Lethal load out

U.S. Navy Amphibious Warship To Deploy With Anti-Ship Missiles Next Year
Containerized missile launchers would give amphibious warfare ships a new way to protect against hostile warships, as well as engage other threats.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK JANUARY 11, 2021

Article in The Drive’s WarZone.

So the Naval Strike Missile, a middle weight anti ship missile will be mounted on an Amphib to provide integral defense and a little bit of offense capacity. The main purpose of this deployment is for experimentation with the fleet, to see if it changes the nature of the game when at sea. The Amphib is a big ship but is in essence a sea going ferry for the marines, a fast freighter. But these ships are big and impressive and sometimes used to show the flag. They have defensive weapons but nothing to ‘shoot the archer’ usually that is left to an escort. Having some rounds on board would change the dynamics and utility perhaps in a positive way.

While the preliminary deployment will have the missile amidships like a warship might. But the missile could be mounted on a truck that is being transported, just drive it out onto the flight deck, lock it down and shoot. With all sorts of truck mounted ordinance such as Hellfire, 155mm Cannons, HIMARS GPS Guided Rockets, there are a lot of options that this could provide for protection or force projection.

With the continued growing cost of specialized warships this sort of flexible tactical utilization looks like a good use of modern precision weapons. One can and should argue that it does not provide any kind of one for one replacement for a warship. But is a warship; a frigate, destroyer, cruiser… really what we need? Maybe its a combination of gnat weight autonomous missile slingers supporting heavy flex fighters like this Amphib.

Society, Xiciety, Techocracy, what next?

Too many things that I could post to be able to post anything. The reality is that we are in the crux of the flux and nothing is visible through the smoke and dust.

Many very sane people have overloaded and said things they will later regret. Some very sane people have ‘locked up’ and done the same or not said enough. At the end of the day mostly this is about living in a time when the chaos of reality overwhelms individual, and even more, group, ability to absorb and organize, let along rationalize, what is going on.

What bothers me the most is the absolute arrogance of the tech oligarchs in control of Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook. They have essentially locked out what they see as the ‘other side’ they are signaling that they feel that the opposition has no rights, utterly at odds with the ethos of the US origin. As I have noted several times one could see the US as essentially a soft focus vision of China.

The problem with the Techocracy above abbreviated would not be so savagely pernicious if it weren’t that they essentially represent de facto monopolies. While legalistically one could (and lawyers have) argued that they are not monopolies, they effectively each and every one, are, because they make it hard for the ordinary user to avoid them. As a group they absolutely are because one way or another they control 99.99 % of personal and probably >90 % of business communications.

When they collude as Google and Apple are to force 3rd parties such as Parlor and other platforms competitive with FB and Tw, to conform to some squishy leftist censoring standards they have in essence moved us closer to Xiciety. When you also see them pushing hard against anything that limits their freedom to use foreign slave and gulag labor one gets the feeling that they have seriously lost their way.

  • Are the 4 evil?
    • De facto, yes.
  • But they are corporations, ok they have powerful CEO’s but they are American and they are teams not really individuals.
    • But those teams are closed, self or leader selected, cliques from a very small ‘genetic’ head space on the west coast, with generally young and woke workforce’s enforced by the Uber woke HR departments.
  • But, but they are Woke, Diverse, MultiCultural, Free Market, Open Market, MultiNational…they want freedom, civil rights!
    • But that litany is not actually about freedom and civil rights beyond keeping the base population passivated. The reality is that the F&CR ‘they’ want are free this and free that and happy multicolored faces. Not the core human freedoms laid out in the Decleration of Independence and Bill of RIghts. Those core freedoms would mean that the 4 would be forced to compete, we failed years ago when it became clear the 4 were in reality a quartet.
    • These ARE publicly traded multi national firms who cannot depend on the US for their profits any longer. This means they have to maintain an image acceptable to China and Europe at the very least. And both of those use the litany and talk F&CR, they use them as propaganda weapons to keep the base of the population in its place.

What next?

