.
Maybe, we should evacuate the Yogi Bear and the Bear Boo-Boo.
Ho. But nothing to worry about. I only remembered that movie because I mentioned before about the "magma" issue.
Ho, I forgot to make my purchases of panic ... ¿I wonder how long it will take to get to the caves of Garcia with my supplies ?. Thank God that these caves have a strong steel door! :)

Winter7 said...

Correction note:
Go better directly to this link:

On the page, go a little further down to the phrase: "A NEW HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE" and the small image of the sun with the hole to the left.
Anyway, I continue to obtain some differences in the data if I premeditately look for today's date in the data search by date. Maybe it's a failure of the website.

Winter7 said...

"In a masterstroke of irony — and hubris — the oil industry wants the federal government to build and pay for “a nearly 60-mile ‘spine’ of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast” to protect “the crown jewels of the petroleum industry.”"

I suppose Donald Trump will demand that Mexicans pay that other wall as well. :)

Yes Berial. I suppose that oil and gas are the treasures most appreciated by magnates and Republican politicians. So, if American citizens are bankrupt, politicians look the other way and leave; but if the assets of the billionaires are in danger, the politicians make available to them all the public budget and all the resources of the nation. A situation that was predictable in our world.
¡Haaa!; but GAIA returns for his revenge:

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

The anti-Dreyfusards (especially those on the French general staff) led France to defeat in WW2 and ruled the Vichy regime.

In his "Collapse of the Third Republic", William Shirer (also famous for "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich") strongly implied that the anti-Dreyfusards of the French officer corp deliberately betrayed France and preferred Nazi anti-Antisemitism to "liberte, egaletre et fraternite".

So those whose ostensible justification for abandoning ideals of equality, law, and logic was to punish a spy for betraying France to Germany ended up betraying France to Germany because they shared Hitler's anti-Semitism.

It reminds me of a guy who used to call all of the talk shows on Chicago's WCPT radio station after the 2016 Republican convention pointing out that after 30 years or so of demanding "real conservatism" from their nominees, the Republicans had a choice between "real conservatives" (Cruz or Rubio) and a racist, and they chose the racist.

I had only heard of the Dreyfus affair in vague terms until Robert Harris published a novelized version of the story called An Officer and A Spy, which I thought did a good job of making the reader feel what was going on.

Tacitus said...

On the matter of Dreyfus and its impact on French politics I highly recommend Alistair Horne's works. He wrote a trilogy on Franco German....interactions? begins with The Fall of Paris, which deals with French defeat in 1870 and the subsequent Commune. Next up is The Price of Glory, this is focused on the Battle of Verdun but the whole prewar mess of French politics certainly gets its due bit of attention. (Dreyfus by then had been rehabilitated and had an artillery command). The final book is To Lose a Battle, which has an extremely comprehensive view of the 1940 defeat and all that led up to it.

The best writer of military/political history I have ever encountered.


jim said...

I think that it is really funny that you imagine in your head that I am shrieking, because the truth is the complete opposite, I am very clam and matter of fact about everything I have posted. And honestly I am not trying to persuade anyone, I am just calling them the way I see them.

jim said...


Well let’s see, just about every country in the world has plans and policies in place that they hope will grow the economy and resource consumption.

Every corporation and almost every business also has plans to grow and increase their resource consumption.

The only way the banking sector as a whole can make money is if the economy is growing and resource consumption is increasing.

The entire advertising industry is designed to increase people’s desirers for more and more stuff /experiences. (and don’t forget the internet is funded by advertising.)

And the vast majority of people want more stuff than they have now and form my experience the richer you are the more you want more and more stuff.

Larry Hart said... tells us what we already know:

Trump, of course, knows that he has a dedicated base that will believe anything he says. If he were to say that the sun will be turned off this weekend for scheduled maintenance, they would believe it. When they saw the sun anyway, he would explain that it was a big LED lamp NASA launched to provide some light while the sun was offline, and his base would believe that, too. We have gotten to the point where 40% of the country rejects the concept of reality itself. It is hard to believe we are having this discussion, but here we are.

Unknown said...

"Completely tangential, but I found this exchange at the end of the previous comments to be eerily poetic and appropriate. Almost an Alan Parsons Project song:

...under all glaciers in the Antarctic, where enormous tunnels have formed with rivers that flow continuously towards the sea ..."

