Thursday, March 30, 2017

Choosing sides -- fighting autarchy

Okay, this one will be reflective, if a little bit fierce. And see below how some folks are citing my novel The Postman as (alas) prescient about our current messes.

But let's start with news that could be important: let's pray this is the beginning of the end of an utter-evil insanity called gerrymandering.

See where I analyzed gerrymandering, for years.  There are countless ways to fix this vile crime and treason... including a few you'll read nowhere else. One approach would solve it without any need for "impartial commissions" or taking sovereignty away from state legislatures. 

There are half a dozen ways that three men -- John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch -- might decide to be Americans first, and to save us from the monstrously inexcusable.

== What is the nature of our ‘side’ in this Civil War? ==

"I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course. ... I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world."

That was Dan Rather, who bore witness to everything from the JFK assassination to the terrifying ructions of 1968, to Civil Rights and Vietnam torments, to Watergate, to near misses with incineration in the Cold War, to 9/11 and the surrounding miasma of lies. Indeed, even in 1968, there was still a “middle” in America wherein moderate democrats and moderate republicans tried to negotiate. Richard Nixon crossed party lines to establish the Environmental Protection Agency. Democratic Congresses modified, but then passed, budgets sent to them by Republican presidents.

Today’s great, national divide is entirely one of perception. The country that our new president described in his speech… one that is undergoing collapse and “carnage”… simply does not exist.  Not to any substantial or statistically significant degree, compared to past decades. 

Problems? We got. But every metric of U.S. national health has improved. Nor should we be lectured by a man and a party who did nothing to alleviate the problems of the unemployed or poor. (They are painfully aware of their accomplishment-free record; that's why only one republican leader between Reagan and Ryan was even mentioned during the recent GOP convention.)

No, our divide is very real, but it is psychological. There is one third of the American spirit that has swallowed memic poison. It’s not “left” or “right” but a paranoia that will not respond to facts. That rejects facts. That is enraged by facts and all of the professions that use them.

And to be clear, the left contains some of this ilk! Just as today's US right consists of fact-evaders and suppressors. See: Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

As for the inevitability of feudalism... well, the odds have always been against us. It's almost a miracle that a few generations of humans were able to rise above ourselves for this long.

But there is a process to it, that I describe here and here.

Have hope.  We are not lesser men and women than the 'Greatest Generation.'  We can do this.

== Targeted propaganda ==

Oh, but the forces arrayed against our great, anti-feudal experiment are formidable. "The conservative Koch network plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million to influence politics and public policy over the next two years, intensifying its nationwide efforts in the initial years of Donald Trump's presidency." This after spending roughly a billion across the 2nd Obama term. And the Saudis spent about the same... and none of this mentions Muscovian meddling.

An expert troller who helped get alt-right rolling talks about the reverse psychology methods that have worked so well for that scurrilous festival of provocations and lies.

Okay, but all of this has gone nuclear. It's gone to the matrixes.

Affliliated with Steve Bannon and alt-right, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible and nearly impenetrable Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. The Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine has become the new prerequisite for political success in a world of polarization, isolation, trolls, and dark posts, as Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath report in Scout.

 "We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump's extraordinary win. --- At Cambridge, we were able to form a model to predict the personality of every single adult in the United States of America." - Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander James Ashburner Nix; quoted on Vice's Motherboard blog.
   
"[Our approach] could pose a threat to an individual's well-being, freedom, or even life." - Michal Kosinski, researcher apparently behind (but not part of) Cambridge Analytica's processes; ibid

Ohh and know this: that Trump strategic advisor Steve Bannon is on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica - right? Now you get it.

== Preventing Autocracy ==

Worst case scenario. We are seeing a calamitous failure of the entire democratic experiment. I don’t believe that — not yet.  I think the oligarchic putsch has made a big mistake by attacking our professional classes and intel and military officer corps. 

But I could be wrong. In which case, we will have to study from those who have lived under despots and learn the arts of resistance.

Consider these bits of advice in: “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” by Masha Gessen.  

