Saturday, June 06, 2020

Musing about Coronavirus outcomes... and the Roberts Court... and the 'fundamental' lie underlying Wall Street

Pausing amid our serious choice between BLM and MAGA, let's not gorget the crisis that was already underway. Let me start by linking to some of the many podcasts and interviews I've done, across the last few weeks.

First, hosted by Dr. David Bray of the Atlantic Council: "A conversation with internationally recognized author and scientist Dr. David Brin, noted public policy professor and expert Dr. Kathryn Newcomer on the technologies, investments, and policy actions that could help us rebuild from COVID-19 on a global scale."

And one more podcast! In this one, Amanda Caniglia of The Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe joins Steve Chapel of Intellectual Capital, Alexis Dixon of Mediation Solutions International, to chat and interview me about these strange times and stranger yet to come. And yeah, I wish I had a deeper, better voice. So I try to add extra content value… plus a song. 

And Gadi Evron’s Essence of Wonder Podcast dives into the nominees for the Best Professional Artist Hugo... then interviews me about the role of science fiction in modern life. The connection between the visual and descriptive language. And other fine, diverting topics.

But I'm not the only wiseguy blathering or else trying to help change things. Fore example...

... yipe! Some of the wakened Republicans on the Lincoln Project are pulling no punches in their one-minute “Mourning in America” ad. And look up what George F. Will has been saying about the undead mutant horror that's become of his beloved Republican Party.

Meanwhile says Scott Foster, expert on Asian economics: Stupid people have been called what's going on in the States a WWII Moment. But a real WWII economic policy with real WWII discipline may be required to get us out of this self-generated disaster. Asian manufacturing is coming back on line. While many U.S. factories are closing for good.” 
== The Roberts Court: commanded by their masters to end their own relevance ==

I used to think that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts cared most about the institution of the Court. That is what he talks about most. But I’m now convinced that’s a cover-scam. Roberts knows that his current trajectory - relentlessly abetting every cheat that shatters 250 years of constitutionally democratic precedent - will eventually lead to the people rising up to bypass an ‘institution’ that's now more corrupt than it was under John Taney. He is as suborned - and likely blackmailed - as anyone in DC.

On Contrary Brin blog, we’ve been discussing what happens if - faced with just such a popular rising and imminent electoral collapse - the GOP is ordered by its masters to prevent any election happening at all, in November. Or else to wage war on the perceived legitimacy of that election. The following is cogent from that discussion:

“A violation of the Constitution as clear as halting the election for anything short of holocaust-apocalypse level emergency would need all three branches' support to sustain, plus broad popular acceptance -- which won't happen. And the states, not the Feds, have authority and mechanism to actually run elections. So what happens if Lord Farquaad declares an election cancellation, SCOTUS agrees, and states vote anyway? Remember, the House is the ultimate arbiter on the validity of both its own members and on the election of the President; the Senate is the ultimate arbiter on the validity of its own members and on the election of Vice President.” In short, it is entirely possible (by design!) to elect a Congress and a new President even in the face of Federal executive and judiciary opposition. And if necessary, that's what will happen.”

That paragraph invites contemplation of enough potentially weird outcomes that exceed even those I speculated in the “Exit Strategies" chapter of Polemical Judo. For example, a Biden-Trump presidency? No, won’t happen, because the House votes for president with one vote per state, favoring redders, despite whatever the vast majority of the people want. No, if it comes to that, it will be civil war, after all... exactly as Putin and Murdoch want.

I would add that there is precedent for proceeding with a new Congress even if many states did not choose to participate in the election. To be clear- almost none of the representatives or Senators elected from seceding states in 1860 showed up for Congress in early 1861. None after elections in 1862 and 1864, and hence the quorum in the Capitol was based upon those still participating. Hence, if Trump were to "defer" the November 2020 election - or declare a boycott that neo-confederate states participated in - the rest of the states could hold their elections as usual, then have their electors vote and send their Representatives to the new Congress. 

The precedent for those states who withdrew is clear. They are ignored.

== Wisdom from a science fictional seer ==

My colleague and bro Kim Stanley Robinson has a major article - The Coronavirus is Re-writing our Imaginations - in The New Yorker. (That alone is a victory for modernity, since that zine used to issue lynching-jeremiads against science fiction, with insipid regularity.) Robinson’s thought-provoking piece takes a mile-high perspective on our ructious time. 

It’s very likely that there will be more water shortages. And food shortages, electricity outages, devastating storms, droughts, floods. These are easy calls. They’re baked into the situation we’ve already created, in part by ignoring warnings that scientists have been issuing since the nineteen-sixties. Some shocks will be local, others regional, but many will be global, because, as this crisis shows, we are interconnected as a biosphere and a civilization.

“Imagine a heat wave hot enough to kill anyone not in an air-conditioned space, then imagine power failures happening during such a heat wave. (The novel I’ve just finished begins with this scenario, so it scares me most of all.) Imagine pandemics deadlier than the coronavirus. These events, and others like them, are easier to imagine now than they were back in January, when they were the stuff of dystopian science fiction. But science fiction is the realism of our time. The sense that we are all now stuck in a science-fiction novel that we’re writing together—that’s another sign of the emerging structure of feeling.

“Science-fiction writers don’t know anything more about the future than anyone else. Human history is too unpredictable; from this moment, we could descend into a mass-extinction event or rise into an age of general prosperity. Still, if you read science fiction, you may be a little less surprised by whatever does happen. Often, science fiction traces the ramifications of a single postulated change; readers co-create, judging the writers’ plausibility and ingenuity, interrogating their theories of history. Doing this repeatedly is a kind of training. It can help you feel more oriented in the history we’re making now. This radical spread of possibilities, good to bad, which creates such a profound disorientation; this tentative awareness of the emerging next stage—these are also new feelings in our time.”
Like me, Robinson is fascinated by horizons of perception… what thresholds of future possibility people are willing to ponder and act upon. In novels and public statements he has long fretted that our neighbors are used to fobbing off on future generations potentially lethal environmental problems… a concern I shared via Earth and Existence. (See my elucidation of “Horizon Theory".)
In fact he sees hope in our current, self-interested interest in flattening-the-curve. 

