Thursday, May 11, 2017

Will we continue an Enlightenment Civilization... or return to Feudalism?

Seventy years of Pax Americana and a rising enlightenment civilization, based on science and fact and at least somewhat-mature argument, were never easy to maintain. Another seventy and we'd likely stabilize into something truly amazing and grownup -- perhaps able to solve the Fermi Paradox, by heading out into the galaxy.  

But behind us lie 6000 years of feudalism in which secretive cheaters and thugs and razzle-dazzle artists wrecked every glimmering renaissance. And before that, 200,000 years of caveman scratching in the dirt.

The feudalist oligarchs know this is their last chance to restore aristocratic-priestly rule.  Spreading education and light will give us Star Trek, so they are acting hard, now, in an arc that stretches from Manilla and Siberia to Moscow (the center), Ankara, Tehran... and now our own captured White House.

"Donald Trump appears to have made a cynical calculation that he will not pay a high political price for being the most secretive president since Richard Nixon." -- reports The Washington Post.

What? You expected me - as "Mr. Transparency" - to disapprove? Fact is, he has done us a favor by making things so stark, turning this whole thing into a massive IQ test.

You are among those being tested, my fellow citizens. If those in the Greatest Generation could pass their trials... we can pass ours.

= The Fukuyama Syndrome – clinging to a movement that’s gone mad =

Stanford University historian Frances Fukuyama - who famously wrote in The End of History and The Last Man that “history” as such would end in the early 21st Century, as liberal-market democracy took over around the world — was on NPR in early April. Not happy at all with Trump, or the state or things in general — he also flails about, eager to rationalize that none of this could possibly be his fault! As always, Fukuyama is very smart and has interesting things to say. And - again, as always — he turns out to be the same Bushite court intellectual, diverting attention away from the culprits who re-ignited a debilitating, almost-hot phase of the American Civil War.

As a faithful servant of the oligarchic caste, the last thing this history professor will ever glance at is the central, historical fact of 6000 years —  that the great enemy of liberal democracy and enlightenment and flat-fair market competition has always been cabals of conniving and conspiring aristocratic cheaters, whether they be the king-cronies that real Tea Partiers rebelled against, in 1775, or the plantation lords of 1861, or czarist boyars, or the Marxist commissars who replaced them exactly a century ago (with a few superficial changes of nomenclature).

Fukuyama’s aristocratism reveals itself  in paragraph after paragraph, as he attributes the victory of Donald Trump to ‘democracy.’ And thus, he accomplishes three insidious goals. First, while frowning in disapproval, he also validates that Trumpian triumph ‘as popular will,’ ignoring the fact that American voters have sanctioned Republican control of the Presidency and Congress with actual majorities only once out of the last seven elections, and decidedly not this one.

Second is the correlated fact that the GOP Lords have accomplished all this by cheating. Top to bottom, inside-out, via gerrymandering, weaponized fakery, voter suppression, rigged voting machines, dirty tricks, collusion with hostile foreign powers and their open war on all “fact” professions.  Of course, this is bringing us steadily closer to the same suite of methods that were used by oligarchs across history — e.g. Roman elites contorting the will of supposedly sovereign citizens. Indeed, Prof. Fukayama’s patrons are replicating exactly the same mafia methods that maintain Putinist dominance in Russia… and their seizure of power in the USA.

But the richest sub-text offered by this subtly manipulative Machiavelli-to-New-Medicis comes via implication number three. By deriding the Trump putsch result as 'populism,’ Prof. Fukayama lays groundwork for the Big Narrative that will pour forth when Trumpism spectacularly fails. A narrative that populism — and hence popular will and hence democracy — cannot be trusted.  This propaganda already pours from Moscow and Beijing — that there is no true democracy and mobs are dangerous. Those reactionary centers already cite Trumpism as proof! When in fact…

…all that these recent calamities demonstrate is that civil war is the great American failure mode.  That it this 250-year, recurring fever is psychological and cultural, not based upon logic or self-interest. And that the Confederacy can be re-ignited out of one-third of America, the third that truly is a gullible mob.

Oh, Francis Fukayhama does allude to 'wealth & power’ in the following: “Quite honestly, you know, well before Donald Trump began saying this, it wasn't working well. You know, Congress couldn't pass budgets, it couldn't - you know, it was very deadlocked. Plus - which I think there's a general feeling that interest groups, people with a lot of wealth and power, have a disproportionate say in the way that our democracy works. And so all of these put together, the institutional shortcomings and the socio-economic impacts of globalization, I think, prepared the ground for a rise of a populist.”

Only notice how he thereby portrays Trump’s “populist” surge as resistance against that wealth and power, instead of frenetic subservience to oligarchic lordship, which has always been the confederate theme.

== Recurring Russia ==

From the Global Post: "Writing from Moscow, Fyodor Lukyanov warns that Russia and the United States are not only back to their old and “normal” ways of confrontation, but could also clash militarily in Syria if the U.S. intervenes further. He is cynical about the impetus of the missile strike on a Syrian air base that boosted Trump’s presidential stature. “Having encountered challenges in implementing his domestic political agenda,” Lukyanov writes, “Trump decided to use foreign policy as an instrument for improving the political atmosphere around his administration.” Lukyanov further cautions against any perception that U.S. actions will force Russian President Vladimir Putin to rein in Syria’s President Bashar Assad: “For Trump, an agreement can only be reached from a position of strength. But for Putin, there can be no agreement under pressure. ... If pressure keeps growing, Russia will respond in its own manner ― asymmetrically and sharply.”

Lukyanov is smart but nowhere near cynical enough.  Think.  Try to think about who benefits. Putin has had one victory and new asset that is more valuable than any other.  He can see his Siberian Candidate President slipping away, as American immune systems - FBI investigations and leaks - threaten everything he's gained by controlling Donald Trump.  He must preserve his queen and that is worth sacrificing a few very minor pawns at one end of a mostly-empty Syrian airbase.  

Especially since this recent event let him also: (1) study our tomohawk missiles under controlled conditions, (2) cement further ties with the Iranian Mullahs, and (3) unleash some Assad gassings as the pretext to make Trump look tough and this save Trump while eliminating some of Assad's enemies.

Jeez, does it take a novelist to see what should be obvious? Always look at who gets the win-win-win.

== Sci fi prescience ==

The recently re-issued 1980 spy novel The Twentieth Day of January, by British author Ted Allbeury, contains some mind-blowing passages about a Moscow controlled Siberian Candidate    

Identified by the Soviet spy chief as a man who “wishes to be in politics for business reasons.” The vain and superficial new president ‘Powell,’ says a Washington insider, “just came out of nowhere. He was one of six or seven possible runners. A complete outsider, then—boom, he was the Republican candidate,” with the added appeal of not being a professional politician. 

