Saturday, November 03, 2018

A letter to my sane-conservative friends


And so, we are at the wire. And all of those who would stand up for the Republic appear to have already decided – like Jennifer Rubin and George F. Will – to step up at last.

Still, I know many residually adult-sane conservatives… I had lunch with one, yesterday. Another just sent me his economics newsletter, filled with brilliant insights and hints that he’s unhappy. And yet, they wring their hands, uncertain, fretful, even while knowing they might be the demographic to make a real difference.

They chant rationalizations and incantations like "everyone's corrupt," while refusing ever to let any Fox assertion be made the matter of a wager. Proving that they know, inside, it's all lies.

And so this letter, which started as a note to one of them, is my final effort to reach out. To summon decent men and women to their duty. It is said that one sinner-repentant causes Heaven to erupt in joy. May this letter help you to redeem a friend. An aunt. Maybe even that mad uncle.

------------------------------------------

My dear conservative friend.

You must have known this was coming -- my effort to reach out to you, in hope that you’ll turn away from hypnotic incantations and do what’s necessary… lending your generous, patriotic, logically-calm and decent hand to the great task of saving your nation and civilization… and a truly worthy version of American conservatism. Can we at least agree on some basics?

- We share a love of this exceptional experiment in freedom, individualism, flat-fair-open-creative competition and general fairness, moving together to make a better world. Can we agree it’s been a renaissance that’s unique in human history and not likely to be repeated, if we blow it?

- Alas, nearly all such experiments died of the same illness that is now assaulting us full-bore. Across the last 6000 years of human history, can you name more than one or two eras that weren’t dominated by powerful owner castes? Feudalism is arguably the core enemy, not just of freedom and opportunity and science but also of flat-fair competitive market economics! It is the foe denounced by Adam Smith and the American Founders, who saw the King and his cronies cheat to grab all the wealth and power and pass it to their sons. It is the tyranny against which the real Tea Partiers rebelled.

You know it. But admitting it aloud would open up for you a world of insights.  So squint at the last 60 centuries and please say which system crushed freedom and progress, all that time. It wasn’t civil servants. It was feudalism. It was oligarchy.

- When was ‘America Great’?  I happen to think it’s great today, with our fantastic space probes plumbing the secrets of the universe and with diseases toppling before our mighty minds. Even the poorest people on Earth can access all the world’s knowledge through devices invented by American ingenuity. Poverty around the globe is plummeting as 90% of the world’s children now go to school and get at least a basic diet. The last 70 years of “American Peace” – or Pax Americana were flawed -- there were crimes and mistakes -- but it also featured more calm and trade and development and progress and science and justice and opportunity than all other eras combined. Can’t we be proud of that?

But sure, MAGA? Then tell us when you think America was better! 

Was it the 1950s? When our parents' Greatest Generation, having defeated the Depression and Hitler, then contained communism, built mighty infrastructure, forged tech and industries and the flattest fairest, most confident middle class, and began the great work of curing their own hearts of racism and sexism? You mean that Greatest Generation? The generation with the highest participation in labor unions?

The generation whose favorite human being was Franklin Roosevelt and whose second-favorite was a scientist named Jonas Salk?

That greatest generation knew that capitalism works best when regulated to minimize the inevitable (human) cheating.  They forged a balanced social contract in which the rich could get rich in safety, but were expected to help shoulder the burdens, and could not expect to be gods above the rest of us. The ideal was to work toward a society where your destiny was mostly in your own hands, and not much determined by what your parents owned.

That Greatest Generation you admire had high growth while taxing the rich. And every GOP-led pullback from that social contract has led to slower growth and middle class decline. Every... single... one. That's a pure fact. And not a single promise ever made by “supply side (voodoo) economics” ever came true, not one. Nor has any GOP administration ever put the brakes (as promised) on torrents of debt. 

Shouldn’t that absolutely perfect record of being wrong discredit the party that keeps repeating such lies?

- But those are facts. Horrid facts! Have you noticed that American conservatism has reversed itself in almost every way, especially when it comes to respect for facts? Every fact checking service, from Snopes to FactCheck.org, is now denounced as “partisan” because they keep revealing Fox/GOP/Kremlin lies.

Have you wondered why not one major American conservative group has offered to help improve those fact-checking services, or help set up truly neutral ones? Is it because they know what would happen?

Here’s a dare for you: Name one fact-centered profession that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump & cohorts?  Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science. Thirty years ago, 40% of US scientists called themselves Republican, now it is 4% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 

And now?  The FBI and the US military and intelligence officer corps; all are dismissed as "deep state" enemies. The heroes who defended us from Hitler, Stalin, Brezhnev etc., these are now denounced! Because Naval officers are concerned about rising seas and because the CIA and FBI are confronting a worldwide assault on us by puppet states controlled by mafia clans.  This is not your daddy's conservatism.  

No, this is not about the ranting looniness of a narcissistic toddler, Donald “Two Scoops” Trump! He is a symptom, not the disease. Your early warning came when the leader of the entire Republican Party was Dennis “friend to boys” Hastert, whose infamous “Hastert Rule” deliberately ended adult negotiation in American politics.  (Look him up! See where he is today, and why, and be so-proud.)

No, the newest Fox-rationalization won’t wash. The parties aren’t “all the same.”
H

So what am I asking of you?

I am not asking you to stop being a market-loving conservative! But to admit that feudalism has been at least as wretched an enemy of freedom and human hope as civil servants and smartypants scientists. Moreover, feudalism is roaring back! Oligarchs have often used American conservatism to stymie important realizations: like tobacco is lethal, cars cause smog, it's bad for rivers to catch fire, or for kids to absorb lead. Or to wage a staggeringly stupid prohibition "war on drugs." Or to let the world bake because some of those lords are invested in coal. And other members of that elite have Russian and Saudi oil they still need to sell.

When a movement shifts from "gambling is a vice" to being run by casino moguls with mafia ties...

... shouldn't smart guys like you admit it? Can’t you admit that when the very same KGB conspirators who you used to fear, back when they wore hammer-sickle pins, switch to being billionaire mafia lords, that doesn't make them any less dangerous?

Okay, here's the crux, my dear residually-adult-sane-Republican (RASR) friend. Then maybe curiosity – the highest of all human traits – can take you the rest of the way!

Squint. Envision if the current mad-treasonous-corrupt GOP evaporated. 

Overnight(!) Democrats would split in two. And the "market" wing of the Democratic Party - now filled with retired military officers and entrepreneurs and scientists and governors who balance budgets would be absolutely everything you would ever want!  Fiscally prudent, pro-science, pro-defense, skeptical of too-much paperwork… and wanting only reforms like background checks, but leaving responsible gun owners alone.

Everything that embarrasses you and shames you about Putin's Party would be gone, leaving a new "conservative-lite" party that has an actual track record fighting debt, which the GOP has never done… not once… ever!.

I repeat. The moderate wing of the Democratic Party is the only political force in American life with a track record fighting debt.

Sure there'd also be a lefty party. So? Guys like you would oppose them from your new home! A home that respects science, that respects facts! That ends the political cheating. That wants capitalism to work the only way it can work, not under conniving oligarchs but flat-open-fair-competitive. One that has no grudge at all against white-males... but also no truck with wretched-evil-Nazi racism.

Stop suckling diversion incantations from Fox, man! I would bet my house against yours that I could demolish any given hour of that Lie Machine, in minutes. And so, yes, let's bring back a Rebuttal Rule in journalism. What? You’d oppose that? Gee. I wonder why.

You know I could go on. But let’s just distill it down: 

I know you are a patriot. Please admit that I am one, too, vigorously opposed to an ongoing coup by a world mafia. Only you seem blind to the fact that those enemies have already taken Washington. 

It’s that serious. We are in phase 8 of the American Civil War and the Union is calling. We've had a long, slow Pearl Harbor, and you are summoned to the beachheads.

The greatest and best thing - the last, best hope - that ever happened to humankind needs you, desperately.

Stand up.

David B.

164 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

LH: The lyrics to the Beatles’ “In My Life.”


I had that one played at my wedding.

Anonymous said...

There is little time left for the elections. Take advantage of the little time left to verify all the necessary details to ensure that the votes cast are considered valid:

Link:

https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/election-day-voting-guide

Anonymous said...

Above all, find out in advance where you are going to vote. If you see something suspicious, immediately inform the authorities and the television networks. Have on your cell phone the Facebook link of CNN news on your cell phone, so you can send videos of criminal acts to CNN quickly.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

¡Haaaaaaa !; I already suspected it. There are strong faults in the Earth's magnetic shield.

Link:

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/144141/a-fire-in-the-middle-of-the-atlantic-ocean

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Someone asked astronomer Jill Tarter, who worked for SETI for many years, if the aliens were potentially aggressive. And she answered:

“Well, if they can get here, their technology is far more advanced than ours, and I don't know how you get to be an advanced older technology and have a long history unless you outgrow the aggression that probably helped you to get smart in the first place. So, I think an old technology, if such a thing exists, is going to be stable and it's going to have gone through the kind of cultural evolution, the kind of social evolution that [Harvard Professor] Steven Pinker talks about. So, from my point of view, if they are coming from an older technology and can get here, they don't have bad intentions. It doesn't mean that the interaction will be rosy, because there are often unintended consequences.”

Link:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-astronomer-jill-tarter-discusses-intelligent.html

Hora de cenar.

Winter7

Tony Fisk said...

For what it's worth, I have seen reports that the number of postal votes in Texas outnumbers all the votes for the 2014 midterms.

matthew said...

Oh, everyone is voting early. Problem is GOP enthusiasm is also high. But given gerrymandering, 56% of votes can go to Democrats but the House would still be under Republican control. We have not just a Blue Wave but a Red High Tide as well. This is gonna be nerve-wracking.

Anonymous said...

I would say be ready to lose.....again. Maybe this time it will finally sink in that the Democrat party leadership is a disaster. Time for us to do some housecleaning.

Deuxglass

Gregory said...

bravo!

David M. Densford said...

Too one-sided. I admit to being a GOP capitalist who wants lower taxes, smaller government, fewer people living on my work ethic, less dollar store junk filling peoples garages and storage buildings, more renewable energy, more electric vehicles, smaller military industrial machine, better relationships with all ethnic sources, a whole lot less medical stupidity and related costs, less United Nations dictating what my country does with our own money, better education, cheaper college, and of course a better path to affordable/sustainable retirement.
These things are not Red/Blue problems or solutions they are human ethical behavior faults. You can't government regulate honesty it must be taught at home and was a good reason to have a religion in the home

David Brin said...

Mr. Densford you are welcome here. We have an eclectic and mostly grownup discussion down here in the CONTRARY BRIN comments section. Though lately many of our moderate conservative members have either jumped that ship or gone into glowering simmers. (We do have a couple of pyrotechnic confederates we mostly tolerate.)

Alas, sir, your form of moderate, science-and-fact friendly US conservative is an endangered species and is completely extinct among the political caste. Look up Dennis Hastert, to understand why men like John Danforth no longer exist.

Dear neighbor and fellow citizen, alas, it is clear you only skimmed my missive and did not actually take any of it in, else you'd actually answer challenges. Like which elite always crushed entrepreneurial capitalism, across 6000 years. It wasn't do-gooders or bureaucrats. Indeed, the mild socialism that the Greatest Generation instituted under FDR - to counter communism - featured the highest rate of startups and growth ever seen. EVERY supply side lie-"reform" since then reduced growth and took us back toward feudalism, the real enemy.

Who is discussing Adam Smith, today? Not the right! Because they know he recognized feudal elites as the most dangerous ones, as did the Founders and the Greatest Generation.

"You can't government regulate honesty it must be taught at home and was a good reason to have a religion in the home"

I am so sorry my friend. But this is absolutely and demonstrably and experimentally wrong. 6000 years societies lectured people to behave better. It worked on already-good people and utterly failed with predators. What finally worked was ACCOUNTABILITY. Dividing power into small enough units so they have to compete with each other and empowering people to denounce abuses.

Regulation is EXACTLY how you get flat-fair-open competition... in sports! It is the only way we ended 6000 years of relentless cheating.

Can "regulation" become cloying or hinder competition? YES! The ICC and CAB were captured by the monopolists. Do you know who noticed that and BANISHED those over-regulating agencies?

Democrats, who also broke up AT&T leading to the telecom boom.

You are in the wrong party sir. Leave the one that is waging war on every fact profession, including the "deep state" US military officer corps.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am a Republican since 1968, and I do not intend to change sides; but ... I've read your comments. At first, I was annoyed by what they said. But I'm not blind; I realize that the president works for the Russians. I already understood that Donald Trump is acting solely out of greed.
I will not be part of the betrayal. I will vote for the democrats!
Donald Trump is a miserable barbat moonbat.

Travis Kennon

David Brin said...

TK: we will not gloat. It's all more important than that. You are our brother.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"expect to be gods above the rest"

Hey thanks, you helped me see something about myself. When people ask why i left the red-rep-con world for blu-dem-lib, often said that the left used to be the home of the loonies but now the nutters are on the right. So it wasn't me who really switched alignment, of course.

