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So what if after WWI instead of a nut like Hitler taking power in Germany, a kind of Otto Von Bismark II came to power, a nationalistic but extremely intelligent practitioner of Realpolitik. The Nazis come to power, but they dial back the anti-semetism in favor of blaming the political elites and the wealthy, and promising to make Germany strong in the face of depression. So more of a Bismark meets FDR, Franz Van Roosevelt, a Franz Van Bismark.

So Franz takes power much like OTL Hitler, just with fewer murdering innocent people and no genocide, while seizing the assets of wealthy German aristocrats and using it to build up the German economy and create a war machine to take back the Rhineland. Only Franz invests heavily into a nuclear program, and instead of spending money on a bunch of other wonder weapons projects invests into the creation of efficient mass producing of cheaper weapons, because that's how you win wars.

WWII starts very much like it did in OTL, and goes about the same as in OTL (with no Holocaust) until about 1941. In this timeline Germany does not invade Russia at all, and concentrates on Africa and Western Europe. The Battle of Britain and the Blitz are much worse than in OTL, as Germany has finally developed reliable long range bombers, and has not split its forces between three fronts. Additionally, the British colonies are busy facing a combination of German and Japanese invasions as in OTL, but also anti-British rebel groups in India, Egypt, and South Africa.

After the Japanese attack the US, Germany will be compelled to declare war against the Americans, but will be more than prepared to resist the Americans at sea and deny them from setting up a base of operations in the UK. The War in Europe is largely over, the British people have lost their will to fight and after a disastrous attempt to invade Africa the Americans are stopped when Germany uses the world's first atomic bomb to halt the invasion, developed with the money that would have been used on experimental weapons and the Holocaust

Germany calls for a peace conference in 1944 to negotiate an Armestice. The Treaty of Dublin formalizes Germany's gains in Europe, directly annexing the Low countries, a portion of Eastern France the territory lost in WWI and most of the colonies of the annexed nations. Britain cedes Gibraltar to the Germans, while granting independence their Asian colonies, India, Egypt and South Africa. The US had made sufficient gains in Asia that Japan pulls back in the Pacific just enough to secure their oil needs, the Japanese won't get their Co-Prosperity sphere, but they will get Manchuria and Korea, and will keep Taiwan. The winners win enough, and the losers lose enough.

After the war Germany builds a kind of EU/NATO that they directly control. Germany works to secure an alliance with the US against the Soviets as Stalin becomes more paranoid. In 1947, Germany launches its first Satellite. By 1950 Germany has sent the first human into Space closely followed by the US with Chuck Yeager's first suborbital flight. Germany has developed ICBMs well before any other country, however the US Air Force stationed in Britain remains a significant threat. The United Nations has very little power outside of the British-American bloc, and the Soviets have become increasingly confrontational against the Japanese and Germans. The US finally develops an atomic bomb of their own in 1949, and is playing the Soviets and Germans off of each-other in Europe and the Japanese and the Chinese off of Each-other in Asia. Having largely remained out of WWII, the Soviets have succeeded in Industrializing their country and built the largest land Army in Europe, while Mao is still fighting a civil war against a Japanese puppet regime in Beijing, partly with US help.

After Stalin dies, Georgy Malenkov comes to power and formalizes the line of succession that Stalin was so hesitant to put into place, even after the Palace of the Soviets was completed. The Cold War between the Axis and Comintern powers persists with the Former Western Allies in the UN occasionally supporting one side over the other, and is believed to have provided the Soviets with nuclear weapons technology leading to their own bomb in 1953. The UN's only goal is to keep Eurasia divided against itself rather than allow either Germany or the Soviets to consolidate power over the continent, the world remains in a state of unsteady peace.

Shall I keep going?
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing

So I may have had a little too much caffeine last night and responded to this post on reddit asking if we're headed for a political realignment for the Millennial generation.


I don't know what we call this era that we've living in, all I know is that its defined by the return of nationalism to the political mainstream and prolonged economic malaise largely impacted by the evaporation of effective demand that began with the Crash of 2008. These are the facts of our time, and if we're going to analyze how millennials will impact the next political realignment, we must first accept that this era is not a passing fad that will be over by the next election cycle, and examine the root cause of the conditions of our time.

Economic Malaise 
Two factors have contributed to the persistent economic malaise we find ourselves in more than anything else: the retirement of the Baby Boomers and the Crash of 2008. These two events have resulted in the same thing: A steady increase in the Personal Savings Rate, and a decline in effective demand. What this means is that consumers are spending less on goods and services that cause a trickle down effect in economic activity. Consumers are still spending, but with the Baby Boomers retiring, more and more are spending money on goods and services that are provided by a smaller portion of the population (services like end of life care, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, etc.) and to pay off debts. This has led to a contraction in capital that can flow to a larger portion of the population and compounds the problem overall because the less money people spend on goods and services that a majority of the population uses, the less money that flows back into the system and "trickle's down" to the rest of the population. In effect, we are witnessing the beginning of the end for Supply Side or Trickle Down Economics.

Some believe the situation is being made worse by the rise of new technologies, but I am not convinced of that. I would argue that we are also seeing a shifting of the centers of employment to areas that used to be just centers of investment. The most ambitious manufacturing enterprises are moving to the American Southwest and West Coast and are ignoring the Rust Belt and Heartland. However, we cannot ignore how this will impact the economy in the short term. 3500 retail locations are expected to close nationwide in the next few months alone, and 30,000 retail jobs have been lost every month of 2017, partly due to the decline in effective demand, but also due to the rise of services like Amazon.com. This will disproportionately hurt Millennials, and will have lasting political consequences.

Nationalism
While it was only noticed in 2016, nationalist sentiment has been steadily rising in Euro-American civilizations since 2008. The most iconic examples of this were Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, but I'd argue it truly began with the election of Viktor Orbán as Hungary's Prime Minister in 2010 and the rise of the Tea Party that same year. The surge of nationalism in 2016 can largely be attributed to the economic malaise outlined in the previous paragraph. Many people have dismissed this economic anxiety as imagined, but for it is exemplified in one trend that began in 2007: home-ownership in the US has fallen to its lowest levels in almost 50 years. The elites have interpreted this as a good thing. Homes are expensive, and impractical in urban areas where most people live. The problem is that the definition of Urban is way too vague, and often lumps in suburban communities into larger metro areas, and for most people owning a home is a sign of security and economic independence. Right now, if you are just below the median income in the United States, you cannot afford to own a home. In 2016, that predominantly impacted rural and industrial workers. This, combined with a largely ignored opioid epidemic led to a sense of desperation that resulted in 7/10 suicides in 2015 being committed by white men (particularly in middle aged men), and the election of Donald Trump by the same demographic.