“We’re now confronting a miniature version of the tragedy of the time horizon. We’ve decided to sacrifice over these months so that, in the future, people won’t suffer as much as they would otherwise. In this case, the time horizon is so short that we are the future people. It’s harder to come to grips with the fact that we’re living in a long-term crisis that will not end in our lifetimes. But it’s meaningful to notice that, all together, we are capable of learning to extend our care further along the time horizon. Amid the tragedy and death, this is one source of pleasure. Even though our economic system ignores reality, we can act when we have to.”
Hey, guarded optimism is my own schtick, as well, bro. Any other civilization would have crushed gadflies like thee and me… and most of our readers, too. And the scientists and front line workers and fact professions who will likely — in just the nick of time - save us all. So we’re already ahead of the game, just by continuing to play, and having hope.
== The Biggest Lie of Wall Street Parasites ==

Mark Anderson of the Strategic News Service offers an excellent missive on energy flows in nature!  It is vital to understand we’re still part of an ecosystem that relies upon thermodynamics, even in economics. If fact, I’d like to add a couple of points about economics mythologies.

1) We are learning a hard lesson: that one of the wretched mistakes of the MBA caste has been to over-emphasize “efficiency” at all costs. Just-in-time systems developed by Toyota in the 1970s and 80s - based partly on teachings of industrial guru W. Edwards Demming - had terrific effects on pushing the envelope of quality on assembly lines. But when it exaggerated into a cult aversion to ever stockpiling parts on-site, industrial Japan grew fragile and then collapsed when they took a hit, as in the Fukushima debacle. Picture a marathoner with 0% body fat abruptly dropped into the desert for a multi-week survival trek.

In nature, the animals who are ‘efficient’ in a niche keep winning and winning… till hard times hit and suddenly each genus loses most of the specialist species that had branched-off. A lesson is to give Resilience equal priority to Efficiency. 

I’ve been urging twenty different measures to make society more robust vs. future shocks. (I’m interviewed here by Peter Denning for the ACM on what simple measures - technological and social - might help accomplish this.)

2) Ask Wall Streeters to justify the spectacular costs of their activities — fully aware that 99.99% of it does not generate investment capital for companies innovating improved goods and services. They will recite their magical catechism-incantation — that they help to “discover the true price of equities and companies and capital.” 

This rationalization is issued not as the mumbo-jumbo that it is, but as an axiom of faith, based upon the one time that's a service, when companies do raise fresh capital via IPO or other original equity sales. But the rest of the time, by nibbling at the edges of every transaction, Streeters claim they help to “smooth” the slope of value. It sounds plausible, till you realize —

— that it is stunning malarkey-juju, based on absolutely nothing whatsoever. Certainly no analogues in nature, where health is defined by how FEW steps there are along the steep energy slopes that lead from sunlight to photosynthesizing plants, from plants to herbivores, from herbivores to carnivores, to poop and carrion that feed scavengers and microbes. Five big steps? Six or seven? In that case, everyone is pretty healthy and each layer is doing pretty well, supping in turn along the downward flowing river of free energy from the sun.

So what happens in nature when there are many, many increments, nibbling along the edges and “smoothing the slope”? 
It’s called parasitism
The plants are sickly from fungus. 
Herbivores are bleary-eyed and scrawny from tapeworm and the scraggly-mangy lions are desperate. 
Parasites are gobbling the energy increments, leaving barely enough for the main participants to stagger on.

Does that sound like today’s corporations, small companies and entrepreneurs? Bled at every phase by commissions and arbitrage fees and consultants and insider trades and vast vampire-siphonings by a CEO caste that is no longer recruited from the innovators or shop-floor engineers (as they are still, in China), but installed by fellow board members, all part of an incestuous cabal of 5000 golf buddies.

Nothing could be more anti-competitive and more… soviet. Or more like the parasitism that brings both economies and ecologies to the very brink.

== Whimsey… thoughpossible to ponder… ==

This DIY Guillotine has… chops. Though Ikea left out the support braces, ropes, latches and pulleys!


Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

This DIY Guillotine has… chops. Though Ikea left out the support braces, ropes, latches and pulleys!

Parts sold separately. :)

BTW, I posted some news (?) I heard about Lindsey Graham after the "onward" of the previous post. No need to regurgitate it here as I already need a drink and a shower. However, I wonder how true the story is, as I would have expect to have heard it more widely disseminated.

David Brin said...

LH please track the Graham story for us here and keep us tuned in. Will anyone pay the slightest attention - if it breaks - to a decade of my railings about blackmail lying at the root of almost everything we see, in DC.

For a moment I was concerned this might cause the GOP to suddenly veer to another candidate for the fall. But the primaries are over and once this is out, what reason would Graham have, to withdraw?

Indeed, Jaime Harrison must be very careful how he couches his subsequent denunciation, which should not be about gayness, but COWARDICE in the face of blackmail. Now that would kill.

All speculative for now.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

...COWARDICE in the face of blackmail.

I've been saying all along that I pray for his sake that what they've got on him is more embarrassing and damaging than just "He's gay". If he's selling his soul just to keep that from being reveled, well it's hardly a secret* already.

A comment on one of the Twitter feeds I saw about that story said pretty much the same thing. Paraphrasing: "Does that even count as 'outing'? I mean Lindsey's closet is pretty transparent."

* An exchange from an early issue of the "Saga" comic book:

"This spell requires a secret"

"I'm not as tall as I tell people I am."

"Do I really have to explain what a 'secret' is?"

David Brin said...

The number of people who were shocked (SHOCKED) when Liberace came out was astonishing.

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, don't forget the shameful secret (gay dalliances, for instance) is only the FIRST step in the blackmail chain. If you succumb to doing something illegal to keep the extortionist quiet, then they have more leverage, and so on and so on. Standard KGB stuff, I hear... Plus it becomes sheer habit to follow orders from the handler.

Incidentally that Michael Douglas/Matt Damon movie about Liberace was really good.

Acacia H. said...

I think the big thing about Graham is the male prostitutes he was apparently hiring.

Republicans don't care about you being gay, so long as you don't act on those urges. (To them, that is being LGBT+ - you can be gay. Just don't do anything gay though and it'll be okay.) The moment you're sneaking into bathrooms with male prostitutes, you end up embarrassing the party (yet again) and showing they're pretty much all hypocrites.

The primary area of discussion on whether Graham is "Lady G" is Twitter and Tumblr from what I've garnered. There are other, more interesting fish for the news media to go after right now, what with massive demonstrations that they can use to demonize protesters and the occasional police officer. And trust me. I've a truly intelligent friend who drinks the Police Are Good Koolaid. Even after the police turned on them once, they STILL consider police to be decent to everyone. (Yes, that friend is white. As am I, for that matter. I'm still scared spitless of the police though.)


Mitchell J. Freedman said...

