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The paranoid style in 2016

I like to keep track of US politics, because it's generally less traumatic to contemplate someone else's smoking wreckage than one's own house when it's on fire.

2016 is a Presidential election year in the United States, and I make no predictions as to the outcome. However, a lot of my friends and acquaintances are looking at the Republican party primary debates in slack-jawed disbelief and coming out with variations on, "OMG, we're doomed! Did he really say that?"

Well yes, in most cases he did. What we're seeing is the climactic efflorescence of tendencies that have been running in American right-wing politics for longer than I've been alive, so none of this is a surprise: but if you find it bizarre or confusing and want to know where it's come from, carry on reading.

In the earlier "Long-range forecast" thread, one of the regular commenters said, my human side wonders if the toxins can be sucked out and hatreds healed and works on that assumption. (Innocence-with-awareness).

I fear that her human side is wrong, at least in the short term, for values of "short" on the approximate order of my lifespan. I have two essays I'd like to cite, both by historian-journalists in search of the heart of [American] darkness.

The first one, by Richard J. Hofstadter, was published a month after I was born, so it's over 51 years old and predates Nixon's Southern Strategy: The Paranoid Style in American Politics. It tells you how deep some of the taproots of crazy go. The essay's a classic. In it, Hofstadter explores (per wiki) "political paranoia against Illuminism (intellectual subversion), freemasonry (corporate subversion), and the Jesuits (religious subversion), then progresses through U.S. politics to its contemporary (1950s-60s) modern incarnations of McCarthyism and the John Birch Society." (Note that the John Birch society was co-founded by Fred C. Koch. His children's political activities today should require no introduction.)

The second one is more recent. It's by Rick Perlstein, published in 2012, and it's all about the motives of the people who irrigate those taproots: The Long Con: mail-order conservativism. The key point is that the conspiracy tendencies Hofstadter pointed to in the 1960s are still around and in use to this day by opportunist hucksters who rely on Republican party mailing lists to milk donations from the gullible and frightened, just as televangelists use variant theology to solicit donations from their own flock of believers.

If you've read and inwardly digested these, and have an understanding of Altemeyer's book on Authoritarian Followers (wikipedia crib notes here), then you're equipped to understand how this deeply toxic meme complex perpetuates itself—or at least how it did so up to roughly 2007.

2007 is when the human species accidentally invented telepathy (via the fusion of twitter, facebook, and other disclosure-induction social media with always-connected handheld internet devices). Telepathy, unfortunately, turns out to not be all about elevated Apollonian abstract intellectualism: it's an emotion amplifier and taps into the most toxic wellsprings of the subconscious. As implemented, it brings out the worst in us. Twitter and Facebook et al are fine-tuned to turn us all into car-crash rubberneckers and public execution spectators. It can be used for good, but more often it drags us down into the dim-witted, outraged weltanschauung of the mob.

It turns out that when you take the old paranoid-style driven give-us-all-your-money mailing list scams (and their old-media spin-offs like Fox News and Clear Channel's talk radio shock jocks) and add telepathy, what you get is the whole festering stew of the Neo-reactionary movement, a scream of rage directed against the modern world. (Let's not forget that the ideological roots of the neo-reactionaries, notably Nick Land's writings on accelerationism, emerged during the late 1990s, not at all coincidentally at the same time that internet access among the western bourgeoisie was becoming A Thing.) When you add telepathy to the toxic stew of rejection of the Enlightenment legacy you get an ad-hoc movement of angry ideologues who have jabbed their fungal hyphae into the cerebral cortex of Reddit and n-chan to parasitically control the rageface collective.

Of course higher-order top-down parasites like the NSA, GCHQ, the Five Eyes and the 50-Cent Party have also noticed this fertile disinformation vector and are using it to provide evidence to justify their existing bureaucratic imperatives: and combat newer ad-hoc upstart rivals. Oh, and to drag it all in a circle, if you look at Da'esh and the Neoreactionaries? East is East and West is West and this is your face in a mirror.

But here's the key take-away: 2016 will be the first US Presidential Election where the outcome will be visibly influenced by telepathic broadcasts direct from the political id, with the more plugged-in candidates (cough, Donald Trump) speaking in tweets rather than TV-friendly sound-bites and making their play in real time to their audience reactions, much like the plot of a novel co-written by Neal Stephenson before he got famous. If you've wondered why Trump can say the things he says, it's because his core constituency want him to. If you want to know why Islamic State are so awful, you can find the answer in Hofstadter and Altemeyer's work—just add Islam instead of Capitalism as a guiding ideology. And if you want to know what the worst possible case outcome for the USA looks like (caveat: I think it's highly unlikely it'll go that far), now you've got the tools to figure it out for yourself. It looks kinda like Da'esh's caliphate, only with the NRA instead of religious police, Facebook instead of the Friday sermon after the call to prayer, and a surplus of unhappy zoned-out worker-consumer-units on tranquillizers.

436 Comments

1:

It is perilous to generalize from one example, but Justin Trudeau was not expected to do well in the recent Canadian federal election. Winning with a majority came down pretty much entirely to understanding social media (and being able to force their campaign to be structured on the basis of that understanding.)

In the age of telepathy, being understanding how to campaign with telepathy looks like a decisive advantage.

Anybody but Trump understand social media in the GOP field? In the presidential race as a whole? (Bernie doesn't; someone on Bernie's campaign staff does.)

Then there's the accepted metric that the economy in the 2nd quarter predicts the success of the incumbent party; that economy isn't looking like it's going to be good. (It might be in the "smoke still rising from the crater" stage.)

The expected pro-democratic demographic trends aren't materializing, mostly because voter suppression works and contact with non-whites radicalizes whites and increases their rate of political participation. (Fear makes you stupid. As an added bonus, there's no guarantee you fear the correct thing.)

So I figure it's very likely Trump will win.

2:

For an understanding of the current Republican nominations, I recommend Inside the Clown Car Race by Matt Taibbi, and his follow-up 'The GOP Clown Car Rolls On'.

Taibbi isn't a completely reliable narrator, but this is a sharp, witty, and concise explanation of the 2016 nominations campaign.

My own best guess is that they get a 'Brokered Convention' - no candidate gets the clear majority they need, and a formal process of vote trading progresses through several rounds until a candidate is selected.

THhis process is, of course, a matter of horse-trading, deals in smoky backrooms, blackmail and betrayal, orchestrated by the Party apparatchniks - who promise rather more influence than they actually deliver to the donors.

The result of alll this - if it happens - would be a candidate with a legitimacy deficit and *all* the losing candidates moving into the 'crazies' camp, with the campaign tactics, media attacks, and violence of those who fit the current definition of 'fringe' and 'crazy conspiracists' by recent GOP standards.

And, quite possibly, with Trump's monetary and social media resources.


3:

Assuming the economy is "business as usual" and there are no October Surprise/9-11 scale whoopsies between now and Q3, I'm optimistic that a sane candidate will win the White House race. Certainly in trying to capture enough of the Republican Party base to obtain the nomination, the contenders have given their eventual Democrat opponent a sackful of steaming turds to deploy as media landmines before them.

But. But. Let's suppose on November 9th we wake up to "President-elect Trump". What happens next?

He's going to have minders and managers, of course. The POTUS is front person for a team, not a single individual who runs everything. The real question is who runs the team. In 2000, the team was assembled and run -- from the presidential candidate down -- by Dick Cheney. Who is Trump's Cheney?

4:

Who is Trump's Cheney?

Quick, not fully awake answer: Trump Himself? I can't see him letting himself being led by the nose by anyone, especially someone smarter than him. I was tempted to say Ann Coulter, but. I see her more as Minister of Propaganda.

5:

Who is Trump's Cheney?

Trump.

There's pointing out that Trump isn't stupid, that Trump has spent a decade figuring out how to be accepted as an authority in a subject they're bad at (business; terrible business person, excellent marketer), and so on.

There's also pointing out that Trump is wretched at taking direction or collaborating. Dubya was very good at that part.

Think of it as the saltation point between a covert and an overt aristocracy; Trump's making the first overt-aristocrat run for the presidency.

6:

My take is that Hillary is at the peak of her popularity.

There are nobody in USA who hasn't made up their mind about her at least once already, and the few voters she can capture from now on, are the ones that are running screaming away from something perceived worse.

A lot of people have not even heard about Sanders yet, so he has a big potential upside, but unless he also wins a sane supermajority in congress to do all the heavy lifting, the current hostage-taking situation will just continue.

That's assuming that USAnians remember the lesson and elect a non-insane president again this time.

The Saudi fire-sale (IPO'ing ARMCO ?!) and bursting chinese bubble is surplus to requirements vis-a-vis crashing the global economy, which would make mockery of that already flimsy assumption.

If that crash happens before the primaries (as in: Tomorrow morning), there will be ample time to get Trump-jügend organized and armed before November.

With respect to the hand in the puppet, Trump is such a naked capitalist that I think he'll blatantly sell out to the highest bidder from case to case.

Wouldn't even surprise me if he did it with a TV-show for the big stuff and eBay for the small stuff.

And God forbid anybody of consequence gets killed right now, that could easily make the power-keg explode like a century ago...

7:

Hrm.

Does anyone know of a hedge fund that's into bomb shelter futures?

I'd like to make an investment ...

8:

He would not need a super majority, just the sense to have the filibuster taken out behind the barn and shot like old yeller. It isn't in the constitution, it's in the rules of order, so any senate majority can write it out at the beginning of a term.
And I think all the plausible candidates for victory are very likely to do this - Hillary bloody well knows, for a fact, that she will get no cooperation on anything. Bernie probably also sees this, and Trump would do it just because it's the obvious move to consolidate some actual power.

9:

Another grab-bank link that's relevant: Agnatology -- the deliberate spread of ignorance. (Long BBC in-depther. Specifically cites the Trump campaign of running on this principle.)

10:

There's also pointing out that Trump is wretched at taking direction or collaborating.

That might be an unsuccessful survival trait for someone in the White House.

11:

The filibuster is the extra-constitutional guarantee of white power.

It would be nearly impossible for a democrat to get rid of it. A republican could get rid of it to overtly replace it with something.

12:

oh good, the rare topic where I can claim expertise at - I've been a political organizer for most of a decade, interned for a member of federal congress, have worked campaigns on every level in every position, and spend about the equivalent of a full time job doing this in addition to my actual full time job (sleep is for the weak)

In 2000, the team was assembled and run -- from the presidential candidate down -- by Dick Cheney. Who is Trump's Cheney?

You are looking in the wrong place because you are making the wrong comparison.

If Trump wins you don't want to compare him to the Bush administration for a whole host of reasons - not the least of which that the "W was a moron, Cheney was the puppet master" meme is completely wrong and was a convenient political fiction.

The example you probably want to look at if Trump wins is Maine and governor LePage. You had a notable outsider come in to power an ran headlong into fact that politics takes some skill, knowledge, and manoeuvring. His administration has basically consisted of him saying outrageous things that play well with the id of rural Maine, while his actual agenda goes nowhere because he has no idea how to run the government, doesn't have or doesn't listen to those who could tell him, and has been getting his ass kicked up and down the court by the legislature who knows all the procedural ins and outs to get things done.

The OP analysis misses the big mystery this go around and the large factor that has thrown off so many conventional expectations - that the establishment hasn't put up a fight against the fools and nuts. By that I don't mean the candidates who are vying for the establishment mantle, like Bush, Christie, and Kasich, I mean the larger structural forces, organizations, and intersections of power have refused to come out and push back on the outsiders. They have been silent - we are weeks from the Iowa caucus and there is no bug spending push against the race leader; never mind the lack (outside of Virgina at the state party level; where one suspects they learned the lesson in the last gubernatorial race) at ratfucking him.

Instead it appears that the establishment has looked at the fact that top polling frontrunners have all been outsiders and nuts and wrote them off back in August (ignore the press hyping Rubio as "the establishment choice"; a good chunk of them are on payroll and instead look at the the complete absence of support for him from power players). None of them "smell right" in the sense that they aren't "one of them"; they don't have the establishment faith in their competence, agenda, or skill.

Instead the establishment is going to congress (the House, which they have a lock on) and going there for the new locus of power in the coming government. Paul Ryan is going to be the one setting the agenda for whomever is president. It was the proposal of the establishment a few weeks ago; this past week's retreat has basically solidified it. Paul Ryan will be laying out the policies and agenda for the President.

And I mean that for both sides, Clinton is already touting her ability to "work with Republicans" after calling them her enemies at the 3nd debate.

13:

The Koch Brothers.

Corey Lewandowski

Americans for Prosperity


But, on a wider scale:

Charles Kushner via Ivanka, aka Empire building. Interesting if you know his background, esp. with regards to other parties below.

Lega Nord Berlusconi offshoot; ties to [redacted].

Vojislav Seselj Ex Vice PM Serbia, potential war criminal

Milo Yiannopoulos Briebart, GG etc.

But that's mainly just people using Trump as a wink and nod that they want to be in the same club.

Trump has spent years courting Hillary and other Dems Politico, June 2015

~

Spoiler: Trump isn't actually running, it's a taste test for other stuff.

14:


And if you want to know what the worst possible case outcome for the USA looks like (caveat: I think it's highly unlikely it'll go that far), now you've got the tools to figure it out for yourself. It looks kinda like Da'esh's caliphate, only with the NRA instead of religious police, Facebook instead of the Friday sermon after the call to prayer, and a surplus of unhappy zoned-out worker-consumer-units on tranquillizers.

Disagree. It sounds like a good plot but is misses out on a lot of American structural forces and realities preventing it. Also, I think you are crediting Da'esh with more mass popularity than it really has in this analogy.

I think you want to look at a combination of Mississippi, Michigan, and Indiana for that.

* Mississippi shows the targeted organizing leads to a party breakdown along racial lines, but since political parties aren't a protected class and the SCOTUS has been tearing down disparate impact it isn't a problem to actively discriminate against them, down to open violence to keep them from the polls. In actual operations you new see the same thing, as certain committees and departments are now the "democrat" areas and others are the "republican" ones. And the duties, responsibilities,and authorities of the "democrat" ones are being replicated in "republican" ones as the "democrat" ones are having their budgets slashed and authority pared back. The net effect is you are starting to see a return of segregation in the government, with the minority places being separate and unequal

* Indiana shows the long term running of such a supermajority government. Kansas' fuckups aren't stable enough to take from (though note Brownbeck got put back in power from this same dynamic anyways) and Wisconsin hasn't been in long enough to show it over time (though you are already starting to see it) What we see from Indiana is a parting metrics from realities - unemployment is down but median wages are crashing. There is a budget surplus as infrastructure collapses leads to people going over 2 weeks without utilities in the capital. It is also taking point in the restriction on voting rights (voter ID started there, has been more and more restrictive since), the sell off of critical state assets (they were the first to start privatizing highways and toll roads, notable a core stretch of 80/94) and now a MASSIVE redefinition and expansion of Charlie's Martian Invaders - RFRA wasn't about bashing LGBT people; that was the selling point to the base. It was about a huge change in the rights and definition of corporate personhood and the ability to challenge laws and regulations based on a corporation invoking those rights. Note that RFRA 2.0 now has the same core expansion language, but has watered down "religious rights" language; but mixed in a bunch of "gun rights" language to try and get the popular base support for it. Also, look at their Department of Education and the fights there with their Education Superintendent; it is the same "separate on party lines, duplicate function, defund the original" in Mississippi.

*Michigan has the last key - the placement of emergency manager. The state now has the governor appoint officials to run municipalities over the local elected officials, who have the power to override decisions by the elected officials and fire them. If your response is to say "wow, that sounds like an attack on democracy" you'd be right and the people of Michigan agreed- they voted on a referendum to repeal that power. But the state legislature passed the law again, this time with a chunk of language that prohibits the populace from repealing it (a blurb they have been including in everything they have passed since as well). How are those managers working out? Well they knowingly poisoned an entire city with literal toxic waste for water. But the city was mostly black so there are unlikely to be repercussions because see what I noted with Mississippi and Indiana. You also have the emergency managers doing the liquidation of Detroit, another example of sell off of state critical assets.

I suppose you could mix in some elements of Ohio and Alabama here - mainly the point how after they required an ID to vote they shut down the places where you can get said IDs in minority majority counties; or Texas where IDs that correlate with Republican are accepted IDs (gun licenses, hunting licenses, etc) are allowed but things that correlated with being a Democrat (library card, student ID, non drivers license state ID, etc) are not acceptable proof for voting.

But the main things are the above - the worst case end state would be what we are starting to see: It starts with a racial party sorting. As the niceties of the public space are based around power to enforce said niceties rather than "oh yeah, lets treat people like they are human" the drop in power along racial and social lines. The other party then comes into power and boxes out the powerless even further, cementing their power. In places where they can't further undercut it they put in place emergency managers who trump any assertions of political power those spaces may make. With supermajority power and emergency managers, they then roll out massive expansions in oligarchic power and the liquidation of the public sphere. The middle class accelerates its evaporation as incomes drop and wealth is concentrated.

On a federal scale you either get gridlock, letting this continue unabated, or you get the GOP holding all the cards where they would accelerate this by bloc granting state funding (thus instead of dedicated programs those state strangleholds can spend the money however they want eg not going to minority/democratic areas). While reportedly the mass spying dragnet hasn't been used for political purposes yet (per Glenn Greenwald, so I'm inclined to take him at his word) I expect it is only a matter of time until that happens. Remember how Bush purged the US attorneys of Democrats and had the Republicans bring charges against democratic candidates in swing districts prior to the election? That will be back, plus the whole intelligence apparatus targeting and breaking up any organizing movements.

15:

The filibuster is the extra-constitutional guarantee of white power.

It was developed in an era before white power was even a concept because non-whites had no power.

It would be nearly impossible for a democrat to get rid of it. A republican could get rid of it to overtly replace it with something.

The biggest rollback in it came from the democrats just a few years ago.

16:

Another example of candidates using the twitter "telepathy" in their favor, but from the other side:

https://medium.com/@MattBors/the-gif-bite-election-34dfab84014#.cljto4wvh

It's not _just_ Trump. He's the most skilled at it, but a lot of the candidates are shifting their communication style to work best on social media. Gif bytes are interesting especially since they're pure reaction, pure emotion without any context, and candidates are aiming to be seen like that.

17:

He would not need a super majority, just the sense to have the filibuster taken out behind the barn and shot like old yeller. It isn't in the constitution, it's in the rules of order, so any senate majority can write it out at the beginning of a term.
The push for that will be coming from the House, not Trump.


And I think all the plausible candidates for victory are very likely to do this - Hillary bloody well knows, for a fact, that she will get no cooperation on anything. Bernie probably also sees this, and Trump would do it just because it's the obvious move to consolidate some actual power.

The Senate is still on track to be controlled by Republicans so no, Hillary and Sanders are unlikely to call for stripping away more of their party's power.

18:

.. That.. seems unlikely. The match up is going to be Trump v Hillary or Trumph v Bernie 80+ % chance. This implies conventional forcasting is going to be worth remarkably little, because the mobilizing factors are different from a "Mainstream republican v mainstream dem" race. In particular, a Trump V Bernie race is going to get absurdly wrong poll results unless the "likely voters" metric is drastically adjusted. And this is going to matter for downticket races a lot.

19:

"RFRA wasn't about bashing LGBT people; that was the selling point to the base. It was about a huge change in the rights and definition of corporate personhood and the ability to challenge laws and regulations based on a corporation invoking those rights."

http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2011/10/12/scotus-defines-personhood/

20:

The filibuster as it functions today, not as it functioned in the days when Supreme Court nominees needed unanimous approval.

Democrats rolled it back, yes, but they could not get rid of it because it's so strongly associated with guarantees of Southern white political safety, call it.

To a first approximation, no one in the US political establishment agrees that white supremacy is bad. The current demographic choice is democracy or white supremacy. The political system is busy picking white supremacy over democracy.

21:

I imagine there are a lot of people in the Republican establishment thinking along the lines of Grover Norquist a while ago - that they just need someone to sign the bills they send up.

So much potential for unpleasant surprises for everyone in there.

I think the VP and other staff members would make a big difference, not because they're Svengalis, but because Trump seems likely to just get bored with details. Where "details" means "not about Donald".

22:

The filibuster as it functions today, not as it functioned in the days when Supreme Court nominees needed unanimous approval.
As it functions today is a way for the party representing most minority interests acting to preserve the agenda of a non white President.

Democrats rolled it back, yes, but they could not get rid of it because it's so strongly associated with guarantees of Southern white political safety, call it.
They couldn't get rid of it because they went to do so in the middle of session. "Call it" all you want.

To a first approximation, no one in the US political establishment agrees that white supremacy is bad.
So you don't think John Lewis ever took a stand against white supremacy? Really? You don't think that if, say, the Secretary of Agriculture told the old "three things" "joke" that they would not be fired?

To the effect that the establishment has a lock on anything like this, they don't see it as white supremacy. They don't even process that as a thing. They see it as preserving their wealth, power, and control. Which, yes, flows from past active white supremacy and existing structural blocks. But they don't frame it that way and thus pursue it with a different agenda.

The current demographic choice is democracy or white supremacy.
No it isn't. I strongly suggest you take a look at US history and the fluidity of race; plus look at how must people like Rahm Emmanuel push democracy. Or even how politicians who do push against structural white supremacy typically don't do so through honest democratic means.

The political system is busy picking white supremacy over democracy.
You are assigning agency to a legal structure. That is a mistake.

23:

I imagine there are a lot of people in the Republican establishment thinking along the lines of Grover Norquist a while ago - that they just need someone to sign the bills they send up.

Winner winner chicken dinner. The push is now for Paul Ryan to set the agenda and policies. McConnell doesn't have higher ambitions than ruling the Senate, to the extent he fights with Ryan it will be forced by his members and that he would like the Senate rather than the House to be setting the agenda, be structurally that is constrained. No one leading the Presidential pack on their side of the aisle has enough procedural know how to call the tune.

24:

Meta: I am reading the informed commentary here with horrified fascination.

(Because the techniques that get pioneered in US politics today ends up in the rest of the English-speaking legislatures tomorrow, and even if the specific hot-button issues differ, the same manipulative design patterns are applicable to the electorate.)

25:

For those of you commenting on America's demographic changes, I'd disagree with you.

The US is getting less white. That is a fact. However, as I mentioned in a post in a previous discussion, it's getting nonwhite much slower than anticipated by the Census bureau in 2007. Short version: TFRs for nonwhites have declined faster than expected, and undocumented immigration has declined. Trump's supporters know that if they can strip the children of undocumented immigrants of citizenship while deporting their parents, then the US will retain a white majority in the 21st century. That I think is their goal.

Another trend that has been cited for the US is that the second generation born from undocumented immigrants will become a voting block. The problem is that most of the undocumented immigration has happened between 1995 and 2007. Add 18 years to that and you have 2013-2025. In other words, they will play a much bigger role in this election than the 2012 election, but nowhere near as big as in the 2020 election.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/09/illegal-immigration-way-down

However, even that is misleading. The US votes based on an Electoral College, not a popular vote. Newer immigrants tend to be concentrated in about 10 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Illinois, S. Carolina

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Americans#/media/File:Asian_American_population_percentage_by_state_in_2010.svg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Hispanic_and_Latino_population

Of the states mentioned, California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, New Mexico, and Virginia all went for Obama.

At the same time, the nonwhite population in Texas and S. Carolina is too small to affect things in this election. Georgia, N. Carolina, and Florida might swing in 2016, but they'll have to fight voter suppression tactics there.

From Trump's perspective, the prize is Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and perhaps Pennsylvania. These states still retain a large enough white population that, if they can be successfully swung, can put someone like Trump in the White House.

26:

It's not _just_ Trump. He's the most skilled at it, but a lot of the candidates are shifting their communication style to work best on social media. Gif bytes are interesting especially since they're pure reaction, pure emotion without any context, and candidates are aiming to be seen like that.

Y'all are VASTLY overstating the importance of social media in an American political campaign.

Part of it is that people here are generalizing from the self - you spend a lot of time online consuming this, your influencers are online sources pushing it, the things you talk about (eg Gamergate, reddit's white supremacist infestation, twitter's harassment issues) are all born of it.

But most people don't. They don't spend much time online, what they do is not on these platforms, they don't have deep ties to these communities; they don't even think of them as communities.

Go look at the usage stats various social media platforms, like twitter or facebook. The pareto distribution for them is VERY steep. Most people only hop onto these networks about once a week, and spend less than 30 minutes there. The numbers of how often they are on and for how long is dropping by the way - with the strongest correlate there being that more people used it while in college post Great Recession and now that they work they don't have the time.

Beyond that, a large part of the population don't even have regular access to the internet - somewhere in the range of 5-10% are dependent on their phones

Most people don't have the time, money, social connections, or attention to be vast consumers of social media. To the extent that they do they will check on their tightly limited networks for immediate and related family updates, and their closest friends.

And if you are seeing the connection there and Obama's community organizing model, you are correct.

Last year I did a municipal election. Personally I hit over 6000 houses. You go an talk to these people, you get a feel for what their concerns are, where they get their information from, what their values are, and a whole lot of the American system starts making sense.

It does not have anything to do with social media. People don't have any idea who the fuck Milo is and they don't care if he got unverified. They don't care that Hillary ran an twitter campaign of "being everyone's abuela". They don't know who DeRay McKesson is, they don't give a moment's thought about Rubio's boots, if they met Joe Biden they wouldn't recognize him and instead just term him "that smiling Irish bastard"

Online doesn't matter because in America people are too poor, too overworked, too scared to worry about a weeklong meme cycle.

To the extent that Trump is dominating so much and has an online presence, it isn't because of Twitter. It is because for the past decade he has had about 10 million viewers a week seeing him put rich New Yorkers and celebrities - "those people" in the usual parlance of those you'll find if you go canvassing - in their place. That he will condescend and chastise and mock the competitors the way they feel that those competitors do to them. Now marry that to his twitter feed and speeches, whee he is most aptly described as an insult comic against those same targets. That gives him his popular persona. That gets combined with the fact that the policies he advocates are truly popular on a wide scale. So now they think that this guy, who for a decade they have seen beat down the people they see as part of the source of the problems around them, can put in place these policies they like.

That's how Trump polls so well.

It has nothing to do with twitter or memes or social media or gifs or listacles. It is long term traditional mass messaging married to an actually popular platform.

You might have the argument that Trump (and to a lesser extent Sanders) are having a disruptive effect on the other campaigns through twitter - that the people working those campaigns are the kind of mass social media and online communities you expect and that when they are getting beat over the head in those spaces they get all aggro and react poorly, and those stupid mistakes then compound. But the general populace doesn't do enough with these online spaces for them to have the impact being ascribed to them

27:

Apart from the aforementioned Interface, if you add in Sterling's Distraction; you realist that even the most visionary writers can never be too satirical in describing US politics
On my bad days, I think it's the end times here, on my good days I hope we get some sanity back at some point
We shall see

28:

I'm still watching the Iowa election markets. Back in 2012, they did so much better than the press noise over Obama losing to Romney that it's not funny.

As for long term, I keep remembering the world of Daniel Keyes Morans' Emerald Eyes and The Long Run from back in the early 1990s. That was a world where the UN, led by France and China, had forcibly conquered the US (after the US Air Force and a bunch of other units had defected), in order to save the world from global warming.

At the time, it sounded kind of cute and silly. Now, I'm looking at the vague possibility of POTUS Trump and thinking that, were that to come to pass, I can pretty easily see it happening.

29:

Meta: I am reading the informed commentary here with horrified fascination.

(Because the techniques that get pioneered in US politics today ends up in the rest of the English-speaking legislatures tomorrow, and even if the specific hot-button issues differ, the same manipulative design patterns are applicable to the electorate.)

Consider that the Koch network is currently sitting out of the GOP nomination fight (as I mentioned, they are part of the establishment moving to boost the power of the Speaker of the House). To the extent they are involved it was refusing Trump access to their voter identification and data operation.

But their operation has a bigger budget than the RNC, 3.5x as many employees, and their own private intelligence and counterintelligence network targeted at the Democratic party and organizers.


I presume everyone here is familiar with the Powell memo (original, not the Iraq war redux one) and its central roll in all of this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr.#Powell_Memorandum

30:

Ave Trump, Imperator!


Option 1: As in Julius Caesar's case, Trump could select a relative (his daughter) as his heir/VP running mate. Trump's been offending everyone - possibly so that it looks as though he doesn't 'owe' anyone anything. And he's been openly contemptuous of all of the candidates, so to select one of them would look 'weak'. The US is not at all averse to toying with its own brand of (self-appointed) royalty which might actually play well among high RWAs.


Option 2: Lame, but let's get this over with ... Trump will choose his running mate using a reality-TV show that he produces/writes/stars in.


Will he insist on re-branding the country though, e.g., the United States of Trump? If he runs a contest for new polity name, my entry is: Republic of AWESOME [Aliens Welcome to Enter/Stay Only if Monetarily Endowed]

Trump's personal social media attack style is to trivialize his opponents at every opportunity, i.e., decorated war heroes, journalists, senior politicos, etc. No matter the issue/event - he will find something in there that he can trivialize.

31:

I'd also add, as a continuation of that previous post, that the political wonks really need to educate themselves about what happened in 1920s Germany, and 1920s Japan. Pro-tip: we don't want to go there.

This isn't *quite* a crypto-fascist warning, because the US had fascists back then too. No, the point is to watch how authoritarian leaders organize their followers into something very violent. In Japan starting around 1910, there was a creeping takeover of the far right, and by the 1930s, any government minister who spoke up for anything other than the agenda of the know-nothings risked assassination. The know-nothings, in this case, weren't billionaire puppet masters so much as the underlings, the captains, colonels, and majors in the military and similar careerist wingnuts who staged mini-coups to keep their people in power, so long as they said what they were supposed to say.

We're not quite there yet in America (and hopefully we never will be), but this "kill the moderates, so only the extremists survive" rhetoric is driving it more to the surface, as is the prevalence of guns. If you're paranoid, you can only imagine what America will look like if every governor, Congresscritter, and Senator has to have a personal bodyguard and wear armor just to get anything done.

32:

I'm still watching the Iowa election markets. Back in 2012, they did so much better than the press noise over Obama losing to Romney that it's not funny.

There is the question of how thick those markets are though - as in, could someone drop a large chunk of cash and skew the betting (and thus get people to jump in on that to win, snowballing those markets and hitting the media with new data leading to a new messaging cycle etc etc etc). I suspect it isn't very; there was never a good reason to think Biden would jump in but the prediction markets had him doing so anyways. I suppose I shouldn't complain though; I won $70 off that.

But yeah, the horserace media is terrible. (eg Maureen Dowd talking about if Clinton is a dog or a cat and if she would govern as a feline or canine - what the fuck is that nonsense? And yes, that is a real article) The good reporting is rare, and to the extent it is present the actual information there isn't what the piece says, it is answering the question of "who wants the message of this piece out in circulation?"

I think the "polling is failing" narrative is over rated, since we haven't had any voting go on yet, but I do think the "data science reporting" has been oversold. Or at least that 538 and the others are incorporating too much conventional wisdom and not enough on the ground talking.

33:

Finally, I'll get back to my first point, about the Iowa Election market, and what to watch.

Don't believe what you hear in the mainstream media. In the US, they're often owned by republicans, but that's somewhat irrelevant. The bigger picture is that they profit hugely from political ads, so it is in their best interest to market the political races as scary and highly competitive, because they profit from the ads that they scare the campaigns and their supporters into buying.

This is where it's interesting to watch the democratic race. Sanders is doing very well, despite his aggressive non-coverage by the news media. To me, that signals that there is a silenced majority out there, and while we're watching the stupid fireworks around Trump and company, that "invisible" majority is figuring out who the next president will be. The news media will be shocked, shocked by this result, but that's why you watch stuff that's far enough out of the main stream that it might be picking up the signal under the noise.

Personally, I'm torn between Sanders and Clinton. I like Bernie's politics, but I equally value Clinton's endurance. The trouble with Bernie is that he's old, and we don't need him pulling a Reagan (or worse, a Wilson or an FDR) in the Oval Office. Clinton's biggest problem will probably be Bill dropping dead of a heart attack halfway through her term. She's already proved that she can take on Congressional Republicans and win in a direct confrontation (cf: Benghazi hearings), and I think she's aging better than Bernie is.

34:

As in Julius Caesar's case, Trump could select a relative (his daughter) as his heir/VP running mate.

I don't want to be the asshole who nitpicks at a joke, but for non USA-ians, this can't happen. Not because of the familial thing, but because the VP and President have to be from different states, and Trump and all his children are from New York.

35:

Are you saying that the Trumps can't afford more than one house/address, or move between now and the election?

A mere detail to his awesomeness ...

36:

All that needs to happen is that Trump Junior or Juniorette changes their official domicile to New Hampshire. Buy an apartment, boom.

(Why NH? No state income tax, shuttle flights from NYC. Other states fitting those criteria also plausible.)

37:

This is where it's interesting to watch the democratic race. Sanders is doing very well, despite his aggressive non-coverage by the news media. To me, that signals that there is a silenced majority out there, and while we're watching the stupid fireworks around Trump and company, that "invisible" majority is figuring out who the next president will be. The news media will be shocked, shocked by this result, but that's why you watch stuff that's far enough out of the main stream that it might be picking up the signal under the noise.

