Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking Upward!

Last time, in reaction to Frank Miller's horrendous slur at kids trying to rediscover activism, I dissected Miller’s travesty book and film "300" showing that its outright lies about Greek history reflected a deeply anti-freedom and anti-American agenda.

That stirred  a lot of reaction! But not as much as I’ll get from my next couple of postings about popular culture. Soon I plan to do a critical dissection of the film version of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Then I promise to get to that long-awaited piece about James Cameron's beautiful but misguided movie, Avatar.

At which point I’ll have aimed barbs in all three directions! Right, left and libertarian. Contrary Brin indeed!

This time? Let’s clean the palate with something lighter.  A little potpourri.

First, an announcement: Watch the Prophets of Science Fiction! An episode about Philip K. Dick airs this Wednesday, 10pm on the Discovery Science Channel. Along with other interviewees, I offer a few insights about this great writer. Future episodes will cover greats like Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, Heinlein and so on. 

And see my recommended reading list of sci fi for young adults, reinterpreted visually by Worlds Without End. More generally, Worlds Without End has extensive coverage of science fiction, fantasy and horror novels, with links to authors, as well as complete listings of major awards, including Hugo, Nebula, Locus, John W. Campbell, Philip K. Dick and World Fantasy Awards. Also forums to discuss your favorite novels and authors.

== Worrisome ... ==

A new copyright bill, Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, intends to shut down rogue websites suspected of intellectual property violations. But it may go too far toward censorship, infringing upon free speech--it is opposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow writes that this new law "would give government and corporations the power to block sites like BoingBoing over infringing links on at least one webpage posted by their users....The only thing that is going to stop Hollywood from owning the Internet and everything we do, is if there is a big surprise Internet backlash starting right now.” Have a look and learn about SOPA. And consider joining the resistance.

Fellow writer Charlie Stross has very cogent points to make about “evil social networks.” Pointing out that basic human psychological, social and commercial forces will make them drift toward a core business model:

"So the ideal social network (from an investor's point of view) is one that presents itself as being free-to-use, is highly addictive, uses you as bait to trap your friends, tracks you everywhere you go on the internet, sells your personal information to the highest bidder, and is impossible to opt out of. Sounds like a cross between your friendly neighborhood heroin pusher, Amway, and a really creepy stalker, doesn't it?"

His focus is on Klout... but the warning applies to all.

== Strangeness! ==

New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. Bizarre, science-fictional (or nightmare) constructions... some of them featuring the blasted remains of planes and other vehicles.  Some sort of targeting array for space weaponry?  Gee!

Less disturbing and far more inspiring HD images from space!  See this Time Lapse from Space.

Starship Sofa’s latest anthology is way cool. Look it up! (The last story is one of my quirkier self indulgences.)

New super-slippery substance: One fan wrote in recently with a suggested “hit” for my predictions registry: “This was on Slashdot 11/15/11.  It reminded me of the lubricant found in the tracks the wagons slid within in The Practice Effect... My question is, if it's soo slippery, how do they get it to stick to anything?”

This is simply wonderfully beautiful... a murmuration of starlings.

== Some political grist - with a sci fi twist ==

To a Keynsian (or anyone sensible) the economic stimulus wasn't enough to get out of a nosedive economic downturn caused by Wall Street and gross negligence. How to bootstrap out of it? Inspired by the economic boom-example of World War II, Nobel Prize winner (and huge Asimov fan) Paul Krugman suggests that we might fake an alien invasion...

Moving from science fictional riffs on economics to our current, threatened enlightenment.... More evidence that class war is being waged top-down.  The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, this article said. And there’s tons more. Gee Whiz, read this thing.

Millionaires are receiving billions in taxpayer-funded support every year that helps them pay for everything from child care to bad debts to boats and vacation homes, according to a report by Sen. Tom Coburn. People who individually earned more than a million dollars in 2009 even managed to collect a total of nearly $21 million in unemployment insurance. "From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous," wrote Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican.  Always thought he was one of the smarter-saner ones.

Some of it is unfair to remove completely, like $9 billion in retirement checks. Look, a deal is a deal. On the other hand. dig these two: $21 billion in gambling losses and $28 billion in mortgage breaks for mansions, vacation homes and yachts.  Choke, gurrgle groan...

Professor Max Boykoff has a very interesting new book out entitled Who Speaks for the Climate? Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change.

Heard from a person who lectures on deception for the NSA notes, "illusion, misdirection, ridicule" these three - the legs of the stool of deception. But the greatest of these is ridicule."

== Finally... lefties... grow up! ==

As one who despises the left-right axis and who believes that certain variants of conservatism and libertarianism have real value, I have spent most of the last political decade trying to get “ostriches” in those realms to wake up to how those potentially respectable movements have been hijacked by monsters.  If enough ostriches lift their heads... if we can regain a conservatism that is about intellect and curiosity and joyful argument, in the spirit of Goldwater and Buckley, and a libertarianism in the pragmatic tradition of Heinlein and Adam Smith...

...then all moderate Americans could gather at a table and negotiate mixed solutions to problems, yet again.  That would end Phase Three of the American Civil War.

But I do aim barbs leftward!  You folks know I have no truck for the rare but noisome flakes on that side.  Above all, we should only have contempt for those who might feel tempted by a self-righteous insurrection against their somewhat limp, but generally well-meaning president.

Oh, sure, he’s got the wrong personality for these times. But to see what’s at stake (you liberals out there) please read this New York Times article about the U.S. Supreme Court: The Court and the Next President.

Hold your nose and learn to be practical people.  Better yet, grow up.

183 comments:

Samuel Sandeen said...

My main concern with Obama is that he has continued the trend towards less government accountability.

David Brin said...

His record is mixed. There was a substantial shortening of the process to declassify documents. But as Mr. Transparency I certainly am concerned.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Brin. Would you ID some of the people you see as "rare but noisome flakes" from the "left"? Are any of them in our government? I consider myself a pragmatic problem solver,yet even my just "left" of "center" opinions are rarely reflected in mainstream news, opinion columns or in our government. I see little sign of political influence from an American "left" anymore.

David Brin said...

The Chines grids? Almost certainly calibration targets for spy satellites.
http://news.yahoo.com/mysterious-symbols-china-desert-spy-satellite-targets-expert-132005935.html

David Brin said...

Anon... I didn't say the left is influential. In fact, my key point is that the flakes (and they sure do exist: noisy and absurd but harmless) are used as bogeymen by Beck & co to consolidated Red America.

u said...

Two graphs, one for federal prosecutions for everything except bank fraud, the other graph is federal prosecutions for bank fraud.

Evidently our financial sector is more moral than the rest of the nation. I suppose that's to be expected, if you are handling large sums of money you must be of more rigorous moral character.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/prosecutions-for-bank-fraud-fall-sharply

Paul451 said...

You've probably heard that someone took a shot at the Whitehouse (and has since been arrested.)

(No link, Google-News it.)

To me, what's interesting about it is a) the windows are bullet proof, and b) Obama is currently sleeping on a different continent. (Hint: It's the one where I keep all my stuff.)

Maybe Dumbass McDumbass doesn't know about the windows, but seriously, if he's so uninformed that he doesn't know the President is in another country, how can he have any opinion about anything strongly enough to shoot at it.

Crazy I can understand, crazy angry too. But crazy angry and can't be bothered doing a google search, that just offends me.

(stexa: bigger than)

Moonbatman said...

David,

You seem to be complaining about something that is a statistical certainty. In a population the size of the USA, you are going to get people who nominally identify on the left and are whacked, moonbats is a fairly common term for them.

In the previous thread I was simply reporting facts, there is a certain segment on the left who feel deeply betrayed by Obama and they are getting more vocal every day, I don't see that slowing down at all.

A lot of these people are far from stupid and far from ill informed, the more you learn the more utterly borked our system looks, saying it's FUBAR is entirely too kind.

I can think of at least one important policy on which the Administration is clearly and knowingly lying and using "logic" that a smart fifth grader could deconstruct in moments, we know they're lying and they know we know.

There are two terms normally used to describe people who will doggedly continue a lie when both sides know they are lying, the first term is "pathological liar" and the second is "politician".

Determining the difference between these two terms, if any, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Paul451 said...

Re: Chinese desert patterns.

Given the craters and destroyed vehicles, I'd say most likely bombing targets for Chinese airforce training.

Re: Krugman's alien invasion.
It's the idea that when you want to stimulate the economy, you actually don't want to "invest". It's just about blindly pouring money into the economy. The less business-like, the less people look for conventional "returns". (Note the hysteria over Solyndra.)

Keynes suggested burying the money in jars for people to dig up. Spending on weapons you aren't going to use is also a popular suggestion. So Krugman suggested planning for a fake alien invasion.

Personally, I think science is the best way of "wasting" money.

But, interestingly, the amount the Dept. of Energy was given to put into alt.energy was $40 billion. (Of which Solyndra got $0.5b.)

By comparison, NASA's entire budget is $17.8 billion, and the requested $800m commercial crew program was cut to $406m (spread between four or five companies.)

What better stimulus package than asking NASA to dredge up all it's wacky plans since the 60's, give them to a DARPA style agency which doles out $40 billion in grants to aerospace and advanced tech companies to develop insane space tech. (Like rescue bubbles, no-ship lunar landers, inflatable reentry bags.)

(doguenad: The part of the novel where the hero's genitals are bitten by a dog.)

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Re: Krugman's alien invasion.
It's the idea that when you want to stimulate the economy, you actually don't want to "invest". It's just about blindly pouring money into the economy. The less business-like, the less people look for conventional "returns". (Note the hysteria over Solyndra.)

Keynes suggested burying the money in jars for people to dig up. Spending on weapons you aren't going to use is also a popular suggestion. So Krugman suggested planning for a fake alien invasion.


Not disagreeing with any of your sentiment, but I think Keynes's point (and Krugman's) was that the scheme of buring money in holes and paying people to dig it up makes AT LEAST AS MUCH sense as does paying people to dig up gold and basing an economy on the supply of that particular element.

Skex said...

David,
Far more damaging than the flakes are liberals like yourself who provide intellectual cover for the slander of the right.

The support from yourself and other so called moderates who perpetuate the false equivalency pushed by the 1% to undermine any credible opposition to their policies.

Support of this silly fallacy that the truth lies somewhere equidistant between two extremes.

Let me put it this way
if
Person A claims that 1+1=2
and
Person B claims that 1+1=4
it does not make the correct answer 3

Yes there are kooks on the left, there are kooks on the right too and as far as I'm concerned all moderates are kooks.

There is no middle ground between the left and right. They are fundamentally different world views.

The right promotes faith based thinking in order to maintain top down hierarchical authoritarian power structures.

The left promotes reason based thinking to flatten those top down authoritarian power structures.

And no big government doesn't automatically imply top down authoritarian power structures if the power is widely distributed enough.

No more so than small government (like anyone who supports property rights believes in small government hah) prevents such power structures.



Just because there is a small minority of the left who are anti-technology Luddites doesn't mean the left is made up of anti-technology Luddites, anymore than the fact that the small minority of Neo-nazi's on the right mean the right is made up of only neo-nazi's.

Hell even those much maligned Luddites weren't against technology, they just objected to the rentier class using that technology to cut the working class out of the economic pie. And surprise surprise that's exactly what the rentier class used technology to do.

That technology could have been used to make all our lives easier, increases in productivity could have been used to reduce the amount of time people have to spend working to support our basic necessities providing all of us with more leisure time.

Look at the current situation, we're told forget about getting those manufacturing jobs they shipped off to China back, one machine can do the work of 100 of us peons and we don't have the skill set to use it anyway so they're going to fill those few positions with H1B visa holders they shipped in and are desperate enough to keep quiet about any misbehavior that takes place out of fear of losing their work visas and being sent back to what ever hell hole they were imported from.

That's the final point of all this crap. The rentier class aka the oligarchs have used the technology that we developed (yeah I said we most patents are held by the corporations that employer innovators not the innovators themselves) to obsolesce the bulk of humanity.

They've gotten to the point where they've stopped even caring what we think about it. The raids on the occupy encampments were their way of saying "cry moar peons we've got the guns and the money and there is nothing you can do about it."

They've spent the last 30 years siphoning off all the wealth and value we created between WW2 and 1980 then when they finished sucking all that up they used flat wages and cheap easy credit to suck up all our future wages then finally as the piece de resistance they ran the deficit to the moon by slashing their taxes and financed the wars and subsidies that enabled them onto the backs of our decedents.

Seriously get some fucking perspective here. With all this shit going on you're going to waste time calling out a few powerless kooks on the left?

One side of this political divide has run the species straight to the precipice of extinction and seems bound and determined push us over the edge.

The other dresses funny and wants to get back to nature.

Yeah those are both equal threats to our civilization alright.

Tony Fisk said...

Skex appears to be giving us another lesson in polemical tactics.

Starting with straw man... really, the rest collapses after that.

benza: futuramaic spree by robots

Tony Fisk said...

Astronauts required

Must be able to provide own space craft?

Tony Fisk said...

Save the internet. Sign a petition against the Stop Online Piracy Act here (before the site gets put on the blacklist)

bibles: I swear this is what the verification is!

Tony Fisk said...

One final note: On Nov 16, the NY mayor's office reported:
Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds http://yfrog.com/nzdr7ndj

That it was available was true. That it was 'safely stored' was not: much of the property was damaged or missing.

bromerbe: emanations from NY mayoral office

Useless Eater said...

What the political situation really boils down to at essence is that the Republican party fears its base while the Democratic party loathes its base.

Both parties want to suck up with big money, they play good-cop bad-cop and now, when the poor fatuous gullible sheep are starting to look up, they are ready for the Coup de grâce on the 99%.

The Penn State child rape scandal is a perfect example of the rot in our social structures, high powered people, possibly all the way up to the current governor of PA covered up what is considered to be one of the most horrendous crimes a person can commit. I'm about 75% sure at this moment that there will eventually be uncovered a network of powerful and influential child rapists using the Second Mile charity as a means to procure victims.

There are some seriously creepy things that have been going on in Happy Valley, just the name of it rings my alarm bells big time.

Skex said...

Btw thanks for the link to the petition I was reading about this craziness earlier on KOS. Seriously they're wanting to make violating a sites terms of service a federal crime.

That's is beyond crazy.

Useless Eater said...

A revealing comment I just read from someone born in the late sixties..

As a child, I lived in a world where we had a working space program, a working political system, a working economic system, and supersonic airliners. We now have none of those things, and no plans to even try to regain them.

Carl M. said...

Star Wars vs. Star Trek:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/carrie-fisher-hits-at-william-shatner_n_1097124.html?ref=entertainment

David Brin said...

Skex, you are welcome here and you make good points. But in many cases I think you conflate liberalism with leftism. Sure, you don't have to accept my definition! But it is a distinction that was very very important when I was growing up, even if million stayed confused.

See http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/1947.htm

Fact is, I deal with lefty-whackos all the time. They infest and conspiratorially take over most of the Lit and soft studies departments on 80% to 90% of American university campuses and their crypto marxist cant is only moderated by their unalloyed hatred and spite toward science fiction... and toward science. Jesu, have you tracked postmodernism?

Are they "mostly harmless"? Sure! Unlike the loons of the right, who own and operate an american political party and ran the whole country, the lefty loons screech and oppress a few thousand unlucky college students.

It's not their fault they are such absurd people -- or that they give grist for Beck and Limbaugh to use them as bogeymen. The BIG LIE... that these flakes' statements actually represent what the average liberal or democrat thinks... that lie is foul and evil and needs to be exposed. But again, it's not the fault of the left.

But I lived in the 1960s, when these guys were much more dangerous. Emotionally and by character, they are no different from Tea Partiers and some are as crazy as McVeigh.

Wearing pictures of Che and Chairman Mao, ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow...

Okay, you draw the line differently than I do. Many folks you call "left" I call "liberals" and we could argue over which litmus test makes the distinction. I would say paternalism that goes beyond taking care of all kids and setting a floor to pain. Or contempt for the masses, that's a good one.

Another, the incredible eagerness of leftists to abandon pragmatic politics for the sake of an indignant snit.

But key is this. The Tea Partiers think Beck is describing all their democratic neighbors. And just because the GOP has become a bitterly partisan, disciplined, war-fighting machine that takes no prisoners and negotiates nothing... they think democrats are like that, too. They aren't

Manic Progressive said...

David,

"Pragamatic politics", holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, is what has gotten us to this point, it's hard to imagine that more of the same is going to rescue us from the very quicksand pit it brought us to. I for one am not a big fan of the "clap louder" theory.

We have spent thirty years now running the biggest economy on the planet with napkin-doodle economics, ie the Laffer curve.

