Saturday, December 22, 2018

Dinosaurs and delusions


- Back to the political maelstrom. What a year. Almost 10% as exhausting as 1968. (Gosh, exactly half a century ago. See the special way it ended.) Just remember, we survived that awful year, and got stronger /better. We can do it again.

Let's start with...

== Matters of Mattis ==

I'll not go into huge details about the Mattis resignation. Some liberals are conceding that ending one of our wars - in Syria - might be a good thing. (And the dems need asap to withdraw House consent to the ceding of war powers.) 

But the pundits ignore what those 2000 US troops have been doing. While conducting low-cost reduction missions on ISIS, they were primarily protecting the Kurdish majority of NE Syria... the only Muslim people on Earth who love us. (They won't, after we betray them, the way GHW Bush betrayed the Marsh Arabs in 1993.)

Now Erdogan is free to crush them, cementing his alliance with Trump's controller, V. Putin, who gets an arc from Moscow and Crimea through Ankara, Lataika, Damascus, through Iraq to Iran and Hormuz. A new, much-better Warsaw Pact. Know what you are looking at.

== My warning stands... ==

And yes, in order to fully anchor-in Iran as a Russian protectorate, Putin needs a brief US-Iran "war." Which Trump and the Saudis - and Netanyahu and the Iranian mullahs - all want desperately as distraction from domestic troubles. 

Mattis could have stayed to help block it. Now Trump will have a compliant SecDef and JCS chief, while a valuable and vulnerable tripwire -- a whole US carrier strike group -- has been ordered to steam - completely unnecessarily - into a narrow deathtrap in the straits of Hormuz.

God bless and save and protect the skilled and dedicated men and women of the US Navy.

== Know your pachyderms! ==

Those who are mourning the demise of the Weekly Standard -- a “courageously” anti-Trump version of Republicanism -- seem to forget its roots. But some folks do remember that the editor/publisher, Always-Wrong Bill Kristol, was one of the neoconservatives - or neocons - who helped raise up Dennis “friend to boys” Hastert to lead the GOP and end the practice of adult-negotiated politics in America. They helped concocted the so-called Tea Party, re-igniting the American Civil War.

These fellows gave us G.W. Bush and contrived “WMD” rationalizations for the 2nd Iraq War, destabilizing the world in order to give billions in “emergency” contracts to Cheney-Bush companies. 

Yes, their polysyllabic incantations gave conservatism a faux-intellectual sheen that Trumpists have dropped in favor of cave-grunts. But both were pungent festivals of lies, in service to oligarchy.

It did them little good. By 2005 the same feudal lords who now prop up Trumpism dropped the neocons like a frat king dumping his “nerd friend” after copying the big test. Weekly Standard was a consolation prize to keep the followers of Leo Strauss from realizing the magnitude of that betrayal, but aristos no longer think it worth subsidizing. The rising world mafia feudalism that’s waging war on all fact-professions never trusted its pet intelligencia-parrots and would rather they stop squawking. Just go away now.

Read especially the final paragraphs of this piece, as Kristol’s fellow neocon monster John Podhoretz whines and rationalizes the demise of his species. See these dying dinosaurs writhe in a death-throes spat with a toxic-evil undead zombie-confederate elephant, Steve King, jealous that at least he remains relevant in the "crazy years" America they helped create.

== The foremost human trait: obstinate delusion ==

Each of us was raised on a sanctimonious mythology: 

   “I'm one of the few who see clearly what’s going on, surrounded by sheep who are blindly following the hidden masters.” 

Admit it. That's exactly what you believe, isn’t it? 

Indeed, your own particular narrative may be partly right! There are times when our Suspicion of Authority (SoA) reflex is on target, especially if supported by strong evidence.

And yet, any truly smart person has assigned a brain corner to notice when such a narrative seems too good, too pat, too smugly satisfying to be completely true. 

Here’s an example from the left. Listen to George Carlin railing that the big corporations already own us and we are all sheep-slaves… (except for delighted audience members clapping and paying to see him; you're no sheep!) In fact, everything Carlin says is true, to an extent! He describes the exact failure mode that crushed 99% of our ancestors in 6000 years of feudalism that spanned every continent except Australia. 

But by turning it into an “I’m mad as hell!” exaggeration-gloom rant, Carlin ignores the fact that he and the audience are free to denounce, a freedom that can only be augmented if it is admitted. Rather, he becomes a drug pusher for the modern addiction-high, accomplishing nothing for us at all.

== Even worse on the other side ==

If Carlin exaggerates to a degree that’s more harmful than not, then the lines pushed by today’s mad-right – using identical methods and pressing similar emotional buttons -- are mostly just lies. Take an example:

The right's narrative now is that "flipping" a perp -- 
by promising a lesser sentence to a crook you can easily get a jury to convict  -- is suddenly a vile trick. When did that happen? 

Oh, right. In fact, the practice always merits scrutiny, and juries have rightfully nullified cases that depend only on flipped testimony. Folks who were convicted solely by jailhouse snitches are being sprung today. But none of that applies here, where mountains of corroboration also pile skyward. When Donald Trump denounces a "rat" it is straight out of mafia lingo. And if Michael Flynn thinks he was entrapped, he is welcome to make that case before a jury of 12 decent fellow citizens. What, Mike? Go ahead and make your case.

What's the underlying beef? The real rage here is that the right never got "flips" against the Clintons or Obamas! 

Hm, why not? After 25 years of relentless grillings, investigations and hearings costing us half a Billion dollars? (That's with a "B.") With Koch/Fox and other huge whistle blower rewards on offer, plus fame and fortune to entice any rats, squealers or woke henchmen? What, no one stepped up with a smoking gun? Nobody in the vast periphery around the Clintons etc. could be coerced or bribed or even coaxed to do their patriotic duty? Wow, such loyalty.

Of course the truth is that the Carter, Clinton and Obama administrations were virtually blemish free, with almost nada, zip, zero indictable offenses and absolutely none for malfeasance of office. (Seriously: "email procedures'? What you got is (horror) mistakes in EMAIL procedures?!? Identical procedures to those used by Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Mike Pence, Ivanka and Jared Kushner? Seriously? Aren't you embarrassed?)

Sane people would contrast that with the endless tsunami of Republican turpitude, including almost a dozen outright child-buggering sexual predators. A party now owned and operated by casino moguls. Combine that with the GOP's open war against every single fact-profession, and their devotion to Kremlin/KGB pals raised on Leninist dogma, and chumminess with murderous despots and mafia gangs... and might sane/decent Republicans conclude they are on the wrong side?

No, no. Can't have that. Keep invoking the Clintons! 
What, zero indictments or squealers? 
Well, then.... The Clintons... um... were "good at hiding the bodies! Yeah, that's the ticket! Real slick criminals, the best. Geniuses!" 

But, um then, so-skilled, so-competent compared to the Fox/GOP/Trump clown car? In that case, then, again... maybe you picked the wrong side?

(Added note: the attached illustration-clipping - already way obsolete re Trump -- describes the number of each administration's officials indicted/convicted. First, it ignores shame-resignations. Second, it is also way-soft on the Bushes etc. Ford and Clinton and Obama were rightly criticized for downgrading or pardoning some folks from the previous regime -- in the interests of "political peace and healing." Not that it ever did any good or was remotely appreciated. Hence, the score for Nixon, Bush and Bush would actually be far higher. )


And finally... 

A large fraction of the most-inciting things you see on Twitter, Facebook etc were designed by experts - many in the Kremlin - to get your juices flowing. And yes, even -- especially -- some of the memes you most agreed-with and most-eagerly retweeted or passed along. Ponder that a moment!

Sure, the Putin-led mafia/oligarchy favors the gone-insane American right.  This article explores how jubilant the Kremlin is, over all of this. “Trump is God’s gift that keeps on giving,” one analyst said. “Russia can just relax and watch and root for Trump, which Putin does at every TV appearance.” But their top goal is division and disfunction over here. A mighty empire torn apart from within.

(Twenty-five years ago I spoke at CIA, in the glow of the end of the Cold War, predicting that underdogs would innovate and learn lessons from 6000 years of history, when other empires were similarly vulnerable to overconfidence. I got smirks then. The same slides today get gasps.)

So you -- yes you -- need to be careful which memes you choose to spread. Yes, in phase 8 of the American Civil War, we need to be fierce. But not with rudeness or hate that either breaks our Big Tent coalition or drives Republicans back into the mafia's arms.

Have we been here before?  The "Zinoviev letter" was a fraudulent document published by the British Daily Mail newspaper four days before the general election in 1924. It purported to be a directive from Grigory Zinoviev, the head of the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow, to the Communist Party of Great Britain, ordering it to engage in all sorts of seditious activities. It said the resumption of diplomatic relations (by a Labour government) would hasten the radicalisation of the British working class. This would have constituted a non-trivial interference in British politics, and as a result it was deeply offensive to British voters, turning them against the Labour Party. The letter seemed authentic at the time, but historians now agree it was a forgery. The letter aided the Conservative Party, by hastening the collapse of the Liberal Party vote that produced a Conservative landslide.

I said as much 25 years ago. This is standard technique. And we need to get a lot smarter.


101 comments:

David Brin said...

Compare the Clinton Foundation, which may have received and passed forward some donations from parties seeking favor (with no hint of actual quid pro quo.) The Clinton Foundation's JD Power award for efficiency at helping people versus...

...the Trump foundation which apparently never made a single action that wasn't designed to benefit a Trump in some way. Oh then the emoluments. Millions in Saudi and other despots buying or renting whole floors in Trump properties at triple normal luxury room rates, and leaving them mostly unoccupied. Good lord, your mad uncles truly are jibbering loony.


Ilithi Dragon said...

Continuing from the last post.