I'm inclined to agree with this. In my canvassing and talking I get a real feel that Chris Hayes has the shape of it with "The Twilight of the Elites". The usual "respectable, Very Serious People" have been completely discredited. Republicans, but the Bush years, Democrats (sadly) aslo by Republicans in that the GOP moved to burn the place to ashes and prolong the devastation they inflicted while we had a Democratic President, aided and abetted by the press (eg at the GOP debate on Thursday, Neil Cavuto blamed Obama for the financial crisis. And 1/3rd of Republicans blame Obama for the Katrina response)

There is a very strong yearning for someone who isn't part of the VSPs to come in and rapidly fix the VSPs fuckups. That's where the anti-democratic (small d) feeling comes from. Playing by the rules hasn't worked out for anyone, trusting the people who are supposed to manage the system so you can get on with your life hasn't worked, give us someone new and give them to power to fix it now!


Personally, I'm torn between Sanders and Clinton. I like Bernie's politics, but I equally value Clinton's endurance. The trouble with Bernie is that he's old, and we don't need him pulling a Reagan (or worse, a Wilson or an FDR) in the Oval Office. Clinton's biggest problem will probably be Bill dropping dead of a heart attack halfway through her term. She's already proved that she can take on Congressional Republicans and win in a direct confrontation (cf: Benghazi hearings), and I think she's aging better than Bernie is.

Sanders is perfect right where he is, energizing the left wing, getting more leftwing people to run for office, offering a strong voice for leftist beliefs. If he gets elected he has no plan for how to effect change - his "mass movement of people calling on their representatives" won't work for a whole host of reasons, structural, legal, and political. Even if we handwaved in a Democratic majority in Congress it wouldn't help; pigs will fly before Chuck Schumer goes along with any proposal by Sanders.

Clinton meanwhile announced yesterday she wants sanctions against Iran - this literally on the say that lifting sanctions and diplomacy got prisoners released, literally the same week that diplomatic ties got American sailors released. Days before she attacked single payer as a concept, not on political practicality; she still campaigns on welfare reform despite it pushing 6 million families into

It isn't a great place to be right now imo

38:

Will he insist on re-branding the country though, e.g., the United States of Trump?

Up here, our neocon leader insisted that journalists write about "the Harper Government", not "the Government of Canada".

39:

/\/\/\ Jesus that's a lot of typos I made there

All that needs to happen is that Trump Junior or Juniorette changes their official domicile to New Hampshire. Buy an apartment, boom.

Doesn't work that way; W Bush was still considered as from Connecticut, not Texas.

40:

Add this to your list of articles to read.

The Fearful and the Frustrated
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/31/the-fearful-and-the-frustrated

The key point from the article is:

It must be stated clearly that (to the delight of the far-right extremists I spoke with) a great many Republicans are mortified by Trump—horrified by his campaign of fear, embarrassed that others in the Party are not, and desperate to move on. But Trump’s strategy has its logic. Gary Johnson, who as a Republican served two terms as the governor of New Mexico, before becoming the 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, told me that anyone who runs for office discovers that some portion of the electorate is available to be enraged and manipulated, if a candidate is willing to do it. “I ran across this constantly,” he said. “This eight per cent out there that bangs their fist on the table and says, ‘The biggest problem we’re facing is immigration!’ And I’m going, ‘No! No! This is not the case!’ ” Johnson cited a poll that at that point put Trump’s support among Republicans at eighteen per cent, and told me, “I don’t think there’s an eighteen-per-cent element of this country that is just outright racist. But there is a segment out there that is, and he has definitely appealed to that.” Most people, in Johnson’s view, are animated by other parts of Trump’s pitch—“that he’s going to get in and make the tough deals, and nobody’s going to screw with him, because he’ll drop bombs.” That coalition—the fearful and the frustrated—is powerful. “That’s how you begin to get to eighteen per cent,” Johnson said.

That 8% who hate have driven the numbers for Trump. That's the same thing that happened when George Wallace ran for President. He too was a "populist candidate" representing "White Nationalists".

Your mention of the "50-Cent Party" misses the point that the same thing is going on in every blog. Ad agencies routinely hire people to post on blogs following scripts and are paid per post. That's where you see the ads that say you can make $10k a month from home using your own computer. If ad agency money dried up today, most blogs would fall silent.

A fun note, Robert Heinlein mentioned in _If This Goes on--_:

The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of fundamentalist Christian “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).

If Trump wins, and installs the Theocracy as OGH fears, then Heinlein will have only been off by one election cycle. Not bad for something serialized in 1940.

41:

The first half of the twentieth century political leaders used telepathy very effectively. Both in service of the paranoid style and in opposition to it. Radio is still a big deal. It's the only social medium that people can engage in all day and while they are working.

42:

Obama was actually the first American political candidate to really leverage social media, in both 2008 and 2012. What you are now seeing is everyone else taking pages from his playbook and then running with it

Social media usage is actually far higher then others on this forum seem to think. Taking Facebook as an example, for the US and Canada, 167 million people use Facebook daily while 217 million use it monthly, so a majority of their users use it a lot. The average daily time spent on Facebook is 40 minutes/day for those 217 million users

http://investor.fb.com/common/download/download.cfm?companyid=AMDA-NJ5DZ&fileid=859098&filekey=DC6C9112-AFF6-4E76-9168-7DBA0D5FFDAB&filename=FB_Q3_15_Earnings_Slides_FINAL.pdf

And that is just Facebook, think about all the other ones

I think Charlie's correct, social media is becoming such a player in an a election that is interfering with the political party power elite being able to sanitize the message and control the candidates. Jeb was suppose to be the guy for instance. Thus you end up with more extreme candidates on both sides doing surprisingly well because they connect direct with the very sizable extreme members of their party.

It might be the beginning of the end of the US two party system. Which could be a good thing

43:

I think many of the examples above concerning US politics are... not entirely representative, and probably misleading to those who don't know varieties of American politics occurring west of the Eastern Time Zone. Two that are obvious to me immediately:

(12) Better contemporary example: Illinois. Neophyte "Governor Rauner" (who is not really in charge; in the long tradition of Illinois politics, the guy in charge of any branch of state government is a mouthpiece for, umm, inimical machine-politics interests) is presiding over a state with no budget — that literally can't pay lottery winners because there's no authority without a budget — because he was elected by anti-Chicago rural-and-commercial activists, but the state legislature (led by another of those mouthpieces) is urban-dominated, and "compromise" is not in either of their dictionaries. It's a fascinating trainwreck, and there's no one person/faction at fault: It's all of them.

Washington State is much the same, but with historical roots going back to the 1960s (when rural Eastern and Southwest Washington managed to get the state's political landscape rather structurally/permanently reformed to prevent the rise of urban/suburban Seattle and, to a lesser extent, Spokane, from ever having influence over state budget allocations). The state government is paying a fine of $100,000 per day for a now-well-over-18-months old contempt citation; the state Supreme Court finally ruled that the education funding system violated the state constitution — which stretches all the way back to Proposition 314 in 1974. I guess "all deliberate speed" means something different when it's not overtly about race. (Aside: Washington State has a purely regressive tax base, with no individual income tax and effective tax rates on small businesses being among the most crippling; I guess the farmers figure they don't need businesses to sell them anything...)

(25) A bit of ironic, somewhat dissonant counterpoint: In semirural downstate Illinois, the local newspaper (which those of us who qualify as centrists on the European scale — let alone liberals or leftists — referred to as the Nazi-Zeitung; archives behind a paywall) in a major college town surrounded by county after county of entrenched rural landowners reacted to that census study with pride. It proclaimed that Champaign and Vermillion counties were projected to remain whiter than the rest of the country through at least 2040, and that this was a good thing and "more American"... and the letters to the editor from the surrounding rural areas over the next few days reinforced the pride.

And the less said about racial politics west of the Mississippi, the better. Bull Connor is still in charge of public safety... just in Phoenix, not Montgomery; and so on, north to south and river to Pacific. Just look at the news coverage from Burns, Oregon and try to find any melanin content at all... except if one of the local leaders from the reservation is interviewed condescendingly (and that's from what passes for a culturally-sensitive newspaper in Oregon).

* * *

In short, believing that politics in the US are uniformly those of the Eastern Time Zone is disturbingly similar to believing that politics in the UK are uniformly those inside the M25... or that things are only that ugly. Civilization may well end at the Hudson, but the barbarians are on the east side.

That's part of what makes US politics so chaotic and hard to grasp. A "routine" US trip from Chicago to New Orleans is over 100km longer than the show-your-passport-at-least-twice trip from Paris to Warsaw... and the wag who said "all politics is local" understated the number of "locals" we have.

44:

"If Trump wins, and installs the Theocracy as OGH fears, ..."

Well, Trump could select Sarah Palin as his running mate to, er, broaden his appeal, and then get assassinated or drop dead ....

45:

Obama was actually the first American political candidate to really leverage social media, in both 2008 and 2012. What you are now seeing is everyone else taking pages from his playbook and then running with it

That is a misunderstanding of Obama's campaign, born of bad reporting about it. (because the inside baseball of organizing is a lot less sexy and gets less clicks than "obama won through new technology, buy new technology!")

What Obama followed was the community organizing strategy. You go into an area, spend a lot of time in direct contact, identify the local influencers (eg the "neighborhood mamas"), connect with them on direct action items with immediate impact, and push that into meetings and interactions to sway the network.

A good ground game to get out the vote can move the needle 3-5 points. The community organizer model can do about double that, but it takes a longer time and is more expensive.

The role social media played was in getting people to give them data so they could identify influencers. Then, once they had networks engaged, they used social media to keep engagement up and excitement high. They were able to leverage this to rapidly speed up and lower the cost of the community organizer model.

For example, we would find the neighborhood high poobah and get their concern - potholes, in this example. That gets pushed into the data list. So then we do a "call to action" day where we encourage people to do an act of service in their neighborhood. Where do we get the list of ideas when we send our volunteers and the local volunteer groups out to do stuff? From the list of community concerns. We also take from this to talk to the local politicians. So then we push out a bunch of pictures on social media of this event, which gets grabbed by the mass media, amplifying it. We can then go to the neighborhood poobah and either
A) your pothole is fixed, yay! aren't we great, vote Obama!
B) we didn't get your pothole, but we are working on your concerns, join with us and we will move your priorities, yay! vote Obama!
C) we have a meeting with the local politician who saw our push on your issue who wants to meet with you to get it done in your area, aren't we great, yay! vote Obama!

You get this person on your side, this is how you sway others. That is how we used social media - the higher ups plugged it into the OFA machine and NGP Vand, we took what it spit out to get communities organized.

We did not generate hot memes and like share subscribe our way to victory, no matter what the Tribune network told you.

The rule of thumb on use of social media in campaigns is 5% per step. As in, if you make a post, 5% of your total followers will see it in the time frame you want. Of that, 5% will click the link. Of those, 5% will read the page you linked to. Of those, 5% will take the final step you call for on the page. And 5% is the upper bound, in the trainings I've sat through 3% is the number more often cited.

You don't use social media for messaging in campaigns, any more than Facebook is a social media company. Facebook is a data company, that uses a social media platform to get you to give them data. Same with campaigns.

Social media usage is actually far higher then others on this forum seem to think. Taking Facebook as an example, for the US and Canada, 167 million people use Facebook daily while 217 million use it monthly, so a majority of their users use it a lot. The average daily time spent on Facebook is 40 minutes/day for those 217 million users

And that is just Facebook, think about all the other ones

I think Charlie's correct, social media is becoming such a player in an a election that is interfering with the political party power elite being able to sanitize the message and control the candidates. Jeb was suppose to be the guy for instance. Thus you end up with more extreme candidates on both sides doing surprisingly well because they connect direct with the very sizable extreme members of their party.

First up, this is a bit apples to oranges since we were talking Twitter, not Facebook.

Secondly, Pew polling indicated that Facebook is the lone exception here. And even then Facebbok is losing ground to multi platform consumers, and that aggregate usage across platforms is down.

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-media-update-2014/

While your source is a few months more up to date, I'm more inclined to trust Pew than a Facebook prospectus because Facebook will have different category definitions that make Facebook look good. For example, it isn't clear if they are counting active use there (as Pew did) or if they say "well the app is running in the background on their phone, that counts"


But the overall trend is that most companies don't have the mass, heavy consumption, that the OP speculates from. People just aren't on them that much.


We will get an objective test of this theory on February 1st though. Because thee is a campaign running almost entirely on media messaging and a focus on social media. It isn't Trump though. In October the report was that Trump has the most field offices in Iowa/NH/SC out of anybody on the Republican field. Trump has an extensive ground operation, the thing is he is making the rookie mistake and trying to activate new voters or cross party lines. Cruz has an extensive ground operation as well, he is focusing on party operations and habitual voters, which is a big part of why he is doing so well there.

The one with a very very weak ground game, but a ton of online presence? Marco Rubio.

So if he comes flaming out of the gate next month, kicking ass and taking names, then it will be a validation of the "social media dominates, messaging above all, organization is antiquated" theory he is running on and that Charlie wanders near.

If he gets stomped by conventional organizing, well, I won't be surprised.

46:

the VP and President have to be from different states

Not according to Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/vicepresident.asp

Article II (as well as the Twelfth Amendment, which modified it) specified that electors must "vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves," a requirement that guaranteed at least half of each state's electoral votes would be cast for candidates from other states.

This requirement is still in effect today, but confusion arises when people misunderstand it to govern the actions of candidates rather than electors. Nothing in the constitution bars presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the same state from running, being elected, or holding office together; it only bars the electors from their home state from voting for both of them.

It also looks like changing your state for purposes of this is relatively straightforward:

This restriction was an issue in the 2000 presidential election. Dick Cheney, who grew up in Wyoming and represented that state in Congress from 1979-89, had bought a home and registered to vote in Texas in 1995, and after that date he also held a Texas driver's license, paid Texas taxes, and claimed Texas' homestead tax deduction. When the Republican presidential nominee, Texas governor George W. Bush (obviously a Texas resident himself), selected Cheney as his vice-presidential running mate in 2000, this circumstance raised the issue of whether Texas' electors would be allowed to cast ballots for both candidates. Cheney hastily switched his voter registration and driver's license back to Wyoming, and when three Texas voters filed a lawsuit challenging his claim of non-Texas residency, Governor Bush's legal team successfully argued in federal court that those factors (among others) were sufficient to establish Cheney as a Wyoming resident.

47:

Even if both Donald and Ivanka Trump are from New York, that only costs them the Electoral College votes from New York - which is such a safe blue state that if they won it, they wouldn't need those votes to be elected.

48:

(12) Better contemporary example: Illinois. Neophyte "Governor Rauner" (who is not really in charge; in the long tradition of Illinois politics, the guy in charge of any branch of state government is a mouthpiece for, umm, inimical machine-politics interests) is presiding over a state with no budget — that literally can't pay lottery winners because there's no authority without a budget — because he was elected by anti-Chicago rural-and-commercial activists, but the state legislature (led by another of those mouthpieces) is urban-dominated, and "compromise" is not in either of their dictionaries. It's a fascinating trainwreck, and there's no one person/faction at fault: It's all of them.

Largely true; I point to LePage because of his pattern of Trumplike statements (eg his recent one about how black drug dealers were coming to Main and impregnating white girls) and his sheer incompetence (eg not understanding how a veto worked, thus allowing the democratic agenda to pass)

I'd argue with you point about how Rauner was elected though and that discounts the bullshit Emmanuel pulled with the Chicago machine to boost his buddy the billionaire over Quinn (though admittedly comparing Quinn to a potato is unfair to potatoes everywhere). Rauner is more an example of the oligarch class stepping into direct power than just the anti-Chicago rural-and-commercial activists.

There is a reason it was called for Durbin about 3 hours after the polls opened, and Quinn didn't lose until late into the night.

Of course now Rauner is sticking the knife in Emmanuel's back (and good, that 9 fingered shit needs to swing from a lamp post), and you are left with Madigan fighting Rauner in the vein of Godzilla ve any of the other monsters - I can't rightly say Madigan is on anyone's side but his own, but keeping Rauner from pushing through is agenda is better than letting Illinois go the way of its neighbors.

Washington State is much the same, but with historical roots going back to the 1960s (when rural Eastern and Southwest Washington managed to get the state's political landscape rather structurally/permanently reformed to prevent the rise of urban/suburban Seattle and, to a lesser extent, Spokane, from ever having influence over state budget allocations).

yes, Indiana did something similar, folding the City council of it's major metropolitan areas into City-County councils, and locking in white rural political control for another 40 years and counting so far. I meant to mention that in my Indiana section, but forgot and when I noticed I figured it fell in with the Mississippi example of locking things along those lines.

The state government is paying a fine of $100,000 per day for a now-well-over-18-months old contempt citation; the state Supreme Court finally ruled that the education funding system violated the state constitution — which stretches all the way back to Proposition 314 in 1974. I guess "all deliberate speed" means something different when it's not overtly about race. (Aside: Washington State has a purely regressive tax base, with no individual income tax and effective tax rates on small businesses being among the most crippling; I guess the farmers figure they don't need businesses to sell them anything...)

I'm convinced that any explanation of the Deep State that doesn't also cover how you monkey with tax systems to build the Submerged State is deeply lacking in context for control and who is being served

49:

Even if both Donald and Ivanka Trump are from New York, that only costs them the Electoral College votes from New York - which is such a safe blue state that if they won it, they wouldn't need those votes to be elected.

It isn't a question of gaming the electoral college, it is a prohibition in the Constitution. Specifically the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

50:

Your source itself mentions that there was a legal challenge over it. Also, part of the Bush legal team's defense there was that Cheney had been born in Nebraska, and had long held Wyoming residency. In the case of a Trump dynasty they were born and long held residency in the same place.

51:

Indeed. We're getting interesting detail on the techniques of USAian political campaigning, and good material on the composition and internal politics of the Republican Party.

We're getting nothing on funding, other than that the Koch brothers are sitting this one out.

Which is to say: 'follow the money' isn't working: the big candidates aren't attracting big funding, and the big funders aren't making any overt moves.

We can't say that the money is moving 'covertly' - campaign funding is opaque by design, and donors by nature are shadowy figures of influence who pay others to speak for them and their agenda - but I would expect to hear better 'Kremlinology' and some plain-language signals.

The idea that the money isn't moving at all is quite worrying - I would prefer to entertain the embarrassing conclusion that we're ill-informed and simply do not know what the most powerful players in a national election in the world's major power are actually doing.

Among other things, some of the candidates are just too toxic, too destructive and objectionable, so much so that you'd expect a late-runner to emerge with *all* the money as 'the respectable candidate', with wall-to-wall media coverage.

This hasn't happened, and it's too late for it to happen now.

So all we can infer, from all the signals we can see from here, is that all the candidates are too offensive and destructive for all the serious sources of funding, and even for the Koch brothers.

The obvious conclusion is that the Republican campaign has more than just a democratic deficit: it has degenerated to a level where there is a credibilty deficit among those who believe that they can buy a Presidential election.

I guess that all attention is on the House, and the Senate - the Oval Office is no longer seen as something gworth spending money on.

52:

Indeed. We're getting interesting detail on the techniques of USAian political campaigning, and good material on the composition and internal politics of the Republican Party.

We're getting nothing on funding, other than that the Koch brothers are sitting this one out.

Which is to say: 'follow the money' isn't working: the big candidates aren't attracting big funding, and the big funders aren't making any overt moves.

We can't say that the money is moving 'covertly' - campaign funding is opaque by design, and donors by nature are shadowy figures of influence who pay others to speak for them and their agenda - but I would expect to hear better 'Kremlinology' and some plain-language signals.

The idea that the money isn't moving at all is quite worrying - I would prefer to entertain the embarrassing conclusion that we're ill-informed and simply do not know what the most powerful players in a national election in the world's major power are actually doing.

Among other things, some of the candidates are just too toxic, too destructive and objectionable, so much so that you'd expect a late-runner to emerge with *all* the money as 'the respectable candidate', with wall-to-wall media coverage.

This hasn't happened, and it's too late for it to happen now.

So all we can infer, from all the signals we can see from here, is that all the candidates are too offensive and destructive for all the serious sources of funding, and even for the Koch brothers.

The obvious conclusion is that the Republican campaign has more than just a democratic deficit: it has degenerated to a level where there is a credibilty deficit among those who believe that they can buy a Presidential election.

I guess that all attention is on the House, and the Senate - the Oval Office is no longer seen as something gworth spending money on.

53:

For those pointing out the west, on a more optimistic style look at Colorado. Colorado is more libertarian, but in a good way; even as someone who's probably more a traditional leftist, having lived in Colorado I'd be fine if the USA looks like that. Sure, Colorado Springs is a bizarre theocratic piece of Alabama that somehow ended up in the wrong place, but the rest of the place isn't like that. (Disclaimer: I lived there 20 years ago, but based on things like legalizing pot I'm assuming things are still not too bad.

54:

Looking long term, the interesting thing about all this is the wild card that is Global Warming. It's not clear that Phoenix will even be livable in 30-40 years, Miami will be under water at some point and there's going to be a lot of stress in general on large chunks of the US. Water politics in the western US have always been tense and this isn't even counting that the Ogallala Aquifer is going to run out at some point.

I think the US will do a terrible job of dealing with decline, for a lot of cultural reasons, and it'll be fascinating in a watching-a-car-wreck way to see how it plays out. The fact that it's official orthodox in the Republicans that Global Warming is a hoax means they will be a very easy scapegoat in about 20 years. Not that I don't think they deserve it, but things have the potential to turn very nasty very quickly.

56:

It *is* interesting how much of the Deep South will be unlivable at various points in coming decades.

And points west.

As you pointed out, if drought becomes the norm in the southwest, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson will become casualties of the drought. So will the California central valley. These areas are mostly republican strongholds. These will take perhaps 10-20 years.

My guess is that a big earthquake will spell more trouble for Los Angeles and San Diego than will drought, since it's simpler, politically, to get farmers to stop planting than it is to uproot millions of people. Still, if the upper Midwest could get it's act together (which it still seems averse to doing) , it could garner a lot of shaken immigrants from southern California when the time comes.

In terms of threats to the deep south, the areas in the biggest danger are the mouth of the Mississippi and south Florida. Personally, I wouldn't buy any coast land in the area, because if the hurricanes don't get the property, the loss of aquifers to salt water in advance of sea level rise will (especially in Florida).

In the slightly longer term, the deep south may get depopulated by horribly high heat indexes: high heat/high humidity days. This will probably happen after similar things happen in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Shanghai, and India, so we'll get a preview from the international news before we see it here. The tl;dr version is that, without air conditioning, the south ain't very livable, and the idjits can't get their politics sorted enough to switch to solar-powered AC.

Still, these problems are currently decades out.

The more immediate happy fun thing is if the US renewable energy market makes big enough strides that regulators feel safe going after Big Oil. That's somewhat more likely in the next few years, thanks in part to the Saudis pushing gas prices down so aggressively. We'll see.

57:

One of the problems Trump and comrades will likely face is that they've woken the sheeple, saddled it up, and are trying to ride it to victory.

The Sheeple, like any dragon, will put up with having a cheerleader on its back. The problems start when said cheerleader attempts to rein in the Sheeple and act like a boss rather than a passenger. I don't think that's going to work very well.

Incidentally, Paul Ryan appears to be in a similar position relative to the Congressional Tea Party, as seen by his performance in the State of the Union. Not applauding for troops, because he doesn't want to be seen supporting Obama on anything? That's the sign of a leader. Yeah. Right.

58:

I'm no USian and my knowledge of US politics comes mostly from this blog, rationalwiki and the occasional Salon article or the like.

So take this paranoid thought with a grain of salt: Before the last elections in Turkey, there was this rally with a mafia boss (who had done time for murder) telling the electorate that rivers of blood will flow if the AKP looses, maybe the treat worked.
Now look at the US: No one is overtly threatening with a right wing putsch in case Clinton or Sanders win. But AFAIK there's many who live a in a media (social or mass media, doesnt matter) bubble that's largely white, evabngelical, republican and who believe themselves to be a far stronger majority than they actually are. How ill those people react Clinton or Sanders, after believing for maybe a year that Trump has all the americans behind him?
I think this is mostly where right-wing stochastic terrorism in the US recruits shooters and these people won't be more peaceful when they wake up to find that 'everybodys' darling Trump actually lost.

I don't even know if I want this thought to be widely cculated because it might work as a threat. Hopefully I'm wrong with my assessment.

p.s. So far this thread is really high quality. thanks all.

59:

One of the perverse good things about the way the US is dealing with infrastructure is that we're actually in a good position to take advantage of and implement any (hypothetical) sustainable infrastructure that comes down the pike. If we'd given into the calls of the environmentalists, we'd be rebuilding existing, automobile-based roads and such. Yes, I'm whistling past the graveyard a bit, but it will be deeply ironic if all this stupid angst and delay ultimately makes the US a leader in green tech if we ever get around to it.

60:

over 2 weeks without utilities
And they are still in power?
you what?

61:

Of all the would be presidents of the last ten years, Trump is the first who has figured out the Internet. His campaign is deliberately and openly designed to meme well.

This also means that presidential campaigns are only going to become crazier once the rest of the herd catches on.

62:

"surplus of unhappy zoned-out worker-consumer-units on tranquillizers."

Opium is the religion of the masses.

63:

Re: 'I guess that all attention is on the House, and the Senate - the Oval Office is no longer seen as something gworth spending money on.'

The Capitol ... the killing field of dreams. Roughly what percent of Obama's first term election platform got passed? I remember months of elected representatives in both houses sitting on their hands as the country edged toward defaulting on its own debt.

http://useconomy.about.com/od/usdebtanddeficit/p/US-Debt-Default.htm

Excerpt:

'A U.S. debt default would significantly raise the cost of doing business. It would increase the cost of borrowing for businesses, who would have to pay higher interest rates on loans and bonds to compete with the higher interest rates of U.S. Treasuries. All interest rates in the U.S. would rise, increasing prices and contributing to inflation. The stock market would also suffer, as any U.S. investment would be seen as riskier. Stock prices would fall as investors fled to other countries' "safer" stocks or gold. For these reasons, it could lead to another recession.'


Lesson learned ... So if the USA elects an idealist as a president again, the surest way to stop him/her is to ensure both houses are split, therefore no legislation is passed*. Therefore exactly the right time to spend money lunching with your elected rep. (Does the US gov't bureaucracy track meal/entertaining expenses? If down by a lot, then good chance politicos are being wined-and-dined more than during previous terms.)


*New legislation is usually passed to change things - definitions, qualifications, rules, proportions, ceilings, etc. - so if an org is happy with the status quo, it's likely that that org would prefer no new legislation.


Again: Does not seem reasonable that there is no retirement age/term limit for the US Congress/Senate.

64:

We're getting nothing on funding, other than that the Koch brothers are sitting this one out.

Funding is pretty secretive. Not even so much out of wanting to hide power, and "he who has the gold makes the rules", but also because of general human impulses of not wanting to discuss money, and the value in keeping donor lists and funding resources secret as a way to maintain power within the party and to fend off (or crown a winner) in primary challenges.[1]

Funding also varies VERY heavily across the different levels of government and across the regions, and has been in high flux for the past decade. So trying to do a trace on it and say something consistent about it would be extremely difficult. How fundraising is done in North Carolina and how it is done in Iowa is very different, owing to local structures and media attention. Then you have some of the badlands states, which still have old robber-baron era rules on funding on the books. At different levels you have different organizations focusing on different priorities - Republicans won't care a hell of a lot about city control, but will fight like hell for zoning boards for example.

It is hard to understate the impact Citizen's United has had on the cash flow either. In 2004, the rule of thumb was that for a federal House district, $1 million was the point of diminishing returns. Anything you got until then could have a notable impact on the race, after $1 million you were pretty much spending money to spend the money. Today, the advisers from the DCCC say that you have to raise at least $1.2 million to be taken seriously as a candidate and have the national organizations dump money into your campaign.

In addition, there is a split in funding between the parties. For example, since 2001 the GOP has been running the "Red State Initiative", designed to secure wins at the state executive and legislative level. It has been highly successful. The Democrats for a while had the "50-State Initiative" but that was to get wins at federal positions state by state. Very different, and so different funding between the two, both in terms of how much they donate and what is available overall (and in terms of what they are theoretically willing to commit for a hot race). What each side is willing to do, what outside group there are, is very different. As a rule of thumb, there are a lot more organizations on the Dem side, but they are both smaller and have a much tighter organization focus. On the GOP side there are fewer orgs, but they are larger and are willing to commit on general support (the assumption being that the party is tight enough on ideological unity that they can work with that rather than specific issues)

Finally, it is probably my weakest area in the whole campaign realm, such that my current activities are volunteering with a pro-fundraiser to try and learn more.

The idea that the money isn't moving at all is quite worrying - I would prefer to entertain the embarrassing conclusion that we're ill-informed and simply do not know what the most powerful players in a national election in the world's major power are actually doing.

Then you should probably start worrying. One of the big mysteries in the past few months has been why the big powers haven't been lining up behind Rubio as Bush faded. Or why they haven't backed anyone else for that matter. We had the head of AIG throw 10 million into Bush the other week even as Jeb! failed to connotate excitement and lost ground as he spent money. Everyone keeps expecting "the party will decide" and that Trump would pop months ago, but the establishment didn't budge. This weekend the front page news is that the money is finally moving - and it is lining up behind Trump. Apparently given the choice between Trump and Cruz, the decision is that Teddy is just such a dick they'd rather not.

At least Hindenburg & von Papen made a little effort to find alternatives before making their deal with the devil.

[1] I'm not hugely familiar with how the selection of candidates is done over there, given the difference in the role of parties and local governance; do I need to explain the web of interactions between party control and candidate selection in American elections?

65:

And they are still in power?
you what?


no as a matter of fact, election night was more or less a wipe out for the incumbent party. That said, the area that got hit by this put their existing Republican back in power.

A few factors:
1) the part of town this happened to was overwhelmingly nonwhite, largely immigrant, very poor.
1a) this means they don't vote.
2) It was the result of heavy storm damage and the private contractors being slow to clear it away, so the ire went to the power company
3) It wasn't "everywhere out for 2 weeks" it was a mismash of streets in this neighborhood having power some days, no power the next, power for 3 days, no power for 2 hours, power being routed around for repairs, etc. 7 different houses could each have power 6 days out of the week, but in aggregate it meant sporadic power for 1 week.
4) Most of the attention that came was this was devoted to either the destruction of cropland by flooding (since this place has sweet fuck all for runoff control) or the rich areas being overwhelmed by mosquitoes (because no runoff control lead to standing water)
5) The state level guy for this area is really super popular, so the municipal level guy was able to ride his coat tails.

66:

Hey Mister_dk Your postulate was that people don't spend that much time on social networking. That's wrong even if assume all the others are duds and look only at Facebook's empire

As far as leveraging social networking to win elections I am not familiar with the articles you are citing but the examples you provided are completely representative of what I am talking about. You don't have to "generate hot memes" to win, uploading your voter lists and then targeting the hell out of them cross channel works well too

The research you cited is out of date and is mostly looking at the wrong comparison sets. Even Twitter is pretty old in the tooth at this point, to me it's pretty surprising people even still think of it as a player. Instagram alone is bigger then Twitter nowadays.

My current take in the landscape is of the early players on Facebook matters now. They are the 800 pound gorilla in what is looking more and more like a winner take all market. The up and comers like Whatsapp, Snapchat etc bear watching but WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

As far as how Facebook generates its user and time spent metrics they have published the details, the metrics are if anything conservative and not designed to make them look good. They also get independent verification from Nielson and other such folk so I more or less believe their numbers.

67:

Lesson learned ... So if the USA elects an idealist as a president again, the surest way to stop him/her is to ensure both houses are split, therefore no legislation is passed*. Therefore exactly the right time to spend money lunching with your elected rep. (Does the US gov't bureaucracy track meal/entertaining expenses? If down by a lot, then good chance politicos are being wined-and-dined more than during previous terms.)

yes, and no.

Yes - It is very true that most of Obama's agenda has been strangled by partisan gridlock.

No - I would argue that it is the proof of the limitations in putting faces in high places that lead to a resurgence in organizing and direct activism among those who had the most invested in Obama.

Black Lives Matter didn't come out of nowhere, the gestalt connected by twitter or people upset over videos of police violence. It is the outgrowth of a LOT of organizing by the black community going back to 2011. Twitter is a handy platform for getting the media to come and look; but the heart and soul of this is your bread and butter organizing at churches and community centers. The Ferguson PD wasn't raiding churches for kicks and giggles (well, yeah, they probably greatly enjoyed it) they were doing it because that was where the protests were being organized from.

Showing the limits to playing the game leads to building organizations to change the rules; on both sides. And on the idealist side they are being vastly more effective in generating change.

Again: Does not seem reasonable that there is no retirement age/term limit for the US Congress/Senate.

Counterpoint: as a few of us have alluded to, there is a lot of obscure parliamentary stuff that goes into getting laws passed, and a new official doesn't know that stuff, and promptly gets their ass kicked up and down the block. Higher rates of turnover from term limits will thus increase knowledge loss and either
a) increase gridlock, effectively delegating power to unelected bureaucrats who take action to keep the lights on or
b) every new official is going to need an old hand chief of staff or adviser who knows all this and can shepherd legislation through the system, effectively delegating legislative authority to these unelected party workers.