David, as always, a great post. One correction: Roger Taney (pronounced Tawney I believe), not John Taney. I am ironically less of a pessimist about Roberts, as he did join the "libs" (such as they are) last week, and is likely to join again. On things like abortion and gay rights, alas, I see Roberts just as you do. But, when the norms are threatened for the white caste, he is more likely to blink and join the women Justices and Breyer.

David Brin said...

MJF thanks but I think it's simple. When the issue at hand affects the oligarchs' tenuous grip on political and financial power, the blackmailers give orders and he obeys. When it is "just social stuff" he goes liberal, either because he's been given no orders or in order to preserve the illusion/delusion that he is 'balanced.'

Ahcuah said...

Here's an interesting article that was in The Atlantic yesterday:
The Trump Regime Is Beginning to Topple.

A quote:
Sharp’s foundational insight is embedded in an aphorism: “Obedience is at the heart of political power.” A dictator doesn’t maintain power on his own; he relies on individuals and institutions to carry out his orders. A successful democratic revolution prods these enablers to stop obeying. It makes them ashamed of their complicity and fearful of the social and economic costs of continued collaboration.

It continues with examples of how people of all sorts are finally refusing to carry out his orders.

I imagine the blackmailing ought to fit in here somewhere, but at the moment I am having trouble figuring out how that might affect the argument (except that maybe the blackmailing prevented others from refusing earlier?).

A German Nurse said...

This gets stranger and stranger.

Autor Don Winslow (Savages, The Cartel etc) posted something last year:

But, ultimately, he offered no evidence. I don't know how reliable he is, but his novels seemed well-researched to me.

Some people think he has been abusing minors, and I even read once or twice that someone made male sex workers disappear. Rumors regarding an Epstein connection, too.

Alfred Differ said...

From Foer's article in The Atlantic...

The examples of Serbia, Ukraine, and Tunisia show how even the subservient unexpectedly break from a leader once that leader is doomed to illegitimacy.

That's why the use of the term 'illegitimate' matters so much to me. Weaken it and the mechanism in play causing the subservient to break is weakened. The possibility of 'illegitimacy' drives some to question their subservience, so the stronger the term can be defined absent heat-of-the-moment connotations, the more likely we will all use it the same way.

This is one of those situations where we can't think about a thing without the language to think about it. Defending terms defends far more than a dictionary definition. We CAN be attacked through our languages as many stories have pointed out. Armor up for some of them. Sharpen the others.

Tony Fisk said...

@Alfred It has been pointed out elsewhere that 'legitimacy' is a more fluid term than is immediately apparent.

The rounding up and transportation of Jews was legitimate, as is separating children from parents who are illegal immigrants to the US. Because the laws were put in place.

One assumes the legislature to have a semblance of sanity and decency. It isn't always so.

Pixelshim said...

David, I too am of the belief that Chief Justice Roberts will, in the end, protect the Constitution, and likely deal a fatal legal-blow to President Trump. I understand and acknowledge your examples of oligarchical control and "social stuff but I think that there is a third factor that should be considered.

A Chief Justice and how his tenure will be viewed by future historians.

The "Robert's Court" will be described by its most significant decision. Consider how the Dred Scott, United States v. Richard Nixon, and Bush V. Gore cases are associated with Roger Taney, Warren Berger and William Rehnquist. Those are the decisions that advise future generations of historians, and they will determine a consensus narrative on the Chief's reputation.

Chief Justice Roberts has to be thinking how his term will be viewed down the road. I highly doubt that he would want his name to be associated with enabling an attempted dictatorship or igniting a "hot" phase in Civil War. I just don't believe he would want that to be his legacy.

Perhaps my own "hope" is coloring my thinking . . that the good guys win in the end.

I #resist because I hope.

*pray, wish, hope, etc. for the continued health (and safety) of Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan*

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

That's why the use of the term 'illegitimate' matters so much to me. Weaken it and the mechanism in play causing the subservient to break is weakened. The possibility of 'illegitimacy' drives some to question their subservience, so the stronger the term can be defined absent heat-of-the-moment connotations, the more likely we will all use it the same way.

I do get your point. It may be too much to ask that a tipping point recognize illegitimacy before the evidence is in, and while it still sounds like a partisan attack.

That said, I do think it is helpful after the fact to have some voices expressing the warning of illegitimacy early on. It provides some context for those who come to the realization later on. For example, in Nixon's time, my dad would have been constitutionally incapable of suspecting on his own that the President of the United States was acting illegitimately. That assertion would have to be made persistently enough for him to even entertain the possibility, and from there to reach the conclusion.

Larry Hart said...

I can't do justice to the images contained in this article, which is well worth reading in entirety.

After Friday's PR disasters, the President was holed up in the White House, sending as many as 290 (!) tweets a day, many of them urging the police to come down hard on the protesters. But that is unlikely to happen, since the D.C. police are controlled by the mayor, Muriel Bowser, and she is in no mood to listen to Trump. In fact, she had 16th St. NW, which leads to the White House, painted with "BLACK LIVES MATTER" in bright yellow letters so large they can be seen from space in this satellite photo on the left. The view from on the ground at the newly named "Black Lives Matter Plaza" is shown on the right.
Anyhow, Trump-updated version of this (Trumpdated?) [the short story "The Monkey's Paw"] is that he has been promising to build the Great Wall of Trump since he announced his run for the presidency in 2015. He finally got a wall, just not on the Mexican border. Instead, it surrounds the White House and provides a visual symbol of his isolation. All that is needed to complete his fortress is a moat with alligators, although it would have to be restocked every spring since the creatures couldn't survive D.C. winters, when the temperature can dip below freezing at night. On the other hand, an alligator-filled moat around the White House would be considerably cheaper than the moat around the United States (filled with alligators or snakes, of course) that Trump once proposed. In any event, while he promised to wall off America to keep out the criminals and rapists, what he has done is wall himself off from the American people.
A president who needs to hide behind fences and concrete barriers isn't the leader of his people, he is their prisoner. Could the crowd storm the barricades and break though? Not likely. But then again, it wasn't likely on July 14, 1789 in Paris. Now that day is France's national holiday, called Fête Nationale in French and "Bastille Day" in English.

Jon S. said...

What the people have done is, IMO, far more devastating to Donnie than breaking through that wall.

They've begun using it as an impromptu gallery from which to hang tributes and memorials to the dead, slogans and posters, and other reminders that they - that we - aren't going away. Any time he looks out the window at his Big Beautiful Wall, he's also going to see all of this. (And out one set in particular, two city blocks with BLACK LIVES MATTER painted down them in letters so large they're easily readable in satellite photos...)

Acacia H. said...

