Friday, February 03, 2017

Start planning the revolution! In real life and in sci fi

First items you all have probably heard by now - news that Donald Trump's senior staff all use the same RNC email server that mysteriously disappeared 22 million messages during George W. Bush's administration and one that U.S. intelligence services believe was compromised by the Russians at the same time as the DNC's. The Trump campaign hammered Hillary Clinton for her using a private email server, during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Also five members of DT’s staff turn out to have been registered to vote in more than one state.  Ah, consistency.

But onward…

For all of the drama surrounding the Million Women Marches , the upcoming March for Science as well as cabinet appointments and critiques of the inaugural address, it is important to recognize that little is achieved by preaching to the choir. Urban wailing will be dismissed as Blue State Noise, unless some crucial factors change.  The factors that empowered the Republican Party to control all three branches of the federal government, plus two-thirds of the states... all with minorities of the vote in every 21st Century election except 2004. The hard lesson: simply having 60% of Americans on your side is not enough to win.

That will require a multi-front approach, and demonstrations rank way down the list, along with righteous petitions, late night comedian sketches and grand statements by celebrities. (Madonna, please go away? You're not helping.)

Far more significant will be efforts, led by former president Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder to confront electoral cheats, like gerrymandering.  Indeed, I wrote recently about how liberals should start practicing judo, by accepting Trump’s demand for a commission to investigate electoral fraud.  A call that is now echoed in this article on Salon

== The only thing that will make a real difference ==

But most important of all will be one simple thing – chipping away at the Confederate coalition.

(And let there be no doubt of that terminology, when nearly all of Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments hail from Olde Dixie! My assertion, that we are in a later phase of the Civil War, has been proved.)  

Among the lessons of the recent election is that the confed-coalition, while effectively deployed, is razor thin. Hence the goal should be simple. Peel away just a few more millions of the sane or partially sane. Just a few will do it.

If the Fox coalition can be pared to -- or below -- one-third of the electorate… if we can draw away from the madness those decent and sapient American conservatives who still believe in facts and science and competitive enterprise… then the edifice collapses. These “ostrich” conservatives" have been in denial for decades, clinging with endearing loyalty to a movement that long ago was hijacked by monsters and that has betrayed them at every level.

Urge them to ponder Ronald Reagan, who famously in the 1970s said "I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party Left me."  We can argue over whether his justification made sense, at the time. But it makes for a great paraphrasing, that should make your ostrich wince. Urge him or her to jump off the train wreck, because:

"You aren't leaving the Republican Party; The Republican Party left you."

Oh, it won't be easy. They may have to be coaxed out of their holes, one at a time. And that means you might actually need to listen to your own ostrich a bit, as well. But one by one, that is what will make the biggest difference. Conservatives who at last accept the testimony of all facts and reason — that their movement has gone mad. And that whirring sound is Barry Goldwater, spinning at 5000 rpm.

== Ostriches are starting to lift their heads ==

Oh, most of the truly-sapient ones have already fled, like all the scientists, teachers, journalists, economists, doctors and every other knowledge profession warred-upon by Fox. 

As for those who remain, many of them, like George “the Worst American” Will, still cling to the mantra incantation that “Yes, my side's gone crazy... but... but at least liberals are just as bad!  - thereby concocting rationalizations for otherwise-intelligent folks to keep watching hypnotic poison on Fox. 

(Again, set your calendars to remind you monthly about the Fox Boycott.) 

Delusional obstinacy is a primary attribute. Hence, it is especially noteworthy when one of the master-poisoners awakens, pulls his head out of the hole of denial, then speaks up for his country and civilization, as — (and I shudder to speak it) — Glenn Beck has done.

Yes, Glenn Beck, who railed that George Soros must be a master world oligarch manipulator, because Soros personally “toppled eight foreign governments! Beck, whose chalkboard incantations convinced millions of nodding dittoheads that the rise of oligarchy is all the doing of liberals and that he (Beck) was the primary heir of Martin Luther King. 

Only now Beck proves that he has one hallmark of sanity… the ability to notice a precipice under his own feet. And Beck confirmed this - a bit - in his make-up session with Samantha Bee

 Now, can rising ostriches actually get others to lift their heads? Hold that thought. Soon, I will speak of the one thing that can and will save the Union and our revolution: the Year of the Colonels.

== Sci Fi predicted it all ==

Wowzer: both Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World are back in the best seller lists, for obvious reasons. 

But then, recall that all Americans are weaned on legends of Suspicion of Authority (SoA). Nearly all of the propaganda issued by Fox and alt-right portrayed their side as the brave heroes, resisting plots by nefarious elites to turn America into Oceania. Sure, nearly everything they said was lies – and not one of the things they claimed Barack Obama would do in office came true, or ever even crossed his desk. 

Never mind that, right now. I want you to look at what you have in common with your ostrich! but look to the common, underlying mythos! The same, identical theme of Suspicion of Authority or SoA

Sure, the "authorities" they hate are scientists, journalists, economists, doctors and every other knowledge profession... but the undercurrent is the same, and you can start there. (See also The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, by Thomas M. Nichols.)

If you understand the shared impulse… romantic belief that YOU are in-the-know and part of a heroic-historic resistance movement, defending freedom against scheming elites… then you will better be able to reach out to those frightened, quaking ostriches. Especially, you can ask:

“Are you really more afraid of scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors and every other knowledge profession, and think they are plotting against your interests, more than the oligarchs who are re-establishing feudalism? The lords who ruined freedom for 6000 years?  Really? You trust them over scientists? Teachers? Doctors?”

== It boils down to Sci Fi! ==

But science fiction is pertinent to our crises today.

Here’s a novel that dives straight into the worst case scenario… that our current Phase Eight of the American Civil War might suddenly go deadly hot. Tears of Abraham, by Sean Smith is an action-packed page turner, that's also thoughtful about loyalty, honor, courage and what it takes to be American, especially when the chips are down. Those chips tumble as the U.S. spirals into a violent frenzy of our recurring civil war — a fate we can avoid, helped by warnings like this one.

Only... how can it be avoided, when the Rasputin who is actually in charge of our destiny seems to want destructive chaos?  I'll comment more about this later, though it is as scary as any novel. 

In sharp contrast to Tears of Abraham is a very different depiction of near future civil war written by one of Steve Bannon's favorite authors, Empire, by Orson Scott Card, whose fiction almost always extols demigods and mutant chosen-ones while dismissing any chance that democracies, institutions, and open citizenship might ever, ever work.  In Empire, Card portrays civil war brought on by liberal do-gooders and too much open accountability. The victor – whom we are supposed to admire, reveals that he had manipulated the entire thing, in order to transition America – like Rome – from a foolish republic into a confidently overwhelming empire. And we are supposed to cheer.  Well, Scott is good at that, getting millions to sob admiration toward demigod, chosen-ones in his Ender universe.

My own The Postman has an ironic role in all of this. The novel is experiencing a sales surge as folks realize that my “Holnist” characters are alive! With major roles in the new administration. That cautionary tale – whose moral and heart  elements were faithfully conveyed in the film (even if the brains weren’t) – is a both a warning and a tribute to the stunning power of the very thing Card despises… citizenship.  And yet I have to tell you that, disturbingly, I also get fan mail, now and then, from fellows who blithely call themselves Holnists!

What…?  How…? Well, it’s simple. A good writer gives his villains strong lines. He conveys how they are likely to speak, giving voice to their best rationalizations and justifications. In this case… well… maybe I did too good a job.

Worrisomely on-target is a novel by my friend Gregory Ness - Antioch - that combines hard SF with fantasy and fretful observations on a new American Civil War and dark age. “In 2025 the U.S. disintegrates into angry mobs fueled by social media and misinformation. The once great nation turns away from science and tech in an effort to protect entrenched interests and preserve economic stability. Scientists are killed or exiled and laws passed to regulate innovation. … An American biologist’s dreams take him back to the Great Library of Alexandria where he witnesses the birth of western civilization. During the day he watches its disintegration.”

In the near future I will post about Robert Heinlein and his eerily on-target predictions from 1953, that are coming true before our eyes.

Yes, let us explore SF scenarios! And be stirred or chilled. And yet. Let us remember. There is nothing more inspiring than our present and ongoing revolution. The one sparked by Ben Franklin and his lads. A militantly-moderate revolution that was designed to be ongoing, as each generation pushes forward, not only profiting from a flat-open-fair-competitive-cooperative system, but also taking on injustices that their own parents took for granted.


-->
We are an ongoing revolution! And if we fail – as Athenian democracy failed – the oligarchs will make damn sure it isn’t tried for another 2000 years.

189 comments:

locumranch said...


You self-righteous, historic, heroic & ever-so romantic progs can't help yourselves, can ye?

Even when properly warned (as in 'given advance notice'), you respond by unthinking reflex as if you were muttons for punishment or lambs to the slaughter because your very opposition strengthens Trump Nation.

Every blue state tax strike, sanctuary state tantrum, defiant student riot & pussy-hatted outburst will only accomplish 2 things:

First, these acts (whether or not they 'succeed') promote secessionism, discredit the Fed, void the constitutional Supremacy Clause and scream NULLIFICATION so loudly that even if your side 'wins' against Trumpmerica, it simultaneously loses big by voiding all those federally-protected 'rights' that you natter on about.

Second, these acts tend to validate the most ill-thought-out Trump policies, especially those that are most likely to fail on their own merits, by allowing their imminent policy failures to be blamed on Blue State Secessionism & Defiance (as in 'these policies WOULD have worked if not for rampant Blue Treason').

You should really listen to Alfred. Your best counter to Trump Nation is indulgence, cooperation & obedience. This would almost guarantee the failure of the Trump Right, chipping away at the Confederate Coalition.

But, this you can't do, because (deep down) you're terrified that the New Confederates may succeed where the Established Left/Right Axis has failed.


Best

David Brin said...

Har! Squealing: "Now that my cult is in charge: shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup! shutup!

Dig it goobah. I do NOT favor a lot of the marching and chanting, out there. I think it is premature. It is a mistake to shoot your protest wad too early. And it feeds into the cult's siege mentality, which locum so spectacularly displayed.

Should have waited a month to be sure that the least-liked, minority-elected president in US history was actually going to spend it NOT reaching out for consensus, but pissing in the faces of the majority. (Okay, we did not have to wait a month.)

Hey fellah... I'll listen to you when you can name the knowledge and fact professions not warred upon by your cult.

In fact, you don't see me urging marches. I am busy talking judo tactics and major strategic thinking. And I JUST last blog suggested some dems make sweet sounds at DT.

You are screeching and waving your arms and howling... hey man, chill. Step back and enjoy your victory. Steve Bannon has openly declared he plans on bringing everything crashing down. Enjoy.

Robert said...

I disagree, Dr. Brin.

You push Trump now. You have the women march, the scientists march. And you watch Trump steam.

Then he starts making sloppy mistakes. Like the one that left a Navy SEAL dead.

One of two things will happen as a result. Either he will start making mistakes so bad that the Republican Party cuts its losses and evicts him... or he opens his eyes, realizes that it's time to grow up, and starts doing his job.

(Small secret. It'll be the former.)

Rob H.

Laurence said...

Yeah, people should mobilize now. Trump seems to be a student of Friedman's "shock doctrine" forcing all his policies through in one violent package (much as he does with a few other things in his private life - if certain rumors are to be believed)people need to get organized now, not wait. (although some actions of demonstrators have been transparently stupid, the Milo riot at Berkley played straight into that particular attention whore's hands)

Paul451 said...

Robert,
"Then he starts making sloppy mistakes. Like the one that left a Navy SEAL dead."

There's no evidence the failure of the raid had anything to do with Trump. The plan was presented to Obama, who noted that the intended launch date (the next moonless night) would occur under the next administration, and (as is apparently POTUS tradition) deferred the decision to them.

What is interesting is that the military itself is trying to use the media to blame Trump. He's an easy patsy: after all, it plays into our conceptions of him as aggressive, dumb and easily bored.

But given how Trump reacts to displays of disloyalty, David can expect the "war" on the generals to grow apace.

Paul451 said...

From the last thread:

Alfred,
Can you explain how any mundane transaction isn't considered "double taxation" by your standard?

Tacitus2 said...

I always try to play fair and on that note I will lead with fair warning....for me this has been a week where The World has not being doing its job at acceptable levels. Don't read politics into that, its just me against the inertia of mediocrity dialing it in when there is important work at hand...

Perhaps the post election dust has settled to an extent that a real political discussion - vis a vis an online therapy session - can resume on Contrary Brin. If not then feel free to slag away, I have plenty of other diversions just now.

Progressives appear to be far more upset about the 2016 outcome than Conservatives were 8 years earlier. Oh, you can sure find a few outliers and over time more unhinged crazies could be found somewhere in the real or virtual world, but basically Conservatives shrugged,said "Well, he's the President for four years" and got on with life. Birtherism was trotted out regularly but that was always a straw man held up to divert attention from more significant matters.

So, roughly in accord with David's message I say clearly: Donald Trump is the President of the United States. I don't like this, you like it less, but that's how it is.

You need to start talking about the real world now. A few days after the election I was watching the evening news with my Better Half. She has a bluer tinge to her politics but other than the clear error in saying "yes" to me decades back is and will remain a very smart cookie. The talk was about "Russian Election Hacking". I asked her....so what do you think that means? She had to admit she had no idea.

I have seen studies giving varied percentages but I think it is fair to say that a significant number of (mostly) Dem voters believe that voting machines were altered or that in some other fashion the Kremlin thwarted Clinton's election by unfair means.

Nonsense. All major governments take great interest in the political system of all other such. They sometimes say and do things that might be expected to influence such matters. By "perhaps" helping air an entire truckload of D information - which nobody seems to be saying was not actual emails and such - and by the relative absence of similar stuff from say, the RNC, is created a narrative that Low Info voters are expected to accept as a tenet of faith.

I warned you at top of post that I was in a Contentious Mood, so will break this up into smaller bites for a much longer post.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

You know what you sound like? Like someone who got everything he was asking for, and is now realizing what a s###storm it turned out to be, and that only the people he taunted and vilified during the campaign can possibly save him from his own triumph.

That and a whiny little girl.

So whatever, but the country has real issues to deal with now. The fact that you got what you wanted and aren't very happy about it is not high on the priority list.

Flypusher said...

The persuasion of the ostriches is going to be a slow process, and many of them are going to have to feel some direct pain before they are willing to listen. The thing I'd like the most to see the Resistance drop for now is all this impeachment speculation. Yes, there are probably already grounds for impeachment because of all the COI, but a GOP controlled Congress doesn't care. Right now most of the GOP voters love Trump and their reps know it. He's going to have to make a major screwup to force them to change their minds. Better to focus what you can do realistically right now, and keep your powder dry on things like impeachment.

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus2,

First of all, I'm always glad to see you engage again.

Secondly, fair enough, but if you're going to admit contentiousness, then let's do it. No dropping bombs and then going off all miffed when someone argues back.


Progressives appear to be far more upset about the 2016 outcome than Conservatives were 8 years earlier.


First of all, say what?! But even granting your observation, what's that supposed to imply? I presume you're saying that progressives are less able to deal with political defeat than conservatives are, but I'd read the cause as being that this outcome really is more frightening than any we've lived through in my lifetime.

We might be upset because this sophont is dangerous!


Oh, you can sure find a few outliers and over time more unhinged crazies could be found somewhere in the real or virtual world, but basically Conservatives shrugged,said "Well, he's the President for four years" and got on with life.



If your take were correct, we'd have Justice Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. Obamacare could have been "repaired" already. And we'd never have faced a government shutdown and a loss of credit rating because of a threatened intentional default.

Ok, I suspect you're using "conservatives" to mean ordinary people like yourself, and discounting the Republican politicians who were actually able to obstruct or the right-wing talkers who were able to spread their poison as "outliers" and "crazies". Well, I'm not going to bother arguing semantics over who counts as a "conservative". The operative frame comes from our host's "The Postman". The ones who accepted President Obama and got on with their life were the decent men who make no difference, while the "outliers" and "crazies" were the ones who affected the world. My point being, the ones you call "outliers" and "crazies" were the ones who influenced policy.


Birtherism was trotted out regularly but that was always a straw man held up to divert attention from more significant matters.


The fact that it was successful in diverting that attention is the point.


So, roughly in accord with David's message I say clearly: Donald Trump is the President of the United States. I don't like this, you like it less, but that's how it is.

You need to start talking about the real world now.


The corollary is "Something has to be done about that intolerable situation."

You're one to talk, btw. I clearly remember when Mitch McConnell seriously began the "filibuster everything" strategy, you asserted that if McConnell really believed President Obama's policies to be dangerous to the country, he should do everything that is constitutionally allowed in order to oppose him. Now, you sneer at the notion that the party opposite might be allowed the same. Look, Jeff Sessions himself, at Sally Yates's confirmation hearings, made a point of getting her to agree that her job would involve telling the president "no" if he ordered something illegal or unconstitutional. Of course, he meant President Obama. Now that she did that very thing to Trump, she's fired for doing her job, and as AG himself, Sessions seems poised to do exactly what he insisted Yates must not do.

This is just me now, but you seem to me to have bought into the implicit bias which says "Rules are there to keep Democrats from getting too uppity--they're not meant to apply to the rightful ruling class, Republicans."

(continued...)

LarryHart said...


