Thursday, October 31, 2019

More (high) Science weirdness... and more...

Before going into some science-y quirks, a couple of quick items?

1) In Britain guess what Brexit-opposers have chosen as their catchword? Yep, it's "Brin." See a fun and funny video of "Brin-ers" crossing Abbey Road. Always knew I'd get there! (Not the only "Brin-appropriation!" here's another!) “Come on without, come on within, you’ve not seen nuthin’ like the mighty…”

2) Again, if you want weapons to help you fight for civilization -- (and no less is at stake) -- across the coming 370 days, then fetch (cheap!) an e-copy of Polemical Judo, with 100+ tactics to counter the would-be destroyers of our Great Experiment. Arm yourselves! And ponder some fresh perspectives. (Oh, and arm-twist others!)

== Modern Problems ==

What about those supposed “sonic attacks” on US and Canadian diplomats in Havana and Beijing? Studies show that it’s very likely something traumatic did happen. And we need to resurrect Frederik Poh’ls prophetic novel about scurrilous, state-sponsored sabotage: The Cool War.

Speaking of threats… have you heard of warshipping? They attack a target network by shipping a cellular-enabled wifi cracker to a company's mail-room.

phenomenon called “hikikomori” is defined by the Japanese Health Ministry as people who haven’t left their homes or interacted with others for at least six months. Of 541,000 people between 15 and 39 who fit that description, 34% have spent seven years or more in self-isolation. Another 29% have lived in reclusion for three to five years. As many as one million people, mostly young men in their 20s, were spending their days locked up in their bedrooms, reading manga (comic books), watching TV, or playing video games. They refused to work or go to school and often didn’t communicate with family members, let alone friends.

I wonder if this will wind up being connected somehow to (1) the male excess in some populations and (2) addiction.

Cautious optimism drawn from a piece of news that might – possibly – help us stave off water wars across the next five decades, and buy us time to get our act together. Scientists have discovered an enormous low-salinity aquifer off the U.S. East Coast. The researchers say it could indicate other such aquifers trapped beneath the salty seas in ocean sediments across the planet. Whether the ice age conditions that made this vast trove were repeated elsewhere, is unknown. But it could matter.

== Changing climate - and attitudes ==

Lending support to what I have proclaimed should be a top issue for the Resistance! "In a time of climate change denial and vaccine resistance, scientists worry they are losing public trust. But it's just the opposite, a survey released Friday finds. Public trust of scientists is growing. It's on a par with our trust of the military and far above trust of clergy, politicians and journalists . . . " The survey by the Pew Research Center finds 86% of those surveyed say they have a fair amount or a great deal of faith that scientists act in our best interests. And that's been trending higher."

I am not asking that we emphasize the mad right's war on science - and all fact professions - instead of their blatant tumble into racism, sexism and intolerance. I'm saying we can benefit by proclaiming the obvious, that the Putin Party has it in for minorities and science! Women and civil servants! Gays and journalists and teachers, doctors and the intelligence community and... yes... the US military officer corps. Get enough RASR republicans to face all these bigotries at once could jostle many of them into turning back toward the light.

And yes, meanwhile... roughly 197 billion tons of ice from Greenland melted into the Atlantic Ocean in July. That's about 36 percent more than scientists expect in an average year. Maintaining climate denialism requires war on science. Don't refuse allies. Embrace them.

Amid the politicization of science, we’ve seen sins on all sides. One controversial study – published in the flagship journal Science – asserted that there were systematic differences in the ways that conservatives and liberals respond to fear or threats or disgust. I’ve always deemed these conclusions to be premature. While yes, conservatives tend to exhibit much closer-in boundaries or horizons of in-group inclusion, I’ve found that many on the left are just as intensely judgmental and wrathful and/or disgusted. They just aim these emotions are different horizons.

Here is an article that casts doubt on both the earlier, simplistic conservative-liberal psychological difference study and the process by which a refutation article might be denied publication in the same journal. I don’t deem this to be a broad indictment of science. Just a very tentative cautionary tale.

== Steps toward Uplift ==

Steps toward uplift? “Transgenic rhesus monkeys carrying the human MCPH1 gene copies show human-like neoteny of brain development.” The transgenic monkeys exhibited better short-term memory and shorter reaction time compared with the wild-type controls. (And yes, it’s done in China. And that's just what's happening in public view.) 

A top researcher dives into the fascinating topic of elephant intelligence and communications: “A database of elephant recordings increasingly captures acoustic, visual and tactile signals, matched to behavioural observations. But elephants inhabit deeply different lifeworlds from humans, have different hierarchies of motivation, and make different perceptual discriminations. And, except in the crudest terms, we don’t know much about what elephants might want to say to one another.

The fascinating story of traumatized young male elephants killing rhinos - til a wise older male was brought in to teach them proper behavior - has vast implications for us, as well as pachyderms.

