Saturday, September 28, 2019

Look at impeachment as chess... not a sumo match!

You - yes you - are foolish to demand that we deal with the oligarch-mafia-confederate treason with spasm trench warfare. Charging ahead with full-frontal assaults.

We need generals in this civil war who can play chess and look many moves ahead, gaming out what the enemy might try to do. You can bet that Romney and Ryan and Republican Party elders — overlapping to an unknown degree with the puppet masters Murdoch, Putin, Mercer & MBS etc. — are mapping out a path that can:

1 - cancel out Trump’s biggest liability from their view — that of narrowing GOP constituencies, driving off all professions and educated people, ethnicities and many formerly republican women, crushing their coalition down to a rabid, confederate  base… **(See late news below)

(Of course, desideratum #1 means somehow eliminating Trump himself, since he will not modify or compromise. See below.)…

2- …while somehow not enraging that base against the GOP establishment for ‘betraying” Trump…

3- …while enraging that base instead against lib’ruls…

4- …while raising up new GOP leaders with credibility…

5- …while protecting establishment oligarchs and the pyramid of blackmailed servants…

6- …while protecting the cheating methods that are their only hook into power.

It’s a difficult path to thread, especially since the Party Elders and the Puppet Masters probably part company over the following:

7- the rise of would-be theocrats (e.g. Pence and dominionists) who would continue the narrowing while possibly setting in motion a deliberate (and literal) end of the world…

8- unleashing disruptive waves of violent McVeighs., tearing America apart.

What I desperately fear is the one path that would touch all of these bases at the same time. That path is *martyrdom.* A martyred Trump is the way to accomplish all of them. 

== Martyrdom Scenarios ==

I have long been on-record pointing this out, horrified that no one else has even mentioned it. But I ask you to put all of this together:

A. God bless the United States Secret Service. I mean that and I wish Donald Trump health. But if they fail and the pupeteers do eliminate their liability, then we all need to react tactically, not emotionally! 

It will be counterproductive if you celebrate, encouraging the meme that “lib’ruls did it to our hero!” 

Vastly better ? Express rage and suspicion toward those who would benefit most  from such a martyrdom— the Ryan-Romney-Putin-and especially Fox interests. Indeed, what could be a better judo move than to express compassionate pity for a Donald who was blatantly mentally ill? (See this elaborated -- with wry humor -- below.)

B. The other kind of martyrdom is more likely, of course — with those judo-master GOP manipulators giggling as they back pedal and let democrats clean up their mess for them. Because that’s what hurried impeachment could be, unless done rightgetting rid of their problem for them, while feeding Red America’s paranoias by appearing like a partisan lynch mob. Yes, the impeachment martyrdom would leave a living Trump out there screeching at rallies. So they’ll map it out with special attention to #2 and #3.

C. Most likely of all — a rush to impeachment leads to Moscow Mitch McConnell chortling with glee and getting the GOP Senate to reject the House’s charges, then declare: “All you dems wanted was to get even for the Clinton Impeachment." Allowing that comparison -- a silly ass pursuit of a wayward husband fibbing about some 3rd-base infidelity vs. Trump's weekly felonies and treason -- to stand will give Fox a chance to portray Trump as a martyr, while keeping him and his rally mob party loyal.

Nancy Pelosi is absolutely right (!!) that a race to *rapid* impeachment is stupid. Profoundly stupid! It presents Romney/Ryan + Putin with a rash gift that would feed chess moves #1-8 while failing to deliver any satisfaction. If hurried, it will give them every thing on that list. (And yes, one “chess” gambit they might pull is to let 18 GOP senators who have 4 more years on their terms, swing to conviction and removal, in order to clear decks for Ryan/Romney, counting on time to overcome DT’s fulminating rallies.)

Pelosi is right. Stretch it out! If done right, and timed right, impeachment *can* corner the GOP into a lose-lose. Think! Use “impeachment hearings” to overcome the Roberts Doctrine and regain full subpoena power. Then go after the money-laundering for Russian mobs. Demolish Trump’s reputations as a businessman, as a judge of character, and above all as a “strong man.” (George Lakoff makes clear that his appearance of blustery strength is THE core-psychic root of his redder support.) Chopping away at all of that, across the 2020 campaign, would either lead to an effective impeachment or else corner all Republican senators into an impossible and hopeless position.

I cannot comprehend why some dem leader hasn’t taken the pity tactic, which would infuriate Trump vastly more than the chest-to-chest sumo shoving and shouting we currently see. Any liberal leader who started publicly pitying Two Scoops, speaking v-e-r-y slowly toward this addled dimwit, would win instant cred and become the central focus of Trumpian tweet hate. 

It would chop hard against his blustering "strong man" image.

Moreover, the pity-meme could help us plenty, if the GOP masters go for either kind of martyrdom! “You threw that poor imbecile into a complex world for which he was ill-equipped, just because he’s good at riling up rallies of other imbeciles. And when it all finally overwhelmed him, turning him into a drooling-jibbering liability, YOU threw him under the bus. You monsters, we’re on to what you did to us, and to that pitiable moron!”

== Stop insisting on full-speed-ahead. Instead... maneuver! ==

Again and again, I repeat: Trump is infuriating, but his White House leaks! He is cauterized! The civil servants and defense pros are alerted! Things… could… be… much… worse!  

A Pence White House will be staffed with tightly disciplined dominionists and utterly leakproof. He would smoothly call for comity and calm and negotiation — an utter lie that we have fallen for many times. He will soothe back into line hundreds of thousands of civil servants and officers who’ll sigh with premature relief that the Trump Nightmare is over...

... when in fact the new president will be a much-worse maniac! One who prays daily for an end to all freedom, ambition, curiosity and children and an end to the world and an absolute destruction of the United States of America. And I mean that literally is what he prays for, daily.

No, no, I am not in a rush to remove the cauterized and 80% neutralized Donald Two Scoops, before the timing is right. And it is only right if it helps crush the GOP in the 2020 election! If nothing else, have impeachment on the docket when the NEW Senate takes over, some weeks before the 2021 inauguration. That new Senate -- ordering Trump dragged out of the White House in shame and banned from the Capitol steps -- is a fantasy we might, if we work hard, manage to see.

 == Addendum ==

FINAL scenario.  As one of you pointed out, the gopper secret masters might jettison both Trump and Pence, allowing Pelosi(!) to become president, as a tactical move saddling her with (1) Trump’s martyrdom, (2) presumption that was her ambition all along, and (3) blame for the sudden recession and (4) incumbency during a rejection-election. 

Problems with this scenario. Pelosi would unlock every filing cabinet and every Putin scheme gets uncovered and the election cheating gets harder.  Ryan might go for it. Not Murdoch or Putin.

** Late New Saturday: Former House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly wants to use his position on Fox's board to 'do something' about Trump


Jon S. said...

No, don't rush. We need to establish all of this administration's crimes, hold the villains to account for each and every one of them, and once and for all firmly ascertain that the law supersedes anyone's personal goals, no matter how worthy or venal.

And if this is carried out with all deliberate speed, you can stop sweating Pence, because (and I emphasize again, as I keep having to point this out) he's going down too. Mike Pence is in all this up to his empty little eyeballs, and has been ever since Paul Manafort hand-picked him to be the veep candidate (and manipulated Donnie into choosing Mike, going so far as to fake an excuse for an unnecessary overnight stop in Indiana so they could meet in the morning). They're all going down, and it looks a lot like they'll drag down as many others with them as they can arrange.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I find myself in full agreement with what the Doctor wrote, even the part refuting my thoughts on Republicans gaming a Pelosi presidency.
Another reason not to rush to impeachment: The Republicans are doing a fantastic job of destroying themselves. Trump sold out Barr, and Barr is furious. Both Barr and Trump are angling to somehow make Pompeo the fall guy, and he's smart enough to evade that tiger trap. Then there's Guiliani, who knows where all the bodies are buried and seems intent on parading them before the television camera to show that no, really, he's a very smart and capable guy, and sane? Why you wouldn't believe how sane Rudy is! He may be the sanest man on Earth!
I'm guessing that Graham is going to press for a "fast" impeachment for the advantages the Doctor detailed above. And it would short-circuit a massive case that involves much of the GOP leadership that the various House Committees are building--and Congressionals like Adam Schiff ARE capable and smart and sane.
Behind the scenes, Republicans are looking for a way to dump Trump and save themselves. The Dems need to make that impossible.

Rud Merriam said...