A few days after the election I was watching the evening news with my Better Half. She has a bluer tinge to her politics but other than the clear error in saying "yes" to me decades back is and will remain a very smart cookie. The talk was about "Russian Election Hacking". I asked her....so what do you think that means? She had to admit she had no idea.


I admit "hacking" has been used in such diverse ways within this context as to be a meaningless term.

Almost no one seems to believe that voting machines were literally hacked into in order to change the outcome, at least not any more than they are in every election (and since the software is proprietary and there is no audit trail, do not presume to tell me that I should simply shut up and trust Diebold and company--the burden of proof is on them to show that their machines work fairly). "Hacking" doesn't seem to mean that. It does seem to be an appropriate term for the fact that the DNC had their systems breached by Russian hackers. The information that was released (and in some cases, altered first) seemed designed specifically to weaken Hillary's candidacy. Beyond that, I find it incredible that the same hackers didn't also get data from the RNC. To me, the only possible scenario is that they purposely released information harmful to Hillary and that they're holding back embarrassing information about Trump or other Republicans in order to blackmail Republicans with it. No, I can't prove it any more than I can prove that gravity will work tomorrow, but going by Occam's Razor, nothing else is remotely plausible.

Point being, again, I'm not going to argue the semantics of the word "hacking". Russian agents, in collusion with James Comey and the Trump campaign worked to harm Hillary's chances. That alone might not make the election "illegitimate" in your eyes, and maybe wouldn't in mine either if that's all that went on. That, along with voter suppression, disenfranchisement, and intimidation aimed directly at Democrats in key states (including yours) tips it in my mind.

If all that doesn't do it for you, consider what Candidate Trump was repeating over and over when he thought he'd lose: "This election is rigged!" "It's a rigged system, folks!" "This election is going to be totally rigged." Norman Goldman has dozens of such clips he plays back now. Are you really claiming with a straight face that this guy and his supporters would have just accepted Hillary as legitimate had she won? Well, they can't have it both ways. We can't live in a democracy in which Democratic presidents are considered suspect and illegitimate, but when a Republican wins, that carries the imprimatur of authority.

To "Cerebus" fans: "Now, I'm...whatayacall...half finished."

Tacitus2 said...

Well, as part of the Inertia of the World, blogger ate the second half of my posting and I do not have time to redo it. Later today then. I have some suggestions - they were requested - for David's Colonel's list.

I know my truncated post does not read well....

Tacitus

Flypusher said...

LarryHart: "You know what you sound like? Like someone who got everything he was asking for, and is now realizing what a s###storm it turned out to be, and that only the people he taunted and vilified during the campaign can possibly save him from his own triumph."

I must confess that I feel no desire to save people like that from the consequence of their choice. Yes we must try to mitigate the damage for the sake of the innocents who will get burned, but saving any Trumpkins from themselves will be a side effect, not the goal.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch wrote: "But, this you can't do, because (deep down) you're terrified that the New Confederates may succeed where the Established Left/Right Axis has failed."

Could you point to anything they've succeeded at so far? I'm looking at the disintegrating chaos of this White House and wondering just what it is you consider a "success".

Flypusher said...

">>Progressives appear to be far more upset about the 2016 outcome than Conservatives were 8 years earlier.


>First of all, say what?! But even granting your observation, what's that supposed to imply? I presume you're saying that progressives are less able to deal with political defeat than conservatives are, but I'd read the cause as being that this outcome really is more frightening than any we've lived through in my lifetime.

We might be upset because this sophont is dangerous!"

Some of the Trump voters in my family (of the held their noses tightly but voted for him anyway variety) have said that because they were willing to give Obama a chance, I should give Trump a chance. I see this as a false equivalence, as Obama did not possess the downright dangerous deficits of character that Trump does. Even if you're on board with things like stricter immigration policy, if you have any sense Trump's immature temperment has got to be troubling.

Flypusher said...

"Locumranch wrote: "But, this you can't do, because (deep down) you're terrified that the New Confederates may succeed where the Established Left/Right Axis has failed."

Could you point to anything they've succeeded at so far? I'm looking at the disintegrating chaos of this White House and wondering just what it is you consider a "success".'

If you're in the "burn it all down"/ stigginit crowd, you probably are thinking "so far so good".

Tacitus2 said...

Oh, OK. not fair to post and run....I'll let other crises simmer for another ten minutes.

I mostly agree with David's "Colonels" plan and the items on it. But it leads with the most difficult point. We need to agree on mechanisms to separate Truth, Half Truth, Opinion and Lies into four stacks. The WaPo, Politifact, assorted partisan Rapid Response Truth Teams, these have been deemed insufficient by an electorally significant portion of the citizenry. Most of whom also consider Fox to be equally sketchy btw.

A list should be made that fits those running as either a D or an R. There was once a political center to the nation and in it those letters mattered less. Those running as D need to be prepared for very hard questions: "If improving quality of the public schools meant opposing a powerful ally (teachers unions in this case) would you do it?". Feel free to put tough ones to R's as well. What level of documented mental illness should make someone uneligible for gun ownership?" David, make your upcoming list very specific. Allow for the probability of these folks being "Primaried" and cover that in your instuction manual.

I am a bit hard on the D party these days. As the '16 election lurched along I kept saying "replace H. Clinton with somebody electable". I like several D pols, that's for another post. Running a dynasty candidate who almost did an anticoagulated face plant at the 9/11 memorial? Insanity.

I also have to say, with trepidation for the response it will get, that the priorities pushed by the D party of late do not resonate strongly with the people on whose doorsteps the Colonels will appear. Transgender bathroom issues are 875th on the list. The rights of those hoping to enter the US are not equal to the rights of current citizens. (and to say that this half baked poorly thought out exec action is a Muslim Ban is nonsense. It is a temp pause in admitting people from seven places. One problematic nation and six bandit controlled entities where the rule of law and all documentation is suspect. Have no Syrian refugees committed terrorist acts in the US? OK, but how about in Europe? We don't want a European immigration policy and bragging about how many Syrian refugees you will help in will not get you votes).

The D party needs to follow the lead of The Holy Grail's opening credits. Fire those who screwed up. Fire the people who replaced them and screwed up worse. Then fire the odd replacements who did the title credits in Swedish.

Now I really have to go. I don't post and run except when - as now - I have to. But if I feel I am not contributing positively I do reduce my input considerably.

Tacitus

Anonymous said...

BREAKING: CLINTON MOLES DISCOVERED IN WHITE HOUSE
Trump's plan to help Haitians damaged by Clinton under attack

http://www.infowars.com/breaking-clinton-moles-discovered-in-white-house/

LarryHart said...

Laurence:

the Milo riot at Berkley played straight into that particular attention whore's hands


How plausible is it that the violence was done by right-wingers pretending to be anti-Trump demonstrators. I mean seriously, isn't that tactic straight out of the right-wing handbook? If the rioters really were lefties, they should be charged with plagiarism.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Infowars? Really?
If you really want to depend on National-Inquirer-On-Meth for your info, that is your right.
But I am curious: by what possible stretch of the imagination can anyone believe that Trump has the faintest interest in wanting to help Haiti?

Zepp Jamieson said...

A Larry Hart: Agent provocateurs aren't exactly an unknown phenomenon, and while it's entirely possible that the Berkeley riots were actually leftists with no common sense, it would be interesting to examine those that were arrested and see which ones were actually students and what their known political affiliations were. The riots were an incredibly stupid response and played right into Milo's paws, and that makes me a bit suspicious.

LarryHart said...

Flypusher:

I must confess that I feel no desire to save people like that from the consequence of their choice. Yes we must try to mitigate the damage for the sake of the innocents who will get burned, but saving any Trumpkins from themselves will be a side effect, not the goal.


I agree totally. I've told my wife that all we can do is act locally to insure the safety of ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm not going out of my way to cause harm to anyone else, but I'm also not going out of my way to save them from the consequences of their own actions (which would seem to be a Republican virtue).

I no longer say "I hate to say I told you so," because "I told you so," is the only known antidote to "Who could possibly have guessed that would happen?"

Zepp Jamieson:

Locumranch wrote: "But, this you can't do, because (deep down) you're terrified that the New Confederates may succeed where the Established Left/Right Axis has failed."

Could you point to anything they've succeeded at so far? I'm looking at the disintegrating chaos of this White House and wondering just what it is you consider a "success".


I'm not afraid that the right wing will "succeed" by their policies showing better results than progressive policies do and insuring a golden age. I'm afraid the right wing could "succeed" at destroying the institutions of America, and ushering in a 30,000 year interregnum. Apparently, locumranch is afraid of this as well, as he's now blaming urban Progressives for failing to stop the very rural red-staters he votes for from winning.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Your best counter to Trump Nation is indulgence, cooperation & obedience. This would almost guarantee the failure of the Trump Right, chipping away at the Confederate Coalition.

But, this you can't do, because (deep down) you're terrified that the New Confederates may succeed where the Established Left/Right Axis has failed.


Reverse the political roles, and you sound like Democrats talking to Mitch McConnell eight years ago.

I couldn't have come up with a better example of your tendency toward projection if I had written it myself.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

You need to start talking about the real world now


I'm sorry dude, I know you're not one of those Republicans, but still...Republicans/conservatives lecturing Democrats/liberals about needing to accept objective reality?

Seriously?

Jumper said...

The World According to Garp came to mind the other day as I pondered the head scarf solidarity march. The part about the Ellen Jamesians. Let those who have eyes see.

...............................

Also, please circulate this to those who might have an interest in it. As this is an interest of mine, when a friend sent it, I was glad to see someone else noticed. Oddly there's no clear link from their main pages. It has to do with how NC voting superintendents screwed up the election audit.

https://www.verifiedvotingfoundation.org/vv-ncsboe-letter/

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

First items you all have probably heard by now - news that Donald Trump's senior staff all use the same RNC email server that mysteriously disappeared 22 million messages during George W. Bush's administration and one that U.S. intelligence services believe was compromised by the Russians at the same time as the DNC's. The Trump campaign hammered Hillary Clinton for her using a private email server, during her tenure as Secretary of State. Also five members of DT’s staff turn out to have been registered to vote in more than one state. Ah, consistency.


That is consistency of a sort. They consistently complain about principles when Democrats are in power, complaints which vaporize into nothingness once they themselves violate those principles themselves. You might as well also mention that deficits no longer seem to be the urgent crisis that they were under Obama, not because this administration will shrink them, but because it's suddenly ok if they don't.

Flypusher said...

Zepp Jamieson: "
A Larry Hart: Agent provocateurs aren't exactly an unknown phenomenon, and while it's entirely possible that the Berkeley riots were actually leftists with no common sense, it would be interesting to examine those that were arrested and see which ones were actually students and what their known political affiliations were. The riots were an incredibly stupid response and played right into Milo's paws, and that makes me a bit suspicious."

Dear little Milo certainly does test one's commitment to the 1st Amendment, doesn't he? He's a skilled professional troll, and he's been quite careful not to cross any of the legal lines. The absolute best response for the students would be to boycott the talk rather than demonstrate, and have your own editorial response from the student government and newspapers. Or if you can't refrain from a demonstration you've got to do a much better job of laying down the rules and policing it. I've heard reports that the actual rioters were not students, but I don't know if that's verified. Probably this gives a number of university presidents an out- not inviting this little germ to speak because of safety concerns.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Only now Beck proves that he has one hallmark of sanity… the ability to notice a precipice under his own feet. And Beck confirmed this - a bit - in his make-up session with Samantha Bee.


I appreciate Glenn Beck owning up to the fact that he did harm, which puts him way out ahead of those like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter, and Hannity. But don't you get the impression that what he's saying amounts to, "I know I helped break America. Please don't hate me for it. And fixing it is now the job of the people whose political power I weakened."?

Jumper said...

Tacitus, Trump appears to be an illiterate compared to the level of study required by Presidents, including those of the recent past. Obama, Bush, Clinton, H.W.; all had to process probably 1,000 pages of critical information daily. By all reliable sources Trump is trying to run it all on ego and buffoonery. This is an astounding break from what's required.

Flypusher said...

Anonymous LarryHart said...
Dr Brin in the main post:

Only now Beck proves that he has one hallmark of sanity… the ability to notice a precipice under his own feet. And Beck confirmed this - a bit - in his make-up session with Samantha Bee.


I appreciate Glenn Beck owning up to the fact that he did harm, which puts him way out ahead of those like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter, and Hannity. But don't you get the impression that what he's saying amounts to, "I know I helped break America. Please don't hate me for it. And fixing it is now the job of the people whose political power I weakened."?
============================================================

Confession is the first step to redemption. But he has a metric ton of work to do to help clean up the mess he made. He's hasn't earned any forgiveness yet.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: "Apparently, locumranch is afraid of this as well, as he's now blaming urban Progressives for failing to stop the very rural red-staters he votes for from winning."

It isn't just Locumranch. I've been seeing a lot of posts from righties that basically amount to "You -made- us vote for Trump!" Of one this morning I asked "How did she [A Guardian columnist] make you support Trump. Did she lobotomise you?"

dennisd said...

@Larry Hart
Your remarks on Tacitus2's comments are spot on. Same for your comments on the Milo/Berkeley riot.

Re: Milo:
The best response to Milo's antics is to ignore him. He requires an audience for his nihilistic schtick to work. The bigger the outrage the better it is for Milo's publicity show. What many protesters don't get is that they are an essential prop for Milo's narrative.
Sometimes the most effective 'protest' is none at all.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Especially, you can ask:

“Are you really more afraid of scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors and every other knowledge profession, and think they are plotting against your interests, more than the oligarchs who are re-establishing feudalism? The lords who ruined freedom for 6000 years? Really? You trust them over scientists? Teachers? Doctors?”


Unfortunately, the answer to that query is "yes". Because the people you're posing that question to are authoritarians. They'd know to fear the power of hostile oligarchs, but they believe that if they swear fealty to the correct authority figure, then he will protect them. Whereas, those reality-based professions who question even their loyal supporters, they are not to be trusted.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" I've heard reports that the actual rioters were not students, but I don't know if that's verified."
It's not verified, but the whole story does have a scent of "Vicious Jews attack peaceful SA rally in Berlin" to it.
I notice Donald wasted no time openly threatening the university over it.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

And yet I have to tell you that, disturbingly, I also get fan mail, now and then, from fellows who blithely call themselves Holnists!

What…? How…? Well, it’s simple. A good writer gives his villains strong lines. He conveys how they are likely to speak, giving voice to their best rationalizations and justifications. In this case… well… maybe I did too good a job.


It doesn't surprise me that proud Holnists would respond in the same way that the more irony-challenged right wingers embraced Colbert.

Maybe as a supplement in the next edition, you should publish "the full text" of Lost Empire by Nathan Holn.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I am a bit hard on the D party these days. As the '16 election lurched along I kept saying "replace H. Clinton with somebody electable". I like several D pols, that's for another post. Running a dynasty candidate who almost did an anticoagulated face plant at the 9/11 memorial? Insanity.


In hindsight, you (and many others here) have a point there. I don't think you're remembering how popular Hillary looked when she was winning Democratic primaries. That combined with her obvious competence at the job, and the way she pwned the Benghazi committee. She seemed unstoppable as recently as the Democratic convention.

In retrospect, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or even "Democrat to be named later" would probably have won handily. I'm just saying it wasn't that obvious at the time the candidate was being selected. Maybe the process of choosing candidates is where the flaw exists.

Separate issue, your interjection, which sounds like a no-brainer, is somewhat mitigated by what happened instead. If one cannot confidently assert:

"Running a billionaire candidate who disrespects prisoners-of-war, insults military families, and brags of grabbing women by the pussy? Insanity."

it makes it hard to maintain that anyone else was doomed to lose because they violated decorum.

I also have to say, with trepidation for the response it will get, that the priorities pushed by the D party of late do not resonate strongly with the people on whose doorsteps the Colonels will appear. Transgender bathroom issues are 875th on the list.


I'm not disagreeing here. Although I think the intensity of the focus on tangential issues speaks more to right-wing caricatures of liberals than to actual liberals. Yes, liberals protected transgender rights to excrete somewhere outside their own homes, but they didn't bring the subject up. That's a reaction to right-wingers actually fixating on denying such rights.


The rights of those hoping to enter the US are not equal to the rights of current citizens.


We can protect both. Also, the rights of people already granted rights to enter the US (green card holders) are at least almost equal.

(and to say that this half baked poorly thought out exec action is a Muslim Ban is nonsense. It is a temp pause in admitting people from seven places.


Except the Christian refugees. That kind of negates your otherwise-common-sense argument.

That aside, I don't oppose the travel ban because it targets Muslims. I oppose it because it was so poorly thought out that it can't be implemented correctly. And because it ensnares people who were already vetted and who have already been promised in-and-out privileges to the country. And because it treats victims of terrorism equivalent to terrorists.

continued...

LarryHart said...

...continued
Tacitus2:


One problematic nation and six bandit controlled entities where the rule of law and all documentation is suspect. Have no Syrian refugees committed terrorist acts in the US? OK, but how about in Europe? We don't want a European immigration policy and bragging about how many Syrian refugees you will help in will not get you votes).


How many Saudi and Egyptian emigrants have committed terrorist acts in the US? Excluding them from the list again makes the implementation either suspect or incompetent.

In 2015, there were something like 355 mass shootings in the US. As far as I know, that number would have been 353 if Radical Muslim Terrorists were somehow preempted. If I grant that we have to protect ourselves from RMTs, will you also concede that white Christian conservative gun-owners are more of a danger?

