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The Trump-Russia File [updated]

A weird story that will probably continue to simmer for the remaining months of the 2106 2016 Presidential election:  what are Donald J Trump's ties to Russian interests?  How can the purported ties be established in fact? Is there any record that can be examined?  Would Trump tax returns show something hinky or surprising in this regard? The biggest headline is that experts named and un-named have found the fingerprints of the Russian state on the Wikileaked DNC emails.  That the supposedly "Romanian" 'Guccifer' was a Russian FSB agent. That is no surprise. What is surprising is how common-sense rational inquiry flies out the window, and how unusual are Mr Trump's policies in contrast to the bipartisan stance that views Russia as a non-democracy opposed to Western values.   The Russian "Connection" with Trump takes three main forms: Russian Investment in Trump's real-estate ventures (rumoured and real) Russian Interests represented by Ash Carter Carter Page, a close Trump advisor on foreign policy/Paul Manafort's oligarchy-lobbying in DC USA/Russian policy changes under a Trump promise (ie, most significantly on NATO). A few things stick out in my mind: the very specific way Mr Trump denied he has investments in Russia (without the corollary "I have no Russian-money investment in any of my projects and plans")**;  the actual NATO/Russia policy changes Mr Trump has promised to put in action.  The common-sense understanding that this is a weakness for the Trump campaign, not a winner.  A slow drip kind of weakness. A funny side-issue is Mr Trump's nomination for a Pulitzer Prize to the National Enquirer. Put that worthy news magazine's attention on Ted Cruz's father's involvement in the JFK assassination in perspective.  Today, multiple lines of evidence suggest a corruption in the Trump machine, a back-door 'understanding' with the Russian point of view.   It's the stuff of tabloids, and yet it could shake out true.  If the roles were reversed (a Russian 'nod' to a Democratic candidate, etc), the drips would be Front Page News. That a  Democrat refused to clear up the record by releasing tax returns would be scandalous, if not proof of the corruption of/meddling in American democracy by foreign interests. [a CBS4 News 'exclusive' may not appear in all browsers. Here is the link to the breaking interview with Mr Trump:  CBS4 News Exclusive: Trump Denies Ties To Russia
July 27, 2016 1:09 AM By Jim DeFede ] ____________   ** '“Is that the theory? I haven’t heard that at all,” Trump told the Miami station. “I mean I haven’t heard that. But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” Trump went on to say he has no outstanding loans with Russian banks or Russian investors. “Absolutely not,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”' I predict this issue will hang and hang and drip and drip and become a millstone about  The Candidate's Neck.   His suggestion today that the FSB continue to probe US computer networks is not the kind of thing we have heard before in an election campaign.  I will of course revisit my prediction in the months to come.  I smell smoke.  Is Trump a Russian Stooge?

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

"The Truth About Alex Jones, Infowars, & The Trump Family"

David Seaman has had a fair bit of promotion on Objectivist Living, not that there's anything wrong with that. Here is his latest, from which you can glean a coherent narrative of his work. Seaman had a recent appearance with the dean of American 'truther' media, Alex Jones, in a short and sweet update on the dread communication platform Twitter. Truth, Truther, Truthest!  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Mann v Ball

"Have been knows" uses the passive voice and has no subject. Be that as it may, I think the lawsuit's progress is poorly reported by John O'Sullivan. There are a lot of claims made in his article at Principia (which Merlin noted was reproduced elsewhere, though not in mainstream news media). There are a lot of claims made, but some or all may prove not be true. An Objectivist approach ...?  Maybe examine the 'sides' ... and maybe examine the herald. It should be remembered that O'Sullivan is the key-holder to Principia, that he is lead author of the book "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory" ... and that he shares with Sky Dragon co-author Tim Ball (whom Mann is suing) a firm belief that there is no Tydall-gas effect (or "Greenhouse Gas Effect"). In other words, CO2 does not contribute to warming.  In other words, the GHE is fake, false. Yeah, that is the tribune, John O'Sullivan. As for O'Sullivan's ability to 'read' the progress of the lawsuit, I am skeptical. He has been wrong before.  I wonder why O'Sullivan does not quote from any actual action in BC Supreme Court ... as someone noted in the comments below  O'Sullivan's July 4 article:  On his Facebook page, Mann has posted a retort from his lawyer categorically denying any duty to produce model data for discovery. Can you substantiate the main premise of this article? Do you have the order from the judge demanding the production of the data from Mann? Interested readers can integrate Mann's lawyer's response to O'Sullivan's earlier storytelling (from February, available at Principia here) with some fresh storytelling from O'Sullivan published two days ago  -- alongside Mann's lawyer's most recent response. I also note that Tim Ball is being sued for defamation by another person ... Andrew Weaver, whose Green party holds the balance of power in our provincial legislature ... ****************************** Not on the same topic, but my province is now under a state of emergency due to a spectacular genesis of new wildfires. My second sister and my step-dad sold their property before joining us in our new home in Chilliwack in April. Their former property is in one of the rural evacuation zones and may be destroyed. No deaths reported, but much dislocation and fears of destruction.   -- for Peter, who is annoyed by weather porn:

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

I didn't know that Canada has a larger GDP than ...