Not my main point but don't attack the king until you take out the lesser evils, e.g. Barr, Guiliani.

Assuming a Dem gets into the WH, the House is retained, and the Senate at least manageable there needs to be non-partisan, not even bi-partisan, investigative committee. I suggest a bunch of strong, former prosecutors, judges, and LEO investigators. There mission is to dig into and expose the last 50 years of problematic Federal activities. We need to see all of this in order to allow laws to be enacted to realign the country with its ideals. Some of them should be able to deal with classified material. This subset then reports to those in Govt who are also allowed access. A summary should be provided to the public that doesn't reveal classified material.

Again, the motivation is to do a deep cleaning so it must include GOP and Dem administrations.

Larry Hart said...

Is Ryan still a thing?

David Brin said...

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly wants to use his position on Fox's board to 'do something' about Trump.

He's been very busy with Romney behind the scenes.

mythusmage said...

Revenge is a dish best served slow.

Smurphs said...

I'm not sure if I ever said it here, but I have been saying it since he announced his "retirement". Paul Ryan is playing the long game.

He intends to run for President in 2024. His platform will consist entirely of "Tax Cuts", because of the deficit. Oh, and he will also say we must drastically cut social spending and entitlements. And probably demand we increase defense spending, citing whichever threat-du-juor is handy.

He fully expects the American electorate to have forgotten that he is the single person most responsible for those deficits.

And he is right. It is likely to work.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me always, I must be a voter.

Lorraine said...

I know this is very much a hypothetical, but you're talking about as if Mike Pence is literally capable of deliberately ending the world. What would be the role/duty of the Secret Service detail if President Trump were to literally go postal, say, literally act out that "Fifth Avenue" scenario he's on record talking about?

Jon S. said...

The Secret Service detail on the President serves to protect him from attack. They have literally nothing to say, and no duty to act, should the President determine that he believes it necessary to launch a nuclear attack.

However, in order for the codes to be transmitted in a state when DEFCON is below 1, the Joint Chiefs have to agree that such a launch is necessary. It's not just that mythical "big red button" being smacked. And without the codes being transmitted to the launch officers, our nuclear arsenal can't be used. The launch consoles simply won't unlock. (That's part of why we never deployed nukes in Vietnam, despite RFK's apparent enthusiasm for the idea; the Joint Chiefs were able to keep JFK from listening to his brother on the topic.)

Interestingly, that's part of the backstory for the recent MMO Fallout 76, even though it takes place in a world whose history diverges from ours sometime in the 1950s. In the wake of the Great War of 2077, a small cabal of survivors from the Enclave, the secret organization that used to really run things in the US, wanted to use the remaining nukes hidden in West Virginia(!) to continue the war on China (even though it would appear that China was hit at least as hard as the US; as of Fallout 4 in 2287, nobody's invaded). The Enclave pulled all sorts of stunts to convince the computer system monitoring the situation that DEFCON should remain at 1, including releasing some Chinese spybots on the countryside and reprogramming military guardbots to attack civilians. Finally, through a series of actions involving prewar biowarfare technology, the Enclave managed to create a state of constant war in the region - by creating the gigantic, monstrous Scorchbeasts and unleashing the Scorched Plague (which turns about half its victims into shambling extensions of a violent hive mind). Unfortunately for them, the AI running their bunker decided this was going to far, and gassed them all...

(Your character emerges from Vault 76 about ten years later, after the Scorchbeasts and their plague, along with factionalism and secrecy among groups of survivors, have killed the last humans remaining in the area. You spend a good deal of the gameplay piecing together just what the hell happened while you were underground.)

Lorraine said...

The Fifth Avenue scenario isn't some nuclear brinksmanship scenario, just ordinary street crime.

Larry Hart said...


One must recall that it was only Candidate Trump who made that boast about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue and not losing a single voter. At the time, there was no issue of whether he could actually be prosecuted for the crime.

A sitting president committing cold blooded murder in front of witnesses would probably be unprecedented (although these days, what isn't?). Would the State of New York try to arrest him, and would the Secret Service act to prevent it? I can't say. But the crime would be a state level one, so neither Pence nor Trump himself could pardon it. I don't think there is a statute of limitations on murder either, so even if the Justice Department's "can't indict a sitting president" guideline applies to the states, it would only be a matter of time before Private Citizen Trump would be charged with murder. Maybe, in exchange for him allowing the prosecution earlier, they'd agree not to seek the death penalty.

It's also worth noting how unlikely the scenario is. The sitting president doesn't just wander around the streets of Manhattan with a gun in his own hand. The Secret Service would most likely prevent him from ever being in a situation where he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Just because the world hasn't stopped for the political crises here and in the UK:

SpaceX Marscraft, supposed to have a test launch in a month or so to 65,000 feet. Looks like it was designed by Jules Verne.

Musk isn't the genius he likes to market himself as (his Boring machine displaces about the same amount of dirt per hour as any other boring machine, only the 'tube' is only eight feet wide, and his associated underground freeway idea is a thing of idiocy) but he IS a visionary, and sometimes that's all that's really needed. He takes the notions brought up by hundreds of geniuses and makes them real.

David Brin said...

Lorraine, the real presidential power is appointments and promotions. We’ll be living with Trump judges for decades. a "pres."Pence would commence promoting dominionist officers ever higher in the military ranks and culling out responsible adults. Extrapolate that.

Re: indicting a sitting president, the present OLC advisory at Justice is insane treason. The logic - that a president cannot be distracted from urgent matters - would be solved by SLOW INDICTMENT…. a rule that no president shall be required to spend more than 10 hours a week on external legal matters. For something heinous, like murder, judges and grand juries could expedite pre-trial motion phases dramatically, with support from higher courts and public opinion. Lesser crimes might grind along very slowly… but they would still move along with no one above the law.

locumranch said...

It's a nice public penance ritual for condemned heretics and apostates that you've got planned here, replete with a secular mass, designated inquisitors, a public procession of those found guilty, a reading of their sentences & even some special guests, yet you err when you assume that you can restrict its scope to republicans, whites, christians, conservatives, climate change deniers & Brexiteers.

For this was the fate of Procrustes:

To be measured upon his own bed & be found wanting.


How was the NASA Symposia in Nashville? Was your airplane ride worth the 2 metric tonnes of sinful climate-change CO2 that it produced? Or, does little Greta Thunberg grant indolences to true believers?

DP said...

We should drag this out as long as possible, only sending impeachment resolution to the Senate by November of next year.

Impeachment committees have much broader and powerful subpoena powers and these should be used to slowly explore every nook and cranny of Trump's corrupt and treasonous dealings.

In doing so we get something far more important than impeachment.

We get control of the news cycle for an entire election year.

Every week, nay every day, could see a new dirty revelation about Trump and his cronies.

He would be forever on the defensive.

His cronies would turn on each other and then turn on him.

All n the middle of a presidential campaign.

If we play our cards right, we could bring down the entire GOP rendering it as impotent on the national level as it is in California.

DP said...

Even after the election we can't have a narcissist sociopath like Trump have his finger on the nuclear button for two months.

Perfect timing for impeachment would be right after the election in which Trump loses big, his followers are demoralized and the GOP senate owes him nothing anymore and is no longer afraid of him.

DP said...

I agree with Dr. Brin, after Trump's election defeat the biggest danger will be from dozens of Timothy McVeigh wannabees conducting acts of terror against government buildings, synagogues, black churches, etc.

David Brin said...

Back on vitamins, nu? That was entertaining, well-crafted and concisely asserted. Utterly whiney and insane, but slightly poetical and worth reading... was the question about my air travel. The truthy factoid of two-tons was hilarious. As is the hypocrisy that his masters are responsible in any millisecond for worse pollusion than my entire (55 year Sierra club member) life.

But you chose the wrong one of my trips to assail, son. NIAC has already spun off more world and solar sysem changing and saving concepts and techs than you could even name. You may stand on another world someday, cause of some of the stuff I critique at these meetings. Yerwelcum

DD. If the waning McConnell Senate won't do it, the incoming one might, giving us 2 weeks watching him scream, clinging to furniture while he's dragged out and banned from the inaugural.

David Brin said...

Still, let me avow that I am NOT a slave to reflexive rejection of crit by those who are kneejerk-spasmodic in rejection of me. (I could get locum to hate on his mom, just by saying that I like her.)