It is far too soon to tell. It will take weeks to get our heads around what happened. It will take months for the ramifications to start to become clear. Years to start to see the reactions, and probably a decade for the ring down. Trump did what he was hired to do, upset the apple cart, open a lot of eyes, unsettle the settled.

Who knows were this all goes. Civil War? Doubt it but it is more likely today than it was last week, or last October. Violence…who knows, could be, might not be, to be honest this does not look like a situation where the use of force has much applicability unless the Democrat/Techocracy decides that they either have the upper hand or need to strike while the iron is hot. Either mistake could lead to violence and devolve into Civil War and that would end the US as it exists today, just like the last one did.

No road leads us back to where we were at any time in the past. The tragedy is that those who think getting rid of Trump improved things are fools who did not see that 2019 may have been the best time in US history. Their butt hurt from Trumps wins forced them to break everyone’s toys.

And so we move into a future. As usual with no signposts. But now with the light of enthusiasm largely extinguished.

American Fascism, Political-Industrial-Oligarchic

The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump

Glenn Greenwald
Journalist; co-founder, The Intercept; author, No Place to Hide and forthcoming book on Brazil; animal fanatic & founder of HOPE Shelter.
(L-R): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY,TOBIAS SCHWARZ,ANGELA WEISS,MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Unfortunately on the nose. We do not have a representative democracy we have and probably have had an Oligarchic Republic. This only becomes more obvious as the Republic (power split down to and exercised at various geographic/social sub units) is over run by the federal (central) government where the oligarchs can focus their power to get the biggest bang for their bucks.

The confusion and purposeful distortion of the words/meanings of-democracy, representative-democracy, republic, federal…and others is probably more important than the issues with the presidency. The more centralized power is the more important controlling the levers on that power becomes.

Meaning of Liberty

Triggered in the best possible way by the following, Benjamin Constant, writing on meanings of liberty, ancient vs modern, in 1819 France. Read the whole thing it is shockingly applicable today.

This is related to the idea of todays forming Neo Feudalism and to a degree the concept of the Individual and sovereignty.

Constant lays out that in ancient times liberty (for the tightly defined citizen) was extremely broad and powerful, in Greece and early on in Rome, the citizens as a body had essentially unlimited power to wage war, make piece, expel, execute, as far as their power extended. But as individuals they were controlled, watched, forced to conform. This was possible because the citizens were a smallish percentage of the total population and well enough off to spend a huge part of their time debating.

In a practical sense these citizen assemblies were more like our Legislators than our citizens, though with arbitrary and absolute power. But Constant follows the traditional line and does not make this distinction. In part because he still lived in a world of urban aristocratic elites supported by a huge rural underclass.

In counter to ancient liberty he explains modern liberty as about the individual vs. arbitrary power of any kind. Essentially it is about the individual and their ‘happiness’ in the sense of controlling their own life and own concerns with the expectation that society and the hand of society (the government) has strictly limited power to interfere.

He points out that individual liberty is what humans really want but in the case of the ancients were willing to sacrifice for collective liberty since in their small and always threatened polities it was glaringly obvious that it was cooperate or be enslaved.

That stark choice is still there but hidden by the immensity and generally good living of the modern world. Governments span continents not little seaside towns and in the developed world we never want for goods unless we are ‘unlucky’ in some way. So the real power of gov’t is far from obvious to most, if you go along you get along and only criminals or sociopaths get in trouble…right? If everyone is on the same page maybe, but in a world of oligarchs, elites, yeomen, plebs and deplorables everyone is not on the same page any longer.

During the later 19th and through the 20th century there was, in the west and US, in retrospect, a fairly concerted effort to keep everyone on ‘the same page ‘ But as the echoes of WWI reverberated, the liberal republican concepts came under increasing threat from political philosophies we call communism, socialism, marxism, fascism, and their social outreaches of materialism, deconstructionism, etc. The ‘conservative-liberal’ mainstream dealt with the geo political threats fairly well but the social political attacks came through chinks in the armor that ‘freedom of expression and thought’ leave wide open. Children and Intellectuals are particularly attracted to the avant-garde, new, kind, progressive, and while many of them grew out of it as they moved through life ,all too many became entrapped in the mind fog if they did meet the real world of real people and real trade offs that the schools of hard knocks provide.

