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Unintended Presidential Resignation

When is the office known as the Presidency of the United States vacant? We all know that the Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act ordain that the office of Chief Executive is never meant to be entirely vacant, although an incumbency may expire prematurely by way of Articles of Impeachment, trial before the Senate, and removal upon conviction of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  We have yet to see a President removed through the complex judicial/political machinery of Impeachment. Andrew Johnson and William Clinton were not convicted by the Senate; Nixon resigned.  Death by natural causes or assassination has prematurely ended other Presidencies.  
The mini-Mussolini who is currently incumbent– the so-called 45th “President”– is not likely to follow Nixon’s example, even if he may be capable of realizing that he has lost popular support from his party and his base. He and his Regents might dare his party to impeach, and win the bet that they won’t, even after a majority of Re…
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A Prisoner’s Dilemma– Ryan and Putin Race to the Finish

Why haven’t our pundits remarked on the symmetry of self-interested strategic calculations that keeps both Congressional Republicans and Putin’s mob awake at night, locked in a classic Prisoner’s Dilemma? The key players, and their roles in the Regency have been revealed with enough clarity to warrant the most parsimonious hypothesis that accounts for Trump’s affronts to NATO, his compromises of intelligence secrets, his attacks on the press, and his “self-destructive” propensity to issue ill-advised tweets– a consistent pattern of behavior that reflects ongoing and situationally nimble direction of his follies by Kremlin supervisors. The known facts strongly support the conclusion that Trump is regarded by Putin as a Russian intelligence asset. More importantly, they also suggest that Trump himself knows that he has been “turned”, probably ever since his future services to the Kremlin were included as an itemized term of the bargain by which his “empire” was funded with dirty money.
A…

The Rolling Regency– Update

The Rolling Regency– update
The monarchical aspects of the American Presidency have been a source of worry and menace since the founding generation of the United States. Enlightened theorist-warriors who wrote the Constitution were keenly aware of the frailties of monarchs.  They tried to manage the risks of arbitrary and irrational despotism through clever but untested devices like the Electoral College, the emoluments clauses, and more generally the “Separation of Powers”. The entire Constitution was informed by the recent unsatisfactory experience of the colonies under the reign of George III of England. King George was neither the first nor the last of an impressive roll of mad monarchs who required careful management in the days when sovereignty attached to actual, living sovereigns. We need to re-examine the epoch when modern nation states were emerging from feudalism into the fragile enjoyment of popular sovereignty.
It is now time for us to debate what’s next:  proposals for ima…

Be wary of Golems

In recent posts, P7 derided the prophetic posture assumed by alarmists crying doom over Deep Learning. He apologizes if he offended the serious thinkers on the frontiers of captology and AI. Framing machine-enhanced intellectual leverage as an urgent existential predicament seemed inescapably ridiculous to P7. 

Centuries of cultural effort birthed a desktop mouse, whose redoubled efforts produced impressive feats of brute learning, much like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. P7 wasn’t frightened by them since remarkable as it was for its scale, AI technology escaped his intuitive understanding of clever. How could algorithms show more ingenuity or originality than their creators?

Exponential Sagacity

The Lord Buddha said: The world is on fire and every solution short of Nirvana is like trying to whitewash a burning house.  –Dalrymple, Nine Lives p. 150
A Pilgrim who chanced upon P7’s recent theology posts objects to his calling expectant Singularity-uploaded souls aspiring “angels”. The Pilgrim rightly detected a scoffing note in P7’s speculations.  A wider context should have been established.  
P7 did not claim to have the credentials of a proper theologian. He is merely an observer, and a somewhat haphazard reader.  The Death of God was recorded by Nietzche over a century ago, but the revival of miracles was acknowledged as recently as last week, in a broadcast by NPR’s Tom Ashbrook.  This shows that the religious impulse is robust, and probably innate. Whatever its basis may be, it survived deicide. Moreover, credulity took up residence in the innermost sanctums of Science. The Department of Defense itself has invested big money with grants to speculators exploring a putative re…

If You're so Rich, Why Ain't You Smart?

A Rolling Regency
The question of Trump's leadership was debated in our local barber shop,while the predominantlyTrumpist clientele waited for Barber Bill Occam to strop his razor. The waiting long-beards welcomed Trump’s emotional limitations during the campaign. His egotism and his short fuse attracted voters who were furious with the complacent elite typified by Hilary Clinton.Now that political reality has begun to dispel the fantasies Trump instilled among his faithful, they notice that they were not only misled in the traditional manner of parsing pols, but they were manipulated and distracted by his (possibly Russian) enablers.
The problem is that Trump’s administration is not merely incompetent: it is patently  stupid. Trump as  President is a bundle of lies and contradictions, evasions and scapegoating. He so clearly behaves like a spoiled child that Bill and his customers are willing to concede, okay, so he’s a spoiled brat. (Duck hunters are good at distinguishing a duck…

More Crossover Theology

The last post to this blog noted some problems with Futurology’s promise of personal salvation through mental upload to a (nearly) eternal post-crossover afterlife, safely cocooned inside a cyber cloud. This update probes further implications of sci-fi eschatology. Disembodiment as a practical option presents us with timeless topics beyond the ambit of Ray Kurzweil’s projections. We cannot reckon costs and benefits, nor recruit a mighty posthumous chorus, before we ponder the richness of sensory inputs that will distinguish silicon experience from the limited sensorium available to carbon-based mortals, for example. 
The Moofalo’s sire makes his stand: Proof that flesh can quicken sand! Soon your soul may etch your ass On a tiny chip of silicate glass!
After Upload, the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from X-Rays to deep infra-red will be accessible to us (our unmediated virtual noumena) as raw data. From our privileged immortal standpoint, perched on a swarm of chips, we will apprehend …