The song you're thinking of is "Time".

"...But time keeps flowing like a river
(On and on)
To the sea
To the sea
Till it's gone forever..."

I was also put in mind of Rush's "Xanadu", however.

"To stand within the pleasure dome
Decreed by Kublai Khan,
To taste anew the fruits of life,
The last immortal man,
To find the sacred river Alph,
To walk the caves of ice,
Oh, I will dine on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise.."

(Of course, it didn't work out well when the protagonist learned his "immortality" came from being frozen in time:

"Held within the pleasure dome
Decreed by Kublai Khan,
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man,
Never more shall I return,
Escape these caves of ice,
For I have dined on honeydew
And drunk the milk of Paradise..."

Larry Hart said...

@Jonathan Sills re: Coleridge

Dare I suppose you've read Douglass Adams's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency?

If not, you might want to give it a read.

A.F. Rey said...

You can say, "There are three different ways to spell 'too'", but how do you write that sentence?

Wow. Amazing. I have been contemplating the exact same thing for a few years now. I even thought about calling NPR's "A Way with Words" to see if they could figure it out. I never realized anyone else had considered this enigma, too.

I guess great minds think alike. And us, too. :)

David Brin said...

Sorry jim, won't wash. Your purist jeremiad is illogical in every way. If it is totally true, then all is lost and all notion of Enlightenment values, rule of law, and Smithian accountability is delusional. Even if it's not true, it makes a lovely masturbation shout! Thanks for that.

A million dedicated civil servants? In on it! Or else lemming conformists who, despite having vastly more information than you have, are blind fools.

Half a million law professionals? In on it! Or else lemming conformists who, despite having vastly more information than you have, are blind fools.

A million scientists and journalists? In on it! Or else lemming conformists who, despite having vastly more information than you have, are blind fools.

All is lost! Give up!

Your raving call for nihilism is, alas, lost on us here. We may be fools, but we are (1) able to see what you can't... all the positive things that led to all the freedoms and toys we now have. Not ingrates, we are willing to fight to save this thing. So why are you mewling this stuff here? Seriously, I'm curious! You offer no evidence that we're wrong , just shrieks.

Try to exercise a smidge of sapience and squint to see how we see you. As someone who (alas) is of no conceivable use in this struggle. But howl away, if that suits you. It does us no harm and I will school myself to shrug and ignore. And to fight on without your help.

A.F. Rey said...

The story of Dreyfus and the political split almost makes this comic sound plausible.

Almost. :)

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

You can say, "There are three different ways to spell 'too'", but how do you write that sentence?

I never realized anyone else had considered this enigma, too

It's not often I get to participate in a conversation with my daughter and her smart friends and actually impress them, but that was one such time.

Unknown said...

"re: Coleridge

Dare I suppose you've read Douglass Adams's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency?

If not, you might want to give it a read."

I have, but it's been a while - I have a copy of Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, but not the first novel. (I was remembering a side bit about explaining to a client that the fundamental interconnectedness of all things meant that he'd flown to Bermuda on her dime to contemplate the grains of sand on the beach because that would give him an insight into the location of her missing cat, but that's all that springs to mind just now. Well, that and the way he'd convinced everyone he had psychic powers by pointedly denying it at every opportunity.)

Unknown said...

As far as I know, there is only one way to spell 'too'. There is also only one way to spell 'to', and one way to spell 'two'. The problem is that the sentence "There are three different ways to spell 'too'" is factually incorrect. They may be homonyms, but they aren't the same word.

Maybe I'm just missing the mystic "What is the sound of one hand clapping" sentiment that the sentence is trying to evoke? Or is this just commenting on how often people erroneously use the spelling of the other words in sentences, followed up with a bit of "Word spelling is defined by how people spell them"? Something along the lines of how "Ain't isn't a word" is no longer true by many dictionaries?

A.F. Rey said...

It points out the difference between the spoken and written English language, U.N. Owen.

While you are correct that in written English there are three distinct words that are homonyms, in spoken English they are indistinguishable. So how do you punctuate a sentence to make it clear that the speaker is referring to the sound of the word rather than the written word itself? It is clear in the spoken sentence, since the spelling of the word is not part of it. But in a written sentence, you have the problem of having a particular spelling for a word that has three possible spellings when spoken. How do you decide which spelling to use? And doesn't using one spelling preclude the other spellings?

