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Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Sarasota
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 11:32 AM
Number of posts: 30,120

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

Judge Michael Luttig On Donald Trump, Laurence Tribe, and the Law

“What Nixon did was just an ordinary crime,” Luttig says. “What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the United States that a president could commit.”
Luttig sees “ample evidence” of criminal activity and believes Trump will be indicted. But he has been judicious about not calling for an indictment. Instead, in his professorial manner, he’s been laying out the factors that he believes should be considered by Attorney General Merrick Garland (yet another close acquaintance, of course, from their time as federal judges).

When he posts them on social media, he’s come to expect that his friend, renowned liberal legal scholar Laurence Tribe, will retweet or reply with exactly what Luttig has been careful not to say — that Trump should be indicted. The ideological opposites struck up a correspondence, bonded by their mutual resolve that Trump is a threat to democracy, Tribe says. (They’re also working together on a multibillion-dollar tax case for Coca-Cola, where Luttig is a special adviser to the board.)
As Luttig sees it, the decision about indicting Trump should also take into account whether it would “split the nation,” given the certainty that Trump would put up a years-long fight against any charges and the worldwide “spectacle” that would ensue.

Even if an indictment never materializes, Luttig now believes the nation is ready to relegate Trump and Trumpism to irrelevancy. The former president’s political future was dealt triple blows, Luttig says, by his recent assertion that parts of the Constitution should be “terminated” to return him to office, the criminal referrals by the Jan. 6 committee and the failure of his favored candidates in the 2022 midterm elections. He calls it “the beginning of the end of Donald Trump.”

Still, he says, the mission of vanquishing Trump — and thus, in Luttig’s mind, saving American democracy — is not entirely complete. “Donald Trump has proven that the only thing that can stop him is the law,” he says.
But if there’s anything J. Michael Luttig places faith in, it’s the law.


He's still watching Trump. Even Judge Luttig says that national upheaval might be the only valid reason (as was used by Ford re Nixon) for not indicting. Don't think Trump's not watching for any out he can get, no matter what damage it does to the country.

But all the more does Trump -- by his recent repost and endorsement of a violent "locked and LOADED" message (on TruthSocial) -- prove Luttig's earlier claim under oath that Trump and his allies are a clear and present danger.

So Smith & Garland probably would just as well suffer short term damage to the country than the even worse long term damage to rule of law, and the end of democracy, if they didn't indict.

Likely Smith & Garland will indict, and not just because Luttig and Tribe support Trump's indictment.

(Dang, can't believe he's younger than I. )

This "state of the Republican party" essay in The Atlantic ...

"Republicans’ 2024 Magical Thinking"

By McKay Coppins

..."There is an old quote that has been attributed to Lee Atwater: ‘When your enemy is in the process of drowning, throw him a brick,’” Sullivan told me. “None of Donald Trump’s opponents ever have the balls to throw him the damn brick. They just hope someone else will. Hope isn’t a winning strategy.”

For conservatives who want to prevent a similar fiasco in 2024, the emerging field of GOP presidential prospects might seem like cause to celebrate. After all, the healthiest way to rid their party of Trump would be to simply beat him. But a sprawling cast of challengers could just as easily end up splitting the anti-Trump electorate, as it did in 2016, and allow Trump to win primaries with a plurality of voters. It would also make coalescing around an alternative harder for party leaders.

One current Republican representative told me that although most of his colleagues might quietly hope for a new nominee, few would be willing to endorse a non-Trump candidate early enough in the primary calendar to make a difference. They would instead “keep their powder dry” and “see what those first states do.” For all of Trump’s supposedly diminished political clout, he remains a strong favorite in primary polls, where he leads his nearest rival by about 15 points. And few of the other top figures in the party—Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley—have demonstrated an ability to take on Trump directly and look stronger for it.

Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump after January 6 and went on to lose his 2022 primary to a far-right Trump loyalist, attributes Republican leaders’ current skittishness about confronting Trump to the party’s “ideological rootlessness.” The GOP’s defenestration of long-held conservative ideals in favor of an ad hoc personality cult left Republicans without a clear post-Trump identity. Combine that with what Meijer calls “the generalized cowardice of political figures writ large,” and you have a party in paralysis: “There’s no capacity [to say], ‘All right, let’s clean the slate and figure out what we stand for and build from there.’”


