Friday, September 16, 2022

The TOP thing Biden could do to win trust and outmaneuver traitors

Joe, please limit your own powers!  

My biggest complaint about Joe Biden? Not once has he spoken to the long list of failure modes in our current system that Donald Trump exploited to grab unprecedented power and abuse his authority.  Jobee should say “Let’s systematically fix those failure modes, even if it means reducing MY power, as president."

Not only is it necessary. It is also something that would play very well for the midterms! It would make him and his party look truly sincere. From my longer list in Polemical Judo:

- Amend the absurdly broad War Powers Act so that 'emnergency wars" must be congressionally renewed every 90 days and penalizing lie-pretexts.

- Elimination of blanket Presidential power to declassify information, plus EXPIRATION DATES ON ALL LEVELS OF SECRECY. 

- Use definitions of crimes to hem in the President’s now-universal power of federal pardons.

- Drop the Justice Department's ‘finding’ that presidents cannot be sued or prosecuted. Replace this with a “slow prosecution” process that limits a president to ten hours a week dealing with outside legal matters. That would deal with the silly argument of the Office of Legal Counsel's ‘finding,’ while still saying no president is above the law. 

(And boy would that play well with the public! Despite guaranteeing Joe will be the first slammed with those ten hours, alas.)

- Require that financial statements and tax returns be public and create a commission to rule on conflicts of interest, like forcing the Secret Service to pay top rates at Trump hotels, or foreigners flocking to do the same. Likewise, pass a specific emoluments bill.

- Give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a commission, so it can never again become a travesty.

- Strengthen the 25th amendment without needing a new amendment! It was originally intended to deal with non-hostile transfers of power due to incapacity. And sure, a president with a fanatically loyal cabinet and/or VP is immune. But look at it closely! A VP (like Pence) who cannot persuade a majority of cabinet of fanatic loyalists could still appeal to an “other body” created by Congress! 

One incremental step: establish the amendment’s “other body” out of the nation’s most august retired judges, scientists and presidents. (See Chapter 16 of Polemical Judo, “Exit strategies: Surprising aspects of the 25th Amendment.”)

There are so many other things JoBee could do that would incrementally protect us, in case a monster ever returns to the White House. And each and every one would impress voters with his sincerity.

Can YOU think of a simple, easily understood power-reform that would hamper monsters but not a sincerely decent president very much? Speak up in the comments section. 

See more at Polemical Judo: Memes for Our Political Knife-fight, by David Brin.


== Related matters ==


Some congressional reforms are clearly needed. In fact, Polemical Judo begins with a discussion of New Gingrich's brilliant (if hypocritical) political gesture the "Contract with America," which made the GOP seem reformist and sincere. And no Democrat has ever learned from it.


Oh there are some efforts: 

Lawmakers have proposed bills to restrict their own stock trading. Some proposals would bar members of Congress and their spouses from buying stocks, a measure that majorities of voters support. Other legislation would force lawmakers and their spouses to put their investments into blind trusts.

On Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a House vote on a congressional stock-trading bill this month. But neither that bill nor any other appears to have the bipartisan support needed to pass the Senate.

But I would go much farther. For example, by giving every House and Senate member one perogotive subpoena per year. Yes, including the minority party. Yes Marjorie "gaspacho" Greene and Lauren "won-ton violence" Boebert would abuse the privilege. So? Shrug off the hot air. It would guarantee that some light will flow, when next dems are in the minority.  There's more in Polemical Judo.

 


== Pointing fingers? ==


Of course we know why Marjorie Taylor Greene dissed then-nominated Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – and later Mitt Romney and Susan Collins -  as enablers of pedophiles…. Because Greene’s party is the one overflowing with turpitudes and perverts.  


This article (from Slate) gives a first-level view, though only of the top half-dozen examples. Such as the GOP in the 90s replacing serial philanderer Newt Gingrich with Dennis Hastert – convicted multiple child-rapist - as head of the GOP and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, just two heartbeats from the presidency. 


What this article lacks is a truly aggressive shift from “these examples show Republicans are no-cleaner than Democrats” to a far more bold assertion. 


“Today's GOP is a den of iniquity and perversion and turpitude, spanning the entire spectrum, down to dog catcher.”


At one end are legal things that may not be telling, in any one case. Like divorce, which was political suicide in the GOP of old, till Reagan. Now? Seven marriages across the last 4 Republican presidents. Twenty-two across the last ten heads of the party. (Care to wager me whether the trend continues, as we work our way down? Or that it’s not far, far, far lower among top Dems… some of them flawed people, whose spouses nonetheless deemed them worth salvaging.)


Or take the Republican Party’s close affiliation with non-native gambling casinos – (didn’t that used-to-be a sin?) – and floods of donations from mob-related casino moguls.

In fact, let’s compare every kind of turpitude in red states vs blue ones. (Setting aside outliers like Utah and Illinois.) From pedophilia and domestic violence to divorce rates, as well as STDs, gambling, and heck, yes, let’s include abortion, if you like. Red states still ranks worse.


This is the sort of thing you can demand wagers over, from MAGAs and then watch as they run!  Do it in front of witnesses.




162 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

“Today's GOP is a den of iniquity and perversion and turpitude, spanning the entire spectrum, down to dog catcher.”


Or, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

Alan Brooks said...

Being nice doesn’t always succeed; we were nice to the Raygunuts in the ‘80s—and they walked all over us.

DP said...

Simplest and best congressional reforms:

1. Repeal the 1929 Permanent Apportionment Act. It permanently set the maximum number of representatives at 435. Hence all of the distortions in proportional representation since each state gets at least 1 representative.

2. Then legalize the Wyoming Rule, where the number of representatives each state gets is proportional to the population of the least populous state (aka Wyoming with 578,803) which gets 1 rep. California (population 39,237,836) gets 68 reps, an increase of 16 over its current 52.

That increases the number of reps to 573.

Also make DC and Puerto Rico states (both have more population than Wyoming). DC would get 1 rep and Puerto Rico would get 6, further increasing House membership to 580.

A decent contractor can expand the hall of congress to seat the additional reps and provide them office space - or these reps can work remotely based on seniority (which is how they assign office space anyways).

This would also remove the distortions to proportional representation in the electoral college.

All in all these two simple changes would make the U.S. much more of a democracy.

Big winners, urban blue states.

Big losers, rural red states.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

This would also remove the distortions to proportional representation in the electoral college.


I've seen some studies that showed that the biggest undemocratic issue with the electoral college is not the unequal representation. It's the "winner take all" nature of most states' elections, which gives (for example) all of Texas's or Florida's (or California's) electors to the winning candidate, even if 48% of the state's voters wanted the other guy.

If the states' electoral votes were apportioned proportionally to the vote, the outcome would be much more democratic, even with the current allocation of electoral votes.


Big losers, rural red states.


Heh. You can say that agagin.

reason said...

DP Doesn't fix the senate which is the biggest problem by a mile.

Larry Hart said...

@reason,

The Senate makeup isn't a bug. It's a feature built so strongly into the Constitution that it can't even be changed by Amendment.

Article V (emphasis mine) :


The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

The senate is deliberately designed and intended to be undemocratic, representing states instead of the people residing in those states (the Founding Fathers for the most part distrusted democracy).


A more charitable interpretation is that state interests were much more localized from each other than we think of them today. The United States in 1789 was structured more like the UN. I don't hear anyone seriously suggesting that representation in the UN be proportional to each country's population, or that each individual human being has an equal vote in the UN.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

At what point does a state's population decline so that it should revert back to being a territory?


Just as there is no Constitutional mechanism for un-doing a presidential election or forestalling the transfer of power, I'm afraid there is also no Constitutional mechanism for un-incorporating a state. If a state's population went to zero, that would be an interesting test case, but would probably be a Constitutional crisis all by itself.

TruePath said...

Most of those are good ideas, though I'm far from certain the democrats have the votes to pass the laws and a number of them (restricting pardons) would require constitutional amendments. However, I think there are some issues with a number of these which make these issues a bit more complex. I agree something could probably be done with most of them except classification .

- Declassification dates are definitely a good idea and for some narrowly tailored areas (nuclear capabilities) we have legislative classification which partially restricts prez declassification authority. However, consider how restricting the president's power to declassify interacts with his power as commander in chief and ability to conduct diplomacy.

Does that mean that if we get in a war the president can't decide share information with an ally or enemy of our enemy? They can't reveal information to our allies in a mutual exchange or read in the troops doing the mission? Or conclude that national moral requires being kept informed of certain aspects of war progress. And it doesn't make much sense to give the president the power to reveal the information but not declassify it. I'm not sure this could be done at all in a constitutional manor and even if it could it's hard to see how to do it well.

-Limitation of presidential time on external legal matters: This will let presidents like Trump play games. He'll go meet with his attorneys 10 hours every 2 weeks and insist on spending all that time blabbering about random things to force delays or he'll use the time to strategize about some bullshit lawsuit that has no change in hell. Net effect is to give him the power to decide which lawsuits get delayed and which proceed which is even worse. If you try and dictate how to allocate how he divides up that time with attorneys it creates real constitutional issues of the right to organize defense (e.g. what if he losses and claims he wasn't allowed to allocate enough time to it) not to mention insurmountable practical ones (which judge gets to set his schedule).


-War Powers Act: I worry that the 90 day re-authorization could create the incentive for a president to push for troops to get involved in serious fighting within the 90 days to make it harder to congress to refuse re-authorization and short of impeachment or the voters punishing the president I don't see any mechanism to punish these pretexts.

-Yes to pretty much everything else tho for presidential financial statements you probably can't make them release the records but you could just have the IRS publish their returns.

TruePath said...

Let me add that one of the reasons the war powers act is so broad is the concern that if you try to be much more restrictive you'll end up with a ruling that says the law is an unconstitutional impingement on the president's constitutional powers as commander-in-chief. Sometimes it's better to place a weak limit on something so it won't be challenged than risk having basically all limits thrown out.

