Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Too fast! All the weird Electoral College possibilities.

None of us has ever seen anything like this. It seems proof that we live in some weird simulation. Or Robert Heinlein's predicted "Crazy Years." Or else that I was right about every century having its true upheaval-beginning approximately in its 15th year.

This time, let me entertain you with just a few politically redolent points, that should shock, amuse and make you cry.

1- Don't expect salvation from the Electoral College. Yes, there'll be more defections-of-conscience than ever before. Some electors are talking out options, as a "college" should. Like the "Hamilton Electors" campaign attempting to match Clinton and Trump electors, combining to choose another republican. A sane-moderate one, like maybe John Kasich. (Though I swallow bile, calling Kasich "moderate" only by comparison.) 

Go look up the Hamilton Electors campaign, though its chances of organizing 270 DP and GOP electors, in consensus? Absolutely nil.

It might have been possible, if support built in the right places for my own great idea... getting some billionaire to offer an all-expense-paid actual meeting of the Electoral College, at some resort - for the first time in 240 years - letting them talk it out, free of outside interference. Under those conditions, a "Hamilton" solution to elect someone else might have been negotiated. Too late, I guess. Ah, judgement, thou art fled...


2- Forget getting the EC to select someone else. But there is another, less-impossible scenario. It's an entirely different story for just enough GOP electors to abstain or vote for a protest candidate, and thus deny Trump his 270 majority. 

Care to join a betting pool, on how many Republican Electors will defect from Donald Trump, because those electors are at some level moral or sane? So far... one Trump Elector from Texas already resigned for religious reasons. Another Texas elector just announced that he cannot vote for Trump and will choose someone else...

(Late News: Another group has come forward, offering to pay all legal bills of Electors who exercise their conscience, and providing confidential legal advice to any who are thinking of doing so.)

...though it still seems virtually impossible there will be the critical mass of 40 honorable patriots needed. That required number could be much smaller, if recounts flip Wisconsin and Michigan... but that's a fantasy. In fact, here's a thought: Ohio's electors could almost do it all by themselves, voting for Kasich. So he'd be in round two...

...which would take place in the House of Representatives. Note that if we got forty GOP abstentions -- or twenty, if Michigan flips --  that would throw it into Paul Ryan's lap, making him take responsibility. A delight in its own right watching him squirm!

Now, the House is limited to choosing among the top three EC vote getters, so if the defectors only abstain, that gives us either Trump again (possibly with some concessions) or perhaps President Pence. (And ponder Trump getting Senate nod to be VP, as a sop to his mob? Oh, the sci fi scenarios spin out!  After all, we are in the Matrix, not a reasoning world.)

Only then, why not a conspiracy scenario? Thirty or forty GOP Electors vote for Paul Ryan, putting him in the top tier. The House then chooses Ryan. We get Bushite factotum-horrors in Ryan's cabinet who will be - or seem - more adult/moderate, or at least not the screeching harridans DT is choosing. And the Trumpists go berserk. We get a wave of Timothy McVeighs. So, maybe the House cuts a deal with Trump, after all.

So, have I laid it out for you?  Aw heck. Also see a fun, informative and interesting graphic-based tutorial about how the Electoral College warps the public will. See especially the Donald Trump quotations at the end. There have been times when he's very insightful! Like when he declared relentlessly "this election is rigged." Boy, was it.

== A very special possibility ==

 Oh, yeah. 

If the recounts find proof there's been real, bigtime voting machine fraud, then everything rips wide open.  

In which case, it's time to go to the Court and demand something never seen in US history. A new vote.

Biden-Sanders 2017.  Just sayin'

== More tidbits on our Crazy Year ==

All right, none of that is going to happen.  Believing it just sets you up for another depression, kids. Alas, this phase of America's recurring confederate fever will not pass so quickly.

And on that note -- more insanity.

3-  Those of you who have both a sense of justice and more than two neurons to rub together - in other words folks who aren't participating in the cult's war on every knowledge profession - please do look at the latest from Lawrence Lessig -- The Equal Protection argument against "winner take all" in the Electoral College -- on why the Dems should file before the Supreme Court on the very same basis that the GOP used to push G.W. Bush into the presidency, in 2000.  Only this year offers a much stronger case than that was.  One simple decision, based on justice, would forever ensure the Electoral College is less out of whack from the people's will.

...and see where I made the same argument - with less legalese erudition - almost a decade ago.

4- At last, someone offers a $100K reward for anyone bringing forward conclusive evidence of election fraud. I've begged for this. The reward should be 10X larger (with help from a zillionaire), plus offers of immunity, hero status and talk show gigs. Oh, and whistleblowers reap 20% of whatever the U.S. gets, when conspiracies are nailed!  Crowdfund this, asap.

5- A recent report by the Centre for Strategic Communications, a Kremlin-connected think tank, neatly summarised Vladimir Putin’s ambition as: World Conservatism’s New Leader’.


6- President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general of the United States.  Sen. Sessions, who is a proud white supremacist, has declared that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and plans to fight states-rights efforts to end criminalization.  How many of these will it take for the (Grateful) Dead-Heads to wake up that they've been backing the wrong party?


7- It turns out that income is not the main determinant of where the white vote went for Donald Trump. It was level of education. The more of it you had – as analyzed on 538 -- the stronger your tendency to vote for Hillary Clinton. Sure, it's old news that Fox has waged war against all knowledge professions, an obsession that will hit a wall when they try this on the Intelligence Services and the U.S. Military Officer Corps.


Okay, at risk of sinking below adult level. (We may have to, folks). Trump got 230 of his 280 electoral votes from states with the most obese adult population. Look at the maps yourselves. TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, IA, MO, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, OH, IN, PA, WV.  
There was a movie about this. Exactly this. We just never expected it to come true in our lifetimes.  

8- Fox News, which inflicted this mania upon us, is now trying for equivalence by coining the term "alt-left." How stupid!  Their narrative has always been that "all liberals are the same." All progressive-minded citizens - the majority of Americans - are PC bullies screeching socialism and guilt trips. Commies who cannot be negotiated with. Ever. 

Only this new narrative of theirs says the opposite! By separating out the (admittedly) crazy fringe of PC bullies and calling them "alt-left," Fox admits what any sane person knew -- that that left-fringe never controlled the Democratic Party. The way alt-right utterly controls the GOP.

9-  Notwithstanding futile calls for recounts, this is a problem that needs relentless attention over a matter of years, not weeks. The place where we need to act is at the level of state governments, where the confederacy has been quietly seizing power for decades. And thus controlling the purchase and administration of the voting machines that empowered this technologically-propelled coup-d’etat.

10- Finally (for this roundup), there's the “sore winner” syndrome: Why are Donald Trump’s supporters still so angry?” So asks Heather Parton on Salon. “Has any president-elect ever been asked to reassure the American people that they needn’t be afraid of him and his followers? It’s astonishing. Trump’s lack of understanding about why they are afraid is even more so… but Abraham Lincoln understood.”

To understand what makes them mad – as in insane – read this speech, in his own words, by Trump’s new master strategist, Breitbart maestro of the alt-right Steve Bannon.  There is no place for any of us in his world. 

Again, this will only resolve when we play hardball. Do at least this. Yes, I am talking to you.


145 comments:

matthew said...

While I still think that Lessig's brief Presidential run was nothing more than vanity I do appreciate his equal protection argument about the electoral college. Good one, and one that I shared through social means. Let's get those Blue AG's working on this.

Catfish N. Cod said...

I'll take finding thirty-seven protest votes among the Republicans at ten to one odds. The reason I find it even slightly plausible is because Bannon and Conway's minions will soon be coming for the heads of anyone not on the Trump Train. Ideological purity begins at home, even when the ideology is "Trust the Don."

I expect Flynn to attempt to purge the Intelligence Corps; he has a chip on his shoulder. Not likely to get any further on that than he did at DIA.

Bannon wants to be Lenin. Anyone remember who came after Lenin?

Tacitus2 said...

About one third of Wisconsin's votes have been recounted. Donald Trump has actually gained a few votes. Nothing major has been found. There were as I understand it a few ballots where people insisted on circling a name instead of connecting the arrow leading to it. Intent was clear. And early on the Libertarian and Green candidates picked up a few votes. Some clerk did not record them properly.

It is looking like a non issue.

Tacitus

Jonathan Sills said...

Michigan's recount has run into an odd snag - in several precincts, the number of votes recorded by poll workers fails to match the number of ballots sealed in those boxes. And by Michigan's weird law, that means those precincts cannot be recounted at all. If the vote was tampered with in those precincts by someone adding or swiping ballots, Michigan presumes the vote is therefore accurate and need not be verified.

No, it doesn't make any sense to me either.

David Brin said...

Tacitus, your conclusion that nothing is amiss is premature. Yes, now the burden of proof falls heavier on the shoulders of those of us who know.... sorry, so, we know it... that proved relentless cheaters will cheat.

To us, this merely shows how well they prepared for this day.

Blank Reg said...

What is it with the #TrumpDeniers? This is also the part that Heinlein warned about. This notion of wrenching around the Electoral College will fall flat when the Moment of Truth finally arrives in a couple weeks. You guys are clutching at straws.

Messing with the EC could lead to actual civil war. The election is over. Trump is your President. You really have to move on.

David Brin said...

So says the member of a gang rape mob, taunting the victims to shut up. The question is not whether a minority cult cheated and cheated to takeover the government that a clear and large majority of voters did not want them to have. Nor is it the fact that intelligence and education are the major factors, and the clear intention of the cult's leadership is to create an Idiocracy Administration, laced with hate.

No, the issue is what the hell you plan to accomplish, knowing that your cult has driven off all the people who deal in facts and know stuff.

David Brin said...

BTW... your cult declared civil war long ago. Like the Union, we are only waking up.

Anonymous said...

@Blank Reg
What is this reluctance from Trump-side to recount? He himself is saying that there must be millions of false ballots or he would have won the popular vote. He should be the loudest voice for recount. But he isn't. Tell me why?


Twominds

Jumper said...

Here's a thing about Breitbart's drug habits. Apparently the Ritalin was admitted, and obviously the alcohol. The cocaine is just hearsay. I hadn't known about the Ritalin, which is close to meth. Amphetamine fascism strikes again.
http://www.alternet.org/story/154463/what_really_killed_andrew_breitbart_the_likely_cause_of_death_the_mainstream_media_ignored

I wonder if Bannon has a scrip? It would all make sense. It's amazing how many right wingers get on this stuff and turn as evil as a bad biker gang.

Tacitus2 said...

I am but your Humble Correspondent in Cheeseland. These are the fact to date.

Tacitus

David Brin said...

I accept that, Tacitus. I knew that salvation would not come easy. A smoking gun could have let us ream out the cheaters-cabal and save... well... what it would save would include a sane and honest Republican Party.

But more people than ever are sniffing the smoke. And if the ONLY cheats to be eliminated are gerrymandering and audit free voting machines, then we'll all be better off.

David S. said...

Tacitus,
Thanks for the recount updates.
Can you tell me what kind of ballots and machines are in use in Wisconsin?

Smurphs said...

No way will the Electoral College will mess with election, except for maybe one or two Electors. And, as much as I despise the President-Elect, if they did, I would join the revolt. But it is a fun fantasy. I would really like the election to be forced into the House, so the GOP would have to accept responsibility for what they have just done.

Please take note that Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do, he is draining the swamp. Almost none of his potential Cabinet nominees have ANY government experience. Even Rick Santorum would not have ever considered nominating such a collection of vile, evil people. But they are certainly not Washington insiders!

And I fear right now for Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi? Have we learned nothing? No way will the Democrats be able to maintain enough unity to stop these nominations. Or the upcoming Supreme Court nominations, whoever it may be. You were scared of Sharia Law, created by Iron Age tribes, get ready for Leviticus Law, created by STONE AGE tribes.

And in the next few election cycles, either Trump has done enough to continue getting populist support or not. If he has, they win. If not, the GOP will blame Trump, say he was not really one of us and now Paul Ryan will be our Savior.(or Ted Cruz or whoever)

Smurphs said...

Did I just compare Rick Santorum favorably to anybody? And I'm from Pennsylvania. Shoot me now.

Jumper said...

If the college puts it in the House, I predict they'll go ahead off the cliff.

Tacitus2 said...

David S.

regards voting machine types in WI it is a real mixture. Where I vote they are some kind of optical scanners. I did find an exhaustive list but it is by township so not very user friendly.

http://elections.wi.gov/sites/default/files/page/179/voting_eq_list_12_2016_pdf_pdf_18479.pdf

I will try to get cleaner information for you.

Tacitus

Paul SB said...

Smurphs,

SPLAT! (That was a wet nerf gun.)

Erin said:

"I believe that God is delighted that we each have our own vocations."
- I'm not willing to try to put words in the mouths of people I have never met, but for whatever it's worth, I hope you are right.

Ratio said:

"You're never going to get to everyone. Nothing's that perfect. I'm fine with that as long as the benefits are high enough."
- I'm not exactly sure who you are referring to as 'everyone' here, or which of my comments prompted this, but I get it. We are not all the same, and - excepting obvious biological commonalities - there isn't much that is true for everybody. And life is hard enough without people trying to impose their 'youniversals' on everyone else.

Catfish,

Since I forgot what I was going to say about serious issues, I'll just ask if you ever tried that catfish recipe I sent you some time ago. A red wine sauce for a white fish is uncommon. Time-consuming to make, but I thought it was really yum, and being French it impresses guests. That might be why I haven't made it in so long - being a teacher has mad eye so busy I never have company anymore...

Zepp Jamieson said...