This crisis will not be confined to impacting older white men forever. As effective demand continues to contract as more baby boomers remove themselves from the work force and traditional economy, the buying power of the average American will continue to fall, and sure as night follows day, Millennials will be just as seriously impacted by it as older people. We saw the beginnings of this with the rise of Bernie Sanders, himself another economic nationalist, albeit a progressive one. I think its fair to say that nationalism will become the order of the day in our politics, but millennials will be what causes its normalization in our political culture. As their parent's generation continues to either die off or retire, and Millennials make up more of the workforce, they will adopt more protectionist tendencies. But there will be one key difference between them and Donald Trump's supporters: Millennials will support an extremely open immigration policy to bring in a larger work force to supplement the drop in productivity caused by the retirement of the baby boomers.

All of this will translate to the following political shifts:

1.) Millennials will largely support shifting the US away from supply-side economics and free trade, but opposition to these new policies will come from urban/tech centers like New York and the Bay Area.

2.) Millennials will support adopting more government welfare programs to increase consumer buying power by reducing their financial commitments to basic needs.

3.) Millennials will largely support an aggressive campaign to attract immigrant labor to the United States to increase productivity, tax revenue, and effective demand.

4.) The liberal-conservative divide will shift with the new economic changes (and partly do to the normalization of post-agrarian family structures and the die off of older generations). We're actually more likely to see "Conservative" roughly equate to "Libertarian" and "Liberal" roughly equate to "Economic Nationalist." The conservative hearts of America will be in wealthy urban centers while rural and suburban areas will become the progressive heartland.

The political shift will most likely come around the election of 2028, maybe 2032. The retirement of the baby boomers (expected to peak in the early 2020s) will lead to a temporary perceived good as the vacuum in the work force creates a near-full-employment economy. However Millennials will not be able to produce enough to meet the demand for goods consumed by an aging population that do not create wealth for the majority of Americans, AND produce enough to supplement their own economic needs. Effective demand will continue to contract as production desperately tries to grow to meet demand from non-trickle-down sectors. Around 2025, we'll see this reach a true crisis point as Baby Boomers, having exhausted social security will begin selling off assets to live off the equity, mostly in the form of homes that people won't be able to afford, leading to a housing market crash the likes of which will utterly destroy the industry and bring the US financial sector to its knees. Whoever is elected in 2028 will be given the kind of political power that only a few administrations ever see, and will radically restructure the US economy, much as Reagan, Roosevelt, Hayes (sortof), and Jackson did.

  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
Well, we may only be into February, but I think I'm ready to edit the Second Renaissance and give a name to the 2020 Democratic Candidate... Corey Booker. Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I do not know if Booker will win the nomination, but my gut tells me someone like him will be the likely winner: a centrist Democrat, who's a bit more moderate than Clinton in his support of Free Trade, who has been willing to admit that his party has made mistakes and has made overtures that Americans (ALL Americans) must come together. If you want a preview of what his convention speech will sound like take a look at Barbara Jordan's Keynote address to the 1976 Democratic Convention. Most importantly the nominee will be someone with the Presidential Voice. After 4 years of Trump, Americans are going to latch onto someone who actually sounds like a president.

Now it might not be Booker, there are a handful of other Democrats with the characteristics I just described: Joe Biden, Deval Patrick, Michelle Obama (please, please, please, please, PLEASE RUN MICHELLE!), or it could honestly be someone entirely unheard of. Someone who is active at the state level, or been retired for a while, hell it might even be a Republican who switches parties. But Booker is the most visible example right now, and I'm tired of just referring to the next president as BLANK. So at the risk of me jinxing the outcome of the next election as I had pretty consistently throughout 2016, I'm just gonna make BLANK Corey Booker for now.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
You know what game needs a remake? Shattered Union:



Most people might find that weirdly plausible today, even more so when they were basically making a game where Not George Bush wins in 2008.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
Please read this first before commenting: geopoliticalfutures.com/the-in…

Is it time to get rid of internet anonymity? This is one of those times where I am truly torn on an issue, because as someone who uses a pseudonym to say what I really think without ruffling any political feathers in my professional life, I enjoy the anonymity the internet provides... however, I am not so naive to that I am unable to see the damage that same anonymity has done when given to the hoards of utter cretins that have come to populate our political discourse simply because they have no fear of saying something that would get them smacked in the face if they were in public. This shield of anonymity has also been useful for people to explore subcultures that if they were to proclaim their affiliation in public would result in them being fired or ostracized. In a sense, these are the places where the shame still deeply rooted in societies descended from the Abrahamic religions can do as much harm as good. And while it is true that the public's lack of trust in the 4th Estate is utterly unsustainable for a society to function, will the solution of "banning masks" on the internet do more harm than good? Is there a solution that protects those who need the shield of anonymity while shining a light on those who abuse it?

I honestly have no earthly idea, and am genuinely looking forward to your thoughts.

  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
So I (like a surprisingly large number of people late) have been getting spammed with a lot of ultra-right wing "Trumpist" posts as of late, and some outright trolling. I don't think I have to defend my love of a good debate, but my tolerance for these people and their poorly sourced "points" has been exhausted. So here's the new policy: if you aren't here to engage in debate but rather just attack viewpoints that differ from your own, I will show you the same courtesy and ban you from further comment. If you show respect to the opinions of those who differ from you, you have nothing to worry about, but I'm not putting up with 4-8 years of Trump's more irritating supporters spamming my pages with idiotic dreck. Put it another way:

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” -Thomas Paine
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
I've been continuing to update the Donald Trump page of the Second Renaissance to describe (based on historical examples and my best guesses) what I think we can expect from his administration. Some of you might have noticed I haven't mentioned much in regards to the "Russian Hacking" scandal. This is mainly because I don't think its got as much teeth to it as the public (and indeed Congress) would like to believe. I believe it will cast a peristant shadow over  his presidency, and only strengthen the claims against his legitimacy... the thing is, barring incapacitation or a miracle from the electoral college, Donald Trump is the legitimate 45th President of the United States. And that's the true horror. The recall in Michigan and Wisconsin have only revealed that while he won the states narrowly (by less than a percent and never actually won a majority) under the law he did indeed win them. The electoral system is the law of the land, and whatever political machinations the Russians may have tried to engineer, it is unlikely that the revelations of the DNC hacks even came close to doing the same amount of damage that the Comey letter did with regard to shifting undecided voters away from Clinton. 

Donald Trump is going to be our President, and while he does not have a mandate (which is why so many Republicans are making friends with Democrats to investigate him or block his cabinet appointees), he is legitimately the winner of the 2016 Elections. I repeat this because that fact is what should be the horrifying takeaway. He didn't cheat (as far as we can tell), he didn't buy the election (he spent around $40-50 million less than Clinton), 54% of the country voted for someone else, and in the three states that decided the election (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) more than half of those voters voted for someone else. And yet he gets to be the 45th President. No laws were broken, that's the true horror staring us in the face: Our election system doesn't work. It's not broken, corrupt, or hijacked. It never worked in the first place. The founders fucked up.