Near worship of the Laffer curve has now become part of the genetic material in Washington DC among the Very Serious People. Those VSPs who have been wrong about everything for thirty years get respect and are listened to. On the other hand you have the Shrill people, like Krugman and Rubin for instance who have been right far more often than they have been wrong. They are Shrill because they point out where the VSPs are wrong all the time and that makes the VSPs all require smelling salts and fainting couches.

Speaking in terms that LBJ would use you have the VSPs inside the tent pissing out and the Shrill of course are outside the tent pissing in.

The Tea Party was almost entirely an astroturf project financed by the Koch brothers and run through Fox News and talk radio, it emulated a grass roots organization but it was strictly top down and in the end every single person it managed to get elected was a Republican or a stealth Republican.

OWS is a bottom-up organization that doesn't even have much up a the moment and what they are saying is that both sides of the aisle are corrupt, that message does not support Democrats per se.

Yes, Obama and the Democrats are better than the Republicans, but you and I both know you'd need the Glomar Explorer to even find that bar, talk about damning with faint praise.

It's easy to sit on an ivory throne and talk about "pragmatic politics" it's a damn sight harder when you have to decide whether to spend your last dollars on food, medicine, heat or rent.

Robert said...

Dr. Brin is correct about the Leftists. I just had to abstract "Nation" magazine. I felt the need to shower after I was done with that magazine... it is as detestable in its own way as its arch-conservative counterpart (something Republic? I'm blanking on its name, probably a self-defense mechanism).

Fortunately I was able to cleanse my mind afterward with a nice dental journal and a international relations journal (though those journals already had author-supplied abstracts for the most part so I didn't have to do in-depth reading as I did with "Nation").

You have to wonder what the hell is wrong with these people that they gleefully want to destroy society and replace it with something that doesn't work. And I mean this for both the Far Right AND the Far Left.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Skez,

So much of what you argue makes perfect sense. I've been personally singing this particular song for years now:

That technology could have been used to make all our lives easier, increases in productivity could have been used to reduce the amount of time people have to spend working to support our basic necessities providing all of us with more leisure time.


What I can't understand is the invective directed at Dr Brin. Have you been reading the same blogs and essays that I have? I see no "equating the right and the left" of the type that you see every day in mainstream media. "Admitting the shortcomings of the left", maybe, but it's hardly the same thing. Our host has made no bones about the assertion that one side's loonies run the asylum and actually have the power to do harm, while the other side's loonies are marginalized to the fringes and can implement nothing.

So "glad to hear from you" and "please lighten up--you're among friends" all at the same time.

Tony Fisk said...

It's frustrating, but, unless you can suggest a plausible alternative, pragmatic politics is how the game needs to be played.

Brin has mentioned 'stipulation' as a progressive tactic in the past, but that assumes that there is any common ground both parties can agree on. It would appear, from reports, that current GOP policy is to disagree with anything that the Democrats suggest.

Useless Eater said...

Tony Fisk,

In the end I think most of those who are dissatisfied with Obama will probably end up voting for him strictly from Hobson's choice but it's going to trigger their gag reflex and he's not going to get anything like the enthusiastic avalanche of volunteers he had in 2008, he has now been revealed as a place holder rather than a transformative figure. Another year of the same old same old Kabuki and Democratic capitulations is going to tear the Democratic base apart.

The Democrats, as has been pointed out, are actually several political parties rolled into one overall structure due to our winner-take-all system of voting. Expecting such a coalition to stick together through thick and thin with very little natural cohesiveness between the disparate factions is rather naively optimistic.

Obama and the Democrats had a chance and they basically blew it looking for kumbayah bipartisanship with people who if they were on fire would pour gasoline rather than water on them. It's really hard to credit that level of sheer weapons grade stupid in people that have managed to rise to the top of a viciously competitive system.

At some point one has to stop assuming that the Democrats are just feckless morons and start looking for the reasons they are acting as if they were.

In the end of course as Jim Hightower pointed out the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

David Brin said...

MP said: Pragamatic politics", holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, is what has gotten us to this point"

That is unmitigated bullshit. You want to beat the rightist monsters at THEIR game by imitating their radicalism? Guh! That is the abso-freaking surest way to lose.

As is, we are hammering at the 20% of Americans who are key to solving this. the 60 million or so who are "conservative but sane but in utter denial" that their side has gone mad.

If they see this as "left-versus-right" they will cling like mad to their old loyalty, screaming "I know my side is crazy but democrats are worse!" over and over and over again. That is precisely the message being hammered in their ears by Beck & Limbaugh.

You express contempt for the Blue America that has to win this war and the way to win is to get those 60 million to abandon the mad cesspit their movement has become.

Your notion that somehow Blue America AGREES with the Laffer curve, just because we've been lousy at fighting it, so far, is absurd.

Your insults toward me are also laughable. I've done vastly more to fight this war than you have.

Robert the key difference is that Blue America's dogmatist assholes don't run Blue America. Whereas Red America is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kochs and Mudochs and the Saudi Royal House.

Why have the dems kep trying to negotiate, instead of understanding this and getting the damned war over with?

Obama would never have been elected if he were an "angry black man." He won because people sense there isn't an angry bone in his body. Alas, that got him elected... and makes him a damned tepid wartime president. Lincoln he aint

rewinn said...

Rather than argue over liberal/left/loonie/lovefest, let me announce the Good News: Scott Adams is running for president!.

(His platform seems quite sensible. It takes a jester, I suppose!)

Useless Eater said...

David,

Wow, I must have touched a nerve. Have a little sympathy for someone who's having a hard time and park your ego for a bit.

Recall that you were the one who led off with an insult "grow up". I'm all grown up, thank you very much for your condescending attitude. If you start off condescending to and insulting people don't get your undies in a wad if someone fires a round or two back.

Red America is not going to come to their senses, I live slap dab in the middle of them, the most liberal person I know in real life is probably a Paul supporter, I saw Sarah Palin's book on one of my neighbor's bookshelf the other day. If I wasn't a total contrarian jerk I'd be a brainwashed right wing nut just like the rest of them.

Blue America might not agree with the Laffer curve, I never claimed they did and I don't think they do, but the Laffer curve is received wisdom in DC, just today the Supercapitulating Supercolluder was urged to "go big" on budget cuts, exactly the opposite of what we need economically right now and we all know that Obama will sign it if it passes.

I know my persona and what I'm saying makes people uncomfortable, the poor are supposed to remain invisible and mute in the land of the free lest we give some rich person the vapors. You may not feel like you are rich but from where I sit you are, so many things are a matter of perspective.

I also know that when I fire post after post of what should be pretty controversial stuff into a forum and get no substantive replies that I'm having an effect, I'm making people think and most people hate that with a passion, I'm starting to wonder if even more people hate to think than I had hitherto imagined.

You're a professional writer and thinker and I'm but an amateur however it's my opinion that you're wrong on some things you say and rather than debate the issue in a calm rational manner you go on a rant while simultaneously patting yourself on the back and blowing your own horn. I must say I'm a bit surprised and disappointed, you have managed to dial my cynicism up yet another notch, congratulations.

Useless Eater said...

Believing that red America is going to come to its senses is an example of magical thinking, the kind of magical thinking that's got us where we are now.

Instead of trying to boost the inspiration of the landslide of voters who brought him into office, Obama immediately started reaching out to red America and pushing blue America away. For example he put known homophobe Rick Warren on the stage at his inaugural, the gay community voted overwhelmingly for Obama and the first thing he does is put someone in their face that they despise for good reason.

It didn't have to be Warren on that stage, there are plenty of preachers who aren't polarizing like he is. I could go on for a considerable length in this vein but I'm telling you what I'm hearing from other people like me, many of whom are deeply hurt to the point of tears by what they perceive as an abandonment by someone that they rather naively considered to be a a personal hero.

Marketing research tells us it's a lot easier to retain an existing customer than it is to generate a new one, Obama's ignoring his existing customers while chasing new customers who wouldn't buy a ten dollar bill from him for a nickel and the existing customers are starting to notice.

Tony Fisk said...

@UselessEater. You may take exception to what David says, but I don't see where what he was saying was directed at you personally (the last tirade was for mp's benefit)

By all means disagree, but do so with a fair degree of pachydermis.

David Brin said...

Useless Eater... you come into an established community, down in the freaking COMMENTS SECTION, and mouth off without taking the time to get the feel of the place, deliberately provoke me... and then have the gall to WHINE that you don't like my off the cuff response?

This is a freaking COMMENTS SECTION! You come in here and (admittedly!) enter with the intent of throwing grenades... I repeat, you admit it...

...and then whimper because somebody who is calm and erudite in outer world books and postings gets to relax a little with the inner-mob and talk a little less guardedly with the inner community?

Feh... I was right the first time. Aptly named whiner./ Grow up.

Come back with a thicker skin and we'll be happy to argue with you. this is a very smart place. But stop demanding we wage culture war HARDER when you have a skin as thin as papyrus

Useless Eater said...

Tony Fisk

I gathered the last part wasn't addressed to me, I was reacting to the first part.

David's quip "grow up" in the OP is counterproductive if he wants to actually reach those very same people he was addressing, insulting someone is not the way to get them to engage their higher brain functions. Indeed, insults are a good way to rattle a person and get them thinking emotionally, note David's reaction when it was his chain that got yanked and that wasn't even my intention.

Rahm Emanuel tried the same tactic of using insults on Obama's supporters that were too far to the left for his corporate taste and now he is roundly hated by a sizable percentage.

There's enough bad things about Republicans to fill the library at Trantor but one thing you can say about Republicans is they don't beat up on their own supporters and call them children, or at least not where they can be overheard.

David is too busy to spend a great deal of time reading the opinions of many average 99% people, left, right and center, I basically have nothing but time and no one around me to talk reasonably about politics with so I spend a lot of it conversing with people online and I'm trying to give the benefit of my experience.

There's plenty of other places I can go and post if I'm unwelcome here.

rewinn said...

Rather than argue over who is right and who is wrong (BTW: *I* am right and *you* are wrong .... Just so we get that straight!) would it not be more productive to figure out something to do?

I suggest: if you don't like Obama, fine, forget him. The Aristocracy hasn't got a candidate that can beat him even WITH a 2-to-1 fundraising advantage, partly because he's a very Establishment guy, partly because the GOP base has gone insane. I'd much rather have the Oval Office run by Krugman or Sanders or Jim McDermott (D-WA-07), but it's not gonna happen.

Instead: put your energy into the state races. If the Dems don't get 60 senators, McConnell will simply filibuster as he did before (...and let us take a moment to boo at what's-her-name who p1ssed away "Ted Kennedy's Seat" because she thought she wouldn't have to fight for it...).
Likewise, if rational patriots (of whatever party) don't get a majority in the House, expect FOUR MORE YEARS of what we got in this last year: a House determined to put millions out of work just so they can get the White House next time.
Governorships and state legislature/judiciary races are also very important since they largely determine who gets to vote in the next election (...just see how the Wisconsin legislature is doing all it can to block young people from voting: disgusting!) Ohio just showed us that The People are getting mightily p.o.'d, possibly enough to overcome the Aristocracy's massive cash advantage. We should study how they did that instead of sniping at each other.

And by "we" I mean not "Democrats" (...because we aren't all Dems...) but "rational patriots".

Useless Eater said...

David,

I apologize for any misunderstanding, I did not set out to offend anyone particularly you.

That being said..

Where else was I supposed to post other than in the COMMENTS section?

In fact I've been reading here for about a year or so on and off, I didn't just jump in without observing.

I started off just commenting because I have enjoyed your books a great deal and felt I might have something to contribute to the conversation on politics. When it got to the point I wasn't getting any replies and seeing others that were I started pushing a bit harder.

A lot of my posting is on forums far busier than this one with thousands or tens of thousands of members and I'm really used to just jumping in and saying what I have to say, sometimes I recognize the other posters and sometimes I don't.

I actually pointed some people I know who were looking for alternative places to learn about politics here, I'm guessing that your little quip about "grow up" is going to turn them off and they won't bother reading any more. If you think that insult is something remotely new on political forums you're a bit out of touch.

Once again, my apologies for an offense I may have caused.

David Brin said...

Apology accepted. Relax dude. The only thing you did to offend me was to act all offended.

Have a thick skin or please prosper elsewhere. Simple.

BTW, I see you have some maturity. But I still don't think you have a clue what it takes to win a war. If we can get 60 million of our neighbors to realize the GOP has gone gibbering insane, then the avalanche of marginalization of loons will take off. Just 60 million. Get started.

Pangolin said...

I'm as liberal as they come and I have to say that David has a very good point about liberal kooks making certain gatherings unbearable.

NO! I do not want to hear what Starhawk (does she have a real name?) has to say about anything.
I am not chanting, tapping or performing any other magic ritual in public unless the promised reward is sushi or sex (with another person of my preferred gender thank you) and I better get it too.
If this isn't a buddhist temple I'm not going to Om.
The only thing more obnoxious than Paultards is the vegan netwar.

About those social network contracts..... Is anybody but me disturbed that we now have to sign several dozen mysterious contracts in 6 point type to get through life? What's that stuff they scan past you at the pharmacy? Did you just sign away a kidney? How would you know if you did?

Paul451 said...

Manic Progressive,
" "Pragamatic politics", holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, is what has gotten us to this point, it's hard to imagine that more of the same is going to rescue us from the very quicksand pit it brought us to."

Then stop choosing the "lesser of two evils" and start applying science. You're familiar with how evolution works, aren't you?

In every election you choose the candidate, regardless of party, who is capable of negotiating in good faith a deal that best represents the interests of your country.

Candidates that sign pledges, or declare (and act like) they will never compromise, are ranked down.

Over time, you slowly evolve politics to be less insane. Once you've bred out the insanity gene, you can start to breed in other useful traits.

But a population of two candidates isn't enough. You have to vote every single time you can, in every level of government and primaries, and actively campaign in every election in order to "train" other voters to focus on the primary target trait.

Have you read about those Russian researchers who bred wild Arctic Foxes into tame "dogs" within 6 generations, simply by choosing the animals which were the least aggressive. What's interesting, is that as they bred out that trait, other variations emerged, such as novel colourations.

Six generations. Six election cycles. Six years for local elections. 12 years for Congress. 24 years for the Presidency and all Governors.

[Skimming down the thread, Rewinn said this better.]

(cometimi: Two parts comet, one part dry Vermont.)

Paul451 said...

Pangolin,
"NO! [...] I am not chanting, tapping or performing any other magic ritual in public unless the promised reward is sushi or sex"

<gasps> I'm waving my Temperature Fingers!

(faila: Left Politics.)

Jonas Larsson said...

I have a somewhat OT question, atleast according to the direction the comments have headed.

Atlas Shrugged, is it worth reading? I've had it in my bookshelf for a couple of years, but I've always been derailed by other newer and shinier books when I've tried to pick it up.

Tacitus2 said...

U.E.
If you have indeed been browsing for a year you should by now figured out that David can get a little exercized at times. And in doing so annoy people.

I for instance deal with insane people with some regularity and should take offense at his description of conservatives as "gibbering insane". But he makes a living writing words that grab attention.


Rewinn-have you actually seen any statistics that address what percentage of WI "young" voters actually do not have a drivers license? The issue on some level is not if they should vote but where. This of course leads into the swamp of how easy or difficult we should make voting. More is better certainly, but for local races where is "home" for a college student?

And btw, good call on Martha Coakley blowing the MA Senate seat. That was the political shock of the last three years.

When it became clear a month or so before the 2008 election that Obama would prevail I wrote a longish post wishing him well and hoping that he was not a "great vacuous Dyson sphere".

Specifically I hoped he would find the courage to defy his friends when the good of the country demanded it. A mixed record in that regard, stalling the Keystone pipeline as a sop to environmental concerns is not helping to free us from nefarious Saudis, and is shunning some actual shovel ready jobs.

So, more Tacitan predictions.

Romney-Martinez I have already called. The Gingrich boom fades in about a month.

Look for some serious trouble out of Europe. I think their financial books are cooked, stuffed and covered with a nice hollandaise sauce. We will have major disruptions to the 2012 London olympics, more Guy Faulks masks and tear gas.

Eurozone troubles will spill over to US banks, with a dire economy handing the WH to a Republican party that will be emboldened to any number of stupid excesses.

More anon

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Jonas Larsson:

Atlas Shrugged, is it worth reading?


Whooo boy, that's not an easy question to answer. A lot depends on what you mean by "worth reading". If you mean "Is there ANY good reason to read the book?" I'd say yes (explained below). If you mean "Is there enough good reason to sacrifice the time to slog through almost 1100 pages, after which you may need a drink and a shower?", I'd reduce my answer to a qualified maybe.

:)

Like it or not, the book is out there, and it is influential in our present political scene. NOT being familiar with Rand's writing may leave you missing part of the overall picture of what's going on in contemporary political discourse. Similar to the way that even an athiest will miss alot of the picture without at least passing familiarity with the Bible.

