Saturday, October 20, 2018

What you can do. More "ammo" for the trenches.

Racing about SoCal, first to Peter Diamandis's XPrize Conference and then to give interviews in LA. But I'll try not to neglect you. And so --

== What can you do... even in the last few weeks? ==

Make a difference? Again, state legislatures! Small races but important! See this: "Data for Progress, a scrappy think tank that operates outside the Democratic Party suggests donating to eight state legislative campaigns around the country where the winner could tip the balance of power in the chamber."

Donate? Or see this WaPost graphic. Or find a quixotic state assembly race on your own! Again, that's where to find a candidate who - if she wins - will remember your name!

== Spreading disinformation ==

Social media bots and Russian trolls have been spreading disinformation about vaccines on Twitter to create social discord and distribute malware, U.S. researchers say. Troll accounts that had attempted to influence the U.S. election had also been tweeting about vaccines, posting both pro- and anti-vaccination messages to create "false equivalency." 

Why? By now you know that the main enemy is every fact-using profession. The one billion skilled human beings who stand in the way of an aggressive, worldwide oligarchic putsch. Because if the rising world middle class gets educated fast enough, imbued with Hollywood values, the chance to restore feudalism may be lost forever.

Of course Vladimir Putin hears an even more-pressing ticking clock. Russia teeters at the edge of demographic collapse. (I have long-odds wagers out there, with some 'agency people,' that he is already selling Siberia to the Chinese.) Part of this collapse is a horrific public health crisis. Another is reluctance of Russian women to bear children. So there's very little time to anchor in the real objective of these former KGB billionaires -- a world mafia state whose topmost "families" - Corleones - just happen to be those with nukes.

Watch these mob families coalesce and drop all pretenses, as they do mob-style hits on journalists. (And doing it blatantly is part of the plan.) 

Another example, Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder, went on Fox & Friends to appeal to Trump to Privatize the Afghanistan War. Give him a ten billion dollar contract and he’ll kill-em-all. Prince “is also brother to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Oh, and there is also the "report that he made a mysterious visit to a Seychelles hotel in which he is alleged to have helped establish a secret back channel of communication with Vladimir Putin.” Blackwater was renamed Xe Services — a private military support company that’s is arguably the world’s “most powerful mercenary army.” Unless you include Putin’s personal forces in Crimea and the Donbas.

There. Were those three paragraphs sufficient to make me a target, yet? Let me be your canary. When I'm taken out, you'll know they are going after pathetic, all-talk theoreticians... and it will be time to organize your militias. No, time to dig into your cyberpunk skills and show them the price of under-estimating "fact-loving nerds."

== Elder Ammo ==

Know anyone on Social Security? Well show them thisOn Tuesday, after the Treasury Department released figures showing the federal deficit for Fiscal Year 2018 rose 17 percent to reach $779 billion, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the "solution" must be drastic cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

Yawn. Everyone knew this was Mitch's plan. No Supply Side tax cut for the rich ever stimulated growth or investment or R&D or reduced deficits, ever, even once. The GOP always sends debt skyrocketing and money velocity plummeting, a sure sign that Adam Smith's hated "rentier caste" - against whom the real Tea Party rebelled - is back in force. The aim of the recent tax gift to oligarchs was to use the tsunami of red ink as an excuse to slash Social Security.

In fact, back when sincere adult Republicans existed, in 1993, President Clinton created the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform as part of the administration's effort to promote economic growth and control the budget deficit. The commission, chaired by Senator J. Robert Kerrey (D-NE) and Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), wrought bipartisan agreement on long-term entitlement reform and structural changes to the tax system.

The resulting bill almost passed. It would have gradually cranked up retirement age and saved trillions, in exchange for cranking up Medicare for children and the poor and meaningful contributions by the rich. But the opportunity was trashed by Newt Gingrich and then by Dennis "friend-to-boys" Hastert, who worked with Fox to end all traces of adulthood in the GOP. Danforth-style Republicans are now entirely extinct.

Link to this! Make it clear they are going after Social Security again, in order to keep the Supply Side gusher going into the open maws of aristocrats and vampires. Remind them that their parents faced a similarly dangerous plutocracy, and the Greatest Generation adored one man... Franklin Roosevelt.

== Lefty Ammo ==

Dig it. Only 95% of our current crisis arises from a mad, confederate right that's tooling for a world feudalist-mafia. Alas, in fighting to save the Enlightenment Experiment, we get little help from a pompous-preening-purist FAR-left

My most popular Facebook posting of late has been a takedown of insipid "splitters" who would make the Union's tent smaller, pouring hate on refugees from the Republican insanity... including those crewcut-wearing protector-caste officers and other "deep state" fact-users who are supplying lots of our best mid-term candidates. 

Any time you see purist splitting by lefty zealots, whether they are sincere fools or (more often) Kremlin provocateurs, stomp it! Even if you think some dems are too pallid, the Democratic Party will get you half of what you want, and that will do for starters. You will be better positioned to demand more, if first we get:

... an end to gerrymandering, voter suppression and other cheats
... transparency of money in politics
... a return of the Rebuttal Rule (vs lies especially on Fox)
... restoration of fair tax rates
... full funding of IRS auditors
... protection of the civil service
... doubling energy research
... restoration of energy/mileage standards
... decent judges
... fairness for DACA kids
... congressional committees investigating real things...

... plus at-minimum giving Medicare to all young people under 26
... and raising the national minimum wage
... and background checks. 

Those are consensus things that all democratic politicians are for.

Yeah, sure, they will then divide on many other things, like the importance of trying to balance a budget, as Jerry Brown has done spectacularly in California. But even you lefties out there, do you want to get at least those items first?

Show that list to your lefty-flake pals and ask them which of those measures they deem unimportant or 'no-real-difference.' If you would split the DP's big tent you would undermine all those items. (And witness California, where the divided dems still agreed on all of those and more.) "They're all corrupt and the same," is THE number one meme pouring out of the Kremlin basements.  Anyone who helps to spread it is a tool, at best.

Dig it. Once the insane treasonous GOP is dead, then the democrats will divide into two parties, one of them more interested in stimulating enterprise and balancing budgets. Sane conservatives, who like science and justice and facts and compassion, would find a home with those moderate liberals. 

But here's the deal -- you lefties can have the other half and make it yours! You can then oppose and pester that sane adult slightly-conservative party of grownups with further lefty stuff if you want! Re-learning the almost lost method called negotiation, on a political landscape relatively free of cheating.

And if you won't listen to me, then watch Bill Maher shred the purists and torch them into dust.  Share this.

== Uncle Ammo ==

Elsewhere I emphasize the most useful things you can do:

- Check on your own voter registration and all your friends, especially in swing districts where cheating and voter dumping are afoot. If you find any, yell.

- State assembly races are the most important ones! If there’s a swing district near you, or you know someone living in one!

- Fight in the trenches. You can still find a get out the vote drive.