Late in this interesting survey, Prof. Ross suggests that the biggest obstacle to effective sapience on the part of elephants, corvids and toothed whales might be their inability to store information outside themselves. To build upon a lifetime of experience (say in a herd matriarch or some of our cave ancestors) in a critically expanding and accumulating way. We began doing this by extending human lifespans so elders might carry oral traditions even into their sixties. Then came writing and so on.

This leads to an intriguing possibility… that “uplift” of the smartest animal (“pre-sapient”) species might begin not with genetic meddling, but by simply offering sites for external memory storage. Say obelisks - perched along an elephant migratory path or in some shallow, dolphin-friendly bay - that record and playback correlated inputs from any who come to purposely engage. “If our deep-learning algorithms can crack the elephant communication code, and enable us to engage in conversation with them, perhaps we could create this means of storage, such that elephants are motivated to attend to it.”

A final note: Elephant-uplift was portrayed in fascinating ways in Lawrence Schoen’s novel Barsk - and its sequel, The Moons of Barsk. I portray modified/armored ‘elepents’ and mammuts working in space in my novella “The Logs” found in INSISTENCE OF VISION.

And there's this.... seal learns to sing "Star Wars" theme song. And another does twinkle little star. Okay aliens, NOW are we worthy?

Final notes:

Not only is eating fewer animal products good for the planet, but it is also good for your health. A  recent study found that eating more plant based foods slashes the risk of heart failure by 40%, while another one found that a vegetarian diet cuts the risk of heart disease death by the same percentage. Let’s be clear, I am not a vegetarian. I still indulge. But I view terrestrial meat as a condiment and red meat as a rare, guilty pleasure. Perhaps that leaves me in karmic jeopardy, but it does help lower my planetary footprint and carrots won’t ever be uplifted. Nuts? Well, maybe. Avocados are alien spies.

fascinating illustrated cosmo-historical timeline since the big bang is far from comprehensive, but beautifully rendered and laced with interesting facts I never knew.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Can we escape trench warfare? -- Chapter One of "Polemical Judo" here for free.

Before diving in, may I vent? Yesterday, in the New York State lawsuit to access Trump financials, his attorney claimed that a sitting president can't be prosecuted, sued, or even investigated while in office. Based not on law but an opinion memo by the Justice Dept's Office of Legal Counsel, he asserted if a president murdered someone in broad daylight, any legal action would hamper the Chief Executive charged with national safety -- vastly expanding similar claims by Richard Nixon. Alas, the New York solicitors - our heroes - failed to answer with:

1) From Grant to Clinton, presidents obeyed traffic fines and deposition subpoenas.

2) One can limit legal snarls in a president's workday without setting him/her above the law.

3) What 'work'? Have you seen Trump's daily "presidential calendar"? (See note below.*)

A better solution: slow indictment.  "Any queue of pending legal matters can demand no more than ten hours a week of a president's time." Justice slowed is better than justice murdered. There's more on this in...

For You, Today -- A Free Sample!

My e-book Polemical Judo goes live Friday, 375 days before the 2020 U.S. elections, offering two things... a Big Picture of why we find ourselves at this critical juncture... and tactics against resurgent feudalism. Stacks and racks of tactics. I posted Chapter 16 already, appraising impeachment and chess moves Vlad & Rupert Murdoch may try, as Trump unravels. And counter moves our Enlightenment generals might employ.

Now here's Chapter One! After this, I hope you'll deem $4.99 cheap to get the rest. (See the Table of Contents.) I guarantee so many ideas seen nowhere else. If only someone in a good position will try them.

Introduction — 

The Need for Judo Polemic

a Brazen Guide for sane Americans to bypass trench warfare and win our life or death struggle for civilization