"Meanwhile, Powell’s wife, who doesn’t like the political world and from whom he leads a separate life, remains in the family home with their young son instead of moving to Washington.” … “The new president, according to his campaign manager-cum-sleeper agent Andrew Dempsey, enjoys the trappings of office “like a kid in a toy shop” but is somewhat fuzzier on policy beyond promising “to slash taxes, cut unemployment, and achieve peace on earth.”

It's not quite the same level of stunning prescience that I credited earlier to Robert Heinlein, in his astonishing afterword to REVOLT IN 2100. But still, chilling and thought-provoking and something to buy for that uncle of yours.

== Political miscellany amid civil war ==

73% of deadly terrorist incidents since September 12, 2001 were committed by far right extremist groups. 

The wrongly convicted man portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in the stage play of "Exonerated" is now free, but Texas authorities haven't yet revised his record so he is still a murderer on paper.  Dreyfuss asks that people raise a fuss.

Someone wrote in to tell me that my suggestion regarding the Electoral College would have improved the recent election results, but not crucially.  If All States Voted Like Maine and Nebraska: Trump 290 Clinton 248.”

Very interesting!  Only note:

1- Trump's Electoral College tally does drop.

2- Distributing electors with two at-large per state retains the inherent gerrymandering of the Senate, wherein small-rural states get a huge advantage.

3- These results are especially pernicious because the rest of the electors are allocated to gerrymandered congressional districts, reflecting the rigging that already has made the U.S. House of Representatives a warped betrayal of the will of the people.

== Special counsels and investigators ==

And no, I have little  to say about the Comey firing thing. Not right now. Except to point out that members of the intelligence communities will not be easily cowed.

Post Watergate there was a law that allowed three federal judges to appoint an independent counsel. The law was then used to set SIX IC's to work, hounding Bill Clinton and five of his cabinet secretaries... with the result that... all they found was that Clinton lied about some third-base nookie in a hallway. That's it.

Name one other time in American — or human — history, when an administration spanning 8 years had zero scandals or indictments concerning malfeasance in the performance of official duties.  It has happened twice in American — or human — history. The administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Name another!

After enduring 7 years of these trumped-up witch hunts, the Democrats fell for the real reason for it all, the trap.  They went along with canceling the special counsel law.  Which was the GOP's aim, all along.  Now that law is history and it can only be done within the Justice Department, headed by Jeff False-Recusal Sessions.

Well, well. The more you know.

62 comments:

Dave Trowbridge said...

There was (is?) a blogger who always referred to the historic Confederacy as "TIDOS:" Treason In Defense Of Slavery. Today's resurgent Confederacy is exactly the same thing: people fighting to put their chains back on.

Tom Crowl said...

From Charles Hugh Smith:

Mao and the Middle Class: What's the Source of Political Power?
http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2017/05/mao-and-middle-class-whats-source-of.html

"The middle class is losing its stake in the status quo, and this is loosening the state's power over the middle class and reducing the power of the middle class, which has less motivation to comply and less motivation to fight for political influence.

The lower-income class that is dependent on state welfare benefits has a major stake in the status quo. So does the well-paid top-5% technocrat/professional class.
The middle class in between has less stake in the status quo than either the dependent bottom or the high-income top. Why bother fighting for a dwindling stake in a corrupt system? If you can't join the high-income top 5%, then the rational choice is to opt out or slide into the lower class that qualifies for full state benefits.

As the middle class's stake in the status quo diminishes, so does state power over the middle class. Those with less to lose will slowly stop complying or engaging in political battles (i.e. advocacy). A pox on all your houses expresses a disdain not just for the corrupt system but for the state's power to enforce its will by threat."

David Brin said...

Sorry Tom C, but Smith's screed is the dumbest thing I have seen all day - and I've watched Trump news. It is counterfactual in every single way/ It is an incantation and one of towering stupidity.

Daniel Duffy said...

There is an old Southern saying, "Nothing kicks harder than a dying mule".

The election of 2016 was that kick.

And make no mistake about it, Red Rural America is dying as is its fantasy of turning the clock back to the 1950s (or 1850s).

Rural America is not keeping pace and is falling behind. The median urban adult is six years younger than his or her rural counterpart: 45 years old compared with 51. Immigration will keep urban areas younger as depopulation makes rural areas older.

Its a trend that has been going on for over a quarter century:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/06/slow-death-in-the-great-plains/376882/

OVER the past two decades a strange phenomenon has become clear in much of the center of the United States: people have almost stopped having children. Several factors may explain this. Much of the Baby Boom generation has finished having children, and its successors, known unimaginatively as Generation X, have delayed having children and chosen to have much smaller families. These facts, which apply to the country as a whole, acquire ominous dimensions when considered alongside the "rural flight" away from the Midwest which began in the 1930s and continues today. The problem is far from just local: the area suffering from this reverse baby boom comprises 279 counties in six states, totaling nearly 470,000 square miles. Included are Wyoming and Montana, most of North and South Dakota, three fourths of Nebraska, and more than half of Kansas. In the past ten years 16 percent of the lower forty-eight states has seen barely one percent of the nation's births.

The region is already underpopulated. As a whole, the 279 counties average only six people per square mile, according to the 1990 census. Even this average would be lower were it not for a few comparatively populous places, such as Hall County, Nebraska, which is served by an interstate highway and is thus a center of trade; in 1990 it had ninety-one people per square mile. In that census half the counties had fewer than four people per square mile and nineteen counties had fewer than one. In contrast, New Jersey has nearly 1,100, and three New England states taken together average more than 750. This area can ill afford the economic and social consequences of a lost generation of unborn children. When it comes time to pass the torch to the next generation, too few hands will be waiting.

With fewer children, schools will be closed and consolidated. As the population drops, the Postal Service will close post offices. Government at all levels will reduce staff. Elks Clubs and American Legion posts will close, as will movie theaters and barber shops. Churches with dwindling memberships will be unable to support a pastor. In many towns the clinic or hospital will close, owing to a lack of patients and an inability to retain doctors. The effects of reduced economic input will ripple through the local economy -- particularly in rural areas, where people depend on one another. As the cutbacks continue, the value of real estate will plummet. Adding to the problem, in fifteen years Baby Boomers will begin to retire. Many will move to Omaha, Wichita, Denver, or even Texas. WOOFs (well-off older folks) will seek easier climes, and houses in many small towns will go begging. A similar fate awaits commercial property.

The colleges throughout the region will also suffer from declining birth rates. College and university enrollments will be high over the short term, because of the comparatively large number of children born during the "echo" years. In recent decades college towns have been insulated from the ebb and flow of the economy. By 2010, however, enrollments will decline substantially.

Without doubt the decline in births will gradually drain the life out of the region. Children are the key to holding society together. Any village, town, county, culture, or other social unit is just one generation from extinction. Without more children, the aging social fabric will fray and finally fall apart.

Daniel Duffy said...

(cont.)

And as red rural America is gasping its last, the rest of America is being transformed demographically.