Now i know that's not true. The real break from redland was with the call for repeal of a "death tax". For years after that, Limbaugh and Fox still made plenty sense, but that one minor ideological plank, repealing estate taxes, just always felt itchy.

It's just dead basic simple, to avoid sharp revolutions we engineer slow-burn revolt, but it doesn't work at all, unless you churn all wealth levels at once.

Poor and the middle churn just fine with democracy and fair markets. Knowing that, The Founding People Who Happened To Be Mostly Fathers only had to construct a way to encourage turnover among the wealthy. With nature as an ally, rich kids tend higher on the profligacy spectrum. Only two legal nudges were needed: nixing primogeniture and taxing inheritance.

Have talked here before about the stunning implications of blending free speech with free religion, but the true cornerstone of our political and social cultures is the system's ability to dissipate knots of wealth.

David Brin said...

Yana the Founders knew it well. They seized and redistributed 1/3 of all the land in the former colonies, vastly more socialistic than FDR. They banned any semblance of primogeniture, insisting that all offspring including girls get inheritance, thus dividing big estates.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"Yana the Founders knew it well. They seized and redistributed 1/3 of all the land in the former colonies, vastly more socialistic than FDR."

And yet... some families of the English peerage were permitted, only a decade after the Rebellion, to purchase vast tracts of land (stop thinking about Graham Chapman and boobs) in the new States, which were later parcelled out to handsome profit. I'm not suggesting corruption and collusion among our Founding Founders, but it sure looks like the Paris treaty had some unwritten codicils.

I like to think that the FF's cleverly saw that even if they funneled some reparation wealth to the British, it would never survive as a knot of political power over here.

more weight said...

Nate Silver puts the odds at 6/7 Democrats win control: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2018-midterm-election-forecast/house/?ex_cid=rrpromo

All I can do from here is pray for America and all the rest of us.

Tim Wolter said...

It must be the German course I am taking, but I am thinking more about grammar and etymology of late. "Anonymus/Travis Kennon" uses syntax and word choice that would be highly atypical for an English speaker.

A Barbat for instance is a middle eastern musical instrument, sort of like a lute.

And the curious admixture of present and past tense....

Do we have an intrusion of bot meddling even here, in the humble confines of Contrary Brin?

Oh, and Travis if you are simply using a glitchy speech recognition system, my apologies. But please don't.

Regards Vast Tracts and such, yana I figure having an interest in boobs greater than Graham Chapman's is a minimum benchmark.

TW/Tacitius

whose garbled syntax is generally speaking, intentional.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/opinion/a-slow-motion-coup-in-tennessee.html

You might be forgiven for believing that [Tennessee] elected officials here have been trying to stage a coup. What is voter suppression anyway but an attempt to thwart the will of the people? And what is democracy itself if not a government formed by the will of the people and designed to protect their rights — the rights of all of them, whether they are in the majority or the minority? In its baldest terms, any attempt to prevent people from voting, or to dilute the governing force of those who do manage to vote, is really nothing less than an act of treason.


Emphasis mine, and J'Accuse!

Larry Hart said...

yana:

to purchase vast tracts of land (stop thinking about Graham Chapman and boobs)


Are you sure that wasn't Terry Jones?

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/opinion/hungary-orban-republican-party-trump.html

...

What [Hungary's] Orbán has done is to squash political competition. He has gerrymandered and changed election rules, so that he doesn’t need a majority of votes to control the government. He has rushed bills through Parliament with little debate. He has relied on friendly media to echo his message and smear opponents. He has stocked the courts with allies. He has overseen rampant corruption. He has cozied up to Putin. To justify his rule, Orbán has cited external threats — especially Muslim immigrants and George Soros, the Jewish Hungarian-born investor — and said that his party is the only one that represents the real people.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I cannot imagine the United States or a Western European country turning into Russia or China. But I can see how a major democracy could slide toward Hungarian autocracy. Orbán clearly has such ambitions, and the far right across much of Europe views him as its model. Steve Bannon has praised him as the world’s most significant politician.

Most alarming, the Republican Party has shown multiple signs of early Orbánism. No, the party is not as bad as Fidesz, and, yes, American democracy remains much healthier than the Hungarian version. But the parallels are there for anyone willing to see them: Like Orbán, Republican leaders have repeatedly been willing to change the rules and customs of democracy for the sake of raw power.

Jon S. said...

Deux, if the Republicans win, it may be too late for any Democratic housecleaning. Your thesis requires that Republicans be interested in continued "good" governance, while current available data suggest that they would prefer, in future, to dispense with all this "election" and "freedom" nonsense completely and rule this nation with a dictatorial iron hand.

We've let the Trumpistas get away with far too much already. Give him full Congressional support for another two years, and we might well have seen our last free Presidential election.

matthew said...

Jon assumes that the last Presidential election was "free."

All facts point the other way - millions disenfranchised. Billions in free advertising handed out to one candidate. Russian bots attacking American unity. The FBI breaking with all tradition and interfering in the election due to internal blackmail. Voter count irregularities.

Yeah, the last election was "free."

Looks like we are having more "free" elections tomorrow, where the SoS of Georgia is interfering on his own behalf, Native Americans are disenfranchised in North Dakota, and once again, one party is getting billions in free advertising.

We are at a point where the Democrats have to win by 56-58% of the national vote just to take hold of the House.

Taxation without Equal Representation.

That's your "free" elections.

David Brin said...

Which is why Governorships and State legislatures matter hugely. Those rushing to vote for Beto and Stacie need to fill out the complete ballot...

...and the poll watchers need to be vigilant. How a man like Kemp could be wearing anything but prison orange is beyond me.

Deuxglass said...

Jon S.

Deux is an interesting name for me. No one has ever called me that here in France probably because it means soft or kind in french. My name is Douglas and the French called me "Dooglasse". I tried to get them to change but they never could get over the hump so eventually I succumbed to Fate and accepted my new name.

Anyway to get back to serious matters I think that this should cause an electroshock to the Democrat Party in that, even though the leadership will deny it, will be an decisive defeat for the party leadership. There is a widening gap between what the leadership thinks what they are promoting and what many people, especially the Independents, see them as promoting. The kavenaugh situation was just the latest manifestation of this problem. They thought that it would be a sure-fire tactic but it never came to their mind that a lot of people, perhaps enough, would see it as a negation of due process and giving the image and perhaps the reality that the Democrat party leadership sees these as being of no importance whatsoever and an impediment to their pursuit to power. That scared a lot of people I know.

Something to ponder:

“So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law?”
“Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil. . . . And when the last law was down and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast . . . and if you cut them down d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

—Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Season

Darrell E said...

Deuxglass said...

"The kavenaugh situation was just the latest manifestation of this problem. They thought that it would be a sure-fire tactic but it never came to their mind that a lot of people, perhaps enough, would see it as a negation of due process and giving the image and perhaps the reality that the Democrat party leadership sees these as being of no importance whatsoever and an impediment to their pursuit to power. That scared a lot of people I know."

I understand that this interpretation of the "Kavnaugh Affair" is common, particularly among the right but significantly so on the left as well. But I don't understand why anyone who doesn't have a political stake in the Republican Party retaining its hold on power accepts this interpretation. Kavanaugh was not on trial. Due process doesn't have anything to do with this. Unless you mean to say that people should not be allowed to accuse their alleged assailants if said alleged assailant is in the middle of being considered for the SC? Actually, as everyone should know and understand the significance of, the misconduct claim against Kavanaugh was made years prior to his nomination.

Furthermore, "due process" is precisely what the Democrats asked for. They asked for the White House to have the FBI do further background investigation on Kavanaugh to determine the veracity of the claim. Which is 100% Standard Operating Procedure in SCJ confirmation hearings. And the confirmation committee is the deliberative body tasked with deciding whether or not any evidence the FBI discovers supports the claim or not well enough to affect their decision to confirm or not. The Democrats did not demand that Kavanaugh be dis-confirmed because of this sexual misconduct claim, they properly asked for investigation into the matter. To bad for them that since in this context the FBI works for the White House and is obligated to do what the White House instructs them to do. Which of course means there was never any chance that there would be a proper investigation. Even if there had been it would not have mattered because the Republicans had a clear majority. They could win any vote no matter what evidence came to light. They'd already demonstrated earlier in the hearings that Kavanaugh lying under oath, multiple times, unequivocally, was not issue for them.

Kavanaugh was being interviewed for a promotion. What he stood to lose was not getting a promotion. Asking the FBI to investigate on something like this is SOP. When vetting SCJ nominees the FBI does background investigations and the Executive is their customer (sad to say in this case). This is the norm. Happens all the time. Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings were average in duration at worst and to whatever extent they may have been more incendiary than in the past it ain't the Democrat's that are at fault.

How on earth could anyone think that the Democrats thought that bringing this sexual misconduct claim to light would be a sure-fire tactic? Really? When's the last time the Democratic Party has won anything of substance against the clear Republican Majority? How could anyone possibly believe they thought this was a sure-fire win when the Republican Party and Trump have lied, cheated and broken the rules to block every other evidently legitimate issue regarding Kavanaugh, any one of many which should have seen him dis-confirmed by itself? Even when Kavanuagh was so obviously not SCJ material that the Republicans told Trump not to nominate him and expressly excluded him from their list of suggested nominees? Nope, not buying it.

You seriously suggest that this Kavanaugh Affair shows that the US is in some kind of danger of Democrats degrading the rule of law? You have go to be shitting me.

Jon S. said...

The problem there is, the ones who would be heartened by a Democratic loss tomorrow are exactly the ones who wouldn't "give the Devil the benefit of law". They cheer every time Screamy Orange Grandpa threatens to remove more rights from the people. They applaud when he talks about becoming President-For-Life, like his hetero life partner Kim Jong Un. When he mutters, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?", they march out and arm themselves and start shooting at and mailing bombs to all the "enemies of the people" he names. They want the rule of law to be lifted, because it keeps them from lynching those they perceive as "the bad guys" - you know, them intellectuals and uppity colored folk and whatnot. And they can't possibly envision how it could ever turn against them.

Give them a victory, and the Night of the Long Knives won't be far behind.

Tim Wolter said...

Darrell E

Probably enough energy has been expended on the Kavanaugh matter. Suffice it to say that your interpretation of things is not universally held. Oh, partisans on either wing will never listen to reason, never pause to reflect. But for the people in the middle.....this was a PR disaster for the Dems. I know, I'm one of them, and will be voting for a mixed bag of R,D and non aligned folks tomorrow.

How it turns out? Beats me. The party in power usually loses seats. But the economy is by any reasonable person's standards pretty good. The polls are suggesting a small but narrowing D edge....but let me assure you, not everyone tells the truth to the pollsters. I know I don't even answer the phone when call waiting looks Political.

I'm OK with a D takeover of the House. Divided power is not always bad. If the electorate decides to punish the Dems for Kavanaugh in particular, well, then they will.

The world and the American Experiment will continue on nicely in either case.

T.Wolter/Tacitus

Larry Hart said...

Deuxglass:

Deux is an interesting name for me. No one has ever called me that here in France probably because it means soft or kind in french.


I thought it meant "two".

I did figure out the "Douglas" pun, though.


The kavenaugh situation was just the latest manifestation of this problem. They thought that it would be a sure-fire tactic but it never came to their mind that a lot of people, perhaps enough, would see it as a negation of due process and giving the image and perhaps the reality that the Democrat party leadership sees these as being of no importance whatsoever and an impediment to their pursuit to power. That scared a lot of people I know.


It blows my mind that the Republicans break decorum and generally do "whatever it takes" to gain, hold, and use power (and are admired for doing so). But if a Democrat does something that even hints at the appearance of politics above policy, we're accused of being the new rebels. If the Constitution is broken, it's because the Republicans broke it, not us.


Something to ponder:

“So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law?”
“Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil. . . . And when the last law was down and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast . . . and if you cut them down d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

—Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Season[s]


See above. What do you do if the devil has already leveled the forest?

Alfred Differ said...

Tacitus,

Their mixed verb tense usage doesn't strike me as all that unusual for Americans. My mother (London born) hammered the rules of English into me hard enough that I had to adapt when my school teachers disagreed. My cursive writing was in her style and still mostly is fifty years later. As a result, I'm sensitive to some of the oddities.

What I see in the post you point to is someone thinking on their feet. Verb tense mixtures arise when we write on the fly and return to edit without a decent grammar checker. I've done it often enough to smack my forehead flat.

As for the unusual musical instruments, I know quite a few people who know a wide number of them by name. Show up at a large SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event and you'll encounter them. They fall into the amateur expert class our host points to occasionally. They delve into their hobbies in a rather nerdy fashion. I can't play any instruments, but because of a few friends of a previous girlfriend, I DO know what to expect of certain 'Turkish' drums. I know what an oud looks and sounds like, though I've only just now learned how to spell the word. From a neighboring group, I know what to expect of a bodhrán, though I didn't know the name for it until just now. It was just a drum used by the Irish sounding group.

