cupom com desconto - o melhor site de cupom de desconto cupomcomdesconto.com.br


 

 

Chapter 15

 

Hammer Their Macho With Wagers!

And The Name-an-Exception Challenge

 

 

During a televised debate in late 2011, while seeking his party’s presidential nomination, Mitt Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to put some money-where-his-mouth-is. “Rick, I’ll tell you what,” Romney said, extending his hand. “Ten thousand bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?” 

 

Perry declined, snarling, “I’m not in the betting business.” 

 

Now, many ironies abound here. First off, Perry was part of the Republican wave who enabled and empowered the vast expansion of gambling in America, till casino moguls now rival even Rupert Murdoch, or the Mercers or Saudis, or even Vladimir Putin in party influence. So yes, he was in the betting business

 

Also ironic; Perry would have trivially won a wager over whether Romney had supported Obamacare-style individual mandates. Of course Romney – with a $200+ million fortune, came off as a bullying rich man. Here’s what one pundit railed, at the time:

 

“Twitter lit up with jokes about what $10,000 could buy for non-millionaires, and … that Iowa’s per capita income is about $38,000. Before the debate was over, Jon Huntsman’s campaign bought the domain 10kbet.com, and other GOP rivals were quick to pounce, too. How badly will this off-the-cuff wager hurt Romney?”

 

Um, not at all? Perry faded after that evening. Romney, undamaged by the “Wagergate Gaffe,” handily won the sought-for nomination, though he later lost the general election to President Barack Obama. Note that Romney’s notoriously ham-handed $10k bet stunt raised his cred across the Republican base, but more broadly discredited an entire general approach to dealing with lies and liars… almost as if that had been his intent. It also – if considered closely – helped point to possible solutions.

Stop relying on what doesn’t work.

 

We are not handling well the right’s war on facts; it’s proved every day. Those who are spurring the all-out campaign against evidence-based reason laugh at all our efforts to fight back with nerd-stuff…

 

… like long lists of Trumpian lies… or “fact-checking services”… or reports signed by all top experts in a field… or condemnations by scores of past eminent states-persons against lunatic behaviors at the top… or exposés by top journalists. 

Yes, those are grownup methods – and there are ways (discussed in Chapter 5) to improve them greatly. But alas, our elites of politics, law, journalism, punditry and science seem obstinately incapable of lifting their gaze: to realize their “sumo” methods aren’t working. 

 

Fact-checking services range from Snopes to FactCheck.org to The Washington Post – and none of them even nibble along the edges of Republican base support. They fail before a convenient Fox counter-narrative: 

 

“These so-called fact-checkers are just more fake-news. They reveal their bias when they point out far more falsehoods by Republicans than Democrats!”

 

Do you find that “logic” infuriating? Well, your impotent frustration is their food. How often must you slam your head against the same wall, before admitting the power of “Sez you”? Again, from Chapter 5: if you offer a cogent, fact-filled link as evidence, your “red” cousin will flood you with counter-links! And who are you to claim yours are better? If you cite experts, you’re a slave of conformist authority (Chapter 2.) 

 

There are endeavors that might bring rationality back to discourse – like competitive Disputation Arenas and the Fact Act – but none will work quickly enough, across a near-term electoral time scale. Meanwhile, we need rapid and effective ways to pound through the obstinacy of Sez you! So let me put this in both boldface and italics:

 

There is one area where your “red” uncle, cousin, colleague or neighbor still admits the primacy of fact. A wager. One that’s fair, well-parsed and tightly framed with clear stakes and an accepted, neutral judge.

 

The most clear-cut example is a sports bet. And for the sake of this one point, in this one paragraph, let’s drop any pretense of gender neutrality, shall we? We’re talking Neanderthal-hormonal preening, here. A real man has the guts to slap cash on the bar to back up his bluster-claims. It’s how to separate a fellah with cojones from a blowhard, or a coward.

 

Sure, when you expand from sports into areas like science or politics – and get less explicitly sexist – things become complicated. There are ways for wager-challenges to stumble, like the Romney Stunt of trying to bully with deep pockets. Or agreeing over who holds the stakes. Or zeroing in on exactly what facts to bet upon. (See the next section.)