And don't stop arguing. Yes, I know your mad-confederate dad or uncle or brother is beyond hopeless, glued to the Fox-teat, desperately gulping, even mainlining Hannity nostrums of hate toward law professionals and the FBI, the intelligence community and the U.S. military officer corps – half a million smart, dedicated “deep-state” conspirators who are all committing the same “treason” at the same time. 
And hate toward scientists, doctors, teachers and every other fact-using profession. If you’ve dared him to name one exception to this anti-all-smart-people pogrom, and he won’t even try, then sure, probably nothing will sway him. And yet…

…his wife may be listening, from the next room, and she can’t be bullied inside the polling booth. And maybe you can demoralize his confederate zealotry enough that he’ll drink those extra beers you gift to him, on election day. 

Or else maybe… just maybe… I’ve seen some RASRs (Residually Adult-Sane Republicans) lift their ostrich heads out of the sand. I’ve been responsible for a few.

Which is why I push using wagers. Properly parsed, they can corner any confederate and/or possibly get you a little cash. I’ve listed dozens of starkly-put bets, like going to a nearby beach together and personally measuring ocean acidification. But here’s a new one or two.

“What were the tangible outcomes of Donald Trump’s forays into diplomacy?”

- A president accused of collusion with despots fed more suspicion by meeting privately, without witnesses, with a murderous communist tyrant and gave that Korean commie lord everything he wanted, backstabbing our closest ally, in exchange for empty, vague promises. WAGER: you can’t name a single tangible outcome that benefited the U.S.

Now replace the word "Korean" with "Russian" (keep the commie part.)

== California ==

One of the largest, most-innovative and most-agile and productive economies in the world is California, despite endless, tedious howls from the right that businesses are driven away. In fact, no governor has ever been more popular than Jerry Brown, whose combination of skinflint budgetary prudence and skillful management has won fans even among the state’s business community, while the state leads the way in exploring the new era of environmental responsibility and truly equal rights. Here’s an article about how California has slashed childbirth mortality rates, even as the U.S. as a whole has stagnated or worsened.

Yes, wealth disparity indexes in California are pretty high. Ever ask why?  It’s because those who get rich in the state’s spectacular tech quarter – contrary to the yelps of every Texas governor – don’t leave!  They like it here, despite high taxes. And because it’s a land of opportunity, the poor flock in. Yes, faster than California can handle. It’s no utopia. And Climate Change threatens to burn us hard, every single year. And yes, there are islands of truly jabbering lefty-flakery and even PC bullying -- as happened at UC Irvine, recently. And let me be frank, the teachers’ unions need to relent on the issue of firing bad eggs. So? None of those anecdotes compare to the universal and contemptible utter-treason across all of today’s Confederate right.

We’ve learned. Slander must be answered. And we’ll no longer be lectured about “values” by regions that have far worse rates of STDs, gambling, teen sex, teen pregnancy, obesity, opioid addiction and every other turpitude you can name.  And if you want us to stop pointing that out, and help, instead? The answer is --  stop yowling that we’re evil. Stop screeching that all fact-using professionals and all university graduates and all people who know stuff are evil. And all the states where the future is being confronted, with courage and thoughtfulness. 

Stop it. Just stop. And we’ll go back to being generous as all heck.

 == Miscellaneous issues ==

Again, I explain why confirmation of water ice on the lunar poles is not a good enough reason to justify the fetish to send the U.S. back where we’ve already been, copying all the Apollo-copycats hurrying to the dusty-useless surface of the moon.  There are things America can do, that no one else can do. Also: defense against killer asteroids! Pre-cambrian 'explosions' and are octopi aliens? And is the economics of "The Expanse" remotely possible?

My song in praise of Adam Smith has been republished at Phil's Stock World.

If Two Scoops were a scientist... This posting is both funny and quite apt.
Addendum: Why do I call him "Two Scoops"? Because we need to learn the art of polemic! Trying to match Trump and Fox in nastiness is a mug's game, and you must chide any allies who drop to that level. (deNiro did no good for anyone.) But just the right kind of ridicule is a weapon, if (blatantly) they were first and worse.

There is nothing obscene or vicious about "Two Scoops." But it does trigger memory of DT's utter pettiness, fragile ego and stunning lack of basic values, like simple hospitality. The trick is that no one can claim you are being (very) vulgar and certainly not inaccurate! And dig it, this kind of nickname may even help convert a wavering republican, where screaming will just make him dig in his heels. Look for the win-win.


Treebeard said...

I must say that you are sounding even more megalomaniacal and delusional than usual. The question that remains unanswered is, when will you stop being so arrogant? On your death-bed, when you realize that you are just passing dust and all of this was a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing? Humility: the real final frontier for your kind.

Larry Hart said...


I'm sure Jamal Khasoggi was comforted in his final hours by the knowledge that none of what he was experiencing would matter in a billion years.

Chris Heinz said...

I have adopted Spike Lee's "Agent Orange" over "Two Scoops" - I am still not sure what "Two Scoops" means - so, not a compelling meme.

Treebeard said...

Larry, I wasn't making a point about any news item of the day (which I pay as little attention to as possible), but about the slightly unhinged tone of the post (e.g., the idea that the Evil Global Oligarchy might target our host, which might then trigger his cyber-army to respond in kind). Anyway, I gather this Kashoggi fellow is a Muslim, so he may have had some consolation in his dying minutes that the warm-up was over and he would soon go to his eternal life. The question is, what will people who are so wrapped up in the fate of this doomed world have for consolation in their final minutes?

Anonymous said...

"Two Scoops":

David Brin said...

I pay heed to criticism, the only known antidote to error. But a busy person must do triage, accounting for whether the critic:

(1) has any credibility -- in this case absolutely none, not once has the ent brought to us any new facts, both verifiable and refuting... it is always, always yowls.

(2) Even without facts, it is reasonable to pay heed to a compalainant... if he makes clear the chain of logic. But neither tb nor lc ever do the one thing OTHER than fact, that would give merit to an accusation, and that thing is accurate PARAPHRASING of the thing they object-to. Paraphrasing is what grownups do, which arguing, but they dare not even try, since the attempt would swiftly maker clear that they did not read or understand the thing they are yowling at.

Were his life to depend on it, tb could not do it, right now. But then, I said the word "'grownup.'

(3) Describing their alternative prescription. Never. Ever. Ever.


duncan cairncross said...

Changing the subject

If we start to use the L 4&5 points for a future space station these are zones of stability and the Sun - Jupiter L points have accumulated a good number of asteroids

Has anybody done any surveys of our L4&5 points to see if there is anything there that could possibly be used?

I could not find anything but some of the group like our host are much more connected to the correct people

Anonymous said...

Treebeard said: "you are just passing dust"

Well, I was a week early, but I called it...

SQUIRREL! Heat Death of the Universe!

Dear Fangorn the Wise, Please, please, please, come up with a new shtick.

I promise we will all pay better attention if you give us some new material.

Larry Hart said...


Larry, I wasn't making a point about any news item of the day (which I pay as little attention to as possible),...

Withdrawal from popular culture can have its good points, but it's best not to speak authoritatively about areas of intentional ignorance. Had you known anything about the horrific circumstances of Khasoggi's death or the complicity in the cover-up of our #SoCalledPresident and various hypo-Christian leaders, you would have known that it both makes sense for a published writer critical of Benedict Donald to look askance over his shoulder and that that Khasoggi had no occasion for consolation in his final minutes or hours on this planet.

Don Gisselbeck said...

I'm sticking with "thin-skinned doofus".

locumranch said...