I'm kinda tired of re-posting the paragraph from Trump's travel-ban order that expresses the necessity for who needs to be kept out of the country for our own safety (although I will copy it again if you need to see what I'm talking about). If you take his words literally instead of knowing what he's getting at, the words are a checklist of characteristics of Trump supporters.

LarryHart said...

Ok, this just occured to me now. I haven't thought through all of the implications, so I'm posting it here for purposes of "extreme vetting"...

Would our electoral system work better if the vote totals worked the same way that "delegates" do in the primaries--that the candidates who don't have enough votes to win could assign the votes they did get to one of the other candidates?

Imagine if Jill Stein had the option of donating her votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to Hillary. Imagine even further if Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton could all have run, knowing that the "losers" would give their votes to the one of their own party closest to winning.

Hendrik Boom said...

Or if the voters themselves could express their second choices.

Hendrik Boom said...

Or if the voters themselves could express their second choices.

Flypusher said...

Instant runoff voting would be a most excellent idea.

Fred Levitan said...

Tacitus2 - "The talk was about "Russian Election Hacking". I asked her....so what do you think that means? She had to admit she had no idea."

A quite involved, possibly credible, take on the hacking: https://patribotics.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/dear-mr-putin-lets-play-chess-louise-mensch-trump-russia/

LarryHart said...

@Handrik Boom,

I realize that instant runoff voting has been proposed before. The idea seems to go nowhere, though.

I was suggesting something different, although it produces some similar results. It's more like bringing in some aspects of a parliamentary government into our system. The way I envisioned it, if no candidate receives a clear majority, the candidates would be able to allocate their votes to one of the other candidates until one has a majority.

In the instant runoff method, someone essentially says "I'm voting for Jill Stein because Hillary and Trump both suck. But if Stein doesn't make the playoffs, then I want to insure my vote helps Hillary instead of Trump." It allows you to vote for Stein and against Trump (which the current system doesn't allow), but it's an either-or thing. "If my for-Stein vote doesn't work, then I want an against-Trump vote as a consolation prize."

My suggested method is a little different. It would be more "I'm voting for Jill Stein because I allign best with her judgement on issues. If she doesn't win, I trust her to give my vote for her to the other candidate she judges to be best among them."

I'm using Jill Stein as an example of someone people voted for because they perceived Hillary as too similar to a Republican. She would not have been my choice--that would be Bernie Sanders. In my proposal, Bernie and Joe Biden and Hillary could have all run in the same election, and Democrats could vote for any of them, knowing that their vote isn't being "split" or helping a Republican win.

I'm sure there are some problems I'm missing, but it's not just that I'm misrepresenting instant runoff. It's more like the way the allocation of delegates after a primary actually works.

Jumper said...

Or a different kind of protest. VVAW - Vietnam Veterans Against the War - pulled off a completely silent march to the Republican convention in '72. Silent except for boots on the ground.
(took me a while to find a link - glad my brain still works)
http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=951&print=yes

David Brin said...

Tacitus, always glad to see you:

“I also have to say, with trepidation for the response it will get, that the priorities pushed by the D party of late do not resonate strongly with the people on whose doorsteps the Colonels will appear. Transgender bathroom issues are 875th on the list.”

Bah, show me a scintilla’s willingness of any Republican, at any level, to play fair and negotiate over high priority needs, and I will help push the bathroom thing off the sleigh.

The colonels will be welcome to ditch that one. Blue dogs! Woof!

“The rights of those hoping to enter the US are not equal to the rights of current citizens.”

Nu? Obama increased levels of vetting for visas from some countries. Now DT points to that ans screams “See? Obama did it!” No, dummy he did something else called grownup stuff. And it worked. And those who are panicking over Terrorism are wussy redders, not the Blue Americans whose cities are the targets.


Look friend, I sympathize. You are seeing the long predicted meltdown. All rationalizations collapse. Please follow the trend lines. If the Murdochians win, then the republic is over. If they continue and lose, then conservatism is over. You sane conservatives have only one choice. To create a new, separate movement of sane conservatives. Recruit an Eisenhower to lead it. And start marching at our side.

Jonathan Sills said...

"Agent provocateurs aren't exactly an unknown phenomenon, and while it's entirely possible that the Berkeley riots were actually leftists with no common sense, it would be interesting to examine those that were arrested and see which ones were actually students..."

According to a tweet (purportedly) from UC Berkeley itself, none. (I put "purportedly" in there because I'm aware of how difficult it can be to be certain who's behind a given tweet.)

As for those demanding that we "give Trump a chance", we did. In less than two weeks he ruined the US's reputation on the international front (which, I'll concede, wasn't that great to start with), "jokingly" threatened to invade Mexico, issued a blanket ban on immigration from certain areas with the stated intention of blocking refugees (and thus making a mockery of the grand poetry inscribed on the Statue of Liberty - wonder when he'll return that to France, as it no longer matches his ideology?), and attempted to subvert the rule of law in as many ways as possible (from employing his own private guard in place of Secret Service, to directing CBP personnel to answer only to him, to trying to discredit any member of the other branches of government who attempt to reign in the Executive at all). He's had his chance - and blown it, bigly.

And Dr. Brin, as much as it pains me to disagree with you, the marches and other protests are having an effect. Chaffetz withdrew his proposal to sell off 3.3 million acres of federal lands only after massive protests overwhelmed the phone systems in his Congressional office. The same is true of the rising tide of opposition to Donnie's cabinet - the congresscritters may lack spine, but seem capable of borrowing ours so long as we tell them it's available.

It improves our international standing, too. Reports from Iraq are that the people there are seeing the coverage of Donnie's executive memorandum - and coverage of the mass protests against it. This undercut's Daesh's claim that the people of the West hate Islam and are at war with them; instead, the people can see that our people stand strongly against such nonsense.

Jonathan Sills said...

Oh, in that list of Donnie's "accomplishments", I forgot about offending the only ally who's been with us in every conflict since WWII. Australia even sent support during Vietnam. And Donnie insults their (far-right) PM and hangs up on him. (And his aides later blame it on the stresses of a long day. I guess Donnie just doesn't have the stamina for the job. Low energy. Sad!)

TheMadLibrarian said...

Milo is the heir to the Westboro Baptist Church School of Litigation.

I thought it was my inner paranoia speaking when I saw the pictures of masked, black clad violent rioters on campus and thought 'Agents Provocateur." It makes me feel slightly better that I'm not the only one who fleetingly thought that.

I have a friend who attended West Point, went career military, and currently is a math instructor there. I'm pretty sure he is looking with fear and loathing at the current Republican crop, and wondering what he can do about it.

Speaking of fear and loathing, I recently procured Warren Ellis' run of Transmetropolitan in paperback, as my computer no longer has a CD reader to read my burned copy. Frighteningly prescient, with the Rage Mango playing the part of the Smiler. Or worse?

LarryHart said...

The MadLibrarian:

I thought it was my inner paranoia speaking when I saw the pictures of masked, black clad violent rioters on campus and thought 'Agents Provocateur." It makes me feel slightly better that I'm not the only one who fleetingly thought that.


Not only "fleetingly thought that." Unless proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt, that would seem to be the only plausible story.

Gary Holt said...

FWIW, having just read Orson Scott Card's "Empire", I think I have to quibble with your claim that the victor (who is transitioning the US from a republic to an empire) is supposed to be somebody we admire. He is admired by people in the novel (though not necessarily by the hero). But throughout the novel Card brings up questions about what he is doing and whether it is good. The first hero of the story (the one who is shot) in fact steadfastly opposes the imperial designs of both the left and the right. I think the point of the novel is that despite the loyal efforts of those men who love the republic (or in fact *because* of their efforts, and the secret manipulation of them by a mastermind who is *not* the hero of the book), the US transitions from a republic into an empire--and this is not necessarily a good thing, though perhaps an inevitable one.

Card's comparison with Rome might be apt, though arguably Card got the sides mixed up; a more useful article for the contemporary situation is maybe https://weeklysift.com/2016/03/21/tick-tick-tick-the-augustus-countdown-continues/

(On the other hand, I did find Card's characterization of the revolution as brought on by liberal do-gooders as a bit bizarre. Maybe if you don't know any liberal do-gooders, you might think that, but seriously....)

Jumper said...

How we fool ourselves, explained:
http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"In retrospect, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or even "Democrat to be named later" would probably have won handily. I'm just saying it wasn't that obvious at the time the candidate was being selected."

On behalf of Rob H and myself, may I loudly raise a single eyebrow.

"It would be more "I'm voting for Jill Stein because I allign best with her judgement on issues. If she doesn't win, I trust her to give my vote for her to the other candidate she judges to be best among them." "

In Australia, we have something similar in the Federal Senate (and equivalent state chambers) to augment IRV. Each party (or alliance-of-independents) lodges a preference ticket, voters can then vote "above the line" by selecting just that one party or alliance, and their preferences are assigned according to that party's preference ticket. This has resulted in "preference deals" by clusters of ideologically unrelated minor parties to elevate their vote beyond anything they would otherwise receive; and more recently has resulting in "preference farming" where a group sets up a cluster of seemingly unrelated single-issue parties (or even diametrically opposed parties: pro-hunting and animal rights, both for and against immigration, etc) which channel their preferences to a single candidate in order to get enough votes for a seat.

That has resulted in reforms to the "above the line" voting system, adding back a requirement for voters to apply their own preferences at least between parties. But it hasn't fully ended the preference-farming.

---

Tacitus2,
"Transgender bathroom issues are 875th on the list."

Transgender bathrooms should be 875th on the list because it should be such an uncontroversial state/county-level issue. It was made a top-ten issue because of the systematic nation-wide insane overreaction by the rightwing.

Just as Trump's low turn-out at the inauguration should have been one-day news, page 4, below the fold. But it was turned into a major story because the President Of The United States made it a story. It was turned into a major story because he ordered the White House Press Secretary to go out and angrily harangue the media over its (initially) minor reporting of a minor factoid.

You can't berate people for focusing on an issue in response to a hysterical overreaction by the right (or by Trump.)

Paul451 said...

Tacitus2:
"You need to start talking about the real world now"

Okay, Trump's inner circle are using the same private RNC email server that the US intel community believes was compromised by Russia along with the DNC email server.

Doesn't bother you at all? Just accept, shrug and move on? You, who throughout 2016, brought up Clinton's private email server as some kind of evidence of criminality every time you commented on the election?

Trump removed military advisors from the National Security Council and replaced them with Bannon, an unqualified, unvetted manager of a alt.news website.

Doesn't bother you at all? Just accept, shrug and move on?

Trump nominated for Sec.State a man with major financial interests in Russia.

Doesn't bother you at all? Just accept, shrug and move on?

Trump made a kissy-face phonecall with Putin, followed by phonecalls to other leaders where he deliberately insulted long time allies with key regional national security roles. Which international diplomats already refer to it as a "standard Trump tantrum" when trying to play down the significance.

Doesn't bother you at all?

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

On behalf of Rob H and myself, may I loudly raise a single eyebrow.


Yes, I'll acknowledge that some people thought Hillary couldn't win all along. Some also thought that about Trump, though.

David Brin said...

Gary Holt thanks for the perspective. But I think very few people are able to penetrate the spectacularly skilled webs of delusion that Orson Scott Card weaves. Every year, tens of thousands of school kids read the horrifically evil ENDER's GAME, in which the protagonist torments himself for an act of genocide that he committed, but that the plot carefully arranges not to in any way be his fault.

Few follow the cycle without being mesmerized. Ender's soulful self-reproach and regret are designed to wring from the reader moans:

"Please don't blame yourself Ender! It wasn't your fault! It was evil government, democracy and normal people who could never match the moral heights that you (a chosen-one demigod) portray! Please Ender! Don't beat yourself up! Please!"

This trick -- making the chosen-one demigod soulful and empathic and worried and fretful and regretful -- lets Card utterly mask the basic lesson: "Hand over your life and civilization to a chosen-one demigod, because he can be trusted and citizenship is a lost cause."

While this message is consistent with some interpretations of Mormonism, those interpretations are not required. They are chosen by Scott for simpler reasons, as is his extreme right wing stance on nearly everything.

A similarly subtle reverse psychology is seen in EMPIRE, where the author and his voice characters express disdain for all political extremes, but always the taught lessons are "the left is worse," "Intellectuals can't be trusted," "no freely elected institution can be trusted," and "oligarchy may be regrettable but it's better than chaos."


Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: "Yes, I'll acknowledge that some people thought Hillary couldn't win all along. Some also thought that about Trump, though."

I considered Hillary by far the weakest of the Democratic candidates, but I did at least think she would beat Trump, who was an utterly horrific choice. And she did, by 2.8 million votes. Unfortunately, Trump zeroed in on the biggest weakness of Hillary and the Dems--the utter disregard for working class people--and it was just enough for him to win three compromised states.
Michigan, where Sanders beat Hillary by five point and projections by 30, should have been a clear warning shot across the bow to Democrats. But they just weren't listening.

And now we have a fascist coup against the country, and it's anybody's guess as to whether the US will ever have an honest election again.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

I voted for Bernie in the primaries, but I wasn't all that disappointed when Hillary won the nomination, because I thought she could handily win a general election. When you say "Democrats weren't listening", who are you saying should have acted differently, and how? I'm thinking you mean something like "The DNC shouldn't have been so in the bag for Hillary," but I'm not clear that the primary outcome would have been different. Or do you mean southern black Democrats shouldn't have voted for Hillary? Or that Joe Biden should have run in the primaries? Or that I should have felt more realistically miserable when Hillary won?

The primary process is a big problem in itself, because it is treated as many conflicting things at once. It is a popularity contest in its own right, which means that voters pick the Democratic candidate they like best rather than the one they think has the best chance of winning in November. It is also treated as a kind of "first round" of playoffs in which the November election is the final round, but that is also flawed because winning a series of proportional contests among Democratic partisans does not necessarily prove one's qualification for winning a series of (mostly) winner-take-all contests among a broader electorate. Perversely, the primaries also act to exhaust a candidate's funding, which over time weakens a candidate just as he/she might need more resources to compete in the general.

By the time it was clear that Bernie had what it takes to beat Trump (and I'm still not convinced he would have won against any Republican but Trump), Hillary had already secured the nomination, while the Republicans were still trying hail-Mary strategies to prevent Trump from being their nominee. Short of Hillary resigning in someone else's favor, what should Democrats as a party have done to strengthen their position, even had they been listening?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Unfortunately, Trump zeroed in on the biggest weakness of Hillary and the Dems--the utter disregard for working class people


Whose fault is it that too many Americans don't know how their government works? Working class people would have been much better off with a Democratic congress, a Democratic president signing their bills, and a Democrat appointing a justice to fill Merrick Garland's seat. That is the case whether or not those people feel like they could sit down for a beer with the president. By voting for Trump and for Republicans in order to show personal displeasure for Hillary, they brought a lifetime of misery upon themselves, not upon Hillary.

The Democrats can be said to blame for not educating the public on civics. I'll somewhat agree with that. But really, what if they had tried to do so? Who would have carried the message? Who would have paid attention to it?

Ultimately, Republicans beat Dems at the game of identity politics, even while insisting that Dems shouldn't play identity politics. They weren't better than Dems for working class people, just better at seeming to acknowledge that working class people (especially the white ones) were the rightful owners of identity politics.


And now we have a fascist coup against the country, and it's anybody's guess as to whether the US will ever have an honest election again


What makes you think that started after the ascension of His Illegitimacy? The coup had already happened in the "compromised states". Without purging of voter rolls, voter id laws, voter intimidation, restricting availability of polling places, restrictions targeting likely-Democratic voters, Hillary Clinton would have won Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and we'd be calling her Madame President.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: " When you say "Democrats weren't listening", who are you saying should have acted differently, and how?"
Remember just before the convention, Bernie got about half his platform added to the party platform? First for $15/hour minimum wage, make it easier to unionize, promote jobs programs, etc? In return, Bernie would fight for her tooth and nail.
She had a short list of five candidates for VP. Four progressives who were strong on workers' rights, and a Joe Lieberman type. She went with a Joe type, and thereafter barely ever mentioned the Bernie planks in the platform. She didn't even make a cursory effort to reach out to blue collar workers.
You'll notice that the states she lost that she was expected to win were nearly all blue collar states--Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio.
It wasn't the only reason she was beaten, but it was a big one.

Zepp Jamieson said...

A Larry Hart: If you expect voters to exercise acumen and logic at the ballot box, you're going to lose elections. This isn't the first time a nation has thrown away rights and priviledge with a loud whoop at the hands of a clever demagogue.
It took billions of dollars and millions of man-hours of propaganda, but the Republicans persuaded 47% of voters to throw it all away for an imaginary wall and equally imaginary promises of a booming coal economy and riches for everyone.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Voters may not know how government works, but they do know if a politician is bothering to talk to them about their lives.
Unfortunately, liars and swindlers can talk to people about their lives, and being swindlers, tend to be quite believable to people who want to believer. Trump spotted a demographic the Democrats had blown off, and moved in.
Educating people on civics is a laudable goal, but what they really need is knowledge and scepticism, and unfortunately, that's not something people learn readily.
However, people are getting what you might call a learning opportunity--the survivors, at least, will learn from the rise of Trump. Unfortunately, it's going to be an expensive lesson.
It won't even be a permanent lesson, I'm afraid. Europeans used to hear Americans talking about "fighting for our freedoms" and hide a smile, because Americans haven't truly had to fight for their freedoms since the Civil War, whereas for 1960s Europe, such a fight was in living memory. But 75 years have passed, and now fascism is on the rise in Europe because the lessons learned from Hitler were only good for a couple of generations.

locumranch said...