 

Yes, for politicians and public figures, this is a bit of a minefield. It helps to make the wager’s beneficiary “my chosen charity versus yours.” That can work if it’s an amiable encounter, like when late night host Jimmy Kimmel took on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in one-on-one basketball. No one formula will work in all situations, so here’s a general way to pose it: 

 

“I’ve tried getting you to commit to a position (say on climate change) and you keep slipping aside. So will you negotiate some way to make this a fact-based wager? Is there any stake we might all deem fair? Any august sage you’d accept as arbiter? Any way you’d let this narrow down to something clear-cut, we all can judge, yes-or-no?”

 

It’s the core challenge to throw down before a fact-evading cult: “Is there any way you’ll stop squirming, so we can nail this down, one verified fact at a time?”  

 

(Earlier I offered a version having to do with fact-checking that I’d love to see an eminent personage like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, or George F. Will hurl at Sean Hannity.)

 

Want examples? Let’s start with very simple bets that offer your confed no wriggle room, because they do boil down to clearly verifiable fact.

 

– Are the oceans getting more acidic, to a potentially deadly degree? And is it because of human generated greenhouse gas?

 

– Would you put money on a randomly chosen Trump accusation of “fake news?” From the past or some random day in the near future? Or randomly chosen items from WaPo’s list of  40,000+ lies?  

 

– Have any Republican “supply side” tax cuts for the rich ever resulted in the promised vast increases in capital investment, millions of high-paying jobs, sustained GDP growth and plummeting deficits? Ever?

 

– The Caspian and Black Seas are almost dead. The Mediterranean and Caribbean appear to be dying. Is preventable pollution to blame? Put down a wager, or else shall we decide together to save them?

 

– Who crafted nearly all the key provisions for what came to be called Obamacare, Democrats or Republicans?

READ  Assista aos Emirados Árabes Unidos lançarem sua primeira missão a Marte

 

– Which political party generally leaves U.S. defenses, alliances and resilience in better shape than how they found them? Which party nearly always leaves the American military worse off than before they took over?

 

– Are glaciers retreating or “setting records”? Or I bet you can’t prove any allegations of busloads of fake voters swarming the polls.  Or the “biggest inauguration, ever,” or hours spent on golf. Or Those ‘birther’ claims. Or….

 

Have any five other presidents (combined) been “betrayed” by as many appointees as Trump? Officials and aides whom he earlier called “great guys?” And what does this say of Donald Trump as a judge of character?

 

Those challenges offer examples of the needed traits for an aggressive wager-challenge. They are clear and simple, selected for low “squirm factor” – or ability to weasel… say by demanding “define acidic!” They come from a very long list sampled in other sections. 

 

Don’t try to tell me “We’ve already challenged Republicans on all those things!” No. You have not. I repeat; you have not. You have whined about them. You’ve done it in ways they can simply shrug off, while relishing your frustration. 

 

Okay, now comes the kicker, again in both boldface/italic:

 

Almost never will they accept any kind of wager! 

Efforts to pin them down will fail. 

They’ll writhe and squirm and ramble and “whatabout”-distract.

They will not agree to actual stakes over a clearly defined matter of evidence, with impartial arbiters.

 

Um. So. Brin. Did you just admit this entire “wager” thing won’t work?

 

No, I did not admit that. 

What I said is they’ll refuse to bet! 

And if you’ve learned anything at all about polemical judo, you’ll see what an opportunity that opens.

 

Dig it. The research of cognitive linguist George Lakoff proved that roughly half of Americans prefer a “strong father” over the liberals’ “nurturing parent.” Fundamentalists idolize a man who is opposite-to-Jesus in every way, because he galls the same people they hate. Every GOP convention and rally is now a festival of macho puffery. Even a third of U.S. Hispanic males revere Trump’s caudillo bluster, despite all the offensive racism. 

 

It seems an impervious castle that no gambit by enlightenment forces can penetrate,because any appeal to fact or reason makes us seem the weakling whiners! A strong father doesn’t need to be right, only strong! Objective refutation won’t undermine him, though compromise might. So he’ll never compromise.

