Saturday, December 29, 2018

Your right to see, under attack!


The most important advance in civil liberties in this century so far, in the U.S. and by extension the western world, was in 2013 when the Obama Administration and then five U.S. district courts ruled that citizens have a powerful right to record the actions of officials - especially police - in public. No interaction with authority is more needful of accountability than at the level of the street. Moreover, a citizenry who are accustomed to that right will apply sousveillance also upward, as I have long held and as I describe in The Transparent Society and in EARTH

Now the U.S. Eighth District Court in Missouri has declared the exact opposite, allowing cops to seize or break your camera or arrest you, even when you are clearly not interfering. This case will go to the Supreme Court, and we are on notice. No electoral defeat can harm us as much as this, if upheld. Historians will see it as a turning point, toward Orwellian nightmare or revolution.

Read the article and note that the lawyers arguing for this right base it on the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Using the 2nd in this context is clever! Because indeed, the "arms" that most benefit the citizenry nowadays are - indeed - cameras, the new Great Equalizer. But I have long maintained all the ACLU attorneys etc are missing something terribly important. 

This right is most-fundamentally protected by the Sixth Amendment! 

The under-rated and almost never-mentioned and utterly vital Sixth! The one that guarantees citizens a right to demand and command access to exculpatory witnesses and evidence that can prove their innocence of an accused crime.  And what could fill this need better than video proof of your story? Why isn’t this obvious?

I'm putting out an alert! This really matters. The rising world oligarchy does not want citizens embedded with an impudent, core-level assumption of a right to look at elites. 

And here's how you can help.

== Stand up for the opposite. For freedom ==

Remember Lawrence Lessig? He tried to make election corruption and finance reform a major issue during the 2016 US campaigns. You know that I urge all citizens to join at least ten NGOs that suit your own notions of what needs doing. I rate Larry’s Equal Citizens as one of the more important ones. Now he and colleagues launch an experiment—a podcast series called “Another Way” — designed to give the listeners a chance to reflect and think, and view our culture as a way to progress. You can subscribe to the podcast, and get the first episode to get a thoughtful and thought-provoking perspective. 

Did you join your own ten chosen NGOs, where for a small membership you get others to fight to save the world for you, in whichever mix of priorities you want? Not yet? Do five before New Years and you'll be glad.

As for you millionaires out there, there are loads of ideas for ways that you might help make things much better!

Here's one that some of you have seen before. It would transform the world.

== Let the usual cleanup of henchmen commence ==

And so it begins, accidental death of no-longer-convenient loyal servants and enforcers, as the leaders of mafia clans prove once again they expect loyalty to flow in just one direction. 

Calling all Henchmen! 
Indeed Some mere millionaire could change the world more than the Gates Foundation, by simply offering what I call a “Henchman’s Prize,” luring out of the shadows some flunky who could then bring a wretched conspiracy crashing down.

My proposal for a "Henchman's Prize" goes back two decades — a million dollars plus a new identity for whoever blows the whistle — with full evidence — on the "worst" concealed plot or scheme that year! I suspect nothing would be more cost-efficient at helping poor nations eliminate corrupt kleptocracies and convert to a diamond-shaped social pattern... or help developed nations maintain their healthy accountability systems. (See: The Transparent Society. See also Witness.org.) 

“A permanent office might be created, outside the justice or intelligence communities, that will confidentially and securely advise any person, in America or around the world, who may be thinking about revealing information about bad activities, including those that are illegal or harmful to the people, or that impair the effective operation of justice, democracy, or fair markets. According to each individual's needs, the informant may be steered toward intelligence or law-enforcement services, or toward open source networks, or even toward mass media. Judiciously, some varying types of protection and/or rewards would be made available to brave whistleblowers. Yes, this one will confuse some people. But I hope it will percolate in the minds of some.” See other political suggestions.

And yes, I have repeatedly called upon folks to pass this suggestion, especially, to the new president of Mexico, who could use it to rip the guts out of endemic corruption and set an example to transform the world.

== And finally... get ready for bad stuff ==

 I cannot emphasize enough that a critical mass of Americans must view the 1969 Costa-Gravas film “Z.” Academy Award winner, though you must endure subtitles. It’s based on the true story of the Greek coup that ended democracy in its birthplace, though it also seems startlingly pertinent to the Mueller investigation. Above all, the last five minutes of the film has an M. Night Shyamalan twist that carries a savage bite and warning. 

Only in our case, it’s not the military to be feared. But a world mafia.



104 comments:

Daniel Duffy said...

We've tried libertarianism before.

It was called "feudalism".

David Brin said...

While I rage at these guys that they have let their movement be turned into a shill for feudalism... that is NOT the central meaning, just as the gruesome-horrid-evil Book of Revelation is a betrayal of the teachings of Jesus.

Just because 90% of the members of of movement have been satanically suborned into handing it over to the enemies of what it should stand for... that doesn't mean there's not still a thing of value, buried beneath.

Mike Will said...

Missouri - the show me state.

Larry Hart said...

In theory, libertarianism would be the diametric opposite of feudalism--advocating for individual liberties against the control (through applications of force and fraud) by aristocrats.

The problem is the clever suborning of the concept into advocating for the freedom and liberty of the aristocrats, which turns libertarianism into a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

It's similar to the way in which "religious liberty" no longer means the freedom to worship without compulsion, and instead now refers to the freedom of religious institutions to compel.

Larry Hart said...

The link to the Eighth Circuit story didn't work (for me, anyway). Here's a corrected version:

https://krcgtv.com/news/local/eighth-circuit-citizens-do-not-have-a-right-to-film-public-officials-in-public

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

All have the central goal of permanent feudalism. See another variant in THE HANDMAID'S TALE.


I can't say any more without a massive spoiler, but if you've read the entire book, there's irony in that particular allusion.

TheMadLibrarian said...

James Randi (aka The Amazing Randi, a professional magician) had something like your 'Henchman's Prize', where he offered a million dollars to anyone who could produce proof under double blind laboratory conditions of actual psychic abilities. Most so-called psychics have never applied, but they freely badmouth the JREF prize as being a sucker bet because no one has ever won. More likely, they know that they would have a difficult time cheating when people are on the committee who very well know about all the sleight of hand and social engineering that normally convinces marks of 'real' paranormal abilities.

Ilithi Dragon said...

It strikes me that mafia types are people who aren't just cheating and gaming the system, they think that cheating and gaming the system is right and okay for them to do, even if they recognize that it's cheating and unfair.

An interesting question is who is worse, the above mentioned, or those who aren't just cheating and gaming the system, and don't just think that it is right and okay for them to do, but also don't understand or recognize it as cheating?



Also, on a completely different note, I wrote a thing! Well, I've written a lot of things, that I've never finished, and some that I've unfortunately lost the notes on, but this one I actually posted publicly! And I'm committing to posting episodes semi-regularly until I reach the end.

Preview post on the main HFY subreddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/comments/aat0y0/oc_to_touch_the_stars_episode_1/

Direct link to ArkMuse (because Reddit's updated user agreement sucks balls):
https://arkmuse.org/threads/to-touch-the-stars-episode-1.385/

Doug said...

One effect this decision will have, if it's upheld, is to drive filming underground. As cameras get smaller and smaller, people will no longer have to hold up a visible camera to film public officials. The tiny camera on their glasses or the equally tiny one masquerading as a button on their shirt, jacket, or coat will capture the actions of public officials and stream them to the cloud. The public officials in question won't even know they've been filmed until it appears on the evening news.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\"So. Putin is NOT mafia. Putin is (wanna be) fascist."

I really dislike political brawls in Internet. Where all just shouting their political slogans. And where impossible to come to understanding.

So... can I pull here such trick? To try to make our discussion more structured, more rational?
Like scientifical one.
Where both sides declare their statements as hypothesis.
And then proposing arguments and criticizing with contre-arguments.


My hypothesis >>> Putin like and trying to build up in his country regime with definite fascism traits.

First. I mean NOT nazism, not like in Godwin's rule... Putin lack of many important traits like definite ideology of rasism... but more general nacional-socialism, fascism is here.

My arguments.

1. Gut feeling. (I need to mention it) I am closer to it, and able to feel more clearly -- how it look like.

2. Media and propaganda.
Definite nationalism and "uber ales" propaganda INSIDE RFia.
With showing off militarism.
Political agenda which throws off economic thinking.
In favor of "Great National Tasks".
Isn't it the same as we seen in other fascistic countries...
like Mussolini in Italy
(I think it's closest analog of Putin today)

3. Direct historical analogies:
Putin's Munich speech -- too close to Hitler's texts,
Ukraine and Georgia -- look much like Austria Anschluss and Sudeten Annexation,
Versailles Peace -- Putin's "greatest historical catastrophe",
and last but not least -- revanchism, clearly seen in all his deeds.