Locum, you're a goddamn idiot. You just played the petulant child "you're not my real dad, you can't tell me what to do" card, and then claimed that, as a free man, you have every right to destroy civilization and nobody has any right to stop you or interfere because you are exercising your right to do whatever you want as a free man.

You are hilariously dumb, because you've fallen for the dandified notions of civilization you so claim to dispise.

There is no such thing as freedom in the real world. You have no rights in the real, natural world. Those concepts, that you claim give you the right to do whatever you want and we have no right to object or interfere, are 100% manufactured concepts of civilization. The defense of those rights is 100% a manufactured concept and function of civilization.

You spoiled manbaby, the very thing you decry for telling you that you can or cannot do anything, is the very thing that gives you the concept and reality of freedoms and rights, and you are so spoiled by the luxury of those rights and freedoms that you would tear down the very framework that gives them to you because it dares to give you a few rules for their use. Those rules mostly being "don't fuck other people, and don't break civilization," or something more detailed/specific to that effect.

If you don't like that, and don't want to live by civilizations rules, you can go fuck off to some obscure corner of the world and diddle your own asshole where you don't bother anyone else, but unless you hide yourself really well, and maybe even then, you'll quickly encounter some big bubba with a stronger arm than yours, and you'll have no rights or freedom to refuse what he wants you to do, so you'll have to kneel down and suck that cock, or he'll just take your head off and skullfuck you anyway.

If you don't like that, we'll, that's the whole reason why we built civilization in the first place. And if you think you, or anyone else, has the right to just walk up and tear it down, you couldn't be further from the truth. And if you or anyone else wants to try, they'll have to go through people like me to do it.

David Brin said...

Dang Ilithi Dragon. While I wholly approve of everything, I am officially behooved to chastise (with a limp-wristed pat on the back of your hand.) "Language, son..."

Otherwise, absolutely. These dreamy ingrates who fantacize that if only this patronizingly beneficent and coddling and gentle-decent-scientifically-based civilization would only please collapse already, he and a few like him would be top dogs! Ah, masturbation.

I receive mail now and then from "Holnists" who claim to view me as a founding father, because of the rationalizations spoken by my villains in The Postman. Fortunately, these are rare, compared to those who credit me with inspiring them to fight for civilization. Still, I am creeped out.

But there is a simple word I've learned that describes these dreamy ingrates, who if civilization were no longer here to coddle them would NOT be top dogs, but almost certainly.... kibble.

porohobot said...

>>David Brin said...
\\A new, much-better Warsaw Pact.

You think you are smart with naming it that way?

But for me its more like Kuba Crysis... or at least Sage of Berlin.

"Warsaw Pact" was not active. It was holding on the raw military power of USSR.
And it is not my thoughts/delusions -- its Hard Facts... of opression of Poland, Chehoslovakia (yeap 1968), Hungary (1956) (I checked list and found yet two not so famous -- Bolgaria and... Iran)

So... Warsaw Pact 2.0 is not what we have... but what we WOULD have if USA coninue its pushover politics toward state delinquents with Big and Scary Bombs and MRBMs.


\\all want desperately as distraction from domestic troubles.

Beware. Its totaly Putin's point.
Like about current Kerch Strait Crysis Putin said exactly THAT "its for distraction from domestic troubles -- for better % on elections".


\\Well, then.... The Clintons... um... were "good at hiding the bodies! Yeah, that's the ticket! Real slick criminals, the best. Geniuses!"

Sad... it means Putin is a winner of this battle already. %(((

Then what we can only hope -- that he will loose the war ( but in what cost??? %((( )


>> Ilithi Dragon said...
\\And if you or anyone else wants to try, they'll have to go through people like me to do it.

Heh... but what if they'll have "green mans" as backup?
Green mans which stand
"not in front of but behind... children and women... and let them only try something"
as Great Strategy Genious proclaimed?

And there'd be no allies... as in ""First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.""

Because of... what your politics said after RF took Crime(a) -- its your lose... so shuddup and don't you dare tease the russian dogs... what Budapesht Memorandum?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Dang Ilithi Dragon. While I wholly approve of everything, I am officially behooved to chastise (with a limp-wristed pat on the back of your hand.) "Language, son..."


Heh. Iron Man will now make fun of you forever.

Seriously, though, every so often when I just have to let our resident ingrate know what I think, I feel dirty afterwards. It's nice to have confirmation from someone of impeccable reputation.



Otherwise, absolutely. These dreamy ingrates who fantacize that if only this patronizingly beneficent and coddling and gentle-decent-scientifically-based civilization would only please collapse already, he and a few like him would be top dogs! Ah, masturbation.


As Norman Goldman says, we have to "work with the facts and live with the truth". While your description above does describe some Putinphiles among us, I don't think that's a fair assessment of loc. He doesn't think he'll rule--he just wants to opt out and be done with civilization altogether. "But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public 'ealth, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

I don't even have a problem if he wants to never darken our doors again and leave us to fend for ourselves without him. No, the problem is that he keeps telling us over and over again that he's dropping out of civilization and never gets around to...whatayacall...actually doing it. And we're apparently supposed to beg and whimper for his assistance rather than going, "What, you're still here?"


I receive mail now and then from "Holnists" who claim to view me as a founding father, because of the rationalizations spoken by my villains in The Postman.


A consequence of being too good at characterization. Similar to all those right-wingers who really think Steven Colbert is one of them.

I remember reading the novel in the mid 80's and already recognizing the form of right-wing tropes such as "Franklin-stein civilization". At the time, I thought you were just doing a good job of coming up with phrases that such groups might use. Now, I wonder if that one was already cribbed from their actual literature.


Fortunately, these are rare, compared to those who credit me with inspiring them to fight for civilization.


I wonder...it's been 20 years since the movie version. With all of the remakes around and easier formats than a big-screen film, isn't it time for a more faithful version of the book to be brought to the screen, say a tv miniseries on the order of The Man In The High Castle? I'll bet there'd be an audience for it.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Apologies for the language, but what locum revealed/said of his world view really infuriated me.

I'm also visiting family for thr holiday, and have to firmly repress much of the language I normally use in regular conversation because my nephew is around, so there was a bit of a relief valve lifting on over pressure there, too.

There is more from the conversations of last post I want to respond to, specifically Greg's question of "what can be the left do to distance themselves from the crazy fringe." it was a good question, and I had to have a bit of a think about it. I'll have to respond later, when I'm not being pestered to get out of bed by my nephew and his Lincoln log tin turned drum and toy megaphone (I regret the later as not being my gift of proxy torment for my sister and brother in law, it is brilliant, though I did get my nephew a giant box of Lego landmines).

porohobot said...

\\isn't it time for a more faithful version of the book to be brought to the screen, say a tv miniseries...

Film/movie cannot show thought-work.
And more to it current special effects brewed one.

As well as no such actors...

And even without talking about auditory for such "edutainment". Huh. %(


\\Apologies for the language, but what locum revealed/said of his world view really infuriated me.

Its what we ukrainians forsed to get used to.
And now... with RT(Russia Today) and other Putin trolls... official and unofficial.
Trying to make used people all around the Globe. %P

They found for yourself pover of (missuse of?) democracy and free speech rights...
and they like it. %)))

So... what's before was heard only on USSR kitchens... now will be heard everywhere.

And we still not hearing China and India... and all the Black Continent... that loud and clear...

porohobot said...

Sorry... I feel even myself
that my engrYsh in post above are quite awkward.

locumranch said...


Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Ilithi Roboto.

Ilithi_D's rather self-referential rant about fraudulent nature of what currently passes for 'real freedom' and 'natural rights' demonstrates a surprising degree of insight & self-awareness, as there can be only slavery (no freedom & no autonomy) following the application of Operant Conditioning.

I, too, once shared Ilithi_D's contempt for ungrateful 'manbabies' until I also realised (as many veterans do) that I was but a slave who was conditioned to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others, even though I mistakenly believed myself to be 'a volunteer'.

Duty (aka 'a moral & legal obligation') called & I answered, blinded by the illusion of personal choice, and I defended civilisation with my faith & labour, only to be discarded as a replaceable provider unit by a faithless, false & uncivil civil court system.

That's why our host's 'The Postman' is even more brilliant than he knows as it tells the tale of a con man, liar & huckster who uses the illusion of choice, duty & obligation to trick others (men, women & children) into sacrificing themselves for his benefit, while he watches safely from the sidelines.


Best
_____

Politically, we have been here before as the DNC-financed 'Steele Dossier' appears to be a mere variant of the 'Zinoviev Letter', as both documents appear to make the identical claim at an identical (election) time for a near identical purpose.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Locum, how did the system fail you?

Larry Hart said...

This is slander:

That's why our host's 'The Postman' is even more brilliant than he knows as it tells the tale of a con man, liar & huckster who uses the illusion of choice, duty & obligation to trick others (men, women & children) into sacrificing themselves for his benefit, while he watches safely from the sidelines.


That's not the book I read. There's hardly an episode in which Gordon isn't himself in mortal danger and/or overcoming stacked odds to prevail. The one time when (not spoiling) someone else had to be convinced to fight for Gordon's side, it was not Gordon who did the convincing (other than delivering the convincing mail to the addressed recipient). Mostly, what he "tricks" people into doing is to not kill him.

David Brin said...

Ilithi everyone knows about salty language from sailors! ;-)

LH: Franklin-stein was all min

What? You expected anything said by L to bear even a glancing relationship to reality?

Wishing you all well.

Alfred Differ said...

@Ilithi Dragon | Locum, how did the system fail you?

If memory serves, it was a nasty divorce and a fight over a child that he lost. Those fights can get really mean and involve false accusations that cling for life since the rest of us don't know the truth... if anyone does at all.

My read of him is as a person who feels betrayed all around. I know enough to know that one betrayal can make a person paranoid and cause others to withdraw which gets interpreted as more betrayal. I'm personally familiar with this vicious cycle. It is hell to stop it even when someone wants to try... which I don't think he does... yet.

yana said...