 

Above all, any sign of weakness is lethal. So his one aim will be to avoid showing any. 

 

Did you think I was talking about Donald Trump, just now? If so, you miss the point. Macho bully-bluster is the core foundation of today’s entire rightist populism. It has always been the soul of the confederacy.

 

Which is where wagers come in. Because the substance of the bet is less significant than their refusal to ante-up.  It opens our real opportunity – to hammer with ridicule, undermining that delusional image of virile strength. Of manliness. They base their brand upon it. So that’s where to aim savage kicks, and repeat over and over.

 

The refrain is “coward!”

 

It can work. It already has.

 

How many of you have followed the lawsuit in which Alex Jones, the infamous conspiracy-spewer and purveyor of perverted paranoias, was finally chased down by victims of his insanely vicious Sandy Hook attacks? Dig it, the Sandy Hook parents’ lawsuit was essentially a forced wager! Oh, how Jones backpedaled from his rants that the mourning parents were all actors, grieving over nonexistent lost children. He swerved, first claiming he was innocently mistaken, then that his slanderous lies had simply been a ‘stage performance.’ Finally, he’s been pleading insanity! All to no avail.

 

Yes, it’s time for a great many more such lawsuits and forced wagers. But that misses the point of this chapter. Because it is the very act of cornering them, and seeing them refuseto bet, that gives this method power.

 

My favorite is ocean acidification – O.A. – because it has every trait we need. O.A. sidesteps all the narratives of distraction over climate change. In fact, Fox et. al. avoid ever mentioning it, since the cause is inarguable, the symptoms are easily measured by non-experts, and the deadly effects are indisputable. Start with a glass of water and a straw and two swimming pool test strips. Just blowing bubbles from your CO2-rich lungs will turn the water acidic. Then offer to go down to the shore with a pH meter… or visit the chemistry teacher at a community college… or… 

 

Choose carefully. Learn to pick a challenge that has no ambiguity, no room to squirm. Share tips and videos with each other. When they try to dodge, dare them to help pick arbiters and stake-holders who – even if “conservative” – are reputably adult and judicious. And if they demur, then chide: “Oh, your cult can’t supply any?”

 

When they waver and hedge and quibble and try to claim they never bet, remember to taunt: “Of course you bet! You’re so sure of this Foxite crap that you’re willing to bet the lives of our planet and nation and children, but not a hundred bucks?” Slap a sawbuck on the table and demand “If you’re so sure, come and take my money!

 

At which point we reach our final boldface/italic riff:

 

Your effort to pin them down – offering real stakes – shows YOUR confident strength, by THEIR standards. When they refuse to bet, it will result in either backpedaling or else frantic flight. Either way, you win something for all fact people. A small victory for this civilization.

 

If they backpedal from one climate-denial position to a slightly less-insane one, then you may be dealing with a RASR… a Residually Adult-Sane Republican… who could be worth the effort of pursuit, chopping away rationalizations, one by one, aiming toward the greatest possible reward. Redemption of a useful fellow citizen, who might then influence others.

 

And if he flees? 

 

Then you have turned the macho tables. Chase his quivering manly heinie with “coward!”

 

I mean that, and nothing less. Enjoy the immaturity, because it’s their language! And your immature enjoyment is something that playground bullies deeply understand. They made this a variant of war.

cupom com desconto - o melhor site de cupom de desconto cupomcomdesconto.com.br

 

NOEC: The Name One Exception Challenge 

 

Here’s a related approach that’s more sophisticated, but it can be effective with a different kind of person – generally someone who makes a show of seeming logical. You may have to think about this one carefully, but it applies well beyond politics.

 

Consider. If I make a specific accusation – say that you committed a particular crime – then the burden of proof is on me. Fair enough. But what happens when I make a universal assertion?

 

Say: “The daylight sky is always blue!” 

…or: “The ocean is always wet!”

…or: “Snails never deliver Hamlet soliloquies.” 

 

Do I bear a burden of proof then? Well, that depends on “always” and “never.”