And so we are today a country, a civilization under threat of our own success. The varigated liberty of the constitutional republic has been hollowed out due to pragmatic, lazy, risk averse decisions by the interlocking social, fiscal, judicial, etc elites.

We deconstructed education, society, civility in the name of equality but without a consensus of what was going to replace those things and others. Deconstruction occurred in the shadows, the termites were at work on the frame with no replacement under construction because no one could agree on even a need as long as the old structure was there. Unfortunately no one told the termites to stop.

As this became somewhat obvious there were those, maybe many, who said, ‘let it crash,’ ‘let it burn,’ ‘tear it down’ because it represented something that they defined as completely evil, even if the same underpinnings being eaten away kept the roof over their head and provided protection for their food and defined their safety from the wild.

The problem is that the people who most want it torn down least understand what it took to create and what it protects them from.

If you look at things a certain way you can see the US, the West sliding towards something all too like the Chinese model. Perhaps a kinder gentler version but that is no certainty.

Is there a way out? ?

Was there a way in?

My view is that we stumbled and mumbled our way here. Reality is that nothing here was planned. We live with the contingent outcomes of unplanned inputs. it is possible that this outcome was expected by some but they are unlikely to have had any ability to direct it.

It does not really appear possible to plan anything like a society any longer unless it is a subset of self selected actors. And since humans are human no such society will last longer than about half an average human lifetime.

So?

It is what it is.

Don’t see evil around every corner, there is evil in the world but it is rare in the wild. Most people just believe what they believe they learned somewhere. They are most likely wrong (as am i.).

And remember this, over the sweep of time things have been getting better for more and more (in absolute and relative terms) people across time. There have been crashes and horrors but most people most of the time were relatively happy. The up slope was ver, very low ten thousand years ago but it has been steepening as it goes. While the whiners all see disaster ahead the reality is that there are solutions for every problem we (as a world civilization) have. Where we are going in any one part at any one time is always a bit of a random walk but that walk is usually uphill (in the best sense.)

Stay strong, be happy, work at making a difference.

Oligarchic Jousting vs republicanism

The IM-1776 review Neo Feudalism or New Class War is ,as good non fiction book reviews should be, a thoughtful look at the books and discussion of the core thesis.

Michael Lind in The New Class War and Joel Kotkin in The Coming of Neo-Feudalism both demonstrate the defunct nature of the ‘socially liberal, fiscally conservative’ worldview that dominated post-Cold War politics. Lind’s central contention is that, because it creates vast power inequalities, class matters as much now as in pre-modern politics, in spite of our democratic aspirations. Kotkin, on the other hand, argues that class divisions now resemble the Middle Ages specifically. Both books herald a society we should strive to avoid.

IM-1776, Neo Feudalism or New Class War, Henry George

As a side note IM-1776, an online magazine, appears to be a very promising source of thoughtful discussion on society from a somewhat acerbic point of view.

Have not read either book, but have them on the list of possible future reads. Possible because from Mr. George’s review I have to say that I have absorbed much of what they think from a broad swath of other reading and my own thinking on the topic of where we are and where we might be going. It is also interesting that Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) our populist public philosopher seems to be paralleling the threads woven here but I see his perceptions as being driven from dynamic understanding of the online gestalt rather than analytical sourcing.

Put rather bluntly the gestalt of the populace regarding their own nation is largely illusory. That while the theory and form of gov’t is one thing the reality is largely different. While we think this is a republic where the ‘will of the people’ rules the reality is that a small number of people establish what that ‘will’ is through control of the focus of the media and the ‘rules of the game’ via law and regulation.