What Treebeard mistakes for delusion, arrogance & megalomania in David's attempts at persuasion is, instead, a rather slavish & formulaic adherence to Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals':

David attributes 'power' to money & people (Rule#1). He emphasizes 'fact-using' as this is his area of expertise (Rule#2); he uses 'wagers' in his attempts to lure his opponents out of their areas of expertise (Rule#3); he demands that his opponents honour their own rules (Rule#4); and he responds to challenges by ridiculing his opponent (Rule#5). Everything from his single-minded dogmatism (Rule#8) to his constant homophobic harping on Hastert (Rule#13) relates to one or more of Alinsky's rules.

What David fails to understand, however, is that his comfortable leftist skill set has undergone a fundamental shift over the years as Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals' has been successfully co-opted by the likes of Steve Bannon, the Trumpenproletariat & the Right.

As evidenced by my recent posts, the Right's artful destruction of Fauxcahontus & Trump's rhetorical style in particular, we are all radicals now, and the political playing field (once dominated by the Left for this very reason) has become fair, open & equal at long last.


Khasoggi Mania, Trump Derangement Syndrome & Climate Change Hysteria all invoke Rule#9, and you can read more about Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals' here:

Anonymous said...

Duncan Cairncross:
Find out if there are more valuable asteroids there, it will be useful for us only if we have the capacity to perform mining operations on the asteroids. If we possess that capability, then it means that we will have the ability to locate valuable asteroids and much more.
Dr. brin is right that the return to the moon is a big mistake. The cost of the Apollo project in 1973 was 25.4 billion, but in the current devalued dollars, the cost was $ 107 billion. It is evident that the plans to return to the moon are part of a plan by the usurper Two scoops, to steal more money. As Brin says, the Republicans are heavily indebted to the country (no doubt to be able to steal 85% of all the money granted on loan and the account will have to be paid by the middle and lower class citizens, not by the billionaires who they do not even pay taxes) (and we all know what will happen with most of the money spent on the new moon travel project).


Anonymous said...

Sorry, the translator failed. I wanted to say that Republicans are requesting billions of dollars in loans to banks, supposedly to carry out state projects. It is a debt that is put in charge of the government, and certainly, that money, for the most part, will go to the accounts of the Republican leaders. (gods, how much power is accumulating the dark side of force)
(I hope the translator does not fail again)

Anonymous said...

The torture of Jamal Khasoggi shows us the deep depravity of the Saudi leaders.
Unfortunately, that kind of evil exists everywhere. Recently, a case arose in Mexico, from an elote seller who murdered; violated tortured he quartered and devoured more than twenty girls. The girls were selected for being very pretty. The murderer ripped the hearts of the victims to offer them in sacrifice to their goddess: The Holy Death. We could consider "the holy death" as the modern version of the Aztec gods. In addition, it is disturbing the fact that the prisoners of war offered to the Goddess Coyolxauhqui, went through exactly the same process as the victims of the serial killer in Mexico City.


Anonymous said...

So, everyone here considers Elizabeth Warren a threat because she's from the left?
She is American. I do not think she wants to convert the United States into another Venezuela. Warren lives very American style. I do not think she is a threat. However, I can understand that perhaps you consider a waste of time that the Democrats support, if you consider that there is another better candidate to unite the Democratic Party.
It would certainly be disastrous if the Democratic party comes to the next presidential election divided into a center faction and a left faction.
As for the matter of her having Native American DNA, that seems irrelevant. Many beautiful Canadian actresses are obviously Native Americans who are not very different physically from Europeans. (Dark Matter; Firefly)

Anonymous said...

(Ups ... I forgot to sign the previous message)


Anonymous said...

It seems that we can apply the Newton's second law to the understanding of the current political situation in the world. In this way it is easier to understand what is the appropriate solution to each problem.


yana said...

David Brin thought:

"already selling Siberia to the Chinese."

Holy moly, you see that too? Kudos. Done some chattering about that, jotted down some notes, but have not posted about it. Good to find that someone else sees it developing too. Geopolitics today is so preoccupied with influence in Africa, that folks forget that the big struggle in the 2030's will be over NE Asia.

Anonymous said...

"…his wife may be listening, from the next room, and she can’t be bullied inside the polling booth."

I live in a vote-by-mail state. But I'm sure voter coercion couldn't be happening here: the people who pushed for it promised it wouldn't!

Tony Fisk said...

As discussed previously, I just go with "the resident".

However, "Two Scoops" does have an eerie foreshadowing in a scene from the children's story "The Elephant and the Bad Baby"

Very soon they met an ice-cream man.
And the Elephant said to the Bad Baby "Would you like an ice-cream?"
And the Bad Baby said "Yes."
So the Elephant stretched out his trunk and he took an ice-cream for himself and an ice-cream for the Bad Baby, and they went rumpeta rumpeta rumpeta, all down the road, with the ice-cream man running after.

yana said...

Winter7 thought:

"(Ups ... I forgot to sign the previous message)"

You might have wished to forget, subconsciously. A bit racist, that latest round of chirps.

Alfred Differ said...

paraphrasing treebeard,

Oh, look at me. I choose to remain ignorant of current affairs because I know the higher truth that none of this really matters. We are all dead some day, so I'll choose happy ignorance. It's not like we can alter the future coming at us anyway.

Alfred Differ said...

Observation about some of my libertarian friends...

My, oh my, are they going bananas about the socialists among the Democrats. You'd think the world was about to end. I have a strong reaction to socialists, but they are making me look downright tolerant. It is VERY easy (right now) to see the difference between those of us watching Fox and those who are not. Venezuela keeps getting mentioned. As if.

Yes. There are a few soft-socialists running as part of team blue this time. Not many, but some. That will be an issue, I suppose, if they are put in charge of anything important. Hopefully not. Please.

(Grumble) Holy Deficits Batman! The GOP is at it again!
They wanna cut entitlements? Sure. Value Meal #1, right?
Ain't gonna happen, though. Those kinds of bills start in the House.

more weight said...

Dr Brin
Hi! One might say that Death And Criticism Are The Only Known Antidotes To Error.

Could the Great Filter be the ability to read? Hear me out:
1) Reading isn't an evolved ability; the human brain evolved to take in words through the ears, not the eyes. It seems to be a lucky break that the brain is flexible enough to learn to treat visual symbols as words.
2) Visual language makes it possible to store information *outside of individual brains*. It's very hard to imagine civilization being built by people who are limited by the information storage capacity/memory fidelity/communication abilities of the brain, with no external record.
3)It's possible for a human being to be of above average intelligence but neurologically unable to learn to read, these are actually separate things.
So, what if most intelligent species did not get the lucky break we had?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

It is VERY easy (right now) to see the difference between those of us watching Fox and those who are not. Venezuela keeps getting mentioned. As if.

Back in the day, it was "Fast and Furious".

The right-wing has been very successful at demonizing Democrats without a particular thing to gripe about, so they have to invent details. I've noticed for years now that, when pressed for specifics about why Democrats are so bad, they'll imply that we want to raise their taxes and exert government control over their lives, as if those are ends in themselves. Recently, there's a new wrinkle--that a tendency to expand the inclusion horizon becomes "They're for open borders and crime." "For crime", for gosh sakes! And the FOX viewers totally believe this, as if when an illegal alien robs or murders someone, we're going "Yay!"

