Friday, November 12, 2021

Ongoing worries and concerns -- and some good trends

With the U.S. restoring itself as trusted leader of the West - also (at last) dealing with internal disasters like decayed infrastructure and inequality (fixes long delayed by the KGB-Foxites) - and especially as our protector castes no longer feel hampered at the top by Kremlin agents...

...we can now expect a series of desperation moves by those who have been waging all-but-open war against us for years, who know that a time of reckoning is coming. With oil prices up in ways that are sure to be temporary, Putin has a window, an opening, to take aggressive actions.

For example, we are seeing his puppet, Lukashenko, use Belarus to hurl innocent refugees at the borders of NATO, chortling as the west is caught between our compassionate laws and instincts, on the one hand, and the hard lesson taught by earlier waves -- that admitting great, bottomless tsunamis only winds up radicalizing European voters, triggering the backlash election of populist fascists who are just like Lukashenko and Putin and cozy up to them.  Short term, reflexive do-gooderism feels righteous but often does more long term harm than good.

Liberals are right to feel desperate discomfort from that irony! They are also fools to ignore what it means... that we cannot do everything at once. (We can help the poor of other nations both with aid and by pulling support from the local oligarchic oppressor classes that our own moguls propped-up, for a century.)

Now comes word that NATO has warned of Russian military buildups next to another victim-neighbor, Ukraine. Trump's betrayal of that brave country is now being corrected, though it will take time. This sets a clock ticking which may cause Vlad to rush his aggressor plans.


== And more evidence that this is war ==

Among ongoing worries and concerns... the mysterious Havana Syndrome: In late 2016, U.S. diplomats in Cuba experienced ongoing neurological symptoms, such as headaches, nausea and hearing loss, accompanied by a piercing, high-pitched sound. In the last five years, such symptoms have since been reported by more than 200 U.S. personnel in places as diverse as Bogota, Guangzhou, Vienna, and Hanoi. 

Is this due to foreign surveillance - or directed energy beams? The New York Times summarizes the range of possibilities: Is the Havana Syndrome an act of war - or mass hysteria? 


== Is transparency an answer to 6000 years of cheating? ==

The Pandora Papers are only #10 or so in a series of data spills that I predicted in The Transparent Society, that will - in agonizing fits and starts - strip away the shadows that aristocrats and oligarchs and kings and commissars have always used to cheat and maintain unfair power. This is why so many pools of oligarchy - from mafias, gambling moguls and "ex"-commissars to murder princes and "murdochs" straignt out of HG Wells - have joined together across the last two decades in a coalition - a putsch - to reinforce their influence and undermine the Enlightenment Experiment. 

Because if this counter trend continues, oligarchy - the great enemy of fair competition and enterprise and justice - might vanish forever.

This is why I feel one Great Treaty must prevail across all nations. (In Existence I refer to it as the Big Deal of the late 20s that forestalls revolution.) 

"If you own it, you must say, publicly: 'I own that!' 
"If not, then you don't." 

No shell corporations more than two deep and all must end in publicly named living persons, or governments, or accountable foundations. 

If this happened, then the world tax base might double, letting honest taxpayers get a rate cut. And the amount of abandoned property might erase all national debts.


== More attmpted, blatant cheats ==

And this....A Pentagon program that delegated management of a huge swath of the Internet to a Florida company in January -- just minutes before D. Trump left office -- has ended as mysteriously as it began, with the Defense Department this week retaking control of 175 million IP addresses.  At its peak, the company, Global Resource Systems, controlled almost 6 percent of a section of the Internet called IPv4. 

'The IP addresses had been under Pentagon control for decades but left unused, despite being potentially worth billions of dollars on the open market. Adding to the mystery, company registration records showed Global Resource Systems at the time was only a few months old, having been established in September 2020, and had no publicly reported federal contracts, no obvious public-facing website and no sign on the shared office space it listed as its physical address in Plantation, Fla.'

Store and use these things to do jiu jitsu on your favority conspiracy theory nut-uncle. Ask em to ask Q about that.

And...   From The Atlantic on the powerful effects of social media networks on democracy: "It's not Misinformation. It's Amplified Propaganda, "Perhaps the best word for this emergent bottom-up dynamic is... ampliganda, the shaping of perception through amplification," writes Renee DiResta.

Can we predict tomorrow's threats? The German Defense Ministry is using SF stories to predict future wars.  Their Project Cassandra has already successfully predicted conflict in Algeria. University researchers would use their expertise to help the German defense ministry predict the future. I participate in similar things in the U.S. each year.


== Possible solutions? ==


See the latest IBM Watson X-Prize winners strategizing how humans can work with AI to tackle future global challenges. 


Scientists are experimenting with methods of lowering temperatures in urban areas. In particular, Phoenix is painting its streets gray, to increase reflectivity and lower surface temperatures.


One scientist is testing metal-eating bacteria - extremophiles - that could clean up contaminants and environmental waste from the mining industry. A French company is using enzymes to recycle single-use plastics


And a new, more environmentally sound method for the extraction and separation of rare earth elements, which are critical for technologies used in smart phones and electric batteries. And combine this with ectraction of the raw stuff at geothermal energy plants. A win-win-win?


Climate TRACE is tracking global atmospheric carbon emissions in real time, offering greater transparency -- and accountability.


A new vaccine for malaria (with modest efficacy) may soon be approved by WHO for children.


Essential to food security, urban farming doesn't have to be horizontal. The 51-story Jian Mu Tower to be built in Shenzhen (pictured to the right) will contain offices, a supermarket and a large-scale farm capable of feeding up to 40,000 people per year.

The U.S. Postal Service is trying out paycheck cashing at some branches - which could change how millions now access money via evil check cashing 'services' and pay bills (often with large fees imposed). 

AOC has pushed one of my own longstanding proposals - that we re-establish the postal saving bank that cheat cabals tore down in the 1960s, that would give the poor at least minimal services and would help them to stop being poor.


93 comments:

Daniel Duffy said...

Only two trends matter in the 21st century: global warming and the demographic cliff. Everything else either stems from these first two or are just background noise.

Carolyn Meinel said...

Thank you. Your most hopeful point (IMHO) is that the increasing number of data dumps, as you predicted would occur in The Transparent Society, suggest that we are on the way to breaking the power of the oligarchs.

Eric Bagai said...

Way to go, David!

I've read many of your books. Now I'll read the rest!

Eric Bagai

Robert said...

I know such types as that Sam Farrel. In all my years as a teacher I have met them more than I would like to. From poor and degradant families. Excercising in delinquency and disrespect toward teachers is like sport to them. Only sport they can be successfull. Usually people say that such types became criminals. But from my experience it's not that true. Most likely they'll spend their lifes on some insignificant low-wages job. That explains why they may be so rampant on the Internet.
Dr. Brin, if I understand your idea of Transparency correctly, it mean that such types will be segregated to live in their own informational getto. I see it fitting. Even if that'll be little bit inhumane. But that'll be only way to end that 6000 year struggle against attractor of feudalism.

Der Oger said...

Regarding the situation at the Belarussian border, I'd say it is somewhat more complex as you depict it. Sure, Lukashenko is the main perpetrator, and he in turn would not do anything without the approval of the Kremlin.