If you look beyond America, at some extreme examples, you may see a distorted mirror of this. That in places like the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, the ‘people’ who could rise up and blot out the ‘establishment’ don’t. Because the ‘hive mind’ that is our base perception is convinced that the status quo is as good as it gets or at worst is so ingrained with everyone else that your rising against would be useless.

Recently Scott Adams pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook invested 10’s of millions in changing the voting rules in many places to increase the % of people voting. That you might see this as a driving factor in why certain places saw unprecedented voting, which tipped the balance to Zombie Joe instead of Orange Man Bad. (Now I happen to think that unprecedented levels of cheating had something to do with this as well but am willing to see MZ’s contribution as having a large, perhaps overwhelming effect… perhaps by making cheating easier?)

So Scott Adams said, (roughly) maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s is really the only vote that counted in this last election. Please note that Scott Adam’s is purposefully hyperbolic in many cases to get his thoughts to stick ‘directionally’ (which is how he sees a lot of Trump’s messaging on Twitter.)

What has evolved in the Post Cold War west is a form of Oligarchy with a surface wash of Republican representative democracy. The forms that Japan, Korea, Europe, even Russia and China took on are in essence what we have evolved to. You could say that the US was ALWAYS this way to some significant extent. With the Oligarchs jousting, politely’ each other and to a large extent, ‘following the will of the people.’ And if that then those other states maybe saw this more clearly than ‘we’ did and followed along since it clearly left the Oligarchs in charge while also providing them a safety buffer against the pitchforks and tiki torches.

If this is the future (and maybe it explains the past?) then one has to hope that the oligarchs who manipulate (for that is what it is) the people’s thinking have the best interests of the country in mind and are smart enough to know what that is before the results of past actions come to fruition. Because the rest of us are going to be suffering when the ‘best minds’ screw up.

Modes of War

War in the western civilian mind has been debased and fetishized. And these ways of ‘seeing’ war limit our perspective on the reality.

Huh? You may say, what the heck does that mean? So let me expand:

War has been debased in the common vernacular by declaring war on the depression, then poverty, drugs now on inequality, racism, etc (mainly by progressives riffing on their First World War success .) Here the mental model of war is the turning of the states blunt tools of expropriation and exploitation to the ‘good’ of raising some group or suppressing some evil. The thing they overlook is that the tools are authoritarian and often counter productive, destroying on one end while delivering ‘something’ at the other. In the original meaning of war, (at least the good war of self protection, not war of aggression) the destruction on your end is acceptable since your expectation is that the ‘other’ will cause far greater damage if they win. But when used in this self targeted context you are essentially damaging/destroying something you do not value (for whatever reason) to provide some ‘good’ to another (for some other reason.)

And war has been fetishized in the minds of most by the recent American experience of essentially total battlefield domination and near bloodless success (those who bleed are mostly ‘the bad guys.’) This has been metastasized by military video games that while they make clear the messiness of the battlefield also make it glamorous and episodic. Exotic weapons and robotic precision make things look all very neat. But also there is our memory of WWI and WWII and Desert Storm and even the first months in Afghanistan and Iraq. Domination and victory, spoiled by purported lies and then stupidity of trying to change cultures we do not understand.

So war is debased to massive government intervention on one hand and on the other the fetishized ability to break the other’s toys and make them do what we want. But these views of war, government directed war, war with parades and victories and tragedies and stories we can tell each other’s, providing historians and anthropologists grist for their mills may be relics of the past in our globalized age.

What if war is no long any of that? Properly envisioned it was/is never something you turn on yourself. Seen clearly it is never something that you can predictably win. No war in the modern era been what governments tell their populace it is, nor are they what the memories of the participants remember them being.

Clausewitz is famous for ‘War is diplomacy carried on by other means,’ Sun Tzu pointed out that misdirection is the heart of war. What if real war today outside of the fratricidal, is non kinetic and never ending?

What are the modes of war today. Strategic, Cyber, Economic, Kinetic, Propaganda, Tactical, Commercial, Geographic, Genocide, Civil, Bio, Nuclear, Chemical, Political…

Huh? Some of these things are not like the other you say? And maybe you are right but I say that war has broken the bounds of the geographic/naval/aerial field of battle and has bled out into the world in general.