by David Brin

It was a brilliant political maneuver — and no Democrat will learn from it. In 1994, Newt Gingrich's innovative "Contract With America" made the Republican Party appear serious, pragmatic, reformist. No matter that every decent promise in the Contract later wound up neutered or betrayed. The electoral triumph that Gingrich wrought with this bait-and-switch was a historic phase change, demolishing what remained of the Roosevelt-era social and political compact.
The aftermath was even more tectonic. Even under Ronald Reagan, legislators assumed that their mission was to stake bargaining positions, then negotiate and ultimately legislate, adjusting our laws for changing times and needs. Gingrich retained that tradition for one more year — the anno mirabilis 1995 — making deals with Bill Clinton to get budget surpluses and welfare reform. Foreign policy was a collaborative neutral zone.
Revolutions often eat their own. Soon Newt was toppled by Dennis Hastert, whose eponymous "Rule" threatened political extinction for any Republican who dared to discuss tradeoffs or common ground with any Democrat, ever. Across America, "Tea Party" movements enforced the Hastert Rule on representatives with fervent passion. As a result, every following Congress — except for the brief, Pelosi-led 111th (2009-2011) — would be among the most rigidly partisan in U.S. history. Also the laziest, holding among the fewest days in session, or bills passed, or hearings (except those spent fruitlessly pursuing Clintons), but setting all-time records at fund-raising.
Oh, about the central architect of this era that bears his name — Dennis Hastert, chosen by his party to be Speaker of the House and top Republican in the nation? Hastert later served time in federal prison for lying about decades of grotesque, serial child predation.
Why do I begin with all of that, in a book about "Judo Politics"?
Because the key feature from that entire era was not Republican canniness, or laziness or turpitude; it was Democrats’ obstinate inability to learn anything at all. [1] What Newt Gingrich's "Contract" and the "Hastert Rule" illuminate is how liberals, moderates and Democratic politicians keep getting out-maneuvered, time and again, refusing ever to understand their mistakes — like Barack Obama attempting for eight years to negotiate across party lines with opponents who had literally and explicitly banished that phrase from their caucus. Yes, it was wise and mature to keep trying. And yet there are reasons why Obama failed.
Consider the Democrats’ two lonely triumphs, across the last 30 years. In both 1992 and 2008, frustration with Republican misrule boiled over. Massive outpourings of activism led to registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns, bringing millions to the polls who formerly sat out elections. In each case, the Democratic-controlled legislative and executive branches got busy, trying to steer the ship of state... only to lose control of Congress just two years later, in 1994 and 2010, when those new voters stayed home.
Is history repeating, yet again? Are the chess-masters already planning for 2022?
Repeatedly, Democrats and their allies are lured onto battlegrounds of the enemy’s choosing, as Donald Trump tweet-controls every news cycle. Sure, talk show hosts mine each day’s outrage for humor, indignation and ratings. But it’s rare to find even a single pundit (other than cognitive linguist George Lakoff) asking: "Hey, what actually happened, just now?"
What’s happened? It’s increasingly argued that we’ve entered a crucial phase — so far, not hot — of America’s 250 year old civil war, a battle for survival of the Enlightenment Experiment. Moreover, we've been tricked into fighting chest-to-chest, grunting and shoving, in the polemical equivalent of trench warfare. Or else Sumo wrestling.
David Axelrod put it well [2], citing how we respond to every Trumpian or Fox News provocation with righteous indignation.
"My advice to the Democratic nominee next year is: Don't play.... Wrestling is Mr. Trump’s preferred form of combat. But beating him will require jiu-jitsu, a different style of battle typically defined as the art of manipulating an opponent’s force against himself...."
Absolutely. Moreover, it must begin with un-learning our most comforting — and futile — reflexes.

ticking clocks and urgency [3]

It may surprise you that the author of Earth and Startide Rising, a lifetime member of environmental NGOs and a caring father who lives by pondering the near and far future, will write so little in this book about some of the critical crises facing our nations, citizens, and biosphere — like global heating, deforestation, water scarcity, mass species extinction, and the spread of populist fascism. I will get to them all! But they aren’t our main focus here.
That’s because I am both hyper-optimistic and super pessimistic, at the same time.
Just in my own lifetime, I’ve witnessed so many examples of humanity’s genius at innovating spectacular solutions to daunting problems. I know how far that record goes back in time and where it might take us, if truly fed and empowered. For reasons that I won’t go into, here, I think it’s likely that humans are rare across the cosmos — unusually creative, for a naturally evolved intelligent species. But that creativity only burgeoned to full strength and vigor recently, in one kind of society. One that found new ways to practice an art we’re taught to despise: Politics.
Politics is a competitive process — often cutthroat — but also cooperative when we use it to negotiate. It is politically that we define policy, which can either hinder or unleash the fecundity of science, amateurism, volunteerism and philanthropy, as well as markets that address new needs through enlightened self-interest. Using many tools and a broad stance, we know how to do those things! We used to do it more.
In a later chapter — "Can We make a Deal?" — I’ll go through many ways that adults might seek win-win solutions to our myriad problems. But I doubt that can happen right now, because our process of negotiation — politics itself — has been almost destroyed. And that happened deliberately.
Hence my combination of optimism and deep worry. I have many friends in science, engineering, activism and so on who are frenetically busy trying to save the world. We could do so much more, so much faster, except that — alas — all of our immune systems against error and our political mechanisms for problem-solving are presently clogged. They must be unclogged!
Alas, in order to do that, we’ll have to combat monsters.