Yet, Poland is not the shining hero, either. They created a quarantine zone at their border were no journalists, international organisations etc. are allowed into that restricted area. There is the strong assumption that illegal push-backs and mistreatment of refugees are taking place. The EU has offered to send in Frontex troops, and assistance by other agencies, but Poland declined. They want money. They are blackmailing us in the same insidious manner as Putin does.

duncan cairncross said...

The "Demographic Cliff" - is a paper tiger!!

YES with Zero Population Growth (or shrinking) you have more pensioners which cost more
But you have less children - which saves money
The two are close to a wash!

Economic growth by population growth is a NEGATIVE not a positive

Global warming however is not so much a Tiger as a supercharged Godzilla

Tony Fisk said...

Climate Trace website is here.
Also featured in a recent TED talk.

Dwight Williams said...

Speaking of postal banking: there is an effort to get Canada Post back into that business as well. Should I post a link to the campaign website?

matthew said...

Transparency in the courtrooms - video of two murder trials (Rittenhouse, McMichael/ McMichal/ Bryan) is very clearly showing the racism and bias of the trial judges / participating attorneys.

See: https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/attorney-in-arbery-case-tells-judge-he-doesnt-want-any-more-black-pastors-in-court/

Where the defense attorney stated that "We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here … sitting with the victim’s family, trying to influence the jurors in this case.”

or in the Rittenhouse case:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/11/kyle-rittenhouse-judge-trial-bruce-schroeder-prosecution

Where the judge is *so* biased in favor of Rittenhouse that he ruled that the deceased cannot be called "victims" but that they can be called "rioters" or "looters."

The outcry caused by the public seeing this courtroom behavior has been transformative, in my opinion.

Pressure to *show* what happens in courtrooms to the world will continue to grow, based on these cases.

SCOTUS has, for the first time, allowed audio of arguments to be released.
Pressure is building to allow cameras in Federal Courts.

Transparency begets transparency.

No wonder that judges have fought cameras in courtrooms for so long.

Expect the FedSoc to issue a position paper any day now on why justice must be done in the dark, with not witnesses.

David Brin said...

Supplied with wire-cutters. The Polish president benefited from past migrant crises which induced populist, anti-left voting. Now he faces this. Is he being betrayed by Putin? Or does Putin calculate this will let the Polish president appear "strong" and get re-elected?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops are cycling ourt of country to be trained in ani-tank weapons they don't currently have, but can be flown in within 6 hours.

https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEJp_GTuXyGBSrQKguh27kX8qFwgEKg8IACoHCAowjuuKAzCWrzww5oEY?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

Jon S. said...

Of course urban - or even rural - farms don't have to be horizontal. It's "traditional", mostly because traditionally they've planted in fields and fields are horizontal, but quite frankly neither crops nor livestock give a damn if they're at ground level or 50 stories up. Give 'em what they need to live, and they will. (Probably mostly plants, as cattle for example can be awfully messy in an enclosed environment, but you could keep livestock there if you wanted...)

Robert said...

I've seen reports that Belorussian soldiers partially dismantled the Polish border fence and used spotlights and lasers to impede Polish soldiers who were trying to repair it.

A quick Google shows the top hits are all right-wing news sites, not more reputable sources, so I'm wondering how much this is some sort of propaganda ploy…

David Brin said...

Too busy. But clearly there were two "Roberts" this time. The filter flagged one of them as probably one of the pathetic-nasty rug poopers. But without the usual automatic flags. I decided to pass it through because the topic is one he's passionate about. But no, sir. Your interpretation of what I mean by Transparency is diametrically opposite to what I talk about, in all ways. Like nearly all of your interpretations of anything said here.

Treebeard is similar, but with this difference. He's not a nasty-vile person desperate to shit where he's unwelcome. He is merely a dyspeptic frenetic who needs to see things that aren't there.

locumranch said...


It's a gross oversimplification to argue that either the EU or the USA is somehow 'at odds' with Putin's Russia, especially since (1) NATO is largely dependent on Russian fossil fuels for almost all of its current energy needs and (2) Biden's America is much more dependent on Putin's largesse than Trump's America ever was:

(1) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/infographs/energy/bloc-2c.html

(2) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-04/russia-captures-no-2-rank-among-foreign-oil-suppliers-to-u-s

Putin has made the EU and Biden's America into his bitch, and the artificial Belarus-Poland migrant crisis is nothing but a sideshow, the ritual equivalent of forcing a drunkard or junkie to humiliate & degrade himself (as in 'dance, drunkie, dance') in exchange for his next drink or dose.

Similarly, all of this talk about 'KGB-Foxites' and 'Russian collusion' is counterfactual propaganda, designed to hide the true nature of Russia's current 'dealer-client' relationship with a subservient and energy-dependent NATO.

As NATO can no longer refuse Russian petroleum products, NATO is lost, and you're just fueling yourself to argue otherwise.


Best

David Brin said...

I actually am quite please when locumranch comes by with these ravings. They show how we're not up against anything like either opposition or negotiation based upon facts. What he just yammered was a screee of:

"If I shout things that are OPPOSITE to true, then is makes me looks smarter than you! Because it means I am aware od things YOU libs are NOT aware of! Me and my kind are in-the-know!"

It doesn't matter how stunningly and diametrically opposite-to-true the incantations are. They are grunts leading to masturbatory glee. And saying "that's not true" only makes us dissmissable as fools! It seems a good formula for a confederacy of dunces. We need tactics in order to show all this... not to them, but to their wives.

Robert said...

Well, I've watched the first (free) episode of Foundation, and while it was OK I wouldn't call it great.

Visually it was wonderful. Not really how I imagined Trantor or the empire (my mental image has more metal, less concrete, and looks more 50s-ish) but wonderful none-the-less.

The water planet bothered me — no waves? No land despite shallows?

Seldon's speech at the trial — why give someone you think is a subversive a broadcast platform to spread their ideas? Especially when one of the clone-emperors wants to just kill him? Very clumsy planning for a show trial.

Salvor Hardin at the end seems to be set up as an exceptional individual who's special abilities are important, when the thrust of Asimov's Foundation was that individuals don't matter in the overall historical trends (which is why the Mule was such a problem). If this is in fact what is happening then I suspect I wouldn't like the series. (Still haven't subscribed to TV+, on the fence about whether it would be worth it for me.)

Any thoughts from those who have watched more of the series?


And yes, the other chap signing as "Robert" isn't me. Clearly different writing style, and expressing opinions almost diametrically opposed to mine.

Slim Moldie said...

RE the last post and Dune.

(Educational links doubly promoting someone else's business feels like carpet soiling or at least scratching) so I'm hesitating to post this...if it weren't for some writers in here who might appreciate or learn something (even if they don't agree) from Jacob Kruger's analysis on how the writers adapting Dune chose exposition at the expense of the story. https://www.writeyourscreenplay.com/exposition-screenplay-dune-2021/





scidata said...

Re: FOUNDATION

Not true to the book plot
I don't really care about fidelity to Asimov (original was probably 50% Campbell's handiwork anyway - yuck). After 75 years, FOUNDATION failed to prevent the election of a Wienis (minus the brains and subtlety) in 2016. My hope is that Apple's version is a) popular and b) pro-science. I remain hopeful.

Super Powers
Gaal might be some sort of Mentat (hinted at by Seldon's ghost), or even...
Salvor has a classic savior complex, and her immunity to the Vault's null field has Hari written all over it.
The laundry scene on the trip to Terminus remains the high point of this tale so far. Not quite Asimov, but darn close.