I will close with a thought…. What if an enemy realized that they could make use something as unexciting as a novel disease and modern media’s defining need for ‘bad news’ to terrify populations into ‘a crouch’ that would make political control easier. And by use of basic propaganda and twisted truths could make the politicians of their unsuspecting opponent break their own economy and even break down the social trust that is required in a modern open cultural polity.

The above does not require any particularly lethal bug, or any large scale distribution of battle plans. All the enemy needs is a leadership willing to make use of the ‘main chance’ and a cadre of workers willing to take direction. Nothing needs to be said, ever.

You do not win a war this way but you win a battle this way. Maybe you win several battles. Damage an enemies economy, damage their self confidence, maybe bring down their most effective leadership with some directed propaganda and a few tools.

Now maybe a more compliant government comes into power. You have been pushing on some geographic restrictions but have been held back by your adversaries strong leadership. With that leadership gone now you can push more heavily and gain some more ground.

Maybe your aggression causes more reaction and eventually the ridiculously erratic opponent once more selects a more trenchant government and puts the brakes on. But one more nibble has been taken, an enemy has been weakened a little bit. All that is required is time and constant purpose to win, and a nation with a multi thousand year history can take the long view.

The common shipping container, lynch pin of the consumer paradise

The Shipping Container
A Cyber Monday paean to the unsung hero of consumer capitalism: Craig Martin @ The Atlantic
20131203-184125.jpg

Busan New Port, South Korea (Reuters).

At the world’s ports, rows of stacks of shipping containers in an array of colors create a rich metallic vibrancy. On construction sites they are used as storage boxes. They can be seen lying prone and rusting in abandoned plots. They perch on the back of trucks speeding down the motorway. On flatbed cars they trundle through railway stations, box upon box upon box.

20131203-184139.jpg

Tokyo (Reuters)

McLean (U.S. truck operator Malcom McLean’ the container systems inventor) understood that a transition to container shipping would require the complete redesign of the entire freight transport infrastructure: rail cars, ships, trucks, cranes, dockyards, everything. As a starting point, he commissioned the container engineer Keith Tantlinger to design a new aluminum container, and to reconfigure a decommissioned tanker vessel, the Ideal-X, to accommodate the new containers. Tantinger also developed a further piece of equipment, the container spreader bar, which enabled the container to be lifted without the need for stevedores to attach roping. As the economist and historian Marc Levinson has noted, the design of the spreader bar meant that “once the box had been lifted and moved, another flip of the switch would disengage the hooks, without a worker on the ground touching the container.” Container freight was all about increasing the speed of movement and reducing the cost of labor. Although the Ideal-X sailed for the first time as a container vessel in April 1956, it was not until 1970 that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) agreed on the standardized sizes and certain fixings for containers (or ISO Containers as they are formally named).

You’re in The Singularity already…

World English Dictionary
singularity – n , pl -ties

  1. the state, fact, or quality of being singular
  2. something distinguishing a person or thing from others
  3. something remarkable or unusual
  4. maths
    a. See also pole, a point at which a function is not differentiable although it is differentiable in a neighborhood of that point
    b. another word for discontinuity
  5. astronomy a hypothetical point in space-time at which matter is infinitely compressed to infinitesimal volume

Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

A generalized form of Singularity has become common parlance in Tech circles, especially futurist minded tech folks like me.  A black hole is called a singularity because we can predict everything about the universe up to the surface, the event horizon of the black hole, beyond that event horizon the universe we know ceases to be and we cannot predict what lies beyond.