You are sadly mistaken if you believe that I wish to silence the current progressive temper tantrums, for in truth I do not. I only find them foolish & demeaning, these attempts to save the rule of law & order through its boisterous destruction & delegitimisation.

David understands this as he wishes to preserve our rather broken system, by working within its calcified confines in the hopes of reforming it, even though this is an oxymoronic absurdity. It's analogous to joining a hate group in order to preach diversity, or destroying the village to save it.

I owe no allegiance to either the left or the right: Both are pigs in suits; I am a beast of burden to both factions; they ride on my back; they rake my flanks with their spurs; they steer me to the knacker; and they can kill each other for all I care.

I am Boxer's Rebellion: The US & EU version.


Best

Paul451 said...

Zepp,
"Michigan, where Sanders beat Hillary by five point and projections by 30, should have been a clear warning shot across the bow to Democrats. But they just weren't listening."

The fact that Sanders came out of nowhere to challenge her at all should have been a shot across the bow. Especially after losing in 2008 to Obama, who also came out of nowhere, with no existing base or donor network.

What disturbs me is that after losing again, and this time handing the Republicans total control, the Dem leadership still doesn't seem to get it. I still see articles from insiders "explaining" how it really was all due to racism. The fine people of Lynchnegro, Alabama didn't vote for the black liberal Chicago politician in 2008 and again in 2012. Why does it matter why they voted for Trump in 2016? The issue is why people who supported Obama turned away from Clinton. And that's something the Party doesn't seem to be even asking.

(That irony is that Bill Clinton won in 1992 by running as a Party-outsider, on a strategy of "it's the economy, stupid".)

Paul451 said...

Gosh Loco, you're such a rebel.

Marino said...

I owe no allegiance to either the left or the right: Both are pigs in suits

first rule of the fascists: they're "not right nor left" but in fact fight only the left, been there, done that.

I am a beast of burden to both factions; they ride on my back; they rake my flanks with their spurs; they steer me to the knacker

I feel your pain, dude. Escape the horrible dictatorship of the evil liberals.There are a lot of nicer places, Belaurs, Russia, North Korea, Lybia, Daesh Caliphate. Just once you're gone , stay here and don't pollute the rest of the planet, please.


I am Boxer's Rebellion: The US & EU version.

therefore your fellow countrymen are "foreign devils", you should kill a lot of Christians,
and your rising will be crushed in blood, ruin and plunder after 55 days.Oh, and another Mao running a Cultural Revolution (look at the opening of the Three-Body Problem)will praise you.

ROFLMAO

I'm not American, but this BS is dangerous, not just for you, but for the whole planet. Last time it ran unchecked we needed Ike, Zhukov and Bomber Harris to deal with it.
"I'd prefer not to", said Bartleby

Jumper said...

"If only Bernie could throw his votes to Clinton." Well, he begged his "followers" to vote for Clinton and his "followers" gave him the finger.

Tacitus2 said...

Paul 451

You had a list of things each with the coda "Doesn't it bother you at all? Just accept,shrug and move on?"

I hope you are not under the impression that I voted for Donald Trump or that I like or respect the man. But he is the President of the United States and I do respect the office and process that put him in it. I would also, if extraordinary circumstances brought it to pass, respect the process of impeachment but it would take very compelling evidence to put that on the table. I wonder how many changes in government our friend Marino from Italy has gone through. I don't want to be European in that sense either.

I do try and attend to specific questions. The Private Server article indicated that this was legal so long as the messages were copied to a government server within 2 weeks. Have you checked yet to see if it is happening? I think frequent FOIA petitions are an under rated tool for transparancy....get 'em going.

Trump's appointees in aggregate are certainly outside the Beltway types. Bannon appears to be playing the Dick Cheney/Karl Rove role for the media these days....taking the abuse that they are reluctant to aim directly at POTUS. He certainly has bad hair. I suppose 7 years as a US naval officer might give him a measure of qualification for a chair at the NSC table. Politifact, in general no great friend of Republicans, had a reasonable treatment of what the NSC does and the extent to which Trump's restructuring does or does not change the nature of this rather flexible entity.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/feb/01/politifact-sheet-national-security-council-shakeup/

I was not invited in on conference calls to world leaders so can't comment on whether the President made smoochy sounds with some and locker room talk with others.

In general I give the appointees and nominees a chance to prove or disprove their merit. A few, Mattis and probably Gorsuch the new SC nominee, appear highly qualified, some others not so obviously so.

Its a more business oriented group for sure. I assume you entirely disapprove of a Sec of State who has a considerable personal fortune and world wide business interests. Of course it is easier to believe ill of oil as compared to ketchup.

Now, where I will start to worry more.

When temporary measures start to get extended repeatedly. It is a common and valuable exercise for the politically aware to keep their eyes and ears open on Friday afternoons, that is when Administrations usually try to slip stuff by us.

Tacitus

Victoria Silverwolf said...

Doctor Brin:

Thank you for making it clear to me what it is that has bothered me for a long time about the science fiction of Orson Scott Card. This was long before his anti-gay stance was made evident. I couldn't understand why "Ender's Game" was so popular, and maybe you have explained that.

The man can write. I admire many of his short stories. (Maybe they don't have the space to include the disturbing parts of his philosophy.) But there was something about the few novels of his which I have read which disturbed me.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

She had a short list of five candidates for VP. Four progressives who were strong on workers' rights, and a Joe Lieberman type. She went with a Joe type, and thereafter barely ever mentioned the Bernie planks in the platform. She didn't even make a cursory effort to reach out to blue collar workers.


Ok, that's actually a good answer to "What should Democrats have done if they had been listening?" I even remember being disappointed at the announcement of Tim Kaine, not that he was particularly bad, but that he didn't seem to bring anything to the table other than "He'll win Virginia." And that strategy doesn't even always work, even for presidential candidates (Al Gore?).

There was energy in the Democratic campaign before the convention, and the oxygen seemed to go out of the room almost immediately afterwards. It makes me wonder about Dr Brin's blackmail scenarios, not that someone was blackmailing Hillary herself, but that the Democratic Party itself was compromised and throwing the game. I'm not saying I truly believe that's what happened, but it does explain some things we saw in real life.


LarryHart said...

Paul451:

(That irony is that Bill Clinton won in 1992 by running as a Party-outsider, on a strategy of "it's the economy, stupid".)


Also, Bill Clinton won in 1992 on a platform of "I can be like a Republican without being so mean to people." And the Clintons' tragic flaw this time around was to think that was still the winning strategy. But Republican policies really aren't all that popular now. Note how Wall Street and "international banking" were millstones around Hillary's neck, and even her 2003 support for the Iraq War was a liability rather than an asset.

Meanwhile, tolerance is out and vindictiveness is a winner.

In fact, Trump pulled the diametric-opposite strategy of Bill Clinton's: "I can be like a Democrat without being so tolerant of others."

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

However, people are getting what you might call a learning opportunity--the survivors, at least, will learn from the rise of Trump. Unfortunately, it's going to be an expensive lesson.


Trump is a con man in the pure, original sense of "confidence man". He makes you do what he wants by making you feel like you're part of the club and that his interest and yours really are aligned.

Except he's an impatient con man. He loses interest in the game the moment you've signed, and in fact sometimes he's even...premature. Yeah, you still sign the contract, but you're already regretting it even as you're doing so. The best professional con men know how to keep up the charm long enough that you don't even realize how you've been taken even when you realize that you've been taken. Trump is a mediocre amateur in this regard. He's certainly not fooling any foreign leaders with his act.

Jumper said...

I still wonder about our mayor, Jennifer Roberts, and the timing of the "bathroom bill" which inspired the NC congress to write their own "bathroom bill" and throw the whole issue into the national spotlight. Right before the election. I even suspect her of being a Republican sleeper. Or perhaps she's just a dupe. I would credit that right there with affecting turnout among more traditionalist Dems and independents, especially Hispanics and African-Americans who get gut feelings that it's a bit of weirdness they won't buy into.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"I only find them foolish & demeaning, these attempts to save the rule of law & order through its boisterous destruction & delegitimisation. "

You forgot the part where Trump is our stern but loving father, and we are wilful and disobedient children.

You will have to work at it a bit if you want to convince us you're the grown-up in the room. Your leader isn't exactly a convincing role model.

Zepp Jamieson said...

""If only Bernie could throw his votes to Clinton." Well, he begged his "followers" to vote for Clinton and his "followers" gave him the finger."

According to polls, 90% of Sanders supporters wound up supporting Hillary.
In other words, she managed to win the popular vote despite leaving 40% of the party discouraged and disgusted with Democratic servility.

And here you are, working hard to ensure they stay alienated and disgusted with Democratic inability to fight anyone other than the people they need as allies.

Are you SURE you aren't a Republican?

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus2,

I'm not being sarcastic. I honestly can't tell whether you are the sanest man in the room or if you're that guy in "Life of Brian" hanging upside down in the dungeon and opining what a great race the Romans are.

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus2 (again),

In fairness to the rest of us:

No one is condemning Bannon for his hair. His affiliations with Breitbart and with Naziism are much more important.

I couldn't care less about whether Gorsuch is qualified. The fact is that every argument for why Democrats should approve Gorshuch (including "The American people deserve an up or down vote!") applied to Merrick Garland as well. I honestly can't understand how you or any Republican can argue with a straight face that principle and decorum somehow dictate that Democrats acquiesce on this, when the same principle and decorum would have dictated that the seat is not even open because Garland is sitting there.

Democracy does not work if we have partisan rancor and obstructionism whenever Democrats are in power, and then it's time to respect the institutions and work together when it's the Republicans' turn.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Trump is a con man in the pure, original sense of "confidence man"."

Exactly. Fortunately, and as you note, he doesn't have the temperament to be all that good at it. Too impatient, too greedy, and not very bright. Crafty, yes, but not intelligent. Picks fights he not only can't win, but shouldn't even be fighting in the first place, whether it's insulting a gold star family or getting in a pissing match with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The travel ban fiasco is a case in point. He could have issued an executive order that stopped new applications for refugee status for 120 days, and while some people would have argued it, it wouldn't have been controversial. But for reasons known only to him and Steve Bannon, he included green card holders who had a legal right to enter the country, and refugees who had already been granted refugee status, some of whom were standing in American airports when the order immediately took effect. And he made it worse by excluding from the ban countries whose nationals actually had carried out terrorist attacks on American soil because he had business interests there. Result--a war with the courts he didn't need and cannot win.

His incompetence and poor temper may be his best features.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Thank you for making it clear to me what it is that has bothered me for a long time about the science fiction of Orson Scott Card. This was long before his anti-gay stance was made evident. I couldn't understand why "Ender's Game" was so popular, and maybe you have explained that. "

I greatly enjoyed Ender's Game, even though I found the philosophy and politics appalling. It's not as if this is something new for any reader. I'm sure some of Brin's most loyal readers disagree vehemently with him. I remember as a kid reading Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" and realizing he was not only a social Darwinist, but was advocating a "final solution." Still a damned good story, though. Even Asimov, a man whose politics and philosophy I admired, left me wondering about some of the future Edens on Earth, "Where are all the people?". He had people living an average of a mile apart, and even if you include the oceans, that means eliminating about 90% of humanity. I can think of other writers who are in the Kornbluth category--Heinlein, Pournelle, Niven, Frank Miller, the list goes on. (Niven and Pournell fell off my favourites list when they co-wrote a strange screen posing as a novel that basically was there to attack the concept of CO2 related climate change. I don't mind different philosophies in a story, but have no patience with a story that is clearly there only to support an ideology.).

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

" I honestly can't tell whether you are the sanest man in the room or if you're that guy in "Life of Brian" hanging upside down in the dungeon and opining what a great race the Romans are. "

This did make me smile. You know how much a fan of all things Roman I am!

Bannon's hair was my own observation. It is horrid and I wonder if he is in fact a sort of prop, an intentionally odd looking lightning rod for bolts otherwise directed at the President. It is something of a time honored role in politics.

The Democratic Party should in the matter of Gorsuch act as they deem appropriate. The man's credentials seem in order. I am fine with them looking at it in political terms. If Harry Reid had not gelded the filibuster for sub SC posts and indicated he was prepared to do so for SC if necessary the Minority Party would have much more say in this matter. His was a short sighted act.

But they should pick their battles wisely.

As I am either dispensing sane advice or hanging upside down jibbering, you can take this any way you please. The best plan here for Senate Democrats is to grudgingly let Gorsuch get confirmed. Abstain if you feel you have to do so. You are in this instance replacing one Conservative orientation justice with another, and one who may in fact be a pleasant surprise for you.

If you bring down the Nuclear Option now you will have much less solid footing if in a few years one of the aged Liberal Justices leaves the court. You might even find some R Senators willing to discuss bringing back the fillibuster. It has positive and negative features....mostly seen from the perspective of whether you are in the Majority or not.

And Zepp, I agree that the inplementation of the travel ban was done incompetently. I do not consider electing people with no prior (political) executive experience to be a sensible thing to do.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

The Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn has a much more eloquent piece on the Gorsuch confirmation:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-neil-gorsuch-democrats-reject-perspec-0202-20170202-column.html


The whole article is worth a read, but here's the money shot:


...
Now you’re looking at Trump’s appointee, Neil Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal judge whom some analysts believe will be even further to the right than Scalia was.

The Republicans went low when they obstructed the Garland nomination. Now they, along with some in your party are urging Democrats to go high — to give Gorsuch a fair and open-minded hearing and a confirmation vote based on his qualifications, and to thereby give Trump the deference to which the president is due.

The conciliatory caucus is urging Democrats not to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination, a move that would require at least eight Democrats or independents to agree to give him an up-or-down vote on the floor. Turn the other cheek! Take the high road!

And how do you think that tactic is going to work out?

Do you think that rolling over and showing your belly to President Trump will prompt him or the Republican majorities to compromise with you? To gratefully moderate their agenda in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation?

Please.

That high road leads only to the edge of a cliff.
...


LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I greatly enjoyed Ender's Game, even though I found the philosophy and politics appalling. It's not as if this is something new for any reader. I'm sure some of Brin's most loyal readers disagree vehemently with him. I remember as a kid reading Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" and realizing he was not only a social Darwinist, but was advocating a "final solution." Still a damned good story, though.


"Dune" is like that for me. Some here (Alfred) are turned off by it, but as much as I don't want to live under real-life feudalism, there's something about the book that really drags me in.


I don't mind different philosophies in a story, but have no patience with a story that is clearly there only to support an ideology.).


Yeah, er......ahem! I've admitted reading "Atlas Shrugged" twice. I have never agreed with Ayn Rand once. / We have fought on like seventy-five different fronts., but if I feel like being roused for a good Two-Minutes Hate disguised as a boys' adventure story, she knows which buttons to press.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

The Democratic Party should in the matter of Gorsuch act as they deem appropriate. The man's credentials seem in order. I am fine with them looking at it in political terms. If Harry Reid had not gelded the filibuster for sub SC posts and indicated he was prepared to do so for SC if necessary the Minority Party would have much more say in this matter. His was a short sighted act.

But they should pick their battles wisely.


I take the opposite lesson from Harry Reid from what you do. They should have eliminated the filibuster in January 2009. The counterargument that the Republicans will respect decorum if Democrats do is a fallacy. If Republicans are willing to eliminate the filibuster for Gorsuch, they would have done so regardless of what Democrats did. Bill Frist floated the "nuclear option" back in 2005 or so.

And my exhibit A is the Republicans ignoring the quorum rules for getting cabinet appointments through committee. That isn't pushback for any rules Democrats similarly ignored in their time. It's just the way Republicans work. The justification was that Democrats were being obstructionist, yet you (you, McConnell and you, Tacitus) don't see Republican obstructionism as justification for Harry Reid's maneuvers.

If the filibuster is eliminated, it will never be reinstated for the same reason that the electoral college won't be eliminated. The action would have to be taken by those who have the most to lose by it.

Anonymous said...

Collapse works both ways, oh ever-blinkered one. If the Salon coalition can be pared down (Sarah Silverman is doing a fine job there (calls for military shootin' war? yeee-haw!) or check out the antics on liberal campuses wrt free speech, or ...) then the Democrat edifice collapses, for "peacock" liberals have been in just as much denial as those you call ostrich--all show no power and sandy ears ain't the only way to be blind. Granted, a more likely story between hard and fast collapse versus magically rocketing off to the stars is yet more muddling about as humans work through their big Carbon burn--"the greatest power orgy in the history of mankind" (Eric Voegelin, "The Origins of Scientism", 1948).

Now, those Republicans, the ones you keep call delusional--now why exactly would your insults swing them to your side? What's your strat here? Keep insulting them and then gape like a guppy come election time?

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

If you bring down the Nuclear Option now you will have much less solid footing if in a few years one of the aged Liberal Justices leaves the court. You might even find some R Senators willing to discuss bringing back the fillibuster. It has positive and negative features....mostly seen from the perspective of whether you are in the Majority or not.


Again, I disagree. If the Republicans are going to go nuclear, make them do it. What is the possible percentage in giving them what they want so that they don't take what they want by force?