John Oliver had some very strong words to say about systemic white supremacism in the U.S. police force throughout its history that is worth viewing. I truly look forward to showing this to my police-loving friend to see if this alters their views at all. Seriously, whether you're pro- or anti-police, this is a half-hour episode well worth watching.


David Brin said...

The 1.7 miles of outer fence that Trump ordered, pushing citizens off their property on the parks surrounding the White House, have been covered with placards. Tearing down his "wall" will be a great symbolic gesture for the next president to lead, as first action on inauguration day. (Actually, he should sign a dozen executive orders the instant after the oath.) But here's my added suggestion to folks in DC...

...alligators! Plush toy alligators. cover the fence with them. Throw them over by the score! The satirical meaning will be obvious.

(In fact, Biden should delay (logistics) the ceremony by an hour and secretly swear in exactly at noon, a mile from the Capitol, and sign 40 or 50 executive orderson the spot, before proceeding to the steps. In fact, the new Congress meets earlier and could have bills for him to sign.)

scidata said...

It's kind of like the sad end of Howard Hughes. But without the innovation, meaningful life, and glorious high points.

David Brin said...

Huh! by coincidence I just edited that dream scene in THE PRACTICE EFFECT that features Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes...

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everybody: Dicen should say: "Mr Trump, tear down this wall!"

matthew said...

I am worried that there is a lot of overconfidence on the Dems part.

Remember that HRC was polling 7-10% over Trump until Comey put his hand on the scale in October. We will see every trick imaginable in the next six months, and some of them will land with the voters that are right now regretting their support for Trump four years ago.

Trump and his backers will stop at nothing, including murder, to stay in power.

Roberts is at heart a far-right activist. Any discussion of him worrying about his legacy is laughable. He doesn't care how history will see him because he understands, as Barr has avowed as well, that history is written by the winners.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everybody: Ummm, "'Biden' should say...", not "'Dicen' should say..."

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Why compromise? Bring the stack of pre-drawn EOs and pre-passed bills to the ceremony! Integrate them into the inaugural address! Give a few paragraphs about some major problem in America today, something really screwed up, promise the first steps in fixing it --

-- and then SIGN IT, right there, right then, in front of everyone. "Promise kept."

And then go to another major problem, speak eloquently about the importance of undoing what has been done, restoring American values --

-- and BAM, Executive Order on the subject! The documents posted as soon as he signs them (with the general gist sent to the media the morning before so they can talk about it).

Can you imagine the tremendous instant impact of such a notion? Forget first 100 days -- what can be done in the first hundred MINUTES?

The speech ends by describing how little all those quick hits could do compared to the jobs ahead; how vast America's problems are, and how much effort and unity will be needed to face the really big challenges (racism, climate, a fairer and more stable economy, etc.).

The sheer competence of the experience would be the tonic the nation needs -- and the last nail in the coffin of Trumpism as a mass-appeal force. Trumpism can't be done away with so easily, of course; the "10-15%" of the nation that really are committed authoritarians, theocrats, grifters, glibertarians, useful idiots et cetera are activated now and will sabotage what they can out of spite. And it doesn't do away with the proto-aristocrats and multinational mafia that caused all this misery.

But it'll be a darn good start.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Dr. Brin:
Yesterday PM, I heard something on NPR which seemed a BRILLIANT solution using market forces to eliminate bad cops (
requiring them to individually have (along with their respective police forces) liability insurance, as we require doctors, lawyers, barbers, and hairdressers to do.
It sounds like something you would have likely proposed, perhaps in your "Political Polemical Judo."

scidata said...

matthew: I am worried that there is a lot of overconfidence on the Dems part

Entirely prudent. Things can swing quickly in any direction (anyone disputing this hasn't been paying attention). Difficult to see, the future is.

Another possibility:
Parasites are shaken off. A civically, historically, and scientifically literate citizenry arises. Our age-old terrestrial gaze lifts skyward -- not with trepidation, but with longing.

Alfred Differ said...


I'll sound like I'm trying to define my way to a winning argument, but I'm not. The following content comes from someone I read who was trying to explain why certain Arab monarchies were likely to survive the Arab Spring. They did indeed survive, so I think there is something to the following distinction.
When laws are passed enabling certain actions, those actions become valid.

When people consent to power wielded as actions, those actions are legitimate along with the powers and the people using them.

See the difference?
The point the other author was making was that certain Arab nations had valid leaders who were being judged as illegitimate by their own people. Validity holds the subservient in line for a while, but Legitimacy keeps them because they believe the arrangement is as it should be.

Would Do/ Should Do

The distinction is important to many people.

Tony Fisk said...

An exclusive wall around a castle's garden?
Prior conversations with another party?
The wall being decorated?
A titular character who's a bit self-centred?

Oscar Wilde's short story "The Selfish Giant" has it all!
It's almost as good an inadvertent satire as "The Elephant and the Bad Baby".

But you may prefer Randy Rainbow's latest offering.

Plush 'gators? Maybe throw in (over?) a few foreign plush pythons for good measure.
And bath plugs.

David Brin said...

Catfish n’ Cod, how’s Kittenfish? And hoping your duties keep you safe, since we’ve lost two physician blogmunity members already (one to being banned, the other feeling we were pressing him too hard.)

Yeah. Signing orders as he speaks would be dramatic and cool. But I’d start with telling everyone “Hold on for one minute” as he signs several and aides run off with them. THEN he does the speech and signing thing. And only at the very end he says “What about the first few I signed? Those were to deal with matters I’ve been security briefed about. As we speak, vulnerabilities are rapidly closing and openings that were deliberately made for enemies are now closed.”

And no details. Heh. Let Vlad sweat.

Keith, Yes I talk about insurance as the libertarian alternative - never mentioned by libertarians - all the time.

Tacitus said...


I don't feel that "pressed too hard" accurately reflects the gist of our off forum communication. Suffice it to say that participation in a public forum under one's own name has a degree of negative impact. And that as political discussion grows more strident and the passions of the day increase over a long hot summer, those negative impacts are more of a concern.

It makes me avoid certain issues entirely and "pull my punches" on others. That makes my contributions less useful as a Contrary voice.


David Brin said...

Tim, you are welcome back as "Tacitus" if that will be more comfortable. Or as any other medieval or pre-medieval commentator (and set us guessing? ;-)

Meanwhile, stay safe in your profession! And in citizenship.

Tacitus said...

I shall consider it. More comfortable for me. Less so for others if I am given to a greater degree of candor. It's a shame it's come to that. Can we only be honest behind masks?


Larry Hart said...

@Tim W,

While I often take up a contrary position to yours, I'm never uncomfortable with you, by "Tim" or any other name. Socratic dialogue is kind of my thing for understanding your position and (hopefully) making my own understood too.