And then it hit me that our recent discussion about power relative to 1984 is relevant. They expect us to behave as they would. We're for high taxes, government control, and crime because we want to own the 'serv-tards'! They think we're in favor of anything that bothers them, because that's what they do to us.

Larry Hart said...


It seems that we can apply the Newton's second law to the understanding of the current political situation in the world.

For every solution, there is an equal and opposite obstruction?


reason said...

The problem with the Venezuela is that the "revolution" was Anti-Elite, and could be financed by the curse of oil. That ain't going to happen in the USA, even with Marxists (who I regard as the mirror image of "Austrian" economists, self-righteous and with their own peculiar jargon that makes coherent discussion impossible.)

Tacitus said...


It is hard to come up with any general form of government or individual examples, where free flowing oil revenues has not caused harm. Unearned money tends to be corrupting.

Norway maybe would be the exception that proves the rule.

Others escape me at the moment.


Russell Osterlund said...

The problem with "Two Scoops" is that in 20 or 50 years, nobody will understand or care why that epithet was chosen. It does not address and attack his legacy issue, his place in history, that all presidents think about. That is why I choose "Unobama" - his manifesto or "vision" for America seems to be undoing everything Obama accomplished. And assuming historians are favorably inclined towards Obama and his legacy - the first African-American to be elected president - it will forever tie Unobama's period and memory to the era and the man he demagogued and worked against. Plus there are hints of the Unabomber and the nihilistic manifesto echoing in the name. In the meantime, I think Elizabeth Warren needs to go with "Little Hands." Sure, this has already been used before but it was delivered by the wrong person, the wrong sex. Imagine Senator Warren quipping about "Little Hands" and with a subtle smile, asking why he always paid women AFTER his sex. What shortcomings was he really trying to conceal. Delivered by a woman who is attacking his manhood and alleged prowess, it would be devastating.

donzelion said...

yana: "folks forget that the big struggle in the 2030's will be over NE Asia."

In terms of 'big struggle,' that for NE Asia is 'big' in the sense of 'lots of hectares at stake' - that for Africa is 'big' in the sense of 'lots of dead people at stake.' The latter tends to be 'bigger' in my book - and more poorly documented.

donzelion said...

Tim: "It is hard to come up with any general form of government or individual examples, where free flowing oil revenues has not caused harm. Unearned money tends to be corrupting."
Alaska? Granted, I dislike Sarah Palin, and see lots of issues worth criticizing, but...
Norway yes, but also Scotland, and many other corridors. Alaska is fascinating because it's the most socialized state in America - but the recipients of that largesse are in other cases regularly strong opponents of socialism.

That shouldn't surprise us: folks who mock socialism and big government in every other context will be infuriated if you point out socialized militaries are more effective than private militaries - esp. if there's a large base nearby.

In general, the rule is not that 'Unearned money tends to be corrupting' - it's that earning money by obtaining preferential access tends to result in a self-replicating cycle unless that cycle is broken early by some public involvement. Compare Angola to Botswana, Norway/Scotland/Alaska to the petro kingdoms.

Tacitus said...


You know I am not averse to stirring up a few hornets in the cause of honest discourse. But if you think I am going to address the issue of whether Scotland is indeed an independent country you are sadly mistaken.

Lets stipulate that Scotland as a country either much predates the discovery of North Sea Oil, and/or is a recent enough development to have missed the peak of North Sea Oil.

Alaska of course is just a state. But it is more alien than many foreign countries I have visited. And oil revenues probably are part of what makes it so.....different.

I think we mostly agree. Norway probably did better with its oil revenue because it had a long established, stable representative government. The Rule of Law as it were. Oh, no doubt individuals could/did/always shall have their hands out for a bit of graft. But it is not an accepted way of the world as it would be in places where La Mordida or Baksheesh are commonly accepted as a way of doing business.

It probably does not make sense to look at states, but it is fair to say that while the fracking/oil shale boom has caused problems for North Dakota and Wyoming, it does not appear to have caused large scale far as I know.

T. Wolter

Anonymous said...

¿Are my comments racist? ¿Why?

A) ¿Why do I accuse Saudi leaders of being depraved? Do not speak badly of all the Saudis. Speak badly of the Saudi leaders.

B) ¿Am I racist to mention that actresses who are Native American from Canada and the United States are beautiful? That is not an insult to an ethnic minority! In fact, for me, the race I chose as a wife would be irrelevant. Which I think is a strong indicator that I'm not racist.

C) ¿Am I racist for saying that the ethnic origin of a woman is irrelevant?

D) ¿Am I racist because I mentioned that in Mexico there are serial killers of abysmal perversity? (I am Mexican, if I mention these terrible issues of my country is to show that I do not exclude my country for convenience, to make criticism, then, for me, the truth is very important).

¡Por Quetzalc√≥atl! ¡Yana; eres muy sensible en cuanto a asuntos raciales!


Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

It probably does not make sense to look at states,

I'm not sure why not. In the cases of Alaska and North Dakota, the entire economy was altered by oil.

but it is fair to say that while the fracking/oil shale boom has caused problems for North Dakota and Wyoming, it does not appear to have caused large scale far as I know.

I guess it depends on the meaning of the word "corruption". I'd tend to count things like passing laws that make it legal to run down protesters with your car.

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart:
¡Rayos!. Yes. I often behave like a grizzly bear in a supermarket.
Actually, I think that for each problem, we must verify that our solution has enough force to stop the problem. In fact, the ideal solution must have more strength than the problem. For example; If one walks through the park to a pet, one should carry a small shovel to clean up the mess left on the floor by the pet. But, if we walk Donald Trump through the central park, then we need to take a tractor with a shovel to clean up the mess that Donald Trump is leaving on the floor.


Anonymous said...

I often forget that these comments could interfere with the ideal of a unified nation. But I imagine that decent Republicans do not agree with the abysmal depravity of the "president." Well; What decent Republican woman could support a sexual assailant?
And this goes for all Republican parents who still have doubts: How would they have felt if their daughters are waiting in front of the Trump Hotel for a taxi, suddenly Donald Trump comes out and approaches, furtively and attacks with his hand? (something that is a persistent vice in Donald Trump ... If the answer is something like: "the end justifies the means" then I must say that I would be very disappointed in that answer, but I hope that the most decent Republicans can understand that everything in life is to do what the leader commands.That is so simple and lazy! Thinking for yourself is something that requires effort, but that is part of the price to pay for freedom.
It would be very sad for me that, if I am still alive in fifty years, and I visit the United States, go through the streets and see endless parades of people smiling with a lost look, shouting: Long live the big brother! Long live the big brother!
I also hope that the more sensible Republicans will have some conscience again.


Anonymous said...

Roberta Jacobson resigned from the Trump administration. She said that in the administration of Donald Trump the chaos is extreme and that Donald's decision-making style is chaotic. In addition, Donald Trump does not report his decisions to the rest of the staff. (Evident sign that he no longer trusts most of his own people in the white house)
All that was said by a person who has worked for Donald Trump and therefore knows precisely what happens.
Donald Trump is an evil idiot! Where is Batman when we need him the most? Gothic city has been taken by the supervillains and they are changing everything in secret.


Anonymous said...