In fact, the air travel sting is one that i have been pondering, since it was 1st hurled at me. And I've adjusted my sliding scale of what I accept, and which events I offer to Skype-in. Even when the balance is WAY in favor of the trip, as with NIAC, I'll say "duly noted". Alas, one problem with zero (or negative) summers is that they perceive that response as wishy-washy weakness... incapable of grasping that it is strength like they will never know.

TCB said...

Electric passenger aircraft will help, a little... but energy storage is a problem for longer flights.

David Brin said...

You have until the end of Monday to submit your name to be burned onto a microchip to be installed on the Mars 2020 rover. Do it! But then read my short story "Mars Opposition" about what martians do with exactly such a list! ;-)


My choice for a name? BARNSTORMER! Since it was exactly a century ago, in 1919, that the WWI allied powers abruptly flooded the market with thousands of used planes at $5 a pop. unleashing an unprecedented era of creativity in the sky.

(Oh, I was on the committee that named Spirit and Opportunity. Great stuff. Be proud.)

Alfred Differ said...

Enabling and coordinating genius talent involves a much larger pool of minor genius and caring support staff. Do that well and you can change the world.

reason said...

David, most countries get along fine without an administrative president at all.

Jon S. said...

That's an odd pairing of screen name and statement, reason. Most countries don't call the office "president", perhaps - but there certainly is a top administrator. You can't run anything larger than a small club without one. Somebody has to make quick decisions, after all, else it'll be like a picnic where everyone brought potato salad.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@Jon S.: On the matter of the Falloutverse, it must be pointed out in fairness that every single installment of the Fallout series repeatedly makes the point that the Enclave was made up of hallucinatory paranoid sociopaths who made the 1950's vision of America into a cult -- and then challenges the player to ask just how much, or how little, that is different from our timeline.

@Dr. Brin: Expanding the courts -- not packing, precisely, but reducing their burden per judge -- is one way to undo the Federalist-Society-GOP putsch to rewrite American law through judicial favoritism. Another is to change the courts' jurisdictions, such that prejudicial judges live frustrating lives where their favorite issues either get overturned rapidly, or else bypass their benches altogether.

@reason/Jon S.: The charitable reading of reason's comment is that the president doesn't have to be administrative; i.e., a division between the ceremonial head of state (president) and the administrative head of government (prime minister). This is a criticism that has been made of the American system before -- advantages include the separation of some of the dignity of the state from the politician at the top of the civil service pyramid, and the ability of the president to have reserve powers to check the prime minister (cognate to and derived from the ability of a constitutional monarch or governor-general to do the same).

I'm not sure how that's relevant to the United States, which would have to have even more drama than it has to ditch a 250 year old structure, but it's a valid point.

George Carty said...

I think what reason was getting at is that US-style presidential democracy is rare in most parts of the world: outside the Americas most democracies are either purely parliamentary (with a figurehead monarch or president) or semi-presidential on the French model with a president and prime minister sharing executive power.

The Americas are different mainly because most countries there became independent in the early 19th century, when parliamentary democracy hadn't yet fully evolved and the US was essentially the only template available for a modern democratic republic.

A.F. Rey said...

As John S. mentioned at the beginning of this comment section, the Trump inquiry can take it's time, but must be "carried out with all deliberate speed." I fear that any hesitation of delay could be fatal.

I believe that the average American either wants Trump impeached and removed if it is shown that he has committed a crime, or exonerated and allowed to get back to work. But they are expecting it to be done speedily. Any signs of delay or foot-dragging would be seen as proof that this is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry, but rather an exercise in mud-raking and dirt-digging, using the U.S. Constitution as justification. Somewhat like Trump using his executive position to dig up dirt on Biden. :(

Nate Silver lists five lessons from the Russian probe:

The last lesson is Work quickly and urgently.

Now that they’ve seemingly decided to move forward on Ukraine, there are lots of reasons for Democrats to move fast,. It will reduce the potential for public fatigue over the story, which can set in quickly for all news stories in the Trump era. And a sense of urgency could underscore some of the other themes here, e.g. that there’s an immediate threat to the integrity of the 2020 election, to national security, or both.

Obviously, Democrats will need to weigh moving rapidly against Lesson No. 2 (the risk of getting too far ahead of themselves). Nobody said impeachment would be easy for anyone involved!

But the other benefit to moving fast is that, if impeachment backfires on Democrats and makes Trump more popular, Democrats will have more time to recover from that.

I would love to see this inquiry to reveal all the venality of Trump and his administration (especially his tax returns!) But unless it is clearly justified by the investigation, it will only help the Republicans convince people that this is not about law, but about politics. And I deeply fear that will backfire on Democrats, and we may end up with four more years of Trump. :(

David Brin said...

Utterly misses the point. The People will not go along with removal of DT based on a Ukrainian phone call. The systematic removal of military aid that Putin doesn't want (including for the Wall) is stronger, emotionally. But no, no, no!

This has to be the way we get the money laundering stuff out in the open. THAT is it.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Step by step, Dr. Brin. Before that (and it won't be hard) show that the Ukraine connection started as a way to manufacture a pardon for Manafort. That pulls in Mueller by reference without having to actually dig -- since they were, once again, hubristic or sloppy enough to hide unrelated skeletons in the same closet.

Then ask what BOTH Giuliani AND Manafort were doing there in the first place, and why Trump was tied to either of them, since this is clearly AT LEAST as bad news as what Hunter Biden is accused of. And THAT leads to the money laundering.

It's not actually terribly complicated -- we just have to make sure it STAYS simple...

scidata said...

To mangle a line from "Halt and Catch Fire":

Ukraine isn't the thing. It's the thing that gets us to the thing.

locumranch said...

It does my shriveled heart good to hear David argue that "No one is above the Law", and I can't wait until such high ideals are put irreversibly into action.

Let's prosecute DT based on the Ukrainian phone call transcripts, proof-positive that he attempted to withhold Ukrainian foreign aid for personal gain, as long as we hold VP Biden to the same inflexible standards.

Trial-By-Jury, government immunity & statutes-of-limitation are the relics of historical tyranny. Who needs them?

From Obama's extra-judicial execution of Osama Bin Laden to Hillary Clinton's email-based security lapses, public officials must be punished after-the-fact for the crimes that they commit in public office.

Sexists, rapists, racists & anti-semites must be immediately expelled from public office, based on allegation alone, and every undated photo should be considered a 'smoking gun' of undeniable guilt, as in the case of Brett Kavanaugh's penis, Ralph Northam's black face, Justin Trudeau's brown face and Ilhan Omar's virulent anti-semitism.

In regard to Trial-By-Media, David & I agree completely:

No one is above the Law.


Zepp Jamieson said...

"as long as we hold VP Biden to the same inflexible standards."

I'm sure Biden wouldn't mind as the investigation against his son went nowhere after the Putin-backed regime (and the corrupt DA that investigated H. Biden) got dumped for corruption. And there never was any evidence that Biden himself engaged in any wrong doing. There's also the fact that the son never was acting as a public official of the US government and so isn't subject to the same laws the president it. And of course, it isn't just the transcripts; it's the whistleblower complaint and Trump's own open acknowledgement that he did the things he was accused of.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

I'm just as happy to hold Biden to the same standard -- and the Clintons too for that matter. (The Clintons are, in my observations so far, much more likely to have muck on them than the Bidens.) That business with Hunter is unsavory to be sure, but I still haven't heard anything actually illegal -- though perhaps there should be more laws about such matters, at least for high federal officials. But just because something ought to be illegal, doesn't mean it actually is.

Of course, locum is actually worrying about mudslinging, where rumormongering takes the place of factgathering. And well he should! Kompromat relies heavily on trading in the emotional and visceral reactions to accusations, rather than worrying about their truth. His specific pet-peeves are off the point on that score; we DO need to reimpose Disinfecting Light and demand things like Evidence, even in the media.

Which is not the same as to keep defending people even after Evidence is found....

locumranch said...

We DO need to reimpose Disinfecting Light and demand things like Evidence, even in the media.
Which is not the same as to keep defending people even after Evidence is found [CnC].

Note how our equivocating Catfish n Cod (with the above quote) commits a travesty of justice by implying that Evidence-of-Guilt (an allegation) and a Ruling-of-Guilt (a conclusion) are conceptually equivalent, even though these concepts are neither homologous nor equivalent.

Again, I remind you all that payback is a bitch, and you're setting your progressive selves up for a world of hurt if you dare to embrace this rather facile standard of jurisprudence.

Enjoy your Procrustean Bed.