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.
Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule #3: Institutions will not save you.

I am still a sucker for this one.  But go read what she says, anyway.

Rule #4: Be outraged. In the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation.

History supports this. Democrats always always try to negotiate, while the GOP has become the most tightly disciplined partisan machine in American history, utterly hewing to the “Hastert Rule” (concocted by their former speaker and leader and convicted sexual pervert and child-predator, Dennis Hastert) to never, ever negotiate in good faith. DP Congresses always meet Republican presidents halfway. GOP Congresses never do that with Democratic presidents. But today, “halfway" is still utterly insane treason.

Rule #6: Remember the future.

Says this deep futurist… amen.

A fan and fretful American just sent me this excerpt from my novel, The Postman. There are others. Lesson: no matter how low this goes. Remember you are the noblest kind of human ever created. Citizen.

Judo teaches you how to fall!  And roll and come back up fighting.

== The next round of protest ==
Will the coming scientists’ march be effective or counterproductive? This author on Slate asserts that Culture War is so locked in that the marchers will only be preaching to the democratic base. That the GOP is already so hostile to science that the marchers will only nail in place Red America’s suspicion that all scientists are partisan lefties. 

“In a post-election analysis at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver found that Trump held a 31-point advantage in the nation’s least-educated counties, while Clinton held a 26-point advantage in the best-educated ones—and concluded that income explained only part of this effect.”

Daniel Engber further asserts: “In the same way that fighting the War on Journalism delegitimizes the press by making it seem partisan and petty, so might the present fight against the War on Science sap scientific credibility. By confronting it directly, science activists may end up helping to consolidate Trump’s support among his most ardent, science-skeptical constituency. If they’re not careful where and how they step, the science march could turn into an ambush.”

But Mr. Engber misses the point. Science and journalism are not isolated cases. 
Indeed, an you name for me one fact-using profession of knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox & its cohorts?  Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors…. 

In fact there are three educated clades not under open attack by the Murdochian-Confederate cult.  Can you name them?

Fighting the rising madness...

In his Vox article, David Roberts defines “Tribal Epistemology” to mean “evaluating facts, information, and narratives primarily on whether they are advantageous to the tribe in their war against the opposing tribe (in this case, liberals).

Tribal epistemology is inherently hostile to institutions that claim independent authority based on trans-partisan norms and standards — the academy, science, and journalism, in particular. They see those institutions as tools of their enemies.” 

In the case of Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, the purpose of science is to concoct justifications for already chosen social or political agendas.  Donald Trump is the sole reliable source of truth, says the chair of the House Science Committee. 

And now, more scientists are planning to run for office. For more on science intersecting with politics, see How to Win the War on Science, by Jonathan Foley, as well as Will the Science Community Go Rogue Against Donald Trump?

Norman Spinrad can see the horizon.  Like me, he reads a little farther ahead… as in his new book The Peoples’ Police, in which the cops, long viewed with suspicion by the left, are finally welcomed into a coalition of the loyal and sane, against the rising madness.

== And finally: The Short Straw Democrats ==

I've suggested this before and will repeat it. Donald Trump is about personality disorders, not ideology!


Today he declared war on the GOP's Freedom Caucus -- the 30+ Republican Tea Party radicals who torched Paul Ryan's "Obamacare replacement" bill.  Putting aside the obvious glee of pundits, Trump's move offers an opening for what I call "short straw democrats."

The principle is simple. Trump responds ferociously to those who dislike him and warmly to those who say nice things. Period. Full stop. There is nothing more. There is nothing less, or left or right. Or anything else.  So let me repeat it.

Donald Trump responds ferociously to those who dislike him and warmly to those who say nice things.  Period.

And hence, Democrats should hold a caucus to draw straws. Those with short straws must say nice things about Donald Trump.

This does not demand betraying principles! Your stances and votes can all remain the same! But you'll simply and deliberately end any statement about the president with a compliment. For example: "While I respectfully disagree with the President on this and a myriad other issues, I will admit that he is among the best-looking leaders this nation ever had."