I'd love something much more restrictive than the war powers act but we need to realize the risk that SCOTUS would issue a ruling in response that tears up even those weak limitations.

Also, practically, as the various AUMF's demonstrate, the problem is that the political incentives for congress are to avoid having to take stands on these tough issues and that's most easily done by just passing broad authorizations and forcing the president to do it.

DP said...

Interest history/math exercise:

The Northwest Ordinances passed in 1787 decreed that a territory with a population of 60,000 could apply for statehood.

US population at the time (1790 census) was 3,929,214.

So when the Northwest Ordinances were passed a territory with approximately 1.5% of the total US population could become a state.

Current American population is 329,500,000.

1.5% of today's population is approximately 5 million.

So if you apply proportional standards, every state with a population less than 5 million would not be considered for statehood.

That leaves us with only 23 states (CA, TX, FL, NY, PA, IL, OH, GA, NC, MI, NJ, VA, WA, AZ, MA, TN, UN, MO, MD, WI, CO, MN, AL).

The more you know......

DP said...

Larry,

As historian Shelby Foote noted in Ken Burns classic docuseries "The Civil War":

"Before the war, it was said 'the United States are'— grammatically it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the war it was always 'the United States is,' as we say today without being self-conscious at all. And that sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an 'is.'"

Paradoctor said...

The British had a similar problem. They called it "rotten boroughs"; boroughs with populations lower than they used to have, and so having disproportionate influence in Parliament.

David Brin said...

DP's suggestion to expand the House is the simplest, requiring just a law + getting past Senate filibuster.

on the road. Hence carry on...

db

Larry Hart said...

DP:

And that sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an 'is.'"


I get that. But we're an "is" which continues to be governed by the same Constitution as the collection of independent states was. And there's no Constitutional mechanism for un-recognizing a state, even if it wouldn't be recognized in the first place were we starting fresh. And every state must have the same number of Senators--a restriction that is not even subject to the Constitutional amendment process.

Tim H. said...

An observation, our representatives are often more responsive to the campaign donor community than the voters, but Democrats appear to associate with a better class of Mammonite.

Alan Brooks said...

Mammonite, or Mennonite?

Alan Brooks said...

TH,
who isn’t dedicated to gaining wealth? Sheepherders in the Yukon? What sets the Democratic Party apart from the GOP isn’t that Democrats want to acquire money less than Republicans, it is how Republicans wish power for their dynasties more than Democrats do.
An obvious example is that the dynastic ambitions of the Kennedys were as nothing to today’s GOP.
Today is the 235th anniversary of the Constitution; the Right is aiming to alter the Constitution in gaining power for—guess who?

CP said...

I've mentioned this, before. But, now that it's timely, again... :-)

There are three things that should be eliminated from legislative elections: closed primaries, first-past-the-post voting and winner-take-all.

Regarding the senate:

The constitution requires that the states have equal representation and tradition establishes two senators per state. But, it doesn't require voting power to be divided equally between the two senators in each state. So, I'd suggest the following:

Open primaries tabulated under truncated rank/choice rules with the top three candidates advancing to the general election.

Both senators from each state being selected in a single general election tabulated under rank/choice rules.

Each senator exercising voting power proportional to his/her degree of support after the second choice preferences of the eliminated candidate's voters are reallocated.

For example, if the candidates had 50%, 30% and 20% of the first place votes and the 2nd choice preferences of the eliminated candidate's voters split equally, the winning candidates would have 60% and 40% support. So, in all votes during their terms, the first place senator would be counted as 1.2 and the second place senator as 0.8.

Under that system, voters in smaller states would still have more power but the advantages would be much more evenly distributed between the parties (with control determined by aggregating the fractions). Nearly all states, nearly all the time would elect both Republican and Democratic senators. Red states would still be red and blue states would still be blue. But, the minority party in both would have a voice. And, without the three factors mentioned, above, the body would be pulled strongly toward the center.

For the house (and state legislatures), the number of districts should be cut in half (doubled in size) with each district electing two representatives and with fractional voting power allocated as described, above. However, that fraction should be set by multiplying the % support after reallocation by the ratio between the district's population and the population of the average district (nationwide). That way, each individual voter would have essentially equal power with neither gerrymandering nor demographic sorting altering party control. This is not incompatible with DP's suggestion of increasing the number of representatives in proportion to the smallest state. It might well be even better to do both.

Finally, if the electoral college can't be abolished, awarding electors to candidates in proportion to the state-wide vote would be the next best thing. However, expanding the Main/Nebraska system of awarding electors to each congressional district (plus 2 for the state) would be a bad idea. It would just increase the number of winner-take-all races from the current 56 to 486--all of them subject to meddling and litigation. Plus, it would create even more incentive to gerrymander under the current system.

Alan Brooks said...

Rightists tell me voting should be made more difficult—we’re talking past them: they think the electorate isn’t educated enough to make the proper choices in voting. This is a prime example:
https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/12/08/election-day-no-longer-exists-in-america-victor-davis-hanson-says/amp/

Alfred Differ said...

Meh. Y'all don't want to go down the dynasty path with US politics. We have would-be dynastic founders on all sides. Whether they are successful varies a bit over the decades. That they try isn't in doubt.

------

As for the electorate not being educated enough to make good choices, that's pretty obvious. That's also why the franchise was NOT given to everyone by the Founders and Framers. That's also why they gave us a republic.

It's way too late to take back the franchise. They'll try, but there will be blood in the streets over that if they get any good at it. We'd be better off spending our blood and treasure educating the louts to be better voters.

Larry Hart said...

From the Victor Davis Hanson screed posted by Alan Brooks:

Instead, Hanson said, a double standard has been created where those who commit crimes are treated more fairly than those who abide by the law:

If they were prosecuted, then the charges were later dropped. And so it created the system that there were two laws in this country: If you want to go protest the quarantine [or] you’re religious and you want to [go to] service, you can be arrested. Or if you want to open your restaurant, you can be arrested. If you want to attack a federal courthouse, you will not be arrested.


That must have been written before January 6. Or he has no sense of irony.

GMT -5 8032 said...

Statehood for Puerto Rico may not be a given. While the last referendum had a slight majority favoring statehood, it was a non-binding referendum with voter turnout of 54.72% according to Wikipedia.

If there was an actual vote by PR residents it is not clear if they would want statehood. Being a territory has advantages. I know this fom my 7 years as a prosecutor in the USVI, just 42 miles east of Puerto Rico.

GMT -5 8032 said...

And what about Statehood for the USVI and the other territories? USVI only has a population of 106,000 but it is as Democratic Party dominated as DC.

Larry Hart said...

Another example of "winner take all" that is tangentially related to the discussion above. The House Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader has absolute control over what bills even come to the floor for a vote, as well as what investigations take place. So the minority party in the House has absolutely no power at all. And in the Senate, their only leverage is the filibuster threat where applicable.

That aspect of Congress is not Constitutionally mandated, but it warps our politics in a very unhealthy way.

reason said...

Larry Hart,
have you looked at the Australian Senate. Also basically equal representation - for Tasmania and NSW for instance. But it elects 6 Senators each election by proportional representation.

Alfred Differ said...

What's the argument against lumping PR and USVI together as a state?

Alan Brooks said...

LH,
VD Hanson frequently references the 2020 riots, saying that they dwarfed January 6th. It is the prime talking point of Rightists (whom I monitor closely) when all else fails—their ace-in-the-sleeve.
But their great weakness is they don’t have a Reagan anymore: they’re fooling themselves into thinking DeSantis will save them. Pat Buchananites are now promoting Josh Hawley as the ‘24 potus nominee. Not that they’re so out of touch to believe Hawley will be nominated but, rather, as an ideal.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

VD Hanson frequently references the 2020 riots, saying that they dwarfed January 6th.


Yes, to hear right-wingers describe the George Floyd protests, whole cities burned to the ground instead of the largely-peaceful protests at which a few bad actors took advantage to cause mayhem, some of them proven to be right wingers trying to make liberals look bad.

Of course, to hear them describe the Jan 6 insurrection, it was just some little old ladies on a tour of the Capitol. Or BLM and Antifa. Whatever. It doesn't even have to make sense, as long as they have a mantra they can recite.

Basically, their position is that if white Christians feel upset about anything, they have the absolute right to respond in any manner they please. Whereas if anyone else is upset for any reason, no matter how justified, they should just shut up.

I've long ago run out of fucks to give for those with that attitude.

Alan Brooks said...

I tell them (talk radio is a good way to engage—if one wishes to vent—in bad conversations with them) that many blacks so no future spring-summer 2020. It appeared at the time a real possibility Trump might have been re-elected.

Alan Brooks said...

...many blacks SAW no future.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

they think the electorate isn’t educated enough to make the proper choices in voting.


Well, that's kinda true. The electorate who put Republicans in charge of over thirty states are not educated enough to make proper choices. I don't think that's what they mean, though.

Alan Brooks said...

One talkshow host angrily said to me that he wants less for me, more for him. What benefits him in an election is what matters to him. Such citizens have a problem with immigration, though: they want the low-cost labor which undocumented immigrants can provide. However, they also wish to “close” the border.
Yet what are they going to do? Also close schools and libraries so native-borns will be uneducated enough to want to do the jobs that no one else wants to do?

scidata said...

Re: education

I've been a trainer, a tutor, a mentor, and a speaker. But I was never an 'educator'. Way too heavy a burden to bear. A veritable razor's edge.

"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart said...
From the Victor Davis Hanson screed posted by Alan Brooks:
[...]If you want to attack a federal courthouse, you will not be arrested.[...]


The interesting thing is that there seems to be a certain amount of truth in this, but the reasons behind it aren't what is suggested.