David Brin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

I have enjoyed the vitamin enriched postings... though alas, good drugs don't replace missing neurons.

An entire impeachment process in 1998, without ONE subpoena refused by Clinton and the dems, resulted in the uncovering of ONE lie by a philandering husband over some 3rd base nookie in a hallway. That... and later the wife's use of an email server thing identical to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and half the Trump administration... that was all you imbeciles got...

...out of 25 years and half a BILLION dollars of our wasted tax dollars. The rest? Armwaved incantations. PROVE SOMETHING!

And while Clinton and the Dems COMPLIED with every single subpoena, even after it grew clear that those fishing trips never caught a damned thing... the mad putinists REFUSE every subpoena, knowing that almost any of them would lead to a storm of their released shit.

Prove anything -- the TOTAL across 25 years -- can match any one WEEK of GOP rule. The utter dominance of Republicans in divorce, gambling and CHILD BUGGERY. Lying and evasion of facts and persecution of fact users. Secret thievery and money laundering and mafia crimes and selling us out to foreign powers.

No MR. Procrustes. Our sins slip out of the bed's shackles because the manacles don't ratchet down small enough for our sins. While we'll need to use a death star laser to chop your monster into a MILLION pieces, for any one piece to fit that bed.

Your cult is a pack of PROVED jibbering insane, lying traitors and lickers of "ex" commie overlords. There are no kinds of vices in which you are not towing, shambling giants.

locumranch said...

I prefer reason to emotionality, thank you.

Stick a fork in Biden because he's done , at least according to MSNBC's Ali Velshi, who describes the allegations against Biden as "non-evidence". I recommend this faux definition for your viewing pleasure -- as it is truly hilarious -- if only in the ironic sense that a functionally illiterate media is hilarious, but I'm not going to provide you with the actual definition for 'evidence' as usual. Goggle it yourselves, you hosers. Instead, I leave with you with the lyrics to "Bye Bye Biden", to be rendered in impeccable Ann Margaret vocal stylings by the theatre of the mind:

Bye bye Biden,
The DNC's got you now
I'll try, Biden,
To forget somehow

No more sighing
Each time you move those lips
No more dying
When you twitch those hips

Your swivel and your sway
Your super-duper class
There's nothing left to say
But, Joey, you're a gas!

Bye bye Biden,
Ta-ta, old sweetie pie
Bye bye Biden,
Time for me to fly
Time for me to fly-y-y-y-y
Time to say good-bye

Bye now


A.F. Rey said...

As Thurber once wrote, loch: Don't count your boobies until they are hatched. :)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Here's the 'Biden' scandal that the Benghazi nuts dream is real: I wrote in May 2019,
"Now, Hunter isn’t an angel. He got popped for cocaine in 2014 and got kicked out of the Naval Reserve as a result. He also joined the board of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, owned by Mykola Zlochevsky. Burisma in general and Zlochevsky in particular have been under a dark cloud of official suspicion of corruption for years, culminating in the Serious Fraud Office of the British government seizing some $23 million in Zlochevsky’s assets.

"However, doing a fraud investigation on a Ukraine company is a bit like fishing for a particular turd in a septic tank. It’s dark, and there’s nothing to make a particular turd stand out. The Crown, confronted with systematic intransigence from the Ukraine government, eventually abandoned the investigation, unlocking the assets and paying the legal bills. That removed the legal liability, but not the suspicion. To give you some idea of how bad things are in the Ukraine, Zlochevsky, president of a natural gas company, had been the Minister of Ecology under the now-exiled Viktor Yanukovych.

"It’s nearly as bad in the Ukraine as it is in Trumpistan, the former United States.

"It doesn’t help that Hunter has close associations with Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street outfits. That doesn’t reassure as regards his business ethics and scruples. He’s was also banging his late brother’s widow after the brother, Beau, died. He proclaimed his love publicly, but this still had a fairly high element of creepiness about it. They broke up earlier this month, just about the time Daddy announced he was running for President. Pure coincidence, I’m sure.

"Since the Ukraine activities ceased, he founded a hedge fund in China called Bohai Harvest RST, and the three billion dollar fund has involvement in various unsavory activities, such as mass surveillance and harassment of Moslems in China.

"So it’s not too unreasonable to have questions about the activities of Hunter Biden.

"But there’s never been any evidence that Joe Biden was involved in any of this. Indeed, as this was going on, his other son, Beau, was dying of brain cancer, which ensured Joe’s attention was elsewhere.

"But the Ukraine thing was four years ago. Investigations went nowhere, and that particular turd eventually decomposed."

And that's where it stands. Hunter is a bit grubby, but a paragon of virtue compared the the Trump whelps. There isn't a shred of evidence involving Joe Biden.

You can be sure that Republicans and their supporters have spent millions trying to find something, and couldn't.

scidata said...

Encouraging depth of thought from NASA. They now want two different lunar landers, from two different sources - proposals due in one month!

David Brin said...

I'd taunt "Prove something!!!" If we didn't have a huge deep bench ... and I suspect old Joe knew all along his job was to serve as a pre-lightning rod.

Here's where vitamins (and yes, still there! Locum's being entertaining!!) don't make up for zero positive sum neurons. I DON'T CARE IF UNCLE JOE EASES BACK IN THE PACK AND RETIRES WITH HONOR, WITHOUT A SINGLE ACTUAL, PROVABLE BLEMISH.

Because our bench is wide and deep. And Liz is probably scandal proof. (Oh I hope her husband has been careful!)

Dream on, traitor imbeciles.

Oh, and what Zepp said.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

I want to thank locum for pointing out a way to misinterpret my remarks, and then castigate him at the same time for choosing that misinterpretation and putting words in my mouth.

You can defend people after there is evidence, in courts or media. What you can't do is wish evidence away, or ignore it after it is found, or fail to notice when up is solemnly declared to be down.

How it is that Joseph Biden could be charged with covering up for his son when he acted to remove the man ignoring the investigation of his son's company and replace him with a man who reactivated that investigation is truly a marvel of reasoning. But hey, let's sing little ditties and decide people are "done". If the liberal media defend someone, they must be guilty! If the conservative media beat a drum, and the liberal media point out that all available evidence says different.... why, clearly the conservative media are virtuous truth-tellers and the liberals are a conspiracy against truth, justice, and the American Way!

Also, the most vital aims of American foreign policy are to investigate liberals. Because, of course, only liberal elites can be Enemies of the People. Giving all your close relatives powers over foreign and domestic policy? Perfectly fine... as long as you're a conservative.

How's that for a Procrustean bed?

But now it's moved on from mere fishing expeditions. Oh no, now we are actually changing U.S. diplomatic actions, administrative law, and domestic policy based on... conspiracy theories. Deep State. QAnon. George Soros! The government of the greatest and most powerful nation in the world, the pinnacle of human civilization, is shambling about listening for voices in the walls. And the most terrifying truth is that thirty percent of the population is totally okay with this.

Hunter Biden may very well be guilty as sin, but why exactly is that worth tying the geopolitical landscape of the entire planet in knots? It makes as much sense as twenty million soldiers throwing themselves into machine gun fire because some damnfool nationalist assassinated a single overfeted noble.

Jon S. said...

You're ignoring the actual "dirt" Trump appears to be after. There's this weird far-right idea that Crowdstrike, the California-based company that provided security for the DNC servers, has a secret hidden server in Ukraine where they stored all those emails proving that Hillary Clinton was running a secret pedophile ring out of a nonexistent basement to hide child victims in their farm on Mars (or whatever even stupider thing they've dreamed up about those "missing emails" this week), and Hunter Biden was there entirely to set up and run that server - all the rest is supposed to be just a smokescreen. So Donnie wants the Ukranians to uncover evidence of this very thing, no matter how much of it they have to invent. He's mad because Ukraine stopped investigating Biden just because they did the investigation and found nothing.

It's not 4D chess, it's not even checkers on a flat board - the only game Donnie is playing is with the voices in his head (and the ones on Fox, sometimes, but lately they're not playing as much).

David Brin said...

Cogent Catfish. Especially: "Hunter Biden may very well be guilty as sin, but why exactly is that worth tying the geopolitical landscape of the entire planet in knots?"

I am furious with pundits and dems for emphasizing the "get dirt on Biden" part of thos! That's not the big enchilada.

It's MULTIPLE times yanking appropriated money from Ukraine on a variety of pretexts, all of which share in common the fact that it is WHAT VLAD WANTS. It's insane that these traitors are allowed to get away with sucking up to the very national oligarchy that is waging open war on us.