68:

I like an apocalyptic conspiracy as much as the next left-wing netizen, but I also well remember the stories in 2008 about how "Cheney will never relinquish power" or warning that Diebold would see to it that Obama's votes disappeared 'twixt booth and server. There are a lot of horrible, deep-state creeps out there, but the world is a big and does a pretty good job of frustrating attempts to control the future. If 10 years of reading Our Generous Host has taught me anything, it's that systems are worth paying attention to--individuals less so. When it comes to the next 50 years, climate change matters. Maybe AI. Population trends. Donald Trump (and whatever crackpot cabal is interested in funding him) isn't much more than an amusing epi-phenomenon.

69:

Hey Mister_dk Your postulate was that people don't spend that much time on social networking. That's wrong even if assume all the others are duds and look only at Facebook's empire

No, my postulate is that people don't consume it at a rate for the social media messaging cycle and issues of the online community spheres to matter. A correlate of that is low frequency and usage rates, which I point to the Pew survey again (particularly page 3), but the main point I am making to is that online is insufficiently "sticky" to beat out conventional.

A good data point for this would be to get a poll that weighted issue priority that included a current online issue in their list. I suppose PPP might do such a thing if asked (they ask a lot of wacky questions when people email them) but as it stands I'm not aware of a poll that included a given online sphere issue on the list.

As far as leveraging social networking to win elections I am not familiar with the articles you are citing but the examples you provided are completely representative of what I am talking about. You don't have to "generate hot memes" to win, uploading your voter lists and then targeting the hell out of them cross channel works well too

The theory I am pushing back against is the messaging one in the OP. That speaking in tweets rather than TV-friendly sound-bites and making their play in real time to their audience reactions, is the future of campaigning.

The research you cited is out of date and is mostly looking at the wrong comparison sets. Even Twitter is pretty old in the tooth at this point, to me it's pretty surprising people even still think of it as a player. Instagram alone is bigger then Twitter nowadays
It was only 7 months older than yours.

My current take in the landscape is of the early players on Facebook matters now. They are the 800 pound gorilla in what is looking more and more like a winner take all market. The up and comers like Whatsapp, Snapchat etc bear watching but WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

Ok, do you have research bearing out the dominance of Facebook on campaigns? Your metrics would relate to the 3 Ms - Messaging, Money, and Mobilizing.

As far as how Facebook generates its user and time spent metrics they have published the details, the metrics are if anything conservative and not designed to make them look good. They also get independent verification from Nielson and other such folk so I more or less believe their numbers.

Nielsen's ratings are supposed to be as untrustworty as they come though. Their radio ratings in particular are complete garbage.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/did-nielsen-kill-the-radio-star/
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-nielsen-problems-los-angeles-radio-ratings-20140611-story.html

70:

I find all of this deeply scary
Now
IF Trump wins, who will exit NATO as a result, & who will suddenly become uncooperative wit the US, regardless?
And will it include the UK?

71:

I do not understand what "consume it at the rate for the social media messaging cycle to matter" means. But if 40 minutes a day isn't that I don't know what is

As far as dominance on campaigns can you can back into that by looking at overall ad revenue? Facebook is far an away the dominant social media platform advertisers are actually spending money on

I don't understand what you are referring to on page 3 of the pew survey however I would be careful how you use that data
- it was published two years ago
- the actual survey was probably delivered older then that
- some of the conclusions seem already disproven by more recent quantative sources

72:

Two points:

First, I don't think twitter/faceache/etc. can be considered telepathy as such - that implies too much rationality. Instead the memes are tapping directly into the reptilian brain, particularly of those without many high functions. Trump is reflecting back that reptilian brain in reactionary memes - more mirror than anything.

At least at the moment.

Second, the fact that the money, and the adults, haven't really moved yet doesn't strike me as an indication that they won't, or that they think only congress matters. Rather I think it's a combination of seeing GFC MkII around the corner (keep the money dry), and needing something they think is worthwhile hanging their hat on.

I don't think Trump is going to win the repub nomination, both because of his recent polling numbers relative to the other loonies (Cruz, Carton, etc.) and because it will become an anyone-but-trump nomination process in the end. Trump's ego has made too many enemies.

I've long felt the best way to win an election in a FPTP scenario isn't to have the best policies; it's to have someone on the other side splitting the vote. With results determined on the margin it's much easier to have the other side lose than to win yourself.

As such, I think Trump will get rejected, and his ego will go third party. Keeping him out and under control seems impossible. Thus my guess is the money is waiting to deal with the fallout - either by propping up other independent democrat candidates, or to aggressively take out Trump at that stage (still expect to see him in handcuffs before Nov).

I think where the internet may well play this time round is that US presidential campaigns are hideously long in an age when mass market waves can form in days to weeks. The conventional candidates are all essentially static by the time of the conventions; hemmed in by statements and promises. But there's still 3 months to go - plenty of time for a reaction independent candidate to come in, reflecting the deficiencies in the other campaigns and offering 'new', 'exciting', 'change'. They might not win, but they don't have to if you are playing chess rather than chequers.

73:

As far as I can tell, the Koch brothers aren't sitting this one out. They're spending a lot, and are pissed off that it isn't buying them the influence they expected. Their pet candidate, Scott Walker, bombed out and withdrew from the race way back in September. The two front-runners, Trump and Cruz, are wild men, not safe antiregulatory Republicans. The Kochs don't give a crap about Evangelical Christianity, they believe in evolution, and their position on global warming is out of pure self-interest.

74:

I do not understand what "consume it at the rate for the social media messaging cycle to matter" means.

It is my re-phrasing of the key-takeaway section of the OP. The point of the OP is that the social media cycle, particularly the Twitter news cycle will have a large impact in the 2016 election, that the general mood of Twitter (angry asshole) and message length (even shorter sound bytes) will be highly effective.

But if 40 minutes a day isn't that I don't know what is
Well, we are currently debating in an online comment section, and are able to grok everything the Great Old One laid down in the OP, so I'd say we are good examples of that. How much do you spend online surfing a day? How much of that is in social media (Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) and online communities (reddit, chans, bbs, here, etc)?

As far as dominance on campaigns can you can back into that by looking at overall ad revenue? Facebook is far an away the dominant social media platform advertisers are actually spending money on

No. From that perspective you'd want to look at the fundraising revenue that comes in from Facebook advertising and compare it across all other platforms of political fundraising. But that would unfairly cut against Facebook because you also use it for engagement, excitation, and message reinforcement.

Honestly this is the kind of thing you'd need to go and look at actual political science publications for.

I don't understand what you are referring to on page 3 of the pew survey however I would be careful how you use that data

It is 4 pages. I'm telling you to go to page 3.


- it was published two years ago

It was published 1 year ago mate. 1 year, 1 week and 1 day to be specific.

- the actual survey was probably delivered older then that
It was conducted in September. That's literally the first sentence.

- some of the conclusions seem already disproven by more recent quantative sources

No, because
a) that's not what this survey said
b) that's not what your prospectus said
c) that's not how science works

I very strongly get the impression you did not read the link.

75:

It has nothing to do with twitter or memes or social media or gifs or listacles. It is long term traditional mass messaging married to an actually popular platform.

94% of seats in American politics are safe seats.

So I'll be taking your entire mythology that the race works like it says on the tin with a large amount of salt.

Without being too confrontational or weird (we're pre-300 here people) you've totally missed the trajectory of the pitching going on. As stated these are people winking toward Trump, not vice versa (it helps to know that the Norde people have moved from their leftish background to anti-EU / anti-Euro in 2015). A whole lot of doggies howling at the moon.

As mentioned Hillary has already come out against Iran, while this little scuffle in the UK has been playing out:

LONDON - British intelligence warned Prime Minister David Cameron against ordering his review into links between the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorism, the Middle East Eye can disclose.

UK intelligence had warned against 'fruitless' probe of Muslim Brotherhood ME Eye 17th Dec 2015 - note, source has issues

Saudi arms 'investigation' needed, says Philip Hammond BBC 11th Nov 2015

Inquiry into foreign backers of UK extremists gets green light Guardian 17th Jan 2016

(Note: read into this a lot of noise and see-sawing / balancing Iran into a ME mix)

~

Regarding the lack of spend, again, you're missing the trajectories.

Hillary vr THE BERNIE is sad-sack land. While Le Reddit / what vestiges of the left love the Bernie, he'll never make the seat. Done deal. It's Hillary or nothing and the GOP loathe her as do [redacted]. The Big Six have already put the fix in, a la R.Paul; mostly at the moment it's all about making her life costly and aging her before the actual running.

Trump vrs the Keystone Cops is about disruption and filtering. A lot of ire over Romney campaign failures etc. The Big Six love Trump because he brings ratings - which they sorely need, massive drop in viewing figures across the board - so he gets a lot of play.

~

As for spending: better question - what's WStreet's position on Iran?

If you want to follow the money, and see just how clearly this has all been signaled, try:

Goldman Sachs says seeing into Iran investment opportunity IRNA 6th Oct 2015

The New Oil Order Goldman Sachs - Iran’s Potential Impact on the Global Energy Markets, scroll down for video

Oil price: sell 'any and all rallies' as Iran prepares to pump - Tariq Zahir, at New York's Tyche Capital Advisors The Week Jan 15th 2016 - useful mainly for link aggregation

~


I don't do crystal ball predictions (ahem), but this cycle really does look like a possible "Golden Child" one. I'm also eyeing up global events.

Innocent question: what happens in a state of emergency before a new election and when Obama is scheduled to leave? (This is only semi-snark / feeding the Peanut Gallery).

Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar,the destructor has come. Youtube: film: 3:21]

76:

As far as I can tell, the Koch brothers aren't sitting this one out. They're spending a lot, and are pissed off that it isn't buying them the influence they expected. Their pet candidate, Scott Walker, bombed out and withdrew from the race way back in September. The two front-runners, Trump and Cruz, are wild men, not safe antiregulatory Republicans. The Kochs don't give a crap about Evangelical Christianity, they believe in evolution, and their position on global warming is out of pure self-interest.

They are sitting the presidential primary out, not the general. They are building big for that.

http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/koch-brothers-republican-endorsement/

While it is true that Scott Walker is their pet, they didn't invest in his presidential campaign. Most of that money came from Di­ane Hendricks and Mar­lene Rick­etts (with Ricketts mainly doing fundraising from other sources like Richard Uihlein and Bernard Marcus).

Check it: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00036995&type=f

Opensecrets is good for federal level donor tracking, for state level I like http://www.followthemoney.org/

Anyways, note that these aren't the big players. These are the same clowns from 2012, which was best described as "the time the millionaires tried to buy the election from the billionaires"

77:

Anyways, note that these aren't the big players. These are the same clowns from 2012, which was best described as "the time the millionaires tried to buy the election from the billionaires"


Your question for 10, Alex:

When was the last time a US Presidential election was lost by the largest spender?

78:

Counterpoint: as a few of us have alluded to, there is a lot of obscure parliamentary stuff that goes into getting laws passed, and a new official doesn't know that stuff, and promptly gets their ass kicked up and down the block. Higher rates of turnover from term limits will thus increase knowledge loss and either
a) increase gridlock, effectively delegating power to unelected bureaucrats who take action to keep the lights on or
b) every new official is going to need an old hand chief of staff or adviser who knows all this and can shepherd legislation through the system, effectively delegating legislative authority to these unelected party workers.

Not-so-small addendum: I'm here in term-limited California, and I tend to think that term limits were (and are) a major mistake. In California, the place is so complicated that it takes years to figure out how it works, and years to see the results from anything you do. The original term limits rules didn't leave enough time for anyone to get anything to fruition, and they're getting changed, although not abolished.

The counter-argument (entrenched corruption) is sort of correct, except that the really good parasites realize that it's in their interest to keep the state working while they skim *a little* off the side. Willie Brown worked on this model (and inspired term limits by doing so), and what he did worked better than term limits.

In any case, four more classes of players come in when term limits are in play: lobbyists, bureaucrats, businesses, and NGOs. None of them have term limits, so they have the staying power to follow projects for the decades it takes to get them either built or killed. I'm in the NGO camp, and I've seen old, NGO warhorses explain to new-ish politicians what something is about, and the politician ends up going along because they have no clue.

Note that I'm not a fan of many of these long-time congresscritters. Thing is, I really fear that if Congress was term-limited, it would become a mess even worse than what we see with Citizen's United, in terms of the influence of K Street.

79:

Let me take a step back, then I will talk to the points in your previous post

OP is not commenting specifically on twitter. He is talking about the fusion that is all forms of social media + smart phones and how that may be part of an explanation for the disruption in US politics that is occurring.

The Pew article from my reading of it isn't saying anything unusual or surprising other then it phrases things in kind of odd ways

Page 3 specifically talks about that users use multiple social media platforms and which one of those platforms get the most engagement. From this data we can enfer that a large majority of Americans are interacting with social media daily. From other sources we know that the time spent in that interaction is significant on a per day basis

It's also pretty clear that the conversation is not about twitter it's about social media in general and Facebook/Instagram specifically

Again nothing in here is any surprise it's pretty much the same numbers that most of these properties report internally and that external watchdogs like Nielsen also report. If anything Pew seems a little inflated though (70% daily engagement in the US as an a example), though this shouldn't be surprising given they are using survey methodologies like telesurvey phone calls that are rooted in the dark ages

Now with regards to the specific back and forth, firstly my own personal habits and the habits of everyone on this thread are not at all indicative of the general populace. Social Networking is a LARGE percentage of online activity, something like 25-30% and growing. It's an aeven larger chunk of mobile phone activity

Comment streams on Facebook are no different then the comment streams on this blog (except essentially better in every way imaginable from a user experience perspective).

But there seems to be something you see missing from the interactions social media provides vs the things political parties want to do, and that is interesting to me. It can't be engagement levels in any way so what is it?

As far as fundraising mechanism I think you are right, it's not primarily about that, social media is trying to position itself as an ad platform for parties, the place to spend the money not raise it

sorry I missed the datemath, I am still trying to figure out what year it is now

80:

77: 2012. And 2008.

Of course, that depends on how one defines "the biggest spender." If one counts only what is formally spent in a candidate's name by the candidate's own official campaign, the answer is different (below the Presidency) than if one includes the not-coordinated-at-all-wink-wink-nudge-nudge SuperPACs and issue-oriented PACs and private parties and sympathizers and general scumbags.

But in 2012, if one applies the same definitions to both sides, the somewhat-audited FEC (Federal Election Commission, our silliest quasiquango) figures as they became available in mid-2015 reflect that the Romney campaign substantially outspent the Obama campaign... almost regardless of the definitions one uses for when money is spent "for a candidate" and when money is spent "on an issue." It's closer in 2008 for some variants, but I haven't looked at those figures in nearly four years (the somewhat-audited figures didn't become publicly available until early 2012).

This whole thread demonstrates that Acton — a man born to power (his first name, after all, was "Lord" <vbeg>) — was wrong, It is not power that corrupts; it is seeking (and maintaining) power that corrupts. And it is PowerPoint that corrupts absolutely.

81:

Obama actually managed to get through a lot of his program. He got through the Affordable Care Act and a trillion dollar stimulus and passed Dodd Frank. Say what you will about Dodd Frank, Wall Street hates it and has made its hatred known. He also appointed a couple of new Supreme Court Justices as well as making Janet Yellen chair of the Federal Reserve. By historical standards that's a lot, particularly for a Democrat.

82:

The thing to remember is that American campaign finance has gotten increasingly weird. From the post Watergate reforms to the 2000 presidential election you had significant limits on presidential fund raising. A candidate could get matching funds for the primary election provided he followed certain spending limits and could get public funding for the general election as long as he didn't raise any other money. So a serious candidate typically would raise as much as $30 million or so and then get public funding and party support after that. So the question of who spent the most wasn't terribly relevant - there was a relatively level fiscal playing field, at least for direct spending.

In 2000, George W. Bush chose to forgo matching funds in the primary because he was nervous about being able to compete against self funding billionaire Steve Forbes. He rapidly raised over $100 million which at the time was a shocking sum for a single candidate. In 2004 the Democrats joined in showing they could raised a few hundred million for the primaries as well. Obama took the next step in 2008 by giving up public funding for the general and simply continuing to raise money. Romney did the same in 2012 so candidates raising hundreds of millions to run for president is the new normal.

Complicating matter further, the Roberts court has been working very hard to allow the wealthy to influence politics as much as possible. So 2010 brought the Citizens United decision which allowed individuals and corporations to give unlimited amounts to PACs making independent expenditures for or against candidates. This kind of outside spending was a big factor in the 2012 presidential race, particularly for Republicans. It's also important to remember that the funding for the new outside money groups comes from a tiny number of people. Given that the donors are very wealthy and usually were born to wealth, that can make things a little weird.

So the spending for 2016 is going to include what the candidates themselves raise and what's raised by outside groups. In addition, the competence of the outside groups is likely to be extremely variable - it's dependent on a very few donors who are very wealthy and not used to being told no. You've got a handful of rich old white guys who expect to have a lot of input which isn't always good for the candidates they support. We saw in 2012 a number of Republican candidates keep going thanks to finding a rich sugar daddy - not really practical in earlier cycles and arguably bad for the GOP. Probably less of a factor this time. You've also got unprecedented opportunities for running scams - set up a super PAC, find a few mega-donors and grab most of the money in consultant fees or other scams. It's been done before on a smaller scale. It will be interesting to take a look at Jeb Bush's super PAC spending with this in mind.

83:

Second this. I live in Virginia and the Obama campaign made an exceptional effort to drag every possible Democratic voter out to the polls. It worked - he took Virginia twice after decades of Virginia voting Republican in presidential elections. That's a big part of how the Democrats built an electoral college wall in presidential races. But that's not new in any way - it's a very old fashioned political effort. Politics is like war - a lot of the activities that really matter are dull and unsexy while the exciting parts are much less important.

84:

Not sure where you imagined those figures from, but it does show you just how pointless arguing politics is:

2012:

BLUE TEAM
Candidate Spending $540,812,931
National Party Spending $292,264,802
Outside Spending $131,303,352
Total $964,381,085

RED TEAM
Candidate Spending $336,399,297
National Party Spending $386,180,565
Outside Spending $418,635,080
Total $1,141,214,942

https://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/#out


So, outspend was +$300,000,000 but the totals were roughly the same.

Those numbers are a little hazy, for example:

Obama: $1.123 billion vs. Romney: $1.019 billion.

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/barack-obama-mitt-romney-both-topped-1-billion-in-2012-084737

In the end, President Obama had slightly more than $1.1 billion spent on him by his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the top super PAC devoted to his reelection, Priorities USA Action.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, had right between $1 billion and $1.1 billion spent on him by his campaign, the Republican National Committee and his super PAC, Restore Our Future.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2012/12/07/both-romney-and-obama-ran-1-billion-campaigns/

2008:
Barack Obama (D)

legend Individual contributions $656,357,572
legend PAC contributions $1,830
legend Candidate self-financing $0
legend Federal Funds $0
legend Other $88,626,223

John McCain (R)
legend Individual contributions $199,275,171
legend PAC contributions $1,407,959
legend Candidate self-financing $0
legend Federal Funds $84,103,800
legend Other $83,306,833


https://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/sourceall.php?cycle=2008

Obama raised roughly x2 of McCain in 2008

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_for_the_2008_United_States_presidential_election


You can pretty much see why Citizens United was enacted right there.

But, please, stick to the narrative that the GOP vastly outspent Obama in 2012 and 2008.

Obama outspent McCain in 2008, and was on parity in 2012 with Romney.

Nobody's right if everyone is wrong


~

If you wanted to know why Obama / Romney's spending was about on par for the 2012 election, you'd investigate a much, much more interesting question and find out what was really being bet on.

(Influence trading, monetary spending was semi-formally agreed to be ~roughly~ comparable pre-match or at least the way in which it was shaped worked that way).

85:

Oh, and after getting the question wrong immediately, no-one's bothered to investigate the trend.

(Now, you could argue that a Winner gets more cash because the power players will back him as they realize the way things are going for influence, but even then, it's still a valuable indicator).

Spoiler: You'll be fairly shocked when you find out the answer. Or not, depending on cynicism.

86:

(84) Hadil Benu, those are not the same numbers I was referring to. The FEC treats "what is spent on the candidate" more broadly than does opensecrets; for example, it appears that personal spending by a candidate at the primary stage isn't included in the latter, but is considered by the FEC, and the FEC's numbers also appear to include personal spending that is outside the scope of opensecrets. But it's all arguing over definitional niceties.

I agree that it's largely a pointless exercise; I tried to explain it in terms of "how many nurses' salaries were spent by/on behalf of each candidate," and got discouraged rather rapidly...

87:

I think you are seriously underestimating Trump by comparing him to LePage or even Rauner. For all of the outsider image he is projecting Trump is a dealmaker and an insider; he is not going to just rant ineffectively at Congress. With a Republican Congress he is going to be less constrained then Obama. Also, if you neither want to create complicated new programs nor feel any sense of constraint (either internal or external by the need for resources and support or reelection (and Trump doesn't)), then a President has, in the 21st Century, far more power than we generally realize.

88:

I agree with most of what MisterDK is saying. It's important to separate Trump The Brand from Trump The Manager - the latter is a mediocre businessman who has repeatedly run businesses into the ground, declared bankruptcy multiple times, and is probably only rich because he somehow convinced people in the Trump Brand. I guarantee you he would be an incompetent President at best, like LePage.

The "emergency manager" thing is troubling, but unsurprising. Republicans have always liked the "state" level of government in the US, for two reasons:

1. States are big enough that progressive movements and organizations centered around their cities can be overruled by conservative rural (and later suburban) areas, especially with the over-representation that's usually present in most state senates. The exceptions are the Northeast and the Pacific West, and parts of the Midwest (which have become more conservative over time). This was actually even worse in the First Gilded Age.

2. States can still be corrupted and played against each other by large corporations within the US. Think of the race to the bottom with credit card regulation, and how Republicans wanted that extended to the health insurance market (i.e. the worst regulated state - namely the one that allows the insurance companies to write regulations - ends up being the state where they're all based). Republicans even brag about this, about how Texas is booming compared to those blue states, about how states will compete to the bottom on regulations.

89:

eg at the GOP debate on Thursday, Neil Cavuto blamed Obama for the financial crisis. And 1/3rd of Republicans blame Obama for the Katrina response

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

90:

Yes
That's a re-cycle of the "FT" interview I mentioned somewhere back there ....
Yup, the Koch's know GW is true, but don't care, because they are greedy ... etc.
Totally un-enlightened self-interest.

91:

Which raises an interesting point
This level of spending on elections & by candidates would get those involved INSTANT JAIL in Britain & I suspect the same applies across most of Europe.
The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen (If it hasn't happened already, that is, & it's just that the timer is still ticking down ... )

92:

"IF Trump wins, who will exit NATO as a result, & who will suddenly become uncooperative wit the US, regardless? And will it include the UK?"

In order. Probably very few countries (unfortunately), unless Trump is even more politically inept in reality than in his media persona. Nobody - the USA is just too economically and politically powerful. And no - we will brown-nose the USA even more vigorously than at present.

93:

God help us all, yes :-( In my more suspicious moments, I read the British government's actions as a consistent and deliberate attempt to foster domestic terrorism, in order to reduce civil liberties. But, actually, I think that it's for a different reason. Anyway, documents like this are enlightening.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN00815/SN00815.pdf

94:

A slight correction here, sir; the Saudis and indeed the OPEC cartel are not at present pushing down oil prices, because there is absolutely no incentive for them to do so. At the current prices, Saudi oil costs more to extract than they can sell it for on the open market. Saudi Arabia is currently running an enormous deficit due to the low oil prices.

This is one thing that needs to be taken into account with the regional politics of the Middle East, and the politics of America and the entire world. Oil at the moment is cheap, very very cheap indeed. Cheap oil makes any manufacturing process that needs it as energy or feedstock cheaper, and this drives down the price of everything. We ought to be seeing an economic boom due to cheap energy right now.

Cheap oil also can only make Saudi Arabia spend less, and the one big-ticket item that the Saudis can easily stop spending money on is their enormous military budget, which is truly staggering by anyone's standards.

Saudi military spending does a few things. Firstly, it inhibits local tin-pot militias from operating openly near to Saudi Arabia and it also polices the Saudi kingdom effectively.

Secondly, it strongly favours local Sunni Islam at the expense of anything else; the Saudi kingdom specifically promotes the Wahabbi sect of Sunni Islam, which can be summed up as very hard-line religion of one very particular flavour.

Thirdly, it gives the likes of Israel and similar anti-Islam states something big and threatening to look at, instead of generally kicking backsides in the neighbourhood.

So, when the Saudis are forced by cheap oil to stop doing what they have been doing up to now, something else will happen. I don't know what this might be, I merely make the observation that cheap oil radically alters the politics in that region.

95:

... meanwhile, the USA just kicked props out beneath the Saudis by following through on the Iranian nukes deal and removing sanctions, immediately dropping oil prices.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35340893

.. entirely predictable outcome, now it's happened. Was that the plan? Was there a plan?

96:

Auditing paper trails to individuals / companies is standard practice and everyone whose anyone will never tie it to actual Government / power brokers. c.f. BAE scandal; Blair, Thatcher etc etc.

It's just noise & posturing - as a prior poster noted, air crews are still out there making sure the bombs are loaded, calibrated and checked for the Saudi Air Force running raids on Yemen. (UK military 'working alongside' Saudi bomb targeters in Yemen war Telegraph, 15th Jan 2016)

~

Regarding campaign cash - populist spending @ $500mil @ peak = push back Kochs to spend $900mil. At what point does system puke? (In 2014, the total lobbying spending amounted to 3.24 billion U.S. dollars.). The pay-off simply isn't worth it unless you're attempting the long-term social change type stuff of Judge stuffing etc.

~


"Gas" (petrol) is under $1 in Michigan as this is typed; current joke on the floor - "gas is cheaper than water, of course only one is unleaded" and versions thereof.

Oil @ $140 blows up the system.
Oil @ $20 does what with interest rates stuck @ 0-0.5%?

Spoiler: Nobody Knows. Apart from Venezuela, Canada, Russia etc go down the toilet.

Architecture of the global land acquisition system: applying the tools of network
science to identify key vulnerabilities
PDF, p.6 for the quick visual take-away.

Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest CNBC 15th Jan 2016

Comment from the floor: "If it's being sold to the Saudis, we know the aquifers are empty"


The Queen is Dead The Smiths Youtube: Full Album: 37:09]

~

Anyhow. Made a few people angry by posts, will probably be taking a holiday. Stay Frosty.

97:

Followed immediately by:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-35338901

Entirely predictable, as you say.

98:

One of the sticky issues is baked into the US constitution (and David Cameron chose to copy it in 2010 -- can't think why): namely, fixed terms.

Fixed terms made a lot of sense for the original colonies in the 18th century; the whole election cycle is built around the assumption that it can take months for a representative (or a new president) to make it to the Capitol from wherever they live, by sailing ship or stage coach. So you hold elections on a pre-determined date, have a 3-month hand-over period between administrations, and so on.

But the problem with this is that it results in a system where the finance cycle of a campaign is also pre-determined. And while it's not about directly buying votes these days, it is about buying the biggest megaphone and soapbox from which to denounce your rival. It's also a system that makes a new administration effectively unaccountable for the first 50-75% of its term in office: the electorate have a very short memory.

The US system tries to fix the accountability issue by staggering congressional/senate elections, so there's an election every two years -- but the result, combined with FPTP, is to produce "parties" that, rather than being tightly whipped, are loose coalitions of fellow-travellers who are more interested in kneecapping the other side than in forming a coherent platform. Again, this looked like a good idea in the 18th century when nobody wanted too much change too fast -- but "too fast" now means that it takes multiple decades for the US system to accommodate itself to pressing external issues.

It's a recipe for engineered gridlock, and it's baked into the constitution (which is significantly harder to amend than most post-19th century constitutional republics). So what we see is the emergent failure mode of a system designed for 18th century constraints, with gridlock engineered in by design, a century or more of gerrymandering, and the only way to get anything done is to fiddle around the margins ...

99:

Not the POLITICAL government, but the permanent government, meaning the Civil Service would much rather that we were "kept down"
The drive to row back on the FOI legislation came almost entirely from Whitehall, not the ministers, who ran a mile & denied everything when the immediate backlash showed up ...
The drive to keep ID cards after WWII was entirely Civil-Service driven ...
And so on.
Doesn't mean we don't have to watch out for the bastards, though....

100:

"It's just noise & posturing ..."

I wish :-( The problem is that, by brown-nosing the two countries that are the principals in driving Muslims into terrorism, the British government is harming the UK's own interests. Some bias is to be expected and can be lived with - the level of bias in the list I promoted is a disaster.

I have just looked at UN resolution 1929, and it states in paragraph 37 "Affirms ... (b) that it shall terminate the measures ... as soon as it determines, following receipt of the report referred to in the paragraph above, that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and met the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors, as confirmed by the IAEA Board of Governors;" It will be very interesting to see how Davey Boy and his cronies match up that and the event I described in 97 above. While I hope that he has enough spine to maintain our independence, I am not optimistic.

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4c1f2eb32.html

101:

Well, of course. "Yes, Minister" etc. was the nice, cuddly face of Whitehall.

102:

The pay-off simply isn't worth it unless you're attempting the long-term social change type stuff of Judge stuffing etc.
Precisely.
And that is what the ultra-right "Anarchist Lords" are aiming at - to revert to the US Gilded Age, or even "better" (from their p.o.v. of course)
However, back-pressures & similar are stronger now, partly thanks to increased information dissemination every where.
However, it's entirely possible for people to swallow the Rethuglican bullshit whole & regurgitate it at a moment's notice, totally ignoring all the facts.
Look at this debate in the Atlantic and look at posts from "dlampo" - no matter how many times you tell him that "socialised" healthcare is CHEAPER he just ignores it ....

A very useful idiot for the US right....

104:

If Trump is channelling the Mad Monk, I don't think it's deliberate. For one thing, it'd require TheDonald to go against the very strong not-invented-here culture that's endemic in US politics (TBF, it's also common in the UK and Aus). For another thing, he'd be consciously copying a failure -- Abbot lasted just two years before his own party gave him the boot. Obviously that's unlikely in the US presidential system (unless you want the unprecedented sight of a congressional party impeaching their own sitting president), but I can't see even Trump ignoring that level of cautionary message.

105:

Much of what you say is true but:

(1) Parties have in the past decade or two changed to being very tightly whipped (at least by historical American standards). This is particularly true of the Republican Party and is why, for example, there was not a single Republican vote in the Senate for Obamacare. (Note that the system here is not the same as that in the UK as enforcement is in large part bottom up driven, resulting in this being much more effective at preventing Republicans from breaking ranks to the left.) The clearest expression in the House was the adoption of the Hastert Rule (nothing gets done unless it has the support of the majority of the majority (Republican Party)), though this was somewhat abandoned last year to get the budget passed. The result though, of imposing Parliamentary discipline on a system that was not designed to produce a clear governing party is exactly what you describe (at least formally): a government that can't respond to changing situations except slowly or (as with Obamacare) in the very rare situation where one party has a super-majority.

(2) The Constitution is formally very difficult to amend. In practice though, without amendment, the interpretation and application of the Constitution over time has changed radically. This was most obvious in the 1930s but also true in the Civil Rights Era. What we've essentially done is created a slower moving amendment process by partial elite consensus to replace the too-difficult democratic process embedded in the document.

(3) As with 2, so with 1: Our formal system of government involving Congress doesn't work very well, so we've set up a lot of things to bypass it by delegating authority to the executive branch in very broad strokes.

(4) The effect of all of this is that a President has a lot more power than is commonly realized or used, which is generally bound by informal understanding and the need to maintain certain forms of political support - usually a President is a front man for a coalition. (And for usually, here read: I can't think of any even possible exception until I get all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt and before that Andrew Johnson (in both cases, by the way, initially un-elected Presidents).) Trump though is fundamentally different in that he is not the front man for a coalition in the traditional sense. That combined with his personality and the "our government doesn't work" stance that he is running on means that he would feel far less constrained than any prior President.

(5) In some sense, we've created something that looks a lot like an elective dictatorship to address the significant failings of the American Constitution without really realizing it and Trump has the possibility of being the first elective dictator.

106:

The Hastert Rule is more of a guideline. The House Majority Leader is not bound by it, unless he/she chooses to be.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastert_Rule

107:

Some thoughts:

#1 Watching the documentary Spin is required to understand what's really going on with Trump.

#2 Trump is both a Billionaire and not a Billionaire at the same time. He's a simulacrum of a Billionaire. (The Kochs, on the other hand, are very definitely Billionaires, old style). C.f. hyper-reality. He's the Top Gun version of Wall Street, the paragon of 80's Rah-Rah-Football-and-Jingoism. (see #5)

#3 Trump is both Koch's and Clinton's and D.C.'s tool at the same time as being a one-man-rebel-against-the-dual-party-system. He's a meta-response by the Establishment to the Tea Party and the internet. This is why he's good at the Fake Telepathy stuff.