Then again, the same rationale I've just laid out also argues for it being "worth" keeping up with FOX News, and I refuse to do so. Undertanding what half of my fellow Americans are being told is a reason it would be "worth" my watching FOX News, but I don't consider it to be of net "worth" after factoring in the cost--polluting my soul.

The same applies with Ayn Rand, so caveat emptor.

I will say that even though I despise Rand's philosophy at least as much as our host here, I was able to enjoy the book as a "comic book" story in a way that many others on this list probably would not. So again, personal taste is a big part of determining whether it is "worth" it.

And all this is assuming you're on my side of the aisle regarding her politics. If you happen to be a Rand Paul supporter, then sure it's definitely "worth" reading. It will make you feel incredibly self-righteous and convince you that the people you feel contempt for deserve nothing more.

Jonas Larsson said...

LarryHart: As a swede, I only minimally care about the fringe political cults you have in the US, so my 'worth it' question was more like; Is it a good story? :)

I enjoy both Dystopian and Utopian sci-fi, and I dont mind 1k+ pages as long as the story has a good flow.

Anyway, thats for the answer. I might pick it up again during the holidays.

Robert said...

Heh. Starhawk's still around? I actually have read some of her works and enjoyed her sociopolitical commentary in some of her writing, though she does mingle non-rationalist concepts (ie, thoughts on magic) with her political philosophies (you got magic in my politics! Well, you got politics in my magic! Hmm... nope, not as tasty as a Reesees...)

President Obama made one vital mistake: he pushed for health care in the first two years of his Presidency. He should have pushed for immigration reform as that would have still riled up the Right but also riled up the Left and Center so to lessen or eliminate the advantage that Republicans gained in 2010. Of course, if he'd also pushed for a genuine reform of the insurance industry, rather than this hodgepodge of policies, then we could have seen capitalism at work in the insurance industry which would help drive down costs. But I'm not sure how he could have done that.

Really, though, there is one major problem with Obama: he's a Constitutional Law Professor, and has been trying to act "within the boundaries of his office" while Bush ignored all that and bullied Congress into doing what he wanted. Bush had some horrible ideas... but he did show some capacity of leadership in this actions (or at least by causing Congresspeople to be too scared of him to stand up and say "enough!").

There's been a frequent refrain that Obama needs to grow a spine. Personally, I think he has one. He's just trying hard not to be "an angry black man" - at least, not in the first four years of office. (BTW, my best friend who's Republican was horrified that I'm voting for Obama this time around. Well, unless Huntsman somehow wins the Republican nomination... it's as if he sees all of the failures of Obama over the last three years and yet refuses to see how Republicans were culpable in this failure.)

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I for instance deal with insane people with some regularity and should take offense at his description of conservatives as "gibbering insane".


This may not completely address your complaint about extreme terminology, but I doubt Dr Brin is calling conservatives like yourself (and HIMself in many ways) insane. What he's saying is that the gibbering insane ones are in charge of the aganda of Republican Party.


Rewinn-have you actually seen any statistics that address what percentage of WI "young" voters actually do not have a drivers license? The issue on some level is not if they should vote but where. This of course leads into the swamp of how easy or difficult we should make voting. More is better certainly, but for local races where is "home" for a college student?


When I was a college student, they gave us the CHOICE of which location to vote in. I always voted absentee as an Evanston (Chicago suburb) resident, but my brother was more involved with local politics in our college town, and he registered to vote locally. As long as you're not trying to vote twice, I see nothing wrong with that.

I can get behind any GOOD FAITH solutions to mediate between convenience and integrity of the vote. But the Republicans aren't even pretending to operate in good faith any more on this issue. Their solutions are invariably designed to suppress Democratic turnout. I'll listen if you want to argue otherwise, but I have a hard time imagining what that argument would sound like.


Specifically I hoped he [Obama] would find the courage to defy his friends when the good of the country demanded it. A mixed record in that regard,


I (and many other liberals) agree on the disappointment if (probably) not on the specific reasons FOR that disappointment.

But to be fair, you're not seriously arguing that Hillary or McCain or Palin would have been better in this regard, are you? My disappointment in President Obama stems from him not being as "different" as I thought he would be. Which is a valid complaint, but it also doesn't suggest that a different presidential choice would have solved the problem.

It's the same reason behind your observation that people stopped protsting the war or the FISA violations or Guantanamo after Obama's election. I don't get the sense that liberals now don't CARE about those things because a Democrat is in charge. Rather, they have become so DISILLUSIONED as to lack any will to protest. When it was Bush in charge, we could work to replace him with a Democrat and expect things to get better. If Obama does the same thing...what's the use of trying?

I mean this as more explanation than excuse, mind you.


stalling the Keystone pipeline as a sop to environmental concerns is not helping to free us from nefarious Saudis, and is shunning some actual shovel ready jobs.


To be fair, didn't (Republican) Nebraska balk at the threat to the Ogalala aquefer? I don't blame them. I'd be against a pipeline that potentially would foul Lake Michigan.

In fact, my disappointment is that an environmental issue that hits close to home (for Nebraskans) should make them realize that sometimes environmental concerns ARE important. But instead, they just seem to think that THEIR environmental issues are somehow an entire separate case.

Eurozone troubles will spill over to US banks, with a dire economy handing the WH to a Republican party that will be emboldened to any number of stupid excesses.


I hope not, but I agree it is likely. Glad that you at least recognize how disastrous it would be when Republicans misinterpret the mandate.

TheMadLibrarian said...

If one must read Ayn Rand, I liked her story about growing up in Stalinist Russia better than any of the other "I'm great, and you don't deserve/haven't earned any of my stuff" rants. At least she did live through that one and can speak from experience.

The book is We the Living, btw.

TheMadLibrarian

droken: it stay bus' up

LarryHart said...

Jonas Larsson:
As a swede, I only minimally care about the fringe political cults you have in the US,


Well, you'll probably have a lot easier time pronouncing the name Ragnar Danneskjold than I did.

:)


so my 'worth it' question was more like; Is it a good story?


Again, it depends.

I consider it to be very much an adolescent-fantasy type story. In many ways, it would make a great comic book.

You do have to suspend disbelief in any and all of Rand's philosophy though. If you're not a Tea Partier already, the book's idea of "happy endings" to conflicts won't necessarily be your own.

Robert said...

Jonas,

Read Anthem first. It's very good dystopian SF, and short. It also comes from a period before Ayn Rand's mind froze. If you don't like it, stop and don't read anything else by Ayn Rand.

Next, try The Fountainhead. If you don't like it, you won't stand Atlas Shrugged.

Feel free to jump over the speeches in Atlas Shrugged, especially John Galt's.

On other issues, I agree with David that there is a difference between ordinary Democrats, or modern Liberals (classical Liberals are close to libertarians), and the Left. The operational difference for me is that, given a choice between the Democrats and the present-day hijacked Republicans, I hold my nose and vote for the Democrats; given a choice between the real Left and the current Republicans, I emigrate.

Bob Pfeiffer.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

(BTW, my best friend who's Republican was horrified that I'm voting for Obama this time around. Well, unless Huntsman somehow wins the Republican nomination...


Well, MY friend and co-worker who is well-acquainted with the excesses of DEMOCRATS in Chicago politics is equally horrified that I'm voting for Obama again. But when I qualify with "...as opposed to the other choices," he really can't come up with a good counter-argument.


it's as if he sees all of the failures of Obama over the last three years and yet refuses to see how Republicans were culpable in this failure.


I have to give the GOP props for their stated strategy, which sounds impossible to pull of, but which actually seems to work...stand in the way of any progress and then run against the President for not getting anything accomplished.

Fedup22 said...

The problem with Obama is that even when the Republicans have no direct say in the process he often disappoints.

Take his decision to expand in Afghanistan or appoint advisers like Larry Summers that helped get us into this mess.

Acknowledging that he is better than the GOP candidates isn't saying much and does not exactly make me an enthusiastic supporter. On the contrary, while I may end up voting for Obama I don't intend to donate to his campaign or work for it.

I can't in good conscience support someone who was apparently okay with allowing the DOJ to lie about the existence of government documents or refuses to hold high-level lawbreakers like former Bush administration officials accountable. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist of my discontent with Obama.

Pangolin said...

Atlas Shrugged?_ Just get the Cliff Notes. That's what virtually every high school or college student has done for thirty years and virtually nobody has noticed. (if you're an English professor who's fascinated with Atlas Shrugged IMHO, you're nobody. English has far more to offer of value)

If you've read every single line of "and Joshua begat..." in the bible with fascination you'll love the long-form Atlas Shrugged.

David Moisan said...

On Democrats and Martha Coakley:

At the time Coakley was and is a good friend of the mayor of my town, in the northeast corner of Massachusetts.

The mayor invited her to her re-inauguration ceremonies that year.

Coakley never offered to take the stage for a few words, even though our mayor could not possibly say no and would probably be delighted to have her speak.

Coakley did not want to press the flesh in the audience, though I and we were there and would have given her her respects (and my vote.)

The most she would do was to meet with the other elected town officials who were taking oaths that day. (I am an appointed town official, so I was not included in this part.)

That's it. She didn't interact with us in any other way.

While I wasn't personally offended by what Coakely did or didn't do, it has reconfirmed my belief that the Democrats do not want to deal with the hoi polloi, the retail voters, or regular people.

Mind you, I do vote and have had to vote Democrat for years as the state Republicans are either ineffectual, or just plain nuts. (The national GOP wants it that way; they can then say my state is socialist.)

But my own Congressman lives in my very town and as far as I'm concerned, he is in a different world, with different concerns, and I won't meet him on that basis any more than I would expect to meet anyone else in the 1%.

CAPTCHA: dedisc. This happened to my late Mom. What happens to your back when you slip and fall...

Ken Burnside said...

Dr. Brin

I've been asked why I vote Republican by a number of my friends, who are, generally liberal to moderate Democrats, and regard me as being a sane, rational, reasonable human being, who is repelled by the anti-scientism of the Republican platform, and who thinks that the old adage about religion, like genitals, are best enjoyed in private and not shoved down bystander's throats...

There are two reasons.

First, the Republicans are at still willing to lie to me about trying to create a balanced budget, or mild budget surplus to pay down the US debt. The Democratic Party is not.

Second, a large cause of the horrific mess we're seeing is the prelude to the Great Deleveraging. The entire world's GDP and tangible assets are estimated at about 100 trillion. There's close to 1,200 trillion in heavily leveraged bets that, if they're ever called, will be...interesting.

What we're seeing now isn't left-versus-right. Nor is it scheming machiavellian oligarchs or corporate greed run unfettered.

We're seeing collusion between the statists and the corporatists, all of whom know that they're dancing on a bridge of rotting ice...and that any serious movement towards the exits can bring the whole thing down.

We're also seeing this on a transformation of the world economy that is eliminating any meaningful job for someone with an IQ of less than 110 or so.

I don't see a solution to the Great Deleveraging. I see a lot of ostrich-like behavior.

I don't see anything the Democratic party is doing that isn't pandering that's at least as bad as the Republican pandering.

At least I hear some Republicans (like Coburn) who really do want something sane and survivable for an austerity program...but nothing remotely resembling such from the Democratic side.

(I'm also of the opinion that the US Government needs to be taking in about 19-21% of GDP, not the current 15.5-16% of GDP...but only if we can actually get expenses down to match.)

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

On a personal level I can very much see President McCain telling unreasonable folks of all persuasion to go to hell. But another Republican admin in the wake of the Bush years would have dangerously little political good will to spend. These are tough times world wide, and the flaws of America do not create all the troubles.

Overdoing it on a "mandate", perhaps the easiest and most dangerous trap our leaders fall into. Maybe it is because so few of them have any semblence of humility anymore. We insist on egocentric demigods and oh, we get 'em.

And as to Europe, it will be a doubly bad deal for Obama, as he is widely viewed as trying to steer America towards a European type of model....just as it explodes and hits us with fiscal debris.

I would like to be wrong. David, we count on you to be our financial correspondent on your upcoming trip to Belgium.

Tacitus

btw, did you realize that Belgium has effectively had no federal government for almost a year? They seem to get along without one!

Skex said...

David,

I understand that my definition is non-standard. I personally find that the standard definitions of political distinction worse than useless but misleading and divisive.

Too much is made of the minutia of different ideologies not enough of the overarching philosophical underpinnings.

There are many who claim to belong to the left that I consider right wing authoritarians. The people who really are for nanny state mind control. The folks who want to limit everyone's rights in the name of the children.

Those people are not leftists. They're right-wingers with empathy.

The political scale I use is right (Regressivism/stagnation) vs Left (Progressive). In practical terms the right is authoritarian while the left it's counter.

I consider this breakdown to be far more useful in that it does not rely upon static ideological descriptions.

The Free-marketeers and capitalists of Adam Smith's age were leftists.

They were seeking to tear down the existing authoritarian power and economic structures, they created a system that they thought would provide equal opportunity which ideally should have resulted in flatter power structures.

This system has since been perverted and subverted by the new aristocracy to maintain their status and is usually thought of as right wing ideology today.

The list of political systems/ideas that went from idea's of the left to tools of the right is essentially endless as yesterdays novelty becomes today's status quo.


Honestly I suspect the "leftists" you find so annoying are the people who I don't actually consider leftists at all.

Wanting to return to a different golden age than the prevailing right-wing ideology fantasizes about, does not change the regressive nature of ones ideology.

Marxism was a failed experiment that was perverted by the right almost immediately. It was tried and it failed miserably and spectacularly to accomplish its stated goals.

Current leftist thinking runs more towards distributed power structures rather than centralized command and control economies.

As to "pragmatic politics", it's a dead end. Emma Goldberg articulated the failure of the ballot box to bring about social justice close to a century ago.

http://womenshistory.about.com/library/etext/bl_eg_an9_woman_suffrage.htm

The poor, stupid, free American citizen! Free to starve, free to tramp the highways of this great country, he enjoys universal suffrage, and, by that right, he has forged chains about his limbs. The reward that he receives is stringent labor laws prohibiting the right of boycott, of picketing, in fact, of everything, except the right to be robbed of the fruits of his labor.

Pragmatic politics is what brought us to this sorry state so what makes you think it is the solution?

Seems I recall reading something once about repeating an action expecting a different result.

David Brin said...

Ken Burnside, you are most welcome here. Please do speak up as you just did. Still, get used to some big-boy coarseness here. And I begin by refuting your statement:

"First, the Republicans are at still willing to lie to me about trying to create a balanced budget, or mild budget surplus to pay down the US debt. The Democratic Party is not."

Triple-humbug. Bill Clinton actually paid down debt and wanted to do more. The CORE Keynsian economic advisory community of the Democratic establishment kept citing the Story of Joseph, pay down debt in "fat" years so we can spend like Keynsians in lean years.

IF WE HAD CONTINUED to pay down debt, as Clinton wanted... and avoided doing exactly what bin Laden wanted us to do... we'd have had a huge reserve to then use in a depression to get high velocity money circulating in the middle class.

Instead, the GOP insisted on sucking all velocity out of the money supply, under a voodoo Supply Side cult that has Never Ever had a prediction come true.


Clinton and the Keynsians were defied by the Supply Side cult which hollered "Tax cuts for the rich in fat years and Tax cuts for the rich in lean times! Tax cuts for the rich in times of peace and Tax cuts for the rich in times of crisis and war! Tax cuts for the rich! Tax cuts for the rich! We change our RATIONALIZATIONS depending on circumstances but that is ALL we stand for!"

Okay, I am paraphrasing a little loosely. But seriously, Diving into gruesome land wars of attrition in Asia, granting crony one-source contracts worth half a trillion to Bush family friends, Cutting DIVIDEND tax rates to 15%... these added up to SIX TRILLION DOLLARS. Dollars that had no "velocity" but were sucked right out of circulation.

Puh-lease. Let me rephrase your statement a little?

""...the Republicans are at still willing to lie to me about trying to create a balanced budget, or mild budget surplus to pay down the US debt. The Democratic Party is not."

Yep! Got it right! The dems don't lie. They do what they say. And NOW is the time to listen to Krugman and SPEND! Get high velocity money into the middle class and start growth... then trust the folks who DID IT IN THE 1990s to buy it down when times get fat again.

Anonymous said...

VARIOUS REPLIES
Fair enopugh Tacitus, you are a bitg part of our conscience and maturity, here.

Still, I do not recall calling "conservatives" in general "insane." As opposed to the undead zombie that is "conservatism."

Jonas, hold that thought. I will be posting a big critical review of Atlas Shrugged (primarily the recent movie) in less than a week. I personally think the novel is atrociously written as fiction. But it was meant to be a manifesto of polemic that rouses a "high" of solipsistic rage. At that, it seems to be quite effective.