TCB said...

TCB's thought for the day: Campaign laws are a lot like the United Nations. Great idea on paper, but not really strong enough to do the job we need them to do, because the people who would have to obey them are the same people who decide how much power they will have.

It's a form of regulatory capture, but instead of corporations capturing regulatory agencies, it's member states capturing the world regulatory body, and political candidates capturing their own hiring process. In the latter case, the amount of legal trouble a corrupt candidate or party can get into is hardly a farthing compared to the prize corruption wins, and punishment is too slight, too slow, and too likely never to come at all.

If we let crack dealers write the drug laws, they'd look pretty similar: just convincing enough to keep the public from taking an interest in changing them, but too ridden with loopholes to interfere with profits.

I don't have answers, just wanted to air that.

Alfred Differ said...

Depriving Ukraine of what we had committed to send is the national security damage.

Extorting Ukraine for a personal favor is the abuse of power.

Both are important, but the national security damage should take precedence... before Ukraine looses half their country. We get there by removing the Idiot in Chief who serves Russian policy interests.

Sorry. He HAS to go. Legally.
The sooner the better.

Alfred Differ said...

Without making any attempt to defend or harm Biden’s son’s reputation, I’ll point out a couple of reasons to include someone like him on a Board when he has no relevant experience.

1) Name recognition matters. The list of directors can be made glossy with a recognizable name, so the company doing this is essentially licensing a brand.
2) Culture matters. If you want to alter the behavior of a team, including someone from outside can cause ‘reflections’ to occur. Got corruption? Bring in a Paladin and note when they are offended. Got ossification? Bring in a radical and note who they irritate.

I won’t speculate on what happened in Ukraine except to note that VP Biden acted on behalf of many requests (not all USian either) to push for a prosecutor to be fired because that prosecutor was believed to be corrupt and not pursing corruption. There is ample evidence of this consensus belief out in the open, but that won’t convince conspiracy cowards.

That second purpose is more important than many realize. Hiring an American for your Board causes certain things to happen that Americans easily miss. As an example, I have a certain relative who happens to know a thing or two about how the gaming industry works in Vegas. Specifically, table gaming and the security operations associated with them. There was a brief time when Mexico liberalized their laws and allowed small casinos to open and install that kind of table gaming. That relative of mine was living in Mexico at the time, so it was as if opportunity was knocking. Time to open a new place? Sure. There was another way to make money, though. Partner with my relative to build viable operations for other companies. That relative also brought to the table their cultural background knowledge (and faith in it!) for how corruption gets defeated. The legal experiment came to an end one day when rich people noticed opportunity leaking away from their control. Corruption really IS a big deal south of our border. Along the way, though, that relative of mine probably got to work with some unsavory people who made use of an American to deal with risks they faced in deals with other unsavory people.

Look in the septic tank and it looks like a bunch of turds, right? Well… how would you really know if one was someone a little less unpleasant in their swimming with them? Can’t imagine choosing to do that? Well… Americans do that occasionally. We like making money. Don’t swallow the stuff and head for the showers later. Don’t do anything your children will be ashamed about when they learn some day… because they usually do.

dav said...

It's pretty funny to see David, who won't stop beating the drum about "muh feudalism" and "muh cheaters", but the moment he hears about how the Democratic VPs son, fresh from being kicked out of the Navy for doing drugs and with no energy sector experience gets put in a foreign corporate board for a fat salary and daddy brags in public about getting rid of a prosecutor looking at the little prince, Mr.Brinn is all "nothing to see here, it's all normal".

Alfred Differ said...


Zepp Jamieson said...

Well, Dav, if you're done yelling "Squirrel!" at us, perhaps you could compare your dark, paranoid suspicions about Hunter Biden with Jared's role in getting Qatar declared a terrorist state.

locumranch said...

It's funny-interesting rather than funny-contemptible.

Stunned & absolutely shocked, I am, by the unrepentant REASONABLENESS of the last few posts, first by Catfish's eagerness to overlook Hunter Biden's guilt in order to maintain a fragile geopolitical status quo, second by David's willingness to apply legal statute & penalty in a mature, selective, unequal and discriminating fashion, and third by TCB & Alfred's casual acceptance of widespread corruption.

What happened to the unremittantly puerile claims that (1) Equality is desirable, (2) All must be 'equal' under incorruptible law and (3) No one is above the law ??

For good reason & to widespread acclaim, the Western legal system has always treated men, woman and children in an UNEQUAL fashion on the basis of form, utility, function, appearance & expediency:

It treats armed potentially-violent government employees very differently from armed potentially-violent civilians; it discriminates between men & women, offering men consequential punishments while immunizing most women against any & all consequence; it offers reparative privileges & advantages to those identity groups that it defines as 'disadvantaged'; and it discriminates on the basis of racial & socioeconomic criteria.

This is how it should be because true equality is horrific in the extreme because it treats everyone -- the good, the bad, the rich, the poor, the incapable, the intelligent and the indifferent --in the same merciless unyielding manner, under the auspices of the Great Equalizer, irregardless of extenuating circumstance or disadvantage.

Now, riddle me this:

Assuming that Catfish & David think themselves wise
As they overlook the petty (?) corruptions of VP Biden & son,
In their unrelenting pursuit of a yuger Trumpian prize,
Why not excuse the many corruptions of President Trump
For the very same morally relative wherefores & whys?


Alfred Differ said...

Your failure to perceive is not my opportunity to educate. I see no value in it for me.

David Brin said...

Who's ignoring Hunter Biden? Show us something. Anything actual. No, it doesn't have to be evidence proving a crime... a crime from which there is even smoke. I mean anything. Anything at all. You jerks think screaming a name and a country name shows something illegal. It... does... not.

Let's be clear. I have no loyalty to Hunter Biden. If he's 0.001% as sleazy as Don Jr or Eric or Ivanka or Jared then fine, prosecute! (And them too, for 1000x worse.) And ding Joe an appropriate amount of politucal points. Joe's done his job of drawing fire and it's pretty unimpressive spiteballs.

You imbecile traitors are so desperate! The screeches about HILLARY'S EMAILS are back? You could not if your life depended on it parse what crime you think she is supposed to have committed, other than foolishly using the exact same systems as both Bushes, Cheney, Powell, Pompeo and most Trumps.

And yes, PROSECUTE HER! See what a jury says. So long as you prosecute them for exactly the same procedural error.

The STEELE DOSSIER IS BACK! The entire premise is a principle Republicans used to hate. Throw out all evidence if it is fruit of an illegal search. But... but... there is NOTHING improper or illegal about the FBI commencing an investigation based upon a biased third party's offer of verified facts. Not one thing wrong with it. At all! Even remotely. The principle does not apply and not one yammer about the Steele dossier is based upon even a hint of actual improer FBI behavior. Not the slimmest whiff of a shadow of smoke.

Look at how desperate they are! Bill Clinton's 3rd base infidelity. Hillary's emails. Weiner's weiner. The FBI acting entirely properly based on hints that may have been infiniitesmally "biased." Across 25 years and half a billion$ of "investigations that's... it?

You... are... raving... lunatics.

reason said...

Yes and no - in most countries the chief executive can be thrown out by a simple vote in either in the parliament or their own party and are subject to policy votes in cabinet. There is a vast difference.

TCB said...

Anybody who's spent more than five minutes on the US political left knows that, if the FBI has any bias, it's NOT against the political right.

Random example off the top of my head: when environmentalist Judi Bari was injured by a car bomb, the FBI treated her as a suspect, saying it was her own bomb. She often said afterward that the FBI "should find the real culprit and fire him." A civil jury later found FBI had violated her and her husband's civil rights.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

We get there by removing the Idiot in Chief who serves Russian policy interests.

Sorry. He HAS to go. Legally.

"It's been a long time getting from there to here..."

Larry Hart said...


Anyone who can believe that the FBI is biased toward liberals must also be ready to believe that the KKK is a Black Power organization.

dav said...

The FBI isn't biased towards left of right, it's biased towards the globalist Uniparty that got a serious bee in it's pants with Trump.

Jon S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon S. said...

"Globalist Uniparty".

Thanks, dav, I needed a chuckle this morning.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"globalist Uniparty"
Interesting name for the multinational corporations. They're the only globalists in sight.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

The delusion on the right isn't that there is a Hunter Biden scandal -- nor that anyone is "ignoring" it. There most likely is such a scandal, in fact. The delusion is that there is some sort of Scandal Fairness Doctrine -- that since there are scandals among Democrats, they must be of the same caliber as scandals among Republicans! As if popular support, rather than objective evidence, were the measure by which justice is to be meted out.