... Russia, according to a set of figures taken from the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Output stats: Country/Economy GDP Nominal (billions of $) GDP PPP (billions of Int. $) PPP/Nom 2016 share Rank 2020 Rank 2016 share Rank 2020 Rank United States 18,561.934 24.7 1 21,927 1 18,561.934 15.6 2 21,927 2 1.000 China 11,391.619 15.1 2 16,458 2 21,269.017 17.9 1 29,348 1 1.867 Japan 4,730.300 6.29 3 5,506 3 4,931.877 4.14 4 5,483 4 1.043 Germany 3,494.898 4.65 4 4,008 4 3,979.083 3.34 5 4,583 5 1.139 United Kingdom 2,649.893 3.52 5 2,928 6 2,787.741 2.34 9 3,244 9 1.052 France 2,488.284 3.31 6 2,851 7 2,736.717 2.30 10 3,185 10 1.100 India 2,250.987 2.99 7 3,297 5 8,720.514 7.32 3 12,842 3 3.874 Italy 1,852.499 2.46 8 2,046 9 2,220.580 1.86 12 2,518 12 1.199 Brazil 1,769.601 2.35 9 2,214 8 3,134.892 2.63 7 3,631 8 1.772 Canada 1,532.343 2.04 10 1,856 10 1,674.313 1.41 16 1,973 17 1.093 Korea 1,404.383 1.87 11 1,747 11 1,928.621 1.62 13 2,373 13 1.373 Russia 1,267.754 1.69 12 1,698 12 3,745.084 3.14 6 4,309 6 2.954 Australia 1,256.640 1.67 13 1,574 13 1,188.764 0.998 19 1,454 20 0.946  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Ihmisen lentävä ja lumilautailu kone

I first saw the headline from a New York magazine story and imagined a cutting-edge Finnish  'Backcountry Rescue Drone' ... but it is more of a showy stunt and a Samsung commercial and elaboration of concept.  Oversized drone capable of hauling a snowboarder. Ho hum.    

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Arrivals, Departures, Respect

[--  this was originally slated for publishing on November 8th, and dates back to August. The boring laments about those departed to the lake are kind of embarrassing. But hey, it helped clarify my thinking when I wrote it, and invites correction  of its assumptions. I add the picture of Lake Wateree in South Carolina to take your eye off my errors --] Of the several issues on which he differed from Trump or for which he chastised Trump, Pence has fallen into line -- as reported widely today So, that policy clash is papered over.  The anti-Trumpers in the Republican fold, those who would ordinarily vote Republican but cannot yet support Trump, what happens to them now that they are 'out of the way'?  If you mean doomed efforts to forestall the inevitable coronation in Cleveland, I think that doom was expected no matter the VP choice. If you mean that the selection of a Republican conservative like Pence solves the problem of "NeverTrump" beyond the convention, I understand that perception.  I would say that Pence is a 'safe' choice in ways that Gingrich or Christie would not be. No baggage of the same weight as on those two already larger men. A strict Ryan-like conservative in the House. Socially conservative and proudly Christian before all. Able to take direction from The Boss.  A VP is always available, as stand-in for the Head of State duties of the USA, but otherwise has no Cabinet portfolio. It is in the interests of constitutional order that the VP 'shadows' the work of the executive, receives corollary briefings and homework to understand the tasks ahead in an administration, and also to understand the workings of the executive office, should a presidency be cut short. Politically, the executive can use the deputy as needed, to tour, speechify, meet the press, be 'ambassador' and ribbon-cutter and funeral-attender -- but the Decider need not have any warm or useful personal relationship with the second-in-line -- a VP may not even be consulted, merely instructed, and nothing says that he or she has to be listened to or accorded any gravity or power-space. I think the spare ambit of the job of leader-in-waiting requires doing the job as symbolic state function: per protocol and as the boss tells you to, within the margins the boss sets, with leash adjusted from time to time, in private.  I think the key to a Pence role in a Trump administration is the relationship. And I have no idea what relationship will form by January.  Will Pence and Trump speak daily going forward?  Will Pence be a kind of stenographer and secretary (the good kind) and translator? Coach, sounding board, 'wise counsel' during final decision-making. Will he write his own scripts for speeches?   These are all kind of pre-election queries.  My gumption is that Trump will treat the governor as an apprentice, let him close enough to see how the magic is accomplished, and otherwise test him with small jobs and tasks. On the stump, he has a buddy, or a relay-racer now. The message co-ordination will be easier with a professional politician and former radio host like Pence. He very ably can wield talking points. The only drawback for Pence in the pre-election period (and entertaining Michael's faith in Trump triumph in November) is he is going to be perceived as the one other guy holding the bag.  If Mr Trump gives unsatisfactory answers to the hoopla of the day, you know that Pence will be hunted for quotes, reactions, especially on the moralistic questions and on the entitlements questions. If Trump feeds hoopla by another 'outrageous' remark or policy, Pence will have to square the circle. He may be very good at that.   Ultimately the choice to exploit Pence strengths and firm up 'the base' could mean that Donald Trump  will say less about those issues where Pence is on record against Trump policies, ie, Muslim Ban, Curiel hoopla, Trade ... all of this contingent on the judgement of the Trump family that he can perform all the Bush, Quayle, Cheney, Biden, Gore chores.   I am bothered a bit that Stephen will not be adding to election observations until the long ordeal is over.   As long as Objectivist Living is committed to the Trump campaign, and as long as the chief promoter for Trump is the list owner, and as long as the Principle of Charity is abandoned, discussion can be strangled at birth or otherwise stifled. I will urge Stephen, with a barrage of backstage laments and special pleading, that he be and feel as free and confident to post his opinions as I do.  I am a  long way from our Fearless Leader politically, and have in the Trump thread some unpleasantly personal exchanges to look back on, but I say f#ck. So f#cking what.  Giving up a voice here is  giving up a voice.   It makes me think something corrosive is flowing, where it is only disagreement finding a level.  I always figured Objectivist and Objective-ish people (small or big O) had a leg up on folks without any Randian influence -- and a good framework for wrassling with differing opinions and observations. O'vishes can always appeal to big-R operations of reason, to protracted intellectual effort at inquiry , to mutual benefit by reality-testing hypothesis and suppositions, to blowing out superstitions and unreliable beliefs, to help each other clean the machinery of thought to make it more valid and convincingly 'correctible' in the Randian sense.  Ultimately a Trump win will be explainable here by non-Trump voters, and a Trump loss will also be explainable by his fans and supporters. It would be shitty if only one 'side' group was left around here for the gnashing and wailing.