No matter what you do for the next 4 years, improving our election system must be top priority. We can't just get rid of the electoral college, because that would hand the election to the House of Representatives, but none of the proposed half measures would do any good either. Gerrymandering has made national version of the Nebraska System a guaranteed bust, and I'm not wild about the President becoming akin to a Prime Minister and Proportional systems would over-represent third parties. The solution is twofold: Abolish the Electoral College and Institute Ranked Choice Voting so the winner will always be someone a majority of the country is comfortable with. The President is an expression of the national will, and they should at the very least be reflective of that.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing

Richard Nixon is generally considered to have been a cruel, paranoid, warmongering monster who extended the Vietnam war well past the point Americans were willing to accept... but in doing so he was able to force the Chinese to the negotiating table which led the Russians to the negotiating table, leading to the recognition of China and the SALT treaties, which arguably did more to end the last cold war than anything else.

The point is that Nixon's entire doctrine was to be chaotic and force the great powers to the negotiating table less they risk disaster. Is it possible, that Trump, either individually or as a figurehead for Republican foreign policy leaders inside the State Department and the Congressional Foreign Relations committees, will serve a similar purpose? To upset the established order in ways that someone like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton simply couldn't without reaping domestic political disaster?

There has been much talk by Trump of the US reducing its commitments to NATO, and there has been understandable backlash to this. But really, has NATO served much use to the US since the last Cold War ended? Germany and France's support of sanctions against the Russians (due in no small part by financial assets in Russia) has been lackluster at best, our allies were quick to pull out of Iraq and leave us there to continue fighting an unending war (granted one we started, but as Jim Mattis said, "The enemy gets a vote," and wars don't end just because we're tired of fighting them). Its cynical to say, but do these cold war institutions that Trump wants to tear down really serve the US any kind of purpose anymore? The Visegrad group is a more useful ally to us today than NATO is, and Turkey is still a necessary and more autonomous ally, but Western Europe, save for Britain, seems to be perpetually at odds with the US in practice.

I didn't vote for Trump, and I fully expect his domestic policy to be the stuff of nightmares, but perhaps he isn't the harbinger of the apocalypse we think he is for foreign policy, and his successor will likely be forced to continue his policies.

BONUS SECTION: Why I haven't named a Democrat to defeat Trump on the wikia in 2020, and why I'm actually not convinced he'll lose.

When five or fewer statements are false, the incumbent party is predicted to win the popular vote; when six or more are false, the challenging party is predicted to win the popular vote.

  1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections. (Unlikely)
  2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination. (Unclear, but possibly False)
  3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. (True)
  4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign. (Unclear)
  5. Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. (Probably True)
  6. Long term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. (Extremely unlikely given the business cycle.)
  7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. (True, and horrifying)
  8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. (Unclear, but don't count on it)
  9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! False)
  10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. (Unclear)
  11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. (Unclear, but entirely possible)
  12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. (I think he's an unintelligible imbecile, but apparently demagoguery = charisma, so True)
  13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. (Unclear)
So, we have 4 Trues, 1 False, and everything else is either unclear with possibilities leaning one way or the other. I'll be frank, this election threw me more than I thought it could. Part of me always suspected he could win, but I just wasn't ready for it, and as a result, I'm kinda having trouble making any predictions with confidence at this point. I stand by the broad strokes: The Little Cold War isn't stopping for at least another four years, we will experience at least a light recession inside of Trump's administration, and Trump's foreign policy, ultimately, will be a continuation of Obama's just with some louder messier execution.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
So now that the Republicans have control of both houses of congress and the Presidency despite having received a minority of the popular vote in both cases, the subject of redistricting reform has come up again, thanks in no small part to court decisions in North Carolina and Wisconsin striking down gerymandering of those state's congressional districts. Normally when this comes up, we hear poposals arguing for algorithmic redistricting, like the Shortest Splitline technique or algorithms that select for compactness. I used to think these were the way to go, but I always had this nagging feeling that there was something missing. Recently I dug up an old Daily Kos piece, that pretty much changed my mind:

www.dailykos.com/story/2015/5/…

Now, I still maintain that an algorithmic system would solve this problem much better than a purportedly non-partisan commission, but I think we need an algorithm that accounts for state regions, not just population compactness. Now, you might be saying there's no way to account for that, because regions like those outlined in the piece are a human invented concept... except I don't think they entirely are. If you had an algorithm that generated districts based on compactness, geographical conditions, and economic common interest (you could use census data on employment to get a good map of that), you could get a pretty good map of a State's regions.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
There are currently a bloc of Electoral College members trying to get their fellow electors to vote for someone, anyone not named Donald Trump. If they succeed, in some strange way it would both be the greatest argument for keeping the Electoral College, and the greatest argument for its abolishment. Let us take a moment and consider what it would mean if 538 people you've never heard of gave the Presidency to someone nobody voted for. Spoilers, Nothing good.

December 19: In a shocking turn of events, 60 electors from states Clinton and Trump won cast protest votes for other Republicans and Democrats. This reduces Donald Trump's electoral lead to below the 270 vote margin, forcing the vote to go before the House of Representatives. With Trump under constant investigation, and the possibility of voting for a more traditional Republican, the House rallies around Mitt Romney to serve as President and Mike Pence to go on serving as Vice President, in the hopes of calming dissatisfied Trump voters.

It doesn't.

Public outrage over the House's decision on both sides of the political spectrum explodes, however for Trump and his supporters the betrayal cuts much deeper. Trump calls for abolishing the electoral college, claiming President Romney is not only illegitimate, but that the government itself is no longer legitimate. Several electors are attacked by Trump's supporters, and racial violence reaches levels not seen since the days of the Civil Rights Movement. President Romney is sworn in with a small ceremony inside the White House after riots break out in the Capitol. Across America members of the Alt-Right are attacking minority communities, government buildings, and elected officials who voiced opposition to Trump. President Romney is eventually forced to declare Marshal Law in cities where the violence has become intolerable, and Trump's supporters are joined by local militias against the National Guard. 
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
I make no secret about my political opinions, my last status update is a pretty clear indication of that, but this is the first time I think I've ever written something telling other people what to do. If you haven't been paying attention (and if you haven't I envy you) barring a true act of mercy by the universe, Donald Trump is going to be the 45th President of the United States, despite having received only about 47% of the popular vote, and Hillary Clinton winning a plurality of the popular vote. He is far and away the most unpopular Presidential candidate in modern politics, and despite running for the only office for which everyone who is able and willing can vote, he will enter office with a minority of support from voters.