I sometimes make the mistake of equating this with ‘the futurists dilemma.’  Which In general terms is about extrapolation.  When you extrapolate what we have now into the future you can say that tomorrow is pretty much identical to today, next week not much different, next month, next year even are not going to be in any general sense ‘different’ from today (baring nuclear war, asteroid splashdown, alien invasion etc.)  In fact when thinking about the future five years is generally seen as a reasonable horizon to which you can see and say baring catastrophe things are likely (though not certainly) going to be pretty similar to today, except that things we have today will get better, things we built today will get older, our total store of knowledge will grow deeper but not necessarily much wider or more immediately useful. But if you continue this process you rapidly find that the number of potential outcomes and interactions is so huge that beyond that five year horizon is a universe of maybes.  Now in ten years things will not look vastly different from today, look back ten years, and if you can put yourself back ten years and look ten years back from there, the physical trappings of the world were not much different, but the world of today would be both banal and amazing to someone who time traveled those ten or twenty years.  Twenty year, forty years, in many ways the same thing holds true the physical trappings change only gradually, building don’t rot away in ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, roads are still new at ten years.  But the details of those future selves are utterly beyond our ability to predict.

Then, when you take all the ongoing changes and roll them up you quickly reach a point where you’re head (or at least mine) has a very hard time getting around the number of variables and possible inputs and outcomes over even a small number of years.   It looks like the world will have to change very radically under the impact of that oncoming tidal wave of possibilities.

But while I see that as a singularity of a sort, that’s not really what many mean by the singularity.  They have a much more tightly wrapped definition and term.

From Wikipedia:  The Technological Singularity, sometimes snidely refered to as the    “Rapture of the Nerds”

The technological singularity is the theoretical emergence of superintelligence through technological means.  Since the capabilities of such intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the technological singularity is seen as an occurrence beyond which events cannot be predicted.

Proponents of the singularity typically postulate an “intelligence explosion”, where superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds, might occur very quickly and might not stop until the agent’s cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human.

That vision can be pretty disturbing if taken without a large grain of salt and some realization that unless we get Skynet and the Terminator (you know Arnold with a Mingun?) the pure inertia of the real world will prevent the change from appearing as a singularly.

Then of course you have the more constrained but pure dystopian viewpoint.

The Internet is Growing More Dangerous. But Does Anyone Care? Bruce Schneier says “we as a society are heading down a dangerous path.”
From Bruce Schneier: What I’ve Been Thinking About:

I have been thinking about the Internet and power: how the Internet affects power, and how power affects the Internet. Increasingly, those in power are using information technology to increase their power. This has many facets, including the following:
1. Ubiquitous surveillance for both government and corporate purposes – aided by cloud computing, social networking, and Internet-enabled everything – resulting in a world without any real privacy.
2. The rise of nationalism on the Internet and a cyberwar arms race, both of which play on our fears and which are resulting in increased military involvement in our information infrastructure.
3. Ill-conceived laws and regulations on behalf of either government or corporate power, either to prop up their business models (copyright protections), enable more surveillance (increased police access to data), or control our actions in cyberspace.
4. A feudal model of security that leaves users with little control over their data or computing platforms, forcing them to trust the companies that sell the hardware, software, and systems.
On the one hand, we need new regimes of trust in the information age. (I wrote about the extensively in my most recent book, Liars and Outliers.) On the other hand, the risks associated with increasing technology might mean that the fear of catastrophic attack will make us unable to create those new regimes.
It is clear to me that we as a society are headed down a dangerous path, and that we need to make some hard choices about what sort of world we want to live in. It’s not clear if we have the social or political will to address those choices, or even have the conversations necessary to make them. But I believe we need to try.

Well, that doesn’t sound good, but the truth is that most of the time when you peer into the future it’s at best a mixed bag.  Remember the early nuclear age? (I don’t but if you go back and look it was atomic everything as far as the eye could see and who knew there was a down side?)  Then came the Russian Hydrogen bomb, and it was doom and gloom, rather red than dead, or dead than red, and hiding under your desk, flower power, peace will find a way, the commies are among us, etc, etc.

So?

Well it’s all kinda overblow to me.

I think that if you look carefully, we’ve been in the technological singularity now for something like two hundred years!  Nothing we have today would have been predicted two centuries ago, whereas most of what they had then was little different from what it had been two hundred, even two thousand (counting Rome, China etc. as the basis) years before. Yes the details were different across that span of time but if you had the base knowledge you could make a good stab at what it would be like in ten, fifty, even a hundred years.