The hypothetical far-right replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be more dangerous if another conservative is already seated, and what makes you think that Republicans would respect the filibuster at that point if they won't do so now?

The Supreme Court has the power to legislate reality. Think I'm exaggerating? If they ruled that Corporations, as persons, have the right to vote, who could gainsay them? And you want us to trust the party of #AlternativeFacts with this power and hope they'll use it wisely in service to the country rather than to the donors who have spent billions of dollars to get them installed in the court? To even ask the question is to note how ridiculous it would be.

LarryHart said...

Anonymous:

Now, those Republicans, the ones you keep call delusional--now why exactly would your insults swing them to your side? What's your strat here? Keep insulting them and then gape like a guppy come election time?


Why not? It worked for you.

Flypusher said...

Zepp Jamieson:"The travel ban fiasco is a case in point. He could have issued an executive order that stopped new applications for refugee status for 120 days, and while some people would have argued it, it wouldn't have been controversial. But for reasons known only to him and Steve Bannon, he included green card holders who had a legal right to enter the country, and refugees who had already been granted refugee status, some of whom were standing in American airports when the order immediately took effect. And he made it worse by excluding from the ban countries whose nationals actually had carried out terrorist attacks on American soil because he had business interests there. Result--a war with the courts he didn't need and cannot win."

I have no doubts about Trump's immaturity and incompetence, but Bannon's motives for some of these actions puzzle me. Whatever bad things you can truthfully say about him, he's not stupid. Yet the absolute worst and unwisest aspect of this EO, the denying entry to people with green cards, was something that Bannon pushed for and overrode calmer heads. Why? Was he really that blinded by his bigotry? Was he testing the response time/ tactics of the opposition? Did he really think it would stand up in court? Does he just want to stir up chaos as a great excuse for cracking down?

LarryHart said...

From today's www.electoral-vote.com :


While it is not unprecedented for Trump to insult a federal judge, it is certainly unpresidented and also unpresidential. ...Robart was born in Seattle, educated in Washington state, appointed to the federal bench in 2004 by George W. Bush, and confirmed by 99 senators.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded to the tweet by saying that Trump shows nothing but disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes. Consequently, one of the key topics on which Judge Neil Gorsuch will be grilled on during his Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court will be his ability to be an independent check on the executive branch.


He can answer truthfully that of course he will be a check on the executive branch-- the moment a Democrat is elected president. He'll be a check on congress too, under similar circumstances.

LarryHart said...

Also from today's www.electoral-vote.com :

would be easy to dismiss Howard Stern as a potty-mouthed "shock jock." However, he is a keen observer of human nature, a skilled interviewer, and a long-time friend of Donald Trump. So, his opinion should carry some weight. Stern commented at length on the new president on Wednesday's program; here are the highlights of what he said:

+ Being president is not going to be good for Trump's mental health.

+ Trump wants badly to be loved, and in particular wants to be embraced by Hollywood. He may pretend otherwise, but the criticism and ostracism really bother him.

+ Trump was once a solid pro-Clinton Democrat, and strongly pro-choice. Stern does not think he's changed his views; he's merely playing to his base.

+ This whole thing began as a negotiating ploy to get more money out of NBC; nobody was more surprised than Trump when it took off.

+ He badly wants to stop being president.

We may never know for certain if Stern is right about these things, but there are few people in a better position to guess than he is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Flypusher: Bannon is definitely the joker in the pack. Perhaps that's even a literal truth: he's been compared to Loki; devious, mischievous, a chaos-bringer. Or he may be subsumed by viciously racist beliefs and a howling xenophobia that leaves him convinced that the country really is in imminent if not immediate danger from these refugees.
To me, a complicating factor is my belief that he is a drunk, and in a fairly advanced state of alcoholism at that. It's a horseback diagnosis, and like most such may be a complete load of bullocks, but I've known drunks, and I know how they look and think as they lose control, and Bannon seems to fit that sad pattern.

Victoria Silverwolf said...

There seems to be an element within the so-called "alt right" which enjoys chaos and destruction for its own sake, even if there seems to be no obvious benefit to themselves. This seems to have been at least part of the motivation behind the "Angry Puppy" campaign to block vote the Hugo nominees. The "Sad Puppies" seem to have wanted the Hugos to reflect their opinions; the "Angry Puppies" (just one person and his minions, really) seem to have wanted to make trouble for no other reason.

Jumper said...

I would say Bannon is an amphetamine Nazi and a drunk as well.

LarryHart said...

Those who upset the chessboard just to make trouble seem to be making the point, by their own freedom of action, that democracy doesn't work. More appropriately, they're goading small-d democrats into admitting that democracy doesn't work, because democracy allows them to intentionally undermine it.

They're the best example of people who don't love American values and treat others badly on account of their differences. That's not what Trump meant when his immigration ban called for excluding such people from the United States for our own good, but it's kind of funny that that's what he said.

@Tacitus, in case you missed my several previous posts on this topic, here is the text I am referring to--part of the text of the immigration ban itself:


In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Deuxglass said...

Tacitus2,

I agree with you in your analysis of the Democrat Party’s failure to field a credible candidate but it happened and now I would hope that the Dem leadership would have looked into why they lost but it looks like I will have to wait longer. For the moment they are still blaming everyone but themselves. It would be good to have a slew of colonels going into politics on the Democrat side however the present leadership of the Democrats is so incompetent that any self-respecting colonel could not have faith in them to do the right thing. Colonels are not fools and you can’t expect them to go into politics if they have little input into policy decisions. They might not like Republicans but they also do not have confidence in the Democrat leadership either and until that changes I suspect that few ex-colonels would serve.

For me the first priorities are the economy, trade policy and health reform. There is absolutely convincing evidence that Neoliberal policies do not work for the great majority of people not only in the US but in just about every developed country. You might say that the science is settled. Just about everyone recognizes this but the general consensus is still to do nothing except for incremental changes here and there that don’t step on too many toes. The actors are caught in an interlocking system in which necessary changes cannot occur. Like a deer caught in the headlights, they know the car is going to hit them yet they cannot move. In trade policy it is the same thing. The distortions have become too large to ignore and are undermining social cohesion of whole societies. Remember the win-win scenario Neoliberals have been pushing for the last 40 years where everyone’s’ boat rises? What really happened was stagnating wages for the great majority people. Of course those on the winning side love it and for reason. Neoliberalism in the health industry has saddled us with costs 35% higher than other developed countries while giving us the worst health metrics compared to some developing countries let alone compared to developed ones.

What is needed is not incrementalism. That time is passed and too much ossification has set in. What we have now is an intensely complex interconnected system which prevents change. It is like the Gordian Knot which was so complex that nobody could undo it until Alexander just cut it with his sword thereby allowing a solution to the problem. Will Trump cut these knots? I don’t know and I am watching carefully. He says he is going to do exactly that. If he does then I welcome that. I take Bernie Sanders view of the situation. He said he will fight Trump if he comes up with racists measures, he will fight him if he favors big business over people, he will fight him if he comes up with anti-environment actions, but he will support him in these three areas of jobs, trade and health, which would help the working people and the middle class. That is what I will do also. For me that looks to be the wisest way forward.

Deuxglass said...

I would add one more area to this. If Trump comes out with a credible plan to tackle Mars then I definitely would be for it. Hopefully Elon Musk can convince him the necessity of colonizing Mars. Now that would be a conundrum for many here. Would you support a man you hate if he does something good that you deeply believe would benefit the Human Race?

LarryHart said...

Deuxglass:

It is like the Gordian Knot which was so complex that nobody could undo it until Alexander just cut it with his sword thereby allowing a solution to the problem.


I'm surprised that example was not mentioned explicitly in "Wrath of Khan" when Captain Kirk described how he "changed the conditions of the test."


Will Trump cut these knots? I don’t know and I am watching carefully. He says he is going to do exactly that. If he does then I welcome that. I take Bernie Sanders view of the situation. He said he will fight Trump if he comes up with racists measures, he will fight him if he favors big business over people, he will fight him if he comes up with anti-environment actions, but he will support him in these three areas of jobs, trade and health, which would help the working people and the middle class. That is what I will do also. For me that looks to be the wisest way forward.


Judging from what he's done and attempted to do so far, it seems like there will be more "fighting him" and not so much "supporting him" in that model.

Jumper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jumper said...

If leaving stocks of food and water on Mars, how long can it be stored there and still be usable? What's the cheapest way to stretch that shelf life? 12 years of stocking-up missions could be followed by a human station. That beats a one-time trillion-dollar photo op

Zepp Jamieson said...

Deuxglass: The devil would be in the details. For example, I think a trillion dollars for infrastructure repair is the very least needed; however, when Trump proposes that, I'm leery because I'm not sure how much of that will benefit regular people (Trump wants a lot of toll roads for example) and how much of that money will be lost to crony capitalism. Trump's track record suggests a lot of that money would go to Trump owned-and-controlled businesses.

Deuxglass said...

LarryHart,

For the moment he is just using executive orders. From what I hear, very soon he will be setting out a very profond reform of the tax system and it will be a deep reform and surprising in its scope. To pass it he will need Congress on his side and I am curious how he will do it but I don't underestimate him. He is definitely not dumb.

For example, Executive Order "ETHICS COMMITMENTS BY EXECUTIVE BRANCH APPOINTEES" has in my opinion, will have important connotations if it can be widened to cover more people. I see it as a possible Trojan Horse to the revolving door problem yet I have not found anyone discussing it. Why is it being ignored?

Deuxglass said...

Zepp,

You are right. We are all waiting for the details and I hope I will be pleasantly surprised.

David Brin said...

Zepp, the dems never “blew off” the white working class. Though I never liked the excesses of Identity Politics that seemed to rank a few hundred trans folks as more important, in bulk, than millions of orthos. That fed into the real source of angst, which was not economics but culture war.

Tacitus - Of course it is frustrating to see you endlessly shrug: “well, we’ll see” over appointments and actions that you’d have deemed far more ominous, if performed by a democrat. Indeed I hope you are tracking this, pausing now and then, squinting and picturing how you’d feel if prez Hillary were appointing to every department enemies of the performance of that department’s taxpayer paid duty.

e.g. in any one day DT’s WH uses tech and email/tweets/cell phones more carelessly than HC did in her entire term at State. No record of who enters Trump Tower? No problem! No record of his call to Putin? No worries! So where’s the outrage that proclaimed her to have committed disqualifying crimes?

Still, you know that I am willing to hold fire on many appointments. I think liberals have way too short a hair trigger right now. This is a catastrophe but it will only be resolved when more people (like you) have time to realize it.

“If Harry Reid had not gelded the filibuster for sub SC posts…” Tacitus, the GOP blocked more Obama nominations than in the entire history of the US before him. Do I need to repeat that? I shall.

The GOP blocked more Obama nominations than in the entire history of the US before him.

I’m not sure that actually got through so I will repeat it one more time: The GOP blocked more Obama nominations than in the entire history of the US before him.

There are no justifications for continued loyalty to those monsters. Please, tell us if you know one. I’d like to hear it.

Yes, I understand the passion behind Eric Zorn’s indignant rejection of compromise, and the treasonous GOP deserves nothing. A time will come, perhaps soon, for red lines in the sand. Still, to be clear, I believe the dems should use maturity judo and pass Gorsuch with courtesy. At that point, HE is the target audience. And behaving the like only adults in Congress may not affect straw-clutching republicans like you… but it might affect him. His vote counts.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-neil-gorsuch-democrats-reject-perspec-0202-20170202-column.html


“When temporary measures start to get extended repeatedly.”

Was there even a scintilla’s need for the muslim ban? Obama kept us safe. Period. Top to bottom. Far better than either Bush. Period.

David Brin said...

LarryHart, usually you make a lot of sense. But… um: “In fact, Trump pulled the diametric-opposite strategy of Bill Clinton's: "I can be like a Democrat without being so tolerant of others." Eep. Cue twilight zone music

Also: “Bill Clinton won in 1992 on a platform of "I can be like a Republican without being so mean to people." And the Clintons' tragic flaw this time around was to think that was still the winning strategy.”

Sorry. the Dems lost because they did not have ENOUGH outreach to white working class folks. Fortunately you can do both. Wait for my “colones” posting.

David Brin said...

locumranch (note , his full name is code for when I deem him to have at least tried to make a cogent point) gives voice to the catechism of today’s right. The scream that ironically led them to seize confederate power over all branches of government:

1) “I know my side is crazy and has done nothing right at all! I know everything they say is a lie and that all their outcomes were negative and they act like cranky 4 year olds. But hence I must cling ever-tighter to the mantra that liberals are just as bad or worse!! And every other enemy of my cult: science, teaching, the “deep state”… it’s all shit!!!”

2) “Since facts tell otherwise: that most things are pretty good, that science keeps delivering wonders, many of them making my life better each year; since the world set up by the Greatest Generation has delivered more peace, prosperity and progress than all the rest of human history — combined — and since America’s mostly open and accountable systems nearly all function well, and since Blue State capitalism is pouring forth wealth and goodies and wonders…

“…I am forced to get ever more hysterical in my cult’s denial of all of it! I must screech ever-louder that it’s all shit! And that the facts are shit! And any profession that deals in facts must be a cabal of bullshit artists!”

“And hence, I must scream ‘bring it all crashing down! Chaos! Blood in the streets! A fourth turning! Yay death!”

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

LarryHart, usually you make a lot of sense. But… um: “In fact, Trump pulled the diametric-opposite strategy of Bill Clinton's: "I can be like a Democrat without being so tolerant of others." Eep. Cue twilight zone music


Well, he ran on protecting Social Security and Medicare and on protecting American manufacturing jobs. He co-opted key Democratic economic positions and said "We can do these things and be mean to minorities and women!"

LarryHart said...

Totally off-topic, but anyone with a working heart and access to cable tv's "Hallmark Channel" should be watching the Kitten Bowl right now!

Jumper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart: Basically, in the blue collar states, Trump masqueraded as a Huey Long Democrat.
Dr. Brin: If "blew off" strikes you as a bit rigid, how about "only paid lip service to." In any case, Trump promised jobs and economic security in areas that lacked such, and Clinton was tagged as a creature of Wall Street. Politics is to reality what Max Ernst is to architectural design.

LarryHart said...

Trump's case against Hillary channeled the Thomas Jefferson character in "Hamilton" :


Our poorest citizens, our farmers,
Live ration to ration.
As Wall Street robs them blind
In search of chips to cash in.


I understand how desperate poor midwesterners could be made to distrust Hillary's connections to Wall Street. I have a harder time understanding how those same people, after the fact, think that the reality of Trump's cabinet is somehow different from what they feared from Hillary.

locumranch said...



My 'Boxer Rebellion' comment was a double entendre, referring to both (1) Boxer, the dedicated workhorse for Animal Farm, and (2) THE Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Nativist movement subject to ruthless slaughter by the technologically superior (but morally inferior) foreign imperialists of the Enlightened West.

Quite wrongly, David assumes the Right is 'my side' merely because I oppose him on some issues. What a repellent 'either-or' mindset, especially when I have mentioned that I was a Sanders delegate!

I say again that here is little difference between these two established factions: Differing only in tactics, (1) Both care only themselves and (2) Both exist only to exploit the hardworking plow-horses in order to remain dominant.

The Right (Feudalism) elevates the indolent strong by enslaving the working weak; the Left (Collectivism) enslaves the working strong to elevate the indolent weak; and, no matter which 'side' rules, it is the dedicated workhorse who is well & truly screwed.

I therefore choose NEITHER. Instead, I seek that precarious tipping point, the libertarian sweet spot, one that maximises individual liberty without sacrificing (or compelling) collective action, which can only exist when both the right & left lose.

Most of you are hypocrites who natter on about the evil actions of Animal Farm Farmer fascists/feudalists while blithely ignoring the the equally evil actions of the Suited Pig collectivists/communists.

And, since I don't want to be screwed by either side, I say to hell with them both.


Best


David Brin said...

Locum always amazes me. His screed, above, absolutely and perfectly illustrates the syndrome I described. And yet he is completely unable to perceive this or the irony, or even engage it enough to acknowledge that it must be refuted.

This is one reason why I encourage him to hang around here. We (most of us here) keep believing that logic can penetrate such amazing mental constructs. But they are spectacularly well defended.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Quite wrongly, David assumes the Right is 'my side' merely because I oppose him on some issues. What a repellent 'either-or' mindset, especially when I have mentioned that I was a Sanders delegate!


I can't speak for our host, but I assume the Right is your side because you ascribe everything good to rural red-staters and everything bad to blue-state progressives.

You may well claim that "rural red-staters" are good workhorses who are different in kind from "the Right", but the fact is that they consistently and overwhelmingly vote for the politicians who implement policies of "the Right".


I say again that here is little difference between these two established factions: Differing only in tactics, (1) Both care only themselves and (2) Both exist only to exploit the hardworking plow-horses in order to remain dominant.

The Right (Feudalism) elevates the indolent strong by enslaving the working weak; the Left (Collectivism) enslaves the working strong to elevate the indolent weak; and, no matter which 'side' rules, it is the dedicated workhorse who is well & truly screwed.


I'd agree with you if you mean that Feudalism and Communism are opposite faces of the same coin. Same with Fascism and Communism. My dad taught me that in the 1960s. Where we part company is the notion that the Democratic Party in America is anything approaching Communism.