This has happened 4 other times in American history, and is the 2nd time it's happened in a generation. This is unacceptable.

The law of our land mandates that the President be elected not by the people, but by the Electoral College, a group of delegates appointed by their state governments to represent the people's interest in selecting a President. Electors are awarded to states based on population, but a disproportionately high number of electors are awarded to smaller states because regardless of how few people live in a state, every state is awarded 3 electors automatically (see this video by CGPGrey to get a more comprehenisve lesson on the Electoral College: 
As a result of this system, it is possible, and increasingly likely for a Presidential Candidate to lose the popular vote, and still win the election. America is becoming more urbanized, and more people are moving to major cities and their surrounding metro areas for the new opportunities that come with a post-industrial economy. However, because urbanization is occurring more predominantly in only a handful of states, the over-representation of the smaller states in Presidential Elections is becoming more pronounced. A fact made more troubling by the fundamentally disparate economic and social drivers of metropolitan areas and rural areas. This is how we got Donald Trump: More people now live in cities, but because those cities occupy fewer states, it was possible for him to "win" without actually winning the popular vote by campaigning to the needs of a smaller, but more spread out percentage of the population. This has a number of problems, perhaps none so significant as the fact that it betrays the whole point of the Presidency: to have a national leader who represents the majority of the population. If the system fails to provide this it must be changed to ensure the legitimacy of the Presidency.

To that end I'm asking all of you who appreciate my work, regardless of who you voted for, to call your state legislatures and declare your support for National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and an eventual constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college in favor of direct popular vote of the President. An Amendment is ultimately the right path as it would guard against future attempts to subvert the popular vote and simplify the whole system, but support of National Popular Vote is something achievable at the state level right now. The NPVIC effectively states that a state will require its electors to cast their votes for whoever wins the national popular vote. So if Illinois votes for Presidential candidate A, but candidate B wins 50.01% of the popular vote, all of Illinois electors would be required to vote for candidate B. As I write this 30 states have introduced the NPVIC, and 10 have passed it, including Washington D.C. and it is currently pending in Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

I beg you, as a constitutionalist, as a republican, indeed as an American: call your state representatives and voice your support for this movement. Ask that it be introduced or re-introduced into the state legislature, and then ask your friends and family to make the call as well. 

For more details: 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National…

www.nationalpopularvote.com/
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Playing: Nothing
I know you’re all reeling from the election of the antithesis of everything you hold dear. I know you’re all shocked at the out come of this election, and I know you all want to blame Trump, the DNC, and most importantly of all Trump’s supporters.

I’m a liberal, I voted for Hillary Clinton, and I think Donald Trump is going to be a terrible President, but don’t confuse Trump’s supporters with people who voted for Trump. Trump’s supporters are loud, Alt-Right, women hating, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, monsters who oozed out of the worst corners of the internet… but the 47% of the country that voted for him, they aren’t so clearly hateful. They’re Americans from the burbs, farms, dying or dead manufacturing towns. You know a lot of them, and there’s a good chance you don’t know it. You like, even love some of them, either as family or old friends from college. They don’t hate gays, they don’t even hate people of color. They’re scared. Scared for their future and the future of their neighbors. Get outside these democratic enclaves in and around major cities and you see a very different America than what you’re used to. The suicide rate among young people doubles in the country, economic growth has stalled, opioid addiction runs rampant, and there’s a general sense of being left behind. This is the America where income inequality becomes visible compared to the cities, this is where the Hope and Change promised by the Obama administration never materialized.

This is the place where the Church is likely the only community center in town, the place where people not just come to worship, but to keep their kids off the street, socialize with friends and neighbors, and help when someone get sick. These are the crappy little towns you drive through on a road trip and think, “who the hell lives here?” as you pass by gas stations with pumps from the 70s, diners with peeling paint, yards full of weeds. This is the America that the media big and small has treated with contempt at worst and mockery at best for the last 20 years. This is the America politicians, lawyers, and bankers don’t care about. This is the America that are compulsively called racist and backwards because they oppose gay marriage and immigration. This is the America that has been pushed too hard too fast by those of us on the left.

They never voted for gay marriage, we just expected them to go away after the supreme court struck down DOMA. They see images of minorities setting fire to towns where the cops killed one of their own, and they’re scared. They see muslims coming into this country from a part of the world defined by terror, and all they can think of is 9/11. Then when they bring these things up, some young kid or well off urbanite calls them racist or bigoted, while not ever having to interact with the people that scare them. True, their fears are often irrational, but we made a fatal error by failing to recognize that just because they’re fears are often irrational doesn’t mean they’re not baseless or any less real to them. We failed to empathize with half the damn country, and have treated them with hatred and ridicule to the point where they turned to the only politician, deplorable as he may be, who seemed to be saying anything about it. The only politician who seemed to acknowledge the tilted table where the game was being played. They didn’t really care about anything else after that. They just wanted to put a brick through the windows of those who had left them out in the cold and called them ungrateful and privileged when they dared to complain. Go to one of these shitty little towns and you won’t see white privilege, you’ll see fear, anger, and real inequality.

Now they’ve won. And we have two options: either continue to treat them with hatred and contempt, continuing to build walls between our fellow citizens, or admit that maybe we weren’t as considerate to their beliefs as we should have been and try to find some common ground. We say right here and now that LGBT rights aren’t going away, that deporting millions of people is not going to happen, BUT we stop treating them with automatic hatred when they grumble about it. We admit that help must be brought to our small towns and the rust belt, we admit that free trade isn’t all its cracked up to be for everyone. We make an effort to know eachother, to find common ground. Because the alternative is continued hatred and animosity, and that is unsustainable... but for the next couple of days I am just gonna hate the voters all the same. Its therapeutic.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Watching: OITNB
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Soup
  • Drinking: Water
Interplanetary Transport System:
Mars Payload: 450 tonnes
Crew: 100
Longest Flight Time: 80 Days
Mars 
Synodic period: 779.96 days

====Flight Requirements====
Average Human Calorie intake: 1500 calories/day
Crew Total: 150,000 calories/day
Calorie intake for flight to Mars: 12,000,000 calories
Minimal dietary requirements: 6 calories/gram (Peanut Butter)
Mars Flight Ration Payload: 2 tonnes
With diet diversification: 20 tonnes
Food requirements for every orbital period: 195 tonnes

Average water requirements per person in space: 2.42 liters/day
Average water consumption for crew: 242 liters/day
Water mass assuming 100% efficient water reclamation: 0.242 Tonnes. (Round up to 1 tonne to account for secondary needs and waste)

Average adult human mass: 80.7 kg (100 kg with FS of 1.25)
Total Crew Mass: 10 tonnes.