Our now is like being that lone spaceperson who’s gone beyond the event horizon of a black hole?  Because, from what I understand if the passage does not tear you apart you probably don’t have a clue that you’re inside.  You will be patiently waiting (or impatiently) for the end of times, which never comes, for you, whereas to all your loved ones (or despised ones) back in the ‘old universe’ who have seen you cross over and pass beyond their perception, you are in the singularity.   In Nerd Nirvana as it were.

So?

Pardon me for being a bit skeptical, most of what I hear is the inability to figure out all the potential puts and takes that will result in the real future we will all experience.  I think the limitations of the human mind, the human will, human society, human law, human economics, human emotions, and the fact that we are all living it together, will create a world that is…..just…..well…..a lot more banal than many would really like to think.

Do I think the future will be better or worse than today?

  • Better, that’s the lesson of the long view, things have been getting better and better across the decades and centuries, despite disasters real and predicted, that have come and gone, again and again.  (not to say your or my life will be better, we’re all getting older and baring a rapture of one kind or another we are all destined to die like the biological machines we are…we can hope for an afterlife of some sort to make the travails of those last years, months, weeks, days, hours, moments, worth it but I have no profound knowledge and unfortunately not a lot of faith other than in my friends and loved ones to carry on making the world a better place.)

Do I think the future will be like today?

  • Well, yeah, at least it won’t feel much different when it comes, partly because its unlikely that change will come everywhere all at once.   It will arrive piecemeal, drip, drip, drip, drip, day, week, month, quarter, half, year, year in, year out.  It will creep up on you and you’ll never really understand the change till you get a chance to look back.  Just like it has changed all around you in the last, week, month, year, decade, etc.

So, get out and look around, you are in the singularity already.

‘Little Mosque’ Hits Hulu

pAfter six seasons, the CBC hit series Little Mosque on the Prairie finally closed up shop earlier this year, but it’s got a new lease on life on Hulu, which is releasing it as simply Little Mosque. It’s a move I’m excited by, for a lot of different reasons, not least of which is that […]/p

via ‘Little Mosque’ Hits Hulu.

My wife has become a Hulu plus / net TV addict, loving the rich back tail of great programs available from Britain and now Canada. Little Mosque caught me by surprise but it is a great little show, funny, loving, sad, sensible, balanced-in a rational if TV land way.

WSJ | There are few permanent victories or defeats in American politics, and Tuesday wasn’t one of them. The battle for liberty begins anew this morning.

Good pep talk from the Wall Street Journal

Mr. Obama’s campaign stitched together a shrunken but still decisive version of his 2008 coalition—single women, the young and culturally liberal, government and other unions workers, and especially minority voters.

He said little during the campaign about his first term and even less about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of those voting blocs. No contraception for women. No green cards for immigrants. A return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws. No Pell grants for college.

This was all a caricature even by the standards of modern politics. But it worked with brutal efficiency—the definition of winning ugly. Mr. Obama was able to patch together just enough of these voting groups to prevail even as he lost independents and won only 40% of the overall white vote, according to the exit polls. His campaign’s turnout machine was as effective as advertised in getting Democratic partisans to the polls.

There were several other pieces today that said some of the same things, essentially you cannot win against the progressive / liberal patchwork with a pure social conservative / fiscal conservative mantra.

The Republican side was made up of:

  • survivors of the old line right center Big Business Republicans
  • evangelical social conservative/moderate
  • moderate libertarians
  • constitutional originalists
  • small business owners
  • And a rather long list of single issue activists
  • anti immigrant
  • gun rights
  • anti-abortion
  • anti-tax

The problem seems to be similar to one that the democrats used to lay claim to, Big Tentism…trying to pander to too many one topic interests to the detriment of a centralizing theme.  No party can offer blanket coverage for all the rather distantly touched special interests without weakening itself.