I suspect that Larry has the correct answer by putting the word "too" in quotes, to indicate that it is the spoken word he is referring to. But since I'm no linguist or grammarian, so I really have no idea. :(

Larry Hart said...


As far as I know, there is only one way to spell 'too'. There is also only one way to spell 'to', and one way to spell 'two'. The problem is that the sentence "There are three different ways to spell 'too'" is factually incorrect. They may be homonyms, but they aren't the same word.

That's exactly the problem. There's no way to write the sentence. And in order to put that out here posting on a blog, I had to write it. There was no way to do it correctly, or if I had done so, the universe would have exploded. :)

It was funny and at least sounded clever when I said it out loud.

Larry Hart said...

@A.F. Rey,

That cartoon you link to is so spot-on it's depressing. It might not actually describe 1943 France, but it sure hits home about 2018 America.

Even the notion that the Republicans are willing to put up with Trump's character flaws in order to get tax cuts and conservative judges is a kind of whitewash. They also put up with him because they like his support for white Christian supremacy. The point of the conservative judges is to overturn future laws that threaten white Christian supremacy. The point of the tax cuts is to please the donors who help keep them in power long enough to consolidate white Christian supremacy.

Just as evangelicals are forced to admit that the don't care about their president's personal character or religiosity as long as he fights their fight for them, the cartoon implies that Vichy France likewise admits that their hate of Dreyfus was never about his betraying France to Germany, but rather for his being Jewish. When forced to choose between Jews and betraying France to Germany, their choice is clear.

Winter7 said...

There were two earthquakes in Mexico City, strong enough to break some gas pipes and make people run out of their homes. And Hurricane Florence is right where another hurricane was when the previous earthquakes occurred. Of course, Florence is category 1, and that coincides with the fact that the earthquakes were not very strong. But if Hurricane Florence had been a class 5 hurricane, it probably would have caused stronger earthquakes.
There are other hurricanes on the way; If any of them becomes class 5 and there is a terrible earthquake in Mexico, that is no coincidence. That would confirm my theory about earthquakes caused by the displacement of trillions of tons of water on tectonic plates.

Turning to the issue of gas explosions in Massachusetts ... Did the authorities really build houses on high pressure gas lines? ... Waw ... If that happened in the United States, the construction of houses on gas lines in Mexico has to be the norm.

Moving to another subject:
It did not occur to me that the destruction of our world caused by global warming was something poetic… But I suppose that in some aspects there are details of beauty. After all, the destruction of Troy inspired Homer, to create his epic poems.
I'm curious about how to write a song. There must be some kind of rules. I see many young singers writing songs in a few moments. I guess it's not difficult. It would not be bad to write some epic songs that remind future generations of our struggle against the forces of evil. A fight of heroes against monstrous giants.

Larry Hart said...


The image of rivers of ice-melt flowing onward, onward to the sea is poetic. Not the fact that it's helping kill the planet.

Writing song lyrics is the same as writing poetry. But as to how someone writes a melody, especially with the harmonies and such--someone else will have to chime in on that one. It's a skill I just don't have, which makes me appreciate those who do have it all the more.

Winter7 said...

As for the Dreyfus affair ... I think I remember that Richard Dreifus made a movie about that, but I'm not sure ...
In any case, it shows that Nazism in the world is only a more radical variation of the feudal fascism that has existed throughout the centuries in our world and countless other worlds.

Winter7 said...

Larry Hart:

There must be a simple method to write songs. I do not think it is necessary to know how to read sheet music ... Or is it?

Larry Hart said...


It's not about sheet music. You have to be able to "hear" the different aspects of the music in your head as you're making it up for the first time.

I can't do that. I can playback music that I have already heard, but that's a different thing, in fact (almost) the opposite thing.

Winter7 said...

Larry Hart:

It seems that the trick is to give more emphasis to certain vowels; above all, at the end of certain lines of the verse. It seems that the arrangement of the vowels is what causes the pleasant variations of sounds, but it seems that you have to choose a tone in advance for the whole song.

Winter7 said...

Larry Hart:

For example, at the moment I am listening to some very simple epic songs:

Winter7 said...

Of course, in Mexico and spain, sometimes the simplest songs are the ones that hit hardest:

Winter7 said...

Time to eat. Mass. Did you know that mole, a strong dish from mexico, is actually chocolate with meat? As they said in the movie "ratatouille": "the secret is to combine the sweet and the salty"

Winter7 said...