George Monbiot had a great piece in today's Guardian about how corporations are corroding democracy. He writes, "[U]nder the onslaught of the placeless, transnational capital that McDonald’s exemplifies, democracy as a living system withers and dies. The old forms and forums still exist – parliaments and congresses remain standing – but the power they once contained seeps away, re-emerging where we can no longer reach it." Given that we have just elected our first fascist president, it's well worth the read:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/06/mcdonalds-democracy-corporate-globalisation-trump-le-pen-farage

Alfred Differ said...

@Slim Moldie: Never, never take it bad that I miss a comedian's humor. I really DO try to catch it, but I need facial and tone of voice hints a lot more than I care to admit. I've heard humor recognition is a two-hemisphere tango, but my left gets all wrapped up in itself when I'm reading and forces the motions to fit my desire to mentally model the people who wrote the words.

Of course, now my model of you includes links to 'comedian', so that might help... eventually. 8)

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

paraphrasing Treebeard paraphrasing Locumranch...

Modern liberal civilization is an ideology of egalitarianism and utilitarianism without a transcendent goal.

A number of people believe this, but if you actually take the time to look at modern liberals (a spectrum ranging from classical liberals to progressives in the US), you'll find they aren't utilitarians in practice. Many within the Clerisy claim they are, but they don't tolerate it outside of ivory towers. True utilitarians maximize their benefit among prudent options. While some people do this in the US, most do not and that includes most modern liberals. If you want to see a small example of our intolerance, go out for lunch at a mid-level restaurant and watch how people react to an employee who maximizes their own personal benefit. Watch how they react to other guests doing the same. Such people are usually judged harshly as selfish and receive feedback informing them of their social errors. No tips, glares, and angry words all count to point out that utilitarianism isn't socially acceptable most of the time.

Okay, the charge of egalitarianism is reasonable, but only up to a point. We aren't so stupid as to prefer a Lathe of Heaven world or Procrustean beds for our children. Do we go too far sometimes? Yah. I suspect we do. I also suspect it is a counter-reaction to the easy acceptance some others have for bigotry. Maybe we should agree to meet in the middle somewhere?

As for a lack of transcendence, I'd laugh if that wasn't so sad. Even atheists like me understand the hollowness of life without transcendence. Arguing that we live such lives is a mistake, though. I suspect a blindness among some monotheists to what non-believers are doing related to the radiance of the one transcendent that holds their minds rapt. I see transcendents in the plural sense, so with a very minor change of terminology, one could argue I'm a polytheist. I don't see much point animating each transcendent I hold dear with agency, so I'm properly described as an atheist. I capitalize the words for them, though, much like Christians do for their Transcendent, so I'm not sure there is much difference.

A seven part virtue ethics system described by Thomas Acquinas has the parts that would have no purpose without transcendents. Whether one also adopts a Transcendent above them all matters as part of a belief system, but in a practical, worldly sense, many of us behave roughly the same way whether we do or not. It is in this sense that modern liberals can't be utilitarians if they are inclined to agree with Acquinas on much of anything.

locumranch said...



At risk of sounding like the comic villain from 'The Incredibles', I agree with Catfish's closing comments from the last thread. For, when ALL of us are granted reverse discrimination as 'special victims', then we will all be truly equal because (1) none of us will be 'special' because all of us are and (2) none of us will self-identify as 'victims' because there can be no advantage in being just like everyone else.

And, this new thread?

It proves that David can write Alternative History & Fantasy with the best of them.

We could call this tale 'The Woman in High Office" wherein (1) HRC triumphs over the rape-booted minions of the masculine (and therefore evil) Trump Axis, (2) the acquisition of name-brand designer frocks & pumps becomes a more important priority than national defence, (3) men acquiesce to their own self-destruction in the service of the feminine Greater Good, (4) the heroic forces of femocratic female progressivism seize & hold political majority, and (5) the United Nations appoints a fictional sex symbol as its honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.

This plot line is just too absurd to contemplate. Or, is it?

(1) Do our politicians set policy, or are they just glorified chauffeurs who do as they are told?
(2) The US already spends 5% of its GDP on frocks & shoes when it spends only 3.5% on national defence;
(3) The life expectancy of the white US male has actually declined as of late (when compared to an increase in all other identity groups);
(4) Women make up the majority (53%) of all registered US voters (thus, we know that MORE women voted for Trump than men); and
(5) The UN did appoint a sexy cartoon character as its honorary ambassador for female empowerment, as ridiculous as it sounds, http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wonderwoman/

Who 'chooses', Dr. Brin? Who was Lysistrata? Who are the "primary victims of war"? Who controls 80% of all first-world consumer spending? Who controls the corporations with the power of the purse? And who controls most men with a purse variant? They elected Trump so they could escape notice. Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small . . . and you will escape the jealousy of the great.


Best ;)
____
@Alfred: Personally, I prefer subtext to transcendence. Those who seek transcendence pursue that which is imperceptible & therefore unknowable, while those who pursue subtext seek the empiric foundations of our perceptions.

Paul SB said...

Ah, and here we have a conspiracy theory that requires the participation of 53% of the electorate. Good one! This is the kind of thing that happens when a person can only think in stereotypes, trading all members of a class as if they were identical. The obsession with fashion stereotype is revealing enough, but I remember my high school years where one enormous clique was made up of equal numbers of males and females, all equally obsessed with their clothes. We called them "preppies" in those days, though i haven't heard the term used in a long time. That obsession hardly stops with adulthood, especially in the corporate world, where we are expected to "dress professionally" which really means dress competitively, á la Veblen.

Who was Lysistrata? A fictional character, created by a man, as a joke, to reveal an enormous flaw in men. Loci's reference is revealing, and in exactly the same way that the Taliban and Boko Haram's choice of girls' schools for terror attacks is revealing Men who can't lure women to them with charms they don't have want to take women by force. They are obsessed with sex but haven't the patience to actually carry on a conversation with a member of the opposite sex, much less try to know their minds and learn to get along.

But notice that in the comedy, neither the weenie-intellectual men of Athens nor the manly warriors of Sparta tried to shove their hands up the women's peplos. They respected the wishes of their wives, they didn't force them to submit as the Loco Haram would.

But hey, don't despair! That's what Russian and Asian mail-order brides are for! Maybe President-Elect Grope, with his great love of Russian dictators, will arrange a treaty to send millions of them to America to reward his loyal followers as spoils of war ... er .. election.

Somewhere the dust that was once Aristophanes

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Blank Reg: we can be as accepting and accommodating as the Republicans were to President Obama, which is to say:

* opposing nearly major policy initiative we can, usually because it is against our principles but sometimes just because we can, or to deny you the advantage of being the ones to do it;
* tit-for-tat escalation of interference tactics to further ruin Congress' effectiveness;
* endless hearings on every scandal under the sun, regardless of the degree of truth or evidence; unending denial of legitimacy;
* and openly stating that removal of the offensive and illegitimate president at the first opportunity is the goal.

That is, after all, what YOU did -- so you must agree that it is appropriate behavior! Sucks, doesn't it?

Look, this election just demonstrated that obstruction, openly denying the President's right to hold office, and relentless denigration of high officers is the path to power. The opposition would self-disarming cretinous fools to reject those tactics in the current environment. We told you at the time they were bad moves, but the Red team didn't care.

Well now it's your turn, because that's how the Golden Rule works. Just as it's our turn to suck it up on being unable to filibuster Cabinet appointments because we took that away -- in response to your team's attempt to hold hundreds of judgeships hostage, which was in response to an arms race to install judges as ideologically pure and as young as possible, which...

We can continue down this path, if we choose. It ends with the breakdown of the Republic. Or we can sit down and see if we can hash out common rules of decorum, civility, and cooperative encouragement, so we are not at each others' throats. Because the logic of this system is now causing each side, in power, to ignore the offenses of their own team and disregard warnings from across the aisle as partisan advantage. Sooner or later, and we fear sooner, that's going to turn into a tyranny. And it starts by saying: "We are both off the rails. We have to stop talking as Blues and Reds, Dems and GOP, and start discussing ground rules as just plain Americans."

Catfish N. Cod said...

And quick responses all round:

@David: the momentum on anti-gerrymandering is moving faster than I thought (though not as fast as I would like). You could do a section or even a whole post just on the last few months' developments around the country. The time, it seems, has come, and not a moment too soon. (Have links, will post.)

@PaulSB: not yet, but I'm planning to make it for the girlfriend next month :)

@Alfred Diller: a debate on where egalitarianism should stop would be an extremely productive one, but it needs to being with the recognition that any impositions of egalitarianism have a purpose for society, and that advantage is NOT intended to be, as locum puts it so succinctly, "Gimme". At the same time, it must not turn into, as Paul451 put it, "adversarial". This is tricky.

@locum: Glad we agree! This is why Red and Blue need to talk more. There ARE ways to get out of rhetorical and policy traps, ways to acknowledge and address the fears of each side, ways to compromise such that a policy acceptable to the greatest number is achieved. But it requires actually taking the other side's concerns as serious and real, something very lacking in our politics today.

I have to dispute your statistics:
2013 GDP of the United States: $16,663 billion
2013 Volume of apparel sales in the United States: $371 billion, or 2.2%
2013 military spending: $617 billion, or 3.7%


That's as opposed to the life expectancy rates of white males and the increased suicide rates among (particularly rural) whites. Those are real! Solid data! And need addressing badly! Mental health and jobs would help, obviously, but so might a shift in rhetoric -- displaying competent and successful women and men side by side, for instance, rather than placing the woman on a pedestal and elevating her above the Man's World. (Which is the reason I'm ambivalent about Wonder Woman as a symbol -- I don't find using a cartoon character ridiculous at all, but I might pick a different one as a better message.) It's not the sixties anymore, and "battle of the sexes" is counterproductive.

It's completely hypocritical to talk about black men getting GSW by police and not white men getting GSW by their own hand; Hispanic gangs shooting up heroin vs. white suburbanites falling to prescription opioid addiction. They all deserve to be addressed. Because we're all special. We're all Americans.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

The US already spends 5% of its GDP on frocks & shoes when it spends only 3.5% on national defence


Which proves nothing about "priorities". I pay much less each month for water than I do for cable and internet and phone access. Does that imply that communication technology is a higher priority than water? No, it just means one is cheaper than the other.

To prove what you think it proves, you would have to demonstrate that the US is deferring needed defense spending in order to use the funds to buy more shoes.

BTW, some of your specific cultural attitudes, most notably the anti-feminist ones, are so reminiscent of Canadian comics writer/artist Dave Sim that I have long suspected you might be a reader of his (if not, you might want to start). But the fact that you spell "defence" the Canadian way is...creepy?


Women make up the majority (53%) of all registered US voters (thus, we know that MORE women voted for Trump than men


No it'tisn't. Seriously, you're gonna have to show your work on that one.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Catfish, how about Rosie the Riveter?

locumranch said...



It's a multilevel joke, Larry & Paul, not meant for you.

(1) 'The Incredibles' is fairy story about the mundane & commonplace nature of super powers, whereas 'reverse discrimination' (as expressed by the 'superior virtue of the oppressed' fallacy) represents a very real attempt to empower (endow) super powers into the commonplace & mundane;

(2) PK Dick's 'Man in High Castle' is an alternative history presented as the truth containing a fiction representing a truth, whereas the joke of 'The Woman in High Office' fancy is that it would represent an alternative history presented as a fiction containing a truth represented as a fiction; and

(3) The Lysistrata & 'women must choose' reference was a playful dig at our host for 'The Postman' wherein the farcically comedic Lysistrata story was repurposed into a seemingly reasonable gender empowerment strategy that ends in tragedy.

What I find even funnier, however, is how Larry & Paul assert that our democratic reality of 'Majority Rule' (by ANY clear majority of more than 51%, on a state-by-state basis) represents nothing more than a farcical conspiracy theory & fever dream.

An additional 'not-funny' is the recent hung jury in reference to the police officer who used deadly force & 'back-shot' a fleeing felon, which generated public outrage only because the felon was black, and not because the victim was a male who became a wanted felon (with an issued fugitive warrant) because he was unable to pay his court-ordered alimony & child-support in obeisance to the protected gender.

Law & Order! Pow, pow. Let's shoot them disposable males in the back. Or, better yet, let's just send them to showers if they fail to kill themselves first.


Best
_____

All the world is waiting for you,
And the POWER you possess,
In your satin tights,
Fighting for YOUR rights,
And the old red, white & blue.

doo doo doo doo doo

2.2% of the US GDP goes to fashion, PLUS another 2.5% goes to shoes.

And, Larry, you're right, my estimates were off by 7 million (aka '3% error'), according to the BBC. As opposed to 60 million men, only 53 million women voted for Trump, assuming a total US adult population of 242 million, 128 million women voters (53%), 114 million men (47%), 53% of men (60 million) & 42% of women (53 million) voting for Trump.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

'The Incredibles' is fairy story about the mundane & commonplace nature of super powers,


"The Incredibles" wasn't a bad movie, speaking as a comics fan who gets some of the inside jokes, but does every movie based on material for kids have to be about how poorly equipped the fantasy characters are to interact with the mundane world?

whereas 'reverse discrimination' (as expressed by the 'superior virtue of the oppressed' fallacy) represents a very real attempt to empower (endow) super powers into the commonplace & mundane


I don't see why you're so attached to this "superior virtue of the oppressed" thing, let alone why you think I'm its advocate. What is your reaction in your own professional life, or even your sporting/gaming life, to blatant cheating. Say you're in a poker game and a few aces fall out of the sleeve of one of the players in front of everybody. Unless your reaction is "Well, the rest of us aren't entitled to preferential treatment just because he cheated," then stop pretending you don't know what we're talking about. The entirety of civil law is about compensation when one individual has been wronged by another. It has nothing to do with evaluating whether the victim is a morally superior person.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

What I find even funnier, however, is how Larry & Paul assert that our democratic reality of 'Majority Rule' (by ANY clear majority of more than 51%, on a state-by-state basis) represents nothing more than a farcical conspiracy theory & fever dream.