If this were a place where everyone just talked about how much we all agreed with each other (like the 2016 Republican primaries), it would be less interesting .

David Brin said...

Problem is we can't yell at each other... and then take turns buying the next pitcher of beer.

Jon S. said...

Tim, if having the alternate name leaves you more comfortable in the discussion, by all means use it. (Some of us might appreciate knowing it's you and not just some random schmuck, of course... :) ) Arguing can be instructive, so long as it doesn't descend to merely exchanging insults, which is happily not that common an occurrence here. (The two exceptions that spring to mind for me were two people whose arguments were never backed by reason, logic, or data, and who chose to dive into the mud first. That's never been your tactic.)

Just understand that sometimes I'm operating with low caffeine levels, or subject to other conditions that cause my autism to show more, and might occasionally slip on your real name and call you "Pachy"...:)

Acacia H. said...

I've always gone by my name, be it my old one, or Acacia. If people disagree with me? So be it. I'm a 50-year-old transwoman and I honestly don't care what people think of me anymore. (Amusingly enough, describing myself as a 50-year-old silver-haired woman (which I am) tends to keep the rowdies from harassing me on one social media. Probably because the rowdies realize that if you willingly describe yourself as a plump silver-haired middle-aged woman, then insults and negging tends to get ignored while they look like asses attacking someone who could be a grandmother for all they know.)

I've considered you Tacitus for some time, even when you started using your offline name. It doesn't matter who you call yourself. All that matters is who you are.


David Brin said...

And who his is is our pal!

matthew said...

An incomplete tabulation of violence perpetrated on BLM marches or protests by right-wing non-police actors:

Cars driven into crowds seem to a pattern. Perhaps because our President has encouraged the behavior. Interesting that the police always seem to not use force to capture those that attack protestors, but not surprising. In Oregon, again, police in Salem were caught on camera planning and warning Neo-Nazis before the use of tear gas.

Oh, and for those holding their tongues worried that their comments here may have repercussions beyond the printed word, I do believe that the *only* threats of violence on this blog in 20 years have come from our loony right-wingers (and maybe some of the more, unstable, shall we say, posters - there have been things that I've missed due to moderation).

I've been threatened here; I do not believe *any* of our right-of-center commenters ever have. One of those that made a threat to me (the white nationalist Nazi - treebeard) is still allowed to post here. I voted to let them stay *after* they threatened to come find me, as did many others, all in the name of preserving freedom of speech.

If you are afraid to stand for your convictions, I do sympathize. I understand that not everyone is in a place to be public and vocal about their beliefs.

This community has standards, but being banned for threats of violence is not one of them by community choice. Of course, the individuals that have made threats are not embraced by the community but rather tend to get shouted down as a result of their words.

Tacitus said...


I don't have the the inclination to wade through each of the examples cited in the Guardian. I figure taking a close look at the one they decided was important enough to give a lead picture to will suffice.

At the time a great deal was made of this. The majority leader of the Minnesota House, a certain Ryan Winkler, tweeted that "some people" had told him the truck bore white supremacist symbols and a Confederate flag. This proved to be false. The truth of the matter, as the Governor was somewhat chagrined to admit a few days later, went largely unnoticed. It seems this guy was the only one at his company willing to do a run on that unsettled day. He made a delivery to a black owned service station, one he'd been serving for many years. On the way back there was unclear marking of the entrance ramp. He was surprised and one assumes horrified to find a crowd on the highway in front of him. He stopped the truck about as quickly as can be done in the circumstances. It's lucky he was not killed on the spot.

So, the hunt for the elusive White Supremacists goes on. And on. And on.


Details below including the thanks of the gas station owner.

Alfred Differ said...


I believe quite firmly that using your real name, thus being traceable, is an act of courage. No virtuous behavior is easy, but the rest of us can encourage it by recognizing it for what it is. Courage is a virtue.

That doesn't mean I'll think less of you if you go by a pseudonym. I just won't see that as virtuous choice. It's something else. Since you demonstrate observable good character elsewhere and have plenty of people here who vouch for your character from years past before I was paying attention, it really doesn't matter to any internal judgement I'd make. One choice to use a pseudonym won't diminish you.

For the record, I don't skip over your posts. Our host doesn't and I took that as my cue. I haven't regretted it.

Alfred Differ said...

I think turning the fence around the WH into a moat with plush alligators would be wonderfully snarky, but...

... an even more American response is to turn it into a memorial.

I would recommend a cemetery like what we did to Gen. Lee's property somewhere along that fence line. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out who can be buried there.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Bill Arnold 1230:
Shark with apparent damage from cephalopod suckers:
Mysterious scars on Hawaiian shark could be sign of giant squid attack (Brandon Specktor, 9 Jun 2020)
When pressed for details on the encounter, the shark responded merely:
"You should see the other guy."
Reporter Gary Starfish subsequently interviewed the giant squid, who was missing a considerable number of suckers, presumably lost in the battle with the shark.
When asked about this, the squid sounded rather indifferent, saying: "so long, suckers..."

David Brin said...

Okay, earlier I suggested something legal and harmless... attach to (or even toss over) Trump's White House paranoia-fence plush toy ALLIGATORS, to make the child happy. What I do NOT support is folks delivering and laying along the fence actual pieces of his border wall. (Bollards.) Easily sawed off (it's been shown) it would be illegal in several ways and costly to transport. I am not urging this! Though if some are genuine, others could be made or bought from the construction companies -- (who's to know?) Talk about ridicule: "Here you go, sir. Our contribution to your wall."

Don't do it! But we are free to picture it and smile.

Oh BTW... I always thought of "Tim" as a nom-de-plume used by my old pal Tacitus! ;-)

Keith Halperin said...

@Everyone: Apologies- a new kind of mistake: "Replying to the wrong blog!"

Alfred Differ said...

Tweeted a few hours ago...
Today, I directed my staff to begin crafting an order that would prohibit the Confederate battle flag from all public spaces and work areas aboard Navy installations, ships, aircraft and submarines.

Navy installations means on-shore facilities too.
Like where I work.

Tony Fisk said...

@Alfred. So you're defining 'validity' being as the written Law puts it, while 'legitimacy' is as the people accept it? It might be better to reverse the labelling, since 'legitimacy' refers to formal legal process, and popular opinion can certainly be 'valid'. Or have I got the definitions wrong to start with?