Americans are a varied lot. We really ARE a nation of immigrants, but with the amateur expertise available practically for free today, you should expect more of this. People love their hobbies. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

... regarding Darrell E's views on the Kavanaugh affair, they may not be universal, but they aren't rare either. It WOULD appear there were some misguided, angry souls who accused him, but they would have been handled neatly by the FBI along with what appeared to be more credible claims.

Enough energy HAS been spent on this... for now. We have an election to focus upon tomorrow. We have young kids who should be chased/driven to the polls if need be. We have possible shenanigans for which we should be on the lookout. Kavanaugh can wait for next year I suspect.

Anonymous said...

While I’m heartened by the fact that more people every day recognize the danger this administration poses to our country, I’m stunned and disappointed by the nonchalance of my Republican colleagues. Many of them recognize the very real dangers of Trump’s presidency. I can’t help but wonder when they plan to make their feelings known.
If the party demands “law and order”, why do Republicans not hold the president accountable? Why do they remain silent when he so openly flouts our norms? The disappointing truth is that congressional Republicans are more interested in their help-the-rich agenda than in the future of our democracy.
I've been Republican my whole life, but Trump doesn't work for me at all. I'm done with that.

Travis Kennon

Anonymous said...

In the same vein:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-saved-155-lives-on-the-hudson-now-lets-vote-for-leaders-wholl-protect-us-all/2018/10/29/554fd0e6-d87c-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html?noredirect=on

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Enough energy HAS been spent on this [Kavanaugh]... for now.


Well, he was only brought up in the context of whether the spectacle of the hearings and protests were good or bad for Democrats in the election.


We have an election to focus upon tomorrow. We have young kids who should be chased/driven to the polls if need be. We have possible shenanigans for which we should be on the lookout.


Unfortunately, in the most shenanigan-prone places (say, Georgia), the foxes are in charge of the henhouse. Point out a problem, and they're as likely as not to go, "Yeah, we meant it that way." I'm not too worried about the outcomes in Illinois, or California for that matter. But the elections in North Dakota, Tennessee, and Florida could decide what the rest of my life is like.

Alfred Differ said...

When we see how many women turn out we will know whether the Kavanaugh spectacle was a plus or minus.

Shenanigans takes many forms and much of it occurs down at the local level where its hard to see. School zoning, ballot box placements, etc.

I'm pretty optimistic right now. Lots of people are turning out it seems. At a minimum, that makes this election hard to model. Should make for more 'interesting times.'

Darrell E said...

I don't think I could ever be optimistic no matter the evidence, but I did see something encouraging when I voted this past Saturday. There were many younger people voting and I have never, ever seen that at my polling place before. I live in a town well known as a haven for conservative, elderly wealth while the middle and lower income demographics are largely redneck. Though it has been noticeably changing over the past 10 years or so.

locumranch said...



Oops, he did it again, as he wonders who will feed, house, entertain, educate, protect, think and 'science' for him if not the Almighty State.

This thread is a love letter to Big Government. It stinks to high heaven of one who has come to love his captivity and it is a deal-breaker from a libertarian perspective:

"David Brin, whom some think of as a libertarian science fiction author, and who styles himself as such, but who really isn’t even close to being libertarian, and who seems to spend an inordinate amount of time these days attacking real libertarians like a jilted lover".

He's also wrong about Hayek, competition & transparency, too, according to this well-established libertarian blogger, and you can read all about it at the following link:

http://prometheus-unbound.org/2012/08/21/news-david-brin-wrong-again/

And, just for the record, Sabin's Oral Polio vaccine was vastly superior to Salk's inactive variant.


Best
_____

The modern concept of fair-equal-level is antithetical to merit:

A man labours to provide advantage to himself, his family & tribe -- as defined by identity politics -- and he will NOT work if there is no advantage to be gained.

Remember this as you continue to villainise the deplorable, majority, male, red rural & blue collar demographic.

donzelion said...

Jon S: "Give them a victory, and the Night of the Long Knives won't be far behind."

No. The ugliest and foulest of Republicans are waxing, but the best and kindest are still around, troubled, slowly testing their loyalties and questioning. As they always do.

It took Democrats decades after FDR to start purging the racists - the party splintered and lost members, races, and time. And for minorities in America? All of that resulted in endless choked opportunities and ugly oppressions, most falling on them most heavily.

That's what's at stake: time. Time to fix problems that need fixing, time to plant and nurture and grow, spent chasing phantoms and useless, fruitless efforts - when we need our politicians to be hard at work building up for the next real crises, and fixing the thorny messes of our current ones.

If we lose today, but get up tomorrow and get back to work, then it's just an unfortunate delay. Too many of those mean a life wasted and injustice flaring for the long haul. But all the work we've done this cycle is still barely a start at stopping the rampant harms. That work never ends.

As for Republican moderates: theyll come around in time, so long as they love something good. Even those we constantly bicker with.

raito said...

Residually sane? Not in my neighborhood. Half of them believe that the reason the Republican Party was finally able to assert it's natural right to govern is because the voter ID laws (and restrictions on birth certificates) has finally stopped millions (their words, not mine) of illegal immigrants from voting using dead people's SSN credentials. Said immigrants abetted, naturally, by the liberal deep state. And these are upper middle class, college educated whites.

The lines at my polling place were the longest I've seen. Unfortunately, my vote just balances one of my neighbors.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman speaks an inconvenient truth:


...

The lesson we learn from all these abuses of power is that today’s Republicans are just like their fellow white nationalists in Hungary and Poland, who have maintained a democratic facade but have in reality established one-party authoritarian regimes. Everything we’ve seen says that Republicans will do anything they can to take and hold power, and Tuesday’s elections may be the last chance to stop them from locking in permanent rule.

Oh, and in case you’re tempted to bothsides this: No, both sides don’t do it. Voting restrictions are almost entirely a Republican thing. As always, Democrats aren’t saints, but they appear to believe in democracy, while their opponents don’t.

...

Meanwhile, the reality is that ordinary voters are more easily moved by issues that have a direct impact on their well-being than by more abstract concerns about democracy and rule of law. And until very recently, mainstream news media berated Democrats for running on nothing but opposition to Trump (which was never true, but the media said it anyway), while tending to dismiss talk about Republican abuse of power as hysterical.

But with the crucial moment here, everyone should bear in mind what’s at stake. It’s not just tax cuts or health coverage, and anyone who votes based simply on those issues is missing the bigger story. For the survival of American democracy is on the ballot.

Larry Hart said...

Link to above Krugman op-ed:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/opinion/midterms-trump-republicans-autocracy.html

David Brin said...

donzelion: "And for minorities in America? All of that resulted in endless choked opportunities and ugly oppressions, most falling on them most heavily."

Your inability to recognize the difference between 1950 America and 2008 America, for minorities, is disturbing and regrettable. As is the fact that the road has been longer and more complex than anyone expected.

locum, thank! That insipid railing rant made clear why the Libertarian movement has failed to be anything but a fester of sanctimony without a scintilla of political effectiveness. At eliminating wasteful-oppressive government regulation? ONLY democrats ever canceled whole agencies like the captured CAB and ICC or broke up monopolies like AT&T. By comparison, I should worry about ineffectual little ankle-biters like GA Plauché? Har!

Capsule fundamental. Across 6000 years, the enemy of flat-fair-free-open competition was inheritance-owner-oligarchies, generally feudalism. Period. Abso-freaking lutely 99.99% of the time. Adam Smith recommended using civil servants as counterbalances and it has been effective, as witnessed by the fact that the FDR and post-FDR eras featured flat social structures with the most vigorous and competitive entrepreneurial and middle class economy ever seen, by orders of magnitude.

The Founders seized 1/3 of the colonies' land and redistributed it and banned primogeniture, proving the "tea Party" was against oligarchy, not "government."

Only look at how today's dominant reflexive-masturbatory "government is the only threat to freedom" so-called libertarians have totally abandoned the "c-word" or "competition. Because their masters in the fast-rising oligarchy hate it, as their predecessors crushed fair competition across all of time. Having bought the LP, they coax chants of "property is sacred!" and hatred to the only force in society that even umpired flat-fairness... an accountable government of openly deliberate, market-enhancing laws.

The proof is in facts, fellahs. Market enterprise does better under democrats. Proved relentlessly and as fully as sunrise. Here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html
and
http://evonomics.com/economists-agree-democratic-presidents-better-making-us-rich-eight-reasons/?utm_source=newsletter_campaign=organic

Them is facts, not incantations.

I could go on. But these guys don't want to talk history... or facts... except...

...some do! I keep being invited to speak at libertarian conferences and conventions. Because there is a large minority who know that something has gone very wrong. And that perhaps the movement should start to shrug off the feudal lords who have bought and suborned its soul.

Anonymous said...



A Spartanburg Republican Offers President Grant Advice on How to Suppress Paramilitary Violence

Confidential
Spartanburg, So. Ca.
Oct. 5, 1874...

Mr. President:
When I addressed you on the 4th of February last, I desired that you would give me an appointment to office. I do not now desire any civil appointment from the General Government. The State of South Carolina is now passing through a bloody ordeal, and as a citizen and as a Republican, I cannot think of absenting myself from my post of duty.

During the reign of terror here under the Ku Klux rule, I thought proper to communicate to your Excellency the extent and power of that infamous organization; and I even went so far as to respectfully suggest to you the propriety of sending General Sheridan to South Carolina to crush the hideous monster—Ku Kluxism. You, however, did not think proper to send him. The result has been [an ineffective campaign to suppress the Klan]; a few trials and convictions in the U. S. Courts; and then the pardoning of the criminals. I believed then, as I believe now, that if you had sent Genl. Sheridan here, under your proclamation of martial law, and directed him to try the Chiefs of the Ku Klux Klans by military commission, and if found guilty, to forthwith execute them, the world would not have heard of a third rebellion [in] La. and S. C. It was necessary not only to cut off, but to sear, the hydra head of Secession, Rebellion and Murder...

A third rebellion now raises its hideous front before us in the upper and eastern [sic] counties of S. C. The pardoned Ku Klux, and the murderers, who for a while fled the State, have returned. Now it is a "war of races" they are inaugurating... [T]here are men in all [these] counties...who are engaged solely in preparing for another butchery of the white and colored Republicans: They have organized white leagues, rifle clubs, and a secret police, not only in the towns but also in country places. There is a fixed determination, on the part of these bad men, never to acknowledge the results of the war. You are aware, Mr. President, that the negroes were held in the Southern States, by a tenure of force, and that it required force to make them free. I will here add: it will yet require force to secure their rights to them.

... In the 8 counties composing the 4th [Congressional] Dist.a...there is a clear Republican majority of 2,500 voters. This majority will be easily overcome, unless some proper precaution is adopted, as the Ku Klux is organized to murder, and the Republicans are not... There is no doubt but on the 3d day of Novr-Election day-Georgians and North Carolinians, will be passed over the Air Line R. R. and together with the rifle clubs and white leagues, take possession of the polling places.

aGreenville, Spartanburg, Union, York, Chester, Lancaster, Fairfield and Kershaw counties.

Source: J. C. Winnsmith [Spartanburg] to President U. S. Grant, in Letters Received by the Attorney General, South Carolina; Reel 24.


I should have told Obama this years ago.

Travis Kennon

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | How did you decide that Plauché is 'well established'?

Some of us debate with our host in order to adjust his understanding of Hayek a bit, but a blog post from 2012 from this critic wouldn't show our host's evolution on this. Old blog posts also won't show how libertarians have responded to recent (constructive) criticisms our host has offered either. So... can you find anything more recent that actually touches on current events?

What you've done here smacks of confirmation bias. Since I don't believe you actually know what it means to be libertarian, I'm inclined to think you went Google fishing to hunt for arguments by libertarians who disagree with our host. You should have found some of my material (I would think), but I doubt it would satisfy your bias.

TCB said...

Travis Kennon, that was fascinating!

Locum, go to hell and kindly do not take the rest of us with you, even though that result be your fondest wish.

Larry Hart said...

@TCB,

The thing is, his life is hell already.

Larry Hart said...

From Illinois and with apologies to Howard Cosell:

Down goes Rauner!
Down goes Rauner!

Alfred Differ said...

Wow. I haven't been paying attention to Colorado lately. Democrat trifecta looks likely. Majority Democrat presence in the House.

yana said...


This just in: "It's The Economy, Stupid."

If the gov't has truly failed, it is by allowing economic competition to dwindle via mergers and takeovers and spry startups gobbled whole. Put more power into fewer hands, and of course they're going to use it.

Clumped economic power doesn't even have to be funneled into campaign donations, it can be used to manufacture public perception. If your employees stiff you by voting for a more open and fair economy, punish them by slowing investment in people and durables to a trickle. Even if it means sitting on record profits for several years at 0% interest.