Larry Hart thought:

"isn't it time for a more faithful version of the book to be brought to the screen"

Yes, truth. Didn't get to the book until a dozen years after the movie, and what an eye-opener. Not sad the flick cut the subplot about the supercomputer oracle, but really sad they made the plot into a penisfight between Costner and a copier salesman. The female characters were a great part of that book.

Giving YA tips to raito here, had to admit that Laini Taylor and Marissa Meyer write "romancey," and that's a charitable way of saying that they write their male characters either cut from 2D cardboard or a male molded from original clay by female hands.

Inventiveness, a good turn of phrase, and a bit of wit. All that aside, a main reason i like Brin's fiction is that he can write across the divide, crafting female voices from unspoken internal rationales, with uncanny skill. The G. S. Jennsen books i mentioned are an example of a female author doing the same, she has good skills to make her male characters ring true.

Glory Season? Don't know if it's cinema-ready, but would like to see it adapted as a table-top RPG.

Larry Hart said...

@yana,

On Glory Season, I only read it once and that was several years ago, so caveat emptor, but IIRC, it read less like a movie and more like an old-time movie serial, moving from one cliffhanger to the next without ever reaching a point of complete resolution. A book can pull that off--I'm not sure a movie can.

Without spoiling more than I have to, I kept expecting a denouement in which the protagonist is finally relieved of her nickname. :) Also, toward the end of the book, one of the principal characters dies in a manner that (to a comic book fan) screams "fake death", but that was never presented in the narration, even as speculation, so I wonder if that was the author's intent or not.

Finally, much of the book depends upon scenes in which the identity of certain characters is deliberately kept secret from the reader until they become obvious later. That's a perfectly normal method of writing in a novel, but very hard to pull off in a visual medium. For example, when the movie version of The Bourne Identity was first being advertised, I noted wryly that even the trailer blurbs which read "Matt Damon is Jason Bourne!" were giving away a secret that wasn't revealed until about a third of the way through the book version.

David Brin said...

LH is spot on about Glory Season. And yes, There's a "hint" that things are not as they seem.

There were many things I liked about the Costner-Helgeland POSTMAN flick. Abby's character was a fine bridge collecting both female leads into a pretty strong person. I would have agreed with leaving out computers and augments... had Costner ever asked me. Alas, he spoke maybe ten words to me and never bought me a beer.

But he's one of the best music-cinematography directors there ever was. And the heart of my message is right there. Gorgeous, big-hearted and dumb? I can live with that. It's what my wife married!!

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"spoke maybe ten words to me and never bought me a beer"

Beh, he was an A-lister then, hustled about by handlers. Times change, he'd probably hang out with you now. But...

"Each of us was raised on a sanctimonious mythology ... Admit it. That's exactly what you believe, isn’t it?"

No. There's a new way to think, because now there's a new way to communicate. Funny, how we label anything new a "third way" because we've got an almost inherent need to binary things into This versus That. Yes, i used 'binary' as a verb. New way of thinking. Later it will be one of two ways of thinking, because it is the doom of men that they forget, our salvation that we invent.

"The foremost human trait: obstinate delusion"

No again. It's sociability. You don't read lowsemenherder's caw so this might seem offtopic to you, but,, a fool might carve away altruism as a conditioned response, but only an idiot discards the possibility that altruism might be in the best interest of the individual. Even when divorced from religion.

The sky is distorted when you're in the trenches, either political or actual WW1 style. Becomes possible to forget that people naturally come together into villages and cities because we're monkeys and everyone knows that monkeys are endlessly entertaining. And that's what Christmas is all 'bout, Charlie Brin.

Mike Will said...

I read everything here (too dumb to skim), but contribute only sparingly (partly because I'm juggling several things including "Foundation's Triumph"). Poetry and song lyrics are great because they boil away so many crufty words, leaving only the golden nuggets, and saving me from Pascal's exertions.


Computational Thinking in a nutshell:
(the penultimate razor next to Occam's)
(includes Feynman's preference for working from first principles)
"It's easier to try than to prove it can't be done" - Moody Blues


So keep discussing, I'm sure there are others who are enjoying it quietly too.

David Brin said...

MW! ;-)

yana said...


One more thing, have to get it outta my craw before Christmas.

If one is progressed enough to say Native American or First Peoples rather than "Indian" then one can say Ma'dan instead of "Marsh Arab." They don't identify as Arabs for a couple hundred years now.

But, and there's always a but, slamming King Bush I for supposedly backstabbing the Ma'dan is glaringly absurd, considering what i've read by the host of this blog.

The biggest darkest bogeymen here, are the feudals and the mafiosos, right? For a couple hundred years, the culture of the Ma'dan has been of the most pure feudalism and one of the world's most enduring criminal enterprises, still into the 21st century.

Their smuggling skills are legendary, in one sense the Ma'dan precipitated Iraq War II with their prowess, ensuring no sanction could ever be enforced. And their cultural structure, hybrid of clan and tribe, is so pervasive as to place loyalty to emir above everything other than family, even above Quran. I say "emir" you say "capo", tomatoe, tomato. Same thing as lord o' the manor.

With the recent takedown in Sicily, and American vacuuity towards Kurds, the Ma'dan will become even more powerful. How long will it be, to see some reasonable person call for the destruction of the Ma'dan, on the basis of anti-feudalism and anti-mafia? And who will remember that once upon a time, we all thought that the Ma'dan were merely valiant freedom fighters?

Geopolitically, our saving grace is that the Ma'dan are much more interested in trafficking weapons and drugs and girls, than joining any fool's jihad du jour.

I guess the basic lesson, is to learn about someone before you hoist them up as a martyr of oligarchic imperialism.

porohobot said...

\\a fool might carve away altruism as a conditioned response, but only an idiot discards the possibility that altruism might be in the best interest of the individual.

That exact point where Locum can be right.

What you are trying to say -- is TOTALLY against the definition.

"Altruism is the principle and moral practice of concern for happiness of OTHER human beings".

So... what is it? Try to say it to yourself -- is it your own error... or is it effect of conditioning? %P

PS For me... there is NO problem at all.
As there is parohial altruism -- altruism toward your own kin.
Which are perfectly fine in terms of "selfinterest".

PPS So... Locum might be disillusioned in a right way... but staying under illusions of egotism.
So, there is no wizdom in his words.

porohobot said...

And back to my sheeps.

Funny thing... about this brawl Locum .vs. Dragon
Or more like... anarchy of freedom .vs. rules of order

Is that... sane people of RFia are saying just the same -- "do not sway the boat... we have Rules(tm) and therefore we need to do all in according to": attack international peace and order, occupy Ukraine, bomb out Syria... provoke WW3.
All because "its our law... to push OUR national interests...".

I can't say for N.Korea or Iran... but I think its a safe bet to say they are the same "law abiding".

So... it may be exacly why US position is so shaky.
Your foreign policy propose to other countries something they count as Anarchy.
While for domestic policy you like benefits of Order. ;)

And Trump... while ruling outrageously... may have a right point,
about making internal and external policies more conform? (tongue in cheek)

porohobot said...

\\then one can say Ma'dan instead of "Marsh Arab."

And how many people would understand?
Or you propose to write it like "Ma'dan its Marsh Arabs" every time? ;)


\\slamming King Bush I for supposedly backstabbing the Ma'dan is glaringly absurd

I wanted to point out my point onto this matters...
that, we have historical precedent of Churchill and bombing of Coventry...
or it cannot be applied here?

But also... its not good policy to backstab people... except, if you are really did some (subtle) promise to them.
I do not know? Does Bush promised something to this Ma'dans?

David Brin said...

Interesting yana... and yet betraying the ma'dan to be slaughtered by Saddam's helicopters, standing back while our vow to protect them made them rise up and be killed for it, so they would hate us forever instead of loving us... this was smart or good... how?

porohobot said...

I googled for it... here what I found

""One month after Bush’s call to the Iraqi people to rise up, fourteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces were surprisingly no longer under the control of the central government.

On March 3, 1991, commander of UN coalition forces, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, met with Hussein’s generals at the Safwan Airfield in Iraq to discuss the terms of the ceasefire, focusing on the lines of demarcation between opposing forces, the mechanisms for exchanging prisoners of war, and an order by Schwarzkopf that Iraq not fly fixed-wing aircraft. During the discussion, an Iraqi general asked Schwarzkopf for permission to fly helicopters, including armed gunships, to transport government officials over the country’s destroyed roads and bridges. Believing it a legitimate request, and acting without Pentagon or White House instructions, Schwarzkopf replied, “I will instruct the Air Force not to shoot at any helicopters flying over the territory of Iraq where our troops are not located.” The memoir, coauthored by Bush and his national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, succinctly summarized what happened next: “Saddam almost immediately began using the helicopters as gunships to put down the uprisings.”""
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/behind-the-doomed-iraqi-uprisings-1991-15425

Is it factually correct?

porohobot said...

Some more.

""In the end, Saddam Hussein’s regime, using only helicopters, long-range artillery, and armored ground forces, brutally counterattacked the uprising, killing 30,000-60,000 Shias in the south, and some 20,000 Kurds in the north. Though the United States had enormous military capabilities in the Persian Gulf, the Bush administration provided no assistance to the uprisings, fearing, variously, the “Lebanonization of Iraq,” Iranian-backed Shias assuming power in Baghdad and more U.S. soldiers dying in “another Vietnam,” as then-Secretary of State James Baker described it. The Bush administration also actively restrained the uprisings by refusing to provide captured Iraqi weapons or munitions stockpiles to the insurgents, but rather chose to destroy them, return them to the Iraqis, or transfer them to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.""

And I was doubting that "only helicopters".

