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True Blue Door

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About Me

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.

Journal Archives

These are a few of Steve Scalise's favorite things...

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Posted by True Blue Door | Wed Dec 31, 2014, 05:09 AM (1 replies)

Top 5 Steve Scalise excuses for attending a white supremacist event

5. Thought the swastikas were just X's in a serif font.

4. Couldn't tell it apart from any other Republican function.

3. Assumed the guys with shaven heads and red suspenders were firefighters.

2. Only knew something was wrong when the waiters were all white.

1. Thought he was attending a white separatist event, and was shocked and appalled to learn the truth.
Posted by True Blue Door | Tue Dec 30, 2014, 06:46 PM (5 replies)

Be honest now: You know if Hillary were a Harry Potter character, she would NOT be in Gryffindor.

You know what colors she'd be flying.

Really, be honest.

Posted by True Blue Door | Mon Dec 29, 2014, 09:08 PM (15 replies)

See these three movies. Please.

1. Snowpiercer.

Normally I'm the first guy to pick apart the logic of a movie, but holy shit just accept the premise of this one, however ludicrous. You will not regret it. The only survivors of an "Ice Earth" apocalypse live on a perpetual-motion train that circles the globe, and are now divided class-wise into the poor, impoverished back cars, and the rich, privileged forward cars. It's not just enlightening, but hilarious. It's like if "Brazil" and "Children of Men" fucked and had a movie baby, and the baby was better than either.

2. Only Lovers Left Alive.

Have you ever wondered what vampires would really be like? Like, really really? Watch this. They're not poncey teenagers mincing around, and they're not CGI action heroes - they're ponderous characters with deep, deep, DEEP memories, who reflect on everything in far greater depth than any living human. Watch this when you're in a patient mood, able to appreciate real beauty.

3. Edge of Tomorrow (AKA, "Live, Die, Repeat".

Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Nuff said.
Posted by True Blue Door | Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:37 PM (1 replies)

Fully solar + EV world by 2030? Exciting rumblings of imminent economic shift.

I just ran into this Motherboard piece from a couple of weeks ago, and it presents some very warm and fuzzy (and highly credible) economic projections on solar energy, battery technology, and EV transportation:

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-solar-power-could-slay-the-fossil-fuel-empire-by-2030

A lot of big banks and investment firms (e.g., JP Morgan) are betting on these specific findings, according to the article. Here are some of the most tickling forecasts it presents:

1. Between 2017-2018, the EV market explodes and grows exponentially on a continuous basis, culminating in EV dominance by 2030 if not earlier.

Interesting supporting fact: "...EVs are 90 percent cheaper to fuel and maintain than gasoline cars."

2. By 2017, lithium ion battery costs fall drastically to $350/kWh - achieving parity with average gasoline costs. By 2020, the price collapses further to $200/kWh, then to $100/kWh by 2025. Gasoline-powered automotive industry is in freefall at this point, and will probably have ceased major production by 2030.

Interesting supporting fact: "It took only 13 years for societies to transition from complete reliance on horse-drawn carriages to roads teeming with primitive automobiles." And that was a far more radical development than simply changing the power source of cars.

3. Investment firm Baron Funds predicts that BMW will cease producing internal combustion engines within 10 years. If so, they are not likely to be the only major manufacturer doing so.

4. "Over the last year Seba has even been invited to share his vision with oil and gas executives in the US and Europe. 'Essentially, Iím telling them youíre out of business in less than 15 years,' Seba said."

Interesting supporting fact: Every doubling of solar infrastructure decreases the cost of solar 22%, while the fossil fuel industry chases diminishing returns at higher and higher cost.

Interesting supporting fact: "'Put these numbers together and you find that solar has improved its cost basis by 5,355 times relative to oil since 1970,' Seba said." And that improvement trend is not slowing down. It will rocket right past fossil fuels and plumb totally unexplored territories of energy abundance.

5. From 300,000 solar installations in the US today, there will be 20 million by 2022.

6. A Deutsche Bank report predicts solar parity with fossil fuels by 2016 (basically next year).

Interesting supporting fact: Lithium ion battery costs decline 14-16% every year.

7. By 2030, the baseload of installed solar capacity - the fraction that can be stored and used any time of day - will be more than the entire projected energy demand of the world. And the actual installed capacity will be many times larger than that.

8. Energy infrastructure 100% solar by 2030. Although naturally there would be some "graininess" to such a prediction - e.g., wind would still be useful in many places since its prices too are falling quickly (but not as quickly as solar), and a place like Iceland will still prefer geothermal.

9. Radical decentralization of energy begins in 2020, when traditional utilities begin to collapse from the impossibility of competing with on-site solar whose costs are lower than the theoretical minimum for a traditional utility. Although politics guarantees some utilities will be subsidized to survive a while longer.