william.scherk

william.scherk

Why did Donald Trump lose the 2016 election?

This is no longer a placeholder.  Some 'on the record' wild guesses are already out -- notably our Bob Kolker -- so  I too am going to publish a prediction/analysis, knowing full well I might be picking through bird bones on November 9.  I think Donald Trump will lose the election on November 8th. I have some definite reasons why. I thought to post the reasons here, even if I am shown to be gawdawfully wrong later on. How 'off' will my analytic take be? Only time will tell.  Reason? Reasons? Donald Trump lost because of the Republican Lady Vote, ultimately. He could have rallied a few more Latinos and African-Americans and other visible minorities to his base within his party's grasp, but that wouldn't have mattered as much as a seizing and a hold on Educated Lady votes. That is the main reason he lost, looking back at me from the crystal ball. Ladies. By state, he didn't capture the ladies of the Philadelphia suburbs, which cost him. He failed to capture the urban-suburban college-educated lady vote in Ohio and lost more crucial electoral votes.  He failed to capture the conservative educated ladies in Florida in enough numbers to beat Romney's showing in 2012  He failed with the ladies of Utah.  He failed with the ladies of North Carolina. He didn't get the crucial lady vote in states he needed. There may be nuance, and other subsidiary reasons rooted in Mr Trump's behaviour and the challenges every Republican faces in terms of hostile and adversarial media.  There may be ground-game reasons, money reasons, biases galore, party mutiny and backstabbiness, ghost-voting, sinister plots and precinct rigginess beyond the pale, but when the totals were officially-certified in places Trump had to dominate to be the Winner, he fell short with the ladies ...   -- with my Red Hat on, my reasons all turn on treason, or behaviour just-shy-of treasonous, by a panoply of bought and paid for agents against democracy.  Not with a centre anywhere in particular, no grand plot, just a functional-structural bias on every dimension against Mr Trump. In the whole landscape of media small and large and fringe and newsworthy in themselves, it was ultimately Bannon and Trump against the world's sleaziest big-audience manipulators.  That built-in structural disadvantage was key. Allied structural impediments were important but secondary and amplified by his own party's elite class, whether in the party itself or in positions of prominence and power in Wall Street and Washington.   That covers treasonous, bought, biased and elite party elders and candidates. Where were they when he needed them? Those factors 'conspired' in a sense to depress turnout among previously likely voters.  The ticket-splitters and the stay-homers of the GOP great coalition of voters gave Hillary Clinton an extra advantage that was totally undeserved, a side-effect of elite 'treason' against the candidate. Finally, with Red Hat still firmly on, Trump lost because of loathing, not rational fear, not reason.  The supine media and the fractured, corrupt party, and the 'got' functionaries of Clinton Inc put a false mark upon him and triggered an hysterical emotional reaction. They stoked phobia, hatred and division, and blamed Trump.They stoked loathing of the man and excused their complicity in feeding the hate.