Anacreons
The planned epic battle between the Foundation and the Anacreons under the shadow of the Vault got cancelled by Covid. A shame, it would have been glorious. (10 points for knowing where that line comes from, only 8 points if you're Canadian)

500-1000 F.E.
Maybe Goyer et al will start searching for technical advisors on computational psychohistory. Would kind of make sense from an Apple Inc. perspective. Time to dust off my old 6502 & 68000 stuff. May the Forth be with you. Now I'm developing a Lisp :)

David Brin said...

Folks have asked my opinion of FOUNDATION: I don't mind most of the embellishments and expansions which are mostly arty and well done. I do mind flaws of logic and missed opportunities, like failing to show ANY resentment on the part of the Terminus exiles toward the man who got 100,000 of the best minds in the Empire banished to an isolated wasteland. (I show this resentment in Foundation’s Triumph.) As things stand, the uniform adoration of Seldon seems rather more like a cult than a collection of the Empire’s best minds. And not even a sentence about WHY the empire is crumbling.

Again, there are many fine additions, but the utter reluctance to make anything consistent with psychohistory seems to be a compulsion on their part.

It's not just Salvor being a mule. The Anacreon thing is left to chance and happenstance and individual action flukes. Like if the imperial starship captain were even slightly competent. It drops the whole idea that the solution to Anacreon would be psychohistorically "obvious" and driven by inevitable interstellar politics.

Nothing is made of the fact that Terminus should be technologically more advanced than its neighbors. Instead they argue over water clocks and sundials.

There's so much I could fix with a sentence of dialogue here or there. Like when Seldon says "stop imperial cloning" it implies that one man (the emperor) DOES matter! But suppose he added:

"“Following YOUR example, Empire, the top leaders of every profession are now also cloning themselves, accelerating an already-unstoppable race to the bottom, in diversity and creativity, which speeding the decline in technological competence across the galaxy."

One sentence and the topic would be turned back to psychohistory. Leaving the Cleons as what they should be, an interesting a fun sub-plot.

TCB said...

A video explains how Spinlaunch works. Not bad, not bad! The full size version would be about as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAczd3mt3X0

What I don't get is why they would want to build it anywhere near sea level. Put it in some mountain area near the equator and you get rid of three or four km of thick air resistance right there.

This tech is much more suited to Lunar or Cererian mining, tho. Nice to see you don't need long linear tracks for a mass driver (that's all the Spinlaunch really is, a rotary mass driver).

scidata said...

One of the biggest divergences from the books so far is the size of the Terminus colony - not 100,000 but a few hundred at most. That's the problem with trying to bring a vast space opera to a screen. In the laundry scene, there had obviously been some dissention in the ranks before Hari walked in (awkward floor staring when Veena asks Hari if he is happy with the Plan's progress).

Not sure which imperial starship captain you mean - the one sent by Brother Day was Dorwin, so competence would not be expected.

Of course I agree about the centrality of psychohistory. I've always thought it was a mistake for Congress to declare Robotics Week instead of Psychohistory Week. Most of Asimov's robotics ideas were either an inception by Campbell or lifted from the pages of the SF magazines in his father's malt shop. They provided a convenient vehicle to discuss what Asimov really cared about - humanity.

Alfred Differ said...

Daniel Duffy,

Regarding JPA, I was on that team between 1995 and 2004 roughly. I don't know what they are doing nowadays, but JP was born around the time I was. His son would be well into his 20's by now. I hope for the best for them both.

Regarding ATO... well... we had our differences. I still like the general idea, but I'm not interested in pursuing it any longer. [Whether it is possible is no longer interesting to me because the SpaceX folks have demonstrated it won't make business sense.] They are and have done some good things solving lift-off problems near the ground. Some serious issues likely still remain, but they might need serious funding to beat them. Who knows? We solved a lot of things without serious money when I was there, so I won't guess.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@duncan: "The "Demographic Cliff" - is a paper tiger!!"

Oh dear. We have here a confusion of dynamics and kinetics.
Yes, in the long run, you may very well be correct (I haven't run the numbers, but it sounds plausible). But in this century, certain nations have the lower number of children already while still having the legacy large number of pensioners hanging on. Some nations haven't reached it yet -- most notably in Africa. Others are sidestepping it for now -- the USA's longstanding immigration has counterbalanced the low birthrate to date. Maybe "the cliff" is a bad metaphor -- but the demographic transition is real. Until we regain a quasi-steady state, that is.

OP topics:
(1) Putin is definitely testing his limits with Biden and NATO. He is reading the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the tales of Biden's domestic weakness as an opportunity. This isn't desperation from him, not yet. He still thinks he's being clever, else he would be moving on many more fronts.

(2) To the question Is Havana Syndrome an act of war or mass hysteria? I pose the counter-challenge: Are those mutually exclusive? And I don't mean simply "both", I mean to suggest the possible advent of induced mass hysteria as a offensive weapon of war. (It's already been used for 'homefront' operations, of course.)

(3) The Postal Service shift is a good sign, but I'm looking forward to see what can be done once deJoy is no longer Postmaster General. There is a 4D-4R (+1 lefty independent) split on the Board of Governors right now, but two of the Democrats were chosen by the previous administration, which is to say, Mitch McConnell's crew. One Republican as well as Chairman Ron Bloom (D) cycle off on December 8th, less than a month away.

I'm sure delaying tactics will be used to attempt one more covert sabotage of Christmas shipping, but having the "keep the seats vacant" trick exposed last time will made it harder to re-attempt... I expect 'leaks' regarding job performance and other media maneuvers if serious blocks are thrown up.

Take a look at Biden's three appointees thus far. If any of those three become Chair, there will be little joy for deJoy.

All that having been said, a rider cancelling the outrageous pension-fund hostage crisis and ending the artificial 'losses' at USPS ought to be strategically paired with any postal-banking bill (together or at different times is a tactical consideration, as is any delay to make the financial impacts clearer). This ought to be a no-brainer, but it's technical enough to slip past most Congresscritters' notice. I strongly suspect AOC knows about it, though.

Robert said...

It strikes me that 100,000 is the size of Saskatoon when I was growing up there and it was the biggest city in Saskatchewan, supporting a decent university and cultural scene.

duncan cairncross said...

Catfish

"But in this century, certain nations have the lower number of children already while still having the legacy large number of pensioners hanging on"

The large number of pensioners is a steady state thing - the low number of children PAYS for the larger number of pensioners!!

I don't see the actual problem
The perceived problem is because the two costs are counted separately


TCB said...

Uhhhhh, if we had universal basic income, would there even BE a clear line between pensioners and old people who just didn't work any more?

David Brin said...

TCB it depends. I would push for a requirement of 20 hours a week from everyone in good health, either in an income job or volunteer work.

Don Gisselbeck said...

That's at the low end of the hunter-gatherer work load.

duncan cairncross said...

A requirement for 20 hours work!!

I help out at the local school but its four hours not 20 - I have far too many things to do to spend 20 hours a week !!

Dr Brin - do you spend 20 hours a week on volunteer work?

The idea of a UBI is to empower the workers to get decent pay by NOT "having" to work for the man

GMT -8 said...