I heard of a plan to propel an interstellar ship at enormous speed, using laser light impulse. (with sails on the ship)
If the plan is to create a ship with laser impulse. Would not it be ideal to have that laser on the moon?

Tony Fisk said...

Conflating two topics into one flippant skim comment:
To passe.
Too lasse.
Two casse.

Ooh! What's this on the breaking news below: Musk quitting Tesla? Well, from recent performance, he needs some down time, and rehab.

Winter7 said...

The directors of Harvard are white supremacists! It gives the impression that the Harvadtians copied the model of practices of the universities of Mexico. Better put Albus Dumbledore in the position of director!

And there's still no news about what happened at the astronomical observatory near Roswell, new mexico

Winter7 said...

I think Musk's game is to make TESLA's stock prices fall, because he's going to buy all of Tesla's shares.
He is not out of control. He is being very smart.
(Good time to buy shares of the company TESLA)

Alfred Differ said...

@jim | David has already pointed out the nuttiness of a belief that leads to hopelessness… especially an illogical, unnecessary hopelessness. Let me try a different angle in case I can point to the root of the difference. [I may be wrong about some conclusions I’m about to draw about you. If so, just say so and I’ll adjust my mental model of you.]

Your recent list suggests you were responding to my argument that the system isn’t designed for greed by pointing out the behaviors of those involved as if they were evidence. I’ll set aside the point that such behaviors don’t demonstrate design for now because I WAS trying to point out the fact that their behaviors demonstrate their individual intents. So…

1) …just about every country in the world has plans and policies in place that they hope will grow the economy and resource consumption
Yes. They do, but that’s not greed. That’s growth.

2) Every corporation and almost every business also has plans to grow and increase their resource consumption
Yes. They do, but that’s not greed either. Same reason.

3) The only way the banking sector as a whole can make money is if the economy is growing and resource consumption is increasing.
Not true. Banks used to make money in the past without our current explosive growth. Back before inherent growth rates were above 0.1%, the growth of one came at the expense of another often enough that the ‘whole sector’ could be approximated as zero sum. It was NOT zero sum, but when economic and population growth rates match, I won’t quibble. The sector still made money, though.

It doesn’t matter that you chose the banking sector. You could choose any of them including advertising. If economic and population growth rates closely match, sector participants can grow, but the sector won’t (much). This is a silly distinction, though. No sector participant cares much about the whole sector making more money. They care about their own ability to make money. In their personal/individualistic focus, they will do what they think makes sense and as a result they will (in aggregate) cause the sector to make money. Duh, right? Al is stating the obvious again.

That’s not greed, though. Making money is not greed. Greed is specifically about a certain way people focus on making money. It’s really about hoarding. It is about excessive application of what would otherwise be a virtue behavior. Prudence. Mr Scrooge demonstrated how to do prudence wrong.

4) And the vast majority of people want more stuff than they have ...
Of course they do. They have babies to feed, clothe, and prep for college. That’s not greed. [Is this getting repetitious? See where this is going?]

5) …and form my experience the richer you are the more you want more and more stuff.
And here we get to the root of the problem. You aren’t imagining this as greed. You are imagining this as the old sin of Gluttony. Wasted consumption coming at the expense of others. Gluttony in a world of limited growth (vast majority of human existence) causes someone else to starve. Sinful. I strongly suspect your conflation of ‘greed’ and ‘gluttony’ is the one typically advanced by progressives. Modern excesses come at the expense of future generations. My obesity today will cause children of the future to starve. Am I close?

If so, you are probably mistaken. I can’t say for certain you are mistaken, but I’m pretty sure you are. I’m sure enough that I’m betting the future of my own son on it. We aren’t living in the old world where there were limits to growth. I’ll accept there might be some limits to the growth rate, but not ones that are inherent barriers. We are learning animals. We know how to beat Malthus. Whether we keep doing it remains to be seen, but I’m confident enough that I’m betting EVERYTHING on it.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | Good time to buy shares of the company TESLA

I bought a few shares a little bit ago. It's been a wild ride.

I hope no one bets it all, though, because most of my tech bets have demonstrate the value of investing in an index. It's hard to spot winners when the thing that really sets stock prices is where the balance is between buyers and sellers. The notions that we use to value companies are all illusions, but if enough people believe in them they sorta work.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred

I suspect Tesla has now taken off with the Model 3 being the fifth best selling car in the USA last month
By revenue it work out as the top car!