zombies and vampires and were-elephants

The death spiral of U.S. political life has yet to see bottom. While most factual indicators suggest wary optimism about humanity’s overall trajectory, our public addiction to dudgeon and fury intensifies daily. Words like "negotiation," "deliberation," and "discourse" sink into quaint anachronism alongside "phlogiston."
For those who complain of "incivility" and preach "let’s find common ground," Chapter 2 of this volume explores deep, underlying currents that we — especially Americans — all share, deep roots that are seldom discussed and healthy reflexes that have been turned against us. I’d like nothing better than to apply those common values, resurrecting politics as an arena where — amid much fervent wrangling and dickering — positive-sum compromises rise to the top. Moreover, I’m known as a militantly-moderate person, a liberal-minded pragmatist reformer who sees much wisdom in Adam Smith and who willingly criticizes a sometimes obdurate far-left. My blog is called Contrary Brin because I’ll argue with any faction, always with an eye to finding that path where all can win.
But I’m now convinced the never-negotiate radicalism of today’s mad right — promoted avidly on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and by memes pouring from Kremlin basements, and even institutionalized openly by many Republican leaders — leaves us no choice. It’s become a knife-fight. Any reaching out will just win us a bloody stump.
As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman put it, in an August 2019 editorial: "Democrats need to win elections, but all too often that won’t be sufficient, because they confront a Republican Party that at a basic level doesn’t accept their right to govern, never mind what the voters say."
By any factually-supported metric, citizens should be taking torches to the shambling, undead shell of the party of Lincoln. Yet, 40%+ of the voting public in the U.S. (and with similar waves in many other countries) has been mesmerized by bilious incantations via Internet and TV — a phenomenon referred to by uncomprehending punditry as 'populism.'
In fact, something similar has happened whenever some new kind of media erupted, as in the 1930s, when radios and loudspeakers seemed to amplify the human voice to godlike proportions, empowering gifted savanarolas to very nearly take over the world. Or back when printing presses poured forth hate-tracts that stoked Europe’s 17th Century religious wars. Today's cunning Goebbels-equivalents have turned transformative Internet technologies against us. Against the very civilization that fostered communications breakthroughs with curiosity and science. Oh, someday, these technologies, too, will have the promised net-positive effects, as happened to books and radio. But till then, we must survive a violent time, incited by tsunamis of malignant memes. And that will only happen by thwarting evil geniuses.
Hence, while this book is aimed at helping achieve outright victory for the "Union" side in this phase of the U.S. Civil War, I am not here to praise Democrats, but berate them.
Getting mired in trenches while extending repeatedly a bloodied hand of negotiation is not working. Nor am I the only one demanding tougher, more agile tactics. Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, as of July 2019 started using "foul language" to describe the Trumpists. (Gosh.) David Faris, author of It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics, says Republicans have all but destroyed democratic norms in America, and it’s time for Dems to take on the mantle of procedural warfare. Faris’s concepts include deliberately breaking up big states like California so that blue populations can match red citizens in "Senator Power." I have many doubts. But as Abraham Lincoln said about U.S. Grant, we can’t spare fellows like that. They fight.
This battle can only be won with agility. With maneuver. By using the adversary’s ponderous momentum against him. By appraising the advantages and weapons of those who hijacked American Conservatism, transforming it into a shambling zombie that would appall Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, or even Ronald Reagan — a tool of foreign tyrants, casino moguls, coal barons, petro-princes, Wall Street cheaters, tabloid pimps, mafiosi and resurgent Nazis — a cabal of forces who will end free enterprise as surely as they aim to finish off Enlightenment democracy and the impartial rule of law. Toward this goal they have refined a daunting array of effective tactics...
... that might yet be overcome and even turned to our advantage, with the political equivalent of judo, the art of using your opponents' own aggressive momentum against them;
 By slashing the bonds (or lies) holding their coalition together. (The very thing they do to us.)
 By confronting our neighbors not with familiar chasms, but commonalities. Things you and they both know to be true.
 By understanding how so many basically decent people insulate themselves against appeals to compassion.
 By going to the root of their own catechisms, like Make America Great Again.
 By making explicit what the Fox News hosts and fellow travelers never say aloud, like their open war against all fact-using professions.
 By using outcomes to destroy their comfy narratives — like the claim that conservatives are the practical ones — by proving Democrats are vastly better against deficits, at engendering a healthy economy and even at fostering open-creative-competitive enterprise.
 By proving there is common ground, e.g. showing your neighbors that we were all raised by Hollywood themes like suspicion of authority and individual autonomy, even if we disagree over which authorities are trying for Big Brother.
 By going directly after the two traits they find so appealing about Donald Trump — first his brash bully-bravado and appearance of macho "strength"...
 ... and second the way he enrages the same people who red-hat-wearing Americans hate most.
 By developing the one method that always corners them. A trick that makes a few opponents stop, think and reconsider… while sending the rest fleeing in panic and shame.
Oh, the list goes on and on. In this compendium, I’ll shine light on not one, or ten, but as many as a hundred memes and counter-memes, tactics and stratagems, polemical riffs and/or smart missiles that have nearly all been ignored by our 'generals' — the candidates and consultants and commentators who we count on to confront this madness. I’ll suggest ways to counter effective cult catechisms like "fake news" and "deep state" and the blatant, all-out war against every fact-using profession.
If even one of these tools or tricks winds up being used well by some effective public figure, then this effort will be worthwhile.