Total: 206 Tonnes for crew, food and water supplies leaving 244 tonnes for utilities, living arrangements, personal items, and surface activity equipment.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Watching: OITNB
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  • Eating: Soup
  • Drinking: Water
This is for a movie idea set in the Second Renaissance timeline, but could easily be placed in the broader "Next 100 Years" timeline being used for Sam Rami's upcomming "World War III" movie. I'm sick as a dog while writing this, so its gonna be in multiple installments, but the general idea is to see how you could take a dry, policy dense book like the next 100 years and turn it into a compelling story about the most iconic topic it covers.

.... 

The film opens with narration by our protagonist, talking about how everyone thought the world would have more time to do something about climate change. We see news clips of glaciers falling into the Sea, found footage of people fleeing the rising tide around the world. She mentions how the flood crippled the Chinese economy and forced Japan to maintain regional security. We see images of Japan's rise as a military power, their partnership with the Turks, News footage of maps showing their growing sphere's of influence, the competition for land and resources, images of Japan testing nuclear weapons on the moon, all with the narrator talking about how the Japanese grew out of control and the US needed to get serious about this new threat. We see the arms buildup, soldiers in powered exoskeletons, fleets of drones that block out the sky, and the creation of the and the deployment of the Orbital Command Stations by the US closing with the narrator giving the "then everything changed," line.

ACT I: OPENING SHOTS

We meet our protagonist Jane Doe (needs work) on board OSC Kennedy over Papua New Guinea on Thanksgiving Day 2051, 2pm PST. She's in the mess hall with the other Space Command operators holding a Thanksgiving feast in space. We see the soldiers busting their chops over the different reason they were assigned to the Kennedy during Thanksgiving. The scene establishes levity after the heavier intro, and shows our protagonist at a moment of innocence. We cut to a security cam feed of the scene we just saw at the Command and Control deck of the station. The commanding general of the station is informed that all's quiet while we zoom in on a monitor displaying collision detection of objects nearing the station. Most are following standard orbital paths, but several begin to diverge ever so slightly. Cut to what appears to be a random meteoroid flying through space. The camera pans to reveal the glint of a metallic structure on the pockmarked surface of the meteoroid. We then see the bright firing of course correcting thrusters, and similar flashes against the darkness of space. Cut back to the command deck, and the monitor shows another, more pronounced change in orbits, this time attracting the attention of a staff officer who notes the presence of a large cloud of meteors nearing the station. The Officer of the Watch gives the order to pass the information along to OCS Reagan, saying that its probably nothing.

We return to the mess hall with most of the airmen passed out with Jane talking about the Japanese with a younger comrade. The younger airmen talks about how the Japanese must still be itching for a fight after the US beat them in WWII, to which Jane laughs tells him that when she was a kid the Japanese were still one of America's closest allies, and officially a pacifist nation. The kid brushes this off commenting on how that was probably just an act, but Jane simply says, "you'd be surprised how fast things can change." Before the kid can respond a siren calling for General Quarters goes online. We see chaos on the command deck, as the collision detection screen shows hundreds of small objects on a course to impact the station. The staff makes confused, but professional statements about how attacks seem to be targeted at all three platforms, how laser batteries are firing at capacity, but the number of targets is straining their system, etc. Two things are clear, they are under attack, and their platform is about to be destroyed. Cut to intense scenes of airmen jumping out of bed and diving into space suits. Jane is already suited and helping others while barking orders for her squad while they prepare to board Earth-return vehicles (ERV). A headcount confirms that one airman is missing (one of the guys who was passed out during the mock feast, he'd be better characterized prior to this). Jane orders her unit to stay put while she leaves to retrieve him. He's passed out in the shower, Jane rouses him as he drunkenly mumbles something about hitting his head. We see most ERVs leave the station as Jane gets the man to her unit when the platform is torn apart by the pebble-mob attack. Jane and the man both go flying through the void and the station is ripped apart; a few ERVs are struck by pieces of debris while others enter the atmosphere. Jane rights herself maneuvering thrusters on her suit and watches in silent horror as the station is left in pieces. An ERV drifts into frame and we fade to black.


ACT II: JUMP

Open on Hyten SFB in Chantilly, VA. We see a half dozen officers of the newly formed United States Space Force discussing Japanese movements over the last few weeks in China. They come to a satellite control relay in China, and it is revealed that this is one of the last four relay controlling Japanese assets in space. Destroy the relays, cripple Japan's ability to fight in space, and end the war. Cut to Vandenberg SFB where we find Jane, now an operator for the newly Space Force. The barracks is dingy and poorly lit, a new recruit enters, removing the name of his bunk's previous occupant. Jane somberly looks down from the new solder and leaves for the mess hall when she is called into her CO's office. Jane is given orders to head to Launch Pad 21 for a mission to drop into China and disable a Japanese communications relay. She'll be accompanied by 6 other special forces operators, and a few dozen ground type drones. The other operators will be launching at different intervals from different units to confuse Japanese intelligence. Jane is asked by her CO if she has any issue with working with strangers, to which she replies no. The CO runs his hands through his grey hair and talks about how he knows Jane has been having trouble forming relationships with people in her unit, and asks if she wants to talk about it. To which she replies, "no, thank you sir." and is dismissed. Jane has clearly been avoiding people since the Thanksgiving attacks, and it is shown that the other members of her base are nervous around her because she was a survivor of the attack. Cut to black.

We open on the Vandenberg armory. Jane has arrived and is bullshitting with the mechanic, another survivor from OCS Kennedy. Her armor has once again been repaired, and given a loadout for the mission. We are given an interment look at what Space Forces armor looks like and a lovingly detailed list of all the toys Jane has to play with, not just on the suit, but the drones launching with her, which are bundled into their crates for launch. She's escorted to her drop ship at Pad 21, a small vessel built for 1 person and a handful of drones. The craft lifts off from the small launch pad dropping fuel tanks as it ascends that fly back to the launch pad, until just a small cone-shaped craft remains to fire hypersonic engines that take it into suborbit. As it reaches the top of its arc we see the trails of similar launches across the Pacific rim, which all begin converging along 4 common points across China, Russia and Japan itself. Jane exits her craft at the top of its arc just over China, and her backpack rockets fire to send her down into the atmosphere, along with her four drones which fly behind her. The carrier craft fires its scramjets and darts off. Jane's suit glows at the edges as she re-enters the atmosphere, and deploys drag flaps. With only a few meters before impact, her backpack fires retrorockets, and her suit's legs absorb what remains of the impact. The backpack falls off and Jane hears the impact of her drones, and the closest space force operator she's assigned to. Out of the timbers her drones emerge. They look and move like wolves. Jane receives a ping on her HUD and begins moving toward her comrades. She finds the first one with his own collection of wolf-drones, wearing a Tigershark paint scheme on his helmet. Out of the forest emerges the remaining 4 operators. Acquaintances made, they begin moving toward their target.