In Portland, Oregon, for example (I went to school there and know many who live there, so I hear some about what happens), during the BLM protests, it seemed that the police were far more interested in chasing peaceful demonstrators around the city than in arresting those who were being violent.

More recently there was another demonstration, peaceful until a group of about 15 (if I remember correctly) "anarchists" began smashing up shops in the area. At which point the police were present, but did nothing other than watch. Among the reasons given for not taking any action was that there were people blocking traffic at a music festival elsewhere in the city that demanded police presence. (For anyone wondering, the reason is not that the Portland police are "lefties"; they seem to have very good relations with the Proud Boys and other far-right groups.)

In a different type of response, there was a demonstration here in the Netherlands (in Rotterdam) recently that degenerated into a riot. The police response was to clear the area of demonstrators while arresting the approximately 50 people who were engaging in vandalism.

It's almost as if Chicago's Mayor Daley was correct when he said "the police are not there to create disorder; they are there to preserve disorder."

Alan Brooks said...

The talkshow hosts scarcely bother to hide their core belief:
that the cosmos revolves around themselves and their families. They are solipsistic.

Robert said...

Yet what are they going to do? Also close schools and libraries so native-borns will be uneducated enough to want to do the jobs that no one else wants to do?

That seems to be the plan, doesn't it?

(If not close, neuter and control.)

Robert said...

it seemed that the police were far more interested in chasing peaceful demonstrators around the city than in arresting those who were being violent

Much easier and safer that way. :-/

We saw the same thing up here at the G20 protests in Toronto, the beltline marches in Calgary, the convoy occupation in Ottawa, the border blockades…

Given that the probability of violence seems related to how right-wing the protesting group is, both cowardice and political bias are possible explanations. Or racism, given the demographics of protesters.

Jon S. said...

"Yes, to hear right-wingers describe the George Floyd protests, whole cities burned to the ground instead of the largely-peaceful protests at which a few bad actors took advantage to cause mayhem, some of them proven to be right wingers trying to make liberals look bad."

It is in fact an article of faith on those circles that whole cities did burn to the ground. According to some folks I've encountered online, downtown Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis are gone, destroyed by fire. They simply refuse to look at the webcam links I offer to prove otherwise, and insist that any pictures come from before the "riots" or are faked. And, of course, they're not about to come look for themselves, because obviously the ruined cities are just crawling with rioters killing and looting (what's left to kill and loot after two years is never explained).

Howard Brazee said...

I have always been a strong believer that any extraordinary powers granted to the executive or the military need to be renewed every 90 days (or less). That includes undeclared wars.

Larry Hart said...

gregory byshenk:

It's almost as if Chicago's Mayor Daley was correct when he said "the police are not there to create disorder; they are there to preserve disorder."


Police culture does seem to treat their job as "comforting the comfortable", and therefore afflicting anyone who might discomfort the comfortable.

During the Obama years, there were plenty of protests along highways I drove where people would occupy bridges over the highways and display "Impeach Obama!" signs. The police didn't interfere, and often joined in.

On the day of Trump's inauguration, a group of Canadian tourists was prevented by US customs from entering the US after they admitted that the reason for their visit was to join in a protest against Trump. I can kinda understand the reasoning behind that--why should we let you in just to cause trouble--but I have a sneaking suspicion that had they been joining an anti-Obama protest in 2009 or an anti-Biden protest in 2020, they would have been welcomed in.

Robert said...

During the Obama years, there were plenty of protests along highways I drove where people would occupy bridges over the highways and display "Impeach Obama!" signs. The police didn't interfere, and often joined in.

Up here during the convoy protests, police would crack down on counter-demonstrators while allowing the convoy protesters to do most of what they wanted. This was particularly evident in Calgary when people who stood on the sidewalk with signs criticizing the anti-mandate protesters* were moved along by police, while marching protesters blocking traffic and hassling local residents and customers were left alone.


*Who were protesting mandates that had been eliminated weeks before. I saw interviews with several of them, and it seemed like they were there for the solidarity and belonging rather than any coherent philosophy — a tailgate party with the chance to misbehave in public.

matthew said...

You never see the Portland Police and the Proud Boys together for the same reason you never see Batman and Bruce Wayne together.

The LA Sheriffs Department just raided the homes of vocal members of their oversight board. https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/sheriffs-dept-raids-homes-of-supervisor-sheila-kuehl-and-others/

From Trump Judges to police gangs to neo-Nazi infiltration of the US Military and weaponization of the the FBI and other DoJ branches, Dr. Brin's "Protector Caste" have been revealed to be one of the biggest threats our nation faces.

If a judge is a member of the Federalist Society, impeach them for it.
If a cop or a fireman is a neo-Nazi or a Christian Nationalist, fire them.
If a member of Congress or the military has violated their oath of office, then kick them out!

It may take time to gather the political will to do these things and a lot of effort to gather the votes, but if they are not done, America the Democracy is over.

Remember, there are no good fascists.

David Brin said...

"It is in fact an article of faith on those circles that whole cities did burn to the ground. According to some folks I've encountered online, downtown Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis are gone, destroyed by fire."

Which is why I am boggled that NO ONE seems to grasp the polemical power of wager demands. They always run away, leaving the lie at least locally demolished. If the demand were made far more publicly, the demolition would be wider.

matthew said...

There may have been a good billionaire, though.
https://www.theguardian.com/global/2022/sep/15/yvon-chouinard-the-existential-dirtbag-who-founded-and-gifted-patagonia

Yvon dated my auntie back in the early 70s. I've heard some stories about him.

I used to love going to REI with my aunt to use her membership card. Never failed that when the checker saw the double-digit (under 40!) membership number, they would stop and say "Who the F are YOU?"

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

You never see the Portland Police and the Proud Boys together for the same reason you never see Batman and Bruce Wayne together.


If 'twere up to me, that would be post of the day. :)

Alan Brooks said...

This may be the most damning evidence against law [un]enforcement. And nothing was changed; it merely “went underground”, as the subject has stated:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p0skFrMe8Us

David Brin said...

The force having impact on police depts now is insurance companies, for reasons that should be obvious with some thought.

At Salt Lake Airport

Jon S. said...

David, they won't accept proof that they're wrong. Present it, and they'll say it was faked. I show them the webcams, and they claim it's old recordings. Wagers only help if you're working in the same reality, and they're (almost literally) in a world of their own.

Robert said...

David, they won't accept proof that they're wrong. Present it, and they'll say it was faked.

This.

scidata said...

Proving dogma wrong is much harder than opening an unexpected door. Asimov opened such a door for me half a century ago, pulling me out of a very narrow, stultifying, almost nihilistic perspective.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
- Richard Bach

Darrell E said...

It's a lot easier to bury people in bullshit than it is to clean them up afterwards.

Alfred Differ said...

Y'all are missing the point of the wager.

It's one thing to call a man a coward and something else to call him a coward in front of his peers and family.

The wager is about the impact you have in the audience.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The wager is about the impact you have in the audience.


Yeah, but if the audience also doesn't accept facts, then what?

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: in front of his peers and family


True, but any good physicist should consider Newton's 3rd law. FOUNDATION was quite chatty (why my kids were bored with it), and this theme came up repeatedly IIRC (Hardin's office and long space journeys maybe).

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-theory/article/abs/backlash-against-human-rights-shaming-emotions-in-groups/D810A755EF58CA80559E98F9ED73D43F

Peers and family are really hard to model in psychohistory. They warp all the ideal gas laws.

TruePath said...

The thing that bothers me about open primaries is that it should be legal for anyone to get together and run for office. But, apparently, if me and my 5 friends get together to decide to vote in who we want to support that's probably fine but it's illegal when it's my 50,000 friends?

Larry Hart said...

@TruePath,

The US Constitution makes no mention of political parties, because the Founding Fathers apparently wanted to hope they would never exist. Open primaries are a tacit admission that (all exceptions duly noted) only a Democrat or a Republican candidate is going to be elected. Thus, for "the people" to have any meaningful say in their candidates, they must be allowed to select the Republican and Democratic candidates, whether or not they are a member of the party.

Which has the unintended consequence of allowing those without the party's interests at heart to select the party's candidate. Equivalent to letting illegal aliens or foreigners living abroad vote in our elections. Or to letting the board of General Motors appoint the CEO of Ford.

It comes down to a conflict between the parties as private organizations and the parties as de-facto arms of the government. Open primaries are a kind or worst of both worlds solution.

CP said...

That's only true if the parties are segregated in the primary. In other words, if anyone can vote for any party but the top candidate of each party moves forward regardless of overall placement.

If the top three candidates move forward regardless of party and rank/choice voting is used it isn't a problem.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry & scidata,

No doubt you have to make an ROI calculation to decide if it is worth it. If you odds of moving anyone are vanishingly small, your effort at accomplishing this should be vanishingly small.

The observation our host is making is that your odds aren't as small as you think, let alone SO small that it justifies making no effort at all.

If you grow up in Vegas, you see people taking long shot positions all the time. That's a fine thing to do if one isn't risking much AND can afford to lose most of the time. The analogy in this case is straight forward.

What are you risking?
What are your odds for various outcomes?

What our host is suggesting is that you risk little if you manage the amount of attention you give and don't let the idiots drive your blood pressure up too much. What your odds are depends on the setting, but they go up in mixed audiences or mixed age groups.

Persuasion is an Art not necessarily aimed at the obvious target.

David Brin said...

"David, they won't accept proof that they're wrong. Present it, and they'll say it was faked."

Lazy ass excuses for not trying what several of us testify ALWAYS (partially) works!

Those pooh poohing wager demands assume it is just he-said, he said. But leave out the kicker... demanding a clear cut falsifiable fact check BEFORE A NEUTRAL PANEL OF RETIRED SENIOR MILITARY OFFICERS.