5000/week at $50,000 each and a 20% Gross margin
$250 million a week - Revenue
$2.5 Billion a year Gross Profit
And sales of the S and X are increasing

At this point Musk could leave and Tesla has already achieved take off

They are talking about $55/Kwh by next year - at that level Batteries will be evrywhere

Winter7 said...

Alfred Differ:
Waw. ¡You trust my deductions! It is a risky bet, buy shares of a company, but if I had money, I would not have hesitated to buy many shares of TESLA.
I do not think anything could sink TESLA. In fact, I think that, in the long term, TESLA will be almost as valuable as google. (in about fifteen years) Do not expect the value of the stock to rise very fast. Take into account that Musk may try to aggravate the crisis to further lower the value of the company's stock.
And Duncan confirms my analysis of the situation: TESLA is as strong as the USS Nimitz. I think your bet when buying those shares was a wise decision.

Winter7 said...

Another prediction: The real success of TESLA will appear when TESLA begins to manufacture an SUV car model for families. That car model will have high sales (in my opinion).

David Brin said...

jim's one interesting argument was the zero-sum assumption that carbon fuels are the only source of net-positive energy flow that's even conceivably possible. Hence, if we either use c-fuels till the Earth dies... or else abandon them and starve, shivering in the dark, the party's over, man.

Nostalgists who cannot imagine positive sum reject even the notion that we are using fossil fuels to build sufficient industry and science to reach a new plateau of positive-net energy and resource application. Now, it may be that they are right... indeed, this could be a Fermi Paradox "solution" -- all sapient races hit this wall. But all of the tech and scientific trends suggest that we'll get better and cheaper sustainable power sources at an accelerating pace, and that space resources plus efficiency plus recycling can empower us to provide wealth at a vastly higher pace than human wombs can create consumers.

As a 50 year Sierra Club member, I know the prudish wing of environmentalism, see Daisy - my character in EARTH. I know the despise the very idea that we might be able to remain "consumers" while positive-sum saving the world. Win-win having cake, sharing it, eating plenty and watching the cake grow. And sure, they may be right... I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic... ah well.

What I do know is that their pitch does not persuade. It does not win converts to saving the world.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Winter
an SUV car model for families.

They do - I saw my first one last weekend - it's weird - a seven seater and HUGE inside - all seven seats are big upright comfortable seats - and easy to access with the Falcon doors

And it's bloody fast - they did a drag race against a $700,000 Ferrari and the Tesla won
They wouldn't let me have a go against the Ferrari with my "Device"!

This youtube video is good for a laugh

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin

We have a "measure" of the cost of energy - called "cost"!!!

And renewables are now about the same "cost" or less than fossil fuels -

Which means that we have climbed over the hump and now we don't "need" fossil fuels

In the past fossil fuels may well have been necessary for us to advance - but we are past that step

Winter7 said...

Duncan Cairncross

Haaa. ¡The X model is an SUV! I did not know, I did not know it. Maybe there is no advertising for that car model. Looks good. The size is appropriate and the design very pleasant. So TESLA already has everything necessary to continue growing in an unstoppable way.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Update: Stark resigned his advisory position and the Republican party today. Kinda lost in the uproar about hurricanes and disintegrating Presidents, though.

David Brin said...

Zepp huh? Link?

rewinn said...

A new bit of hypocrisy in Civil War#2: after years of opposing reasonable increases in the number of judgeships, a proposal to fast track a mob of new federal judges to be appointed by Trump. Should this wait until after an election?

Unknown said...

"Writing song lyrics is the same as writing poetry. But as to how someone writes a melody, especially with the harmonies and such--someone else will have to chime in on that one. It's a skill I just don't have, which makes me appreciate those who do have it all the more."

I think that's been one of the secrets to the success of Rush over the decades - back with their first drummer, John Rutsey, they were just a really good local band (you could hear something of the guitarist Alex Lifeson would become, but he wasn't there yet). When Rutsey dropped out as their fame and touring radius grew (this was the early '70s, and he was afraid he wouldn't be able to manage his diabetes on the road), and Neil Peart came in to replace him, they discovered that Peart really enjoyed writing poetry. Lifeson and singer/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee both liked writing music, but weren't that great at lyrics, so they just started setting Peart's poems to tunes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

(It helped, of course, that in their early career they all had day jobs they could go back to, which left them able to respond to studio demands that they make more "commercial" music by instead recording the album 2112, which sold like flat plastic vinyl hotcakes.)