China's reported COVID-19 cases and deaths is unbelievable. With a population of 1.4 billion people, they report less than 100,00 cases of COVID and only 4,636 deaths. Huh? What? Really?

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@duncan: The large number of pensioners is a steady state thing...

I don't see how that follows at all. It is true that the costs of building new humans is poorly tabulated -- LMB did a great job of lampshading that issue in Ethan of Athos with an all-male population that can't use sexism or "traditional family structure" to keep the accounting in the gray market. But your assertion still misses my point, which is that the two types of costs do not necessarily rise or fall together. There's a big lag between "fewer kids" leading to "fewer pensioners". There's also a lag between "living longer, more pensioners" and "fewer kids" -- so much so that in the late 20th century, we weren't sure there would be a connection at all!

Whether the issue is fewer kids before more pensioners or more pensioners before fewer kids, there's not a steady state -- and the imbalances are difficult to manage intrinsically... but made far worse by the lack of institutions or cultural touchstones to comprehend or respond to the issues. Homo sapiens was on some sort of log-curve growth pattern for at least the last ten thousand years, well past the window for any other prior experiences to stay relevant. When we hit inflection point circa 1990, we entered uncharted demographic territory -- and massively complicated our already uncertain social and economic territory.

@OGH: Doc, one of the benefits of UBI from a open-libertarian standpoint is to be free of the burdensome regulatory bureaucracy that enforces things like work requirements! There's some positive-sum gain from dumping much of our previous welfare infrastructure into a simpler and more straightforward payment system, but we lose some of that if we must continue documenting productivity. Unless we have a way to easily overhaul that as well?

Though there's an opportunity here as well, if the default deposit in the absence of other instructions is to place the funds in a citizen's postal banking account...

Another option I have been considering is to separate out a "Citizen's Dividend" (drawn solely from income on properties held in common -- bandwidth, grazing rights, power generation in public land/sea/air/orbit space, etc.) that goes to every citizen -- a federal version of the Alaska Permanent Fund, if you will. Only CD is paid out for being a breathing adult, and only to citizens. UBI would be separate and require signup, work documentation, and so forth -- but it would be open to legal residents, legal migrants, and folks like DREAMers on a path trying to regularize their immigration status.

TCB does make the good point that a harmonization needs to exist between CD, UBI, and Social Security. CD requires citizenship; UBI and SS don't. CD doesn't require work; UBI requires current work; SS requires past work. There's synergy to be found here, but also pretty simple distinctions.

David Brin said...

Duncan I said EITHER an income job OR volunteer work. And the latter could be anything, like vigorous pursuit of an art or passtime.

Larry Hart said...

Isn't any talk of UBI or Citizen's Dividends kind of unicorns and rainbows at this point? I mean, no matter how useful and popular they would be, there's no way to get anything like that past a Republican filibuster, let alone a future Republican majority or presidency.

I wish I could envision a future where the Trumpists and white grievance bloc was irrelevant, but the lesson of the past 5 years or so seems to be that that clade has too much outsized influence and too much willingness to back their opinions up with threats and violence (tacitly sanctioned by the police and courts) to be dismissed.

scidata said...

Saw someone on LinkedIn with the title 'Certified Astrologer'.

Robert said...

Another option I have been considering is to separate out a "Citizen's Dividend" (drawn solely from income on properties held in common -- bandwidth, grazing rights, power generation in public land/sea/air/orbit space, etc.) that goes to every citizen

I'm reminded of Mack Reynolds' People's Capitalism background in some of his novels…

Robert said...

Duncan I said EITHER an income job OR volunteer work. And the latter could be anything, like vigorous pursuit of an art or passtime.

A couple of decades ago when Mike Harris (neocon) ran Ontario one of his educational innovations was to require volunteer work to graduate. (Also required it of teachers — we were required to volunteer for extra duties, so I'm reasonably convinced he didn't actually know what the word meant.)

In any case, students had to find and document a certain number of hours of volunteer work to get their diploma. Which added a lot of work onto their guidance counsellors (who were required to track and (supposedly) verify this work. In practice signatures were taken at face value and everything counted, as the guidelines were so vague that nearly any activity could fit. "Played hockey with neighbours young kid." "Babysat younger sister." "Created YouTube video to amuse sad students." In other words it was a pointless increase in bureaucracy that didn't achieve its stated purpose (increasing civic involvement), at least in part because no school wanted to be part of a lawsuit when a child was denied their diploma because the guidance counsellor didn't think that the 'volunteer activity' was actually a civic-minded volunteer activity.

Given people a basic income. What we found when we tried it in Manitoba was that almost no one sat on their butt all day. People spent longer between jobs but still found them. Mental health problems went way down (and that was in a time when those were seriously under-reported) — as if removing a source of stress actually gives people space to find a job that better suits them and helps them live better lives. Also helped businesses in the town, as people spent the money on goods and services.

Hell, it's worth doing it for that alone. Money spent on a UBI will circulate in the economy, rather than (as is the case with tax breaks to the already-wealthy) disappearing offshore.

David Brin said...

Mack Reynolds! Campbell loved him...despite him being an open commie!

Robert said...

Was Reynolds a communist? Like, really one rather than just being left of the American political centre?

Some of his novels had what could be interpreted as a communist society, although based on a shared-ownership version of capitalism (rather like post-war West Germany). Others were more libertarian/anarchist. One setting had pseudo-Scots clans with the protagonist discovering that a complex society required more organization/hierarchy than his pseudo-Scottish upbringing, and that not all offworlders were greedy evil scoundrels…

Given he was writing when American corporations were amalgamating, conglomerates were in, and the biggest corporations were working with the government his idea of Inalienable Basic stock wasn't so far-fetched. Hell, you had Jerry Pournelle (no leftist) coming up the the CoDominion in the same period.

From memory, a common theme is Reynolds' novels was usually an ordinary guy trying to survive in an uncaring bureaucratic world. Sometimes the protagonist worked the system, usually they were just surviving within it (or making personal victories but not changing the system.) Memory may be faded, or my reading may not be representative.

David Brin said...

Hey, lots of folks dabbled in communism, back when Marxian incantations seemed not only to explain a lot of history, but predict the future, inevitable teleological path of events. The historical ost-mortems still have enlightening pertinence. But it is now easy to see where KM's predictions were just cockeyed wrong, even if the goal of greater equality of opportunity is laudable.

He saw the historic transition of class power from feudal lords to kings supported by city burghers, followed by bourgeise revolution and the rise of merchants/manufacturers and makers of 'capital' or capitalists, as a good progression allowed by improving technology. KM admired the US founders and Adam Smith and Lincoln, though he expected the continuing FLATTENING of the feudal pyramid into a diamond shape to NOT be what leads to the final desired order.

Instead, out of the blue, he simply assumed the flattening would stop and reverse, as the richest capitalists re-established feudal oligarch, forcing the now-advanced proletariate to rebel. Interesting because:

1) Yes, if they get a chance, powerful men will try to re-establish feudalism. We are all descended from those SOBs' harems and inherit that drive. And yes, it looks like they'll be hard to stop, this time.

2) But no, his scenario has no causal justification to be a great big Imperative of Future History. Indeed, he never expected that people would READ his sci fi story about a possible future and then negotiate ways to prevent it! By the simple means of suborning the working class by inviting it into the Middle Class.