Will the pandering be obvious? Sure! Will there be nods and winks? Uh-Huh. Will Hannity & Co. scream denunciations? Yep! And Trump's inner circle will rail at him to ignore the blatant manipulativeness of the other side's "short straw" volunteers.

But it won't matter! The compliment will stick in DT's head, where facts and policy positions do not. He will invite the complimenters to dinner, to golf. He'll listen. He'll sway.


Surely there are a few Democrats with the intelligence and strength of character and stomach to do what clearly must be done?

Well.  No.  I guess we've seen the answer to that one.

45 comments:

TheMadLibrarian said...

On the plus side, the SpaceX rocket lifted off smoothly this afternoon, the reused booster performed flawlessly, and they brought it back to the barge for reuse again. Whoda thunk you could recycle rocket engines like soda cans?

Antonym said...

At this point I think the "grand strategy" is what to do when the final set of shoes drop and Trump gets nominated for an orange jumpsuit. Obviously Pence is the theocratic wet dream and he will no doubt try to play the innocent bystander. The real goal has to be a national realization that this was not really done to us by vengeful Russkies. It was the handiwork of a slice of the American electorate that did not learn it's lesson with Junior Bush. This 5th Column needs to be called out and Punished. The North screwed up by not dropping a box full of hammers on the Confederate States after Lee's surrender. I'm not suggesting a literal firing squad (that every Confederate officer over the rank of captain should have received) but more of a metaphorical decision to never entrust that segment of America with any power ever again. Non of this "oh poor working white people" nonsense. Ww told them they were making a big mistake and they made it anyways, mostly to spite us.
One great symbolic "FU" to the Confederacy would be an update to the Voting Rights Act that returns the franchise to all the black men locked up for nonviolent drug offenses.

Ending Gerrymandering of the House would be great, but we must also tackle the Senate. In this case I think we should pull any dirty trick against the Confederacy. Statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C. would be a good start.

One thing to note is that the Koch Konfederacy has been slowly cooking up a scheme to call a Constitutional Convention to ratify a new Aristocracy. Here is where some of our illustrious host's Judo comes in handy. Let the Red States be successful in calling a Convention just before a wave election and a concerted effort to take over statehouses allows the Union to take the helm in re-writing our legal foundations.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Catfish N. Cod said...

On the "short-straw" idea: The question is whether Lord Maralago decides that he's being mocked, or gets told by those at his elbow that he's being mocked... or his preferred sycophants in the media (Fox, Breitbart, his favored Twitterers) that he's being mocked. Or that Russia plants that idea. Testimony at today's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing indicated that the fake-news agriculturalists continue to plant stories specifically targeted to attract Lord Maralago's attention. (I only learned today that Maralago was donated in 1973 specifically to be a Southern White House, but neither Nixon, nor Ford, nor Carter wanted it, so it was returned and sold off... to its present owner.)

But it might not be a bad strategy for one of the adults in the Senate to try... of either party. I still have faith that there are those in the ranks of the GOP Senators who will assist in staying this madness. Are there enough, though? Of that I am not sure.

The answer to the computational minions of the House of Mercer is obvious; you have stated it yourself, Dr. Brin. Light! Psychohistory is useless when its predictions are known; the power of prediction gives no advantage when anyone can wield it. The personality prediction market must be democratized. Software scales readily, and the data are evidently out there for the taking. The work is readily reverse engineered; Cambridge Analytica was not the first to take it, and the rest of the data points were acquired on open markets.

There must logically be a second price point, rather than the payment of ultra-high fees by ultra-exclusive clients for this power. A low point, where the results can be mass produced and available to anyone for a modest fee. Heck, psychiatrists and psychologists would love to have this degree of knowledge about their clients... and unlike corporate or political interests, these practitioners have deep legal and ethical boundaries on how they use the information. Thank God the masters of this enterprise were capitalistic; they were trying to sell themselves, not be Second Foundationists (who would try not to even reveal their existence).