Whatever. Ideally, both processes should come to the same conclusion, although I suppose the good(ish) folk of Bristol have just provided us with a prime example of when differences occur. Officialdom's response is the dumping of the statue was vandalism occasioning damage to public works (ie road surfaces) and littering a waterway. Most other folk (Mayor included) is 'Meh! Given the number of slaves this august personage dumped in various harbours, it was poetic justice.'

The mechanism for resolving such conflicts in interpretation is the Judge and Jury. Which sometimes gives us less pleasant examples of how a society is evolving: the acquittal of the Bundy Boys' armed occupation of a Wildlife Park, in 2016.

@acacia, "Amusingly enough, describing myself as a 50-year-old silver-haired woman (which I am) tends to keep the rowdies from harassing me on one social media."

My daughter is currently rehearsing for the Snr. school musical. This year it's "Rent", a somewhat loose adaptation of "La Boheme" set in NYC C1990. Apart from what state the Headmaster's noodle is going to be in when he realises just *how* loose, one item stood out to me: there's a line in the eulogy for the trans-character "Angel", reminiscing how she stood up to a hood and said "I'm more man than you'll ever be, and more woman than you'll ever get!"

Cari Burstein said...

I've never been terribly uncomfortable with sharing my real name on the Internet (did quite a bit of it before most people knew what the Internet was or had scary stories about it). However my ex-husband was always a very private person, and was rather concerned about how much personal information I shared online, partly I think out of concern that it might somehow be connected to him. So I am sometimes careful to be vague when referencing information related to other people in my life, because realistically, as soon as you're giving out your personally identifiable information and talking about them, the connection can be easily made.

I also don't think using alternative names is all that big a deal either. I've been involved in so many gaming communities over the years, and generally in games you're known by whatever character name you go by, so there's probably a good 10-20 names I would answer to if someone called me by that (probably far more than by my legal full name which I only use when I have to- typically I go by my nickname in person). Using those names is more a matter of familiarity, and given that each community kind of has its own vibe and relationships, and in most cases you won't end up meeting in person, there's really no reason that they need your "real" name. It doesn't mean you're hiding, it's just irrelevant. I have actually made long lasting friendships and met many people I met originally in gaming circles- in some cases we've ended up sticking with game names, and some cases we've eventually shifted to real names, or used them interchangeably.

I will also note though, that as a woman I'm probably an unusual case in gamer communities as being fairly comfortable giving out personal information. There's a lot of good reasons why a lot of women don't even let on they're women, or avoid giving out personal details in gamer communities, or online in general. I'd assume the same is true for anyone who might espouse unpopular opinions in the community they hang out in (and to be fair sometimes you won't know what will cause a fuss until it happens).

I don't think less of people for not wanting to take the risk- they're being prudent based on the guidance and stories they've heard. It may not be courageous, but there's a fine line between courage and stupidity, especially online- so I don't begrudge anyone their prudence. If they are going to be more willing to be honest about their feelings in a situation where they don't have to worry about being doxxed or having that comment be brought up somehow later in a job interview or something, then that seems a worthwhile trade. It does mean sometimes feel they can get away with anything, including some truly horrific online behavior, but there's also the flip side that sometimes people need to be safely anonymous to share important things.

Far as I'm concerned, use whatever name you want Tim/Tacitus. I think we'd all rather you be comfortable contributing honestly than feel constrained. Alternative thoughtful voices are always useful in my book.

Alfred Differ said...


I don't doubt there is looseness in the definitions of our terms. What I was pointing out is that my reaction to 'illegitimate' is based quite a bit on a particular definition (that I think should be defended) and the usefulness I see in it.

I think you are using the two terms backwards, but that wouldn't be the first time we speakers of English have those conflicts. If we can't agree, the end result is a likely drift toward them being synonyms. I would regret that day because… well… I described why earlier. I want the social mechanism that causes subservient people to question their positions to remain firm. I want us to have a way to hook onto their sense of doubt and fear.

As for statue toppling… I'm mildly amused. As protests go, it is pretty harmless. No one is erasing history. In fact, they are drawing dusty pages into the present with each act of vandalism. For example, the recent toppling of Confederate symbols here in the US along with the more violent protests has caused some in the US Navy to look inward at the symbols on display at their facilities. That's a GOOD thing. If a little property damage causes progress to be made, I'm for it.

However, I would appreciate if the current generation put up some of their own statues as replacements. Don't just knock them down. Their grandchildren will need something to knock down when THEY get upset. It's not like we won't provide them lots of fodder, so we should provide real targets for their non-violent protests. 8)

Phaedrusnailfile said...

I have seen a lot of discussion on this blog and others about the crowds protesting and whether they are made up of agitating socialists and hardened antifa soldiers trained in George Soros` camps or white supremacist agitators posing as antifa and giddy with glee that they get to participate in their holy war. And sure I suppose some of them might be, but I am willing to make one of Dr Brins famous wagers that the vast majority of those crowds are full of people saying enough is enough.
I grew up with and around gun toting, deer hunting, field dressing, prepper types that felt the government crossed the line when they took their guns to Ruby Ridge. I hope everyone of them would be happy to see that so many people came around to their point of view and would support them.(I know most of them won't and don't, but I sure wish they would cause the point still stands.)
To botch the Orwell quote, if you want a prediction for the future of humanity imagine a boot smashing into the human face repeatedly and forever. I hope that anyone with good sense outta understand that we don't care which color those boots are, we just want it to stop. We thought that the US constitution was a blanket that protects the public from all of the horrors we have seen instead of a cudgel to smash into people who don't understand why that document is such a precious thing and demeaning it in the process. I know our fine host has been sounding this alarm for at least the six years I have read this blog and I thank him for it. I just hope that the noise in the streets is loud enough that people in leadership positions who want to spin this in one direction or another hear the real message. This is not good enough you need to do better. Either that or we all better start figuring out how to breathe smoke.

matthew said...

@Phaedrunaifile - (Nothing personal)

Fuck Breathing Smoke.

I am a Barbarian, an American, the son of hippies and bikers, taught the steps of war by a Hero, educated by the science clade, trained by the streets and by the halls of government. I've lived in the woods and fought in the ghetto. I've known my enemy since I was six and met my first KKK jackass.

Fuck Breathing Smoke.

Everyone I know has a similar story - We are ugly and warted and just sometimes perfect. Smart and knowledgeable. Pissed at shit around us.

Fuck Breathing Smoke.

I'm gonna fight for AMERICA. Not for the shit around us, but the shit in the dream - Marvel making superheroes out of skinny kids, punching Nazis. SciFi authors telling dreams of a better future. The stuff they taught me in my GD civics class, not the true stuff all around me.

Fuck Breathing Smoke.