Turn the spigot on, when enough of the workers can be frightened into opposing authentic competition. It's called "maximizing shareholder value" and what happened on Monday? The head of GE personally bought $2.5 million of GE stock and IBM's CEO swept up another $3 million of its shares.

Or if you're clumsy, you can just outright threaten your employees. Summer of 2012, Koch Industries said that if Romney didn't win, they would fire thousands of workers. Ted Nugent promised to leave the USA too. Both lied.

Tony Fisk said...

Just heard the Democrats have won the Wisconsin Governorship by a (likely challenged) nose. I'm sure Tim can be prevailed upon to give a background briefing at some point.

more weight said...

THANK GOD and CONGRATULATIONS, AMERICA!!

Twominds said...

In the morning news here in the Netherlands I saw that the Democrats are likely to get the majority in Congress, but the Republicans not only keep Senate but get more seats there.

What makes that difference? Does that depend on where a Congress or Senate seat race is?

Also, I have the impression, that may be wrong of course, that Democrat politicians are relatively inactive once voted in. If so, I think it will be good if their constituents (is that the word for the voters in their district) will keep them on their toes with calls and letters, so the politicians will work and keep working to Make America Sane Again.

Does this constellation make that possible, or will it at best result in stalemates on many issues?

David Brin said...

From an emailed summary I received. This stuff is important:


STATE LEGISLATURES:
192 STATE LEGISLATIVE SEATS FLIPPED TONIGHT THUS FAR!
COLORADO STATE SENATE FLIPPED.
NEW YORK STATE SENATE FLIPPED.
MAINE STATE SENATE FLIPPED.
MINNESOTA STATE HOUSE FLIPPED.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE SENATE FLIPPED.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE FLIPPED.



FLIPPED GOVERNORSHIPS:
ME-GOV: Mills
MI-GOV: Whitmer
KS-GOV: Laura Kelly projected winner in Kansas governor defeats Kris Kobach
IL-GOV: J.B. Pritzker
WI-GOV: Tony Evers
NM-GOV: Lujan Grisham


ANTI GERRYMANDERING INITIATIVES/CONSIDERATIONS:
Ballot reform initiatives are going to pass with significant margins in Michigan, Colorado, and Missouri. We are currently in the lead on the ballot reform initiative in Utah.
Pennsylvania also shows us what is possible when states that have been gerrymandered now have fair maps: Democrats will gain 3 seats in the Pennsylvania congressional delegation on a fair, court-drawn map following litigation that NDRC was involved in earlier this year.

A million ex felons in FLA now have their votes back.

Twominds, the dems happened to be defending a lot of senate seats that were hard to hold onto in the best of time.

Democrats picked up new trifectas in the following states:
Illinois
New York
Colorado
Maine
New Mexico

The Republican Trifecta in Michigan was broken.

Yes, ther goppers' hold on the senate could lead to horrors... except Mitt Romney won in Utah. And he might... maybe... be the nexus for a mini faction - it would only take five - to dig in their heels vs DT.

Twominds said...

How come Trump treats this as a victory? He's not known for holding a grip on his emotions. If he was irate about the results, it would show.

Is the Senate the only important chamber to him?

Greg Byshenk said...

Twominds said...
In the morning news here in the Netherlands I saw that the Democrats are likely to get the majority in Congress, but the Republicans not only keep Senate but get more seats there.

What makes that difference? Does that depend on where a Congress or Senate seat race is?


Much of it depends on where, but also on when.

The whole of the Congress (House of Representatives) is elected every two years. Senate terms are six years, so only 1/3 (roughly) are up for re-election each two-year cycle. Thus, it was always expected that the Senate would be hard to switch, if only because most of those up for election were strong Republican favourites.

What also makes a difference is that the representation in Congress (House) is (roughly) proportional: seats are distributed (more or less) on the basis of population. The Senate, on the other hand, as two members for each state, regardless of population. Among other things, this means that there are a large number of low-population (but often strongly Republican) states that are overly(?) represented in the Senate.

Also, I have the impression, that may be wrong of course, that Democrat politicians are relatively inactive once voted in. If so, I think it will be good if their constituents (is that the word for the voters in their district) will keep them on their toes with calls and letters, so the politicians will work and keep working to Make America Sane Again.

A lot of this has to do with the way the rules are. If one party has a majority, they can prevent the other from doing much of anything. The majority controls even what may come up for a vote. So even if the minority proposes some law, the majority can prevent it from even being voted on. Thus, given a cohesive majority, the minority is very limited in what it can actually do.

Does this constellation make that possible, or will it at best result in stalemates on many issues?

Stalemate on any real action seems the most likely outcome. A Democratic majority in the house means that the Democrats can at least attempt action, and can also do real investigations.

What seems also likely, unfortunately, is that the President will engage in still further "executive" action. Whether this is legitimate or not, a Republican Senate can ensure that nothing is done to stop it. This is probably the reason that Trump can treat this as a victory.

john fremont said...

@Alfred Differ

What is notable is with Jared Polis' victory is that the issue of his sexual orientation was never brought up by Walker Stapleton's campaign. Consider that in 1992 Colorado passed Amendment 2, a ballot referendum that removed any legal penalties for discrimination against gays. This has been quite a social change in this state that this wasn't an issue that it was almost 30 years ago.

raito said...

Twominds,

Trump treats it as a victory because part of his strategy is to treat everything he can't control as a victory. This keeps him portrayed as a winner regardless of reality.

Twominds said...

Thank you Greg for your detailed reply. The American political system is hard to follow for me.

A remark about executive action from the president. Isn't that a relatively weak instrument for long-term policy? I remember Obama using it quite a lot, but that most of his executive orders were undone by the next presidency within a couple of months.

Not that Trump can't do a lot of damage in the short term!

And what about rumors that Trump would have said he'd try becoming president-for-life? I'm asking here where there are many level-headed persons, I don't want to feed rumor mills by asking elsewhere.

Tim Wolter said...

Tony

Regards Wisconsin results I am of course happy to comment. Others might do likewise.

It was an odd race for Governor. Neither candidate had much energy. Walker, one senses, was tired of his job or perhaps when his Presidential dreams evaporated he looked around and thought, "this is not a reasonable line of work". If he wanted to do other things in life, well, more power to him.

Evers was an odd candidate. He has for a long time been the head of the Department of Public Instruction. Only in WI can teacher's unions be a potent enough political force to dwarf most others. He also seemed low energy. He is a survivor of esophageal cancer, and it has had some lasting effects. (He is disease free but eating is difficult).

I think the feeling generally was that Walker has had two terms and did not seem that keen on a third. Evers could in theory cause mischief and toss us back into the circus that we had a few years back (schools closing as teachers marched on the Capitol), but the current make up of the WI legislature should mitigate that. One of my kids is very pro Evers. I pay heed to people demonstrably smarter than myself.

On other races my centrist D congressman got my vote. He seems unlikely to go too far into Crazytown with impeachment and such. US Senate was not close. As our state has a fairly stark division between Progressive Madison/Milwaukee and Sensible everywhere else it is probably ok that each group has a voice. My better half thought the R candidate for Senate came across as "mean". She, my Frau not Tammy Baldwin, watches more TV than I do. Can't say I saw many commercials.

And so it goes in Cheeseland. The experiment of divided government starts here and on the larger scale. It has things to recommend it and I am OK with these results.

T.Wolter/Tacitus

On a larger scale take note and heed well what happened to "red state" D Senators...it has something to do with their stance on Kavanaugh perhaps?

Larry Hart said...

@Twominds,

I was going to answer your questions about the difference between House and Senate outcomes, but (for once) I looked ahead and saw that Greg Byshenk already did a good job of that.

One clarification, though:

The whole of the Congress (House of Representatives) is elected every two years. Senate terms are six years, so only 1/3 (roughly) are up for re-election each two-year cycle. Thus, it was always expected that the Senate would be hard to switch, if only because most of those up for election were strong Republican favourites.


I may be reading that comment wrong, but it at least sounds as if he's saying that the 1/3 of Senators who were up for election this time were popular Republicans. In fact, the reason this map was always considered a longshot for Democrats was that so many of the seats in play were Democratic incumbents. I think only eight Republicans were up for election, which means that even in the best of all worlds for the Dems, the most they could net-gain was 8 seats. The worst they could do was a net loss of 25. We're dang lucky they only lost a net two seats.

After listening to talk radio on the way into work, I was going to ask the same question that I see others have--how the f*** is the right-wing managing to hail this election as a victory and a vindication for them? I mean, Democrats held the Senate in 2010 too, but that election was rightfully called a "shellacking" for them. This time around, Dems took the House by a huge margin, and won back many significant governor's races as well. Is it really some kind of huge victory that Ted Cruz managed to pull out a squeaker of a win in Texas?

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

On other races my centrist D congressman got my vote. He seems unlikely to go too far into Crazytown with impeachment and such.


That's what's so frustrating to us reasonable liberals--the right has successfully portrayed Democrats as acting ridiculously partisan/crazy ("For crime"? Really?) and Republicans as the sane voice of decorum, when (to me, anyway) the diametric opposite is the case.


My better half thought the R candidate for Senate came across as "mean".


That's been my observation at least since the Trump ascendancy if not long before. "Mean" is a feature, not a bug, with Republicans. Trump's popularity among such diverse groups as poor white men, suburban women (in 2016), and (seriously???) evangelical Christians seems predicated on the fact that he's mean to people they'd prefer to be mean to, and he gives them permission to do the same.


On a larger scale take note and heed well what happened to "red state" D Senators...it has something to do with their stance on Kavanaugh perhaps?


Well, Heidi Heitkamp voted against Kavanaugh and was defeated. Joe Donnelly voted for Kavanaugh and was defeated. Joe Manchin voted for Kavanaugh and was retained. So the correlation isn't exactly there. Their Kavanaugh positions might have been one factor, but it doesn't seem like the decisive one, except possibly in Manchin's case. I think it is more likely that the others would have gone down no matter what, because "Red state Democrat" is as endangered a species as "California Republican".

One interesting thought you bring up--I'm not sure the Kavanaugh hearings would have been that significant an issue in rural states except that Trump made it one by signalling that it was one. It became a tribal symbol. He's good at that--instructing his lemmings as to what they should care about, what they should like, and what they should revile. Ted Cruz was "Lyin' Ted", but now he's a great guy, both times because Trump said so. The unemployment figures were "made up" when they looked good for President Obama, but now they're real because they look good for him. He can't just talk about (say) Neil Gorsuch without prompting his audience about what they should think of "The great Neil Gorsuch". Likewise with "The terrible Iran deal". As in 1984 (or Nazi Germany), Trump's followers can't know whether to cheer or hiss until Trump tells them what to think.

Larry Hart said...

posted late last evening.

This pretty much explains what I already thought--that Trump's and the right-wing media's assertions of victory and validation are simple gaslighting, signifying nothing.

https://electoral-vote.com/

To nobody's surprise, Donald Trump is already claiming victory.

Inasmuch as the Democrats have taken back the House, something that seemed almost inconceivable two years ago, it's hard to say the GOP had a "tremendous success." Meanwhile, the Donald will probably take a victory lap or ten in the morning, but it does not look to be justified. He may have pulled Ron DeSantis, Bill Scott, and Ted Cruz over the finish line. But he might not have, and there aren't too many other places where he could plausibly have been a difference maker. Meanwhile, he's gotten two pokes in the eye tonight, in the form of the Iowa governor's race and the loss of the House. A third poke should soon be coming from Montana, the state that Trump tried the hardest to bend to his will.

Larry Hart said...

That earlier post from www.electoral-vote.com was from their live blogging at 11:37pm EST.
This one is from a little later. Gotta love the snark:

https://electoral-vote.com/

12:15 a.m. EST
At the moment, the Democrats are +25 seats in the House, and +4 governors' mansions, while the Republicans are +3 seats in the Senate. All of these are net figures. The pundits on the various channels are arguing whether that is a wave or not, with the Democrats saying "of course it is," and the Republicans saying "no it isn't." We'll have to get a libertarian to straighten it out, it would seem. Does anyone have Gary Johnson's phone number?

Larry Hart said...

One more, then I'll leave it alone...


1:08 a.m. EST
Needless to say, much of the next few weeks will be spent parsing tonight's data (which is not even complete yet). Still, looking at the data demographically suggests big trouble for Trump in 2020, since suburbanites (especially suburban women) and independents both jumped ship in big numbers, while no new bloc moved into his tent.


That last phrase was a seeming-inevitability. By appealing to the Nazis and deplorables, Trump and his lickspittle Republicans were making themselves unpalatable to every other group. They were calculating that it would be enough. In some cases it was, in others not so much, but it certainly is no surprise (to me, anyway) that "no new bloc moved into his tent."


On the other hand, looking at it from an Electoral College standpoint, it looks like Ohio and Florida are still with him, and Michigan and Pennsylvania have turned against him. If we build an electoral map based on that assumption, that leaves us with 268 EV for the blue team, 260 for the red team. That would, in turn, make 10 EV Wisconsin, which could very well elect a Democratic senator but a Republican governor tonight, the kingmaker.