And now, thanks to the Samsung company, hackers can get our fingerprints (if they manage to hack phones).


Zepp Jamieson said...

Noah and quantum physics: Yes, this is exactly how it happened.

Anonymous said...

And now, the Murdoch go directly to the teenagers' phones.


Anonymous said...

If it really does not matter at all. Why do you care what we say? If you are worried it is because it bothers you. If it bothers you, it's because we do not agree with your plans. If we criticize the oligarchs and you get upset, that means that your plans are the plans of the oligarchs.
The oligarchs are destroying the human species. Do you understand where you stay in that scheme?
There are things that matter. As Alfred Differ said: Everyone is struggling to leave something to their own children. The problem is that the oligarchs want to leave their own children 99.9% of the entire planet (including slave labor and all available resources, either in assets or in monopolies) ... Which is not acceptable.


David Brin said...

Yana that is whyI say the Chinese "islands" in the So China Sea are southward distractions from their real goal, to the north.

I'll skim locum's ravings when he tries for credibility in one of the three ways I listed. Otherwise, he's just jibbering.

Venezuela shows that populist idiocy can pander to the poorest, as well. As in Turkey... and the U.S. It'sd "hey poorest whites, come ally with plutocrats against folks who know stuff!

donzelion said...

Hmmm...what can you do with 16 days left to help save the country?

Best thing: find a competitive US House race near you and chip in your time, and go canvass. Everything else is just wasting time.

Help a congressional rep (or a senator in some states), and you'll help down ballot races for your party, most often in crucial, competitive districts at each level of the ballot.

A congressional rep has the means to get you to the most effective doors, where your few minutes of conversation will have best possible impact. There is nothing whatsoever that you can do that will come anywhere close to that. However, since it costs an incredible amount of money to set up the infrastructure to do it, down ballot races seldom can benefit as much - or get as far even with the volunteers they do have.

"Again, that's where to find a candidate who - if she wins - will remember your name!"
Who cares if they remember your name if they don't win, or if your name is remembered in a country on the brink? One doesn't enlist in the local militia to fight the Confeds: one joins the army and goes to the line - if one sees a threat seriously.

donzelion said...

Tim: Of course Scotland and Alaska aren't countries, BUT we can compare what happened to them as a result of the extraction in those locations, and compare that with others even within their same countries: coal mining in England/Wales v. North Sea oil. Texas oil v. Alaska oil. They do reflect the pattern I assert: once wealth becomes a matter of distributing privileged rights to a handful of well-connected, corruption sets in, and the rest of that society starts to show tension and stagnation.

There's a reason why Texans helped build Saudi Arabia, after all (while British did far more for Emiratis, Omanis, Kuwaitis and Qataris).
at makes it so.....different.

"I think we mostly agree. Norway probably did better with its oil revenue because it had a long established, stable representative government."
Oil revenue could have stabilized or destabilized Norway. Recall that most Norwegians were fleeing to America, much like the Irish, Italians, Polish, Germans, and other Europeans who faced starvation back home (we tend to think of 19th century Europeans as having the 'rule of law' - the reality was far more complex than that).

"But it is not an accepted way of the world as it would be in places where La Mordida or Baksheesh are commonly accepted as a way of doing business."
Every culture of tipping has its own history, and sets up its own cycles based on its own context. In general though, the issue is how power controls the distribution of benefits: Norway, and a very few others, opted to rip that power out of the hands of certain interests, and spread the benefits broadly.

"it is fair to say that while the fracking/oil shale boom has caused problems for North Dakota and Wyoming, it does not appear to have caused large scale far as I know."
My point is really about how cycles operate: a person profits from a privilege, rather than from productivity, and then allocates a portion of those profits to locking in privileges, rather than enhancing productivity. Those investments repeat. Over time, a society is built around those sorts of allocations, rather than productivity. Occasionally, the slower/steadier shared gains of productivity growth will challenge or displace the quick/uncertain gains of privilege distribution...but making that happen is always complex.

donzelion said...

Tim: By the way, you might take a look at the Center for Public Integrity's report -

Of course, much of the 'problem' in Wyoming is that there's no ethics unit around to investigate, and broad opacity to insulate offenders. To my eye, that suggests either corruption is likely to exist without being caught - or Wyomingers are unusually honest, and thus, there's nothing much to catch. In the world of corruption, the lack of evidence is often itself a form of evidence...

Alfred Differ said...

@reason | Heh. The Austrian economists don't have much choice. It's either 'invent new terms' or 'use the misleading ones in use by the other team.'

For example, a family economizes resources, so one can speak of family sized economies. We usually don't, but it makes sense historically if one wants to look at nomadic HG ancestors and how they managed. Scale up to tribes and communities and we can ask if they economize resources. Austrians would essentially say 'no'. Others would say 'yes'. The difference is that communities don't 'economize' like families do. They simply can't. It ain't humanly possible, so why use the same term for each.

Every field has their peculiar jargon... and their self-righteous @#^#'s.
Expanding the language is often useful, though. Doing that invites us to look at differences others see that we don't.

Venezuela has taken the well trodden road to serfdom. Rather predictable actually. The US won't go far down that road before we all pull out our guns and shoot each other. It's a grim thought, but there are a number of things that simply can't happen here. Many of us are ornery gun/chemistry set owners.

duncan cairncross said...

Re - Venezuela

I did not see that as a populist backlash so much as an aristocracy that rogered the population for a couple of generations

And then when they were ousted from power they proceeded to sabotage their successors - and they are still sabotaging anybody who does not lick their boots

Aided and abetted by the US aristocracy

Twominds said...

@Russel Osterlund 9:55 AM

Oh, that's why you use Unobama! I thought it was a dig at Obama, for having been ineffective during his terms.

Thanks for clearing my confusion, but if my misinterpretation is common, your nickname for Trump doesn't work.

Twominds said...

@more weight 5:30 AM

Could the Great Filter be the ability to read?

It seems unlikely to me. Humans take in information through both eyes and ears, so the eyes are already involved. Most of the practical (I presume it to be oldest) vocabulary is about visible objects, that lend themselves easily to symbolic representation, leading to forms of writing.
Not only humans use or can learn to use symbols of things and concepts (I can only think of chimps learning to use colored fiches right now, admittedly a very close species, but weren't there studies with birds too?).

The emergence of our ability to think in abstractions seems to be a much higher hurdle to jump, a likelier candidate for a Great Filter.

Larry Hart said...

Today in voter suppression...

Bolded emphasis at the end echoes what I've been rhetorically asking for a long time--How can "patriotic, flag-waving Americans" work so hard to keep people from voting?

Bolded emphasis in paragraph 2 is just funny. :)

In Georgia, where the word "democracy" is rapidly devolving into a punchline, there is yet another instance of bad behavior in the headlines. In short, a bus arrived at a Jefferson County senior living center in order to transport 40 black residents to the polls so they could cast their ballots during the early voting period. The facility where the folks live is state-run, and there is a ban on "political activity" there. Although the rule was surely are meant to curtail political advocacy (just like rules that forbid electioneering near polling places), the director of the senior center deemed voting to be "political activity," and so ordered the would-be voters off the bus. It is only 40 people in this case, as opposed to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, but undemocratic behavior is undemocratic behavior.