By curbing oligarchy and generating generations of enlarging middle class, America & pals showed a different path. One that was working great... till inheritance brats and cheater cabals conspired to bring Marx out of the dustbin of history, dust him off, and getting billions murmuring about revolution.

idiots.



duncan cairncross said...

Karl Marx
His diagnosis of the problems and future of capitalism was spot on correct

His forecasts were wrong
Because some very smart people looked at the forecast and said "No I don't like that" - and proceeded to do things to stop it
In the USA this was "the New Deal"

In the 1980's the "New Deal" was undone - and we went straight back to Marx's predictions!!

"And yes, it looks like they'll be hard to stop, this time." - you said it!!

Karl Marx described the "attractor" state that you talk about !
He did expect that to be a step in a longer journey - and not a dead stop
That part of his prediction........
I think Dr Brin is more likely correct

duncan cairncross said...

This is interesting

Starship (hate the name) changes things completely

https://caseyhandmer.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/science-upside-for-starship/

Its no longer a good idea to spend billions on a super sophisticated super light probe

Now a cheap and cheerful (and heavy) probe is cheaper (and a LOT faster)

Robert said...

Hey, lots of folks dabbled in communism, back when Marxian incantations seemed not only to explain a lot of history, but predict the future, inevitable teleological path of events.

Yes, but was Reynolds one of them? He was a socialist, but not AFAIK a communist.

Robert said...

America & pals showed a different path. One that was working great... till inheritance brats and cheater cabals conspired to bring Marx out of the dustbin of history, dust him off, and getting billions murmuring about revolution.

I'd argue over a beer that one reason American workers got so many rights was the bogyman of a Communist revolution. Even Rooseveldt's New Deal was at least in part a way of short-circuiting a violent revolution. Bismark (no socialist) brought in pensions in Germany to quell socialistic rumblings.

Is it a coincidence that workers rights in the West really started eroding once the Soviet Union collapsed?

David Brin said...

Fair pt Robert, though the 80s were actually when the USSR looked (outwardly) strongest.

I really don't know Mac Reynolds. Never met him. Going only by a decades-old passing remark. I do know Fred Pohl... arguably the greatest SF author, dabbled in it when younger.

Is "starship" works - AND can be refueled easily in orbit - then everything changes.

scidata said...

Re: Starship

We've been here before. Right up until the mid 1830s, sail was the only game in town. Careers, companies, nations, and indeed empires were built on mastery of that standard technology. Then the first transatlantic steamships suddenly arrived. Big, fast, easy to produce & run. Ironically, wind gave way to coal.

Pappenheimer said...

Bismarck's health care reforms were also notable, and resulted in more German draftees being fit for service in WWI and WWII than the comparable rates for Britain and, I think, France. I don't know if this was only a side effect of an attempt to forestall more 1848s or a desired outcome, but it did strengthen Germany's hand in war.
These day, we've gotten away from the "Nation in Arms" concept to create smaller, capital-intensive, high-tech militaries. I remember startling fellow airmen by pointing out that there were tens of millions of men under arms in Europe, 1914 - but with almost no transportation once they got off the train.

re: Mack Reynolds, Pohl and others like Kornbluth - anyone living through the Great Depression without a trust fund would develop a healthy distrust of "unfettered capitalism". I think Charles Stross, for one, is carrying on that tradition. I'd add Steven Brust, in the fantasy category.

David Brin said...

Yes scidata... and more irony. Pennsylvania (Drake) oil wells and Bissell distillation for Kerosene (1850s) saved the whales from extinction.

And now it seems whales might save the planet, if we fertilize the southern ocean to make phytoplankton and krill bloom and send whale populations up, at which point their poop will...

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

Paradoctor said...

Brin, Cairncross, Robert:
Between you three, you have enunciated the Marxian Paradox: when the owners take Marx's predictions seriously, then they take steps to negate them, and when they do not take Marx's predictions seriously, then they take steps to confirm them. So to the owners, Marx is as true a prophet as he is false. From this I predict a cycle.

Robert:
Gorbachev did something terrible to the USA: he deprived it of a necessary enemy. Don't worry, the USA can be its own enemy.

Robert said...

First commercial oil well in North America was in Petrolia in 1858, not Pennsylvania in 1859.

https://visitpetrolia.ca/history/

Larry Hart said...

I can't help but be reminded by the story below how our erstwhile poster Tacitus2 once insisted that we should all agree across party lines that the comedienne who held up a fake-blood-soaked decapitated head of Donald Trump had gone beyond the pale.

Apparently, making comedic threats of violence against public officials is one more of those things that is Ok When Republicans Do It, but not otherwise.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Nov17.html#item-5

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) continues to dig in his heels on the anime video he posted to Twitter last week, in which an anime version of himself kills an anime version of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacks an anime version of Joe Biden, while also vaguely threatening a bunch of non-anime undocumented immigrants. The subject came up at yesterday's meeting of the House Republican conference, where the Representative defended himself by saying that he never seriously suggested that anyone should be killed, and he only tweeted the video because he was trying to connect with the kiddies, and anime is what they are into these days. ... Gosar also said that he never apologized because he didn't do anything wrong, and if you thought he did apologize, then you are wrong.

duncan cairncross said...

The "whale poop" idea is a perpetual motion machine!!

The nutrients from whale poop will always be less than the nutrients from the krill

HOWEVER the nutrients brought up from the deeper nutrient rich waters by the movement of the whales........

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128201-700-vital-giants-why-living-seas-need-whales/

The conclusion is the same -

And now it seems whales might save the planet, if we fertilize the southern ocean to make phytoplankton and krill bloom and send whale populations up

But the mechanism is slightly different

duncan cairncross said...

Larry Hart

The two are not the same!!

An elected lawmaker should be much much more circumspect than a comedian

A comedian is entitled to a LOT more leeway than an elected lawmaker

Gosar's actions are much much WORSE than the comedienne who held up a fake-blood-soaked decapitated head of Donald Trump

David Brin said...

Agree on both counts, Duncan. Which why in Earth I feature bottom stirrers powered by wave action.

matthew said...

Regarding my earlier post about cameras in the courtroom showing judicial and attorney racial bias and increasing transparency - Judge Schroeder in the Rittenhouse case agrees with me. He's now saying that after the criticism from the public over his style of justice he will no longer allow cameras in his courtroom.

He knows that he revealed his racism and bias and now wants to go back to the good old days where he was unquestioned and un-famous.
Seriously, the guy is making the case against himself as an impartial judge.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

A comedian is entitled to a LOT more leeway than an elected lawmaker


Of course I agree, but my point is that in real life, a Republican is apparently entitled to a LOT more leeway than any liberal.

The comedienne (Kathy Griffin, IIRC) was excoriated by the right, visited by the FBI, and lost a tv slot, supposedly because even in comedy, there are lines you just don't get to cross. But when Gosar is called on something similar, suddenly he gets to be all, "What's the big deal? It's just a cartoon." I just like to call out "Republican privilege" when I see it.

scidata said...

Stephen Pinker and George Will
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nki-81_JgZk
(the last 12 minutes has most of the content, if you're short of time)


Not really what I was expecting from either one. They could both do with a short course on agent-based modeling, especially in regards to psychohistory. And I don't mean ideal gas laws, I mean a vast and intricate model of models with feedback loops stacked 10 deep. You know, modern computation.

GMT -8 said...

