As opposition to Trump grows, Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals are relevant

Bring continual pressure. Never stop fighting. Turn negatives into positives. Always have a constructive alternative.

From Alinsky:
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum. The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.
The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside
This is based on the principle that every positive has its negative. We have already seen the conversion of the negative into the positive, in Mahatma Gandhi’s development of the tactic of passive resistance.
One corporation we organized against responded to the continuous application of pressure by burglarizing my home, and then using the keys taken in the burglary to burglarize the offices of the Industrial Areas Foundation where I work. The panic in this corporation was clear from the nature of the burglaries, for nothing was taken in either burglary to make it seem that the thieves were interested in ordinary loot—they took only the records that applied to the corporation. Even the most amateurish burglar would have had more sense than to do what the private detective agency hired by that corporation did. The police departments in California and Chicago agreed that “the corporation might just as well have left its fingerprints all over the place.”
In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt. When a corporation bungles like the one that burglarized my home and office, my visible public reaction is shock, horror, and moral outrage. In this case, we let it be known that sooner or later it would be confronted with this crime as well as with a whole series of other derelictions, before a United States Senate Subcommittee Investigation. Once sworn in, with congressional immunity, we would make these actions public. This threat, plus the fact that an attempt on my life had been made in Southern California, had the corporation on a spot where it would be publicly suspect in the event of assassination. At one point I found myself in a thirty-room motel in which every other room was occupied by their security men. This became another devil in the closet to haunt this corporation and to keep the pressure on.


The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying “You’re right—we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.”
This is crucial. We need detailed plans and demands. If not, we get sandbagged when they say, what do you want.”
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Escalating cyber war: Living in a cyberpunk novel

Obama’s tepid response to the DNC hack and to Russia trying to influence the election may lead others, particularly China, to assume they can hack into U.S. systems without much blowback. All of this is complicated by the very nature of cyberspace. A huge DDOS attack against a US company coming from servers in China using Russian hacker software does not necessarily mean the attack came from China or Russia. It could have come from anywhere.

Fake news, distorted news, bot armies, humans being paid to swarm and attack opponents on social media – these are increasingly part of cyberspace, and what they do impacts non-cyberspace too.

The attacks we’ve seen so far are probably trivial compared to the attacks to come.

It was recently reported by cyber-security expert Bruce Schneier that someone is “learning how to take down the Internet,” which essentially means that a nation-state is “testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.” According to Schneier, the evidence “suggests China,” but it has not been established beyond doubt, due to possible disguise used by the state involved in that probing.

To be clear, the implications of the DNC hack transcend the bilateral relations of Russia and the US, and may include other actors who monitor the situation and evaluate their future actions vis-à-vis the US. This suggests that China is aware that the DNC hack was not accompanied by a real response on the US’s part. That observation may result in China examining the boundaries of what it can get away with in cyberspace.

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The Steakhouse at Circus Circus. High end food, low end venue

We had dinner last night at The Steak House at Circus Circus. High end, old school steak house with  excellent waiters and food. The “petite” steaks were at least a pound each!

Circus Circus itself was built in 1963 is aging, not well-maintained, has signs in parking lots and hotels saying warning warning danger danger, watch your valuables and lock up everything. It also has Adventuredome, with short circus acts and a bazillion video and arcade games, plus the steak house, which is one of the best in Vegas.

It’s so low-end the doors to the main lobby don’t open automatically, was paid for long ago, sits on the north end of The Strip on a whopping 63 acres, and judging from the crowds last night, still makes steady money.

Contrast the warning signs at Circus Circus to a high-end place like Wynn, which has no such signs. However, anyone attempting to break into a car or do any kind of violence at Wynn will almost certainly be confronted with armed ex-military security.

Whatever you want in Vegas is here. $40 a night rooms? No problem. $10,000 a night rooms? Step right up.

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Sacramento Delta tunnels impact entire Southwest water plans

Graphic shows location for proposed twin giant water tunnels within the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta;

Journalist and blogger John Fleck, author of Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West points out in his newsletter that Obama now favors the Sacramento Delta tunnels project (and Trump almost certainly will too.) Yes, it will be hugely expensive. Yes, the Delta may suffer. However the delivery of that water impacts the entire Southwest, yes it does.

Because the more water Southern California gets from Northern California, the less it will need from the Colorado River, water which seven states rely on.

From his email newsletter.

The interconnected nature of the West’s water system means California’s success or failure at dealing with the Sacramento Delta impacts the rest of us. Problems there make it harder for Southern California to make the deal that needs to be made to conserve water on the Colorado River. Non-Californians watch all of this nervously.

There’s a second California water issue that also makes me nervous. I had an op-ed Dec. 23 in the Sacramento Bee about the Salton Sea, arguing that without a solution to the Sea’s problems, it is hard for Southern California to join a Colorado River water conservation deal.

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Military veterans, PTSD, and heroin

Just heard about the tragic death at 28 of a vet with PTSD who overdosed on heroin. That’s way too early to die. He leaves a heartbroken family.

We treat our vets badly. Deaths like these happen too often and are not isolated instances, they are a societal problem. The rate of addiction to alcohol and drugs is much higher in those with PTSD, no doubt because they are self-medicating.

I was strung out on meth in my late teens. I don’t know why some of us die too young and others manage to survive addictions.

A song about addiction from a guy who survived it.

“I can quit
Let me finish what I got
After all, this stuff
Sure costs a lot
Then I’ll get my feet
Back on the ground

You know I’m still
As crazy as a loon
Even though I don’t run out
And cop a spoon
But thank the good lord
God, I had enough.”

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