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Diamonds in the rough [was Test Bed]

[NB -- this was originally an unpublished draft, but was viewable by the Administrator, who rightfully thought it was a normal entry in the blog. I publish it now since it contains some interesting and challenging feedback on my opinions. The draft was taken from the Rigging thread.] Overkill.  Gotcha. Gazillions!  Maybe, as you say. Maybe not. I hope that reports and suspicions of irregularities and vulnerabilities are taken seriously by any American concerned about the integrity of the election system.  I hope folks use their noggins to separate out the schmutz from the real beef. I hope they investigate and report. Fake Gotcha William. Oh, we know him well, don't we? He is so fecking thirsty for that gotcha, innit?   But anyway, what you refer to as overkill is due to the preceding fact, right? Overkill for me meaning spelling out the specifics I am concerned about, and the difficult work involved in separating fear, fact and fiction on the subject of this thread's topic.  Now, the overkill-maybe-fact. The fact maybe that I sense gazillions of Milkshake Ladies coming forward. How are you approaching discussion here, Michael? Are we not more-or-less trusted by the other, in the same rational-thinking, reasoning League?  Sometimes, when you seize a statement and subject it to the label-gun, I think of the larger content passed by.  My sunny heart tells me that you may be archly dismissive of the truncquoat, but we are otherwise shoulder to shoulder in our pursuit of Reality, and that you generally agree with the broad strokes and summary of my argument. That at any rate, is one impression I take away, or a hope, one might say.  You can indeed explain it otherwise. Please read my commentary again, with a touch more Charity perhaps. Try to see through that beyond the black labels of Gotcha Thirst and Overkill.   We are on the same cognitive team over-all, even if we differ in our assessments of GOP candidate vulnerabilities. I expect you be stumping one hundred percent of the time, while in that role on the hustings. But not always.  Sometimes you will disagree with Trump campaign actions and statements and focus.  Even if we don't hear about it. Anyhow, perhaps we can re-orient the discussion to our shared concern: the reality, the danger, the perceived-reality of serious problems in the integrity of the election November 8th.  I had my fun with anecdotal Angry Milkshake Ladies. We have set the stage for further discussion.   So, setting aside that which presumably unites us in reason, and overlooking the Label-Gun, I will go back to the "Riggy" Business: what are your main fears, if any?  Where is the most damage likely to occur? How can this looming possibility of vote-rigging be averted?  What should be the focus of attempts to prevent attacks on the integrity of your elections? In the Hoopla of the big media and all the subsidiary media, there are some good hard-nosed discussions going on about the probabilities of 'rigging.' There is a to-and-fro, point-counterpoint to such discussions. They cannot be decided in the sense of a capitulation; there are differences of informed opinion.   One current of discussion gets stuck on asking what Mr Trump is doing on the practical level, and what he is doing on the rhetorical level. So far, I see nothing from the campaign itself trying to sell the Riggy Blob.  It's just vague alarm and ghost-storiy agit-prop so far. I expect this to get more pointed and less rhetorical over time. If you take off your Trump Red Hat for a bit, Michael, and see where you share common ground. I have no intentions of going to The Lake to join Steve, Robert, Stephen, Roger, Peter and Jerry and the other vacationers, but I do understand a tired reluctance to get into it with you that might have played a part in the departures.  If it ever were down to only one Dissenter on Trump subjects, would  label-gunning arguments be useful? Forgive all that. Disagreements are where diamonds are made. Here's my main question informed by the Riggyness:   will Mr Trump denounce the November results if they do not favour him? What makes this a vexing question is that if you accept that the election is likely to be stolen -- then there is no real point to voting. It is this kind of exhaustion of hope that I find is the biggest danger of all.  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Convention report card -- Cleveland 2016

A well-timed leak of the Trump remarks as prepared has sloshed its way into the hoopla machinery. One such transcript is here, at Politico. Over at Reason, the reasonable Matt Welch points out a few disquieting tones of authoritarianism.  I have been watching Trump speeches since the primaries, since I ate crow about Bush.  I will watch and re-watch this one tonight, as it is probably the most important speech by the candidate to date, and will probably garner the biggest TV audience of his run so far.  My opinions on the success of the Cleveland conflab are scattered and mixed.  I do think the Trump campaign fumbled Melania's speech, and fumbled Cruz's speech. Three days of fumbles and off-message incoherence bordering on chaotic mismagnagment, and the obvious dis-unity of the Republican party going forward to November.  It is funny to see the Trump-side spin and fumbles. Shouldn't they be better at this?   Anyhow, hope everybody will open their minds and listen to The Speech.

