I had hopes that self-publishing my book of 100+ unusual/agile political tactics a year before the 2020 elections would give time for some of the ideas to percolate to the political and punditry castes who might use a few effectively. I should have known better. There are no stronger guild-protection rackets going than the corps of political advisors surrounding every representative, senator and candidate... even the good guys. And they are pikers compared to the closed-shop enforcers who rigidly control the op-ed pages.
That complaint is orthogonal to our current crises, but it exacerbates the dullard incompetence of the democratic/moderate/liberal, scientific-ethical coalition's leadership at turning what could have been a tsunami into a nail-biter. Even if this election turns out to be a 'landslide" against the Putin-Murdoch cult... it could have been spectacularly better.
But we persevere. I'll be finishing these chapter postings and spend the last two weeks ranting and praying, along with everyone else, looking forward to the scenes of celebration November 4, when a billion people around the world spill into the streets in celebration.
Last time we finished Chapter 13... 'What would adults do?' laying out dozens of concepts for governance that could efficiently achieve reform and end the cheating, some of them both surprising and trivially easy.
Next would be Chapter 14: Our 250 year Family Feud - Phase 8 of the Civil War? where I explain how this recurring national fever has erupted many times, ever since 1780. (What we call the "Civil War" was only phase 4, though a bad one... as is this phase we're in.) But that topic was already covered in a blog posting, and many of you have seen it before, so let's move on.
This time let's post from the "mini-sections" I arrayed between main chapters of the book. Again remember this was published last November 2019... This one offers capsules that might yet - even this late - help in some polemical battles over the remaining supply of undecideds or sway-ables out there.
I. ZINGERS & ONE-LINERS: Meme grenades distilled from chapters.
- “MAGA? Okay wise guy, when do you claim America was greater than today?” Hint: when they say “the 1950s….” pounce! (See Polemical Judo Chapter 3.)
- “Fake News problem?” Why do no voices on the right offer to help moderates and professionals to set up an impartial fact-checking service? If all current ones are ‘biased,’ will you name ten eminent and widely respected conservatives to join a commission, charged with helping design acceptable and competing fact-services? What, you can’t name any? (Chapter 5.)
- “Fake News Fix.” If you hijackers of the right won’t propose august, respect-worthy American conservatives to serve on such panels, then we will. Retired justices, retired admirals, Nobel winners, or almost any citizen of Utah! Folks who may differ from us over markets and regulation – even about guns – but who agree that ‘facts are things’ and Nazis are bad… and that we need a way out of the poison fog of lies. (Chapter 5.)
- “Deep State?” Which seems more likely? A ‘conspiracy’ by ten million scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors, civil servants, FBI agents, intel and military officers - the same folks who defeated Hitler, stymied Stalin and won the Cold War and the War on Terror? Or that just five thousand golf buddies in an incestuous CEO caste connive secretly with Wall Streeters, casino moguls, foreign despots and inheritance brats? (Chapters 8 & 10.)
- Adam Smith, the core founder of both market economics and liberalism, would today be a flaming Democrat. (Chapters 3, 10 & 11.)
- Who’s a commie? How many times must Donald Trump hold secret debriefing sessions with communist despots - or conveniently "ex" communist dictators who grew up reciting Marx - without any reputable U.S. officials present - before you'll admit something fishy is going on?
- Vladimir Putin called the fall of the USSR “history’s greatest tragedy.” All of today’s Russian oligarchs were raised reciting Leninist catechisms. The KGB transitioned without a hiccup. But you folks call them all great guys. Sure, they dropped the hammers and sickles, but surely you didn’t fall for a trick of symbolism? Because nothing else changed. (Postponed for Volume 2.)
- Wanna bet? Oh, glaciers are advancing? Would you put an actual money wager on any of your ravings, from climate change to inaugural crowds to those mighty Trumpian accomplishments? (In Chapter 15 we’ll see that demanding wagers, rather than being an immature stunt, actually works ferociously well.)
- Wrong, almost always. "Tobacco is harmless,” “Cars don't cause smog,” “No seat belts in cars!” and “Keep lead in gasoline!” then McCarthyism, Burning Rivers, the insane War on Drugs, mass incarceration and Supply Side voodoo... the list of wrong, wrong, wrong is endless. Can you offer times when the GOP was provably/decisively right? Actually, I can! A couple of times. But there’s been so much more wrong. (Chapter 6.)