what lies within

Well okay, my regular publishers would be too slow for this election cycle, so let’s do a quick e-book touching on many topics.
 We’ll spin from the war on science and fact (Chapter 5) to racism and immigration (Chapter 22).
 From electoral cheating and gerrymandering (Chapters 4 & 8) to the economy (Chapter 11), to forging a big-tent coalition (Chapter 19).
 From saving the planet (Chapter 20) to the right’s obsession with symbolism (Chapter 17), to gun control (Chapter 21).
 From international relations and China and Russia (Chapters 9 & 18) to anti-government fetishism (Chapter 10) and our ongoing national family feud (Chapter 16).
 From “exit strategies” — Impeachment, Indictment, the 25th Amendment and all that (skip to Chapter 16, if that’s all you care about) to overcoming "splitterism" (Chapter 12)
 From conspiracies (Chapter 7) ... to the poison that is used to suborn so many of our leaders... to the antidote that might save them and us (Chapter 8).
 From ways we might all negotiate solutions off the hoary "left-right axis" (Chapter 13)... to resilience and readiness in case that fails.
And tactics, tactics, tactics that might — or might not — work. But shouldn’t someone at least try some of them?

time for a few caveats

As I said, this tome largely gathers — with light edits — separate postings from Contrary Brin, so do expect both gaps and repetitions. Likely a lot of the latter. Apologies for that —
— and for my inevitable failures at the ever-changing linguistic exigencies of our ongoing campaign for diversity, uplifting a crude civilization toward greater awareness, acceptance and tolerance. (See below.) I’ll commit errors of terminology, especially re: this year’s gender-and-category identification rules. Still, while this codger firmly rejects extrema of PC-bullying, let me avow to being an enthusiastic, lifelong fellow traveler in our unprecedented drive toward the kind of just and better future sometimes portrayed in science fiction. I mean well.
Why is so much of the 'good stuff' packed later in the book, like "impeachment" and other fierce tactics? Because I’m a pedantic twit and there’s a lot of stuff about history, science and even philosophy I want to get to, first. I control the order of the table of contents. You control what you choose to read.
Finally yes, while most of the issues and points raised here are pertinent to any human society, especially those upholding enlightenment values, this volume is decidedly USA-centric. These chapters are about a pivotal fight for the soul of the "American Experiment." Friends out there, root for us — we still have a flawed-but-useful role to play. But carry on, if we fail.
Oh, for those readers who like to skim (I can get wordy and garrulous), go to later "pause" interludes where I try to distill down to zingers and one-liners. Above all, these political judo maneuvers aim to use the stratagems and momentum of today’s mad-right against them, helping us defend and revive the vital revolution that gave humanity its brightest hope. May some of our politician-paladins find weapons of practical value.
Next comes the first of several pause riffs between chapters, where I’ll focus on fundamentals that seldom get mentioned in our insipid "Left-vs.-Right" grunting and sumo-shoving matches. Some are traits that you and I share with a vast majority of our fellow citizens, even many on the other side... qualities that we might use to bridge the volcanic wrath now gaping between us.
A wrath that all-too many of them have foolishly fallen for... but yes, in some cases so have I. And so have you.
As lusciously pleasurable as it can be, we cannot afford wrath. There’s too much at stake.

THE END of chapter one. Continue reading this excerpt of chapter two or pre-order POLEMICAL JUDO for your Kindle ebook.
A Final Note about presidential immunity. This argument insults one of America's top contributions to civilization, the assumption that we run the nation through systems of nested, interlocking laws and civil servants and unleashed private endeavor. A fundamental principle (discussed in Polemical Judo) is that our leaders themselves are (and must be) replaceable from vast pools of talent. The nation is not the leader. In fact, the system is supposed to work so well that we can survive even an incompetent or corrupt or bizarro leader... which history will show, if we do our jobs next year. Trump attorneys argue for the indispensable man theory that dominated almost every past society. (Even though hypocritically they'd have shrieked if Obama did even one Trumpian thing.) It is in disproving that theory America gets yet one more opportunity to prove real greatness.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Impeachment and other exit strategies. Twenty different chess moves! A sample chapter from POLEMICAL JUDO.

Here's a chapter-excerpt from the book you'll all be pre-ordering, by the time you get five paragraphs in! Chapter 1 is already posted as a free sample, along with half of Chapter 2.

This chapter is the most topical timely as everything might change at any minute! I attempt to do what no TV or online pundit seems inclined to do... look at the chessboard and think three moves ahead.

Memes for our political knife-fight

Chapter 16

Exit Strategies – Impeachment, Indictment,
the 25th Amendment and all that[1]

You desperately want to envision a quick way out of this torment. Okay then, without any preamble or delay – and from the fast-changing perspective of mid-October 2019 – let’s ponder four general scenarios - and their many variants: 


Sorry, but as of October 2019, despite the frenzied urgings of sumo-fighters, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right about investigating first and impeaching later. Even if the House indicts[2] Donald Trump, Senate conviction requires cooperation from eighteen GOP Senators. That is extremely unlikely till conditions are right. 