Moving through the forests of Manchuria, armored and with beast-like drones in toe, these special forces soldiers almost look more like a band of knights. With the sky pitch black above them, they near the relay instillation and spread out after detecting movement. The base is being patrolled by dozens of ground drones, and the forest is swarming with Japanese armored soldiers. Most are wearing 
older , largely unmodified Type 49 armor. They do not appear to have detected the American team; one soldier is standing directly below a tree holding the ranking American officer who scans the Japanese relay station. Removing his binoculars, he signals his team to prepare for attack. Jane's HUD displays enemy targets and marks those nearest to her. Jane readies her rifle, a General Dynamics M405 20mm autocannon, and moves slowly between the trees to strike the first armored soldier. One command comes over her radio "Go." Jane fires on the first soldier puncturing the back of his armor before he turns only to fall over with three more shots to the torso. Jane's drones attack two of her target's patrol drones and shots ring out across the forest. Jane moves to take out the next target as her drones race through the trees, firing motor rounds and smoke grenades from their backs from intermittent commands from Jane. Her next target has still not recovered from the confusion of the initial attack and goes down without ever seeing Jane. But shots begin peppering the edge of the forest, as the base's defense drones begin firing artillery at the tree-line to drive back the invaders. Her third target has figured out what's happening and is laying suppressing fire against her and her drones. Jane falls back to a large rock and orders her drones to push her target toward her. One is destroyed, but her target backs towards her rock only to be cut down by one of her teammates just as she prepares to kill him herself. A hail of laser fire damages the base's drones, no doubt the airborne drones attached to the American unit. They don't last long as anti aircraft lasers return fire and the soldiers are treated to an impromptu light-show as laser fire dances above and below the clouds. The ranking officer gives the command to advance.

They begin laying down fire against the ground drones defending the base and are within 10 meters of their target when a single shot takes the head off of the soldier with the Tigershark paint scheme. Successive fire destroys two drones and acompanying motor rounds fail to do much damage but kick up enough dirt and debris to confuse their sensors. Through the smoke on the far right of their column a Japanese soldier in heavily modified Type 53 armor slams into the ranking officer, and blows the man in half with a flak cannon attachment to a 30mm rifle. Jane's unit scatters, drones attempt to fire on their attacker, but his coordination with his base's drones continues to provide him with suppressing fire. Jane's unit attempts to retreat, but as they near the tree-line the soldier in the Type-53 armor puts three rounds through another one of the Americans. Jane is now one of three remaining, and as the base defense drones continue to hammer the tree-line with fire, their attacker appears to be gone. The drone fire quiets and Jane takes stock. They're down to just 4 drones between the 3 of them, 3 soldiers including their CO are KIA, and they have no additional air support. Jane sees their attacker as he leaps from the trees and buries a knife between the plates of one of her comrades. Jane fires on him but he's simply too fast. He moves in for the kill, but Jane deflects his knife with her rifle. He makes multiple attempts to strike with the knife, but Jane manages to make the worst be a deflection by her helmet. Friendly fire rings out from the trees and the soldier leaves.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: Geopolitical Futures
  • Watching: OITNB
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  • Eating: Soup
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So if you haven't heard, the Avatar Sequels are supposed to be about family, and focus on Jake's life with his alien babies and Netyri... do I even have to say how stupid that sounds? I would much rather have a sequel from the Human's perspective showing how life on Earth has gotten far worse without regular shipments of Unobtanium, and Jake is viewed as the greatest traitor in history. The RDA outfits one of their ships for a proper military campaign and the movie is basically "Apocalypse Now" with Blue Cat Aliens, following a special forces team sent to retake Hell's Gate and kill Jake. We get to see a proper human military on Pandora with up-armored mechs and tanks, and they use the Venture Star to drop "Rods From God" to clear parts of the jungle. Hell you could have it end with everything going south, so the Humans use a relativistic kill vehicle to wipe out Neytiri's entire tribe from space.

UPDATE: Ok, little more detail...

The movie opens on Earth and we see just how bad things have gotten since the events of the last film with a series of (I know they're generic as hell, but they work) clips of news footage over the last 6 years revealing that with unobtanium mining cut-off from Pandora, the RDA's (the corporation from the first movie) stocks have plummeted, riots have broken out, and the human economy is in a tailspin, while more power has been given to the Interplanetery Commerce Administration (the government agency that was created as a rubber stamp on the RDA's monopoly on interstellar mining), who organizes a military intervention on Pandora (we see one of the big ships outfitted with tanks, orbital weapons, and a LOT of soldiers), and the news feed cuts out after showing how things on Earth kept getting worse after 6 years of no unobtanium (its a superconductor, so I assume energy production has something to do with it, so they could show just how dependent we are on energy for farming, heating, and all the things we take for granted).

Cut to the Interstellar ship in orbit above Pandora, military crews are waking up and we meet our protagonist, generic handsom white guy, John Something. This part of the movie plays a lot like the opening to Killzone 2, with military guys itching for a fight and us getting to see a starship bombard the planet with Rod's From God around Hell's Gate. John and Total Goner-Funny Guy (Smitty), and Big Silent (Black/Native American/Russian) Guy (George) board a Shuttle and we see a few dozen of these shuttles enter the atmosphere firing missiles and shit off to clear the area surrounding Hell's Gate, still smoldering from the orbital bombardment from the ship. They land and the jump out of their shuttles (masks on) to find minimal resistance as the remaining Na'vi and human sympathizers at Hell's Gate are still trying to figure out what just happened. We don't see the fight just the soldiers running out of the shuttles, flashes of Gunfire and John coming out to only drop his guard and watch a very one-sided fight.

Next scene is in Hell's Gate command center, which is still functional, but we see the rest of the base not damaged from the initial attack has a kind of Hippie Commune thing going on, and its clear a few kids have been born to the human sympathizers since the last movie ended. Jake and Netiri weren't at Hell's Gate when they landed, but one of their children was. At 12, he's already full grown, and in a makeshift cage built from a shipping container. John questions him, and at first we think this character is kindof a milktoast wimp... and then he has them open the cage. Jake Jr. sheepishly walks out thinking he's being set free (but still cautious) before John leaps into the air and brings the 10ft. tall alien to the ground with some Krav Maga move that none of the others are remotely surprised by, illustrating the difference between the hired muscle of the first movie and the professional soldiers of this one. John uses his legs to choke out Jake Jr. when he's on the ground and positions a knife above his eye before calmly asking him where his father is; to which Jake Jr. replies, "You will never be able to reach him." The next scene is inside the command center with John pointing to the Tree of Souls, and explaining that Jake and Neytiri have basically made the place their fortress, and village of thousands of Na'vi surrounds the tree. They're going to join another group clearing the old mining sites around Hell's gate and have them take them into the heart of the Jungle. We get some character development of Smitty talking to some of the human sympathizers and we learn a little more about their space hippy philosophy, doesn't matter.