4. Structure of economy.
Militarism oriented. Beneficial to biggest bisinesses.
Government spending tons of money on Great Wonder Projects, like Olympiad in Sochi... oh, that one also definite historical analog... of Hitlers Olympiad.

5. Maybe something else...


I assume your hypothesis and your arguments is "Putin is mafioso"

\\Nonsense. The two are very, very closely affiliated.

Can you provide logical base for it?

As for me:
mafia -- is underground and criminal only organization

fascism -- it's legitimate government... has no need to be neither underground nor lawless.


\\Both emphasize tribal identity.

Propaganda of "national unity" is tribal?
That's TOO BIG tribe... as for me.


\\Both murder all opposition.

What mean "opposition" toward mafia?


\\Both have utter contempt for any concept of accountability to law.

No. Fascism propaganda all about "law-abiding citizen". Propaganda of "ordnung". War against crime (it's another question of what will be called "crime").

\\Fascism has a bit more of a political tone, in that seizing the powers of the state is primary, followed by destruction of foreign enemies.

What "foreign enemies" any mafia could ever have?


\\A mafia is the same,

I don't see logical evidences of this statement. Are you?


\\There is a reason why "mafia" is a more general term.

As for me... mafia is quite narrow and special term.
Only about criminal organizations.
And even there, it about ONE SPECIAL kind of it.

\\ANd if you read DAY OF THE OPRICHNIK you can see why that is Putin's long term aim, as well.

It's obvious. "DAY OF THE OPRICHNIK" written by russian. And they till today and maybe will always be frightened of that thought "Russia -- fascistic? No-no-no, it could not be. We could be ONLY ones who always fight and defeat fascism."

porhobot said...

>>Larry Hart said...
\\Interesting way of looking at it. Also (in my opinion) futile,

Exactly!!!

\\because the "good" parts of Naziism seem more incidental to the philosophy--things that could be done under many different forms of government--while the bad parts (oppression/killing of "inferiors" and defeat in war) are necessary corollaries to Naziism itself. The dehumanization and scapegoating of "others" is an essential component of the form, and one which inevitably unites all "others" against the reich as a matter of survival.

Yes.
It's definitive and distinct trait of THIZ "strong government" ideology.
And one who follow it with hope
"I'll just use it for a little, for a good reason,
and will not allow it to swallow me" is one who fool himself.

porohobot said...

>> Ilithi Dragon said...
\\An interesting question is who is worse, the above mentioned, or those who aren't just cheating and gaming the system, and don't just think that it is right and okay for them to do, but also don't understand or recognize it as cheating?

Great, Dragon.

I'll take it as GOOD distinction trait -- for separation "mafia" and "fascists".

Putin is NOT Al Pacino... in films, who always know he is a gangster. He sees himself as "man of Right, Enlightment and Liberation... equal only to Gandhi, maybe"(sic).


>> Doug said...
\\The public officials in question won't even know they've been filmed until it appears on the evening news.

Officials in RFia/Russia ALREADY have such laws -- Law of Oblivion for examlpe.
Which allow them to prosecute and delete "unwanted materials" from Inet.
And evening news are ALL under government control.

And... that what Putin trying to tempt western oficials... or so it looks like.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin sayeth: "Just because 90% of the members of of movement have been satanically suborned into handing it over to the enemies of what it should stand for... that doesn't mean there's not still a thing of value, buried beneath."

I can't resist noting that a lot of ideological purists said the same thing about Communism in the wake of the 1930s purges, when it became clear that it repressed, rather than exalted, workers.

porohobot said...

\\I can't resist noting that a lot of ideological purists said the same thing about Communism...

You said it instead of me. %)

So I'll just add this quote into the fire.

"And who? I ask you... did write 4 millions of denunciation latters" (c)

Bob Neinast said...

I'm afraid you've been misled by a grossly inaccurate news story.

First, I note that this story is from July of 2017.

Next, the case really isn't really about a right to record. I recommend the following reaction by a real attorneym "When the Media makes the People Dumber":

https://lawfortworth.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/when-the-media-makes-people-dumber-akins-v-knight-eighth-circuit/



My former mean-ass editor at Fault Lines, Scott Greenfield, used to tell all of us that we had a duty not to make people dumber when we wrote articles as part of the media. So when I saw the first comments on Akins v. Knight, et al.,* on the various media sites claiming that the Eighth Circuit ruled that there was no First Amendment right to film police officers in public, I was concerned. Then I read the opinion, and the order of the District Court. Imagine my surprise when I found that neither document said anything of the sort.



Pricket also notes:



Only that’s not the case. Akins was arrested for marijuana, for carrying a concealed handgun, for carrying a butterfly (switchblade) knife, for driving with a revoked license, and for outstanding warrants. He was never arrested for filming the police, and the District Court order notes that the Chief of Police advised his officers that Akins had the right to film them in public. Every arrest was for a criminal offense unrelated to filming police and was supported by probable cause.



You can see the Court of Appeals ruling here:

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca8/16-3555/16-3555-2017-07-25.html

Or, go to Google Scholar, limit the cases to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (and its lesser courts), and look for "Akins v. Knight". You'll find a whole slew of opinions as Akins works really hard at being an asshole-litigator, making all sorts of stupid motions to disqualify the judge for ridiculous reasons, etc. I read most of the rulings (at the Circuit Court level) and there is no there there.

porohobot said...

Thank you Bob.

Mike Will said...

Too little debate can lead to echo (or worse) chambers. Too much debate can lead to loss of identity (we are just evolved apes after all). Each person on the planet needs to turn off and tune out for an hour, find a bit of solitude, and pick a side: mafia or science.

I suspect that the majority here have already done that long ago.

porogobot said...

\\Each person on the planet needs to turn off and tune out for an hour, find a bit of solitude, and pick a side: mafia or science.

Sorry. But it's a fallacy False dilemma

Mike Will said...

porohobot: "it's a fallacy [False dilemman]"

No, it would only be one if mafia or science were the only possible two choices. I didn't claim that. They are in fact the only two political choices in modern times. You can choose to be follower of Zeus if you want. That's kind of what we faught all those wars since the Reformation over.

On a related logic question porohobot: in the previous discussion, you mentioned "double bind". Was that a simple misspelling of "double blind" or not? If not, it gets into the whole crux of cybernetics, which is a long personal story I didn't get into (not to mention Stanislaw Lem).

cheers, craving pierogis :)

porohobot said...

\\No, it would only be one if ...

I will not brawl with you about this one.
Let's just agree to disagree here.

\\On a related logic question porohobot: in the previous discussion, you mentioned "double bind". Was that a simple misspelling of "double blind" or not?

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


\\If not, it gets into the whole crux of cybernetics, which is a long personal story I didn't get into (not to mention Stanislaw Lem).

I shall not ask further. Only if you want to tell it yourself...

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

Each person on the planet needs to turn off and tune out for an hour, find a bit of solitude, and pick a side: mafia or science.


porohobot:

Sorry. But it's a fallacy


Well, I think I see what Mike was getting at. One chooses either to believe in facts, evidence, and consistency, or to believe whatever Big Brother asserts at any given moment. Who are you going to believe, Trump or your lying eyes?

Mike Will said...

porohobot: "I shall not ask further. Only if you want to tell it yourself..."

Probably best left in the past. It was the most astonishing example of serendipity I've ever seen, a simple typo in one of her scientific papers...

More publicly, this is why I often say that modern AI has gone astray. Go back to Lem, Planck, and even Ampère (who coined the word cybernétiques, much as I admired Norbert Wiener [now there was a brilliant, scientific Missourian]). To them, anthropomorphization was a dirty 20-letter word. We need to work on understanding true, general machine intelligence, if and when it arrives. All this deep learning / big data bafflegab is silly. It build vast multinational (and Chinese) economic empires, but it gets us no closer to AGI. How a robot handles a double bind is essentially how it will become intelligent and not just a super data processor. I see competing agents as the path forward, not simply building bigger and bigger heaps of transistors. Intelligence has arisen only once that we know of, and there was no intelligent design involved.

SETI needs to spend less time sifting signals and more time pondering the question of what to actually look for.

I found this article about game theory and blind-blind techniques interesting
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/70811/
(scroll down to 'Massive Optical Search' post. Direct links to Forbes have caused me strife on Reddit and sullied the good name of Bruce Dorminey)

porohobot said...

It's Classic!

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lenski_affair

It's priceless. %)


\\We need to work on understanding true, general machine intelligence, if and when it arrives.

While we don't understand even human intelligence... what it is?


\\All this deep learning / big data bafflegab is silly.

It's inevitable.


\\It build vast multinational (and Chinese) economic empires, but it gets us no closer to AGI.

It pours money and increases attention... what more one could hope?