The thing the GOP do not understand is just how *angry* most of America is right now. I think there is a severe understanding of how strong the backlash will be.

Fuck Breathing Smoke.

They will try to steal our election because they cannot win.
They will fight when they lose in an unfair contest.

We *will* win.
Because we are not going to Breathe Smoke.

Jon S. said...

I did like what one Bristol resident is quoted as saying. Apparently the locals had been going through the proper channels for years, and the best they'd been able to get from the local council was a rather watered-down placard referring to the gentleman in question as "having made his fortune from businesses associated with the slave trade", which frankly makes him sound more like a shipwright than an auctioneer.

The resident told a reporter, "We been goin' through the 'proper channels', well, now he's in the channel proper!"

Larry Hart said...


I have seen a lot of discussion on this blog and others about the crowds protesting and whether they are made up of agitating socialists and hardened antifa soldiers trained in George Soros` camps or white supremacist agitators posing as antifa and giddy with glee that they get to participate in their holy war. And sure I suppose some of them might be, but I am willing to make one of Dr Brins famous wagers that the vast majority of those crowds are full of people saying enough is enough.

I think the argument over whether the violent agitators and looters are lefties or righties or just plain opportunists is just that--an argument over who is taking advantage of the protests for their own ends. The vast majority who are protesting the sort of conduct which leads to deaths like George Floyd's wear their agenda on their sleeves and their signs.

I was going to say that "everyone agrees to that", but that's not really quite true. When Trump and his lickspittles invoke antifa and such, they're trying to smear the entire protest movement as being a liberal/Democratic/socialist plot against his presidency and against the police. They do purposely try to malign the entire movement as if protesting, looting, and rioting are one and the same thing. The same can not be said for those who claim that the bad actors--at least some of them--are right-wingers.

Keith Halperin said...

@Matthew: Excellent, really moving. Wish we did this in 2000...

Tacitus said...

Citizen Hart

I think it is inappropriate to even speak of protest and rioting in the same sentence. One is a basic right cherished by the entire political spectrum. The other is a direct rending of the fabric of society. But lets get specific.

I don't fault people who nonviolently break some laws in pursuit of what they see as a just cause. You want to chain yourself to a railing and so forth, go for it. I admire the convictions of those willing to be arrested and have whatever consequences ensue. I think your name and face should be public so that the accolades and opprobrium you have coming to you arrive on schedule.

But there are lines to be drawn and I hope you'll join me in saying "Yep. That's over the line".

Specifically arson. I came home from school one day long ago to find my house had burned with a younger sibling inside. (Accidental cause to be clear on that). So when I now see Minneapolis buildings with plywood on the front and the painted on words "Children live on second floor" I have zero sympathy for people who burn things. With a few specific exceptions (flags, effigies, etc), I hope you agree with me here. Otherwise there will be people dying in agony. Careless looters, the drunk who was squatting there, children. You are a parent and have a conscience, so I'm sure you don't want that on it.

Arson is a coward's crime and has always been punished with severity. It is the antithesis of careful building of a community. It is in fact the callous and often random destruction of one.

In the early days of the civil unrest it was actually pretty easy to access Minneapolis arrest reports and mug shots. That got clamped down fast. But now a second wave of info is slowly emerging. Because arson is abhorrent to society those charged with it are sought out and arrested.

If you want to go looking, the two guys who tried to burn the Dakota County Courthouse, the dim looking 19 year olds who set fire to a store, the guy charged with helping burn the 3rd precinct all have some degree of visibility today. Nary a white supremacist in the batch. A fair amount of progressive proclivities appear to be present. I consider their skin pigmentation to be irrelevant.

It's a busy day so I won't be posting more. But to cycle back to the original question I think the people protesting are a fair representation of society. The people rioting and burning are a mixture of angry locals, impassioned left leaning people from surrounding communities, plain old opportunistic crooks from anywhere, and a few idiots. These groups overlap. If there are white supremacists in the mix someplace they don't appear to be coming to the attention of Minnesota media, and they are lookin' hard.

Hoping we find common ground.


Phaedrusnailfile said...

Matthew and Larry Hart, I posted that late last night in a fit of pique. My command of grammar is poor on the best of days so I can understand if anyone is confused as to what point I am trying to get across. But just to be as clear as I can make it to both of you. Larry I agree completely with everything you just stated in your post above. And to Matthew, no offense taken, and fuck breathing smoke. It was a lament at those lobbing tear gas cannisters and setting fires.

Alfred Differ said...



When I bought my blue kepi, I had a choice at the website between enlisted and officer costumes. It's the sergeants who do the real leading in battle, so I imagined myself that way.

I imagine you that way too.

David Brin said...

Dang Pachydermis2, so sorry you had that awful story to tell. Very moving... was Matthew's striking poetical call to arms. We are heirs to the heroes of the Gerttysburg fishhook and Missionary Ridge.

I wrote a book filled with tactics and insights and not one is being used... and maybe we'll win with grunting sumo, anyway.

KH: "@Matthew: Excellent, really moving. Wish we did this in 2000...

And in 94 when so many of us who elected Clinton then stayed home and let him down and let in first Gingrich then Hastert... or 2010, when millions did the same thing to Obama. And 2016.

And yes, Alfred, it was sergeants who - without orders - started the hard climb up Missionary Ridge, opening up Sherman's door into Georgia. I pray the sergeants are similarly loyal now. It's one of my worries.

Larry Hart said...


I think it is inappropriate to even speak of protest and rioting in the same sentence. One is a basic right cherished by the entire political spectrum. The other is a direct rending of the fabric of society.

I hope you realize I'm in total agreement there.

But lets get specific.

I don't fault people who nonviolently break some laws in pursuit of what they see as a just cause.
But there are lines to be drawn and I hope you'll join me in saying "Yep. That's over the line".

Specifically arson...

Still in agreement.

The only thing I take issue with, and I'm not sure if you agree or not, is that the egregious criminals who take advantage of the protests in order to commit mayhem for whatever reason don't invalidate the validity of the original protest.

And that's where I see Trump and the pro-violence police themselves crossing the line. They seek to use the criminal subset as an excuse to assault and arrest any protesters (and reporters covering the protests) on the grounds that the protest itself is what is criminal.

Or as a reason to excuse police brutality like that perpetrated against George Floyd and the old guy in New York bleeding from the ear. Some tortured logic which asserts that the protests--i.e., looting and arson--are wrong, so therefore the thing they're protesting against--i.e., police brutality--must be right.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

And in 94 when so many of us who elected Clinton then stayed home and let him down and let in first Gingrich then Hastert... or 2010, when millions did the same thing to Obama. And 2016.