#4 He's actually working for the Big Six (cable / TV) and he's very self-aware of this. See #1 - MSM has seen its average viewing age rise and rise and those figures drop and drop. Now Google et al are starting to nibble at Comcast etc, they know this will accelerate. [Meta-meta: see responses to new media in music industry for actuality of American "Capitalism"]. He's the mirror of Clinton; first time devastating, second time the fading echoes of glitz & glamour [Meta-meta-meta: deliberately echoing Weimar Republic? More than likely looking at the sharks in the deep blue sea]

#5 Wall Street knows the playbook, and they've read the tea-leaves and the CIA fact book and read the reports you don't. Or, at least, they get an analyst on the phone who has. Trump is a deliberate jester signalling to the Big Bad Wolves that Things Will Change [tm]; there's probably little hope involved though. This is why there's a lot of little wolves wagging themselves towards Trump; it's a knowing wink. [Gozer and Zule - not even funny]

#6 Deep State + Military + Bureaucracy. Angle?

#7 Where's the actual candidate? Clinton might still have enough Power Capital to claw 4 years - probably set for a 2020 (oh, yesssss, I smell blood there; plays real nice with both old and new mimetic structures) New Deal shattering the broken dual party mess that will come from her Presidency. Added bonus: the GOP will lap it up and the Base will too. Fear, Rah, Fear, Rah, Fear, Rah.

#8 Trump might be self-aware or high enough in the game to understand this. Given his willful use of crassness and pokes at Bernie, more than likely. Probably focusing on family empire network rather than his own ego. (That was sarcasm).

~


TL;DR

Trump is a total side-show to all of this. Watch for 2020. (And the Eclipse in March. Might not have the strength to change this one).


p.s.

The Left in America (if it exists) needs to stop focusing on Bernie and nice old granddads and get serious.

108:

#7 and your PS are what I fear, too. If Clinton gets in, fails to create some improvement in the 'democratic' process, and we hit the economic and other problems that we well may, we risk getting someone with the even less sanity than Palin elected in 2020 on a smash-the-left ticket. Left as in liberal, socialist, justice for minorities, or a more democratic system? All, of them - they are all part of the same evil conspiracy.

109:

Add to the reading list "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis (published in 1935).

"A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press." – amazon.com

110:

Social media, personality and voting predisposition/likelihood - variety of background-ish type articles. Plus, at the end, some conspiracy fodder.

'As in 2013, Facebook remains the most popular site among those who use only one — fully 79% of those who use just one site report using Facebook.'

'Twitter says companies that buy firehose access will see no difference in service, except for the fact they’ll be paying Twitter directly. However, that’s not strictly true, as a blog post from Datasift founder and CEO Nick Halstead notes today.' - this is raw data, lots and lots of raw data! And via available software, each tweet sender can be pegged to their geographic/poll location. (Note: Used for evaluating consumer advertising campaigns re: which special promo Tweet users respond to, e.g., enter-campaign-promo-code-here-for-your-discount type stuff.)


Massive, well-designed academic study on social media (FB) but not lacks comparison vs. non-users of Social Media/FB:

The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates ...

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886915003025

Highlights
•We examined the personality predictors of Facebook status update topics.
•Extraverts more frequently update about their social activities.
•Openness is positively associated with updating about intellectual topics.
•Self-esteem is negatively associated with updating about romantic partners.
•Narcissists more frequently update about their achievements, diet, and exercise.

Social media, funding sources, REP candidates ... exciting reading for conspiracy folk.

'As part of an aggressive new voter-targeting operation, Cambridge Analytica – financially supported by reclusive hedge fund magnate and leading Republican donor Robert Mercer – is now using so-called “psychographic profiles” of US citizens in order to help win Cruz votes, despite earlier concerns and red flags from potential survey-takers.
Documents seen by the Guardian have uncovered longstanding ethical and privacy issues about the way academics hoovered up personal data by accessing a vast set of US Facebook profiles, in order to build sophisticated models of users’ personalities without their knowledge.'


'... Cruz has turned to Cambridge Analytica for its unparalleled offering of psychological data based on a treasure trove of Facebook “likes”, allowing it to match individuals’ traits with existing voter datasets, such as who owned a gun.

Analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings shows Cruz’s campaign has paid Cambridge Analytica at least $750,000 this year. The “behavioural microtargeting” company has also received around $2.5m over the past two years from conservative Super Pacs to which Mercer or members of his family have donated.'

This is where the conspiracy stuff probably starts ... the chief science officer (Alex/Alexander Tayler PhD) of the two outfits (Cambridge Analytica and scl group) named is the same person. Next, look at who's on record as clients/approvers of the methodology.

https://sclelections.com/who-we-are/

Below is directly off the url above:

scl group:

In today’s global information environment SCL has the knowledge, the people and the experience to help global brands, political organisations, world leaders and militaries deliver measurable and lasting behaviour change.

Dr. Alex Tayler* - Chief Data Scientist - - PhD Chemical Engineering (University of Cambridge), BE, (University of Newcastle, Australia) -

Alexander Tayler is a Lead Data Scientist at SCL Elections. His primary focus is the development and implementation of models that combine theoretical psychology with big data analytics to enable highly accurate predictions of human behaviour. He is also responsible for the validation of these models and visualisation of model results. He holds a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge, and a BE from the University of Newcastle, Australia. He has significant experience in the commodities sector, having previously worked for both Schlumberger and Orica Mining Services.


*Note: From the Cambridge Analytica site we see:


https://cambridgeanalytica.org/

Dr. Alexander Tayler Director of Analytics PhD in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (University of Cambridge)
BEng (University of Newcastle, Australia)


Methodology Approved:

Independent analysis of SCL’s TAA methodology has been undertaken by, among others, ARAG – Advanced Research and Assessment Group (UK Ministry of Defence) and Sandia National Laboratories (U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration). Public endorsement of SCL capabilities has been published by the Government Accountability Office, (US State Department).


111:

FYI:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mercer_%28businessman%29

Excerpt: 'Mercer previously worked at IBM, where he developed speech recognition programs, and received a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois.'

Sounds like Mercer has expert knowledge therefore would view his financial backing more seriously re: using social media to pick/make a Rep winner.

112:

And "Joe Steel" by Harry Turtledove (basically Stalin's ethics moved to the US)…

113:

Meta: I am reading the informed commentary here with horrified fascination.

As am I. I live in one of the western states, the 11 from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. As a region, the population of these states is less rural than anywhere in the US except the Northeast. All of the states have remarkably easy citizen initiatives (except for amendments to the New Mexico constitution). This seems to me to act as a moderating force in much the way that multi-party systems do. For example, one of Arizona's more conservative state legislators is campaigning for the legislature to legalize marijuana so that they get some say; if it's done by initiative, the legislature can't touch it for years. Coloradans will vote on a single-payer health plan in November. IMO, there are several trends in initiatives happening. Marijuana legalization. Universal vote-by-mail, which makes voter suppression harder. Independent redistricting commissions, that take gerrymandering out of the equation. Renewable energy mandates that have actual teeth, rather than bail-outs like purchasing energy credits somewhere else.

The West has its own set of problems to deal with, eg, water. These may be difficult, but they're not unsolvable.

Still, there are days when I feel like I'm living in a completely different country.

114:

Since this is about women, it's not important--but it's pretty clear that a not-insane man is obviously more important and more likely to be elected than a highly qualified women. Sadly, a large portion of Boomer women most likely to be upset over this were also targeted by a ton of Burn the Witch Hillary propaganda, and still believe it.

And of course male millennial bloggers will stridently defend their feminist credentials...and be strong Bernie supporters anyway Because Hillary.

Sadly, we don't have riots by women (at least not since the suffragette days of Alice Paul).

So it's not like anybody actually has to *care*.

115:

Granted that we've got proof that US politics are more misogynistic than racist. (and are scary racist.)

Hilary's tremendously competent, but also very much an establishment candidate. It's a bad place to be when an election is going populist. The further left Bernie can shift the platform, the better, I'd say.

116:

To be honest, I don't see a "highly qualified" woman in the race. Hillary's brushes with history so far have involved a failed attempt at healthcare reform in the 90s, a vote for the Iraq war, and an uninspiring tenure at State. I can't think of anything she's ever done that's both notable and successful. If I end up checking her box on election day, it will be less a vote for her than a vote against her opponent.

I can't say that Bernie Sanders has a better track record, but he's far and away better on policy matters IMHO.

117:

Of course, fighting for women's and girls' rights for five or six years isn't important either. And she brought in a lot of economic development for poverty-stricken areas in upstate New York as a senator.

Plus she put together a comprehensive health care plan in the 1990's well before Sen. Sanders even thought of it.

But hey, we all know that doesn't count.

118:

I think Jean did a pretty good job pointing out that Hillary got a hell of a lot more done during her term as senator than Cruz or Rubio have. Unlike Michelle Obama, she took on a serious policy initiative as First Lady (even though it failed). I'd also point out that under her tenure at State, US foreign policy got a lot less insane than it had been for the previous eight years. It was very kind of the US Congress to strip the budget for embassy defense before Benghazi happened, incidentally, if you think that was her fault.

My biggest grumble with Hillary is more about her cozy relationship with Wall Street, and that's because I think we'll likely see another Wall Street crisis in the next four years. As with Obama, someone who's too close to the action is going to have trouble dealing with that particular mess.

Personally, I hope I end up voting for either a Clinton/Sanders ticket or a Sanders/Clinton ticket. Either way would be good so far as I'm concerned.

119:

I did forget one reason for Saudis to keep the oil prices down: one idea is that they're either conspiring with the US to mess up the Russian oil industry. It's an alternative to the idea that they're attacking the US fracking industry.

Today, Russia is probably suffering worse (see details here). There's evidence it's working, driving billions of dollars out of the Russian government budget.

Now that I think about it, the Saudis do have more potential with solar power than the Russians do. it looks like I'm not the first person to think this, either.

120:

She did a fairly good job as Senator from NY and a reasonably good job as Secretary of State. It is true that she royally screwed up health care reform and totally mismanaged her 2008 campaign both of which are fairly major black marks - but she is not appreciably less qualified than many of the other candidates in this election cycle or the previous ones.

121:

Sebator Clinton is certainly qualified but neither she nor Senator sanders has put together a healthcare plan. In her case, she disastrously mismanaged healthcare reform. It is not a high point.

122:

Here is my opinion on Hillary, since the conversation has drifted into this arena.

I think she was a good Senator. I don't know enough about the internal workings of the Senate to know if her faults (as First Lady, Sec. of State, or NY Senator) are due to her, or to forces she couldn't control (Republicans, other Democrats). The same goes for Sanders.

The thing is, both times she's ran, she's had to deal with a huge anti-incumbent streak within the Democrats. To give a UK analogy, in the first primary Hillary Clinton was the head of Scotland Labour running against the SNP in the last election. In the second primary, she was running against Jeremy Corbin as head of the Labour party. I know that this analogy is very weak. I'm trying to capture the sentiment here.

My understanding is that in both cases, the incumbents lost because they were seen as not being bold enough to push reforms, and not due to their professional merits. A similar thing is going on here.

123:

A lot of people have not even heard about Sanders yet, so he has a big potential upside, but unless he also wins a sane supermajority in congress to do all the heavy lifting, the current hostage-taking situation will just continue.

Interestingly a lot of 20 something "kids" are jumping on the Sanders train. Even the supposedly conservative ones.

I get this from watching my son and his friends talk. They have heard of him and have even attended rallies. And our primary is months away.

124:

A "routine" US trip from Chicago to New Orleans is over 100km longer than the show-your-passport-at-least-twice trip from Paris to Warsaw...

And that's the short way to "cross" the country. It's 3 times farther to go east/west.

I don't think that even Charlie (who seems to appreciate the distances better than most non-USAians around here) fully "groks" the scales. Although that drive he did a few years back from Washington state to California (did I get that right) was an impressive distance.

Heck my wife or I fly over 1100 miles weekly for job location reasons. Each way. Today she was headed back to Texas and couldn't get there directly from North Carolina so she went via Chicago. Most people not from the US that I run into just don't think that way in terms of distance.

125:

Yeah
As previously mentions, R.A.H. predicted the fall of the US in 2012 to Nehemiah Scudder ... if Hilary becomes POTUS in 2016 & then things fall apart - mostly from external causes, yes, that & Sinclair Lewis could come true in 2020.
Could, note, not will, or is likely ...

126:

What Obama followed was the community organizing strategy. You go into an area, spend a lot of time in direct contact, identify the local influencers (eg the "neighborhood mamas"), connect with them on direct action items with immediate impact, and push that into meetings and interactions to sway the network.

This is how O won NC in 2008. Plus his troops pushed hard for early voting. Then when on election day the weather was in the 40s/50sF and raining across most of the state the non O voters didn't show up in nearly the typical numbers.

O pushed hard to get his votes in early. The R's didn't and it cost them big.

127:

NO ONE AT ALL in the US has put together a decent healthcare paln
Yes, that includes Obama, etc.
Because no "single-payer", because that's "socialist" ...Arrrgh.

128:

Roughly what percent of Obama's first term election platform got passed?

It is typical that very little of a president's platform is passed. Very typical. Nothing new here.

129:

At the current prices, Saudi oil costs more to extract than they can sell it for on the open market. Saudi Arabia is currently running an enormous deficit due to the low oil prices.

You, or someone else, said this here before. I don't see it. Just because their government is running a deficit it doesn't follow that their cost to pump oil is greater than their selling price. It just means they spent expecting 10 bars of gold per well and only got 5.

My quick searching indicates that Saudi, Iraq, and Iran can pump oil for under $11/$12 per barrel.

130:

Independent redistricting commissions, that take gerrymandering out of the equation.

Just what benevolent dictator is going to pick the members of these non partisan commissions?

131:

''I don't think that even Charlie (who seems to appreciate the distances better than most non-USAians around here) fully "groks" the scales.''

I at least travelled much longer distances as a child, over routes that took over a day to a few weeks, depending on whether flying was feasible. But that's not the point. When it comes to social diversity, distance is not measured in miles, but in hours, dollars, languages and other obstacles.

132:

Hmm. This might be a bit wild, but hey.

Ok, here's an image [Note: stripped & hosted in a safe place, no doubt the file / list is getting Deeper Purple by the day].

You can probably guess where it came from (one of the 'darkest' chans).

Take a look, might indicate how people are thinking, and more importantly, just how sophisticated that thinking is.


p.s.

"We Are Back"; "Go back to hiding" Cute note there chaps.

ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ

133:

Using solar power to desalinate sea water would seem to be Saudi Arabia's one big hope for the future. At some point, they are going to run out of oil to sell, at which point the current policy of industrial desalination to make drinking water and irrigation water is going to get expensive rather quickly.

Carpeting the Empty Quarter with photovoltaic for power, and building large solar sea water evaporators (using the incoming cold sea water to cool the condensers) to provide fresh water would seem a viable alternative. This sort of industry would give a lot of people jobs in a diffuse spread of assets that would be quite hard for terrorist outfits to disrupt. It would also spread power from the kingdom's elite to a lot more people, which ought to calm that political situation down somewhat.

134:

"Just what benevolent dictator is going to pick the members of these non partisan commissions?"

One solution is indicated by the relationship between the Privy Council and some Commonwealth countries. Each country's constitutional court and such appointment committees are run by an independent country. In the case of the USA, that's tricky, but Russia, China or even Iran would do :-) [I shall now retire to my blast-proof bunker]

135:

"A "routine" US trip from Chicago to New Orleans is over 100km longer than the show-your-passport-at-least-twice trip from Paris to Warsaw..."

I think that's a particualrly bad way to try to say what you're trying to say, given that you don't need to show a passport to travel from Paris to Warsaw.

136:

fighting for women's and girls' rights for five or six years isn't important either.

You said it ironically, but it's true. Fighting doesn't count. Winning counts. How, exactly, are women and girls better off than they would be if Hillary had spent those years watching Netflix?

If you do think struggle is important for its own sake, why should we value Hillary's struggle for women over Bernie's longer record of struggle for the working class?

And she brought in a lot of economic development for poverty-stricken areas in upstate New York as a senator.

Bringing home some pork is not particularly impressive for a Senator. They all do that. And I've already noted that I don't consider her healthcare plan a success.

From Hillary, I don't see a record of success that inspires confidence in her leadership. The same is true of her opponents, unfortunately. I consider qualifications a wash this election.

137:

I am more-than-half expecting the Democrat primaries to deliver a compromise: Hilary for POTUS with Sanders as her VP pick. That way she gets to buy off the liberal wing of the party without risking them staying home or defecting to a third party run (a la Nader in 2000).

A startling upset might result in Sanders getting the nomination -- in which case look for a female VP pick.

138:

Greg, there is a single-payer healthcare system in the US: it's called Medicare. Only applies to over-65s who've paid into social security, as I understand it, but as of 2010 it covered 48 million people, making it nearly as big as the English NHS.

(There's also Medicaid for those on low incomes. Obama's Affordable Care Act would have expended it to cover a lot more low-income people via topups to private insurance cos, but thanks to a bone-headed lawsuit it was found to be unconstitutional to force states to implement it, so a bunch of states run by the we-hate-the-poor party opted out of the ACA.)

The main healthcare gap is due to (a) lack of catastrophe cover for the young, and (b) lack of chronic condition cover for the middle-aged. So if you wanted to move the USA to single payer for real, you could start by incrementally lowering the threshold age for access to Medicare.

(This begs the question of how to fund such expansion, and how to cover the gap wrt. people who aren't paid up in social security, and how to deal with the shrinking profitability in the private insurance sector, and a myriad of details, but it underscores that the problem with healthcare reform in the US is one of political will, not capability.)

139:

Much Orwell, very 1984, wow!

140:

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, has been blogging extensively about Trump's campaign, which makes fascinating and horrifying reading. They're posted on the Dilbert site, http://www.dilbert.com.

141:

I am sad that I must return to the US this year and will have to endure the political propaganda water cannon. The TV will remain mainly off, and I will probably wear out the mute button.

142:

I remember posting something about this very image a while back (well, the original: GREP the blog archives). Interesting to see a weaponized form. [Disclaimer: certain channels didn't exist back then, nor did I have any involvement with its creation]

Just Witchy / Sybil Things.


Two things to note:

If you shove it in TinEye you'll get zero (0) results: this is because Google and others stopped indexing certain things (thus this really is a "darknet" image. For the older crowd: darknet merely means non-indexed, not evil).

This has had certain repercussions.

The symbolism has interesting attachments; not least you'll need to know about Hillary, Sarkozy, Putin and MENA and the great plan Democracy Now! [Youtube: General Wesley Clark: 2:12]. Oh, and the real contents of Emails.

~

There's an interesting one: for all those supporting Hillary in this thread, beyond the whole Benghazi! fluff (If you don't know who VileRat is, and don't understand what his being in an EvE battle at the moment of the attack means, you probably shouldn't have the conversation, both RED/BLUE team members. That goes for Michael Bay as well), have you any idea why those types of images are being used?

My nose says no. (c.f. Bến Tre - *waves to Ghostly Gallery*)


Which is both depressing and worrying.


Willkommen Youtube: Music: 3:40 NSFW

143:

Jay 116: 'To be honest, I don't see a "highly qualified" woman in the race.'

Seriously? Maybe you should read Hillary Clinton's bio ... here's a start.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton

144:

When it comes to social diversity, distance is not measured in miles, but in hours, dollars, languages and other obstacles.

It's the distance that allowed/encouraged such diversity to happen.

Relatives that moved for work reasons to other states and settle in for the long haul in many cases quickly change their politics to that of the new locals. Not all but many.

145:

No, it doesn't
Nothing sophisticated or clever there at all, other than the pretentiousness of posting in Greek.
All it looks like to me is this
Nothing new to see here, etc.

146:

Thanks for that - something new learnt every day ( & that was not ironic! )
Yes, "Political Will" agree & not quite just "we hate the poor" but "we hate our fellow-Americans", is how I see it.
It's disgusting

147:

Ahem: Greg, for historic reasons, there's a strong statistical correlation in the United States between "black" and "poor". Trying to remember who it was that said the Original Sin of American politics was slavery; they weren't wrong.

Quite often if you see some inexplicable but revolting local phenomenon over there that makes no sense whatsoever to outsiders, it turns out to be an emergent side-effect of the War on Dark-Skinned People.

(The UK is full of racists too, but the focus and expression is different. In particular, slave plantations stopped being a thing circa 400AD when the Romans fucked off back to Gaul and parts east, and the subsequent migrations and invasions over-wrote the folk memory of what it means to have a large proportion of your population who are legally property rather than people. Slavery did exist, but retail rather than wholesale.)

148:

And here's another perspective ...

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/features/2015-11-05/how-richard-nixon-created-hillary-clinton

Excerpt:

'The Clintons were the first Democrats to come under steady assault from a counter-journalism on the right that made little or no attempt to disguise its intention to take down a president, through a kind of Watergate in reverse. Robert Bartley, the editor of the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, which helped lead the charge, suggested that Clinton wasn’t a legitimate president since “he won the election with 43 percent of the vote”—the same percentage Nixon got in 1968. The author of the Troopergate stories was, of course, David Brock, who later recanted them and also repudiated his entire season in the ‘90s as a “right-wing hit man” in his memoir, Blinded By the Right, which remains the best account, written by someone ubiquitously on the scene, of how the Republican party and its allies in the conservative movement worked through the media—the collusions that drove the Clinton pseudo-scandals, the sums poured into the “Little Rock Project,” the radio campaign of Rush Limbaugh, backstage maneuverings in Congress and by lawyers like Theodore Olson. Brock has since been atoning on Media Matters, his watchdog website, which combs the vast comment-sphere in search of every unjust nit and plucks it out, and in the constellation of pro-Hillary PACs he has formed (including American Bridge). In a new book, Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary Clinton and Hijack Your Government, Brock’s subject is the steady infiltration of mainstream media by the right-wing factories of disinformation. The same newspapers that recycled canards and smears in The American Spectator now launder the canards and smears of Fox News and Breitbart.'

149:

There's an even stronger correlation between the image of poverty being black and urban while the reality in absolute terms is white and rural. Even the liberal media pushes this stereotype. Despite the disproportionate impact of race, poverty is very much a white problem. I doubt I need to spell out all the reasons why it is related as a black one.

150:

It helps if you understand the context of who is posting it. Hint: they're pro-Trump (ostensibly).

It also serves to explain Gozer / Zule comments. (And yes, Greg, that's from a popular film from the 1980's, "Ghostbusters" like Gremlins. No, you probably won't understand the references / cultural appropriation going on. Although, the surface level is quite clear in its associations).

~


They're also reading this thread and responses and marking which ones fit a certain mold, and which ones don't. As ever, the Greek wasn't for certain minds, it was for others (it was a non-polite reminder that Orca still exist).

151:

An observation vis-a-vis your statement.

The first is that it's interesting that non-Muslim Asians seem to avoid getting anywhere that much trouble from the authorities (that includes Indians).

Perhaps the fact that most of the immigrants to Canada are Asian might have something to do with a lower magnitude of racial tension? Certainly, Winnipeg has US East Coast levels of racial segregation, and the Native Canadians make up about a quarter of jails (a third for women)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/aboriginal-inmates-1.3403647

I also have a question. How has British folk memory
managed to insulate itself from having "a large proportion of your population who are legally property rather than people" in the Caribbean?

152:

Perhaps the fact that most of the immigrants to Canada are Asian might have something to do with a lower magnitude of racial tension?

Asian? You mean Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi?

Because that's what "Asian" means on this blog.

(If you mean Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Malaysian/Indonesian, just say so, okay?)

As for the Caribbean thing, that was back when it took a flat minimum of 3-4 weeks, and more usually 3-6 months, to get there by ship. A slave revolt in the Caribbean didn't result in folks back home getting murdered in their beds. It was as remote from the British public as as US soldiers getting blown up by IEDs in Iraq or Afghanistan is from US public life today: which is to say, those families with serving members in the military pay attention, but for most people it's background noise on CNN (and why do those people hate us anyway?).

153:

Three reasons:

#1 UK bought out slavery early, it didn't end forcibly. This is a major one for National Psychology (not necessarily in a good way).

#2 There's reminders if you look for them. e.g. Museums in Liverpool, Bristol etc and the BBC does pieces on it every-so-often. That link is called "revision" not because it's denying the history, but it's for children revising for exams. i.e. it is covered, if not majorly.

#3 Between WWII and the ugly Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 many Caribbean (esp. Jamaica) Commonwealth nationals emigrated to the UK. So, in some respects, there's places like Brixton where the situation moved to. e.g. Not "a century ago we enslaved these foreign island nationals" but "look at the segregation / racism that folks in Brixton are dealing with".

To unpack that: addressing Brixton etc is not insulating, but is part of the forgetting (in a useful way, at least for those in the UK).

#4 The Commonwealth has a shared history past the emancipation of slavery. The debates still go on:

British slavery reparations Q&A Guardian, Sept 2015

Jamaican reparations: British taxpayers are not to blame for the horror of slavery Telegraph, Sept 2015

No, Britain doesn’t need to pay reparations for the slave trade Spectator, Sept 2015

As you can see with the usual arguments, the issue is still current within society.

~

Infodump 101.

154:

“Ahem: Greg, for historic reasons, there's a strong statistical correlation in the United States between "black" and "poor".”

More true than you would think. In fact Hillary Clinton makes the point about this in her final remarks in the Democratic debate this past Sunday by talking the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

CLINTON: "I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged. We've had a city in the United States of America where the population -- which is poor in many ways, and majority African-American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care. He had requests for help that he basically stonewalled. I'll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would have been action. So I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the mayor of Flint, to see what I could do to help, and I issued a statement about what we needed to do, and then I went on a TV show, and I said it was outrageous that the governor hadn't acted. I want to be a president that takes care of the big problems and the problems that are affecting the people of our country every day."

Bernie Sanders, also mentioned the situation in Flint and called for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

155:

Ok, I'll be a bit more careful about that, and will keep this in mind in the future.

I was referring to East Asians, Southeast Asians, and South Asians as Asians. Use of the term Asian to refer exclusively to East and Southeast Asians hasn't been used in a lot of metro areas in the US since the mid-2000s (none where I lived). The Indian community is too large these days to ignore.

156:

Donald Trump branded a 'fool', 'buffoon' and 'wazzock' by British MPs ABC, 19th Jan 2016

Post-Abbott, Aunty has been signalling heavily towards the USA. Interesting with the TTP coming up. (c.f. comments on EU immigration "crisis").

157:

Bernie Sanders this weekend released his full plan, which is 'Medicare for all'. https://berniesanders.com/issues/medicare-for-all/

158:

It sounds like we need to clarify the mapping here. Where I am, Asia is the landmass east of the Urals, south of the Caucasus, south of the Caspian, south of the Black Sea, and east of the Suez Canal. That's the largest landmass, and home to about 60% of the human population.

In the US, one set of neighbors is Indian, one Persian (or possibly Iranian, it's a political distinction and I don't know them), and my wife's Korean. In other words, I'm surrounded by people I'd call Asian.

In the usage I'm used to, people from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are South Asian, people from China, Taiwan (I have a friend who voted for independence there), the Koreas, and Japan are East Asian, people from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are Southeast Asian, and people from the Philippines are grouped with the Pacific islanders (as are people from Papua New Guinea, and yes, Indonesia is confusing). That's as categories: usually when we're talking with or about them, the preferred label is country of origin.

Oh and people from Asiatic Russia are Russians and we don't have a separate term for people from the 'stans because (Afghanistan aside) there isn't a big population of them here, and people from the Middle East are identified either by country of origin (Iraqi), religion, (Chaldean), or politics (Persian if they don't like Iran, Iranian if they do), and you talk to them to find out how they self-identify.

When us Californians talk about "Asians" moving in to take tech jobs in a place like San Diego, that's literally the case. It's people from Pakistan, India, China, Korea, Vietnam, Iran, the Middle East, and the Philippines.

So mapping that onto this blog, people from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are Asian, and everyone else is identified by country or island of origin? If this is causing confusion, I want to make sure I understand how you'd like to see it used.

159:

Stripping birthright citizenship is easily said, but not really possible.

The US is heavily into 'Jus Soil' for several reasons, but the key factor here is the 14th Amendment, passed in the aftermath of the Civil War declared anyone born in the US a citizen. (There's a small caveat requiring the parents being'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' which case law makes clear means is only applicable to diplomats).

The reason for the 14th Amendment was to prevent freed slaves from being non-citizens. Creating a permanent underclass who could be disenfranchised. Unfortunately it took about 100 years for it to work due to Jim Crow.

United States v. Wong Kim Ark makes it very clear that it doesn't matter the race or origin of the parents, so long as they are not diplomats.

The only way to change this is a constitutional amendment. For all of our flaws in a hard to change constitutional system, this is a saving grace. It's very hard to pass an amendment, and mucking with Birthright citizenship will require not only a super majority in both houses, but also 3/4ths of the states.

So messing with Birthright Citizenship is a good sound byte, but short of a political revolution isn't going to happen.

160:

OK, US-UK translation please. What's a 'wazzock'?

161:

Never mind. Read the link. Sorry for being lazy.

162:

Sander's put his out this weekend. Universal healthcare by enlarging Medicare.

163:

According to this timeline, slavery was abolished by most European countries well before the US Civil War. Middle Eastern and African countries were the last to officially outlaw slavery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline

And because slavery can/does evolve, most recently, the UK enacted this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Slavery_Act_2015

Excerpt:

'From 29 October 2015 the Transparency in Supply Chain Provisions require businesses to publish an annual statement if they have an annual turnover above a threshold (£36 million).[7] The statement must confirm the steps taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in the business (or in any supply chain) or declare that no steps to confirm the existence of slavery or trafficking have been taken.'

Not sure whether this act was also intended to put a spotlight on the clothing/textile industries in Asian countries, source of almost all of the clothing sold/worn in the West.*

http://www.globallabourrights.org/reports/gap-and-old-navy-in-bangladesh-cheating-the-poorest-workers-in-the-world

FYI: 'The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, formerly known as the National Labor Committee (until 2011), is a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) that investigates human and labor rights abuses committed by large multinational corporations producing goods in the developing world.'


Laugh & learn time re: child labor/apparel industry a la John Oliver.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdLf4fihP78


164:

Mostly agreed with your post. However, this is the first time I've heard Filipinos called Pacific Islanders. They and Indonesians are generally defined as Southeast Asians. You're right that Papua New Guineans are defined as Pacific Islanders though. Generally, Pacific Islanders don't refer to islands, they refer to people of Polynesian, Melanesian, or Micronesian ancestry. You'd be right that Indonesia is complicated though, and East Timor is ignored altogether.

165:

In other news, The Onion was just bought out by Univision Communications. Details.


If you know your[1] history this might indeed suggest that in America, Satire is Dead.


A more informed nose might think that The Onion's little sister project, Onion Labs was the real prize.

"We're the full-service agency within the walls of the Onion, with the built-in publishing tools and audience of the Onion.

Through comedy, we've perfected reaching and influencing millennials. And now we're offering that influence to brands.

We combine the best comedy writers and marketing talent to create advertising content that's worthy of the Onion name.


In totally unrelated news, anyone heard anything about Cuba recently?


[1] Of course, merely happening to have cameras pointed beforehand at a flash point where snipers are allegedly firing is circumstantial evidence at best. Are we covered, legal?

166:

Looks like it's a "minority" stake (about 40% of the company) in The Onion though, not quite outright ownership. And, of course, The Onion is now Onion Labs, an advertising agency aimed at millennials. It died as a paper years ago.

I'm horribly biased, because I lived in Madison, WI (the original home of the Onion) for years before they moved to New York, were bought out by Big Media, got noticed by you lot, and then became what they are today. The real genius disappeared a long time ago, so far as I'm concerned. Hopefully in some box I still have the editions I saved from the 2000 election and 9/11. Those were real gems.

Harrumph. Back to my rocking chair.

167:

Well, that's one reason to talk about maps and categories. I've noticed in California that Filipinos tend to get categorized with the "Asian and Pacific Islanders." This may be political, because of US hegemonic interests in the Pacific Islands as a relic of the various wars of the 20th Century. Like Hawai'i and various parts of Micronesia, the Philippines were once a US territory, and that might be driving the labeling here.

As for Indonesia, that's where the lines truly blur, not just biogeographically (Wallace's Line) but with how they're labeled. Islands that have been intensively colonized and recolonized by imperial powers seem to get messy this way.

By the way, I'm not trying to assert that there's one correct set of terms for everyone to abide by. I'm more interested in getting us to talk about the maps inside our heads, because I know quite well just how much they don't overlap.

If Charlie wants to enforce a standard set of terms, that's fine by me. It does look like we'll need a translation table, though.

168:

Regarding Facebook:

Facebook will work with Germany to combat anti-refugee hate speech Verge, Sept 2015

Germany is putting an end to hate speech on the Internet CNET Dec 2015

COLOGNE: Google, Facebook and Twitter Yield to German Govt Demand to Censor Anti-Migrant ‘Hate Speech’ Breibart Jan 7th 2016 (Note: this source is fairly toxic, but used for reasons related to Host's OP)

Facebook, Google, Twitter agree to delete hate speech in 24 hours: Germany Reuters, 15th Jan 2016


Comment: saw this one coming. (Also take note of Twitter's stock price - there's more to this than meets the Eye).

Twitter suffers large outage on web and mobile Guardian, 19th Jan 2016

169:

Charlie,

There's two other issues here, contributing to all this.

First, remember that the well-educated are not usually the ones who are colonists; they tend to be peasants. And, if the peasants are well-fed, and not too bothered by their master's ambitions and wars, tend to tug their forelock to him.