\\How a robot handles a double bind is essentially how it will become intelligent and not just a super data processor. I see competing agents as the path forward, not simply building bigger and bigger heaps of transistors. Intelligence has arisen only once that we know of, and there was no intelligent design involved.

My two points here. As so it come to this.

1. Intelligance itself -- it's continuing process of Evolution

2. As evolutionary process it depend ,hard(if not wholeonly), from environment.

3. One can derive consequences here... I'd be glad to see it, online. %) (as it's a point of my BIG interest)

David Brin said...

porohobot you are communicating better. Now please work a bit on spelling.

You are making good contributions to argument. I ask that you only post twice per day.

Mafias and fascism share far more traits than you seem willing to admit. Fascism is what a mafia wears when it tries to do politics. If it succeeds for three generations, it becomes royalty.

porohobot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Mafias and fascism share far more traits than you seem willing to admit. Fascism is what a mafia wears when it tries to do politics. If it succeeds for three generations, it becomes royalty.

It means you are follower of theory of a state as "stationary bandit"?

I take it.

But... there not only that theory and it was not definitely proved (as to my narrow knowledge).

Anyway, I will not continue to show my doubts about it... as I see you do not want discuss it.


\\I ask that you only post twice per day.

Ok. That comment therefore is last for today. :(
I know myself... I overdoing it.
It's just too good to talk with decent people for once. (instead of vatniks %(( )

TCB said...

I like to quote Robert Anton Wilson on libertarianism. He told an interviewer: "I'm not that kind of libertarian, really. I don't hate poor people." His peak years of writing were the late 1960's through 1990's and the flavor of libertarianism I encountered back then was a bit different, a bit more wholesome. The Wilson viewpoint was more common.

Now it's hard to find a self-labeled libertarian who is not wildly hypocritical and far-right corporatist and perfectly content to see the police beat down BLM or DAPL protesters as long as he can smoke his weed in peace, is outraged at environmental regulations but doesn't mind seeing regulations used to target abortion providers...

...And there will always be some libertarian in the comment thread who gets soooo offended and accuses me of straw-manning libertarians...

But no. Most of these clowns wanna be Rand Paul, and Rand Paul is just another Republican ring-kisser who will help Benedict Donald sell America down the river for those sweet aristocrat tax cuts.

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

His peak years of writing were the late 1960's through 1990's and the flavor of libertarianism I encountered back then was a bit different, a bit more wholesome. The Wilson viewpoint was more common.


I used to think of myself as a libertarian, and I thought that concept was more 1960s-hippie than fascist. The implication of the term (to me) was individual liberty, free from coercion, as a default, with restrictions only to mediate between individuals when conflict needed to be resolved.


Now it's hard to find a self-labeled libertarian who is not wildly hypocritical and far-right corporatist and perfectly content to see the police beat down BLM or DAPL protesters as long as he can smoke his weed in peace,...


Because it's shifted from "individual liberty, free from coercion" to "liberty for those who practice coercion." That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

locumranch said...

Systems that confiscate wealth from labour & gift said wealth to an arbitrary elite for redistribution are indistinguishable except for nomenclature, as in the case of (1) Feudalism which names it elite 'Aristocrats', (2) Technocracy which names it elite 'Bureaucrats' or 'Technocrats', or (3) Marxism which names it elite 'Party Members'.

All are same-same in everything but name; all despise Libertarianism, Republicanism, Democracy & Populism with equal ferocity; all reserve 'Elite Status' for themselves & their immediate peers; and, as exemplified by Larry, David & Pohorobot, all are wannabe Feudalists who would demand obedience, deference & fealty from an ignorant and deplorable plebeian class.

Transparency, along with permission to surveil the Ruling Class, means nothing in & of itself:

(1) Canada has already ruled that video documentation of sexual consent is no longer legally admissible as exculpatory evidence in sexual assault proceeding;

(2) France has already ruled that the results of genetic paternity tests are no longer legally admissible as exculpatory evidence in the legal determination of paternity; and

(3) The US Supreme Court has yet to rule about the legal admissibility of exculpatory video sousveillance and/or surveillance.

Soon, very soon, I expect exculpatory video to be declared 'legally inadmissible' by a Legal System that cares more about semantics than actual evidence.


Best

Duncan Cairncross said...

"free from coercion" to "liberty for those who practice coercion"

Which is EXACTLY the way that Religious freedom has always been interpreted

The Pilgrims moved from Britain to Holland where they were not persecuted - but where they could not persecute others - which was no good so they left for somewhere where they could persecute to their hearts content


After reading the Fascist Manifesto I have always thought of Fascism as a theocracy where the "State" is "God" and the "Leader" a cross between a high priest and a prophet

The progression from a "Mafia" where the organisation is much more important than any individual and the leaders have absolute power to a fascist state does seem actually to be a "sensible" progression

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

as exemplified by Larry, ..., all are wannabe Feudalists who would demand obedience, deference & fealty from an ignorant and deplorable plebeian class.


Well, you answer to your name, so it must be plain.

Larry Hart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

"free from coercion" to "liberty for those who practice coercion"

Which is EXACTLY the way that Religious freedom has always been interpreted


Not by Thomas Jefferson and the boys. (credit Norman Goldman for that expression)

David Brin said...

Hold your horses! Just as an experiment, I read a locum posting and it appears he's taken vitamins! Sure, his assertions are nearly all opposite-to-fact garbage. But he makes a few that, if true, would be genuine news and worrisome. And hence, fellah, kindly provide LINKS to your assertions 1&2 about Canada and France! Seriously, I am curious and openminded and always interested in genuinely supported, fact-based complaints about the officiously bullying left-fringe.

Only note that you have almost-zero credibility and we all know 96% of the time are a jibbering loon. But links.


==
No porohobot, not all states are mafias or fascists or thieves. I truly am at a loss that you fail to see the overlaps between ruthless, murdering, leader-centered, family-centered, romantic, hate-drenched and accountability-suppressing fascism vs. n ruthless, murdering, leader-centered, family-centered, romantic, hate-drenched and accountability-suppressing mafias. Fascists engage a little more in the surfaces of "politics." That's pretty much it.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Sure, his assertions are nearly all opposite-to-fact garbage...


Well, I didn't get past the part where he insists that I--by name--demand obedience and fealty from his kind. He, who constantly threatens us with the consequences of failing to recognize and bow to his superiority accuses me, who has never threatened anything except in the way that a student of Newton's Laws "threatens" him by explaining that reality isn't what he hopes it is.


But he makes a few that, if true, would be genuine news and worrisome.


Fortunately, the chances of "if true" are negligible.

TCB said...

Did I ever do my car-mechanic parable in this forum?

It goes a little like this...

Let's say a man lives in Florida and accepts a job in San Diego for a several months. He decides to buy a car and drive there. He buys a used Toyota, built in Japan, and drives it across the country. Soon after he arrives in California, the engine starts running poorly and he takes the car to a garage. The mechanic tells him it needs a tune-up with new spark plugs. While the tune-up is being done, his doctor in Florida calls to tell him he should take a statin for cholesterol, and he arranges for the doctor to fax a prescription to a San Diego pharmacy, which they fill.

Now notice what's happened here: A car built on the other side of the planet needs parts and a mechanic can get the right ones. A doctor can order up a drug (made in Switzerland, maybe) and that, too is the right one. We have standards and shared definitions: the car factory, the parts factory, the local garage, all agree what a spark plug is, and which one this car gets. They all agree it must have a certain screw thread on it, must be x millimeters wide... they agree what a millimeter is. The doctor, the pharmacist, and the Swiss factory all agree what a cholesterol molecule is. There is no fuzz whatsoever in their shared definition.

In politics (and religion!) definitions are squishy, fuzzy, vaporous and slithery. They can expand or contract or even become their own opposites.

This is how even well-meaning people can talk past each other: what one person labels a fascist, another calls mafia. One says Sweden is socialist, and another says No, it's a mixed economy. When I was a kid, reform meant changing laws for the better; now, reform is just as likely to be the very opposite...

Because in car repair, in medicine, in physics and mathematics and in so many other knowledge professions, clear and immutable definitions are one of the base requirements for getting any work done.

In professions where social control and power are the real goal, definitions often change when doing so will gain power or social control for the one changing the definitions.

I'm not saying this is something we can simply fix; even insisting that people learn the 'proper' textbook definitions of political terms is itself a political act with an intended goal... it just happens to be the goal the friends of an open society prefer. At the very least, it would help if more people were aware of the definition problem, instead of blithely assuming they already know what they mean when they say a word.

Mike Will said...

If only there was some mathematical way of describing psychology and sociology...

David Brin said...

TCB interesting metaphor analogy! But... but what happens to the guy! You had us all tense and suspensed and you drop the story there???? ;-) Sorry. I am a novelist. ;-)

Though one who channeled Hari Seldon and knows a bit of psychohistory....

porohobot said...

>> Mike Will said...
\\If only there was some mathematical way of describing psychology and sociology...

