Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Ukraine War... Putin's czar-worship... MAGA's Putin-worship... monarchists are back... and the real 'c-word'...

First, the war. As I post this, the world resonates with Ukrainian victory in Kherson and west of the Dnipro River.  

Again, the key to resolving so many things can only come from awakening the Russian populace (and indeed our MAGAs) from their respective collective loyalty trances. Bits of info do get through, but can be shrugged off under incantations by state TV (or Fox). 

You know I recommend challenging lie machines to a head-on degree that none of the players on our side ever seem capable of doing. And it takes more than just repeatedly whining: "That's not true!" 

In this case, what's needed is a direct confrontation that would penetrate every propaganda screen. Here's how.

Demand a Big Commission to investigate claims that Ukraine had been 'Nazi,' or building nukes, or joining NATO, before the February invasion (Putin's pretexts). Or whether there's any sign of 'satanists' running Ukraine or the US Democratic Party. Or to metric the extent of devastating harm done to Ukraine by RF forces, that RF citizens will have to pay for in taxes for generations. 

What? You say Russian media will simply denounce the partiality of such a commission? The same way Fox nightly denounces every single US fact-using profession as terminally biased, from science to the FBI and military officer corps? 

Well sure. Unless the public demand is parsed right.

So, demand the commission consist of 100 Russian citizens chosen randomly from old utility bills... and 100 Ukrainians, 100 westerners and 100 from non-aligned nations. And yeah, 100 Chinese... so long as all may converge in Turkey and freely choose (at US expense) to go anywhere and see and report on anything. Talk to anyone they choose. Including citizens of Kherson, both liberated and dispersed by RF kidnappings.

Sound expensive? Well it would be worth it. Except we'll never have to pay. Because Putin would shriek and refuse! 

And it is that REFUSAL, penetrating through the borscht curtain, that would not be explicable or shruggable by any amount of blather on Russian state TV...

... just as wager demands over almost any testable foxite assertion ALWAYS result in MAGAs fleeing in jibbering panic amid the ruins of their macho preening.

It's called accountability. And I've only been yammering about it for 40 years.

== And more... ==

A note about the Ukraine war that tweaks a special place in my heart. Despite operating under severe adversity and continuous threats, Ukraine’s postal service carries on

Officials at Ukrposhta say that of its approximately 73,000 employees, 15 have been killed and 14 injured during the fighting. About 50 post offices have been destroyed, while 480 have been damaged, some repeatedly. Even so, Ukrposhta had continued to work until recently in some of the regions occupied by Russian forces.” They finally stopped because of repeated robbery by small roving bands of Russian soldiers. 

Opposed to that positive symbolism is the other kind. Putin - who grew up reciting Leninist catechisms - later restored the crest and other symbols of the Romanov Czars, rebuilt their most tasteless edifices and erected a statue to Nicholas II, a monstrous dunce who, with his equally addle-pated cousin in Berlin, plunged the world into a century of wretched agony. Nicholas lost everything (and killed hundreds of millions) by underestimating Germany and hurling unhappy Russian boys into meat grinders.

Now step back and look at Vlad emulating his beloved Czar, in Ukraine. Try, try to see the context! History doesn't repeat. But it has recurring attractor states. It rhymes.

For an extensive look at recent ideological and cultural trends in Russia, take a look at: Cultural and Political Imaginaries in Putin's Russia, by Niklas Bernsand and Barbara Tornquist-Plewa. 

Oh, an after-note on Russia's military might: Russia’s new super torpedo, the Poseidon, which is expected to be 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter and over 20 meters (65 feet) long, "is the largest torpedo ever developed in any country." Picture how big that is. These nuclear-capable torpedoes are designed to be launched from hundreds of miles away and to sneak past coastal defenses by traveling along the sea floor to deliver warheads of multiple megatons, causing radioactive waves that would render swathes of the target coastline uninhabitable for decades.

Apparently its big test, yesterday, was a botch.


== Topics I've explored elsewhere ==


A couple of my best older blog postings:

  • Are you all down on humanity, especially short-tempered, harshly-divided Americans? Well, I have a tonic for your pessimism and gloom.  No, I won’t try to talk (or beguile) you out of your sour funk. Instead, I propose a simple experiment! Going down to a busy 4-way stop sign intersection and just watch for a few minutes. Very soon you WILL feel better about yourself and your fellow citizens. Give this a try:  Ritual of the Street Corner
  • Alternate Visions of the Future: Some bold proposals having to do with my proposal for a World Ownership Treaty – If you own something, say so – which could (without raising taxes an iota) erase almost all national debts almost overnight and save honest taxpayers trillions. Oh and included are riffs on corporate transparency, Abraham Lincoln, and getting to be more like him.

== The word our New Lords never mention ==


And yeah, the noxious ones are back. See a fawning profile of Peter Thiel’s eagerly dyspeptic (and trivially refuted) incantations that ‘liberalism has failed,’ while wallowing in its protection and myriad benefits. I so hope the author of this piece misinterprets almost everything, in almost every paragraph because… wow. "Peter Thiel on the dangers of progress" by Mary Harrington.

The core take-away - revealed in his hostility to Universities and support of the "neo-monarchist" movement - is rejection of all aspects of our civilization that led to himself! Including the older-deeper meaning of 'liberalism' appraised and espoused by Adam Smith. Which is unleashing the fantastically fecund creativity of flat-fair-just-confident and fully-informed Competition... 

...the c-word that was promoted by the First Liberal - Adam Smith - and the word that is never, ever mentioned nowadays by the gone-mad right. That core endeavor - of transparent/flat/fair competitive creativity - requires maximizing the number of skilled, confident competitors... (um, duh?)... as F. Hayek called-for. Which, in turn, necessitates social justice and mass education and especially freedom.

Sure, our Smithian reversal of 6000 years of oligarchic/racist hierarchy has been imperfect, improving with grinding slowness. But its effective outcomes (including Thiel himself) outweigh those of ALL other societies -- all the feudal/monarchal dope-zones combined -- across those sixty+ centuries.

Let's be clear. Thiel's proposed program of to-the-hilt technological progress toward personal, organic immortality must be advanced by the very fact-professions, researchers, scientists and university nerds who almost universally despise everything about the oligarchic putsch to restore feudalism that PT passionately pursues.

Nor is there a prepper citadel anywhere on the planet whose location isn't known by many in the nerd clade, down to the centimeter. 


Perhaps (just a suggestion, m'lord) rejoining the Enlightenment might be the better choice.


138 comments:

Alfred Differ said...

(from the last thread)

Yes. Musk bought Twitter as a tear down. I think that is a given we can all state and then move on.

He wouldn't be the first new owner of a business who thought the previous owner sucked and was doing it all wrong.

The question for now is whether tear down is followed by build up. Pirates tear you to pieces and sell your crew into slavery. Is that Musk? I rather doubt it.

-----

(for the current post)

The Ritual of the Street Corner is a wonderful example of a broad capacity human communities have in abundance. You can see much the same thing going on in crowded supermarkets, university commons, shopping malls during holiday rushes, and most any place where crowds form without emergency service providers being present.

Order Emerges.

Many can imagine designed order. It is what happens when we intend our behaviors to produce order and imagine many of them working in concert. An analog stopwatch epitomizes designed order in both its construction and use.

Many can imagine random chaos as an opposite to designed order. It is what happens when we see no correlation between our behaviors (intended or not) and outcomes. Whether true randomness occurs is actually difficult to detect for most people, so we imagine chaos as indeterministic. Not quite true, but not a big deal.

There is a huge area between the two extremes that many can't imagine. Emergent order occurs when we do not intend our behaviors to produce large-scale order, but that order happens anyway... and sticks because our behaviors are rewarded by that order.

Watching people at a street corner shows an example, but life itself is the best example. Does your DNA intend to reproduce? Nah... but it does anyway. It even mixes occasionally to produce variation defenses against viral invaders.

I can blather on about this topic without losing my enthusiasm for it, but the important point here is Competition is critical for critical steps as order emerges.

1. Competition kills some rewards removing our incentives to persist certain behaviors.

2. Competition forces sexual reproduction of ideas among humans who are imperfect learners.

In biological evolution we swing between mutant variations and survival of the 'fittest'. In emergent orders in our communities we swing between imperfect learning/imitation and market rewards/punishments.

Competition is critical, but knowing WHY we do it is terribly important. Watch people at the street corner and you'll see competition's role in producing order.

David Brin said...

Yes competition is the c-word that is ignored by liberals as distasteful and utterly betrayed by the mutant thing that is modern conservatism. The most creative force, competition is how Nature made us. It is also - in Nature - spectacularly wasteful, inefficient, error-prone and frenched in pain and blood.

The whole notion of our Enlightenment's five 'competition arenas' has been to improve on that. To set up arenas of reitual combat - markets, democracy, science, courts and sports - where regulated competition can deliver POSITIVE SUM results, the fecund productivity of outcomes while minimizing both cheating and blood on the floor... systems that don't punish failed competitors with death, but allow them to keep coming back with altered products (if lessened credibility) based on what they had learned.

Alas, in all five major arenas, human nature sows dragons' teeth that erupt with cheaters, often those who won the last round. Hence regulations... and the need to revise those rules as cheaters adapt... and how we need the internet to learn from those techniques so that accountability systems will kill lies and give us a sixth, useful arena of creative competition.

==

PS... matthew was actually cogent and offered us well-parsed thoughts, last time.

David Brin said...

Another point that our leaders do NOT seem to be making, that could be helpful, is this. "The entire Russian Nationalism ideology pushed by A. Dugin and so many of the bombastic elements now threatening Putin's right is an assertion that Ukrainians are just Russians who have been suckered into a delusion of nationhood and who will be much happier once they snap out of it, after being forcefully brought back into the embrace of the czar. Well, first it was never true, Second, A. Solzhenitsyn wrote in THE FIRST CIRCLE that that goal will never be achieved 'forcefully.'"

But finally and pragmatically: *If Ukrainian sense of nationhood was at all weak before this war, that is entirely over.* This war has cemented their sense of identity like nothing else could. Even if RF forces plowed their way to the Polish border, all they would win for themselves is the agony of an endless partisan war of liberation and hate that would last until the invaders were ejected and reparations paid. Even so, the ill will would take many decades to subside.

The PRAGMATIC EFFECTS are as important as any of Dugin's et. al. ideological incantations. (See the link). The EFFECTS so far are to make every Putin pretext MORE real, not less. They include a vast strengthening of NATO, a weakening of Moscow's western sock-puppets, a radical invigoration of America's defender caste...

...and the absolute determination of a naw unified Ukrainian people to never again be ruled by Moscow, even if it means marching there to insist. These are not the outcomes of a 'chessmaster' who D Trump called 'very smart.' They are the outcomes of a gambling addict fool.

JeremyA said...

What is the path out for Putin? He studies history, however selectively, so he knows what happened to the Nicholas after he sent most of the people too powerless to resist into a foreign meatgrinder. Like the Czar, he has left himself few options.
The US Republicans are also trapped. They moved their platform to accomodate first the religious right, and then the MAGA/Q/Confederate right and now they cannot return to rational conservative governance without not just alienating, but incurring violent hatred of their current base. Is there any realistic way out for them, or do they just have to trade Trump foe de Santis and package it as "New and Improved"?

David Brin said...

That link about Dugin: https://www.iswresearch.org/2022/11/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment_12.html

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin

I agree 100% about Ukraine

And that is why the bloody Mullahs are still in charge in Iran!

The USA gave them every despots wet dream - an external enemy - somebody who attacks the country and makes its people pull together DESPITE the horrors of their leadership

gregory byshenk said...

In the previous, Alfred Differ said...
Perhaps, but consider what the world might look like if he proves the rock CAN be moved.

We are both old enough to remember when electric cars were a possibility that Detroit would not consider because they'd create competition for their own disposable IC tech. If even one of them had tried, others in the industry would have eaten them alive. Musk & Friends at Tesla moved that rock.


"Detroit" wouldn't consider electric cars primarily because battery technology was inadequate to produce useful general purpose electric vehicles at a reasonable cost until early this century. Recall that GM produced electric vehicles in the 1990s. Also remember that 'Detroit' is not the only auto producer: VW and Renault also produced limited numbers of electric vehicles in the 1990s. But the only way to produce vehicles with acceptable range at that time was to produce hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.

But even with full electric vehicles, there was nothing particularly unique about Tesla. The first Model S came to market in 2012, only one year before the VW e-Golf and BMW i3, and two years after the Nissan Leaf.

If you want to argue that Musk is an amazing promoter - he managed to pull investors into a company that didn't make a profit for fifteen years, and to pay high prices for cars that weren't very good - then I can see that. But that "rock" (if you mean practical electric autos) was already being moved by others, and would have moved with or without Musk and Tesla.

gregory byshenk said...

Also from the previous, regarding Twitter as a 'tear-down':

The problem I see with this argument is that I can't find a way to have it make any sense.

If one destroys Twitter, then there are other options for its users. At the moment they remain relatively minor players, but this is primarily due to the network effects of Twitter. If Twitter is driven into the ground, then other platforms will grow, and in all likelihood one of them will in time become the "new Twitter". Which means that the attempt to eliminate a platform for shared communication (perhaps on the part of the Saudis or someone else) is doomed to failure. One can conceiveably kill off one player, but the game will go on.

And it makes even less sense as a plan to have something new rising from the ashes of Twitter, because what makes Twitter valuable (to users, at least) are the network effects. There are many users who don't much like Twitter, but feel that they have to use it because that is what everyone else uses. Tear it down and start again and those network effects are gone, and there is no sure way to recreate them (the history of social media is full of failed platforms).

duncan cairncross said...

Gregory

I'm a car nut - and an electric car nut - and Alfred is 100% correct - Tesla made the first electric car that was a superb CAR

The other companies wanted to make handfuls of "hair shirt" cars for the tree huggers who needed a car but felt guilty about it

Without Tesla we would STILL be 20 years away from electric cars

And 20 years away from re-usable rockets as well

DP said...

While the votes of young women angered and made fearful by SCOTUS overturning Roe may have been decisive in generating more Democratic votes, the secondary affect of excessive Covid-19 deaths caused by refusal to get vaccinated appears to have had a powerful effect on reducing Republican votes.

A. Party and Age Demographics

To start, most Covid-19 victims were older (plus age 50), a demographic that leans heavily republican.

https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/deaths-among-older-adults-due-to-covid-19-jumped-during-the-summer-of-2022-before-falling-somewhat-in-september/

From April to July 2022, the number of deaths due to COVID increased for all ages but rose at a faster rate for older than younger adults and stayed high through August 2022, with deaths due to COVID topping 11,000 in both July and August among people 65 and older. While COVID deaths began to drop again in September, they were still higher for those ages 65 and older than in April or May; for those younger than 65, deaths dropped below their April levels.

The rise in deaths is primarily a function of increasing cases due to the more transmissible Omicron variant. Other factors include relatively low booster uptake, compared to primary vaccination, and waning vaccine immunity, underscoring the importance of staying up to date on vaccination. On September 1st, CDC recommended a new, updated booster for all those ages 12 and older, but particularly for those who are older.