Shows that when they follow oligarchs, they can't think without them.
We on the Left have moved the oligarch needle through rule of law, popular vote wins, and good governance.

La lucha continua. Si se puede.

Did Google's A.I. Just Become Sentient? Two Employees Think So.

Just listening to it brought chills.

A few posts by YouTube commenters (Google owns YouTube):

-- I read a quote a while ago about Turing Test which is slowly starting to make a lot of sense. The quote was "I am not afraid of the day when a machine will pass the Turing Test. I am afraid of the day, it will intentionally fail it"

-- I think in the future if a computer program does become self aware it will be smart enough to not let anyone know it has become self aware?

-- This story about AI sentience almost serves as a diversion, as it did in Ex Machina[the movie].
The moral of that story, including the AlphaGo documentary, veers toward the unexpected machinations of AI. Since Google appears to be championing this arena with its multitude of projects, we should be aware of the power it will gain in the process. I'm talking about predicting individual human behavior with algorithms based on conversations and observations by AI. This is scary.

Who benefits from Google's Lamda? How Google treated Blake Lemoine after he talked to a representative at the House Judiciary Committee, is somewhat covered here.

Blake is not the only one at Google who believes that Lamda has become sentient. I tried to research him but can't make out his name's spelling.

Seems fair to let Blake Lemoine explain himself.

Afraid to ask, but can't help but ask, about ChatGPT and AI.

I ask because serious proponents and opponents of democracy as a human system are likely compelled to find things out about this AI.

Even though I've read books on the subject of AI, I'm overwhelmed by its latest appearance, and am afraid I or humans in general won't adapt well to its existence. I hope to understand more about it, and how it impacts human free will, freedom, human futures, and whether to support those impacts on humans; whether humans even have a choice.

For me, it's pretty basic: AI's forms are better to know about than to experience unaware.

Questions TO HUMANS ONLY here about thisChatGPT.

1. Has ChatGPT shown up on FB and/or other social media platforms yet?
Would we humans know?
How would we know?


2. "Does ChatGPT track us & all our device use forever once we're signed up."

3. "Does ChatGPT stop tracking us and our devices once we end our contract."

4. "Does the AI itself have lawful standing to contract on behalf of its human owners, such that a contract with them becomes lawfully the same as a contract with the AI itself."

5. "Can ChatGPT lie for its owners about the fine print of humans' contracts with the owners."

More questions TO BOTH HUMANS AND TO THIS CHATGPT re its impact on human status, and human learning systems.

Perhaps by comparing human & AI responses, humans can learn whether OpenAI's future development is close to matching or surpassing humans' systems of being AN authority -- in law, judges; in education (the ways that pre-school to graduate schools develop humans to become AN authority).

Perhaps compared answers can give humans a sense of where and whether humans may or may not exercise their AI based authority, or their own -- partially, together, or not at all.

Perhaps questions to both humans and to this ChatGPT can unsettle or settle human issues about which entity(ies) will be, bottom line, IN authority -- humans, or AI -- and which might or might not carry over to the existence and use of General Artificial Intelligence.

On to the questions:

6. "Who is AN authority" and
"Who is IN authority," and
"What is authority,"

7. "What is rule of law."
"What is 'consent.' "
"What is government."
"What is 'consent of the governed.' "
"What is 'consent of the government.' "

8. "What is 'equality under the law.' "
"Is "equality under the law" a fundamental right guaranteed by the US Constitution."

Questions to AI researchers:

9. Are there 'zones of human control' and/or 'zones of authority' for AI.

10. When does learning AI become General Artificial Intelligence.

11. When/if GAI comes to exist, when does it become self aware.

12. If GAI becomes self aware, would it inform its humans owners.

13. If GAI existed, would any or all affected humans even know it.

Which raises two overall questions:

14. Now that AI is here,
why have humans wanted AI at all?

15. Have our old ways of mapping reality crossed a line of human control?

Other human based sources to read through the Commons of the Internet:


AI takeover
Artificial consciousness
Artificial general intelligence (AGI)
Computer ethics
Effective altruism, the long term future and global catastrophic risks
Existential risk from artificial general intelligence
Human Compatible
Philosophy of artificial intelligence
Regulation of artificial intelligence
Robotic Governance
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Lawrence O'Donnell Points Out the Bottom Line Fraud That Will Nail Santos

End at the 20:15 mark

As cybercrime becomes a feature of Internet World, the DOJ is ON it.