THAT KICKER is what always, always, always makes them flee. And the fact that you won't even bother to try the full approach, in order to shame the macho preeners in front of others, is bona fide evidence of laziness.

In Tucson now. Lookup NASA NIAC and tune in to the livestream! Amazing projects!

scidata said...

NIAC Symposium from Arizona, Day 1
Bittersweet as it is a US-only program, but boy-howdy is it ever nice to see Americans talking about space exploration instead of the depressing stuff.

https://livestream.com/viewnow/niac2022/videos/232995243
OGH's interview starts just before 1:50:00

Jon S. said...

David, I don't know what kind of people you're used to dealing with, but the MAGAts of my acquaintance (and all of their kindred I've even heard about) don't BELIEVE in "neutral retired military officers". Either someone is part of their cult, or they're part of the Deep State and cannot be trusted - especially if they're former military. The goalposts are always in motion.

David Brin said...

Jon S Yes I have seen that. But the thing is then to hammer that they have been cult brainwashed into hating a QUARTER OF A MILLION MEN AND WOMEN, the heroes who won the Cold War and the War on Terror. Along with two million members of every fact profession. The fact that they have turned bile onto those mostly life long republicans won't cause twinges in most. But all we need is to peel away 10%!

Unwillingness to wager manly stakes while weaseling against ANY trustworthy fact arbiters is symptomatic of weenie no-balls cowardice. And macho is their religion.

And hell yeah, all your excuses smack of laziness.

David Brin said...

California's open primaries resulted in what confeds fear most, a steep reduction in billious partisanship, DESPITE Dems getting a super majority. In fact in choosing BETWEEN 2 dems in some district, goppers now have vastly more influence than before.

David Smelser said...

Once you have ranked choice elections with multi-member districts, then it becomes possible to minority parties or minority views of major parties to end up winning a seat at the election.

If you combined 4 existing districts into a mega district and then ran ranked choice elections taking the top 4 vote getters, than any candidate who gets 20%+1 of the vote gets into office. (Suppose you have 5 candidates, each getting 20%. If one gets 20%+1, then another must get 20%-1. The 20%-1 candidate loses to the 20%+1 and the three 20% candidates.)

David Brin said...

All proposed reforms fall into categories depending on how little you can make the shift, with the extreme end those requiring a const. amendment.

gregory byshenk said...

Just a note: if I'm not mistaken, "open primary" can refer to two very different things.

The old style "open primary" is the style used in Illinois, where there are party primaries, but they are "open" to all voters. That is, any voter may ask for any party's ballot at the polling station in the primary. This is as opposed to a "closed" primary, such as used in New York, where each party's primary is open only to voters who are registered as that party's voters. In each case, the winners of the primary for each party go on to the general election.

The newer (in the US, as I understand it) is the "jungle" primary as used in (as I understand it) Washington and California. In this version all candidates for some office appear on one ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and the top two (or three) go on to the general election. This is also the way the French presidential elections work (more or less). In some cases (I'm not sure if this is true anywhere in the US), if a candidate receives an absolute majority in the primary, then that candidate is declared the winner and there is no followup election.

The latter may be a good solution to the various problems that arise in partisan primaries - in large part because they are by nature non-partisan (all candidates appear on one ballot). The former is a bad solution, as it retains all the partisanship of the partisan primary, and also creates new ones, such as allowing people to try to game the system by voting in the primary of the party they oppose - but voting for a candidate that they think will lose to their party's candidate.

If one wants to avoid partisanship, or to address the issues of overrepresentation of one party, the solution is nonpartisan primaries. Su-called "open" - but nonetheless partisan - primaries are a bad idea.

David Brin said...

Putin's 'partial mobilization' will do little good. He is concentrating on calling up reserves who have some training, because conscripts would take 5 months to become effective. The crucial battlefield effect (I bet) lately has been the 400,000 Ukrainian, highly motivated infantry volunteers who recently DID finish those 5 months, leading to a numerical advantage in infantry across a wide front that cannot be countered by RF artillery. Combine with HIMARS etc. + US intel + internal lines and my money is on a 3rd front opening any day.

Yes, called-up reserves do have some training. They will also very quickly learn the truth about the shit storm. And Russian troops in 1917 learned something similar.

But for all of our lives, we must defeat VP via the Russian public. And as we see with our own MAGAs, the will to deny all facts that might conflict with the masturbatory narrative is hugely strong.

My method (that ALWAYS partially works) of demanding WAGERS can be modified here. JoBee should demand a world commission of 100 western citizens, 100 Russians + 100 neutrals -- RANDOMLY CHOSEN from old utility bills -- be sent wherever they vote to look.

Whatever their initial opinions, they would soon be awed by Ukrainian anger and non-Nazi will to resist. Which is why Putin would refuse, of course. So it is the OFFER and the DEMAND for such a commission that would make Biden look like the one on the side of justice.

The exact same method could work in the US, with a commission looking into Hannity assertions and Maddow's. Fox would not dare accept. We know this because US GRAND JURIES, composed of majorities of white retirees, have looked at compiled evidence and indicted Trumpist & GOP crooks about aHUNDRED times. Confronted by facts, even lifelong republicans (like most FBI agents) grit their teeth and do their duty.

It is in the universal fear and flight from facts that the wager challenge works, And it always works. It always works! And no one will ever even try it.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/21/ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelenskyy-speaks-at-un-general-assembly.html

Unknown said...

On Putin's side of the equation, he is most certainly hoping for a US House and Senate switch to GQP control, in the expectation that the party he controls - er, gently guides - will shut off the flow of US support to Ukraine. It wouldn't stop EU support but could really hurt Ukraine's war effort over time.

Pappenheimer

Treebeard said...

Apparently you still labor under the absurd notion that politics is primarily about disagreements over facts. It never was and never will be, so all these wagers, fact-checkers, committees of experts and other schemes don’t really matter. It’s always interpretations, opinions, hopes, fears, unconscious biases, etc. that drive politics. Your schemes are mental masturbation, totally irrelevant to real politics.

An expansion of the conflict in Ukraine is good news for America: think of all the weapons it can sell to the cannon fodder at taxpayer expense, how much overpriced gas it can sell to Euros, and how many European assets it financial predators can scoop up for pennies on the dollar. USA! USA!

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

An expansion of the conflict in Ukraine is good news for America: think of all the weapons it can sell to the cannon fodder at taxpayer expense, how much overpriced gas it can sell to Euros, and how many European assets it financial predators can scoop up for pennies on the dollar. USA! USA!


All that, plus the possibility of seeing Putin accidentally slip out of a sixth-story window onto a cup of polonium tea! What's not to love?

Of course, you presume that Europe is a victim of American chicanery, and that they would otherwise live in peace and harmony with Putin's Russia. We might not be the world's policeman, but occasionally we are the world's Batman.

Treebeard said...

A better analogy is the world's Joker. The US doesn't bring much law, order, or justice like Batman. It's more a force of chaos that profits from disruption and disorder. It's own elites say this all the time, that they're out to "disrupt" everything they can, to tear down the old and "build it back better". "Ordo ab chao", as the old Freemasonic saying goes, or Progress, if you prefer: a maniacal, insatiable drive for constant change, which tends to be indistinguishable from constant chaos in practice.

I actually like Batman as a character, but notice that he got trained in the East after a traumatic experience with the West’s chaos, then returned to bring order to Gotham and become a hero. Leaders like Putin who oppose Joker Nation’s Clown World are closer to Batman, objectively speaking. And the guy is a black belt to boot.

David Brin said...

carumba. Of course Treebeard is a cultist ingrate traitor to everything that gave him a life far better than his ancestors. But that's not what matters here. the incantation that factual objective reality is irrelevant and can/should have no impact on politics and social ruction.

Are ideologue fanatic cultists almost 100% immune to paying any attention to facts that might threaten their masturbatory fantasies. Sure. Maybe 20% of Democrats and 60% of Russians and 90% of residual Repubs are like that.

But it ignores how party membership in the GOP has plummeted. And the mad, fact-hating cult cannot afford many more defections.

But the crucial thing is that the vast majority on the UNION side DO believe in practical facts. Fox rages against all fact professions. ALL of them. Lifelong republicans fleeing even FBI agents.

SOrry ent. Facts aren't irrelevant. They are central to the struggle. Your hatred of them is ra ing mad

CP said...

gregory byshenk

Yes! Open primaries have to be combined with a "jungle" format (a term I dislike because it's somewhat pejorative) and, preferably, rank/choice voting in order to be beneficial. Having three candidates move forward is better than two since it greatly reduces the likelihood that one of the major parties will be excluded from the general. It also greatly reduces the likelihood that centrists will be excluded from the general.

Similarly, proportional elections need to be combined with fractional voting by legislators. Otherwise, they unduly magnify the power of minorities.

Various forms of rank/choice and "jungle" primaries are already in use and have passed court challenges. Now, what's needed is to combine the two (by initiative in Washington or California?). After that becomes widely accepted, perhaps we can move on to proportional elections and fractional voting. It doesn't all have to be done at once.

duncan cairncross said...

Messing with different forms of "Primary" is solving the wrong problem

The main problem is the dopey "First Past the Post" system - that is inherently going to give a two party system

The BEST solution that I have seen is our MMP

https://elections.nz/democracy-in-nz/what-is-new-zealands-system-of-government/what-is-mmp/

Alfred Differ said...

Having three candidates move forward is better than two since it greatly reduces the likelihood that one of the major parties will be excluded from the general.

Ugh. If a so-called major party can't manage to muster a candidate to take second place in our primary, I don't want them on the ballot in November. They haven't earned it.

Same goes for minor third parties.

EARN an appearance on the November ballot!
NO ONE should have a secure slot.

duncan cairncross said...