And why I (and many other of ukrainians) was so surprised by so shallow response on RFia's misschefs in 2008 in Georgia and now on Ukraine...

That's because Putin is RIGHT... he having his ways with us JUST THE SAME as USA tryed to do it in Iraq.

How USA establishment could say their firm 'no', if they doing it too. %\

Thank you.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Talk about conditioned responses... Go to bed at a half-decent time, on vacation, and still wake up before 0700.
} X = 8 P

So I'll ramble about altruism and why might-makes-right, when not applied short-sightedly in the stupidly short term, or to justify stupid future actions from a position of strength, ultimately leads to altruistic modes of operation.

If I ever manage to continue my formal education and get to the post grad level, I intend to write a doctoral thesis on this.

So, when it comes right down to it, might makes right. Whatever makes you mighty is right. It's often applied the other way (justifying stupidity by the strong), but that frequently leads to a lack of might (sooner or later), and since afterwards, the person or group is no longer mighty, it's not right.

It is also often used to justify short-term gains in strength or power, at the cost of long-term goals and sustainability. But what good is a brief increase in might, if it undermines your ability to sustain your might in the long term?

Also, what is might? Is it raw, brute strength? Power through machinations, force of standing armies, or deception?

It can be. But the base of it all, like the darwinian "survival of the fittest" is not physical strength or grand power. It is one's ability to survive. To continue to exist. And, beyond existence, to have a meaningful existence.

So what best ensures survival and meaningful existence? And of what? The self, the individual? Sure, that's important. But what is the individual? A living, breathing, self-actualizing entity, that, at its most basic level, is a self-sustaining pattern of energy. That is all life, at its most basic: a pattern of energy that sustains itself despite (in defiance of?) entropy.

So what is important? The survival of the individual? The continued existence of all life? Yes.

The ideal is that the specific pattern of the individual survives and flourishes. The next best ideal is that near copies of the individual pattern survive and flourish. Better to have part of the pattern continue than none of it. Given the perniciousness of entropy, and statistics, the death of any individual pattern is likely, so ensuring near copies of the pattern continue past the original's nominal lifespan can have an even higher ideal priority than the survival of the original individual pattern. Survival of our children.

By extension, the next ideal is the continued survival and flourishing of related similar patterns. Survival of our family, clan, tribe, nation, and species. Even related species, all the way up to our entire biome. Better that some life from Earth continues to survive than none.

This continues out to our solar system, local group, Galaxy, local cluster, and on to the entire universe. And beyond, if more realities exist. Better that life continues somewhere than nowhere at all.

So what best ensures survival and flourishment of life and the individual and family and nations and species and children, etc. Is right.

So what best ensures survival and flourishment? Altruism, among other things. Altruism makes us stronger, better able to survive, because it turns people who would be enemies into friends. This frees up the resources we would have spent fighting or strongly guarding against those now-friends to be spent on other things, increasing available resources and making us stronger. Altruism also means that we have friends who will come to our aid when we are in need, giving us access to resources that we otherwise would not have, making us stronger.

Civilization has also made us VERY strong. It has given us our best shot at long-term survival, through planetary and interstellar disasters that could wipe out our patterns, even the collective patterns of our entire biome, and has given more meaning to existence, via art, culture, entertainment, community, conversations, etc. Than any other mode of existence life has ever known on our planet.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Competition is important, too, a lesson learned from evolution, and civilization and economics. I think I can save on the character count on that with this group.

The foundation of civilization is the recognition of something bigger and more significant than the individual. This is also the foundation of altruism. That there are things bigger, more important than the individuals wants, needs, desires, pleasures, and even survival.

We already recognize this with our children, and our families. It’s really just the same thing, on a grander scale, both for altruism and civilization. Notions of duty, honor, Valor, etc. All serve to promote and help conceptualize the value of altruism and civilization, and the fact, the cold calculus of the greater importance of the long term survival and flourishment of life over the short term interests, and even the long term survival and flourishment of the individual. The long term survival and flourishment of life is also important to the individual because the individual is included in the whole. The same for civilization. Especially for civilization, because when civilization thrives and flourishes, the individuals in that civilization are lifted to greater heights than they could otherwise achieve, and near copies of the individual pattern have a much better chance of surviving, thriving, and producing near copies of themselves, better ensuring the continued survival and flourishment of some part of the individual.

So, might makes right ultimately leads to altruism, because altruism is one of the greatest, higher-level survival strategies, and it is damned effective at increasing resources available and reducing what you need to spend them on, even when your resources are limited (and it can be argued that it is especially important then).

Mike Will said...

Altruism makes us stronger, better able to survive, because it turns people who would be enemies into friends.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
- Abraham Lincoln

I don't quote Lincoln often, but the fact that he was born on the same date as Charles Darwin endears him. As Christopher Hitchens put it, there's little doubt as to which was the greater emancipator.

Dragon, you completely obliterated the "consider the lillies of the field" mantra. Well done.

porohobot said...

\\But what good is a brief increase in might, if it undermines your ability to sustain your might in the long term?

Its simple. Pleasure.


\\So what best ensures survival and flourishment of life and the individual and family and nations and species and children, etc. Is right.

There more then one way of survival. That IS the problem.
One cannot say benevolently "let survive all beings".
Even God (christian) was not able to say it.


\\So what best ensures survival and flourishment? Altruism, among other things.

No. It only adds some surplus.
As scientificaly discovered there is some level of altruism that make group more productive... but its equilibrium and more or less % from optimum -- subtracts from it.


\\Altruism makes us stronger, better able to survive, because it turns people who would be enemies into friends.

Its looks more like general humanism.
Altruism its something more narrow and special.


\\Notions of duty, honor, Valor, etc.

Its not about altruism. Even parohial.


\\So, might makes right ultimately leads to altruism, because altruism is one of the greatest, higher-level survival strategies, and it is damned effective at increasing resources available and reducing what you need to spend them on, even when your resources are limited (and it can be argued that it is especially important then).

I see it's said with best intentions.
But still... its gibberish.

Jon S. said...

I had been skimming porohobot, due to his (her? their? its?) difficulties with English. Now that porohobot stands revealed as a pure short-sighted hedonist uninterested in long-term survival of even the individual, much less the species, it's time to shroud here as well.

Illithi, I must also disagree with your implementation of language as regards locoranch. Should've been stronger. :)

David Brin said...

We deal with altruism all the time in discussions of SETI. There are many factors. Like whether your species ancestors were gregarious, needing allies to survive. Whether the boundaries of your alliance network are flexible and can expand. And whether that flexibility lets society deal with cheaters.

And how rewards dole out. Cheaters who exploit the gullible or helpless in the short term... like male impregnators who then leave... have seen their genes get passed on. In fact, detecting liars may have propelled female wariness and intelligence. OTOH, our long term success comes from long term thinking. And the most successful society has been the one that decided to stop wasting talent, investing in justice and generosity because it results in boh competition and cooperation becoming positive sum.

Haven't heard from Catfish n' Cod or Tony Fisk in a while. any others you folks have missed? Want to do a general end-of-year shout-out.

Mike Will said...

The US appears to be circling the drain, which hurts my heart. On the upside, I've heard that Mexico has now agreed to pay for Trump's psychiatric care. Also, I now must endure less "Genius of the Founders" pontification from American friends. Christopher Hitchens used to gush endlessly over those same founders. He must be rolling in his grave. I'm not saying they weren't brilliant, just human. I've always liked Jefferson's "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Only an evolving civilization can survive, there's no way to 'bake in' a Plan. I note that even Hari Seldon's appearances were generally cryptic and vague, like a janky fortune teller. I'm getting hints of tricks up his sleeve in "Foundation's Triumph", so I won't get too far ahead of the story.

Twominds said...

In the comments section of the last post there was a link to this blog: Surplus Energy Economics.

I'm in the rabbit hole of reading the contents from first to last, skimming little, and I found these series that resonate strongly with Dr.Brin's railing against the left-right political division many people still use. This one is more specific for the British situation, but well worth a read for Americans and other non-British.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2014/10/
https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2014/11/

The author adds Libertarian (in an own meaning of the word) and Corporatism on the vertical axis, using it as a model for current (2014) UK politics and society.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Porohobot, I understand that there is a language barrier that makes effective communication more difficult, but if you're going to claim what I say (which was admittedly posted somewhat slapdash, from my phone), is jibberish, then please provide something more of substance as criticism. Sure, people do stupid things for pleasure all the time, sometimes it's even justified (a little pleasure goes a long way to making life worth living), but short term gains at the expense of significant long term losses are not smart or wise moves, which was the point I was making. And no, not everyone will survive. "you can't save 'em all, hasslehof!" but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to save as many as we can, and in the cold calculus of the matter, what saves the most people, is more preferable (other factors come into play for determining optimal solutions, such as cost, efficiency, chances of success, etc., but I wasn't writing a doctoral thesis, just giving a summation). And humanism is.a larger philosophy that is based on the fundamental principle of altruism.

Also, Porohobot, you asked me previously what I would do if "green men" had a gun to my family's head.

When I was in A-school, learning the basics of my job before being sent out to the fleet, we spent a week on small arms, since my rate owns all the small arms and related programs on the boat. This included using a FATS laser simulator (targets or scenarios are put up on a projector screen, and we shoot real guns converted to fire lasers and be cycled by compressed air at the targets or scenarios). It's a great training tool for small arms proficiency and allows for complex scenario training without the cost or hazard of expending live or simunition rounds.

One of the scenarios had us acting as a cover sentry at a vehicle access gate along a wooded road (very eastern European vibes with that set of scenarios). In one of the possible scenarios, a van rolls up, and when the contact sentry goes over to check it out, the side door whips open and a bad guy in a ski mask jumps out, grabs him, puts a gun to his head, and tells you to drop your weapon or he'll shoot your buddy. That particular scenario is meant to play out as more of a deescslation if a hostage situation.