Vaccination rates among people 65 and older were high for the primary vaccination series (92.4%), but were lower for the first booster (71.1%, among those who received a primary series) and even lower for the second booster dose (43.8%, among those who received a first booster), according to the CDC. Similar trends can be seen in nursing facilities, which are primarily comprised of people 65 and older.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/319068/party-identification-in-the-united-states-by-generation/

Party identification in the United States in 2022, by generation

DP said...

B. The Effects of Vaccine Refusal

Prior to December 2020 when vaccines became available, Democratic and republican deaths from Covid-18 statistically matched. After vaccines were available we saw a divergence with republican voter deaths greatly exceeding democratic deaths by 2:1 - mostly due to MAGA/republican refusal to get vaccinated. This is borne out by a study that compared Covid-19 deaths in Ohio and Florida by party affiliation,

https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/the-red-blue-divide-in-covid-19-vaccination-rates/

The Red/Blue Divide in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

There continue to be differences in COVID-19 vaccination rates along partisan lines, a gap that has grown over time. We’ve documented this in our COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor surveys of the public, and we’ve been tracking county-level data to assess vaccination rates in counties that voted for Trump in the 2020 Presidential election compared to those that voted for Biden.

As of September 13, 2021, 52.8% of people in counties that voted for Biden were fully vaccinated compared to 39.9% of Trump counties, a 12.9 percentage point difference

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/10/01/for-covid-19-vaccinations-party-affiliation-matters-more-than-race-and-ethnicity/

For COVID-19 vaccinations, party affiliation matters more than race and ethnicity Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

A Gallup survey released on Sept. 29 confirmed the KFF findings. As of mid-September, 75% of adult Americans have been vaccinated, including 73% of non-Hispanic white adults and 78% of non-whites. Along party lines, however, the breakdown was 92% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.

DP said...

https://theintercept.com/2022/10/10/covid-republican-democrat-deaths/

THE RIGHT’S ANTI-VAXXERS ARE KILLING REPUBLICANS

Since Covid-19 vaccines arrived, the gap in so-called excess deaths between Republicans and Democrats has widened, a new study says.

In a detailed examination of data from Ohio and Florida, the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that “political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19,” and that significantly more Republicans than Democrats have died from the virus since the introduction of vaccines in early 2021 to protect against the disease.

The study found that death rates from Covid-19 were only slightly higher for Republicans than Democrats during the early days of the pandemic, before vaccines became available. But by the summer of 2021, a few months after vaccines were introduced, “the Republican excess death rate rose to nearly double that of Democrats, and this gap widened further in the winter of 2021.” The sudden increase in the gap between Republican and Democratic death rates “suggests that vaccine take-up likely played an important role,” the study found.

https://www.nber.org/papers/w30512

Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Paper - National Bureau of Economic Research Post- vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp. The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.

https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20211122/us-covid-deaths-2021-surpass-2020-total

U.S. COVID-19 Deaths in 2021 Surpass 2020 Total

Overall, more than 771,000 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the U.S. during the pandemic. About 385,000 were reported in 2020, according to CDC data, and more than 386,000 have been reported this year (2021)

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1101932/coronavirus-covid19-cases-and-deaths-number-us-americans/

Total Covid-19 deaths as of November 3, 2020 = 1.068,667

Summary: Deaths so far in 2022 = 1,069,000 - 771,000 = 298,000

Total deaths since vaccines were introduced in December 2020 = 386,000 + 298,000 = 684,000

With GOP deaths being double that of Dems, then net increased Republican deaths' are 1/3 of the total deaths since vaccines = 228,000.

DP said...

C. Detailed analysis of Ohio and Florida Voters

Looking more deeply into the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper sited above. Note that while party membership is not normally given on a death certificate, the dead persons' names are registered in the local and county voter registration records. It's actually a very simple matter to cross reference the two and arrive at the conclusion that GOP voter deaths exceeded those of Democrats.

https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w30512/w30512.pdf

To calculate excess deaths, we use 577,659 deaths of individuals linked to their 2017 voting records in Ohio and Florida who died at age 25 or older between January 2018 and December 2021. Our approach estimates “excess death rates” as the percent increase in deaths above expected deaths that are due to seasonality, geographic location, party affiliation, and age

In 2018 and the early parts of 2020, excess death rates for Republicans and Democrats are similar, and centered around zero. Both groups experienced a similar large spike in excess deaths in the winter of 2020-2021. However, in the summer of 2021 — after vaccines were widely available — the Republican excess death rate rose to nearly double that of Democrats, and this gap widened further in the winter of 2021

Two noteworthy facts emerge in Figure 3. First, in the Covid Pre-Vaccine period, the association between excess death rates and county-level vaccination rates are nearly identical for Democrats and Republicans. Second, in the Covid Post-Vaccine period, there is a clear visual difference between Democrats and Republicans (p =0.02 for slopes and p = 0.00 for slopes and intercepts), with higher excess death rates for Republicans in counties with lower vaccination rates. By comparison, the difference in excess deaths between Republicans and Democrats is nearly zero in counties with the highest vaccination rates.

Political party affiliation was associated with excess death rates at the individual level during the initial years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Registered Republicans in Florida and Ohio had higher excess death rates than registered Democrats, driven by a large mortality gap in the period after all adults were eligible for vaccines. These results adjust for county-by-age differences in excess deaths during the pandemic, suggesting that there were within-age-by county differences in excess death associated with political party affiliation.

DP said...

D. Conclusions

To quote the report above "we use 577,659 deaths of individuals linked to their 2017 voting records in Ohio and Florida who died at age 25 or older"

The total statewide votes cast in Florida and Ohio is now available. A total of 7,714,289 democratic and republican votes were cast for Florida governor. A total of 4,031,121 votes were cast for Ohio Senator. Together the total statewide vote for both states was 11,745,410.

The recorded 577,659 Covid-19 death for both states represents only approximately 4.9% of this total. So losses from Covid-19 would never have affected a race with greater margins of victory to begin with.

But assuming similar ratios applied to other races (an almost total 5% decline in voters due to Covid-19 deaths) with 1/3 of that (1.67% of voters) being a typical net loss of republican voters.

Those republican candidates in a statistical tie or behind 1.67% behind their democratic rivals (such as Lauren Boebert CO CD-3, Adam Laxalt NV Sen, Herschel Walker GA Sen - just to name a few key elections) probably now wish that those republicans had been vaccinated and lived long enough to vote.

If anything, the effects of net republican voter loss due to Covid-19 vaccine refusal would be even more pronounced and greatly magnified in heavily gerrymandered red districts like Boebert's. Tight races such as these will determined control of Congress, showing the true effect of vaccine refusal on our election outcomes.

So yes, we can conclude that refusal by MAGA republicans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has resulted in several key Democratic House and Senate victories in close races and may determine control of the House and the Senate.

Continued vaccine results at these death rates among MAGA republicans will result in even more pronounced Republican voter deficits in 2024.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

So yes, we can conclude that refusal by MAGA republicans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has resulted in several key Democratic House and Senate victories in close races and may determine control of the House and the Senate.


In retrospect, there would seem to be some psychohistorical inevitability there.

Larry Hart said...

Slim Moldie in the previous comments:

If you want Billionaire conspiracy theories don't think about what Asimov's R. Giskard does to the earth to force humanity to the stars


I'm not clear what your point is. Billionaire conspiracy theories are meant to force humanity to other planets, or meant to prevent humanity from doing so?

DP said...

Larry, I see this happening with a deep sadness.

I work in Appalachia, the heart of Trump country.

These people worked hard all of their lives, did what was expected, played by the rules.

God knows they have their faults, but for the most part are good people made desperate driven into a corner.

Neo-liberal globalism gutted the American dream, destroying their communities and ruining their lives.

When the dust has settled and Trumpism is no more, what we need is not recrimination but a helping hand, a full scale "Marshall Plan" for small town and rural America.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

When the dust has settled and Trumpism is no more, what we need is not recrimination but a helping hand, a full scale "Marshall Plan" for small town and rural America.

I don't mean this to be antagonistic, but I would be more sympathetic to that position if it had also been applied to other communities ruined by economic interests. I'm in my 60s, and for all my adult life, I have heard workers made obsolete by economic realities told that they must evolve to deal with the new reality, and that the world doesn't owe them a living. Men who worked all their lives with the promise of a company pension that was raided for shareholder value.

Why are only rural white men owed reparations?


Neo-liberal globalism gutted the American dream, destroying their communities and ruining their lives.


I understand that. I've understood it as far back as the 1980s, when globalism, gutting of labor unions, and the race to the bottom for wages were being pushed as the new normal by corporatist Republicans. How did voting for Republicans ever become perceived as the solution to this problem?

DP said...

Larry, rural communities aren't just about agriculture.

Aside from forestry and mining (whose jobs were mostly destroyed by automation), Each small town had a local factory or industry that provided its economic heartbeat. My wife's small town is one of the few lucky ones with a local family-owned electronics control business that is totally committed to her town and county. Most of the rest of small town America died when their jobs got shipped overseas to low wage labor markets.

As I said, God knows these people have their faults. An often intolerant fear of people who are different on any level, a religiously indoctrinated ignorance that rejects science, and worst of all a deep seated resentment of those people who are different surpassing them due to economic shift, technological advances and societal changes.

I don't kid myself, I know that a good part of Trumpism isn't economic but resentment of a black president and loathing of gay marriage.

Yet the Germans in 1945 still hated the Jews (the full extent of the camps and the Shoah wasn't know just yet). We gave them the Marshal Plan anyways as it was the only way to break them of their ingrained culture of hatred and fear.

We thereby avoided the mistake of grinding them into the dust as we did at Versailles in 1919. A humiliation that made them thirst for revenge in 1939.

Maybe going the Versailles route with MAGA would be the just and deserving thing to do.

But it wouldn't be the right or smart thing to do.

If we don't extend a Marshall Plan to the rural American heart of Trump country, even if they may not deserve it, we will see another Trump (maybe a smarter more dangerous Trump) in a decade or so.

Biden (assuming he won't run again because of age) should spend the rest of his already very successful term reaching out to and helping these people. With Trump's spell on the GOP broken, he should finally get some help from across the aisle in this endeavor.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

As I said, God knows these people have their faults.


In case this isn't clear, I'm not advocating abandoning the suffering rural people because they are deplorable.

I am saying that, if we as a society have finally learned the lesson that people harmed economically and socially by modern trends need sympathy and a helping hand rather than derision, then that lesson should not only be applied when the victims are rural white Christians. The fact that rural white Christians are now facing the same sort of devastating circumstances that were considered personal moral failings on the part of others should be a wake-up call as to how we handle such disruptions across the board.

DP said...

We'll keep the Senate and still have an outside chance to hold the House (best case projections for the GOP give them a mere 3 seat lead):

Catherine Cortez Masto has been declared the winner in Nevada, keeping the Dem total at 50 with control of the Senate with VP Harris' vote.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/12/midterm-senate-elections-2022-democrats-keep-majority.html

Democrats will keep control of the Senate, NBC News projects
Democrats will keep control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, NBC News projected.
The party will hold at least 50 seats after Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada held off challenges.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania also flipped the state’s GOP-held seat, NBC projected.

I doubt that many Georgia republicans will will bother to hold their noses and vote in the run-off for Walker now that Senate control is no longer on the line.

With Warncok elected we will have GAINED a senate seat, and no longer need Joe Mancin.

Most importantly Mitch won't be able to block Biden judiciary appointments.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

With Warncok elected we will have GAINED a senate seat, and no longer need Joe Mancin.


Much as I am celebrating the Nevada win, and the subsequent fact that billions of dollars probably won't pour into Walker's campaign just to achieve a 49th seat, my inner pessimist says "We still need Warnock (and Manchin) in case Krysten Sinema decides to become a Republican."


Most importantly Mitch won't be able to block Biden judiciary appointments.


Yes, very important. Even moreso should (say) Clarence Thomas happen to suffer an unfortunate medical crisis.

But see above.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

With Warncok elected we will have GAINED a senate seat,


If I'm reading the map correctly, the only state whose Senate seat changed parties (so far) is Pennsylvania, which went for the good team.


I doubt that many Georgia republicans will will bother to hold their noses and vote in the run-off for Walker now that Senate control is no longer on the line.


That could go the other way, though. Democrats might also decide it's not worth the bother of voting again, especially if they have to wait in line for 8 or more hours with no food or water.

David Brin said...

Numerous responses, especiallty to DP

Duncan: “And that is why the bloody Mullahs are still in charge in Iran! The USA gave them every despots wet dream - an external enemy - somebody who attacks the country and makes its people pull together DESPITE the horrors of their leadership”

Well the great traumatic enemy was Saddam, who killed somewhere like a million Iranians and cemented what was till then iffy mullah rule. The US toppled Saddam for Iran, giving Iran near total control over Iraq. (And you know I deep GHWBush a horrid villain for HOW that was done; but the Iraqis were the victims of that betrayal, not Iran.) Still, we did off the bastrd for them.

In Iran as in Russia and the USA, the populist/religious mob has guns and is united by hatred of university graduates and those durn young people.

GB you are unfair. It was less the batteries than the motors, trhat leaped fantastically in power late in the 20th. And Elon brilliantly realized that no one would believe it till his roadster smashed them in races, destroying the old put-put image of e-cars. He then brilliantly went for the super luxury market with the model S, making it a status symbol.

Dig it: The rich will always get cool stuff earlier. The question is “Does this subsidize the cool stuff to quickly bring the price down for us? Or, like private jets and (soon) air limos,
help them cruise above us forever?” With Tesla and SpaceX and Neuralink and solar, Elon took the former path.

The twitter thing utterly boggles me. I thought it was a maneuver to sell Tesla stock without SEC interference. Perhaps it’s his latest paramour.

DP the covid effect is interesting. Likely a lesser one though. Still, we thank you for your detailed appraisal. Will you post it on your own blog I can link-to?

I do demur re your comment on Appalachia, though. “When the dust has settled and Trumpism is no more, what we need is not recrimination but a helping hand, a full scale "Marshall Plan" for small town and rural America.”

Probably no inherently poor region on the globe has received more such aid from rich neighbors than Appalachia has. When I was a kid, the hillibilly/Deliverance/barefoot/trichinosis images were both tragic and true and it was Hollywood and media and LBJ who drew attention and started the aid flowing.

And the university scholarships that drew off all the best/brightest young folks to bright lights far away. And now, with roads and public services built and clinics etc and budgets always subsidized by far-off taxpayers… it is not the remaining (for sure) poverty that is the foremost grievance. It is those universities, for stealing their children.

How often must the feeding hand be bitten before it gets donor fatigue?

Larry Hart said...

Heh.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/editorials/ct-editorial-illinois-republican-drubbing-midterm-elections-trump-20221111-zo4qahohojcydftvpwrhkmlkme-story.html

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro’s tweet summed it up. “From red wave to red wedding.”

DP said...

Dr. Brin - "DP the covid effect is interesting. Likely a lesser one though."

If anything the Covid-19 deaths are probably an underestimation because they don't include subsequent fatalities like pneumonia or heart attack that were caused by a body weakened by a previous bout of Covid.

Larry Hart said...

DP:

"DP the covid effect is interesting. Likely a lesser one though."