- Conspiracy Theories: show us any of the ones you keep changing and then dropping, that ever proved decisively true? There are conspiracies that pass half a dozen “sniff tests.” But not many. (Chapter 7.)
- IGUS. The recent Whistleblower Crises revealed weakness in one of our major bulwarks of clean government, as the seventy-four Inspectors General of federal departments and agencies endure unprecedented meddling and bullying – or else mal-appointment – by Republican politicians. In Chapters 5 and 10 we’ll see how to restore autonomous oversight by bringing them all under an independent office of the Inspector General of the United States (IGUS), along with other reforms including the Fact Act.
- Obamacare was the Republicans’ own damn plan! Cooked up by the Heritage Foundation,it was on GOP platforms through the 90s and enacted in Massachusetts by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. Now Republicans call their own plan satanic. Which is worse? That hypocrisy? Or failure of any Democrats to mention it?
- And by the way… where’s the alternative health insurance plan that Republicans have promised for … what now? Eleven years? Any day now.
- Judges and taxes? Millions of U.S. conservatives who are ashamed of all the rest – Trumpism, bigotry, climate denialism, cheating, lies, trashing our alliances and blatant cozying with tyrants – justify their hold-my-nose loyalty to the GOP in one incantation: “judges and taxes.” But if every other fruit is poisonous, might the whole tree?
- Aren’t you curious… even a little… about those tax returns? Or Deutsche Bank funneling Trump loans from Russian oligarchs? The contents of David Pecker’s National Enquirer safe ought to fill any American with flaming, nonpartisan curiosity, along with the scores of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) that Donald Trump openly brags about. What happened to “We deserve to know!”
II. TACTICS DEMOCRATS COULD TRY… TOMORROW:
- Some congressional committee could unleash a tsunami of revelations just by offering full protection and immunity for testimony from anyone who has an NDA - or Non-Disclosure Agreement - with Donald Trump. Trump has bragged about his Great Wall of punitive-protective NDAs. Shatter it and let the revelations spill. (Michael Cohen will tell you whom to approach.)
- Assume Chief Justice John Roberts will use the Court’s right wing majority to uphold his clever new Roberts Doctrine of "no-interference between the legislative and executive," or non-justiciability, thus allowing GOP henchmen to passively refuse House subpoenas on lame and unprecedented excuses. They think fait accompli resistance will stymie investigation and oversight. But there's a judo move that Schiff and Nadler and Pelosi can try. It means appealing to the Fourth Branch of government. It would work.
- Immaturity alert! This one is almost… Trumpian. But imagine if one mid level Democratic politician were to hold a news conference denouncing fellow Democrats for their unsympathetic pestering of an addled-volatile old man who clearly qualifies for extra care and kindness under the Americans with Disabilities Act... I mean it. Paul Krugman and Nancy Pelosi have come close. But go all the way. Close your eyes and imagine that being drawn out, again and again. Even those who don't 'get it' at first will catch on when Trump responds with volcanic fury, ironically proving it's true! What a tweet-storm that would trigger, hysteria that undermines his one pillar of support – the superficial appearance of “strength.” (Chapter 15.)
- More immaturity: Bush and Trump and others on that side love to hurl nicknames. And yes, as grownups we avoid schoolyard bully ploys. Still, if you go there, I recommend using “Old Two Scoops.” It’s not overtly sneering or mean or obscene. But it mocks the pompous preening of a narcissistic character trait – emblematic of aristocracy – that even the reddest booster can’t defend.
III. WAGER DARES FOR TRUMP: Hey you major public figures or late night hosts: instead of reacting every week to the next distraction outrage, then the next, try openly and repeatedly challenging Donald Trump to:
- accept a medical exam by skilled doctors he can’t control,
- prove his “stable genius IQ” with a panel of simple tests applied by professionals chosen randomly,
- waive IRS privacy rules enough for them to at least say publicly whether or not there’s an audit,
- roll dice and randomly pick any week’s top five accusations of “fake news” for a jury of respected Americans to audit in detail (see Chapter 5). Or even randomly chosen Americans.