 

When I challenge you to disprove a Universal Assertion, it should be easy! Just find one exception. If you cite even one, then the statement might still be frequently or generallytrue, but it’s not a universal. For example, anyone can point to days when the sky’s another color. Blue sky is a general truth that’s proved not to be universal.  It’s the “always” part that’s disproved by a single counter-example.

 

The wet-ocean generality is universal, unless the argument dissolves into definition quibbles. But when it comes to Shakespearean gastropods, well the burden of proof falls on anyone who claims the universal “never” ain’t so. Your failure to find even one slimy-shelled melancholy Dane proves me right!

 

Not in a court of law. Indeed, if your opponent can name exceptions, then the argument falls back under rules of preponderance of evidence. “Never” just becomes “hardly ever.”

 

Applying This To Politics. Any member of the Climate Denialist Cult can cite weather examples that seem to violate global warming, hence it cannot be proved by Name an Exception, but by tediously showing the factual basis for why 99% of scientists agree that global warming endangers all our children. This Name An Exception riff isn’t applicable to that hard fight.

 

But when a general accusation is very broad, and your opponent cannot name even onecounter-example, it has profoundly effective import. At that point the generality enters territory like “the sun always rises at dawn,” or “a rock that you throw in the air will always come down.” One counter-example – even one – will destroy the word “always.” But failure to cite any counter-example makes “always” powerful! 

 

Especially when the assertion is in history or politics. Jiminy, almost everything in those fields has exceptions! If you can’t find even one, then it means you are wrong, wrong, incredibly wrong.

 

For the following general assertions, a burden of proof falls on your conservative friend to show how the accusations have any exceptions, any at all! And if your RASR fails to find even one, then they are true.

 

Moreover, if any of these Name One Exception Challenges (NOEC) – even one of them – cannot be refuted with a single counter-example, then your opponent’s movement is not a political party. It is a dangerously insane and incompetent cult.

 

(At this point in the book, you’re already familiar with these dares and challenges. I make no apologies, as the chapters of this tome are compiled from many articles. In any event, perhaps by you now see the value of repetition.)

 

1-   NAME ONE fact-centered profession of high knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump and cohorts. Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science. Thirty years ago, 40% of U.S. scientists called themselves Republican. Now it’s 2% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 

 

Now? As I’ve repeated many times (and so should you) the Republican enemies list includes the FBI and law professionals, the vast variety of civil servants, plus the U.S. military and intelligence officer corps. All are dismissed as “deep state” foes conspiring against goodness and freedom. Oh no, this is not your mommy’s or daddy’s conservatism. Name one exception.

 

2- NAME ONE major GOP leader between Reagan and Ryan who was even mentioned at the 2016 Republican Convention. Except for Newt Gingrich, all were brushed under the rug, including both Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dennis Hastert, Tom (convicted felon) DeLay, Boehner. In fact, name a republican top leader between Eisenhower and Ryan who was even mentioned by the party at the 2016 RNC, other than Reagan and Newt! This shows how writhing ashamed Republicans are, of their record at governance. And if you disavow those past Republican administrations as incompetent, Russia-hating, enterprise-destroying, warmongering liars, then where is your party’s credibility?

 

3- NAME ONE of the dark fantasies about Obama, from black UN helicopters to taking away all our guns, that provably and verifiably happened, or was even tepidly tried. Heck, let’s throw in the Kenyan birth and Sharia Law stuff. Indeed, after 25 years and half a billion dollars of Clinton-Obama investigations… well… see #5.

 

4- NAME ONE time when supply side (voodoo) “economics” made a successful prediction? Ever? One time when slashing taxes on the rich led to reduced deficits, to vastly stimulated economic activity, or even much investment in “supply” capital? Or increased money velocity or middle class health? Once when the outcomes weren’t diametrically opposite to all promises. One time when this cult religion actually delivered? (Chapter 11.)