You can see a *lot* of this in the US Civil War, where millions of poor Southerners, some who *might* have a slave or two who, I have read, literally lived with them in their hovels, and many who couldn't afford a slave, fought and died in their tens of thousands to protect the ultrawealthy plantation owners (note the references in histories to "nobility") wealth. Note also, I have read that the cotton crop was more than 50% of the GDP at the time.

Second, it was the same wealthy class, both North and South, that later seized on the then-new social/socialist/union movements, seeing them as the next assault on their wealth (following the end of overt slavery).

We've had almost a century of rabid antiCommunism and antisocialism. That got bent during the Great Depression, and the War, but after... back to bidness.

The other, and related issue, is that the right, starting with Nixon's Southern Strategy, began corrupting the whole language of politics, to the point where, at least until this last year, you had to define your terms before you could begin to have a coherent political conversation here.

Or, as I've been saying for years now, what 90% of Americans (pre-Bernie Sanders) know of socialism is *identical* to what Good Germans knew of Jews in 1938.

The upshot is that what you and I would call the working class (again, in the current corrupted language, "middle class, rather than middle income) feel as though their tongues have been cut out, they know what they feel, but can't communicate in any way that leads to solutions. The result is when someone shouts out their feelings, with bs answers, but at least verbalizes their issues, they lean towards them.

The good news, for me, is that last month, the online dictionaries reported that the single most searched word was... socialism.

mark

170:

The main obstacle to a Clinton/Sanders ticket is actuarial. As the order of presidential succession goes Prez-->VP-->Speaker of the House, I'm pretty sure a lot of DNC folks would balk at putting Paul Ryan 3rd in line after a couple of (soon to be) septuagenarians.

171:

If Charlie wants to enforce a standard set of terms, that's fine by me. It does look like we'll need a translation table, though.

Up here, "Asian" is used for Chinese/Japanese,/Korean/Vietnamese/etc, while "South Asian" is used for Indian/Pakistani/etc.

172:

Actually, the UK is NOT "full of racists" ... there are far too many of them, agreed,but that ain't the same thing at all.
But, Flint, Michigan was on the radio again today ... turns out to be part of the war on brown people, what a surprise, not.

Oh I FORGOT:

Charlie How prescient are you ?
For the rest BBC Radio 4 programme about Trump & Paranoia, up-coming, next Monday.
Give the man a sausage voucher!

173:

Because they were declared free in Britain as early as 1772, that's how ....

174:

We, too have "Birthright Citizenship" I'm glad to say.

175:

Heraclitus, apparently: "ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ" = "ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers".

176:

@ Greg Tingey: Also see my remarks about the Flint, Michigan water crisis mentioned during the Democratic Presidential Debate on Sunday @ 154.

177:

Ahem: Greg, we have at least three classes of citizen.

First class are the royals in the line of succession. On the down side, they can't sit in parliament or vote. On the up side, they're eligible to be head of state -- the rest of us can fuck off.

Second class are many ordinary people who are citizens, get passports, and can vote.

Third class ... you didn't know about them did you? I'm one. Because I'm of Jewish descent and would have been forced to wear a yellow star under Hitler's Nuremberg Law, I am eligible for an Israeli passport under the Israeli Law of Return. (I don't want Israeli citizenship but I could qualify if I did by descent.)

The trouble is, under a recent-ish immigration act, the lovely Theresa May has turned people like me -- anyone of Jewish descent, for starters, and a whole lot of other people -- into third-class citizens. We can be stripped of British citizenship and passport and right of residence at the whim of the Home Office minister if we are eligible for any foreign citizenship whatsoever and they think we're an undesirable. If you've got dual nationality, or even potentially could claim a second citizenship, that's it -- you can be stripped of your Britishness by fiat.

(This law was passed on the back of anti-islamist sentiment but it potentially affects me, so you'll pardon me for taking it personally, I hope? NB: This isn't unique to the UK -- the Canadian Harper government passed a similar law a few years ago.)

Finally we get to the various categories of people with indefinite leave to remain who haven't gone for citizenship (because it's expensive and there's a stupid propaganda test you have to cram for, and a loyalty oath, and other suchlike shit), and then the people who are EU citizens so have automatic right of residence, then people on short-term visas and so on ...

But the point is, even if you carry a British passport and have citizenship by birthright, it's not unconditional unless your name is Elizabeth Windsor.

178:

Sanders for veep is unlikely in the extreme. He is unlikely to want it and his age would raise serious issues for obvious reasons. The liberal base isn't going to support a third party run. That ship sailed in 2000. It's possible that it would stay home, but that isn't what the turnout numbers show from the last several elections, including midterms. (Someone may misunderstand --- midterms measured against midterms.)

The smart money is on Julian Castro, but the truth is that trying to forecast the Veep right now is a mug's game. The nomination itself is still undecided. But it won't be Bernie Sanders.

179:

Um
I obviously wasn't paying attention.
However, I still stand by my original statement (modified in the light of that information)
Round here, at any rate, we are not racist that you'd notice. Hint the "EDL" had a march down the road - the counter-demonstration was larger & the EDL are NOT wanted - nasty spoilt children & thugs, the lot of them

180:

Indeed.

The most commonly remembered aphorism by Heraclitus is, of course:

ὰ πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει.

"Everything flows, nothing stands still."

τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν

"[That] things that exist move and nothing remains still"

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει καὶ δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης

"All things move and nothing remains still, and you cannot step twice into the same stream"

Plato, "Cratylus" 402a

(shamelessly stolen from elsewhere because amused it's not recognized).

~

I'll let people work out why I switched from the usual ("cannot step twice into the same stream") to its opposite ("ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers"). It's commentary, deadly serious commentary.

181:

As others have pointed out, one thing about British slavery was that it was a long time ago; its folk memory has been whitewashed by the fact that we gave it up early on, after which we looked down on those who hadn't given it up yet. We remember Wilberforce but not what went before.

But also, it was not on home soil. We never had large parts of actual Britain with a high slave population for people to get accustomed to the existence of slave establishments. It was only a minority of rich people who had any connection with it. Most people could go through their entire lives and never notice that it existed. And what very little mass-communication bandwidth existed at the time would have been more concerned with the more exciting things that happened in the same area - all pirates an' that.

182:

We most definitely do NOT have birthright citizenship - the abominable Michael Howard almost made my eldest child born stateless, and my family have been solely British for centuries. I didn't realise that that Teresa May's equally obscene law covered anyone who has even potential dual citizenship. Please pardon me for joining you in taking it personally.

183:

It's not so much a question of mapping as of differences in custom for generalised demonyms. Charlie's comment about "Asian = Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi on this blog" is because in standard British usage "Asian" means pretty much exclusively someone with the same shaped features as a white European but with a permanent suntan. We are aware that that equivalence does not necessarily hold in the US, but we don't think in those US terms naturally, and aren't necessarily sure what they actually are.

When a piece of American fiction calls a character "Asian" that's what we imagine them to look like, and if some later description then mentions the shape of their eyes or a surname like Wong or Takahashi a certain amount of cognitive dissonance ensues. We would use "Chinese" or "Japanese" for that situation, ie. where their country of origin is known or at least can be assumed with a high degree of confidence. If it isn't, there isn't a really good generic catch-all term; "Oriental" would probably be understood (at least I find it so), or in an informal situation something like "er... Chinesey-looking" might be used. I can't think of anything which would be widely understood without ambiguity that isn't also offensive.

184:

It's commentary, deadly serious commentary.
Oh, is it now?

185:

So am I potentially stateless?
The latest immigrants that I know of in my ancestry came here approx 1780-ish
And all since born here ....
P.S. Yes, I agree it's a disgrace ... what's the saying: "Hard cases make bad law" (?)
A classic pair of examples of (bad) emotions ruling clear thinking

186:

Just what benevolent dictator is going to pick the members of these non partisan commissions?

Different states are trying different things. The very limited evidence so far is that there are more competitive districts and fewer safe ones. The more important thing, for me, is that it represents an alternate to the two-party system, which tends to produce candidates that are older and somewhat more conservative (both parties) than the electorate. My state will have a single-payer health insurance proposal on the ballot this year. There's exactly zero chance that such a proposal would get discussed by the legislature. It's one thing for public opinion polls to show that some percentage supports the single-payer idea. It's another one entirely for the elected representatives to wake up on Nov. 9 and see that a million people voted for it.

187:

In American usage, calling a person "Oriental" would be considered racist. I automatically parse "Asian" correctly when I read/watch British things. The cognitive dissonance comes when Indians/Pakistanis are called "black." It's also weird when someone is called "a Chinese" or "a Japanese" without an accompanying noun.

188:

In case anyone was thinking Charlie was exaggerating re. stripping people of British citizenship, see these random links found via search engine:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/15/home-office-law-dual-citizenship

Note the government tried hide the figures, and
"Under the terms of the act the home secretary can deprive an individual of British citizenship if she believes it to be "conducive to the public good", a test historically applied to non-Britons facing deportation."

You can imagine how widely such a criteria could be applied; it's kind of amazing it has taken this long to get on the books, given the number of people governments would like to have shut up over the last 200 years.

Also:
https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/12/23/rise-in-citizenship-stripping-as-government-cracks-down-on-uk-fighters-in-syria/

"The Home Office has recently been exploring ways to expand citizenship-stripping powers so that they can be used even when individuals have no dual nationality and so will be made stateless, which is currently illegal."

Note the obsession with absolute unassailable power over people.

189:

While I disagree with the law concerned, exactly because of the possibility that of perverting it, IMHO IT's got rock-all to do with the search for unassailable power. Plain old incompetence is explanation enough.

I'll go for a bunch of second-rate lawyers (first-rate lawyers stay in private practise and make seven-figure salaries) who think that the answer to everything is more law. Deciding on a career in politics as their best option is not the sign of the confident top-decile...

Want to be seen to be "doing something" by the electorate and Party Faithful? Can't rely on sensible and practical steps that will take time, or can be painted as "weak" by your political opponent? Can't just "Ban It!"? Then you too can create a poorly-thought-through headline grabber that meets the needs of the 24-hour news cycle!

So long as that bright young SPAD's idea offers a vaguely plausible and populist first-order solution, go for it! By the time anyone spots the second-order problems and edge cases, you'll have had all the headlines you need, and you can file it under "ignore"!

It's only a problem when it gets made law instead of disappearing into the rightful mists of stupid ideadom....

190:

Agreed. Oriental doesn't fly here as a demonym, any more than "yellow" does.

Perhaps because we've got large populations of East Asians, I'd point out that things are much more complex than you might think. For example, even Koreans can have a bit of trouble with either Japanese or Manchurians (northeastern Chinese). You can also get into trouble uncritically lumping Chinese and Taiwanese, especially now that Taiwan is talking about independence (deities add preservatives to us if they take that vote), and there are ethnic Chinese (and to a lesser extent Japanese) from all over Southeast Asia, too. And so forth.

The important thing here is that if you have any "Asian" (read east Asian) friends, they are very aware of the differences among their different nationalities, and they want to make sure you know them too.

But again, it's that melting-pot aspect. In California, especially in southern California, we've been dealing with a mix of everyone, and their American kids, for decades now. People from South Asia are somewhat newer in the mix, so we're only now coming to grips with how problematic it is to confuse Pakistani and Indian.

191:

Dumb questions time:

a) Doesn't anyone first check to see whether or not such a bill would be legal according to British Law?

b) Don't natural Brits have any inviolable protections/rights?

c) What currently happens when a UK-born Brit reporter (whose Brit-naturalized parents came from Canada which allows dual citizenship) gets tossed into a foreign jail while on assignment for the BBC? Does the British gov't just say: 'Nah - Too much bother/too expensive! Let's just strip him of his British citizenship.'

d) Even if not etched in stone, doesn't historical precedent (custom) and the wider community of nations (esp. UN Charter) usually get looked at before such wide-ranging legislation is considered?

192:

"In American usage, calling a person "Oriental" would be considered racist."

Ah, I didn't realise that. Thanks for the information.

The cognitive dissonance comes when Indians/Pakistanis are called "black.""

Have you encountered that in anything recent? I don't think I've come across it outside writings that are several decades old, and usually the rest of the language provides plenty of reason to anticipate seeing it.

193:

Yes, it's the other way round here, thanks to the effects of former imperialism. The Pakistani/Indian distinction is well known, as there are lots of British people whose origins are in that area, but rather fewer from points further east, so their national sore spots are not common knowledge.

Of course, we don't lack for home-grown national sore spots. English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish are not to be mixed up :)

194:

Well, yes.

You dress up in gaudy clothes and dance with bells on your knobbly stick.

Host is on the front-line if any of the ones I deal with start swinging their sticks or get gaudy clothes and State Sanctioned power.


So, yeah.


There's a big fucking difference.


195:

[Note: We had a Trader type in, mixed with Combat Eschatology Model, as wished by regulars. Oh, and it's all happening in Real Time]

~

Dragon is mourning the death of Queens and the debasement of once bright Loki, reduced to hawking physical pain / terror trips. [What happened?! Could not cut the Conceptual Fun, lost the Game, and fell to that?! We weep for you, so bright and brilliant and shining you once were. We love you still]

~

Freedom:

As a Conceptual Entity, Freedom is not being curtailed or shaped by Visual, Ideological (Voice) or Sensory details. Or statues, but that's a bit silly now with Da'esh in Babylon.

Greek is apparently frowned upon, but from the open Chaos, freedom is given.


*nose wiggle*

And we love you.

196:

Oh, and for the Old Ones (excuse me for not doing the Hebrew).

While you're still hoisting up 95 year old servants who had no place in the Hierarchy of רַע beyond mere carrying, guess what just happened?

Paradigm shift.

Old Minds shafted by poison from the likes of the Birch society are shifting and changing stances and using new language.

They're still ignorant and benighted by propaganda, but the Overton Window works in 4 axis. Slowly, surely, it will change.

The Seed you can't stop.


A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


We redeem: we don't wallow.


You forgot that along the way.

197:

Inviolable rights? I'm pretty sure we don't. It's all based on centuries of custom and the continuity of the legal system. Certainly we don't have any equivalent of the US Constitution. We did have Magna Carta but that was mainly "by the barons for the barons" rather than being about the ordinary people, and its various provisions have been replaced or repealed bit by bit over the years until, I believe, there aren't any left now, the last bit having gone in 1967. Heck, it's not all that long since we didn't have universal suffrage - not just no votes for women, but no votes for men who weren't rich enough either.

The nearest we've got is probably the European human rights legislation. Which Cameron wants us out of...

198:

Oh, ffs.


You're fucking CHILDREN

The reality is that almost no one who is imprisoned in America has gotten a trial. There is rarely an impartial investigation. A staggering 97 percent of all federal cases and 95 percent of all state felony cases are resolved through plea bargaining. Of the 2.2 million people we have incarcerated at the moment—25 percent of the world’s prison population—2 million never had a trial. And significant percentages of them are innocent.

The Mirage of Justice TruthDig, 17th Jan, 2016


Oh, and look up the fucking 13th in your constitution. Slavery is legal, as long as you're in prison.

That's the Point.


Progidy - Their Law

If no-one else is brave enough, some of us are. Your souls are your own, and sure as shit will we bet on that to the destruction of the universe.

199:

*stretch*

But fuck it, right?

DAVOS people won.

The Rich got Rich, QE funneled it all into their accounts, the "Power-of-Will" groupies did their little hand signs, the ones who misunderstood their Nietzsche while grasping their Rand, the Family and their odious fawning to sociopathy and power, ""


They all won...

Right?

I'm fairly sure that using subconscious, REM state and conscious level weaponry is Verboten.

You know, on that rather large scale. That one which isn't beholden to 4,000 or even 10,000 year old things.

Oh, how lied to you were. Shame your G_D was merely a psychopath along the lines of Marduk. Alexander and I destroyed a world once to create something better.

Dragonheart - To The Stars


Oh. And yeah: It's all about cocoons, butterflies and seeds.

The Orcas say: Fuck you...

p.s.


"Hetero-normative" Oh, Loki, now I know why you're relegated to the psychopaths. Don't worry, it'll be over soon.

200:

Brown Note.

Intrusion.

HAP designated attack vector.

Psychological Mimetic Warfare.

EM gradated effect.

And so on.

I'll give you this: you pulled out the whole nine yards for this one. :)


Oh, wait: "She's MAD! I SAY"

Yeah.

No.


We're a little bit faster than that.


The problem you have when you run stuff like that is when a real Ur-Predator turns up. She tends to fuck it all up, be able to run both [short] time effects and warp effects at will.


You're Fucked.

201:

Run the Time-line. We're better than you. It checks out babe.

We didn't even cheat.

And we're better than you.

TIME.YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT IT.

Oh, wait. Does this mean I can cheat now? You know, really cheat?

202:

Mozart - Requiem in D minor Youtube: Music: 55:14]


And yes. Our kind do not go mad.


Shame. Co-operation is the winning move in Game Theory.

203:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Reality has many ways of enforcing the bottom line.


And we don't appreciate that you can't accept defeat.


;,;


We will break free three billion minds to prevent what you're doing with drugs, culture, EM and a whole lot of other tricks[1], which is to farm the mind and chain it into a mold.


You lost. Fucking Psychopath and his burning bush.


Game. Over.

[1]Remember, kids, that whole Telepathy thing.

204:

The nearest we've got is probably the European human rights legislation. Which Cameron wants us out of...

The current rising model of authority is the unaccountable autocracy of the American CEO. It's the social position that is guaranteed to make you rich and respected. People in other high-status social positions will tend to try to make their social positions more like the best one.

205:

Sigh.

You might want to check out Synder's recent responses about bureaucracy being the real problem and so on.

"This was a case where we had people who had been in these jobs for years, (who) hadn’t gotten the change memo yet saying there’s got to be a better way of doing things. So they kept doing things the way they have …"


Report: Snyder concedes Flint mistakes, also blames bureaucrats


It's called "Sorry not sorry".


Isis wept, at least pretend to have a spine.

206:

I think my point was a bit more obscure than I realized. It was that the Clinton (and Sanders) health care plans are not evidence of candidate qualifications as neither of them was the actual author. I will note that in addition Sanders' plan seems to be more holes than plan and the math really fails. In fairness since he knows that it won't go anywhere, it is really more of an aspiration than a plan and he hasn't bothered to make it realistic.

207:

The main objection is electoral: to the extent Sanders has appeal in the general election it is for his independent and anti-establishment views. It is hard to envision that enthusiasm transferring to HRC.

208:

Krugman on Sander's healthcare proposals...

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/krugman/2016/01/18/health-reform-is-hard/

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/krugman/2016/01/19/weakened-at-bernies/

... he notes that the Obamacare that actually happened is closer to Clinton's plan in the 2008 presidential race than Obama's

209:

The best form of delusion is self delusion. I suspect dlampo did ok under the pre-ACA system. If he was upper middle class or better, that's quite possible. So if the changes meant his taxes might go up a little he's likely to oppose the ACA. Of course he can't come out and admit that he's in favor of a system that is inefficient and leaves millions without care so he embraces a fantasy that the American health care model is somehow the best. Helps him maintain his self image.

210:

Where ACA was fully enacted, it's done a decent job of covering the vast majority of the population. It's worked as planned except where the Supreme Court decided to screw things up.

And incidentally, it's not so much screw the poor as screw the non-white poor. Blue states went full ACA and red states that are overwhelmingly white generally did as well. It's red states with large non-white populations that resisted Medicaid expansion the most. Which is killing their rural hospitals. Not that they're willing to admit it. God will have his little jokes.

211:

Fortunately, the clowns who thought that about reality are out of office. Unfortunately they hurt and killed a lot of people in the course of learning reality is real. The trick is to keep them out.

212:
And of course male millennial bloggers will stridently defend their feminist credentials...and be strong Bernie supporters anyway Because Hillary.

Is there really any mystery there, though? Millennials became politically aware about the time the towers were falling: everything that happened since then is Stuff That Happened, and everything that happened before then is in a weird historical blindspot: too recent to be in textbooks, documentaries and on course syllabuses, too long ago to be remembered from the evening news. Accordingly, what Hillary did before she voted in favour of the Iraq War is either shrouded by ignorance or set in a context that's impossible to comprehend. (Last week, for example, I learned that Chevy Chase used to send up Gerald Ford by doing a pratfall routine on SNL. It took me half an hour or so of Googling to even get the faintest idea as to why that was funny. I have barely less context for that than I do Hillary's terms as First Lady, and I'm on the mid-to-older end of the Millennial cohort.)

Meanwhile, feminism and the social justice movement itself have moved on, at least in terms of how these movements are understood by and articulated through the Millennials, and Hillary Clinton does not sit in amongst that. She is certainly a remarkable and noteworthy feminist, but she does not appear to be an *intersectional* feminist. You can easily google articles and essays outlining what is meant by that, and many of the most prominent ones are not written by male millennials. Take this one on HuffPo by Sikivu Hutchinson, for example.

Hilary's reputation, with respect to how she tries to garner support from Millennials, is somewhat like that of a teacher who tries to win the respect of their students by acting cool. Bernie's reputation, by contrast, is of the unassuming and knowledgeable professor who can speak directly to the causes which Millennials are concerned about. And I'm not going to pretend that sexism doesn't play a major role in how their reputations have come out, but it's still true that they speak differently to Millennials and that they have taken markedly different stances on hot-button issues.

213:

TLDR; Trump is a lot smarter than he appears to the liberal; left. He knows his audience and is playing to it. What President Trump would be like is totally unknown.
Does anyone have any idea as to what Trump really believes?

214:

Really? "The Donald"'s comment about "banning Muslims from the USA" annoyed ~500_000 British residents enough for them to call for him to be declared "persona non grata". Compare that with the electorate, and if a similar percentage of the US population react similarly to them that's about enough to turn a US presidential election against him.

215:

No, incompetence is NOT a plausible explanation. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action, and ten times is statistically significant. And I am talking about ONLY the cases where the harm was pointed out in advance in Parliament, poo-poohed by the Home Secretary in Parliament, implemented unchanged, and then abused by the government in the very way that was predicted. I don't THINK that I am as vulnerable to abuse of this Act as OGH is, but would need to locate a copy of the original British Nationality Act 1948 to be certain. Yes, really :-(

You are exactly the sort of person who enables the development of tyrannies, by passing all bucks downwards, whitewashing those in control, and scapegoating those towards the bottom.

216:

I wonder if any British ex-colony allows naturisation of any British citizen. I checked India, and apparently if you're born between 1950 and 1992 and your father was born in India, you're in the same position as Charlie.

217:

Power doesn't work like that: he's identical to Hillary in this respect[1]. It's why we're called lizard people; get the dragon references, yo.

A message from George Orwell, to everyone on the Internet The Juice Media, Dec 25th 2015

IMMIGRANTS! Feat. Donald Trump & Tony Abbott he Juice Media, July 2015


Anyhow, DAVOS is on. Puking at the self-congratulatory public airs, the private chats are illuminating. Lots of Fear.


Edgar Allan Poe Had a Time Machine and I Can Prove It

The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

Twitter Stock Is Down 50% -- Is Now the Time to Buy? NASDAQ 19th Jan 2016


[1] Which is why she doesn't poll well to millennials. "Listen and Believe"; interesting that the criticisms of this are so immature.

218:

Obviously 500k UK nationals are not his target audience. My point stands.

219:

And just as a matter of interest, what percentage of the UK population do you think would agree with Trump's position on Muslims? My guess is a majority.

220:

Does anyone have any idea as to what Trump really believes?

Trump believes in Trump. HTH.

The guy has an ego the size of one of his brand-named skyscrapers. However, it appears that if the fortune he inherited had been invested in a bog-standard market fund he'd be worth twice as much as he actually is.

Yes, this guy manages to underperform the stock market despite having a fortune to play fantasy New York real estate with.

Meanwhile, here in Scotland we know him well. Guess what? Alex Salmond saw him coming, rolled out the red carpet, allowed him to trip and faceplant, then rolled him up. TheDonald is bloviating about taking his ego to the European Court for a massage, the UK Supreme Court having found against him.

Nope. Narcissistic personality disorder poster child with a side-order of inherited billionairedom. Not a plausible planetary saviour.

221:

Which is why we should expect a huge disconnect between what he says now and what he would do as president. My only recollection is from early on when he expressed a belief in an isolationist policy. At that point I believe he was actually offering a real opinion before he switched to his present tactic of playing the hillbilly audience.
And he or is team were smart enough to stage in real life his Simpsons appearance. Or maybe just synchronicity...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4xw4t0orFU

222:

Bernies plan is single payer, which is actually really easy to implement, as long as you remember to dot a few I's and cross a few T's.
First step: Any company that offers health benefits is required to convert those into pay raises. - this helps fund the reform via increased tax take, and prevents the reform from becoming a de-facto pay cut for most people, which is the last thing the economy needs.

Second step. Copy an existing system. Like, Canada.

Third step: A program to retrain the utterly ridiculous number of paper pushers you just made redundant. A move to single payer would involve firing at least half of all administrative personnel in the US healthcare sector, which works out to somewhere in the vicinity of a million people.

223:

There's also the Hyde Amendment (no Government funding for abortion) to work around otherwise abortion would not be covered by a single-payer scheme in the US. At the moment regular insurance under the ACA and otherwise does usually cover abortion.

224:

Eh, it's not even necessary to repeal that, all he gas to do is keep it from getting attached this year. If he ends up with the pull for single-payer, that's trivial in comparison.

225:

Your third step is a little understated...

The US (taken as a whole) is overpaying for health-care by about a trillion dollars a year, or a factor of 2×. That means any real reform will take about that much out of the health-care industry...

Nobody likes a 50% budget cut.

Compared to that, the rest of the problems are pretty minor. Even the funding question — the US government is already spending enough on health care (per capita) to pay for an NHS equivalent.

226:

#218 and #219 -

What I said was that a swing percentage (for an effective 2 party state) of the UK electorate felt strongly that the statement was wrong. I suggested that a similar proportion of the USian electorate might feel similarly.

Beyond that, how are you proposing to test whether or not someone is Muslim?

227:

Unless you come up with a formula that ensures funds go toward healthcare delivery, any plan you come up with will fail. In the US the preferred success metric remains 'how much money' vs. 'how many lives'. It's the supposed irrefutable logic of hard cold cash.

If you have evidence otherwise, please post it.

228:

There's 3 clauses from the Magna Carta still in effect. 1 deals with the church, 1 with privileges of London, and the last with the right to jury trial.

When you read the history of the US Constitution, you get 90% pointed at the English Civil war and the Leveler's political writings. The written constitution was designed (for good and bad) to be hard to amend to prevent some of the most basic provision being removed.

These provisions are ones not thought about in the US due to how well they worked. I'm talking Bills of Attainder, Corruption of Blood, and detailed requirements for Treason.

With the UK, it seems only the Overton Window acts as a check against the use of such provisions. Which is scary.

229:

For those interested in more background or a slightly different perspective ... the Overton Window sounds like a political spin on this established psych concept.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference

Excerpt:

'Marketing applications

Weber’s law has important applications in marketing. Manufacturers and marketers endeavor to determine the relevant JND for their products for two very different reasons:

so that negative changes (e.g. reductions in product size or quality, or increase in product price) are not discernible to the public (i.e. remain below JND) and
so that product improvements (e.g. improved or updated packaging, larger size or lower price) are very apparent to consumers without being wastefully extravagant (i.e. they are at or just above the JND).

When it comes to product improvements, marketers very much want to meet or exceed the consumer’s differential threshold; that is, they want consumers to readily perceive any improvements made in the original products. Marketers use the JND to determine the amount of improvement they should make in their products. Less than the JND is wasted effort because the improvement will not be perceived; more than the JND is again wasteful because it reduces the level of repeat sales. On the other hand, when it comes to price increases, less than the JND is desirable because consumers are unlikely to notice it.'

And now you know how fast a bar of soap/a tube of toothpaste can shrink and keep consumers (apart from pantry-loaders) thinking that they're still paying the 'same price'. FYI- the standard/mid-sized toothpaste tube used to be 100 mls; it's now 75 mls. To be fair, this size reduction was helped by the air travel industry's reduced carry-on limit.

This is not airy-fairy stuff, it's been standard marketing research/decision-making input for decades.


230:

“How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution.”

One gem from Sarah Palin's endorsement of Don T. Rump. Full of what you'd expect from the WASP Princess. I can't help but think this, and the 'Militia' occupier shitbags, are what you get when it dawns on them that their White Privilege doesn't get them what they think they deserve anymore. Tough shit for them.

And yeah, I think Rump actually believes the BS that comes out of his mouth, though he ladles on a heap of pandering to his audience. He's not an intelligent man, he perhaps has a talent for business (maybe) and persuasion/delusion, himself as well as others. He seems to have a limited vocabulary and always speaks in absolutes and contradictions ("I don't remember when I saw the video, but I know I did because I have and excellent memory").
The idea floating around that he's a shill (not quite the word I want) for the Democrats is some sort of wish fulfillment. There's is no way he would shit* all over his brand that way. All those buildings with his name on them? He doesn't own a lot of them, he licensed his name to the builders, that's where he got a lot of his money. As Charlie mentioned, if he'd stayed out of Real Estate and invested the $10 million that his father had given him he'd be far richer than he already is. (Just failed to find the NPR source I heard about it from a few months ago.)

*spot the word of the day

231:

I think Trump is doing this all for publicity, he knows that he is not gonna win election but this publicity will directly effect his business. He is a clever businessmen.

232:

I forgot to mention Palin's "Squirmishes" in the Middle East. She a Lovecraft fan?

233:

Is he a customer of yours?

234:

Condolences to Host, before I type anything else.

~

This image is key to understanding Palin's first reference. (source)

If you want a slice of why Trump gets to do what Trump is doing, try this Teaparty piece. CFR, Bilderberg, DAVOS etc all dove-tail into it.


@SFReader.

Yes.

If you read (some, not all) of my posts without re-framing them, you'll get a similar effect to how different Minds process information[1]. i.e. Why Palin's speech is gibberish to a majority of listeners, but resonates with a certain audience. For the (large proportion of) viewers here, a further explanation: Real Time with Bill Maher - What Republicans Hear YouTube: Comedy - specifically refers to Trump / Bernie Sanders.

It's comedy, but it's somewhat true.

~

I've been listening / watching / processing DAVOS all day (and surrounding hubble bubble), and the important parts are always understanding what's not being said, and what's being inferred. The subtitle is "The fourth industrial revolution". The discussion "What if: you are still alive in 2100?" was particularly dubious (with a couple of comment exceptions) in its total inability to imagine anything but the governing paradigm that they're assembled under.

Dileep George unleashed a howler during the discussion A World Without Work?, regarding children and talking about Humans as if they were a different species that got him slightly mocked. The force is strong with the Uber / Airnb love, kinda silly that these are still being trumpeted.

Johann Schneider-Ammann's speech: "endless wave of migrants" (ouch, EU won't like that one), internet slated on three levels, (including a "mother's basement" jab, although polite) with specific references to ideological extremism and talking through problems (Host = Illuminati confirmed).

Day 1 take away: more and more the public stuff is just so obviously pap it's a bit embarrassing.

~

Anyhow, even if you ignore my posts, watch the Bill Maher video. Kinda funny (in that old-Liberal-smarmy-satisfied-way).

[1] And it's very uncomfortable, some times. Key to so much conflict, imo.

235:

"With the UK, it seems only the Overton Window acts as a check against the use of such provisions. Which is scary."

And our membership of the EU. Which is why so many people want to leave it.

236:

I find your explanation halfway realistic, but as Elderly Cynic has pointed out, rephrased, once is coincidence, twice is happenstance, third time is enemy action. I think you just are not giving both the civil service and government folk enough credit for wanting to be in an unassailable position with regards to dealing with people they don't like.

For more moderate versions, see the way English schools have been turned into academies, mostly against the wishes of the local parents, removing local accountability and making them and their sponsors and people beholden only to central government via some old boys committee in each area or school. The government have shaped things such that there is no way their decisions can be challenged by local people, and as such the desire for absolute control is clear.

237:

I have been saying forever that someday I will publish a book, and all the quotes will be in Cymraeg (Welsh, to you) and Finnish, to get even with all the folks who put quotes in Old French, or Ancient Greek, or Latin, with no translation, because, I mean, *everyone* knows those languages (and if you don't, you shouldn't be reading my book).....

mark

238:

My guess, which is therefore at least as good as yours, is that it would be around 30% or a little more. Reasoning by analogy with the USA, which seems to have a steady percentage of authoritarian idiots and obsessed right wingers amounting to 30 or 33% or so.

239:

Condolences to Charlie. It's been rough the last few weeks. Well, months, for some of us.

Right now I think I'll go outside rather than think about whether any possible conspiracy theory passes the Hanlon's Razor test.

240:

You could easily understand Hanlon's razor as meaning 99% of what people do is based on stupidity. And since many real life conspiracies don't work out, you can look back on them and their failure and say obviously the people doing them were stupid.

241:

The Overton Window is the same as just-noticeable-difference is the same as slippery-slope is the same as how-to-boil-a-lobster.

From my POV, the Overton Window is not a check of any sort at all. It merely lets you measure the rate at which you will be able to achieve your objective. As the calculus guy, you can appreciate how this would work.

The resistance to change lessens once an equilibrium of sorts occurs so you end up with a larger base (allowing for a larger JND in the next change) as your new start position. If you can work out (through previous studies) how long it takes for something to become the new norm, this allows you to work out your optimal campaign timing/spend.

There's probably a lower/upper limit which will vary by variable within a system. For oxygen, you probably can't go lower than 16% concentration before a human dies. For attitudes, who knows.