In essence, it is the work that Plato would have written, today. And I believe that Ayn Rand is Plato's truest modern heir. Her "logical" and "objective" incantations follow very platonistic rhythms and reach foregone conclusions, without a single reference to actual science, from biology to chemistry to darwinian evolution.

Bob said: "given a choice between the Democrats and the present-day hijacked Republicans, I hold my nose and vote for the Democrats; given a choice between the real Left and the current Republicans, I emigrate."

I generally agree... except that any genuinely leftists govt in the US would swiftly self-destruct. I am disgusted by them, but not particularly afraid. OTOH Ailes and Armey are SMART. And they have human nature on their side. And lots of petrocash.

Fedup22... repeat this. The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court.... The Supreme Court....

Do I have your attention? The 2000 recount ruling was a declaration of war upon the people of the US. Citizens United was a declaration of all-out war against democracy itself. This is a long process. look at the horizon.

Skex, your left-right definition is fairly self-serving, isn't it?

Have a look at http://tinyurl.com/polimodels

Your quotation of Emma Goldman is fine polemic, but it misses the fact that the Rooseveltean revolution wrought by our grandparents (my parents) did exactly what she thought unimaginable. It REFORMED the system and created a huge middle class that was then capable of correcting its own bad mental habits, like racism and sexism etc.

Your ignoring that is as bad as the RIGHT's full tilt war against FDR. Both left and right are loony-crazy in hatred of the best American president and by far the most successful social engineer in a hundred years.

Out of simple ornery contrariness... I can feel my next campaign coming.. Read Adam Smith... and look at why the "greatest generation" addored Franklin... Delano... Roosevelt.

David Brin said...

Geez how'd that happen???

The previous Anonymous posting was from me... David Brin...

LarryHart said...

Ken Burnside:

I've been asked why I vote Republican by a number of my friends, who are, generally liberal to moderate Democrats, and regard me as being a sane, rational, reasonable human being,
...
First, the Republicans are at still willing to lie to me about trying to create a balanced budget, or mild budget surplus to pay down the US debt. The Democratic Party is not.


The Democratic Party maybe is not willing to create a balanced budget DURING A DEPRESSION because taking money out of the economy (or at least converting high-velocity money into low-velocity) is exactly the wrong thing to do NOW.

Back when times were good, Clinton (and Gingrich, I will admit) actually implemented a budget surplus, and because of that, we were so close to actually paying off the entire DEBT (not just the annual deficit, but the entire debt) that Greenspan panicked and helped Bush engineer a premature tax cut so as to RETURN to deficit spending.

So to sum up...Democrats (or at least Keynsian liberals) do the exact correct thing--pay off debt during good times, but deficit-spend like crazy to fight a recession. Republicans deficit-spend like crazy, ringing up about 10 TRILLION in their own debt, and then scream like babies when a Democratic president doesn't reverse that course (during an effing depression!). And you find FAULT with the fact that the Democrats WON'T LIE about their strategy but thank God the Republicans WILL?

Sorry, but I have to wonder if your liberal friends are being generous in their assessment.

I know, that sounds like gratuitious name-calling, but seriously, what you just gave in your own words is the most IRrational argument I can imagine in support of the GOP. Please, let me know what I've misunderstood.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Geez how'd that happen???

The previous Anonymous posting was from me... David Brin...


You were logged out of Blogger and/or Google?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin (as "Anonymous"):

I will be posting a big critical review of Atlas Shrugged (primarily the recent movie)


Be sure to mention the fact that there will probably not be Parts II and III because the director threw a hissy-fit and went "on strike" against the reviewers who panned the film. Disappointing ones own fans in order to somehow "get back at" one's critics doesn't seem like a very Ayn Randian stance to take. And going "on strike" to deny your product to people who already don't want any more of it...that makes as much sense as me going on strike against my place of employment for firing me.


I personally think the novel is atrociously written as fiction. But it was meant to be a manifesto of polemic that rouses a "high" of solipsistic rage. At that, it seems to be quite effective.


That's why I recommend it for someone genuinely curious and willing to do the slogging through. It DID have that effect on me when I first read it, despite the fact that I find almost all of Rand's worldview repugnant.

Of course, back in '98, I only thought of her as someone I disagreed with politically, not as an incredible hypocrite* and an ungrateful traitor to this country.

* "Hypocrite" not only for going on "socialist" Medicare and JUSTIFYING that by claiming (as if she's an exception to a rule) that her writing doesn't pay for the medical care that she NEEDS (emphais mine). But also for screeching at her lover Nathaniel Branden for cheating on her ("Cheating on me, your highest ideal?") when the correct, Randian thing to do in that situation would be to examine her premises. "I guess you're NOT his highest ideal after all, you insufferable crone!"

LarryHart said...

Wow!

Much of a fanboy as I am around here, Dr Brin doesn't always see things my way, and he often gently chides me for my foolish left-of-center idealism.

But he channeled me perfectly in that "spend in a depression/save in good times" rant. It was almost like reading myself!

Heh.

To continue the rant a bit...another reason liberals have given up on worrying about deficit spending is that we've bowed to the inevitiable. Paying down debt during the Clinton years only gave Bush more ammo for using up the treasury HIS way. Had we already been $10 TRILLION in debt in 2001, Bush would have been more constrained.

So we've changed paradigms. If the choice is between irresonsible spending or responsible debt management, I vote for the latter. But if the choice is between an incredibly-unsustainable debt for social services or the SAME debt for crony corporate handouts, then I choose the former.

This is not hypocricy. It's a realization that what I'd really prefer is not an avialable choice.

Fedup22 said...

Dr. Brin,

Even with keeping the Supreme Court (I'm also disappointed that Obama went with Kagan over Diane Wood) in mind I still can't bring myself to be enthused about Obama.

A continuation of many Bush administration terrorism policies ain't what I want, but unfortunately save for candidates like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson there is no viable candidate advocating anything differently.

We'll see what happens, but I'm not optimistic about the United States' near future .

rewinn said...

@Tacitus asks...
"...have you actually seen any statistics that address what percentage of WI "young" voters actually do not have a drivers license?..."

In one study of Wisconsin students, only 2% of students had driver's license listing their dorms as their homes; another study (using a different set of Wis colleges) found 93% in that condition.

"... More is better certainly, but for local races where is "home" for a college student..."

Are you seriously proposing that students should drive home from college to vote? In addition to the normal waiting line, they have to commute as well? In a statewide and nationwide race, what function does this serve except to cut down on their voting?

Seriously ... what is the problem you are trying to solve by requiring students to take time away from their studies to drive to the other end of the state to vote?

In addition, how many studies to you want to provide evidence that Voter ID laws are grossly discriminatory in impact in Wisconsin (as, of course, they are elsewhere, e.g. Texas), and based on irrational claims about voter fraud? Don't worry, the facts are easy to get; I just want to know how many it will take before you change your mind.

@David Moisan's point about Massachusetts Democrats is well taken; is it not especially annoying when politicians with whom I agree in general on policy matter none-the-less screw up because they don't see the need to interact early and often with the people they serve? Gandhi spun thread, an example we should all emulate ... if we want to be as successful as he.

rewinn said...

Wonderful in many ways: Open Source Tool to evaluate redistricting/fight gerrymandering

(...but it's useful only if used. Get using!)

Nocomme1 said...

You know, for all your raging about the evil greed-mongers of Wall Street it doesn't seem to have stopped you from getting paid by at least two companies that are traded on the stock market; Bertelsmann AG and Nesws Corps. Doesn't this make you something of a hypocrite? And, without getting into specifics, you wouldn't happen to be part of the top 1% of wage earners would you? Top 2%?

Just curious.

Tony Fisk said...

Tacitus2 wrote:
I for instance deal with insane people with some regularity and should take offense at his description of conservatives as "gibbering insane".

I'm not sure whether you think Brin is insulting conservatives, the insane, or gibberers?

More seriously, this shows the importance of proper labelling, and its use as a filter.

For example, while Tacitus is an avowed conservative, I don't think he qualifies for the gibbering insane label. Nor do I think he really took umbrage to the allusion. Still, a number might do.

Indeed, a lot of traditional 'conservative' values are fine things, that have stood the tests of time and, for all that I think the times they are a' changing, they deserve some respect.

So, in keeping with the mantra about not taxing the rich, I prefer to apply the 'self-servative' label to the insane gibbering zombies that appear to dominate the republican party these days.

Does 'insane gibbering self-servative' apply to you T2? Does it strike the same dischord as 'insane gibbering conservative'?

====

Moving on a bit (the 16-19 hour time zone difference makes the flow of conversation here... interesting sometimes). What is the relevance of student drivers' licenses to voting*? It may simply reflect a greater take up in cycling among the young, which is probably a vote in itself.

*I really am curious. Bear in mind that voting in Australia is compulsory. Apart from the occasional snap election locking out newly eligible young voters, we don't see much in the way of weird voter registration shenanigans.

reducate: teaching conservative values, and the eschewing of sunscreen.

Tony Fisk said...

Nocomme1: I believe the US wage earning breakdown is covered here, among other places.

No idea how much money David makes. I don't think earning it makes him a hypocrite.

Or do you think he should be stood up against the wall next to Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and that other Brin guy when the revolution comes?

David Brin said...

No Commie, sorry, but you told a big fat whopper when you said "just curious."

You display absolutely ZERO curiosity.

You come to this place, where no one at all believes any of the leftist crap of Marx... and snidely call us marxists. Are you for real?

Please write down all the things that YOU believe "democrats and non-Fox-viewers believe." Go ahead. Write THAT LIST! Beck supplies it.

Now go to your democratic neighbors and ask "do you believe this?"

Geez, no wonder you guys hate science.

Tacitus2 said...

ReWinn

In an age where absentee voting is increasing rather smartly the geographic issue is a little less onerous.

The study you quote does not directly answer the question of how many young voters do not have a drivers licence. You have to define "valid". (query, if you have lost your license for driving offenses does it get confiscated? Is it still valid ID?). There is also an alternative state ID for non drivers, the study does not mention how many non licencees had these.

I know where you are coming from. The amount of voter fraud identified in WI in recent years has been minor. And anything that places additional hoops to jump through will reduce the participation of some. And disproportionatly D voters.

And I get some sense that the machinery of state government (remember those public employee unions who love the guv?) are not exactly bending over backwards to find solutions here. It is too useful a banner to wave.

I don't have a strong stance on this issue, and in fact think most of the potential for abuse is in the absentee ballot system.

Tacitus

Ботва онлайн said...

Fools never know when they are well

Papyrus Skin said...

Note: I actually like Papyrus Skin better than Useless Eater..

That being said..


Welcome to Phase 2 of Occupy Wall Street

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/17/1037356/-Welcome-to-PHASE-2-of-Occupy-Wall-Street,-now-here-is-a-message

The point of Occupy Wall Street is NOT to camp in tents, it is to challenge power and corruption.

And now that our tents are going away I am almost relieved. The tents were becoming a distraction anyway, now it is time for us to focus on how we will place pressure on the corrupt power structure and demand the changes and reforms and accountability we all know is absolutely necessary if we are going to have a viable future for millions upon millions of working class people.

So Welcome to PHASE 2 of Occupy Wall Street, and here is a brief message based on what I have observed in my 2 months of participation . . .

More below the fold

Anonymous said...

Below is a great rant direct against the "Oligarchs" by someone who, at least for now, is missing $100k from MF Global. Makes the same point made here by Dr. Brin that these guys aren't that smart and are playing with 1789 fire.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/11/those-mf-global-mfs/

People are waking up. In the end I'm fairly confident that the Enlightenment will win, but hopefully we won't be required to repeat France's ugly role.

Tony Fisk said...

More on phase 2, showing that No one is immune

Papyrus Skin said...

OK everyone, I have the blog proprietor's permission to excerpt from the balloon-juice dot com lexicon. The lexicon and the blog are the most distilled source of political wisdom (and humor) I've found in over a decade of fairly obsessive looking. I've already used a couple of the terms here, VSP and Shrill, now I'll show you the expanded definitions. The lexicon has a lot of terms that are mostly humorous slang derived from political events so it takes a while to wade through it for the real insightful bits.

Balloon-Juice is owned by John Cole, John is a very bright and well spoken man who was a full metal jacket wingut up to the Shiavo brouhaha whereupon he had a Road To Damascus Moment and has been moving leftward in fits and starts ever since. His blog is the most freewheeling political forum I've found, about the only thing that will get you a time out is obvious racism or sexism.

John's blog is part of what helped him deprogram, even before his RTDM all viewpoints were welcome.

I by no means completely agree with John politically but his viewpoint as a former cult member who deprogrammed himself is a valuable one I think and his blog is a hilariously rude font of off kilter wisdom, think a real life Callahan's Bar on the intertubes oriented toward politics. In fact they even have a code for how many drinks a poster has had. +2

Continued..

Papyrus Skin said...

http://www.balloon-juice.com/?page_id=28596##

27 Percenters – Those Americans who will predictably vote against their own best interests. In his seminal post on the Crazification Factor, John Rogers used the 2004 Obama/Keyes senate race as a measure: “Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.”

Or, as commenter Davis X. Machina phrased it:
“The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”


Shrill- Telling the unpopular truth. The polar opposite of a pundit whose slavish devotion to mainstream approval leads him or her to frequently wrong conclusions (see Serious person). Someone dubbed ‘shrill’ can be reliably accurate but nonetheless ignored for stepping outside the “acceptable” range of political opinion (see ‘Overton Window’). Particularly hated by Villagers, Beltway insiders, and ‘serious people’ because their example makes it impossible to claim that everyone believed a point that turned out to be wrong (e.g., WMDs in Iraq). Notable shrill people include Howard Dean, Al Gore, and Paul Krugman. The correct usage takes the form “Paul Krugman is shrill.” It should be noted, however, that Michael Moore is not shrill; rather, Michael Moore is fat.


The Village- Term used to describe the inside-the-beltway crowd and their perverse mentality. Inspired by Sally Quinn in the WaPo in the aftermath of the Clinton blowjob scandal, and made popular by Digby. In the Village, launching a war based on lies is no big deal, but Clinton getting a blowjob is the crime of the century. Digby further explained the term, and the similarities between Sally Quinn’s DC and Marie Antoinette’s Versailles, in an October 2009 post.


Continued..

Papyrus Skin said...

Randroid — Portmanteau of android and Ayn Rand’s surname; used to describe those so enamored of Rand’s Objectivist pseudo-philosophy (as popularized in her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead ) that they have become reflexive, morally inhuman grotesques (h/t commentor JGabriel).



Serious Person- Also frequently appearing as “Very serious person,” this is applied to a person held in great esteem by The Village, who is repeatedly entirely wrong about everything, usually with tragicomic results. Conversely, those who have pretty much been right about everything the last twenty years are referred to as “not serious.” Serious persons believe the only solution to any foreign policy issue is bombing brown people (preferably Muslim, when at all possible), and the only solution to domestic affairs is cutting entitlements and demanding that the poor and working poor “sacrifice.” Noted examples of serious persons include Tom Friedman, Ken Pollock, the Kagans, Dick Cheney, and Frank Gaffney. Usually has an open lifetime invitation to appear on Hardball or to pen nonsense for the Washington Post editorial page.



Stenographers- Nickname given to the MSM for their tendency to just write down whatever someone tells them, rather than do their job and report the facts. Popularized by Glenn Greenwald.




Wingularity, the- the point at which the insanity from the far right and those controlling the Republican Party [continues] to grow exponentially until it reaches an unsustainable weight and collapses upon itself. This is also known as the Purity Spiral, wherein the density of wingnut increases compared to mainstream conservatives to the point of pure wingnut. As the ratio rises, this creates a phenomenon wherein no logic or sanity can penetrate or escape. When rightwing argument has become completely inaccessible to the uninitiated, it has reached the Wingularity. Coined by commenters JM and Joe K.

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

And, without getting into specifics, you wouldn't happen to be part of the top 1% of wage earners would you? Top 2%?


As has already been noted ad-nauseum, a wealthy individual who thinks society is relying too much on middle-class and poor taxpayers is not hypocritical unless he's USING his wealth to game the system in that direction. Warren Buffet is the most famous billionaire to claim that his class should pay more, not as charity but as fair payment for the value received by a just and orderly nation.

Dr Brin hasn't posted this for awhile, but he regularly contributes additonal money (beyond his own taxes) to the "conscience fund" which helps pay down the national debt. So even if you were going to suggest he just pay more than he owes in taxes, you'd be wrong.


Just curious.


For once, I read ahead and saw that Dr Brin alredy nailed you for lying here. Otherwise, that was my exact thought as well.

Nocomme1 said...