What the eff are you talking about? I don't even recognize a point here enough to argue with it.


An additional 'not-funny' is the recent hung jury in reference to the police officer who used deadly force & 'back-shot' a fleeing felon, which generated public outrage only because the felon was black, and not because the victim was a male who became a wanted felon (with an issued fugitive warrant) because he was unable to pay his court-ordered alimony & child-support in obeisance to the protected gender.

Law & Order! Pow, pow. Let's shoot them disposable males in the back. Or, better yet, let's just send them to showers if they fail to kill themselves first.

The public outrage isn't because he was black, it was because that kind of thing apparently only happens to blacks. No one is saying that white felons should be made equal by being shot in similar circumstances. They're angry that blacks are not considered worthy of the same discretion that police exhibit in dealing with white suspects.

I'm also not seeing how this example demonstrates willingness, let alone advocacy, of execution of surplus population, other than by the right-wing police-staters themselves. How does this reflect on the sort of people who would complain about unfair treatment of black people in the first place?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

And, Larry, you're right, my estimates were off by 7 million (aka '3% error'), according to the BBC. As opposed to 60 million men, only 53 million women voted for Trump


Are you sure you're not a Dave Sim reader? He also acts as if the same evidence supports his original point even when the evidence turns out to be the opposite of what he first thought. During the Elian Gonzoles thing, he ranted that only liberal feminists could argue that a six-year-old deserves political asylum as a refugee in opposition to his father's wishes. When I pointed out that the position he was talking about was the one taken by Republicans and that then-President and then-First-Lady Clinton did return the child to his Cuban father, Dave called me an idiot and acted as if his point stood notwithstanding.

Likewise, your whole point derived from the supposed-fact that more women than men voted for Trump. Does the fact that fewer women than men actually did vote for Trump change any of your conclusions from the original point? I didn't think so.

David Brin said...

Catfish, do you have news re gerrymandering? I admit, I am to overwhelmed, just keeping up with what's in front of me.

Locum is in one of his more courteous/logical phases. Still, it is hilarious that he elevates his cartoony castration phantasies - which bear no relationship to actual liberalism or even radical feminism - and considers them equivalent to the dizzying, jibbering loco reality of Trumpism.

Catfish N. Cod said...

I'd be honored, sir.

In November, a three-judge district court panel (including a Reagan-appointed Republican appeals justice who wrote the ruling!) struck down the gerrymander of the Wisconsin legislature (full text of Judge Ripple's ruling in Whitford v. Gill), a blatant attempt at one-party rule in one of the knife-edge states that caused the Present Discombobulation. But the ruling isn't the key-- it's the basis of the ruling.

For the first time, an actual mathematical metric has been approved by a federal court as a means of verifying excessive partisanship. This metric has been advocated for years, but this is its first enshrinement in law. The efficiency gap measures how many wasted votes there are in an election -- votes that did not make up the 50%+1 of the winning side. Let's do a quick example to see it in action.

-----

Let's say there's a town with ten districts, each 100 people. In a close-fought district, it might be that the Stripe Party wins 55-45 over the Plaid Party. In such a case, there were four votes wasted by the Stripes (who only needed 51), while 45 votes were wasted by the Plaids (who got nothing).

Suppose eight of the districts had the 55-45 result, and then two districts are lopsided: 20-80 in favor of the Plaids. The Stripes waste four votes in eight districts, and 20 votes in the other two, for a lean 72 votes wasted; the poor Plaids, on the other hand, wasted 45 votes in the eight districts and 29 more (80 minus 51) in the last two, for a stupendous 412 wasted votes. Take the difference and express as a fraction of the total votes cast (here, 1000) -- and the efficiency gap of this horribly gerrymandered town is 34%.

Research shows that only 7% efficiency gap is required to maintain an unfair partisan advantage. In my example above, the popular vote totals are actually 520 for the Plaids and 480 for the Stripes! A fair districting results in a 5-5 tie or even a 6-4 majority for the Plaids. Instead they get two wimpy seats.

(more later)

Paul451 said...

Paul SB,
"being a teacher has mad eye so busy I never have company anymore..."

I'm hoping that isn't a spell-check typo.

LarryHart said...

@Paul451

The other Paul's autocorrect has a mind of its own. Who knows what it will post (or tweet) next.

:)

Alfred Differ said...

Jay Ogilvy has an article up at Stratfor titled "Why So Few Thought Trump Would Win". In it he makes Charles Murray's case regarding "The Secession of the Successful" and points to how Fishtown's voter participation dropped 22% from 1960 to 2008. That means pollsters would be either blind to them or treat them as unlikely voters in 2016.

The obvious explanation is the voter participation trend reversed in Fishtown and caught us by surprise.

Equally obvious is that Fishtown's lower education levels (8% had college degrees in 2000) correlate with what we see for Trump's largest support clade.

Fishtown is a statistical representation of people who self-identify as working class who are actually distributed across much of the country. The flip-side group is 'Belmont' which represents those of us who are successful who have retreated to 'super zips' where residents of fishtown basically have no chance of ever affording a lifestyle where they could rub elbows with us, let along join us. It is a kind of segregation. White Flight becomes Education Flight.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/why-so-few-thought-trump-would-win

This reminds me of a story from my mother a few years ago about why she would never live in a gated community. She didn't see herself as one of them. In terms of success, she wasn't in the top 5%, but she and my father had succeeded at producing 4 children who functioned as independent adults with most of us surpassing them in education and financial success. Not too shabby I think. Still, those folks behind the gates where THOSE folks. Not US to her.

Catfish N. Cod said...

(resuming)

Why is it so revolutionary to have a formula to calculate the strength of gerrymandering? One reason is that other formulas (often more complex) have been proposed before in court and been struck down. But the critical point is the support of the Supreme Court. In Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004), the court voted 5-4 not to strike down a gerrymander map. Justice Kennedy, the deciding vote, refused to do so precisely because he had no "workable standard" to prove whether a gerrymander map was too extreme. The last paragraph of his opinion reads in part:

"The failings of the many proposed standards for measuring the burden a gerrymander imposes on representational rights make our intervention improper. If workable standards do emerge to measure these burdens, however, courts should be prepared to order relief."

Even after the late Justice Scalia's seat is filled, then, the court likely has at least a five-justice majority to uphold gerrymander restriction; and once the Court finds it so, stare decisis will compel Roberts to uphold it even in the face of additional new justices.

Cases on gerrymandering were before the court this week, but the news about the efficiency gap decision probably came too late for the arguments to include efficiency gap calculations as tools to fight gerrymandering. But if this can be gotten before appellate courts and the Supreme Court -- if it can be litigated in many district courts, and the efficiency gap made a standard of adjudication -- the fight against wasted votes would be significantly advanced.

"Both sides do it", of course, but in the present time, Republican maps violate the efficiency gap rule more often than Democratic maps do. There would be ways to cut a few corners on this system -- gerrymander reform won't be done; independent redistricting commissions would still be a major additional protection. But the beauty of this development is that it's just math. The election returns are the election returns and geography is geography; anyone with the precinct-by-precinct results (or, even better, the party voter files), sufficient statistics skill, and a computer can verify the calculations and see for themselves that a map is or is not in violation of the rule. Cheating would be reduced to nibbling on the edges.

The Campaign Legal Center organized the plantiff's team in this case. Surely there are other organizations capable of doing this same work. At least fourteen other state legislatures have maps that violate the 7% rule -- twelve Republican, two Democratic; and at least seven federal congressional districting maps are likewise overdrawn -- all to the benefit of Republicans.

The work to install independent redistricting commissions in the country should continue, but a judicial remedy for hyperpartisanship based on an objective standard -- no truthiness here! -- could massively alter the degree of self-selection ongoing in American politics.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Paul451: Perhaps other-Paul is channeling Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter?

Jumper said...

North Carolina will have its districts redrawn yet again. The news (and district lines) so labyrinthine I have chosen to ignore it. I am in the 12th, one of two insanest regions ever seen.

http://www.wral.com/us-supreme-court-grapples-with-complex-nc-redistricting-questions/16309067/

http://www.wral.com/us-supreme-court-to-draw-lines-on-nc-gerrymandering-case/16297884/

Treebeard said...

LOL @ “member of the gang rape mob” and the continued civil war and election-stealing rhetoric. You're really jumping the shark now. You lost an election, not the War of Armageddon. What happened to “icy reason”?

You have to hand it to Trump; he has totally outplayed everyone so far and altered the political landscape single-handedly (driving his self-procalimed smart-guy opponents to derangement in the process). Who knows, with such magical talents maybe he really can make America great (with Nancy Pelosi's help, of course).

Jumper said...

http://www.headlineshirts.net/keep-learning-science-t-shirt.html?gender=men

This says it well.

David Brin said...

Catfish thanks. That was educational.

My own solution is much simpler and does not require fancy calculations or redistricting commissions.

1) set a maximum perimeter to area ratio that's not too onerous. A commission can rule on exceptions.

2) Let the state legislature gerrymander one of the three houses (assembly, state senate and Congress) all they want.

3) There must be minimal overlap between districts for each of the three chambers.

That way the senate will be anything but a clone of the assembly, forcing citizens to view different neighbors as negotiating partners. Above all, geerymander one way and you''ll fail in the others.

Treebeard said...

Alfred, that sounds pretty vague. Shared transcendents are what lasting nations and civilizations are built around, but they should probably run deeper than a document written by 18th century lawyers. And now you have a subversive educational system that wants to deconstruct even that and make the shared transcendent some shallow abstraction like “social justice”. And of course you have the battles between atheists and theists, God vs. Science, etc. So America has a big problem, and the end of an Age is at hand.

But maybe, just maybe, Trump heralds the next Age, when Manhattan, if not all of America, will be surrounded by a giant Wall, Trump Tower will be expanded into a vast Dark Tower, and under the firm leadership of our Dark Lord (with help from Thiel's Palantir), Middle Earth will be made great again. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

toto said...

The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency in 2020 to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.

Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes.
No more handful of 'battleground' states (where the two major political parties happen to have similar levels of support) where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 38+ predictable states that have just been 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

The bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
The bill has passed 34 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 261 electoral votes.
The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the way to guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate with the most popular votes in the country

NationalPopularVote.com

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Treebeard: I think Dr. Brin's rhetoric there was a little over the top too. (Lay off the caffeine a bit, my good man.) But try to see why we are of the opinion that this is not just "losing an election".

See, I do indeed hand it to Trump that he has found brilliant exploits that have broken the normal process of discourse. He has indeed hacked the system, "single-handedly altering the political landscape", leaving his opponents befuddled and wondering what truck drove over them. (A description that also applied to Barack Obama, who had a gift for enticing his opponents to run blindly off cliffs and step into traps they themselves had set.)

Now here's the question. Has Trump altered our politics and our system of government for the better?

Imagine waking up some day, ten or twenty years from now, to find that a wealthy Hispanic demagogue, say from Los Angeles, has captured the Presidency. His methods are the same as Trump's. Now you have to hang on his every word, which he seldom gives, to see if today is the day he singles out YOUR business, YOUR neighborhood, YOUR friends or family as acting "insufficiently American" and enacting civil, legal, or economic penalties for offending the Jefe and his enthusiastic supporters. He appoints his business associates and close family to high office. His foreign policy is emotionally driven, towards whichever countries he finds congenial and beneficial to his base -- primarily Latin American ones -- and disdains traditional alliances to Canada, Britain, and France. "What have they ever done for my people?", he asks. "They've been suffering for too long!" And in the streets of Phoenix and San Francisco, La Raza supporters spray-paint Anglo businesses, telling them that they are not welcome in Reclaimed Aztlan. The Democratic Congress does nothing, because hey, at least he'll pass my favorite bill, enact my favorite regulation.

It's not a pretty picture, is it? But it's exactly what Trump has been doing; I just translated his actions and rhetoric to another case. It's also how many Republicans believe Obama acted, which I finally at last understand -- it's what they would do in his place. It is what they are doing in his place.

And that is why facts matter. Without facts, you live in your world where Obama was an oppressor and Trump is a liberator, and I live in mine where Obama was a flawed but competent president and Trump is a danger to liberal democracy and the Pax Americana. In such a world we are doomed to endless conflict, and as our institutions break under the strain, ultimately into a world where economic or military might rules. Unless we use data -- multiply sourced, verifiable, testable evidence -- to sift out the fake news, the comfortable illusions, the effects of the bubbles we all live in... face hard truths... and then solve them. Together.

Paul SB said...

My autocorrect is possessed by the Devil! Quick, someone call Patrick Troughton! No, wait, he died in that movie.... Never mind.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

And that is why
facts matter. Without facts, you live in your world where Obama was an oppressor and Trump is a liberator, and I live in mine where Obama was a flawed but competent president and Trump is a danger to liberal democracy and the Pax Americana. In such a world we are doomed to endless conflict, and as our institutions break under the strain,


So maybe it's not the scenario of The Mule that we're living out.

Instead, it's Star Trek's "Day of the Dove" episode:

In the heart! In the head!
I won't stay dead!
Next time, I'll do the same to you.

Treebeard said...

Catfish, the world is doomed to endless conflict and economic and military might always rule. But behind these, there can still be ideas and transcendent goals. Liberal democracy to me is somewhat of a charade; the trick is to get your preferred Illuminati in charge. We've had one gang calling the shots for awhile, but for whatever reason, their data-driven leadership failed to satisfy, and now the New Praetorians are taking over. In a world doomed to conflict, this is always going to happen sooner or later. Believing otherwise is the comfortable illusion, imo.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@toto: In the event of the National Popular Vote, politicians would concentrate efforts on the places with the greatest concentrations of voters -- large cities. It's a recipe for permanent exclusion of low-density America, which is precisely why I would expect conflict if it were implemented. It sounds right and fair, but there was a reason the Founders did not do it that way.