Paging Tim Wolter. :)

As George Washinton puts it in Hamilton:

History has its eyes on you.

raito said...

I'll throw in my 2 cents about the Wisconsin races, since I'm over here in Dane County (different congressional district than Tim Wolter).

I agree that the Governor's race was a bit odd. My feeling is that Walker just isn't smart or savvy enough to last as a politician. He came in and did what he was bid to do... then what? He was running out of agenda, I think. And the vast red north was just beginning to figure out that they weren't benefiting from any of his actions. So he would have been a political liability anyway. If he'd stayed in, his various failures would start reflecting on the party instead of him personally. It's probably best for the Republicans that he lost.

Yes, historically the teacher's unions were quite powerful and Democratic. Act 10 took care of that (that circus Tom mentions was in response to that). But much less so now that teacher's pay has gone down significantly and many experienced teachers are leaving the field, or at least the state. The proposed theory (which I doubt any of them ever believed) was that reducing bargaining rights would improve the quality of education by allowing districts to hire quality teachers at lower cost. As if that was going to work when funding was reduced, as well as the ability of districts to raise revenue without referenda.

And I'm still waiting for that 250K new jobs.

I doubt that Evers is going to cause too many circuses. The teachers aren't going to march if Act 10 is repealed, though it seems the current thinking is to restore bargaining rights, but keep them paying arts of their pension and health care costs. But I also doubt that Evers is going to be a great governor.

My representative ran unopposed. I don't think any of them are going to particularly go for impeachment.

I do agree that we're pretty well segregated according to party here. Though I wouldn't call the urban areas progressive nor the rural areas sensible. The urbans think they can get legislation that just won't fly (and shouldn't rurally). And the rurals keep voting against themselves.

As for the Senate, it's interesting to note that Baldwin narrowly won in the Fox Valley, which traditionally wouldn't have done so. Usually, it's Milwaukee, Dane County and some parts southwest, the three most northern counties, and Menominee County (nearly entirely a reservation) that vote D.

I don't find Baldwin to be a great Senator. She's a bit on the lower side of adequate. But I know her fairly well, or did 40 years ago when we were in high school together. She pretty much makes her decisions the same way she did then. Growing up in Shorewood Hills gives one some odd ideas. I only agree with her about 75% of the time.

This election went pretty much as I predicted.


Larry Hart,

Wisconsin seems to have little correlation between who it has as a governor and who it prefers for president.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "Your inability to recognize the difference between 1950 America and 2008 America, for minorities, is disturbing and regrettable."
Then you misunderstood what I wrote entirely.

Odd. I wrote that it took time to purge the ugly, and the price of that delay fell most heavily upon very specific groups. I cannot see how you interpreted that as suggesting there is no difference between 1950 and 2008.

Tim Wolter said...

LarryHart

good catch on Donnelly. That one came out of left field and I had not followed the race closely.

I mentioned my perception that my D congressman Ron Kind, would not go way out into....er Left Field?....for a couple of reasons. Perceptions count in a divided state and district. But I do perform due diligence and have a look at complete voting history for candidates I am considering. Whether he/she is a swell person is not a major factor. Although for the record Kind does appear to be.

I'm not sure if you are hinting at the long discussed phantasm of my running for office. There are many disincentives for me to consider this, not least of which is that I would not really want to displace a good congressman like Kind. A few years ago we had a state rep who was an embarrassment....if that were true again today, well, maybe.

Anyway it seems to have been a good night for our Republic.

ratio I can add nothing to your observations which are as usual cogent.

Ah, what the heck, I'm old enough to have very little fear.....since Ms. Baldwin is largely recognized neither for her legislative accomplishments nor her dazzling intellect...do you figure she would be a US Senator if not for the added cachet of being openly gay? (nttiawwt)

T.Wolter/Tacitus

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I'm not sure if you are hinting at the long discussed phantasm of my running for office.


No, that's Dr Brin's thing, not mine.

I was reacting to your apparent consideration that a non-crazy Democrat was a rare bird, when to me, most of them (that actually get elected) are like that. And contrasting that with your also-apparent view that sane Republicans are the norm, whereas I see even the ones who are not deplorable being so much in the bag for those who are that a vote for them is effectively a vote for McConnell and Trump.

I don't think I'll change your mind on any of this, but I do note for the record when our perceptions of reality are so different that it's plausible we're actually observing separate planets, each one believing it is called Earth.

Alfred Differ said...

Minnesota will be the only state with a split legislature AND four House seats flipped with two in each direction.

Odd ducks up there. 8)


No doubt they are responding both to the trade war details and local events.
Anyone here from there?

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Some of us are inclined toward Tim Wolter's viewpoint regarding 'crazy Democrats'. I lean that way when they express their beliefs in certain failed economic theories. When their policy objectives need magical unicorns who don't poop on anything because... they simply don't... well... that's crazy.

Doesn't matter right now, though. We need the House to be a check on the Executive. Crazy is okay as long as they don't get too numerous.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Some of us are inclined toward Tim Wolter's viewpoint regarding 'crazy Democrats'. I lean that way when they express their beliefs in certain failed economic theories.


There are the extremists, sure, but they lack power, even within the Democratic caucus. Their supporters generally vilify the mainstream Democrats for being to realistic and electable (not in those words, of course).

The Bernie Sanders-es of the world serve a useful function in opening up the national conversation to ideas outside the usual center-right range of acceptability, but they're not likely to implement free college or socialized medicine on their own. The best they can do is make it acceptable for the establishment Dems to swing a little more to the left from their Republican-lite positions. That's not a bad thing.

And sorry, but denigrating Democrats for "failed economic theories" while supply-side keeps rising from the grave in Republican policy just makes me laugh, though not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Ray! I forgot to tell them to use volunteers to monitor the transport of the ballot boxes. But it's too late. It seems that the minions of Donald Trump managed to cheat, stealing the congress. Once again, we have not taken all the necessary precautions.

By the way. Speaking of cheating. Did you notice that the caravan of migrants is getting all the support of the Mexican government? Donald trump has got caught in the nuts to the Mexican government, because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). So, make your conclusions of who is behind the trick.

We should never hesitate to be thorough when taking precautions against those who steal our freedom.


Winter7

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

since Ms. Baldwin is largely recognized neither for her legislative accomplishments nor her dazzling intellect...do you figure she would be a US Senator if not for the added cachet of being openly gay?


I think those who sneer at Democrats' celebration of electing minorities sometimes misread what's being celebrated. It's not the spectacle of an openly-gay Senator or a native-American congresswoman or a female president. Think of how such barrier-breaking looks from the POV of members of those minority groups. That they have heretofore been represented--sometimes well, sometimes not--strictly by old white men must make them feel the way the American colonists felt being represented in Parliament solely by British politicians.

Using Tammy Baldwin as one example among many, the appeal is not simply that she's gay, but that because she's gay she might understand the issues that confront gay people that others might not be aware of or sympathetic to. I don't mean to single out "gay" in this context--it's meant to refer to all manufacturers of dairy products. :)

Sorry, long night.

matthew said...

Surprising no one, Trump has asked Jeff Sessions to resign.
The GOP will now try to end Mueller's probe before the new House can be seated.
Our constitutional crisis caused by GOP criminality has now entered a new hot phase.


raito said...

Tim Wolter,

Baldwin isn't an idiot (at least when I knew her). Her being valedictorian of our class meant little, though. We had a pile of smarter people who went on to bigger things while she stayed in relatively easy classes and got her GPA (I can think of a couple who went to MIT and a handful who went Ivy League without any legacy to stand on). She wasn't gay back then, either.

She's a Senator because that's what she's wanted since at least middle school, and worked towards her entire life. That was what at least got her into a position to be able to run.

Certainly her female-ness and gay-ness gets her votes in the urban parts of the state. But what agenda she does have doesn't seem to bash the rurals much, other than the pro-choice stuff, so they don't seem as virulently against her.

It's quite possible that much of the state likes that she and our other Senator, Ron Johnson cancel each other out so much of the time. Perhaps they figure that if our Senators agree on something, they're probably correct.

One thing I didn't say before...

It'll be very interesting to see what Walker goes from here. My money is on a position with one of his donors, paid for by their benefit of his legislation. And given that he wasn't rich (according to my definition) previously, it's not out of the question that was some of his motivation.

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

I don't recall doing any sneering.

I was just asking someone who knew her if she had qualities that would warrant her current office independent of this other, and to me trivial, factor.

I'm not about to tell any minority individual how to think or feel. But if you were to hypothetically of course, elect a real putz on the basis of their role model status alone, some would perhaps not feel good about that.

TW/T

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I don't recall doing any sneering.


Sorry. Sometimes I hear what I expect.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

Surprising no one, Trump has asked Jeff Sessions to resign.


I think Benedict Donald has made it abundantly clear that he is working to obstruct justice. The argument between his supporters and detractors is not over whether this is true, but over whether doing so constitutes a good thing or a bad thing.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/us/politics/sessions-resigns.html

[Benedict Donald says: ]
Mr. Trump blamed Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation in its early stages, leading to the appointment of a special counsel.

“He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?’” Mr. Trump said this year in a Fox News interview. “I wanted to stay uninvolved. But when everybody sees what’s going on in the Justice Department — I always put ‘justice’ now with quotes.”


Heh. I do the same thing for "Justice" Kavanaugh and "Justice" Gorsuch.

Funny how that works.

Also funny, but in a sinister way, is that Trump puts 'justice' in quotes, not because justice isn't being done, but because it is.

Larry Hart said...

@Alfred Differ,

Are we at "illegitimate" yet?

If he actually fires Mueller?

I forget where the goalposts are now.

Darrell E said...

Are we having a constitutional crisis yet?

matthew said...

Slow moving coup.
Kepi time.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I don't know where this idea came from, but when the Republican House was looking for a replacement Speaker for John Bohner, it was suddenly accepted wisdom that the Speaker isn't required to actually be a member of the House of Representatives--that the House could elect anyone they want to the post. That sounds ridiculous to me, but at the time, everyone who reported this "fact" was in agreement that it was so.

So, let's run with it.

Nancy Pelosi is such a boogey-woman that electing her Speaker again would hurt Democrats politically? Then they should elect Robert Mueller as Speaker of the House.

Seriously.

Larry Hart said...

I said:

Then they should elect Robert Mueller as Speaker of the House.


An added advantage that I hadn't thought of five minutes ago is that Mueller would be third in line for the presidency if, say, he were to convict both Trump and Pence of felonies.

David Smelser said...

That would give Mueller a political motivation for the impeachment, there by proving Trump's assertion that it is all politics.

My preferred political fantasy would be for a couple of outgoing republicans senators to switch parties which would turn over the senate leadership to the democrats for a couple of months. Then watch the fireworks.

David Brin said...

DS I on't think there's a timing window when the dems have the House but just 2 senators could flip. The magic number is 4 now, I think. But one of them is Romney, who hates DT

Zepp Jamieson said...

Quoth the maven: "But one of them is Romney, who hates DT"
Murkowski is another possibility to flip. She has no use for Trump or the teabaggers.
We're now in the time of Deep Crisis. Whitaker is the proposed acting A-G, and he's an utter scam artist (do a search on "World Patent Marketing"). The Costas frame this afternoon was the opening salvo in forcing the media away from the WH so they can't clearly see what's going on.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Mueller would be third in line for the presidency if, say, he were to convict both Trump and Pence of felonies."
Yeah, but Mueller is an ethical man, and would have to recuse himself from his own investigation as a personal conflict of interest.
I expect significant news from his office sometime between now and midnight Saturday morning.

Anonymous said...

If the Donald cheat wants to cheat in the trial against Donald Trump, and to achieve that, he could be declared innocent. So, would it be smart for the Democrats to block the trial until it reaches the White House Hillary?
Of course, I do not know if something like that is feasible; but; I think there is always a way.

Winter7

donzelion said...

Of all the bright spots yesterday and dark holes, this one probably eluded most folks but shouldn't be overlooked here -

"On Tuesday, at least eight new science-credentialed candidates were elected: one senator and seven members of the House" (source: businessinsider.com)

-Jacky Rosen (D-NV) (does a computer programmer count as a scientist?)
-Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), industrial engineer
-Joe Cunningham (D-SC), ocean scientist
-Sean Casten (D-IL), biochemical engineer
-Elaine Luria (D-VA), nuclear engineer
-Kim Schrier (D-WA), a pediatrician
-Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), a dentist
-Kevin Hern (R-OK), an aerospace engineer

Progress.

Anonymous said...

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/health/scientists-in-congress-trnd/index.html

Anonymous said...

Hoooo The Democratic Party regained control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday.
In strategy language, I guess that means the Democratic troops; After digging a long trench, they finally managed to bring the artillery closer to the wall of the usurper.
¡At last! ¡The usurper is no longer invulnerable!

Winter7

Jon S. said...

The Constitution just says that the House gets to choose a Speaker. However, Article 1, Section 6 implies that the Speaker, as a member of the House, can't hold an office in another branch of government, so they couldn't appoint Mueller as long as he's a Special Prosecutor (a member of the Executive Branch).