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Edit test

It's a deal. Browser not supported. Visit <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.270towin.com/" href="http://www.270towin.com/">www.270towin.com</a> I figure more actual exposure for the Libertarian candidate (hey Guv, do some more townhalls) and more actual interviews with challenging reporters will add to the slight bit by bit uptick in his general election polling over the past month. All things considered, I figure he is very close to the strike zone -- for a third-party podium at the three presidential candidate debates. Is everything he says red-nosed and shambling and comic? Not at twelve and thirteen percent in national four-candidate soundings.  Not completely for me, although I do not favour his hedgehog haircut.  The 'clown show' label that is affixed to him could probably have been affixed to Perot or Anderson. It doesn't do much work for me. I think all but the most partisan hooligan wants Johnson pressed and pressed hard, just as with the two top uglies. And pressing Johnson is best accomplished by getting him and his schtick before the large debate audience. If he doesn't make the threshold, he might perform as have other Libertarian candidates in the pre-Johnson era: amassing just shy of seven in a thousand votes. But I think this outing may be an outlier. He could 'spoil' things in some certain states, for one of the uglies or the other.  The only way to instantiate a Libertarian presence in Washington DC is to capture a House or Senate seat. Barring that, the pure ideological libertarian will feel satisfied with Johnson much more than a Democrat is satisfied with Clinton or a Republican with Trump.  I will not be surprised if he shows enough support (~5-7%) to make a November 'squeaker' even more meaningful: keeping each side of the coin below a majority, down to plurality in the low forties. That would be something -- it would not dent the powers of the President one bit, but would make the administration subject to hard checking. To the fuss ... Stephen pointed hit on a salient detail for me: in the article headlined Gary Johnson Says The Threat Of Radical Islam Is ‘Overblown’ that wee three syllable truncquoat is all we get from the sentence in which it was uttered (number 3): “the problem in the region is our 40,000 troops in South Korea. That is not a stabilizing force in the Koreas.”  [China] “should be dealing with North Korea.”  "overblown”   “You can argue we’re at war with ISIS, I’ll concede that,” “Do I have issue with wiping out ISIS? If it involves boots on the ground, if it involves dropping bombs, if it involves flying drones, I think that all those methods have the unintended consequence of making things worse not better.” “I think one of the big problems about running for political office when it comes to the military is that candidates draw lines in the sand and I think that’s a big mistake,” “If I draw a line in the sand and it gets crossed, count on the action that I promised.” , “You’re asking me a hypothetical question that I’m going to be drawing a line in the sand right here and I’m going to have to it stick to for the rest of the time that I’m running for office and take office,”  [Clinton]“has been the architect of our foreign policy” [U.S is] “less safe.” “I think Trump scares me to death and with Hillary nothing really changes. Hillary is just treading water.” I read the Daily Caller regularly (often via Memeorandum). This is a kind of bait  and hook headline slop you have to get used to on many commentary sites, and DC is not the sole or the worst purveyor. In the end, I want to know what the DC extracted that one word from. I am not ready to scorn Johnson on the grounds of a truncquoat.  Of course, it is for some folks not arguable that X[ISIS]:evil risk is overblown. An arguable issue is what one of us can reasonably read into a one-word quoat. I think the broader issues of rationally assessing terror-risk within anti-terror strategy is worth a discussion. Here is another sample from the 'interview' that was paraphrased at the DC story The Libertarian nominee said that he would not add any additional restrictions to immigration from the Middle East. Johnson would not be fine with a nuclear armed Iran, but would not definitively say what measures he would take to stop that hypothetical situation I think I will write to the guy responsible for the article and ask why they so heavily edited a remark that the only thing left was "Overblown."  Am I too needy to think that a quote in a headline be given contextual body in a sentence?   __________________________ Back to the subject of slave roads and free roads and sea roads and ice-cream roads ... Jerry and I are coming at the thing from different planes. I don't see a problem with roads, as such.  Roads are built by consortia. The fun is in the levying of costs and the cost of ownership, and the ongoing efforts to pay the building debt.  But that is at the largest scale, say the Interstate System, which is sometimes treated as a strategic defence. At the lowest level, with a consortium of ownership and interest to build a gravel, asphalt, cement path across a park -- or from curb to garage, there is no problem. Are the roads and bridges in your county falling into shit and danger, consequent hazards and blockages to commerce and access? My angle is that the most important questions (not problems) -- are to do with cost, debt, planning.  