Trump and his more racist followers not withstanding America remains open to immigrants. As such remain the only industrial nation with relatively high birth rates, and growing population that isn't getting old as fast as the others. We have to remain immigrant friendly, we can't fund social security and other sacred programs without an influx of new Amwericans.

But something interesting is happening, something predicted by the late Ben Wattenberg in his book "The First Universal Nation".

The fastest growing racial/ethnic census category is "Mixed".

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/race/cb12-182.html

"The 2010 Census showed that people who reported multiple races grew by a larger percentage than those reporting a single race. According to the 2010 Census brief The Two or More Races Population: 2010, the population reporting multiple races (9.0 million) grew by 32.0 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared with those who reported a single race, which grew by 9.2 percent. Overall, the total U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent since 2000, however, many multiple-race groups increased by 50 percent or more. The first time in U.S. history that people were presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race came on the 2000 Census questionnaire. Therefore, the examination of data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses provides the first comparisons on multiple-race combinations in the United States. An effective way to compare the multiple-race data is to examine changes in specific combinations, such as white and black, white and Asian, or black and Asian. “These comparisons show substantial growth in the multiple-race population, providing detailed insights to how this population has grown and diversified over the past decade,” said Nicholas Jones, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau's Racial Statistics Branch."

From Ben Wattenberg:

"But while separatism may be trendy among foundation-supported "grass roots" advocacy groups, it is losing its war where it counts, between the sheets. The 1990 Census revealed that exogamy was booming. Just 13% of first generation Hispanics intermarry. The figure for second generation was 34%, and 54% for third generation. The corresponding rates for Asian Americans were 14%, 34% and 54%. About half of Jews intermarry. The black rates are much lower, but climbing rapidly. The final 2000 Census results will reveal this pattern more fully.

How to regard all this? With interest. Americans have had a tangled view of racial and ethnic skeins. Only a few decades ago the elimination of legal segregation was denounced by racists as a precursor to "mongrelization." But, when they're called "mutts,"Americans think mongrels are cute. When we hear that someone is "mean as a junkyard dog," we're not condemning dogs, junkyards or even meanness, only indicating that those half-breeds are plenty tough, maybe like Tiger and Derek.

From "The Melting Pot" to "Abie's Irish Rose," to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," Americans have had a, uh, mixed attitude toward melting pottism. And we still do. Some Anglos fear that America will become "a third world nation." In a world where Indian techies are worth their weight in semi-conductors, not to worry. We're becoming the first universal nation.

The typical American 100 years from now will be 1/8 Icelandic, 1/8 Irish, 1/8 Italian, 1/8 Israeli, 1/8 Iranian, 1/8 Indian, 1/8 Ibo, and 1/8 Iroquois.

And that's just the "I"s.

Tony Fisk said...

After Daniel's points about the changing demographics of rural America, it's worth noting that the Director of the US Census Bureau has just resigned.*

* Also worth noting that Australia has been having these issues as well, right after Abbott took over.

Jumper said...

"the value of real estate will plummet."
Whoa, hoss! Should that be "price?"

As for pure blood, we're all descended from pirates.

Mars. Everyone says drill, and Mars will deliver, but when does the drilling rig get sent? How much drill pipe? Or do you send drill pipe-making machines? How's that work again? And the trackhoes. Has anyone even tried a solar powered trackhoe? What, do you drag 100 yards of thick cable around? All this stuff gotta get sent.

Daniel Duffy said...

It was these demographic changes (declining rural populations, influx of immigrants, etc.) along with cultural changes (feminism, civil rights, gay rights, etc.) that drove Trump voters - not economic changes.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/white-working-class-trump-cultural-anxiety/525771/

It Was Cultural Anxiety That Drove White, Working-Class Voters to Trump
A new study finds that fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees.

Controlling for other demographic variables, three factors stood out as strong independent predictors of how white working-class people would vote. The first was anxiety about cultural change. Sixty-eight percent of white working-class voters said the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence. And nearly half agreed with the statement, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.” Together, these variables were strong indictors of support for Trump: 79 percent of white working-class voters who had these anxieties chose Trump, while only 43 percent of white working-class voters who did not share one or both of these fears cast their vote the same way.

The second factor was immigration. Contrary to popular narratives, only a small portion—just 27 percent—of white working-class voters said they favor a policy of identifying and deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally. Among the people who did share this belief, Trump was wildly popular: 87 percent of them supported the president in the 2016 election.

Finally, 54 percent of white working-class Americans said investing in college education is a risky gamble, including 61 percent of white working-class men. White working-class voters who held this belief were almost twice as likely as their peers to support Trump. “The enduring narrative of the American dream is that if you study and get a college education and work hard, you can get ahead,” said Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI. “The survey shows that many white working-class Americans, especially men, no longer see that path available to them. … It is this sense of economic fatalism, more than just economic hardship, that was the decisive factor in support for Trump among white working-class voters.”

While the analysis pointed to some interesting patterns around economic status, more research is needed to confirm them. The findings contrast with much of the coverage of the election: People who said their finances are only in fair or poor shape were nearly twice as likely to support Clinton compared to those who feel more economically secure.

Tony Fisk said...

The antics that accompanied the Comey firing are pure 'tell' (ie wedunnit and you can't do a thing about it haha waves backside...). It's a spectacle designed to make you feel helpless and, like projection, there lies its weakness: over-reach.

The resident's miscalculation was he thought he held all the cards. Statements from the Senate investigation suggest otherwise. I get the impression the Comey firing isn't going to work.

Jumper said...

"the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence." “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.”

I can agree with both, with caveats I am pretty sure don't jibe with populist memes.

In some fraction of reality, "foreign influence" is malign so I must check that "yes." The other stuff like musical renaissance from Senegal, well I like that a lot.

With the death of telephony and acoustic fidelity, and the shrinkage of keyboards and viewscreens, I am perplexed why the younger generation doesn't rebel, but they all live in game worlds with full imaginary lives. Yes, I feel old. But I still won't support an insane clown.

David Brin said...

Daniel D. Thanks for an interesting missive worthy of a blog posting.

Alfred Differ said...

My mother had four kids in a 7 year span. The 60's were like that. I asked her once why so many. She shrugged and said that was just the way it was done. She married a US airman and emigrated leaving London to arrive in Tucson in '61. He was of Scottish descent and she was a bit of a mix, but we are all decidedly white if you ignore the Italian fraction from my mother's mother. Oh? They count as white nowadays? Heh. Okay.

Half of her kids married Latinos. One spouse was very assimilated already. The other not so much. One of them produced two kids who are now serving in the US Military. Hmm. I can't quite imagine where I'm supposed to help build a wall. Which part of my extended family am I supposed to trap outside?

One thing I learned growing up in the western states of the US, though, is that demographic change is nothing new. There are quite a few ghost towns out here. This or that mine got built, got worked, and then dried up. Towns boomed and then busted. That's what they do. They are alive as much as we are. They are born, live, and die. It is a moral mistake to keep them on life support too long because they are composed of people who get trapped. Help a town if help makes sense. Otherwise, help people get out and prosper elsewhere.