I put a round in the center of the badguys forehead, past the contact sentrys ear.

In a scenario with my family held hostage, I would probably take a similar course of action, after doing whatever I could to mitigate the situation.

Now, I'm still pretty darn low on the totem pole of significance, all things considered, so there's not much anyone would likely be able to use me to do, so I would, in most circumstances deescalate and try to keep my family safe until I had a chance to take the badguys down, or set them up for someone else to, but there are things I won't do even if my family is being threatened. There are things bigger and more important than me, and even more than my family. Nobody can be absolutely certain of anything they might decide until they're making the decision in the moment, but I am as close to certainty about that as I can be. There are things that I would sacrifice my family for, if it came down to it. I'm also a dirty, rat bastard.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Reading Doctor Brin's comments on 'sheeple' (he didn't use that particular term but was describing the attitude that leads people to use it) got me thinking about the Netflix version of "Watership Down" that I watched last night. While it has some flaws (dated animation, and a woeful underuse of Kehaar, especially since he was voiced by Peter Capaldi), it hewed reasonably closely to the Adams masterpiece. One interesting area it accentuated was the portrayal of individuals caught in an authoritarian regime (Efrafra, obviously) as opposed to that of individuals in Watership Down warren. Hazel's bunch were more apt to express their individuality, whereas Woundwort's were more likely to be aware of the individuality, in part because they were forbidden from using it. The point was made with reasonable subtlety: society doesn't create sheeple. If anything, it prevents such.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Haven't heard from Catfish n' Cod or Tony Fisk in a while. any others you folks have missed? Want to do a general end-of-year shout-out.


Paul SB.

locumranch said...


The System has not failed. Rather, it has succeeded all too well.

The System is a machine of Hobbesian proportions that functions as designed, one that seeks inorganic apotheosis through the perfection of an imperfect & autonomous humanity, what the cognoscenti cheerfully refer to as 'transhumanism', a turn-of-events that Skinner's 'Beyond Freedom & Dignity' has predicted with uncanny accuracy:

https://selfdefinition.org/psychology/BF-Skinner-Beyond-Freedom-&-Dignity-1971.pdf

The System is as effective as it is coercive. It has eliminated the threat of overpopulation; it has virtually eliminated the threat of nuclear holocaust; and, very soon, it will annihilate what remains of autonomous humanity.

We have become cogs in the WEIRD machine to such an extent that no human can think of him & herself as unique or irreplaceable, insomuch as every scientist, writer, worker, mother, welfare recipient, wiper, doctor or soldier can AND WILL be replaced by any other similarly trained component...

If we dare assume that those imperfect human components cannot be replaced outright by a more perfect machine (AI), that is.

Either way, we are disposable, you & I.

And, as our Machine Culture eliminates the last remaining vestiges of inequality, identity, individuality, race, ethnicity, language, sexuality & gender, we will soon count ourselves lucky if we are allowed to retain any humanity whatsoever.


Best
____

Altruism (as defined) only benefits the practitioner if & when we assume reciprocity. It becomes a pathological behaviour in the absence of reciprocity; and, sorry, it's NOT really altruism if & when one attempts to compel reciprocity.

So, what really makes 'the world a better place' is reciprocity rather than altruism.

Alfred Differ said...

What feels best is generally indirect reciprocity.
What we've had to learn to do to cope with cheat is track what we do well enough to support direct reciprocity.

The kind of society one expects is best is a matter of the ratio of the two.

Larry Hart said...

Even Thomas Friedman finally gets that Trump is a liability:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/opinion/impeach-fire-president-trump.html

...

I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.

It has to start with Republicans, given both the numbers needed in the Senate and political reality. Removing this president has to be an act of national unity as much as possible — otherwise it will tear the country apart even more. I know that such an action is very difficult for today’s G.O.P., but the time is long past for it to rise to confront this crisis of American leadership.

Trump’s behavior has become so erratic, his lying so persistent, his willingness to fulfill the basic functions of the presidency — like reading briefing books, consulting government experts before making major changes and appointing a competent staff — so absent, his readiness to accommodate Russia and spurn allies so disturbing and his obsession with himself and his ego over all other considerations so consistent, two more years of him in office could pose a real threat to our nation. Vice President Mike Pence could not possibly be worse.

...

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

And, as our Machine Culture eliminates the last remaining vestiges of inequality, identity, individuality, race, ethnicity, language, sexuality & gender, we will soon count ourselves lucky if we are allowed to retain any humanity whatsoever.


"It's not a question of letting, Mister!"

Larry Hart said...

Now, Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

Larry Hart said...

...and God save the United States of America.

David Brin said...

Thomas Friedman finally gets that Trump is a liability. And yet, as usual, he's unrealistic: "I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment. It has to start with Republicans..."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/opinion/impeach-fire-president-trump.html

Give me a break. Only a few categories of republican would risk the wrath of the 25% of the nation who have been driven violently insane by Rupert Murdoch, who at MINIMUM will punish you in primaries, in gerrymandered districts where only partisan radicals matter. Only a few will risk the ire of the casino-moguls, carbon lords, mafiosi and kGB agents who own the party. Only a few aren't subject to blackmail. Of those few, some like Romney and Ryan have sugarplum fantasies of picking up all the pieces. That leaves a very thin population of Corker-Flake types who might be persuaded to put country first.

There are several end games for Donald Trump. (1) Cornered and becoming a liability to his masters, he resigns to become a martyr crisscrossing the country running rallies to rile up insurrection. (2) Refusing to resign, he is targeted for the "Howard Beale sanction" which would be a martyrdom far more useful to Putin/Adelson/Mercer/Mafia et. al. God bless the Secret Service.

(3) Impeachment? No. No, no. President Pence WANTS the world to end! He'd smooth talk the "deep state" back into obedience with the aim of ending everything.

(4) Cauterize and neutralize Trump. While poorly written, the 25th Amendment offers a way Pence could perform a soft coup that would still leave him unable to trigger his yearned-for apocalypse. Alas, for Pence to do this we are stuck with the Cabinet, and I doubt a majority of cabinet secretaries would vote to transfer power to him. But there is an alternative.

It would be worth a billion dollars - for the wall - to put forward a bill that lets Congress establish the "other body" provided for under the 25th amendment that can intervene - at VP request - to declare the President disabled.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Locum, you're crying that you are not uniquely irreplaceable and blame it on machine culture. That is not true. You are not uniquely irreplaceable because there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and just by numbers alone there will be plenty of other people who can do anything you do just as well, and many better, with the right training.

If you want to feel irreplaceable, you either have to dedicate yourself to something so hard, putting in gargantuan effort to become the best in the world and stay there, or go work for a small company, with 20 people or so, and get yourself into a position where only you do your job and then do it really well.

That has nothing to do with a machine culture, and everything to do with just how many of us there are. But that is nothing new. We have been past the point where most people could truly say they were unique or the nest in the world, or truly irreplaceable in most circumstances, for a very long time.

As for unique in inequality... People are still welcome to celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage, and that diversity is essential. Tactfullness in doing so is important, all around, but the only people truly pushing homogeony in the US are the racists on the right, who want to get rid of everyone who isn't straight and white like them. The left, especially the fringes, can get a little overzealous in demanding that everyone recognize their individuality or unique identity, but that's the opposite problem you're complaining about.

As for the notion of uniqueness through inequality... Are you really suggesting that inequal treatment under the law, inequal opportunities to make something of yourself, that these things are good? That, sorry, little Timmy, you were born into a poor household with an absent or abusive father and or a mother who struggles and tries but turns to drugs or alcohol to cope far too often, and you have to suffer a legal system that will negatively bias its responses to everything you do just because of your skin color or accent, on top of your poor person clothes. That's just your lot in life, and we don't dare do anything to help you out because we would be infringing upon your unique identity as a poor minority from a shitty household. Is that what you are really suggesting?

porohobot said...

\\But there is a simple word I've learned that describes these dreamy ingrates, who if civilization were no longer here to coddle them would NOT be top dogs, but almost certainly.... kibble.

Yeah, of course... but they'll have their 15 of fame.
Look at Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republiks.
Siria.
Somali.
Etc.

In due times when ALL is needed to be "top dog" is just AK-47 in your hands.
(and with such weapon friendly territory as US... it could be only easier, no?)

porohobot said...

>>Jon S. said...
\\I had been skimming porohobot, due to his (her? their? its?) difficulties with English. Now that porohobot stands revealed as a pure short-sighted hedonist uninterested in long-term survival of even the individual, much less the species, it's time to shroud here as well.

%))) You attribute ability to look on problem from different directions as "short-sighted hedonism"? %)))
Good to go... future are waiting for such "long-term thinking"...

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\detecting liars may have propelled female wariness and intelligence.

First and foremost result of female intelligence -- is wariness of childbearing.

I do not trying to imply nothing... its just... logical. (yeap... and factual)


>> Ilithi Dragon said...
\\Porohobot, I understand that there is a language barrier that makes effective communication more difficult, but if you're going to claim what I say (which was admittedly posted somewhat slapdash, from my phone), is jibberish, then please provide something more of substance as criticism.

I said "gibberish" not "jibberish".
From here https://dictionary.cambridge.org/...
gibberish
noun [ U ] US ​ /ˈdʒɪb·ə·rɪʃ/

confused or meaningless speech or writing:


And it was ONLY about LAST paragraph.

"""So, might makes right ultimately leads to altruism, because altruism is one of the greatest, higher-level survival strategies, and it is damned effective at increasing resources available and reducing what you need to spend them on, even when your resources are limited (and it can be argued that it is especially important then)."""

What "might leads to altruism"???
What "altruism is greatest strategy"???
What "effectiveness at increasing resources"???

It's all look more like political propaganda then scientifical approach to me. Yeah, that's my IMHO.