House rules on who is allowed on the floor during a session also rather imply that as Speaker, Mueller would be in the unique position of not being able to enter the House floor with all the elected representatives, which would (I should think) make the whole "Speaker" thing kind of problematic.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Nah. Computer programmers aren't usually scientists. They probably HAVE had more mathematics than 99% of Americans, though, so that's still a plus. It's when they self-identify as computer scientists that I'm inclined to lump them in. That degree usually means a lot more mathematics and engineering.

I'll take it, though. Hopefully they get good in front of the national cameras.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | I kinda went past 'illegitimate' a while ago. I'm pissed off... so pissed off I'd prefer Pence even with our host warning otherwise.

We have a fascist in the WH. Not a smart one either. More along the lines of "It's not a crime if I commit it." What a dangerous dumbshit.

I'm looking forward to the political blood that will flow in the streets in the coming months.

Let slip the subpoenas of war.

yana said...


Nobody in any media is talking about it. But for national politics, it is the most important development on Tuesday. New York went dem supermajority. The state's Assembly had long been blue, the executive and judicial too. Senate had more dems, but for a long time, 5 dem state Sens caucused with the reps. The governors had a hands-off agreement regarding those 5 senators for a long time. No longer.

The state's last Attorney General started some investigations into the orange guy's Family Organization, but then the AG was ousted for roughing up his girlfriends. Whatta coincidence! Inquiries went on hold under the interim AG. But now on Tuesday:

* NY gov got a fresh term and he wants to be Potus

* New AG got a 70% electoral mandate, and she's squeaky clean

* Dems gained control of both lej houses

In 2019, real fireworks coming. Real estate development in NYC is incredibly filthy. AND, Fed exec has no power in state cases.

A dem national House O' Reps will subpoena orange guy's tax records. They will leak, somebody may even go to jail for that. But when the cat's out of the bag, the myth will be busted real hard, and not even Yertle McConnell will be able to hem nor haw.

Today, heard some fools saying that the fed AG situation might end up as a constitutional crisis. Haha, that's tiddly winks.

Imagine the consty crisis when a squatting Pres can not return to his home state because of an outstanding bench warrant. Imagine indictments for all three kids and Jared too, a raft of convictions in absentia. Imagine Orange Guy Tower placed under lien for contempt of court, then eventually seized in lieu of unpaid fines.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I kinda went past 'illegitimate' a while ago.


I've been waiting for you to catch up. :)


I'm pissed off... so pissed off I'd prefer Pence even with our host warning otherwise.


I agree, and have said so all along. I accept Dr Brin's observation that Pence's intentions may be worse than Trump's, but he doesn't have the army of brownshirts or the Mule powers to intimidate the entire Republican Party and threaten the free press the way Trump does.

To quote (from memory) from Sundiver, Captain Alvarez's realization that Bubbacub was not the cute Teddy Bear everyone perceived him as, This sophont is dangerous..

Of course, "sophont" might be giving Benedict Donald too much credit.

Larry Hart said...

David Smelser:

"An added advantage that I hadn't thought of five minutes ago is that Mueller would be third in line for the presidency if, say, he were to convict both Trump and Pence of felonies."

That would give Mueller a political motivation for the impeachment, there by proving Trump's assertion that it is all politics.


So? He's going to claim that anyway. I say we run with it.


My preferred political fantasy would be for a couple of outgoing republicans senators to switch parties which would turn over the senate leadership to the democrats for a couple of months. Then watch the fireworks.


Heh. Yeah, you're in "Mike Doonesbury's Summer Daydream" territory there, but I like the way you think.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Nobody in any media is talking about it. But for national politics, it is the most important development on Tuesday. New York went dem supermajority.


Probably less noticeable on a national scale, but so did Illinois. We dumped our Republican governor (our billionaire beat their billionaire), elected a Dem Attorney General, and from what I've heard, Dems now have supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Not to mention that in Congress, we dumped both Peter Roskam and Ray Hultgren, two Trumpian Republicans who were at least smart enough not to campaign as such. Trump thinks they lost because they didn't embrace him, but they would have lost worse if they had. Even our state's Republican voters are not big Trump fans. We'll definitely be on the blue kepi side of any war, but we're going to be an island out here in the midwest, unless Wisconsin regains its sanity and connects us to Minnesota.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

We have a fascist in the WH. Not a smart one either. More along the lines of "It's not a crime if I commit it." What a dangerous dumbshit.


Did you hear his comments about how Republican candidates lost their elections because they didn't want "the embrace" from him? He actually thinks he's the friggin' Godfather. But Vito Corleone's power came from the fact that his friends knew he in turn was a friend to them. That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing from Trump.

jim said...

The most depressing thing about the elections this week is the loss of the carbon tax in Washington State. If this can’t pass now in Washington State we are very unlikely to take any effective preventive climate change actions. Just think about it for a minute: The economy is great and unemployment is very low in Washington State ( so they have the money), Washington State does not have fossil fuel extraction as a major part of the state economy, it is one of the most liberal states in the union, the effects of climate change are showing up with heat waves and massive forest fires in the pacific north west, you have climate scientist practically screaming “we don’t have much time left to act!” and we have an environmental villain in the white house.

I think it is time for the environmental community to recognize that we are failing miserably at preventing / stopping the ongoing ecological / climate crisis and that we need to develop new tactics and strategies for more effectively dealing with the massive problems industrial civilization is causing.

Larry Hart said...

Nancy Pelosi is entriely correct here. Go after Trump's tax returns ASAP, but impeachment is only a possibility if things get so bad that Republicans are on board (it can't succeed in the Senate without them). I'd go one better and wait for Republicans to beg the House majority to impeach. Otherwise, leave them with him stuck around their necks.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Nov08.html#item-7

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for her part, has already made clear what her plan of attack is. She is going after the tax returns as soon as the calendar turns to January 3, regardless of Trump's and McConnell's threats. On the other hand, impeachment is currently off the table, unless the GOP signs up as well. This position will irritate some of the base, and some of the more lefty members of the Democratic caucus (not to mention outspoken billionaire donor Tom Steyer). It could even cost Pelosi the speakership, but it's not likely. In the end, the Bill Clinton experience makes very clear that, in the absence of overwhelming proof of guilt, impeachment will likely backfire on the blue team. And the proof would probably need to be ever more damning that it was for Dick Nixon, since Nixon did not have a propaganda operation on cable TV to spin for him 24 hours a day.

Ioan said...

jim,

I wouldn't read too much into the carbon tax. The tactics remain the same: get electric car supply to meet demand. For Washington State specifically, also replace the natural gas plants with renewable energy and buy electric buses from China. China currently has 18% of their public buses electric.

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

raito said...

Alfred Differ,

At out local university, you need 6 credits of math for a computer science degree. Usually one semester of calculus and one of statistics. I wouldn't classify it as a science degree, though. The focus was quite different than the engineering degree. You could become a scientist with it, but many/most don't.

I do see recent graduates fairly often where I am. But I also work with a bunch of hard-core, actual computer scientists (NOT programmers).

I also know a lot of scientists working as programmers. Most of the physicists and chemists, for example. And a bunch of engineers. Our UI programmer/designer guy has an engineering degree from Cornell.

In my experience, it's fair to say that what job you have isn't always the same as what formal training you have.

Larry Hart said...

raito:

I also know a lot of scientists working as programmers.


Which caused me to look back at Alfred Differ's comment:

Nah. Computer programmers aren't usually scientists.


Wow, I either need my eyes or my brain checked. I coulda sworn he had said "Computer programs aren't usually scientists" as if arguing with someone who claimed that self-motivated AIs were functioning as scientists.

My way was funnier, though. :)

Jerry Emanuelson said...

The most frightening thing that I have seen in recent days is the number of people who want to remove the current U.S. president, and replace him with Nehemiah Scudder encased in an exterior that has the illusion of being calm and dignified.

I disagree with David Brin's warnings about Mike Pence only in the sense that those warnings are not nearly strong enough.

How do you think adversaries with nuclear weapons will react when someone is in control of U.S. nuclear weapons who puts the Book of Revelations above the U.S. Constitution?

Think about what happened on January 25, 1995 when the Russian nuclear briefcase was opened before Boris Yeltsin, with his generals urging him to authorize a thermonuclear attack on the United States. Most people reading this came within ten minutes of dying a horrible death on that day.

Yeltsin's response on that day would likely have been quite different if there was a U.S. president at the time who strongly wanted to hasten the return of his mythical "lord and saviour."

For two decades, the city where I live was largely controlled by Pence types. I was personally able to completely avoid them during all of those years. I knew that they were causing considerable damage around me, but I didn't realize (at the time) how great, and how widespread, the damage was. Much of the damage was psychological damage being inflicted upon school kids. Some of those who were stuck in schools at the time later told me of the considerable psychological damage inflicted by the theocrats.

Do you really want Nehemiah Scudder as U.S. president, with many of the American states becoming mini-theocracies with the ability to strongly influence and damage the minds and psychological resilience of school kids?

There are a few Constitutional safeguards against the actions of an obviously mentally-unstable president. There are no such safeguards against a legally installed theocrat, especially one cloaked in a calm and dignified exterior appearance.

Larry Hart said...

@Jerry Emanuelson,

Point taken. I guess, first of all, it's not that I want to replace Trump with Pence so much as that I want Trump gone.

But also, I suppose I don't think of Pence's religious inclinations as different from any other Republican and most Democrats in positions of power. I remember in 1980 when Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter, and John B. Anderson also ran as a third-party candidate. All three of them made sure to point out that they were Born-Again Christians. On paper, we don't have a religious test for office, but in practice, it seems you not only have to be Christian, but a Christian Soldier.

TCB said...

Yana, upthread, hath said:

"Imagine the consty crisis when a squatting Pres can not return to his home state because of an outstanding bench warrant."

Stop! I can only get so erect.

TCB said...

@ LarryHart:

>raito:

>I also know a lot of scientists working as programmers.

>Which caused me to look back at Alfred Differ's comment:

>Nah. Computer programmers aren't usually scientists.

This is Logic 101 territory. Both statements can be true. A lot of scientists can work as programmers, yet still be a small minority in that (presumably larger) group. Just sayin.

TCB said...

BTW I am going to the Rapid Response protest of here in Asheville, NC at 5pm. There's bound to be one in a city near you. Tho it says Mueller firing, Sessions getting fired counts too.

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

David Brin said...

TCB good practice. Still, just practice for Mueller.

Alfred Differ said...

I'd love to meet a computer program working as a scientist. I'd love to meet one working as anything. Period. 8)

I thought I'd offer up a relatively harmless opinion we could quibble over. Political escape valve style.

Reality is complicated, of course. I'm trained as a physicist, my job title says I'm a database engineer, my customers think I'm a programmer, my boss thinks fix things involving people, processes, and (yes) occasionally write applications to do it. Finally, I think of myself as a software engineer who has been drifting toward management because most of the things that go wrong require people skills to fix them. The science is still fun, though, and I do it occasionally.

My experience, though, is most computer programmers are not scientists. They USE science like medical doctors do (supposedly). There is a big difference between using it and doing it as far as the label goes, but not so big that I care much. People using science in Congress would be a wonderful thing.

Tony Fisk said...

David Brin said: "DS I on't think there's a timing window when the dems have the House but just 2 senators could flip. The magic number is 4 now, I think. But one of them is Romney, who hates DT "

It *might* end up at 3, given the latest results from Az.

Alfred said: "My experience, though, is most computer programmers are not scientists.".
Speaking as another physicist turned computer programmer, my own observations are that engineers aren't scientists, either.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as another physicist turned computer programmer, my own observations are that engineers aren't scientists, either.

Speaking as an engineer, I agree.

Alfred Differ said...

Agreed. Engineers generally use science.

One thing that many people get backward, though, is that many engineers are out in front of science. We follow along much of the time trying to explain what they found. Not always, of course, but almost always with the theory types. Scientists doing real experiments are near that border and are that confusing mix of scientist and engineer. [My hat is off to them.]

Tony Fisk said...

Certainly don't mean to infer that engineers are unintelligent. They do have a more direct approach to problems in my experience.
(Me: here's a formula. Engineers: here's a table of data.)

In other news, the Az. Dem lead is growing.

Duncan Cairncross said...

that engineers aren't scientists, either.

As an engineer I disagree

We do lots of "experimental science" - the difference is that we don't write up the results instead we ship them to the customers

Alfred Differ said...

I wouldn't suggest there is less value to what engineers do. Far from it. I think there is MORE value because they are often on the front line of discovering what the universe allows. Tony's 'table of data' is Creation speaking. My theory for an unheard of classical force is me speaking. I have a good sized ego, but even I can recognize that difference. 8)

My pickiness about 'scientist' is that I demand the use of one of the family of scientific methods and that they work with falsifiable beliefs. Those constraints are often not possible outside science and not even all that valuable. For science, though, I tend to stick to Popper's definition of what we are and what we do.