Those conditions may occur! Trump revelations may pass a certain (as yet unknown) threshold, especially if disclosures from Deutsche Bank[3] bear any resemblance to rumors, or in the event of a truly major national crisis. When President Trump becomes a terminal liability to his masters… if they perceive him dragging down their investment in a worldwide oligarchic putsch… they may seek a new formula to salvage a win-win. 

How? By letting the Democrats clean up the GOP's mess? By extorting or bribing just enough Republican Senator ‘defectors’ to help remove Donald Trump despite fury from the base, compensating those “defectors” with enough cash (or blackmailing them) to compensate for the end of their political careers. (And perhaps not even that, if the volunteers have four years till their own re-election campaigns.) 

There is a rub to this scenario, and we’ll get to it. Till then, you’ll never get the 18 Republican Senate votes needed for conviction and removal. And that’s why we don’t hurry, but look at this tactically, in phases.

         Phases. I am not an expert politician like Pelosi and Schiff, but here are my guesses at how they view timing, during the months ahead. 

         a) Hurrying to impeach before the 2020 primary season, there are risks at both the high and low end. 

Low end. Assume further revelations just keep perking along, piling ever-higher at a rate similar to the last 3 years, then RASRs and ostriches and professionals will keep leaking away from the Republican Party, but the Trump-rally core of Red America will be like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, never confronting a break-point they can’t rationalize.

Especially if none of the polemical methods in this book are used to corner them. 

Mountains of turpitudes will be shrugged off as ‘witch hunt’ stuff. Any premature House impeachment vote will be seen as just a sterile, partisan gesture – a tit-for-tat against Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the nineties. [4] That’s how they’ll spin it, as comparable events, despite one being a zit and the other a basketball-sized tumor. The Senate will vote “no,” and that will be that. 

At the high end, even supposing revelations accelerate to some breaking point (which they might, even as I am typing this, canceling out much of my book!), think about the consequences if impeachment and Senate removal come too soon. Republicans might just go ahead and replace Trump, then campaign for Paul Ryan (or Romney, or worst-case Pence), without breaking stride, pretending it all never happened! Remember, they did exactly that recently, when the 2016 GOP Convention omitted mention of every party leader between Reagan and Ryan, even two Republican presidents.[5]

And they got away with it. Because Democrats let that happen without mention or comment.

Either way, McConnell wants a rapid pace! The eagerness of liberals for a Thanksgiving season vote is dumb and plays into his hands. Rushing in is not judo.

         b) Impeach during primary season. Time it right and continuing revelations might help challengers like William Weld to become noticeable irritants. Not enough, probably, to deny Trump the nomination, but sufficient to drive him into ever greater hysteria. Again that depends on the magnitude of revelations. But short of that putative video of him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, actual impeachment during this phase would be risky – Dems will be accused of doing it as an election ploy. Still, it’s a better time than before or after.

A sweet spot? Cornered by revelations and outrages, but terrified of home voters, GOP Senators don’t dare convict Trump - but they do collaborate on emergency bills limiting his powers.[6] He is lethally wounded for November. Republicans cry sauve qui peut! and scurry to the lifeboats, trying to save themselves while Romney (or some Russian front) tries to form a third party.

         c) Impeach during the general election season. Oy, what a mess. Howls of “Let the voters decide!” While voting machines go haywire.

         d) Final revenge. A deliciously awful opportunity might come after a major victory for America in November 2020 – during a brief window between the seating of a new, Dem-majority Senate and Inauguration Day, 2021.[7] With a little help from off-year GOP Senators, Trump might be removed from office, dragged out of the White House, and kept off the inaugural stage -- an indignity that would be mostly about vengeance. I mention it because, frankly, I expect revelations to mount that high.

All told, it’s a minefield. And liberals who play armchair general shouldn’t just assume they know what’s best. The way I’m behaving, for example.


Now for a rub. The fact that must keep Vlad and Rupert up at night. Suppose Trump becomes an unbearable liability, dragging down everything they’ve built, but he refuses to go quietly? No buy-out offer or threat works and he sees the Republican Party trying to rally around a new, “fresh” standard bearer. Well, this would finally give Donald Trump the reality show role he was born for –

– as furious, livid-living martyr. Liberated from the prison of the White House. Free to stage rally after rally, howling about schemes and injustices 24/7, while riling the confed base to volcanic fury. And he turns it all against the GOP. 

There are two ways out for Rupert and Vlad. 