I therefore choose NEITHER. Instead, I seek that precarious tipping point, the libertarian sweet spot, one that maximises individual liberty without sacrificing (or compelling) collective action, which can only exist when both the right & left lose.


As with Cheet-olini's immigration ban, I agree with the words here, but I doubt I mean them the same way you do. I would say "I seek that precarious tipping point, the American sweet spot, one that maximizes individual liberty without sacrificing (or compelling) collective action, which can only exist when both the Nazis & Soviets lose."

You, OTOH, want the Republicans and Democrats to both lose, and the "liberty without collective action" you seek is post-Apocalyptic. Live Free AND Die! You obviously know your Ayn Rand, so you make a good Eddie Willers figure, but you'll never get the girl that way. So I guess there's no need to worry about being screwed.


Most of you are hypocrites who natter on about the evil actions of Animal Farm Farmer fascists/feudalists while blithely ignoring the the equally evil actions of the Suited Pig collectivists/communists.


No one here is advocating communism, nor did anyone cheer for the pigs in "Animal Farm".

LarryHart said...

Did the Atlanta Falcons lose (lose their 20-point lead, anyway) because they lost touch with the white working man?

LarryHart said...

...strike the parenthetical.

This is the season of the upset.

First the Cubs.

Then the election.

Now, New England comes back from 28-3 to win.

Flypusher said...

I was rooting casually for ATL, but as someone who lives in the Houston metro region, I'm pleased that we've hosted a memorable Super Bowl with no bad incidents. I was entertained by the half time show too, which doesn't always happen.

Paul451 said...

Happy sport-ball day. I hope your team sported its ball better than the other team, in spite of the clearly biased on-field adjudicators.

--

Deuxglass,
"If Trump comes out with a credible plan to tackle Mars then I definitely would be for it. Hopefully Elon Musk can convince him the necessity of colonizing Mars. Now that would be a conundrum for many here. Would you support a man you hate if he does something good that you deeply believe would benefit the Human Race?"

Heh, that's an easy one for me. I consider Mars a dead end, a trap. Something that gets between humanity and expansion into space. A frozen hole in space that will suck up as many resources as you wish to pour into it, and deliver nothing back.

Something something analogy Trump.

Jumper,
Re: Stockpiling on Mars.

Apparently NASA is struggling to match the storage time of things like MREs when designing a diet that astronauts can live on for a long term mission, plus the travel time there and back again. (MREs themselves are not suitable for long term continuous consumption without relief for potentially several years.) Hence leaving stockpiles sitting on the surface for a decade or more is probably out of the question.

Likewise, enough water for drinking isn't a significant issue. ISS consumes less than 1 tonne of water/air per person, per year, per haps. And it wouldn't be hard to design a system to extract that from local resources. 2-3kg per person per day is not that demanding.

Marino said...

re: locum.
I've missed the joke about Boxer (in the Italian translation the horse is named Gondrand, after a transportation and relocating firm).
It doesn't change the whole line of reasoning. Now, Hilary is both a slave to Wall Street AND a Communist? doubleplusungood...
Anyway, the rethoric of helplessness is absolutely hypocritical. It looks like if you haven't someone to oppress/discriminate, you're powerless. A zero-sum game of the authoritarians.

Rural vs. urban, reread good ol' Marx on how Napoleon III won elections (and later destroyed the republic) by putting farmers and small landowners against urban blue collar workers using the scare of Communism. The same argument rehashed in locum's last post.

TCB said...

If we're talking about political opposites, it looks to me that the opposite of Soviet-style collective/communist 'left fascism', and of Nazism and other forms of right fascism, was New Deal liberalism and democracy.

True, Roosevelt had to ally with Stalin to get rid of Hitler, but that doesn't mean Roosevelt or any of the saner liberals actually wanted to BE Soviet 'left fascists.' The distinction is dead simple: Liberal democracy and democratic socialism are found in open societies (AKA diamond-shaped ones).

Closed societies (almost always pyramid-shaped) can base themselves on right fascism, left collectivism, feudalism, theocracy, and probably a few other models I'm not thinking of right now.

Can you travel freely, without asking the government's permission? If the answer is mostly yes, open society. If your movement is severely limited, closed society.

Can you speak freely on matters of import and have a shot at being heard? Open society. Are you censored, silenced, or simply drowned out by government, church, corporations? Closed society.

Does the law apply to all? Open society. Do some sneer at justice from above? Closed.

Time doesn't permit me to go into much more detail right now, but let those who have eyes see. Here in Unistat, every time the 'conservatives' get what they want, the society closes a little. The great failing of the 'centrist Democrats like Clinton and Obama is that they don't push hard enough for opening when they get the chance. Bernie Sanders gained so much support, even from Republican voters, because people can tell he's serious about restoring open society.

People are losing their minds over Donald Trump and his coterie because most of us can tell he's determined to nail it completely shut.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

"If Trump comes out with a credible plan to tackle Mars then I definitely would be for it. Hopefully Elon Musk can convince him the necessity of colonizing Mars. Now that would be a conundrum for many here. Would you support a man you hate if he does something good that you deeply believe would benefit the Human Race?"

Heh, that's an easy one for me. I consider Mars a dead end, a trap. Something that gets between humanity and expansion into space. A frozen hole in space that will suck up as many resources as you wish to pour into it, and deliver nothing back.


Heh. To me, Trump showing interest in Mars evokes the 1980s comic book "American Flagg!". Set in the future time of 2031, the world governments had melted down in the 1990s, and the heads of state had taken refuge on Mars, running what was left of earth via television. The bulk of the population of the Western Hemisphere lived in "PlexMalls", which were glorified shopping/entertainment/living structures, and the cities outside of the malls were endlessly warred over by rival "gogangs" live on tv.

LarryHart said...

Flypusher:

I was rooting casually for ATL, but as someone who lives in the Houston metro region, I'm pleased that we've hosted a memorable Super Bowl with no bad incidents. I was entertained by the half time show too, which doesn't always happen.


The Super Bowl eerily reflected the season of weirdness since last year's Brexit vote. I'm not sure the half time show counts as such, but the comeback from 25 points behind and the fact that the Super Bowl went into overtime were unprecedented.

But then, these days, what isn't unprecedented?

LarryHart said...

Marino:

Rural vs. urban, reread good ol' Marx on how Napoleon III won elections (and later destroyed the republic) by putting farmers and small landowners against urban blue collar workers using the scare of Communism. The same argument rehashed in locum's last post.


Sounds as if loc modelled himself after the wrong character from "Animal Farm".

:)

LarryHart said...

TCB:

If we're talking about political opposites, it looks to me that the opposite of Soviet-style collective/communist 'left fascism', and of Nazism and other forms of right fascism, was New Deal liberalism and democracy.


Yes! My dad taught me that when I was a child in the 1960s. Before Reagan, flag-waving, proud-to-be-Americans didn't extol the right wing any more than the left. It was their ability to navigate safely between Scylla and Charybdis that they lauded.

Zepp Jamieson said...

a Larry Hart: No, it's because they lost touch with the football.

Zepp Jamieson said...

a Doctor Brin: Does this remind you of anybody?
https://thenib.com/the-only-impartial-person-on-earth

raito said...

"We are an ongoing revolution!"

Isn't that what the communist revolutions also decree? Along with counter-revolutionaries being criminals?

How long does it take until the revolution is the establishment?

As for part of the argument above, the Right wants to screw me over because it's good for them, the Left wants to screw me over because it's good for me. (And if you don't believe it about the Left, that's my take after a conversation with someone who is now, but was not then, a US Senator).

One could possibly construct an argument that the Left is less competent than the Right, precisely because they've been less successful at screwing me over (except that's not exactly true, either. Reference my earlier tale of college financing.)

On another topic, has anyone else noticed a slight shift in advertising in the last 6 months or so? Seems like Mad Ave. has gone in for social politics. And I have to wonder if it's in response to actual US politics, or if their PR research has shown that that tactic will sell. If it's a genuine sentiment among US corporations, that's certainly to the good. And if it's a case that research shows it sells, that's good, too, as it means that there's a significant market share in tune with that message. And it doesn't seem to just be coming from those lefty tech billionaries, either.

Zepp Jamieson,

Ender's Game is a very childish story. Sure, the bullied want the bullies to stop. But Ender killing them just shows that he was unable to come up with a better solution. Some Messiah he turned out to be. And his situation is reflected in the larger Earth V Bugs milieu. Neither Ender nor Earth can be considered successful because their only solution was genocide. They should have been smarter than that.

Flypusher,

I've often though that 'None of the above' ought to be on every ballot. And if that candidate wins, the election is re-done, with the caveat that no candidate on the original ballot is allowed to run.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@locum: I will take you at your word that you were a Sanders delegate. Very well, I classify you as red-state "Bernie-or-Buster".

In which case: bloody hell! I know Hillary is a worthy target for derision and disgust, but you can't seriously think this is better?! At least Hillary *thinks* before she lies. At least she has some *limitations* on how she bends the intentions of the government into a pretzel. High Chancellor Bannon has done more damage to the Republic in two and a half weeks than Hillary would have managed in a year. Maybe the shock treatment of such a disaster is a better plan than staving off the reckoning, but I do not believe THIS was a bright idea. If reform is your goal, I don't think putting the Reichstag arsonist in charge is a good first step.

@Dr. Brin: Ender was a broken child taken to be molded into a monster. They picked out the person with the perfect personality flaws and used him to do the thing that a sane person could not. Sure, Ender was not to blame for being in that situation.

But he committed manslaughter at the age of six, without any manipulation at all. SIX. That is not a healthy person. In any other situation he would have gone directly to rehabilitation for evident personality and possibly psychotic disorders. He had no psychological ability to pull his punches; that was why he was placed where he was. He was sick and got no psych treatment his entire life... and didn't seek it out, except from his wife.

He is a criminally insane person, a victim of child abuse, and a moral monster, all at the same time. In no sense is he a hero, despite him trying to be one his whole life. In my opinion, the hero of the Ender Quartet is Jane the AI, and Ender's Game is her origin story. In a sense, she, not Andrew Wiggin, is the title character.

Meanwhile, whilst we debate, Congress is collapsing.

David Brin said...

raito that stunning drivel could have come from one of the desperate rightist cultists.

"We are an ongoing revolution!" Isn't that what the communist revolutions also decree? Along with counter-revolutionaries being criminals? How long does it take until the revolution is the establishment?

Good questions... as questions. Though you meant them as smug answers.

In fact the answer is that our militantly moderate revolution is against the core elements of human nature that lead to pyramidal accumulations of hierarchical power. The flattened diamond isn't just our middle class, it is the playing field of all five competition arenas that our revolution discovered: markets, democracy, science, courts and sports... ALL of which will spoil and be ruined by cheating unless maintained with revolutionary (moderate) zeal and care.

Your comparison with other "revolutions" isn't just ignorant, sir, it is stupid. Seriously. ALl of the others sought to impose a new feudal aristocracy and a new obligate religion. Ours seeks to set up synnergistic competitive systems SO THAT THAT CAN NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

And yes, the competitors in those arenas can become establishment. Which is why markets, democracy, science etc have to keep revolution going with young upstarts.

"As for part of the argument above, the Right wants to screw me over because it's good for them, the Left wants to screw me over because it's good for me."

That's true in one sense... that there are would be bullies and New Lords in all directions. But again, you are simply being silly:

Yes, the FAR left CONTAINS troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the american tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

But today’s mad ENTIRE right CONSISTS of troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the american tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you. 

There is all the world’s difference between FAR and ENTIRE. As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS.

Liberals are not "leftists." Your inability to parse that is.... sad.

David Brin said...

Catfish to me the issue is not Ender's crimes. It is Card's brilliant tactics of manipulating the reader into sobbing for the guilt-wracked Ender to forgive himself! By making his demigod overlords EMPATHIC and soulful and regretful, Card, makes them immune from critique as they seize power from democratic institutions (which Card despises and rails against.)

If fact, if we ever are taken over by some uber-mensch demigod chosen one, I hope it will be an OS Card character. Because then at least he won't enjoy it! He'll moan with regret as he crushes us, for our own good, of course.

Robert said...

I agree with David, and some others, that blocking Gorsuch is a bad idea.

First, if it was inexcusable for the Rs to block Merrick Garland it is equally inexcusable to block Gorsuch out of revenge. To use a couple of clichés, "two wrongs don't make a right" applies; "turnabout is fair play" doesn't. Now if the Ds find real reasons to block him, that's another story.

More important, Gorsuch would almost certainly stop moves toward dictatorship - he's as important as Defense Secretary Mattis in that regard, and will probably be backed up by Roberts and Kennedy. As a defense against Mike Pence, who may very well be President for longer than Trump, Gorsuch might not be as good.

On another topic, @LarryHart: Maybe as a supplement in the next edition, you should publish "the full text" of Lost Empire by Nathan Holn. Orson Scott Card already holds the copyright - sorry.


Bob Pfeiffer.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Double and triple frack.

Bannon knows Strauss-Howe theory and is trying to force the regeneracy. He thinks Trump can be the Grey Champion and he can puppetmaster him to reshape America.

The fundamental problem with the Second Foundation, of course, is that psychohistory fails as soon as its predictions become known. This can't work. I too subscribe to a more limited version of Strauss-Howe theory, but trying to implant an entire memeplex template from central command can't work, ESPECIALLY if you are trying to maintain a robust capitalism or democracy. This is not just madness, it's fundamentally contradictory.

It can't last.

Jumper said...

The opposite of liberal is authoritarian. The opposite of conservative is radical. The opposite of democratic is elitist. I realize that is not what is taught. However, the words do mean exactly that.

I too want the USA to hit a sweet spot regarding these things. As far as our structure goes, it's well designed to do exactly that.

Zepp Jamieson said...

a Robert: My main problem with Gorsuch is that aside from his present-day extremism (I'm not convinced he would block a dictatorship) and his dodgy family history (not his fault, I know, I know) there's that troubling high book yearbook entry: in his senior year he was head of a club called "Friends of Fascism". Normally, I wouldn't hold something done in high school against a middle-aged adult, but that one is so outre that I find it very troubling.

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

Nope, actual questions. When two obviously different movements use the same slogans, it's worth asking. Again you believe you know my motivations. In this case, you failed to get that correct.

At least you answered the question. Though I'd say that your answer is what we have become (or more correctly, are always striving to become) than what was intended. I'm afraid I don't ascribe such high ideals to our founding fathers, even if I do recognize how far they've taken us.

And you are correct that 'liberals' need not be 'leftists' (though even you would probably agree that some are). Which is why I didn't say 'liberals' anywhere in my post.

David Brin said...

raito apologies if I misunderstood. But you do as well. Our revolution is more PRAGMATIC than idealistic. Ideals can betray and lie.

But markets, democracy, science, courts that are flat-fair competitive simply deliver more than those where cheating reigns. Vastly more. And democrats almost always strive for that.

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

When I asked those questions, there were many possible (classes of) answers. The most likely answer was that you wouldn't respond at all. This is the internet, and that happens. The next most likely would be the answers I expected (which is just fine). The least likely (given your writings) would have been answers more in line with those other revolutions. The last category would be the most interesting. Answers which I did not expect -- answers which I hadn't come up with myself. Answers that would make me think. And without asking, I wouldn't get those.

And while I wouldn't characterize it as 'revolution' (which is a pretty loaded word), I do agree that we must keep moving forward, and moving forward transforms things.

I deliberately did not use 'democrat' and 'republican' in my post because those weren't the labels that applied. I'm just slightly less decided about what various groups are actually striving for. Or maybe just jaded. It's hard to tell some days.

matthew said...

Interesting tidbit - Trump is planning on declaring ANTIFA (anti-fascist) organizations as "terrorist organizations." Several folks I know with clearances are being told to purge their social media contacts and sever friendships with anyone that has ties to any ANTIFA groups, as they will soon be under terror watch lists.

Secondhand info, btw. I cannot vouch for it's accuracy.

Interesting if it's true. Trump recently ruled that terror watch groups will only be looking for Islamic-related terror activity, but it looks like the recent "punch a Nazi" memes and Berkeley riot have him looking to expand his reach. Note that he doesn't think Stormfront, or the KKK, or any of the right-wing terror groups are a threat.

LarryHart said...

Robert (Pfeifer) :

I agree with David, and some others, that blocking Gorsuch is a bad idea.

First, if it was inexcusable for the Rs to block Merrick Garland it is equally inexcusable to block Gorsuch out of revenge. To use a couple of clichés, "two wrongs don't make a right" applies; "turnabout is fair play" doesn't.


Please explain why the one applies and the other does not. Because to me, the exact opposite is true. You seem to be saying something analogous to "If it was inexcusable for that guy to punch you in the face, it is equally inexcusable to have him arrested out of revenge."

I think your qualification "out of revenge" is misplaced. Democrats are not getting back at Republicans as a tit-for-tat. Rather, they're trying not to let the Republicans get away with what they did with respect to Garland. If "hold the seat open indefinitely until we get to choose, at which point the American people deserve an up-or-down vote" can't be allowed to be a winning strategy.

You sound as if you buy into the idea that Republicans opposed Garland just as Democrats opposed Robert Bork. People who drag that out forget that the Democrats opposed Bork by the rules. They voted against his confirmation. What the Republicans did with Garland was to refuse to do their job and bring his confirmation at all. Because they knew that even a Republican congress would have confirmed him in an up-or-down vote. Because President Obama did what he was supposed to, and proposed a qualified judge who didn't offend either Democrats or Republicans enough to fight against him.