Instead, implement gerrymander reform, then convert the nation to the Maine-Nebraska plan of dividing the electoral vote by congressional district. Every district can possibly become its own little swing state. Plenty of them will still be safe seats; there is no way to force the presidential candidates to visit every last spot. But suddenly there are districts in upper New York, and in California's Central Valley; in suburban Texas, and central Illinois; places that have been neglected for decades suddenly get attention from both parties. The traditional swing states stay swing states as well, with concentrations on the purple edges. Small states are not neglected, not if they be competitive; Wyoming and Montana are still worth three votes, an easier haul than stitching together patchworks in the huge states. And each one of those districts is worth one vote; each state two. No more canceling out five states' voice by gaining a few paltry thousand votes to put you over the top in a single giant state.

Is it a perfect one-man-one-vote? No. But it accomplishes the goal of the Electoral College (ensure that no combination of too-similar states can dominate the choice of President) while hewing far closer to the popular vote. You might have a winner who misses the popular vote totals by a few dozen or hundred thousand, but I am rather certain that a 2.7 million vote discrepancy would be very improbable.

Why? Because that sort of electoral college map would have a lower efficiency gap. ;)

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Treebeard:
Liberal democracy to me is somewhat of a charade; the trick is to get your preferred Illuminati in charge.

*throws hands up* Well, this is the world you actually want, then, and have no interest in ever lifting a finger for the "charade" that gave you the best run civilization in all history. I wish you joy of it, especially the next time your "preferred Illuminati" isn't in charge.

But if you don't want to hope for something better, don't complain next time the dice don't roll your way. You give up all rights to pity or mercy when you live by the sword. And when next we who hope drive forth for novus ordo seculorum and all the dreams the Enlightenment hath borne, don't get in our way.

Jumper said...

The "shared transcendence" is bogus here. You got your Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Episcopalians and Catholics, several schools of Judaism, Buddhist and Shinto, and the natives too. Then some outliers. And Puritans and Quakers and Amish. Free thinkers and agnostics, Jeffersonian magic-removers, Masons, Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses. And they all share Treebeard's vision. Isn't that amazing?

Paul SB said...

Catfish,

I kinda sorta remembered what I was going to say this morning. You were discussing UBI with Paul 451, and I thought your idea of taking it as a sort of public resource was one of the better ideas I have heard yet - assuming I am understanding you correctly. However, these kind of arrangements usually end up falling victim to The Tragedy of the Commons, which would require very thorough safeguards to ward off.

"he idea was that any work, any at all, any hours, any pay, any *anything*, qualifies you for the basic benefit. The example I give is of the homeless who sell (usually socialist-propaganda) magazines or newspapers for $1-$2 apiece, working on commission. That's *more* than enough. Aluminum can collection is another."
- This line brought to mind Mel Brooks:
"What was your profession?"
"Gladiator."
Okay, have you killed anyone today?"
"No."
"Have you tried to kill anyone today?"
"Yes."

You might want to give that recipe a dry run before testing it out on a girlfriend. I think it's mega yum, but there's no accounting for taste. Plus, depending on how easily you pick up cooking, you might do it better the second time around.

Randall Winn said...

The whole "gerrymandering" issue is stuck in the concept of geographically-based representation.

Most of us have common interests somewhat free of geography. If we were going to seriously redesign representation, a proxy system similar to that used in voting shares in the world of commerce would eliminate the need for drawing districts at all.
1. Anyone can run for Congress by amassing proxies. Form your own party, based on political ideas (environmentalism, Free Silver, whatever), religion, geographical location, hobbies/professions (the Wheat Farmers' Party! the Pilots and Stevedores' Party! the SF fandom Party! The Sad Puppies Party!), or even sheer demagoguery (the Insult Comedian Party!). The top 100 or 435 proxy-holders get a seat in Congress and proceed from there.
A nice variation would be to allow proxy givers to change their proxies regularly, perhaps once a week. Thus the artifacts of the election cycle (nothing gets done in an election year) dwindle.
Sure there would be problems, there are problems with anything, but at least they'd be new problems.

Tacitus2 said...

Wisconsin update. Recount 70% complete. Clinton and Trump have each picked up a few hundred votes. The gap between the two, initially 22,000, has narrowed. By 82 votes.

To be fair I have not seen returns from Milwaukee but it is difficult to imagine the remaining 30% of the ballots to be counted will be much different.

The link I posted yesterday showed a surprising heterogeneity of methods of vote counting. Paper, different company's machines, etc. There does not appear to be any variation in the accuracy of the counts based on different machines.

I happen to agree with you regards Gerrymandering. There are limits to what our quaint political traditions should get away with. I suppose it is inevitable that Republicans are doing more of it these days. Democrats control so few states now that they have little opportunity even if they wanted to do it.

Tacitus

locumranch said...



In the medical field, insurance rules & regulations regarding reimbursement follow a distinct & discernible pattern:

(1) They are arcane by design, deliberately so, in order to minimise reimbursement & conserve financial resources;
(2) Initially, they serve this purpose admirably, denying payment to medical providers without reducing service availability;
(3) After 2 to 3 years, medical billing services adapt to these rules & begin capturing an increasing percentage of payment;
(4) Once these rules are mastered, medical providers adjust their practice patterns to maximise revenue capture;
(5) Insurance plans (public & private) are then unable to conserve resources and become less profitable around year 8; and,
(6) By year 9 or 10, the insurance industry issues new medical reimbursement rules & regulations, bringing us back to (1).

All government services, including your Anti-Gerrymandering crusade, face similar obstacles. It will work at first, however ridiculous or inappropriate these new rules are, until the involved parties familiarise themselves with these new statutes. Then, according to a fairly predictable timeline, the involved parties will adapt & bend these rules back on themselves in a manner that will allow for further & perhaps even more egregious gerrymandering than ever before UNTIL those rules are changed to become unfamiliar once again. As this is especially true in regard to governance, financial incentives & revenue collection, you're just fooling yourselves if you think that there's a 'One Time' fix for any subtype of political malfeasance:

Rules are meant to broken.

And, speaking of rules, my observations regarding Western Male Disposability & Female Privilege MAY be due to "cartoony castration phantasies (which bear no relationship to actual liberalism or even radical feminism)," OR they may be due to the observably distinct "vacancies" that my divorce & family court left in my trousers, so let's ask for the opinion of our resident legal expert:

Donzelion,

I can reference many rules & regulations that have been specifically designed to protect the gender-specific rights & privileges of the Western Female to the exclusion of the Western Male. Can you cite a single law that protects the gender-specific interests of the Western Male without extending the same rights & protections to either the Western Female or 'mankind' in general ?


Best

Randall Winn said...

"...Can you cite a single law that protects the gender-specific interests of the Western Male ..."

You don't need laws to protect that which is powerful enough to protect itself.

Kal Kallevig said...

locumranch

You may deserve sympathy for the results of a divorce court, sometimes these are really unfair.

Quite a different issue is whether or not women as a group deserve to be consistently paid less for equivalent work.

David Brin said...

The microcephalic ent even admits that his side is Mordor. But proof of his dizzying dishonesty is that he saw… he read… all that I wrote about how vastly, vastly more transcendent we are, than any of his beloved feudal mysticisms. We are and spectacularly so.

So what does he do, the coward? Does he face, head on, the transcendence I talked about?

Being able to speak the language God used when he said "let there be light"?

Being able to USE that language to make light... and moving on to replicate each step in His Creation? Continuing the work he asked of us when he asked Adam to name all the beasts? The most sacred moment in the Bible?

Transcendent? Fool! We were told "Nothing will be beyond them." It is the very most transcendent moment in the cannons of all religions, combined. And that promise is being fulfilled. Yet, you yammer at us that feudalist bullies and their rationalizer oppressor priests were more transcendent?

Did he even try, glancingly, to address any of that, the way a person possessed of curiosity or even honesty would?

Nope. He points desperately offstage and shouts “squirrel!” Then goes back to his mantra - so comforting. “You moderns don’t have anything transcendent.”

Covering his ears and shouting “Nah! I see nothing! I hear nothing! No!”

Fact: His cherished approach dominated almost every culture for 6000 years and delivered mostly pain, failure, death, filth, ignorance, superstition… and a few dozen decent pieces of art. We have accomplished more in every category, including letting troglodytes like him get power and a soapbox, than all those eras, combined.

Sure, he simpers that none of the things we’ve got are “transcendent.” Vhweeeeeeee! I will not let him waste my time repeating. We got your “transcendent” right here, bozo.

We got more transcendent than you can (clearly) even begin to imagine.

David Brin said...

locum still doesn't address the fundamental. That all he does is whine "you're nagging me!" Because that is the only harm he has suffered. At all.

Mind you, I find some of the most extreme naggers to be noxious. The worst of them have harmed us by giving Hannity & co ammo to say "all liberals are like that!"

It's a lie. But locum's ilk love comfy lies. They gobble them up.

Paul SB said...

I agree with both Randall and Kal here. Laws to protect women from men compensate for the sexual dimorphism, as do honor codes, as I referred to regarding Lysistrata. I have seen a whole lot of people go through divorce (as no doubt many of us have) and when you see something that often you start to notice patterns, especially when you se it close up, in friends and family. Everyone seems to have a sort of "crazy years" phase when their hormones and neurotransmitters adjust to a huge shock. One friend I had known for 15 years spent the first 2 weeks after breaking up with his wife like a robot, running on autopilot. He would go to work every day, but just sit in his office and stare at the wall, totally dazed. Oxytocin withdrawal.

They seem to follow two different paths. One path is the "liberation" plan, where they suddenly feel free, and go around trying to get as many romantic partners as they possibly can. The other path is the "angry/depressed" path, where they withdraw, blame the entire gendered half of the human race for their personal pain, and want nothing to do with them. In a few cases they even switch sexual orientation.

For most, the acute phase lasts a few weeks, but it takes from 6 months to two years to return to normal. But that's most people. A few feed the feelings, stoke them by obsessing on them, and surround themselves with others who feel the same. Instead of getting back on the bandwagon, they fester. It's a bit like hypochondria, but instead of obsessing over their own health, they obsess over everything they think is wrong with other people - especially members of the sex they divorced.

Feel sorry for the guy, or despise him? Hard to say, without knowing more. But as a general rule I have little respect for people who let obsession turn them into monsters. He had a bad experience with one woman, so he wants to blame all women for all the world's woes. He may have been dealt with badly by a divorce court, so he wants to blame all institutions for the world's woes. I have seen divorce courts make foolish decisions, as when they gave custody of a three-year old to a mother who had just come out of the psych ward, because she was the mother and men can't be trusted with small children. Not a decision made in a blue, liberal place but in very, very red, conservative (at that time) Colorado. But not all divorce courts err so badly, and not all institutions of government are foolish and corrupt. Only a mind that has gone over the deep end sees it that way. The rationalization is a bit like the "everybody does it" excuse many people resort to when caught doing something wrong. It spreads responsibility out so thin it no longer feels like a personal failure. It's pure ego defense, but an ego that defends itself by attacking innocent people, and especially weaker people - the very definition of a bully.

oilskeptic said...

Dear Dr. Brin,

Even though you disagree with him, Niall Ferguson, a historian from Harvard, believes that Trump is like the racist populist demagogue Dennis Kearney of the Working Man's Party more than the fascist demagogues of the 1930s. After the financial crisis in the 1870's, there was a resentment at the rich who did not suffer, the corrupt politicians who were helping the rich, and immigrants. Kearney exploited the resentment to get laws passed to severely restrict immigration for quite a while in the US. Ferguson predicts that Trump will keep some of his promises to address the similar resentments which occurred after the 2007 financial crisis. Perhaps Trump could raise tariffs against China which could result in a trade war that could lead to a world recession. He is also chummy with Putin, which could mean the end of NATO, the end of Free Trade, and a return to the isolationist policy America had just before the World Wars. American withdrawal could result in economic suffering and more wars worldwide. Ferguson does not trust anyone chummy with Putin.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@oilskeptic: The question is whether Trump will do more than just a trade war. He seems to have aligned with an ideological faction in the Republican party that advocates, in the face of all common sense as well as grandmasters like Kissinger, for advocacy for Taiwanese independence over Chinese engagement. One wonders what China will have to do to signal how much this would cost us both. China does not want to, but continued insults like the Taiwan phone call would lead to the cutting of diplomatic relations and the loss of tourism, educational ties, what military communication there is... it would cause an immediate economic shock and destabilize East Asia. That it might cause China worse damage is no consolation.

Trump was hired to the bull in the china shop. The trouble is, once you loose the bull, you can't say "but I liked that teapot!"

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

He may have been dealt with badly by a divorce court, so he wants to blame all institutions for the world's woes. I have seen divorce courts make foolish decisions, as when they gave custody of a three-year old to a mother who had just come out of the psych ward, because she was the mother and men can't be trusted with small children. Not a decision made in a blue, liberal place but in very, very red, conservative (at that time) Colorado.


There's a point. The courts which are most likely to maintain the traditional role of the father as provider and the mother as custodian are not the "blue-state progressive" courts, but those controlled by traditionalists who want to Make America Great As It Was In 1953 Again. Once again, loc rants in support of the very people whose policies will make his issues worse.

LarryHart said...

From today's www.electoral-vote.com :

After two days of ballot re-counting in Michigan, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith (an Obama appointee) ordered that the process be halted. His 8-page ruling offered two primary reasons for his decision: (1) that Jill Stein has no standing to ask for a recount, since she has no chance of winning, and (2) that Stein has offered no proof of fraud or other issues that might call the result into question.


One wonders what they have to hide.