I'm perfectly fine with Biden taking proper dings for having a disgraceful younger son willing to float among turds for cash! Let those chips fall. It's not like he's the only possible candidate, or even the only candidate capable of winning. (Though at the moment he's got a better lead -- but it's still thirteen months to the general elections, who knows?)

But the more the White House tries to enforce this false equivalence, the more they fall over their own feet. There would be no scandal if the DOJ were simply investigating and prosecuting Hunter Biden through proper channels; the usual suspects would scream impropriety, but there wouldn't be anything to latch onto. Instead the White House is all but wearing a sandwich board reading "Investigation For Political Purposes" -- kicking themselves an own goal every day of the week!

Matters are to the point that the "Fox" and "News" halves of "Fox News" can barely stand each other, and House Murdoch is having to exert considerable energy just preventing conflict within the walls of their own fief.

@Zepp: Oh, I don't know. There's no Comintern anymore, but you can sketch the contours of a Natpopintern.

scidata said...

I'm having trouble grokking the world. DC argues over Antietam, Vicksburg, and bullets while our adversaries deploy AI and quantum computing. And Elon Musk prepares to launch Fireball XL5 from a field in Texas. Time for another pull of tree sauce.

David Brin said...

"Yes and no - in most countries the chief executive can be thrown out by a simple vote in either in the parliament or their own party and are subject to policy votes in cabinet."

Yes but in addition to Chief of Government there's a Head of State -- a President or King... and those are harder to get rid of.

" globalist Uniparty" Well, well. If you pour bleach in your eye and squint, you might claim an overlap with my worldwide "oligarchic putsch". Except not. The " globalist Uniparty" is a raving meme nursed by lazy cynics. The Putin-Murdoch-Saudi forces, sometimes allied with China, aren't so much globalist (they hate gloabl financial transparency) as feudalist.

Oh, and thay aren't imaginary, like the " globalist Uniparty."

"Interesting name for the multinational corporations. They're the only globalists in sight."

I wouldn't go THAT far. I know some One World Government folks. And yes, there are the Davos and other talking societies, which are now issuing ClimateWarnings. Oh and the 90% of world children who have enough food and a fridge and basic sanitation and schoolbooks because of the global trade economy.

Yipe! Good Catfish stuff re civil war within Fox News and comintern.

scidata said...

Discussion of the (fundamental) nature of mathematics occasionally pops up. It never gets very far because we are mostly laymen or physicists in here. I'm not sure I would trust most mathematicians on this subject anyway. Gregory Chaitin is quite illuminating.
- if you believe it, you should disagree with it
- more like a novel than a formal paper
- computation is real
- Leibniz
- Wolfram

Alfred Differ said...

Are poems invented or discovered?
Are symphonies invented or discovered?

Works of art are structures of language, though maybe not of spoken language.

No surprise... in hindsight. We are structures of language.

[My physics training is in theory, so I'm an applied mathematics person to some people.]

I never quite got the fascination with Leibniz that some people have. His philosophical stuff was kinda weird I think. Wolfram makes more sense. The universe computes... by being. The old argument between discovery and invention seems flat to me by comparison.

Alfred Differ said...


Antietam, Vicksburg, and bullets

Don't worry too much. Our people working on other stuff aren't supposed to talk about it yet. Between security clearances and NDA's, there is a strong selection effect curbing what makes it out into the open.

Don't look to DC. Look at your excited neighbors who can't quite keep their enthusiasm under wraps.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Are poems invented or discovered?
Are symphonies invented or discovered?"

I think there's a certain admixture. Most fiction writers will tell you that their characters in the first draft will say or do things the writer himself didn't expect, sometimes even throwing the story off the rails.

Alfred Differ said...


"It's been a long time getting from there to here..."


Evidence and Institutions turn coup d'état into impeachment, mob rule into rule of law, and many other things that avoid offending my inner Boy Scout.

I caught myself giggling at work yesterday with some of the news coming across my phone. Not loud... and my co-workers tend to have their ear-buds in... but I had to work at suppressing my glee at some of what I saw.

scidata said...

Re: Chaitin
In another interview on the same subject, Max Tegmark used Platonic solids to explain how math is both invented and discovered. He said that we may have invented each solid, but we couldn't invent a sixth, indicating that the underlying math was somehow outside of invention (fundamental). That argument seems weak to me. The internal angles at each vertex must be less than 360º, but that's kind of like the 2+2=4 proof that math is discovered (fundamental). Constraints (physical or logical) are a poor substitute for objective Truth. Take SETI for instance... (joking).

Alfred Differ: Don't worry too much

I'm trying. I send positive brain waves southward every day (an agnostic substitute for prayer).

Larry Hart said...

I could have sworn I posted something last night that isn't here now.

My thought was that mathematical truths (or facts, if you will) are discovered, but the mechanism that we call mathematics which we employ in order to discover those truths are invented.

In other words, "2 + 2 = 4" was discovered, but the means by which such things are discovered, numerals and symbolic operations, are invented.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Evidence and Institutions turn coup d'état into impeachment, mob rule into rule of law, and many other things that avoid offending my inner Boy Scout.

I appreciate your adherence to the rules of law and evidence before accepting the conclusion I jumped to long ago based on only observation. In fact, the reason I value your coming aboard so much is that you don't do so impulsively. Like any good liberal, I had to acknowledge that I might be wrong about the current occupant of the White House being unfit for the office and a danger to our country. Your concurring opinion makes that seem less likely.

Larry Hart said...


As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!

In other words, "real Americans" love Republican talking points. Anyone who isn't driven by those things don't count as citizens, and their attempts to outvote those who want those things are illegitimate.

There might not be gunfire yet, but this Civil War is already going, and sooner or later, everyone has to be on one side or the other. That at least makes some sense over Benedict Donald's characterization of whistleblowers as "spies" and "traitors". After all, spies and traitors typically require there to be another entity on whose behalf which the spying and treason is being performed. The other entity--the enemy--is apparently the 50-something percent of people who disapprove of Trump and the states they live in.

Larry Hart said...

I've been waiting for Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) to put this one out. It's hard to even narrow down a relevant passage to quote. Read the whole thing.


And they will not go quietly.

They've said so.

They will change the laws to give themselves power.

They intend to spill blood, your blood, if necessary to keep that power.

They will ally themselves with America's enemies against you if necessary.

They will lie, cheat, steal, and murder. These are people who put children in cages and see nothing wrong with it and they'll do whatever they must to hold onto that power.

You look at the White House, you look at who Trump surrounds himself with, who he's given power to, who has access to that power, who benefits from Trump's increasing megalomania – from Exxon to Russia – and you'd better believe the danger is real.

But here’s the thing: we can face down that danger, return our nation to sanity without blood in the streets and bring that power to heel.

We can.

It’s possible.

It would have been a hell of a lot easier, safer, a few years ago, when there was more of a margin, but you didn't believe the danger was real then.

I hope you believe it now.

Now that we stand on the very precipice with the pit yawning beneath our feet, I hope you can see the danger now.

I hope it's finally real to you. Because if you don't show up this time, no matter what – no matter what – then you’re not going to get another chance.

Your government, the wealthy, the powerful, they aren’t just afraid of you, they’re terrified.

And they damned well should be.


Alfred Differ said...


Of all the nations on Earth, the only one I’d tolerate messing with our federal elections would be our neighbor to the north. Y’all have a bigger stake in it when we go bananas. Even Quebec.

[I’ve lost track of how many of my friends from the north I’ve had to say “We will apologize later”. We will… and we will make it up to you… but we will probably do it in a clumsy manner.]
As for the philosophy of mathematics, I admit to being converted. I used to ponder the “discover vs invention” argument, but one day I came across the notion that mathematics was simply another human language. I was changed that day. The bush next to me might as well have erupted in flame and spoke these words. “Silly human. It’s just another way you all talk to yourselves and each other.”

All languages have grammar and syntax.
All languages have various dialects and modes of expression. (Prose/Poem, Naïve/Trained, …)
All languages have expectations regarding inner consistency ranging from weak to strong.
All languages compress information (in the computing sense) to provide both abstract expressions and perceptors of the abstractions. (as in neural net perceptors)

There is no sixth regular solid in 3-D Euclidean space because we strongly demand consistency in Euclidean geometry. That any exist at all is because we built a grammar for geometry. Rules connecting the numbers of vertices, edges, and faces exist because we built a syntax for geometry. We note them in the world around us because we can express them in abstract terms.