- prove the birther thing, at long last. That Obama’s parents planted – all the way from Kenya – birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers, or to golf less than Obama. Or to pay the money he owes every city where he held a rally. Make that a money bet, right now,
- or swear never again to be alone with foreign despots without trusted American witnesses present.
It’s not that any one such demand will be transformative, or even become an actual wager – none of them will (for reasons given in Chapter 15). Alas, no Democratic politician or pundit seems to understand the power of repetition and persistent hammering, despite having witnessed Trump use that method to great effect.
IV. WAGER-DARES FOR OTHER REPUBLICANS: A bit different, these in-yer-face challenges are for your confederate cousins. Demands for real-money bets will send most of them backpedaling. Or else (rarely) persuade one to resume viewing at facts as real things. (See Chapters 5, 11, 13, and especially 15). And yes, some of these will be repeated, later in the book.
- How many Trump appointees and associates started out described by him as 'great guys,' who later 'betrayed' him? I bet it’s more than any ten other presidents. Whatever the anecdotal merits or turpitudes of any particular case, will you admit it proves he's a lousy judge of character?
- Put money on military readiness. Which political party generally leaves U.S. defenses, alliances and resilience in better shape than how they found them? Which party nearly always leaves the American military worse off than before they took over? (And yes, it is the GOP. See pause#10.)
- Quick, name a Republican top leader between Reagan and Ryan who was mentioned at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Neither Bush president, nor Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Hastert, DeLay, Romney, McCain… not even mentioned. All “ancient history.” But if you disavow those past Republican administrations, then where is your party’s credibility?
- I bet you can’t name a fact-profession not being warred upon by Fox & Accomplices. Even one. (Chapter 5.)
- Name one Supply Side “economics” prediction that ever came true. That tax cuts for the rich would be invested in R&D and new factories? That they result in increased revenue and reduced deficits? That they achieve anything other than asset bubbles, collapsed money velocity and skyrocketing wealth disparities? Name one reason we should trust a supply sider with a wet match? (Chapter 11.)
- The rate of change of the rate of change of debt was positive (toward reckless acceleration) during almost every year of every Republican administration (post Eisenhower). It was negative (braking the rate of deficit growth gradually toward prudence) in every year of every Democratic administration (post Johnson). How does that fit the GOP’s last ditch justification… that they are the prudent, pragmatic ones? (Chapter 11.)
- Across the last 25 years, the GOP either controlled Congress, or else could thwart it, for all but two. Care to name any positive accomplishments? Not wars or tax gifts to the rich, but major adjustments to law or even major de-regulations? (Chapter 10.)
- And again and again. Put money on Trumpian lies for any given day. Pick at random day in the near future.
V. SLIGHTLY LONGER MEME BOMBS: Also in chapters, with longer summaries.
- What if Obama did it? “WODI” can be effective. Every day, your “ostrich” Republican shrugs aside some antic that would have sent them ballistic, if done by Clinton or Obama. A decent bar bet would be to say in advance “Next Thursday let’s try out WODI on that day’s Trump travesty.” It only works on a gal or guy who has a shred of remaining honesty or honor.
- Clinton or Obama-related “investigations” – after a quarter of a century and half a billion dollars – and never a stonewalled refusal of testimony – congrats. You proved a husband fibbed about some adult-consensual (while still inappropriate) infidelity and the wife was caught using the same sort of somewhat improper email system as Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mike Pence, George Bush, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. That’s it. After 25 years without proof, where’s your cred?
- Answer both right and left critics of Pax Americana. If the U.S. had behaved like all other empires and imposed mercantilist trade patterns after WWII, then America would have no debt today. Its cities would gleam and factories hum. The country would swim in gold...but hope and prosperity in the larger world would be ruined by the same short-sighted greed that brought down Babylon, Persia, Rome, Pax Sinica, Pax Britannia etc. And when we finally fell, it would be in a tumult of well-deserved wrath. But we didn’t do what all those empires did. We did something very different. (Chapter 9.)
- Mitch McConnell’s declaration that no judges should be appointed or confirmed in an election year, then chortling he’ll pass anyone nominated by Trump in 2020… a perfect example of how one complaint – or a few – can be shrugged off as whining. But a concerted campaign of mockery….
- Offer an amnesty for Americans now enslaved by blackmail. It’s speculative! Perhaps no one will step up… or perhaps too many to count… in which case it’s unlikely, amid a tsunami of revelation, that our scheming enemies will survive. As we’ll see in Chapter 8, the long range victory condition for our kind of civilization is a future world that’s filled with open-fair competition, calm negotiation, but above all… light.