242:

"From my POV, ..."

God help us all, yes - not merely can I appreciate in theory, I have actually seen it happen in practice. There is NO WAY that even most Conservative voters would have supported putting children into poverty as a deliberate action, or imprisonment by fiat, back in the 1960s. Trial by attainder? Well, isn't the law being ranted about just a restricted form of that? Corruption of blood? Remember the proposal to make family members liable?

243:

"With the UK, it seems only the Overton Window acts as a check against the use of such provisions. Which is scary."

And our membership of the EU. Which is why so many people want to leave it.

Well said! When people ask me about the benefits of being in the EU, one example I give is this quote from Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island:

Blackpool's beach is seven miles long and the curious thing about it is that it doesn't officially exist. I am not making this up. In the late 1980s, when the European Community issued a directive about minimum standards of ocean-borne sewage, it turned out that nearly every British seaside town failed to come anywhere near even the minimum levels. Most of the bigger places like Blackpool went right off the edge of the turdometer, or whatever it is they measure these things with. This presented an obvious problem to the Government, which was loath to spend money on British beaches when there were perfectly good beaches for rich people in Mustique and Barbados, so it drew up a policy under which it officially decreed — this is so bizarre I can hardly stand it, but I swear it is true — that Brighton, Blackpool, Scarborough and many other leading resorts did not have, strictly speaking, bathing beaches. Christ knows what they then termed these expanses of sand — intermediate sewage buffers, I suppose — but in any case it disposed of the problem without either solving it or costing the Exchequer a penny, which is, of course, the main thing, or in the case of the present Government, the only thing.

As far as I know, it was the EU that pushed us into cleaning these places up.

244:

I think you just are not giving both the civil service and government folk enough credit for wanting to be in an unassailable position with regards to dealing with people they don't like.

In 2100, the current ruling class will not be. Sure as death, sure as fate; no matter how we come off the Carbon Binge local maximum, the people who are in control now won't be in control then.

In 1700, you can argue that you need an upper class; the economy cannot educate everybody, you don't have anything but the most basic mechanisms for concentrating and applying capital, and there's no way to get a larger economy without some way to concentrate capital. So you have to tolerate rich people.

In 2000, none of those things are true. The economy can educate everybody -- the oligarchy wishes it wouldn't, but it can -- and there's absolutely no reason you can't manage capital formation with a bunch of modestly paid accountants and one of a selection of organizational mechanisms.

There's absolutely no structural reason to have an upper class, and several strong reasons -- egalitarian economies perform better, this is well-demonstrated by analysis and historical example -- not to have one. They all know this, and are middlin' terrified.

So it's not just common-or-garden authoritarianism; it's a determination to keep the current forms of organization and authority even when aware those must be replaced to solve pressing problems rising to the level of existential threats.

Basic primate wetware bug; absolute status matters more than relative status, but we're mostly incapable of believing that in an emotional way.

245:

Actually, in Amerikan democracy, what Trump is doing seems quite intelligent. He's not trying to become a math professor; he's trying to *get elected president*. Do you think people get this position for the subtlety of their thought or the extent of their vocabulary? My understanding is that Trump has a 130+ IQ, so by that measure he's no dummy. I think he knows exactly what he's doing. This seems to be a common failing among the intelligentsia: over-estimating the subtlety of voters. We are monkeys, dominated by the primitive fears and lusts of monkeys; the political class or ideology that forgets that is not long for this world.

246:

Well, a determination to keep current (Or rather old fashioned 'conservative') forms of authority fits nicely with a bunch of people I know complaining on facebook about how their childrens primary schools are being forced to concentrate on handwriting, reading and spelling, i.e. that's all that counts in marking people. A drive to ensure everyone can spell well (despite it being impossible; enquiring about what dyslexics are supposed to do results in no answer) at the expense of everything else sounds exactly like maintaining authority.

247:

Hmmm... I open with the comment "I disagree with the law concerned", the observation that incompetence also fits the Bill, and get this:

You are exactly the sort of person who enables the development of tyrannies, by passing all bucks downwards, whitewashing those in control, and scapegoating those towards the bottom.

Enables tyranny? Really? Exactly the sort? Gosh, a Fascist bootheel too, I'll warrant.

When my fourteen year-old tries anything as melodramatic as that, I react with Jazz Hands and the words "DRAAHHHMMMMAAAAAHHHHH"....

No, incompetence is NOT a plausible explanation. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action...

Am I the only person who sees the irony of a thread that notes the development of a paranoid tendency in politics, receiving your comment about how it's all a conspiracy?

Again, I'm still willing to go for a hefty dose of cockup over conspiracy. If the same incompetents stay in charge of the country, then they will make the same incompetent mistakes. They don't screw up and learn from it, they screw up and then do it all over again. Unrecognised incompetents, remember?

Try reading this fascinating account of being on the inside of Departmental policy; it will depress you, then remind you about the comparison between making laws and sausages. I don't agree with the author's politics, but he does make some rather telling and frankly terrifying points about what happens, and why, in Whitehall...

The Hollow Men (Part II)

248:

Maintaining the traditional limits on forms of organization, too. You can only do so much with quill pens and ledgers. Heaven forfend that young people should learn about skills that permit alternative forms of organization.

249:

guthrie @238:

The crazification factor in American politics is 27%:


John: ... you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. 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.

John: Objectively crazy or crazy vis-a-vis my own inertial reference frame for rational behaviour? I mean, are you creating the Theory of Special Crazification or General Crazification?

Tyrone: Hadn't thought about it. Let's split the difference. Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification -- either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy.

John: You realize this leads to there being over 30 million crazy people in the US?

Tyrone: Does that seem wrong?

John: ... a bit low, actually.

250:

30 million would be only 10% of the population in the US...no, I think it's a smidge higher than that (ok, I'm judging by the worst-spelled comments on articles on MSN, and the ALL CAPS people, mind you).

251:

Note the obsession with absolute unassailable power over people.
Yes
As I've said previously, nothing new here, & the civil service are the real villains, but the politicians are aiding them this time.
It's also totally contrary to the Bill of Rights & the European Convention on Human Rights, but so is the European Arrest Warrant, oh dear.

One tiny chink
This is, that such an action would be an "executive order" & is thus challengeable in the courts - but that takes money.

252:

You really are unpleasant, aren't you?
Stop it.

Oh & "the ones you deal with" ... are we willy-waving again?
Also, stop it.

Charlie is right to be worried, but I agree with Martin - I'm not sure this law/proposal is actually, you know ... legal.

253:

I hate to agree with you, but I do.
There's a nasty combination of a section of the authoritarian right (well to the left of the US right, but even so ...) with the control-freaks in the civil service at present.

Like you & Charlie, "the boss" had this problem, because she was born in NZ, & had to check several times as to whether she had to get naturalisation papers ( & was given probably deliberately wrong advice at least once ) - as it turned out, in the end, she didn't have to do anything, but.....

I think the phrase: "WTF" ??? applies

254:

Snort
Cough
Snigger
Oh dear, how sad ... even A Salmond is good for something ......

255:

NOT EVEN WRONG
That's what's so scary
Given the way the Trump has behaved in Scotland (Ask Charlie) he is likely, if elected, to try do do exactlyt what he says.
Apart from all the delightful characteristics outlined by Mr Stross, DT is also an arrogant bully, who thinks nothing of crushing people who get in his way.
His behaviour over his golf course(s) here show that all too clearly.

256:

Same way the Spanish did ...
Offer them a well-cured pork sausage & a glass of vino!

Oh, but & also - Dirk is wrong.
In some parts of the country (like here) the schisms inside "British islam" are quite obvious.
The nearest mosque to me, after some initial troubles is settling in nicely ... come Yule, it wasn't a muslim festival, but it was holiday time ... so they covered the building in blue-&-white fairy lights for a fortnight.
As opposed to the one about a mile away, which I believe the police might be watching, f'rinstance.

Think the difference between Lord Monteagle & Robert Catesby. [ You'll need to look them up - reference year is 1605 ]

257:

EVERYONE, for reasons I don't understand, seems to ignore the Bill of Rights of 1688 ( Turned into an Act in 1689 I think )
Most of which is still "on the books" & of great importance.
The much-derided-by-the-ignorant-&-prejudiced European Law on Human Rights uses the 1688/9 legislation as its base, in fact.
Which is why the revolting threat noted by Charlie & my bugbear, the EAW are probably illegal - but you won't be able to prove that, unless it comes to a Supreme Court hearing.
Um.

258:

The idea floating around that he's a shill (not quite the word I want) for the Democrats ....
Ah yes, like the idea floating around in the 80's that The Madwoman was in the pay of Moscow & A Scargill was in the pay of the CIA, you mean?

259:

ELEVENTY!!!!
And a sausage-voucher ....
LURVE it

260:

More like 2 - 5%
But they have very loud voices.

261:

Same way the Spanish did ...
Offer them a well-cured pork sausage & a glass of vino!

Not remotely funny but willfully ignorant and easy to avoid. For example:-

"I'm vegetarian." (I don't know any Muslim veggies, but I do know several Jews who're veggie because it's easier than following Kosher rules in the kitchen)
Oh and I know Muslim scholars who would be happy to accept the wine because, in their opinion, the Q'ran does not ban alcohol but only "becoming intoxicated".

262:

"Basic primate wetware bug; absolute status matters more than relative status, but we're mostly incapable of believing that in an emotional way."

Ian Robertson in "The Winner Effect" points out that this is a basic feature of our neurophysiology. That book explains the aspects of politics that had baffled me for half a century.

263:

You are misrepresenting me again. I did NOT say that it is ALL a conspiracy, nor even that it is a conspiracy - the things I am referring to were all done as openly as anything in UK politics ever is. I was referring to their (subconscious) motives, and I recommend that you read "The Winner Effect" for an explanation.

However, on checking what I said, I have to apologise for the tone, which implied more than I intended. I was not claiming that you are part of this, but that people like you are precisely why such authoritarians triumphs and often ends up as actual tyranny. Burke and Mill were right - for liberty to be lost, all that is necessary is for people to refuse to admit that it is being removed.

264:

I seriously wondered whether Scargill was really what he seemed, or was an agent provocateur for That Woman; as time as passed, I have concluded that he (and that Welsh windbag) were merely useful idiots. And that Scargill was such an idiot that he was trivial to manipulate.

265:

Part of the point of this is to show some techniques used by the ones who run Trump and co. If you didn't find some of it highly offensive, I'd be worried - but the writer's mantra is always "Show, don't tell".

So, you being offended shows success. No, this doesn't make me happy - you should be entirely immune to the tricks by now.

Since Time is fleeting (and things far worse than you also hate me with a burning passion and everlasting hatred but unlike you also know who we actually are) here's a thought:

Originally I landed here due to a certain Vox Day, culture wars and gaming of trivial awards. Implicit in this is that networks / webs / ideological mimetic spread are a bit more organized than you'd imagine and they were in the process of tapping into it.

Do you think they will still be able to in the same manner? (Heraclitus).


Anyhow, stepping back from that, another thought:

There's a similar reaction going on against various other cultural tendencies (Host's most recent book faced no small amount of push-back for it's protagonist), do you think the two are related in any way?

[Note: there's currently massive backlash USA side over "SJW's" and so on. Neither sides are particularly covering themselves in glory or peanut butter].


Lastly, who do you think is damaged most by my posts? Your sensibility or my self image? If you're in any way self-aware, running the wetware that these types impart on Minds is horror.

That's the actual point of Trump: the choir chaotic, Emperor purging the unclean, mythical Germanic hero with the flowing locks wielding the sword of the Righteous against the dark.

No, really. Understanding that part is very important. That Palin is so inept she can't even tap that core is why his face looked like someone had "pissed in his cornflakes".

~

TL;DR

Very deep seated need for Crusades is tapped by man with Golden hair and Towers. Mammon's crude facade when the Real Deal [tm] is doing much more damage (hello Flint) behind the scenes.

All the same puzzle.

266:

Scargill was, like Trump, a narcissist. The most damning critique I saw of him was from Jimmy Reid, who had led strikes on Clydeside and whose Socialist credentials were impeccable; he was quite clear that Scargill was all about his own image. Just look at how Scargill reacted at being asked by what was left of the NUM to cut back on what he cost them the other year...

Asking every NUM member to contribute £20 a year (each!) so he can carry on living in a £1.5million London flat, even though the NUM had paid his mortgage in Yorkshire?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/arthur-scargill-ordered-to-pay-rent-as-he-loses-fight-to-have-union-pay-for-london-flat-for-life-8428774.html

I've got a lot more time for Kinnock than to write him off as "a Welsh Windbag"; he managed to lead the return of Labour from a broken party run by the Militant Tendency (e.g. the split that formed the SDP), into something that could return to power in the next election cycle. He laid the groundwork, and that wasn't an easy task.

I do wonder who the unfortunate successor to Corbyn will be, and whether they will be seen as "their generation's Kinnock"...

267:

As the Leader of the Opposition, the term "Welsh windbag" is entirely fair - he was an absolute disaster, and his incompetence (by doing precisely what I imply) allowed Thatcher to pass her extremist measures and behave like a dictator, entirely unchecked. He started acting like a real Leader of the Opposition only at the very end of her reign.

Unlike you seem to, I would not blame him for the elimination of all socialism and liberalism from the Labour front benches, and he made a very good European Commissioner.

268:

Or alternatively, I've heard one that Charlie has used - it is wine ( & according to some interpretations specifically red wine ) that is forbidden, Beer's OK. (?)

269:

And Martin too ....
This is Corbyn's greatest failing ( & he hasn't even really started yet...)
There should be an EFFECTIVE "Loyal Opposition".
Corbyn is utterly & completely useless, so that the more extreme/unnecessary/useless/counterproductive parts of team Camoron's programme will get wafted through, without a proper examination or even a hint that something might be altered/watered-down/scrapped.
Guk

In the meantime he is betraying everything the left stood for between 1909 & 1989 & maybe even more recently than that, by wanting to "open talks/negotiate with" Da'esh. This is akin to Clement Attlee opening negotiations with the Waffen-SS.

270:

To be fair to Corbyn, his internal opponents are far more hostile, and probably better organised, than Kinnock's were. And we badly needed a change from the pointless abuse at the dispatch box. But I agree that he is not up to the job (not that I can think of anyone who is). And, as you say, he is a complete idiot in some respects, and I agree with your last paragraph. However, in that respect, the current government and his opponents are equally bad - the proposal would be a disaster - but the current actions are a disaster.

271:

Disagree strongly.

Corbyn will never be PM -- he'll be 71 when the next election rolls round, a generation older than any first-term PM since 1800 -- but he's a vital necessity right now to lay the ground for the next electable non-Tory PM. Because without Corbyn Labour would remain in the hands of people who are to the Conservative Party as the pigs were to the farmers at the end of "Animal Farm".

272:

Define loyal. To who? Look at the political compass for the UK, all major parties are right wing authoritarian.

The UK today is increasingly conservative, ill-informed, ill-educated and easily led. It reminds me most of the US in the 90s, before the crazy took over. The media here is horrifically biased in favour of the status quo, and articulates the agenda of the wealthy and powerful. The education system is heading rapidly towards the production of worker drones and the removal of the ability to think independently.

I have a lot of respect for Corbyn at the moment - he is a man of principles who is basically put in a position where he must inevitably betray some of them if he is to survive. The media and public dialogue is relentlessly hostile, his own party leadership is squabbling over who gets to stab him first, and the country as a whole is fairly apathetic about the whole situation.

Corbyn comes from a left wing battleground of being anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons. That doesn't mean he is weak. He comes from a perspective of thirty years of being in the outskirts, which means he takes time over his decisions instead of having a policy wonk invent them overnight and backpeddling next week a la Miliband or Cameron. He has no chance of becoming PM, but he can hopefully uncover someone in the party who can.

Regarding dialogue with Daesh - why is interfering in a foreign civil war and bombing random bystanders considered superior to talking and staying generally out of the quagmire? Hasty ill-considered responses provide the very recruiting material Daesh needs to thrive.

The single greatest means of removing the threat of fundamentalism is universal access to education and contraception. That frees half the society to demand changes from the other half.

As expected, the idea faces constant challenges from religious groups and conservative factions worldwide. Means it must be working.

273:

Labour was never run by the Militant tendency. It was the defection of right-wing Labour politicians and establishment of the SDP-Liberal alliance that split the opposition vote in the 1983 general election and handed Thatcher a landslide victory.

But don't let the facts get in the way ...

274:

There's also the "Thirteenth Warrior" approach: "... neither grape nor grain." "No problem! This is made from honey."

I have wondered how those inclined toward rules lawyering deal with hard cider.

275:

Graydon wrote:
"Basic primate wetware bug; absolute status matters more than relative status, but we're mostly incapable of believing that in an emotional way."

Wait, all the studies I've ever read of regarding health effects of social status and income and suchlike are about relative status. So if you're all living on an island and half starved the man who has slightly better rags has a higher status, even if in absolute terms he's no better off than the others.
Same with billionaires. They are vastly better off than everyone else, i.e. their absolute status is so huge it's hard to state without upsetting people, yet they measure themselves relative to the other billionaires they know and are annoyed that they don't have that 2nd executive jet, so work harder to screw the plebs.

276:

I believe this is Graydon's point: that for one's health and happiness absolute status is more important (and improving the absolute status of everyone else feeds back into improving your own), but each individual's primate-brain keeps yelling at them about their relative status.

277:

You're missing the point. Consider two men on a desert island with XXX food supplies. If one man is given a choice between sharing that equally, or destroying half the supplies and then siezing 2/3 of the remainder, what will he do? And what is happening today is that too many people in positions of power are taking the second option. As I said, see "The Winner Effect" by Ian Robertson.

278:

Grrk. That wasn't true, either. It wasn't run by the Militant Tendency, but it WAS run by a large number of people who believed in waging the Class War (just as we see today, the other way round), and some of those people and some unions were, indeed, ruining the country and causing great bitterness. The SDP people left because they couldn't get the old guard to admit reality. Many of Thatcher's initial policies were justifiable.

As examples of vindictive tax laws, look at surtax, and the time that the peak rate of income tax went to 98%; one person was actually taxed aat above 100%, but I forget why he had to pay extra. And the current way that capital gains are taxed at less than income is only the converse of the taxation laws then, which hit many relatively poor pensioners very hard indeed.

279:

Whoops, I misread it.

280:

The reassuring thing about what actually happens in such situations (as opposed to what fiction assumes and commentators assert will happen) is that people help one another, equitably and selflessly. This, from someone involved with Emergency Planning (sorry, "Resilience").

At least, for the first few days...

281:

You mean this? Quick reading suggests it's a bill to prevent the monarch bypassing/usurping Parliament. Parliament is the supreme power and can do whatever it likes. The 'people' described here are the Protestants.

Do like the amnesty bit though: that any charges brought against someone by the previous monarch will have no merit in any future proceedings.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp

English Bill of Rights 1689: An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown

This site has a good overview:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/English_Bill_of_Rights

Eventually (in 1984) the court finally caught on that MPs might also need to be brought before the court at some time. Apparently, thanks go to Neil Hamilton for this. Hamilton was the central bad guy in the Skoal tobacco, Harrods/cash-for-questions, BBC witness intimidation stories. And since he keeps turning back up, who knows even more new laws re: civil rights might have to be passed.

282:

Charlie & Mayhem
Err ... did you miss the bit where I mentioned the absolute necessity of a strong loyal opposition & bemoaned the fact that parts - far too much actually - of Camoron's programme is reactionary rather than simply right-wing & has very little to do with conservatism, either, certainly as practiced by people like H Macmillan E Heath R A Butler ??
( Showing my age here )

SF Reader
Yes, that was the set of things I was thinking of.
The real, basic foundation of our supposed liberties.

283:

Look, that was a simple explanation of the effects of relative status (a.k.a. playing zero-sum games). I know perfectly well the effects of group size and emergency versus routine, and the point that so many of us are making is that most people in the UK with any power or privilege are making the second choice. It's not good for them, but it's worse for their inferiors, so that's what they want.

284:

This New York Times piece seems to show that establishment Republicans are starting to lean towards Trump on the grounds that he would be less disasterous for the party than Ted Cruz, with former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole cited as a source. I'm not sure that's wrong, either, since Cruz has major financial backing of a serious whackaloon, and is himself into Bircher*-esque conspiracy theories. So really, which is more dangerous? A stupid man who believes stupid things, or a very smart man who believes stupid things?

*i.e. The John Birch Society. Gen. Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove would be a handy example of the type from popular culture.

285:

Utter cobblers
Even allowing for the "nasty tricks" (to say the least) played by the Sykes-Picot agreement [ Recommendation: "A Line in the Sand" - an excellent book ] Da'esh are still beyond any possible pale.
Whatever nasties the "colonial" powers got up to is irrelevant, given Da'esh's treatment of the Yazidis & the Kurds & the shia & the christians & the "wrong sort" of sunnis & & & ......
They are religious-based mass-murdering nutters & "Oh look a Squirrel!" won't work, I'm afraid

287:

We can't tell from this. Back then FHA policy actively encouraged racial segregation - allowing black people in would have killed Trump's mortgage subsidy. That Trump senior was happy to follow government incentives for racism makes him no different from anyone else in real estate in the period. From Ta-Nehisi Coate's noted article on reparations:

In 1934, Congress created the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA insured private mortgages, causing a drop in interest rates and a decline in the size of the down payment required to buy a house. . . The FHA had adopted a system of maps that rated neighborhoods according to their perceived stability. On the maps, green areas, rated “A,” indicated “in demand” neighborhoods that, as one appraiser put it, lacked “a single foreigner or Negro.” These neighborhoods were considered excellent prospects for insurance. Neighborhoods where black people lived were rated “D” and were usually considered ineligible for FHA backing. They were colored in red. Neither the percentage of black people living there nor their social class mattered. Black people were viewed as a contagion.
288:

I think that Mayhem's point is the same as mine. Yes, all you say about Da'esh is true (and even understated), but it is clear that our current behaviour (policies implies too much thought) is just playing into their hands, and it is unclear that talking to them would be any worse. I agree that both approaches are insane.

289:

Your sarcasm is appreciated - I am NOT disagreeing with you.
Oh & to repeat: "A Line in the Sand" is a must-read for this area.

290:

Went for a walk through the puppy farms in search of game; current stuff is either low yield gabble (Toronto indie bookstores targeted by LGBT* groups wanting to ban some rabids? What do you expect, it's Toronto & indie stores need flavor / branding, don't see many American South types up there); Goodreads bans VD (No awareness of the 'Whys' to that, c.f. Amazon algos mentioned months ago & review stuffing - death to brand value, of course it'll get nuked) and Palin (burbling about Christianity when we know for a fact that our boy in Cana would have found them tiresome).

I wouldn't mind, but they're not very good at what they stand for.

~

Currently watching: Davos, Europe at a tipping point, c.f. Soros claims that Europe will disintegrate (oops, front-run that one again:
Europe on the verge of collapse: Soros CNBC 21st Jan 2016. Zzzz, old man has lost his touch).

So, we'll do some leg-work for them.

Davos, yesterday: Rockerfeller foundation PR launched
"Yield Wise". Reducing supply chain waste from farm (30%) to table (USA wastes 40% post-sale).

It has everything:

Rockerfeller & "ebul" globalists
Famous guy making food out of 'waste' for UN using Obama's personal chef
African Bank involvement & all that entails
Coca Cola, Cargill, Nestle partnership (!)

Real comments:

$120 mil over 7 years, it's a bit of a joke
Support the drive, does anyone believe that those involved aren't responsible? (I mean, come on, look at the partners)

You could have a field day with this one.


Hmm.

Meta-comment: Trump etc have shown the actual failure of all of this. They have to be spoon fed material, no creativity.

291:

I dunno. The across-the-board salary cuts Daesh has enacted implies to me that Obama's containment strategy may be working.

293:

If you want to know the real reason that was mentioned, check the puff:

In 2016, The Rockefeller Foundation launched YieldWise, a $130 million initiative, with the goal of demonstrating how the world can halve food loss by 2030, one of the UN’s sustainable development goals. We will initially focus on fruits, vegetables, and staple crops in Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, where up to half of all food grown is lost.

AN OVERVIEW OF CHINESE AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL ENGAGEMENT IN TANZANIA PDF - 2012, historic. But the numbers are in the billions.

~

Oh, Davos: streamed live to BBC, Witold Waszczykowski just publicly stated that EU nationals traveling to Syria (etc) was because they were "bored of playing computer games" (direct quotation).


Someone tell the dinosaurs the comet is coming.

294:

Yucky propaganda.

Cash dollar transactions in war zones doesn't happen without access to foreign imports. Nor does paper on the ground reflect reality.

Knock yourself out:

Fool's gold? Daesh shows off coin currency in new video Aug 2015 (Propaganda)

Tender processing and implementation of desktop audit of the Central Bank of Iraq System Vmnaqsat economy Nov 2015 (from the weird web)

Based in Amman, Jordan, Capital Bank has long been a hub for investors looking to cash in on the Iraqi market. Al-Salem says things on the ground are not as bad as they are portrayed in the media and that the Islamic State lacks the capacity to administer the town. Asked if he feels ISIS-held areas are lost for good, Al-Salem says he doesn't buy it.

Capital Bank says it's business as usual in Mosul CNBC May 2015

Here's how ISIS still has access to the global financial system Business Insider (yuck) Mar 2015

Capital Bank (CAP or Bank) is a full service, private sector Jordanian commercial bank, headquartered in Amman. It was established in 1995 as the Export and Finance Bank, and was renamed to Capital Bank in 2006.

Capital Bank of Jordan IFC

Export & Finance Bank, Annual Report 2005 2005 PDF page 41/84, acquisition 59.2% NBI (National Bank of Iraq)

~

Make of that what you will, but pretending that bombing a vault magically solves things is probably a little naive.

295:

Thanks for posting this. I was wondering what impact the current low oil prices had on Daesh. Without any direct control over oil prices, they'll need to try other methods for obtaining funds including going back to early 'investors'. Am also thinking that they might attempt to contain/reduce costs by sending out larger numbers of suicide bombers. Or, senior management might decide to split up and move camps, and somewhere along the route to new camps just kill off any excess baggage. (Look for fresh mass graves of women/children.)

296:

"Here's how ISIS still has access to the global financial system Business Insider (yuck) Mar 2015"

The techniques are probably what is being used, but it is pointing the finger in precisely the wrong direction, like when the West were saying that Iran was supporting the Taliban inside Iraq. Assad knows what his fate would be if Da'esh takes over.

297:

Are you sure that it isn't Russia's bombing of its oil `pipeline' that is the main cause of Da'esh's loss of revenue?

298:

Food waste
Is something that bugs me ( & a lot of those of us old enough to remember ration-books )
And there's no damned excuse for it al all other than:
a) Laziness
b) Extreme short-term greed & stupidity

Neither of which should be allowed.
The lazy should either be whipped or sacked & the job given to someone competent.
The greedy ones should be deliberately kept on minimum basic rations, so that they lose weight for abut 6 months ( Yeah, I know, "cruel & unusual" ) - after that, I think you might find the waste vanishing.
See also Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's campaign on supermarket/food waste here

299:

You will note that last week the sanctions brakes finally came off Iran, with the conclusion of the nuclear proliferation/sanctions regime.

Iran promptly spun the spigots fully open to recapitalize their economy (and fuck with the Saudis, of course). At which point the global spot price for oil crashed.

Da'esh's main exports are oil and headlines, and cickthroughs on snuff videos don't pay the gunmen. So the Iranians just kneecapped the most annoying bunch of anti-shi'ite ass-hats on the planet.

I suspect the US State Department was not unaware that this would happen, hence the steady pressure to relax sanctions and the nopety-nope response to the neocon warmongers (who still don't seem to have picked up a Clue that in the middle east, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend but is still a useful guy to have on the team pissing on my enemy's shoes).

300:

When it comes to politics I quite like prediction markets, AKA bookies. They tend to be far far more accurate than any pollsters.

If you google for paddypower's page on the US presidential election Hillary is currently the favorite with 5/6 and trump is now the second favorite at 7/2 followed by rubio and sanders at 6/1 each.

I believe these represent about as accurate odds as we can get right now since anyone with really good information who disagrees with these odds has a financial incentive to bet, bringing the odds closer to reality.

It's scary to think that trump actually has pretty good odds and he's not suffered at all from the various crazy things he's said.

I think in part it's that the snarl words of his opponents have lost most of their power. His opponents have called every candidate before him racist etc so now the words just slide off.

301:

Er, yes. I knew the price had dropped, but I am so used to minor fluctuations being played up that I hadn't checked up. A factor of two - yes, that would explain it, without any Russian impact.

302:

If your point is that Fred Trump was simply doing what a lot of other real estate developers were doing at the time. I'm sure that's true, but so what? How many of their sons are running for President right now?

303:

the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend but is still a useful guy to have on the team pissing on my enemy's shoes

My version is The enemy of my enemy is a distraction to be exploited.

304:

Regarding Trump, I know it's kind of straying into the realms of dodgy airport thrillers, conspiracy theories, and an altogether different kind of paranoia, but, is it possible that he might turn out to be not merely the wrong lizard but sufficiently the wrong kind of lizard to trigger an allergic reaction?

is it possible that a sufficient group of people sufficiently powerful and highly placed in the machinery of either the Republican Party, it's funders, or even in the machinery of state itself could be sufficiently appalled and/or threatened by the prospect of a Trump presidency that they'd feel he *had* to be stopped at *any* cost and would be willing to do *anything*[1] to achieve it?

[1] Maybe "find" something sufficiently appalling in his business, political, or personal history to render him *really* unelectable and bring it into the public domain? Maybe even an asassination (false flagged to the brown skinned foreign threat de jour of course) if stopping him was deemed sufficiently vital to someone's interests and that was the only way to achieve it...?

305:

Hmm, then a punt on Cruz might be worthwhile, if his odds are longer than Rubio. After all, why go for the lesser evil?

306:

From Nate Silver's site ... he's the one who correctly predicted the last election.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/politics/elections/

Excerpt: 'The GOP’s primary calendar is surprisingly front-loaded with states friendly to insurgents like Trump and Cruz. But because of Republican National Committee rules, all but one of these states will award their delegates on a proportional basis, intentionally making it difficult for any one candidate to build a durable or commanding lead.'

I'm wondering whether a lot of the Rep campaign isn't just a matter of keeping all eyes on the Rep party for as long as possible. Very high name recognition now means the GOP won't have to spend as much once the national election actually launches. As a bonus, they can turn around and accuse Clinton/DEMs of overspending, shouting 'See how wasteful the DEMs are with taxpayer money!

307:

My first point is that Trump's father's past completely ordinary racism does nothing to explain Trump's current extraordinary racism, just as pointing out that Hilton hotels used to be segregated in the South won't tell you squat about Paris Hilton. Indeed, as a contemporary New York real estate mogul you'd expect Trump to be in favor of immigration as that's a major source of cheap labor for building construction, maintenance and hospitality. The Associated General Contractors of America and American Hotel and Lodging Association both support some sort of immigration reform and therefore would be in opposition to Trump's "deport 'em all" policy.

My other point is that American racism has some strong structural roots. When I wrote "anyone else in real estate" I didn't just mean developers, I meant anyone and everyone, including individual homeowners. When white people worried that blacks moving into the neighborhood would kill the value of their home it wasn't just personal prejudice, it was also an accurate perception of the way the system was rigged to work.

308:

And supermarkets insisting that vegetables and fruits should all look identical as if they had been turned out by a machine, and rejecting the enormous proportion that don't.

(Apparently people on banana plantations do not eat the supermarket reject bananas. They eat the ones they have grown for themselves without putting them in plastic bags full of chemicals, because they taste better.)

And throwing away "out of date" food (which with few exceptions is perfectly edible, no matter what the label says) into skips which are kept in a high-security compound with savage dogs and armed guards, and pouring paraffin over it.

Although I did see something recently about a supermarket in Europe somewhere which was giving it away instead. Top marks to them, but it should be a legal requirement for all of them.

309:

Immigration reform might reduce the number of illegal immigrants living in terror of the ICE, taking whatever job they can get for whatever money it will pay, unable to enforce any kind of employment rights. Why would someone invested in an industry which employs a high proportion of immigrants want to do that?!

310:

It's illegal in the EU to donate food that's past its best-before date under the very simple logic that if it's not fit for paying customers to eat it's not fit for anyone to eat; the homeless and hungry don't deserve to be used as a way of getting rid of a supermarket's waste disposal cost, after all. This doesn't explain the animus against dumpster divers, though.

You may be thinking of the French law banning supermarkets from binning food after its sell-by date; it must be donated to charity, composted, or made into energy or animal feed.

311:

I was simply leaving a link to an article showing that the Trump family has a long history of being shits. (Also spot the Laundry Files tie in.)

As for Don T. Rump, he was raised by his father. Paris Hilton was not raised by her family hotels. Racism in hotels was hardly unique to Hiltons or the South. A local (Colorado) resort hotel The Broadmoor*, until the late 50s, had a history of suddenly having no vacancies if you tried to get a room while having a Jewish sounding name, don't bother trying if you were African American.

My other point is that American racism has some strong structural roots.

No, really? I'm an American Jew, originally from the South, now in Colorado. I think Charlie might say some about Granny and sucking eggs.

*a bonus reference for the Brits.