Mr. Brin, what the hell are you talking about? I didn't call you or anybody else on this blog a "Marxist". Maybe you should read the posts before "responding" to them. Your publicly owned and traded on Wall Street-publishers must have to edit your manuscripts very heavily to compensate for your in inattentiveness. Oh, and the user name is nocomme1, not No commie. Are communists just a preoccupation of yours or is the problem ADD?

I really know nothing of your politics apart from the fact that you are a big fan of those frequently violent OWS "kids". (You might want to change that up now and again. I suggest "little scamps"). Oh, and you also seem to be an admirer of the often debunked economist Paul Krugman.

Once again you have avoided the substance of my post but as you are the guy who formulated that absurd critique of Frank Miller's comments about OWS, I'm not exactly surprised.

LarryHart said...

Papyrus Skin quoted:

“Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement.


Well, I prefer to look at it this way...something like 40% of Illinois voters voted for Bush in 2004. So more than a third of BUSH VOTERS in the state couldn't bring themselves to also vote for the Republican candidate for US Senator against the Democrat Obama.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I don't have a strong stance on this issue, and in fact think most of the potential for abuse is in the absentee ballot system.


Personally, I think there's more potential for abuse in Diebold machines. But maybe we're both agreeing on what the top two potential problems are, just disagreeing on their order.

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

Oh, and you also seem to be an admirer of the often debunked economist Paul Krugman.


Krugman has been right about 200% of the time concerning what is going to happen next, at least since I began reading him in 2006. It's the supply-siders who have been "debunked" by reality, and their 0% rate of predictive hits.


Once again you have avoided the substance of my post but as you are the guy who formulated that absurd critique of Frank Miller's comments about OWS, I'm not exactly surprised.


Frank Miller's comments themselves were absurd. What on earth do the OWS protests have to do one way or another with al-Qaeda? That was the entirety of Miller's rant--"What are you dirty hippies doing protesting the Wall Street finance cheaters? Haven't you ever heard of al-Qaeda?"

Tony Fisk said...

NoComme1: Au contraire, Brin went straight to the crux of your post, which was just snarky nastiness.

You are clearly not in the least bit curious, or you'd know a bit more about the 'little scamps' than their violent tendencies (or general lack of them: perhaps you are referring to the unidentified but well equipped police impersonators that seem to flock to these gatherings?). I suggest you dig a little deeper than Miller.

KWillow said...

The phrase "Grow up" kind of bugged me, too. Is it childish to be affronted by the open criminality and contempt (of us) from our president, just because he isn't as bad as the repugs?

I signed up with the Green party. Don't know who I'll vote for yet (since the repugs often fund the Greens). But not Obama. The Supreme court has already legalized bribery of politicians, appointing some faux (fox) liberal won't improve things.

David Brin said...

Wow... we really have expanded our community here! You guys noticed? Phew. Some new types of beasts to either teach manners or else to bore to tears with our pathological "reasonableness".

Nocommie is just a troll. Teaching him to parse another person's meaning... through adult methods like paraphrasing... would be utterly useless. If he wants to think we're a nest of closet communists, let's just chuckly and save civilization without him.

Papyrus Skin, on the other hand --- "Papyrus Skin"???? agh! -- has shown an essential element of a good mind... self-deprecating humor. He talks too much, but that's a common newbie sin. Remind me... was he starting off left of us or RIGHT of us?

Well well. I'm gonna be on the road for a few days. If I check in at all, it'll be anon. (Or someone pretending to be me!) Carry on gents.

Nocomme1 said...

"If he wants to think we're a nest of closet communists". I will repeat: I NEVER called either you or anybody else here either a Marxist or a communist. Brin, you lied about it earlier and you're lying again. The only name calling going on here (troll) has been done by you. And since "troll" here seems to mean anyone who thinks your opinions aren't well reasoned or honest, I can live with the attempted slur.

And again you have set up straw men and flat-out lies to avoid substance.

You know I tried reading two of your books (Sundiver and Foundation's Triumph) and gave up on both of them after page 50 or so as I found them tedious. Now I know why: YOU are tedious. Liars often are.

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

@KWillow -
"...The Supreme court has already legalized bribery of politicians, appointing some faux (fox) liberal won't improve things"

Incorrect. The Obama appointments dissented in Citizens United. If you REALLY want it overturned, you need Obama, not Romney, to appoint the replacement to Anthony Kennedy.

David Brin said...

Yowls of outrage at the start. Yowls of outrage at the finish. We welcome all kinds of adults her. Socialists, libertarians, some "ostrich" conservatives... LOTS of folks fascinated by science and the future. Adults all.

Begone child.

Seisactheia said...

@Robert

You said: "Really, though, there is one major problem with Obama: he's a Constitutional Law Professor, and has been trying to act "within the boundaries of his office" while Bush ignored all that and bullied Congress into doing what he wanted. Bush had some horrible ideas... but he did show some capacity of leadership in this actions (or at least by causing Congresspeople to be too scared of him to stand up and say "enough!")."

I'd have a good laugh if that didn't depress me so much I want to cry.

One, I'm not really sure to begin with the idea that leadership is shown by disregarding the constitution. So let's just set that aside and focus on the other part, the part where Obama has been too much the constitutional professor, and who has dutifully been working within the bounds of the law...

...except for the part where he totally isn't. It wasn't Bush who ordered the assasination of an American. No judge. No jury. No trial. Just the government saying, "trust us, he's a bad guy!" It's not President Bush who is going to sign ACTA and subject this country to laws negotiated in secret that'll never have to pass the senate and can never be challenged in court. It wasn't the Bush administration that subjected an american soldier to 8 months of torture- pretrial punishment, just as in the case of Thomas Drake (though some of that was the Bush administration). Bush isn't president anymore, but somehow, we still have an administration that does illegal things and then claims state secrets when they're brought to court to get the case thrown out. We still have an administration that is radically expanding its powers of office. We still have signing statements. We still have the patriot act. We've got a president who promised transparency but who has overseen one of the most zealously secretive administrations in a long time.

Nothing so much sums up my feelings as this: http://boingboing.net/2011/11/02/photo-of-a-crosswalk-light.html

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... I kind of wish I hadn't seen this one coming...

Paul451 said...

Skex,

Re: Left vs Right
Have you heard about the two dimensional political spectra? Google the Nolan Chart (Economic Freedom on one axis, Personal/social Freedom on the other) or Pournelle Chart (Statism versus Rationalism.)

David has written about bi- or multi-axis political spectra, which is why he draws such a distinction between "Liberals" and "the Left", between "Gibbering insane" and "Ostrich" conservatives. (So it's a bit silly shouting at him about it.)

There are also three dimensional spectra. For eg,
Corporate-economic Freedom vs Personal-economic Freedom vs Personal-social Freedom.
Or Negative Liberty vs Positive Liberty vs Economic Liberty.
But these are harder to view on a flat page, so aren't as popular as the 2D spectra.

Given the number of variants, it's obvious that no one can agree on the most important variables to compare, leaving us with unsatisfying labels like "Left" and "Liberal".

(Hmmm, pity someone can't set up a "political spectrum survey" website that lets you play with the various possible axes yourself, compare yourself with others on the site, or with best-guesses for public figures or political candidates based on their stated/acted policies. But people seem to only set up such websites to push their own preferred agenda.)

(tedirl: attending a TEDtalk.)

Paul451 said...

Nocomme1,
"it doesn't seem to have stopped you from getting paid by at least two companies that are traded [...] Doesn't this make you something of a hypocrite?"

"Hypocrite" is a new meme amongst the Fox-ites (and conservatives who don't realise they are repeating Ailes' talking-points.)

Of course, when you look at context, it's obvious they don't mean "Hypocrite", they mean "Traitor". But if you had said that, you'd be forced to ask yourself "traitor to whom". The answer is, "Traitor to the rich". And that's the real crime being committed by the Buffetts and Gates and Warrens... and Brins.

Change may be called for by the 99%, but it will only be enacted by the "traitorous/hypocritical" members of the 1%, because they have the power.

KWillow,
"I signed up with the Green party. Don't know who I'll vote for yet"

Mistake. Sign up for the Republicans, vote in their primaries for the candidate who seems most capable of negotiated compromise. You won't make much difference, but if you're gonna bash your head against a brick wall, it might as well be the one that's actually in the way.

"But not Obama. The Supreme court has already legalized bribery of politicians, appointing some faux (fox) liberal won't improve things."

Again, terrible mistake. There's a strong selective pressure pulling the Court towards insanity and corruption, you need to push back as hard as you can. Currently it's 5/4, every single appointment is life'n'death.

Seisactheia,
(Awesome name, someone needs to carry a sign at OWS with just that word and nothing else.)
Re: Obama's failure to not be Bush.
Trouble is, your choice in the main election was between Obama and McCain. Do you really regret choosing Obama over McCain? (Noting that McCain circa 2008 was not McCain circa 2000.)

(destypom: Mistyping in such a way as to lose all hope.)

Paul451 said...

Last one:

The Phobos-Grunt probe is trying to save itself by using it's thrusters to move into a higher orbit. It's already pushed its predicted reentry-date back by a month. Weird thing, it's not in a failure mode that was ever anticipated by its programmers!

Colour me anthropomorphous.

news.discovery.com/space/russia-mars-phobos-grunt-mysterious-boost-111117.html

(Also I can't believe my last post stuck.)

(Wonsti: First day of the metric week (comes before Tuusti.))

Catfish N. Cod said...

So in Balloon Juice terms, Papyrus, what Dr. Brin is trying to do is to rescue as many of the conservatives who lie outside the 27% from the alliance of Randroids, Serious People, and Murdoch/Ailes that incant on behalf of the 1% before the non-27ers are trapped inside a Wingularity. To do this, we must sometimes be shrill.

Have I got that right?

shemuss: what the stylists for Perry, Romney, and Bachmann do obsessively to their hair.

Tony Fisk said...

I must confess that I've never thought of a 'wingularity event horizon' before

Corey said...

Apparently the Mozilla Corporation is now calling for people to fight SOPA

https://donate.mozilla.org/page/s/SOPA?source=snippet


This is the first time I've seen them actively engage in a political campaign, even with laws that greatly affect the internet.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Wow... we really have expanded our community here! You guys noticed?


Fair warning: just wait till you post about Ayn Rand. They'll be crawling out of the woodwork to respond to that one.

LarryHart said...

Fedup22:

Even with keeping the Supreme Court (I'm also disappointed that Obama went with Kagan over Diane Wood) in mind I still can't bring myself to be enthused about Obama.


The idea is not so much to be enthused about Obama as to be horrified at the consequences of a Republican choosing the next occupants of the USSC.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

NoComme1: Au contraire, Brin went straight to the crux of your post, which was just snarky nastiness.


I'm starting to realize something that has been true since at least the Bush years, and probably for forever.

Reality DOES have a liberal bias. And teh corrolary to that is, when someone reports on the facts of both sides without editorial comment, the right looks ridiculous and the liberal view is vindicated.

In a rational world, that would mean liberals win the argument.

In the world as it is, that leads to the accusation that straight reportage itself implies that the reporter is BIASED in favor of the left. And to prove oneself unbiased, one must go out of one's way to cast the right in a better light than their positions actually deserve. Hence the 1984-like accusations that the mainstrem media are liberal.

By way of example, I'm thinking of Tacitus's complaint that the media presents the Tea Party as ridiculous and are behind the OWS protestors. What I'VE seen is just the opposite: The Tea Party is glamorized, even when 5 members meet in a phone booth, and OWS is only being covered now because the media could no longer credibly pretend they don't matter. So how can a reasonable guy like Tac get such an (in my opinion) ass-backwards perception? Because regardless of the editorial commentary, simply SHOWING the Tea Party makes them look ridiculous, and simply SHOWING the OWS protestors demonstrates the correctness of their position.

Likewise Krugman vs the "Very Serious People" who actually get to influence fiscal policies. The media isn't a bunch of big-government Keynesian socialists biased in favor of Krugman. Rather Krugman's rate of predictive hits proves he knows his stuff, and the VSPs' utter lack of predictive ability should get them laughed off the stage. Only a concerted effort to all agree that the Austerians are self-evidently correct keeps them in the room at all.

That's not bias. It's fact.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Re: Obama's failure to not be Bush.
Trouble is, your choice in the main election was between Obama and McCain. Do you really regret choosing Obama over McCain?


And would Hillary have been any different? If anything, she'd have been more blatantly corporatist and more of a war hawk. Back in the 2008 primary campaign, it was almost like she was the Republican running against Obama.

No, the reason there is so much disappointment from the liberal side in the president is that he really was the LAST hope for change. When it seemed as if a vote for Obama was a vote against the status quo, it felt like we had a chance. Now that Obama seems to be part OF the staus quo, it's not like we can just replace him with a DIFFERENT candidate. It's the final straw that says "There's NO way to change things." Which is really what led to OWS in the first place.

BTW, in a cynical theory worthy of our host, I often wonder if this disappointment was foisted upon us intentionally to crush our resistance. That would be straight out of a 1980s Superman story by John Byrne, wherein the evil god Darkseid engineers events so that Superman becomes a great resistance leader among his slave caste, and then appears to be revealed as an agent of Darkseid all along. Afterward, any nascent spirit of rebellion among the slaves was totally crushed into a cynical "Been there, done that, lost the war" mentality.

Sound familiar?


(Noting that McCain circa 2008 was not McCain circa 2000.)


Ok, as long as I'm speculating...it would be worse than that. Had McCain won, he'd have been the victim of a fatal plane crash by now, and President Palin would be seriously channeling the Martin Sheen character from "The Dead Zone."

rewinn said...

GOOD NEWS: Occupy Memphis, tea party members meet. They didn't sing Kumbaya but at least they had a chat.

BAD NEWS:
Journalist commits lese majeste by asking a Saudi a tough question at the National Press Club; the surly knave is promptly banned.

This guy needs support; the NPC needs to be mocked.

Naum said...

In essence, it is the work that Plato would have written, today. And I believe that Ayn Rand is Plato's truest modern heir. Her "logical" and "objective" incantations follow very platonistic rhythms and reach foregone conclusions, without a single reference to actual science, from biology to chemistry to darwinian evolution.

Funny, considering that Rand champions Aristotle (in her non-fiction "works") and belittles Plato and other philosophers, as being totally congruent with Objectivism "philosophy".

Corey said...

In a spot of unrelated good news (VERY good news), funding for the James Webb Space Telescope has been restored, and the project is back on track.

NASA may have to cut back in other areas a bit to make it happen, though I wouldn't think too much given the cost, but this is a win, just the same.


http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/11/17/funds-restored-to-build-the-james-webb-space-telescope/?WT.mc_id=SA_facebook

Nocomme1 said...

LarryHart: "Rather Krugman's rate of predictive hits proves he knows his stuff...". Yeah? Care to tell us what that rate is? Without substantiation that assertion is about as reliable as saying that OWS is a movement of "young citizens, clumsily feeling their way ahead toward saving their country...".

For some of Krugman's inaccuracies I direct your attention here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/08/more_krugman_lies_the_great_un.html
and here: http://old.nationalreview.com/nrof_luskin/kts200412210858.asp
and here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/269428/paul-krugman-prophet-socialism-donald-luskin
and here: http://old.nationalreview.com/nrof_luskin/truthsquad200403150933.asp
and here: http://old.nationalreview.com/nrof_luskin/luskin200602240930.asp
And here:
http://internetscofflaw.com/2011/07/13/lies-damn-lies-and-paul-krugman-11/
and here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/222656/examination-i-conscience-i/mark-hemingway

Etc.

Worship him all you want but don't try to pass off some nonexistent accuracy "rate" as truth.

Nocomme1 said...

Paul451 said:

"nocomme1:

"it doesn't seem to have stopped you from getting paid by at least two companies that are traded [...] Doesn't this make you something of a hypocrite?"

"Hypocrite" is a new meme amongst the Fox-ites (and conservatives who don't realise they are repeating Ailes' talking-points.)"

Hypocrite is a word that is defined as "Someone who practices hypocrisy, who pretends to hold beliefs, or whose actions are not consistent with their claimed beliefs. [from early 13th c.]"
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hypocrite

As someone who has made money from and increased the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to loathe, Brin fits the definition PERFECTLY.

You can go on and rant that I am really calling him a traitor all you want. I'm not. I am calling him a hypocrite because thats what he is.

David Brin said...

Catfish... thanks I think you made a good metaphor re our aims.

Naum... of COURSE Rand believes her system to be based on evidence. But her evidence consists of propped up just-so stories, following exactly the same pattern as Marx. What she never does is offer falsifiable predictions. Well, let me take that back. Atlas Shrugged was a prediction and it failed to come true.

No, she hollers at Plato and screams at Marx... but was their truest disciple.

sociotard said...

Brin doesn't mind people making money. He doesn't mind millionaires or Billionaires. He dislikes secrecy and colluding.

AFAIK, he does not keep his money in "banking haven" countries. He does not resort to insider trading. He is open about where he gets his money and he does not hide from the Tax Man.

Recognizing evil in the world does not mean we have to become hermits and disavow all contact with the world. It means we must live as rightly as we can, and try to become ourselves what we want the world to become.

I disagree with much of US foreign policy, but I still live here and enjoy the protection the US military offers. I think US agricultural production is short-sighted and will eventually result in a devastating famine, but I still eat food grown here. This is not so different from being angry about cheating, colluding, and cronyism in the corporate sphere while making money from and purchasing goods from the corporate sphere.

It's about recognizing ones own small place in the world.

Likewise, Dr. Brin has admitted that Copyright lasts too long now, and he's willing to argue against it, and if the law were changed to something more reasonable tomorrow he would accept it. Even so, he still gets that protection on all his works, because he is a small man in a big world and he recognizes the limit of his reach.

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

LarryHart: "Rather Krugman's rate of predictive hits proves he knows his stuff...". Yeah? Care to tell us what that rate is?


He's been preaching that we're in a liquidity trap--meaning that increasing the money supply will not lead to inflation--for many years now.

Meanwhile, all of the taken-seriously economists that you worship have been predicting Weimar-style hyperinflation and punishing bond-yeild requirements to be coming any minute now. How's that working out for you?

Nocomme1 said...

Sociotard said:

"Brin doesn't mind people making money. He doesn't mind millionaires or Billionaires. He dislikes secrecy and colluding"

Brin contributes to the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to revile, thus making him a hypocrite.

Nocomme1 said...

LarryHart, if you don't or can't address Krugman's errors and lies, just say so. And hey, about his "rate" of accuracy...?

LarryHart said...

rewinn:

GOOD NEWS: Occupy Memphis, tea party members meet. They didn't sing Kumbaya but at least they had a chat.


Gotta love this line:

"The Occupy movement has remained adamant about not drafting a list of demands because terrorists make demands, and we're not terrorists," said Pope, a graphic design student. "We shouldn't have to demand a democratic process."

Well spoken!

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

LarryHart, if you don't or can't address Krugman's errors and lies, just say so.


I don't chew my cabbage twice.


And hey, about his "rate" of accuracy...?


As opposed to...who is any better?

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

Brin contributes to the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to revile, thus making him a hypocrite.


So by your "logic", in order to protest the concentration of wealth among the few, one should NOT work for the possessors of all the wealth?

Kinda puts the kibosh on the whole "Get a job!" thing.

By the way, unless you (personally) are a tax avoider, you are contributing to the wealth of big government, so...y'know, for what it's worth.

Nocomme1 said...

LarryHart said: "I don't chew my cabbage twice."

Or answer my question once.


"As opposed to...who is any better?"

Unresponsive.

sociotard said...

Nocomme1 said...
Brin contributes to the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to revile, thus making him a hypocrite.


Could you clarify what you mean here?

My assumption is that you mean Dr. Brin's books are sold by bookstores, owned by conglomerates on Wall street, which makes money for these companies. Of course, he still does real science, and that does nothing for the Wall Street companies.

May I ask what actions you would demand of someone who despised corporate collusion, corruption, cronysim, concealment, etc? How would such a person have to behave to you to say "This is no hypocrit"?

Could such a person buy goods in a supermarket or get a normal job? Or would they have to become a mad hermit in the desert?

David Smelser said...

a class at Hamilton(!) College went to the trouble of actually checking all the predictions a bunch of pundits and politicians made in 2007 and 2008, and figuring out who was right and who was wrong. The most accurate: Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd. The most wrong: Cal Thomas and Sen. Lindsey Graham. The study found that liberals tended to be more accurate, and "those prognosticators with a law degree were more likely to be wrong."

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/130485/claim-krugman-is-top-prognosticator-cal-thomas-is-the-worst/

Nocomme1 said...

LarryHart said: "By the way, unless you (personally) are a tax avoider, you are contributing to the wealth of big government, so...y'know, for what it's worth."

I don't have the right to direct where my compulsory taxes are directed. Brin CHOOSES to enrich companies that trade on Wall Street.

Nocomme1 said...

Sociotard said: "May I ask what actions you would demand of someone who despised corporate collusion, corruption, cronysim, concealment, etc? How would such a person have to behave to you to say "This is no hypocrit"?"

He would work for privately held companies that don't trade on Wall Street.

The fact that he doesn't derive all his income from Wall Street connected companies is irrelevant.

sociotard said...

Nocomme1 said...
He would work for privately held companies that don't trade on Wall Street.


Trading on Wall Street isn't the problem. Collusion, cronysim, concealment and so forth are the problem.

Those activities are endemic on Wall Street, yes, but they also occur in privately held companies.

Avoiding publicly held companies would not stop Dr. Brin from being hypocritical, because public ownership is not his concern. Corruption is.

Anyway, I have no idea what Dr. Brin's contract status is (it just feels like a rude thing to ask). I did find out that Kiln People, his most recent novel AFAIK, was published by Tor, wish is part of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. I believe that company is privately held.

So, Tor is privately held, and Brin gets his money from Tor. Yay, he isn't a hypocrit. But, Tor distributes books through Amazon, which trades on Wall Street. Crud! It doesn't matter who Dr. Brin works for, he'll still make money for publicly traded companies, because our economy is so intertwinned.

LarryHart said...

Nocomme1:

LarryHart said: "I don't chew my cabbage twice."

Or answer my question once.


Or launch a thousand ships.

Your serve.


"As opposed to...who is any better?"

Unresponsive.


I know you are, but what am I?

LarryHart said...

sociotard:

So, Tor is privately held, and Brin gets his money from Tor. Yay, he isn't a hypocrit. But, Tor distributes books through Amazon, which trades on Wall Street. Crud! It doesn't matter who Dr. Brin works for, he'll still make money for publicly traded companies, because our economy is so intertwinned.


That's what I was getting at. The bad guys used their cheating superpowers to accumulate most of the weatlth. Randroids like NoCryBaby think that their possession of that wealth means they deserve it, and that in order to survive, the rest of us are beholden to take jobs on their terms.

So under those terms, how (short of suicide) does one manage to NOT assist them financially?

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

To some extent you and I see the world through different filters. No criticism that, just a statement of the obvious. So how would one objectively compare media coverage of Tea Party and OWS? I suppose you could go to the archives of the New York Times, which at least considers itself America's newspaper of record. You could tally up the headlines relating to each movement, and rate them as positive, neutral or negative.

The results would be interesting. Has anybody done this?

I can see some practical problems, the Tea Party started out in the hinterlands, the OWS right under the nose of MediaCity. And I guess you would have to decide whether the coverage of arrests, crimes, deaths etc at OWS was media bias, or simply reflected the fact that such phenomena were almost unheard of at Tea Party events.

Tacitus

Nocomme1 said...

One of the main problems with OWS and the Left generally is their cartoonish ideas about "the rich", who they are, how they got their wealth and how long they stay rich. In the Left's paranoid view the rich are the product of an evil conspiracy who came by their filthy lucre through JR Ewing style machinations. Then they consolidate their ill-gotten gains and stay rich forever...or until some Left wing hero puts them in jail.

The truth, of course looks nothing like this. Wealth is in fact dynamic, people going up an down the economic ladder with great frequency. The factors that go into making one wealthy are complex as well, having as much to do with culture, intelligence, industriousness and other factors even more than does birth into some economic elite. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/281521/america-mobile-rich-lowry
http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/dangerous-demagoguery-part-ii.html

This fallacy is the basis for OWS' raison d'être. It is the reason that, even apart from its severe violence, it is pernicious. It is based on ignorance and lies.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus:

LarryHart

To some extent you and I see the world through different filters. No criticism that, just a statement of the obvious.


Yes, I realize this as well.

In some ways, when I argue with you, my point is "My way is just as defensible as yours is." No more than that.


So how would one objectively compare media coverage of Tea Party and OWS? I suppose you could go to the archives of the New York Times, which at least considers itself America's newspaper of record. You could tally up the headlines relating to each movement, and rate them as positive, neutral or negative.


That might be one way, but there might be hidden pitfalls. At the very least of importance--headlines often don't accurately represent the story under them.


I can see some practical problems, the Tea Party started out in the hinterlands,


Are you sure about that? My recollection was that the Tea Party was launched in 2009 by tv host Rick Santelli who went on a rant about how aid to mortgage holders (not to banks, mind you) would create a moral hazard, and urged his viewers to hold a "Chicago Tea Party" by Lake Michigan on April 15th.

I know Chicago is no NYC, but hardly the "hinterlands". We even have network tv shows originating here.


the OWS right under the nose of MediaCity.


And therein is one of the pitfalls mentioned above. Say the media refused to cover OWS for several weeks, even though they were in plain sight. Woudln't THAT in itself be evidence of a sort of negative attitude toward OWS on the part of the media (or at least of a LACK of a POSITIVE attitude)? Yet that would entirely bypass the test you describe above.


And I guess you would have to decide whether the coverage of arrests, crimes, deaths etc at OWS was media bias, or simply reflected the fact that such phenomena were almost unheard of at Tea Party events.


"Arrests" might (or might not) have more to do with the attitude of the authorities than with the protestors themselves. If President Obama were really the socialist Muslim Nazi he's often painted at, I guarantee you there would have been arrests of Tea Partiers shouting down debate at Democratic congressmen's town-hall meeting, espeically the ones showing up with guns.

To me, the fact that Tea Partiers don't get arrested but OWS protestors do reflects on something other than the individual protestors themselves.

Now if the media shows Ron Paul supporters (not Paul himself, I know) cheering for the idea of letting an uninsured heart-attack victim die, is THAT evidence of bias, or is it just what reporting is supposed to be? Same question for if they DON'T show it.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Folks: Don't mud wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig probably enjoys it. All the salient points have been much better made here by the regular posters, so I won't bother.

Tacitus2, the difference in coverage of the OWS protesters and the Tea Party events is that OWS is an open ended ongoing 'happening'. I am unaware of any equivalent project being hosted by the Tea Party. If the Tea Party were to attempt a similar project, there would probably be more crimes, etc. to attach, just because of duration and the nature of the beast.

TheMadLibrarian

guens: Gummy firearms

LarryHart said...

Without further comment, Paul Krugman, the greatest economist in the history of the universe discusses that whole income-mobility meme which must be today's Republican Talking Point:


Greg Sargent sends us to Paul Ryan’s latest — an attempt to debunk the CBO report on income inequality. As usual, Ryan makes me think of Ezra Klein’s old line about Dick Armey: he’s a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

Greg gives us a thorough takedown by Tim Smeeding, who really really knows his inequality stuff. I’d just add that Ryan repeats the familiar line about how we have vast income mobility, so that the picture given by static inequality comparisons is misleading.

But as I’ve pointed out, the CBO report itself takes that argument on and refutes it. Multi-year measures of inequality, it turns out, aren’t much lower than single-year measures. How is that possible, when many people change income quintiles? Because they’re usually moving short distances on the income scale. A lot of people move from, say, the top of the second quintile to the bottom of the third quintile or vice versa — but such moves are trivial in terms of their true income position. Big moves, jumping more than one quintile, are much less common; yet it’s those big moves people have in mind when they talk about ,mobility.

And in the end, Ryan’s answer is that we need strong economic growth, the kind that we get by cutting taxes on the rich. Because that’s why the Clinton years were an economic disaster and the Bush years so prosperous.

Nocomme1 said...

LarryHart rants: "Without further comment, Paul Krugman, the greatest economist in the history of the universe discusses that whole income-mobility meme which must be today's Republican Talking Point:"

Apparentlyyou believe that the only way anyone can disagree with you is if they've been commanded to do so by their overlords. You are a perfect storm of arrogance and paranoia, making you the quintessential liberal.

And since you can't respond to my points about income inequality without cutting and pasting hack economist Krugman, I'll just wait to respond until after Paul Ryan posts his response to Krugman at which point I'll cut and paste his response. Just trying to keep things on your level.

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"And would Hillary have been any different?"

I actually think she would have. Not for the Big Liberal Ideas that got Obama elected, but in the day-to-day stuff. I think she would have hit the ground running better than Obama (apparently he was largely ignored by his own cabinet for the first two years), and wrangled the dems in congress while they had control.

"No, the reason there is so much disappointment from the liberal side in the president is that he really was the LAST hope for change. [...] It's the final straw that says "There's NO way to change things." "

<sigh> This is why it's such a shame evolution isn't better taught in the US. (Or at least enough genetics to explain selective breeding.)

When the system is utterly broken, you won't get the perfect hero-messiah who rides in and fixes it all. By definition, if the process is corrupt, all candidates are to some degree corrupt in order to become candidates.

The way to get from where you are to where you want to be is by stages, as long as there's some variation, you've got material to work with. You vote Obama over Hillary because he's less corporatist. You vote Obama/Biden because McCain had become Bush, and Palin was... Palin

(scier: One who emits a long, deep, audible breath expressing science.)

cont...

Paul451 said...

...inued.

But when Obama turns out to still be quite corporatist, and not very liberal, you don't say "Screw it, game over, we can't win", you did win. Overwhelmingly. He got in because the people who wanted sane government, and progressive ideas, and less corruption, chose him.

So you use that power to further the selection at the midterms, to kick out any non-negotiating congressman, and then again at the next Presidential election. You don't give up and let the mad ones on the other side select the next generation. How can that possibly make things better?

Do you think Dick Armey, and Roger Ailes and Grover Norquist won dominance of the Republican party in one election, one year? They've been working for it since they got into politics. Ailes worked for NBC. Armey worked with Gingrich in the 1990's, he became majority leader by pretending to be less conservative than Largent. Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform back in 1985, he founded or controls groups like the Hispanic Leadership Fund and the Islamic Free Market Institute.

Like I said earlier in the thread, it took about six generations to go from a snarling hateful bite-your-face-off Arctic Fox to a happy friendly pet. The first generation of foxes were still snarling hateful bite-your-face-off monsters. The Russian scientists didn't say "Boo hoo, it didn't and therefore can't work", just because they didn't find the magic fox that was already tame. They just selected the next generation.

(agarnhwa: What I say when blogger eats my comments.)

Paul451 said...

Nocomme1,
" [Brin] As someone who has made money from and increased the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to loathe,"

And where, pray tell, did Brin "claim to loath" or "revile" publicly traded companies?

Because shouting about liars and hypocrites, while telling a lie, would certainly be hypocritical.

"And since [Larry] can't respond to my points about income inequality without cutting and pasting hack economist Krugman,"

Whereas when you responded to criticism by link-spamming, and that's perfectly fine?

--

Tacitus2,
"And I guess you would have to decide whether the coverage of arrests, crimes, deaths etc at OWS was media bias, or simply reflected the fact that such phenomena were almost unheard of at Tea Party events."

Allowing for the comparison between a few hundred people waving signs for a few hours for the cameras, versus thousands living in a park for months, what is the expected proportional crime rates? (Seriously, what is the crime rate per thousand in New York City for people living in parks?)

LarryHart said...

Paul451, don't worry, I AM voting and I AM voting Democratic.

I was attempting to explain an aggregate disappointment, not to suggest that I had given up. Hey, I'm the man without hope who is a man without fear now.

I sometimes FEEL discouraged, but that's not the same thing.

Corey said...

Paul, I think you actually just cornered the troll and made him go away.

By the very definition of troll, you're not suppose to be able to do that.


In short, I think you may have just won an internet :)

Tony Fisk said...

Nocomme1 said:
In the Left's paranoid view the rich are the product of an evil conspiracy who came by their filthy lucre through JR Ewing style machinations. Then they consolidate their ill-gotten gains and stay rich forever...or until some Left wing hero puts them in jail.

ie an oligarchy. The corollary being that Adam Smith was a left wing hero?

Not all rich fit this sketch (I referred to Buffet previously). Still, the view is far from cartoonish, as this analysis of corporate control shows (100 companies 'own' the economy).

The truth, of course looks nothing like this. Wealth is in fact dynamic, people going up an down the economic ladder with great frequency.

If only! In fact, a recent study has found that empowerment actually *encourages* cheating in order to retain the advantage. And those 100 companies are *very* tightly linked. Sure, this is paranoia (just as it's paranoid to think the left is out to destroy society). It's a good defence mechanism to keep you checking, so long as you're willing to admit that that is what it is.

To refer the occupy movement as 'cartoonish' is to become a caricature oneself. One notable occupy catch-cry I've noted is to 'save capitalism from greed'. I also like this response to the article on the capitalist network.

sular: The cry for a shift to renewable energy that was taken up by the Martians as they occupied Earth.

nethi: a lisping crypto-zoologist

Nocomme1 said...

Corey, eh? So it seems that your role here is sort of to be the Igor in this little looney-bin. You know Igor; the sycophantic, obsequious, shrunken little toady to all the Dr. Frankenstein's here.

This place has gotten far too inane to even be of any entertainment value at this point. You bunch of mutual masturbators are not bright enough or witty enough to waste my time with any longer. You have proven yourselves to be that most unpleasant kind of people...typical liberals.

After I go, be sure to chitter amongst yourselves about driving me out with your superior intellectual prowess (even though in your heart of hearts you that is a bunch of crap) while in fact I'm leaving because you're all just a bunch of deluded losers.

Tony Fisk said...

You are right. People like you are always right.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Nocomme1, how long have you been lurking here and reading the discussions? What finally brought you out of hiding and drove you to start posting such vitriol? We try to maintain some civility and rules of reasonable discussion, even when we agree to disagree, but the amount of poo flinging today is incredible.

TheMadLibrarian

millyr: Who Wants To Be a Millionaire hopeful contestant

Rob said...

Heh. Nocomme1 isn't paying any attention.

Rob said...

Oh; and with respect to Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, read Anthem instead. It's shorter, better written, imparts the same message, and uses some easier-to-recognize literary tricks to showcase just how Rand goes about her manipulation.

I skipped almost all of John Galt's speech.

Tony Fisk said...

Pratchett's Igors are actually very talented and deedy chaps...

Can we move on...?

Papyrus Skin said...

@Larry Hart

Thanks for the reply.

Have you seriously listened to the Republican candidates? Listen to them and turn your mind on and your assumptions off, they are nuts and forty percent of the county is going to vote for them. The problem is that American politics is biased toward the sparsely settled states in the Senate which is set up with arcane rules that are easily used to block progress.

Obama is sane, I'll say that for him. Halfway between sane and whatever it might be that the Republicans are is not sane.

I'm giving you the case study of a deconversion, if you want to deconvert a wingnut John Cole and his forum can tell you if anyone can. I don't think I've seen a formal poll but judging from comments a good quarter are former wingnuts.

David says that he wants to deconvert wingnuts, I hand over a case study.

Well, I prefer to look at it this way...something like 40% of Illinois voters voted for Bush in 2004. So more than a third of BUSH VOTERS in the state couldn't bring themselves to also vote for the Republican candidate for US Senator against the Democrat Obama.

The M$M is stacked against you, BJ specializes in media analysis and how they warp everything to fit a viewpoint that is to the benefit of their owners. They in particular aren't really so much angry as disgusted and amused, they viciously mock the pundits and the majority of the politicians.

There's palpable anger at DU, the information is being collected there and posted to social media.

Look at what's going on in the UK, it looks like Rupert Murdoch was bugging anyone of any importance in the entire country with the assistance of the police. Murdoch is Fox News, what you think he all of a sudden cleaned up when he came here?

There's an earthquake coming, the internet is allowing people to see through the BS and social media is spreading the word.

We had Arab Spring, now it's time for Western Fall.

One man took his own life with fire and has given all of the 99% new life. Not a saint, but a man who had nothing to lose. A tiny crystal dropped into a supersaturated solution, Ice Nine into the ocean if you will.

I've pointed you to two forums, I don't completely agree with the majority position of either and they both have their blindnesses biases and obsessions as do I as do each of you but they're both parsecs beyond where you are here.

I wish I had time to answer everyone individually, rather I tried to put this post together a bit better than my previous slapdash efforts.

I'll check back in a while.

Godspeed, everyone.

LarryHart said...


Can we move on...?


I'm telling you, one troll is NOTHING compared to what will happen after our host writes unfavoably about Ayn Rand.

Just sayin'

Papyrus Skin said...

Here's a thread that's fresh up today telling the tale about the media far better than I can.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/11/18/daydream-nation-2/#comment-2886589

These people are eloquent, funny and observant, very observant.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

You are right. People like you are always right.


Heh. You didn't happen to follow the link to the guy's blog, did you? It actually is called "Because I'm Right".

If you want a few minutes of amusement, you might take a glance, but you'll need a drink and a shower afterwards.

Rob:

Oh; and with respect to Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, read Anthem instead. It's shorter, better written, imparts the same message, and uses some easier-to-recognize literary tricks to showcase just how Rand goes about her manipulation.

I skipped almost all of John Galt's speech.


I disagree. I found "Anthem" to be pale and uninteresting, whereas "Atlas Shurgged" was such a Wagnerian epic that I was kind of sucked into the story.

Actually, the Ayn Rand book that worked best for me was "The Fountainhead". Its hero wasn't nearly as insufferable as Galt, and its villain, Ellsworth M Toohey, was more formidable than any of the bungling bad guys in "Atlas Shurgged". I could even buy the ending of "The Fountainhead" as a happy ending, whereas I groaned at most of the resolutions in A.S.

Papyrus Skin said...

http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=9942

My Iraq War Retrospective

by John Cole

I see that Andrew Sullivan was asked to list what he got wrong about Iraq for the five year anniversary of the invasion, and since I was as big a war booster as anyone, I thought I would list what I got wrong:

Everything.

And I don’t say that to provide people with an easy way to beat up on me, but I do sort of have to face facts. I was wrong about everything.

I was wrong about the Doctrine of Pre-emptive warfare.
I was wrong about Iraq possessing WMD.
I was wrong about Scott Ritter and the inspections.
I was wrong about the UN involvement in weapons inspections.
I was wrong about the containment sanctions.
I was wrong about the broader impact of the war on the Middle East.
I was wrong about this making us more safe.
I was wrong about the number of troops needed to stabilize Iraq.
I was wrong when I stated this administration had a clear plan for the aftermath.
I was wrong about securing the ammunition dumps.
I was wrong about the ease of bringing democracy to the Middle East.
I was wrong about dissolving the Iraqi army.
I was wrong about the looting being unimportant.
I was wrong that Bush/Cheney were competent.
I was wrong that we would be greeted as liberators.
I was wrong to make fun of the anti-war protestors.
I was wrong not to trust the dirty smelly hippies.

I mean, I could go down the list and continue on, but you get the point. I was wrong about EVERY. GOD. DAMNED. THING. It is amazing I could tie my shoes in 2001-2004. If you took all the wrongness I generated, put it together and compacted it and processed it, there would be enough concentrated stupid to fuel three hundred years of Weekly Standard journals. I am not sure how I snapped out of it, but I think Abu Ghraib and the negative impact of the insurgency did sober me up a bit.

War should always be an absolute last resort, not just another option. I will never make the same mistakes again.

David Brin said...

"Brin contributes to the wealth of companies that trade on Wall Street, which he claims to revile, thus making him a hypocrite."

Can't any of you recognize the speech patterns of this soul-twisted train wreck from the old days? When he came to us under another name? He returns regularly to troll us.

In fact, he lies like a rug. I do not revile the existence of publicly traded companies, nor even corporations with some incorporated "rights." I invest via stocks without a scintilla of guilt.

I avow to do so proudly. As a primary producer of epic-good, even legendary quality products, I gladly cash checks from corporations that deliver high quality goods and services to contented and eager customers.

What I "revile" are parasitical traders who conceal insider trading and crony-conniving and predatory computerized trading programs, the buying of politicians and the theft of billions from depositors in gimmicked securities trades. These are traitors to capitalism and markets and would-be feudal lords.

Any person who cannot distinguish between these realms is simply, unmistakably and irrefutably stupid. Anyone who prances that stupidity around for all to see is just a jibbering fool. Expect him back in six months under another name. Now, a ruling, ex cathedra - (I deliver few of these and you may freely ignore it; I reign here, not rule)

-- snub the troll.

====
Rob... for the best dose of allegorical libertarianism, folks should read Kurt Vonnegut's HARRISON BERGERON. Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 is a tyranny gone mad in a politically correct lefty way. Heinlein of course. Adam Smith... but all of these authors despised Rand.

David Brin said...

MY CREED
Thanks Sociotard. I do indeed, have a construct of beliefs and rationalizations that I deem consistent. Of course, most people think that about themselves! My worldview-construct is informed by a much better than average knowledge of history, biology, philosophy and science.

But there are others out there who are just as broadly and deeply educated, whose edifice rationalizations may differ from mine. The correlation of knowledge with what "I" call wisdom is very real! The smartest do tend to converge. But that correlation is but far from perfect!

I happen to be an admirer of Adam Smith who believes that fair competition is the great creative force in the universe. (Proof? How about 4 billion years of evolution?) But that makes neither me nor Smith out to be raging randroids or believers in merciless, unchecked dog-eat-dog. In fact, that is the surest way to ruin markets and genuine enterprise.

In fact, the "fair" part is extremely hard for human beings to implement and only a few generations of humans (Periclean Athens, Florence, Venice, Iceland...) even tried.

Our own 300 year effort has been deeply flawed -- while achieving stunning and almost godlike miracles! Miracles that dogmatic grouches of the far left, far right and far-rand-libertarian wings indignantly refuse to admit... while wallowing in the luxury and freedom this experiment provided.

Hypocrisy? None of them should DARE to hurl that word at me! Ingratitude is the starting block of the most truly monstrous hypocrisy of all. And those three kinds of utter ingrates really chafe me. (All right, one type is now more pervasive and dangerous than the other two. They share a personality though, and the dishonor of stunning ingratitude.)

Can our experiment benefit from criticism? That is the ONLY way that it can possibly survive! Waves of cleansing light. TSUNAMIS of cleansing light.

I am a moderate who is ferociously, actinically, volcanically militant in my dedication to transparency and the propulsive force that reciprocal accountability provides! It is the thing -- THE precise thing -- that allows us to CANCEL each others' stupid delusions while REINFORCING each others' cool ideas.

The resulting Positive Sum Game is the thing that deserves our loyalty and utter gratitude and the devotion of everything we can give it, yes, even our lives. Because that is the game under which our grandchildren might thrive.

More specifically. Do I believe I deserve to get (very mildly) rich by delivering superior goods and services, honestly and with superb quality to customers who are thrilled to buy them from me? Heck yes. Dolts who would begrudge me that are twits who don't know beans.

Should there be natual and lawful limits to wealth derived power? Do I believe in satiability and loyalty and gratitude and enlightened-self-interest, as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett relentlessly display? Damn straight. Do I know that oligarchies of conniving owners were the great enemies of enterprise and freedom across 6000 years? Duh? If that makes me a commie then so was Adam Smith!

Any fool who leaps to label me, after I've said that, only proves he's a dismally dumb mind. Left and Right do not constrain a free mind. I admire Smith and Hayek and Keynes and Pericles Jefferson and Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt and FDR and George Marshall and Edwin Land and Lysistrata and still have some qualified plaudits left over for Reagan, Goldwater and Emma Goldman and Abbie Hoffmann... and Papa Heinlein.

Categorize me. Go ahead and try.

Corey said...

"Corey, eh? So it seems that your role here is sort of to be the Igor in this little looney-bin. You know Igor; the sycophantic, obsequious, shrunken little toady to all the Dr. Frankenstein's here.

This place has gotten far too inane to even be of any entertainment value at this point. You bunch of mutual masturbators are not bright enough or witty enough to waste my time with any longer. You have proven yourselves to be that most unpleasant kind of people...typical liberals.

After I go, be sure to chitter amongst yourselves about driving me out with your superior intellectual prowess (even though in your heart of hearts you that is a bunch of crap) while in fact I'm leaving because you're all just a bunch of deluded losers."



umad bro?

Corey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

reduced to tears...

guess which kind

Corey said...

Seriously, don't even bother to rationalize out why a troll is wrong.

David, I've always found your point of view to be refreshingly rational and non-dogmatic, but more than that, everyone here knows you clearly don't fit the intentionally vitriolically offered characterizations of you, without explanation being necessary.

As for the troll himself, either he already knows it as well and is just getting a rise out of the people here (class troll), or is too far gone for it to be worth an explanation that will never sink in.

Either way, it's wasted keystrokes, so as someone who regularly deals with trolls across half a dozen internet forums, my advice is just to not waste the effort. More than likely this person is acting the way they are precisely TO run you guys around in circles and waste your time, and not because they're actually trying to converse.

There is nothing you can type in opposition to them that will fail to achieve their goal, because every keystroke you throw out them in objection is a keystroke they intended you to waste trying to parse through and response to intentional inanity, so just don't give them the satisfaction.

David Brin said...

Corey, typing out a manifesto like that one I just posted is always fun. I got a righteous endorphin rush doing so. Fun.

Anyway, it was good practice for you guys. Just wait till I post my Ayn Rand piece in a few days! We'll be swamped with ... visitors.

Corey said...

The good kind of tears, I hope!

This place is troll-free for -hopefully- another few posts :)


Actually, all things considered, I see far fewer of them here than most place. It's a credit to the community.

Corey said...

I look forward to that essay, if only so I can send it to my grandfather, who just recently finished reading Atlas Shrugged to try to gain insight into the Tea Party. He'll get a good kick out of it!

The funny thing is that after reading it, he said the same thing Larryhart did, using the exact same wording! He said he felt like he needed a shower afterward.

Papyrus Skin said...

http://pastebin.com/gm2UV08D

INTRODUCTION AND PREAMBLE

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for the Citizens of a Nation to petition their own Government for a redress of grievances, the People have a duty to exercise their rights under the First Amendment collectively if they so choose. To this end, We the People hereby assert our right to peacefully assemble and petition our Government for redress when we feel that this is our best, and perhaps only remaining option to seek remedies.

We affirm that any lasting and workable solution must reach beyond mere politics, that political issues do not matter at a time when our collective voice has been nearly silenced. We believe that the current political climate has caused a paralysis of our Government. We find that our individual opinions mean little when we are no longer being properly represented. In fact, we believe that the Balance of Power between the Branches of our Government has been corrupted to the point where it can answer only to members of an affluent and politically active upper class. The impending result of this imbalance is that government of the People, by the People, for the People has almost perished from Our Nation. We believe that government has been influenced by an external source that has conspired to control it to the point of stalemate. We believe that this was forced upon us by "special interests", corporations, lobbyists, the banking and the financial sector including Wall Street and the Federal Reserve, who together have used unrestrained financial leverage leading to the corruption of many politicians, regardless of their political party, resulting in great damage to the People and to this Nation.

Papyrus Skin said...

Watching this video as if it was an SF flick set in a Galaxy far, far away, which side would you be cheering for?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_detailpage

sharksinthegenepool said...

It's a rare day that telling people to grow up has that effect, even when that may indeed be what some need to do. It's more likely to strengthen the resolve of the very people you say we need, which seems rather counter productive to your goal of seeing Obama re-elected, does it not? The 'grow up' gambit isn't a wise course of action, and I'm assuming you understand human nature more than enough to know why. Obama ran on "Hope and Change" (focus tested slogan that it was, but I digress), not on the motto "Vote for me, stupid".

I remember in the 90's when I saw my friends drifting to the Green Party, and watching as the Democrats told them to grow up too. All it did was harden the position of those people, that human nature I speak of rearing it's head. Arrogance and condescension are the wrong tactics to win people over. Yeah, it feels good to say it, but let's not kid ourselves, all it really amounts to is ego fapping. And hey, I've been guilty of it too in the past, but I've also learned my lesson. You catch more flies with honey, and all that jazz. If you want people on your side, I'm open to hearing how insulting them achieves that?

If your real desire is to insult people behind the cloak of political logic I can see why the approach is adopted, but I suspect that's not really your style. So why use it? Do you feel these people are already past your reach and can't be persuaded by your logic? That's selling yourself short. Do you feel they're too stupid to understand you and your points? That's selling them short. Isn't undermining your own goal for an easy and gratuitous shot the immature act? And if I tell you to grow up what would be your reaction? "You're right, internet poster, I should grow up!" We both know that wouldn't be the reaction coming forth from you (and rightfully so).

Having said all that, love your blog here, love your books, and keep up the great work.

Tony Fisk said...

SIGP: that'd be right. We normally receive alternate views a little more tolerantly. What you've just seen doesn't happen that often (I think there's a history in this case)

@LarryHart. Yes I did check (couldn't access the blog itself, but got the RSS feed).

As a lead-in to the most recent piece of occupancy outrage, I will paraphrase a little further, and note that, when it comes down to wimps vs barbarians, sometimes the wimps do win (warning, contains some scenes with high indignoholic* content)

*As in: Ye gods! Is that a police force you've got over there, or mercenaries from a pest control company?

Tony Fisk said...

I see Papyrus Skin beat me to it.

Yeesh! All they need are the white uniforms... like in NYPD?

Shame on you indeed, and I think those concerned knew it (except for the swaggering slob with the bug spray... who's still swaggering at the end, although some of his buddies are looking a bit chastened: not necessarily a good thing given the ordinance they're packing)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

for the best dose of allegorical libertarianism, folks should read Kurt Vonnegut's HARRISON BERGERON.