Tis open enrollment season for the Affordable Health Care system. This cluster mess always makes my wife and me sick with stress and frustration. And every month when we go to get our prescriptions, we never know what we will be paying. One of my meds jumped from $45 to $90 this month. No explanation. No options.

My dad was a doctor, a surgeon. He went in with the Red Cross during the Rape of Nanking and damn near got himself killed. He got dysentery as a going away present. He would get furious when he saw the luxury automobiles in the parking spaces at the hospital; he went into medicine to help people, not to get rich. But these days, most doctors aren't getting rich. It is hospital administrators, drug company executives, and insurance company executives who are getting rich.

I'd love to have my commission and my badge back...and authority to go into the insurance company's offices with a team of forensic accountants. Oh...and give me an adequate budget because you know those rich bastards will pay for the best legal and accounting help they can get.

Pappenheimer said...

Dear Robert

"Hell, it's worth doing it for that alone. Money spent on a UBI will circulate in the economy, rather than (as is the case with tax breaks to the already-wealthy) disappearing offshore."

Money paid as UBI will be 'different' money.
Go ask any profi in economy/marketing. Or Marx itself.
And any professional cop could give you a story or two about extortion of wellfare money schemes.

Robert said...

these days, most doctors aren't getting rich. It is hospital administrators, drug company executives, and insurance company executives who are getting rich

And it's got worse worse during the pandemic:
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/11/the-mass-exodus-of-americas-health-care-workers/620713/

I seriously doubt the work-from-home managers took significant pay cuts, unlike a lot of patient-facing staff.

Not to mention the risks — my niece (a surgeon) was working 12-hour shifts seven days a week with one clean surgical mask a week while your glorious leader was holding on to medical supplies in case his supporters needed them.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

On basic income work reqs: Robert made my reply point before I could -- documentation is the Achilles heel.

On Marx: OGH, Duncan, and Robert between them have triangulated my take on Marx:
(1) Original Recipe Marxism really was a scientific theory, as it made measurable, verifiable, and falsifiable predictions.
(2) The proof of (1) is that the predictions were in fact measured, verified... and falsified.
(3) The cause of the failure was the (unknown at that time) phenomenon of the self-defeating prophecy. People acted to prevent the projected future, and it did not come to pass. This is a specific case of the general Seldon's Paradox, where the publication of any forecast of human behavior alters the probability of that behavior... even on the macroscale. The First Law of Humanics is that no law of humanics is universal.
(4) The vast majority of Marxist theory beyond the original publications are epicyclic attempts at retrofitting for post-hoc justifications of predictive failures. The only honest extensions from Marx's work must begin with the acknowledgement that the theory was fundamentally flawed and try to build something else with the elements that retain value without the mystique or political bias. Most Marxists of the last hundred years have had strong incentives against honest analysis.

On the boogeyman: The erosion of workers' rights and the reversal of decreasing inequality may have accelerated after the fall of the USSR, but all the foundations were laid as soon as detente came upon the scene. The combination of the strength of the Left in 1968-69, followed by strong efforts to tone the Cold War down, motivated the oligarchs to start making serious plans. The entire infrastructure of Movement Conservatism, the Religious Right, the Supply-Side/Starve-The-Beast strategy to break the New Deal, the gradual consumption of the Republican Party by the ethos of the Southern Strategy, the ever-increasing willingness to beak norms for power's sake... it all began in the 1970's.

To link that observation to current events: within minutes of his censure, Rep. Gosar reposted his video of an assassination fantasy. The official Republican response is apparently to whine about unfairness, when they could have easily judo'd Pelosi by condemning Gosar and claiming moral superiority. But then they'd get more death threats... the sort of threats being thrown at the thirteen apostates who dared support a bipartisan bill!

Manchin's filibuster argument has become pointless; no matter how much bipartisanship is in the Senate, it's a dead letter in the House. This was the last major bipartisan bill that will be passed until the Republicans are reformed, destroyed, or (God forbid) successful in establishing an illiberal one-party regime. I honor Biden for achieving it, but we have no more time to indulge in fantasies. Pass the rest of the budget plan, pass voting rights, and then gird thy loins, because the terror campaign against free and fair elections is already being built.

Robert said...

Money paid as UBI will be 'different' money.

How?

I no longer know any economics instructors, and never knew a marketing prof.


Canadian experience when we tried a UBI pilot project was that the money was spent in the community. When we gave money to the wealthy (as tax breaks) it had no demonstrable effect on employment or the economy.

Just as Canadian experience with immigration is that business/investor visas don't work as promised. If you want to create jobs and collect taxes, you're better off with refugees — they create more jobs and pay more taxes than the wealthy "investor/business" immigrants.

Tim H. said...

Tying work requirements to UBI would serve to create a need for more apparatchiks, on the bright side, they would spend their income locally, and to have them decide what qualified as a vigorous pursuit of art... better to accept small abuses than open the door to large ones.

David Brin said...

Bah, for 80 years collecting unemployment benefits entailed telling an "apparatchik" yes I looked for work."

A silly, often futile exercise that nevertheless did get the discouraged to try again and again... and in many cases finally succeed.

duncan cairncross said...

A silly, often futile exercise that nevertheless did get the discouraged to try again and again... and in many cases finally succeed.

But did it??

The results from the UBI experiment in Canada suggests that without the nagging you get more results

Jon S. said...

In my case, unemployment required me to go out and apply for three jobs every week. My prior experience had been as a COBOL programmer. I managed to get into three temporary jobs, each of which lasted from one to three weeks - assisting with annual inventory at a department store, scanning documents to microfiche, and opening janitor at a Dairy Queen - before my unemployment ran out and left me with absolutely no income at all.

Even the fact of having to go out and put in three apps per week, no matter how poor the job or how unsuited I was to it, was profoundly discouraging. I think a UBI would have helped me a lot - I might have even been able to take a few months to upgrade my programming skills for the evolving market, rather than settling for whatever crap job came down the pike. (I wound up working telephone customer service, which as you might imagine isn't really a great career when you're autistic.)

Catfish 'n Cod said...

Making a pledge to an apparatchik is a lot lower overhead for a citizen than documenting "20 hours" of work. Whether nagging is a good idea or not... I will leave to observations to decide.

BBB is through the House -- another victory for Pelosi, an underappreciated speaker and light-years ahead of her opposite number. Eight hours of filibustering and what did he get? Passage bright and early in the morning so that the Dems have all day to crow. Pwnage!

Maybe this will impede the flood of bad takes lately claiming that the 2022 elections are over before they've even begun. Once BBB and budget/debt ceiling is taken care of, there's more reasons than ever to move to talking-filibuster and pass voting reforms to prevent flat-out election theft -- not cheating on the margins, but frank rejections of popular decision-making by self-perpetuating oligarchic state legislatures. Moreover, the 1/6 Commission is steadily collecting the evidence of just how extensive and extreme the plans for the attempted coup really were. Plus they have inside sources! Having them testify live would be sorely needed must-see TV.

Larry Hart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/politics/kevin-mccarthy-speech.html

Kevin McCarthy during an 8-hour screed:

“I know some of you are mad at me, think I spoke too long,” he said. “But I’ve had enough. America has had enough.”


True, but not in the way he meant it.

David Brin said...