If anything the Covid-19 deaths are probably an underestimation


I think Dr Brin meant that even with the Republican COVID deaths in, say Mississippi, it's not about to flip blue. And anti-vax Florida seems to be trending the other way.

John R. Christiansen said...

Comments on the "rural Marshall plan" notion:

Once upon a time, in the late 70s - early 80s, large sectors of the American economy were going through drastic changes, people were losing jobs and investments, and it was basically a bummer all around. Where I live/lived then, in western Washington, the logging and fishing industries were cratering, Boeing was in a long-term bust after a bad bet on the SST and low demand for passenger aircraft, and the Puget Sound shipbuilding industry was finishing its long, slow collapse. Rural towns and smaller cities were in crisis, the streets of Seattle were rife with very large, white panhandlers and drunks who used to have good jobs.

Solutions? The spotted owl and environmentalists were scapegoated for the lumber collapse, which didn't help with the underlying causes (mostly cheaper timber overseas). The Japanese were scapegoated for the fishing collapse, which also didn't help with the underlying causes (over-fishing). The Democrats flirted briefly with Industrial Policy (for any youngsters out there, kind of a "lite" Marshall plan for de-industrializing regions mostly associated with Robert Reich); the lessons from the Reagan election put a stop to that nationally but it was tried, a little bit, out here. Which resulted in e.g. a former shipyard worker I bought a cheap car from getting tuition to retrain as a cook, and proposals for tourist hotels on remote rainy peninsulas. Seattle was definitely Not Cool.

Obviously things changed. Logging dropped to sustainable, managed levels, much lower than legendary historic highs. (And the spotted owl is being driven out by the barred owl, which is better adapted to disrupted forests.) Fishing likewise dropped to sustainable levels under strict public management. (Begging the question as to what will be "sustainable" in the future, cf. the massive recent crab die-off.) There is also a substantial tourist economy in the mountains and scenic shore areas which didn't really exist then. (Tribal casinos are also a newer invention which can be significant in their locales.)

Boeing, I would argue, is pretty much at a sustainable manufacturing level, and there is much, much less dependence on it.

Meanwhile Microsoft, Amazon and their kin and associates remade Seattle into an unexpected boomtown. (In the early 80s MS was a logo on one smallish beltway building and Redmond was a little commercial strip we drove through on the way to a foothills roadhouse.) But even without the tech boom, I think this region would have recovered and found the new equilibrium which prevails outside the tech sector. (Probably with less tourism as much of that is from tech employees and tourists attracted by the boomtown image.)

I think what was missing wasn't really an Industrial Policy/Marshall plan that would have somehow invented new industries, or redistributed older industries, to communities whose economies were undergoing drastic change. It's too hard to predict what will work, and the opportunity for wasteful boondoggles is too great. (Hello, FoxConn!) Any Marshall plan-style investment would have missed the tech boom altogether, and probably propped up industries which were subsiding to sustainable levels or moving offshore anyway. What we needed, and didn't really get, was a solid human safety net which made it more possible for people to live with dignity as they found their paths forward and new paths emerged. Education, housing, substance use treatment (alas), assistance in moving to where there is preferred employment? It wouldn't have fixed the problems but it would have ameliorated them, which would not have been a bad thing.

matthew said...

Remember that Florida and Texas are not *red* states.

They are voter suppression states, first and foremost. They are heavily gerrymandered.

And statewide races are determined more by who cannot vote than by who can vote.

If not for DeSantis' personal hand in the Florida gerrymander, we would already be talking about a Democrat-controlled US House for this term.

David Brin said...

LH that rant at MAGA voters is exactly what the MAGA voters want. Our rage is their food. “Owning the libs” is the only satisfaction they’ve got. Herschel’s raving idiocy and immorality are features, not bugs.

Matthew: Re Florida… Democrats may learn a simple truth. That it pays to TALK to US Hispanic voters. Their attitudes toward illegal immigration will shock lefties. They stuck it to Beto. Ironically, Dems used to do immigration right.

JRC: thanks for Seattle insights. Reminded me to mention that California has passed Germany as the 4th biggest economy on Earth. Despite 40 years of the mad right claiming all the capital would flee to Texas.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH that rant at MAGA voters is exactly what the MAGA voters want. Our rage is their food. “Owning the libs” is the only satisfaction they’ve got.


Our rage at their victories is their food.

Our mocking at their losses not so much.

Don Gisselbeck said...

Fun fact, almost every "discussion" with a flatearther or moon landing denier quickly devolves to antivax nonsense.

When I'm feeling optimistic, I remember Theoden; "Oft evil will shall evil mar".

DP said...

Dr Brin - Our rage is their food.

I'm afraid I disagree, their resentment is self sustaining, universal and never ending.

This rural/urban divide is more or less universal now.

Take the British Brexit vote for example.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/24/the-powerful-thing-that-divides-britain-also-divides-america/

Scan the county-level results of any recent presidential election in the U.S., and the identical divide emerges: between urban and non-urban; between people who live where skills pay well and those who've been left behind by a changing economy; between cities disproportionately full of the young, the educated and the multicultural, and rural communities that are aging and largely white; between places accustomed to change and eternally oriented to the future, and those that long for the past.

Rural folks turn to people like Trump out of resentment:

https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo22879533.html

The Politics of Resentment
Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker

Listening closely to people revealed two things to me: a significant rural- versus- urban divide and the powerful role of resentment. This book shows that what can look like disagreements about basic political principles can be rooted in something even more fundamental: ideas about who gets what, who has power, what people are like, and who is to blame. What might seem to be a central debate about the appropriate role of government might at base be something else: resentment toward our fellow citizens.

I learned, as a city girl, that many rural residents have a perspective I am going to call “rural consciousness.” To folks who grew up in rural areas, a fancy social science name like that probably seems unnecessary. But it is my shorthand for referring to this: an identity as a rural person that includes much more than an attachment to place. It includes a sense that decision makers routinely ignore rural places and fail to give rural communities their fair share of resources, as well as a sense that rural folks are fundamentally different from urbanites in terms of lifestyles, values, and work ethic. Rural consciousness signals an identification with rural people and rural places and denotes a multifaceted resentment against cities.

John R. Christiansen said...

DP: I live in a transition zone between "urban" and "rural" areas and I'm not quite sure I like that terminology any more.

In this case "urban" is the east Puget Sound cities and suburbs from Everett to Olympia, in which the "city" parts are more like denser residential, office and retail clusters, centering suburban and exurban residential areas which have their own office and retail zones, famously heavy on tech but also financial, trade and manufacturing. I live in an exurban residential area just outside a very small city on the edge of this "urban" zone. A lot of people living in this "urban" zone would, I think, identify as "rural" in the sense you use.

The "rural" area is dirctly to my northwest, west, south and east and includes logging, some fishing and some agriculture, and some small cities serving as regional centers. There is definitely an established "rural" identity promoted among residents of this area, and no doubt a lot of it is genuine. But there has also been a lot of "leakage" of residents from "urban" areas to "rural" over the years - including me, if you can count my exurban location as "rural" (which given some of my neighbors and nearby land uses I think you can). "Rural" identification and resentment in this area is not hard and fast, nor is it as far as I can tell, is it progressing.

Hopefully significantly, a sign of this is the defeat of Joe Kent for US House WA-3 in this particular region. Kent is a full-bore MAGA Republican and defeated a well-established "RINO" in the primary. He ran on a fully resentful "logging, fishing and families" platform (though his own employment is somewhat mysterious, something to do with "5g" in some way). It wasn't a landslide, but WA-3 has always been a very conservative area and safe R seat.

David Brin said...

DG: “Fun fact, almost every "discussion" with a flatearther or moon landing denier quickly devolves to antivax nonsense”

That is why demanding wagers over falsifiable specifics is the way to go, fixing the dance -evasion into a particular spot.

Greg Bear is having complications from heart surgery. Please keep him in your thoughts: he is a very, very good man.


duncan cairncross said...

The Rural/Urban divide

Its not really Rural/Urban - its more the winners and the "left behind"

The solution is simple - a Useful - Universal Basic Income

This would flow money into the poor Rural areas

Increasing the tax rates on the well off and closing all of the HUGE "loopholes" in the American tax code would "pay for it"

Larry Hart said...

DP:

...an identity as a rural person that includes much more than an attachment to place. It includes a sense that decision makers routinely ignore rural places and fail to give rural communities their fair share of resources, as well as a sense that rural folks are fundamentally different from urbanites in terms of lifestyles, values, and work ethic. Rural consciousness signals an identification with rural people and rural places and denotes a multifaceted resentment against cities.


Well, what if they're correct--that urbanites are from Venus and rurals are from Mars? What harm does it do rural people to have the law treat urbanites and rurals as equals? Those pesky gays getting married and trans men getting pregnant will be way over there, not in their neighborhoods and towns.

It seems to me that the rural minority is not demanding to be respected as much as urban elites are. They're demanding the political power to make urbanites show obedience to their preferences.

It would be as if I demand that spinach be outlawed and that anyone eating spinach be imprisoned or executed on the grounds that I can't stand spinach.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

Its not really Rural/Urban - its more the winners and the "left behind"


To some extend, it has ever been so, or at least it has within my lifetime.

The difference is that the "winners" were always the wealthy and powerful who typically vote and donate Republican, and their attitude toward the "left behind" was always "Sucks to be you, but if you can't make it in the free market, you don't deserve to." Now, some of those people find themselves on the "left behind" side, and oh boy have they become entitled snowflakes.

David Brin said...

Has anyone seen the national popular vote totals?

Rural/Foxite hatred of democracy is partly based on the fact that the GOP won the popular tally just twice in 30 years.

===

I stuck my neck out predicting Ukraine's UAF would use helicopters when things get foggy. Hasn;t happened yet.

I'll do it again - Look up TransDniestria. Right near where Uk. has a victorious army. Might try intimidating RF forces there into dispersing.

locumranch said...

Russia v Ukraine, progressive v conservative, rural v urban, infection v immunity and discord v order:

These are all examples of competition. The c-word despised by liberals but often worshiped by conservatives. Darwinism. The creative force. How Nature made us. Raw and unbridled. Unfair, inequitable and effective. Spectacularly wasteful, inefficient, error-prone and drenched in pain and blood.

Then, as always, there are those who argue that competition needs to be 'managed', 'regulated' and 'controlled'. In a way that our winners & losers can be chosen, in advance, in a fair & equitable manner. In accordance with the personal preferences of our self-aggrandizing managers, regulators and controllers.

Our managerial class has chosen electric vehicles as our new winner, even though it's a technology that predates Henry Ford by 60 years & has been proven inferior to the internal combustion engine in every way.

They've also chosen climate change as best bugaboo, energy-intensive globalism as best economic model and Dementia Joe as best leader. Really? This is the best our managerial class can do?

This is why purblind progressives like Larry_H have neither empathy nor sympathy for the disenfranchised rural, male & white voters who have been declared the designated losers by the managerial caste.

Our managerial class is stupid beyond measure, assuming it truly believes that a demographic plurality will stand idly by & stay forever rule obedient while their best interests are delegated to the rubbish bin of history.

DP has been so kind as to provide independent verification to what I've been telling you for years, so take heed & prepare:

With the advent of internet-inspired decentralization, cities, their denizens & our management class no longer serve their prior purpose as a mechanism, a market & a central control hub. Instead, they have become what Yuval Harari describes as a useless class.

They are without purpose. They are neither self-contained nor self-sustaining, and their continued existence worsens climate change like so many unnecessary cow farts.

Even the urban-centric statement Our rage is their food is a tacit admission of parasitism, as the city dweller acknowledges that he has no food of his own, but only their food which he has no real claim on.

Being entirely dependent on the rural producer for every necessity, the useless urban class rages at the possibility that their rural host may wake up, rebel & use their own climate change bugaboo against them.

And, just like that, their bugaboo becomes our boogaloo, a new term that may sound scary (but it's not) because it's just good old competition by another jazzier name.


Best

David Brin said...

Jeez I sampled a few paras and it's worse than ever. jibber-jabber wheeeee!

One point distilled from the fecal flurry....

Adam Smith pointed out that flat-fair-open competition works to create cornucopias of wealth and freedom and understanding only when a society cooperates to create a consensus of rules to reduce cheating, keep all market participants informed and free.

Locum has proved (again) that he hasn't a clue what ANY of the words in my paragraph above mean.

jibber-jabber zzzzzz

Alan Brooks said...

Rural dwellers are not as they were in the distant past; as during, say, the frugal 19th century. Much of what they consume is manufactured + distributed in metro locations. Offspring of the rural frequently move out to live, work, study in metro areas. How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, when they have seen Paree?
Rural progenitors & offspring are complicit in the Metro ways of the world. And since you scarcely reveal your situation, and do not tell us your location, it is only logical to presume that you are also complicit—and perhaps the guilt you feel is partly why you whine.
However you are the most erudite whiner one might encounter at CB (and maybe anywhere). Good for you, you will go far.
Farmers and ranchers have countless times said the world has been sold to Satan. Yet they also claim they themselves are “in this world, but not of the world.”
As sinners, they partake of the fruits of metro areas; however since they are Saved by Amazing Grace, they are “above the Law”. That is, they have a sort-of divine diplomatic immunity—which is worth its weight in gold.
——
When parts of Florida, and other coastal locales, are inundated by seawater because of climate change, very quickly numerous residents will become socialists very quickly. After all, many are in this world, but not of this world—thus possessing Divine Diplomatic Immunity.

scidata said...

Re: the tantalizing bit from Dr. Brin at the end of the previous thread

I'd love to see WJCC somehow woven into the FOUNDATION timeline. Ad astra per computarea.

Alan Brooks said...

LoCum will do very well, imo:
the squeaky wheel gets the grease;
the squeakiest whiner gets the grease.

duncan cairncross said...

The Rural/Urban divide and a UBI

With a UBI people will be able to DECIDE where they want to live - not fixed by an employer in the city

I like living "rural" - a lot of "city people" would prefer to live "rural" (not all of them there are people who love cities)

With a UBI the present "flight" from the countryside would probably reverse - that plus the extra revenue would "Fix" 90% of the problems with "rural life"

Alfred Differ said...

Locumranch's lines are written as one might speak them from behind a lecturn to an entranced audience who responds emotionally every two or three lines. In this case, I think the intended audience is himself, though. Protective incantation.

Reality is much more rude. Most of humanity now lives in cities and the trend continues. It's not just in the US or 'The West'. Most of humanity now lives in cities and more are moving to them every week. The fraction of us who live rural lives is shrinking fast.

Economic reality is equally brutal. Stay in the rural places and you will be left behind. Stay in the rural places and your best hope is to become a charity case supported by cousins who have little in common with you.

Alfred Differ said...

One tiny nitpick I'll make that doesn't destroy any motivation for protecting our civilization...

Pre-Enlightenment times (feudal era) was also (weakly) positive sum. The proxy that shows this is our total headcount. Human population doubled about every 1500 years and that means economic growth occurred.

I'm sure we can all forgive our ancestors for thinking in terms of zero-sum games, though. They would have had to notice a trend occurring over 60 generations to realize that their prince and priest pest-riddled markets were actually positive sum engines of growth capable of an astonishing 0.05% year/year rate.

duncan cairncross said...