Unknown said...

@Jumper: nano, dude. Greg Bear MOVING MARS grade nano.


"Children are the key to holding society together. Any village, town, county, culture, or other social unit is just one generation from extinction. Without more children, the aging social fabric will fray and finally fall apart."

Only cos ya all are fucking old, and are intent on perpetuating a fuddy-duddy social system. I planned on immortality at fifteen. I ain't dimmed on it.

On that note, what REAL solutions do any of you have for this Clusterfuck of Things?


I'm waiting for something like in Bruce Sterlings' DISTRACTION to happen, where everyone above 30 is just irrelevant because the youth have control of the infrastructure.


**Extra-curricular**

@Paul SB: I think people inherently are affected by language before they are informed by it. (As humans are first and foremost emotional creatures, this follows.) Voice more so than text. Tone of voice articulates it.

Familiarity further complicates this, and predisposition - what a person tends to focus on, especially what will 'trigger' them - typically throws the baby out with the bathwater. Too much information/too many points of interest adds insult to injury. People tend not to see too far between things - and intuitive leap is very rare.

My experience is the reverse, and exponentially more so as I've developed. This most of the time has allowed me to entertain new information. That's one of my secrets.

So when people read my stuff or hear me talk about the things of my experience, they tend not to be available to it.

You being a teacher and around runts all day likely are especially vulnerable to this when you hear something that isn't 'mature', let alone 'un-dudelike'.

When someone embodies The Simpsons and Family Guy, it's no wonder they're like dude in The Princess Bride when they encounter something unfamiliar: In-con-theivable!

Or, if you want to be self-deprecating, 'Why would someone try to convince us schleps of these things?'

donzelion said...

Daniel, concur on your report, and can link it back to our host's main premise: massive population decreases empower feudalism more often than the alternative.

Yes, there are exceptions (e.g., population decline in pre-Renaissance Italy led to shortages of skilled artisans - and hence, cities were compelled to compete to attract and maintain people, where once their rulers simply oppressed and extracted whatever they pleased from them...seeds that eventually sprouted into the Renaissance.

But the general trend is that when a sudden demographic loss occurs, feudal powers increase in power, displacing alternative systems to increase their own strength. So it was in most of post-Black Death Europe, Asia, and most spectacularly, Latin America (where the great dying off after European contact led to centuries of neo-feudalist reign). As 19th Century Virginia, for example, dwindled from the preeminent state in 1800 to playing second fiddle to New York and others by 1848, its own slaveholding elite became increasingly powerful, increasingly determined to defend it's property at any price - and hundreds of thousands of people were willing to give their lives to defend that option.

I suspect that in the face of demographic decline, popular fears empower leaders who manipulate those fears without doing a darn thing to alleviate the underlying conditions. I suspect further that democracy requires a certain amount of hope to sustain itself.

Daniel Duffy said...

Dr. Brin, I can sum it all up in one observation:

Trump's followers would prefer a fascist dictatorship that kept whites in charge to a democracy that was multicultural.

LarryHart said...

Paul Krugman explains exactly my reasoning for considering the process of uncovering #SoCalledPresident's illegitimacy to be itself compromised. It's no longer just Trump--the Republican Party as an institution is complicit in the metaphorical dismantling of the Red Car.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/opinion/judas-tax-cuts-and-the-great-betrayal.html


...
Everyone understands that Mr. Comey was fired not because of his misdeeds during the campaign — misdeeds that helped put Trump in the White House — but because his probe of Russian connections with the Trump campaign was accelerating and, presumably, getting too close to home. So this looks very much like the use of presidential power to cover up possible foreign subversion of the U.S. government.

And the two leading Republicans in Congress are apparently O.K. with that cover-up, because the Trump ascendancy is giving them the chance to do what they always wanted, namely, take health insurance away from millions of Americans while slashing taxes on the wealthy.
...


LarryHart said...

Krugman continues:

...
For generations, Republicans have impugned their opponents’ patriotism. During the Cold War, they claimed that Democrats were soft on Communism; after 9/11, that they were soft on terrorism.

But now we have what may be the real thing: circumstantial evidence that a hostile foreign power may have colluded with a U.S. presidential campaign, and may retain undue influence at the highest levels of our government. And all those self-proclaimed patriots have gone silent, or worse.
...
And we know how to resolve the remaining uncertainty: independent investigations conducted by officials with strong legal powers, insulated from partisan political influence.

So here’s where we stood as of Thursday evening: 138 Democrats and independents had called for the appointment of a special prosecutor; just one Republican had joined that call. Another 84 Democrats had called for an independent investigation, joined by only six Republicans.

At this point, in other words, almost an entire party appears to have decided that potential treason in the cause of tax cuts for the wealthy is no vice. And that’s barely hyperbole.
...

Paul SB said...

Larry,

This line from Krugman supports a contention I have made for a long time.

"And the two leading Republicans in Congress are apparently O.K. with that cover-up, because the Trump ascendancy is giving them the chance to do what they always wanted, namely, take health insurance away from millions of Americans while slashing taxes on the wealthy."

Of the two agenda items, the second is a blatant attempt to enrich themselves (the Republican leadership and their CEO golf buddies - not the average Republican voter who will be impoverished by their tax plan, just as they were by the end of the Reagan/Bush Admins) The first, however, is purely a matter of vindictive class warfare. Our Unknown buddy points out that humans are first emotional creatures, and he is basically correct - the limbic system (Krugman's System 1) is myelinated at birth, while the more rational frontal lobes (Krugman's System 2) take the first two decades to fully hook up, and even then, people being creatures of habit, humans mostly continue to let emotion dictate action and use logic to justify their choices later. The point is that even the self-servative Republican leadership does not behave entirely rationally. They would make more money if everyone had enough money to buy whatever junk they have for sale, but instead they try to grind the people down and crush them, just like the feudal lords of the Dark Ages and the Aristocracy that ruled from the Renaissance to Early Modern times. Daniel Duffy's summary gets it. It is vindictiveness that rules their thoughts, not rational self interest. This is one of the holes in Adam Smith, or at least, the common interpretation of Adam Smith, which ignores "The Theory of Moral Sentiments".

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

2- Distributing electors with two at-large per state retains the inherent gerrymandering of the Senate, wherein small-rural states get a huge advantage.

3- These results are especially pernicious because the rest of the electors are allocated to gerrymandered congressional districts, reflecting the rigging that already has made the U.S. House of Representatives a warped betrayal of the will of the people.


Some states with Republican legislatures--Pennsylvania and I think North Carolina were toying with this--want to skew things even further, not only by allocating individual electoral votes by who wins each district, but by allocating the remaining two EVs to the candidate (party, really) which wins the most districts.