There is.
There is wide area of research of social dynanics, theory of conflict which math backed by game theory, theory of catastrophes and so on.

But yes... it all lack experimental evidences... because of singular nature of human society.

I see a way to overcome it -- only with simulations of society in game-like or even online massive multiplayer environments...

But... as for any research in our dull mortal world, it need some proficient investor. Who will see merit in such R&D efforts... and as the matter of fact, I see it only some intelligence service agencies who could be that "proficient investor" (sic).


>> David Brin said...
\\TCB interesting metaphor analogy! But... but what happens to the guy! You had us all tense and suspensed and you drop the story there???? ;-) Sorry. I am a novelist. ;-)

It's epoch of post-modernism. So I'll provide several endings you can choose from it yourself.

Traditional ending: He will grow old, stay living in his big old house, seldomly visited by children and grandchildren. Then he'll die. And will be buryed in a coffine... from african oak from... a-a, China... with swiss loops from... a-a, China... with tombstone from... USA, but 3D-printed on printer from... yeah, you bet, China. ;)

Singularity ending: He'll become engaged in or stayed as bystander of next (and next, and next) tech revolution.
Then some of it create Supa Strong und Supa Dupa Friendly AI.
Which then evolve up to god-like powers and upload all human kin, engaged and bystanders, into Matrix. %)
And then Neo... but it's a whole different story. ;)

Post-app ending: Huh... that one not interesting. All died. Most of us fast. Few after lo... not so long way of struggle.

Believer's ending: blah-blah-blah... but then, all become "Hallelujah", Horns of Heaven and saint Peter or... (any other pastoral post-death picture here). And then All Eternity Spa Resort. %))

Scientist's ending: There be Thermal Death of the Universe, then Last Proton Decay, then space-time fabric itself become too thin, then... then... then... %)

\\I truly am at a loss that you fail to see the overlaps

I just prefer scientifically accurate definitions. And as Mike Will said -- derived from first principles, to boot...


>> locumranch said...
//... & Pohorobot, all are wannabe Feudalists who would demand obedience, deference & fealty from an ignorant and deplorable plebeian class.

Locum, are you wearing your tin foil hat? Because I, in addition to seeking of feudalistic power over people, also do practice mind (and body, bu-ga-ga!) control over great distancies... %)))

Seriously.
I have a bad news for you. You'll die. After tens of years or more, depends on your age and health.
And there will nothing remains of you... even this stupid rants of yours.
(well, no, they'll remain, on some backup tapes in vast archives of endless datacenter, but who cares)
If it O.K. with you, if it's all you can think off -- it's not a problem.
But some people... you know,
are trying hard to have something more meaningful in their lives.
To build something big. To understand something big.
Create some future... for other living beings... or, hopefully (more like hopeless though), to himself too.
Though there is TOO MUCH obstacles. Too much fools and malicious idiots.
And too few opportunities...

You ARE no fun, Carl!

Anonymous said...

TCB:
People can be several things at once. For example; a democrat can be a surgeon; socialist; reverendo of some church and musician. Similarly, a follower of Donald Trump may be a Nazi, a member of the Kuklux klan; a fascist; an arms dealer and member of Skull and Bones. That is to say. Humans can be many things at the same time. The combinations in each individual are very different and vary from the most sinister evil to the sweetest kindness. However, it is the most relevant acts that define our personality. Everyone decides to be what they are through actions. And, although self-deception is a refined art in the evil ones, deep down, those who are evil know that they are evil, and they enjoy being evil.

Anonymous said...

Upss. I forgot to sign the previous message ...
Remember the movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Well, that's how this Christmas happened to me. A relative embarked me on a project that did not interest me; which I solved well. Later, I started to investigate certain policy data on the internet, and a mysterious virus (again) paralyzed and made rare changes in my computer. I had to get another antivirus and debug programs.
The elections to elect mayor, were canceled by irregularities. They went back to perform; In Christmas! Obviously, with the intention that nobody attended (only returned to vote 30% of voters) And put signs in many boxes warning that the box would not open. The signs had the seal of federal electoral Institute, but they were false and some boxes were relocated at the last moment, without warning. In addition, the PAN Nazis decided to send their brown shirts to insult in the polling places; which came out to the Nazis as a shot, because they were betrayed by PRI politicians, who usually make an alliance with the PAN to share corruption, and the PRI declared itself the winner. (Both cheated, but it was supposed to be the turn of the PAN to get the mayoralty, not because they voted for them, but because both parties usually take turns.) Ha ha ha haaaa. to those of the PAN, Jaaaa ja.Thief who steals thief has a hundred years of forgiveness (says the saying).
 Later, a tooth decay under a dental bridge made its appearance, which caused total bridge replacement. Then, finally, everything in peace. I saw a chocolate taffy, and, of course, how to avoid a chocolate taffy. So I chewed the taffy and a filling came off; causing that a new trip to the dentist.
Then, a relative arrived on his last day of flu and sneezed everywhere. The next day, he was fine and everyone here with a cold. The low temperature of blow to four degrees of day.
But it was a beautiful and beautiful Christmas; in family and that is what matters. ¡Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Winter7

yana said...


David Brin thought: "the gruesome-horrid-evil Book of Revelation is a betrayal of the teachings of Jesus."

Eh, not as much as one would think. Thank Bayes for the damned useful techniques, and each new bit of data helps with context for other data we've had for up to 1900 years. The more we learn, the more Revelations sounds like the historical Jesus. And all the more, as we learn more, the 4 cannonical gospels seem to be the sanitized and softened versions, disseminated by what you might call the feudal elite du jour.

TCB said...

Dr. Brin asked: TCB interesting metaphor analogy! But... but what happens to the guy! You had us all tense and suspensed and you drop the story there????

What happens is that is car runs properly and his cholesterol drug doesn't kill him, because he's dealing with experts in their fields who agree on all the relevant standards. Also, the technology progresses because the information is saved and methods improved in light of known standards.

Also, if mechanics and doctors screw up they can be sued or even jailed.

In politics, there's real experts, charlatans and everything in between, using nonstandard terms and very often arguing in circles. Lessons are as likely lost as learned. What a lesson means now may not be how people understand it in a century, because history gets rewritten, nomenclature gets altered and arguments can go in circles for decades. Politicians can lie and screw up and get people killed over and over and over. Only in the most extreme malpractices can they sometimes be sued or jailed. It's a clusterfudge.

TCB said...

Oh, an addition: bad mechanics and doctors can lose their professional credentials. In politics, that's not really applicable, and how could it be?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

TCB interesting metaphor analogy! But... but what happens to the guy! You had us all tense and suspensed and you drop the story there????


Reminds me of that Simpsons episode with the origin of Poochy.


"But when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?!!"

Larry Hart said...

Reassurance from Lindsay Graham. Now I can sleep better. /sarcasm


@LindseyGrahamSC
Replying to @LindseyGrahamSC @realDonaldTrump
The President will make sure any withdrawal from Syria will be done in a fashion to ensure:

1) ISIS is permanently destroyed.

2) Iran doesn’t fill in the back end, and

3) our Kurdish allies are protected.

Mike Will said...

Gosh Americans are an enigma. The Ultima Thule flyby happens tomorrow 6+ light hours away, as the horrific clown show continues in DC. A heartfelt and loving WTF.

locumranch said...


The Ultima Thule flyby is 'old hat' for those of us who are familiar with Commander John Grimes, an A. Bertram Chandler reference, but quite impressive for a degenerate culture that prioritises toaster pastries & imaginary genders over space exploration.

Also, commendations to Poho-Roboto for his gallows humor, as he offers up a 'Memento Mori' while imaging that those who are about to die have something that they cannot afford to lose, a truly hilarious assertion as we all share the same fate.

Happy New Year to All and, to All, a Long Night.


Best

David Brin said...

Blah blah. You are still completely loco, a sourpuss hallucinator-strawmanner. But I can tell when you are on vitamins. Welcome back to squinting distance. That figure you are screaming at... a mirror. May the next year improve for you...

and for all the saner rest of you, too.

Larry Hart said...

Yeah, may 2019 be the year that fascism dies, to thunderous applause!

Happy New Year, all (for some of you, it's already 2019, right?)

Ilithi Dragon said...

Unfortunately, Larry, the only way things like Fascism die quickly is if you wipe the species out.

Fascism WILL die, if we can keep moving forward, but it will be the slow, dwindling death of old age and decrepitcy, and there will be a great many people who work desperately to keep it alive on life-support.

I just hope to live long enough to see it flatline, or if I have kids, that they do (though I do have every intention of living forever).

The important trick after that, then, is going to be instilling enough memory of past lessons in future generations and cultures to prevent it from being re-born.

locumranch said...