Cities

Today there is a massive "pull" to larger and larger cities

I don't believe that is an actual real "pull" - IMHO it is mostly "habit"

There is an optimum city size - where going above that size yields little extra benefit and increasing "cost" of size

The question should then become what is the optimum size - and if it is too large then we should modify the tax structure to reduce it

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

The question should then become what is the optimum size - and if it is too large then we should modify the tax structure to reduce it


Some dynamic of that sort is already happening, although probably not to the effect that you're after. Here in the US, anyway, city centers close to downtowns are getting way too expensive for average people. So they keep moving to newer housing developments on the edge of the urban area, continually pushing that edge further out, thereby increasing the metropolitan footprint.

The movie Soylent Green had 2022 New York City stretching from Philadelphia to...I forget what the other boundary was, but you get the idea. That now seems only a slight exaggeration.

A long time ago, Virginia tried to contain urban sprawl by fiat. Cities like Richmond and Roanoke are not inside the boundaries of any county--they are essentially their own counties. Someone once thought that by fixing the city boundaries in place, urban sprawl would be contained within those boundaries. That worked out as well as you might expect it to.

Tacitus said...

Perhaps before the dust settles from last week's surprising midterm election a few thoughts are in order.

1. The final control of Congress(one half being sufficient) will hinge on results from AZ. Results that arrive a week later than everything else and which are at least nominally under supervision of the D candidate for Governor. When a somewhat similar scenario unfolded in GA there were considerable complaints from y'all. So much should not reside on such bumbling inefficiency with at least the appearance of potential bias. That being said if both parties don't have dedicated and organized observers on the ground they deserve to be snookered.
2. I hold political consultants generally in the lowest of esteem. But the D's got better value from theirs than the R's. Defeats, or perhaps merely lost opportunities, come when you believe your own spin.
3. I don't like it but the concept of voting other than in the traditional, community affirming in person day of fashion appears to be growing in acceptance. They say politics is downstream from culture. I think we'll all find this dismaying in the future.
4. It remains to be seen who will learn from relative victory or defeat. The latter often creates more thought and in turn more needed change. You won't have Biden stepping down now. Will the D Scramble to Succeed be more or less disruptive than the Trump-Desantis battle? Time will tell.

But life goes on. I think Wisconsin got things more or less right. I'll have a house full of kids, grandkids, dogs and deer hunters shortly.

I hope your respective worlds are as good.

Tacitus

Larry Hart said...

Tacitus:

I don't like it but the concept of voting other than in the traditional, community affirming in person day of fashion appears to be growing in acceptance.


C.S. Lewis said of women's suffrage that it was "medicine, not food." He meant that he favored traditional family values in which the man was head of household and was responsible for protecting his wife's interests, but recognized that men weren't doing that. He wasn't happy with the idea of a wife acting as her own agent independent of her husband, but saw the necessity for it being so.

Likewise, spreading out the time and venues for voting might have unintended consequences, but as long as the traditional one-day, one-location manner lends itself too well to voter intimidation, conflicts with work, and unbearably long lines, I have to come down in favor of early voting.

Howard Brazee said...

If the attacker doesn't win quickly, the defense becomes willing to fight to the end. Don't the Russians know what happened in WWII?

Dennis M Davidson said...

Tacitus:
Welcome back to the CB conversation.
Dennis

The final control of Congress (one half being sufficient) will hinge on results from AZ.
Results that arrive a week later than everything else and which are at least nominally
under supervision of the D candidate for Governor.

I trust Katie Hobbs not to meddle in the Arizona election. Why? Not because she is a Democrat. That doesn’t matter to me. I trust her because she has principles. She is not an election-denier, she doesn’t traffic in conspiracy theories. But more to your point, if Biden, Pelosi or Clinton were spreading lies about the integrity of our elections, Hobbs would call them out and do so publicly. She wouldn’t stand for it. Nor would most Democrats.

However, in Georgia, Brian Kemp refused to challenge Trump and his lies about the national elections. Like most Republicans, he’s silent about the big lie. I can’t speak for others on CB, but that was the reason for my concern when Secretary of State Kemp was overseeing governor-candidate Kemp in the 2018 election. Yes, that election turned out better than expected. But elsewhere and across the country Trump’s big lie continues to poison the American electoral system. And yet, Kemp and hundreds of other Republican leaders refuse to speak out and put an end to this nonsense.

David Brin said...

The dog that didn't bite. Just a year ago, everyone assumed any conflict with Russia - even proxy - would result in a devastating wave of cyber attacks and service crashes in the West, due to vaunted, superior Kremlin hacking skills. The opposite proved true. (Indeed, I have suspicions about the year following Biden's inauguration, when our own services were no longer constrained by a KGB-stooge. Putin's desperation, launching the war during the rainy rasputitsa season, begs for an explanation.)

So why do we see no articles in media about the expected cyber sabotage that (seemingly) never came? Even this story reveals US competence at finding the stuff. (Though certainly our folks miss some, as well.)

Keep coming here for questions and suggestions. Almost never (alas) for actual answers!

https://www.reuters.com/technology/exclusive-russian-software-disguised-american-finds-its-way-into-us-army-cdc-2022-11-14/

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

So why do we see no articles in media about the expected cyber sabotage that (seemingly) never came?


Maybe so as not to give them ideas?

David Brin said...

Tacitus, the possibility of electoral cheating does merit adversarial applications of scrutiny and transparency. However, given that nearly all of the organized cheating across the last 30 years has been by Republicans, it is simply the epitome of gall.

Take the voting machines that Foxites are jibber-railing at, now. Until recently, the Diebold company (owned by Russian and right-extremist interests) gave results very different than exit polls and had the bug (feature to republicans) of having no paper audit trail.

Now that paperless systems have finally been ended, Foxite screeches at the honest Dominion machines are absurd. If you suspect an electronic miscount, DEMAND A PAPER AUDIT IN THAT PRECINCT! If it was close, the state pays. If the margin was large, then PAY for the damn audit, if you're sure there was a hacked result! They never do. The screeches ARE the objective in themselves.

2. Geez what a loaded load of absolute cynical rationalizated cynicism: “I hold political consultants generally in the lowest of esteem. But the D's got better value from theirs than the R's. Defeats, or perhaps merely lost opportunities, come when you believe your own spin.”

Carumba, man. Consider the possibility that the sapient part of America is and was simply fed-up with a maniacal confederate cult, stood up and rejected them?

You think ‘consultants’ did this? Speak for your own hypnotized side.

“I don't like it but the concept of voting other than in the traditional, community affirming in person day of fashion appears to be growing in acceptance.”

Fine, then stop blocking the making of election day a holiday, so working stiffs can easily vote? Make it a whole weekend? Make driver’s licenses automatic registration. Offer compliance assistance to those with iffy ID, like a million poor divorced women! If you’ll do those fair things, then *I* will go along with demanding ID at polling places.

Deal?

#4 was an actually cogent and not weighted question. And yes, I am hazarding a guess 2024 may be Whitmer(or Kamala) vs Nikki Haley. That optimistically assumes that sane conservatives like you FINALLY find the cojones to fight the monsters who you’ve allowed to hijack the US right. When you finally do, let us know how we (your countrymen and friends) can help.

Alfred Differ said...

duncan,

There is a possible assumption error you might want to consider when thinking about optima.

For a city to have an optimum size (or any other property) that implies the existence of a function of merit. We won't know that function ex ante, but after something bad happens we might think we have it ex post facto… or enough of it that we are inclined to act.

I put to you that the function doesn't exist… and can't.

What does exist is a personal view of what the function is and persons clump together in factions creating an illusion of the function being known. If one faction is 'large enough' we might actually believe the illusion.

We don't have to believe anything, though. If anyone feels their city is heading in the wrong direction (we take polls on that kind of thing), they can change their situation. Every single one of us who does make a change alters the inputs whether we are directed to do so or not.

Go lightly on changing tax structures to achieve illusory optima when you have a much more refined tool at hand. Just tell people what's going on and let them make informed decisions. If they are well trained and well informed, they can do what your broad tax policies cannot.

———

I live on the California coast in Ventura County. Next door is a county with a giant population and MANY cities. People think of it as one big place called Los Angeles, but it isn't ONE place. People move around because one thing they all have in common is a disagreement over what qualifies as optimal. For example, Musk is currently trying to tempt his SpaceX Hawthorne employees to move to Texas by offering a pay bump. We shall see what happens.

Alfred Differ said...

Tacitus,

I don't like it but the concept of voting other than in the traditional, community affirming in person day of fashion appears to be growing in acceptance. They say politics is downstream from culture. I think we'll all find this dismaying in the future.

I had the option of voting by mail for many years here in California. I turned it down because I liked the community affirming aspects you describe. When the pandemic arrived, I had to accept vote-by-mail at least as a temporary solution, but after doing it once I completely changed my mind. I submitted my forms for permanent vote-by-mail shortly before California moved to make that the default.

Turns out voting by mail gives me more time to think when I'm actually looking at my ballot. I thought that looking at the sample ballot would be the same. It isn't… for me. When I look at an expensive bond measure I pause before putting ink on the page and ask myself if I've done my research. We've been asked a number of times in recent elections to make choices that impact the kidney dialysis industry. Have I don't my research becomes a question that impacts lives and incomes.

I still want the community affirming aspects, though. Instead of putting my ballot in a mailbox, I drive it over to the county seat and deposit it in their drop box. I take a few pictures of me doing so and plop them on Twitter encouraging people to get out and vote. That seems to help some. In our most recent primary I lost my return envelope and had to walk into the administration building and find the office where the election staff worked. They were tickled that I made the effort and voted right there in front of them. That helped a whole lot more, but I don't plan to do that every time. The big drop box near my favorite coffee shop works well enough.

So… I suspect we will adapt somewhat. An old ritual might be lost while a new one is created. I'm fine with that.

David Brin said...

Oh, want voting to matter?

- end gerrymandering, period.

- one of you suggested the Wyoming Solution: Expand the House till every US citizen gets equal representation in multiples of Wyoming's population. Can be done with simple legislation.

- Combine both Dakotas, Idao and Montana, Wyoming & Colorado, Nebraska & Kansas. Or give an extra Senator to each of the top ten cities. That is a pipe dream. But it is simply the right thing to do.

Tacitus said...

Ah David. You are as vitriolic in victory as in defeat. Consistent of course but hardly conducive to an actual discussion that encourages Contrary views.

Tacitus

locumranch said...

Most of humanity now lives in cities and the trend continues.

Alfred is correct, as 80% of the global human population now lives in cities and the 100 year trend towards urbanization is irrefutable.

But, what Alfred fails to say about urbanization is also irrefutable, as urban sustainability relies on the ongoing availability of cheap plentiful power and an unending external supply of food & water.

This situation demonstrates an astounding lack of resiliency, n'est pas?

The EU & a resurgent Ukraine are about to learn this nasty lesson in spades, as Russia executes a tactical retreat from Kherson & most of Ukraine (after destroying their power grid) as the winds of November comes howling. Science has given us an array of facts in this regard.

According to the CDC, hypothermia is most likely to occur at very cold temperatures, yet it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) given certain environmental conditions. We also know that the average human being can live for up to 6 weeks without food but only 3 days without water.

Lenin once claimed that "Every society is three meals away from chaos” and enquiring minds want to know if he spoke fact or fiction.

I therefore look forward to frequent updates from our German correspondent Der Oger as the situation progresses.

And, I can only hope that Dr. Brin has more to say about both 'resiliency' and those darn 'idiot preppers' as the US fuel shortage goes from bad to worse.


Best

Der Oger said...

I therefore look forward to frequent updates from our German correspondent Der Oger as the situation progresses.

1) Gas Storage facilities are filled at 100% capacity. Gas Consumption two weeks ago was approx. 30% lower than a year ago, due to the unusually warm October and early November. Gas price is at 0,194 €/Kilowatt hour. As of yesterday, 43% of our energy production is renewable now, +7% to the previous year. While the construction goals of solar energy has been met, wind energy construction is lagging by 5% to the stated goal. Other energy costs remain higher than in the previous year, but currently trending downward.
Source: https://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/energiemonitor-deutschland-gaspreis-spritpreis-energieversorgung

2) Inflation will be at 10,4 % this year, and is projected to reach 8,8% next year. A recession is reported to start now. This autumn, the two-year peace period of the civil workers union (the largest in Germany) ends, and negotiations are starting soon.

3) Currently, there are no major protests concerning the energy prices. That might change, but for now, the usual suspects are quiet. On the other hand, we have three distinct polarizing discussions:
a) Whether the actions of climate activists are justified or not, and if protesters should face harsher criminal prosecution and preventive arrests.
b) Whether the punitive regulations for long-term unemployed social aid receivers should be lightened or not.
c) Whether to support the soccer world championship in Qatar or not.

4) The Liquid Gas Terminals will start operations in December. This is remarkable, because the normal process for construction permits alone takes years. While critical for our economy, it could endanger the local population of porpoises.

5) Current federal election polls, in alphabetical order, with changes to the last election day:
AfD (Far-Right, Pro Putin): 14.4% (+4.1)
CDU/CSU (Center Right, Pro Ukraine): 27.5% (+3.5%)
FDP (Libertarian, Pro Ukraine): 6.5% (-5%)
Greens (Center Left, Pro Ukraine): 19,8 (+4,5%)
SPD (Center Left, Divided): 19,8 (-5,9)
The Left (Far Left, Mostly Pro Putin): 4,9 (+/-0%)
Source: https://dawum.de/Bundestag/

The CDU/CSU parties currently are campaigning hard right, using the GOP textbook of divisive rhetorics and culture warfare. They are somewhat successful, but do not win back voters from the AfD. If there was an election next sunday, a CDU/Greens or CDU/SPD coalition would be the likely result.

6) There are projections that we will take in 1,2 Million refugees this year, increasing our population by 1.4%. One Million are Ukrainians. We are at full capacity, but in 2015, it was 1.5 million.

7) From June to August, we had a little social experiment: What would happen if you could use public transport (except high speed trains) for 9€/Month? (It could be financed by dropping the tax rebates for business cars alone.) The result: An increase in usage and a decrease of CO2 emissions, but also technical difficulties, delays and crowded trains. The heir to this idea costs 49€ and is much more complicated to use.

David Brin said...

Tacitus I am sorry you feel that way. I do not FEEL 'vitrioloc'! ;-)

Yes, I am militant over the deliberate destruction of negotiated politics as a problem-solving method, in the greatest nation and experiment the world ever saw. I see our struggles as existential...

...but I seriously like you! And while I admit that the stakes certainly make my language colorful and often brusque, I suggest perhaps the 'vitriol' that you perceive is partly (not all) a function of perception. Knowing that I do mean well... might you meet me halfway with a thicker skin?

----

locum has no sense of either good/evil or pragmatism.

- Putin's actions are across the board unambiguously evil. And punishing that is in the interest of all civilization+survival.

- They are also stunningly impractical, achieving ALL outcomes diametrically opposite to stated goals.