Meanwhile, there is also the case of Dodge City, Kansas. The famous frontier town has undergone a renaissance of sorts in recent years, thanks to the opening of two meatpacking plants (which brought with them thousands of jobs). The population boomed to 27,000 (many of them immigrants from Mexico), such that the town's sole polling place is now inadequate to the task at hand. The solution would seem to be to add more polling places, but Kansas officials—and note that this is the province of infamous voter suppressor Kris Kobach, who is the Kansas secretary of state—instead decided to move the polling place to a building well outside of city limits, and over a mile from the nearest bus stop. So, residents who care to cast their ballots will literally have to get out of Dodge. Needless to say, this will tend to favor the folks who have spare time to drive to the location, not to mention a car.

It is truly remarkable that the folks behind these behaviors can claim to be patriots who love the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Founding Parents, and all of that, and yet have no qualms about disenfranchising people. Perhaps they should review their textbooks (real ones, not the ones they use in Texas) to discover exactly what those folks in the 1770s and 1780s cared about (Hint: It fills in the blank in "Taxation without ____________"). In any event, there is little time before the midterms for court remedies, so one can only hope that folks who are at risk of being deprived of their right to vote will be extra-motivated to do whatever it takes to cast their ballots. Long term, the only solution is for Congress to set national standards for all federal elections.

more weight said...

@Twominds Well, it seems to be possible for a person to be capable of taking in *information* through the eyes, but not *language*. We're lucky that this is not the norm in our species. Perhaps it can never be the norm for a species, but do we know that? Anyway, it's fun to speculate.

Larry Hart said...

Charles Blow echoes my sentiments...


Well, count me among the mob, if that means people who stand in opposition to Trump’s degradation of the country in all ways. If the mob stands up for women and stands up to the National Rifle Association, I want in. If the mob hates corruption and loves the increasing diversity of this country, then it is for me. If the mob finds it abhorrent that during the same week that it became clear that a Washington Post columnist had been killed in a Saudi Arabian consulate, Trump praised an American politician who assaulted a journalist, then yes, yes, yes to the mob.


A.F. Rey said...

One big thing Trump forgets: mobs don't vote. :)

He will soon learn that Democrats are not a mob...

David Brin said...

donzelion you are right… in places like California, where the state legislature is safely democratic and where peeling away one more House seat is top priority. We may soon flip Issa’s former seat! But the fate of the nation rests on stopping GOP cheating across the country. And barring any Supreme Court action, it will have to be done on the ground, one cheat-won red state at a time.

But donzelion is our Saudi Arabia expert. Come on man. We've disagreed, but always with my respect. Give us something!

DP said...

Re: System collapse

While I am amazed by the number of correct predictions about the future (now our present) in John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar"

I think that his most prescient book was "The Sheep Look Up". Environmental degradation endemic corruption, elites living in guarded fortresses, financial collapse,an incompetent president - its all there. The last chapters are a near perfect (realistic and horrifying) description of slow motion systemic collapse of the US.

Bill_in_the Middle said...

Off topic for sure but an interesting article on the 538 site about Russians hacking the 2016 (Midterm) election.

Anonymous said...

Re: John Brunner

And in Shockwave Rider you have the president of the US being affiliated/part of the Mob. Rather interesting given I'm most of the way through House of Trump, House of Putin with all the links Unger draws between Trump and the Russian Mafia…

john fremont said...

@Daniel Duffy

I read John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar back in 2004 and would agree with Ted DiGoia's assessment of that book. (Mr. DiGoia also led me to a lot of great jazz too!)
I'm intrigued by your recommendation of The Sheep Look Up . Another interesting blog to read that is inspired by Stand on Zanzibar is the Hipcrime Vocab. It's written by a midwestern academic and it covers a lot of world history and economics. Who knows maybe the author reads this blog too.

Twominds said...

@more weight

-Anyway, it's fun to speculate.-

It is!

donzelion said...

"But donzelion is our Saudi Arabia expert. Come on man. We've disagreed, but always with my respect. Give us something!"

My bridges that way are mostly burned, but after Jamal, now I have to reconsider a bit about who else is at risk...

The main disagreement we've had was whether the Koch's/Murdoch's were in bed with the Saudis...and that's a frustrating disagreement, because I can't disclose the best evidence of cleavage, but only point to publicly available information and propose an interpretation that leaves out a few key pieces of evidence. Only...your claims about feudalism being a (mostly) zero sum story that impoverished most and retards much, while capitalism is at least sometimes a positive sum story are amply demonstrated in my experience. If I disagreed, it has almost always been to defend your core claims - it's never good enough to be 90% right, since any error will be used to invalidate all the rest of the belief.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman tells us what is obvious to the most obtuse by now:


Anyway, we’re not supposed to have to trust that the big money a president receives from foreign governments isn’t influencing his decisions. The emoluments clause of the Constitution prohibits the president from accepting any such favors in the first place. Unfortunately, Republicans have decided that this clause, like so much of the Constitution, doesn’t apply when their party is in power.

So, as I said, what we’re looking at here is another step in the debasement of our nation. Accepting torture and murder is a betrayal of American principles; trying to justify that betrayal by appealing to supposed economic benefits is a further betrayal. And when you add in the fact that the claimed economic payoff is a lie, and that the president’s personal profit is a much more likely explanation for his actions — well, genuine patriots should be deeply ashamed of what we’ve come to as a nation.

A.F. Rey said...

Speaking of the trenches, OSC's latest column shows he existing in another world (at least from mine).

Republicans in Congress are not the dutiful soldiers that the Democrats are. While Democrats almost never vote against their party leadership -- because they know that if they do, the party leaders will put up a primary election challenger, as they did with Lieberman -- Republicans have the ability to think for themselves.

I know, that's almost unthinkable -- and if Trump had his way, they would all be obedient little soldiers -- but in fact, Republicans can be fairly moderate and sane, compared to the lunatics on the Far Right. John McCain stayed in office as long as he wanted, voting against the party line when he felt that was the right way to get the job done -- and every Republican knows he or she has that option.

When you look at the name in the Republican column, you are not seeing someone whose vote will be controlled by the Tweeter-in-Chief. Even those who got the Republican nomination by convincing primary voters that they were true-blue Trumpicles will still have the ability to look at legislation and make up their own minds.

So if Trump demands that they do something that violates their conscience or that will hurt their chances of reelection or that will waste tax money, they have the option of voting as they see fit. They might even listen to their constituents.

They might actually bother to read legislation before they vote for or against it -- something that Democrats don't feel a need to do, as they proved with Obamacare.

I guess Mr. Card was fast asleep when the last tax bill was passed. Which wouldn't have been hard, considering how long the Republicans took to consider the final bill. :)

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey quotes Orson Scott Card:

Republicans in Congress are not the dutiful soldiers that the Democrats are. While Democrats almost never vote against their party leadership -- because they know that if they do, the party leaders will put up a primary election challenger, as they did with Lieberman -- Republicans have the ability to think for themselves.

WTF? Lieberman was the exception that proved the rule. Republicans invented the concept of "primarying", a tactic they fear more than they do being beaten by a Democrat in a general election.