A lot of commentators on this phenomenon are comparing it to a Second Industrial Revolution, but I think it's a lot more profound than that - humankind is moving from an economic model of burning energy gathered by other organisms (a model we've been on since the birth of our species) to directly harvesting energy from the source, the Sun. This is a fundamental change in human civilization as a whole, and its repercussions will never stop. It is, I think, as big a change as the original evolution of photosynthesis. Since we are now in the Anthropocene Era of geologic history, this change will have repercussions for the entire planet, and not just our species.

As odd and abstract as it sounds, our civilization on the large scale will start to behave increasingly like a plant in terms of how it locates resources, the kinds of patterns it shows in its settlement behavior. Sun-harvesting imposes certain logic. Cities will start to look very different. With the unprecedented and growing energy abundance, a lot of things that are impractical now start to become practical, like large-scale desalination of ocean water and piping over continental distances. And that opens up even more possibilities.
Posted by True Blue Door | Sun Dec 21, 2014, 11:45 AM (31 replies)

It always comes down to you. There's no escaping it.

No matter what the subject is, ultimately it comes down to how you are and what you decide.

You're an environmentalist? Well, what do you drive? What do you eat? What do you wear? If everything close to you is perfect, how do you communicate with those around you?

You're a labor activist? What do you buy? Where do you buy it? Where do you live? Who do you associate with?

You're a pro-choice activist? What words do you use for your views and the opponents? How do you act when challenged? Are you defensive or proud? Do you wait to be attacked, or do you invade the thought-space of those who hate you?

You don't have to be perfect, just recognize that it's usually more effective to increase your own perfection than to belittle another's.

That's all freedom is, and all it ever was: A bunch of people choosing to be free. Choosing to do right. It was never about anyone else.

In a world of untold multitudes of slaves and savages, 20,000 or so Athenians changed humankind forever by choosing to think and make conscious decisions rather than blindly following the same old currents of ageless time. It didn't last long, but it didn't have to - their choice then changed everything forever.

Don't doubt that at any time, anywhere, you can make a choice that changes everything, forever. Because it's true. You may not want it to be true, but it is.

The smallest choice can be the lever that moves worlds.

Knowing that for a fact is what separates the great people of history from the anonymous hordes lost in infinite shadow.

And what separates a progressive from a conservative.
Posted by True Blue Door | Sat Dec 20, 2014, 05:48 PM (3 replies)

A black man, a Latino, and a white man walking down a street are stopped by the cops.

The cops draw their guns on the black man, force him to the ground, and handcuff him.

The cops demand the Latino provide citizenship documents.

The cops turn to the white guy..."These other two bothering you, sir?"

Not even really a joke.
Posted by True Blue Door | Wed Dec 17, 2014, 07:05 AM (0 replies)

Remember Alan Grayson's first term, when he spent every day being a liberal firebrand?

We loved him. We just didn't do what was necessary to keep him in his seat - he lost.

He came back, but now he's...how should I put this...quieter.

We don't support the people who support us - at least not in the proportion they support us.

We don't reward fearless liberalism to the extent the other side punishes it.

Change that, and we change everything.

Posted by True Blue Door | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 10:59 PM (89 replies)

How to get the torturers.

It needs to be said and understood that no country - not one, not ever - has managed to domestically prosecute crimes committed as a matter of policy by its own government and military against foreign nationals.

There are a few examples of overthrown regimes being prosecuted for crimes against their own people in civil wars or internal genocides, and one of a defeated nation (Germany, specifically) continuing to build on prosecutions begun by an occupying foreign army. But no surviving state - neither overthrown domestically nor destroyed and occupied in war - has ever undertaken a general prosecution of former high officials, military commanders, and intelligence leaders who committed crimes against foreigners.

So what we are seeking to do by holding the Bush regime, the Pentagon, and CIA figures accountable for committing torture and murder against terrorism suspects is uncharted territory, both for the United States and for the world. That's not a reason to balk, but acknowledging it does separate the serious from the blowhards.

Now, to begin, we have to ask a question: What's the holdup? Why have these prosecutions never happened, and why are they not happening now? The answer is simply that there are thousands of bureaucratic, diplomatic, military, and intelligence accomplices to these crimes who don't particularly want their role revealed, and would be able to create chaos within their respective institutions if they felt threatened. There are thousands of officials in foreign governments who don't want their roles revealed, and can apply diplomatic pressure to see that they aren't, with considerably damaging consequences to diplomatic relations if they feel threatened.

And all of them ripple outward: The damage those people can do causes political leaders to weigh the cost against what they might regard as the largely abstract or theoretical reward of prosecuting, and find the cost/benefit analysis wanting. They're wrong if they think that, but their view is predictable. To put it bluntly, justice is blocked by the fact that entire institutions are guilty, and those institutions are indispensable in the estimation of both the government and the general public. So to accomplish "sufficient justice," the truly guilty have to be separated from the merely corrupt, the henchmen from the conspirators, and priority choices made.

