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David Brin
Futurist, Science Fiction Author, Scientist. Advocate for a Transparent Society.
Futurist, Science Fiction Author, Scientist. Advocate for a Transparent Society.

David's posts

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Worst case scenario. We are seeing a calamitous failure of the entire democratic experiment. I don’t believe that — not yet. I think the oligarchic putsch has made a big mistake by attacking our professional classes and intel and military officer corps. But I might be wrong. In which case, we will have to study from those who have lived under despots and learn the arts of resistance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rule #6: Remember the future.

Says this deep futurist… amen.

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Make America 1st but WHO second? The meme has gone crazy. Beyond pleas from real countries, not there are Youtube videos for "Make Mordor Second" And "Make the Galactic Empire Second." The newest "real" ones from Armenia and India are way fun - Malta too. Less so the China and Japan ones. Ah well.
(The Star Wars one is cute but too long.)

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Pres.Trump proposes to cancel an Obama era rule that financial advisers have a "fiduciary" responsibility to protect their clients' interests. Believe it or not, financial advisers can urge you to buy certain products that they know will harm you but that will benefit the adviser... all of it legally, thanks to GOP legislation that Obama tried to reverse.

What, you thought Trump and republicans were on the side of the little guy? DT just caved to the pharmaceutical industry, after promising to let the government negotiate drug prices (a GOP law forbids it.) And now coal companies can dump into streams and groundwater and the EPA can't investigate. And that is the tip of the tip of the tip.

Silly confeds claim that DT appointing almost all billionaires and Goldman-Sachs execs to his cabinet is goooood! Because it takes foxes to guard the henhouse. Numb. Skulls. Feathers are already flying. Enjoy being eating, Johnny Reb.

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Could this help explain the tidal wave of billionaires entering DT's cabinet? "President-elect Donald Trump’s ultra-wealthy Cabinet nominees will be able to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes in the coming weeks when they sell some of their holdings to avoid conflicts of interest in their new positions. The tax advantage will allow Trump officials, forced by ethics laws to sell certain assets, to skip the weighty tax bills they would otherwise owe on the profits from selling stock and other holdings."

They think they can ride the backs of the lumbenproletariat and the lumpenprols will keep whinneying "yes massa!" But it won't last.

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The elephant in the room. No one points out that the Great Negotiator has not once offered to negotiate with his foes (now a majority of the nation and nearly all the fact-using professions). Seriously, will no one proclaim this? "You haven't called a meeting with anyone except sycophants! and industrialists!"

Will no prominent Democrat ask this? "Sir, you are behaving like Nixon, under siege! Is it not a bit early for that? Instead of screaming, have you considered negotiating? Try it, for a change?"

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Weekend posting - while I attend Comic Fest - is about post election analyses that blame the results on "racism" or the decline of US manufacturing jobs. These played a role, but their power is exaggerated. I present more cogent theories by George Lakoff and others... as well as my own.

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It has reached a point that I predicted. Even Fox News cannot hold it together. Mixed in among the master-shill-liars like Hannity and O'Reilly are real journalists who - even if they are conservative - are also professionals... and Americans. Watch as: "Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on Thursday criticized President Trump for bashing reporters gathered at a lengthy Thursday press conference, calling on him to answer legitimate questions from news outlets."

You will hear this from me again and again. The republic will be saved - not from Trumpism but from the Murdochian Morlocks who have hijacked American conservatism, transforming it into a combination of revived Confederacy and Idiocracy.

The republic will be saved when a crucial 10% of the population -- those "ostrich republicans" who are basically sane, but have been in denial, lift their head out of the sand and say aloud: "My movement has been hijacked by monsters. It has gone insane."

We must not let them attribute this to Trump! Trump is a symptom, not the disease! When they eliminate the symptom (and Ryan is already concocting plans) that 10% must not be allowed to settle back into their ostrich holes. They must be told: "If you want there to be a sane American conservatism that has a place at the table, regain our respect by burning out the mad parts, root and branch.

"And Rupert Murdoch is far, far worse than all the Russians, Iranians, Saudis and Breitbarts, combined."

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Today's midweek posting is a non-political (!) palate cleaner, looking to what our civilization is doing fabulously.... science!

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The use of contests to spur creative solutions has really taken off, in part thanks to the XPrize Foundation, headed by Peter Diamandis. (I am on the board of advisers.) During the Obama Administration, every government agency was told to set up a prize contest, aiming to draw inventive proposals for the agency’s most vexing problem, and the results were promising, especially since the prizes themselves amounted to little more than petty cash.

In the latest example, NASA appears quite pleased with the winners of the $15,000 Space Poop Challenge prize, for ways to collect human waste emitted by astronauts wearing spacesuits.

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This is actually good news. It means the Russians are in a hurry to take advantage of their window of time, controlling our White House. As if they fear it will end soon.
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