Joe Manchin (-D) voted for Kavanaugh, and three other Democrats joined him in voting for Gorsuch. Not only didn't leadership punish them, but we're very concerned that all of them hold their Senate seat in November. On the other side, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are already resigning to avoid taking on a primary challenge, and yet after much hand-wringing, they voted their party line. So did Susan Collins, even though the reasons she gave for her votes on Kavanaugh and on last year's tax bill are gibberish.

Pretty much every sentence in Card's tirade is true if you replace the word "Republican" with "Democrat" and vice versa. Come to think of it, almost every sentence Benedict Donald speaks is true under the same condition.

donzelion said...

I always suspected Orson Scott Card of being more a 'fantasy' author than a 'science fiction' author. This particular claim is proof.

I don't read his he positing 'fake news' as well elsewhere, and touting the reliability of Bratbart? Or mourning the Bowling Green massacre? Shrug. Lots of misled folks trying to retain relevance...

Flypusher said...

I’ve got such a House race for you, in TX-22. Sri Preston Kulkarni is surging late in the race (enough to draw notice and funding from some of the national Dem groups). The guy he’s running against is a total do-nothing, but he’s got that “R” by his name, which is sadly all that is needed for some around here. Any donations will help get out the word. I’ll keep block walking.

A.F. Rey said...

AFAIK, OSC doesn't blog anymore. He used to do periodic blogs under "World Watch" at his site, but he hasn't done any of those in years. These days he mainly writes a column for the Rhino Times in Greensboro, of which this is one, and he usually avoids politics. Every once in a while he lets something slip out that shows he's immersed in the right-wing-o-sphere (e.g. calling evolutionary biologists "darwinists"), but for the most part he writes about mundane subjects like TV, movies and his favorite foods and restaurants. (He had a nice review of San Diego a few weeks back...) :)

He also has a podcast with Rusty Humphries called "We Review Everything" where he might be more political, but I haven't listened to it so I can't say.

Darrell E said...

OSC is delusional. It's like it's reverse day or something.

David Brin said...

I am not surprised by the latest screech of utter lies by Orson Scott Card, declaring that Republican politicians act as individuals for the national good and that democrats are slavishly disciplined (yet a 'mob') to a rigid, leftist party line. As I'll show, below, this is diametrically opposite to all we've ever seen and a myriad facts. But Scott Card's beloved confederacy is stitched together by one trick that's been perfected by Fox and the fear-o-sphere. That of taking the crimes they commit and hurriedly accusing others of the same crimes. "Fake news," for example, and the stunning way that they attack science by claiming "there's no such thing as consensus in science." That cult's monstrous war against every single fact-using profession (I dare you to name one counter-example, from science, teaching, law and journalism to civil servants and the CIA) is a stunning treason that used to have a couple of exceptions, till these cultists felt they had to include all the "deep state" professionals who protected us from Hitler and Stalin and Brezhnev, but who now shine light on the world mafias controlling today's right.

Scott asserts that democrats are lockstep-uniform-disciplined, despite the common knowledge that democrats are as herdable as cats. "I'm not a member of an organized political party," said Will Rogers. "I'm a democrat." (Indeed, if the GOP were to (please God) evaporate under the heat of its relentless treason, the DP would instantly break in two, with the Jerry Brown types - the only fiscally responsible adults in politics sighing as an ingrate-left lays into them. Fine!)

It's the GOP who made Dennis "friend to boys" Hastert their leader through the 1990s, the top republican in America and Speaker of the House (look him up and shrivel in stunned disbelief and shame!) whose "Hastert Rule" OPENLY declared war on any Republican who would dare to negotiate in good faith with any democrat, ever. This viciously-enforced discipline was clear, open, and official policy of the Republican Party. And relentlessly deceitful liars like Orson Scott Card desperately wave distraction-assertions, because, having driven away every knowledge profession, they know confederates prefer assertions over actual facts.

BTW the Hastert Rule was in direct response to the very last effort by "adult republicans" to work for the national good. In 1993, President Clinton created the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform as part of the administration's effort to promote economic growth and control the budget deficit. The purpose of the commission, chaired by Senator J. Robert Kerrey (D-NE) and Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), was to seek bipartisan agreement on long-term entitlement reform and structural changes to the tax system.

The resulting bill *almost* passed. It would have gradually cranked up retirement age and saved trillions, in exchange for cranking up Medicare for children and the poor and meaningful contributions by the rich. But the opportunity was trashed by Newt Gingrich and then by Dennis "friend-to-boys" Hastert, who worked with Fox to end all traces of adulthood in the GOP. Danforth-style Republicans are now entirely extinct.

I could go on, but this is the problem with disproving the spells woven by gifted svengalis like Card. He has a job for the feudal-oligarch-mafiosi taking over the planet and it is NOT to argue persuasively. It is to weave magic spells. Combined with outright cheating at the polls, it has held America in the Confederacy's grip for all but 4 of the last 23 years, and threatens the Republic with extinction.

The holnists have taken Washington boys and girls. Gather some guts and stand up.

Darrell E said...

It looks like the best ammo at the moment is healthcare. Apparently recent polls show that Republican voters think that healthcare is, by a large margin, the most important consideration for who they will vote for in November. Last night Rachel Maddow did a segment on this. She also showed statics about approval for the ACA from 2010 up to now. Lo and behold, the ACA has now become popular with a strong majority of the public! In particular even Republican voters want the government to require health insurance companies to cover existing conditions.

And, wonder or wonders, the Democratic Party has actually picked up on this and is focusing the majority of their messaging on this topic. Meanwhile, almost literally overnight, Republican politicians all over the country have put out new ads proclaiming with earnest straight faces how they have always supported and fought for existing conditions. Un-fucking-believable how these people can lie brazenly given their history on this right up until yesterday. Aside from voting against the ACA as many as 70 times many of these R politicians are part of a big lawsuit against the federal government to abolish the ACA. Even more UFB than that is that a good percentage of people will believe them.

Meanwhile, just yesterday Two Scoops gave insurance companies a free pass on denying coverage of existing conditions. Here's hoping the Democratic Party can manage to stick this issue right up the Republican Party's ass and foment the massive blue wave that some have predicted.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

Un-fucking-believable how these people can lie brazenly given their history on this right up until yesterday.

Like a certain frequent poster here, when Republicans talk, they lie. It's what they do.

If they're accusing Democrats and/or liberals of some awful characteristic, the sentence is often true if you switch the parties.

I'm not surprised when they campaign on bald-faced lies. I am a bit surprised when they seem to believe their own crap. For example, I understand that when they (unsuccessfully) voted to repeal the ACA and then (successfully) voted for tax cuts, they were doing the bidding of their donors, not their constituents. So I get why they rammed those things through in spite of voter opposition. What I don't understand is that they seem to have honestly thought those would be good issues to campaign on this year, and are only now noticing how wrong that prediction was.

Larry Hart said...

what we already knew:

Slowly but surely, Donald Trump is ceding the title of "leader of the free world" to Angela Merkel of Germany. ...

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Like a certain frequent poster here, when Republicans talk, they lie. It's what they do."

Since I'd defend some Republicans, I'd hesitate before making that claim. Tim/Tacitus seems honorable to me, even if I disagree with him much of the time.