The whole Red State/Blue State concept is being codified into law, where a state is not simply "Red" because that's how most of its citizens vote in recent elections, but because the state legislature essentially rules that its electoral votes go to the Republican Party, no matter what its citizens say.

Darrell E said...

What a depressing read. I completely agree that Daniel's one line summary RE Trump voters is accurate. The same was noted by many people since the Trump train started rolling. Culturally instilled racism, bigotry, what have you, ranging from latent to overt. It isn't necessarily a blatant, obvious thing. There are plenty of people that are almost always, in nearly any context, reasonably kind, polite and respectful to anyone of any group but in certain circumstances will reveal their bigotry with a derogatory comment. "Just like a n*%&er!" "Those people just aren't like us." Could be the nice little old lady at the cat shelter. Or the pastor that volunteers at the Boys & Girls club. Or one of your friends or loved ones.

A bright spot in the comments. Is the Dave Trowbridge who first commented the same who co-authored the wonderful Exordium series? Exordium is one of my all time favorite science fiction stories. I think it is one of the best examples of space opera ever and I've always been surprised that it isn't more well known, and received much more recognition.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ in the previous thread:

My suggestion is that you take a deep breath and recognize that he is in the process of hanging himself. Let him.


My concern is that the Republican Party is using the ensuing time to insinuate itself into the "deep state" before they are expelled from power. At minimum, the #IllegitimatePresident has already #Illegitimately biased the Supreme Court, and maybe gets to do so again. The federal judiciary is also vulnerable. Lancing the boil doesn't reset us back to before that damage was done.

NoOne said...

While I agree with most of David's analysis (and with Daniel Duffy's post above), I think it's worthwhile being contrarian here.

Rant mode ON: As a non-white immigrant living in the south (Gainesville, FL where the old south ends - sort of - and the rest of Florida begins), let me defend southerners living here. They see all sorts of immigrants, Yankees etc. show up in their town and pretty much take over. Their accent is mocked. The Indian and Chinese (and other Asian) immigrants make no effort to integrate choosing instead to socialize within ethnic enclaves. Non-immigrant foreigners buy property and get their kids to live in the town so that they can go to school and then leverage that to go to an Ivy league or top 20 university/college. This makes it much harder for the local kids to get into a great college causing even more resentment. So, you end up with a hermetically sealed southern culture uneasily co-existing with other American and foreign ethnic cliques in a small town of 120000. Small wonder that some idiot pastor publicly burns the Koran at his church (2.5 miles from my house incidentally). What are they supposed to do? Rant mode OFF

Darrell E said...

NoOne,

Just as one point of reference, I'm a straight white male who lives in Florida and I didn't find your contrarian rant convincing at all. Rather, it does seem likely that some white locals justify their dislike of immigrants in the way you laid out, but I don't think their attitude is justified ethically or in their best interests pragmatically.

NoOne said...

@Darrell E

Regardless of my rant though, do you see the same problem? Why is it that we see such little social interaction between different ethnic cliques and southerners in places like Gainesville. This is clearly very unhealthy. Is it all one sided and the fault of the southerners?

Jumper said...

"Non-immigrant foreigners buy property and get their kids to live in the town so that they can go to school"
What does this even mean? That someone can be considered a Florida resident before admittance by U of F as a resident of Florida? How's that work when getting the green card?

Jumper said...

I did read an essay by an American with Korean background and he noted how difficult his "otherness" made it for Anglos to accept him as a regular guy. It was like a barrier he could almost feel. He didn't even "blame" people for it.

It is something that can disappear, though. When I moved to Texas I started working for a technical oil well service company on small crews with Mexican Americans whom I'd never known well, being from Gainesville. After a few thousand hours in a truck and on the opposite ends of gamma ray - neutron tools and explosive devices I can assure you my various coworkers were "regular guys."

Jumper said...

"Don't criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you start your criticism you're a mile away. And you have their shoes!"

raito said...

(from the last)

donzelion,

I think they were oversold to attempt to reign in the excesses of the worst of them, or at least to make some cautionary tales. Legitimacy isn't the issue when you're the government. And I think that the formality of the agreements between the aristocracy is a charter feature of feudalism. This is something tha tother similar systems most often lack.

Italy, to which you allude, gets close, though (but no military component to the agreements) with both its patronage and guild systems.

LarryHart,

Naw, we both won.

And since we're still going on about fedualism, I think there's only been 2 feudal socieities. Western medieval Europe and medieval Japan. The rest seem to be lacking features, though I imagine I could be conviced that there were others.

Part of my supposed 'problem' with women was that I knew what I was after, and never bothered with anything else just because I could. So far, that strategy has paid off.

Dr. Brin,

And the commissars replaced with Russian 'entrepreneurs'. Just a name change.

As for Fukuyama, a quote from POTUS on this morning's radio drive was that the Dems ought to have won the election. So much for popular will.

Alfred Differ,

There's been times and places in the US where I wouldn't be considered white, either.

As for wating for the hanging, I want to know what's going on behind the curtain that the side show is in front of.

Daniel Duffy,

As I've been saying, I hope what we're seeing is a last gasp. And as I posted last time, the life expectancy thing plays a role, too. The urban man is going to outlive his rural counterpart. Which has several consequences. Longer to get economic and political resources, for one. A better appareciation for having lived through msot history. Look at it not as who's older, but who's closer to dying at the same age.

As, like you, I wonder at the effects of haivng those formerly young, liberal, urban reitrees flodding back to where life is inexpensive.

The city where I live is seeing some of it now. There's several axes of difference causing tension. Some families have lived here for a hundred years. They don't like new people moving in. There's a substantial population of old people, whose first and nearly only political interest is to not pay more property taxes (good luck, when we're importing nearly a school's worth of children every year). There's a substantial back and Indian population, where there was not one as recently as 15 years ago (though no one much likes the apartment owners advertising in the slums of Chicago and Detroit for tenants). Poverty was 3% 20 years ago, and it's at about 30% now, but there's new subdivisions of million dollar McMansions going up (and no way to reasonably mix the school polulations). And there's the farmers vs. the suburbans. The farmers wish the city was the sleepy rural town of their ancestors, which just isn't going to happen.

NoOne,

This is why I'm a melting pot guy, not a diversity guy. For both sides.

FK said...

@Daniel Duffy

we're becoming the first universal nation

As one of your neighbours to the north may I humbly point out that Canada has a higher rate of immigration per capita, that 20% of the population is foreign born (compared to 13% in America), and mixed marriages are going up exponentially?

Add to that a Prime Minister who talks about Canada being a post national country and I'd say you have some competition in being the world's first universal country :)

FK said...

Btw, America's relatively high birth rate isn't all down to immigration. After a couple of generations, immigrant birth rates match that of the general population. You can see that among Turks in Germany and North Africans in France. There's some other reason why American families (of whatever ethnicity and background) have more kids than German families (of whatever ethnicity and background).

Perhaps religiosity is a factor?

A.F. Rey said...