For the record, (1) Yes, I am a sourpuss, and (2) Ultima Thule and 'The Long Night' are cartographic references from the 'Rim World' series, authored by A. Bertram Chandler, the inspired creator of 'Spartan Planet' where they speak English but call it 'Greek', much in the same way our fine host spouts socialism but identifies as 'libertarian'.

Canada makes video documentation of sexual consent illegal:

Bill C-51, section 278.92(1) states that "no record relating to a complainant that is in the possession or control of the accused -- and which the accused intends to adduce --shall be admitted in evidence in any proceedings in respect to any of the following offences..."

http://nationalmagazine.ca/Blog/November-2017/Well-intended-Bill-C-51.aspx

France bans genetic paternity tests:

https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070719&idArticle=LEGIARTI000024325278&dateTexte=20130207


Best

David Brin said...

Some vitamins. Almost remotely sane-sounding.

1) The Canadian law deserves criticism. Its purpose is to reduce the likelihood of coerced "permission" or altered evidence. It goes too far and is liberal over-reach, which I have always said exists, and would best be countered by a sane conservatism that (alas) is now completely extinct.
But the solution is simple. If you want to use a meticulous permission agreement, send it to a third party before the sexual act.

2) the link for the French law is inadequate and leads me to no useful portion or explanation or discussion. Do the research and I'll look.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Pre-consent video documentation is nice, but only does so much.

The fundamental flaw with pre-consent videos is that they cannot even touch the possibility that consent may be revoked after it is initially given, even part-way through the act, which both parties have every right to do, and that is not given as much attention as engaging in acts with no consent given at all.

Larry Hart said...

Well, it's 2019 in Chicago. At my age, I barely stayed awake for that, so you Californians are on your own.

To all, a good night.

David Brin said...

Ilithi, yes. But that does not stop jury members from making that distinction. And many of them will.

===
Separately, I read every word of your story-vignette and found it moving. You have a fairly strong grasp of some skills that take beginners a long time, like point of view and conversation and pacing. There are some beginner habits I could tell you about, if you email me separately. But I want to encourage you to keep at it. Good prospects.

I had not heard of xenFora. Is it a writers' critique site like Critters?

My standard essay of advice for new writers (which I'm sure you've already read) is at http://www.davidbrin.com/advice.htm

In a parallel world, I got my writing start in a nuke-officer's billet on a Los Angeles class. I wonder what those stories would have been like...

porohobot said...

>>locumranch said...
//degenerate culture that prioritises toaster pastries & imaginary genders over space exploration.

Damnation works... only if it hits the right target -- real and bleeding vulnerable place.

//as we all share the same fate.

At least you understand something. %) That means you are not the lost cause yet.


So... maybe you'd be so kind. And will think off and show to us a plan... even if 1,2,3...PROFIT!-like
of how do you plan to fight against so numerous and so mighty... feudalists? %)))


>> David Brin said...
//That figure you are screaming at... a mirror. May the next year improve for you...

There is saying here -- how you meet new year, it's how you'll spend it all.

So... naah. Not happen. %)

\\2) the link for the French law is inadequate and leads me to no useful portion or explanation or discussion. Do the research and I'll look.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-logic-behind-France-banning-paternity-tests
Google rules!

Looks quirky... but it look at it from different POV cautious. And I witness it -- it's really as it is here, in East Europe. We in Ukraine have law to not allow to travel abroad to divorced fathers who do not pay to support their children. For example.

That exactly what we need parliamentarians for. To think about such things.


>>Ilithi Dragon said...
\\(though I do have every intention of living forever).

I'll drink for that! %) There is no meaning in your life... if you don't set an ambitious goals. ;)

And also... I would be glad to discuss possible ways of how to achieve ZAT goal.

Cheers!


>>TCB said...
\\Oh, an addition: bad mechanics and doctors can lose their professional credentials. In politics, that's not really applicable, and how could it be?

Power of Numbers.
There is lots of mechanics and doctors, so evolutionary process of sifting is working much better on them.

While for POTUS... there was only little bunch of them.

That's why we need so big and costly event to choose them.

porohobot said...

>>Ilithi Dragon said...
\\(though I do have every intention of living forever).

How to achieve it?

In our time of sciences and technologies... it's no-brainer question.

Basic answer -- you need to keep 100 billion of cells of Your brain. Somehow.

But we already have that researches that show that we can safely place neuron
on separate electronic chip... and make signal between neurons go by wires... much faster then natural way even.

And we know there is stem cells, and know how to make them become neurons... so there is no problem with spare parts.

All that is remains as question -- it's how carefully take each neuron of a live brain, and place it on chip, and keep the wiring correct.

For now... you'd need billion of super-qualified neurosurgeons with tiniest instruments for that.

Looks hopeless?

But we already resolved similar problem -- from time when even ONE transistor was masterpiece only few of researchers in the world could make
to waffers with billions of transistors we can bake now without breaking a sweat.

So.

It's interesting for me... why still there no sifi author,
who'd make it a plot device for his novel... and showed such possibility for his readers... as Wern did in early days? Your opinion?

Deuxglass said...

I would like to point out that there is a big difference between fascism and mafiaism in that one has an ideology and the other does not. Mafias just want to be obeyed and don’t care what you think or believe as long as you do what they want. Fascists, whether they be Nazis or Communists, want you not only to obey them but also to worship them. That is why they act through a party who not only coerces but indoctrinates as well. The mafia says “hand over your money”. Fascists of the left or right say “hand over your money and give me your soul”.

As an aside Dr. Brin, I am sure you have read John Maudin’s last “Thoughts from the Frontline”. The fact that he believes in the Fourth Turning and recommended reading “The Myth of Capitalism” in the same letter leads me to conclude that many of the people he talks to, his deep contacts, now know something has gone dramatically wrong with economic and political systems.

Anonymous said...

Ilithi Dragon: The fundamental flaw with pre-consent videos is that they cannot even touch the possibility that consent may be revoked

I've just finished reading Laura Kipnis' book Unwanted Advances, in which I learned that under Title IX investigations consent may be revoked after the event. (Not to mention rules and restrictions applied retroactively — one can be sanctioned for something that was OK a decade ago when it happened, but is against regulations now.)

It seems that defending yourself is expensive, and even if you win you will lose (money, grants, job).

A New Yorker article here:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/laura-kipniss-endless-trial-by-title-ix

Mike Will said...

"there is a big difference between fascism and mafiaism"

Perhaps. Or maybe it's just a matter of scale. Fascist regimes look a lot like mafias at the start (often little more than a local gang of thugs), and mafias look more and more like fascist states as they grow and become organized and bureaucratic. The doctrine is a gilded shell on the ignorant, simple, brutal core that remains.

locumranch said...


The insidious thing about the new French & Canadian Laws is that they deny reality -- they void the very existence of exculpatory evidence by declaring it legally inadmissible -- which means that these nations prefer official (but false) narratives to data, fact & actuality.

Ergo, the State can convict anyone of anything, simply by rendering the legal process immune to fact, insomuch as Canadian, French & American citizens can & have been convicted on hearsay alone because exculpatory emails, texts, documents, videos, photos & tests are declared legally 'inadmissible'.

Transparency as a panacea is an idealistic pipe-dream because 'None are so deaf as those that will not hear (and) None are so blind as those that will not see', unless we MAKE THEM SEE , bringing us back to Civil War Part 2 & 3.


Best

David Brin said...

Ignoring the drivel boldface screech, the 1st two paragraphs were argued as if on vitamins. Indeed, these "laws" illustrate a paternalistic approach to reform that is overly meddlesome and above-all distrustful of the good judgement of juries. With some cause, since juries tend to do the politically incorrect thing and apply sliding scales to consent.

Don't be shocked that I see a point in something locumranch said. I have always avowed that the extreme left edge contains some bullies who care more about sanctimony and dogma than about pragmatic progress. Extreme. Contains. Some.

That's a far cry from the state of today's right (including locum). The ENTIRE right. Consists. Entirely. of raving treasonous loonies.

David Brin said...

Baloney. Mafias are huge into religion and ritual. When they are about to or have taken over a state, they formalize the rituals to help half the masses rationalize beating up the other half in the name of sanctity and the state.

Carumba! Putin orders gangland hits on opponents. So does MBS. There's a diff?

Deuxglass said...

Neither Putin nor MBS has an ideology behind them. The fact that MBS is Muslim and that Putin is Orthodox (perhaps, who knows?) has no impact on how they operate. They are mere mafia bosses and use force to carry out their wishes. On the other hand Lenin and Hitler based their power on first gaining the "hearts and minds" of enough people to their sides and then using them to repress dissident. You don't see firelight rallies of masses of people shouting Putin or MBS's names. Neither one has written little red books or their biographies setting out what is Truth and that are studied by eager acolytes. Putin and MBS's subjects just keep their heads down and hope the Don doesn't look their way and that is as far as it goes. These two systems have been extensively studied and no expert I have heard of ever puts them in the same bag. To fight them you don't use the same methods.