Republicans didn't vote against him--they just didn't do the confirmation process at all. I'm not even convinced that President Obama couldn't have end-run around that, going "Since they don't object to him, we'll take that as consent" and have Garland seated anyway. But that's as may be. The fact is that they cheated, and must not be allowed to gain their goal of a right-wing ideologue on the court for their trouble.

The only thing Trump could do to make this right is to himself propose Merrick Garland and let congress confirm him now. If he did that, I would say the country was made whole, and that they'd have a point if they complained about Democratic obstructionist tactics going forward. I'd even concede that you'd have a point about "It was bad when they did it, so it's bad now." But Trump isn't going to do that. And he's not going to appoint a different judge who Democrats and Republicans can both accept. Because Republicans' goal isn't a qualified impartial judge, but a court stacked in favor of corporations against humans.

And we might lose the fight against that, but we can't be complicit in it.

dennisd said...

Re: Gorsuch nomination.
I agree with Larry Hart. Moreover, by refusing Garland an up or down vote the Republicans subverted Senate rules and norms. The Dems should vote 'no' on Gorsuch on principle even though the Republicans have the votes to put him on the court.
Senator McConnell's behavior is flouting the rule of law and should not be tolerated. It's important for the Dems to stand by their principles---win or lose.

locumranch said...



The answer to David 's question, “Are you really more afraid of scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors and every other knowledge profession, and think they are plotting against your interests"?, is an emphatic 'yes' if & when these professions become the willing mouthpieces for government authoritarians who reframe scientific opinion as moral imperative, mischaracterise disagreeably free speech as 'hate speech' and misrepresent free association as racism, sexism & intolerance.

Neither of the two established US political parties, Republican & Democrat, can be said to be liberal if they both embrace a top-down hierarchical command structure, as both of the dominant US political parties do, but thankfully their time is passing. The deep state has spoken -- by which I mean 'self-perpetuating unelected bureaucracies', not a secretive elitist cabal -- and it is making its wishes known. Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon ignores its falconer.

Unelected federal appointee judges attempt to countermand the orders of the Elected Executive, bureaucratic regulations & statutes supercede preexisting congressional law, EU executives demand the obedience of their member states, the popular will of the electorate (also known as 'populism') is declared to be "undemocratic", big businesses like Apple & Google assert that national governments lack the authority to regulate national borders, and the center cannot hold.

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, and its name is Freedom:

Horrible, Horrible Freedom.


Best

LarryHart said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed.

From today's www.electoral-vote.com :

The Falcons-Hillary Clinton parallels were obvious, inasmuch as both managed to convert a seemingly certain victory into a narrow defeat, and Twitter was full of bitterly ironic jokes, like "At least the Falcons won the popular vote" and "Russia has hacked the #SuperBowl."

Zepp Jamieson said...

a locumranch: "misrepresent free association as racism, sexism & intolerance.

That phrase caught my attention, especially in its context. You see, various white supremacist and other racist websites are very fond of "free association"; the freedom of whites to associate only with other whites, to the exclusion of everyone else. Oh, they will talk about how the lesser races would be much happier mingling only with their own, but basically, it's a code phrase for segregation and promoting racism.

Is that how you meant it?

LarryHart said...

This letter-writer to the Chicago Tribune is an effing idiot. He claims to have voted for Trump even though he doesn't like the guy, not because of racism or women social conservative reasons, but because he's worried about the national debt.

I'm not making fun of the guy for caring about the debt. I'm making fun of him for thinking that #IllegitimatePresident has any intention of doing anything about it.

He reminds me a bit of locumranch. :)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-trump-voter-happy-deplorable-perspec-0206-md-20170203-story.html


...
It seems that the outcome of the last election is understood only by people like me. Frankly, I don't like Donald Trump either. He is arrogant, careless with what he says, overly competitive and insensitive.

I voted for Trump because he was the alternative to letting a collection of free spenders, organizers, race-baiters, intellectuals, tree huggers and professional value arbitrators continue to spend our grandchildren's money.

This country and this generation of voters must pay our bills and not sit around having dorm-room debates on philosophy and injustice. I voted for Trump because we can't afford another president we simply like; we need one now who does something.

So, go ahead — rage, riot, demonstrate, burn, dress up, march, protest, pout, sing, make speeches, resist, vandalize and denounce me as much as you want. I am deplorable, and I am happier with my vote every day.

Zepp Jamieson said...

a Larry Harty: seven out of every eight dollars comprising the national debt are the direct result of Republican policies and misadventures, mostly in the form of tax cuts and wars. The last president to have a balanced budget since Eisenhower are LBJ and Bill Clinton.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Don't tell me. Tell that guy.

:)

Jumper said...

Q: Who knows the only way debt is paid down? Class? Bueller?
A: Ahhh... hey brother, I'd like to stay and talk with you but I gotta bus to catch and have a blessed day.

Taxes. You pay down the debt with taxes. Not some reckless heat-of-the-moment impulse like a panicking wheel-reinventor, and arriving at a 30% import tax. That's insanity.

LarryHart said...

Jumper,

The import tax wasn't to pay down the national debt. It was to pay for the wall. Trillions of dollars in new spending plus tax cuts for the rich equals more debt, not less.

And where is fiscal conservative debt-hawk, Paul Ryan? "It's all good." And where is that letter-writer to the Tribune whose only concern was the national debt? "I am happier with my vote every day!

Sometimes I wish I did live in the imaginary world these people inhabit. Life would suck so much less.

Tim H. said...

On the subject of taxes, wouldn't a simplification of paperwork be worth more to small business than a rate reduction? Perhaps contemporary conservatism has no moral compass except the wishes of their patrons.

David S said...

On Gorsuch's Fascism Forever club, snopes says this is false:
http://www.snopes.com/neil-gorsuchs-fascism-forever-club/

David Brin said...

raito it is a revolution if the alternative that keeps fighting to return is the repressive pyramids of 99% of 6000 years. If the thing that must be overcome is all of the powerfully worst attractors of human nature, itself. If each generation can achieve only part of the revolution because it is not ready for the next steps… as the Congress that passed the 13th Amendment (see “Lincoln” could not imagine women serving there.


LarryHart the number of reasons to treat Gorsuch well are many. Yes, WHILE opposing the goppers and Trumpits hard on many fronts, we should take occasional opportunities to shock by taking the high road, just to remind forlks:

“We are the ones who NORMALLY take the high road. Okay it’s a knife fight. But this shows we remember how.”

But the biggest reason is the one I said — because the ONLY audience to this theater that matters is Gorsuch. Treat him with respect… because he will remember.

Robert Bork’s appointment was a deliberate insult, given his role in Watergate. They appointed him in order to get a reaction. Only then the Dems had the votes to make it stick.

David Brin said...


Locum: “The answer to David 's question, “Are you really more afraid of scientists, journalists, teachers, doctors and every other knowledge profession, and think they are plotting against your interests"?, is an emphatic 'yes' if & when these professions become the willing mouthpieces for government authoritarians who reframe scientific opinion as moral imperative, mischaracterise disagreeably free speech as 'hate speech' and misrepresent free association as racism, sexism & intolerance.”

Ah, then we see the problem here. You say “if” followed by a diametrically opposite to true hypothetical that is impossible, as well as being utter bullshit. And anyone who would believe such a hypothetical is a raving-loony moron.

Thanks for making that clear. (Oh btw those "professions" aren't monoliths speaking with one voice, that's the point of them. Scientists are the most competitive creatures on the planet. They only "all agree" with something when it is True with a capital T.

“Neither of the two established US political parties, Republican & Democrat, can be said to be liberal if they both embrace a top-down hierarchical command structure…”

Imbecile. Democrats are disorganized mobs of individuals. Their entire ethos is to protect the health of flat-competitive arenas. YOUR cult - otoh - has been the most disciplined partisan machine in US history… until your rasputin got in. Now, we’ll see.

But it is a fair criticism that no DP pol ever makes this point. Nor do they make MY point, that the 2nd derivative of debt — whether your foot is on the accelerator or brake — is always positive under goppers and negative under demmies. Always. Every single time. See http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Indeed, see the finances of Blue vs Red states, with the latter floundering into bankruptcy.

“Unelected federal appointee judges attempt to countermand the orders of the Elected Executive, bureaucratic regulations & statutes supercede preexisting congressional law, EU executives demand the obedience of their member states, the popular will of the electorate (also known as 'populism') is declared to be "undemocratic", big businesses like Apple & Google assert that national governments lack the authority to regulate national borders, and the center cannot hold.”

And I think *I* have an imagination?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Well, that just goes to show I can fall for fake news along with the best of them.
I do find it reassuring that the "Fascism Forever" club was just highschool smartassery.

locumranch said...



Proving that reality is more bizarre than all of our imaginations combined, all of those claims are true:

Unelected federal appointee judges attempt to countermand the orders of the Elected Executive [Judge Robart], bureaucratic regulations & statutes supercede preexisting congressional law [regulation, legal dictionary], EU executives demand the obedience of their member states [EU penalties], the popular will of the electorate (also known as 'populism') is declared to be "undemocratic" [populism, too little democracy], big businesses like Apple & Google assert that national governments lack the authority to regulate national borders [Apple, travel ban unlawful]".

And, thank you, Zepp, for pointing out how RACIST, exclusionary & intolerant the right to free speech, assembly & association are. Since I respect your moral authority so much, I'll file this new (?) alternative fact under 'newspeak, diversity as a code phrase for the suppression of dissent'.


Best

Tony Fisk said...

Hmm. Isn't a nominated judge voted on by the Senate?
A bit like the Electoral College, really.

Jumper said...

locum, you hypocritical idiot. Mewling about authoritarianism, then declaring how wrong separation of powers is, so Trump can be your Pol Pot. If someone told you not to eat cake with your snout you'd start screaming the Mommy Cops were holding you at gunpoint.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@locumranch: When we are discussing the European Union's politics, I will accept criticism of EU bureaucrats. Until then, why the hell are we talking about them? It's an implicit assumption that Americans are trying not to play by American rules, i.e., that we are disloyal compared to other political types.

You clearly did not read either the letter that Silicon Valley sent to 45, nor the amicus brief which asserts that it acts against US policy as written by Congress. Somehow I have this idea that the President does not have complete and arbitrary power over our borders, and that arbitrary actions without consultation in that arena are harmful to the national interest.

I can't think of more productive immigrants than those in tech, who contribute massively to the tax base and are generally extremely hard workers, who have powerful belief in the American ideals and systems that permit their genius to be converted to wealth. Yet this order makes them feel threatened and unwelcome, thanks to its poor wording and even poorer implementation -- and most of all in the haphazard PR campaign, which solely targets a nativist base.

@Zepp: I could tell from the start that it was being a teenage twit. Is being a teenage twit a disqualification from the Supreme Court? I do not think it should be.

What I want to hear is that he will defend the judiciary's independence and require the executive to obey and enforce the ACTUAL law, not what certain executive public servants think it SHOULD be. The temperament of Gorsuch lends itself well to that. Otherwise he is a replacement for Scalia and should be thought of as such; since there is never a chance of getting Republicans to support someone with my preferred legal theories, I will take someone scrupulously honest instead. That said, Merrick Garland still should have been in this seat, and I will not let that go, and the next Democratic President should nominate him back for their first seat just on general principles. In fact, were the Dems to get a New Deal-style supermajority (hey, anything is possible at this point) I would argue that the Court should be temporarily expanded to ten just to put him on, just to make the point as strongly as possible that this was wrong.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Dr. Brin: excellent point. I had not thought of what GORSUCH made of all this himself, and I think few on any side ever contemplate what the nominee thinks; the model in nearly everyone's mind is that their opinions were frozen in stone long beforehand.

But they are being nominated to the top of a coequal branch of government. Their opinion guides power that, in theory, is one-ninth that of the President's. Shouldn't temperament -- and judgement of the other branches -- matter? It would seem so.

@matthew -- source? veracity? I mean it's disturbing enough that domestic white supremacy groups are being taken off; but they could at least attempt a defense on that (we need all our resources to fight foreign terror!). Putting other domestic groups ON the list would be prima facie targeting of domestic associations of citizens for purposes of favoritism. And I can't even think of an anti-fascist organization in the United States, much less any that have threatened the public safety.

But of course the right-wing extremists are no threat to His Orangeness, not while High Chancellor Bannon sits behind the throne.

LarryHart said...

On the Supreme Court...

It used to be that the Senate's role was to insure broad acceptability. To make a cliched sports comparison, Democrats would refuse to confirm an umpire who was predisposed to call runners "out" in any situation, while Republicans would likewise impede one who tended to call any runner "safe". That worked to insure that the judges who pass confirmation were the type to make a call based upon the facts of the play rather than a predisposition toward one type of call.

Republicans changed all that with Merrick Garland. They didn't oppose him on the grounds that he was predisposed to "safe". They opposed him so that the seat would be open for them to ram through an "out" partisan. Maybe not as much so as the nominee for the next seat will be, but one more tie-breaking vote on their side rather than one who might be influenced by the impartial facts of a case.

If that strategy is allowed to stand, then we'll never get any more appointments to the Supreme Court who aren't predisposed to call any runner "out".

Why do I presume Gorsuch isn't as stand-up a guy as Dr Brin seems to? Because the Republicans didn't insult the former President and violate decorum and threaten the same treatment to President Hillary just to nominate a different impartial judge. If they had any intention of doing that, they could have achieved the same goal by confirming Garland. So there is a presumption of suspicion here which I think passes the Occam's Razor test.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@LarryHart: Gorsuch was picked as not the most extremist judge so that, when the Republicans destroyed the filibuster entirely, they could say that the Democrats were obstructing for partisan benefit and not because he was a dangerous judge.

Then, when the next seat comes open, they name Pryor and they have the naked power to force him upon the nation.

--- I predict that when undeniable calamities of climate change start appearing, scientists will be attacked for "crying wolf" for too long. In other words, they'll be blamed for the doubt of deniers, and thus for not warning us all. Even though that's exactly what they've been doing. (They're already attacked for warning of cooling in the 1970's -- though that's what the data then said, driven [as I understand it] by the particulate matter then being emitted. When the smog disappeared, so did the cooling.)

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Unelected federal appointee judges attempt to countermand the orders of the Elected Executive


That unelected federal judge was appointed by a Republican president, so if you're claiming it's "unfair" for Clinton or Obama to leave a stamp on the court, you're barking up the wrong tree.
.
But let's say that state of affairs somehow violates decorum. I seem to recall some disagreements over the legality of the previous president's orders, and no one was insisting that the Elected Executive who actually had won the popular vote was entitled to be a dictator. So in the-world-as-locumranch-would-prefer, how would the situation be handled wherein the Elected Executive gives an illegal or unconstitutional order.

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch wrote: "And, thank you, Zepp, for pointing out how RACIST, exclusionary & intolerant the right to free speech, assembly & association are. Since I respect your moral authority so much, I'll file this new (?) alternative fact under 'newspeak, diversity as a code phrase for the suppression of dissent'."

And thank YOU, locumranch, for your unintentionally informative bluster.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Catfish wrote: "@Zepp: I could tell from the start that it was being a teenage twit. Is being a teenage twit a disqualification from the Supreme Court? I do not think it should be. "

Once I saw it in context, so could I.

The rest of his qualifications, as you note, are pretty good, and whatever radicalism he may harbour personally doesn't seem to infect his judicial mien. It leaves me with some hope he might prove to be another David Souter.

Deuxglass said...

I am very wary of ideologies in general because even though they seem to provide an answer to most societal problems. In reality embracing a strict ideology means that you have to internalize all its tenets no matter how ridiculous or absurd.

An ideology is a carefully-constructed box and it is forbidden to think outside this box otherwise the whole construct fails. Political correctness is the binding glue that keeps it all together and therefore those who believe in the particular ideology do everything to force people to toe the party line. In the old USSR they did this by killing dissenters or by sending them to work camps in Siberia. In our societies they do it by shaming, boycotting, shouting down, hounding, removing their livelihoods and so forth. It doesn’t matter if they are on the right or left, to them the danger is free speech because they do not want dissent. They do not want people to discover that the ideology has flaws and contradictions as all ideologies do. In reality any ideology is a house of cards and can only exist as long as that glue keeps it together. I worked with a lot of Russians in the early 90’s and I asked them why the USSR just collapsed so suddenly. They told me that for a long time the Russian people hadn’t believed in the Communist “New Man” ideal and that everyone was just mouthing the party line because they had do it to live. Everyone knew it was bullshit but dared not say what they really thought but something incredible happened. Gorbachev and other top leaders started to say what the people already knew, that the communist system was not working. He basically said that the system was bullshit and the dam broke. All of a sudden you could say what you think. That is why the USSR fell. Nobody believed in it anymore except for a few holdouts.

When the glue can’t hold anymore the belief system collapses rapidly and things change until a new one emerges and a new equilibrium is reached. This process can happen almost overnight. The communists would say that the system collapsed under its own internal contradictions. We see the same thing happening not only in the US but also in many other countries around the world. Neoliberalism is a belief system that promised prosperity and happiness for all and just about everybody believed it to be true. However over the years the evidence had been mounting that this system was not producing what it promised but its contradictions were successfully explained away by politicians and experts. They would say “give it more time to work” or “we just have to lower taxes again and free trade up more”. That worked for a while until the evidence was just too widespread to ignore. The glue holding the Neoliberal belief system together is dissolving because it has become unmistakably clear that only a small fraction of the population has benefited to the detriment of the other 90%.