Disagree with Alfred (what a surprise)

It should be simple to get a "place on the ballot"

You should have LOTS of names on the ballot - the UK system with a "deposit" that you lose if you don't get a certain percentage of the votes

Alan Brooks said...

We have to attempt to plan over two yrs ahead. If a Repuglican is elected in ‘24, a general strike might be in order—we can’t be GOP doormats for the rest of our lives.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

Leaders like Putin who oppose Joker Nation’s Clown World are closer to Batman, objectively speaking.


You had a decently-consistent argument (though not one I buy into) until this part. Putin is hardly "bringing order" to Ukraine. The disruption to the world's energy and food supply that you naturally blame America for instigating is only happening because of Putin's naked aggression.

A better analogue than Batman might be that America is the world's X-Men, "Hated and feared by the people they're sworn to protect." But that's the Democratic half of the schizoid entity which is now America. Really, we're more like the world's Two-Face. A flip of the coin, and we pull out of the Iran deal and betray our allies' nuclear secrets. Another flip, and we're strengthening NATO and combatting climate change.

Alan Brooks said...

What I wonder most about this topic is how many Russian agents there are in America, and what they are doing?

Larry Hart said...

Of course, if Democrats are the X-Men, then Republicans are Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants--the world's most powerful humanoids declaring themselves persecuted by normal humans because we look at them funny.

Alfred Differ said...

duncan,

That's what our primary ballots are for. In California, we've essentially turned our November ballots into run-offs. Not only am I OKAY with that, I voted for it to be that way.

I'm very willing to consider ranked-choice variations for the primary ballots, but not for November.

-----

The problem with three is the two popular front-runners can split the vote and leave the third place candidate as a winner. Ranked choice would obviously fix that, but I want to see it working on our primary ballots before I'd tolerate it in November. I want to see how motivated fascists would game the rules before making huge changes... again.

Larry Hart said...

Donald Trump comes close to admitting he has Mule powers.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Senate/Maps/Sep22.html#item-2

The former president, who was on Fox last night, has already issued forth with an answer to the Court's remarks. He now claims that it doesn't matter if there's no paper trail proving the documents were declassified because he has the power to declassify them just by thinking it. That's right, telepathic declassification, a new frontier in the handling of sensitive intelligence. We suspect that Trump's lead counsel Chris Kise will not be using this argument in court. Meanwhile, we are wondering if The Amazing Donald could also cause a plate full of ketchup to hurl itself against a wall just by thinking it.

scidata said...

It`s not even telepathic declassification, because telepathy implies some other mind is being sent the order. Rather, it`s pathological-pathic. I take a lot of guff about my edgy psychohistory talking points, but at least I use real written and spoken words, intended to be understood by others.

Howard Brazee said...

It's not that he uses telepathy to make an order to declassify documents.

Donald Trump Makes America Great just by being Donald Trump. He doesn't have to do anything and he doesn't even have to think about his job. Just being Donald Trump is the greatest thing that can happen in the world.

In his mind.

Darrell E said...

I wouldn't hazard a guess as to whether the US press is largely pro-Republican or pro-not-Republican, but it is almost always disappointing. Case in point, their fixation on the classified / de-classified documents circus. By acting as if this question matters, and fixating on it, they are giving legitimacy to Trump and his minions by allowing them to define what the game is. They are helping them "create their own reality."

As the 11th Circuit pointed out in their Opinion of Judge Cannon's Order, "The declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content(1) or render it personal(2)."

The import of (1) is that for most of the charges Trump could be charged with in this matter, for example espionage, it doesn't matter at all whether or not the information in question was classified. The only metric is that it be "information relating to national defense."

The import of (2) is that whether or not the documents are classified doesn't change the fact that they don't belong to Trump. Even if none of them were classified he still was not allowed to take them, or keep them, or lie about having them.

Those are the things, the actual facts of the matter, that the press should be hammering home all day long if they are going to fixate on this issue.

Larry Hart said...

Very true...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/22/opinion/trump-big-lie-big-joke.html

...
No, the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election has grown so powerful because it is yoked to an older deception, without which it could not survive: the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.

The big lie depends on the big joke. It was enabled by it. It was enhanced by it. It is sustained by it.

When politicians publicly defend positions they privately reject, they are telling the joke. When they give up on the challenge of governing the country for the rush of triggering the enemy, they are telling the joke. When they intone that they must address the very fears they have encouraged or manufactured among their constituents, they are telling the joke. When their off-the-record smirks signal that they don’t really mean what they just said or did, they are telling the joke. As the big lie spirals ever deeper into unreality, with the former president mixing election falsehoods with call-outs to violent, conspiratorial fantasies, the big joke has much to answer for.
...

Alfred Differ said...

Darrell E,

I think you are off target a bit. The classification level does matter. What Trump is doing is trying to downgrade the threat he poses to the point where we choose not to bother prosecution. It's the classic defense when people are caught with classified documents they shouldn't have.

"Okay, okay! It was technically illegal, but there was no real harm done."

———

Classified documents are assigned one of three levels in the DoD.

Confidential - Designates information that if released could damage US National Security.

Secret - "serious damage"

Top Secret - "exceptionally grave damage"


SCI gets used to compartmentalize information. The fewer people who know a secret, the less likely it is to spill. This is how they can authorize someone for Top Secret and still keep them from certain information while accurately labelling the risk that person poses if the aggregate Secret information.

———

Now look at the picture of the cover sheets for recovered documents. He was in possession of information someone decided could cause exceptionally grave damage if leaked. He was in possession of compartmentalized information when he no longer had a need to know it. That means he was in a position to do serious f@#%king harm. Who among us believes he wouldn't do that harm? Hmm?

His authority to declassify while President was pretty broad, but not magical. I've seen the declassification process at work. There is no mystery to it. He can try to show he followed it in court or show that he altered the process by EO. That's about it. Absent success on those fronts, he was duly caught and should do jail time.

———

What the FBI needs at the moment isn't something of which they'll talk openly. A counter-intel op has to be underway to see if the harm has already been done and possibly mitigate it. Trump is already caught, so they'll be moving on to consequences of his actions.

Larry Hart said...

One reason why #ThereAreNoGoodRepublicans. Emphasis mine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/22/opinion/moderate-republicans-gingrich-trump-new-england.html

...
About three weeks after his election as whip, Mr. Gingrich called me into his office. He asked whether I was having dinner with Democrats. I was, I said: A colleague from Tennessee and I were hosting fellow freshman members for dinner regularly to share experiences. Mr. Gingrich demanded that I stop; he didn’t want Republicans consorting with Democrats.

I responded — not overly politely — that I was from Vermont and nobody told me what people I could eat with. But his demand was a harbinger of the decline of moderate and liberal Republicans. (Mr. Gingrich told The Times he did not recall the meeting, but noted that he was working to unify the Republican caucus at the time.)

What followed over the next few years was the deliberate quarantining of Republicans from Democrats: separate orientations for new members, a sharp curtailing of bipartisan activities and an increasing insistence that members toe the party line. The very idea of “voting your district” — which was alive and well when I was elected — became anathema within the Republican caucus. Simultaneously, the weaponization of the evangelical religious right and the organization of wealthy conservative donors was going on, largely behind the scenes, with money and organizing often used against moderate Republicans as well as Democrats.

Howard Brazee said...

Our duopoly is designed to make sure nobody who is not in one of the two parties has no power. Party leaders assign committee jobs. Party leaders decide what bills get looked at. And Party leaders control lots of the "contributions".

David Brin said...

LHthe destruction of politics as a means to negotiate policies for changing times has been the core objective, all along.

Larry Hart said...

Gotta love the snark.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Senate/Maps/Sep23.html#item-1

Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed to go through the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI, is a no-nonsense fellow (as is often the case with federal judges). And yesterday, he made a 7-page filing that definitely isn't going to warm the cockles of Donald Trump's heart. (We assume he has cockles, though they are probably small cockles.)
...

Jon S. said...

Yeah, about those classification levels...

SCI stands for "Separately Compartmented Information". SCI documents can only be shown to people who have Top Secret clearance, have been "read into" the program (the name for the process of double-checking their background info and then having them sign a bunch of statements indicating they aren't going to go spreading this around), and have "need to know" for this particular document.

When I was in the Air Force, I worked (as I've mentioned before) in Force Timing & Deconfliction, making sure that if we ever (God forbid) had to launch our weapons, none of them would destroy each other on the way in. The clearances I held were Top Secret-ESI (Exceptionally Sensitive Information), NATO Cosmic Top Secret ATOMAL, and SIOP Category 9. I was cleared to know everything about the SIOP, the Single Integrated Operational Plan, except for scenarios that might lead to launch. That was how I knew that what was then called Area 51 (now Homie AFB) was a testing facility for experimental aircraft - we sent data there in case the prototype B-2s had to be used.

I was not cleared to be in the same room as an SCI document. I worked in a large room with a two-story-tall map of Asia on the wall, where missile and bomber trajectories could be worked out, but I've never seen the inside of a SCIF. So, yes, the mere fact that the Orange Cockwomble (the Scots do have a way with words, don't they?) took documents in violation of the Presidential Records Act is a felony (a fate he sealed with legislation he himself had pushed through Congress), but the fact that he had SCI documents in there is exponentially worse.

Darrell E said...

Alfred Differ,

You may have misunderstood me a bit. I'm not arguing that whether or not any of the documents at issue were classified is irrelevant with respect to the public understanding that the alleged crime is serious. However, we already know that the documents were classified. Nobody, not even Trump, is arguing that the documents were never classified. What Trump and his minions have been claiming are that Trump, as EPOTUS, is allowed to have said documents if he wants them, that Trump via his authority as POTUS declassified the documents (before, during and after depending on which of the various stories) and the latest is that Trump can declassify anything just by thinking about it.

All of those "I'm allowed to have them" and "I declassified them" claims are entirely irrelevant just as the 11th Circuit pointed out in their opinion. The press giving relevance to those claims by engaging with them as if they matter, day after day, week after week, is a service to Trump and a disservice to the nation. Instead they should point out just what the 11th Circuit did. That those claims are a red herring. They are simply more of the standard Big Lie propaganda tactic.

Howard Brazee said...

Trump's excuses are just talking. Trump believes he should be allowed to do what he wants because he's Donald Trump.

Howard Brazee said...

I'd like to see all government secrets to have an expiration date that's so far in the future that they won't matter to voters.

Unknown said...

Not sure I agree with the last. Having served (secret clearance only) I can state that there is already a tendency to overclassify - it's a standard CYA move. It doesn't help if evidence of some admiral's/general's/space overlord's* incompetence is only released after everyone who cares is dead.

Pappenheimer

P.S. there is also Need to Know, which ex-presidents do not - particularly a Know-Nothing president.

*Space Force...the butt of military jokes for the next 50-100 years

Jon S. said...

"I'd like to see all government secrets to have an expiration date that's so far in the future that they won't matter to voters."

The standard when I was in was seven years, because after that long facts on the ground had changed so much that the info was outdated. Certain programs, particularly those involving HUMINT or satellite data, remain classified much longer, as humans can keep providing data for years and declassifying satellite data can tell your opponents too much about the capabilities of your satellites.

Alan Brooks said...

Trump has uploaded documents into his brain’s archive?

David Brin said...

Fun!!!!

An AI program renders CGI of "What If" cars. It's blending style elements, so it doesn't "know" what it's doing, but some of these look quite plausible.

https://www.curbsideclassic.com/alternate-history/curbside-what-if-ai-generated-cars-that-never-were/

David Brin said...

In the opening paragraph of POLEMICAL JUDO, I suggested that Democrats should learn from one of the greatest acts of political legerdemain in recent US history - Newt Gingrich's spectacularly successful 'Contract With America,' which made the GOP sound sober, serious, reformist. Never mind that everything good about the 'contract' was either never implemented when they took power or else later betrayed, when Republicans commanded every lever of control in US government. It was the agility and polemical insight of Gingrich's ploy that Dems should have examined - along with 100+ fresh potential tactics I offered in that book...

...not one of which has even been tried by a single dem pol or pundit. (A few have been tried at the citizen level with great results.) Because while the Union side of this phase (#8) of the US Civil War is generally good and devoted to decent governance and science and justice and the future, like the Union generals of 1861, they tend to be (polemically) utter morons.

And now the symbolism obsessed Republicans have glommed onto an excellent tactic they used before, to great effect. And we can just hope that our side's (the side of the Union, America, the Great Experiment and objective reality) dullard leaders don't kill all our hopes, with their obdurate incapability to even contemplate something called... agility.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/23/republicans-midterm-elections-agenda-kevin-mccarthy

Alan Brooks said...

Neo-confederates bombard the susceptible with effective propaganda. Their favorite is:
“Democrats were the slaveholders!”
Second in rank:
“Immigrants take all the jobs away from citizens!”
Much more, but will spare you the rest.

David Brin said...

My unique response to "dems were slaveholders" is my riff on the naming of naval ships.

The exhaustive lengths gopper confeds went through to NOT let Jimmy Carter, FDR, LBJ get major vessels. "But we gave carriers to dems Carl Vinson and Stennis! Right. Classic segregationist dixiecrats. And Gerald Ford for whom not even one American ever voted for as President or VP.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

My unique response to "dems were slaveholders"...


My response is "Well, then why don't you confederates like the Democrats?" Kinda like the response to "de-Nazifying Ukraine" is "Then why are you swastika-waving Republicans on Russia's side?"


And Gerald Ford for whom not even one American ever voted for as President or VP.


Strictly speaking, many Americans voted for Ford in 1976. He just didn't win that time.

(I was too young to vote, but I wanted Ford to win only because I wanted Chevy Chase to keep doing him on SNL)

Alan Brooks said...

DB,
They’d name a ship after Warren Harding, but there might be graft involved in its construction. Bad luck.
However, there’s one vessel Daddy Robert would’ve approved of:
the SS Andrew Johnson.

Alfred Differ said...

Darrel E

You may have misunderstood me a bit.

I did indeed. Thank you for clearing it up.

I'd add that I'm not surprised at the press looking at and repeating irrelevant things in cases like these. It's not like they are trained in this field. Nor is the bulk of their audience.

It is VERY neat to see how many people here ARE trained, though.


Howard Brazee,

government secrets to have an expiration date

In the DoD, they do now. I believe the default is 25 years, but I'd have to go look it up in our training material. Stuff that didn't have a sunset clause in the past does now as soon as anyone with any authority looks at it… which happens most often when anyone composes a derivative work.

I think the one exception to this involves nuclear tech. This is especially true of nuclear tech docs we get from allied nations. We can't really declassify their source docs, so I don't see that as an exception. For our own nuke docs, though, it could be another 50 years before they surface.

For essentially everything else, default rules apply unless someone classifying the material can make a good case for it being longer. Shorter is acceptable. Longer might get examined and questioned.


Pappenheimer,

I know the CYA stuff happens, but you might have noticed a certain orange guy impeached over events he tried to hide that way. The defense against CYA classifications is all the rest of us in the business.


Jon S,

I lived in Vegas for a few years in the early 80's. My father retired out of the USAF and brought us there.

The way I remember it is all the residents understood the 'test site' was about nukes and experimental aircraft. We used to like to play with the tourists, though, and go along with their crazy ideas. Saw all sorts of stuff ranging from aliens to atomic mutant monsters. 8)

Paradoctor said...

Regarding who was and who now would be slaveholders:

Once I had a haircut, and I paid the barber with a note depicting a Democrat who nowadays would be a Republican. The barber paid me with a note depicting a Republican who nowadays would be a Democrat. How much did the haircut cost?

Answer: a $20 Andrew Jackson minus a $5 Abraham Lincoln equals $15.

The moral of the story is: Put not thy faith in parties.

duncan cairncross said...

Put not thy faith in parties

Which is what the Founding Fathers wanted

BUT
Rather than closing your eyes and ignoring the problem (which they did) you need to design the system around the realities that there WILL be parties

When designing a toilet you must consider the properties of poo

IMHO the BEST way is to design your system with parties (poo) in mind

Which is what the MMP system that we (NZ) uses and at least six other countries

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed-member_proportional_representation

Larry Hart said...

I've been very critical of Bill Maher lately, but I have to give him props on his show last night. First, on his final editorial, he called out those who claim to love America while disavowing every ideal that makes America "America". It was a bit of a both sides thing, but only to the extent that he called out the far left for whining that America is uniquely evil and never improves. He also called out Republicans by name for wearing flag lapels, but denigrating the very idea of democracy.

Then, in the post-show "overtime" segment, he wouldn't let his guest (Vivek Ramaswamy) get away with equating Stacey Abrams refusal to concede an election with Republicans across the board threatening to actually overturn election outcomes they don't like. He continued arguing with the guy for 10 minutes or so about how he (Maher) can't pretend that one side isn't the one perpetrating the threat to democracy.

He won me back quite a bit last night.

The Overtime segment is on YouTube. Here is a link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a40NILau-bI

Jon S. said...

They say even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally.

This does not change the fact that the squirrel is blind, nor that Maher is transphobic, homophobic, and Islamophobic.

David Brin said...

Jon S that is simply absurd. Maher criticizes all symbol fetishists. And while the Mad right is vastly worse and more dangerous and treasonous...

...he is perfectly right to point out when the righteous progressivism to expand inclusion generates a froth of symbol-obsessed, ally-poisoning hate. It is tactically an insane betrayal of our side to rage at allies for symbolic faults (e.g. pronouns and snowflake trigger warnings) when our coalition has vastly bigger matters to join forces against.

THAT is almost always the crux of Maher's complaints against the woke police. "You are WEAKENING the very forces who can win the incremental victories that could save us all! And you are doing is for the sake of a sanctimony addiction that makes you feel superior."

I can see that you feel his chidings are transphobic and all that. There are times when his woke-crit rants make me wish he worked harder to clarify the distinction between pushing-for-justice and ally-baiting. One sentence would have made his recent riff on body-image vs obesity much more acceptable.

But howling transphobic at a guy who has Ru Paul on his show alla time is kinda lazy.



Larry Hart said...

Jon S:

This does not change the fact that the squirrel is blind, nor that Maher is transphobic, homophobic, and Islamophobic.


So is Liz Cheney, but she's right on the the imminent threat to American democracy, and Maher is too.

You left out Maher's newest bugaboo--that he's against any form of COVID mitigation--which is what has recently made me dislike his show. But preservation and defense of the American rule of law and democracy is the one issue that matters (to me) above all else at this point in history. And on that one, he's on the correct side.

Jon S. said...

David:

https://www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-responds-%E2%80%98real-time-bill-maher%E2%80%99-segment-along-pride-1

David Brin said...

Interpreting "stop trying to bully your allies into lockstep conformity with your symbolism rites" as the same thing as "I hate these marginalized people!" Is pretty rotton example of exactly the symbol bullying we refuse to knuckle before.

You name the diversity and I have likely lived with and befriended examples who Iloved and would fight for. Yes, trans too. And my works show it.

But a screeching bully is a screeching bully and I will NOT bow before the sacred calf of any group's sanctimony demand that I recite just the right incantations.

That is not practical reform. That is the essence of the Enemy Way, manifesting in islands on our own side.

Alfred Differ said...

We have lots and lots of smaller parties. They just pretend they aren't and try to make use of one of the names of the two major parties.

It is a mistake to think Democrats are the same Democrats in every State. There are at least 50 Democratic parties. Republicans are similarly divided and that is currently causing them a lot of grief as factions within the GOP gain and lose strength.

We sound like a two party system from the outside, but if you get into politics you'll see it ain't so.

scidata said...

We all struggle with diversity, conformity, and symbolism and hopefully are able to apply reason and experience to learn and overcome the bullying, both external and internal. Reading dystopian tales of doctrinal dispossession while growing up helps. Using machines as safer subjects is clever too, as Asimov and others showed. Of course, this trick is rapidly becoming less safe in the modern world, as the Joaquin Phoenix film "her" illustrated so well. Oh, oh - I feel a WJCC rant coming on, better stop there :)

Paradoctor said...

WJCC = ?
Williamsberg-James City County?
We Just Can't Cope?
What Jesus Calls Cray?

scidata said...

WJCC = "Why Johnny Can't Code", David Brin (2006)

The most cogent argument for computational thinking I've ever seen. And I've read most of what Seymour Papert, Jeanette Wing, and the ACM have ever published on the subject. Ask Rudy Rucker or John Walker, they know mountains more than I do. Learning computation from first principles, by ad hoc hands-on methods, is crucial.

Alfred Differ said...

I don't think we rant often enough about WJCC.

I learned as a sophomore in HS and it changed my life. That was the same year I was exposed to how mathematics is constructed from a foundation one theorem at a time. When I finally understood the objective for two column proofs it ALL came together as a giant game we played called "Getting there from here." Coding, mathematics, science, etc. ALL of it is part of the same game.

Seeing the game for what it is changes a kid.

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...
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Alfred Differ said...
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DP said...

Re Maher, cultural wars and woke-ism:

It may be helpful to understand that there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.

It is one thing to require those on the Right (especially the religious right) to TOLERATE those LGBTQ+ and others defended by the woke.

Requiring that the Right ACCEPT LGBTQ+ et al (and therefore force the Right to abandon their cherished cultural and religious beliefs) is a bridge to far for them.

Requiring tolerance allows us all to live more or less in peace.

Forcing acceptance provokes a culture war backlash that gets Trump elected.

DP said...

Re Maher, cultural wars and woke-ism:

It may be helpful to understand that there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.

It is one thing to require those on the Right (especially the religious right) to TOLERATE those LGBTQ+ and others defended by the woke.

Requiring that the Right ACCEPT LGBTQ+ et al (and therefore force the Right to abandon their cherished cultural and religious beliefs) is a bridge to far for them.

Requiring tolerance allows us all to live more or less in peace.

Forcing acceptance provokes a culture war backlash that gets Trump elected.

David Brin said...

I found posts by DP and Alfred stacked in 'awaiting moderation" which I had hoped to not visit again after requiring G-sign-in.

Any ideras why this happened?

Caught crud while in Tucson for NIAC so will be late, this week. Carry on.

duncan cairncross said...

Going back a number of pages we were discussing the reason why the recent massive enrichment happened

This article is grumping about a book that claims there was a massive "inflection point" in 1870

The graph of GDP/head from 1470 to 2020 does not show (IMHO) any actual "inflection point" at all it maps really well onto a "simple exponential"

https://jabberwocking.com/slouching-towards-utopia-the-actual-review-itself/

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
You may find one from me there as well

The bottom of the blog says
"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author"

Looks like something has slipped back to a default setting

Alan Brooks said...

DP, we can’t always be nice regarding politics. With religionists one can and should always be kind. However the Constitution is not a Confucian/Buddhist/Hindu document: it clearly advocates contention in checking power-seekers. One can attempt to be gentle in politics, all-the-time—but such might wind up being smarmy and counterproductive.

Alfred Differ said...

Test post. Browser updated here, so testing if issue is on my end.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

Comments section now says "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." So somehow, the blog parameters are set back to that for now.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: "Getting there from here."

Exactly. I tend to see everything through a computational lens, but what I really advocate for is inductive reasoning from first principles. It's greatly undervalued in this doctrinal, authoritative world. If one cannot explain how they got here, then they are riding a unicorn across a cotton-candy bridge over a house of cards. The greatest power of people who know stuff is that they can explain HOW they know it.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

It is very sucky timing that you seem to be incapacitated while your comments section has somehow been set back to "requiring moderation". Which means that we can't "carry on" without you. I hope you are able to fix that.

Dare I assume that "Caught crud" was an autocorrect of "caught COVID"? I hope not, but whatever it is, I hope you feel better soon.

GMT -5 8032 said...

DART just successfully impacted Dimorphos. Mae and I watched the last hour of the broadcast. The last few seconds was one of the most exciting things I have ever seen on TV. I don't remember how I felt when Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. But I was just 9 years old and could not fully appreciate what was happening. The last 2 frames were unexpected...which made them so thrilling.

Alfred Differ said...

Test comment. Messing with cookies.

Unknown said...

DP:

“You don't like the Goths?"
"No! Not with the persecution we have to put up with!"
"Persecution?"
"Religious persecution. We won't stand for it forever."
"I thought the Goths let everybody worship as they pleased."
"That's just it! We Orthodox are forced to stand around and watch Arians and Monophysites and Nestorians and Jews going about their business unmolested, as if they owned the country. If that isn't persecution, I'd like to know what is!”

- Lest Darkness Fall, L Sprague DeCamp

Pappenheimer

David Brin said...


DART hit on target! Amazing they used the same 'transmit video until smash' approach that I remember from summer 1964's Ranger probes to impact the moon. Took 7 tries to get it right.

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

We're a lot better at it, now... we need to be! And yes, THIS stuff... planetary protection and asteroid mining... is what we should be doing with Japan and EU, instead of going back with the kiddies to that useless sandbox of worthless poison dust.

https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/nasas-asteroid-deflecting-dart-spacecraft-nears-planned-impact-with-its-target-2022-09-26/

David Brin said...

Okay, settings must be screwed. I just had to approve the next 10 comments. Sorry. Any ideas what may be the problem?

David Brin said...

Is that better?

scidata said...

Test.
But isn't thwarting and ELE going against God's plan?

scidata said...

Looks good from Canada.

Alfred Differ said...

Duncan

What you see in the curve probably depends on what exactly gets counted. Things bought and sold in our markets changed quite a bit over the last few centuries.

McCloskey tries to use real income which accounts for a basket of things and tries to remove the effects of princes messing with the silver and gold content of coins. I think it's a fair approach, but many other approaches can be taken. The big point she makes, though, is one should try to account for the things never monetized. Without those, subsistence farmers look much poorer than they really were. MOST of what they did from day to day was never tracked by exchanges involving coins.

I've seen an argument for an inflection point in the late 19th century related to the 'second' industrial revolution. Essentially when we started the shift away from steam toward electricity. I'm not much of a believer in it as being enough to explain large multiples of income growth, but it likely IS good for several percentage points. Oil too.

Looking at the 19th kinda misses the point, though. The Great Enrichment started a couple centuries earlier before steam. I've seen a decent argument for pushing it back to the end of the 16th before Englishmen got involved.

———

Arguing particulars wasn't my objective, though. Not this last time. I was mostly curious how far locumranch would accept the proxies that demonstrate our civilization has done something unique. He DID accept them, but clung to a technical explanation as a cause instead of a social one. We were dealing with how all the technical narratives have gaping failures in them when he kinda ran off. His search-fu found a "Peat is the reason" article from the '70's and that was good enough for him.

Heh. He also looked up McCloskey. I was hoping he would because I was curious to see if he could accept her as a legit source on this topic. Some can't.

But… he ran off. Like the guys who shrink from a wager, he offered an incantation and left for splitsville.

GMT -5 8032 said...

My big concern right now is if Dimorphos returns fire.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

"That's just it! We Orthodox are forced to stand around and watch Arians and Monophysites and Nestorians and Jews going about their business unmolested, as if they owned the country. If that isn't persecution, I'd like to know what is!”


If it ever was, that is no longer parody. It's an accurate portrayal of the complaints by white Christian right-wingers that they are the most persecuted of all Americans.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

But… he ran off. Like the guys who shrink from a wager, he offered an incantation and left for splitsville.


I had my first "Mighty Marvel Calendar" when I was 15. On one of the pages was a quote from a 1940s Captain America issue with the Red Skull declaring, "Like a bad penny, I always turn up." It was the first time I ever heard that expression.

It applies in this case. :)

Unknown said...

Larry,

"Lest Darkness Fall" was written in 1941. Those lines have always been an accurate portrayal of white Christian right-wingers - I suspect DeCamp was simply translating his peers' comments at dinners and parties into the context of the novel.

I was just trying to point out to DP that for many people, tolerance=acceptance. If you equate the two, you are unlikely to agree to either.

Pappenheimer

Tim H. said...

Robert Reich has a good essay:
https://robertreich.substack.com/p/are-record-levels-of-stress-inside?utm_medium=email&action=share&isFreemail=true

He suggests anxiety could be the result of an accurate perception of the world.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Yah, but we learned he CAN see the positive sum game even if he attributes the cause for it incorrectly. That’s something.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Yah, but we learned he CAN see the positive sum game even if he attributes the cause for it incorrectly.


I'm not sure I'd characterize loc's interpretation as positive-sum. He seemed to believe that all of our advancements are based on fossil-fuel usage, and that therefore the combination of resource depletion and environmental damage more than makes up for the societal gains. That human advancement based upon fossil fuel consumption is in fact a net negative-sum.

Treebeard said...

Of course, in practice this Western concept of “positive sum” means: first we colonize your land, conquer your government and erase your culture, then we bring all these wonderful “positive sum” institutions to replace them. And you can thank us later, once your children have been indoctrinated to our worldview. So don’t talk to us about negatives. Do you hate progress? Are you some kind of savage?

Larry Hart said...


Of course, in practice this Russian concept of “positive sum” means: first we colonize your land, conquer your government and erase your culture, then we bring all these wonderful “positive sum” institutions to replace them. And you can thank us later, once your children have been indoctrinated to our worldview. So don’t talk to us about negatives. Do you hate Russians? Are you some kind of Nazi?


I fixed your spelling for you. You're welcome.

Treebeard said...

Actually Larry it was the West, via their coup, attempts to marginalize Russian parts of Ukraine and indoctrinate the population via their media, NGOs, etc. that started the colonization process I'm talking about. That was the program from way back, to weaponize Ukraine and create an anti-Russia, as outlined for example by arch-Russophobes like Brzezinski (and this is not a new game for Anglo imperialists--see Taiwan vis-a-vis China and Pakistan vis-a-vis India). But that was never reported in your favorite (Russophobic) media and it doesn't fit your comic book understanding of the world, so it's not on your radar.

Maybe if we used the analogy of China sponsoring an anti-American coup in Mexico, arming and propagandizing the population against the gringos, the regime occasionally shelling Americans across the border and its coked-up leader talking about getting nuclear weapons and joining a hostile military alliance, then asking how the USA would respond, then it might be simple enough for even you to understand.

Larry Hart said...

@Treebeard,

Whenever one of your type gets one of my type all incensed like that, you claim that's because you hit too close to the truth. So I'll take that rant as confirmation of the same.

The thing is, I don't have to convince you or anyone else that western culture is preferable to Russian culture. I'm willing to see what foreigners living abroad actually decide for themselves. And it looks to me as if my side has won the hearts and minds of Europe. Oh, you can claim Hungary and Turkey perhaps (though even they are distancing themselves from Putin, as is China for that matter), but you can't even have authoritarian Poland agreeing with you. They know all too well what being liberated by Russia is like. And the rest of Europe, including Finland, Sweden, and even effing Switzerland, seems to have made their preference clear.

Again, you don't have to convince me of anything, nor I of you. Try telling this guy that Russia is the hero:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=philip+ittner

Treebeard said...

Nah dude, my post was about the nature of positive sum, and you made some silly post about Russia thinking you're clever, and I took the opportunity point out how the Western colonization I'm talking about was going on there too.

Your problem, Larry, if I may be blunt, is that you’re a gaslit dumbass who doesn’t know shit from shinola, unless it involves old comic books or parroting what you hear in your media. I can’t actually recall hearing anything original or insightful from you in all these years on this blog; just constant NPC perspectives of some Dilbert office-dweller comic book-reader and media-repeater. When you grow up, put away your comic books, turn off the propaganda, travel the world, and otherwise show signs that your mind is not just a childish repeating station, I might take you seriously. Until then, you'll just get this kind of sneering contempt from me.

Paradoctor said...

Positive sum is the basis of any voluntary trade anywhere, otherwise it wouldn't happen. I valued getting a haircut more than $15, the barber valued $15 more than giving the haircut; therefore there was a haircut. If the barber and I agreed that the haircut is worth exactly $15, then I wouldn't bother to get one, and the barber wouldn't bother to give one, not at $15.

Money is supposedly an accurate measure of value and a facilitator of trade, but it can facilitate trade only if it is not an accurate measure of value.

As for American and Russian imperialism, that's politics, not economics.

Paradoctor said...

And ent, if I may be blunt, your contempt is itself contemptible.

David Brin said...

Jeez the ent knows he is a colorblind flatlander and it makes him furious. He simply cannot even mentally conceive of 'blue' or 'up' or what 'positive sum' means, despite the fact that conservatives used to make that aspect of markets (Adam Smith's perspective) their core argument for capitalism.

He could not, if his very life depended on it, actually paraphrase the meaning (though he might cut and paste from someone else, before sneering.)

The howls consist of two things...

1. parroting our own left complaints about colonialism, in order to deny the West any moreal high ground... despite the fact that all the world would come here to live, if they could. And that colonialist behavior was the norm for ALL empires till WE started criticizing it.

2. screeches about Ukraine that are "so insane and crazy they just HAVE to be true, since no one would say anything like this if it weren't, right?"

Alas, a jibbering capering rabid frothing loony is in no position to preach. We have several million nerds who are not only trained to check facts and objective reality, but are also hugely reciprocally competitive with each other. We have almost every human who believes that assertions should be verified. And Treebeard's cult yowls: "How dare you oppress me with demands to subject my incantations to facts?"

And it is in their utter rejection of that c-word - 'competition' - that Treebeard's cult has cast themselves free of any connection to 'conservatism' in any American sense. Their aim is a return to 6000 years of feudal-theocratic insanity and proved -uniform misrule. And the planet will be a cinder if they succeed.

David Brin said...

Huh. Nice rant? I guess covid didn't give me fog. Unless.... am i wrung boot dat... (drool... )

locumranch said...


It's quaint, the unknown economic factor that Alfred attributes to the magical Dutch economic 'miracle' (aka the Great Enrichment) when logic dictates a much more mundane cause to which the Dutch are particularly prone.

A Mania, probably. An excessive fad, passion or enthusiasm in a particular pursuit or course of activity. Like Tulip Mania. Taking the form of an all-out competition to either acquire or over-utilize a limited resource of assumed value, as in the case of peat.

It would then follow that Alfred's unknown economic quality is (quite literally) insanity.

The Positive Sum concept is similarly absurd because CONSERVATION OF ENERGY, as the total energy of an isolated system must remain constant, which means that you cannot extract something from nothing because energy can neither be created or destroyed.

Is it 'positive sum' when we transform fossil fuels into power & comfort? Or, when we defy hunger by extracting more fish from the sea? Or, when we exchange labour for symbolic dollars & physical donuts?

Absolutely NOT because we merely transform. Most emphatically, we do not & cannot create something from nothing because 'creation ex nihilo' is literally NOT 'a thing'.

The power & comfort we create come from the release of CO2 & pollution derived from fossil fuel use, just as the extra fish we extract from the sea to feed our faces come from (are 'subtracted' and/or 'zero-summed' from) the sea.

Trading 'dollars for donuts' may appear to be 'positive sum' to some, but this is 'positive sum' in appearance only, as neither dollar nor donut are produced 'ex nihilo' without a commensurate (energetic; environmental; temporal) cost, howsoever well hidden.

I must now disengage, not because I am some mythical vampire who fears wagers, conflict or light, but from courtesy & because I have other things to do.

Congrats on the NASA/NIAC livestream, btw.


Best

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

and otherwise show signs that your mind is not just a childish repeating station,


Naaah, what's happening is that they eventually catch up to my correctness.


I might take you seriously. Until then, you'll just get this kind of sneering contempt from me.


How about once posting your real name and city? Until then, you're a Russian bot as far as I'm concerned, which is not concerned at all.

Alfred Differ said...

oh boy!

I was in the middle of posting a response for Larry when Locumranch comes back to defend his position. Sorry Larry. Events have overtaken my words which I can no longer post without revealing the cards in my hand. 8)

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Trading 'dollars for donuts' may appear to be 'positive sum' to some, but this is 'positive sum' in appearance only, as neither dollar nor donut are produced 'ex nihilo' without a commensurate (energetic; environmental; temporal) cost, howsoever well hidden.


If the other guy wants money, and I want a donut, we're both happier after the trade than before the trade. No one is saying that energy or matter was created or destroyed. Just better allocated to the advantage of both parties. How is this even controversial?

Alfred Differ said...

locumranch,

We have found a source of agreement. What the Dutch did absolutely, positively qualifies as insanity. As measured by ALL the other humans on the planet at the time (I mean literally ALL), what they did was stark raving insane.

Digging peat out of the ground wasn't that, though. That makes perfect sense.

Rebelling against the Hapsburgs wasn't that either. That started as one layer of the aristocracy trying to throw off the layer above them. That is exceedingly typical among feudal elites. See also Machiavelli.

Bourgeois elite stepping up into a power vacuum left when Dutch aristocrats were killed by Spanish ones wasn't that either. The Burgers had little choice. They saw what happened in Antwerp once the Hapsburgs regained control.

The insane thing the Dutch Burgers tripped into was involving the non-elite among the bourgeoisie when the granted them enough liberty to try and some dignity for trying at all. Why did they do this? Because they needed the help. It was all VERY pragmatic, but in giving up some liberty and dignity they ignited a firestorm that probably wouldn't have ignited the countryside except for the simple fact that many of the Dutch were a kind of Protestant that already believed in a personal relationship with God. Very un-Catholic if you think about it. Give such a man a bit of liberty and dignity and ask yourself if he will ever give it back.

This insanity eventually spread among the English when they got jealous about how insanely rich the Dutch were becoming. It wasn't just the Bourgeois Elite that became rich. Remember. Average real incomes roughly tripled and evidenced by 'stuff' the average Dutchman had in his house. 'Stuff' he had NEVER had before let alone in quantity.

Ah… but it took a century before it spread to the English. That is no tulip bubble. That is cultural resistance to the insanity that had taken hold among the Dutch that eventually crumbled. Once they went Dutch, they too saw real incomes triple on average. Bubbles do NOT do that.

Bubbles are not the metaphor to apply here. A better one is 'phase change' like one sees when ice melts. There is even roles to play for 'specific heat' and 'latent heat'.

———

Could this all go away some day? Sure.
Are we exploiting the environment along the way? Sure.

As for the rest, be aware that you are talking to a physicist. Misapply conservation rules and I'll call you on it. Conservation rules derive from Continuity rules which derive from symmetries in the universe. Saying 'energy is conserved' literally equates to 'the laws of physics are symmetric with respect to time'. All that really means is you can point your time axis in different directions and count 'seconds' any way you like and the physics is the same. (Any theory that says otherwise has a lot of 'splainin' to do.)

The "Creation ex nihilo" position has an absolutely enormous assumption built into it. Chances are you don't know it. Popper spent an entire book on it, though. It relies on the universe being closed.