Well, okay. Having never collected unemployment (I guess I could have, once, in 1973) I am forced to defer to the experience of others. I do believe some kind of volunteer work, from tutoring to elder care to picking up litter, will be ncessary for UBI to pass, politically.

McCarthy had been savaged by the right for being only 99% Trumpian. The speech was a grandstanding that Pelosi allowed because it helped them both.

And even if Manchin or Sinema betray us in the Senate, all of those who screamed at Nancy Pelosi from the left for years owe her an apology, now. Better yet, some loyalty.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Having never collected unemployment (I guess I could have, once, in 1973) I am forced to defer to the experience of others.


When I was given just one week notice that my contract would not be renewed, I had to go on unemployment. The timing was awful, as I began my job hunting a week before Donald Trump was elected in 2016. With a six-month contracting position in the middle, I was otherwise on unemployment from Nov 2016 to Feb 2018. In a rare example of good luck, this all happened long before the unemployment system was overwhelmed during the COVID era.

I have to say that looking for a job is a full-time job (absent pay and benefits), and a requirement to do something else for 20 hours a week would seem to be a setback.


I do believe some kind of volunteer work, from tutoring to elder care to picking up litter, will be ncessary for UBI to pass, politically.


That's a different question. Two different questions, really. Besides the difference between political requirement vs good policy, UBI is not "unemployment", the latter being meant only to sustain you for a limited period of time while you find another job (or get off the pot, as it were). UBI would theoretically last indefinitely, so the time pressure to find a boss who will pay you isn't as great, and it might make some sense to require the recipient to do something beneficial for the society which is paying him.

My objection is purely bureaucratic. External requirements for UBI lead to onerous bureaucracies to establish one's eligibility and produce a perverse incentive on the government's side to deny benefits. For the same reason, I'd rather see universal health coverage even if it cost the same as my current insurance does, just to get around the need to prove eligibility and fight denials of service all the time.


McCarthy had been savaged by the right for being only 99% Trumpian. The speech was a grandstanding that Pelosi allowed because it helped them both.

And even if Manchin or Sinema betray us in the Senate, all of those who screamed at Nancy Pelosi from the left for years owe her an apology, now. Better yet, some loyalty.


Hey, don't look at me. I've been embarrassingly in love with Speaker Pelosi since 2006.

Don Gisselbeck said...

One thousand hours of work a year should get a person decent food, clothing, transportation, housing and medical care. It should also (this is the 21st century) provide access to the internet, and the means and opportunity to enjoy public lands. "Work" can be somewhat loosely defined. The overwhelming majority of people, if given the opportunity to do something good, beautiful, useful, would do it for nothing. The rest can be ignored, we ignore the layabout spawn of the predator after.

Robert said...

And I see in the news that in America it's perfectly legal for teenagers with assault weapons to travel and kill people, as long as they are white, can cry, and say that they genuinely feared for their life.

Maybe I'm wrong. If anyone can point out a case where a black boy with an assault rifle cried and got off I'll happily revise my opinion.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

As foreseen:

Biden replaces Ron Bloom, USPS board chair and key DeJoy ally, on postal board

Even if deJoy manages to hang on -- I doubt it -- his days of being lightly leashed will end shortly.

Carroll Clark said...

Doc Brin,

Thank you for your optimistic observations. Decussions about UBI remind me of Buckminister Fullers attempts to calculate what individuals and societies need by way of material wealth. I'd be interested in you opinion.

Sincerely,

Carroll Clark

David Brin said...

To be clear, unarmed men who charge and chase try to beat up an idiot with an assault rifle aren't helping the prosecutors who try to avenge their pretty inevitable passings, no matter that the idiot was ultimately at fault.

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

And I see in the news that in America it's perfectly legal for teenagers with assault weapons to travel and kill people, as long as they are white, can cry, and say that they genuinely feared for their life.


It's not legal. It just won't be prosecuted. The actions of the January 6 insurrectionists and those of many Trump underlings aren't legal either. It's just that no one will do anything about them.

Dr Brin:

To be clear, unarmed men who charge and chase try to beat up an idiot with an assault rifle aren't helping the prosecutors who try to avenge their pretty inevitable passings, ...


The prosecutor made the profound point that Kyle Rittenhouse was perceived at that moment as an active shooter. Other's actions toward him should be taken in that context.

Remember back during one of the innumerable mass shootings--I can hardly distinguish them now--when Republican politicians were saying that the victims should have charged the shooter so that even though some would inevitably be shot dead, eventually some would bring the shooter down? Well, that's what those guys in Wisconsin were doing, so they should be the right-wing heroes here. They would be if Kyle had been black or if he was Kyle Abu Salaam.

Paradoctor said...

When the judge threw out the open-and-shut illegal weapons charge, the fix was in.

Der Oger said...

So, "rittenhousing" will become the describing verb for the act of appearing armed at a protest, provoking a violent reaction, shooting someone in "self defense" and walking away free? I suspect it won't work for "both sides."

TCB said...

When stand-your-ground laws and debatable self-defense acquittals show a pattern of letting armed men off the hook for taking lives, this creates a powerful game-theory incentive to bring your own gun and make sure you shoot first. We will see a lot more killings like this one, and in both directions.

I might add that the police, in Kenosha and Anytown, USA, are absolutely not neutral and impartial. Their legitimacy among the public is based on maintaining the perception that they are, but minorities and political leftists have know this isn't so, for a century and more. (On another forum, Thomas Pynchon wrote that the soldiers will sometimes side with the people rather than the oligarchs, but the police never do). It will be interesting to see how many of the general public become "woke" on this as well.

Compare the case of Kyle Rittenhouse to that of Michael Reinoehl, an antifascist activist who shot Aaron Danielson, a Trump marcher, in Portland in August 2020; he claimed in his only interview that was protecting a friend from Danielson and several other alt-right men. Afterward Reinoehl went into hiding, saying he feared he would be killed either by alt-right or police. He was right: as soon as US Marshals and local law enforcement found him about 150 miles north of Portland, they cowboyed him without offering him a chance to surrender.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/michael-reinoehl-antifa-killing-deputies-wont-be-charged-1230943/

P.S. My very own garbage fascist Congressman Madison Cawthorn is already offering Rittenhouse an internship.

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

So, "rittenhousing" will become the describing verb for the act of appearing armed at a protest, provoking a violent reaction, shooting someone in "self defense" and walking away free? I suspect it won't work for "both sides."


I suspect it will be tested on both sides, though.


My very own garbage fascist Congressman Madison Cawthorn is already offering Rittenhouse an internship.


Given the relationship between Republican Congressmen and interns, maybe a version of poetic justice will be done after all.

David Brin said...

Like spewing gasoline across our neighborhoods and handing out matches. Who does this serve best? Our enemies who want us aflame.

https://t.co/iMyRnclZtq?amp=1

Alfred Differ said...

Der Oger,

It won't work in every state.

Pappenheimer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert said...

On another forum, Thomas Pynchon wrote that the soldiers will sometimes side with the people rather than the oligarchs, but the police never do

Do you have a link for that? I'm curious, but my weak search skills can't find it.

Larry Hart said...

Interesting tidbit from Bill Maher, Thursday will be the 400th anniversary of the first (American) Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.

How'd I miss noticing that?

matthew said...

The local Pr*ud Bo*s are crowing the Rittenhouse verdict - openly saying they now have legal permission to kill protestors. Given the Portland Police's close ties to the PB gang, the PBs are correct.