I don't see a movement in the world to alter the broad strokes of the present integrated transportation system. Private-Public partnership under Planning authority is going to remain more or less the same, with interesting novelties and inventions to come. The notion of 'public carrier' will probably always have an exemplar, no matter where or how the costs are assessed and at which level they are paid for (from a pool, by individuals in increment or usage share).  -- in a speculative-fantasy kind of mental sketch, I can see a private colonization of interstate rights of way as technology becomes mature (ie, vacuum/linear-induction subsonic 'tube' roads) ... but at the same time see 19th century tech revive: the many nouveau streetcars and light-rail projects of the last thirty years in the USA. (Here's a boring side-issue on the subject of public 'roads.'  One of the most efficient means of transport in the Greater Vancouver region is our so-called Skytrain system of rail transit. Ours is grade-separated and automated. There are no drivers.  This combo means that trains can arrive every sixty seconds at peak times.  This efficiency and the spread of the network since 1986 has had very visible consequence in the landscape. Almost every single station in the network 'sprouted' an intensively urban neighbourhood around it. This is of course a case of public planning and market exuberance and intelligence.  In a planning sense, the rights of way are 'private' or restricted and this gives a bigger development bang for the buck. South to Seattle a new extension of rail transit opened this year -- it is a tunnel between downtown Seattle and a state university campus to the north. Because the entire rail system shares 'public' roads in spots, it must have drivers, and thus the cost of each train trip is enlarged with each increase in frequency.  The other billion-dollar project in Seattle is a massive dig to replace an earthquake damaged state freeway on the waterfront. Here, a majority of eligible voters approved the design and expenditure. Who owns and manages and maintains?  The similar private-public corporations and consortia as with every other billion-dollar transportation project.)   It is not necessarily a problem. Roads of all levels in the transport hierarchy get built in the present system across the entire world, with more or less efficiency of design and more or less attention to maintenance and planning.   Just to add a bump. Yeah.  Yeah. Maybe. Here to highlight the It Ain't Broken point of view, I reiterate the notion of disestablishment of the present legal order of roads (rail, sea-lanes, ports, air lanes, etc) and their supervision. Here a few items to highlight. Terrorism 'works' in that it inculcates fear and elevates anxiety and fellow emotions. A personal feeling of vulnerability to violence will peak in the aftermath of shocking attacks and murders, according to individual 'assessments.'  Terror is designed to awaken or deepen a sense of siege. I say this with knowledge of five years of escalating violence and terror in Syria. The 'risk' in Syria is so elephantine in relation to North America (if not the three hundred millions of Europeans) that you have to know where to compare and how.  Is the present sense of  vulnerability a function of the immediacy effect, adding to the effect of a massive media that trades on atrocities? Steve and Jon are tangling with these implications .. When is the next terror attack in Canada due, I ask myself?  What are we doing to detect, prevent and defuse plots designed to make me feel under siege? Jumping subject again to solving 'problem' equations ...  Roads are not a 'problem' except that they are not built and maintained when they need be.  The whole complicated mess of public-private building requires some kind of framework that already has solved intrinsic issues of priority and planning. One of my personal amazements has been the pace and scale of transport infrastructure built out in China during recent dramatic urbanization, especially their superspeed train network.  I don't think North America's geography makes sense for similar trains, despite their relative ubiquity in Europe.  On the subject of 'automated' driverless vehicles, the first ones on the market are public/private, with working examples in the Netherlands, and incubated and nearing birth in Singapore. I think 'collective' driverless shuttles will also be an important part of the mix which will include driverless single-user vehicles. Back to underscore Stephen's line of interest ... -- re the occasional fishbone or clunker in Rand non-fiction, I think of The Comprachicos. The analogy was fine for its scope, but I was left with the impression that the fictional (grown in a pot) comprachicos cited (from Hugo?) were actual and historical in Rand's mind.   Much discussion ensued.  -- again to the subject of 'clownish' performances and outstanding red-nosed policy proposals -- is there something about the Libertarian position on marijuana that strikes OL readers as clownish?  Is calling for marijuana legalization clownish itself, or only the way Johnson does it? I mention this because there may be an element of electoral calculation there -- that the policy may be agreeable (to an Objectivish person) but perceived as a non-starter with voters, something that general election voters will find mostly bizarre, or untimely or unpopular. In other words, in other words, what is the problem with calling for  legalization of marijuana?   As for the Libertarian position on war powers and war strategy and the defeat of ISIS, I don't think Johnson is prepared at this time to give details and flesh out a coherent plan to 'take' ISIS off the map.   On the other hand, the GOP candidate evinces the same smudgy detail about policy and process -- as heard in the Pence-Trump interview.  Quo vadis? Cui bono? In Terrorem.