The centralizing theme of the Republican party is, personal responsibility and non intrusive government, based on the rule of law centered on a relatively strong reference to the Constitution.

The centralizing theme of the Democratic party might be seen as common responsibility, government central mediator, based on the interpretation of law referring to the constitution among other iconic law systems.

A key problematic special interests in the Republican party today is Big Business (as a themed entity not as the people in the companies,) not because Big Business is evil but because its interests are really more in line with the Democratic Party centralizing themes, not the Republican party’s.  The only reason Big Business tents in the Republican camp is because the Democrats demonize it, and the actual ‘People’ (i.e. agents) who are the cells of the Big Business are generally very much aligned with the centralizing theme of the Republican party.  But the Players and the Companies when operating in aggregate (or for the company) are much more likely to support the Democratic baseline than the Republican one.

Various single issues activists, particularly the semi organized Tea Party activists of various sub stripes, have pushed their way and their interests into the Republican party.  As above providing huge clubs to beat the overall party to death with.   The TP has tried to remake the Republican party in its image…which purposely does not exist.  This has again and again wrecked the chances of the party by putting up candidates who are very easily caricatured by their opponents and driven into defeat.

That’s not to say that some of the single issues activists are not right and that they all should be driven out.  The gun lobby while demonized is a strength in the party as long as it sticks to the line it has in recent years, this resonates well with personal responsibility and non-interference.  Anti tax when not carried to caricature.  Pro life, when not carried to the level of stupid anti-abortion extremism (as I’ve said before almost everyone is pro-life, most are modestly anti-abortion, but the paternalistic-extremism of an Akin or a Mourdock is nuts in this day.)

Consistency to theme should be considered strongly:  For example:  Pro-Life –>anti-abortion, anti death penalty,  limits to the pursuit of extra territorial murder (drone wars.) pro scientific medical advances (with ethical limits.) In other words limit very tightly the ability of the government to kill anyone unless they pose an immediate threat to the US, which of course has to be defined pretty damned broadly but still consistently.  (i.e. OBL raid was a perfectly reasonable action.)

If you look at the paragraph above you would realize that the Catholic Church while staying out of politics is going to support the Republican theme much more strongly than it did,does today.

Same goes for immigration, we are a nation of immigrants, and the nation needs the flow of immigrants because population growth is inherently good for the US economy in every way for the foreseeable future.  Yes borders should be protected from military incursion (which I think we do pretty well) but no country with a border as long and open (no geographic obstacles like seas, cliffs or rivers) as the US’s can seal its borders without imposing a police state, which largely stops people coming because there is no reason for them to want to go into bondage, who really wants to go to North Korea, all their walls are to keep people in, not out.    Like abortion this is a sore point with fundamentalists but at the end of the day I have never seen anti-immigration sentiment that is not at base about fear of the other or of having to compete.

One of the biggest most fundamental issues that the Republican majority has to come to grips with is that the US has always been about creative destruction and that nothing can stay the same in an evolving world.  We have to compete on the global stage in every venue and that means that in some niches we go up and others we go down.  At the end of the day nothing can protect you as a person from the winds of economic and social change and trying to do so just fosters tyranny. The only thing that provides you a shield is flexibility and the willingness to learn and adapt, which in general the average American has been better at than the rest of humanity, partly because of the freedoms that the country provides to fail and try again.

The Republican party needs to focus on the themes I think it stands for:  personal responsibility and non intrusive government, based on the rule of law centered on a relatively strong reference to the Constitution.

    • Moderate taxes (limit on income taxes, everyone pays income tax
    • Moderate, smart and regulation (stop regulators getting captured by those they regulate)
    • Pro immigrant
    • Pro small business  (not anti big business, just stop giving them special treatment)
    • Pro gun
    • Strong defense
    • Pro Life (not anti-abortion) (anti death penalty)
    • Pro Free trade even if it hurts

Then you have my dreams:

  • One term at a time (no re-elections, you can be president as many times as you want, but only one term at a time, then you take a break before running again.)
  • Individual Health Care:
  • Individual Retirement.