David Brin said...

I have no idea how Deuxglass did that. Assert something so utterly and diametrically opposite to fact. Putin pumps his cult of personality across Russia, plus nostalgia for czars. MBS couches every single thing as Koran justified.

Deuxglass said...

I did not expect to see such contempt in your response. I guess you don't want me here.

David Brin said...

What a pile, Deuxglass. You are welcome here. And you know damned well... have always known ... that we have and need thick skins here. Seriously, you want an apology? Over THAT?

Fine then. I apologize.

locumranch said...


I feel like the villain from Galaxy Quest, explaining things as I would to a child:

We get 'Law & Order' when we formalize 'Religion & Ritual' because Law & Ritual are one & the same, insomuch as commandments like 'Thou Shall Not Murder, Steal or Bear False Witness' are religion-specific precepts.

The Mafia is a Criminal Organization that operates by a specific set of formalized rules; the State is a (sometimes) Legitimate Organization that operates by a specific set of formalized rules; and one organization is much like any other organization.

All organizations demand rule obedience and all organizations punish rule violators. Legitimate organizations do this and Criminal organizations do this, the penalty for rule disobedience being fines, imprisonment, expulsion or death.

David & Deuxglass engage in Moral Relativism by quibbling over the relative legitimacy of one organization as compared to another organization.

It all boils down to personal preference.


Best

David Brin said...

locum is waaaaaaay over there in lalaland explaining drivel to a "child" that is a mirror. We've all seen this in sci fi flicks. It is creepy then. Kinda creepy now.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Don't be shocked that I see a point in something locumranch said. I have always avowed that the extreme left edge contains some bullies who care more about sanctimony and dogma than about pragmatic progress. Extreme. Contains. Some.


A stopped clock can be right twice a day. The problem with loc isn't that everything is a lie, but that the lies are so frequent and blatant that his saying a true thing doesn't merit the follow-up to check it out and verify it. The signal-to-noise ratio is way too low for that.

I agree with you that laws making reality inadmissible as evidence are a problem. Loc presumes that such things just spread and get worse over time, whereas I tend to see that sort of thing as eventually succumbing to the inevitably ridiculous circumstances they create for themselves. Can my wife, for instance, having stayed married to me for 22 years, drag me into court and accuse me of rape on a particular night, claiming that although she consented to sex, she withdraws that consent after the fact? A few high profile cases like that, especially one with the genders reversed, and such laws would be laughed out of court.

The French thing about DNA testing looks (from my POV) to go too far, but they're approaching the issue from a different angle. It's not so much about denying a father's right to know whether a child is biologically his as it is about the idea that an individual's DNA is his/her private property, and that the father has no right to steal it in order to have it tested. That too will eventually fall once the notion that any sort of information about a person is somehow private property becomes absurd in practice.

Not to mention that laws passed in Canada and France hardly reflect badly on Americans. I realize that to many on the right, we're all just one big lump of liberalism, in favor of the most extreme lefty nannyism, even as we're also told how the Democrats can't agree on a unified message under which to challenge Cheetolini.

Mike Will said...

"we have and need thick skins here"


Just in case anyone's trepidatious about attacking me, go right ahead. I lost the ability to speak for several years (stroke, ok now). The only thing worse than being criticized, or even trolled, is being ignored. Cassandra's curse was the most fearsome (maybe next to Prometheus's).

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Putin pumps his cult of personality across Russia, plus nostalgia for czars. MBS couches every single thing as Koran justified.


I'm not clear what you're arguing with Deuxglass about. MBS justifies what he does as being sanctioned by the Koran, not because it's about him being the fount from which truth and justice spring. If MBS were (for example) arguing that it's ok for him to violate the Koran because he is more important than it is, then I think D. would be on your side of the argument.

You might be on firmer ground with Putin engaging in a cult of personality, but that position is not backed up when you invoke czar-worship. That makes it more about the lost glory of Mother Russia than about him personally.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

I feel like the villain ...


Heh.


We get 'Law & Order' when we formalize 'Religion & Ritual' because Law & Ritual are one & the same, insomuch as commandments like 'Thou Shall Not Murder, Steal or Bear False Witness' are religion-specific precepts.


You picked three of the most secular Commandments to use as examples. I'd argue that those commandments were subsumed into religious law rather than emanating from religious precepts. Almost any society or religion is going to have those restrictions in one form or another. Whereas "No graven images", or "Remember the sabbath day", or (leaving The Ten behind) abstinence from pork are specifically religious. They're things that the faithful are supposed to do, not things that the infidels are condemned over. Jews don't expect gentiles to pass up bacon, but we do insist that gentiles not murder or steal from us.


and one organization is much like any other organization.


This is self-evidently not true. Even to you. If it were true, then there'd be no difference between rural Red-State conservatives and the blue-urban progressives you're always whining about. No difference between Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians. If you miss a payment to your cable company or to the local mafia, the consequences are identical, right?

Larry Hart said...

A NY Times editorial tells us what we already know:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/opinion/trump-evangelicals-cyrus-king.html

...

I have attended dozens of Christian nationalist conferences and events over the past two years. And while I have heard plenty of comments casting doubt on the more questionable aspects of Mr. Trump’s character, the gist of the proceedings almost always comes down to the belief that he is a miracle sent straight from heaven to bring the nation back to the Lord. I have also learned that resistance to Mr. Trump is tantamount to resistance to God.

This isn’t the religious right we thought we knew. The Christian nationalist movement today is authoritarian, paranoid and patriarchal at its core. They aren’t fighting a culture war. They’re making a direct attack on democracy itself.

They want it all. And in Mr. Trump, they have found a man who does not merely serve their cause, but also satisfies their craving for a certain kind of political leadership.

Smurphs said...

Dear Deuxglass:

The last thing our host needs is my assistance to defend himself, but...

Putin hardly needs bonfires or little red books when he has effective control of the entire media apparatus.

Larry Hart said...

I wonder...

Is my signature on a contract inadmissible because I might have changed my mind after I signed it?

David Brin said...

Actually, the pendulum swing from "there is no such thing as marriage rape" to "a wife can withdraw permission even the instant before final thrust" is clearly one where we see that, despite its many flaws, the jury system has real merit. Their tendency to apply sliding scale "reasonableness" may not be fully PC in any given year... it took several years to overcome juries' reluctance to 2nd guess cops on the street, though they are doing it now... but it does needle-shift with time. And they will throw a book at an estranged husband who attacks his ex before the divorce papers are final. OTOH, if a decent husband is taken utterly by surprise at the last instant... I don't know how the jury would ever see such evidence, but they probably won't throw the whole book.

David Brin said...

Interesting argument on Quora... And do we know locumranch's name, now? Look at patterns of speech. (I had ways, anyway.)
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-logic-behind-France-banning-paternity-tests

Clearly this is stupid, based upon society's need to ensure children have support, but ignoring any sense of equity or deterrence. Paternity disproof should partially release a cuckolded husband. Partially, though. After all, as Jim Carrey said in MASK: "YOU married her."

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Actually, the pendulum swing from "there is no such thing as marriage rape" to "a wife can withdraw permission even the instant before final thrust" is clearly one where we see that, despite its many flaws, the jury system has real merit.


That debate changed what "rape" is. Formerly, rape was a property crime against the woman's husband (or father if she was unmarried) akin to "theft of services". In that context, marital rape was a nonsensical concept, analogous to picking one's own pocket.

When rape began to be perceived more as a crime of assault upon the woman, it became possible to talk about rape within the context of marriage. It did take time to get past the notion that she already consented when she said "I do", but at least the notion of consent is part of the discussion now, not simply the notion of ownership.

I have no issue with charging a husband who assaults his wife against her wishes at the given moment. I do take issue with the idea that anyone (married or not) can ex-post facto withdraw consent that was freely given.


Clearly this [French DNA law] is stupid, based upon society's need to ensure children have support, but ignoring any sense of equity or deterrence. Paternity disproof should partially release a cuckolded husband.


I agree with the point loc is making here. What I don't agree with is that the stupidity is permanent. It will undermine itself and get sorted out over time.


Partially, though. After all, as Jim Carrey said in MASK: "YOU married her."


Yeah, but what if the husband retracts his marriage vows after the fact? I snark, but that's the kind of thing that will make nonsensical laws eventually go away. All it takes is for some enterprising lawyer to have a financial incentive to point out the nonsense in open court.

Ilithi Dragon said...

So, an example of how the left's "always side with the [alleged] victim!" policy can be bad, which is at the heart of what's being discussed with the post-hoc revocation of consent. Not going to share the details, because they're not mine to share, and the divorce hasn't quite been finalized, but I can relate the basics.