The disruption has already begun, as French and German voters are actively aware that Russian propaganda efforts are attempting to install puppets against their nations' wills. But this is not enough. To surmount this challenge -- not only to democracy, but to human autonomy -- people must be able to take command of the use of their own personality: know thyself, and control how thee might be manipulated. It need not be much. A small set of controls on Facebook's settings, similar to those that control privacy, adjusted to tone up or down the political 'bubble' effect. An active tool that pulls in stories targeted to be reasonable, or against your views but not attacking them, or that align to some of your beliefs and not others. Heck, this was in EARTH -- an 'agent' program that had a frobbable 'surprise factor' built in.

Humans like to have their prejudices comfirmed. But also, humans do not like to be fooled. Microtargeting is one big effort at deception and control. Will some desire to take the blue pill, stay hoodwinked, believe what they want to believe and remain puppets of those with better analytics? Sure. But enough will reject such outright.

Our salvation will come from a Red Pill Factory.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know where a lot of Trump voters came from, read this:
http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/rural-america-understanding-isnt-problem

He knows what he's talking about.

David Brin said...

No-o-o-o! "Flynn Will Testify in Exchange for Immunity." Sure... but not at first! Subpoena him and have one day of him pleading the Fifth, before the cameras. THEN immunity!

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/42776-breaking-flynn-will-testify-in-exchange-for-immunity

David Brin said...

Antonym, the box of hammers would have been wrong. But the Union should have taken half of the land of anyone who owned a slave, and given it to a consortium to benefit both poor enlisted veterans and ex-slaves, equally. 3/4 if you owned more than ten. 90% if more than 20. And all of it if you stayed home while others fought for your oligarchic-feudal privilege.

Jumper said...

I don't know about the short straw plot. It's on the internet now and will be noticed.

Good lord, Brin; you're not invisible! Far from it!

Tim H. said...

Dr. Brin, Yes, if Lincoln had lived, reconstruction might have happened like that, instead of learning hardest on those least at fault, leaving smoldering embers to trouble us to this day..

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

Not to mention that Flynn seems to think that Dems who want immunity must have done something bad.

Regarding S.J.Res 34, I got a listen on the radio on this. The hosts were nattering on about whether people wanted targeted ads. I managed to call in and said that targeted ads were a very, very narrow view of this. The expert explained that he was most probably in denial about the nefarious uses the information could be put to. My reading of parts of the resolution, admittedly with this in mind, would seem to indicate that someone could in essence buy not just your browsing history, but every byte you send and receive over the internet. So the question becomes, "Do you want everything you do on the internet displayed on a billboard in Times Square?"

Yes, I get that eventually there won't be any privacy of any sort. But I certainly don't object to trying to slow down the process.

On the science front, a cow in Wisconsin set the record for most milk produce in 365 days -- 77,480 pounds. This is roughly 26 gallons a day. That's nice, but there's better news there. First, every farmer interviewed said that their primary concern is always for their animals' health. Sure, it could be taken as selfish because their herd provides their income, but I have relatives in that business, and that's just how it is. The second bit is that the farmer who owned the cow said that most of his business is actually in breeding. And while the award is nice, it's excellence that produces awards, not awards producing excellence. And that's from the middle of Trumpland. So at least there's common ground somewhere.

Russell Osterlund said...

The article, "The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine", is a very scary piece - remember what Hitler and Goebbels accomplished with only radio in their arsenal. I worry, too, about proliferation and when everyone decides they need the "bomb". What happens to our democracy then? Will MAD save us again?

locumranch said...


I'm still not sure what David is so desperate to save:

(1) Neither a republic or a democracy, the USA has been an Oligarchy for almost 35 years [http://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oligarchy-2014-4];

(2) The US Congress is an exclusive Millionaire's Club which is tied to & composed of the 1% [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_members_of_the_United_States_Congress_by_wealth];

(3) 'Normality' is a discredited concept as mental health statistics indicate that up to 54% of the US Population is 'mentally ill' by DSM5 criteria [https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealthsurveillance/fact_sheet.html];

(4) The concept of 'Average' (+/- SD) has also been thoroughly rejected by current equalist cultural doctrine [http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/normalcurve.htm]; and

(5) Our growing political divide cannot be healed by “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” as Rules 1 through 5 (especially 'Be outraged' and 'Don’t make compromises') are particularly divisive strategies.