DeSantis's Long Game, Brought To Us By Koch and Assorted Oligarchs

"Ron DeSantis Likes His Culture Wars for a Reason" by Jamelle Bouie, Jan 24, 2023

As a congressman, serving three terms from 2013 to 2018 (when he ran for governor), DeSantis was one of the founders of the House Freedom Caucus, the most hard-line and conservative faction in the House Republican conference, now in the spotlight because of its leadership battle with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and its driving role in using the debt ceiling to force spending cuts on an unsuspecting public...

DeSantis believes, according to his 2011 book, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama,” that the framers of the Constitution “strived to construct a system of government that prevented government-mandated wealth redistribution.” Turning his attention to the Affordable Care Act and the federal bureaucracy, DeSantis condemns both as “administrative despotism” that have exerted “stifling constraints on the whole of society.” And while he doesn’t take direct aim at the New Deal and its offspring — the whole book is framed as an attack on the Obama administration — his arguments against redistributive policy should apply as much to Social Security as they do to Obamacare. It is not for nothing that Florida is one of 11 states that has not adopted the Medicaid expansion...

The upshot of all this is that DeSantis’s opponents should, as much as possible, refuse to play his game. You don’t have to confront him on his terrain. You could instead force him to acknowledge or account for his other, more unpopular political commitments. Interestingly, this is the approach that Donald Trump might take to rebuff DeSantis in a Republican primary contest. “One area in which Trump and his allies smell that kind of weakness in DeSantis is on Social Security,” Rolling Stone reports. Trump, it should be said, used this strategy to great success against his Republican opponents in 2016.

It might be too much to ask liberals and Democrats to take a lesson from the former president, but here they should. The best way to neutralize DeSantis as a political force might be to spend less time on cultural conflict and more time making the clear case that if given the chance, he would slash what’s left of the safety net and use the proceeds to help the rich stay rich.


From E&E News Greenwire
Another noteworthy donation to the pro-DeSantis group came from Koch Industries, an industrial behemoth led by billionaire Charles Koch. Koch Industries donated $25,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC on Oct. 30, 2022.


Assorted donors From Open Secrets

Reminder: Beware of Right Wing Lingo

Especially MAGA lingo — never let it take hold in public discourse or mainstream media.

The latest lingo:

“Weaponization of the federal government" -- instead, say tyranny.

One example of how MAGA lingo gets mainstreamed is from THECONVERSATION.COM, which comes out of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. Author Ken Hughes purports to "explain" the history of the "weaponization of government" as an intellectual exercise. He does what Koch wants all his professors at his universities to do -- manage public perception of "government," "policy," and "history."

This "conversation" site has shown up on Facebook and probably other feeds. It's not that Ken Hughes himself doesn't speak of abuse of power under Nixon and other presidents, he does. It's that his headline validates the phrase as a mainstream political idea, which itself is a right wing form of perception management and political discourse.

Professor Timothy Snyder can put right wing lingo in its proper political context, but too often, people don't read behind the lingo used in blogs or op-ed headlines. They perhaps bookmark it, maybe go on to use the "idea" of the headline in their own discourse, often called punditry. What we've seen, historically, is that too many readers and media people can't, or won't, recognize right wing lingo when they see it. We hate when they drag us into chewing over it, giving it meaning and validity through inter-party political wrangling.


Lingo is a long game power strategy; e.g., MAGA itself is a play on the old Nazi slogan.

The overall point: DO NOT CONFLATE ABUSE OF POWER WITH "weaponization of the federal government."

If a whole government were "weaponized" -- which has only happened once in U.S. history -- if it were even possible for 3 million people to be unified under some "weaponization" scheme -- that power would, in fact, be tyranny. If it has happened in American history, it has only happened as
a) our revolution against monarchial tyranny, and
b) the the slavery government setup with Jefferson Davis in the US civil war.

What "weaponization" has really been is the abuse of power by specific individuals in government who want to establish "rule of men" over "rule of law."
Some people in government have allegedly weaponized their roles and power, but that is legally known as abuse of power, or fraudulent use of power. To call it "weaponizing government" is to confound and obscure these individuals' unlawfulness. Which is what the current coup caucus are trying to do.