Propelling a stronger (by far) NATO.
Stripping his own borders bare (proving his NATO fears were lies.)
Setting Ukrainian national identity not just in stone but neutronium.
Uniting almost all non-despot ruled peoples against him
Almost utterly destroying the RF military.
Proving to all observers that US etc military tech is light years ahead.

Above all, the historically insanely stoopid assumption locum (naturally) voiced that a people who are on the path of victory, who still have roofs over their heads and food and hope, can't stand a little cold, when historically folks who were far more devastated (the Blitz, Hamburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Hanoi etc) girded themselves to endure and prevail?

I got 3 words.

Make it four.

You got hopes, goombah.

scidata said...

Canada has announced its Lunar Rover project (2026), something I've been prodding for and advocating for a decade. No mention so far of my name :)

https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/astronomy/moon-exploration/first-canadian-rover-to-explore-the-moon.asp

Alfred Differ said...

locumranch,

This situation demonstrates an astounding lack of resiliency, n'est pas?

Locally? There is truth in this. War disrupts market assumptions… but doesn't necessarily eliminate markets. Prices swing and supply chains are rattled, but unless the local population is killed their market solutions adjust to a new reality.

Globally? No. This trend has been underway for several generations now in The West and picked up elsewhere after WWII and the end of most colonial empires. Look up the stats and you'll see it going on even while wars occur nearby.

———

The average person alive today has a real income about 16x what they need for a subsistence farming life where they support their family and eek out a surplus. Sixteen TIMES the subsistence income without trying to account for the fact that much of what they can buy and sell is much higher quality than was commonly available 30 generations ago. SIXTEEN TIMES larger… and growing. (In the US it is closer to 100x.)

They're moving to the cities because they can afford to pursue what they see as better opportunities.

———

Cities come into being due to economic forces where capital accumulates. Where that happens, it makes sense (pure prudence) for people to migrate in search of more income. We've been doing THAT since a little after the ice melted last time. We've been doing that even though we had to suffer princes, priests, and living in our own filth. Cities were simply a better option IF one could afford to make the move.

That doesn't make city life idyllic. Far from it.
Still… they come.

———

To argue that the situation demonstrates an astounding lack of resiliency is equivalent to saying the vast majority of humanity is too stupid to see the danger. I put to you that some ARE that stupid, but most aren't. Most of our cousins are actually pretty clever.

1. Some would point to worse options if they don't move.
2. Some would argue that they'll move again when needed. They aren't making 'final' choices.
3. Some are simply making timely choices in places where YOU have no local knowledge beyond possible stereotypes.

———

The actual resiliency problem on display is our neighbor's inability to adjust to the consequences of economic innovation accelerated by those who have chosen to move to the cities.

gregory byshenk said...

duncan cairncross said...
I'm a car nut - and an electric car nut - and Alfred is 100% correct - Tesla made the first electric car that was a superb CAR

The other companies wanted to make handfuls of "hair shirt" cars for the tree huggers who needed a car but felt guilty about it

Without Tesla we would STILL be 20 years away from electric cars


What is your basis for this claim?

As I noted, the Nissan leaf came to market before the Tesla Model S, and is by all accounts (I've never driven one) a fine automobile. And the Tesla Model S was - at least at the beginning of its production - by most accounts a rather poor automobile with terrible build quality. (Here in the Netherlands a group of taxi drivers ended up suing the company after leasing Teslas, because they were constantly breaking down. And I know people who own/lease Tesla Model S vehicles, and they report that they are 'cool', but not especially good.)

Which means, as I suggested, that Musk was a great promoter, making (not particularly good) electric cars 'cool' and marketable to USAmericans.

But the '20 years away' claim is absurd on its face, for the reasons already mentioned: other manufacturers producing proper (non hair-shirt) electric vehicles at the same time (or even before!) Tesla did.

duncan cairncross said...

Gregory

The early Leaf was awful - and ugly - a real hair shirt car made in small numbers

For the simple and total reason that an existing auto maker made MORE MONEY on a dino burner

Just like all of the other EVs until Musk pointed out the obvious - start with the rich and move down

Electric cars - like re-usable rockets - would still be 20 years away without him

gregory byshenk said...

David wrote:
GB you are unfair. It was less the batteries than the motors, that leaped fantastically in power late in the 20th. And Elon brilliantly realized that no one would believe it till his roadster smashed them in races, destroying the old put-put image of e-cars. He then brilliantly went for the super luxury market with the model S, making it a status symbol.

Yes, the usability of motors "leaped fantastically in power late in the 20th". But that was not sufficient, and that is why the "electric" vehicles of the early 21st were all hybrid, rather than fully electric: batteries were not able to provide sufficient range at a reasonable price to provide more than very limited range.

And that's my point about being a 'promoter'. Yes, the Tesla Model S was 'cool'. But, as I noted earlier, it was not particularly good, and it was not unique: there were lots of other people and manufacturers working on the same ideas at the same time - and Nissan actually brought their practical electric vehicle to market before the Model S. And it is other manufacturers who are making electric vehicles for the rest of "us".

Maybe this is not visible in the US, due to the tax breaks given for US-made electric vehicles. I haven't looked much into this, but I have read that these make all the available foreign-made electric vehicles significantly less competitive.

gregory byshenk said...

duncan cairncross said...
Its not really Rural/Urban - its more the winners and the "left behind"

The solution is simple - a Useful - Universal Basic Income

This would flow money into the poor Rural areas


The problem is that the 'rural'/MAGA voters (and thus those who represent them) will howl in outrage at such an idea, as it would mean that income would go to the "wrong" people.

Duncan, later
With a UBI people will be able to DECIDE where they want to live - not fixed by an employer in the city

This is certainly true.

I like living "rural" - a lot of "city people" would prefer to live "rural" (not all of them there are people who love cities)

With a UBI the present "flight" from the countryside would probably reverse - that plus the extra revenue would "Fix" 90% of the problems with "rural life"


This probably less so.

I believe you when you say that you "like living rural", but I question the number of people who really desire this. No doubt lots of people like the idea of 'living rural', but from what I can see (partly from people I know - and I have family that lives rural, including those who actually farm) the reality is somewhat less appealing.

That is, many people have an idealized image of "rural" life, but in reality they don't much like the sounds and smells of farming, the trucks and tractors on the roads, traveling 30 miles to do any shopping - on bad roads that might or might not be plowed and repaired quickly, power that might take a week to be turned back on in case of an outage, limited speeds on their Internet connection, and so on.

This is why there is so much demand for housing near the city. People want to have the feel of "rural" living (a big house with some acreage), but be close enough to the "city" to partake of the resources the city provides, and which are limited or absent if one lives truly "rural".

Note that I do not mean to say that this applies to everyone. No doubt there are some who would relocate if they had the option. But I think these numbers are not large, and are unlikely to change the overall trends.

gregory byshenk said...

DP said...
Yet the Germans in 1945 still hated the Jews (the full extent of the camps and the Shoah wasn't know just yet). We gave them the Marshal Plan anyways as it was the only way to break them of their ingrained culture of hatred and fear.

First (out of order) a historical note.

While avoiding the attempt to punish the axis was a good idea (although arguably as much about the USSR as it was about western Europe), your assumed chronology is off.

The Marshall Plan was not enacted until April 1948, almost two years after the end of the (primary) Nuremberg trials (August 1946). So the camps were no longer any secret.

Aside from forestry and mining (whose jobs were mostly destroyed by automation), Each small town had a local factory or industry that provided its economic heartbeat. My wife's small town is one of the few lucky ones with a local family-owned electronics control business that is totally committed to her town and county. Most of the rest of small town America died when their jobs got shipped overseas to low wage labor markets.

Or when their jobs got shipped to elsewhere in the US where they could pay lower wages. This is one of those scale and diversity things: a town that is reliant on a single employer is in a very risky position. Part of the reason for the appeal of urban areas is that this is not the case: if I lose my job at employer X, then I can go look at employer Y or Z.

If we don't extend a Marshall Plan to the rural American heart of Trump country, even if they may not deserve it, we will see another Trump (maybe a smarter more dangerous Trump) in a decade or so.

Biden (assuming he won't run again because of age) should spend the rest of his already very successful term reaching out to and helping these people. With Trump's spell on the GOP broken, he should finally get some help from across the aisle in this endeavor.


The problem here is how one is to accomplish this. The voters in these areas - in part driven by the media, continue to elect representatives who are dead set against doing anything. Which Republicans in the Senate will vote for cloture if such a bill comes before them?

The biggest problem for "the left behind" seems to be magical thinking. They want the government to help them while being able to think that they are self-reliant. They want good paying jobs, but oppose unions, increases in the minimum wage, or any limitations on what business can do. They are opposed to "big government" but want "someone" to ensure that there are businesses providing good jobs in their communities (which would require some extremely large - and arguably unconstitutional - actions on the part of government).

locumranch said...

Alfred offers spurious market-based arguments about the urban environment providing Sixteen TIMES the subsistence income which, of course, has bugger all to do with resource availability in the event of a siege, blockade or market failure, as in the case of Kherson (UKR) when some unspecified force turns off the people's power, water & groceries in order to render their Sixteen TIMES subsistence income moot.

Again, this is irrefutable proof of URBAN FRAGILITY rather than resiliency, unless Alfred (or, for that matter, anyone) can point to some well-supplied top secret bunkers that can provide umpteen million city dwellers with life's necessities for the duration of an indefinite emergency.

Alfred tends to fetishize the All Powerful Market and, in general, I respect this as it results in excruciating attention to detail, but it also means that he has great difficulty conceiving of its potential failure.

It's called 'denial' and I suspect that this very same process is in play with Der Oger in regards to her glowing report focusing on German competency rather than the less than stellar competency of the greater EU.

As I've said before, our cities, their denizens & our management class are anachronisms that no longer serve their prior purpose as a centralized control hub & commodities clearing house, having been made 'useless' by the decentralizing influence of the internet.

Either way, the cold winter winds will soon reveal the truth for all to see.


Best

George Carty said...

How likely is it that the war in Ukraine will cause a re-appraisal of nationalism in the Western world, especially in the progressive side of the political spectrum which traditionally tended to be anti-nationalist, but which is now overwhelmingly backing the Ukrainian nation-state against the Russian multi-ethnic empire?

Putin's conflation of Ukrainian identity with "Nazism", which (AIUI) is based on how post-Maidan Ukraine has adopted some old symbolism from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists: examples of this being the now-famous "Слава Україні! Героям слава!" ("Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!") call-and-response, as well as the Ukrainian army's adoption of a variation of the OUN's anthem "Зродились ми великої години" ("We were born in a great hour") – it's scary how this song has now become my musical guilty pleasure, even learning how to sing it even though I've never studied any Slavic languages before!

By contrast it seems like the vision of an Eastern Europe of ethnic nation-states (as the OUN advocated for, along with its later fellow-travellers in the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations) doesn't seem to have much support among today's far-right, which have mostly decided to suck up to Russian imperialism instead.

scidata said...

The human brain is wired for romanticism. One of the many reasons why I consider WJCC to be so important.
Calculemus!

Larry Hart said...

gregory byshenk:

I believe you when you say that you "like living rural", but I question the number of people who really desire this. No doubt lots of people like the idea of 'living rural', but from what I can see (partly from people I know - and I have family that lives rural, including those who actually farm) the reality is somewhat less appealing.


This was illustrated beautifully in Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, way back when the earth was still cooling in 1953. After losing his management job, the protagonist tried living in his rustic hobby farmhouse and gave that up after a day or so.


That is, many people have an idealized image of "rural" life, but in reality they don't much like the sounds and smells of farming, the trucks and tractors on the roads, traveling 30 miles to do any shopping - on bad roads that might or might not be plowed and repaired quickly, power that might take a week to be turned back on in case of an outage, limited speeds on their Internet connection, and so on.


I think the people you describe are attracted to something more like camping than they are to day-to-day, season-to-season farm life.

That said, you might be taking "rural" a mite too literally. Some of the others here talking about people moving out of cities for a more rural setting seem to be thinking of small towns or villages, not just farms and ranches.

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart said...
That said, you might be taking "rural" a mite too literally. Some of the others here talking about people moving out of cities for a more rural setting seem to be thinking of small towns or villages, not just farms and ranches.

Perhaps, but then we end up in the grey area between 'rural' and 'urban'.

Most of what I described applies more or less equally for truly 'rural' small towns and villages. These small towns - with their few thousand residents - will not be much different. You may have a small grocery, a few restaurants and maybe a tavern, and maybe some sort of medical services. But probably not a department store, a hospital, or anything more. And unless you are very lucky, you will have bad roads and significantly poorer-quality services than what you are used to in the city.

Yes, some people really do prefer truly rural or small town living. I know some who do. But most - even many or most who grew up that way - do not. Or at least the positives are not enough to outweigh the negatives.

Alan Brooks said...

Such as LoCum do not back up their assertions that rural dwellers are morally superior to city slickers. All they can prove is—obviously—rural folks are closer to nature.

Unknown said...

As someone who can go up my back steps, cross a street and a grassy park, and suddenly be hiking in the woods, I rather enjoy being on the edge of city things.

However, the fact that several hospitals and two libraries are still within easy driving distance from my front door means that I'm not interested in getting any more "rural" than that.

Regarding a rural Marshall plan, about the only way to garner its acceptance around here would be to offer guarantees that it not be extended to city folk/people of the black persuasion (see Greg above). Someone I used to work next to years ago (same pay grade, so not rich) was enraged by Obamacare and stated unironically that they would rather die in a ditch than accept help from the (evil) government - this alarmed a co-worker who was her friend and generally shared her political beliefs, but perhaps not to that extent. The whole "sparrows, curtain rods, underpasses" thing is quite real.

Pappenheimer

P.S. cities have long acted as a sink for rural populations - particularly in high-density population areas such as China and Japan, where every hectare of flat ground is already subdivided to hell by generations of families. As Japan is undergoing a population decline and immigration is apparently out of the question, I'm wondering if rural -> urban population flow will reverse itself at some point. And, no, I'm not talking about the Khmer Rouge solution.

Alan Brooks said...

The nasty old jest was how the Khmer Rouge discovered a way to solve the Population Problem.

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Such as LoCum do not back up their assertions that rural dwellers are morally superior to city slickers. All they can prove is—obviously—rural folks are closer to nature.


loc's point seems to be that rural folks are the ones propping up urban society with food production, and that if we keep ignoring their needs, the rural folk will rebel and stop feeding us.

I actually wonder why this hasn't already happened in the past 246-400 years. Rural poverty or at least rural economic uncertainty isn't a new phenomenon. It even got a mention in Hamilton, which I know is fiction, but the historical setting seems accurate:

Our poorest citizens, our farmers, live ration to ration
As Wall Street robs ‘em blind in search of chips to cash in.

reason said...

Larry Hart,
have you actually thought that one through - (the rural folks stop feeding us)?

1. They would have to organize nationwide - do you provincial farmers doing that?
2. They live in remote places and rely on supplies from all over the place and are deeply indebted. i.e. There is a good chance it would hurt them more than us. City folks are mostly on the coast and can be supplied from international sources.

reason said...

Larry Hart,
actually what they could do is all go bio at once - i.e. cut down the supply and increase the price. The impact of that would be interesting. But the problem is that it goes completely against their self-image.

Larry Hart said...

reason:

Larry Hart,
have you actually thought that one through - (the rural folks stop feeding us)?


I guess my point was, "If they haven't rebelled like that in the last 246-400 years, they're probably not going to."

locumranch said...

Such as LoCum do not back up their assertions that rural dwellers are morally superior to city slickers.

You're confused as I've never claimed 'moral superiority' in any argument, even though I routinely accuse my adversaries of hypocrisy, projection, stupidity, parasitism & hubris, so you must be thinking of another someone who posts here regularly & routinely invokes moral superiority in wager form.

Loc's point seems to be that rural folks are the ones propping up urban society with food production, and that if we keep ignoring their needs, the rural folk will rebel and stop feeding us.

My point exactly, followed by a delusional "I actually wonder why this hasn't already happened in the past 246-400 years", even though every history book confirms this well-worn historical pattern, as evidenced by M. Guillotine, Bolshevism, Pol Pot, the Red Guard, the Sandinistas & that funny little mustachioed man whose name will not be mentioned.

But, those are just examples of open rebellions, whereas those deeply-indebted rurals who suddenly stop feeding us is about 1000 TIMES easier because all they have to do is literally nothing, as in “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, unless you truly believe that those slack-jawed yokels labour to feed their urban betters for literally nothing.

Even so, it never ceases to amaze how the very rich who rule over the very poor and earn upwards of Sixteen TIMES subsistence income will always insist that they are somehow exempt from this well-established historical pattern because of some class-based innate & intrinsic moral superiority.

And, now, Breaking News:

NATO just announced its Causa Belli after blaming an explosion at a Polish Grain Dryer, Elevator or Silo near the Ukrainian Border on stray Russian missiles, even though grain dryers, elevators & silos self-detonate in rural areas on a regular basis because grain dust is notorious inflammable & explosive, proving once again that our managerial class rulers are incredibly (1) stupid (2) hypocritical (3) hubristic and (4) parasitic AND will most likely kill us all unless we do for them first.


Best

Der Oger said...

It's called 'denial' and I suspect that this very same process is in play with Der Oger in regards to her glowing report focusing on German competency rather than the less than stellar competency of the greater EU.

Some thoughts:
1) I assume you are just moving the goalposts here, but, as a reminder,
You wrote:
I therefore look forward to frequent updates from our German correspondent Der Oger as the situation progresses.
I did not comment on the EU because you did not ask, and, frankly, I think playing those meaningless games with cheap rhetoric tricks is a waste of time.
2) Glowing report of competency? No, just facts. And while I'd agree it was incompetence and also corruption that brought us to this situation, at the moment, I am somewhat relieved that the situation is better now than it seemed a few months ago.
3) Last time I checked, my pronouns where "He/Him".



duncan cairncross said...

Rural living

I live in a small town 8,000 people (Gore)

We have water, sewage, library, hospital, dentists, two high schools, doctors all that stuff
Two supermarkets, Two DIY stores, four restaurants, 10 (ish) take-aways
Fair number of shops
About 5 medium sized businesses
More tractor dealers than car dealers

The local "Big City" (Invercargill) (57,000 people) is 70 km away

There is a trend away from this sort of living and a flow towards New Zealand's only BIG city - Auckland - which has about 30% of the whole population living there

This DEGRADES the lifestyle of most people

I would do two things - a "Tax" on Aucklanders - ad a UBI to encourage the smaller towns

Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

I assume you are just moving the goalposts here,


He does that. Also lies and slanders.


Last time I checked, my pronouns where "He/Him".


Heh. "Der", of course. So obvious in retrospect.

David Brin said...

Never got around to posting this:

Greg B the Model S was not the first Tesla. That was the Roadster, which fought the big fights, proving that e-cars could both perform and attract deep pockets buyers.

--

Some of you ignore that the big urban trend is in-filling. Revived downtowns and riverfronts. In SDiego height restrictions are vanishing near public transport, allowing cheaper housing within easy reach of job centers.

Aside. While the Marshall Plan officially began in 48, the occupation ofrces were heavily busy FEEDING the German populace and employing almost everybody with cleanup and restoring basic services.

Pappenheimer: “P.S. cities have long acted as a sink for rural populations …”

I’ve seen stats that death rates in cities would spike, every generation due to a plague. Yet rural folks ALWAYS flowed into cities to replenish and grow the populations. Because rural life was worse.
Imagine that.

Quick skim. Locum boils down to: “I hope all my urban fellow citizens will die so we can go back to plantation feudalism.” Concocting incantations to justify hope it will be so. A true putinist. Both evil and unwilling ever to learn.


LATER:

the whole 'starve the cities thing is nuts. The cities are where half of the farmers' children now live, And California feeds the nation.

---

predicted by Pohl & Kornbluth, back in the 1950s! “From science fiction to reality, 'no kill' meat may be coming soon.” Different from plant-based meat substitutes. More than 80 companies are staking a future in the space. And in total, this could be as much of an Earth saver (and karma reducer) as anything else on the horizon.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/11/14/1136186819/cultivated-cultured-meat-heathy-climate-change

Pertinent because and end to cattle ranching and even poultry will change things.

----

The RF missile that hit Poland could be a Putin chip on his shoulder, or most likely just more RF tech incompetence... or (remote possibility) a NATO staged incident. Whatever. It will take a lot more to invoke Article 5. When it does happen, a pack of cub scouts from Lithuania could take Minsk, to cheers from the masses.

locum: "will kill us all!" You wish.

Alan Brooks said...

When I was down on the farm, residents said to vote GOP, even though the GOP apparently was instrumental, commencing with Nixon-Ford, in shifting weath upwards.
Rural residents told the ‘loaves and fishes’ story over ‘n again—to illustrate how the deity is offering us the Horn of Plenty. (Wouldn’t argue with it!)
As for superiority, your continued contention that we depend on rural dwellers but not vice versa, is tantamount to an inference that country folk are indeed morally superior.
And finally, your scenario of farmers and ranchers merely doing nothing for starvation to triumph? Yesterday, world population officially passed eight billion. I daresay that if food producers in one area refused to produce, other areas would produce. ‘Course, if there wasn’t enough to go around, they’d keep it for themselves.
Naturally, they would have to trade some food for medicine, at the very least.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

And California feeds the nation.


You and Illinois both.


The RF missile that hit Poland could be a Putin chip on his shoulder, or most likely just more RF tech incompetence... or (remote possibility) a NATO staged incident.


A while back, Treebeard was so sure that the US or a NATO country (taking orders from the US) blew up the Nordstream pipeline. Yet the most plausible explanation I've heard is that Russia blew it themselves rather than vent the pressurized gas that was already there and going nowhere.

Likewise, locum is so sure that Russia is a scapegoat for the damage in Poland. Of course there's a chance, but given what we've seen of this war, Occam's Razor argues for Russian incompetence.

Whatever. It will take a lot more to invoke Article 5. When it does happen, a pack of cub scouts from Lithuania could take Minsk, to cheers from the masses.


Given that it was probably not an intentional strike on NATO territory, I very much doubt that NATO will strike or invade Russian territory proper. However, striking Russian positions in Ukraine sounds like a real possible response.


locum: "will kill us all!" You wish.


If farmers and Trumpist insurrectionists are justified in their anger against managerial elites for ignoring their needs, then surely Black Lives Matter is equally justified in their lesser level of civil protests after centuries of exploitation and abuse. Until aggrieved old white Christians recognize that other people's anger at injustice is every bit as justified as their own is, they can f*** their feelings!

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

As for superiority, your continued contention that we depend on rural dwellers but not vice versa, is tantamount to an inference that country folk are indeed morally superior.


Not necessarily. Only an inference that country folk produce the most important stuff in the universe, analogous to spice on Arrakis.

Which again begs the question, a variation on "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" If farmers are so much more valuable to humanity than all those billions of city folk, then why aren't they our feudal overlords?

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

When I was down on the farm, residents said to vote GOP, even though the GOP apparently was instrumental, commencing with Nixon-Ford, in shifting weath upwards.


Oh, good. I thought I was the only one who noticed that all the neoliberal stuff that Republican populists object to were foisted on us by Republicans.


Rural residents told the ‘loaves and fishes’ story over ‘n again—to illustrate how the deity is offering us the Horn of Plenty.


I don't get it. How does the Bible justify supporting the ones who treat all the loaves and fishes as their private property and disdain the idea of handing them out?

David Brin said...

It now seems possible the missile hitting Poland might have been a Ukrainian S-300 that shot at RF incoming missiles and went astray. It which case the $ liability is still likely Russian.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

...might have been a Ukrainian S-300


And if that is the explanation, I doubt NATO will start WWIII over it. Which is the exact opposite of:

proving once again that our managerial class rulers are incredibly (1) stupid (2) hypocritical (3) hubristic and (4) parasitic AND will most likely kill us all unless we do for them first.


No surprise there.

David Brin said...

Not quite the cavitron creation of actual massive micro singularities that forms the underlying premise of my novel EARTH. Nor is this quite what the headline implies, This is not a ‘black hole’ but an ‘analog’ that replicates a few of the boundary conditions. Still, kinda cool results.

A one-dimensional chain of atoms served as a path for electrons to 'hop' from one position to another. By tuning the ease with which this hopping can occur, the physicists could cause certain properties to vanish, effectively creating a kind of event horizon that interfered with the wave-like nature of the electrons. This in turn created an analog to Hawking Radiation… sort of. The model offers a way to study the emergence of Hawking radiation in an environment that isn't influenced by the wild dynamics of the formation of a black hole.

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-created-a-black-hole-in-the-lab-and-then-it-started-to-glow

Larry Hart said...

Looking for predictions from Earth?

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/14/tidal-power-clean-energy-bay-fundy.html

Who Will Win the Race to Generate Electricity From Ocean Tides?

The Bay of Fundy, between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has one of the world’s most powerful tides. Now, engineers and scientists hope to finally turn it into a clean energy source.
...
Every six hours in the Minas Passage — the narrow portion of the bay near the port of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia — the water level rises or falls about 55 feet, roughly the height of a four-story building.

In all, 14 billion metric tons of water make the trip across the bay every 12 hours at speeds of up 12 miles per hour. The Minas Passage is estimated to have the potential to generate about 7,000 megawatts of power, more than double the amount of electricity currently generated by other sources for the province of nearly one million residents.
...

Alfred Differ said...

Gregory Byshenk,

The Leaf? Seriously?

Last time I went car buying (late 2016) I found a few of them at the local CarMax. Low sticker prices on them. Teslas weren't on the lot at all. I asked about that and the sales guy just kinda rolled his eyes at the Leafs. He spoke briefly about battery lifespans and then diverted us toward cars with much larger sticker prices.

Seems they had almost no value in the used market which said all I needed to hear about them. Hair shirts are like that. We buy them as a kind of self punishment, but few want one… let alone a used one.

———

Think what you like about Musk as a person, but don't let it cloud your objectivity too much. I'll offer a small tip in that direction. He's actually NOT that good a promoter. I've met guys who are much better at that. What Musk has that they don't is something you won't see at a distance. He persuades… and that's not the same. Persuading engineers something is technically possible requires one learn to speak their language. Promoters paint a vision. Persuaders move you to create it.

I'm a better promoter than he is… and I'd be a rich guy if I could have figured out how to persuade the investors I met to buy in to my companies.

duncan cairncross said...

Alfred

I have never met the guy but I suspect Musk is also a "barrier remover" - somebody that the engineers can use like a battering ram for obstacles

Alfred Differ said...

I can believe that, but I put that in the persuasion tool kit of those engineers. “We know what to do” can persuade someone who knows what an entrepreneur really does… which is turn smoke and mirrors into reality. Vision made real.

I’ve known so many vision people who suck at persuasion it hurts.

gregory byshenk said...

duncan cairncross said...
Rural living [in New Zealand]

Yes, NZ is different. I was taking this from a US perspective, given that this is where most (I think) of the readers live. Things are also different here in the Netherlands, and elsewhere in the world. In the USA, truly rural (or rural small town) life is generally much more isolated.

What is interesting, though, is that the same story seems to play out no matter where one looks: from the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia - and even, as you point out, to New Zealand.

Whether or not "[t]his DEGRADES the lifestyle of most people" is a question that depends on what lifestyle people are looking for. From what I can see, most people do not seem to agree.

As examples, I can think of three families (within my extended family) - who were raised "rural" in the USA. In one case, one child stayed (and farms), but three others moved to cities; in another, one child stayed in the local small town, but three others moved to cities; in another, all three children moved from the rural town to much larger cities. This is only anecdata, of course, but it seems to me that many, many people prefer the things that are available in cities to the things that are available in rural areas.

And I don't see a UBI changing this. Give people the option of being poor in a small town or rich(er) in a city, and the vast majority of people (I think - certainly many) will choose the latter.

Der Oger said...

Rural vs. Urban: I sometimes think that is a conflict dating back for as long as states covered more land than the immediate area of a single settlement.
Take the conflicts between Optimates vs. Populares of the Roman republican era, for example.
The Hansa Wars and later, the Dutch War for independence.
Your own (ongoing, if OGH is to believed) civil war.
The industrialized, leftist west against the agricultural, monarchist east of the Weimar Republic. (In some way, it is still like this.)
Remainers vs. Brexiteers.

Additional thoughts:
1) With the climate change underway, the future productivity of many contemporary agricultural centers is in question. Also, many soils are depleted from centuries of use, and would take decades or longer to be productive again.
2) Agricultural lands are more and more centralized in few hands, or dependent on large corporations. Examples: Bill Gates, who owns the largest amount of arable land in the US, and Monsanto.
3) The majority of our small and medium sized industrial production facilities have been constructed in rural communities, making them the wealthiest and those with the lowest unemployment rates. How? Tax incentives. And lowered standards, in some cases.
4) Rural communities are relatively easy to flip compared to urban communities, if enough persons settle there. For example, we have areas heavily settled by immigrants of German-Russian descent (either protestants or orthodox) ... and thereby breaking the power the Catholic church once had over the area. Rising real estate prices could lead to mass migrations away from urban centers, and change the political composition of communities they migrate from and to.

gregory byshenk said...

David Brin said...
Greg B the Model S was not the first Tesla. That was the Roadster, which fought the big fights, proving that e-cars could both perform and attract deep pockets buyers.

The Roadster was a toy. Less than 2500 of them were made, and making them involved shoving a very powerful electric power system into a Lotus (ok, this is oversimplified, but...), and that is pretty much guaranteed to produce a "cool" (fun, fast) car. But it still suffered from the problems of early electric vehicles: yes, you could drive it really fast, but then the range would plummet (one might thing that Top Gear cheated a bit in their story, but I know someone who tested a Roadster and agreed that, if one drove it hard than the range was abysmal).


Alfred Differ said...
The Leaf? Seriously?

Last time I went car buying (late 2016) I found a few of them at the local CarMax. Low sticker prices on them. Teslas weren't on the lot at all. I asked about that and the sales guy just kinda rolled his eyes at the Leafs. He spoke briefly about battery lifespans and then diverted us toward cars with much larger sticker prices.

Seems they had almost no value in the used market which said all I needed to hear about them. Hair shirts are like that. We buy them as a kind of self punishment, but few want one… let alone a used one.