Even the best our culture has to offer (as documented in David's last thread) are merely spectator sports -- the 'circuses' from 'bread & circus' -- designed to convince the Chauncey Gardener public that LOOKING at pretty astronomical pictures & gazing at well-crafted science fiction entertainment is almost as good as 'Being There'.

'Scientists on Parade' won't do anything to healing the growing socio-political divide, either. It will just PROVE that Scientific Identity Caste is firmly in the pocket (bought & paid for) of the current Oligarchic Bureaucracy, so much so that scientists will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

If anything, our Scientific Caste should be bending over backwards to demonstrate their political neutrality rather than their Pro-Oligarchic, 'Ra Ra' Status Quo, bias.

Finally, don't buy this falderal that Science & all its benefits can only exist or 'progress' within a certain politically enlightened climate. This is one of the biggest lies in history because Science doesn't (and has never) equalled 'social policy'.

The greatest thinkers of the Actual Enlightenment -- Galileo, Kepler, Newton & Leibniz to name a few -- did their best work under that old 'icky' Feudal system, and many argue that the Enlightenment ended & devolved into bloody revolutionary terror BECAUSE it threw "out the old authorities (in an attempt) to remake society along rational lines". [http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment]

NASA also made its biggest advances under direct autocratic military command, only to become the crap-fest it is now once reduced to underfunded civilian irrelevance.

And, even though you'd think it with all of weeping & wailing coming from the political left, modern technology didn't 'regress' when Trump was elected because ...

Social Policy does NOT equal Science.


Best

Jumper said...

The dog came in and barfed on the hardwood floor again. We're used to it and cleanup is not difficult. What was he eating? The thing that gets me is, for a moment he always looks sort of proud of what he did.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course. ... I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world." -- Dan Rather
Dan is probably too young to have seen FDR's inauguration, but the country was at similar levels of crisis then. Obama saw a very similar economic crisis, but it was largely not evident to the general public.
Then there was Abraham Lincoln...
I'm not going to make any pollyanna remarks about how America will muddle through this crisis too. I'm not at all convinced that it will. Too much of America is controlled by people determined to destroy it to their own benefit.
But don't give up.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin said, "Subpoena him and have one day of him pleading the Fifth, before the cameras. THEN immunity!"

I would add that they need to be extremely careful about the terms of the immunity. Congress effectively gave Oliver North immunity to perjury, and unsurprisingly the little reptile went under oath and lied his ass off. Flynn is a snake and not to be trusted, and there's always the possibility that this whole "immunity" story that has gripped the media is orchestrated by the Trump people in hopes of creating another nothingburger story they can disparage, as happened with the 2005 tax return thing.

Marshall Boice said...

In regards to Cambridge Anilytical Peter Watts is very meh about it.

http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=7193#comment-47194

Of course, he's coming from a biological point of view. I'm leaning more towards Dr Watts view, humans are wired to respond to "persuasion" more then logic but that doesn't make us necessarily puppets either. Which still makes me an optimist!

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Daniel Engber further asserts: “In the same way that fighting the War on Journalism delegitimizes the press by making it seem partisan and petty, so might the present fight against the War on Science sap scientific credibility. By confronting it directly, science activists may end up helping to consolidate Trump’s support among his most ardent, science-skeptical constituency. If they’re not careful where and how they step, the science march could turn into an ambush.”

But Mr. Engber misses the point. Science and journalism are not isolated cases.
Indeed, an you name for me one fact-using profession of knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox & its cohorts? Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors….


"First they came for the communists, and I didn't protest because I was not a communist..."