* DON’T FOR A MINUTE THINK WE’VE FORGOTTEN…
That’s but a sampler list, offered for those who find an actual book “TLDR.”
For the rest of you, hang in there. Chapter 15 will dive into the effectiveness of wager-demands, even – especially - when the other side weasels and refuses to bet! The tactic corners them anyway, by their own macho standards. It destroys the illusion of macho “strength.” And there will be other distilled “meme bomb” collections, especially near the end of the book.
Finally… here’s a challenge that I’ll reiterate many times – in chapters 6 and 12 and 13 – aimed at every dogmatic purist out there:
Are you actually asserting that you are absolutely 100% right, with no margin of error?
And yes, this question can bedevil purists of the left as well as the right. Dig it (and this is good news!) Your enemies are likely no more than 99% wrong! Possibly as little as 90%. Moreover, have you the character strength to sift through your opponents’ maelstrom of “wrongness” for those slivers where they actually have a point?
We’ll come back to this. It’s not just about being the mature person. Entering and understanding your adversary’s head is a key ingredient that Sun Tzu recommended… for achieving victory.
There's still time to use some of these!!
 This will come up again. Utah is probably the largest concentration of RASRs – Residually Adult Sane Republicans –disgusted, even outraged, by the Trumpian travesties. Outreach by moderate-liberal America would seem timely, even overdue.
 The Right’s romance with Russia: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/false-romance-russia/603433/
 As Christopher Walken’s character in Blast From The Past dubiously observes, when told that the Kremlin had simply dropped communist revolution – or at least all the surfaces and incantations: “You got to hand it to them,” he said, with errie brevity.
 The Inspector General of the United States http://davidbrin.com/nonfiction/inspectorgeneral.html
 The FACT Act: http://davidbrin.com/nonfiction/factact.html
 See the signing ceremony, April 12, 2006, for the crowning achievement of Mitt Romney's governorship – a health insurance plan that was the template for the Affordable Care Act. The head of the Heritage Foundation crows over the role his group played in designing "Romneycare" based in the earlier Republican Party Health Plan for individual mandates and insurance buying markets or "exchanges" that originated at the Heritage think tank and that was touted as a way to use market forces to solve the problem of the uninsured. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/04/10/90621/heritage-romneycare/
 Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/04/10/90621/heritage-romneycare/
 Karen McDougal released from her NDA: https://www.spin.com/2018/04/karen-mcdougal-nda-agreement-american-media/
 As of pub date, 10-25-19, it appears that civil servants are taking matters into their own hands, not waiting for Congressional subpoenas to step forward. I don’t mind seeing some of my “judo Suggestions” bypassed in such ways. We’ll be saved by heroes.
 In October 2019, Nobelist Paul Krugman wrote: “I don’t mean that Trump is stupid; a stupid man couldn’t have managed to defraud so many people over so many years. Nor do I mean that he’s crazy, although his speeches and tweets – ‘my great and unmatched wisdom,’ the Kurds weren’t there on D-Day – keep sounding loonier.” Krugman adds, however, that Trump is “lazy, utterly incurious and too insecure to listen to advice or ever admit to a mistake. And given that he is, in fact, what he accuses others of being – an enemy of the people – we should be thankful for his flaws.” Well… we’ll see. The same week, on Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update host Michael Che voiced (brilliantly) a meme I had been spreading about a new and clever way to deal with the weird-crazed phenomenon of Donald Trump. ““I don't know how to ask this, but are we sure that it's OK to make fun of this guy?” he asked. “Did you ever read Of Mice and Men? Remember how Lenny was really ‘strong?’ What if Trump is really strong? I've got a cousin who is also strong. And he loves alligators too, but we don't make fun of him.” https://www.alternet.org/2019/10/paul-krugman-trumps-mental-deficiency-may-actually-save-us-from-disaster-as-he-keeps-sounding-loonier/
 Minneapolis mayor: We saw Trump stiffing cities for his rallies, so we told him to pay up.
 Old fashioned terms like honor, courage, dedication, devotion, integrity, etc. These are core values for a lot of people. And they await rescue from hypocrites who have stolen them.