It's ridiculous that only a potentially-winning candidate is said to have standing in the recount. Any American citizen should be recognized at having a stake in the integrity of the electoral process. This is not about which candidate deserves the office as a prize, but about the American people electing the candidate they choose as the next president.

There is probably no way to stop Trump from taking office, but to me, this is equivalent to an acquitted murder suspect admitting after the trial that he did the crime. Double-jeopardy laws prevent him from going to jail, but we all know he's a murderer nonetheless. Likewise, Trump gamed his way into the White House, but we all know it was rigged as he himself asserted. It's just that one political party and about half of America likes the fact that it was rigged.

locumranch said...


What David neglects to mention, while he lays claim to being "more transcendent then you can (clearly) even begin to imagine", is that both Romanticism & its American offshoot Transcendentalism represent the emotional rejection of the Enlightenment's commitment to Rationalism, Empiricism, Naturalism & Realism, revealing either a hypocrisy or an inherent contradiction as one cannot be said to simultaneously possess the antithetical values of both Transcendental Emotionalism (which projects the mystical into all things) & Enlightenment Rationalism (which values reason & objectivity over mysticism). Of course, there is no contradiction as David, a self-admitted idealist & optimist who prefers to see humanity as it should, could & ought to be, is clearly not a practicing rationalist who sees humanity 'as is' in objective fashion.

Likewise, Randall, Kal & PaulSB reveal themselves as similarly hypocritical by defending gender equality through the peculiar application of sexism: Randall justifies gender-based legal bias by implying that women are too weak & powerless to protect themselves when compared to men; Kal justifies special protections for women by arguing that they earn less than the average male; PaulSB argues that women need special laws in order to "compensate for the sexual dimorphism"; and, in the name of Equality, all of them argue that women require special advantages & protections because they represent the weaker & less capable gender.

They are all frauds (lying liars) who say one thing but mean another: They say Enlightenment Values when they mean romantic drivel; they talk of acceptance when they mean intolerance; they speak of egalitarian equalism as they deny minority agency, competitiveness & capability; and they give lip service to reason while they try to force square idealisms into round realisms.

And, irony of ironies, I am one of the few rationalists here & I am pilloried for it: I portray humanity, not as the Better Angels they could be, but in all their strengths & flaws; I describe women, not as the super-powered princesses that we imagine, but as fellow human beings who seek to exploit the same advantages that all humans seek to exploit; and I point out, over & over, that 'should bes', 'ought tos' & deservingness have little or no place in rational discourse.

For those who self-delude & refuse to see that which is, our modern problems are insolvable. All of them. From space exploration to social policy to climate change. We just chase our tails, round & round. Like the Communists before us, we must assume inequity in the pursuit of equity & we destroy what we desire to preserve in our desire to preserve it.


Best

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

And, irony of ironies, I am one of the few rationalists here & I am pilloried for it: I portray humanity, not as the Better Angels they could be, but in all their strengths & flaws; I describe women, not as the super-powered princesses that we imagine, but as fellow human beings who seek to exploit the same advantages that all humans seek to exploit; and I point out, over & over, that 'should bes', 'ought tos' & deservingness have little or no place in rational discourse.


You think you're unique, but you sound almost exactly like Dave Sim. His specialty toward the end was "I'm not anti-women, just anti-feminist." In the same breath, he'd proclaim that all women are feminists, that all liberals are feminists, that all Westerners are feminists, that pretty much anyone who is not Latino, Muslim, or Dave himself is a feminist.

Sound familiar?

Like Dave Sim, you rant here against caricatures of your liberal opponents. Who here has portrayed women as super-powered princesses?

You may consider yourself rationalist for describing the world as it is rather than as it "should" or "ought to" be. But when you extend that to social goals it makes no sense. Are you denying that there is a point to society arranging rewards and penalties in a way that treats people fairly and discourages fraud? What exactly is your prescription for a rationalist civilization that has no room for shoulds and oughts?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

we destroy what we desire to preserve in our desire to preserve it.


Yes, it's obvious that that is what you do. Are you proud of that fact? Advocating it as a winning strategy? Resigned that nothing else is possible? Or perhaps claiming to be the one person who is not part of the "we"?

Catfish N. Cod said...

@locum: " one cannot be said to simultaneously possess the antithetical values of both Transcendental Emotionalism (which projects the mystical into all things) & Enlightenment Rationalism (which values reason & objectivity over mysticism)."

Hegelian synthesis. It's a thing. You can see ghosts in the machine as dancing ephemeral patterns that power the complex behaviors of a system even when you know the dynamic equations underlying them. You can appreciate the power and beauty of storytelling alongside the neuropsychology that makes us react to tales in particular ways. The rainbow is a dream and a refractile phenomenon at the same time. Romantic dreams of flying to the moon powered one of the greatest rationalist projects of all time, the Apollo project, and created innumerable dreams of other worlds in turn.

For further information, see also "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus."

As for the peculiar problems of sexism (for which you have completely understandable and empathizable personal grievance): yes, women are no more saints than men. Sexism should not be fought because of 'deservingness', but because a society with equal rights for women is a stronger society. The same argument applies to all other issues of opportunity. It is not 'rationalism' to argue that a system that wastes or fails to reward merit and talent (or punishes regardless of same) is to be left alone, especially in a world of competing models of civilization.

And by the way -- yes, that does means that there should be rights for rural people, even white males, for being placed at a disadvantage by lack of connections and resources. I don't like Trump's specific picks for the Supreme Court but I fully laud his effort to break the Ivy League monopoly. It should have been done long ago and shame on the Democrats and the Republican elite both for perpetuating it. I have seen too many bright and/or hardworking young people (including *lots* of white male straight evangelicals) crushed by lack of access to opportunity; in the small towns of the South, the ghettos of the North, the reservations of the West. It's all a waste: and our society would profit by investment in them all.

raito said...

Jumper,

I got the T-shirt shown here for my wife:
http://amandabauer.blogspot.com/2007/06/science-it-works-bitches.html

Unfortunately, Randall isn't selling those any more.

toto,
"No more handful of 'battleground' states". Nope, just candidates going to the coasts where they can reach more people more easily, and not bothering with the middle of the country.

Catfish N. Cod,

Sounds like 1962's Red Nightmare, doesn't it?

I'll also mention here that in my adulthood, it's only 50/50 whether my candidate has been President (and yes, I messed up once, if I hadn't, it would be 40% for, 60% against). So I don't expect my (naturally superior) opinion to really ever sway anything. Sometimes I get who I want, most of the time I don't.

Berial said...

@Alfred Differ
One guy that did predict Brexit and Trump is Mark Blyth an international political economy professor at Brown University (with a great Scottish accent). He's best know for his critique of Austerity and how it's, in his words, "BULLSHIT". He also predicted Italy's constitutional referendum correctly. He's pointed out that France is likely to get a right wing president and that Merkle in Germany is vulnerable.

Check out this presentation with a Q&A afterwards from YouTube titled 'Mark Blyth - Global Trumpism' It's long but worth it.

There are a lot of videos with him giving his opinions, of course. Apparently he's gone 'viral'. Several are worth the watch. His predictions about Italy and France are from here: Monolog 01/02

Dennis D said...

@Tacitus2
I appreciate the updates from the Wisconsin recount. Also, a few weeks ago you reported back on a local race in which you had met one (or both) of the candidates. I find that kind of 'ground truth' feedback valuable for folks like me who live in another state.

@Jonathan Sills
Michigan's recount has run into an odd snag - in several precincts, the number of votes recorded by poll workers fails to match the number of ballots sealed in those boxes.

I worked as a poll worker in the 2013 San Diego mayoral race. We encountered that very same problem---voters recorded didn't match the ballot count tally. At the end of the day it took us an hour to sort it out. Everything matched. It was a simple human counting error. (These were paper ballots so there was nothing electronic to decipher.)

Keep in mind, human fatigue plays a part in American elections. Poll workers work long days. We started at 5am and worked until 9pm. I should add, it was one of the most fulfilling workdays of my life. Nothing like a day of civics and good citizenship in action!

sociotard said...

Hey David, you knew you lived in a civilization that did space exploration, but did you know you lived in a civilization that made sweet goggles for a parrot so they could watch it fly safely through a laser field?

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/watch-parrot-wearing-goggles-fly-through-laser-sheet

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard: I was being purposely vague in naming the transcendents to avoid a particular problem I run into often when talking about this stuff with theists of any sort. I self-identify as an atheist and many think that immediately disqualifies me in discussions of transcendents, let alone their ultimate Transcendent. They are mistaken, but I’ve found that avoiding the word God helps a bit.

Allow me a moment for a couple of examples. Those 18th century lawyers didn’t define the transcendents they wrote about in our founding documents. The transcendents were already ancient, but had recently experienced a revaluation first among the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries and then among the English and Scots in the 18th century. Many will point to the Enlightenment era as when this happened, but I think it was more about the bourgeoisie in each nation shrugging off the aristocrats and redefining the virtues themselves. One of those transcendents is Justice and you’ll see a version of her near most of our court houses. She didn’t always wear a blindfold, though. The old virtue system of the ancient regime had a version of Justice, but built into her demands for giving what is due were things like social classes and divine rights of Kings. The Dutch bourgeoisie rejected some of that and redefined her. American colonists went further with the alteration.

There is also the issue of memetic drift. The Enlightenment was a time of quick change, but the American 19th to 20th century transition shows a slow change. This example is easily seen by any US coin collector. Our small denomination coins (pennies and nickels mostly) used to have symbols of the nation. Shields, buffalo, and Indians all made their appearance. The big coins were more uniform, though, and often had the same transcendent on them. We used to portray Liberty on almost everything and name her in big letters on the front of the coins. Fish your spare change out of your pocket, though, and you’ll see we don’t anymore. We are more into idolizing our Presidents now, though ideally we choose the ones who best served particular transcendents we like. Lincoln was the first on the penny just a little before WWI. Where did Liberty go and why? Her name still appears on our coins, but often in small print and next to the face of a man. Our half dollar is a rare remaining exception with her name still in large print, but JFK isn’t a transcendent. It’s as if we are a little embarrassed to recognize our shared transcendents on the coins except for just one. Through the 19th century, we avoided mentioning that one on coins most of the time. Even Teddy Roosevelt tried to avoid Him on the redesign of the 20 dollar cold coin (Saint Gaudens) in 1908, but he rolled over when Congress had a snit about that coins lack of the motto and now we have a law requiring His mention on our currency.

You are correct in pointing out that shared transcendents are what nations are built around, but there are times when we disagree and attempts are made to alter them. They are fundamental things and we are known to fight over them. Sometimes the fights are vicious, but they are always non-trivial. I suspect, though, that many of the fights start with mistaken assumptions one side has about the other. You’ve provided an example with your statement that we don’t have any transcendents. That is very far from the truth.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Electoral Salvation will happen. But I totally want it to happen, just to hear Trump cry.

David Brin said...

Sociotard thanks I will share that asap!

My problem with locumranch is that he triggers responses that take me to a plane where, alas, he cannot follow and I am too lazy to paraphrase down:

“What David neglects to mention, while he lays claim to being "more transcendent then you can (clearly) even begin to imagine", is that both Romanticism & its American offshoot Transcendentalism represent the emotional rejection of the Enlightenment's commitment to Rationalism, Empiricism, Naturalism & Realism…”

Dear, neighborhood moron. ‘Rationalism, Empiricism, Naturalism & Realism’ are among the TOOLS we are using to work towards a wide variety of endeavors that blend pragmatism with growth and yes, transcendence. Yes, we know you can only think zero su,. Positive sum is HOW we are leaving your sub-species blinking in a confused wake.

Among other tools? Empathy. Compassion. (Both highly recommended by Jesus.) Justine & fairness.

And ending the drooling-insipid-cruel-self-destructive crime called “wasting talent.” By removing shackles of expected limitation from girls and minorities.

“And, irony of ironies, I am one of the few rationalists here & I am pilloried for it…”

No, dear neighbor, you are an idiot. You engage in almost none of our discussions of science or technology or philosophy or history, because they go way over your head. When shown in a factual error, you shout “squirrel!” and scamper over to the next illogical assertion. Your ravings about women bear no correlations with actual reality and hence betray your psychological obsessions.

“, 'ought tos' & deservingness have little or no place in rational discourse.”

There is a glimmer of a thought there. As you well know, I support liberalism for pragmatic reasons, far more than for the pompous, chiding, lectury, finger-wagging moralizing reasons deployed by hyper-leftists. Their reliance on “fundamentals of justice,” actually weakens liberalism, because you can bandy your own “fundamentals” and proclaim those to be equal, axiom for axiom.

But that avails you not in this place. Because I am not pushing “ought-tos” as my paramount argument. Ought-tos exist and some are strong! Like justice ought to be based on fairness. But I base my liberalism on

- stopping an insane waste of talent

- unleashing the widest range of confident and empowered competitors into the flat-fair arenas prescribed by Adam Smith, so that good stuff bubbles up

- engendering processes that resulted in the one society that’s spectacularly and orders of magnitude better at every single good thing than ALL previous societies . All of them. Combined.

- fighting the spew-shitstorm of cruelty-illogic-hate-oppression that governed nearly all of those past societies and made life for my ancestors a living hell.

And no, anyone nostalgic for that way of life is not ‘rational.’

ElitistB said...

For those who are concerned that getting rid of the electoral college means that candidates wouldn't visit the middle of America much, like raito and Catfish N. Cod, I'm curious as to why this is a significant concern? The checks and balances are already addressed in their Senate representation.

I'm from Oklahoma, and I really didn't see much of either candidate. I mean, at least with a popular vote, 29% of Oklahoma's votes might have counted in some fashion. As it was, 30% of the population in this state got NO representation in the presidential election. 30% wasted votes.

I could understand the concern a bit more in the past. But we don't have to wait weeks to get news of things happening back East anymore.