The Indian and Chinese (and other Asian) immigrants make no effort to integrate choosing instead to socialize within ethnic enclaves.

So how much have those southerners integrated Indian and Chinese culture into their lifestyles? Or does such "cultural integration" only go one way? ;)

(IOW, how much does staying in cultural enclaves have to do with being the "outsider" everyplace else? If the overall culture isn't welcoming, that would explain why immigrants tend to prefer their own enclaves.)

LarryHart said...

NoOne:

Why is it that we see such little social interaction between different ethnic cliques and southerners in places like Gainesville.


If I recall correctly, Gainesville is a university town. There has always been friction between "townies" and the relatively insular and transient clique of students in college towns. A similar division takes place in towns with military installations. But in the case of students, it is likely exacerbated by the fact that many of the students are foreigners.

LarryHart said...

A F Rey:

IOW, how much does staying in cultural enclaves have to do with being the "outsider" everyplace else? If the overall culture isn't welcoming, that would explain why immigrants tend to prefer their own enclaves.


I was thinking the same thing. Like how the stuck-up Jews in Germany and Poland didn't socialize outside the ghetto walls. No wonder they had to die!

FK said...

Enclaves are natural and useful for first generation immigrants. They offer a support structure for new comers trying to find their feet in an unfamiliar Society and culture. After a generation or three (depending on circumstances) people will move out of these enclaves if educational and economic opportunity comes their way.

Darrell E said...

NoOne,

I do certainly see the issues that you point out. But I do also see many instances of cultural integration even in the conservative strongly religious small town I live in. One of the primary ways I see that this occurs is the many immigrants that open businesses such as retail stores and restaurants and do business on a personal level with everyone they can entice through the doors, most definitely including the native white people.

This morning on my way to the office I stopped at a convenience store that I frequent perhaps twice a week. The owner is an Indian immigrant. He has the knack of remembering names very well and anyone who has been in his store more than 3 or so times gets greeted by name when they come in. He amiably makes small talk with everyone. Even customers that are so Redneck that no caricature you could envision would be over-the-top. More often than not they respond in kind and are regular customers.

Another example (of many) is a little middle eastern restaurant & bakery in town. I've actually no idea where the family is from. Lebanon? Turkey? Not sure. But, damn can they cook and bake. They make a date & berry tart with a pecan crust that is unbelievable. Their falafel is uncommonly good. Good enough to make a true believer out of a skeptic in one bite. I know that from the day I harangued my wife and kids to try just a small bite of my falafel pita. They were all stubborn about it but finally capitulated so they wouldn't have to put up with me anymore. Not a single bite made it back to me. I've never had anything there that wasn't excellent. And they are always busy, lines out the door. Rednecks, preppies, lower income, rich folk, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, unidentifiables, all lining up to get some good middle eastern eats.

Seriously, I think food is a great way to foster amicable and respectful relations between different groups of people.

Also, I think A F Rey's comment,

"IOW, how much does staying in cultural enclaves have to do with being the "outsider" everyplace else? If the overall culture isn't welcoming, that would explain why immigrants tend to prefer their own enclaves."

. . . is on point.

FK said...

In The Myth of the Muslim Tide Canadian journalist, Doug Saunders, makes the point (based in part on research for an earlier book, I believe) that educational and economic integration are the most important kinds of integration for immigrants. Once this is achieved, other kinds of integration, like cultural integration, take care of themselves.

LarryHart said...

Darrel E:

Seriously, I think food is a great way to foster amicable and respectful relations between different groups of people.


Agreed.

Many years ago, my wife and I had a car breakdown way down in southern Illinois, hundreds of miles from home. We got ahold of a nice towing operation who towed us 100 miles north to the nearest Honda dealer. During the drive, he asked us (knowing we were from Chicago) if we knew anything about Greek food, because a new Greek restaurant was opening in their town. To him, this was the height of exotic cuisine. Well, when we got back to the big city, we mailed a carton of Greek baklava to the towing company.

Loan Offer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alfred Differ said...

@Unknown,

Heh. You are a funny dude, but you are SO full of yourself. 8)

I planned on immortality at fifteen.

Suuure. Who didn’t? Maybe the generation in front of you didn’t mention it, but they used to be young and immortal too.

what REAL solutions do any of you have for this Clusterfuck of Things?

Glad you asked. Go read Deirdre McCloskey’s three volume set on bourgeois economics. You’ll see the solution is already being implemented. Besides, you think THIS set of events is a mess?! Pfft! {twang in voice}When I was a young’n we were trying damn hard to blow up the world. EVERYONE DIES kind of crap. I almost didn’t make it to my first birthday. {/twang in voice}

If you keep waiting for the older generation to become irrelevant, you’ll discover your one of us soon enough. Ain’t gonna happen. What WILL happen is it will become progressively hard to earn a living. Of all the skills I’ve learned over the years, only two still count. Can I learn new stuff? Can I work with people AND machines as a kind of centaur?

People tend not to see too far between things - and intuitive leap is very rare.

Har! The voice of Youth. They aren’t as rare as you might think, but you probably haven’t developed to skill to anticipate them yet. Those pre-frontal lobes require a massive amount of information and constant practice. Prediction failures are incredibly valuable, so flail away. Just don’t be shocked one day when you are finally able to see their intuitive leaps. From my experience, they are quite common, but the only easy ones to see are our own.

Unknown said...

Uh-oh, the Nigeria spam is up on.

@Lar: nice gesture, but since I don't eat wheat, and rarely sugar, it would've been lost on me. The lamb, now I eat that ALL up. By the way, killer flood story. Good girl.



I've been thinking about breathing, and given re-mention of Al's 'take a breath', I recommend something a bit further: even just once a day - stop, exhale, pause, inhale. Now do this for a minute. Or more if you can manage. Do this while eating, and Presence will grace you.

Beyond that: eat slowly, gently. Each bite no larger than an inch by an inch. Eat each until gone. Then take another. Godliness awaits.

Unknown said...

**Extra-curricular: in case you need to hear a fabulous story of the day (and you're not too jaded to discount it or enjoy its spirit. I think Lar'll dig it at least) :

I got up fairly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and headed off to my regular breakfast place. I was wondering whether this beautiful brown-eyed pear-shaped gal would be there, as I'd asked her out to hang, she'd taken my number, but hadn't called. I step in the door, she's right there behind the counter, nobody within twenty feet, and so I got to address that thing right away. She may call. Yes, my girlfriend knows.

Then another server I've connected with pretty well was there, and we shared some homie-ness. He's a cute lad......

Finishing breakfast, I sit back, and my girlfriend calls. We talk about errands of each of us, and when she'll come over.

I left the restaurant, and in the dual turn lane, this black girl came up next to me, licking a chocolate popsicle, and she looked at me and kinda pointed at me - see, my license plate is very special, unique I bet - and I figured she was hinting at that. I smiled big, she smiled big. Nice moment. Couldn't tell whether she was curvy, but she was thick, and pretty.