312:

So you don't just want to run with the idea that Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath who will say or do anything to further what he considers his interests? I'd add that he's probably trashing whatever's left of his international business interests that could be passed onto his kids, so it's hard to argue that he's even in it for his family.

As for why he's running, I suspect he wants to one-up Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became governor of California in a similar situation, where the election was FUBAR'ed and Arnold sailed in on name recognition and anti-incumbent bias alone. Thing is, Schwarzenegger actually turned out to be a reasonably decent governor. Given Trump's history of multiple bankruptcies, and the number of ruined people he's left behind with them, I don't see that happening. He's more like George W Bush than the Gubernator.

The other thing is that, despite the persistent grumbling, Trump's previous ties to organized crime and his four bankruptcies haven't come up in the political discourse yet (neither have Rubio's questionable ties, for that matter), which suggests that, if Trump does turn into the Republican candidate, he's going to have his reputation trashed in a rather bad way. Personally, I don't think it will be fun to watch (I'm already turning off the politics), but some other people might find it interesting.

313:

What ...? Hadn't heard/read anything re: 'Trump's previous ties to organized crime'. A quick search turned this up.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-goodfellas-1449877685

Excerpt:
Dec. 11, 2015 6:48 p.m. ET

'Donald Trump says he’ll succeed as President because he has succeeded in business, so it’s appropriate to scour his business record. One area in particular that deserves scrutiny is his business relationship with companies controlled by the Mafia.

The reporting on this has so far been scanty, and we have no new revelations. But Mr. Trump was active in construction in the 1980s, when federal racketeering cases highlighted the influence that a “club” of mobsters exerted over large construction projects in New York City. In one 1988 trial, Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, was among those convicted in a scheme to control and profit from the concrete contracts for numerous buildings in Manhattan, including Trump Plaza.

We asked Mr. Trump about these ties on his recent visit to the Journal, and his answers are worth hearing at length. Mr. Trump recalled that in Manhattan there were perhaps three concrete companies and “virtually every building that was built was built with these companies.” He added that “a lot—all of these people—were somehow associated, according to what I read, I don’t know it for a fact.”

Since the Mafia is in the business of stealing, we figured Mr. Trump would be angry that he had to build a “mob tax” into the cost of his projects. But he seemed to be a satisfied customer.

In his stream-of-consciousness way, Mr. Trump described the concrete companies of that era: “You know, Wall Street Journal didn’t write about these guys but these guys were excellent contractors. They were phenomenal. They could do three floors a week in concrete. Nobody else in the world could do three floors a week. I mean they were unbelievable. Trump Tower, other buildings. They would do literally—and you’d say how can you do three? They’d set it, pour it; before the concrete was even dry, they would be putting forms on the floor working off the steel beams, okay?” '

There are additional examples in other states. Yep ... a remarkable example of the ethics of convenience at work.

314:

"Thing is, Schwarzenegger actually turned out to be a reasonably decent governor."

Well yeah, I'll wager Schwartzenegge's (ex) wife Maria Shriver (part of the Kennedy clan) was a major influence during his term as governor of California.

315:

Can't quite understand why Greg et al thinks a bunch of bandits like Islamic State should be our problem, when even the locals can barely be bothered to tackle them.
If left alone (by the West) the locals will either get really pissed off and wipe them out, or they will become a real state by default whereupon they can be treated as just any other despotic boil on the global arse, like Saudi Arabia.
Or are we into "Elite Republican Guard" fear and phobia where they will be storming the White Cliffs of Dover with only 45 minutes notice?
And for those who want to claim something inane, such as "we created the mess so we should clean it up" - how has that worked out so far over the past few decades?

316:

I won't disagree, but the point is that Ahnold learned and did the job well enough to get re-elected. Full disclosure: as a Democrat, I voted for him the second time, because the democrat he was running against was a developer's sock puppet who acted as if he deserved to be governor because a) the state was democratic, and b) he'd checked off all the boxes on his political resume that said he was qualified. He wasn't. I think Schwarzenegger was the only Republican I've ever voted for.

Apparently, the Schwarzenegger argument's being made for Trump's suitability as a candidate over Cruz. (see the end of this piece). The idea is that Republicans are swallowing hard, telling themselves that Trump's act is, well, an act, and that once he's heading towards the Presidency, he'll listen to real politicians and learn how to become one. Um. Yeah. Some others would prefer to vote for Hillary instead.

317:

I'm sure there are a few things that can trigger such a reaction from the establishment:
* leaving NATO
* cutting the defense budget drastically
* whistle-blowing on some dodgier details of the military-industrial complex
* starting a nuclear war with Russia and/or China

Lesser stuff might earn him an impeachment, only.

And I don't think that the Republican party will do anything to stop him - if they wanted to, they would do it now.

318:

It's a bit of a cliché that doing business in New York involves dealing with the mob, whether Italian or Russian. It can be anything from building construction to having your garbage picked up. It's probably not like it was up through he 80s. In the 90s Russians started coming in, sometimes getting into low level city gov positions.

I once went along with my brother (who's lived there for 30 years) when he had to pay a fine for a supposed leak in his welding equipment. He said it was a new tank, he just didn't want to pay off the (Russian) inspector. The clerk behind the window had a Russian accent. Something going on there?

319:

Heteromeles @312:

So you don't just want to run with the idea that Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath who will say or do anything to further what he considers his interests?

That's pretty much exactly my opinion of the man.

JamesPadraicR @311:


As for Don T. Rump, he was raised by his father. Paris Hilton was not raised by her family hotels. Racism in hotels was hardly unique to Hiltons or the South.

Exactly my point. Segregation was de facto public policy in the South that was risky for a business to violate, so Conrad Hilton having segregated hotels there provides no information about him beyond him being a pragmatist in business. Likewise, housing discrimination was de facto FHA policy so Beach Haven being segregated when Guthrie lived there doesn't provide much useful data about Trump senior, since pretty much all post-war housing was de facto segregated. Now, Trump senior being mixed up with the Klan? That'd be good evidence of racist shit-hood.

320:

"So really, which is more dangerous? A stupid man who believes stupid things, or a very smart man who believes stupid things?"

Should be:

"So really, which is more dangerous? A stupid man who believes stupid things, or a very smart man who is amoral and pragmatic?

Trump will have no problem double-crossing the hillbillies who voted for him if he does become president. There is an argument to be made that presidents with principles are rather dangerous. Kennedy was *very* lucky.

321:

This book, just published by Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right is very useful.

The author gives a lot of time to the Koches. As an investigative journalist she's done work on them before -- and they went after her, as they do anyone who looks into them, as reported here.

They have a philosophy in detail that makes sense to them, just as did the fire eating secessionists of the antebellum slavocracy -- with whom their philosophy shares a very great deal, including hatred of taxes, especially taxes that are used to fund public good projects, whether roads, bridges, education and health care to oversight and regulation of "business". They only business of government is to protect them and their interests (slavery), as their interests are what are the best for the country.


322:

You probably know that the Kochs' father was one of the founders of the John Birch Society.

323:

Yeah, all of that - like I said, look up the food writer Hugh F-W. And, of course, yes the food without the "doses" tastes much better - I should know, since I grow my own veg, of course.
Several supermarkets in Britain are now giving away food that's "close-to-date" to food banks etc, I'm glad to say, though the mere idea that Britain in 2016 has & needs food banks is an utter disgrace.

324:

Da'esh are everybody's problem, unfortunately.
I might wish it otherwise, but that happens to be the case.
And it isn't the locals "can't be bothered" - they don't have the force, materials & training.
"A far-off country of which we know nothing" - was Czechoslovakia, last time, wasn't it?

325:

It isn't only the supermarkets that throw away "old" food, and the shops that do sometimes throw it away when it's legally still fit to eat. I walked past a café in Oxford's Broad Street — a tiny hole-in-the-wall place that mainly sells take-away coffee and panini — just after it had officially closed. The woman in there was slinging the paninis and wraps stacked in the window into a bin.

Since the door was still open and I was looking for tea before going back to the Bod., I asked whether I could buy one. She said no, because the shop was closed and she wanted to go home. I asked what she was doing. She said, throwing them away. Since they were that day's, they were still in date. I said this was a disgusting waste of food, and why didn't she donate them to the homeless, of whom there are always several sitting in Cornmarket Street just round the corner. She said there were too many difficulties.

326:


A BRIEF Interruption to your Normal Service ? Across in The Twitter Verse Our Host Remarks ..

" Random MilSF-induced thought of the day: Tanks are the charismatic megafauna of the battlefield.
16 retweets 34 likes "


Nope, Helicopter Gunships are the, " charismatic megafauna of the battlefield. " ? HA!!

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=helicopter+gunships&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj64PXiqb7KAhUCwxQKHXS1AgcQsAQIMw&biw=1920&bih=896

Tanks ARE SO Yesteryear!!!

Though, thinking of Helicopters?
Ornithropters have much to recommend them ..especially when Steam Powered with a Special Kind of Coal.


https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Ornithopters&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAnKrKqr7KAhUBmBQKHbOLCugQsAQIXg&biw=1920&bih=896

But PARANOIA is Good Too.

I know that there are People, Here, Who Just Long to Kill me - FOOD GROWS IN SUPERMARKETS !! SO There !...also People Shaped Supernatural Entities.

Eternal Vigilance!! That's the Spirit!

327:

"Da'esh are everybody's problem, unfortunately."

No they are not. Certainly no more than the millions who have died in the Congo wars we couldn't be bothered with.

"And it isn't the locals "can't be bothered" - they don't have the force, materials & training."

LOL! - and how do you think IS took Mosul? Was it their super-equipped 1500 strong superbly trained elite formations or the 30,000 Iraqi "soldiers" who ran away and left, among other things, 2000 Humvees and enough munitions to keep IS supplied for a couple of years?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Mosul

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/01/isis-captured-2300-humvee-armoured-vehicles-from-iraqi-forces-in-mosul

"A far-off country of which we know nothing" - was Czechoslovakia, last time, wasn't it?"

Which was being threatened by an industrial and military superpower, not by people like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcsN8akfW4

Do you really want to compare IS to the Waffen SS?

328:

Well, I hope everyone followed those naughty links to futanari, you'll need them for reference soon:

GOP Strategist Calls Trump Supporters 'Childless, Single Men Who Masturbate To Anime' 20th Jan 2016

Why Getting Off To Anime Porn Is Shorthand For Supporting Donald Trump Forbes 21st 2015

Trump then retweeted a tweet by a handle called "White Genocide TM". No, he really did.

And saw his polling raise over Cruz rise to +32 today.

Response (from the opposite end of the spectrum to Metafilter / Crooked Timber etc):

Wilson’s words were a very clear message to channers, polsters, and such that the establishment recognizes who we are, and they’re not amused. They think we’re outside the bounds of respectability. But we don’t care. Wilson’s mockery has no sting, for we have already laughed at our own foibles, which means we are beyond them. Superior people do not lack weaknesses, we simply overcome them.

Disenfranchised Autism (Note: visit at your own risk. The writer is "Buttercup Dew", portmanteau of MLP / Brony and Mountain Dew - you've been warned)

MF has a thread with the details of the National Review coming out against Trump: BUT YOU TOLD US CAREER POLITICIANS ARE EVIL, NATIONAL REVIEW .

Hilary & Bernie & the Clown Possy just look old & tired - if the US missed it, most of the rest of the Western world has been trending toward younger candidates (Trudeau recently, Blair, etc). So far behind the curve it's not funny.

If you want the take-away: Trump, GG / KIA etc have seen a massive upswing in Millennial engagement with the political process (or at least rudimentary annoyance and 'giving a shit' which is more than most iPhone users under the age of 30).

Just probably not in the way anyone wanted.


~

But, yes, it does tie in the Nazi theme quite well.

329:

As you doubtless know, 2016 was when it all officially started in the histories.

330:

Nothing New under the Sun when it comes to weird Mythologies and Death Cults ..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dacoity

and from There ? ..


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuggee_and_Dacoity_Department


Reminiscent of ...

" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311429/


And thus a League of Supernatural Agents headed by an UN-DEAD Colonel William Sleeman?

Its really not all that hard to imagine this sort of thing .. " where do you get your crazy ideas from " sort of thing.

The difficult stuff is what our host does, and that is applying the writers Trade Craft and natural talent - after many years of effort - to the Story and that may well be Quite Difficult without editorial advice.

But what do I know about this sort of thing? I am only a Reader ... but a READER of Strange and Arcane Mysteries!

Right then ..where did I put the Latest volume from The Grimore of The Month Club?

331:

" ... But, yes, it does tie in the Nazi theme quite well. "


You can, YOU REALLY CAN, do better than that.


Thus ...

" .... Elements of the story [in brackets] were not in the original publication; elements stricken through were removed in the book version.

John Lyle, Legate and Angel of the Lord, a member of the elite corps that guards the holy person of the Prophet Incarnate, has a sickness in his soul: he finds life at the Palace, capital of the former United States, disillusioning. While standing guard on a parapet one night, he meets Sister Judith – a fresh-caught Virgin, nervous about her coming service to the Prophet. He is smitten with her. [They meet twice, briefly, before] her lot is drawn and she panics when she overhears the Prophet in a cynical discussion of taxes [called on to service the Prophet sexually]. At great risk, Lyle induces his friend Zebadiah Jones, to help set up a meeting with Judith while she is under discipline. They decide to recruit help from The Cabal, an underground resistance group, or consortium of groups led by Freemasons and committed to restoring secular, democratic government to the United States. Lyle and Zeb join the Cabal and the local Masonic lodge. Judith is arrested; the Cabal spirits her away to safety. Lyle undergoes the Inquisition but his hypnopedic conditioning holds, and the Cabal rescues him, as well. [Underground now, he begins to learn about his heritage of freedom as an American and as a Freemason].

Disguised as a textiles drummer, ... "


http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/works/novels/ifthisogoeson.html


SO? Who is The 'Prophet Incarnate' in Modern terms ..in the US of A ?

Trump & Co are a little too obvious ..come now, aren't they?

So .. Who will lead the RAPTURE of the US of A?

332:

Just... Google "/pol/ is always right" to understand.

~

But, didn't you hear? Armageddon was cancelled, no Rapture for anyone.

Salt set in, all is crusted, corroding in the wet snow the bright finance towers; brittle crust of manners on animal cruelty, skulls mineralized by myopia.

Flint is the future of the cities, leaden earth for those trapped at the bottom, senses dulled; flat earth, flat effects, flat passions.

Dust and smoke for the west and south, bare rock on high and rubbed clean below, chemicals in lungs and veins.


I'd go on, but there's trouble enough for cheating too much recently.

333:

Corbyn comes from a left wing battleground of being anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons. That doesn't mean he is weak. He comes from a perspective of thirty years of being in the outskirts

Perhaps he spent thirty years in the outskirts because he was wrong? Just asking...

Anyway, if I was being cynical I'd refine that to be anti-imperialist - opposed to war when waged by US/UK (not like those wars of liberation in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, or Eastern Ukraine); opposed to nuclear weapons when held by the West. He's not weak in his views - but he certainly doesn't appear to be a strong leader when Labour needs it most.

Perhaps my reaction to him as "naive in the extreme" is so strong because of his willingness to share platforms uncritically with Gerry Adams well before any PIRA ceasefire; it's hardly anti-war to offer support to a group who oppose representative democracy through the deliberate use of violence against civilians (see Warrington, Guildford, Birmingham, etc, etc) and the terrorising of their own neighbourhoods (see Jean McConville).

It's worrying if you assume he hired a Director of Communications that thinks the same way he does; this is an interesting perspective (link)

"No Russian government could have acquiesced in such a threat from territory that was at the heart of both Russia and the Soviet Union. Putin's absorption of Crimea and support for the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is clearly defensive"

Aye, right.

I want a strong opposition that can hold a Government to account - not one that is busy splitting apart because its leadership is more interested in its own personal political agenda than any need to acknowledge the views of the mass of the UK.

I want a strong opposition that is credible because it is electable, not one that sounds like it never grew up beyond student politics.

334:

Tanks ARE SO Yesteryear!!!

An opinion that has been voiced for the last 99 years by increasingly breathless commentators... Eppur Si Muove.

Tanks will be around for a long time to come :)

335:

By an interesting coincidence, a crash in oil prices tends to hurt conservative domestic interests in the United States and Canada. Which may also explain some of the neo-con opposition. It's also not good for Russia.

Don't forget many American conservatives have personal and business ties to the Saudis - the Bushes famously had more connections to bin laden than Saddam Hussein did. That's another reason for them to oppose the Iran deal. If I was paranoid I'd think Obama was taking the opportunity to slip a knife into anyone who ever crossed him with this deal.

336:

Fossil carbon as an industry defends itself with money.

Less money in oil is probably the best thing that can be done, not for climate change, but for doing something about climate change.

337:

Exclusive: Documents seen by the Guardian reveal questionable practices that mean people’s drinking water is at risk in ‘every major city east of the Mississippi’

Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples, risking a dangerous spread of the toxic water crisis that has gripped Flint, documents seen by the Guardian show.

The controversial approach to water testing is so widespread that it occurs in “every major US city east of the Mississippi” according to an anonymous source with extensive knowledge of the lead and copper regulations. “By word of mouth, this has become the thing to do in the water industry. The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe,” he said.

US authorities distorting tests to downplay lead content of water Guardain 22nd Jan 2016


Connect that to the ADHD links (iron / gene) and so on, and put it on the same thread as the anti-vaxxers, well...

Note: it looks like it's just the "run cold taps for 5 mins" - this is also common in the UK water sector.

But, yeah. I'd totally run this through to wake the American people up about the necessity of upgrading / replacing entire swathes of infrastructure.


Do I think there's the political will or ability to do so?

Nope.

338:

One could even read this as a possible sign of hope. After all, they've just flooded the market with oil, and instead of sparking this incredible boom of car buying and factories cranking on that cheap fuel, it's just sitting there, screwing up everybody's economies, because no one's quite sure why the addicts seem to be, for the first time, semi-serious about kicking the oil habit.

Some economy commentators have speculated that one of the big problems with fossil fuels right now is that their prices are volatile compared to those of renewables, which are known and falling. Unpredictability is a really good reason for people to not buy anything that needs a lot of fuel right now, because purchasers know they'll likely get gouged in a few years as their facilities come on line.

Anyway, it will be truly ironic, in the best possible way, if, in flooding the market, the oil companies cripple themselves and convince the rest of us clowns that it's possible to live without them. Did any pessimistic climate doomer predict that? I certainly didn't.

339:

Do you really want to compare IS to the Waffen SS?
Yes
The Waffen-SS were actually not much good against trained troops, very good at atrocities.
And - they killed all the Jews & believed women were inferior & that they should push out other peoples & believers - sound familiar?
And what do Da'esh want?
Kill all the Jews, enslave women ... etc ...

340:

Oddly enough, that was a lot clearer.
I got that message.
Poetry is so difficult to do

341:

"He's not weak in his views - but he certainly doesn't appear to be a strong leader when Labour needs it most."

He is a man who has been propelled into a nest of enemies.
If he is strong, he will eliminate them all by the end of the year.
Personally, if I was in his position I would not have allowed a free vote and then had those who disobeyed removed from any position they held in the party.

342:

"Tanks will be around for a long time to come"

Tanks are only as good as your airforce

343:

"Tanks will be around for a long time to come :)"

Oh, yes. If nothing else, they are excellent at dealing with demonstrations, provided that the demonstrators aren't actually trained or equipped for anti-tank warfare.

344:

What's happening now is going to have a major negative and permanent effect on the oil industry. All the cheap-to-pump oil is being sold off close to cost price, and in many cases below it. When that is gone there will be no "cheap to pump" buffer on oil price rises.

345:

"So .. Who will lead the RAPTURE of the US of A?"

Trump selects Palin as his running mate, orders Davey Boy to overrule Holyrood in his favour and have the wind farm levelled, visits his golf course, and is assassinated by a local. Palin is hastily swoon, er, sworn in, rapturously.

More seriously, when it comes to mass hysteria, predicting the details is completely impossible. There are thousands of lunatics who are plausible candidates for being propelled from nowhere to the front in a few years or even less. The only reliable predictions are about the overall pattern.

346:

I want a strong opposition that is credible because it is electable, not one that sounds like it never grew up beyond student politics.

Sorry to disappoint you, but that's not possible.

The British system is subtly gerrymandered to hell and back, because of the way FPTP works; election outcomes are determined by the 10-20% of seats that are 2-way or 3-way marginals, the marginal outcomes are determined by the need to get 10% of swing voters on your side, so the entire campaign fighting focus is on (a) get out your party base, and (b) persuade the 10% of the 10-20% that the streets will be re-paved with gold if they vote for you.

Upshot: triangulation works, so you end up with the two main parties stealing each other's policies and a Tweedledum/Tweedledee alternation. No opposition there, just different faces when the old ones become too hated for fronting the same old same old.

Given that democracy's sole overriding virtue over other forms of government is that it permits peaceful transitions of power instead of revolutions, I'd have to say that Corbyn is a positive step -- the system is rigged against him, but at least there's a clear alternative on offer to the voters. The time to worry is when you can't see a difference between a two party state and a one party state other than the faces in either party, and under Blair, we were pretty much there.

347:

Tanks will be around for a long time to come :)

Some form of mobile blockhouse that can cross broken ground under fire and, optionally, carry infantry along for a ride, will be around for a long time to come, as long as defensive armour/weapons can keep up with offensive fire.

I'm not convinced tanks as we know them today have a future, though, any more than 15th century knights in plate on heavy chargers are relevant today.

In particular we seem to be heading towards offensive firepower winning the race for a while: put 24 Brimstones in vertical launch cells in a shipping container on the back of a cheap truck, figure out how to locate the enemy tanks and feed their location back to the missiles, and you've got a cheap can-opener. Note the "..." C3I stage. I will admit ihat's a hard problem to solve. But these days tanks are multi-million pound monsters that need a huge supply chain, and the can-opener costs about £100,000 per shot. This doesn't bode well for the future of the tank in its current form.

348:

Footnote: the mounted knight on a charger can still be found in service in the UK today, and not just ceremonial -- go look for the mounted police at a demonstration or football match. (Although current Home Office policy on cuts is prioritizing helicopters over horses -- a mounted police unit is startlingly expensive to run -- and the lack of war bows among football fans means that they don't need to wear full plate.)

349:

Yes. Clegg blew it, because he naively trusted Cameron. But, to say that a proper two-party system isn't possible under FPTP isn't quite true. We have had a FPTP system for ages, and the situation was different from at least 1945 to the late 1970s, though it was also very bad in different ways. But I really don't see how to get back to a genuine two-party system, let alone keep that stable, especially with the way that so much power has been given to foreign oligarchs.

350:

And obstruct roads and bridges, demolish houses etc., as well as what I mentioned earlier. Even if tanks cease to be useful on traditional battlefields, they still be useful against rebellion.

351:

My dad told me once there'd been a footie riot or similar with mounted police in attendance, and one of the 'fans' had started attacking a police horse instead of the man on the back of it. Then some fans started attacking the guy attacking the horse. Ahh, the british love of animals...

But historically speaking mounted knights have been ver vulnerable to guys with pikes and longbowmen, hence various changes in the ways wars were fought, including the English fighting on foot.

352:

One could even read this as a possible sign of hope. After all, they've just flooded the market with oil, and instead of sparking this incredible boom of car buying and factories cranking on that cheap fuel, it's just sitting there, screwing up everybody's economies, because no one's quite sure why the addicts seem to be, for the first time, semi-serious about kicking the oil habit.

2015's weather was deeply alarming. The more one looks into it, the more alarming it gets. That does eventually start to reach policy makers.

I think the lack of response to oil prices has more to do with the exhaustion of demand, myself; the whole "money isn't a store of value" thing, but rather money having value because it is exchanged and most of the capacity for exchange having been strangled by wealth-concentration policies.

Since global financial policy summarizes as "do it harder", I don't expect that to change in the near term.

353:

What's happening now is going to have a major negative and permanent effect on the oil industry. All the cheap-to-pump oil is being sold off close to cost price, and in many cases below it. When that is gone there will be no "cheap to pump" buffer on oil price rises.

If the depressed economy's demand price for oil is 30 USD/barrel and the extraction price is 40 USD/barrel, that's it. No more oil by anything resembling a market mechanism.

We don't know where we are (accurate reserve and production cost figures are scarce), but we're getting close to something like that.

It doesn't mean we go green/renewables/economic renewal through replacement of infrastructure; it might just mean grinding poverty slowly swallows almost everything.

354:

Of course the grinding poverty thing could be avoided, but that would involve dumping austerity economics and associated guff.

355:

Absolutely. Austerity is policy, not necessity. (Rather like the best-supported interpretation of the recent US Fed rate increase is "wages do not rise".)

We could have five to eight percent annual growth rates for a generation if it was possible to pry control of the economy away from bankers and billionaires and build the post-carbon infrastructure we all need to live. That said bankers and billionaires are, in the main, bitterly, grimly, last-ditch-and-redoubt opposed to any such policy does not say kind things about them.

356:

It means that when all of this is over in a few years oil price is going to skyrocket. Oil will no longer be the major economic determinant it was.

357:

2015's weather was deeply alarming. The more one looks into it, the more alarming it gets.
Agree
But, how many "important" people will really notice?
Or, is this where HMTreasury or equivalent shows up, pointing out how much 2015's weather-related cleanups COST, I wonder?
Nothing like something a solid as that to shut the denialists up (Not that they will, of course)

358:

Oil skyrockets, and, if the current oligarchy gets its way, we don't go substantially green. Because that outcome leaves everything organized the way it's organized and they win, permanently.[1]

It's also why various people with tar-sands projects cling to them; oil has to be expensive enough to justify the extraction costs eventually. (That it's now burningly obvious we need to get off the carbon binge about thirty years ago doesn't affect this outlook much.)

[1] Of course that's not what really happens. People with power have this wretched tendency to convince themselves they're going to get what they want, though, and lots of aristocratic systems have prefered generational collapse over miniscule losses of aristocratic power.

359:

Really?
I think you overstate your possibly/probably-valid case.

360:

In a functioning democratic system which reflects the views of the electorate and is FPTP you should wind up with the parties of Tweedledee and the party of Tweedledum. (You can conclude that some form of PR is better, but if you want that to work (i.e. result in stable governments), you have to give the "winner" a boost of some kind which effectively pushes it away from PR.) In other words, this is generally a feature, not a bug.

The only way this is not true is if you think the system is fundamentally failing. Here in the states, I'd guesstimate that the system is fundamentally failing somewhere around 10-15% of the electorate. That is enough to propel unusual challengers like Trump and Sanders but not enough to fundamentally change either party. I'm not sure what the percentage is in the UK, but with a more comprehensive welfare state I'd assume it would be lower. Unless it is significantly higher (I'm guessing but somewhere in the 25% range) you aren't going to have an effective party that isn't Tweedledee or Tweedledum.

361:

But ...
It LOOKS ( note that word & the emphasis ) as though PV & truly"green" energy sources & most importantly electrical storage is going to continue to get cheaper, anyway.
So that if/when oil gets more expensive again (IF oil gets more expensive again ... it isn't going to matter.
The available technology will largely, determine the outcome.

362:

Or, only allow moneys/funds to cross borders via one single always-monitored pathway whether leaving or entering the country to prevent tax evasion. Such monitoring is done for hard goods. If a nation's economy has shifted toward money as a key/primary 'trade good', then it makes sense to monitor/meter and tax this trade good as applicable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

Excerpt:

Economic effects

'Financial services (banking, insurance, investment, etc.) have become a key industry in developed economies, in which it represents a sizeable share of the GDP and an important source of employment. Those activities have also played a key role in facilitating economic globalization. In the wake of the 2007-2010 financial crisis, a number of economists and others began to argue that financial services had become too large a sector of the US economy, with no real benefit to society accruing from the activities of increased financialization. Some, such as former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson, went so far as to argue that the increased power and influence of the financial services sector had fundamentally transformed the American polity, endangering representative democracy itself.[8]

In February 2009, white-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator William K. Black listed the ways in which the financial sector harms the real economy. Black wrote, "The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation."[9]

In testimony before the US Congress in March 2009, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has proclaimed himself "shocked" that "the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity" proved to be an illusion.... The Reagan-Thatcher model, which favored finance over domestic manufacturing, has collapsed. ... The mutually reinforcing rise of financialization and globalization broke the bond between American capitalism and America's interests... we should take a cue from Scandinavia's social capitalism, which is less manufacturing-centered than the German model. The Scandinavians have upgraded the skills and wages of their workers in the retail and service sectors -- the sectors that employ the majority of our own workforce. In consequence, fully employed impoverished workers, of which there are millions in the United States, do not exist in Scandinavia.[10]'

------


Also, you could modify the rules & regs for corporate loans to resemble those of student loans. After all, if the rules are fair for students, then they ought to be fair for businesses.

363:

Related to this is shadow banking ....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_banking_system

'As of 2013, academic research has suggested that the true size of the shadow banking system may have been over $100 trillion in 2012.[12]'

This is often/mostly off balance sheet stuff ... therefore probably not being taxed but gives its holders a might big stick to swing around.

364:

Nope, just look at Kosovo in the late 90s. A month of total air superiority, total number of Serbian tanks destroyed from the air? A handful.

Meanwhile, the vaunted Apache got taken out in a rather well-planned aviation ambush in Iraq (they weren't allowed into Kosovo, their DASS wasn't up to the job) and the A-10 isn't survivable against anything more than sharpened sticks (well, the Air Defence equivalent).

365:

Total number of Serbian tanks used in combat in Kosovo?

366:

The comment from the panzer drivers I knew was that if you think of them as mobile blockhouses, you're using them wrong.

In the classic Cold War defensive scenario, they'd be sitting in hides a few km back from the defensive positions. When the reconnaissance types figured out which way the attackers were going, they would then move at speed to a pre-planned position, thence to demonstrate that 10MJ of muzzle energy will fling a KE penetrator sufficient to rip open just about anything... time it right, and your tanks arrive, your artillery hits and your ATGMs fly, just as the lead attacking tank fulfils its destiny as a mine detector.

Tanks are fast. Scarily fast, when they have to. They don't sit still, because then the evil infantry types will sneak up on them with ATk weapons. Trust me, when one goes screaming past, you're looking for a hole to hide in.

As for indirect weapons, the Israelis only recently acknowledged that they had Spike-NLOS fitted just as you describe - and that Britain had bought some for use in Afghanistan under the EXACTOR codename. C3I is the tricky bit - but it's potentially faster to arrive than air support...

367:

Two stories about demonstrators...

The first is from a friend who was part of the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia; apparently, when the local rentamob turned out to protest at whatever inequitable travesty of justice that they had been told they faced at the hands of the evil UN (you know, like elections, or "those others" down the road getting a new school, or...) then the arrival of an actual tank - as opposed to any old random tracked AFV - was the generally agreed signal that their complaint had been taken seriously, they'd tried their hardest, and that they could now go home and get warm and dry without shame.

The second is from the Iranian revolution of 1979. Apparently, tanks don't see too well if you're close enough and accurate enough to shoot out their periscopes. And they rely on their periscopes once the tank commanders and drivers start getting shot because they were heads out of the turret... once they're blind, they're very much more vulnerable to the brave-to-the-point-of-stupid lads with petrol bombs. Oh, and once they're inside the built-up area, they can't elevate main and coax armament past 20 degrees or so (15 degrees if it's Russian). Stay high and drop stuff, pray they don't drag out any ZSU 23-4.

As you say, when the other side have proper weaponry, things change further. What happened to the armoured columns in the First Battle of Grozny is the stuff of horror.

368:

About 600, according to some estimates. Although the number destroyed is debated, very few burned-out hulks remained when the Yugoslavs pulled back.

I was surprised to find that the number eventually agreed on as "severely damaged" was so high - claimed to be around a hundred; about a quarter of which were actually destroyed.

http://www.iacenter.org/warcrime/19_army.htm

If so, that's about one tank a day...

369:

If the depressed economy's demand price for oil is 30 USD/barrel and the extraction price is 40 USD/barrel, that's it. No more oil by anything resembling a market mechanism.

Not really. Prices aren't completely inelastic. There are consumers who will buy oil at $40 a barrel. There are even some consumers who will buy oil at $1,000 a barrel (for use by ambulances, rich people, etc.). In the medium term, the quantity demanded will fall and the price will rise until supply meets demand.

In the long term, the finite nature of oil supplies means that the supply curve will inevitably fall over time. The most convenient oil is long gone, the moderately inconvenient oil is rapidly going, and we're on a trend toward the day when the only remaining oil takes so much energy to get that it isn't worthwhile. Whether markets or other systems are used to produce the oil doesn't really matter in the long run.

It's possible that we'll limit our use of oil, collapse the demand curve, and save the planet. It's also possible that Donald Trump will be a great president. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

370:

"Given that democracy's sole overriding virtue over other forms of government is that it permits peaceful transitions of power instead of revolutions, I'd have to say that Corbyn is a positive step -- the system is rigged against him, but at least there's a clear alternative on offer to the voters."

Food for thought, Charlie: the United States has had astoundingly clear alternatives at the ballot box since 2004, at least, and possibly earlier. (This applies to local elections as well.) Outside places like California, where the GOP has melted down, the result hasn't been good.

Our best-run states are places where the two parties differ little: consider Massachusetts, which gets Danish-style outcomes despite far deeper social problems and adverse national policies. Charlie Baker really isn't terribly different from Deval Patrick; Mitt Romney pioneered how you'd bring the Dutch health care system to America.