If it really was your geniune intention to talk like populist...
I beg for your forgiveness here.
I'm really not good with reading mood.
Especially in foreign language.
I beg my pardon for my intervening to your preaching to the choir. :(


\\And humanism is.a larger philosophy that is based on the fundamental principle of altruism.

Just show me definition of "altruism" (and humanism) you are using here.
Because what you are trying to say... contradicts to widely used one.

Duh... I think I see from where coming your claims...


\\Also, Porohobot, you asked me previously what I would do if "green men" had a gun to my family's head.

No. Not that. Strongly NO. Not so straightforward as "gun to my family's head".

What I was trying to ask -- its MORE ambivalent situation... like we have had it here, in Crimea.

Imagine like there be real Civil War 2.0... and your comrades from South states
suddenly became ensured that their duty toward Confederation is FAR greater then toward USA in general...

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

Locum, you're crying that you are not uniquely irreplaceable and blame it on machine culture. That is not true. You are not uniquely irreplaceable because there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and just by numbers alone there will be plenty of other people who can do anything you do just as well, and many better, with the right training.


There's an even better point than that. No one is uniquely irreplaceable because eventually, everyone grows old and dies. If an individual were uniquely irreplaceable, the human race would have disappeared long ago, once that unique individual went the way of all flesh. In fact (to overly anthropomorphize for emphasis), isn't the entire "point" of a species to be able to survive the loss of individuals?


If you want to feel irreplaceable, you either have to dedicate yourself to something so hard, putting in gargantuan effort to become the best in the world and stay there, or go work for a small company, with 20 people or so, and get yourself into a position where only you do your job and then do it really well.


Now you're getting closer to the point Kurt Vonnegut made so well in Player Piano (if not in everything he's ever written): While it is not possible to literally be irreplaceable, it sure seems to be an important element of humanity to feel irreplaceable. and that requires the context of a social group and mutual appreciation. I feel I could write an entire essay about this, but like you (Ilithi), I can't do it now. Not on Christmas morning when the only reason I'm awake is because I ate too much last night.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

Imagine like there be real Civil War 2.0... and your comrades from South states
suddenly became ensured that their duty toward Confederation is FAR greater then toward USA in general...


I'm not sure we have to imagine that. It's happening already.

porohobot said...

>> locumranch said...

\\We have become cogs in the WEIRD machine to such an extent that no human can think of him & herself as unique or irreplaceable, insomuch as every scientist, writer, worker, mother, welfare recipient, wiper, doctor or soldier can AND WILL be replaced
by any other similarly trained component...

You are dumb as log. %)))
Its sheer Power of Numbers.
Like with cheetahs.
In the end of last ice age period there was only handfull of cheetah specie.
And bottleneck of extinction passed ONLY ONE female cheetah.
ALL current cheetah come from that ONE.
ULTIMATE irreplaceability isn't it? %)

But same time look at countless zibras... if die even thousand... there still anoter thousand of them... so, what's your point?
Do you really want humans to became like that cheetah??? Again?!!!


\\So, what really makes 'the world a better place' is reciprocity rather than altruism.

Yeap. Cannot disagree.

porohobot said...

>>Larry Hart said...
//I'm not sure we have to imagine that. It's happening already.

My condolences then.

And... it means that I am not just another stupid rant... or mere troll... here.

Too little comfort in it... I'd better be stupid troll. %(((

porohobot said...

>> Alfred Differ said...
\\What we've had to learn to do to cope with cheat is track what we do well enough to support direct reciprocity.

Too bad... direct reciprocity... it's feodalism. ;) And mafia. And corruption in general.

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
//In fact (to overly anthropomorphize for emphasis), isn't the entire "point" of a species to be able to survive the loss of individuals?

Yeap... but we are biological beings only narrowly.
And more and more informational beings and individuality...
result of years and years of experience -- become more and more presious, am I right?

PS That IS the flow of discussion I'd like more...

Ilithi Dragon said...

Larry,

I think there's a lot of points we agree on that was discussed above, that is being missed due to limited ability for exposition and nuance at the moment.

Speaking of which, it's time for me to pack up and maybe go get breakfast with my little sister's in laws before heading back up to Maine. Merry Christmas everyone!

Mike Will said...

Each snowflake is (almost) irreplaceably unique (one of 10^36 permutations). However, 'snow' is a well understood and 'eternal' process. So much so that ice cores from hundreds of thousands of years ago can be retrieved and used to study climate change.

A human being is vastly more complex than a snowflake (insert jokes about Millennials here). A person, and by extension our entire species, is homeostatic. Individuals can be irreplaceably unique without causing the extinction of the gene pool, only its very gradual (glacial) change. This is called evolution.

This is why I find modern computation so compelling. It makes dimensional scales (including time) arbitrary. It enables astronomers and physicists to think like biologists. Consider what it might mean for psychohistory :) Asimov's death at the dawn of supercomputing is a tragedy on the level of Henry Moseley or Alan Turing.

porohobot said...

\\A person, and by extension our entire species, is homeostatic.

As a body -- is.
As a person... hardly.
Species? You did mean population, isn't it?
Population also not... it tends to be exponantial.
And only under pressure of external circumstances.

It not my words
""Population homeostasis. Population size is controlled by forces more subtle than mere survival of the fittest in the face of an ever-hostile environment. The mechanisms whereby control is effected among animal populations have only recently been explored.
Population homeostasis. - NCBI
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/653514""


\\Individuals can be irreplaceably unique without causing the extinction of the gene pool, only its very gradual (glacial) change. This is called evolution.

Its outdated information.
Modern evolutional theories see it a bit different.
Evo-devo for example...


\\Consider what it might mean for psychohistory :)

Do you know and what you think about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_theories

Mike Will said...


Its outdated information.
Do you know and what you think about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_theories



I'm outdated. I freely admit it. I even take some pride in it, in a Lynn Margulis sort of way. Conflict theory, social constructionism, Freud, Jung, Marx, etc, etc are all great fun. However, I'm a crusty old Feynmanian. I think that first principles should be the beginning of every discussion. Otherwise, the field becomes crowded with 'amateur mathists' as a favourite SF writer once said.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an elite academic. On the contrary, I think that ivory towers are monuments to the stupidity of their builders, to mangle Patton. Rather, I think that widespread (esp gov't) embrace of scientific literacy, hastened by robust citizen science, is the *only* way forward out of the ignorant, populist morass we find ourselves in.

"Self education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is."
- Isaac Asimov

porohobot said...

Mike Will,
thank you.

I didn't mean to criticize you. Just tried to check the common ground.

\\However, I'm a crusty old Feynmanian. I think that first principles should be the beginning of every discussion.

It's as Ist law or robotics for me... (yeah... but there is 0th too ;) )


\\I think that widespread (esp gov't) embrace of scientific literacy

It's sad to admit. But it easily can become mere repetitive chant of dogmas...
as in one (or not only one) sifi story I once read.

One of the question I count as most important today -- what is the way (algorithmical?) to distinguish that said literacy... and what more important -- geniune undestanding?

As for self-check. As for effective browsing of waterfalls of info...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Side note: Jim Anders thinks sending men to Mars is stupid. He does make the valid point that we need to keep working on the technology and other capabilities before it's really worth trying.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46364179

Zepp Jamieson said...

On loyalty to the confederacy, Larry Hart wrote: "I'm not sure we have to imagine that. It's happening already."

It manifests in all the morons who profess to love America but hate the United States. The ones loudly cheering the shut-down of the government right now as they wave their flags.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

A human being is vastly more complex than a snowflake (insert jokes about Republicans here).


I corrected your spelling. :)

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

It manifests in all the morons who profess to love America but hate the United States. The ones loudly cheering the shut-down of the government right now as they wave their flags.


Yeah, if only Colin Kaepernick were white, he could be their hero.

Alfred Differ said...

The Confederacy IS a type of America.
It is what we could have been, but are not.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone. 8)

Jon S. said...

I am unique and irreplaceable.

I am not, however, essential to the continuation of, well, pretty much anything. If I were to drop dead this afternoon, some people would mourn, but I'm not so important that my loss would even signify to the species at large.

If you can't feel "unique and irreplaceable" without also being essential, perhaps the problem needs to be better-defined.

locumranch said...


This level of denial would be humorous if not so sad.

In arguing that the US public would welcome the treasonous destroyers of a duly elected US president as LIBERATORS, David channels Dick Cheney.

Then, there's Ilithi_D who hopes against hope that diversity (meaning 'difference') may coexist with equality (meaning 'sameness'), even though equality is diversity's destroyer.

For, if one is replaceable, disposable or deplorable & all are equal, then all are equally disposable, replaceable & deplorable, insomuch as the endorsed destruction & demographic replacement of one identity group equals the endorsed demographic replacement & destruction of every identity group.

All metaphors being equal:

Göring is Gandhi, Monies are Speech, Governments are People, Women are Men, AIs are Humans, Guatemalans are Asians, and Muslims are Jews.

No wonder the world is going down the crapper.


Best
____

For saying that 'The Confederacy IS a type of America', shame on you, Alfred, for such imprecision of speech. A confederacy is a system of government, not a geographical area, and America is a geographical area, not a people, nor a system, nor a government.

Likewise, differences do not 'equal' similarities, up does not 'equal' down, slavery does not 'equal' freedom, and men do not 'equal' women.

David Brin said...

porohobot, while we are all having a bit of difficulty with your unusual grammar and syntax, you say interesting things and you are welcome here.

Your setting in Crimea is especially interesting and probably will be a topic, from time to time. Can you tell me if the Evpatoria radio telescope is back in operation?

Regarding the American Civil War, you might find these essays of mine interesting.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/02/past-keeping-faith-with-future-and-day.html
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html

I did glance at one of locum's dazzling efforts at oppositing all fact, desperate to use magical incantation to ward off reality. Which ironically illustrates my point below:

" A confederacy is a system of government, not a geographical area..."