Once you see mathematics as language, many of the old arguments shift into the metaphysics realm. Fun to ponder, but not 'real' in the Realism sense. Useful in providing ontological and epistemological pieces to a model of a problem, but obviously a human construct. Better yet… a Human construct. No designers. Strictly Emergent. Mathematicians as authors.

Mathematics as Language only increased my sense of wonder and awe at its beauty.

Alfred Differ said...


Your concurring opinion makes that seem less likely.

Thanks. 8)

What worried me at the start was that the concurring opinion we really needed was the DoD. Imagine two world where our current President starts retweeting Civil War tweets and comments. In the first world, it is early 2017. In the second world, it is this world where we have Mueller's report, Ukraine-related budget re-directions to tie to the shakedown call, a jury conviction of Manafort, and those videos and court cases about kids in border concentration camps. Now ponder how the split would occur in DoD forces both among the active duty people and the civilian support staff in each world.

That Trump was unfit at the start was obvious and I joined my wife and her friends during the first pussy hat demonstration. What we needed to have MADE obvious was just how unfit he was.

In this version of the world, the split won't be even remotely even. Might not even happen. We might get a strictly civil form of unrest limited to people getting shot and neighborhoods burning down. Much better than the other world. 8)

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: We will apologize later
Love means never having to say you're sorry. North America is the envy of the world, in large part because we have traditionally involved ourselves deeply in the welfare of the world. Fewer walls, more hugs.

Re: Constraints
Several problems.
1: our understanding of particular constraints might be wrong, or at least incomplete. Because Flatland.
2: physical constraints fall away almost daily due to scientific/technical advancement.
3: logical constraints are iffy. Because Wolfram (an infinite set of logic frameworks).
3B: self-consistency only holds inside of an individual framework - it's not 'universal', whatever that means
4: my personal favourite, computation is the best telescope/microscope/clock/laboratory we have. Watch a Mandelbrot zoom (that displays scale) as it blows right past the Planck length without missing a beat. Yes, I know it's not physical reality, but that should make mathematicians love it more, not less. What is it? I don't know. But it's not nothing. Chaitin shows it respect. If I really, really want to see a scientist get bent out of shape, I suggest to them that computation might actually allow us to put universality (the most fundamental assumption in science) to the test. I personally believe in universality, but that plus $5 will get you a Starbucks. It's easier to try than to prove it can't be done. What do you need? Models. Lots of models. And not the Slovenian kind.

locumranch said...

Elite-capture of Institutions and manufactured evidence turn impeachment into coup d'état, the popular will into top-down tyranny and the rule of law into legal parody.

Libertards like Larry_H have happily traded their liberty for a little temporary security and now deserve neither liberty nor safety. They long for a Nanny State to tell to them where to go, what to do and how to think which is why they long to submit their will to postmenopausal scolds like Elizabeth Warren.

These are the commands that these progressive poofters long to hear & obey:

"Play nice" -- "Clean your room" -- "Eat your vegetables" -- "Obey" -- "Conform" -- "Submit".

The Civil War will come when the Elite say 'No' to Brexit, Fossil-Fuels, the Second Amendment & try to send the few remaining adults to their room under the pretext that the Elite KNOWS BETTER than the popular will.

Know also that the 'inner Boy Scout' is dead & gone, having been converged into a non-toxic, undisciplined, gender-neutral & LBGT-friendly hugfest that doesn't know a shelter-half from an entrenching tool.


Zepp Jamieson said...

Scidata: "Of all the nations on Earth, the only one I’d tolerate messing with our federal elections would be our neighbor to the north."

Robin Williams once famously (and brilliantly) said that living in Canada must be like having a really nice apartment that over a meth lab.

David Brin said...

Okay, all good things end. The vitamins have clearly worn off. It all comes down to one thing.

Everything the mad redders say would collapse if subjected to normal, grownup processes of evidence and fact-determination... either in court or in market or in science... or by wager. ALL of locum's assertions would fail such tests... so he and his fellow cultists must wage war against the very idea of objective reality.

Everything is subjective incantations! Hence, when we try to apply facts, WE are the ones being bullies! We are bad by our own standards!

Nice try.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

I continue not to read his posts, but what you're describing could be paraphrased as:

"Mom! Reality's being mean to me."

Zepp Jamieson said...

Hmmm. The (organic) plot thickens.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Reality isn't in high demand amongst Trumpkins. Der Fearless Leader today claimed that Adam Schiff wrote the whistleblower report, and that Pelosi privately felt the phone call to Ukraine was just fine, maybe even perfect.
Trump will go down in history as King of the Howling Nuts.

locumranch said...

It doesn't matter if David, Greta Thunberg or any Fact-User is well-educated, very smart or the most brilliant person in the universe, these brainiacs self-identify as Grade A Morons if & when they conclude that their superior knowledge OUGHT TO confer upon them automatic authority, power & respect OR the ability to convince, lead or compel obedience from others.

Reality is indeed "mean", but not just to me, but to anyone of significantly above-average intellect, as the majority of the Contrary Brin blog participants damn well know from personal primary & secondary school experiences.

Superior intellect has earned us hostility, isolation, distrust, disloyalty, mockery & fewer breeding opportunities:

Our intellectual abilities condemn us to supportive roles rather than leadership, leaving us (if we're lucky) as the unsung heroes who remain forever 'behind the scenes'.

Our less intelligent betters repurpose & misuse our inventions (as in the case of dynamite & nuclear fission) in order to arrogate all of the resulting rewards & power for themselves.

And, forever & always, we are the first put up against the wall when the revolution comes.


Fermi Paradox Solution #7: Intellect is an ANTI-SURVIVAL characteristic.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Guys
While your Orange Cockwomble is probably the most appalling PERSON to be POTUS the DAMAGE that he has done palls into complete insignificance compared to

Nixon - interfering in peace talks (when he had zero official role) - thousands of US dead
The "War on Drugs" for party political reasons - millions of US dead

Bush 2 - taking the USA into a "War of Choice"- (A War Crime) thousands of US dead - permitting the USA to torture prisoners (A War Crime)

When you "clean house" you really should go all the way back to Nixon

David Brin said...

Blah blah blah. A fellow who kneels to service authorities reflexively cries out that we must be doing the same thing.

I speak of experimental facts and evidence and he yowls that I am deferring to credentialism and elite authorities. Dig it you jibbering loony. The two are different. You despise both. And scientists do gain credibility by using evidence-based systems...

... but you are explicitly and openly and relentlessly denying the existence of objective reality. The very existence of facts and evidence. They terrify and horrify you and discredit every yammering you hurl.

My entire worldview on reciprocal accountability and transparency and competitive arensa is about that. It is how we got positive-sum.

Again. You know you cannot openly say "I hate facts!" So you rail that the fact professions are the fact haters and oppressors! Bah, even if that were true... all ten million of them... that doesn't change the core thing here.

You hate and are terrified of facts.

Larry Hart said...

Reality has a liberal bias.

Liberals see that as a confirmation of liberalism--that liberalism aligns correctly with reality.

Conservatives see that as a condemnation of reality--that reality doesn't align with conservatism.

To liberals, objective fact is the neutral arbiter. To conservatives, right-wing dogma is the neutral arbiter.

The two sides will never agree. One has to win and one has to lose in the court of history. My bets are on the reality-based side.

locumranch said...

In the simplest terms, our fine host proposes Tyranny and The_End_to_Western Democracy when he demands that the Fact-Using identity group depose & rule in the place of the current No-Nothing administration.

To argue that one identity group is best-suited to rule humanity is a very old & time-tested argument as it was once used to justify Aristocratic identity group rule on the basis of 'Breeding', Religious identity group rule on the basis of 'Divine Right', Oligarchic identity group rule on the basis of 'Wealth as Proof of Merit', and White Supremacy on the basis of 'Race'.

In support of Fact-Using identity group rule, David makes the identical argument, one appropriately softened by judicious application of the Equality Fallacy:

To whit, David argues that the Fact-Using identity group is all-inclusive, being representative of all humanity, ASSUMING that all human beings possess an equal amount of innate intelligence, education, equality of opportunity & outcome, the WEIRD mindset, and an equal & identical cultural value system.