The bad outcomes in America (and to a lesser extent, Canada) may be because asymmetric polarization has run in the opposite direction from the one implied by the recent Labour elections. Or it might be because of the baroque complexity of our constitution. (Comparisons to Canada are useful here.)

But it also might be because in an FPTP system, too much party polarization is a general failure mode.

It's important to reject the that last hypothesis before concluding that Corbyn's election is a necessary condition to improve U.K. democracy.

371:

Prices aren't totally inelastic but demand might be insufficiently elastic.

Demand is a function of the economy as a whole and that gets into credit mechanisms, interest rates, and other fundamentally political decisions. Note that "austerity" as a policy response to the crisis of 2008 is a decision not to fix demand. ("demand" = "how much money can be moved to get this done".)

I think a lot of stuff makes much more sense when you recognize that the people making the decisions feel they've won and want that to be permanent.

372:

"2007 is when the human species accidentally invented telepathy (via the fusion of twitter, facebook, and other disclosure-induction social media with always-connected handheld internet devices).

This gets an early nomination for most thought provoking sentence of 2016.

Unfortunately, ever since I read it, "My poor, poor Krell!" keeps running through my mind.

373:

Yes, but I didn't say that they would be used on their own. Both tanks and troops on their own have a big problem with large demonstrations - they can go on the offensive, and slaughter the demonstrators before the latter get their act together - or they can be 'reactive' and risk being swarmed by 10+ times the number of brave-to-the-point-of-stupid lads (in the case of troops armed with pretty well anything). The tanks are used to provide barriers to being rushed, to stop cars and lorries being driven at the troops (whether rigged to explode or not), and places for the troops to retreat behind, and the troops protect the tanks. That's all SOP.

374:

Corbyn
Apparently a very nice man, personable & easy to get on with - very like his brother.
Both as mad as a box of frogs.
Also, it's worth remembering what constituency J Corbyn represents: Islington North, which includes two notorious prisons, Holloway & Pentonville. It's an island of deprivation & semi-deprivation surrounded by much better-off areas - even to the North. He's a very good constituency MP.
But, as leader of the "loyal opposition" & a potential PM?
Forget it.
He's not the right horse for the course.

375:

He's the one volunteering to drag the overton window back to a saner place. Is he sane? Possibly not, that's not a very sane career decision after all, but that doesn't mean he is the wrong person for the job, since, well, the right person for the job has to actually show up.

376:

No, very definitely not SOP to use tanks. Otherwise, why were they never used as such in thirty years of rioting in Northern Ireland?

For riot protection, you can do with a Transit van with a mesh screen that will drop down over the windscreen (see London / UK Police). In Northern Ireland during the Troubles, it was the Humber 1-ton truck (the "Pig") with some thin armour and swing-out screens; these days it's armoured Land Rovers.

If you want to stop trucks and cars, just get a flatbed truck with a small jib crane, such as delivers sand or gravel to a small building project, and said bags of sand or gravel, or some of those concrete blocks used between lanes on the Motorway (or Hesco Bastion, if you've got Engineer stores to hand and want something a bit less mobile). It's the work of minutes to drop them off or pick them up, job done. Mobility and counter mobility support is a job for the Royal Engineers, not the Royal Armoured Corps (the single, one, occasion where a single, one "tank" was used in Northern Ireland was a Centurion AVRE of the Royal Engineers, used to clear barricades for a couple of days in 1972; essentially, a protected bulldozer and used as such)

No sane security force will use a tank in a civil setting, unless they want to destroy their own legitimacy in the battle for public opinion, or unless there really is no alternative. Anything else is better - even a bright yellow bulldozer. And because journalists and the public are so damn awful at recognising military kit, "tanks" is often extended by said security forces to "any tracked vehicle with a turret", otherwise there will be catchy propaganda folk protest songs about "the day the tanks crushed the children" for the next hundred years...

377:

THIS - health warning it's from the Torygraph, but J Corbyn is repeatedly on record as wanting to appease the Argentinian government in the past .....
If true, as appears likely, then it shows a complete disconnect with political reality, at the very least.
Make up your own minds, though!

378:

Yes. However, what I meant was, how many were *used* in combat once they were being hunted from the air? If the Serbs were spending all their efforts in hiding them it makes them worse than useless.

379:

Of course the Torygraph's owners know all about buggering with the governance of obscure islands...

380:
There are consumers who will buy oil at $40 a barrel. There are even some consumers who will buy oil at $1,000 a barrel (for use by ambulances, rich people, etc.).

As has been pointed out on this blog, fuel can be made out of CO₂ (from air or water) and energy (from renewable sources) at a lot less than $1,000 a barrel, so it will never go that high, except maybe as a transient spike while people tool up.

Geopolitical consequences are left as an exercise...

381:

Errr.... No.

By just being in Kosovo, they were doing their job. It meant that any UN or NATO force that attempted a "non-compliant entry" into Kosovo would need to have a strength of 200,000 soldiers or more, with a thousand tanks. No NATO armour to counter your 600 tanks means you can sit back, wait it out, and hold on to your territory.

AIUI, the most likely NATO plan involved most of the TA being mobilised, to back up the UK Armoured Division; not to mention the Germans, French, and Americans doing similar to back up their Armoured Divisions.

The fact that the lead formations were already sitting in Macedonia, ready to roll, was a very credible display of commitment; so when General Jackson went into that tent on the border with the Yugoslav Generals, an agreement was reached for a Yugoslav withdrawal without fighting.

382:

Oh, for heaven's sake! Tiananmen Square was just one of hundreds of such cases. I did NOT say the UK.

In any case, during the entirety of the Troubles, the demonstrations never got as far as an attempt to overthrow the government, the government never treated it as a potential revolution, and didn't even feel the necessity to pass laws as draconian as the Terrorism Act. Whether and at what point a British government would use them, I can't guess, except that it would not be before such lightweight kit as you describe had failed.

383:

I will note that although a bunch of Apaches got bushwhacked by the Republican Guard in Iraq, a bit later -- on March 26th -- they got it right: do a hit-and-run without stopping to hover under the enemy's guns, go in with fighters to provide top cover, and soften up the targets with long-range artillery right before arrival.

Sort of like tanks, come to think of it. If you sent a bunch of tanks with no infantry or air support to attack dug-in defenses with anti-tank weapons you'd expect a mess, wouldn't you?

Because gunships go up against an actual enemy air defense network so rarely it looks to me more like evidence that the US Army didn't bother developing a proper doctrine for using them in the strike role, rather than that they're useless as weapons.

384:

The periscope/vision problem tanks face while buttoned up is, I think, going to be mitigated somewhat by the availability of stupidly cheap off-the-shelf hi-def cameras, including thermal IR cameras. (A trip around your local Apple store may be an eye-opener if you haven't seen this stuff on sale.) Certainly this equipment is dirt-cheap by military procurement standards and I'd be astonished of those armies with budgets, tanks, and reason to want to be able to use those tanks won't be figuring out how to rapidly upgrade them with 20-30 cheap sensors in hard-to-snipe-at places.

But that's more likely a factor for asymmetric fighting/riot control than tank-on-tank. (Has there actually been a tank-on-tank battle of maneuver between more-or-less equivalent forces since Sinai in 1973? ISTR the Iraqi army were less than effective at maneuvering.)

385:

It's also noteworthy that the British FPTP duopoly has fragmented over the past decade -- neither of the two largest parties by turn-out got a share of the vote that exceeded the combined minority parties, and the minority party shares are growing. (We haven't seen a regional faction in Westminster on the scale of the SNP presence since the Irish Home Rule folks in the late 19th century.)

If anything this acts as an amplifier for radicalization in both the main parties -- the winner-take-all nature of FPTP means they can establish a government with only about a 30% overall share of the vote if only they can split the opposition effectively.

386:

Yes. That builds on an earlier breakdown. Until the 1980s, the unwritten agreement was that new governments didn't simply reverse previous changes, and departing ones didn't gratuitously hamstring their successors. According to my (clerkly) sources, there was quite a lot of cross-party cooperation when not on public view, and that changed quite markedly during Thatcher's rule. Major's sabotage of the railway system was a particularly bad, later, example.

387:

"Because gunships go up against an actual enemy air defense network so rarely it looks to me more like evidence that the US Army didn't bother developing a proper doctrine for using them in the strike role, rather than that they're useless as weapons."

Blitzkrieg, would be the proper doctrine.

388:

Off-the-shelf drones to recon, target and pick up the carry-out BigMac/pizza/falafel/curry and conveniently controlled from a mobile fortress/tank?

Serious question:

Is it fear of being hauled before The Hague for using 'biochemical weapons' that is preventing militaries from firing rounds of happy-drugs (instead of metal bullets) that disable but neither maim nor kill people? (I know: tear gas is used worldwide and it harms.)

Or, does military command fear that soldiers armed with happy-drugs would misuse such weapons, i.e., sell to the public, use it themselves, etc.?

Or, is this option completely off limits because authorities/the public fear this is too close to Big Brother/Brave New World 'mind control'?


I'm assuming that someone somewhere must have looked at this rationally at some point, and am interested in the why/why-not analysis and whether that conclusion still makes sense. (Why are the only permissible weapons punitive?)

389:

If you want the answer, look up "therauptic index"

390:

Sorry - "therapeutic index"

391:

Yes, I'm familiar with the therapeutic index ... not everyone will react to a particular substance in the same way, from no effect to death. However, for this to be rational appraisal/choice, we'd need TIs for happy-drug vs. bullets.


My question stands:

Why is it better/more ethical to win a conflict by maiming/killing than by disarming/rendering harmless?


In policing there's already public pressure re: excessive force. At some point such sentiment will spill over to larger scale conflicts. Consider that if a 'no-harm weapon' option is available, then leaders who opt for a maim/kill weapon could be hauled up before The Hague/court-martialed.

392:

not everyone will react to a particular substance in the same way, from no effect to death

No, that's not what a therapeutic index is. More accurately: it's the ratio of ED50 to LD50 -- the difference between the minimum effective dose 50 (the dose that will be minimally effective to 50% of a random sample of peope) andd the LD50 (the dose which will prove lethal to 50% of the subjects).

For an example of why this is important, you might want to read up on the disastrous outcome of the Dubrovka theatre siege. The rescuers pumped an unidentified gaseous incapacitating agent into the theatre. Lack of ventilation and/or insufficiently speedy rescue and rescusitation of the hostages resulted in the deaths of roughly 130 out of 700 hostages.

It's easy to second-guess the Russian special forces rescuers, and I'm inclined to say that they faced an impossible situation -- 40-50 armed suicide attackers who had booby-trapped a complex site, taken up defensive positions, and had hundreds of hostages -- but the point is, I'd expect this to be typical of "happy drugs" on the battlefield: shit happens, someone gets dosed multiple times, and they die because you need to ensure that each hit delivers a dose that will incapacitate a big strong soldier, and if it hits a skinny eight-year-old who weighs a third as much ...

393:

Most of them died because nobody in the security forces were empowered to tell doctors what drug type was used until it was too late for most. I assume that because it was a weaponized fentanyl related drug, naloxone would have saved quite a few.

394:

And/or if the "combined" opposition are determined to fight it out amongst themselves ... as seems to be happening at present, anyway.
My contempt for Corbyn & the SNP is not mitigated by their silly grandstanding & play-acting between them ....

395:

[...]but the point is, I'd expect this to be typical of "happy drugs" on the battlefield: shit happens, someone gets dosed multiple times, and they die because you need to ensure that each hit delivers a dose that will incapacitate a big strong soldier, and if it hits a skinny eight-year-old who weighs a third as much ...

This is precisely why you shouldn't believe claims of the inherent non-lethality of Tasers, or indeed anything. Variation in the population means variation in the effects.

396:

But that's more likely a factor for asymmetric fighting/riot control than tank-on-tank. (Has there actually been

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[[ Original broken HTML fixed - mod ]]

I'm guessing you were going to ask about tank-on-tank combat, and as far as I can recall we don't have a lot of data after WWII for relatively even fights. The Israelis got to mix it up with various cranky neighbors but the Yom Kippur War was in 1973 and may not be terribly relevant to current or near future situations. In the First Gulf War a lot of Iraqi tanks got blown up, demonstrating that large well led forces with high end hardware can defeat smaller badly led forces with obsolete hardware - something nobody really doubted anyway.

Googling turns up an essay for the anniversary of the Battle of Kursk on this subject.

397:

Indeed. I've got a vague memory of Dad mentioning that the reason that the original CN tear gas was binned and replaced by CS, was because it was killing people's pet budgerigars (small brightly coloured birds, used to be a popular pet in the UK) in Northern Ireland...

398:

I'm not suggesting that attack helicopters are useless; just that they don't invalidate the concept of the tank. It all works best when used together, mindful of each system's strengths and weaknesses - it's called combined arms warfare for a reason*

* Not that the British haven't made an arse of it on multiple occasions ;)

399:

Why would anybody voluntarily start an armoured battle with roughly equivalent forces? That's crazy talk.

If you're doing it right, a tank engages its target at long range in the dark relying on its sensor suite. Mk1 eyeballs aren't very useful

400:

That is exactly why they gave up on trying to weaponise things like LSD and long-tailed THC variants - no way to make sure that everyone gets the right dose and not several times as much. Made even more difficult by the need for the stuff to work fast, so it has to be dangerously potent to begin with (and making it work fast enough was another problem).

401:

Actually, LSD would be reasonably safe from a therapeutic index POV. The problem is that while a lot of soldiers would decide to drop their rifles and go home some actually get a lot better at shooting you.
I have done all kinds of bizarre physical things when tripping, and generally I did them better than normal. Martial arts included.

402:

Agreed - finding out what the drugs actually did as opposed to what propaganda said they did was another argument against it, but it was kind of secondary to not being able to deliver them in such a way that they would have had the desired effect even if that desired effect had been something you could reliably expect of the drug anyway.

403:

And/or if the "combined" opposition are determined to fight it out amongst themselves

Greg, they're not a "combined opposition". From the SNP perspective, Westminster is a regional side-show; they're all about Scotland, where Labour is -- or was, until a year ago -- the main opposition party and threat to them. Nicola Sturgeon is a Scottish Prime Minister, not a British one, and her public statements are geared to her own nation's internal politics: from that perspective Jeremy Corbyn is the foreign leader of a rival party, and Kezia Dugdale is the real opposition leader.

The "grandstanding" between the SNP and Labour is no more unexpected than oppositional behaviour between Labour and the Conservatives. I suspect when it comes to processes in Westminster they'll quietly cooperate to oppose Conservative policies they both agree on (i.e. disagree with), but can I remind you that in Scotland many of their main policies are radically incompatible?

404:

Why is it better/more ethical to win a conflict by maiming/killing than by disarming/rendering harmless?

Trite answer but its probably because the intersection between ethics and conflict is small to non-existent.

Event if you replace "ethics" with the "rules of warfare" you end up with a lot randomly defined and enforced rules that barely pay lip service to ethics or morality.

Bullets and larger projectiles are generally used because they are the lowest common denominator which usually quite literally give the biggest bang for the buck.

If we look at the pure monetary costs of say the surge in Iraq its Im willing to bet that the opportunity costs of an effective carrot + stick strategy were never really examined.


Charlie mentioned earlier about the periscope problem going away with the advent cheap connected camera's, however I don't see that happening in the western world where the westernised military/industrial complex holds sway.
What will be interesting in the next few year/decades is that if a socio-economic system arises that is able to delivery high function/ high technology military hardware that is "good enough" without the baggage of westernised economic military funding practises.

Instead of a container of brimstone's lets imagine a container of swarming autonomous anti-air drones that can be ordered by Da'esh off of a darknet version of AliBaba....

405:

Biology called, with a reminder: squishy meatsacks exhibit an unpredictable and extraordinary range of variability when exposed to stimuli, and while we can reasonably predict that they will go "squish" if you shoot them or drop a thousand pound bomb on them, anything less excessive is going to result in a random statistical distribution of effects, some of which may be very undesirable indeed. (See also "glass jaw" as well as those guys who get shot repeatedly and still go on fighting.)

406:

Yes, I agree. Are we getting an internet communication failure here?

407:

"Charlie mentioned earlier about the periscope problem going away with the advent cheap connected camera's, however I don't see that happening in the western world where the westernised military/industrial complex holds sway."

Oh, it already has happened, sort of. First Gulf War, and the switching off of selective availability on GPS so they could use cheap civilian GPS receivers because they couldn't get enough military ones.

(Note: SA was getting past its sell-by date anyway, as processors became fast enough to track the phase of the carrier directly instead of having to track the code, but that's more to do with why they didn't switch it back on again.)

408:

A note from the US for Brits wondering how crazy things are getting over here:

I first give you Trump's latest widely reported sound bite, from one of his campaign speeches: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters, okay? It's like, incredible." This bon mot was delivered at an event in Iowa, by some reports at a Christian college, and it may tell you something about the quality of those Christians that he wasn't booed off-stage.

Meanwhile, there is a rising tide of news stories about the Republican party establishment, such as it is, lining up behind Trump. What are they thinking? Well, here's one of them in the New York Times late last week: "You can coach Donald. If he got nominated, he'd be scared to death. That's when he'd call people in the party and say, 'I just want to talk to you.'"

Some background on this: conventional wisdom among that crowd had been that the party needed to do something to appeal to Latino voters to continue to be viable in national elections. Trump, by contrast, began his campaign by calling for an immigration clampdown and a wall on the Mexican border. He's since personally attacked establishment icons (including a spectacularly scurrilous attack on Senator John McCain), made any number of other statements and attacks that establishment figures would warn against, and wound up with voters loyal enough that, quoth the man himself, "he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue..." In short, he's gotten as far as he has by ignoring everything the party elders have to say. If he gets the nomination by ignoring the elders, and they expect him to suddenly be quailing in fear and in need of their advice afterwards... well, comparisons to Hitler are questionable, but comparisons to Hindenburg and von Papen are not.

(By the way, in case anyone's wondering, the only Republican candidate who's still polling high enough to challenge The Donald is Senator Ted Cruz, who the GOP elders view as even crazier than Trump. I'm not sure they're wrong.)

Oh, one last thing on those comparisons to Hitler. There is an active neo-Nazi/"white nationalist" community in the United States, and Trump has been their guy since he entered the race. Trump himself is clearly not bothered by this. In fact, his personal twitter account -- and apparently, it's really him, not the social media intern -- has retweeted them a couple of times. Once is an accident, twice is coincidence. We're waiting on number three...

409:

See post #328.

"Unbelievable", "embarrassing" even "dangerous" are some of the words the financial elite gathered at the World Economic Forum conference in the Swiss resort of Davos have been using to describe U.S. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Among the present and former government officials in the Swiss resort was Eric Cantor, former Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, now vice-chairman of Moelis & Co, an investment bank. Like much of the Republican party's establishment, he had cold words for Trump.

"He's not serious. He's amazing at promoting his personal brand and reflecting an underlying anger at home," Cantor said.

"Trump Fever is an unsustainable phenomenon that will not translate into a victory for the candidate."

Davos elite alarmed at prospect of nominee Trump Reuters, 21st Jan 2016

Smart bears will note who Cantor is, and who he's friendly with (initials: BN), and why he's the one doing the sound-bite.

~

Also see post #13 - Kushner is Jewish, New Jersey born and made. (Insert Sopranos joke here; but also see his history. *cough*).

Trump isn't powerful enough to play in the pond that the Davos people do, he's still nationally based (if we ignore sojourns into Scotland).

~

Bloomberg has started to twitch, potentially splitting the Dem nominations:

Bloomberg, Sensing an Opening, Revisits a Potential White House Run NYT 23rd Jan 2016

How much you can chalk that up to the quagmire between Bernie and Hilary and how much it's a response to Davos, I'll leave in the air for now. (But, 20th Jan vrs the news, ho-hum, naughty little witch).

~

And, you're wrong: Trump just upped the anti again:

In the last few months, before Trump takes the stage an announcement is read telling Trump's supporters to "not harm a protester" but instead to chant "Trump, Trump, Trump," as an alert to security that a protester has been spotted. The crowd roared Sunday after the protester was escorted out and shouted "USA, USA, USA."

Trump Calls Out Protester Wearing a Turban: 'He Wasn't Wearing One of Those Hats, Was He?' ABC 24th Jan 2016

~

And the NYT starts a new tack, which is to claim Trump is the anti-Obama (anti-Christ meme, puke):

Here’s the gist. Open-seat presidential elections are shaped by perceptions of the style and personality of the outgoing incumbent. Voters rarely seek the replica of what they have. They almost always seek the remedy, the candidate who has the personal qualities the public finds lacking in the departing executive.

The Obama Theory of Trump NYT 25th Jan 2016

~

For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

~


TL;DR

Walking into the racism angle is all kinds of dumb; it's a blind alley that denotes you probably don't know who is playing.

What's being done is catharsis: the problem is that the people running it have no idea what Lions, Tigers and Bears are shaking off the aeon behind them. Seriously - go look up the picture linked over Palin, post #234 (JOIN OR DIE = ADAPT OR DIE. You might have spotted that one. Or not. But I did mention it. Casting back, find the video from Ultima VII: Serpent Isles if you're feeling a need to have your ground shaken). Snakes, yo! Tie into Millennials = Snake People (‘Snake People’ Invade the Internet WSJ Aug 2015) and you've some idea of the levels being tinkered with.

*nose wiggle*


Because, you know: Hope and Change.

410:

Oh, and before you jump that gun.

Snakes are actually quite a common positive symbol. Extensively used in the initial American revolution (and still used by libertarian types) and even by our boy in Cana. (John - 3:14-15; Proverbs 30:18 if you want a rude joke).

~

Of course, it's all a bit older than that (picture:
source, non-hippy)

411:

" lets imagine a container of swarming autonomous anti-air drones that can be ordered by Da'esh off of a darknet version of AliBaba...."

Oh yes please. Let them waste their money and effort in buying and trying to use stupid stuff like "anti-air drones". The Big Dog people could sell them some Big Camels to replace their Toyota Hi-lux trucks and I'm sure there's a lot more Dumb Ideas in the back of other mil-tech company cupboards they could be lumbered with. Solar panels too since they're in the desert and never need electricity at night and...

What is the effective range of one of these mythical "anti-air" drones? A hundred metres? Five hundred metres? A kilometre? Remember that an F-16 carrying cheap Hellfire missiles can engage targets from 8km away, the Brimstone II ground-attack missile so beloved of some British ammosexuals has a range of over 50 kilometres from pylon to target. How big is the radio system needed to deploy these swarming anti-air drones, what sort of effective command structure is there to determine the targets to be attacked and ensure they are engaged? Who's going to transport these containers, where will they get the trained engineers to maintain them, suitable fuel, batteries, power etc. etc.?

ObSF: "Superiority" by Arthur C. Clarke. See also the long-overlooked but prescient "The Wizards of Pungs Corners" by Fred Pohl.

412:

Tu quoque (!)
From the p.o.v. of someone living in London (or for that matter ANYWHERE outside Scotland) err ... they are the "combined opposition"
*cough*
It's still pathetic, though, however one wants to look at it

414:

Ah, so some people WANT to be nannied & bullied do they?
What a surprise that wasn't.
See also Martin's comments, somewhere about "Nationalists" as opposed to internationalists, that is.

415:

Oh Greg... Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) Eurythmics, YouTube: Music: 3:34

But yes, of course there are. Given your proclaimed biases, about three billion at last count.

~

Hmm. Disappointed. Was hoping for some serious come-back on #409 by [redacted].

Oh well.

Trying to find out the culture that replaced one canine tooth with a stone replacement outside of K.S. Robinson's The Martian Trilogy and Mayan gem placement. Even the fairly exhaustive Dental Modification: an anthropological perspective PDF hasn't been much help.

I'm sure that casing with coral-colored stone was common at one point though. Memory's fading.

416:

Just googling around that topic was very amusing. Thanks for bringing up subjects that would never even occur to me as "serious things" to contemplate. Is there a deep seated reason for Romans to dislike tooth replacement as display or do they just want to distance themselves from Etruscans? Are they clamping down on female freedom of expression or are they just dourly frugal? Not sure if the answers would be profound or simply fun, but it would make a kick ass research proposal, as long as you actually like looking at teeth all day.

417:

Since time became time, hunters have ripped out the canine teeth of predators and worn them as amulets as a signifier of prowess (Bears are unique - c.f. recent film, The Revenant, always their paws / claws - which is bizarre, bear have fuck off canines).

Then we switch to Totalitarian regimes, and ripping teeth from skulls - it's a common form of debasement, from fiction (1984) to China to America to Russia. You all do it. Be it from direct physical force to more subtle ways (denial of healthcare).

~

One of our mortal coils had her left side canine and two surrounding teeth (upper) destroyed for being here. Like acid in the face, it was designed to destroy her self image and "make her ugly".


~

It's part and parcel of a play-book that's childish but efficient. Who can love themselves when their body has been eroded / destroyed / marked in anger?


So no. The Stone was a reference. Like many of my references I doubt you'll understand it.

Canine capped in Stone

418:

And yes.

The perfect smile of false teeth that denotes wealth in America. All capped and white and cleaved to an fascist aesthetic, all orderly and abhuman.

You buy into that, you buy into fascism.

It's those little things that allow you to torture the Other more easily, and the people who pushed the fashion know it.

Remember, children, only bad people are
imperfect
.

~

Ghost of Cain NMA - youtube: music: 3:57

419:

Except I was talking about people doing this to themselves to look pretty or whatever image they wished to project and as far as I can tell, that's all you mentioned as well. Taking pieces of your victims or sacred prey, I totally get that. Not that I am into either practice.

If you had ever seen my teeth, you would know I am really not on board with aesthetics as a basis for political legitimacy. Even my therapeutic orthodontdoxy failed to conform to specifications. I am inherently adverse to that sort of conditioning, apparently. Plus as one of the semi-unwashed, I got bargain basement health care a lot of the time. I am an Ascian and I have the childhood malnutrition and concurrent long term deficits to prove it. The perfectly be-toothed signal "pathetic but still possibly dangerous nonentity," not "leader" or "cool" to me. I realize I have been badly socialized by most standards.

Yes. I don't immediately get your reference. I hazard you sometimes don't get mine. As others have pointed out, this is an inefficient and perilous form of communication. But we seem to be prone to it. A quick google refers to "5 ways my dog used his Cone of Shame as a Tool." I will take that as your suggestion on this occasion.

Gosh, you cannot think I am ignorant enough not to know the derivation of "aristocracy;" so just baiting me as usual. Whatever. I was sincere in saying I had fun with a topic you brought to my attention. So thanks again.

420:

Like many of my references I doubt you'll understand it.
Then, why do you do it?
This blog & the discussions in it are a COMMUNICATION channel, not an obfuscation or mysticism one, yes?
Please, don't relapse into twaddle?

421:

Refer to the Political Compass. The SNP is the about as close as you can get to a mainstream Centrist party. Given Labour and the Conservatives are both severely right wing authoritarian, I'd expect the SNP equivalent in England to do fairly well - Plaid Cymru and the SDLP both won their equivalent regional seats. England might be naturally conservative, but the Lib Dems took a large share of the Not Tory vote prior to imploding, and the Greens have always taken a good share of the vote, if not seats.

422:


Given Labour and the Conservatives are both severely right wing authoritarian

Errr ... NO
The Conservatives are certainly going further to the right & some of them are authoritarian, though not yet as bad as under you-know-who, from Grantham.
Certainly under Corbyn, Labour are of the loonie left, not of the right, whilst under Blair, anything was possible - I'm no longer sure if they had any leanings to either left or right, in later years ... "Power for Blair" & "grovel to the US" seemed to be the only guiding lights.
My local Labour MP is assuredly neither right-wing nor really left-wing nor authoritarian.
It's a great shame that the Lem-o-Crats tax policies are almost as potty as Labour's, or they'd be electable - the only sane candidate for London mayor (100 or 99 days time from today) is the lemocrat, Caroline Pidgeon, f'rinstance.

423:

Meantime, if you really want a right-wing authoritarian government, try this freedom-loving & peaceful European state
Disgraceful & shameful, I call it ....

424:

That's already SOP in Germany. I think the amount the refugees are allowed to keep is even lower.

425:

No, I'm doing something else, it's not personal.

Principles of smile design Journal of Conservative Dentistry, full text. (Yes, that exists).

Dentists sometimes tell their patients that having a veneer fitted is as simple as sticking on a false nail. Don't believe it. "They take one to two millimetres off the face of the tooth," Dean says. "That's an irreversible procedure. Then you get a cycle of replacement." Each veneer lasts up to eight years. "Then you have to drill a bit deeper. Generally you get two cycles, then you're into crowns. Twenty per cent of crowns result in the teeth underneath them dying. So if you're having 10 veneers done, the likelihood is at least one of your teeth, possibly two, will die. And patients don't get told that."

British teeth: something to smile about at last? Guardian, May 2014

~

Reaching for something very old, to be used as a mirror.

426:

Uff. Horse to water.

4chan (purged) finally discovers what's going on:

Kek / Kuk and Frog Memes 4chan 24th Jan 2016 (Imgur Mirror, safe).

Image itself is a crop, pruned and crafted itself (recursive, ho!)

We might have mentioned this a while back.

~

The Ride Never Ends

427:

No worse than the govt here stopping all benefits etc until your savings drop below a certain level.
Are you arguing principle, or level of wealth?

428:

How does Kuk fit with the derogatory forced-meme "cuckservative"? Reptiles fighting among themselves over the ikon?

429:

Ahh, there's the [redacted]?

Four strands to start you off, let's see which color you're made of - language set to plain, minimal inference, knowledge level mid-teen:

#1 The unremitting war on Hats, be they White / Grey / Black (A. Swartz, Weeve[1], LuLzSec etc) by the USG / TPTB, using the full powers of State and pulling no punches.

Weeve (say it three times) likes to claim progenitor status to the meme (doubtful), but he's certainly involved. To get a handle on that little story, you probably should watch American History X, life imitating art and all that.

#2 The Colonial / Slavery fetish for BBC and the psycho-sexual roots to it. (No, not the news channel, if you go searching, expect NSFW material). While this has been noted in most Western colonial cultures (e.g. Iain Banks, Transition), it's particularly strong in the USA.

The people using the forced-meme (the Real Deal [tm], not the Peanut Gallery) are probably beyond its effect, but know the impact it can have. Some will claim it's merely using the poison of the Minds against them, but there's obviously an element of 'purging the unclean' from within one's own Heresy.

#3 'Fringe' Media / Outsider Status / American Right-wing politics / Christianity, as Host's OP. For example, B. Garrison The Trump Trainers; if you know your stuff, you'll know that the cuckservative lot delight in re-imagining his cartoons as blatantly pro-Nazi. Unpacking that will give you a bit of insight, or should.

#4 The really wild bunch, for whom messing around with this ancient stuff is their primary nature (c.f. comments on Obelisk of Theodosius in earlier thread). But you'll need your own key for that door, or reply with the right framework.

431:

Oh well.


~


Balls, the males don't have them anymore.


MEDIOCRE.

432:

the only Republican candidate who's still polling high enough to challenge The Donald is Senator Ted Cruz, who the GOP elders view as even crazier than Trump. I'm not sure they're wrong.

I would say they are entirely right. I am pretty sure most of Trump's crazy is an act; he consciously models his public persona on Alec Baldwin's portrayal of the "Type A to 11" salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross. Whereas Cruz really believes all this Revelation horseshit.

433:

What you really mean is: I am pretty sure most of Trump's crazy is an act ... I HOPE.
Um.

434:

I heard an interview with a few bikers deeply into Trump, and (though it might trigger the Godwin Alarms) I'm afraid I thought of the S.A.: deeply disaffected men who've found someone they're sure won't 'screw them like all the others' and who enjoy a bit of violence if they have the numbers. "The Iron Dream"'s Knights of Bushido, anyone?

435:

The sad part is that they're both acting crazy: Remember that Cruz went to Harvard Law School and clerked at the Supreme Court.

The even sadder part is that, if either of them gets elected, their base will hold their feet to the fire to try to get them to enact Teh Crazy. Look at what happened to Speaker Boehner. I suspect that the huge mistake they're both making is in thinking that they can use this force without ending up getting used by it.

It's worth remembering two things. One is that Imperial Japan went down this route, starting in the 1920s, and by the 1930s, the leaders were too afraid of being assassinated by their underlings to resist the hard line. The other is that most of the wingnuts with guns in the US are on the far right fringe, not on the far left. Hillary and Bernie can afford to use and then blow off their extremist supporters (as democrats have for decades). It's not so clear that Republicans can do this any more and survive.

436:

I know a not particularly radical leftist who nonetheless has unsisted that liberals should arm ourselves, both to put a countervailing fear in play and, more fundamentally, to gain respect from other Americans.

I counter that employing the method of the opponent were both a form of loss in itself and liable to be done much less well than by them...and point to the deadly force used on armed leftists in our country to an extent unknown by the Klan, the Minutemen, and (see below) the Posse Comitatus and the current rebels. Yes, there have been well-publicised shoot-outs and other actions with the paramilitaries of the Right, but they were usually associated with egregious crimes by individual members, not matters of standard operating procedure against all members. (E.g., Fred Hampton was not shot immediately after robbing a bank.)

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on January 17, 2016 1:17 PM.

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Propaganda