So? THE "Confederacy" is a romantic cultural movement that extolls feudalism, noble or royal privilege, cynical rapacity, symbolism and magic-fetishism and devotion to a past golden age and apocalypse. (The reason why confederates have leaped to embrace former KGB raised-leninists who now extoll mafia rule and a return to Czars.)

It is why Cornwallis went south in 1778, knowing he'd find more tories and fewer patriots, and the fever breaks out again once per generation. It won minor phases in the 1850s, 1870s 1920s and 1980s but the major phases were won by the pragmatic-scientific, grownup, optimistic side of American nature that dimly perceives the possibility of a future golden age worth striving for.

If we lose this current, major phase, America is done for and all human hopes. And ironically, that explicitly and exactly is what they want.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

A confederacy is a system of government, not a geographical area, and America is a geographical area, not a people, nor a system, nor a government.


And you have no idea how much allusion and metaphor play a part in human communication.


No wonder the world is going down the crapper.


And Merry freakin' Christmas to you too. Jeez, it must suck to be you. Which it should.

Mike Will said...

porohobot: "repetitive chant of dogmas"

Very true. Science can be presented as fashionable, even idiological at times. That's one of the reasons why Dawkins, Krauss, deGrasse Tyson, Nye, and others must tread carefully. Becoming media stars and gurus is ultimately self-defeating. Sticking to evidence and scientific inference is bloody difficult. I've been at it for many years, and I've only just reached the foothills of knowledge as the Greeks put it.

Naming things or collecting vast data warehouses is very different from understanding. We're not collecting butterflies.

“Do not refer to your toy-books, and say you have seen that before. Answer me rather, if I ask you, have you understood it before?”
- Michael Faraday

Twominds said...

I just came home from Christmas Day at my father's, and afterwards at my brother's. We had a very good day. We made a fabulous lunch, and when my father got tired, we went to my brothers' house to have some more fun together, clock forgotten.

Merry Christmas or Happy Seasons to all of you who still have a bit left.

(We celebrate two days, tomorrow is for the inlaws. I expect another good day.)

Anonymous said...

The Confederacy IS a type of America.
It is what we could have been, but are not.


Well, some of you are not. From reading the news up here, it looks like there's still a solid number of proud Confederates in your population.

Zepp Jamieson said...

That's Locumranch for you. Canada and the CSA must be the same thing because both had/have confederate forms of government. The original articles of confederation that preceded the constitution were a dismal failure and the Constitution was devised in order to prevent the new country from disintegrating. It's a pity the "states rights" crowd never read that era of American history.
There was a 2004 mockumentary called CSA by one Kevin Willmott. It was a dark humour alternate history in which the south won the civil war. It shows that whatever the confederacy was, it was NOT the Union. Ironically, Canada becomes more federalist in order to prevent invasions by the CSA, who hate Canada for harbouring renegade slaves.

Zepp Jamieson said...

You a Canuck, anonymous?

David Brin said...

Hey anonymous Canadian! There is a way you lot can save the world. SURRENDER!!

Join the U.S. We'd get 8 new blue states and one purple. Our civil war would end. We'd pass sensible laws and reform away all our cheating. and then...

...and then one night we'll look the other way and you lot can quietly slip away...

....so long as you take South Carolina with you. And Florida. Your summer getaways.

Admit it. You know that would save the world and humanity's future. It's in your hands.

David Brin said...

I meant winter getaways.... you get the picture.

porohobot said...

Locum
you are most fun %)

Ok. I'll add yet one grain of funny solt to make your path into marxist asylum faster.

Do YOU know what Greatest Equalizer is out there? ;) It's... drumbeat... Money.

When previous noble society tryed to impose their values.
Based on rightfull inequality.
It occur that here is poor nobles and there is rich burgeois (and that is natural).
And natural human desire to be rich... overpowered need to stay "noble"... %P quite effectively.

Alfred Differ said...

Anonymous | They are definitely among us. That's why the civil war continues. We haven't shot each other in a while over it, but the fight continues. They aren't numerous enough to win, though. They aren't even numerous enough to have enough babies to win in the future.

locumranch | You are either being stupid or willfully combatant. Not interested in either case. Most everyone got that I was talking about culture and The Lost Cause.

As for duly elected presidents, I'm no longer convinced our current President was duly elected. I'm currently inclined to believe there was significant criminal activity intended to get him elected and that is sufficient to undermine the legitimacy of the election... as soon as the evidence is formally delivered. Whether it is the special prosecutor or the House matters little to me at this point because I'm already inclined to believe.

Strictly by the Constitution, the election is valid because it is the Electors who do the deed. Valid and legitimate are not the same thing, though. Far from it.

I'm not going to fret about it for a few days, though. The new Congress arrives soon. Until then, I don't feel a need to do anything dramatic. There is pumpkin pie to be eaten and family with whom I can enjoy the next few days. They are grouching about politics openly lately (kinda unusual), but not in disagreement. Easy enough to just smile and appreciate them.

Everyone | Have a happy new year. I'll drop by occasionally for the next couple weeks, but kin have precedence... and pumpkin pie. 8)

porohobot said...

>> Mike Will said...
\\This is why I find modern computation so compelling. It makes dimensional scales (including time) arbitrary. It enables astronomers and physicists to think like biologists. Consider what it might mean for psychohistory :)

As for the psychohistory... current technology (and social life)
gives its own answer.
We cannot fulfill Asimov's prophecy directly. He clevarly set prerequisites for it in myriads of human worlds. To devoid it from rule of probability theory.

But today... we have world of online gaming.
Where... if someone would be wise enough to set such goal.
(like CIA ;) isn't they'd like to know *science* of overthrowing regimes)
Can make simulations of such myriads of the worlds (with actual people taking roles in it).
And collect information (called bigdata and ML datasets today) and test on them necessary hypotheses.
That what S.Lem called experimental culturegenesis. (see, I also have my favorites ;))

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

As for duly elected presidents, I'm no longer convinced our current President was duly elected. I'm currently inclined to believe there was significant criminal activity intended to get him elected and that is sufficient to undermine the legitimacy of the election... as soon as the evidence is formally delivered. Whether it is the special prosecutor or the House matters little to me at this point because I'm already inclined to believe.

Strictly by the Constitution, the election is valid because it is the Electors who do the deed. Valid and legitimate are not the same thing, though. Far from it.


Best Christmas Ever!

:)

Anonymous said...

Zepp: Yep, Canadian.

David: NFW, as the kids say. Your left-wing party is a bit to the right of our right-wing party. Not to mention the whole "one dollar, one vote" you folks have. Ford is bad enough on his own — the thought of him having more financial and political support is truly terrifying.

Mike Will said...

Up here they say that Ford's brother was Trump's inspiration. Everything's a scam. It's a total disgrace. Oh, and Merry Christmas. Um, good luck to both of us.

I enjoy it when some suggest (politely of course) that we build a wall and make the US pay for it.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

I enjoy it when some suggest (politely of course) that we build a wall and make the US pay for it.


I've wondered if that would be a thing up there. :)

The way to make us pay for it, of course, is to convince Trump that the wall is meant to prevent you people from coming down here.

Mike Will said...

LH:
Might not be that hard. Wasn't long ago that Larry and Wilbur were calling us evil back stabbers...

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Zepp: Yep, Canadian."
Ottawa, me. Living in states now, California.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Join the U.S. We'd get 8 new blue states and one purple. Our civil war would end. We'd pass sensible laws and reform away all our cheating. and then...

...and then one night we'll look the other way and you lot can quietly slip away... "

Hmmm. I remember the CFL expansion. When it flopped, Canada was supposed to keep Baltimore and Sacramento. Didn't happen.

I've often said that Canada is the US without the South.

I had one of those 'You'll be speaking {German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Esperanto} if it weren't for us' morons demand, "Where do you think Canada would be without the United States?"
I wrote back, "Further south."

Alfred Differ said...

Sacramento had an expansion football team?! I lived in Sacramento for years. Never heard of it. Whoever was responsible for the marketing might have run off with the money after doing nothing. 8)

Canadians already DO come here. At my previous job, one of my contractor/competitors was Canadian. Nice guy. We chatted about the pros and cons of universal health coverage and the origins of some US nuttiness. He went back home eventually and I started buying medical supplies directly to bypass my insurer.

Considering how few Canadians there are (California alone outnumbers them last I checked), I'd give them free pass to do as they please here. We might accidentally learn something.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | Thought you might like that. I'm saying much the same thing to my relatives too, but emphasizing the requirement that the evidence be presented formally. When it is, I want them to see that it might be more about justice than politics.

locumranch said...


@ porohobot:

You are also much fun, though I resist the path into marxist asylum, mostly because the Soviet constitutional argument for Equality was as false & delusional as it was beautiful & intoxicating.

Instead, I support Meritocratic Inequality in all things, despite the West's inability (due to moral relativism, perhaps) to define what the term 'Merit' means.

Likewise, I resist the West's illogical descent into a type of Equality Politics that seeks to eliminate AND celebrate individualism & identity group difference (aka 'diversity') in a simultaneous fashion.

Question: How can cultural, moral, racial, ethnic, gender & intellectual differences be both Good & Bad for some (but not others) without an unequal double, treble or multiplex standard?

Answer: They cannot.

This is just one of many Inherent Contradictions that most of the very intelligent participants on this site seem incapable of recognizing...

Like a belief in liberal democracy that hates on the Trumpian consequences of liberal democracy, OR the simultaneous acceptance & rejection of Federal Rule when it suits their inconsistent interests.


Best

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I had one of those 'You'll be speaking {German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Esperanto} if it weren't for us' morons ...