One of the guys I work with is going through a nasty divorce. They never should have been married in the first place, but that happens a lot, especially in the military. He figured that out a while ago, and has just been waiting for an excuse to get a divorce, but didn't want to initiate it himself because he wasn't keen on the hassle, and it could leave him exposed to paying alimony, etc.

Over the summer, they had an argument, and she suggested a divorce (I'm pretty sure she did so as an attempt to scare him into cooperating with her, not realizing that he'd been looking for an excuse for a while). He agreed to the idea, so they started working through the process. They tried to keep it civil and amicable, but that didn't work out.

Cause she crazy. Certifiable, in fact. Like, supposed to be on medication but self-medicates instead. He was dumb, and didn't move out immediately, and eventually they had an argument, and she called the cops, claiming he assaulted her. He was arrested on domestic violence charges, out on bail, etc.

This also severely impacted his ability to do his job, because it prohibited him from touching guns, standing an armed watch, and doing other things related to his job.

NCIS did their own investigation, and concluded that she had no grounds for her charges, and that he had grounds to file charges (though he opted not to). She also did a number of things to torpedo her own case, and it's been largely resolved, minus a final hearing (which I understand to mostly be a formality), in his favor, but he still spent months not able to live in his own house, spending thousands of dollars on lawyer fees, having limited access to his personal belongings (including basic things like clothes), and having some of his property confiscated, specifically, his firearms. There is a very good reason for that last part (a number of people have been murdered by their domestic partners after reporting domestic violence), but it's still a hassle that an innocent man was put through, all to significant cost, and also impacted everyone he works with because his ability to do his job was severely curtailed.

Had he been a civilian, with at-will employment, and his ability to do much of his job because of the whole matter, he very likely could have been fired.


So, it is absolutely important to listen to and believe victims, for many reasons, but care must be taken lest innocent people be falsely accused and suffer or have their lives ruined for it.

Ilithi Dragon said...

And on the subject of shifting definitions of rape and rape within marriage...

I have the unfortunate distinction of having worked for the man who is the reason those laws changed in PA.

The boss I had just prior to enlisting, his first divorce (he was on his third or fourth while I worked for him) was the only divorce in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to go all the way to the State Supreme Court.

Because he raped his wife and locked her in a closet for four days.

And got away with it, scott free, because under the laws at the time, it was completely legal.

It was one of the cases that prompted the law to change.

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

Cause she crazy. Certifiable, in fact. Like, supposed to be on medication but self-medicates instead. He was dumb, and didn't move out immediately, and eventually they had an argument, and she called the cops, claiming he assaulted her. He was arrested on domestic violence charges, out on bail, etc.


I know whereof you speak. Over two decades ago now, my boss at the time was engaged (not yet married) to a woman who sounds very much like the one you describe. Everyone who worked with him knew the woman was bad news, but he was blinded by either love or sense of duty (as he had fathered one of her three children with her), so he was determined to go forward with marrying her.

They also fought all the time, and one night, she did to him just what you describe--had him arrested for domestic assault. Luckily for him, she was that stupid--to pull that crap before the wedding. That finally woke him up enough to call the whole thing off.

David Brin said...

Well, it's possible she'd tell a different story...

porohobot said...

>>Smurphs said...
\\Putin hardly needs bonfires or little red books when he has effective control of the entire media apparatus.

And HOW does it look like mafia??? In what else country. Today or historical. Mafia have full control over government? To the line of no difference.

I yet again propose to come to definitions.

"""
A mafia (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmaːfja]) is a type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions. Period.
Mafias often engage in secondary activities such as gambling, loan sharking, drug-trafficking, prostitution, and fraud.
"""
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia

Of course, they do it in Russia, under the roof of Don Putin too.
But... while we have, possible every country with some of that kind parasites.
And some of them are in government structures too.
To define ANY country via it... it's just not wise.

In particulary, Russia... from 1917-times, allways have had tight connection between government structures and criminals.
Because so called "comrades kommissarie"... bolsheviks party members, was in underground before 1917... and most of them was plain criminals (like e.g. "uncle Joe" Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili Stalin).
And so... they always called criminals "class-near" to himself.
BUT.
Criminals ALWAYS was utterly and overly, and ruthlessly
SUBJUGATED by that "class-near" government... only VERY slightly a hair thin softer... then their political opponents.
And same it is today.

My whole point in that "Putin is not mafia... he's (wanna be) fascist".
Is only that -- it's utterly unwise. To use improper definitions... and/or wrongly recognize/attribute things.

Same way as... when encounter in the midst of deep forest... something which looks as mere stray dog... BUT IT'S WOLF.

Stray dog, even starved, hardly will aim for your throat.

But it doesn't mean that stray dog is not a danger.
It can be rabies host. Or... there could be lots of them. Etc.

But it's different types of danger. And that is wise -- to use PROPER countermeasures to properly defined danger.

Am I clear now?

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\Is my signature on a contract inadmissible because I might have changed my mind after I signed it?

And what do you think they devised https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure thing for? ;)
Or insurance?

\\Whereas "No graven images", or "Remember the sabbath day", or (leaving The Ten behind) abstinence from pork are specifically religious.

That is just some "good taste" bechaviors... like "wash your hands" today.
That lost it's meaning.

The same as "do not kill" lost itself... inside computer game. Doom or Counter Strike. Or Mafia. %))

\\ ...as it is about the idea that an individual's DNA is his/her private property... That too will eventually fall once the notion that any sort of information about a person is somehow private property becomes absurd in practice.

Yeap. Especially when genetic medicine will come into maturity.
And there'd be unforeseen today artfical viruses\diseases
that'll target that exact DNA... it would be wise, to have it openly broadcasted... yeap, VERY wise. (groan) %)


>> Mike Will said...
\\Just in case anyone's trepidatious about attacking me, go right ahead.

%)
It looks like I startled you too much. With my 2/3 points.
It's just that your "competing agents" idea is far past for me.
Really, if you start from what we may know about intelligence -- over human intelligence.
It's that we are intelligent agents(IA) who was upbringed to have minds... by Evolution, solely.
And the way Evolution did it with us is by making us competing with each other.
But... it hardly could help us to built one IA-AI ourself.
We need more deep understanding. From the first principles.
And that understanding -- do challenge our own self-beliefs.
It need to. Any decent Theory of Mind need to challenge and to doubt itself.
That is the whole point of it.

Or... another way. We could still be able to build AI. But it'll be unconscious deed. Just by the way of making more and more complex machines.

I just find that last way -- outrageous.



>> locumranch said...
\\The Mafia is a Criminal Organization that operates by a specific set of formalized rules;

Oh, yes? So they do have Constitution, and Code of Laws, and High Court??? %))) Your ignorance is just... fascinating. %)))

\\and one organization is much like any other organization.
All organizations demand rule obedience and all organizations punish rule violators.

Hallelujah!
Lucom just proved that kindergarten and Osventsim -- is just THE SAME. %))))
Really: both have everyday schedule, with proper not so much calorie meal, exercises on fresh air, personnel in uniform doing their job in accordance with proper rules...(sic!) %))))))))))))

That's really what befall your, when your logic is poor --https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/bertrand_russell

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

Because he raped his wife and locked her in a closet for four days.

And got away with it, scott free, because under the laws at the time, it was completely legal.


While I have no reason to doubt your facts, I am curious as to what the law allowed at the time. I'm not surprised that the law presumed a husband was entitled to sexual access to his wife, but I'm surprised that the locking in the closet for four days didn't violate any law. Were wives considered to have no more rights than slaves once did?

If she had starved or dehydrated to death in there, would it still have been legal?

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

And HOW does it look like mafia??? In what else country. Today or historical. Mafia have full control over government? To the line of no difference.


Sicily?


I yet again propose to come to definitions.

"""
A mafia (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmaːfja]) is a type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions. Period.


How does that not sound like the functions of a government?

Mike Will said...

porohobot: "It's just that your "competing agents" idea is far past for me."

I too am a first principles and theory of mind guy. However, ignoring evolution, forgoing inductive reasoning, and restricting ourselves to the deductive, symbolic, mathematical, Platonic vineyards of ancient Athens is comfy, but delusional.

When I say 'evolution', I don't mean creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. I don't mean early vertebrates struggling out of the muck over 100 million years. I mean evolution (competing agents) living and replicating (with variability) at silicon speed. Distributed, parallel silicon speed. Or even quantum speed. This ain't your grandfather's agent-based model. Even near-mindless deep learning (neural networks) can work wonders. AlphaGo played millions of games autonomously to gain mastery and to achieve post-human creativity and invention. https://deepmind.com/research/alphago/

I find it depressing that the media almost entirely missed the point of AlphaGo. It's not about winning some esoteric game. It's about moving science ahead by leaps and bounds.

I'm also a Lynn Margulis and Isaac Asimov thinker. New and shiny does not mathematically equate to 'better'. Again, Asimov's death right at the dawn of supercomputing was one of the great tragedies of history.