(i) make democrats do all the work and arm-twist just enough Republican Senators to go along, drawing Trump’s wrath mostly upon Democrats and just individual Republicans. Or else…

(ii) real martyrdom. The biggest win-win for Fox and Moscow. Eliminate their irritant the same way that cynical executives got rid of their liability, Howard Beale, in Network. Blame those cityfolk and liberals! Or an ethnic patsy. And it’s likely we'd tumble into hot civil war. Putin’s win-win.

Ponder these chess moves in advance and don't fall for them. If it comes to (i) then I’d ask a dozen Democratic Senators to play sick, so the GOP must pony up an equal number of their own, to reach two-thirds and removal. 

And if it ever comes down to possibility (ii) then it is vital that Democrats not pour into the streets, celebrating! Rather, react with rage at the blatant culprits -- an oligarchy that cruelly used-up and then disposed of a sick, addled old man, as soon as they were done with him.

It will work, at so many levels.

Does all of this sound like fantasy? 

No, what is stupid is not to work out possible chess moves, in advance. 

The Secret Santa Variant

Let's dig further down the rabbit hole of Mitch McConnell's possible ploys. All right, so imagine that he and his masters have deemed Donald Trump a liability. Mike Pence has agreed to follow orders. Ideally, Trump would resign or take a leave of absence and head off to have fun riling his base against Democrats... but he refuses, or he can’t be trusted not to blab the deal.

Moreover, thanks to the skill and professionalism of the Secret Service, any “Howard Beale” martyrdom option is off the table.

Well, there’s impeachment and removal, under the Constitution. But were McConnell to go along by providing 18 Republican votes for Senate conviction, Trump would go off the assigned rails, turning volcanic rage -- and his base -- against the Republican Party and possibly even the oligarchy that controls it! 

Are there ways that Mitch (with likely nods from John Roberts) might arrange this to happen without incurring Trumpian fury on the GOP?

Well, for starters, there is nothing preventing either the House or the Senate from holding a secret vote (with the tally put under seal until past the next election cycle). This would free people to vote their conscience. In fact, this is already being discussed re: the House impeachment decision, perhaps giving some protection to Democrats who represent reddish districts. (It won’t work, but it does help give Speaker Pelosi an excuse to follow her own tactical timetable.)

In the Senate, secret voting would almost certainly result in conviction, as at least two dozen Republicans eagerly cast folded ballots into a box to rid the nation of their party’s greatest embarrassment. There are two problems with this option though:

1. It would raise a fire storm in public and press, especially when every Republican Senator claims to have voted “nay.”.

2. It would not mollify Trump’s reflex to lash out at the GOP leaders who ‘betrayed’ him.

The Go-Limp Option

There is a sneaky – if barely plausible – way out of this trap. Who says the number of Republican defectors has to be 18? That's only required if every Senator attends the trial. Only now look at the Constitution:

Art. I, Sec. 3, Cl. 6 & 7: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: and no Person shall be convicted without Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

“Two thirds of the Members present.” A quorum of at least 51 Senators is required, in order to be in session, hence it might theoretically take just 34 to convict and remove a sitting president! And if those voting 'yea' are 100% Democrats, then a deposed and enraged Trump wouldn't go after the GOP, would he? 

Let's assume all 47 Democrats (and partners) vote to convict. That will amount to the required two-thirds if no more than 70 Senators are present, 23 of them Republicans. That can happen if thirty GOP Senators somehow don't show up. Perhaps they call in sick. Or they declare a “boycott” of a "kangaroo proceeding." (Or, if you are writing a cheap thriller novel, you'd portray thirty of them blown up at a conference, blame Democrats and the "deep state," and trigger a truly hot war, leaving Putin on top of the world.[1]) However Mitch arranges such a mass absence, Democrats could then remove Trump all by themselves, on a party line vote.[2]

Would they be so stupid? So propelled by reflex hate that they fall into such a trap? 

Not if they reply “He's your problem, Mitch. Deal with it.” And especially not if they look at the alternative.

[1] A good reason for Republican Senators to avoid caucus meetings outside the Capitol?
[2] Or make it less obvious by letting just a few RINOS vote to convict. Few enough not to trigger Trump against the GOP.

Trump’s impeachment insurance.

Sure premature impeachment might be a trap that a hundred million liberals will eagerly charge into. But that’s not my biggest reason for siding with Pelosi’s go-slow approach. My worry is… the alternative. While Donald Trump is a dangerous/loony foreign agent, at least his Murdoch/Moscow masters don’t want the world to end

It is absolutely verified that Mike Pence does. We’re talking literally. So let me lay it out.

With only one exception, GOP presidents always appoint someone utterly unqualified as their Vice President. (Reagan did choose a qualified VP… who became the worst president of the 20th Century.) Whether or not this is done as impeachment insurance, we need to consider all potential outcomes. 