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding the new 'AG', I'm loving the irony as some point out that his appointment is illegal. It would appear this hinges at least partially on a law that came about because a GOP Congress wanted to reign in Bill Clinton. Most of it hinges on the early part of a law meant to deal with Nixon having two different AG's convicted, but I love the Clinton connection.

@Larry | If they are right, you would safely be able to use 'illegitimate' with respect to Whittaker.

Anonymous said...

I think that the definition of a scientist does not require a university degree. Frequently, people acquire the necessary knowledge by themselves. For example:

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, botanist, inventor, artist.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632 – 1723), first microbiologist, the "Father of Microbiology."

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790), physicist, inventor, "America's First Scientist."

William Herschel (1738 – 1822), astronomer, discoverer of the planet Uranus.

Caroline Herschel (1750 – 1848), astronomer, younger sister of William Herschel above, named by the Royal Society one of "the ten women in British history who have had the most influence on science."

Mary Somerville (1780 – 1872), mathematician, astronomer, science writer, named by the Royal Society one of "the ten women in British history who have had the most influence on science," also called the "Queen of nineteenth century science."

Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867), physicist, chemist, electromagnetism pioneer, coined 'electrode', 'cathode' and 'ion.'

Mary Anning (1799 – 1847), palaeontologist, fossilist, named by the Royal Society one of "the ten women in British history who have had the most influence on science." The nursury rhyme and tongue twister "She Sells Sea Shells (by the Sea Shore)" was based on her.

Charles Goodyear (1800 – 1860), chemist, discoverer of the process of vulcanizing rubber.

William Darwin Fox (1805 – 1880), naturalist, entomologist (insect researcher).

Charles Darwin . . . (1809 – 1882), naturalist, evolutionary theorist, geologist.

William Fox (1813 – 1881), palaeontologist (no relation to the William Darwin Fox above).

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862), naturalist. Also a famous author.

Thomas Henry Huxley (T.H. Huxley) (1825 – 1895), biologist, anatomist, coined the term "agnostic."

James Prescott Joule (1818 – 1889), physicist, co-discoverer of the law of conservation of energy.

Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884), botanist, naturalist, first geneticist, the "Father of Modern Genetics."

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931), inventor, holder of electrical, mechanical, and chemical patents, the "Greatest Inventor of All Time." Can Edison also be considered a research and development scientist (R&D scientist)? In support, both his New Jersey and Florida workplaces are referred to as "laboratories" and in 2014, the American Chemical Society, of which Edison was a member, designated his laboratories in New Jersey and Florida "National Historic Chemical Landmarks" because of his research and use of existing and new chemicals in his inventions and his efforts to find a new plant source for rubber. (Note from JAC: I took a tour of his Florida laboratory and winter estate in the 1980s, which is a tourist attraction. See edisonfordwinterestates.org.)

Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin (I.V. Michurin) (1855 – 1935), horticulturalist, botanical geneticist.

Reginald Hooley (1865 – 1923), paleontologist, fossilist.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 – 1921), astronomer.

Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977), entomologist (insect researcher), lepidopterist (butterfly researcher), butterfly evolutionary theorist, curator of lepidoptera at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Also a famous novelist.

Living Famous Scientists Who Have No Science Degree

Robert Evans (1937 – ), Australian-born astronomer.

Richard Leakey (1944 – ), Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist, human evolutionary theorist.

Stephen Felton (c.1934 – ), American-born paleontologist, fossilist.

Anonymous said...

Ho. y también:

Jane Goodall . . . (1934 – ), British-born primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist. She initially went to Africa to study chimpanzees without a degree in science or any college degree (source: "Being Jane Goodall," National Geographic, October 2010. Quote: "In 1960 a spirited animal lover with no scientific training set up camp in Tanganyika’s Gombe Stream Game Reserve to observe chimpanzees. Today Jane Goodall’s name is synonymous with the protection of a beloved species."). In a 2010 American TV interview, the interviewer reiterated her initial lack of formal scientific training and Goodall additionally commented: "I was not taken seriously by many of the scientists. I was known as a Geographic cover girl" (source: 60 Minutes, U.S., 2010). Due to her breakthrough discoveries, and still without a college degree, she returned to Great Britain and was accepted into an advanced PhD program at Newnham College in England and received a degree in ethology in 1965 and then continued her research.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Donald has threatened the Democrats who won in the elections. The usurper threatens them with reprisals if they try to accuse him.

¿Is it really not convenient to depose Donald? That is to say; Maybe the theocrats do not decide to make the world burn, because the families of the theocrats also live in this world. And, to tell the truth, in my personal experience, I have noticed that the feudal leeches love themselves very much; too much to risk the skin, even a little.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Wow So very soon, the publishers bought the AI to write novels, instead of hiring human authors ... Interesting…

Links:

https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-the-best-novels-will-be-written-by-ai-in-the-future-bjorn-schuller-2018-3

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/technology/ai-is-beginning-to-assist-novelists.html

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Houch. The translation is wrong. I meant:
Wowwwww.. So very soon, publishers will buy AI to write novels, instead of hiring human authors ... Interesting.
Winter7

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred
I'm retired now but as an engineer I would use data

And formulate a "Hypothesis"

Which could be as simple as "replacing those air wrenches with electric ones will give a lower spread of bolt torques"

We "do the experiment" - and the spread of torques is reduced

Next problem!

And it is falsifiable! - I have moved one way in my "improvement" and it has got worse! - time for an "oops" and back to the drawing board

I still do this at home - work out what is needed - do it - Then it's either - Worked! - or Oops

I melted the motor in my car at our Drag races - my "hypothesis" is that the problem was handling damage to one of the armature wires - and I will test this at the next drag race!

David Brin said...

BTW do you know who I miss, and hope to see again now that things are (???) getting politically calmer? Ilithi Dragon.

Tony Fisk said...

The engineers concerned were nobody's fool. The table example arose from how to calculate the level of fluid in different shaped containers, so as to calculate how far down to lower an aspiration pipette. I suggested volume formula, the engineers suggested tables derived from MathCAD designs for said containers (presumably using same formula). There were advantages/problems with both approaches. I was the programmer.

David Brin said...

Re engineers. I was one. Father of one. At risk that our resident confeds might leak it around, there is one "fact profession" that's not been decisively and demonstrably driven into definitive hatred of the New Plantation Lords, and that's engineering, where you'll find so many crewcut types that the shift has way-inertia. Maybe a third or more might still be "red."

The previous holdouts, the military officer corps, intel guys, and FBI etc have been pummeled by "deep state" spews so hard, they've already bolted.

I used to say "knowledge castes" and that allowed two more exceptions... Wall Streeters and doctors of divinity. Hence my re-parsing the challenge to fact-centered professions,

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan | I'd say you are close, but doing something that is actually more useful.

Working out a better fracture theory, though? THAT counts.
Finding the limits of the older one? That counts too.

The border gets pretty fuzzy near where your story is found, so I don't pretend to have a sharp demarkation. The primary flaw with Popper's description is the multiplicity of scientific methods. Each science community does things a little different. Ultimately, a method is an agreement among the practitioners that converts possibly subjective data into objective facts. Follow the agreement and they support you. Don't follow it and who knows what will happen. They might reject. They might ignore. On rare occasions, they might accept.

Most fields of study are not sciences and that's a good thing. We don't need that agreement often and it might even be harmful to try to produce it. Sometimes it isn't clear there IS much of a distinction between subjective and objective data, so why bother? I point to medicine for that story as the goal is to improve health outcomes... not necessarily to be correct in how those improvements occurred. It might be hard to search for correct understanding and be ethical at the same time.

Alfred Differ said...

Our submariner has understandably gone deep during the election. 8)

yana said...


TCB thought: "Yana, upthread, hath said:

'Imagine the consty crisis when a squatting Pres can not return to his home state because of an outstanding bench warrant.'

Stop! I can only get so erect."

There are pills for that now. Kidding aside, i read through that post before putting it up here, and dialed it back before hitting "send".

In truth, there are a lot of ambitious people in NY who now hold a ton more power. Even Long Island flipped 4 state senator districts. Likely means pulling out of the absurd parts of the drug war, might mean felon re-enfranchisement. Likely means early voting and referendum lawmaking, could even mean statewide single-payer health care, first in the nation.

But the most immediate effect will be state courts, free from federal meddling, now have the power to put a bunch of filthy laundry into evidence, which is effectively in the public domain.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Regarding the new 'AG', I'm loving the irony as some point out that his appointment is illegal. It would appear this hinges at least partially on a law that came about because a GOP Congress wanted to reign in Bill Clinton. Most of it hinges on the early part of a law meant to deal with Nixon having two different AG's convicted, but I love the Clinton connection.


And I believe Clarence Thomas argued the upholding of that decision. When I heard that, I knew that his ruling must have been against either Clinton or Obama, but I don't think even the John Roberts court will do what Mitch McConnell would and explicitly rule that the constraint only applies when the president is a Democrat.

I'm also wryly amused by the fact that Whittaker has apparently opined against the supreme court, asserting that they've made horrible decisions including Marbury vs Madison. I'm imagining Kavanaugh being the deciding vote that Whittaker gets to keep his job, with Whittaker already being on record that it doesn't matter what Kavanaugh rules.


@Larry | If they are right, you would safely be able to use 'illegitimate' with respect to Whittaker.


That goes without saying. :)

I take it further, though. Trump demonstrates his lack of qualification for the office he's sitting in by making illegal appointments, and Congress will (no doubt) demonstrate theirs by not pursuing the matter.

I've come to understand the difference between you and me on the issue of Trump's illegitimacy. You're waiting for him to cross some line at which point he will become illegitimate (and my personal frustration has been that that line seems to keep moving forward). OTOH, my contention is that he's already way over that line, and I'm just waiting for the rest of the public to be forced to recognize that fact. To you, illegitimacy is (or "was", after what you said yesterday) a future possibility. To me, it's a truth, and the future possibility is that it will become accepted fact.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter, several days back:

On a larger scale take note and heed well what happened to "red state" D Senators...it has something to do with their stance on Kavanaugh perhaps?


I noticed another counterexample--John Tester of Montana voted "Nay", and he also kept his seat.

I'm not saying the controversy didn't hurt red-state Dems at all, but I don't think it was the deciding factor. Let's say that voting for Kavanaugh might have been almost a necessary condition for a red-state Dem to keep his/her job (see Joe Manchin), but I don't think it was a sufficient condition (see Joe Donnelly). Their vote against Kavanaugh was held against them, but so would have been their votes against the wall or against the tax scam, or just the fact that they're critical of Trump at all. And if a Dem has to be all Lindsay Graham-like on board the Trump Train in order to get elected, then really, what's the point? We might as well concede that a Republican can do that just as well.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman opines that the growing urban/rural divide makes the legitimacy of the Senate into a time-bomb of a Consititutional crisis. The presidency and the Senate are both held by a party whose election depended on a majority of states in defiance of a majority of citizens. And with that power, they get to stack the courts in their favor as well. This can hardly end well.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/opinion/midterms-senate-rural-urban.html

...

So what happened Tuesday, with Republicans getting shellacked in the House but gaining in the Senate, wasn’t just an accident of this year’s map or specific campaign issues. It reflected a deep division in culture, indeed values, between the American citizenry at large and the people who get to choose much of the Senate.

This divergence will have profound implications, because the Senate has a lot of power, especially when the president — who, let us not forget, lost the popular vote — leads the party that controls it. In particular, Trump and his Senate friends will spend the next couple of years stuffing the courts with right-wing loyalists.

We may, then, be looking at a growing crisis of legitimacy for the U.S. political system — even if we get through the constitutional crisis that seems to be looming over the next few months.

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) has...well, not exactly a new post so much as an update to his oft-regurgitated post about mass shootings. Hard to argue with the guy.


http://www.stonekettle.com/

I stopped updating this for every mass shooting.

Because I was updating it every day.

So now I update it only when the mass killing breaks some kind of record or is otherwise notable. Last time that happened was October 3, 2017. We’ve had dozens of mass shootings between then and now, and thousands of other incidents of gun violence.

Congratulations on the slaughter, America. Heck of a job.

...

Anyway, before we get started, I just wanted to say: Way to go America. We can’t build spaceships any more; the high frontier belongs to Russia and China. We lack the will to save our children from rising seas and a warming earth. We spend literally trillions on aircraft carriers and invisible fighter jets and our nuclear arsenal, but we somehow can’t spare a dime to ensure every American has access to healthcare, or food, or clean water, or a warm place to sleep. But goddamn, man, we’ve got the world beat in bloody murder.

Bang bang bang. This – this right here – is the future the NRA wanted.

Larry Hart said...