Mr Engber sounds as if he'd counsel going along with the Nazis because they haven't declared that they're coming after you just yet.

Scientists should be making it clear that science has become partisan, not because the scientists have changed but because partisanship has. It's also necessary to make it clear that "Reality has a liberal bias". If the counterargument is that you'll only make Trump supporters disdain reality, well, that train left the station a long time ago.

LarryHart said...

Apropos nothing, but at recommendations from this list, I am currently reading Heinlein's "Revolt in 2100". I'm not sure if this is made more explicit later in the book, but so far, several hints have been dropped that the resistance group is affiliated with Freemasonry. Mentions of "Divine Architect" and the like. One such reference--a mention of "Help for the son of a widow"--I would never have caught except for being a fan of the graphic novel "From Hell" about Jack the Ripper.

Jumper said...

Is there a secret Masonic online emoji?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

No-o-o-o! "Flynn Will Testify in Exchange for Immunity." Sure... but not at first! Subpoena him and have one day of him pleading the Fifth, before the cameras. THEN immunity!


From what I heard on radio this morning, the Senate committee rejected immunity.

If I were Flynn, I'd be wary of airplanes or fourth-story windows, and have a poison snooper on hand at all times.

David Brin said...

The cool thing about the "Short Straw Gambit" is it doesn't matter if it's known! Bannon will scream at Trump "its a trick!" It doesn't matter. If DT hears a smoothly sincere-sounding: "I disagree with the president... but he sure is good-looking," that is what his ego will hear!

And if the nation titters? Then that's good too!

==
Locumranch (note full name) is bandying his assertions in cogent and grownup-sounding tones and attaboy for that. Though just like Ted Kaczynsky and the alt-righters etc, he keeps thinking that waving a grand assertion makes it so. Roughly half of the assertions he just offered aren't just untrue, they are diametrically and demonstrably and laughably opposite to true.

As to the rest? Well. No one said the enlightenment experiment was easy. All of human history and evolution militates toward oligarchy. He proclaims the battle to already be lost. But if it were, why are the Russian, Saudi and American oligarchs fighting so hard? So frantically?

Because it's their last chance. All the trends in world education levels, memes and technologies of transparency mean that if they don't lock feudalism back in, it will be gone forever.

Sorry, son. Your dyspeptic moans may contain an element of truth... the tide may have turned against us, but I plan to maintain hope and go down fighting. It's better than being a cynical coward.

LarryHart said...

By way of warning, I expect to see many good-news stories tomorrow concerning the state of the presidency, anything from an announcement of bi-partisan impeachment proceedings, Trump and Pence joining the Democratic Party, or dozens of electoral votes discovered in a drawer in Waukesha, WI which make Hillary the real president.

Just remember what day follows March 31.

:)

sociotard said...

In defiance of Congress, the Navy has granted a retroactive promotion, back pay and a bigger pension to an admiral whom lawmakers forced to retire last year after multiple investigations found he had violated whistleblower-protection laws.

LarryHart said...

sociotard quoting:

In defiance of Congress, the Navy has granted a retroactive promotion, back pay and a bigger pension to an admiral whom lawmakers forced to retire last year after multiple investigations found he had retaliated against whistleblowers, records show.


I don't know who to root for. :)

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Larry
I do and it's NOT an admiral who misused his powers!

I would be inclined to take a very close look at the board that made that recommendation

In fact that sounds like a very good reason for a public investigation of the entire affair

To find out what in hell was going on
Was it an Admiral misusing his power?
Or Congress misusing their power?

Time for an investigation

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Was it an Admiral misusing his power?
Or Congress misusing their power?


It can be two things.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: "By way of warning, I expect to see many good-news stories tomorrow concerning the state of the presidency, anything from an announcement of bi-partisan impeachment proceedings, Trump and Pence joining the Democratic Party, or dozens of electoral votes discovered in a drawer in Waukesha, WI which make Hillary the real president."