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Trump Challenges Poll: 150 days of excitement

At this point in the American presidential election cycle, Trump supporters should be excited -- not despite the challenges, but because of the challenges.  Their candidate is an assertive, even aggressive personality, a fighter.  What does a fighter relish if not challenging, high risk/high reward situations?  Imagine you have been summoned to Trump Tower. Can you make 'contact' and a persuasive argument that some of these challenges are central, some peripheral, some not even challenges at all?  Electoral College arithmetic / Swing-state uncertainties Raising and spending money Hostile and adversarial media environment National campaign strategy and tactics "Unfavorable" opinion / Demographic change since 2012 'Lack' of conventional campaign superstructure Coordination with GOP campaign Wavering support from GOP / Unity at the Cleveland Convention "Incoherent:" policy proposals Bias, prejudice, "political correctness,: conventional wisdom I will flesh the list out in separate comments.  What have I missed, what have I  split, what else do you think are the top challenges for the Trump campaign? (I have re-ranked the Top Ten list, in light of feedback from members. We now have one Trump supporter in the mix!)

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

In search of sense

No. Yes. Trump is working from a self-limited palette.  I guess you people hear lots of different things.  "Why did he do it?" is psychologizing?  It sounds like your people are incurious.   If there are others just like this killer,  laying in wait ...  This is weird.  Your 'holier-than-thou liberal secularists here' -- do they have names?  Is it possible to lift up their awful comments and show them relevant? No? Hardly relevant, IMO.  And not recently. Sentence fragment. Unpack this mock-English.  Discard the first clause and and put an "I" in your claims.  "It mustn't be escaped"  [It is] "evident here" .  Of course, in my estimation, the murders were committed with pure terrorist intent, with a perfect correlation to the spurious theology of the Al-Qaeda/ISIS religious leaders and their enablers and sycophants.  The killer wanted glory [sic]  attached to his name and his bloody achievement.  He wanted the approval of the savage and murderous  god of his imagination.  He wanted to die. He wanted to be famous and to credit the monsters of ISIS. If that is good enough, if that is all the blame that needs to be attached, Tony, you can step down.  Forestalling pointless points of view and short-selling discussion by sorting out nameless numpties into 'liberal secularists' .... is that what you meant to do? End discussion?  I mean, is disrupting the plans of the next mass-shooter something you want to have happen, to put it passively?   In other words, on your Must Do list for America's response, are you on board with the Trump plan? Does it seem wise to you? One thing that stands out in discussion of mass shooting/terror attacks -- it is hard for people to give up their certainties, once held.  We stand on our knowledge as if on a locked chest: nothing need be learned outside of what we already know.  Everyone "knows" what it all means and what must be done.  I should know, because I am an expert. The saddest thing I have seen -- beyond the grief and horror of the mass murder -- are the few sick voices who engender hate and exclusion and stupidity.   For example: Luckily, there is a candidate for President that has a  plan to make America safe again. It is time to 'turn in'  dangerous people who show signs of incipient murder.   It is time to begin screening all visitors to America using rock-solid religious tests.   It is time to know the enemy, and the enemy is (a tumour within) the Islamic faith.  It is time to raise vigilance  and perhaps deploy demagoguery, to simplify the challenge  of preventing mass shootings (by Muslims).  Nobody can deny that one candidate has answers.  Nobody can deny that they are the best answers and the only answers and the Total Package American needs. On an alternative soapbox, somebody might call for big I Intelligence. "Until we figure out what's going on." -- on another topic, I am missing the presence of bigly poster Adam Selene. Has anyone heard from him or checked in on him?  He has been silent for  a while now. For another example of why OL might be circling the drain -- our tedious hate-filled Moralist takes time to denigrate the dead--  as perverts being taken out by another pervert.  It takes some personal skill and fine heart to leave that impression of gross and persistent unreason.   Tony, I look forward to your critical comments.  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Storm in the cosm

I can't imagine what this guy is feeling, but I am stirred emotionally a bit.  I can almost describe the feeling I had when I first saw the image.  I had been looking on Google Image for similar images to one which was used as illustration of the Romantic/Sublime arty-farty heyday. Google Images returns, most often, a similar colour-range (the illustration was blue) and quite often a contextual/conceptual similitude: the Google Image results for 'search for this image' gave "like" mountains, peaks, horizons.  Some kind of artificial intelligence was able to assess a sort of magnitude of the image and thus returned renderings of dimensional space. Some returns were photographs, some were Romantic paintings of European 'top of the world' genre. Several were 'modern art' that was tied to the original by a conceptual link likely to be terror/wasteland -- arctic scenes, and one arctic scene illustrating Frankenstein.  Google Image is a tool of cognition, and thoroughly infused with a Kantian emotional-collective-behavioural AI programme. But that is beside the point:  using Randian philosophy of the arts we can look forward to an Objectivism-heavy AI programme that stresses the rational approach to cognition. Key findings from the Randian project will probably ultimately allow humankind to infuse robotic-mind/AI/cloud-computing with emotion -- which will make robot cognitions much more useful. Anyhow, drift.   Here is that image returned from Google Image that gave me an initial thrill..  A bodily thrill.  Beyond 'thrill' I find it hard to identify the subsequent emotion 'melody' and 'chord.'  By imagining, I can evoke a simulacra, and compare it to the thrill-and-subsequent 'song in my heart' that this image still can help evoke.  In my cognitions since, I was able to conjure up a memory of my first remembered emotion-memory, the only thing that survived infantile amnesia. It was my first flight in an airplane over mountains and sea when I was two and half. It is tricky to give another person the 'reality' of emotion felt.  The basics are easy as pie (fear, anger, disgust, surprise, anticipation, joy, acceptance, sadness) and in most cases we can invoke an empathic understanding with a narrative.  We can also perform the emotion with face, tone, gesture, etc, so the other guy more or less can invoke a conceptual gestalt.  Whoa. I drift in and out of consciousness. What am I getting at?  Let me try with Yoda-ish voice, rooted in Rand, but flowering, flowering. Emotions are five-dimensional it seems (he said passively) if not more. In the body are they rooted. In the body they are felt. In the mind they are 'felt' as of the body. In the dimension of 'depth' or 'intensity' each of the basics can be understood conceptually as a scale, and of an obliquity measured as percentage/mix/color. And then the dimension of time, which gives the symphonic quality to emotional life:  its recursions, harmonies, discords, quietudes and storms of great complexity. Here I look for another image that the Kantian Google delivered up from a fresh search using the mountaineer on the rock-needle.  This is the one that my emotions tag most strongly, in several dimensions. I can only imagine what might be my cognitions were I  there in front the massif. I will never be there in that microcosm. But, fair enough, these images are not Art, only commodity. And everyone except psychopaths and autists and so on are perfectly able to model and interpret emotions. It is in almost everyone's toolkit if only in primitive form (as with developmentally disordered people, or those with severe cognitive deficits).  And this is not art, but it gives me a thrill of remembrance of a thrill that is kin to the ''thrill of it all" that we humans feel from time to time. If not a 'peak experience' ... Starting at  5:06. I know I have posted this before, but this post is twice as boring as the last time. Bonus! Say Yoda does:  I wish we would talk about items or types of art that individually thrill us -- with that meta "thrill of it all" ... if the tone or tenor of this thread has gotten bogged in a swamp of dudgeon, lances, contempt and furious misinterpretation and pique, surely we avatars of Reason can get our emotions under control and inspection.   From this point forward I will view this thread as Objectivish Humour, subsection Wildly Intemperate Arty Farts.  Here we interpret the farts of people whose rational digestive system we suspect is clogged and struggling. Here I witness the thrill of Objectivish Arguendo.  It is all about the put-down, and the moralistic mustard. Without which there would be no O'vishes, passively, aggressively.  Drift, everyone. Drift back to fun.  Fun wielding the Tools.      