The Q&A over at today's www.electoral-vote.com contains a question which points out something I mentioned a few days back--the complete, non-controversial acceptance of the premise that the Speaker of the House does not himself have to be a House member. Am I a minority of one for thinking this idea is ludicrous, and not just because if it were possible, it would have happened some time in the past 240 years? The clause in the Constitution on which this argument is predicated--that the House is "free to chuse" its Speaker without explicitly specifying "from among its members"--also fails to specify that the Speaker be a living person, or even that the Speaker be a human being at all. The argument that they are free to make Rush Limbaugh or Barack Obama Speaker would also allow them to name George Washington, Donald Duck, or my cat to the post.

Why the f*** won't this zombie ever die?

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Nov09.html#item-8

[Q:]
The newly minted Democratic Representatives in red states that have pledged to not vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker in January have made me a bit curious as to who the alternative might be. Given the fact that the Speaker isn't required to be a sitting member of the House, could former President Obama be nominated as Speaker on the basis that he would be a unifying force for Democrats at a time that their unity and leadership structure appears somewhat fragmented? What would the pros and cons be of such an appointment and would it put the Representatives who want an alternative right back where they started with their constituents? What about presidential succession? Is this remotely plausible as an actual sequence of events when it comes time to vote? C.D., Northville, MI


[A:]
In terms of the legality of such a maneuver, there are three relevant statutes. The first is the second article of the Constitution, which empowers Congress to establish a line of succession. The second is the 22nd Amendment, and the relevant part of that amendment reads thusly:

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
You will observe that it says a president cannot be elected to more than two terms; not that they cannot serve more than two terms. So, Obama is in the clear thus far.

The third relevant statute is the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, passed under the authority granted by Article II. That particular law has been criticized six ways to Sunday for various questions it leaves unanswered, and for others that it answers in imprecise fashion. The key passage, in terms of your question, is the one that says only "officers as are eligible to the office of President under the Constitution" can be elevated to the presidency. If that line read "eligible to be elected to the office of President," then Obama would be out of luck. But that particular wording, which does not include the word "elected," implies that a person need only meet the three basic tests of eligibility (natural born citizen, 14 years' residency, 35 years of age) laid out by the Constitution, and that the 22nd amendment does not apply. This would probably go to the Supreme Court if the hypothetical situation you describe came to pass, and Obama would probably win. But it's not a slam dunk.

David Brin said...

I dunno. Ilithi sounded a bit testy last time he showed up, and not really himself, it seemed.

Larry Hart said...

We really do suck.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/opinion/shooting-thousand-oaks-borderline-trump.html

This is what it’s come to — there are now Americans who have lived through two gun massacres. Many of the people who were able to flee a California bar where a man shot dozens of people late Wednesday night had also survived an attack last year in which a gunman in a Las Vegas hotel fired down on a music festival, killing 58 people. But at least one of the Las Vegas survivors was among the dead at the bar.

Anonymous said...

It seems that Ilithi has a warp impulse ship design. But I do not know how detailed the system is. I did not have access to the scientific publication he made.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

The Russians have had a strange series of dangerous incidents coincidentally before the next regular use of American private rockets.
I would prefer that NASA astronaut Anne McClain stay on land. I have a bad feeling.
And speaking of space. NASA converted the data of a sunrise on the planet Mars into musical notes. The tune is not long and is curious. Something in the style of science fiction:
Link:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-scientists-capture-sunrise-mars.html

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

Young man gets testy before the election. News at 11. 8)

He wasn't anywhere close to some of the FB people who respond to you, so that's a plus. Hopefully he's just doing what he's supposed to be doing by remaining apolitical while still on active duty. My father used to clam up too.

Larry Hart said...

Oh, BTW, it's not appropriate to wish a "Happy..." or anything, but this is the 80th anniversary of Krystalnacht. Which synchronistically is also 9/11 -- in European date format, that is.

matthew said...

The whole Jim Acosta affair is interesting since the rest of the world may be catching up with Dr. Brin's "End of Photography as evidence" riff from The Transparent Society. Well, and also because it matters that the President is trying to pick his reporters just like he picks his judges.

Here is a nice recap from a film editor:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/white-house-jim-acosta-video-manipulated-doctored-analysis.html

Enter just enough doubt about the truth so that the partisans will all see what they want to see.

Oh, I could quote 1984 here but it just seems quaint compared to what our executive branch and resident nationalistic party are up to.

Russell Osterlund said...

yana's fantasy scenario in NY is, I think, the best possible outcome to our current nightmare. Unobama's real estate empire is smashed, his progeny denied any future advantage, and he spends the remainder of the term in the "shabby" White House as a convicted criminal. We avoid the trauma of impeachment, avoid the horror's of Pence, and can enjoy the spectacle of state's rights conservatives stuttering how New York has no authority over the federal government. One can only hope!

Larry Hart said...

@matthew,

There's no doubt to give Trump and company the benefit of any more. They deliberately lie with malice aforethought and without shame. They don't speak what is true, or even what they believe is true, but what will most inflame their base.

If Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced it was raining outside, I'd leave my umbrella at home.

Larry Hart said...

Russell Osterlund:

and can enjoy the spectacle of state's rights conservatives stuttering how New York has no authority over the federal government.


It would be funny if the New York Times were to reprise the defunct Daily News's Ford-era headline to read:

CITY TO TRUMP: DROP DEAD



some backstory:
http://jdhollowayiii.blogspot.com/2017/02/donald-trump-is-not-new-yorker.html

TheMadLibrarian said...

Duncan, your comment about 'shipping the results to the customer for beta testing' made me guffaw, out loud, in the library, and got me some puzzled looks.

My father was an engineer who left Germany after WWII in his teens or early 20s (I'm fuzzy on details, as he never discussed it and I never pried). He was a staunch Republican and pulled Mom along with him, but I wonder what he'd make of the current repudiation of every value the Republican party started with when he became eligible to vote here. He passed on before seeing any of the recent political circus. For that matter, I hesitate to talk politics with Mom; I'm sure she's embarrassed by the Republican shenanigans but can't quite let go of her long time affiliation. Someone over on BoingBoing suggested framing the conversation in terms of the damage done to the brands of evangelicals/Republicans/conservative thinkers by tacitly approving what Trump and his merry band are doing. Maybe that tack will work.

David Brin said...

Am I the only one who noticed that the Russians just lost a very expensive floating drydock, which damaged their only aircraft carrier as it sank, because of a software glitch. And no one in media seems to be drawing conclusions. Nor am I, publicly. But down here?

Frankly, there were moments in DT's press conference when I felt the reporters' behavior was not pure as driven snow.

A factor that's worrisome. The campaign rallies were DT's only food. What's he do when he can only justify one or two a month?

Anonymous said...

With the Russian economy in tatters (as often happens in a dictatorship) the Russian docks are full of rusty and radioactive ships. The floating docks are certainly no exception, and simply, large sections of the rusted bulkheads gave way when they had to withstand such a large load.
I remember that in my house we let a meat grill be flooded with rainwater for several days on several occasions. When I finally had time to clean it, when loading it, the bottom fell completely.
Remember that the grill had fresh water. Salt water corrodes metal more strongly. Because of that, I'm not surprised that the dry dock has sunk. Undoubtedly, the bulkhead at the bottom was totally rusted.
I remember that Alfred warned me that trying to straddle a U2 submarine would cause the submarine to crumble to pieces. What happened to the dam, confirms his theory that seawater totally destroys iron after many years. If the U2 collapses, the torpedoes would fall with the wishbone directly against the bottom of the sea, just below the rescue boat. Something very dangerous
For some time, I noticed that most of the Russian fleet is in a state of neglect. They did not even paint above the waterline.
Link:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/aug/20/kursk.russia1

Winter7

Anonymous said...

The description of how to hold and lift a submarine using strong nylon bands was translated by the automatic translator as: "Riding on the submarine"
I see that the AI of the Google translator and I should take more vitamin B for neurogenesis.

Winter7

Tony Fisk said...

The dry dock sank last week. Maybe the resident will lend Putin an aircraft carrier? (Inconceivable? Well, I recently found a still from The Princess Bride bearing the caption "Incovfefeable".)

The video tweak cuts three frames as the reporter is bringing his arm down to ward off the intern as she reaches for the mike. This makes his movement look more choppy/aggressive. The real concern I've seen expressed is that this is a toe dipped in the water.

Sinema now leads by 20,000 votes in Arizona. I wonder whether the gop is going to try and guillotine the count like they are in Ga and Fla?

Dave Werth said...

As a submariner isn't Illithi out at sea for months at a time? Maybe that's where he is.

Tony Fisk said...

@Dave Werth: that's the assumption. What's the standard tour? Three months?

Jon S. said...

Depends on the sub. Boomers can be out for up to six months; their job is to get so thoroughly lost that even their command only knows the approximate area of ocean they're under.

Twominds said...

Dr. Brin, I have a hard time seeing a direct relevance between Trump and the sunk carrier and dry dock. What connection do I miss?

Tony Fisk said...

@twominds I think the link (if there *is* a link) is via the various power shutdowns that have been hitting US facilities (eg airports) recently. Two can play at cool wars.

River said...

Post election cheer that the Dems have the House. As a rational, vegan engineer I am hopeful. Gradual change may win out, alas our military/prison economy presents tough challenges. A Walkaway (Doctorow style) gift economy world might sneak up on us, but it is all the easier to picture a (necessary?) implosion of the oligarchical American paradigm or a Stand style super-virus from which a leaner global world order might emerge.

Larry Hart said...

Ya think?

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Nov10.html#item-1

After elections, the two major parties (and sometimes the third parties) craft "victory" narratives that focus on their successes (or, failing that, on how their defeats weren't so bad). On Tuesday night, Trump declared an "almost total victory" and on Wednesday he was still calling it a "big victory." The Democrats, of course, pushed back on that. And in the days since, the president's version of events has lost a lot of ground, at least in part because the Democrats seem primed to end up with as many as 8-10 more seats in the House than seemed to be the case at the end of the night on Tuesday, possibly along with a Senate seat or two (Arizona and Florida), and maybe even a governor's mansion or two (Florida and Georgia). Quite a few people have pointed out that the last time the Democrats did this well picking up House seats was during the Watergate election (1974). Others have observed that Trump's endorsements didn't work out so well. He's at 50 wins, 34 losses, and 7 undecided at the moment, which is a success rate of 55%, and is not so good since many of his endorsements went to overwhelming favorites like Mitt Romney. Anyhow, as a result of all of this, there are now lots and lots of op-eds with headlines like, "Hey, Republicans really did get clobbered" and "2018 was a WAY better election for Democrats than most people seem to think."

locumranch said...

Nullification is the end result of the recent US Midterm Elections:

Congress is divided against itself and it cannot stand, as the Republicans control the Senate & the Democrats control the House, leaving the Executive Branch & its Judiciary unchecked.

It's Absurdist Theatre at its best, and I intend to enjoy the show.


Best

David Brin said...

hoo! Ignoring the fact that the "show" now will include a dozen House committees with subpoena power. And Mitt Romney conniving and conspiring to shape a movement on non-Trumpist conservatives. But yes, one thing is bloody awful. Those Senators who stand up to Trump on this or that matter will then scurry to support his judicial nominees, since they will be chosen by AEI and other special interests. "See how useful I am to you, lords, despite my opposing some Trump craziness?"

I wouldn't want to be food taster for any senior federal judges who are actual, qualified earlier appointees.

Again though, we see the pattern. In a set of totally corrupt, gerrymandered GOP states with mafia-style secretaries of state, a close election just happens to tip - by the tiniest of margins - to the Republican. What're the odds? Why so desperate to prevent hand recounts? Gee I wonder.



David Brin said...

Tony, if it was a Cool War retaliation, I doubt very much the Potemkin President was told.

River while I respect much that Doctorow does and I am glad he's out there railing away (he doesn't reciprocate), The gift economy thing is a lot of wishy-maybe speculation.

This giant party of wealth and science and progress was brought to us by flat-fair-open and well-REGULATED market economies, with regulation adapting to our ability to see minefields ahead, like ecological dangers. If we can just get back to that, we should be fine. Mystical mumbo-jumbo isn't all that helpful, though yes, we we get to Star Trek, "gift economy" might happen.

TheMadLibrarian said...

I recently had a chat with a longtime board member of our local Friends of the Library group, a math professor at the local college. She sat down, sighed, and told me, "For the last 40 years I've voted Republican. In good faith, I can't do that any more." It's a hopeful sign; now we just need several million more in the right locations to come to their senses.

David Brin said...

Mad Librarian, strike while the iron is hot. Make sure she understands that she needn't surrender all old values. It's just that both Adam Smith and science have taken up home alongside ACTUAL moral behavior in the right half of the democratic party.

Onward

onward

Larry Hart said...

The Mad Librarian:

She sat down, sighed, and told me, "For the last 40 years I've voted Republican. In good faith, I can't do that any more."


That reminds me of a very old...I think it was the Phil Donohue show, even before Oprah was a thing. The show featured non-married couples talking about why they weren't married. In one case, the woman confidently insisted that the guy was eventually going to marry her, even though he was sitting right there saying how he didn't want to be married. And they had been "dating" for twenty-five years.

Your local board member sounds similarly delusional.