The vast majority of people who would objectively be accomplice to crimes will have to be let off, and not even in the sense of being given deals - in the more absolute sense that they will need guarantees their names will never even be mentioned. In fact, most likely all accomplices will have to be given such guarantees, and only the most important of the central figures pursued. But that introduces a wrinkle: How do you establish the facts of a crime if accomplices are not mentioned? The answer is "With difficulty." Too bad - way it goes.

Activists have been ineffectually demanding prosecution for a decade because no one is playing the political inside game to make it feasible. You have to politically isolate the central actors, and deprive them of the webs of interest that protect them. You have to convince CIA agents who routinely commit other forms of crime "for their country" (in their minds) that this would not mean open season on them and their operations. That's easy enough, but it gets more painful when you realize we have to convince those peripherally involved in the torture - even knowingly so - that they too would be kept out of it.

And then you have to add the stick to the carrot, which has been just as absent: Somehow make it true, or at least plausible, that if they still refuse to cooperate and give us the central figures as sacrifices for their continued impunity, they will all be targeted and brought down. That will require convincing them that we can deliver a political environment willing and able to send the CIA and Pentagon into years of turmoil if they continue wielding their influence to protect the torturers: Difficult, given our continued failures to keep or take back Congress, but not impossible.

Achieve that, and they will deliver prosecutions on a silver platter. They have no compunction about offering up "sacrificial lambs" for the greater good of the institution when politics demands it, so they must be convinced that this is such a situation.

These are all general thoughts, but the details are infinitely more complex.

The inside game has to begin humbly, with at least one Senator and one person in the Justice Department. The most likely Senator is Al Franken, since he's on the Judiciary Committee, but he might be too obvious since the effort has to be under the radar for a considerable amount of time - it's a question worth exploring further. The DOJ element has to be someone with authority but little spot-light on them. Each of them, and each other contact developed for the effort, needs to have a specific purpose that you evolve as part of a larger plan.

Basically the function of the network that's built for this purpose has to be subtle, confidential dialog with people inside the institutions involved, to convince them of what they need to be convinced of - as mentioned above. To begin, find a mid-level criminal in the torture conspiracy whose institutional connection is as simple as possible: Who can only call on the loyalty of one or a few other people, and no one of significance. Clandestinely cut those ties one by one, isolating this person by putting them out of favor and making clear that there would be costs to protecting them.

Keep the objectives of the game hidden as long as possible while you do the same for larger and larger characters, pruning institutional networks to isolate targeted operatives and officials.

Then you convince whoever you've got at the Justice Department to indict the easiest targets on the list, without the permission of the Attorney General (whoever it is at that point) if necessary. Since you've hopefully neutralized a lot of the institutional opposition to prosecutions, specifically for these lower-level figures, the Attorney General might at that point just go along with it even if they aren't necessarily favorable toward it. The only other alternative would be firing the subordinates responsible and torpedoing the cases, but that would destroy their own career and make them historically infamous. So most likely you get those cases.

Unfortunately, the integrity of the cases would be under constant attack by hostile elements in the DOJ trying to sabotage the prosecution and also create legal pretexts for appeal. Keeping those people away and making the proceedings air-tight at every single stage would be extremely difficult, and would fail in some instances. There's nothing for it but to try.

Now, you can't move quickly after that. You just have to pursue these "easy" (i.e., extremely hard but not quite as cosmically fucked as the topmost) cases, and build up some kind of bulwark of convictions and facts. As that develops, over many years, then you can use the same strategies to pursue a higher slate of criminals. And then another. Some day you'll be ready, both politically and judicially, to go after the key figures of the Bush White House. It might be sooner than you think, or it might be decades. But if it's truly your objective, then you pursue it as long as it takes.

There are undoubtedly already legal professionals committed to pursuing this, and activists committed to it, and a few political leaders committed to it, but there is currently no strategic inside game to make it happen. Someone has to clear the way for these legal mechanisms to function by removing the institutional motives to block it. People have to team up and work in the toxic air of cynical political gaming to make it happen.
Posted by True Blue Door | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 03:27 PM (10 replies)

If you believe Obama is protecting torturers, then you're advocating his impeachment.

If you believe that and aren't advocating his impeachment, then you are protecting torturers by your own (tortured) logic.

So, when do you folks plan on meeting with the Tea Party to plan your impeachment strategy?

You've already gone halfway there by distracting the discussion away from torture and its implications in favor of spamming one-liner smears on Barack Obama, so why not go the whole way round? Straight up join the torturers in their Teahad against the President.

Get as far away as possible from bringing the torturers to justice - disrupt and distract every possible discussion that might lead to greater unity and cooperation in pursuing them, and instead do their bidding.

I'm sure there have been tons of instances where the Justice Department under prior administrations has prosecuted CIA agents and Pentagon commanders for crimes committed by top-level policy...I just can't find any them anywhere because that darn Obama must have censored the history.

But trust your gut rather than, you know, the facts. Facts are for libruls.
Posted by True Blue Door | Fri Dec 12, 2014, 06:52 PM (56 replies)
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