 

A related riff we saw in Chapter 3 might also be used as a NOEC: When was “America Great”? While we’re sending probes past Pluto, and rovers across Mars, discovering thousands of planets across the galaxy, curing diseases, raising billions of children out of poverty around the world and so on. But sure, tell us when you think it was all better! The 1950s? Run by the Greatest Generation who adored FDR? They knew the dangers of oligarchy and passed many rules to control it. Rules like forbidding companies to waste money on stock buybacks, where nearly all of the recent Trump Tax Cut was frittered away, without tangible investment in R&D or factories. In fact, every major move away from the Rooseveltian social contract resulted in lower growth, wider wealth disparity, shorter commercial ROI horizons, declines in R&D and increasing dominance by a crazy MBA caste. Name an exception!

 

5- NAME ONE time in American – or human – history, when an administration spanning eight years had zero – or close to zero –  scandals or indictments concerning proved malfeasance in the performance of official duties. It happened twice in American – or human – history. The administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Name another! There was one four-year U.S. administration that had no malfeasance-of-office scandals… that of Jimmy Carter.  (Yes, there were a few scandals outside that description, “malfeasance in the performance of official duties,” though fewer overall than any month or week of a Trump or Bush administration.)

 

Let’s be clear. The Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations looked hard for evidence, some smoking-gun, to pin on Carter, Clinton and Obama. They sifted like crazy when they owned every federal department and ran dozens of investigatory committees, wasting hundreds of millions looking for something – anything.  “W” ordered federal agents transferred from counter terror duties to join this hunt before 9/11… arguably costing thousands of American lives. And they found, what? A husband fibbed about infidelity… then a wife made the same email mistake as both Bushes, Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Jared Kushner.  

 

In contrast, GOP administrations – all of them – were rife with indictments, convictions and pardons. We’ll elaborate on this one in the next “pause” section.

 But for now… name an exception.

 

6- NAME  ONE counter-example to Republicans damaging every strength that won the Cold War. Almost every thing that bolstered us during that struggle is being systematically dismantled, from our alliances to science, from dedicated intelligence and law agencies to the moral high ground and the rule of law and the respect of the world. There may be exceptions, though I know of none.

 

The next one has become iffy amid the “great Trump economy!” But I choose (in September 2019) to include it here because it was generally true ever since Reagan, and by the time you get to these words, it (sadly) may be true again.

 

7- NAME ONE major metric of U.S. national health that did better across the entire spans of any completed GOP administration, than across the spans of the Clinton and Obama terms.  Nearly all such metrics declined – many plummeting – across both Bush regimes. (See Chapters 10 & 11.) Nearly all of them – from scientific accomplishment to world reputation – rose, many of them by a lot, across both terms of the last two Democratic Administrations. That includes every sane conservative desideratum like rate of change of deficits (Chapter 11) and even military readiness!  The condition of our alliances. Small business startups. Entrepreneurship. 

 

Here’s hoping this last one breaks the pattern, with America doing well all the way to Trump’s finish. But I’m sadly sure we’ll get to cite this one too, and demand that our Residually Adult-Sane Republican friends name one exception.

 

Okay, Part 2 of this chapter was a whole lot more complicated than the macho-targeting missile of Part 1. The Name One Exception Challenge is more for use with your logical (or at least pretending to be) RASR cousin. 

 

Sure, they are still koolaid-slurpers. They’ll shout “squirrel!” and point offstage at some assertion or distraction, concocting scenarios and excuses to explain why they cannot answer any of those NOEC challenges. 

 

And yet, on rare occasion I meet the real McCoy – a genuinely sincere conservative “ostrich” willing to lift his or her head, when tugged by these dares. I have seen them budge. 

 

Please understand the value of that. Because sanity, like insanity, can be infectious. 

 

It can spread.

 

Ian Fleming knew what to make of this.

 

All right, this chapter was about something that most blue Americans have given up as hopeless, breaking through the seemingly impenetrable walls that Fox and Putin and Trump have built to protect their red-confederate base. You may call it futile and useless. But you have only to look at how much treasure and effort they are pouring into shoring up those walls, to realize how any breach terrifies them!