From the same short-story collection, Vonnegut's "Deer in the Works" is a good illustration of what one gives up for the security of corporate employment. And this was written in the 1950s.

As to the zombie troll, I've heard you speak of that one before, but he appeared before my time, making it hard to recognize by speech patterns alon. And that may be the case for others here as well.

As a prominent libertarian, you probably know better than I do that an unfriendly posting about Ayn Rand will let slip the trolls of war.

LarryHart said...

Corey:

The funny thing is that after reading it, he said the same thing Larryhart did, using the exact same wording! He said he felt like he needed a shower afterward.


Is he a fan of "The Simpsons"?

Because "I need a drink and a shower" is a Mayor Quimby line that I use a lot. Maybe he does too.

As to the troll...it's easy to be goaded into a shouting match, but it's also fairly easy (with experience) to learn not to do that. When I do respond, it's for the benefit of third party observers. I trust that what I have to say and what he has to say will each stand on their own merits. I feel no duty to respond to accusations like "Non-responsive!" because I'm not playing his game.

I found it hilarious that he THREATENED to counter my Krugman quotation with his own Paul Ryan quotation. I'd be more than happy to see the two sitting side by side, letting any observer make his own judgement about which is spot-on and which is gibbering insane.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

SIGP: that'd be right. We normally receive alternate views a little more tolerantly. What you've just seen doesn't happen that often (I think there's a history in this case)

I think that "sharksinthegenepool" was discussing Dr Brin's use of the phrase "Better still, grow up!" at the end of the MAIN POST.

And he just may have a point. Just sayin'

LarryHart said...

Concerning the video of the UC-Davis pepper spraying...

Wow!

Anyone who thinks "these kids today" are too self-centered and conformist just isn't paying attention. Seriously, I'm ashamed of myself for NOT being on a front line somewhere.

Do we finally avoid 1789 by reliving 1775? The spirit of Lexington and Concord lives on indeed.

Paul451 said...

Although our hero, Nocomme1, has galloped away to slay other Enemies of Truth, I would like to note one of his last emissions, especially for any readers who haven't publicly joined our mutual mass debate:

"Wealth is in fact dynamic, people going up [and] down the economic ladder with great frequency."

This is apparently a Fox & co meme. (Like calling any wealthy Democrat a "Hypocrite". Krugman has covered both recently, have a look at his blog.)

When you draw sharp lines between income brackets, ie, exactly $100,000/yr, you get a percentage of people moving between brackets each year. And the narrower you draw the brackets, the higher the rate of change.

See the trap yet? The people who change brackets aren't moving far. People might drop just below or rise just above the $100,000/yr bracket, but they aren't moving quickly.

When you stop looking at movement across a line and instead look at the amount of change per year for the average person, the apparent churn of wealth becomes a ripple. (And I'd love to see that average over time, too, if anyone knows a source. Have policies that have benefited the 1% over the last 30 years, and the 0.1% in the last decade, also slowed the rate of genuine wealth exchange?)

But the meme is trying to create the impression that the rich don't stay rich, therefore you don't need to be jealous. (**) And especially that the poor don't stay poor, therefore if someone is poor, maybe it's their own fault. Telling a misleading "truth" in order to make your audience believe a lie, in order to lead them to a blame-the-victim conclusion. Classy.

(** Speaking of memes: When the rich criticise the rich, it's "hypocrisy", when the poor do it, it's "jealousy". Neat, huh?)

(cousnes: The degree of cous. Couscous has a cousnes of 2.)

Paul451 said...

Corey,
"Paul, I think you actually just cornered the troll and made him go away."

Awww. I know people say you're not supposed to feed-the-trolls, but I've never agreed with that. Taking the troll's claims at face value is, IMO, fun and useful. As Larry said, "for the benefit of third party observers".

It's like the CvsE debate. I think you should "teach the controversy" in science classes. But that means the version on the protest t-shirt. Ie, teach all the pseudo-science. Show why they're different from science, and especially from real scientific disputes. Show how we got from there to here. The fear of Creationists means you can't even teach Creationsism as a cautionary tale.

--

sharksinthegenepool,
Re: "Grow up"

I'm surprised how many self-identifying lefties have been so thin skinned about those two words in David's entire essay.

"rather counter productive to your goal of seeing Obama re-elected"

Can you show where David has claimed or implied such a goal?

--

Papyrus Skin,
Re: Shameonyou shameonyou youcango youcango

Is this swarming, surrounding tactic new? It's the first time I've seen such a clear win for protesters once police decide to break up a line.

(squittl: always too many Frankensteins, not enough Igors.)

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

(** Speaking of memes: When the rich criticise the rich, it's "hypocrisy", when the poor do it, it's "jealousy". Neat, huh?)


When Herman Cain or Clarence Thomas (or Bill Cosby for that matter) criticize other blacks, that's not called "hypocricy". In fact, it's supposed to give their criticism EXTRA credibility that they dare to stray "off the plantation".

The right-wing flip-flopping on the rules of legitimate debate only work because their audience has the attention span of a flea, and can't remember that they were actually at war with Eurasia five minutes ago.

LarryHart said...

Paul451 to sharksinthegenepool:

"rather counter productive to your goal of seeing Obama re-elected"

Can you show where David has claimed or implied such a goal?


It DOES seem to be what Dr Brin is getting at, at least given the choice that it will be Obama or a Republican. The whole reminder about the Supreme Court and all.

LarryHart said...

Concerning the UC-Davis protest again, here's the quote I imperfectly referenced before. It's from a Captain American comic book in early 1942, when the outcome of WWII was hardly a foregone conclusion:


"Tell Hitler that or freedom has been threatene before and we're still around to tackle anyone who thinks he can take it from us now! He and his loot-crazed barbarians will find the farmer of Lexington and Concord still very much alive in teh spirit of every modern American!"


I saw that spirit very much alive on the UC-Davis campus. To paraphrase our First Lady, I've never been more proud to be an American.

LarryHart said...

Stupid sticky keys! Let's try this again:

"Tell Hitler that our freedom has been threatened before and we're still around to tackle anyone who thinks he can take it from us now! He and his loot-crazed barbarians will find the farmer of Lexington and Concord still very much alive in the spirit of every modern American!"

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"at least given the choice that it will be Obama or a Republican. The whole reminder about the Supreme Court and all."

That's a fair call.

Okay, my apologies, sharksinthegenepool.

(apholoc: Rendered writeless by rage.)

rewinn said...

In regard to our recently departed zombie troll ("Dr Brin breathes air and yet he complains about air pollution. Hypocrite!!!!) I regret being to slow to feed it "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

There is no educating someone who denies the possibility of being wrong (the "Empty Teacup" effect), but there is always comedy!

====

About "...Is this swarming, surrounding tactic new?..."
...IIRC the swarming tactic was what lead to the Mario Savio speech so long ago. Ironically, he could make the very same speech today on the plaza named after him. Jack Weinberg should be studied as the ancestor of Occupy Everywhere.

rewinn said...

@Paul451 -

With great respect, your analysis w/r/t to wealth/income movement through income brackets doesn't go far enough.

If roughly 300 million Americans have some amount of income or wealth (positive or negative), and we define the same number of income brackets, then can you doubt that over 99.44% move with up or down in their treshundredmillardtile income bracket ... every year?

Income/wealth Brownian movement proves the system is working!!!

Corey said...

Larryhart:

"I found it hilarious that he THREATENED to counter my Krugman quotation with his own Paul Ryan quotation. I'd be more than happy to see the two sitting side by side, letting any observer make his own judgement about which is spot-on and which is gibbering insane."

You know, your prediction link does just about that. In fact, it does one better!

Anyone can, in a verbal debate, make it sound like they're correct, rationalize a point of view, make claims about how things should work, or post-rationlize how things end up working, but at the end of the day, there's only one way to test a model: With a prediction.



The actual study is here: http://www.hamilton.edu/news/polls/pundit

For reference.



It's clear that modern US conservatives, at least of the vein that dominates today's GOP, can't successfully make predictions and it should be no surprise.


These people use the basic method for creating and using models backward:


First, they start with their conclusion, "government is evil, and assume it true.

Then, they see model of a given aspect of the world they'd have to construct to support their conclusion.

Finally, they look at how the evidence would have to be for that model to work.



Run that conservative approach in reverse, and you get something pretty close to the Scientific Method.



Since they start with their conclusion, and work back to the evidence, of course when they try to make predictions they're not going to come true.

That inability, contrasted with the accuracy of someone like Krugman, should be be all the evidence of how well the relative approaches work.

Ken Burnside said...

Dr. Brin:

No worries about coarseness. I don't expect you to agree with me all the time, or to agree with you all the time. I come here to get some of my assumptions challenged, and to reason through things, not to spout talking points, or have them spouted back at me.

If I want to watch mindless parrots, I can turn on any political commentary shows. If I want to watch parrots who can reason about their surroundings, I'll go to the ornithology lab here and spend some time with a few African Greys...

One of the lines that I deleted from my original post before submitting was this:

"I think that on the whole, the US government should be taking in somewhere between 19 and 22% of the GDP, with the high points during recessions, where it's spent fast, and spent on contracts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. We are currently taking in somewhere between 15 and 16% of the GDP, and that 4-6% shortfall is largely sitting in company cash reserves waiting for times to 'improve'."

I also, for what it's worth, consider Clinton from 1995 to about 1999 to be one of the best moderate "Republican" president we've had, regardless of what party he actually took the money from. He largely triangulated on this position in response to Gingrich.

He trimmed back a number of regulations (which created an immediate boost to the economy, but set the stage for the Wall Street compensation idiocy), dropped barriers to international trade (though in hindsight this was perhaps not as clever as it seemed in '94), and mostly meddled in the economy at the fringes.

I am not a Keynsian because I'm deeply skeptical about how money flows OUT of Washington. Been to too many Powerpoint orgies, and know more about the Navy's LCS project than I want to.

Keynsian economics tries to make a virtue out of a political spoils system. It also greatly accelerates the accumulation of power in centralized points.

The tax increases I want to see are on capital gains (because capital gains do not, in general, map to long term employment), and on the corporate tax rates.

The tax cut I want to see is simple:

In FY 2013, the employer half of payroll taxes gets a 100% reduction for business with 100 or fewer employees.
In FY 2014, this tax holiday goes to a 70% reduction.
In FY 2015, this tax holiday goes to a 30% reduction
In FY 2016, this tax holiday ends.

Some numbers to back up my assertions:

The NASB (National Association of Small Businesses) gives the following statistics:

1) 70% of working Americans work for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. 85% work for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

2) Those businesses make up about 60% of corporate income taxes. Corporate income taxes are about 38% of the Federal revenue base, so those small businesses represent 0.6 * 0.38 = 22.8% of the Federal income base. [Note that the payroll tax being cut is counted against personal income taxes by that accounting metric -KB]

The percentage of Federal revenues paid by small businesses may be higher than that - small businesses can't get as clever at using business loopholes as larger ones and we're dealing with suspect data here.

3) Historically - and drawing analogy from history is always suspect, because of undeclared variables - the businesses that build economic recoveries tend to be smaller ones. They are much more capable of absorbing new members of the work force and growing rapidly.

4) More small businesses get started in bad economic times. Starting a small business is better than mailing out resumes for no response.

Ken Burnside said...

Gedankenexperiment:

We have a substantiative body of court cases stating that employers have nearly untrammeled rights to monitor and surveil their employees at their place of employment.

Our elected representatives and their staffers are public employees.

Does the public not have the same untrammeled rights to video monitoring and real time surveillance on them?

Tacitus2 said...

I suppose I should be particularly annoyed with trolls, as they often spout semi conservative words before going off in a snit, middle finger raised high...

Here's how I approach discourse with my several liberal friends here. (or progressive, call yourselves whichever).

It's a little like going to the pub with my Scottish friend Kevin. He is a marvelous fellow, sort of a cross between Falstaff and Curley from the 3 stooges.

When we go into the pub I can understand about 90% of what he says (only because he is lowland Scot, those highlanders, eesh!).
With each pint of ale his level of animation goes up, and I understand 10% less of his conversation. I suppose he could be slandering me in there somewhere, but he sure seems like my same jovial pal. Because I do not suspect him of malice it matters less, trying to figure out what he means is just part of the fun.

Oh, and you do have to know which subjects to avoid when he is in his cups, and even a few that make the hackles rise when sober!

(Never mention Edward II around a Scot, ever!)

Tactius

sharksinthegenepool said...

Hey Paul, how are you?

I see that Larry (thank you, Larry) has addressed the point on Mr. Brin's seeming preference for Obama, which isn't meant as a knock. I voted for Obama for the exact reason Mr. Brin stated, the potential SCOTUS choices), so I think we're on the same wavelength there, and I thank you for the apology, though I have a pretty thick skin and don't mind tough or fair questions, and yours were fine.

But speaking of thick skin leads me to the point about the words 'grow up', and why I spoke about them. On a personal level they don't bother me at all. I'm very comfortable with who I am, and extremely hard to offend. While I am a somewhat far left liberal (somewhere between Democrat and Socialist, though I'm not registered as either), the point was it's use as a tactic in winning the minds of people to a side or cause you believe in, and as such it's a counterproductive one. As we can see right in this thread there are people who are pointing out that holding Obama accountable for continuing the very things they were holding Bush accountable for does not deserve the admonishment, and so it rankles, makes people defensive, and turns them away from doing the very thing we'd prefer to see them do. Believe me, there are times I want to say it to people all across the political spectrum, and I'm sure there are times when people want to say it to me. Like I say, I'm liberal, but I have issues with almost everyone lol.

Anyways, that was my only point, addressing it from a strategic angle, not a personal one. Mr. Brin, with his intelligent incision skills, could probably find a button or two of mine that he could push, but this wasn't it.

Take care,
Steve

LarryHart said...

Taditus2:

When we go into the pub I can understand about 90% of what he says (only because he is lowland Scot, those highlanders, eesh!).
With each pint of ale...


Are you sure you live in Wisconsin?

:)

I can't even count the distinct Britishisms in that part of one paragraph alone.

LarryHart said...

Incredible synchronicity here. I'm sitting with my daughter watching a video of a cartoon based on the Kirby video game character. The cartoon looks like its aimed at 6-year-olds--a little too babyish for my 9-year-old--but she likes the video game so she's willing to put up with the cartoon.

Anyway, in two separate episodes on the tape, the evil King Deedeedee has used his personal guard against the peaceful townspeople (including kids) for protesting his mistreatment of Kirby.

It's like they're re-inacting the scene from UC-Davis on the cartoon. I even got to use that as a teaching example--explaining to my kid how the authorities at UC were using the police as the bad guys in her cartoon.

Tacitus2 said...

LH, I will never pass for a native. But you do pick up a little here and there. For instance, in Scotland if you call somebody a "grafter" it is a compliment. Means they are a very hard worker.

Correct me if I am wrong, but does the term have a different meaning in Cook County Illinois.....?

Tacitus

David Brin said...

I am rooting for the republican machine to win in its fight against Illinois gerrymandering. I believe that will eliminate the last LARGE blue state doing the practice. It will then be in the dems best interests to wage war against gerrymandering, which has poisoned politics in America.


new posting.

onward

CombinatorialImplosion said...

>>No, she [Ayn Rand] hollers at Plato and screams at Marx... but was their truest disciple.

Apparently, you are not the only one who thinks so:

"Rand was broken by the Bolsheviks as a girl, and she never left their bootprint behind. She believed her philosophy was Bolshevism's opposite, when in reality it was its twin. Both she and the Soviets insisted a small revolutionary elite in possession of absolute rationality must seize power and impose its vision on a malleable, imbecilic mass. The only difference was that Lenin thought the parasites to be stomped on were the rich, while Rand thought they were the poor."

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2009/11/how_ayn_rand_became_an_american_icon.html

Careless said...

Yikes, Brin thinks that Clinton paid down the debt. Reality: the smallest deficit of Clinton's term was $18 billion. No surpluses for anyone since Eisenhower.

Robert's claims about Obama were the strangest I noticed in the thread. Aside from him never having been a professor of anything, he's been Bush with a more expensive, more unconstitutional health care bill and a much less expensive, very unconstitutional war.

No, he's not restraining himself to stay more within the law than Bush. The imperial presidency marches on.

Rob Perkins said...

Wasn't Obama a visiting law professor at one of the Chicago law schools?

careless said...

HE was a lecturer at UC. Not tenure track (a professor), although there are rumors they offered him tenure.

And that NYT article at the end is really, really bad. The contempt of almost all SCOTUS justices for the Constitution is bad enough, but things like Sotomayor's Heller perjury being a reason to reelect Obama? Terrible and disgraceful.