Right now, Trump’s White House leaks like a sieve. The civil service and intel/military officers are wary and careful. Cauterized, he can do limited harm. In contrast, Mike Pence would fill the Executive Mansion with dedicated and utterly disciplined Dominionists who would strive - tight-lipped - toward the same goal. Each and every one prays daily for events described in the Book of Revelation to all come true. They are open about it, as is the president-in-waiting.

An end to all human ambition, democracy or science. An end to all generations of children. An end to the United States of America. And brutal endless torment for 90%+ of Americans.

President Pence will croon smoothly about ending our “national nightmare.” Hundreds of thousands of officers etc. will moan with relief and hurry to serve. Pence might even pull his name from consideration as a candidate. All that will mean is that the clock is ticking a rapid countdown.

The 25th Amendment  

I talk about this Constitutional quirk in detail, in the rest of CHAPTER 16. (See the book.) Alas, I see little chance it will work, unless the Republican masters forsake Don as a liability. And if that happens, they’ll prefer martyrdom over making VP Mike Pence the fall guy, which would happen under the 25th.

Let’s suppose Pence corralled a majority of cabinet officers (do “acting” secretaries count?) into invoking the 25th. Trump and Pence would then send "letters" back and forth at an ever-accelerating rate until the email servers melt. Congressional Republicans will dither, covering their ears to the blatant psychological meltdown of the man-with-nukes.  Till the Supreme Court has to step in with some kind of non-Constitutional arbiter. Insane amounts of damage. Which of course will make some parties giggle with glee. 

Yes, Congress could appoint that “other body” I described elsewhere, to bypass the Cabinet… a commission of sages that could have real power for good, under the 25th. If the right people were on it, our nation could ease out of civil war. And the chances that McConnell would go along, or that a Trump veto could be over-ridden, are nil.

I comment further on this, in the second half of Chapter 16

Donald Trump is pressured to resign

Um right. That would require something on the order of the Pee Tape. Nothing less and probably much more. You got hopes.

A hybrid seems possible.  DT takes a “stress break.” A vacation with no electronics of any kind. Or maybe blame his recent worsening hysteria on a brain tumor. (Ideally one induced by Democratic windmills.) Dems should insist on independent examinations and that they get to see him, daily.

Status quo

The circus goes on and on. We depend utterly on the sane adults of the civil service, intel community, law professionals and the U.S. military officer corps to keep us safe (though alas not the Kurds), while Donald Trump adds fuel to phase 8 of the Civil War, destroying the Republican brand and riling up the Union to truly take up the fight.... ending ideally with America – not the confederacy – winning overwhelming victory at the ballot box. (Though that will also require dems wising up on tactics.)[9]

Status Quo doesn't mean passivity! Congress must rescind the 2001 War Powers Act now! And set up a commission of sages that can (if unanimous) allow the military to pause a presidential command. That commission could be explicitly granted 25th Amendment “other body” powers giving it real muscle. (If it is partisan, then we're entering Venezuela territory.  So start with all the ex-presidents, ex-Vice Presidents and ex Supreme Court Justices. Throw in every U.S. Nobel laureate?) 

The unspeakable

Any “fifth option” I can think of is too horrific for words – though one of them starts with “M” and I’ve used it several times here in this chapter. A way for Trump’s masters to both eliminate a liability and rile up the base to hot-war violence. I denounce it, in advance. In fact I am on record asking that Trump be careful what he eats, especially with his foreign “friends.” And God bless the U.S. Secret Service.

My advice, especially to Democratic politicians, remains not to fall for traps. Calm down. 

We're supposed to be smart people, it’s what Putin/Murdoch fear about us, right? We have all of the fact-user professions. Use that. Think.


That was half of Chapter 16 of POLEMICAL JUDO. 
Want more? Chapter One and half of Chapter Two are posted, as well as the Table of Contents, all for FREE.

POLEMICAL JUDO is now available for pre-order (cheap!) and purchase (Kindle format). 

I'll be coming back repeatedly to urge you to help spread the word!  Seriously, if you don't find dozens of concepts, tactics and needed chess moves you never saw elsewhere, I will eat a bug.

[1] Sources: Exit strategies – 25th Amendment and

[2] Impeachment is like grand jury indictment. GOP complaints about prim witness confrontation due process are specious. (1) this is constitutional, not judicial; (2) it is more about a board of directors firing a corrupt employee; and (3) It is the Senate trial that should be primly like a courtroom.

[3] Rumored revelations from Deutsche Bank.

[4] For fibbing about some 3rd base marital infidelity, which both his wife and a majority of female voters forgave? Do you want the tsunami of Trumpist horrors dismissed as equivalent? 

[5] Except Newt Gingrich.
[6] Limit presidential powers? At surface, they’ll cooperate to constrain a loose cannon Trump, but with an eye to weakening the coming Dem president. Do this carefully!

[7] Of course, that would be about revenge. 

[8] At last! On October 16, 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of praying for the mental health of a clearly sick Donald Trump. It played out as I predicted, rousing effective responses in all directions.