By way of a cautionary tale, in 1998 I sent out a fake news report to my news feed that the judge in the Paula Jones case had just dismissed the case on the grounds that there was nothing there.A few people fell for it. A couple of more wrote stuff like, "Fuck, Zepp, don't you think any of us own a calendar?". As April fools pranks, it was kind of meh.
Except the very next day, my story actually came to pass.

I've been terrified of April Fools' pranks ever since.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

I was in college in 1982 when the campus newspaper did an April Fools headline "War In Middle East. Reagan Declares Draft!" As was typical of their April Fools editions, the entire front page was fake stories that looked real. Only if you looked closely, the date on the page was "March 32", whereas the rest of the (real) paper had the correct date.

That story was so written so believably (including details about the National Guard patrolling the Canadian border for deserters) that my brother and I thought we really were at war for quite some time. And I later heard tell of one unfortunate classmate who actually ran out to enlist in the army to get in ahead of the draft.

So yes, beware of pranks. Some of them have consequences.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Except the very next day, my story actually came to pass.

I've been terrified of April Fools' pranks ever since.


I glossed over this part of your post.

It was a recurring theme in the graphic novel "From Hell", which I just coincidentally referred to earlier today. "I made it all up, and it came true anyway".

Catfish N. Cod said...

As for sociotard's story: He may be getting that pension, but he still had to retire out. His career in the Navy is still over, and it was for his disregard for whistleblowing. Since making that point was the whole reason Congress dogpiled on him, is the point sufficiently made? That seems to be the only question here.

The New Yorker article goes even deeper into how cynically the House of Mercer set things up to use resentment of elites -- including themselves -- to put Trump and their chosen agent, Bannon, into power. I wish there were a shorter version I could send all those conservative acquaintances who still labor under the delusion that they have accomplished a people's revolution. All they have done is elevate a couple of particularly opaque and noxious clans over the other Houses.

No, insisting on rule by the People is a harder and longer job than that. Even if it still truly does require having elites as allies. The House of Roosevelt filled that position, once. What powers shall stand in their place? I suspect a number of Silicon Valley types would...

And yes, Cambridge Analytica is blowing smoke when they claim to have a psychometric profile on each and every American. I speak with authority when I say that automated and un-curated Frankenstein databases of the type they would have built are notoriously buggy, incorrect, outdated, and pathetically incoherent. But it doesn't matter if they are the only players in the game, and if they're only right ten percent of the time, at a high enough volume that is enough.

That said, Marshall, your Peter Watts is annoyingly pessimistic and grouchy. That was interesting but I do not plan to frequent his site again.

Locum, as per typical, has cogent analysis of the problem and complete brain-deadness when it comes to solutions. He also is willing to sling statistics in improper ways: the CDC estimates 20-25% of the population carry a DSM5 diagnosis at any one time, because not all mental illnesses are permanent ones. Anyone can get depressed at some point in their lives, and most do, or know someone who has.

As for scientific neutrality: bah. That has been our efforts for decades on end. For the majority, as long as the center held, that was a reasonable goal, and it paid well. But when deep cuts are made, willy-nilly, based on nothing more than "we don't like you very much"... with no regard to the extraordinary financial returns that scientific investment makes, never mind other considerations... and with an Administration assaulting truth in the name of truthiness... no. They are the attackers, and science will defend itself.

But one point you make is cogent. Romanticism has its place, too. As I said elsewhere: nations are built of legends. America has always been a synthesis of Enlightenment reason with Romantic mythmaking. It is time to forge that synthesis anew.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

As I said elsewhere: nations are built of legends. America has always been a synthesis of Enlightenment reason with Romantic mythmaking. It is time to forge that synthesis anew.


A good place to start is..."Hamilton"!


Barack Obama:
Let me tell you what I wish I’d known,
When I was young and dreamed of glory:
You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.

Speaker Ryan:
I’ll give him this: his health care system is a work of genius.
I couldn’t undo it if I tried.
And I tried.

Majority Leader McConnell:

He took our country from bankruptcy to prosperity.
I hate to admit it,
But he doesn’t get enough credit
For all the credit he gave us.

...