Next scene is John and company rolling up to one of the mining camps in a captured (and barely working) helicopters. We see the camp is still an active warzone with helicopters (the little ones and a few of those big ones from the first movie) and walking tanks and heavily armored mech suits clearing the area. We come up on a man inside one of the larger suits who is our Not-Bill-Killgore for this movie. The next few scenes are him adding uncomfortable realism to what it means to be a solider, but mostly badass shots of mech suits fighting Na'vi and their Ferngully army of alien animals, and Not-Killgore calling down an orbital strike to clear a patch of jungle. At some point Not-Killgore and company end up doing a bad thing (like mowing down what they think is a Na'vi warrior encampment, but ends up having a lot of kids and elderly. There's a fight between everyone, but John insists they press on, leaving Killgore and his team behind after Smitty nearly snaps and tries to kill Not-Killgore.

The lead up to the climax shows Smitty and George trust John less and less as his decisions become more risky and less rational, a fight where we see Jake riding adopt the Big Badass Dragon again and killing a lot of human soldiers, which progressively includes George and Smitty and different points in the film. We are increasingly shown John losing sight of everything save for his objective. As we near the climax, John infiltrates the Na'vi camp around hometree and we see Jake return with cheers from his followers. John prepares to take the shot before he is spotted and brought to Jake. Jake brings him to his home and interrogates him. At first, Jake appears to be a rational, even noble leader, but as they continue to talk, it becomes increasingly clear that he too has gotten lost in the Jungle. Jake not only doesn't care that millions are starving back on Earth because of him, he thinks they deserve it for killing their "Eywa." Jake intends to use the planet wide bio-internet thingy from the Tree of Souls to call the tribes and creatures together again and drive back the humans once more. John reveals that if Earth does not receive a shipment of Unobtanium in the time promised by the planners of their mission, it is likely that the planet will break out into global war over the few material resources left on Earth. Jake leaves, intent on carrying out his plan. John, it is revealed, was broadcasting their conversation to his superiors on the ship. The commanding general in orbit gives the gohead to redirect a relativistic kill vehicle, a shipping container sized spacecraft that was ejected from their ship before it began decelerating into the system, and set around Alpha Centaur B, where it continues to orbit near the speed of light. A quick course correction and the RKV will move to Pandora and strike the Tree of Souls with the force of the Tunguska Blast, killing everything within a 50 mile radius not in shelter.

The final shot is John breaking free and preparing to flee the camp, but before he does so he finds Jake in a room, staring at a picture of his brother. John creeps up on him, and it is suggested through non-verbal means that Jake may be having second thoughts, but before he can say anything, John buries a knife into his chest. Covered in blood, his eyes clear and his mission is over. He leaves the village behind as the people realize their leader is dead, diving into the jungle to find Not-Killgore waiting with a suit. They run from the village and the camera zooms out to show the RKV strike the planet in a brilliant flash of light. John's fate is left undetermined.

Fin

  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: reddit
  • Watching: Adventure Time
  • Playing: Kerbal Space Program
  • Eating: Pasta
  • Drinking: Mnt. Dew Pitch Black
America has suffered the worst act of gun violence in our nation's history. 50 people have been killed, and 53 injured by a racist, gay bashing wife-beater with sympathy toward ISIS. All with a gun bought legally, turned on people for simply being who they are. 

I'm an egalitarian, but we cannot pretend that what happened in Orlando, Paris, Brussels, London, and what is happening every day in Syria are somehow unrelated incidents by just a bunch of loan nuts. They're committed by people who are offended by everything wonderful about contemporary life. The world America helped create, is one of pluralism. One where the political "end game," if you will, is one where everyone is treated as the equal to the other. And that disgusts the kind of radical Islamists who commit these acts of terror. 

For 3 centuries our world has seen a shift in culture brought on by technology. It is a shift who's end result can be surmised as the death of the agrarian lifestyle. Everything, EVERYTHING you and I take for granted as, "traditional values," regardless of your cultural origins, comes from the necessities of an agrarian way of life. From monogamous, hetero-normative families built on having at least 2 children, to our very notions of gender roles, it all stems from agrarian necessity. But in 3 centuries of growth from the start of the Enlightenment, things have changed so dramatically that the basis for many cultures, and indeed many religions no longer works with our world. Most culture have and continue to adapt, with some resistance. But even Donald Trump is not suggesting that homosexuality be criminalized or that women be barred from the workplace. This is the true culture war, and these attack are the death throws of a segment of the world that still adhere's to the old normal.

This is not against terrorism anymore than WWII was a war against aircraft carriers. This is a war against Jihadists. Yes, not all Muslims are jihadists, that is obvious, but all jihadists are Muslims, and as is the case with any war, those fighting it have to get their people on their side. The problem is Jihadists aren't partisans/gurillas, they have no single nation-state, there is no political center to destroy, no single regime to topple, there isn't any kind of unified command structure or alliance system. The only thing they have in common with a belligerent power is that there is a stated political end, and a common ideology driving it: a global caliphate governed under traditional Islamic law. In essence its an enemy we have no clear means of defeating by the traditional methods of warfare. This is a fight that will last generations.

But the truth is that the Jihadists will lose. As surely as night follows day, they will grow old, and progressively more of their siblings and children will seek the new rather than cling to the old. And in their last moments, they will be surrounded by a world that left them behind. And a world better for it.

For more by someone smarter than I: geopoliticalfutures.com/facing…
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
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  • Watching: Adventure Time
  • Playing: Kerbal Space Program
  • Eating: Pasta
  • Drinking: Mnt. Dew Pitch Black
Back to my idea about a timeline where 11,500 years ago a small population of Euceratherium or "Shrub Ox" survive the Quaternary extinction event in the Central Valley of California, and end up being to the Pre-Colombians what the Auroch was to Eurasians, providing a platform for an American species of dairy, beef, and working cattle, and thus giving Native Americans the means to develop much more advanced agrarian societies, and indeed, plauges:



POD: 9500 BCE: A small population of Euceratherium or "Shrub Ox" survive the Quaternary extinction event in the Central Valley of OTL California. American food more caloric than Eurasian, so

7000 BCE The Na-Dene people begin corralling Ox as a continuous source of meat. More docile Oxen are kept alive as breeding stock and as a source of milk.

5000 BCE: Mesoamerican cultures begin using Oxen for land cultivation. Nomadic cultures in the Great Plains begin using dogs to herd cattle.

2000 BCE: The Mayans make use of dairy, beef, and labor breeds of the ancient Shrub Ox to build their Empire

1800 BCE: The Mayan Empire conquers most of Meso America. Mayan armies are defined by light infantry supported by ox drawn siege engines.