Jumper said...

As Danny Roman said to Chris Sabian in The Negotiator, "When you don't know who your friends are, sometimes you have to trust a stranger." That's all we can hope for about the Electoral College.

David Brin said...

Eeep... Did I type "Justine & Fairness"?

Uh, yeah. She's in charge of our revolution! Justine.

sociotard said...

For those who are concerned that getting rid of the electoral college means that candidates wouldn't visit the middle of America much, like raito and Catfish N. Cod, I'm curious as to why this is a significant concern? The checks and balances are already addressed in their Senate representation.

I have . . . softened on the Electoral college and I think I understand the argument for keeping it:
1) Yes, the senate has more representation for rural places, but the US is a bit Imperial right now. The presidency matters a lot.
2) The electoral college means that presidential aspirants don't just go to high-population areas where their message hits the most voters per time spent. No, they have to get a mix of states that all look different. Presidents don't visit Idaho, but they do have to go to rural farming states and act like they care. Their policies can't just benefit high-population states, or they'd foul over more rural swing states. My state benefits, because it is hard to reward just the one rural swing states and not give the same policy to rural non-swing states. In this way, the Selectorate more closely resembles the country at large.

locumranch said...




If the Electoral College goes, then so goes the United States of America, for without at least the pretense of representation, the central rural US has neither buy-in nor dogs in the federal race. That, and John Glenn has pasted

raito said...

ElitistB,

Don't confuse pointing out a consequence with concern. I haven't said which way I fall on the question.

As to why it might matter, there's a big difference between a Senator and the President. And a big difference between seeing someone in the media, and having them right in front of you.

ElitistB said...

raito and sociotard,

Thanks for the responses. Being where I am from, which is largely ignored except when your representatives and elected officials do or say really stupid things, colors my view. I guess I mostly hear the complaint of candidates not paying attention to certain states and just think to myself "Welcome to my world, it really isn't the most terrible thing."

Except when it is, I guess. But it generally hasn't been the presidential candidates responsible for that.

donzelion said...

Locum: "I can reference many rules & regulations that have been specifically designed to protect the gender-specific rights & privileges of the Western Female to the exclusion of the Western Male."

About 36% of the federal budget in 2017 will go toward social security payments. Among retired and disabled workers who collected benefits based on their own work records, men received an average benefit of $1488/month; women averaged $1,167.

For the "health" portion of the budget (28%), the numbers actually favor children (a fair number of whom are 'men'). For the military portion of the budget (15%), most of that favors men. For the remaining portion of the budget (21%, covering every other portion of the federal bureaucracy, from NASA through National Parks) - if you follow the money, you'll similarly see a discrepancy favoring men.

There are reasons for each discrepancy, but your point seems to be that "Western Females" are getting unfair benefits under current law compared to "Western Males." That's simply a fantasy, and unless I've missed something, this is still primarily a science fiction lover's board.

LarryHart said...

ElitistB:

I guess I mostly hear the complaint of candidates not paying attention to certain states and just think to myself "Welcome to my world, it really isn't the most terrible thing."


I live in Illinois, which has not been contested in presidential races for several elections, and I thank God that I don't get inundated by advertising and robocalls the way my brother in Pennsylvania or my friends in Ohio do. Yes, one wants one's issues to be on the candidates' radar, but that doesn't mean you want to be the battleground.

I kinda like the idea expressed by sociotard above, that even if your state isn't being fought over, other states with similar concerns are.

Catfish N. Cod said...

I am in the odd position of simultaneously agreeing with @sociotard and @locum, at the same time, on the same topic. This is an unusual feeling.

@ElitistB: this is why I advocate for (a) gerrymander reform and (b) the Maine-Nebraska plan. Once the efficiency gaps are closed, most states with more than four districts should have one district that gets attention. Oklahoma might be one of the rare ones that still would not, but Texas and Kansas would for sure.

Example: Arizona (now a state with an independent redistricting commission). Of the nine seats, there are four safe Republican seats, one safe Democratic seat, and four relatively competitive seats. As a result, there are five Republicans and four Democrats representing Arizona, a number commiserate with this year's ballot (in which Trump won by four points). Arizona would get plenty of attention as four votes would be up for grabs, even if Arizona's totals (worth the bonus two votes) were not at issue.

There are a bunch of districts like that even in our current gerrymandered world. Oregon is a blue state, but two of its coastal districts are balanced and would become targets. Ever seen a candidate target southern New Jersey, or Long Island? The three districts at the bottom of the state, Cape May and the Philly suburbs, are all balanced. So are all four of Long Island's districts (the ones not within NYC city limits), and Staten Island's, and four more in upstate New York. Nashville, Tennessee would be a target; Louisville, Kentucky; Kansas City, Kansas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but also the northern portion across from Duluth. No fewer than ten spots to fight over in California, ranging up and down the state.

And that's with today's mostly-gerrymandered map, and with me ignoring balanced districts in current swing states (nearly all swing states have swing districts).

Naum said...

Holocaust attorney sues FBI over election interference that could ‘lead to impeachment’ of Trump

E. Randol Schoenberg, an attorney renowned for recovering artworks stolen by Nazis during the Holocaust, filed a lawsuit against the FBI this week to get answers about why Director James Comey falsely suggested that Hillary Clinton committed a crime just days before the 2016 election.

Catfish N. Cod said...

A more rigorous analysis:

Using Cook Political Report CPVI, counting D+5 to R+5 as "swing" for districts (Cook definition) and D+3 to R+3 as "swing" for states (matches well with current list of acknowledged swing states) gives:

Safe D districts: 150
Safe R districts: 183
Safe D states: 17, 34 EVs (inc. DC)
Safe R states, 23, 46 EVs
Swing districts--
In swing states: 48
Outside swings: 55
Swing states: 11, 22 EVs

Safe D EVs: 184
Safe R EVs: 229
Swing EVs: 125
---------------------
Grand total: 538

Now, this would be an unfair map if blanket implemented today. But most of the unfairness is from gerrymandering, now that we have removed the ability to make huge killings with slim majorities. (The most you can gain in any increment is three votes, for winning a state with only one district.) Remove the gerrymandering as well, and there should be a shift of roughly fifteen seats each from Safe R to Swing and Swing to Safe D. (The state numbers, of course, don't change.)

There's still a structural advantage in favor of the more rural Republicans. But it's slight: six extra states for twelve votes, and maybe ten more for the districts in those Republican-dominated rural states with only a few districts. That's it. Now, in addition to the eleven swing states, the candidates have to woo over a hundred districts, in big and small states, rural and suburban and urban areas, all over the nation.

Why is this superior to the National Popular Vote? Under the NPV, candidates will naturally flock to the locations with the most votes for their bases. That would be inner cities for Democrats and suburbs for Republicans, all in big states; rural states and small states (mostly the same ones) get the shaft. But on the Maine-Nebraska plan, a rural district can be a balanced district too. For instance, New Hampshire would be ignored under NPV, but under Maine-Nebraska, both its districts swing as well as the state. Northern Wisconsin, the Central Valley of California, and northern Arizona are three more districts that would get attention under Maine-Nebraska but be likely ignored under NPV.

Maine-Nebraska spreads the attention of the candidates across the greatest cross-section of the nation, while also massively reducing the likelihood and magnitude of a popular vote overturn, and can be implemented without constitutional amendment. But it requires nationwide suppression of gerrymandering to be effective -- a fifty-state strategy, or else a judicial solution.

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

Relax locum, the Electoral College will not elect Hillary Clinton. She is finished. Our hope (I give it 10%) is that enough electors have a sense of morality, virtue, adulthood, decency and patriotism to eschew a screeching maniac and switch their votes to - say - Paul Ryan. Denying DT the 270 majority and throwing it to the House.

There, the REPUBLICAN-controlled House would (you pick):

1) Elect Ryan, possibly Pence, whose speech that evening would have to be a jim-dandy one, to keep the wave of Timothy McVeighs below tsunami level, or

2) Negotiate a deal with Trump, for the HOUSE to pick Trump as president anyway and thus avoid the McVeigh wave... but with him compromising on some points, replacing some of his hysterical-caricature-Idiocracy Bushite appointments with somewhat more adult-looking Bushite appointments... In which case we still get Trump and the GOpers proclaim they saved us by appealing to his 'good side."

#1 has one advantage. The likelihood of nuclear war plummets. Otherwise, it's Bush III with Rupert Murdoch running the nation again.

#2 has us back to using Xanax and putting off bringing babies into the world, only with this saving grace. Ryan and Fox and the whole GOP must accept responsibility for the train wreck.

Sub scenario 1a: Envision the House doing Pence or Ryan and then the Senate then makes Trump VICE president to calm down the alt-right...
and 1ai) he accepts this because the presidency is harder than it looks and as VP he can spend all his time being Donald... or
1a-ii) he goes ballistic, simultaneously egging violence and starting a new political party... or
1a-iii) someone - Ryan or Pence - agrees to resign later and make him president after a cooling off period?

All right, now I am just getting weird. Apropos to this year. This awful year.

No, since a corrupt judge has prevented recounts in Michigan that might have revealed "rigging," you democrats should drop your Electoral College fantasies for Hillary. She is over.

But we can still pray that the EC contains forty+ decent and patriotic American republicans with souls. Even if we wind up with President Trump, if he gets in via the House, he'll be cornered and constrained. One can pray.


donzelion said...

Locum, I missed this piece of your context:

"And, speaking of rules, my observations regarding Western Male Disposability & Female Privilege MAY be due to "cartoony castration phantasies...OR they may be due to the observably distinct "vacancies" that my divorce & family court left in my trousers, so let's ask for the opinion of our resident legal expert:"

Setting aside your broader point about government favoring women, I'll comment on divorce. Which sucks. Neither 'male disposability' nor 'female privilege' makes it suck any less.

Indeed, perceiving it that way will add to the pain, because it will lead to misconceiving what actually happened - or make one vulnerable to those who exploit these misunderstandings.

For many men, their first encounter with real 'capitalism' will come in a divorce. They mistakenly believed the marriage was a 'contractual relationship' - each partner swore an oath, each bears daily burdens, each contributes every day - or fails to do so in breach of the contract. However, law treats marriage as a 'capital relationship' - with each partner contributing themselves (and thus making an inherently 'equal' contribution). At dissolution of the marriage, law converts that 'special bond' into an ordinary bond, distributing accordingly (with a few more wrinkles, e.g., children).

Men may perceive that as 'unfair' - even if it's what they encountered every day they went to work in someone else's company. Except now, for the first time, a woman is doing it to them. No fair!

Men in such a position become vulnerable to "men's rights advocates" - jokers who proclaim that "Women get special privileges! I can protect you from the unfair laws!" Such lot tend to be boisterous charlatans - fighting loud but ineffectively - delivering nothing you wouldn't have gotten otherwise as they profit from your misfortune. Such is often the case of 'men' who offer to protect other men from an 'unfair system.'

donzelion said...

As for this - "If the Electoral College goes, then so goes the United States of America, for without at least the pretense of representation, the central rural US has neither buy-in nor dogs in the federal race." - that's simply nonsense. The central, rural US would have the same buy-in as anyone else in America.

Representation tends to focus on "one man, one vote" (the classical phrase, nowadays, it's 'one person, one vote'). Giving a person in Wyoming 5 votes for every vote that a person in California exercises is not expanding the 'representation' of Wyoming - it's stealing from California.

Sometimes cheating is built into the system one opts to join. One buys shares in a company, but not all shares necessarily exercise the same voting power. Except one can always invest in a different company; one cannot so easily invest in a different country.

If the Electoral College represents the interests of the PEOPLE of the states, then they stand in the position of a board of directors, tasked with selecting the 'best' candidate in reflection of the will of that state. That might make an unfair system a little more fair. However, if the Electoral College represents the interests of the dominant PARTY in the states, then they actually disenfranchise the people of the rural Midwest - acting not as a 'collegial' authority, but as machinery in the distribution of spoils. That makes this system inherently unfair - both to Californians AND to people in the rural midwest.

David Brin said...

Suddenly the far right demand fact-checking? Tizzies of demands to check Obama's proclamation: "Over last 8 years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland." That can't be true! Must be a lie! Except that it is true.

Sure, it's carefully and semantically hedged. Yep, that's how liberals, lawyers, statisticians, even scientists "mess with" the truth. You need to consider those hedging words. I never said that side is spotless. But that is way different than the right's approach to facts and truth...

...which is to simply make up anything outrageous, hurl it, and call any disagreement a 'matter of opinion.' (Politico called 70% of Trump's assertions on the campaign trail all or partly false.) Having driven away every knowledge-based profession, they call every fact-checking service 'partisan,' yet never offer to join in organizing a fact-checker they would trust.

It's that last part that's telling. Perhaps some fact-checkers *are* partisan! But honest people would still want a fact checking service and help to construct a fair one. Today's republicans flee from the very thought. Every fact-profession is the enemy. The very concept of facts as actual, objective things is an enemy, itself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/12/08/obamas-claims-that-no-foreign-terror-organization-successfully-attacked-the-homeland-on-his-watch/?utm_term=.0825f8d1255e

Anonymous said...

@Treebeard 4:39PM and 5:01PM:
You make quite clear how you see the world, a YA distopy with a large dollop of Fantasy. But how would your preferred world look like? If you had god-like powers, what would the world be?

I wonder if you'll answer or if we'll get the same reaction Blank Reg gave: deafening silence.

@Dr.Brin 8:33PM:
"a few dozen decent pieces of art." Don't demean the accomplishments of our ancestors please. Many many pieces of excellent art. Bachs Hohe Messe and the Brandenburg Concerts spring to mind, or many gothic and renaissance cathedrals.
That our society is so much better than theirs doesn't mean there wasn't anything of great value in it.