Then I went to a store to get some necessities, and on the way in saw two yummy pears. Get my stuff, and approach the register lines, and right in front of me was standing this sorta cute little brown-eyed brunette, curvy-ish gal who rang me through last week. She recognized me, and we smiled.

So I'm heading to the door, and standing right next to it, facing me, I see this brown-eyed brunette who seemed familiar. She was a hella luscious pear. (See a trend here? Blondes are dead last, Brown-Browns are what get my attention. Curvy, dayum.... Pale of course, as most of them today were.) Then it crystalises (note the 's', versus a 'z' - 'to make real'). She's this gal I pro-bably at least saw round campus in high school, but really met seven years ago - yes, I tapped it - and then I split from her because she got a little weird. So we reunite in friendly fashion, hug, compare notes. Parting, she says to maybe look her up on facebook - if I'm on there. I'm not.....but I'll think about it....

I go to my next place, and am trying to separate two carts. I'm a fixer of things, you know. This cute, heavy but not curvy, young woman comes behind me, and I pull a cart from the other row for her. She stops, wants to fix the carts too, and tells me to hold to the latter, and she pulls, pulling them apart. I mi-ght've been able to take her home. I didn't, just enjoyed that moment.

I go inside, get my goods, and at the register encounter this cute....brown-eyed brunette gal :-) ....I've connected with about 'mindful matters' in previous visits, one while my girlfriend was there with me.....and we connect again, further. I'm awful inclined to ask her to hang next time round. I think I will.

So, last.....yes, finally, right?....all this in three hours' time! Finally, I'm driving home, windows down, Do You Believe in Love by Huey Lewis and the News out my speakers - and my shit is LOUD.....I drive up to my house, into the driveway, and there are two doves, obviously together, hanging on the wall next to my garage. I wave at them, as I always do animals of any stripe and flavour, and they stay there, looking at me, flying off only when I'm about right next to them. Love birds.

And that has been the theme of today. Squishes for you all.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart,

My concern is that the Republican Party is using the ensuing time to insinuate itself into the "deep state" before they are expelled from power.

They’ve always been there, dude. Seriously. Nothing ever goes back to what it was. Hysteresis is the rule if you try, but I don’t see why we SHOULD try. Why would I want to go back to earlier days where they were the irritant that created the boil that needed to be lanced? Move forward.

What he is doing right now has little to do with illegitimacy. It has everything to do with incompetency. He is walking openly into legitimate charges of obstruction of justice. He is saying things that don’t pass the sniff test with many people who are more dedicated to Integrity than to Loyalty. For example, what percentage of people believed the firing of Comey had anything to do with the way he spoke of the Clinton emails? What percentage of career FBI folks are angered more than scared? Seems to be a lot of people are learning his threats don’t have the teeth he’d like you to believe they have.

Yes. He can damage things. No doubt about it. What are we learning about how people react to him doing that, though?

LarryHart said...

Unknown:

@Lar: nice gesture, but since I don't eat wheat, and rarely sugar, it would've been lost on me. The lamb, now I eat that ALL up.


I have no idea what you just said.

:)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Seriously. Nothing ever goes back to what it was. Hysteresis is the rule if you try, but I don’t see why we SHOULD try. Why would I want to go back to earlier days where they were the irritant that created the boil that needed to be lanced? Move forward.


Sure, so why should we go back to the days of a 5-4 right-wing majority on the Supreme Court which hides behind "original intent" while interpreting words more loosely than locumranch does?

What he is doing right now has little to do with illegitimacy. It has everything to do with incompetency. He is walking openly into legitimate charges of obstruction of justice. He is saying things that don’t pass the sniff test with many people who are more dedicated to Integrity than to Loyalty.


I agree about the incompetency, and we should thank God for that. But I disagree that he's not acting legitimately. Requiring a loyalty oath to himself from the head of the FBI is not an oversight, it's deliberate policy. And it's un-American deliberate policy. That's the kind of thing I mean when I say he's not executing the office legitimately, regardless of whether he was duly elected.

Is there a line that he could cross after which you'd agree, and we're just haggling over the price? Or do you feel that only Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have the authority to deem him illegitimate?

For example, what percentage of people believed the firing of Comey had anything to do with the way he spoke of the Clinton emails? What percentage of career FBI folks are angered more than scared? Seems to be a lot of people are learning his threats don’t have the teeth he’d like you to believe they have.


At this point, I'm less concerned about his ability to intimidate than I am about the Republican congress covering Trump's ass because it helps them keep their majorities.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Yes. He can damage things. No doubt about it. What are we learning about how people react to him doing that, though?


I think we're learning that Trump's actions prove to them that whatever they already believed is true. The 30-some percent who supported Trump still support Trump. 97% of Trump voters think he's doing a good job and would vote for him again today.

There is resistance, though, and it is heartening. I'll agree with you that far. However, I'm also well aware that Caesar eventually got his comeuppance too, but the damage was already long done.

matthew said...

Wall Street Journal reporting that the Financial Crimes unit of the FBI is sharing specific "records" with the Senate Investigative Committee.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/financial-crimes-monitor-to-share-records-in-trump-russia-probe-1494625140

LarryHart said...

This just occurred to me. When Trump says that the American People don't care about his tax returns or his ties to Russia, there's a nugget of truth in there. Sure, there's a popular push-back against these things and the news media are (for the moment) feeling their oats.

But that's mainly fueled by people who didn't vote for Trump in the first place. In order to change the outcome of the next election, Trump voters would have to change their minds, and I see no evidence that that is happening. Those American People don't care about Trump's shortcomings, and those American People are all the votes he needed to win. Likewise, the Republican Party itself, led by Ryan and McConnell, don't care either. They're winning, and that forgives all.

So in a meaningful way, he's not actually wrong.

Unknown said...

@Lar: the Greek restaurant, baklava, homie. Gee whiz.

That's killer about your flooding story. Good girl.

I felt you might be some older by some slight nuances in your speech. MM-mm-mmm. (That's a shrug with the melodic contour 'up, up, up-down'.)

I was mostly interested in sci-fi and anime-style cartoons through my teens. Future, you know. And TV was so tame compared to what was on cable. I know of LA Law and that stuff. In the 90s, I didn't even have a TV till '97, and then I sometimes watched movies on video cassette. (I inherited the TV and VCR, my then-girlfriend wanted to watch movies, and I was open. I recall she wanted cable, and I said, 'Sure, go ahead an pay for it. I don't want it, though.' She didn't get it.)



@Al: goo-dammn-it. I knew I should've refreshed the page before posting. Psychic, you know. I can elaborate if you like.

Along that line: I forgot to mention - as I was between restaurant and the first store, I happened to skip into a folder on my car's radio that I hadn't listened to in at least months. I have a flash card in the glove connected via a back USB port on the deck, and the glare from the sun meant I couldn't see the readout, so I fumbled around a little. The song was one the hella pear I saw on my way out turned me onto seven years ago. Providence signaling.