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Let's talk about it. Here.

Brant, some areas of biology are more complicated than flip one-liners ... I think you do well understand that there is variation in genitals. I have explained this before at length here. Please review the 'spectrum' of real-world and recurring cases of babies born with indeterminate external genitalia. It is relevant and not all that  complicated in principle: the X and the Y have jobs to do as chromosomes. In a normally developing fetus, their job is done to the norm.  It is the not norm I think we are concerned with. You cannot norm an XXY 'girl' pre-puberty. The chromosomal 'sex' type does not always predict the Dick.   You should know this, Brant; it is relevant, and it makes your pithy saying unhelpful -- the saying is just an arbitrary assertion if it cannot be supported, and it can be contradicted by reality.   That works for me and you.   But the function of a restroom is not gender-division, it is to take away wastes and allow cosmetics to be applied while checking out the dog-face beside you.  And washing hands after touching yourself down there. The function of a child's bathroom can be divved up by gender and it is the world over, but the bathroom has almost nothing to do with sex in the schools we are 'worried' about. Sex, meaning sexual behaviour, sexual activity, sex.  Sex school.  We run the risk of distorting reality if we aren't familiar with the ins and outs of actual 'intersex' or otherwise physically/mentally incongruent people, and if we gloss over disconfirming details.  Brant, I might ask you to consider a Lesbian in a Ladies Room.  Or a Gay Man in a Men's room.   Or a couple copulating in an airline restroom. Or a sex crime committed in a locker room or ancilliary single-gender environs. The harms are where?  The harms are in the crime. The crimes are in the cover-ups, and abuse of human beings as sexual ends.  Thus Jerry Sandusky and the procession of disgusting Catholic abusers and coverups. Thus the concern about hidden abuse of children in the privacy of their homes, but their caregivers. Thus the horrors of badly-run foster and 'care' systems.  Thus sexual abuse of minors ... sexual abuse of children, sexual abuse of adolescents and pre-pubescents. That rings dark and true.  What doesn't sound as darkly is the harm in Jazz taking her shit with where she wants to?   She isn't some hairy Peter Taylor in drag wanting to periscope up widdle gurls skirts or manhandle them. That is on the Hairy Peter. That is his imaginary crime.  Brant, if you have ever been the target of Faggot Attack, or been intimate with someone gay or bi who has been beat up, or if you know some 'Trannnnnnnneeee' who has been beaten, beaten to death, contrast that with the Bathroom Crime bullshit being ushered into law in Trailer Park states. The law has penalties.  I would like you to go read the text of the laws promulgated to Prevent GayScaryHairyTransRape ... and then give me a one-liner or two. If we are united in anything beyond our interest in reason, it is in our rejection of ignorance.  I can always be less ignorant, I can be ready to take on more information. And so can you.   When was the first time you Looked At Another Boy's Penis with lust in your loins, Brant?  I mean, in a bathroom. When do you use a bathroom to stalk victims? Oh. Tell me that the law should be that Jazz must go squat in the Boy's Room.  FFS.            

william.scherk

william.scherk

Argument Clinic #1 'The danger in asking for specifics"

[Added by WSS, August 18 2018: old placeholder thread, updated with a puzzler snatched from the front pages of OL. It's a neat little attribution discussion, with sides of psychology and morality ... I may not get around to answering myself for a bit, but thought to dust this old entry off, give it some glitz, and apply twenty-first century cogitation tech. ] Argument Clinic May 12 and 13 -- thanks to the tipster who saw this entrained convo begin to derail.  I'd like to think that I can with help rationally analyze the apparent impasse, and then put Reason to further work in solving the apparent misunderstanding. Something in this exchange suggests a pattern in disagreement in the Endless Love thread on the front porch.  (what I like about this blog is that it is visible only to Objectivist Living members.  It would be an in-house solution if we could get MSK and PDS to a mutual comprehension, mutual understanding. It would go a long way toward restoring mutual-respect. Michael is fighting every step of the way over process/truncquotes -- without pausing to give PDS a good 'hearing.'  It may be a function of being 3 things at once:  Forum Leader, Forum Owner, Trump Campaigner. How can one stump for a candidate without setting aside The Principle of Charity or other rational aids?  It seems to me almost impossible. So the challenge is to bring PDS and MSK to a common ground, however small.   I call this for clinical sake "The Danger in asking for Specifics: the specifics ... " because the dispute circles around the propriety of asking for specific things [Added by WSS: From a live re-performance recording of the Monty Python classic. ]

william.scherk

william.scherk