Calculemus!


porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
//How does that not sound like the functions of a government?

Good point. I may say even excellent point.
But it returns us to that where we stopped discussion with dr.Brin -- on the theory of state and law.

Is the law and power to organize people are based only on the might, raw strength, even pure evil? As in theory of state as "stationary bandit".

I don't like it.
And don't think so.
And... it would be too much locum... if you understand what I mean. ;)


>> Mike Will said...
\\porohobot: "It's just that your "competing agents" idea is far past for me."

\\I too am a first principles and theory of mind guy. However, ignoring evolution, forgoing inductive reasoning, and restricting ourselves to the deductive, symbolic, mathematical, Platonic vineyards of ancient Athens is comfy, but delusional.

Oh... I see.
You took it as contradiction.
While it's totally opposite. My "past for me" means I think that Evolution even MORE important then we used to think.

I do not propose to expell Evolution from equations needed for building AI.
Quite opposite.
I think that ONLY Evolution can give to us an answer... and if it's possible -- means.


\\ I mean evolution (competing agents) living and replicating (with variability) at silicon speed. Distributed, parallel silicon speed. Or even quantum speed. This ain't your grandfather's agent-based model.

And I adding to it.
That they need more and more complex environment to evolve.
And better if that environment be more wisely architectured...
with thoughtful concerns and... humanism.
I hope...


\\I'm also a Lynn Margulis and Isaac Asimov thinker. New and shiny does not mathematically equate to 'better'.

Some past time echo.

35 years ago, Isaac Asimov was asked by the Star to predict the world of 2019.

Darrell E said...

Ilithi Dragon said...
"Unfortunately, Larry, the only way things like Fascism die quickly is if you wipe the species out.

Fascism WILL die, if we can keep moving forward, but it will be the slow, dwindling death of old age and decrepitcy, and there will be a great many people who work desperately to keep it alive on life-support."


Individual instantiations of fascism may die out, but the potential for fascism to arise will always be a threat. The underlying mechanisms are inherent in human beings. To prevent it from arising we have to achieve economic and well-being indices planet-wide similar to what the Scandinavian countries (just one example, there are others) currently enjoy and maintain fair and just government and rule of law that regulates well enough to keep corruption, cheating & stealing low enough but doesn't stifle too much either. Though it is surely more complicated than that. As evidenced by current->present history even in a wealthy country with decent government and justice systems and fairly high average standard of living fascism can still become a serious threat.

Larry Hart said...

porohobot:

Is the law and power to organize people are based only on the might, raw strength, even pure evil? As in theory of state as "stationary bandit".

I don't like it.
And don't think so.
And... it would be too much locum... if you understand what I mean. ;)


I do understand, and I think we're in agreement here.

I wasn't taking the position that government and mafia are identical. I was saying something more like, a function of democratic government is to prevent the need for authoritarian government to fulfil the same functions. So, when democratic government fails, authoritarian government steps in to fill the role. And authoritarian government has similarities to mafia.

Larry Hart said...

...or if no legitimate authoritarian government is able to step in, then an actual mafia does the same thing.

Mike Will said...

porohobot, thanks for the Asimov in Toronto Star link (ironic). It gave me a chance to link to my own stuff without polluting our host's blog.

Toronto is a nexus of much contemporary debate. I haven't jumped into the XX vs XY furor because this is the home of Jordan Peterson and we eat, drink, and breathe the social justice war here.

Re AI: inductive vs declarative is not a contradiction. It's not even a double bind. It's not even transhumanism. It's like Frequentist vs Bayesian methods. Both work, the trick is knowing which to apply when.

locumranch said...


For daring to suggest that 'one organization is much like any other', I stand corrected by Pohorobot & Larry_H's brilliant thesis that one organization, government, shop & educational institution is structurally, contextually & categorically DIFFERENT from every other organization, government, shop & educational institution in every way.

How could I have been so blind to believe that 'one grocery is very much like any other grocery'? The scales have fallen from my eyes. I'm free at last! I'm free at last!!

Actually, no:

One organization, government, shop & educational institution IS structurally, contextually & categorically similar to any other organization, government, shop & educational institution, with the possible exception of content, much in the way that the peddler who sells donuts & the peddler who sells auto parts is still a peddler.

Criminal organizations like the Mafia do have hierarchies, rules & regulations replete with rewards & punishments, just like every other organized religion, local, regional or central government, even thought the purpose, rules & regulations -- unwritten or otherwise -- of said organization may differ in content (as one may compare, again, auto parts to donuts).

Also, sadly, no:

Fascism ain't going away any time soon, as long any individual prioritises the interests of the organization above the interests of even the least important individual who exists within the organization, assuming that you accept Mussolini's definition of Fascism as "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state".


Best

George Carty said...

Duncan Cairncross: "After reading the Fascist Manifesto I have always thought of Fascism as a theocracy where the 'State' is 'God' and the 'Leader' a cross between a high priest and a prophet."

While the "God" of German Nazism wasn't so much the Third Reich as an entity, but race war itself as a concept. The Nazis didn't so much make the German state stronger as transform it into a machine for destroying other states (and ultimately peoples), and they had no particular attachment to the German people as shown by the Nero Order of 1945.

Larry Hart said...

George Carty:

The Nazis didn't so much make the German state stronger as transform it into a machine for destroying other states (and ultimately peoples), and they had no particular attachment to the German people as shown by the Nero Order of 1945.


Sounds like a policy that Benedict Donald is repeating in real time.

Larry Hart said...

BTW, I looked up the Nero Order online. There's another lesson in there that the current occupant of the White House apparently learned from Hitler--blaming the enemy for the very things that you yourself do that actually differentiates you from the enemy:

(emphasis mine)

http://ghdi.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=1590

I. Hitler’s Order of March 19, 1945

RE: Destruction Measures within Reich Territory
Our nation’s struggle for existence forces us to utilize all means, even within Reich territory, to weaken the fighting power of our enemy and to prevent further advances. Any opportunity to inflict lasting damage on the striking power of the enemy must be taken advantage of. It is a mistake to believe that undestroyed or only temporarily paralyzed traffic, communications, industrial, and supply installations will be useful to us again after the recapture of lost territories. During his retreat, the enemy will leave behind only scorched earth and will abandon all concern for the population.

locumranch said...



RE: Destruction Measures within Reich Territory

Sounds an awful lot like Sherman's 'March to the Sea', don't it? Cue the Glorious Union's 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' and Guthrie's 'This Land is YOUR Land' for musical accompaniment. Who knew the Third Reich & the USA had so much in common?

Best :p

Larry Hart said...



This land is your land; this land is my land.
I'm an intellectual; you're a stupid dumbass.
I'm a purple heart winner, and yes its true, I won it thrice.
This land will surely vote for me.


https://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/jibjab/this_land.html

David Brin said...

And the silver star. The Swift Boat travesty that was spewed at John Kerry was absolute, turn-key proof of evil. Those who perpetrated it or even marginally repeated it or participated in it were purely evil people.

Mike Will said...

Or Corporal Bonespurs accusing a true patriot and hero like Mueller of being a disgrace -- and from the powers that be: CRICKETS

Mike Will said...

Sorry, that's Cadet Bonespurs. I don't want to denigrate real soldiers.

Larry Hart said...

@Mike Will,

Heh. I used to have a grouchy, elderly cat we called "Trumpy Cat", but after the election, I had to stop because that became too offensive...to the cat.

David Brin said...

It's DODGER Bonespurs... and that hurts, me being raised in LA...

onward

onward

porohobot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
//...Hitler--blaming the enemy for the very things that you yourself do that actually differentiates you from the enemy:

//I. Hitler’s Order of March 19, 1945

//During his retreat, the enemy will leave behind only scorched earth and will abandon all concern for the population.

I'll add some historical trivia here.

That EXACTLY what Soviet Union DID... on OWN territory, with OWN people: burning housing, blasting bridges and pillaging factories... and trying hard to destroy even FOOD resources, so that it "ne dostalos vragu"/so that enemy weren't have it,
even if it needed to feed OWN people under occupation.

Look at Leningrad/St.Petersburg Tragedy for example -- it WAS rassians who NOT saved their people... so that they'll be able to blame fascists and finns... for blockade and starving of people.
Just because of looney symbolism "it's the capital of our revolution... it cannot be given to enemy".

So... yeah, Hitler this, Hitler that... but from WHOM he did learned it from, ah?


And they... russians... still SELF PRAISING themself for it.
And trying hard to stigmatize others... like us, ukrainians... for that, we didn't want to share SUCH SHIZOPRENIC CRAZY views.

We just don't want to praise "communists party and its great leaders, like Great Stalin"... for what they did with ukrainian people by: wars, starvation/Holodomors, chekists cleansing, propaganda brainwashing, etc.