I suppose I should note that a friend of mine in California has a (used!) Leaf and thinks that it is a great city/suburban car. Perfect for him and his small family, who don't need to drive hundreds of miles a day (something that very few people - even Americans - need to do). Last I heard its battery was down about 10% after seven years, which was still fine, and there were no other real issues with the car.

So what, exactly, is it about the Leaf that makes it a "hair shirt" car? A used-car dealer bad-mouthing a vehicle in order to push you to something more expensive is hardly reliable evidence.

Yes, of course the Leaf was not as "nice" a car as a Model S. But at less than half the price, one should not expect it to be. One would not expect a new $20K Toyota Corolla to be the same as a $42K BMW 3 series.

As for "no value in the used market", the current average price for a 2013 Leaf looks to be about $13k, compared with about $30k for a 2013 Model S. But given that Leaf cost about $30k new while a Model S cost $65k (or significantly more), that isn't wildly different. (Based on these numbers, the Model S retained a bit more of its value - 53% vs 43% - but it still would have ended up costing you $30k over its life compared to only $17K for the Leaf.)


Think what you like about Musk as a person, but don't let it cloud your objectivity too much. I'll offer a small tip in that direction. He's actually NOT that good a promoter. I've met guys who are much better at that. What Musk has that they don't is something you won't see at a distance. He persuades… and that's not the same. Persuading engineers something is technically possible requires one learn to speak their language. Promoters paint a vision. Persuaders move you to create it.

I'm not sure even this much is true. I've worked with real engineers (I have 'engineer' in my job title, but I work in IT, which arguably doesn't count) and in my experience, if you pay them to do something interesting they will be happy to do it, whether it will work or not (and failures can be as interesting as successes).

Additionally, the current state of Twitter would ad least suggest that any supposed ability in "[p]ersuading engineers" is at least questionable.

Tim H. said...

Concerning Elon Musk:

https://newrepublic.com/article/168572/rich-guys-say-the-darndest-things

He's being compared to Mr. Burns from The Simpson's, looks like loose lips aren't healthy for market valuations.

Tim H. said...

Something to think about, As the (Formerly) GOP has been libertarian, for money, the Democrats are becoming libertarian for personal freedom. Not as much as I suspect is needed, but a nice start.

Larry Hart said...

Tim H:

the Democrats are becoming libertarian for personal freedom.


They always have been, at least when I was growing up in the 60s. Republicans were the party of conformity and Democrats were the "If you're not hurting anyone else, why not?" party. As an adult, I've always been amazed that the right has managed to turn that messaging on its ear and make the liberals/Democrats into the "nanny state" party and themselves into the champions of "liberty".

What they've managed to do is make "forcing me to be tolerant of others" into repression and "freedom to coerce others into following my values" into liberty. Quite a coup if you ask me.

Until very recently, the Republicans have been very successful at framing the issue as government coercion being bad and individual freedom being good, knowing full well that their rich and powerful constituents benefit the most from unopposed ability to do what they wilt. However, with their Christian Nation enforced morality, voter suppression, and dictator worship, they've thrown the mask off. They're in favor of authoritarian fascism and against personal liberty except for their own selves.

Larry Hart said...

Heh.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Items/Nov16-1.html

We can't imagine why you would want to do so [watch yesterday's Trump announcement], however. Maybe if you're Catholic and you need to do penance, we guess. Or if you're really into S&M and the whips just aren't getting it done anymore. Or you are playing a drinking game where you take a shot of Baijiu every time someone mispronounces "China."

scidata said...

I expect that "Liftoff...MECO...Lunar insertion" is ringing in Elon's ears about now. The real c-word in full effect.

Tim H. said...

L. H., not always, but the Ds are bright enough to see advantages the (Formerly) GOP has given them by conforming to the "Dixiecrats" prejudices.

Darrell E said...

Musk certainly has his negatives, but the whole "Tesla's suck, Space X is milking taxpayer money and hasn't done anything new or impressive, Musk is just a scam artist, Musk hasn't had anything to do with any of his companies' technical achievements, he just uses other people," that's all very wrong. People making these sorts of claims are allowing their dislike of Musk to cloud their judgement and derail their ability to assess data.

Frankly, I don't understand what is so hard to grasp about this. People can be complete scum and at the same time be very good at some things, achieve very impressive things. Musk is very competent in several technical fields. Despite the naysayers sureness that he is just riding underlings' coat tails he has been instrumental in the design, engineering and production of Tesla vehicles and SpaceX engines, boosters, spaceships and other hardware. Despite his many failings he is also a once or twice in a generation over-achiever.

People still poo pooing Tesla vehicles as if they are no good, or not innovative, or are about to be squashed because the big automakers are about to release their Tesla-killers any day now, you are just avoiding the obvious. Do you pay attention to car sales at all? Guess what. The Toyota Corolla has just recently been dethroned as the top selling car, a title which it held for about 40 years. Guess what vehicle beat it recently? The Tesla Model Y. Do you people pay any attention to what the specialists that the big auto makers use to evaluate their own, and their competitors, vehicles and processes have to say about Tesla? You really should. Have you ever listened to Musk talk about technical matters with other informed people or experts? You really should. Tesla and Space X are not just innovative, they are significantly ahead of everyone else.

Hate him for the negative things but quite fooling yourself about his competence and the degree to which he has personally contributed to the great success of Tesla and SpaceX. When people start making such obviously wrong claims it calls into question any other claims or arguments they may make because it demonstrates a failure to accurately assess easily available information. Discarding such information, that go against your claims, as fanboi BS or fake news is not persuasive.

scidata said...

My opinion matters very little, but I've been one of the biggest Musk boosters in CB for years (esp. SpaceX). The $44B Twitter adventure distresses me, as does the Starship dormancy. I hope that NASA gave him a wakeup call this morning, that's all.

John R. Christiansen said...

A bunch of interesting threads but another point on "rural vs. urban:" My perception is that in most comments "rural" is assumed to mean "agricultural," which is way too broad a brush. In US terms this frames up the "rural" as Jeffersonian yeoman farmers, which is not much of a thing now anywhere in the US.

A lot of "rural" areas are about resource extraction, e.g. mining and timber, etc. I'd say this is what the cotton and sugar plantations were about, too; they certainly weren't yeoman farmer smallholdings. Or, West Virginia (and much of the Appalachian region in general) isn't "urban," but is economically dependent on mining and agriculture is a comparatively minor activity. This is more "industrial" than "agricultural" - which, for that matter, a lot of (most?) US food pruduction is anyway. Meat processing in particular is highly industrialized, while crop harvesting depends on a mobile, specialized workforce (usually low cost, sometimes as with wheat highly mechanized but still mobile). No yeomen there, either.

A resource extration economy - a supply side - needs a robust demand side. So most "rural" economies depend on urban economies, as that's where the consumers are. Many "rural" residents may identify as virtuous, self-sustaining yeoman farmers feeding the world, but that's not how most make a living.

Darrell E said...

scidata,

Starship development and testing has been far from dormant. If anything it has shifted into a yet higher gear, building production and launch facilities at the Cape (FL), including 2 Starship launch stands + towers, building new production and testing facilities at Boca Chica, and continuing to increase production of both Starhips and Super Heavy boosters. Currently there are at least 3 other Starships and 2 boosters ranging from complete to nearly complete, and parts completed for several more.

Granted, the first orbital launch attempt has taken longer than early forecasts by SpaceX. As usual. The current forecast is sometime in December. Just a couple of days ago they performed a successful 14 (of 33) engine static fire on the booster (Super Heavy) that will be used for the first orbital attempt. According to SpaceX the next test will be a 20 second static fire with full O2 tank in order to test the autogenous pressurization system, then maybe 1 more static fire test, then ready to launch.

They've already performed an all engine static fire test on the spaceship (Starship) that they intend to use.

Oger said...

Just realized: There is much romanticism in people who defend the "urban life". "Going to Berlin and doing something with media" has become a somewhat ironical proverb, and people often forget what a wonderful clusterfuck that city can be.

Alfred Differ said...

Gregory Byshenk,

I get what the used car salesman was trying to do. His commission was likely fatter with the larger sticker price. Even if it wasn't, he had upsell ideas in mind that likely cost more on the higher priced vehicles.

Thing is... I went in there having done my Leaf research. I was actually looking for one. I was dismayed at the used price. Sure... I could have spent less money buying one, but that low price told me a lot about what others thought about the vehicle. It wasn't just the salesman dissing it.

---

I'm one of those guys who doesn't drive far. That makes me a perfect match for a small electric vehicle. My main work office is 3 miles away. The secondary one is 9 miles away. I could make room in my garage for a small vehicle and never worry about charging away from home. In terms of technical details, I'm a likely customer.

Unfortunately for them, I don't buy hair shirts. I want a long life out of my car and not see the used price collapse to nothing seconds after I buy it. If the used market isn't into the model, I'm paying too much to buy it new. If used prices are too low, I'm paying too much buying it used... because I want to be able to turn around and sell it when I'm done like any other durable good.

Yah. That sounds weird, but turning away from low priced items to buy higher priced ones isn't unusual. People do it all the time when they are focused on resale and/or quality.

-----

My next car purchase likely will be pure electric. My 2006 Corolla is still doing fine (quality matters to me), but California is going electric. I own a home again, so I can retrofit the garage for higher voltage lines. I can also put solar on the roof. It WILL happen, but I won't be buying stuff sold as hair shirts.

Alfred Differ said...

scidata,

Starship isn't dormant. Hang around on YouTube a while and you'll find the people reporting those events. You won't find much mention of it in the regular media at the moment because... well... the tests going on right now aren't all that sexy... and neither is Musk. 8)

locumranch said...

"If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" [Larry_H]

Aside from this being an insulting non-sequitur designed to quash the exchange of information, there's a lot to unpack here which cuts to the argumentative meat of our current discussion.

In effect, this quip appears to argue that 'smartness' and wealth are rough equivalents, insomuch as the quality of 'Being Smart' should, ought & is supposed to confer reward, wealth & power on said 'smart person'.

Unfortunately, this conclusion does not necessarily follow as non-homologous cultures tend to define terms like 'merit' and 'deservingness' in different manners and, while the average merchant may conclude that their 'smartness' in business dealings may merit material riches & position and the average feudalist may conclude that their unearned material riches may either confer or indicate superior morality & intelligence, the average christian may conclude that excessive Mr. Burns-like material riches may indicate vice, veniality & moral turpitude which merits punishment.

Try to remember this when you are tempted to lord your superior intelligence over those masses who live hand-to-mouth in order to build your homes, maintain your infrastructure, grow your crops & stock your shelves because your continued existence depends solely on their sufferance, especially when their not-idiot children have adopted your attitudes, are wise to your game & have already 'spilled the beans' to their hard-working parents.


Best
_____

So, it turns out that it was the UKRAINIANS who attacked the Poles & their NATO allies yesterday, but where o where is Article 5? I'll tell you where it is ... it's filling the pockets of corrupt US Democrats who smartly gifted BILLION$ to Ukraine, who gave it to FTX, so it could be gifted back to Democrat political campaigns. So smart & stupid in equal parts. And so incredibly deserving. Of what, exactly?

I also believe that the correct honorific for a German who identifies as male is 'herr', but not he/him. Is this not correct?

David Brin said...

Der Oger: “Rural communities are relatively easy to flip compared to urban communities, if enough persons settle there.”

Some billionaire could – in the guise “I’m just building a factory with employee housing” – lure minorities or city dwellers to a perfectly placed small town in a low population, gerrymandered state and thereby mess up all the Gerry calculations. Doing it right could flip multiple seats in state assembly and even congress. And all those seat holders would be beholden.

Or be open about it. Subsidize home improvements and jobs to get white Alabamans and blacks in Mississippi to swap homes. If done right, just 10,000 or so could flip Alabama into a mostly black-run state… even better S. Carolina. Sure, then Mississippi becomes confederate paradise, so? Ain’t it already?

GB: re Tesla Roadster: So? Just 2500 had the desired effect. The put-put image was dead.

Tim H: The libertarian chant: “Liberals want freedom of the bedroom, Conservatives want freedom of the boardroom, we want both!” Is utter hypocrisy. “freedom of the boardroom” is freedom to cheat, crush market competition and re-install oligarchy that Adam Smith denounced. Yes, libertarians can justify opposing some liberal ‘meddlings.’ But the sum total – including opposing the damn Drug War – means any libertarian who does NOT say ‘the GOP should die now! Let’s be the legit opposition party to negotiate with Democrats.’ is a damned hypocrite.

LH: Alas, Liberals do have a mad wing that seeks – for sanctimony high reasons – to cram SYMBOLIC DISCOMFORT down the throats of the vast majority of Americans who feel they are already adapting rapidly to new tolerances. And hence feel bullied.

My biggest complaint vs Bill Maher is his failure to use the “T-Word”… “tactics.”

“I share the goals. When I complain about TACTICS that are counter-productive toward those goals, that should elicit curiosity, not hate. In any struggle, especially political, fighters should not invest their egos into individual tactics, but LISTEN when allies suggest some tactics aren’t working. Especially tactics that SHRINK THE COALITION we need, in order to advance the main goals.”

Example: Florida & Texas used to be a swing states, now Deep Red because Hispanic males are abandoning the Democratic Party. Liberals should CARE about that! They should also care about the swing to the far right in so many European countries! They should heed the reason for it, which is immigration.

It turns out we can absorb immigrants and should! But at a rate that allows us to KEEP immigrant friendly policies and that won’t happen with “let em all in!” Hispanic male citizen voters oppose open-door leftism overwhelmingly. As Latinos and Blacks who favor elimination of hurtful prejudice also don’t want every damn sexual variation smooshed into their faces.

Libs who ignore that tactical fact care much less about winning and achieving net-practical justice for the most people. They care only about the drug high of sanctimony.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH: Alas, Liberals do have a mad wing that seeks – for sanctimony high reasons – to cram SYMBOLIC DISCOMFORT down the throats of the vast majority of Americans who feel they are already adapting rapidly to new tolerances. And hence feel bullied.


Sadly true. But for the most part, the Democratic Party itself repudiates such things, if only because they know it's a losing issue politically. Whereas the Republican Party of today embraces the intolerance of their extremists.

Dems end up suffering from both sides. The far left voters say there is no difference between the parties because Democrats won't run on defunding the police or shame those who say "him" instead of "them". At the same time, Republicans convince voters that the Democrats stand for exactly those things.

gregory byshenk said...

Darrell E said...
Musk certainly has his negatives, but the whole "Tesla's suck, Space X is milking taxpayer money and hasn't done anything new or impressive,..."

FWIW, so far as I can see, SpaceX has done some impressive things - while milking taxpayer money.

And, again so far as I am aware, current Tesla's are good cars, though early Tesla's were not. This doesn't mean that "Tesla's suck"; it just means that there is no special magic about Tesla. I understand that the current Model S is a very nice car. Then again, at a price starting at over $100K, it really should be - and the other $100K+ electric cars are, as well.


BTW, what I see is that the Tesla is "estimated" (by Tesla?!) to be the best-selling care by revenue of 2022. But not the best selling car, which is expected to remain the Toyota Corolla.