You wouldn't believe how many registered Republicans I've convinced to put up yard signs for the Democratic candidate for Congress...there are many of them out there who can be one (and in Orange County, many we'll have to win to flip the House - or at least convince we don't hate them, won't hurt them, and if we win, they'll actually benefit more).

"I am a bit surprised when they seem to believe their own crap."
Many Republicans get paid to peddle snake oil, so of course they'll sample it and proclaim, "It worked wonders!" Noisy bunch. Others hope to prove themselves sufficiently loyal to earn the right to become junior snake oil sales representatives. They'll buy it by the gallon and proclaim its miraculous effects even more loudly. Their party laughs at them behind their backs - but every good salesman knows how to publicly feign their undying loyalty, 'There will be blood!' style.

donzelion said...

LarryHart - BTW, Hultgren/Underwood in Il-14 is a pretty close race where you could help piss all over Dennis 'friend to boys' Hastert's legacy by helping a Democrat displace a Republican in what used to be his district...If it's too far for you to get out there, there'll be a Swingleft group closer to you that's organizing something or other.

But I definitely suggest turning out to the district. There's always something going down, and I've met more astronauts and satellite builders on this race than I ever well as one champion figure skater, an admiral, and a huge collection of individuals who've never done this canvass thing before, but who are tired of sitting back and complaining.

Larry Hart said...


LarryHart: "Like a certain frequent poster here, when Republicans talk, they lie. It's what they do."

Since I'd defend some Republicans, I'd hesitate before making that claim. Tim/Tacitus seems honorable to me, even if I disagree with him much of the time.

I meant Republican officeholders, not voters.

Sorry, I use the terms loosely some times.

Anonymous said...

You may find this summary by Daniel Dale useful:

The last week:

The complete list:

Smurphs said...

Tim Wolter said:

"It probably does not make sense to look at states, but it is fair to say that while the fracking/oil shale boom has caused problems for North Dakota and Wyoming, it does not appear to have caused large scale far as I know.

Well, it depends how you define corruption, doesn't it?

The fracking boom has been great for Pennsylvania. Lots of jobs, lower pollution, cheaper energy, lots of new money in the state. Sounds great doesn't it. But there are a few problems being swept under the rug. If you own the land, you are forced to accept the fracking company's low-ball offer for your resources. This was enacted by a heavily gerrymandered* Republican Senate to ease the burden on fracking companies having to negotiate with thousands of individual landowners. Pro-business, yeah!

If you suspect the nearby fracking is what caused your methane infused well water to suddenly catch fire, well, you better be able to prove your water was not contaminated before the fracking started. (Has anybody out there been having their well water routinely tested for methane annually for the last 20 years? Sorry, too bad.) Pro-business, yeah!

If a spill happens from the surface pond used to contain hydraulic fracking fluid, by law, the companies cannot be made to divulge the composition of the fluid. This makes it virtually impossible to prove the source of the spill, effectively preventing regulators from even levying fines on the polluters, let alone getting them to pay for clean-up. That law, and many others, come from that previously mentioned heavily gerrymandered, Republican Senate. Trade secrets, proprietary information, pro-business, yeah!

Sixty percent of the natural gas in Pennsylvanian is under state-owned land. (We have lots of nice parks and game lands. Come visit!) But we also have some of the lowest fracking land-use fees, lowest taxes and loosest regulations in the country. And loose regulations are barely enforced by state agencies striped of funding by that wonderful, heavily gerrymandered Republican Senate. (Are you sensing a theme yet?)

Now, go back and read the beginning of the last paragraph. "Sixty percent of the natural gas in Pennsylvania is under state-owned land." Which means the land is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Which means it is owned by the citizens of the Commonwealth. Which means it is owned by ME (in part). I WANT MY CUT! I am a capitalist! I own it, I should get paid for it! But my share, and the share of every other citizen, has been given away by he Senate for a song. Why did we not establish a fund for every citizen like Alaska? Or even just use reasonable fees and taxes to help fund the Government? Or money set aside for the inevitable spills and pollution? Do I need to say it? All of these things have been blocked by the heavily gerrymandered Republican Senate.

My point is not that gerrymandering is bad, though it is. My point is that none of this is illegal. None of this is "Corruption". So, Tim, you are technically correct when stating, "it does not appear to have caused large scale corruption." But 12.8 million Pennsylvanians sure are getting screwed.


Smurphs said...


* How heavily gerrymandered is Pennsylvania? Right now, 13 of 18 State Senator's are Republicans, even though the state's registered voter population has 4.1 million Democrats and 3.2 million Republicans. Yes, that's right, the State is 4-to-3 registered Democrat, but the Senate is 13-to-5 Republican. On the positive side, Pennsylvania has recently been forced by the state Supreme Court to redistrict to end the gerrymander. The election in two weeks has changed things so much, a record number of Senators are not running for re-election, as they have no hope of winning a un-gerrymandered district. It will be intersecting to see how many of those former Senators end up on fracking companies Boards in the next year. Of course, since Citizens United, it has become childishly easy to funnel money directly to those senators via PACs and special interest groups. Legal Bribery is what I call it.

Larry Hart said...


Hey, my brother is in Lewisburg, PA.

And no, he's not an inmate there. :)

Larry Hart said...

The New York Times tells us...well, you know:

What is there left to say about the terrible murder of moderate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its aftermath? Only one thing, and I have said it before, but I feel it even more strongly now: In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone else to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.

I don’t say that because I’m particularly liberal and want to shift the whole country to the liberal agenda. I say that because I’m particularly American and I want to put the best of American values back at the center of our diplomacy and politics. President Trump has spent two years attacking our best values — truth and trust — and I believe that Democrats getting a lever of power is necessary, but not sufficient, to reverse that.

Democrats could blow it if they get back a lever of power and use it just to bully Trump and Republicans the same way he has them. But I’ll take that chance. Because there is a basic respect for truth, science and decency in the Democratic caucus and because I know that two more years of the G.O.P. holding every lever of power and blindly following Trump’s basic disrespect for truth, science and decency will make it impossible to elevate America’s best values.

Truth without power today is just background Muzak to the march of the Trump administration.

duncan cairncross said...

When we talk about US citizens not voting and "Get The Vote Out"

I think that we are addressing the wrong problem

The USA has a low turnout for voting
UK – 70%
Germany – about 75%
NZ – about 80%
USA – about 50%
So the USA has a lot of people not voting

BUT that is of the people who are eligible to vote
If we look at percentages of REGISTERED voters

UK – 75%
Germany – about 80%
NZ – about 83%
USA – about 71%

Now the numbers are much much closer together

The USA is still lower – but not massively lower

The USA is about 8 percent less than places like Germany –

BUT if we look at the percentage that are REGISTERED to vote then we see a much bigger number
The USA loses something like three times as many voters to “did not register” as it does to “did not vote”
In other countries the whole voter registration bit is undertaken by an organisation whose JOB it is to get everybody registered – and they do very well with registration in the 90% and higher

We (the voters) do not have to do anything to get registered – we have letters that arrive at every address which can be checked – and then dropped in the mail – if the letter is correct you just bin it

As an engineer I was trained to go after the biggest problem first – and the biggest problem in the USA is not Voter apathy – instead it’s creating a decent system for automatic voter registration

Saying that – from here (NZ) your registration system appears to be DESIGNED not to register people –

David Brin said...