Liberal voters have got to stop thinking of "letting Republicans win" as a way to punish Democrats whom they don't particularly like. Talk about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

It's especially stupid when the thing you're punishing Democrats for is that there's not enough of them to enact meaningful legislation. Progressives wonder rhetorically why the Democratic Party always has to compromise with Republicans and to appease moderate white voters. Maybe it's because those people show up, and lefties tend not to. In 2016, I noted ruefully that Bernie Sanders was ahead with people who don't vote, but Hillary was ahead with people who do.

Deuxglass said...

A bit of science that's very interesting,

Cryo-electron microscopy can see down to a resolution of about 1.2 ångströms and take pictures of individual atoms now.

I agree completely with you Pachydermis2. Arson and chaos is where I draw the line. It's a binary position with no grey area.

As an aside, it looks that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in China as early as last August. One can perhaps assume that it has been circulating outside of China soon after. A lot of interesting studies are coming out now and that's good as long as they check their data before publishing it.

Acacia H. said...

I'm going to go one step further.

There is a social contract out there. If people break the law, we report on the lawbreakers and police arrive, the criminals end up arrested, and the public is now safe.

But if the people who protect the public are the ones committing crimes, then the social contract is broken.

When the police are killing people... when they push a car with a civilian still in it to use as shelter as they shoot up a stolen UPS truck and the woman and hostage die, when they harass people for the crime of being black or looking otherwise suspicious, when they tell women who fled abusive boyfriends who were then FOUND by those abusers "tell us when you're killed," when the police murder person after person after person and get off from punishment because of completely Lawful Evil interpretations of the law... then the social contract is broken.

How long do you accept being slapped in the face every single day for the crime of existing while the person slapping you escalates and spits in your face and humiliates you and calls you worthless... before you finally snap?

There was a superbly done episode of Late Night Tonight with John Oliver that came out Sunday that focused on the police and their actions... actions that LED to these protests. It pointed out the multitude of crimes that the police regularly commit and get away with. It stated that the police complaints about being portrayed as too violent and then showing up for peaceful demonstrations in full riot gear and escalating conflicts by targeting vocal demonstrators is being two-faced.

At the end, a woman talked about the social contract and how it's been broken. It would be quite simple to ignore her because she's "an angry black woman" but what she said is quite true... and seeing how certain parties are busy starting to beat on the drum of "transwomen are predators and cis women need to be protected from them" I fully understand what it is like to be a minority whose request for basic rights and dignity are ignored and considered monstrous by a vocal group claiming to represent the majority. I empathize with her. Because she is right. Every time black people start to uplift themselves in society, elements within society use the police to smash them back into the ground.

This is wrong.

And given the multitude of actions that police are caught performing on camera and yet still get away with... then if some buildings are burned and stores are looted in the path of upturning the status quo and bringing about genuine equal rights for all of us... then let buildings burn. Because property is illusionary. Money is imaginary. Lives are what truly matter. Your life matters... as does my own, as does that of a black woman angry at how society treats her like shit, as does that of a disabled person, as does that of someone with mental illness. The only lives that don't matter? Are the lives of those people who seek to stomp on others and force them back into the ground so they can pretend they are in fact superior to everyone else.


A German Nurse said...

Yes, arson and looting is not acceptable.

But these are the signs of an insurrection, what did you expect?

By no way the rioting and burning down of houses serves as an excuse for the behavior of the police I have seen. These are no singular cases, it is epidemic. One crime does not rectify another one, and using force on peaceful protesters, in any way, is one. It is not a minor misdemeanor to push a senior, like in Buffalo, it is a crime. Period.

All that most law enforcers did, was to increase the level of the aggressiveness. They lost control, or, worse, the semblance of it, and that told any with the right predisposition - accelerationists, gangs - now is the time for direct actions.

Escalative, retributive law enforcement has always attracted the wrong type of persons to this profession, and the reliance on "the good apples" to sort out the "bad ones" is outright naive. If you escalate, you create outrage in persons not formerly been up to this level of anger, make them not longer reachable for civil discourse. Escalative tactics create fanatics on both sides; and with all those firearms in this country, it is a route no one of you could really want to choose.

I am not even talking about the tons of other stuff - social injustice, inverted autoritarism, unrepented racism for 400 years (including genocide), red scaring, CoVid- 19 - that feeds also into this explosive mix. I already mentioned the faulty police training earlier.

Let me provoke you a little further.

What was the American Revolution if not an insurrection? The English were defeated at the battlefields, later on, but, the years before, your glorified Founding Fathers (wealthy farm-owners with a bunch of slaves) led an attritious guerilla war that more often than not involved knife-work, arson, and other acts of treason and murder. From the English point of view, they had underestimated it and perhaps did not even want to escalate, but they did - and voila, the "oppressed" (manipulated) colonists took up arms and rid themselves of King George.

This was the start of an insurrection - of different parties, peaceful protesters, violent protesters, militias, 3%ers, angry people of colour, whites, and the police.

Many people were offended when Colin Kaepernik took a knee. Perhaps, they should revise their stance on this matter, or they fulfil MLK's prophecy on this matter. I think it was a combination of luck, skill and sudden insight of many of your current leaders that transformed the initially aggressive atmosphere.

I strongly advise that you do not add wood and oil to the quagmire of insurrection. That is all they want you to do.

As an afterthought:

And, perhaps (though I really hope that is not necessary), those groups called Antifa will be effective resistance cells that could help you if the US slides into a fascist dictatorship. It would be wise to have places you can hide at, people you can ask for help.

Just saying.

Question (and a game, if you want): If you knew that you have 24 hours before the FBI (Trumps newly reformed Gestapo, not the agency it is today) knocks at your door to take you with them, what would you do?

David Brin said...

Anyone verify these assertions?

Children of Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans.

Staffers of Congress family members are also exempt from having to pay back student loans.

Members of Congress can retire at full pay after only one term.

Members of Congress have exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed, under which ordinary citizens must live.
For example, they are exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment.

If so, then Gingrich's Contract With America was a huge lie. Surprised? Read the first ten paragraphs of POLEMICAL JUDO.

Robert said...

Back in the days of the Suffragettes, it wasn't unusual for someone to lob a brick through a jeweller's window, nick the contents, and scrawl "votes for women" on the wall. The Press blamed the Suffragettes for the thefts.

Plus ça change…

Acacia H. said...

In response? Not exactly.

Also, these claims and others have been floating around for years now.


A.F. Rey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Brin said...

AF Rey, did you mean to post something?

David Brin said...

AFR is apparently having trouble posting. I am getting blanks.