Conservatives want to keep the status quo and radicals want to change it and both have their own belief systems. It doesn’t matter which party they belong to. By far most Republicans are conservative but by this definition then most Democrats are conservatives as well. They want things to basically continue as they are and what they call reforms are only small tweaks that do not really solve the problems but just kick them down the road to future generations. As usual, most of the elites are the last to know because for them things are just going on fine and don’t see what all the ruckus is about. Some react by setting up places to hide, some look for way to profit from the troubles and thankfully some recognize that to save the system you must act to reverse its most nefarious aspects.

dennisd said...

@David Brin
“because the ONLY audience to this theater that matters is Gorsuch. Treat him with respect… because he will remember.”

Good point. I didn’t consider how the tenor of this debate might influence Gorsuch’s future SCOTUS opinions. That said, it’s essential for the Democrats to treat this nominee with the utmost respect throughout the process. Gorsuch is highly qualified for this appointment and the Democrats should explicitly say so. Under normal circumstances they would be voting yes, but these are not normal circumstances. This seat is Garlands and Gorsuch knows this. He shouldn’t be averse to a respectful ‘no vote’ from any senator. For the Democrats, the audience that matters right now is the electorate. They need to speak clearly and stand by their principles, even as they lose vote after vote.

LarryHart said...

As a "Hamilton" fan, I'm staring to question the abolition of dueling as an institution.

Deuxglass said...

I am starting to question whether primaries should be abolished as the means of choosing a party's candidate.

David S said...

In addition to asking Gorsuch if he is capable of saying "no" to the executive, I would want to know if he is capable of saying "no" to the legislature. More over, I'd like some Democrat to ask Gorsuch what he thought of Congress's inaction on the Merrick Garland nomination.


LarryHart said...

@Deuxglass,

I've thought that about primaries for a long time.

At best, primaries have to decide what they want to be when they grow up. At the moment, they are at least three different, incompatible things:

1) elections in their own right, aka popularity contests
2) the first round of "playoffs", with the general election as the final round
3) an indicator of a candidate's strength to run in the general election

1) is a bad idea, because it pretends not to be about the party picking a candidate who can win the general election. It favors ideologues on both sides, and it encourages voting for candidates who espouse feel-good (but impossible to implement) policies.

2) is a fallacy, because the candidate who is strongest among the party is different in kind from a candidate who appeals to the general electorate. In theory, at least, Bernie voters still prefer Hillary to Trump, and Rubio voters obviously preferred Trump to Hillary. General election voters are choosing one platform over the other, and that is not tested in the primaries in which (for example) 13 Republicans stand on stage and assert how much they all agree with the exact same things.

I've said before that the "playoffs" model is like having a season of softball games (with softball rules, like no lead-offs and underhand pitching) to choose champions who will battle each other in a regular MLB game.

3) leads to fallacies such as expecting McCain to beat Obama in any of the states where Hillary beat Obama, or expectations that Hillary sweeping southern Democrats means she has a chance to win any of those states, let alone all of them.

Robert said...

Flash! Someone worse than George Will!

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2017/Pres/Maps/Feb07.html#item-6

Author of "Torture is OK" Memos Thinks Trump Has Exceeded His Authority

Should John Yoo get a couple of minutes off of his sentence at The Hague for this, or extra time for hypocrisy?

Meanwhile, don't miss Dick Cheney's European Vacation.



Bob Pfeiffer.

Zepp Jamieson said...

a Robert: Even Dick Cheney has expressed concerns that Trump has been out of line.
This is equivalent to having the Hulk lecture you about temper and impulse control.

Marino said...

@Larry Hart

primaries are useful for the democratic life inside parties and for putting a check on party bureaucracy (but I'm thinking of Euro parties heirs to the 19.-20. century mass parties), but wouldn't be easier to choose by something similar to the French runoff system, but modified for the Electoral college?

First run: all candidates compete, irregardless of party (i.e. all Dem, GOP and independent candidates run)
Second run: the two best candidates compete, the winner takes the state's electors.

Faster and cheaper

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

Yes. While we have the better angels of our nature, so do we have the worse devils of our nature. The key difference is that we also have brains, and can choose to override one or the other.

Catfish N. Cod,

Yeah, no one is going to buy my legal theories, either. I often find that I think that SCOTUS has gone for the incorrect basic principles in some of their decisions.

LarryHart,

My fantasy (and it's completely unrealistic), every SCOTUS nominee would refuse their nomination until Garland got his hearing. Utter fantasy, but a nice thought.

As far as dueling goes, there's problems with the institution. In theory, it's a meeting between equals. In reality, it isn't, and I don't think it could be. It also substitutes skills not involved in the argument for the argument (i.e. pistol proficiency has nothing to do with whether someone insulted your sister). It gets worse when seconds are allowed.

Now if dueling has some of the character of the 14th century deeds of arms, that might be useful. In those, winning and losing was not an issue. It was the willingness to put oneself to the hazard that counted. If one had, one's courage could not be questioned successfully. And subsequent issues could be resolved from at least a position of mutual respect. I'll say that personally, in my martial arts career, there is a different quality of relationship between me and those I've contested against, those who I've seen contest, and those who do not contest.

And that's something that I think used to happen in Congress. The sides might have disagreed, but they recognized that they were both in the same contest.

Deuxglass,

I don't think I agree with your definition of ideology. I see it as a set of ideals. As such, they're a direction or a goal. Which means that one measures actions by how they get one closer to that goal. Part of the trap, though are local maxima and minima.

In other news:

Sometimes we lose:
(FBI requiring fax or snail mail for FOIA, mostly)
http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/fbi-foia-records-requests-email-fax/

Sometimes we win:
(house passes bill requiring search warrant for emails)
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-emails-idUSKBN15L2N3

Tom Crowl said...

Re the lingering Confederate fantasies...

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

League of the South Announces Formation of ‘Southern Defense Force’
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/02/06/league-south-announces-formation-%E2%80%98southern-defense-force%E2%80%99

My suggestion! If the South wants to secede again we should let them go.

Tacitus2 said...

Because the issue of who exactly was rioting in Berkeley recently was raised, a couple of points.

1. It would be an easier question to answer if the police on hand had actually arrested a few rioters. Oh, I don't expect them to toss the whole lot into paddy wagons but capturing a representative sample would have been useful, and does seem to be broadly within the traditional job description of law enforcement officials at a riot.

One assumes that in Texas Law they would have done a better job. One Riot, One Ranger and all that.

2. Some admittedly right wing web sleuths have done what looks like a fair bit of sleuthing. It is difficult in this age of Transparency to really mask yourself, black scarves and Guy Faulks get ups not withstanding. For the Empassioned and Vocal it is likely an impossibility.

I won't name any names because the matter is indeed belatedly being looked into and all such folks under official scrutiny are innocent until proven guilty. But I think it is fair - regards the question of Right Wing Agents Provocateurs - to mention that this individual is a staffer at UC Berkeley, a place where the entire membership of the Young Republicans would have a hard time getting enough turnout for a game of bridge, much less a riot.

But as always, wait and see what the real facts turn out to be.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Marino:

First run: all candidates compete, irregardless of party (i.e. all Dem, GOP and independent candidates run)
Second run: the two best candidates compete, the winner takes the state's electors.


It sounds as if California already does that for its state-level elections.

dennisd said...

@Tacitus2 Regarding the Berkeley rioters.
Yes, there is something fishy about the police response. Were they outnumbered by the rioters? Were they directed to let it run its course? Did the riot spread too fast for the police to contain it? Certainly the burning and mayhem warranted arrests of those who started the fires, smashed windows or blocked people from leaving a burning building.

Yes it's important to determine the identity of the rioters. Speculation rarely begets transparency. Yet after the riots Milo Yiannopoulos and his Breitbart buddies falsely accused George Soros of funding the rioters. This fits Milo's narrative of his victimhood at the hands of an overbearing left-wing police state. It appears that Milo has no interest in facts or the truth.

Deuxglass said...

LarryHart,

I agree with your three points but I would like to add a few more of my own. I look on primaries as the lazy man’s solution to the difficult process of choosing who will represent your party in the general election. In past times conventions seethed with heated discussions between factions over important ideas of the moment. Alliances would be made or unmade and in the end a candidate would be chosen that generally reflected a compromise within the party and most often the candidate had the backing of the party members. The convention was the party’s soul at work. It defined what the party stood for.

With the primary system that all changed. The one who won the primary had immediate legitimacy and his/her platform was rubber-stamped. The convention lost its raison d’etre as the place where ideas and compromises were worked out. Before states carefully chose who would be sent to the convention because what they did there was very important to the states and the Union. It was serious business. Look at conventions today. Their role has devolved into a place where people wave signs and wear weird hats all in a party atmosphere. Anybody can be a delegate because nothing important will be decided there. It is just a show because all has been decided beforehand at party headquarters.

Defending your arguments is hard. What is worse is having your arguments destroyed and having your nose rubbed in its putrid remains so people in general want to avoid it and for party members not having to go through this unpleasant process primaries are a Godsend. Now it’s the “people” who decide. As a delegate you are now absolved of all responsibility and especially hard work. You can now just party as if you were in Los Vegas with all the trimmings such as booze, drugs and hookers.

I live in France and the two principle parties put in primary systems only bout ten years ago and it is already breaking down. On the right side Francois Fillon won the primary but is mired in a scandal that should have come up within the party that would have eliminated before. Now they are headed towards a defeat because they can’t get rid of him. He won the primary before the scandal came up. There is no Plan B, there is no flexibility to changing circumstances. On the left Benoit Hamon won the primary because he did well in one debate but he is truly a stupid person. I have met him. There is nothing there. Trump and Clinton are Einsteins compared to him yet he will be the Candidate for the Socialist Party. A system that produces such terrible results on both sides of the political spectrum has to be scrapped.

LarryHart said...

@Deuxglass,

In addition to my points and your own, there's another flaw I should mention, at least in American primaries.

Open or closed?

In open primaries, any registered voter can decide to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary at will (though not both at the same election). Proponents say this encourages broad-based participation, but it also has the obvious flaw of allowing those who don't have the party's interest at heart to choose the party's candidate. That's the equivalent of allowing al-Queada to vote in American elections. Or Putin, for that matter.

In closed primaries, only registered Xs can vote in the X primary, which seems to solve the above shortcoming, but really only kicks the can a small bit. Because what's to stop a determined mischeif maker from simply registering with the other party? Bernie Bros were furious that New York State's primary is a closed one (always has been), and they've been pushing for all primaries to become open primaries. Strangely enough, no one (of either party) also considers it an outrage that non-citizens are not allowed to vote. Because the argument for one is really the argument for the other. If non-Democrats have an God-given right to vote in a Democratic primary, then non-Americans would seem to have the same right to vote in an American election.

Ideally, each party would want its electorate to be "Politically-knowledgable voters who have the party's interests at heart", but how to you translate that into an implementation scheme?

David Brin said...

Deuxglass: What do you think of the Macron phenomenon?

“Neoliberalism is a belief system that promised prosperity and happiness for all and just about everybody believed it to be true. However over the years the evidence had been mounting that this system was not producing what it promised”

Um. You mention “evidence” for an utterly outrageously diametrically opposite to true counter-factual. Please produce this “evidence” sir?

Poverty rates are plummeting worldwide. NAFTA is uplifting Mexico into the middle class, exactly as intended. The US has achieved practical energy independence and is on its way toward carbon independence. Those earning $16/hr may grumble that Dad earned $25… sure… but the kids get vastly, vastly better health and toys.

Please show us how this is all much more than aging boomers lashing out, because they hate getting old. I agree with Bannon on one thing! That boomers are whiney brats.

locumranch said...



The Berkeley riots were justified because Milo is a homophobic, antisemitic, white, privileged, racist, fascist, xenophobic Islamophobe. Sorry, no. Milo is gay, so not a homophobe. Oppressed, so not privileged. Part jewish. Prefers black boyfriends, post-racial but not racist. Claims to be a libertarian, so not fascist. A foreigner, so not a xenophobe. Also hated by Islam, so correctly fearful. But he rude! A male! With light skin! Burn him!

As for France: Fillon's out; Sarkozy's indicted; LePen's a shoo-in; Next Stop, Frexit.

David Brin said...

Tacitus, I agree that rioters should at minimum be captured, disarmed and vetted. Especially when they aren’t rioting against an oppressive state but against (against!) free speech. You know darned well that I despise repressive lefty jerks.

The fact that you have to trawl all the way down to Berkeley to find support for “the left is just as bad” mantras is in itself kind of symptomatic, no?

Again… Yes, the FAR left CONTAINS troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the american tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

But today’s mad ENTIRE right CONSISTS of troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the american tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you. 

There is all the world’s difference between FAR and ENTIRE. As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS.

Seriously, how about if each side can remove its very worst exemplars? Liberals can remove Chicago, Berkeley and a hundred loony-left university soft studies departments. (Oooh how DANGEROUS!!) The right removes Breitbart and Putin and the KKK, all of whom are genuinely dangerous threats to all of us. But remove em!

Now compare. You will have RUN OUT of nasty-lefty examples. We'll be just getting started, with every single confederate state legislator, every red state doubling down on Supply Side. Every replacement for the KKK, every Wall Street oligarch-manipulator. The confederacy has risen. And we will not bail the ship with Dixie Cups.

locumranch said...



Sorry. Did David ask about 'Macron' or 'Maricon'? He's in & out, simultaneously.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

“Neoliberalism is a belief system that promised prosperity and happiness for all and just about everybody believed it to be true. However over the years the evidence had been mounting that this system was not producing what it promised”

Um. You mention “evidence” for an utterly outrageously diametrically opposite to true counter-factual. Please produce this “evidence” sir?

Poverty rates are plummeting worldwide. NAFTA is uplifting Mexico into the middle class, exactly as intended. The US has achieved practical energy independence and is on its way toward carbon independence. Those earning $16/hr may grumble that Dad earned $25… sure… but the kids get vastly, vastly better health and toys.


I'm pretty sure that Deuxglass is talking about Supply Side being discredited. At least that's what I think of when I hear "neoliberal". The Chicago School and all that.

David Brin said...

Today's posting predicts that a *true "left"* will be reborn, alas. We all thought Karl Marx dead, buried and good riddance. But his cult thrived on class disparities, which are the #1 goal of the *other* cult, burgeoning on the right. We can escape being crushed between these ancient/stupid political religions. Other generations - including the "Greatest," figured it out. Back when America was Great.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/is-class-war-as-inevitable-as-return-of.html

onward

onward

Tacitus2 said...

David

I did not "trawl all the way to Berkeley". I was addressing a question raised earlier in the thread in what appeared to me to be entirely good faith.

The issue of whether police will enforce the law in a situation of politically charged disorder is certainly one of more general concern but I was speaking only to a specific situation.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

The Berkeley riots were justified because Milo is a homophobic, antisemitic, white, privileged, racist, fascist, xenophobic Islamophobe. Sorry, no. Milo is gay, so not a homophobe. Oppressed, so not privileged. Part jewish. Prefers black boyfriends, post-racial but not racist. Claims to be a libertarian, so not fascist. A foreigner, so not a xenophobe. Also hated by Islam, so correctly fearful. But he rude! A male! With light skin! Burn him!


It's hard to tell where your sarcasm leaves off and actual argument begins.

Your opening sentence and closing interjections are obviously not your own sentiments, but characterizations of how you presume we liberals monolithically react to events like that in Berkeley. In fact, any liberal I know, myself included, is opposed to shutting down speakers we disagree with, because we think they make fools of themselves when they open their mouths, kinda like you do.

We also detest political violence, on its face as well as for the fact that we know violence makes our side look bad. That's in contrast to the right for whom political violence is a day's work and part of the fun. Liberals typically disavow political violence from our own side, rejecting the tactic and suspecting a false-flag. Right-wingers typically revel in political violence from their own side, asserting how the victims "had it coming" or "didn't know their place."

As to the middle part of your argument, the assertions which I presume are your true thoughts:


Milo is gay, so not a homophobe. ... Part jewish.

You never heard of self-hating Jews, or self-hating gays? Or that guy in "Life of Brian" who hangs upside down in the dungeon opining, "Great race, the Romans!"?


Prefers black boyfriends, post-racial but not racist.


If a liberal preferred black boyfriends, you'd be screaming that he is racist! "Racist" doesn't necessarily mean "Hates blacks." Any sort of prejudice based upon race can qualify.


A foreigner, so not a xenophobe.


What, xenophobia is endemic only to America?


Claims to be a libertarian, so not fascist.


You've got to be effing kidding me! Almost all vocal Libertarians (cap-L) these days are in favor of the rights of corporations and strongmen. A pretty close correlation to fascism if you ask me.

Also hated by Islam, so correctly fearful.


By extension, those hated by His Illegitimacy and his band of white supremacists are correctly fearful, right? I knew you'd agree.

LarryHart said...

Sorry, I probably covered up Dr Brin's "onward" there...

onward

onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: " The Chicago School and all that."

Exactly so. We're onwarded, but hopefully our host will glance through for housekeeping purposes.
"Supply-side" which is a proven disaster, is fresh-water (Chicago) economics. "Mixed economy", which is an incredible success, is salt water (NY) economics. Neoliberalism is fresh-water.

David Brin said...

Zepp interesting metaphor.

onward

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