I'm glad I'm entertaining.

Anyways: you're projecting beau. I've Never thought I knew everything. The first time I heard someone say, 'I thought I knew everything at your/that age.....', I was all, 'what?' As a kid when my parents took us to parties, I'd spend half the time with the kids, half the time with the adults. In college, I rarely hung out with other students. I hung out with my instructors || .

Everything in the Cosmos is a matter of degree (Kelvin scale analogue applied to the Cosmos) the context and one's condition at runtime determining how and how much. I know you're a fine, flinty, and delving thinker, Al. Many are. Many more are Not. Even Einstein was limited by his maleness and morality. Remember, morals are illusory, a crude tool to reckon the Cosmos.

I'm expressive, and openly so. I write as I talk. Mm-Hm. And I'm ultra confident. I lead by example, and encourage all to the same. Propriety is for the meek. Recall my enjoyment of Dave's candor with me. How it fuckin should be.

And this is my potential relevance. To lead humanity into the Singularity and through. Or, at least myself. That is, at thirteen actually, I was specifically envisioning living for centuries at least, largely because of the New Wave of anime-style cartoons that hit Am TV in the early to mid 80s, I started to read SF around the same time (I was just starting to read for pleasure, and didn't read otherwise, COS SCHOOL SUCKED), and my inclination to think beyond human.

Following that line of thought - human is to slave. An automated society was forseen in the late 19th century, and sought in the early 20th. And then, resource barons put it down. Human nature in those below said, 'oh, that's fine, we're born to toil.....'


PS: I recognise your contribution with the recommendation of McCloskey's text. We'll see, I'm curious. But, quoting Matt Furey: it ain't the size o the dog, but the size of the FIGHT in the dog. You could replace dog with dick.

Unknown said...

@Al again: PPS: that is, Resource-based Economy is the analogue of E=mc2. In other words, I recongize Rachmaninoff, but I prefer Schoenberg, and especially Webern...and then Milton Babbitt, and so on......

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Treebeard said...

I'm wondering how Star Trek can be so imminent when we haven't been past LEO after 45 years. Are the Russkies sabotaging our rockets Gary-Seven style? Are the feudal oligarchs preventing the Vulcans from bringing us improved warp drive? Since people don't seem that interested in Star Trek in our democracy, maybe it will take a galactic Genghis Khan and a Sith priesthood to bring the Empire--I mean Federation--into existence.

No worries about aristocratic-priestly rule going away, that never happens. I guess what you mean is: I'm worried that my aristocratic-priestly caste of superior-credentialed Enlightenment-educated (self-proclaimed) smartest people in history may fall out of favor, so like all good priests, I am propagandizing like mad to maintain our privileges.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Now we have Locum, Treebeard and Unknown to ignore
It's a good thing that we do have other people who are worth reading

Jumper said...

Dunno about the site, but a plethora of decent links to the Trump affair.
https://patribotics.blog/2017/04/01/alfa-bank-trump-tower-and-a-social-media-impeachment/

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

like all good priests, I am propagandizing like mad to maintain our privileges.


Heh.

Jumper said...

Please define privilege. It likely could use a definition focused so people aren't talking about different things.

donzelion said...

Darrell/No One: flowing back to the point about feudalism, seems to me
(1) generally, when population declines (or stagnates), feudal powers have a tendency to gain power.
(2) immigrants threaten that decline, especially if they are free to set up their own institutions. They also threaten preexisting power structures, potentially out-competing them since they are not saddled with debts incurred in building the status quo, including affiliation/allegiance debts.
(3) hence, feudalists tend to oppose immigration EXCEPT when they have nearly serflike control.

With those factors in place, one can see fairly consistent trends in treatment of immigrants in most feudal countries (particularly religious minorities).

donzelion said...

LarryHart: I think people are starting to catch on. Trump's popularity among his most ardent supporters is falling, as they begin to catch on to just how much privilege he has. It took decades of work to convince them Hillary was the anti-Christ, and will similarly take time to convince them Trump is incompetent and incapable of being a good president. But it'll be a sudden economic shift that really affects their pocketbooks before they're convinced. His supporters are fact-averse, and readily believe fantasies until reality compels them to act.

That's the problem with calling for FDR 2.0, or expecting it from any Dem. Without a Great Depression, FDR could never have attempted even a fraction of what he put together. Ideas like social security etc. that FDR launched had been floated before, failed before, but gained traction when the climate changed to make them viable.

LarryHart said...

@donzelion,

Yes we might well have to suffer in order to progress, but I not only want us to still be the good guys when we win, I want us to still exist. Not necessarily you and me personally, but our core values.

I'm feeling a lot like Hari Seldon these days. The fall of the Empire is probably a necessary condition in order to propel us to something greater when we come out the other side. The question then becomes how to shorten the interregnum to a mere thousand years instead of the thirty-thousand from which we will never recover?

Unknown said...

@Duncan: petition Dave to tell me to leave. I'll go. (I may before that...... I'll canc my account, too, cos I use it for nothing else.)


But consider this: the other night I decided to check out Spectral on Netflix. The opening scene is this soldier skulking through an empty war zone. He stops and sits. Then he flips his high-tech goggles down. I stop the movie and say out loud, "Why didn't he have those down already? What the hell are they for then?" Well, to see ghosts of course. They weren't designed for that, because they hadn't seen any yet and they'd been using the goggles for a while already. Hence, without this ex nihilo device there'd be no story! So I look through the first ten or so reviews. Some decently thought out - and NO ONE talked about this.

Point: if you don't consider at least 90% of someone's words in the above manner, you don't know them. If you don't consider at least 90% of their physical motion in this way, you don't know them.

matthew said...

Donzelion - I think you nailed it in your last statement. " Ideas like social security etc. that FDR launched had been floated before, failed before, but gained traction when the climate changed to make them viable. (emphasis mine).

We (social democrat-types, like me) will get another chance to make FDR-style radical changes to the nation. And your statement called it out, unconsciously. Climate change and the economic fallout from the same, will allow the sort of radical changes that FDR wrought. That's why we are seeing all the effort from the radical right - they understand that GCC is real, that massive upheavals to society will occur therefrom, and they are trying to position the argument to a world of their liking rather than one where two billion climate refugees successfully flee a world without potable water in the tropics, and no growing season. That's the root of a resurgence in nationalism and racism - even the dumb rednecks know that we are in for a tough time and they want to keep the brown man down. Short-sighted idiots but not nearly as dumb as to really believe that nothing bad is happening.

Tony Fisk said...

Without a Great Depression, FDR could never have attempted even a fraction of what he put together.

Having to break in order to make is precisely what Bannon and Trump have stated as their intention. They're trying to do it, too. The difference between FDR and them being a) FDR inherited the wreckage, and b) Bannon and Trump's new deal... isn't.

David Brin said...

onward

onward