This verdict will mean blood in my hometown streets. Portland has been at war with neo-nazis for 40 years. The body count is about to rise dramatically.

And this doesn't just serve foreign interests the best. It serves our native racist assholes just fine too.

Civil war phase VIII (or whatever phase we are in) just went from cold to hot.

Pappenheimer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Larry Hart said...

matthew:

The local Pr*ud Bo*s are crowing the Rittenhouse verdict - openly saying they now have legal permission to kill protestors.


I wonder how it will play out the first time someone shoots an anti-abortion protester in self defense. Or when someone runs through the demonstrators in front of an abortion clinic with their car.

I mean, I know that the verdict in such cases won't be consistent with the Rittenhouse precedent, but I'm curious how the argument against such consistency will play out.

Catfish 'n Cod said...

@Don: The overwhelming majority of people, if given the opportunity to do something good, beautiful, useful, would do it for nothing. The rest can be ignored, we ignore the layabout spawn of the predator after.

We ignore layabout spawn because we are paid off to do so, and because the easiest way to deal with a rich fool is to arrange for them and their money to be soon parted. That said, American society has a very unhealthy obsession with trying to eliminate every last speck of laziness -- the Puritan work ethic, the dire privation of the frontier (especially when layabouts rush in -- as happened in early Jamestown), and the slave's eternal incentive to shirk the theft of their labor combine into a toxic stew that is sadly one of our most universal traits. Untold amounts of mental illness stem from constructing a society such that nearly everyone fears to some degree for their daily bread. (Yes, even the subsistence farmers, who must find the geld to pay off the landlord, the bank, and the revenooers -- under threat of losing the soil that feeds them.)

@Larry: "It's not legal. It just won't be prosecuted... It's just that no one will do anything about them.

Never say never. The perpetrators of Neshoba County and Birmingham were eventually tried and convicted. The problem is that justice is delayed, and during that delay, is also denied.

@TCB:Thomas Pynchon wrote that the soldiers will sometimes side with the people rather than the oligarchs, but the police never do.
Much of the police's business is enforcing property rights -- ergo, mostly the rights of oligarchs. They are granted privilege accordingly. Just today, the local EBS overrode my phone silencer with a "BLUE ALERT" to assist in a manhunt for an alleged cop-assaulter. That's an abuse of the EBS, which is intended to save citizens' lives, not assist in law enforcement. But it won't get so much as a whisper because cops' lives are considered to be worth more than yours or mine.

@OGH:Who does this serve best? Our enemies who want us aflame.
If this wasn't the original goal of the extremist takeover of the NRA, it certainly was by the time Russia was able to funnel them megabux. It certainly is the goal of the Albionics across the board, who are less and less coy about their desire to openly revive lynching. What I haven't fully grokked is why they have so much support on SCOTUS. Roberts certainly acts as if his own power center is threatened by excessive zealotry; why don't more of them? How does Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society conspiracy play into the game?

@matthew: Civil war phase VIII (or whatever phase we are in) just went from cold to hot.
It's too early to be definitive on this point, but I suspect phase IX began on 1/6.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor (the real one, not the troll who's been posting as him) :

When the judge threw out the open-and-shut illegal weapons charge, the fix was in.


Believe it or not, that slam-dunk was easily blocked by the law itself.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Nov20.html#item-2

...
The least serious charge, but the one that was the biggest slam dunk, was "minor in possession of a firearm." However, due to the clumsy wording of the relevant Wisconsin law, that charge was dismissed before it ever got to the jury, because... wait for it... the barrel of the gun that Rittenhouse was carrying was long enough so as to exempt him from prosecution. Really. The law can be read as applying only to guns with barrels of 16 inches or less. You can click on the link and read the statute if you want. The law was written in order to allow 17-year-olds to hunt deer with a rifle, not hunt people with a military weapon, but the law simply says "16 inches."

Larry Hart said...

matthew redux:

The local Pr*ud Bo*s are crowing the Rittenhouse verdict - openly saying they now have legal permission to kill protestors


From the same Rittenhouse article I linked above:

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Nov20.html#item-2

...
It's not the job of a court to consider the public policy implications of its decisions, but hoo boy does this verdict send an absolutely terrible message. Is there any doubt that right-wingers of various sorts will be showing up to protests armed to the teeth, hoping that they are put into a position where they can claim they were provoked and that they only started firing in self-defense?

A reader—and we don't have clear permission to quote them and identify them by their initials, so we'll paraphrase—writes in with the observation that the American legal system has shifted so far in favor of the Second Amendment and of "self-defense" that those Americans who do not wish to carry guns are left in a very difficult position. If a person who is armed—at an uprising, while hiking, when getting coffee at Starbucks—feels "threatened," then in many/most states, they have near-universal cover for whatever they want to do. The feelings of their target(s) don't much matter, assuming those target(s) even live long enough to tell their tale.

The implication here is that the only real way for unarmed Americans to be 100% safe, when put into a position where there is a gun, is to leave. Someone walks into Starbucks and they're carrying? You leave. You're at a political rally, and armed Proud Boys show up? You leave. You're on the bus and someone with a sidearm gets on? You get off. That's the only surefire option. Admittedly, it's an easier policy to adhere to in some states than in others.

The strategy we're describing here, incidentally, is very nearly the same strategy that Black Americans, particularly in the South, were forced to adhere to for generations whenever placed into a situation in which they might face racist aggression. The legal system was nearly always going to side with the white person, so the Black person had no real option but to extract themselves from the situation. Eventually, their hands forced in part by the Civil Rights Movement, Americans decided that state of affairs was not acceptable. Maybe one day there will be mass pushback against the Second Amendment run amok, too.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Der Oger said...

Some notes on the OP:
(We can help the poor of other nations both with aid and by pulling support from the local oligarchic oppressor classes that our own moguls propped-up, for a century.)

We are doing the opposite now. Apparently, we are propping up folks like Al Sissi in Egypt and Erdogan in Turkey to block migration ... we are at least indirectly responsible for. Apparently, Lukashenko tried the same ... and now starts to backpedal.

In addition, at least here in Germany, we need immigration badly, in order to keep our economy running ... something that constantly is eluded by those right-wing anti-immigration politicians. At current estimation, 400.000 a year (or, 0.5%)

@ matthew:
This verdict will mean blood in my hometown streets. Portland has been at war with neo-nazis for 40 years. The body count is about to rise dramatically.

And this doesn't just serve foreign interests the best. It serves our native racist assholes just fine too.


Considering the amount of weapons in private hands, and the current situation, I'd assume that the extreme left or Antifa groups have not started armed assaults already.
Seeing it with European eyes (were leftist rioting is much more violent and frequent than in the US) one either has to applaud them for their self-restraint and that they concentrate on exposing fascists through undercover operations (which is somewhat mood, since they already control a dangerously high number of positions of power), or "radical leftists" do not exist to the extend I am seeing them over here.

@ Alfred Differ
It won't work in every state.
I did not assume it would. Also, I think, "To Rittenhouse" could also mean something else, more in line with this picture. Here goes your white masculinity.

David Brin said...

Der Oger, when I do "onward" it's best to take your thoughts to the new posting, since most don't come back down under old posts.

I doubt Erdogan feels anyone over here except Kremlin agents like him.

Anyway...

onward

onward