Something else now: I found an interesting newspaper article in the Dutch paper De Volkskrant. Dutch of course, I hope a Google Translation won't mangle it too much.

I went looking for its source, and it's probably this article in Science.
Then I found this 2015 Max Planck Geschellschaft article, so it's not as recent as I first thought, but maybe some of you will find it interesting.

Twominds

Anonymous said...

I left out a thing of some importance: a single gene mutation that caused our brains to grow so much larger than our forebears'.

Twominds

Slim Moldie said...

So I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed here, but I've got an idea I'd like to run through the collective band saw.

I was curious how we could better assess our elected officials. My first google search brought me to the NRA, which appears to have a comprehensive and organized grading system which you have to be a member to access. So I went on, and found a list of pacs and organizations that provide assessment at ballotpedia.org. Collectively it's a 31 flavor shit-show. You can just choose an organization that's going to grade favorably based on whatever ideology suits you. How can we conduct our experiment without agreeing on norms and controls?

So I'm wondering, would it be possible to provide ongoing assessment of politicians/elected officials in a way that is more objective for all parties involved? My thought is what if every year all voters were given a ballet of Likert and ranked choice questions organized in different categories, and as citizens we voted on what specific standards to include as evaluation criteria in a centralized assessment. I can think of several potential benefits. One hang up would be choosing who analyzes the data and disseminates the information. Would an assessment division of the justice department suffice with an elected court of statisticians presiding to publish the grades quarterly?

Peck away.

Jumper said...

So the Electoral College, to sum up, provides special privilege to the rural people. A sort of "affirmative action" if you will. And to tamper with this is un-American. Got it.

Randall Winn said...

Thinking it over ... if each Californians voter has 1/5th the federal electoral power of a Wyoming voter, shouldn't a Californian pay federal taxes at 1/5th the Wyoming rate?

"No Equal Taxation Without Equal Representation!"

Tony Fisk said...

Unfortunately, Randall, I think your modest proposal might be seen as "One buck per vote."

Treebeard said...

My preferred world? In fantasy terms, I'm fond of the Sidious-led Galactic Empire, the Padishah Empire, the Terran Empire and Mordor in the Third Age (assuming I'm a Sith Lord, Bene Gesserit, goateed Vulcan, Nazgûl, etc.). In the real world, nothing has really approached these yet, but it gives us something to shoot for!

David Brin said...

Ooh... the ent is such a devil. Teehee giggle! Take that you conventional moralists, I am eeeeeeeeevil! Oh, You're not running squealing? You're not shocked?

Okay goombah. Where do you see yourself fitting in such a world? Oh, a supreme-demigod aristocrat? Huh. What a coincidence. So does everyone else.

You are like one of those New Age twits, ALL of whose earlier incarnations were princesses! Voila... pixie dust!

Paul451 said...

Treebeard,
"assuming I'm a Sith Lord..."

Looking at more realistic empires: Are you of noble birth? Or are you closely related to a current despot? Are you extremely rich (1% of the 1% or better) or likely to be the heir to such a fortune? Or perhaps you're a General especially popular with a large number of soldiers, with a coterie of officers personally loyal/indebted to you? (Or the lower-ranked son of such a man, in a position to inherit his title should he overthrow democracy and declare himself Grand Poobah?)

If not, then when your revolution comes, why the hell would you expect to be, at absolute best, anything but a minor servant of such people?

Because if you can't stand the current system, as a white hetero male, why would you expect to do better as a low-born serf or slave under an empire or dictatorship?

I mean, look at actual revolutions in recent history, not your Mary-Sue fantasies.

Jonathan Sills said...

Also, a "goateed Vulcan" in the Terran Empire is a second-class citizen at best. They're feared, but they're still not considered anywhere near as good as a human. So in that universe, you're setting yourself up for lots and lots of trips to the agony booth because you don't knuckle under properly. (And then, since the Vulcans were so strongly allied with the Terrans, you won't fare well at all when the Empire is overthrown by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance...)

Tony Fisk said...

"Trolls are only counterfeits, made by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, in mockery of Ents."

Anonymous said...

@Treebeard:
No. Not a fantasy world. I see that I should have spelled it out for you as 'preferred real world. I think you understood very well what I meant.
So? What would the real world (and then I mean society, not the kind of trees and seas it'll have) be like if you could arrange it to your liking? Make some effort for a change.

@Tony Fisk:
That's Brilliant!

Twominds

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Treebeard,
"assuming I'm a Sith Lord..."


I was more intrigued by the next item on the list, "Bene Gesserit".

Dave Sim was apparently mistaken when he asserted, "No one wants to be a woman."

Anonymous said...

Take it for what it is. Hillary may have less than 1 year left to live.

#Real News:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQY1kYFdErs&t=5s

Anonymous said...


Hey Dave, Why is Hillary wearing a Nazi Ring???

#Realnews:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFQymF6w3Hs

Anonymous said...

The link I was looking for last night is this one: A tiny change with considerable consequences from the Max Planck Gesellschaft, dated yesterday 8 December 2016.

Twominds

Jumper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul SB said...

Slim Moldie,

There are non-partisan fact checkers, so it must be possible to have non-partisan ratings for politicians. They would have to rate based on consistency. That is, do they vote the way they say they will vote? Do they propose & support policies that match the public claims they have made? To what extent do they at least attempt to deliver on campaign promises. (By that measure, President-Elect Grope is already at a D- at best, having already begun to reneg on his campaign promises before even taking office.)

A rating system based on consistency would allow people on different sides of the political fence to still pick and choose candidates who represent their beliefs, but would help to reveal politicians who say one thing and do another.

Berial said...

@Paul:
How do you rate politicians that deliver legislation that they KNOW will be ignored or fail? Do they get a Good/Bad rating or just a 'slightly positive' uptick for 'trying'.

I know that this is done (both sides actually do, do this) by both sides but some of these things are more egregious than others. The laws that actually get passed by state legislatures that they KNOW will not pass constitutional muster come to mind as the worst of all worlds because they just waste legislative time, judicial time AND money fighting a known losing battle in court. But hey, they symbolically made a stand!

Tacitus2 said...

Rating politicians. An interesting mental exercize. It would not be easy at all. But you could put a few basics in there.

Percentage of votes cast/total votes cast in (Senate/H. of Rep, etc).
Number of days spent inside the boundaries of their state or district.
Lag time from constituent question to response by their office.
Percentage of times they vote at variance with their party.

Some of these would obviously conflict. You can't be in D.C. and your district at the same time. But if you scored low on both scales....

Any system could be gamed. I am thinking of automated bots pounding an office with fake constituent contacts for instance.

But the parameters I start with here would seem to be appealing qualities without a need for partisan spin...

Tacitus

donzelion said...

Paul SB/Tacitus: re rating politicians

Since after Prop 54, California is moving towards a fully recorded, broadcast, and archived system to cover our state legislature (a first in the nation, so far as I'm aware), a system that automatically tagged "what politicians say" in the legislature and in the state committees would be immensely helpful.

Every 'rating' system will be gamed. How to handle constituent requests? Set up a phone tree that blocks most of them from making many requests - or an 8-page form for them to prove they are a real human when lodging a request. You could reduce volume and achieve an insanely fast 'response time' - without doing anything differently.

My ideal for changing responsiveness would be to track actual conduct as a legislator. A system that enables someone to contact their reps and hold them accountable for what they FAIL to do, rather than take credit for what they actually do. "While you were asking for cremations/burials for aborted fetuses, you were skipping out on committee sessions to (a) rebuild my road at the Infrastructure Hearing, and (b) fund the special needs project at my school district. I will contact parents of children with special needs, and drivers who are stuck in gridlock in your district, and notify them of your priorities."

Focusing on the concrete actions of politicians invites them to take ineffective, symbolic actions - to grandstand futilely (much harder to hold them accountable for useless crusades).

A system that indexes actual legislative activity independently, and enables one to easily deduce INACTION would change the way they game it. For the better.

David Brin said...

They think they have a perfect maneuver. Rational folks set up a fact checking service. Naturally, a majority of lies and utter gonzo pinnocchios that they find are right wing. Hence, they are partisan and can be dismissed!

A way must be found around this perfect ploy and I know what it is:

1) wagers
2) Demands that THEY appoint respectable adult, fact-accustomed sages from their side, to participate in a new fact checking service.

WAGERS pin them against their obsession with manhood. Keep repeating the dare! Find ways to parse it so that if they accept, they will lose both money and face. If they refuse, they are cowards.

The SAGES DEMAND is similar.

If they accept and find decent, sane, knowledgable conservative sages with fact-awareness, they risk those conservative sages defecting on a wide variety of issues, or at least publicly urging calm negotiation, which undermines the whole confederate narrative. Only these guys can't be disowned, because you chose them.

If they are loyal partisans, then they are out in the open as representative of what US conservatism has become. They will duck debates, squirm away from wagers, waffle over things that are clearly facts. Yes, the politicians and foxy-pundits are doing this already. But appointing shills to sage-postings will be noticed. Especially re science.

If they refuse to appoint anyone? See above, under WAGERS. This will undermine the one thing - the only thing - that confederates cling to: their image of their own superior manliness.

(To be fair, the one superior and admirable trait of the Olde Confederacy was the courage, fortitude and agility they displayed at actual warfare. (Otherwise, one of the most evil undertakings in human history.) Likewise today, rates of upping into military service are respectable in Red America.)

Smurphs said...

@Treebeard:

Sith Lord? Nazgul? More likely Ted Sandyman. Me, I would have been one of the casualties in the Battle of Bywater. I believe I have the courage; unfortunately, I have the martial prowess of a kumquat. ;>

@Tony Fisk:

We already have "one buck, one vote" in the US, courtesy of Citizens United. Nothing less than legalized bribery.

Jonathan Sills said...

Problem is, That Side doesn't seem to have fact-accustomed sages. The minute one of Them starts arguing against a far-right position based on facts, he/she becomes a RINO and is dismissed by Them as "partisan" (that is to say, not partisan in the way that he/she is supposed to be).

And the wagers won't work, because They have no problem in claiming the outcome to be anything They want it to be. How do you try to claim your winnings, against someone who simply denies the plain facts before their face?

Alfred Differ said...

@Slim Moldie: One hang up would be choosing who analyzes the data...

This isn't a small problem. You'd probably have represent the different political perspectives and put up with multiple grades or risk having the whole thing ignored by all but one faction. Do that and you are back to the system we have. I strongly suspect the system we have is about as good as it can be with voluntary participation. It is an evolved system and I doubt anyone is going to put up with a designed one.

Alfred Differ said...

@Treebeard: It is funny that you would lump the Bene Gesserit in with the others. That says a lot about how your mind works. Such deep adoption of SOA that you want to serve the right A. Heh.

A neat thing about history is that we started killing A's a few centuries ago in a way that finally proved to be effective. We are much, much richer now, but not because of these deaths. What we actually did is unshackles ourselves. There simply weren't enough A's around to stop us. You can try to serve one of them as their Nazgûl-lite, but that will probably invite a few lowly persons with long guns to make history rhyme.

Troll all you like, though. There is no threat in that and none implied as a response.

locumranch said...



Words do not mean what you think they mean:

(1) 'Fairness' refers to impartiality, not 'equality'; (2) 'Equity' refers to fairness & impartiality, not 'equality'; and (3) 'Justice' refers to a certain precision & exactness in rule enforcement, not 'equality'.

Can the concepts of fairness, impartiality, equity & justice partake of our definition of Equality? Why, yes they can, under the above definitional circumstances, but this does not mean that terms like fairness, impartiality & justice require 'equality' to possess either their meaning or applicability.

In this sense, the inherent bias of Electoral College is indisputably 'fair', 'equitable' & 'just', as can the uniformly unequal & much maligned '3/5th Compromise' that predated it, assuming that these rules are (were) applied in both an exacting & impartial manner.

Similarly, the constitutional protection guaranteed by the phrase 'equal protection under the law' does NOT necessarily imply that the law must be free of favoritism, prejudice or bias as (surprise, surprise) our legal system is chock full of bias as evidenced by credit card usury & Citizen's Unitied. This phrase only guarantees that legal JUSTICE (not 'equality') will be enforced in equitable & impartial manner.

This is a modern accretion, this belief that all things Fair & Just must partake in equality.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

@Tacitus2: Any system could be gamed. I am thinking of automated bots pounding an office with fake constituent contacts for instance.

Just respond in kind. Set up offices with automated bots for responses, relationship processing, and service delivery workflow. This is the kind of software I have dealt with the most over the last 20 years. Easy peasy.

Vote for me and I'd have your four suggestions set up for my office within one month and self-publish office metrics. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch:Justice is about giving others what they are due and expecting from others what we are due. It is an ancient virtue described well enough in Greek times.

The bourgeousie of NW Europe changed Justice a few centuries ago by changing what was expected as our obligations and our due. Fairness is related to Justice and that is why Americans tend to put a blindfold on Justice to get the impartiality you describe.

The Electoral College isn't fair, though. It is the result of a compromise and is no more impartial than the North’s early tolerance of slavery. It was a compromise that empowered smaller states who felt they would be dominated by larger states. It kept the early union together and does a similar job now, but there should be no mistaking it for being impartial.

Slim Moldie said...

Alfred Differ

Regarding ...put up with multiple grades or risk having the whole thing ignored by all but one faction. Do that and you are back to the system we have.

Agree, this is where I was getting hung up. And creating more bureaucracy to act as referees is problematic and corruptible as others were pointing out, you could just out game the system.