Alfred Differ said...

Gregory Byshenk,

Sorry. I got caught up on the Leaf portion of your recent post and glossed too much to see your view regarding persuasion of engineers. My bad. 8)

No doubt he isn't trying to persuade Twitter software engineers. I'm sure he means to replace them. Happens a lot when ownership changes occur. Out with the old team. In with the new.

Those of us who work the DEVOPS side of IT know it doesn't make much difference. Old and new teams have essentially the same tasks in front of them. Keep production running. Deploy crap thrown over the fence by development teams too rushed to produce quality. Etc. We don't need to be persuaded to do our jobs by anything more complicated than a paycheck.

That's not the case with entrepreneurial teams. Their creative work is more like getting pregnant, carrying it to term, and then trying to raise the child after the pains of childbirth. That's likely where Musk is taking Twitter again because he obviously doesn't think much of the path their previous creative team took it.

I've tried to start teams from nothing more than a vision. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors involved. Persuading my engineer to produce when I couldn't give him more than worthless paper shares of the company was a lot like persuading a woman to become pregnant without a marriage promise. Possible but non-trivial.

gregory byshenk said...

Alfred Differ said...
Unfortunately for them, I don't buy hair shirts. I want a long life out of my car and not see the used price collapse to nothing seconds after I buy it. If the used market isn't into the model, I'm paying too much to buy it new. If used prices are too low, I'm paying too much buying it used... because I want to be able to turn around and sell it when I'm done like any other durable good.

Yah. That sounds weird, but turning away from low priced items to buy higher priced ones isn't unusual. People do it all the time when they are focused on resale and/or quality.


But what about the lower price makes it a "hair shirt"?

Looking at depreciation is reasonable when buying new, as there is a lot of variation in how much a new car depreciates when you drive it off the lot, and over the next couple of years. But that doesn't apply (at least not in the same way) when buying used, because that depreciation is already priced in at that point. As I noted in my comment (after checking prices), both the 2013 Tesla and the 2013 Nissan depreciated about 50% since then (the Nissan a little more; the Tesla a little less), which means that there is no good reason to think that something will change over the next X years. Further, even if the more expensive car depreciates a little bit less, you still come out ahead over the life of the car if you buy the one that costs half as much.

gregory byshenk said...

David Brin said...
GB: re Tesla Roadster: So? Just 2500 had the desired effect. The put-put image was dead.

Maybe we are just talking past each other.

My point (from the beginning) is that there is nothing special about Tesla cars. As I said, Musk seems to do very well at promotion and marketing, and that is what the Roadster was. It was not a particularly practical car, but he was able to market it heavily (thanks in part to having a lot of money to spend). And the first Model S's were not even particularly good cars. But the hype machine was there, along with people willing to pump money into a company that showed no signs of making a profit in the near future.

But yes, Musk is great at making news.

gregory byshenk said...

Alfred Differ said...
Those of us who work the DEVOPS side of IT know it doesn't make much difference. Old and new teams have essentially the same tasks in front of them. Keep production running. Deploy crap thrown over the fence by development teams too rushed to produce quality. Etc. We don't need to be persuaded to do our jobs by anything more complicated than a paycheck.

There is not a hard-and-fast distinction here. There are IT startups, as well, and people in IT who work sometimes for less of an immediate paycheck but instead for something that they believe in (or believe will make them money in the long run). As I said, I've worked with "real" engineers; I've also worked for startups.

That's not the case with entrepreneurial teams. Their creative work is more like getting pregnant, carrying it to term, and then trying to raise the child after the pains of childbirth. That's likely where Musk is taking Twitter again because he obviously doesn't think much of the path their previous creative team took it.

I've tried to start teams from nothing more than a vision. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors involved. Persuading my engineer to produce when I couldn't give him more than worthless paper shares of the company was a lot like persuading a woman to become pregnant without a marriage promise. Possible but non-trivial.


Yes, there are multiple options. One can pay your engineers (real or IT) in hard cash, or pay them in hope for the future (whether that is cash or glory - or both), or some combination of the two.

But (so far as I know - corrections welcome) Musk's companies have never been scrappy startups pulling themselves up by their bootstraps; they have been well-capitalized and have paid well. This means that the "worthless paper shares of the company" is not really relevant.

GMT -5 8032 said...

Artemis 1 launched this morning! I completely forgot about it. I just watched the launch on Youtube. Awesome. Not as exciting as watching the DART mission live, but I am happy. I know that many people do not approve of manned space flight and they have a lot of good points to their arguments….but still I love watching the big rockets go. I may need to spend some time playing Kerbal Space Program.

Darrell E said...

gregory byshenk,

Milking tax payer money by fulfilling their contracts to the government for significantly cheaper than the legacy launch providers? Sorry, that doesn't reach "milking taxpayer money" status to me. No, milking taxpayer money is what ULA and Boeing have been doing for decades. SpaceX was awarded significantly less and has delivered far more to date. NASA thinks so too, since they have been awarding Tesla launches that ULA and Boeing are contractually obligated to provide but are incapable of doing so. Unless you are saying that the government shouldn't spend money on NASA, period? Okay. Can't agree with that, but okay. But in that case you should be badmouthing the federal government, not SpaceX.

Sorry, Tesla vehicles are indeed something special. At least if by that you mean that they are superior in some relevant way to other electric vehicles. They do have a technological lead in several key components. Not by my estimation but according to experts, both 3rd party and competitors, that have taken them apart to see how they work, how they are built, and what their faults are, both in the product and the manufacturing. Even experts that where initially Tesla haters have grudgingly acknowledged that Tesla is ahead.

Alfred Differ said...

Gregory Byshenk,

I look a little past the stated depreciation and DO consider year/year depreciation since I tend to buy used and sell much later. With the Leaf, I was looking at the very real possibility that I'd return years later and they wouldn't want it or I'd get a token payment and a jacked up ticket price on the vehicle I actually wanted. I like to walk onto a lot with sufficient cash/credit already available so I can dicker about prices without them compensating on the back side of the deal, but for me the backside also includes me coming back years later to get rid of what should still be a functioning vehicle.

To buy a Leaf at that time would have required me to be willing to set aside potentially thousands of $$ to feel good about going electric years before others did. That's what I mean by hair shirt. I pay for the privilege of being a virtuous buyer. Truth is… I'm not a virtuous buyer. I'm an occasionally virtuous user of products, but not so much when I buy them. By that I mean I'll recycle and reuse and delay purchases, but I won't necessarily go more green than that because I don't like the itchy feel. Recycle, reuse, and delay do enormous good and slowing my climate impact… and that will have to do for now.

Look at it another way and you'll see my argument as at least partially green. If I buy a car (used or new) that has a steep depreciation curve, chances are high the market signal is telling me I won't be using for long before I make another purchase. I can delay that next purchase and the climate impact of my market choice by hearing the signal up front and buying quality. For example, the second truck I owned was a 94 Toyota Pickup from back in the days when they didn't have any other model or a need to call them by unique names. I bought it used from my brother-in-law in '96 and kept it until 2017 when I finally did something bad enough that oil and coolant were mixing. I sold it to my neighbor who knew how to fix it cheap and it is still on the road. It is NOT in a landfill yet, so the carbon impact of producing vehicles for me to use from '96 to '17 never occurred. It got decent mileage per gallon too while the rest of America was driving F150's and SUV's. See how my environmental choice don't involve itchy shirts?

———

Hair shirts are for suckers who have been persuaded to feel guilty. That's not for me. I can do what we oughta being doing without the shame.

Alfred Differ said...

SpaceX was a scrappy startup back in the Falcon-1 days and part of them remained so as they chased landing technology testing. Musk didn't have a bottomless pit of money to risk, nor was he inclined to do so.

duncan cairncross said...

Gregory

Hair shirt cars!

Have you ever seen an early Leaf? - they were butt ugly AND short ranged - a car for somebody who did NOT like cars

Everybody wanted to build "Eco Cars" - the existing car manufactures did NOT want to sell EVs as they made less (or negative) money on them than on a dino burner

Musk was the ONLY one who wanted to sell a "Good" car - a car person's car

In hindsight its bloody obvious - but before Tesla NOBODY was doing that

The next advantage was that the existing car manufacturers had drunk the MBA Kool-aide and gone for "Horizontal Orientation" - which is short term gain (a small one) and a long term LOSS (a big one) - and is FATAL in a rapidly changing market
Tesla is Vertically Orientated - and is now 10 years AHEAD of the old manufacturers

Musk has introduced Four multi Billion Dollar innovations
PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, StarLink

So far

One could be chance (like Facebook or Amazon or Windows) - four.......

David Brin said...


GB: “SpaceX has done some impressive things - while milking taxpayer money.”

Exqueeze me? You mean saving taxpayers billions by lowering launch costs by at leaset half, even 3/4? And SpaceX is doing most commercial launches now, for the same reason.

Alfred Differ said...

The old dinosaur US launch companies actually surrendered the commercial launch market to folks overseas shortly before the Falcon rockets began to fly. There wasn't enough money in those flights for them to bother building a division that didn't think like a government contractor. SpaceX stepped into a vacated niche, took it all back, and then took a lot more.

-----

Of course Musk took government money. He's a minarchist. He sees it as our money.

I know guys who won't take government $$. They are currently sitting on the sidelines watching folks like Musk.


Duncan,

I'm no longer convinced about his part with PayPal... and don't really care unless he intends to turn Twitter into a competitor for them.

reason said...

Larry Hart
Oh, good. I thought I was the only one who noticed that all the neoliberal stuff that Republican populists object to were foisted on us by Republicans.


Having been an eyewitness to the start of the neoliberal stuff (as an economics student, member of the economics department of a central bank) - I can say that one thing is often forgotten - the neoliberal argument was always that if the total income created can be increased (via increased trade) then so long as the losers are compensated everybody is better off. Of course if the losers are not compensated then that is not the case. The position of the right leaning was parties was always basically don't compensate the LOSERS (capitals deliberate), where as left leaning parties said compensate the losers. Now the right leaning parties are saying let's reverse the progress we made - who cares if everybody as a whole is worse off, us losers (lower case deliberate) will benefit. Seriously, that is how it went.

Larry Hart said...

@reason,

I'm not arguing with your assessment, but my point remains. The right wing insisted upon the situation which created the anger and resentment which is now being directed at liberals.

gregory byshenk said...

Darrell E said...
Milking tax payer money by fulfilling their contracts to the government for significantly cheaper than the legacy launch providers? Sorry, that doesn't reach "milking taxpayer money" status to me.

Yes, milking taxpayer money (in various ways) - and then in the end, as I said, doing impressive things. Did others do more milking? Quite possibly, but "someone else did more" does not mean that someone didn't do it.

Sorry, Tesla vehicles are indeed something special. At least if by that you mean that they are superior in some relevant way to other electric vehicles. They do have a technological lead in several key components. Not by my estimation but according to experts, both 3rd party and competitors, that have taken them apart to see how they work, how they are built, and what their faults are, both in the product and the manufacturing. Even experts that where initially Tesla haters have grudgingly acknowledged that Tesla is ahead.

I wouldn't argue that Tesla is not "ahead" "in some relevant way" - although I haven't seen the reporting you reference. I suspect that others are also ahead in some other relevant ways.

But here's the point: I am not saying that Tesla is bad, or that SpaceX is bad. As I've already said, current Tesla autos seem to be quite good. And SpaceX is doing impressive things.

What I object to is the hero-worship and claims to uniqueness about Musk and his companies. Tesla and SpaceX are good - SpaceX seems at the moment clearly superior to its competitors, and Tesla is at least not inferior. Musk is (or at least has seemed to be until recently) a good and successful entrepreneur. But there are too many fanboi claims about them that are inflated or just absurd (things like "the electric car market would be 20 years away without Tesla"), and this annoys me.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

gregory byshenk said...

Alfred Differ said...
I look a little past the stated depreciation and DO consider year/year depreciation since I tend to buy used and sell much later. With the Leaf, I was looking at the very real possibility that I'd return years later and they wouldn't want it or I'd get a token payment and a jacked up ticket price on the vehicle I actually wanted. I like to walk onto a lot with sufficient cash/credit already available so I can dicker about prices without them compensating on the back side of the deal, but for me the backside also includes me coming back years later to get rid of what should still be a functioning vehicle.

I don't recall if you'd said when you were buying, but I'm still not following this. How do you calculate "the very real possibility" that a Leaf would be worthless after some X years? And why would you think that was a real possibility? Again, I point out that the current depreciation of a 2013 Leaf and a 2013 Model S are both just around 50% (nominal dollars). Indeed, there is a counterargument that buying an auto that depreciates quickly - as a used car - is a good investment. That is, if you can get if for, say, $5000 at five years old, there is a good chance that it will still be worth close to that at ten years old, provided that you keep it in good shape... because you can probably get that amount for pretty much any vehicle that is in good shape.

To buy a Leaf at that time would have required me to be willing to set aside potentially thousands of $$ to feel good about going electric years before others did.

But this is the bit I don't understand. How do you figure that you would have to set aside that money? Buying something that has already depreciated (provided it is still good) is usually a better bet than buying something that is still depreciating.

It isn't about being "green" or not. It is that I don't understand your financial calculation.

gregory byshenk said...

Alfred Differ said...
SpaceX was a scrappy startup back in the Falcon-1 days and part of them remained so as they chased landing technology testing. Musk didn't have a bottomless pit of money to risk, nor was he inclined to do so.

If you want to call having $100,000,000 in funding a 'scrappy startup'. But that seems a stretch.

SpaceX was obviously much smaller than its competitors, but not so 'scrappy' that they were paying their employees primarily in hopes and dreams - which is what is relevant to the point here.

gregory byshenk said...

duncan cairncross said...
Have you ever seen an early Leaf? - they were butt ugly AND short ranged - a car for somebody who did NOT like cars

Everybody wanted to build "Eco Cars" - the existing car manufactures did NOT want to sell EVs as they made less (or negative) money on them than on a dino burner

Musk was the ONLY one who wanted to sell a "Good" car - a car person's car


Everyone else was trying to build normal person's cars. That is what most cars in the world are. The 'car guy' cars are a minority. Most people's idea of a "good" car is a car that does what they need it to do at a reasonable price.

The next advantage was that the existing car manufacturers had drunk the MBA Kool-aide and gone for "Horizontal Orientation" - which is short term gain (a small one) and a long term LOSS (a big one) - and is FATAL in a rapidly changing market

This is at least arguably true in some industries. It is at least arguably much less true when dealing with durable goods - if only because they are, in fact, 'durable'.

Tesla is Vertically Orientated - and is now 10 years AHEAD of the old manufacturers

And this is the kind of fanboi stuff I mentioned in my earlier comment. Is Tesla ahead in some areas? Maybe. But they are not "10 years ahead".

duncan cairncross said...

Gregory

(1) - great "theory" about cars - unfortunately 100+ years of actual experience shows that its bollocks - sex sells cars!!

(2) - I have spent decades in the Auto business - and Tesla IS 10 years ahead

The guy in charge at VW said it -
they were taking 40 hours to build an electric Golf and working on reducing it to 30 hours
Tesla too 10 hours for the model Y

David Brin said...

onward, now.

now onward