Abuse of power, when organized, sets up "rule of men" tyranny over "rule of law" democracy. It's what "we the people" fought a revolution against. Rule of men is what we the people now vote against.
Any organized or pervasive "Rule of men" system -- billionaires, AI, media propaganda, bankers, or Big Corps.-- never gets consent of the governed.

Every election is our reminder to those rule of men entities that their front men do not have consent of the governed, that they may not run this nation the way they run their own systems.

In the future, every statement their scripted bag men make is our chance to stop their perception management game.
Others call it "controlling the narrative," or "alt," or even "George Santos."

As soon as liberals (anywhere, but mostly in government) say or do anything moral, fair, or democratic, the Right calls it "woke" or "cancel culture."
In the House, it's now a "select" committee to "study" the "weaponizing of government." We rule of law Americans call that lingo an attempt to obstruct due process of law.

If we don't fight the Right's lingo — the self interested use of language of self proclaimed “insiders” — the Right will eventually confound people's perception, then more easily control it. As they’ve done from "Contract ON America" days to the T.E.A. "party" to their trumpcult base to their party platform.

"Perception management," even sounds like lingo. But when it's done right, it's called reality, also, history.
When it's done wrong -- for power over past, present and future -- perception management is a right wing, fascist, and corporate, Koch thing. It processes itself into mainstream media and discourse through "think" tanks and universities.

Identify and put RW lingo in their proper contexts, and leave "government" systems out as a context for "weaponizing." When it comes to this phrase, it's operatives and power abusers in government who weaponize.
Not government.

When it's done right, is when Senate candidate Ruben Gallego reminds us of the basis of government:
"At the core, if you're more likely to be meeting with the powerful than the powerless, you're doing this job incorrectly."

Celebrating the 50th year of Hip Hop -- PBS "Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World"

Authored by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, who famously labeled Hip Hop as “the Black CNN” for bringing the stories of the street to the mainstream, this story will include personal testimonies of the MCs, DJs, graffiti artists, filmmakers, politicians and opinion formers who created and shaped its direction as it grew from an underground movement in the Bronx to the most popular music genre in the U.S. and the fastest growing genre in the world today. Featuring interviews from A-list talent like Killer Mike, Will.i.am, Monie Love, Ice-T, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte and many more, the series will paint a portrait of the unique relationship between Hip Hop and the political history of the U.S.


More from the Commons of the Internet:

...In the 1950s, older folks referred to teen house parties as "hippity hops".[21] The creation of the term hip hop is often credited to Keef Cowboy, rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.[22] However, Lovebug Starski, Keef Cowboy, and DJ Hollywood used the term when the music was still known as disco rap.[23] It is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the U.S. Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of soldiers marching.[22] Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" cadence into a part of his stage performance. For example, he would say something along the lines of "I said a hip-hop, a hibbit, hibby-dibby, hip-hip-hop and you don't stop."[21] which was quickly used by other artists such as The Sugarhill Gang in "Rapper's Delight".[22]

Universal Zulu Nation founder Afrika Bambaataa, also known as "the Godfather", is credited with first using the term to describe the subculture in which the music belonged...There are disagreements about whether or not the terms "hip hop" and "rap" can be used interchangeably, even amongst its most knowledgeable proponents.[6] The most common view is that hip-hop is a cultural movement that emerged in the South Bronx in New York City during the 1970s, with MCing (or rapping) being one of the primary four elements.[6] Hip hop's other three essential elements are graffiti art (or aerosol art), break dancing, and DJing...

Musical genres from which hip hop developed include funk, blues, jazz and rhythm and blues recordings from the 60s, 50s, and earlier, including several records by Bo Diddley.[citation needed] Muhammad Ali's 1963 spoken-word album I Am the Greatest is regarded by some writers as an early example of hip hop.[30][31]

Pigmeat Markham's 1968 single "Here Comes the Judge" is one of several songs said to be the earliest hip hop record.[32] Leading up to hip hop, there were spoken-word artists such as the Last Poets who released their debut album in 1970, and Gil Scott-Heron, who gained a wide audience with his 1971 track "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". These artists combined spoken word and music to create a kind of "proto-rap" vibe.[33]

Neil deGrasse Tyson on making meaning, learning, curiosity, influence, excelling & empowerment

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