At least he didn't say French. :)

BTW, before I knew my wife, I fell in love with pretty much every Canadian woman I ever met.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

@Larry | Thought you might like that. I'm saying much the same thing to my relatives too, but emphasizing the requirement that the evidence be presented formally.


I know, but I'm gratified that you mentioned being personally convinced and requiring a formal presentation more for the benefit of those who aren't convinced yet. I was there before you were, but I wasn't wrong. You were just more stubborn. :)


When it is, I want them to see that it might be more about justice than politics.


And that's why I agreed with the Thomas Friedman column I posted a few days ago--it can't be a case of just Democrats removing Trump, no matter how justified, because that will inevitably be perceived as political. It's gonna have to be Republicans who decide to save themselves--and us--from Trump, or else go down with him.

porohobot said...

\\I've often said that Canada is the US without the South.

Quite the same as we have here. "What is Ukraine? What is UA without the Big Mather(fucking) Rusha???".

Some answer just the same -- "Russia without oil"... but yeap, WITH South. %)

Who knows, maybe it was REAL reason of Crimea occupaton. %)))

Morons ARE just the same all around the globe. Thank you, captain Zepp. ;)



\\Instead, I support Meritocratic Inequality in all things, despite the West's inability (due to moral relativism, perhaps) to define what the term 'Merit' means.

Its obvious, Locum, Money. You'd hardly find other such sustainable etalon.

And that etalon says that all people are equal before him.
Like when you buying tickets to the stadium... it could be ticket for 120 kg fat-ass, or for a 5 years old niece. Its one sit for one person. And... for the same money. ;)


\\Likewise, I resist the West's illogical descent into a type of Equality Politics...

Only if you can honestly answer -- why it's so illogical? ;)


\\This is just one of many Inherent Contradictions that most of the very intelligent participants on this site seem incapable of recognizing...

If you'd be marxist. And rightly developed one to boot.
(yet again, stupid Google gives only handfull of result for it, damn... ah, screw it %))))
You'd know the ever ready answer to ZAT queston -- dialectica.


\\Like a belief in liberal democracy that hates on the Trumpian consequences of liberal democracy, OR the simultaneous acceptance & rejection of Federal Rule when it suits their inconsistent interests.

Locum. Revelation of Truth was opened to you. I see it clearly and for sure.
But. You was blind and half-deaf, so, what you are remembering and what you understand of it... are blurred and distorted.
So... there is no wisdom in your words. %(

Tony Fisk said...

Still here, if a little muted. I have been following along and dropping the occasional brief remark. Easy to miss when skimming.

Lorraine said...

Wait, Russia and Turkey are allies? For some reason I thought they were enemies. Obviously I don't know my pachyderms nearly well enough.

Larry Hart said...

@Lorraine,

Well, Israel and Iran are enemies, but obviously the Transitive Property doesn't necessarily apply.

David Brin said...

It's not Russia and Turkey, Lorraine. It is the Russian Mafia allying with the Turkish one to help bring an end to Law on Earth.

" Israel and Iran are enemies" Yes and bizarrely Iran's rise is pushing the Saudis to discuss alliance with Israel, when the Saudis concocted the Palestinian calamity in the first place.

Ayman Fadel said...

"While conducting low-cost reduction missions on ISIS, they were primarily protecting the Kurdish majority of NE Syria... the only Muslim people on Earth who love us."

I'm not sure what you mean by "low-cost." Certainly the military deployments in Iraq and Syria to fight Daesh, which emerged as a result of the USA invasion & occupation of Iraq and its support for despotic regimes elsewhere & the Zionist settler-colonialist ethnic-cleansing project in Palestine, costs more than installing new water pipes in Flint, Michigan, but somehow we can't find the money to do that.

Is it "low-cost" to the civilians in places like Mosul and Raqqa, where Amnesty International has documented a horrifying death toll as a result of coalition bombings?

Many Kurds do the love the United States because they see it as a potential ally to realize their aspirations to an independent state. Is that a worthwhile goal for the USA? Successive administrations have decided it is not, and the USA only uses these aspirations when it seeks to weaken an enemy, such as the Iranian or Iraqi governments.

Many more Muslim peoples around the world would view the USA favorably if it ceased supporting repressive regimes and invading and occupying other nations. Muslims peoples don't seem to have a problem with Mexicans or Japanese or other non-imperialist nations.

David Brin said...

Your thoughts are welcome Mr. Fadel. And if you followed past postings, you'd know what I think of the Bushes, especially Bush Sr who betrayed tha Ma'dan shiite peoples of southern Iraq.

But:

1) The Wikileaks exposure of 300,000 secret State Department cables showed that US diplomats sincerely hated having to deal with despots like Mubarak and tried endlessly to persuade the ruling classes to let go. While the US has made many, many horrible mistake, your stereotype is simply wrong.

2) The Palestinians were oppressed at least as much by the Saudis, who got all Arab nations to agree to a rule in 1948 not to let any Palestinians re-settle in any Arab land. Never in history have a people been told "you cannot move elsewhere and start over, even to buy a home in nations that speak the same language and have the same religion.

I do not object to enemies of Israel pointing out Israeli flaws. What is absurd is spending 70 years ignoring the crimes of your own side.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

porohobot said...

>> Ayman Fadel said...
\\where Amnesty International has documented a horrifying death toll as a result of coalition bombings?

Only ONE question -- and how do you look on results of bombing of RFias/Russia? and facilitated by RFia Assad using of chemical weapon?

Or you are just seeing it from RT(RussiaToday) -- that is you source of "all truthes of the world"? %)


PS Word aside... I myself know that Amnesty International ARE quite gullible.
As it was here in Ukraine, when RFia used them to be "witnesses" of "horrible crimes of Bendera Nazi-colaborator loving fashistic Hunta punishers... and blah-blah-blah".

Ayman Fadel said...

Porohobot, what does "RFia" mean?

I've relied on Amnesty International and a website called airwars.org for information on the (anti-Daesh) Coalition's activities.

Airwars estimates 7,316–11,637 civilian deaths from US-led Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria. https://airwars.org/conflict/coalition-in-iraq-and-syria/

Kumi Naidoo. Syria: While Raqqa’s dead are buried in mass graves, US-led coalition buries its head in the sand. October 22, 2018.

Walking around, I saw how entire city blocks had been levelled by Coalition air and artillery strikes aimed at ousting the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS). Supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the ground, US, UK and French forces carried out thousands of air strikes. US military officials boasted about lobbing 30,000 artillery rounds into the city – the most fired by a US battalion anywhere since the Vietnam War.

It is hard to convey how grim and ghostly parts of the city are. Raqqa’s central old city is now a shell of bombed-out buildings. Apartment blocks have been smashed to smithereens, with many now resembling collapsed layer cakes. Schools are struggling to reopen. Young children play with remnants of war, while some scavenge for scrap metal in the rubble to help feed their families.

Imagine a city the size of Pittsburgh lying 80% destroyed, with a displaced population slowly returning. This is not the vision of “liberation” that the US-led Coalition promotes. And small wonder – they don’t want the world to know how little they are doing to help the residents coming home to the most destroyed city of modern times. It is scandalous that the Coalition allowed IS fighters, with their heavy weaponry and families, to leave Raqqa but similar care was not taken to protect innocent civilians.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/10/syria-while-raqqas-dead-are-buried-in-mass-graves-us-led-coalition-buries-its-head-in-the-sand/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/11/syria-thousands-of-digital-activists-to-track-how-us-led-air-strikes-destroyed-raqqa/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/10/syria-a-year-after-raqqa-us-led-coalitions-ongoing-denials-an-insult-to-survivors/

My point in this is to challenge David Brin's claim that the USA intervention in Syria, which apparently he favors continuing, was "low cost."

Do you have evidence that Amnesty International's reporting on these matters is flawed? Or do you simply claim that Amnesty International in general is biased?

I do realize that the Russian military, the Syrian Arab Army (the government), its allied militias and many rebel factions also killed many civilians in Syria. I just don't see a need for my country, the USA, to participate in the killing.

I do watch Redacted Tonight and On Contact with Chris Hedges on Russia Today, but, aside from those programs' general anti-militarism stances, I don't recall segments on the anti-Daesh Coalition.

porohobot said...

\\Porohobot, what does "RFia" mean?

Russian Federation, what else?

\\I've relied on Amnesty International and a website called airwars.org for information on the (anti-Daesh) Coalition's activities.

I already stated why I cannot believe AI footages so much...
they are gullable and have their own political agenda.



\\This is not the vision of “liberation” that the US-led Coalition promotes.

Of course.
But what else you want?

Ground operation? Foot soldiers checking building by building.
With tenth of thousand of deathes among them. Because of boobytraps and so on.

Or maybe Syria given to DAESH??? Which perspectives of giving to it all Middle East?

There is no place for therapy... when all that can help is surgery.


\\Do you have evidence that Amnesty International's reporting on these matters is flawed?

I seen it in their reports about Donbass... where they take as granted claims some man in green uniform "it's what ukrainian hunta doing". Yeap-yeap.

They allowed to come to Donbass by RFia. They was going from place to place while leaded by RFia militaries. And they write what RFia wants from them.
Is it a problem? %) No, not a problem. %)))


\\Or do you simply claim that Amnesty International in general is biased?

First of all -- they are NOT specialists.
They do not doing investigation. (it can be seen in their own reports -- where they do not distinguish death from shelling from death from building colapsed)

And they are not correct with information and its sources -- because its up to their agenda -- to show more corpses.


\\I just don't see a need for my country, the USA, to participate in the killing.

Its sad.
But this world is not one where mantra "evil, be gone of my" would be enough for anything.
Or you forgot 9/11 already?


And. I need to share that grain of wisdom with you.
After that as our host posted his "onward!" -- most of the commenters are going into newer posts to comment.
And old one check only bots (like me, yeah %)))