TheMadLibrarian said...

Oh, myyyyy. George Takei is biting the bullet: he is moving his household to California so he can run for Senate there. It's almost enough to make me wish I lived in CA just so I could vote for him.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Takei would make a great replacement for DiFi, that's for sure. She supposedly is retiring at the end of this term. I do have one problem, though. He turns 80 next month. Even if his health is good, Will he still be up for the job when he's 87?

free movies download said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TCB said...

Takei: crusty old naval officer, served with honor on the bridge of the Enterprise. Many a scary scrape. Later on, a paladin on the front lines of the culture war.

Nunes, you are sooo toast.

matthew said...

Takei is planning on running against Nunes.

http://the-daily.buzz/a/george-takei-has-bombshell-announcement-and-washington-is-reeling?utm_content=inf_10_1163_2&tse_id=INF_4ef68720165511e798fc7bd31dd7c3e2

Not a avalanche of colonels - a wave of Lt. Commanders? ;)

LarryHart said...

*Sigh*

I tried to warn you.

locumranch said...



It's a given that social policy & science are correlated. It's acceptable to argue that scientific advances have led to, allowed & caused social liberality via excess production. However, it's absurd to argue that an excess-based liberal social policy has causatively created scientifically-mediated excess production in an 'a priori' fashion:

If P, then Q; If Q, then not necessarily Q.

George Takei is biting a bolster rather than a bullet by running for US Congress as this only proves my 'Being There' analogy wherein the average westener has become a blissfully ignorant 'watcher' rather than pragmatically aware 'doer'.

We spend & waste our scientific excess on liberal social policies, insisting on statistical equality for outliers, believing that we can violate the laws of conditional logic with impunity by simply 'wishing' Q into P, despite the knowledge that 'Social Policy does NOT equal AND cannot create Science".

We could be on Mars right now IF we had spent our excess on NASA rather than on transgender-friendly social welfare policies.


Best

LarryHart said...

the guy whose picture is next to "April Fool" in the dictionary:

If P, then Q; If Q, then not necessarily Q.

George Takei is biting a bolster rather than a bullet by running for US Congress as this only proves...


I'm sorry, but George Takei running for congress proves nothing (or by the laws of logic, perhaps implies everything) because it's an effing April Fools prank!

It's not even self-consistent. He can't be running for Senate and unseating Devon Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.


We spend & waste our scientific excess on liberal social policies, insisting on statistical equality for outliers, believing that we can violate the laws of conditional logic with impunity by simply 'wishing' Q into P,...


What exactly are large swaths of money being spent on that have anything to do with liberal policies?

We could be on Mars right now IF we had spent our excess on NASA rather than on transgender-friendly social welfare policies.


You mean if we didn't allocate (say) another $54 billion to the military? Those sorts of liberal policies? Read 1984 to see how resources are wasted in order to prevent their being available for improving people's lives.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

TheMadLibrarian said...

I just discovered the April foolery this morning. My face is red, but I might wish...

Dwight Williams said...

Yeah. "Congressman Takei" is a nice dream, but he's fighting the good fight on other fronts and it doesn't make sense to divert energy from those.

Ol Roger said...

I am very sorry and disturbed that scientists and technologist need to protest the ignorance of legislators. Elsewhere I saw post, supported by newaweek article that some (in Iowa) are proposing the fetuses which die after 5 months be carried "to term". this is unhealthy, sick, and ignorant. I am sorry that the country has come to this.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Just one small part of the utter awfullness of that bill is the question of how something that's DEAD is supposed to "come to term". Don't these lunatics understand what dead means?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people (especially the ones who only saw the film) thought that "Starship Trropers" advocated some sort of militaristic fascism. But it was not a political manifesto, it was also a "future history" describing what might happen at the end of WW3 when world government collapsed and soldiers and POW's were simply left stranded wherever they were.

In this alternate future, they were the ones to restore order and decided to make public service a prerequisite for holding public office. Think about all the draft-dodging assholes who have gone one to lead America into ruinous wars...

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