800 CE: Mississippian civilization expands westward, creating a river-faring empire with abundant production of maize.

1100 CE: End of the third Mesoamerican-Mississippian war. The Mississippians, proficient in naval warfare and supported by a much larger population/economy, crush the Mesoamericans and sack their coastal tradeports. They are helped by the spread of plague in the western region of the Mesoamerican empire.

1492 CE: Christopher Columbus reaches OTL Hispaniola. He is at first greeted by the residents of the island (a joint Aztec-Mississippian Freeport), but after the locals and the sailors begin to become sick, hostilities break out in a bloody clash between the two peoples. All but the Nina is burned by the local population, and its skeleton crew is found dead off the Irish coast, their bodies picked clean by the gulls.

1520 CE: The New World Plague reaches Europe.

1750 CE: The Earth's population falls to 90% of pre-Columbian levels, leveling off at just over 50 million.
Britain and Scandinavia survive the best.

2000 AD: The Nordic Council signs an armistice with the Mississippian Federation
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: The Diamond Age
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  • Playing: Fallout Shelter
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This has been the most inside out race I've ever seen, so I fully expect to be wrong about both of these possibilties regarding tomorrow's speech by Mitt Romney: www.cnn.com/2016/03/02/politic…

There is a scenario that's been rattling around in my brain since about a week before Super Tuesday: What if the conservative leaders (often referred to as "the establishment" and long ago called "moderates" before they got into bed with the Tea Party) decide that to save the conservative movement, they must abandon the Republican party? The following are two scenarios for the weird turns this race might take depending on Romney's actions tomorrow.

Scenario A: Mitt Romney announces his third party candidacy with full support from the GOP elites/neocons/establishment conservatives. Conservative leaders essentially decide that saving the Grand Old Party via a bloody primary fight with Donald Trump is more trouble than its worth, and decide to run a third party candidate. They set the tone from the get-go with a historically moderate Republican speaking frankly and honestly with the electorate, explaining just what went wrong, and what conservatism really means in the 21st Century (code for "We're gonna stop bashing gay marriage and ignoring non-white men). Suppose this was a last desperate attempt to save the Conservative Movement from what's become of the Republican Party. They probably wouldn't win the election, but they'd leave Trump and the Tea Party to fight it out like cancers in a dying body and lay the groundwork for a newer, better political party. They'd lose (they'd go into the race knowing that) but in a battle for the soul of conservatism, unbeholden to the festering beast that's taken over the party (that they helped create) they could finally speak honestly. The question is if the public would even consider listening to the same people who started the Iraq War and dragged this country through almost a decade of corruption and incompetence.

Scenario B: Mitt Romney (speaking for the establishment) endorses Hillary Clinton. Conservative leaders chose to abandon the GOP for the Democrats where they might actually fit in. Clinton's already been preparing to poach moderate Republicans if Trump were to be the nominee, and its getting harder to see a scenario where he doesn't walk away with a narrow victory in the primary. So, why not just join the team that's winning and push them a little more to the right. Sanders/Warren Democrats would call this a betrayal of the highest order, but the promise of Republican donors giving a real chance to take back the House and Senate might be too tempting for the DNC to turn down. Clinton sails to the nomination, but not without a far more radical Sanders Campaign calling Clinton a liberal apostate for allying for an outright plutocrat like Romney (who I'm assuming in this scenario would be at least on the shortlist for Running mate). Clinton's unity ticket pisses off the populists, but appeals to enough voters to win big in November, and secures the Democrats a hegemony in Congress. The election ends with Trump's ultra-right wing Republicans as a minority party and Sanders/Warren leaving to form a new Liberal Party.

OR I could be complete wrong and this is just another empty spectacle to try and keep Rubio's campaign alive till the convention for some desperate attempt to wrestle the nomination from Trump.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: The Diamond Age
  • Watching: Too much stuff
  • Playing: Fallout Shelter
  • Eating: Pasta
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Ok, so I just thought of a great ATL with a very simple POD. What if 11,500 years ago a small population of Euceratherium or "Shrub Ox" survive the Quaternary extinction event in the Central Valley of California, while harsh conditions reduce their population to only a few hundred individuals, those that survive (smaller than their Pleistocene ancestors) end up filling the roll of Aurochs to Pre-Colombian civilizations, providing a platform for an American species of dairy, beef, and working cattle, and thus giving Native Americans the means to develop much more advanced agrarian societies. HOWEVER, as CGP Grey outlined in his video "AmericaPox: The Missing Plauge" farming societies with large domesticated animals, tended to be a breeding ground for Plagues. 



SO, the survival of the Shrub Ox would lead to Native American Plagues. That means that in 1492 when Columbus landed in Haiti, he would find two things: An Aztec colony with cities and farms reminiscent of Mediterranean Europe AND a new disease that would come with him back to continental Europe while his diseases would spread across the New World (faster than in OTL thanks to shipping and trade caravans), reducing the GLOBAL population by upwards of 90%.

NOTE: Natives COULD conceivably travel to Europe in this TL, and there's those very good theories of Egyptians and Chinese exploration of the New World, to say nothing of the Vikings, but we're gonna assume that since the Americans would only be interested in traveling North to South, they'd have no reason to launch a Westward expedition across the Sea to find a new rout to a known source of goods.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
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  • Playing: Fallout Shelter
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  • Drinking: OJ
Well another year come and gone, and once again I'm busy busy with real-life and using this as an outlet for all the creative impulses that aren't relevant for the projects that will make my living. I don't really have any formal plans for future maps or flags or whatever, I'm just gonna play it by ear. The Mars and Venus maps, they'll get done when they're done. They're huge and take forever, and honestly they can be kinda boring to work on sometimes. So, if you have any maps, topics, or whatever that you wanna see, speak up. The only map I'm firmly planning to do in the immediate future is a "What if the American Revolution Never Happened" small map. I know, its been done to death, but I think I've got a POD and a direction that will interest a lot of people.

Here's some snippets of the TL thus far (subject to change):

POD: 1738 - George William Frederick is born to Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales. The boy is born prematurely and dies a few short weeks after his birth.

1760 - Prince Edward ascends to the thrown as King Edward VII

1776 - King Edward VII receives a diplomatic envoy from British America in response to his Proclamation of Reconciliation.

1837 - Rebellion of 1837 spreads across Canada and New England over the populace's collective frustration with political reforms enacted by parlaiment.

1917 - The Great War breaks out between the Anglo-French Entente and the Austro-German Powers over sphere's of influence in China.

1921 - The United States of Mexico joins the Entente in the Great War supplying the means to a swift end to the war.
  • Listening to: Stan Rogers
  • Reading: The Diamond Age
  • Watching: Too much stuff
  • Playing: Fallout Shelter
  • Eating: Pasta
  • Drinking: OJ