Dr. Brin

I dig the wagers idea. What if you connected this to your tax return for more buy in? Say everybody gets to play with (set a number) say 15% of their Federal income tax due or refund on wagers. You could set political proposition bets based on the actions and votes of elected officials starting along the lines of what Tacitus brought up, but you could get also pretty specific. I don't know how you'd filter out irrelevant ones like you get for the Superbowl. Also I don't know how you'd ensure there was a safety net in the event that the odds compiler misplaces the line and the house loses too much money.
There would be corruption, but there would also be more buy-in.

My initial idea along these lines was creating a stock market of elected officials. Same play money idea as above, except you can use it to buy, trade and sell stock in officials...but I think it has even more holes than the former.

Jonathan Sills

How do you try to claim your winnings, against someone who simply denies the plain facts before their face?

This problem creates a niche a workforce of sage-arbitrators to settle disputes--along the lines Fair Witnesses in Stranger in A Strange Land. Before the wager is placed both parties choose a crew of three arbitrators who will decide disputed outcomes.

Slim Moldie said...

Sorry I pressed 'publish' before fending off the attack of the typo monster.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@Slim Moldie: One hang up would be choosing who analyzes the data...

This isn't a small problem. You'd probably have represent the different political perspectives and put up with multiple grades or risk having the whole thing ignored by all but one faction


For any organization to have any credibility, they'd have to show their work. It's not enough for website W to say that Candidate C's statement S is a lie. It would have to provide enough reference material to back up their evaluation.

It still won't affect the minds of those who won't believe uncomfortable facts, and it can be subverted by inside-the-bubble thinking (a biased website referring to Drudge and Breitbart as sources). But as you say, it's hard to imagine what else could be done without immediately begging the question, "Who watches the watchmen?"

Ultimately, we might have to wait for the post-factual people to start questioning why their stuff doesn't work.

A.F. Rey said...

On a lighter note, my wife Debbie showed me the "Person of the Year" cover of Time magazine.

Did anyone else notice where they placed the "M" on Donald? :D

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Rating politicians. An interesting mental exercize. It would not be easy at all. But you could put a few basics in there.

Percentage of votes cast/total votes cast in (Senate/H. of Rep, etc).
Number of days spent inside the boundaries of their state or district.
Lag time from constituent question to response by their office.
Percentage of times they vote at variance with their party.


The specifics are going to depend on what characteristics you're trying to uncover. I get that "vote at variance with their party" is meant to demonstrate independent thinking and character, but for instance, would you yourself have wanted to knock your Republican senator in 2009 every time he voted with Mitch McConnell against Obamacare? Would Senator Hillary Clinton deserve extra good marks for supporting the Iraq War?

I'm not arguing against your sentiment in general, but the devil really would be in the details, and I think there would be much trial-and-error in the process of determining what metrics should be measured in the first place. My guiding principle would be "What am I really trying to get at?"

LarryHart said...

Slim Moldie:

Before the wager is placed both parties choose a crew of three arbitrators who will decide disputed outcomes.


As someone whose head is stuck in "Hamilton", this is starting to look more and more like dueling.

:)

Slim Moldie said...

LarryHart

...more like dueling

Yeah you have a point. I was thinking more along the lines of an NFL officiating crew. The idea of wagers is fun if you can ward off violence. Taking it to the dark side reminds me of the road warrior duels between rival corporations in "Market Forces" by Richard K Morgan.

LarryHart said...

@Slim Moldie,

This year's campaign got so bad that I actually started to think it would be preferable if Trump's opponents could just challenge him to a duel and be done with it.

locumranch said...


@Alfred:

Justice is NOT defined as "giving others (...) and expecting from others what we are due". Our so-called 'due' is merely another name for an entitlement, obligation, right or what we 'deserve'. Justice does NOT decide what our due deservingness is; it is the legal contract that does that. Justice only enforces the legal contract & its peculiarities to an exacting standard.

When you say that "The Electoral College isn't fair", you're confusing 'fairness; impartiality' with egalitarian equality. Likewise, any compromise that both parties agree to is a FAIR contract (if not forbidden by law), even if said agreement benefits or punishes one agent more than the other.

In this sense, the Electoral College is both FAIR & JUST as it is the result of a binding compromise between smaller (more populated) & larger (less populated) states.

It's a terribly UNEQUAL agreement, I concur, in the same way that many agreements & laws perpetuate inequality. This inequality doesn't necessarily signify injustice or unfairness, however, because contract formation often requires inequality & the Union would fail without it.

Like little children, the Red, Blue & EU states scream UNFAIR when they believe that they 'deserve' a better contract (which may or may not be true), but the principles of fairness, impartiality & judicial contract enforcement (justice) have nothing to do with deservingness. Only our respective desires do.


Best
_____
Note how hardcore US Democrats like David insisted that the US Electoral Process was FAIR when they thought their victory was assured, how they now insist that it was UNFAIR because they lost & how the US Republicans claim exactly the opposite. That's the Constitutional Contract, folks, like it if you like the Union, or leave it if you want the Union to dissolve. You know where I stand :p

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Donzelion, Tacitus:
* Weighted percentage of bills with co-sponsors of other parties
* Weighted percentage of passed laws with co-sponsors of other parties
* Efficiency of campaign: ($ spent - $ opponent spent) / (% vote difference) (may need a curve fit)

No design. Throw out a hundred metrics, let people find the ones that correlate best to positive outcomes. Promote metrics that people on both sides think are good for their preferred candidates, especially when they also score well on multipartisanship metrics. Repeat until optimized.

@Dr. Brin: they will appoint fake sages: conspiracy theorists, talk radio masters, think tank apologists, autocracy-favoring philosophers. The defection rate for these would be low. Actual sages will and have been fleeing: it's why Trump is having such a hard time finding a Secretary of State, or anyone but generals for his national security team. My money (heh) is on wagers.

If you solve locum's definitions like a mathematical equation, they all reduce to "scrupulously applied impartiality". But the Electoral College is openly partial to small, rural states. As for the other examples, they depend on additional axioms not in evidence, such as whether speech can be counted in dollars, or how far freedom of contract extends.

* Equality as a right extends only to your legal person: the basic unit of citizenship.
* Equality as a goal, in the liberal-libertarian context (NOT the Leftist context), extends only to opportunity: equal ability to succeed or fail on merit and choices, not prior rigging or cheating or accident of birth.
* Equality as a standard to be imposed is a Leftist concept, and to my knowledge is not endorsed here. We have no desire for Harrison Bergerons.

These are according to the redefinitions noted by Alfred Diller that defined Western modernity.

=========

Aristotle spoke of three means of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos -- logic, character, emotion. The mark of all demagoguery is the use of the third to attack and degrade the first two. Defense of logos and ethos is necessary, but is it sufficient? Should pathos also be fought with pathos?

Treebeard said...

Oh yes, I am evil. Nietzsche's aphorism “man needs what is most evil in him for what is best in him” is my creed. My preferred system could be described as “mystical fascism” or “magocracy” – a hierarchical society where the people with the strongest Force/mana/chi, will, imagination and personality rule. The “Dark Lord” in this system puts forth a grand, transcendent vision, people get behind it, and they achieve great things, without the inefficiencies, compromises, doubts and divisions of liberal democracy. It's the natural, primal human system, going back to the earliest African witch-doctor-chiefs. Trump is clearly a powerful magician who could be a transitional figure to this regime. Steve Bannon said “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” which shows a deep understanding, and is encouraging.

The point is that your utilitarian, egalitarian democracies, while they have achieved much, still fail to inspire. Why do you think liberal democracy is in retreat globally? Is it all a big conspiracy, or is there something about human nature that rejects it, and always will? Does this make things any clearer for you?

Paul451 said...

Treebeard,
You still haven't explained how, in a real empire/dictatorship, you think you'd be anything but a minor servant or slave. Much worse off than now.

---

A.F. Rey,
Re: Trump's horns on the Time cover.

Others have noticed. But it's not the first time it's happened, so it's unlikely to be intentional.

Pope: http://cdn.timesofisrael.com/uploads/2013/12/Time-Person-Of-The-Ye_Horo-e1386774092654.jpg

Putin: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/5d/51/68/5d5168ac512273aed1d7ad36438a87a5.jpg

Ben Bernanke: http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/2009/1101091228_400.jpg

FDR: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b4/65/44/b4654403b65b20f80987a2f45cc8f528.jpg

Clinton: http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1993/1101930104_400.jpg

Bush Jr: http://cdn.thewire.com/img/upload/2011/12/14/1101041227_400.jpeg

Obama: http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/2008/1101081229_400.jpg

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

Why do you think liberal democracy is in retreat globally? Is it all a big conspiracy, or is there something about human nature that rejects it, and always will?


In 1776, there were zero liberal democracies in the world. Inside of the last 240 years, the inspiration that was America spread over the entire globe, to the extent that even the proudly non-democracies call themselves the "Republic of So-And-So". And even if American democracy falls next year, it has lasted much longer than the Confederacy, Nazi Germany, and their ilk. Fascism is what human nature rejects and always will, and much quicker than it rejects democracy.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Treebeard,
You still haven't explained how, in a real empire/dictatorship, you think you'd be anything but a minor servant or slave. Much worse off than now.


The people he dislikes would suffer more than they do now.

And that would be enough.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Paul451: Maybe the ent LIKES being a minion. You know, one of the 194,209 second lieutenants that get blown up with a Death Star because the Evil Overlord cared more about their Will to Dark Side Power than his sorry ass. Maybe he'll willingly trade that for getting to thrash peasants and filthy rebels at intervals, occasionally blow up a stuck-up, liberal-elitist Alderaan, and constantly worship at the altar of Ambition.

Even if he's not being realistic about his near-certain low status on a totem pole, these people exist. Don't think they don't. And they are immune to all three modes of persuasion: they refuse logic, revere the oppressor precisely because he IS an oppressor, and are emotionally invested in tyranny. Not everyone can be convinced they are self-destructive, not until they hit bottom... and not all do. I am sure even the Star Trek world has humans who out-migrate to the Klingon or Romulan or Cardassian Empires, or rebel like the Maquis, just because despite the racial discrimination, *they fit in better that way*.

But as long as they want the Federation to look like that, they must be fought, even if they are part of Starfleet. (Unless you flip them to the Mirror Dimension, where the Terran Empire is exactly what they want... until they get themselves killed within twenty-four hours there.)

Catfish N. Cod said...

oh and it shouldn't be an issue but @locum: Note how hardcore US Democrats like David insisted that the US Electoral Process was FAIR when they thought their victory was assured, how they now insist that it was UNFAIR because they lost & how the US Republicans claim exactly the opposite.

The passage of the National Popular Vote Compact by eleven states, every one of them a Democratic-dominated polity -- seven of them having ratified within the term of Barack Hussein Obama -- is a complete refutation of your claim.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

Even if he's not being realistic about his near-certain low status on a totem pole, these people exist. Don't think they don't. And they are immune to all three modes of persuasion: they refuse logic, revere the oppressor precisely because he IS an oppressor, and are emotionally invested in tyranny.


My image for that is the old guy with a beard in "Life of Brian" who hangs in a dungeon and goes on and on about, "Great race, the Romans."

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

@locum: Note how hardcore US Democrats like David insisted that the US Electoral Process was FAIR when they thought their victory was assured, how they now insist that it was UNFAIR because they lost & how the US Republicans claim exactly the opposite.

The passage of the National Popular Vote Compact by eleven states, every one of them a Democratic-dominated polity -- seven of them having ratified within the term of Barack Hussein Obama -- is a complete refutation of your claim.


Technically, locum didn't lie (I never thought I'd put those words in that order). The Democrats did in fact deny that the election was rigged until after Donald Trump won, and Republicans did insist it was rigged until November 8. Causality is an exercise for the reader, but the facts are the facts.

There is a factual error in loc's rant, but that's the assertion that Dr Brin is a hardcore Democrat.

Treebeard said...

Fascism is what human nature rejects and always will, and much quicker than it rejects democracy.

Well Larry, that's where your wrong. Fascism is a primal norm, which we find everywhere across thousands of years, from the primitive tribe to the industrial nation-state. I'm sure our prehistoric ancestors went fascist on neanderthals so that we could dominate the planet, and we see this everywhere in nature. Liberal democracy is the aberration, clearly. When you have to fight human and universal nature so hard, eventually you will probably lose. This IS the mirror universe, dummies!

LarryHart said...

@Treebeard,

I'm not sure we're using the word "fascism" to mean the same thing.

Are you claiming that the Confederacy or the Thousand Year Reich lasted longer than Western democracy?


This IS the mirror universe, dummies!


Then why are you so angry?

Reality is apparently not conforming to your expectations, differing not only from the way you want it to be, but they way you insist it is.

David Brin said...


“Note how hardcore US Democrats like David insisted that the US Electoral Process was FAIR when they thought their victory was assured, how they now insist that it was UNFAIR because they lost”

Again, an outright and deliberate strawmanning liar.

Before that, he juggled words well, concocting a spell that certainly convinced HIM that he was making sense about “equality” vs “justice.” But semantically it was utter nonsense.

The ent is hilarious! He repeatedly evades and writhes away from answering anyone’s questions about how he would get to be among the 0.00001% in his favored worlds, or how he’d feel about any of those worlds as a serf.

“The point is that your utilitarian, egalitarian democracies, while they have achieved much, still fail to inspire.”

Fail to inspire you? Sure. Morons? obviously. That is why Murdoch cleverly riled up the idiocracy against the MAJORITY of modern citizens who ARE inspired.

FOr the first time in a year, though, he said something true: “Fascism is a primal norm, which we find everywhere across thousands of years, from the primitive tribe to the industrial nation-state.”

Yes. We are the revolutionaries! Against an insipid, animal-like, moronic darkness. Our mistake lately has been to forget that.

Now what do you think will happen when nearly all of the professionals who understand computers, medicine, genetics, nuclear physics and military affairs decide to remember? Exactly how is your mob of troglodytes gonna prevail?

David Brin said...

onward

onward

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