Tacitus said...

Warm day in Wisconsin. In from chores but just a little too soon for a restorative beverage.

I've been musing about the sad decline of a political party that I care deeply about, one that has an important role to play but has apparently gone entirely bonkers.

I mean of course the Democrats.

As I watch the circus that the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have become I keep asking myself....are the principled progressives that I have come to know on ConBrin really OK with this?

The choreographed protesters in the hearing room, who appear to have been invited guests of Democratic members were a bit unseemly, albeit more palatable than the outside demonstrators dressed as nuns or phalli. But this latest stunt? Dianne Feinstein suddenly finding in her In Box - where it has been since mid summer - a third hand anonymous allegation of something Kavanaugh may, or may not, have done in High School? Is this the nature of Loyal Opposition in 2018? Is there any reason to imagine that this bridge having been crossed it will not become SOP?

Even Ruth B.Ginsburg in a recent interview indicated that this was not the way things should be. She was confirmed iirc 96-3. And perhaps some of the 3 felt she was not progressive enough!

I understand that at the moment the Democrats have few reputable tools to work with. Also that the game may be more about revving up the base for the mid terms. And/or battlespace prep for the next confirmation which, given the evident frailty of RBG, may not be far off.

These are entirely political decisions and tactics, and as a political party the Democrats can make political moves.

It is just that they are so bad at them.

For instance. In '16 both sides were clear that the election was largely about the Supreme Court. McConnell rolled the dice feeling that the voters would be OK with delaying a SC appointment until the nation decided the Presidential election. The results indicate he called it correctly. Contra, I think the current D inspired circus is going to bite them badly in 18 and/or in 20. But of course we will have to wait and see.

Progressive ideas are as important as Conservative ones. Right now neither established party is doing a good job at advancing these. But the Democrats appear to me to be actively damaging their cause.

For the good of America, please Democrats, get your act together!

Well, just my opinions. I'm no less gentle in my criticisms of the Republican party but right now it is the Dems that are beclowning themselves with such vigor.


David Brin said...

Bah, Tim, it is so frustrating watching so many Republicans I respect clutching at straws in order to writhe and chant “Dems & libs are just as bad!”

Dig it my friend. There are far lefty flakes. Shall I say it again?
There are far lefty flakes.
There are far lefty flakes.

The Democratic coalition CONTAINS some insipid lefty flakes who actually think that yelling and disrupting Senate hearings helps. When of course, all they are doing is giving Hannity gleeful excuses to sneer “All lib’ruls are like that!”

You know it is a lie. The ENTIRE GOP establishment, top to bottom, CONSISTS of corrupt and/or insane people. Hypocrites who stalled Merrick Garland for nine months, in order to “let the people decide,” but refuse to delay Kavanaugh 6 weeks to let the citizens speak.

There is a world of difference between “contains” and “consists.” As there is between “far” and “entire.”

You talk as if this is “politics.” There is no politics in the US. Politics was stabbed to death by Dennis “friend to boys” Hastert in 1997. Since then, a mafia cabal has used cheating to maintain power, despite losing the popular vote in 11 of the last 12 Congressional and 7 or the last 8 presidential elections, against the opposition of every demographic of folks who actually know stuff.

“For the good of America, please Democrats, get your act together!”

Amen! I despair over dem pols’ inability to grasp the power of polemical judo.

David Brin said...

States want more autonomy from the federal government. There are a number of hot-button topics on which states and the federal government don’t see eye to eye. Immigration, climate change, marijuana legalization, and health insurance are just a few. It’s no wonder that a July 2018 Gallup poll found that a record-high 77% of Americans believe the nation is divided. Even more shocking… a June 2018 Rasmussen poll showed 31% of Americans think a civil war will break out in the United States within the next five years.

Now still just at the rumor stage, but: “Behind the scenes, 13 states are pushing through laws designed to undermine the federal government’s monopoly on issuing money… Before President Lincoln banned the practice in 1863, states had issued more than 8,000 different types of money. ” The new currency would be digital, blockchain-based and grounded upon municipal bonds that offer real collateral. In other words, more secure than federal greenbacks.

David Brin said...