Of course, all of his subsequent demands, suggestions & policy recommendations belie this Equality Fallacy as he aggressively OTHERS all of those individuals that he identifies as Deniers, Deplorables, Dominionists & No Nothings by demanding their disempowerment, exclusion & expulsion from polite society, followed by the horrifying euphemism currently know as Mandatory Re-Education.

As any actual Fact-User would indubitably know, this is terrible idea that ALWAYS ENDS BADLY for the identity groups involved, as it did for identity group Nazi & identity group Jew during the last global outbreak of Utopianism.


Rather than 'Reality having a liberal bias', it is 'Liberals who have a liberal bias when they see reality as a confirmation of liberalism'. Larry_H self-identifies as a 'Know-Nothing' by arguing otherwise & condemns himself to same fate as the other Know-Nothings, Deplorables & Witches: "Burn Him".

Larry Hart said...

Time editor Anand Giridharadas ... tweeted [to Mitt Romney],
“Mitt, it is time to strap the dog of courage onto the car of your constitutional obligations.”

Larry Hart said...

presented without further comment...


We’ve heard lots of calls on Congress to behave more like the founding fathers in recent weeks. Which F.F. do you think Mitch McConnell most resembles? I put that question to several historians and they found it to be a real stumper. “You could argue John Adams is a little bit like Mitch McConnell,” William Galston of the Brookings Institution said reluctantly. Both men, he pointed out, were “stubborn, confident and highly partisan.” However, it’s tough to imagine Abigail Adams being accused of using her political connections to boost her family’s business interests, like a certain majority leader’s spouse.

“I can’t think of anyone who’s like him,” said Joanne Freeman of Yale. The question of who might play McConnell in a “Hamilton”-type production about Trump impeachment stumped her, too. (“Oh my gosh — a McConnell musical. Wow.”)

I am considering the guy who does Mr. Smithers’s voice on “The Simpsons.”


Catfish 'n Cod said...

In the last couple of hours, the supposed leader of the free world flat-out stated that he asked Ukraine to investigate his political rival -- and that he plans to ask China, too, for reasons evident to no one outside himself. Apparently he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong, and doesn't think anyone else should think it wrong, either.

At this hour, there is still no sign of this bombshell on It will be interesting to see if Shepard Smith is allowed to tell his viewers that the President* is soliciting foreigners to act against a competing candidate in his own re-election.

This despite new polling showing 45%-38% support for impeachment even with the facts known a few days ago, with 30% of Republicans saying that asking Ukraine to investigate Biden would be abuse of power -- this being the exact action he just admitted to on the White House lawn to numerous witnesses. White women and college-educated whites are also moving towards impeachment support.

Continue as he has been, and it might yet be legally possible (though not necessarily advisable) to try this man for treason. He is certainly talking himself into impeachment, and he's starting to give GOP Senators reasons to vote him out....

Zepp Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

I think Krugman nailed it. I'm paraphrasing grossly, but in effect he believes that many Republicans would sooner see their country die than admit the Democrats could be right about something.
Trump went after Greta this morning, quoting some troll who responded to her line "I should be in school" by saying she was blowing off "the best education socialism can steal". Very telling attitude there, I think.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I think Krugman nailed it. I'm paraphrasing grossly, but in effect he believes that many Republicans would sooner see their country die than admit the Democrats could be right about something.

That seems to be exactly the case, which is why some sort of Civil War might be inevitable at this point. We can't compromise with that. We can't each live and let live. Right-wingers won't be satisfied until they push the Enlightenment-based people into the sea. We have to make sure they can't do that. Ever.

Jacob said...

Don't lose sight that we're talking about our fellow Americans.

A combination of changes to the way we get information and loss of the Fairness Doctrine has lead groups of people to believe that different things are true. Remember the voters from the left and the right come to their beliefs from good places. Our dysfunction is related to opportunists/market forces taking advantage of human psychology and changes in modern society. Sweeping statements or judgements hurt rather than help us move towards a better future.

How can we organize such that we get better outcomes? Americans range from misinformed to uninformed to knowledgeable. We need to figure out ways to handle the loss of the information commons that existed several decades ago.

Let me state that I would most likely believe what my political opponents believe given the same information and life experiences. Where I'm in the wrong, I'd like to be approached with the following three:

A paraphrase of my position that I agree with.
A list of concerns as to harm and/or unintended consequences to the positions I take.
A alternative way to accomplish my position that doesn't cause the harm above.

What I'm asking for isn't likely of most voters who have busy lives. Letting them see your empathy and exposing them to alternatives solutions is valuable. I fear that most information bubbles fail in providing that.

locumranch said...

I agree with Larry_H: We cannot allow anyone to push the Enlightenment-based people -- by which I mean those of European, White & Christian extraction -- into the sea. Ever.

Increasingly, the advocates for Strict Meritocracy find themselves pickled somewhat by cognitive dissonance as numerous Scientific Studies have indicated that intellect, IQ, educational attainment, socioeconomic status & criminality correlate closely race & ethnicity, so it would therefore follow that a Strict Meritocracy of Fact-Users must necessarily discriminate against, marginalise & exclude these underachieving ethnicities from leadership roles.

Similarly, it would follow that those more meritorious ethnicities which routinely overachieve must be given preferential privileges, a louder political voice & positions of command -- a sort of noblesse oblige, as it were -- over those underachieving ethnicities who appear statistically incapable of full participation in said Fact-Using Meritocracy.

Wow! Did you see how quickly your Strict Meritocracy of Fact-Users has degenerated into an ethnic caste system?

Luckily for all of those diversity-loving progressives out there, the US federal courts have recently ruled that it is both legal & moral to discriminate against, marginalise & exclude some overachieving ethnicities -- Asians applying to Harvard University, in this particular case -- in the interests of ethnic & racial EQUALITY.

And, there we have it: LEGAL ethnic & racial discrimination in pursuit of fallacious equality.

Of course, this equality-based precedent applies to every OVERACHIEVING ETHNICITY that appears overrepresented in our Strict Meritocracy of Fact-Users, and I can think of at least two overachieving ethnicities to which this new precedent applies, not including the Mormons.


Catfish 'n Cod said...

Did he really go Bell Curve? *checks* yes he did. Okay, was just checking.


Volker's testimony was to inform the House and Senate that he knew Rudy was being fed horseshit by corrupt Ukrainians (and pause here to remind ourselves who has the money nearby TO corrupt Ukranians). Rudy apparently decided he liked the taste, or else had already taken in the brain parasites and dismissed Volker as a Deep State operative. (Is anyone reminded of the depiction of John Nash's schizophrenia in A Beautiful Mind?) His Orangeness bought the story hook, line, and sinker, and now the "Fox" half of Fox News is running with it and ads are being bought to promulgate it.

The *really* interesting bit is where this conspiracy claptrap supposedly shows not only that the 2016 victory was legit, not only that the globalist/Democrat/DeepState/establishment/Trilateral conspiracy were the real manipulators, but (needlessly from the standpoint of US politics) that Russia was totally innocent of any shenanigans. Despite Mueller having named names and documented voluminously.

The question isn't whether this is an intelligence operation. The question is how organized and official it is, which countries are involved (we all can name one, but there are indications that others are contributing) and how much each link in the chain is aware of the deceptions.

David Brin said...

The Ukraine thing, is typically mis-managed. Many see no crime in asking for dirt on Biden. So hammer DT's slavish devotion to Putin! Yanking defense $ from Ukraine twice (both for his wall and then to extort Biden dirt) helps who? THAT was the aim! Biden the excuse. It is utterly shameful that democrats, media, and late-night hosts are yowling about the superficial thing, and not the killer fact.

Vitamins used up. I am back to snooze button, ignoring L.

locumranch said...

I think the operative term here is 'Sinophobia', and shame on the US Progressive Pro-Diversity Party for celebrating the US federal court ruling that defends the EEOC Equality Fallacy by legitimising discrimination against meritorious Asian-Americans.

To escape this Racist Label during the pending 2020 US Presidential Election, the US Democrats now have only one option and, no, it's not what you're thinking, it's not a nomination for Andrew Yang.

It's Elizabeth Warren who, by amazing coincidence, has the exactly same percentage of Asian Ancestry as she does Native American ancestry. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”


TCB said...

Today, in Asheville, NC, 90 degrees. Average for this date, 71. Record, 86. The question is no longer, Will the oil princes murder my children for money? but How soon will the oil princes murder my children for money?

Larry Hart said...


Don't lose sight that we're talking about our fellow Americans.

I won't when they don't.

David Brin said...