 

As I’ve repeated. They know they’ll lose an occasional election, like 1992 and 2008. But history shows they can come roaring back (1994 and 2010) so long as the base is secure. Moreover, even if that base diminishes, but stays riled enough, our enemies can still harm America by unleashing floods of lava hot Timothy McVeighs.

 

Yes, the methods in this chapter are worth trying. Someone must. The obstinate refusal of our blue ‘generals’ – pundits, politicians etc. – to ever try anything except what never worked has to be overcome, the way Lincoln sought, and finally found, warriors who could fight.

 

We must recall the wisdom found in good fiction:

 

Fool us once? Shame on you.

Fool us a million times? Then fire all our incompetent pundits!

 

Better yet, let’s go to the font of wisdom, when it comes to dealing with skullduggerous plots and schemes.

 


 



[1] He had. Obamacare was based largely on “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, which was cloned from the GOP approved Heritage plan, as described elsewhere in this book. And the individual mandate was a centerpiece, the pride and joy of its authors… till Obama gave it cooties.

 

[2] Romney’s ‘bet’ https://theweek.com/articles/479518/mitt-romneys-touch-10000-bet

 

[3] Romney’s ‘Out of Touch’ $10,000 Bet.”  https://theweek.com/articles/479518/mitt-romneys-touch-10000-bet

[4] 12,000 Trump lies as of August 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/12/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/

 

[5] From The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/

 

 For a rather intense look at how “truth” is determined in science, democracy, courts and markets, see the lead article in the American Bar Association’s Journal on Dispute Resolution (Ohio State University), v.15, N.3, pp 597-618, Aug. 2000, “Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competition.”   http://www.amazon.com/Disputation-Arenas-ebook/dp/B005AK2R74/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=contbrin-20

[7] I often demand that the red-capped fellah escrow funds with a reputable lawyer, before I’ll waste my time working out proofs. 

 

[8] Which is why this might best be implemented by some liberal/moderate millionaire, making it her ‘thing’ to hammer wager challenges relentlessly, perhaps at some oligarch peer, spending what it takes to pin him down.

 

[9] “Will you pick half a dozen widely respected conservative eminences to serve on a panel to advise which fact-checking services are partisan? I’ll pick as many respected-moderate liberals. They can together choose some libertarians. Not a ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but a panel of sages who might help us struggle out of this mess. Or are you afraid they’ll conclude you are the fake news?”

 

[10] Pick – even randomly – any five of the 12,000+ outright Trumpian falsehoods listed by the Washington Post’s “Fact-Checker” Glenn Kessler. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/

 

[11] Glaciers. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-trump/trumps-view-that-ice-caps-setting-records-baffles-scientists-idUSKBN1FI1WK

[12] How many times have you seen a Republican legislator evade questions of climate change with “I’m not a scientist” and Trump with “windmills cause cancer!” The Fact Act would nail all that, but this method works, too.

 

[13] Indeed, they generally assail the wrong fort, even the wrong mountain!

 

[14] Sherman did not invent slash-burn during the Civil War. The Confederacy did, though Sherman finished it. Likewise, they think we cannot learn; but some of us (those with the requisite predatory knack, underneath our civilized values) are able to adapt. Our goal remains “with malice toward none and with charity for all.” But in order to get there – to save America – we’ll fight.

[15] Earlier version of “Name an Exception.” http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-name-one-exception-challenge.html

[16] At least until slimy aliens arrive, or the gene labs get very busy, or the Society of Secretly Speedy Shakespearian Sea Slugs gets angry at this tome, and finally finds the guts to step up.

 

[17] From New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-mistrust-of-science?linkId=25842187

[18] Although I led the list with this one, having wracked my brains for years and exposed this challenge to a community of fierce minds, let me admit that there might be a couple of exceptions here. Knowledge/skill/fact professions not under assault by Fox & co. Only, I won’t reveal them here!  Even if your RASR comes up with one, the fact that he/she had to really think about it hard proves the point. Their “side” has gone insane.

 

[19] Goldfinger’s Rule: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/418466-once-is-happenstance-twice-is-coincidence-three-times-is-enemy

cupom com desconto - o melhor site de cupom de desconto cupomcomdesconto.com.br

Deixe uma resposta

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *