Saturday, August 03, 2019

Five devastating rebuttals to use with our worst allies... the mad ones who would "split" our coalition.

When I say we must stomp splitterism, I do not mean AOC and the sincere-liberal 'left.’ (Heck, my fave among the 20 DP candidates is Liz!) The “squad” types are welcome to primary old line dems in deep blue districts and create a big socialist caucus. Fine, earn it, fair n’ square. 

But some dogmatic fools - plus Kremlin provocateurs -  go much further. They aim to shatter the broad coalition against Putin-Fox-Trumpist treason. They denounce “corporatist Democrats” as “sockpuppets” for oligarchy, no different than Republicans. These splitters constitute the one great hope for Putin’s putsch to avoid 2020 annihilation.

 All of you have friends teetering along that lunacy. Here are five direct answers that might slap sense into them. 

FIRST: Democrats had power to pass national legislation for just two years out of the last 25 - the 111th Congress 2009-2010, during which these “corporatists”:

- passed the ACA, insuring 40 million more Americans, 

- banned bias for pre-existing conditions (enraging the insurance companies who then donated heavily to Republicans in 2010), 

- passed banking regulation (enraging that cabal, who donated heavily to Republicans in 2010, when many splitters didn’t vote), 

- created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whose destruction was Trump’s top goal, 

- vastly increased auto gas mileage standards, saving Americans billions at the pump, 

- expanded support for sustainables, resulting in the solar+wind “takeoff,”

- did a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street rules (enraging that cabal, who donated heavily to Republicans in 2010), 

- passed a $787 billion economic stimulus package,

- repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell”, allowing gays to serve openly in the military, and much more…

President Obama called the 111th Congress the most productive in generations. “Measures that have almost become afterthoughts — like pay equity for women and the new power of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco — would have been signature achievements in other Congresses. And the Senate confirmed two of Mr. Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court — both women, one Hispanic.”  

Right. Tell us about “corporatist sellouts”! Hey splitters, even having just read that list, could you describe those bills and their effects and why you think they were just meaningless gestures by corporatist sellouts? No? You won’t even try, because knowledge can’t replace that sanctimony high. Oh, and we lost Congress ion 2010 partly because of splitters.

SECOND: Ask your splitter if he or she knows anything about the waves of legislation that have passed in blue states, where “corporatist sellout” democrats had lots of power for more than just 2/25 years. CA, OR, WA (yay Inslee), CO, NY… these have been bulwarks against Trumpism. California just infuriated Old Two Scoops by negotiating its own clean air and mileage deal with five auto giants, preserving the gains made under Obama. The list of legislative achievements under fine governors like Inslee and Brown is huge. If you want to rave “corporatist sellouts!” how about you actually know something, first?

THIRD: Most of you have seen my list of 29 CONSENSUS GOALS that every high level Democrat wants. Every one of the 20 candidates on the debate stage, along with Pelosi and all the rest, want at least this basic list of important items. Getting those 29 could save our future. It’s worth making a broad coalition to get them. In which case “corporatist” is a pretty broad and useless term.

Yes, many of you out there want more than those 29 "consensus goals." Fine! But suppose we get all 29 during the first year. We’d then have honest elections, safe DACA kids, healthcare for all children, and so much more. Then, in that vastly better nation, you and the lefty caucus can split and fight the moderates! Okay deal?

FOURTH: Ralph Nader & Jill Stein tipped the balance for Bush and Trump in 2000 and 2016. 3rd party folks are welcome to campaign for Ranked-Choice Voting, which would open their path ahead without screwing us all. (Join Larry Lessig's Equal Citizens movement and help make it happen!)

Meanwhile, every sincere 3rd Party person should campaign in deep-blue or deep-red states to build their donor base and recognition. But they must pledge to stay out of Florida and key tipping states… or we need to pounce with fury. 

FIFTH: For ages we’ve heard the leftist mantra: “We can attract red district voters by offering them truly vigorous socialist solutions!” 

Alas, it’s failed in every election. Every single one. In fact, 2018 was the final, blatant refutation to this insane nostrum. Every seat gained in the House —  and the reason why Jerry Nadler now has subpoena power — came where a crewcut (or hair-bun) military vet (or similar) who loves science and justice invaded a red or purple district and took territory away from some monstrous GOP (Giving Over to Putin) shill. Every… single… one of those crucial gains. 

Again, the lefty-purity nostrum was tested and utterly failed one-hundred percent. But we did learn what works. It’s a wide tent. A broad coalition of the kind that was forged by Franklin Roosevelt. Moreover, so long as the candidate agrees to most or all of those 29 points, then goal #30 is simple. Win!

SIXTH: The bonus reason to oppose splitterism? Because Valadimir Putin. Because Putin will spend tens of millions and vast resources to encourage splitterism. Splitter memes are already pouring in a tsunami from those Kremlin basement trolls. 

Again, the Confederacy and Fox can only win against a divided Union.
In fact, here is what the AOC social democrats should do! 

Want to primary and oust some old “moderate” from your deep blue district? Knock yerself out! Create a big socialist caucus? Fine. But each of you should also adopt and raise funds for some crewcut (or hair-bun) vet who loves science and justice, helping her (or him) take back some red or purple district. Because our only chance to oust Moscow Mitch McConnell is named Amy McGrath. (Look her up.) And that’s more important than any pompous-purist-preening sanctimony high. 

By doing so, the AOC and her pals would say: "We can argue later over how much socialism to do beyond the basics, or how much of the FDR social contract to build upon. Right now, let's focus on those basics we all share. We are united in saving the USA and our revolution."

170 comments:

scidata said...

Nice piece (even though I'm only here for the scifi). Sending positive brainwaves to Texas.

During the 2016 campaign, there was a lot of Dem shaming about the 19 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT. It was often his go-to line whenever the economy was the topic (and even when it wasn't, since crass cash-flow is the only topic that fires orange neurons).

... umm ...

The US national debt is now above 22 trillion (and could get much worse, right quick). Vaunted valuations have been artificially and bigly mushroomed by stock buy-backs, not by investment in R&D and infrastructure. That's pretty much the textbook definition of a market bubble. And unemployment is always low when people are working three jobs to feed their kids. I don't think facts really matter any more. This stopped being about rationality three years ago. Delusion has been normalized.

David Brin said...

The Supply Side tax cuts are always successful at their real goal - to inflate asset bubbles and increase wealth disparity. They are always sales-pitched as ways to get the rich to invest in productive capacity ("supply") and R&D... and both always... always decline after SS tax gift largesse to aristocracy. This latest one avoided any and all efforts to target the cuts toward capitalization or R&D, calling that "picking winners"... but it did specifically encourage stock buybacks, which profited the CEO caste and inflated bubbles at the cost of company health.

The screaming smoking gun is money velocity, which shrinks with every SS sham. It would go up with infrastructure spending, which puts $ in the pockets of workers who immediately spend it.

David Brin said...


Thing is, Adam Smith himself saw all this (in simpler terms), denouncing the tendency of most (not all) aristocrats to 'invest' in passive rent-seeking, ideally state supported with enforced monopolies.

And yes, the American revolution was not against "taxes" or government, but against cronies of the king controlling all trade and forcing compliance with royal-granted monopolies.

This is an old story. The revolution is ongoing.

Our real problem is that the Greatest Generation dealt with all of this SO well, under Roosevelt, that we actually imagined class warfare was "over."

scidata said...

I don't get the psychology. Dead stock is called 'dead' for a reason. Luxury cars and rented playmates seems boring and feeble-minded. Why not just hook oneself up to a dopamine injector? Didn't they have childhood dreams? Don't they want to get to the stars?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

They are always sales-pitched as ways to get the rich to invest in productive capacity ("supply") and R&D... and both always... always decline after SS tax gift largesse to aristocracy.


It makes so much sense that they would do that. The reason for investing in productive capacity is to make money. If someone just gives them the money, the process is short-circuited. The goal is accomplished before any investment begins. Why would anyone expect them to invest more afterwards? If you win the lottery, do you plow that money into more lottery tickets?

If someone dumps truckloads of water at the bottom of a waterfall which powers a hydroelectric dam, does that water generate any extra power?

David Brin said...

LH good metaphor.

scidata "Don't they want to get to the stars?"

I know some zillionaires who do.

Larry Hart said...

Anyone who believes that giving money to wealthy corporations will induce them to invest it must therefore also believe that giving people unemployment benefits will induce them to work. Why wouldn't the recipients of government largess instead metaphorically sit at home on the couch watching tv and drinking beer? The fact that (generally) the same people who argue for Supply Side also disdain the concept of unemployment benefits shows their bias.

Is the opposite true as well? Does support for unemployment benefits imply support for Supply Side? I don't think so. For one thing, the unemployed person needs to increase his meager supply of funds on a regular basis just to survive, whether he's receiving a government benefit or not. The corporation isn't starving without more money--it just "wants" more because that's the object of the game. Investing a windfall could increase profits even more, but that isn't free. It takes time and resources, and is also a risk. An investment can lose money as well as make money. The safe thing to do is just to hoard the windfall in rent-seeking endeavors, and corporations are about nothing if not "safe".

The game of "Monopoly" is instructive as to the end result of Supply Side. One "winner" has all of the money, and then the game is over. Of course, the board game doesn't proceed to the inevitable next step, which played out in France in 1789.

David Brin said...

Extra money to aristocracy lowers money velocity. Extra money to workers increases it. And yes, in times of super inflation, it can actually make sense to reduce money velocity! Corporations are in between. If you disincentivize CEO corrupt self-dealing and incentivize R&D and capital investment, tax breaks can stimulate, as advertizes. Supply Side deliberately did the opposite.

john fremont said...

capacity is to make money. If someone just gtes them the money, the process is short-circuited. The goal is accomplished before any investment begins. Why would anyone expect them to invest more afterwards? If you win the lottery, do you plow that money into more lottery tickets?

If someone dumps truckloads of water at the bottom of a waterfall which powers a hydroelectric dam, does that water generate any extra power?



“I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows” Attributed to Polish economist Micheal Kalecki by Joan Robinson

john fremont said...

@Larry Hart

A very lucid simile

If someone dumps truckloads of water at the bottom of a waterfall which powers a hydroelectric dam, does that water generate any extra power?

Supply side economics has been an effort by the GOP to have the American public confuse stocks with flows.

I fat fingered the Publish button on my previous comment

Larry Hart said...

@john fremont,

I think "trickle down" was a deliberate attempt to make people think of falling water as a metaphor for wealth--that any money provided at the top makes its way down through the layers below.

In fact, it's the other way around. "Money goes to money," and all. Money tends naturally to rise, like heat from a flame. If that money is to do any work moving through the economy, it has to be introduced at the bottom, not the top.

David Brin said...

Funny how some of the posting I deem most important... like this one... seem to get the least comment...

Alfred Differ said...

Some of us regulars don't have much to add. I agree with your rebuttals and will use them where I can. I doubt I will seek opportunities to use them, though.

The people I know mostly get it. Splitting the people who would oppose Trump isn't a good idea.


I'm more inclined to comment on the tangential topic involving trickle down ideas and the motivations for rich people to put their money in low velocity investments. I'd be up on my soap box, though, and that just doesn't feel right with the recent shootings.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ to Dr Brin:

Some of us regulars don't have much to add.


I was going to say something similar.

Other contributing factors, it was just the weekend when I spend much less time in front of a computer screen. Also, if I have anything begging to be commented on today, it's the recent mass shootings by white nationalists, which of course has nothing to do with politics or ideology.

Today's NY Times headlines on the subject are too numerous to single any one out.

https://www.nytimes.com/

scidata said...

I love the USA. I love Hong Kong. I love Asimov's vision for humanity's future. These are difficult days for me.

Larry Hart said...

@scidata,

Are you familiar with Neil Gaiman's "Sandman", specifically "A Dream of a Thousand Cats"?

Difficult days indeed when I actually consider that to be a plausible solution.

And just as with cats, try getting 1000 Democrats to agree on anything. :)

David Brin said...

Well, Look at WA (Inslee!) CA (jerry!) OR etc. When there's someone mature holding reins, the dems can get pretty darn busy. And the 111th Congress. But yes, they are cats. As opposed to Putin's lemmings.

The central message from Dayton is that we need more than background checks... though that would help. (Indeed, the NRA's blocking of that is complicity with murder.) In the one minute before a hero-alert cop brought him down, the Dayton guy sprayed 41 bullets. 41 in less than a minute. As happened in Las Vegas and many places. We need a nationwide ban on large clips and magazines. One with penalties so severe that millions will bring theirs in for a generous buy-back,

In my Jefferson Rifle proposal, I dissect how the gun lobby responds to everything. "This may sound reasonable, but it begins a slippery slope to state confiscation of all firearms, and then citizens losing their recourse against tyranny!"

It may shock you to learn... I agree! If we are ever to get to a sane nation, where firearms are regulated EXACTLY like motor vehicles, with training, certification and insurance, then we must do something at the far end, to ensure that citizens retain absolute protection of the kinds of arms that can best give tyrants pause. It sounds impossible, right? But I show that it is plausibly easy to accomplish!

Be clear, the 'slippery slope to confiscation' is their reason for blocking background checks and bans on mass murder spray weaponry, or indeed anything at all. It does no good to answer slogans with slogans. We ned to say: "we understand your fear, so how about a win-win compromise?

Yeas, 75% of them will keep howling! But if we can get 20% to negotiate, we'll win. Our children will win.

http://www.tinyurl.com/jrifle

Alfred Differ said...

For the sake of argument, my support of the fourth point of the original post is a bit soft. I’m not excited about blaming candidates for the stupid voting system.

locumranch said...


Every one of the 20 candidates on the debate stage, along with Pelosi and all the rest, WANT at least this basic list of important items (and) Getting those 29 could save our future (so) It’s worth making a broad coalition to get them[DB].

Increasingly incoherent, these arguments are, as our fine host condemns Trump's America First agenda as both a xenophobic nationalism & an externally-derived foreign treason while simultaneously demanding additional open border globalisms (aka 'more externally-derived foreign treasons') & an END to foreign involvement in US domestic politics (aka 'xenophobic nationalism').

It's schizophrenia, these incessant attempts to differentiate between Good Racial Identity Politics & Bad Racial Identity Politics, Good Sexism & Bad Sexism, Good Oligarchy & Bad Oligarchy, Good Socialism & Bad Socialism, Good Globalism & Bad Globalism, and Good Nationalism & Bad Nationalism.

I mean, really, what kind of credulous fool concludes that MORAL INTENT will alter the essential nature of racial identity politics, sexism, oligarchy, socialism, globalism, nationalism & human behaviour?

"But, I meant well" is everyone’s favourite get-out-of-jail-free card because it seems that you can get away with damn near anything -- no matter how discourteous, disrespectful, dangerous, dubious, dimwitted or discredited that thing, action or behaviour is -- as long as long as you can convince others that you are "a good person" with "good intentions" who just wanted to "do good" just like Lenin, Hitler, Stalin & Mao.


Best

_____

The central message from Dayton is that further legislation is futile as 'background checks' can only document the past actions of said applicant & cannot predict the applicant's future actions. I'm sure the ACLU would object to this line of approach, too, to condemn, convict & punish a person for a crime that they have not yet committed.

Mental health certification is likewise futile, in part due to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which forbids discrimination on the basis of any "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity" as exemplified by significant mental illness because CRAZY POTENTIAL MASS MURDERS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO, you progressive autocratic fascist, you.

Your children will LOSE, too, because you've virtually guaranteed it by passing schizophrenic laws that simultaneously forbid, facilitate & require ever-increasing amounts of discrimination, diversity & conformity.

David Brin said...

Such an articulate expression of simultaneous self-serving delusionality with absolutely perfect incapacity to grasp even the concept of positive sum.

duncan cairncross said...

The trouble with ensuring that the citizens can be armed is that in the vast majority of cases "Armed Citizens" have sided with the Tyrants -
So from a political "protection from tyranny" POV ensuring that citizens can be armed is NOT a positive

I like our (NZ) new requirement - five shots and have to re-load - with an exception for small calibre pest control

I'm hoping that when the dust settles we will go back to the registration of individual firearms

David Brin said...

Essentially similar to my Jefferson Rifle.

duncan cairncross said...

YES! - I have linked to your Jefferson Rifle several times as a rational type of gun control

We (NZ) did not go quite as far - five shots instead of one

David Brin said...

Yes, but part of the Jefferson rifle deal is to make the bolt action rifle *sacred*! Protected forever in the Constitution with a new amendment. You can still have five-shot rifles and other things, but those need training, licensing, insurance. But the Jefferson Rifle cannot be tracked or ever confiscated. That's the odffering to stop "slippery slope" complaints that prevent treating all OTHER weapons just like cars.

That's the trick.

Cyrill Joseph Landau said...

Donald Trump is #1 man in USA

David Brin said...

Ivan shows up! I am lazy and indulgent. In fact I get trolled less than I ever expected. It may be the $5 words you all (even locum!) use.

Larry Hart said...

Peter Falk's character in the movie "Murder By Death":

"He looks more like number 2, if you know what I mean."

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman describes the self-evident:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/opinion/republicans-white-terrorism.html

Why has the Republican Party become a systematic enabler of terrorism?

Don’t pretend to be shocked. Just look at G.O.P. responses to the massacre in El Paso. They have ranged from the ludicrous (blame video games!) to the almost honest (who would have expected Ted Cruz, of all people, to speak out against white supremacy?). But as far as I can tell, not one prominent Republican has even hinted at the obvious link between Donald Trump’s repeated incitements to violence and the upsurge in hate crimes.

So the party remains in lock step behind a man who has arguably done more to promote racial violence than any American since Nathan Bedford Forrest, who helped found the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organization if there ever was one — and who was recently honored by the Republican governor of Tennessee.

...

So how do Republicans win elections? By appealing to racial animus. This is such an obvious fact of American political life that you have to be willfully blind not to see it.

...

scidata said...

Perhaps the TMT team shows the way forward. They're applying for a permit in the Canaries. Frantic delusion should not paralyze rationalists. A lesson for us all.

Larry Hart said...

Apparently, anti-Semitism is another one of those things that is ok when Republicans do it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/opinion/trump-el-paso-racism.html

...and, of course, the insistence that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the violence at a gathering of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va.

Some of those “very fine people” shouted “Jews will not replace us,” and yet Trump went on to excoriate the Democratic Party in general and Representative Ilhan Omar in particular as anti-Semitic. That’s what I mean about his big lie. He winks at white nationalists, then points a finger in other directions.

...

TheMadLibrarian said...

scidata: the Canaries were always a fallback location, nowhere near as desirable for the TMT. This is another case of a very loud minority overrunning a position held by many more. The TMT will be built, but not in Hawaii, if the bullies have their way. Then Hawaii will end up not having the benefits of a telescope or the associated jobs, and the protesters will disappear again without actually benefiting anyone. Very dog-in-manger-ish.

scidata said...

Re: TMT
I agree with moving on with Plan B (or at least threatening to). Not surrender or paralysis, but persistence and ingenuity. Ad astra per aspera. Perhaps this caption could be added to the first few results if Canary happens:
"This picture could have been better, but superstition hindered our efforts."

Immortality can only be earned, not stolen at spearpoint by pathetic thugs and mobs. Which name will live longer - Cyril or Hypatia? The answer may determine humanity's fate.

David Brin said...

The Hawaii activists are raging against deals made by their own elected native councils They could have run to be elected to those councils, they chose instead rage and sanctimonious fury, ignoring the blatantly obvious single miracle performed by Poli'ahu on her mountaintop and her obvious love of astronomy.

Krugman as very smart... and dumb. He cannot see what's as plain as the nose on his face. That the mad right hates HIM far more than it hates your average black man. Do the oligarchs care about racism, really? Other than as a tool to keep confederate masses riled and prevent them from realizing how the oligarchy screwed them?
The threat to oligarchic rule is smart people. All of them, which is why all of them - especially guys like Kruigman - are enemy #1.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

I picked and chose quoted from the Krugman column, not wanting to fill your blog with someone else's writing. But the lead up to the quoted passage:

So how do Republicans win elections? By appealing to racial animus. This is such an obvious fact of American political life that you have to be willfully blind not to see it.


was all about the fact that Republicans's true political and economical agenda is not popular, and so they have to get support by appealing to tribalism. He's well aware that the racism is a tactic, not an objective.

The oligarchs who thought this situation was entirely under their control should have paid more attention to the scene in Cabaret surrounding the song, "Tomorrow Belongs to Me".


"Do you still think you can control them?"

locumranch said...


Confusing the recognition & manipulation of incipient racism with the incitement (and/or creation) of incipient racism, the manipulative Left jumps the shark by alleging racism against "smart people", insomuch as the assumed existence of a race of "smart people" is inherently racist.

And, thusly, the Left repudiates Equalism:

It acknowledges racially-derived differences & inequalities; it repudiates the fair level playing field trope; it indulges in identity group in-group bias; and it self-defines as racist by its own criteria.

The Equalist laughs at the assumed existence of a race of "smart people", an absurd impossibility, assuming universal racial equality.

The Equalist also laughs at the concepts of Good & Evil, as such arbitrary distinctions simply cannot exist, assuming universal equality in all things.


Best

Alex K said...

Alright I'll bite. As a card carrying lefty, albeit a British one, I will present the lefty rebuttal to these points.

First: Calling the 111th Congress the most productive in generations is like gaining the prize for fastest sloth.
In terms of financial industry regulation, let us remember that all this was passed in the wake of the biggest recession since 1929. There was a historic opportunity to pass so much more to ensure such a thing could not happen again anytime soon. Instead, he bent over backwards to save the rogues of Wall Street from the consequences of their own failures and thus set up the ground for the upcoming next big bank caused catastrophe. After all, the financial industry learned from this it was too big to touch and therefore feels entitled to do anything it pleases.
And what of those achievements now ? Republicans are busy dismantling virtually all of them as we speak.

Second: I'll be honest I can't help there. I'm British so not too exposed to local news on the American side.

Third: This is where it gets interesting. Progressives as a general rule agree with these goals.... Buuut we do not trust Centrist to even pass a fraction of them in an entire presidency. The moment a donor emits even so much as a squeak, they will slam the breaks on those reforms and feed us excuses as to why these already modest reforms can't happen after all. If the democrats will only pass 1/10th of what they promised, might as well be 1/10th of a lot rather than little.

Fourth: One big point of contention that annoys progressives to no end is how centrists feel entitled to our vote. Centrists are not any more entitled to the progressive vote than so called nice guys are entitled to sex. The moderate independent unicorn we keep hearing about is not the only vote the democrats have to fight for and us progressives need to be wooed too.

Fifth: Really ?!!! So the last two decades where the Democrats have been bleeding seats at all levels of government under Centrist control never happened then ? Remind me how picking the most right wing candidate for the presidential election went last time ? Centrists have been do busy trying to attract that ever shrinking moderate republican vote that they didn't notice other voters were giving up on them in frustration, certain that even democrats were never going to help them. The voting public the democrats should be aiming for is that non voting population.

Sixth: Vlad the Impaler did not create splitterism. He merely fanned the flames that decades of neglect by the Centre have created. Those memes are only succeeding because a fertile ground for them was already there.

This leads me to my conclusion: the centrist/progressive marriage has been on the rocks for a while now. The correct reaction centrists should be having to progressive anger all over the western world is not "You'll never do better than me so know your place and shut up !" but "Ok, I get you're angry, what can I do to regain your confidence ?"

Addendum: For the record this is a criticism of Anglo Saxon Centrism which usually means Socially left wing/economically right/hawkish foreign policy. Sane centrism like that practiced by Angela Merkel who knows she has to compromise with the left in addition to the right, I have no beef against.

J Thomas said...

The original post was conservative-Democrat Neolib squibble. Same-old, same-old. Worthless squibble.

If Democrats want to build a big coalition, if they want third party votes etc, it's in their court to pass IRV etc. Arguing that third parties etc have the chance to talk about how they want it, is just silly. Democrats have the chance to get those votes if they want them, by allying with the Republicans who want voting reform. But they don't. It really looks like the mass of the Democratic Party leadership does not want voting reform and does not want those votes. They just want to keep blaming voters for not voting for them.

But then David Brin's comments generally make sense. An understanding of economics. An understanding of things that need to be done. It's as if the original post and the comments were from two different people.

Jon S. said...

There are no Republicans who want voting reform. There are today only Republicans who use the words "voting reform" to refer to the ability to remove the franchise from any group with whom they disagree, particularly PoC and women.

Your entire statement, Mr. Thomas, founders on the rock of a basic misunderstanding of the Republican Party as it is organized today. You're trying to find reasonable people in an organization that has spent the past thirty years or so purging themselves of anyone capable of anything besides hate and fear.

J Thomas said...

Jon S, I'm afraid you're right. There are essentially no Republicans who want voting reform, even though the Libertarian Party gets 3 times the votes that Greens do.

And there are essentially no Democrats who want voting reform really, at the national level, though some will give lip service to it.

So we will not get voting reform until after third parties take over. And until then Democrats will argue that when anybody votes for third parties it's those voters' fault. When it is the fault of the major parties for not allowing IRV.

Again, Libertarians get 3 times the votes that Greens do. So at present third parties are helping the Democrats and not hurting them. Democrats have no right to complain.

matthew said...

Libertarianism represents a threat to continuing a healthy planet by their abuse of the commons and refusal to acknowledge external costs of their free market worship. They are the enemies of a healthy planet.

But you may say, not all libertarians. To which I reply, yes all libertarians. If libertarians do not like being labeled anti-human-life-on- earth, then the onus is on libertarians to drive the oligarchy and unregulated goons from their government. Or become liberals.

3rd parties in the US exist only to split votes and coalitions. They are funded by oligarchs who would make us slaves.

locumranch said...


For noticing things that nice lefty liberal progressives are not supposed to notice, acknowledge or comment upon, I'd now like to welcome Alex K to the deplorable identity group because only an accursed deplorable would insist that progressive political machine is in no way entitled to his support.

For, even though it may be politically acceptable to say that the 'nice guy' is NOT entitled to much of anything, it is the height of deplorability to recognise, acknowledge or comment upon the entitlements of the politically protected & privileged classes, as in the case of Racism, Domestic Violence & Equality.

While once defined as "the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another" (the ADL definition), the term Racism has been successfully redefined as something that only white people do, as in white supremacy, white privilege & white guilt.

Domestic Violence has been redefined exclusively as something that only male heterosexuals do, even though numerous scientific studies document equal rates of violence between male & female domestic partners, and much higher rates of violence in female-on-female domestic partnerships.

Then, there is the sacrosanct term Equality which now means its opposite, insomuch as (1) the entitled female receives provisioning, security & gender-specific protections, leaving zip-zero-nada for the 'nice guy', and (2) minority successes are assumed to reflect 'merit' but majority successes are only said to reflect undeserved 'privilege'.

Matthew, our very own hate-spewing 'woke' progressive, says as much in paraphrase as he classifies even libertarians as despicably inhuman deplorables in his post above:

"Everyone who is not my equal is my enemy", says he.

And, wowza, Matthew sure seems to have a lot of enemies.


Best

matthew said...

More lies from loco. Par for the course for the nutter.

Only enemy I have here is the nazi ent, who has threatened violence on me and mine.

I may have seroius problems with ideology be it oligarchistic or authoritarian but only those that are committed to violence like the ent earn my hatred and enmity.

David Brin said...

For the predictions registry! Speaking of bots, Alexa can now read to you at your rate of comprehension, not limited to human voice pace. A time-compression service I foretold both in EARTH and in EXISTENCE.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/7/20757749/amazon-alexa-talk-faster-slower-speed-echo

Tony? ANyone else updating the registry?

David Brin said...

Well, the bullshit is flying fast here. Lt's first take care of Loucumranch, who never tires of exposing his inability to grasp anyone thinking other than the way he does, in zero-sum paranoia. He knows that the cores element of all the creative, "smart" professions and arenas is not some unified cabal (or "race," as he put it) but rather a cauldron of competition, performed openly, transparently and with vigorous reciprocal accountability. When the oligarchy wages war on science, teaching, journalism and all the rest, it's not so much against any cabal of smart people but against the very concept of vigorous reciprocal accountability based on competitive application of factual evidence.

Poor locum knows that his side is supposed to be pro-competition! But every move by his plantation lords crushes competition, deliberately laying groundwork for one elite to own/control it all. So what can he do? Yammer! Smart people are a "race"! Oh, my.

David Brin said...

Alex K is articulate and a true BS artist. Desperate to justify splitterism and his own sanctimony endorphins, he offers one howler after another. Like Hillary was a right winger. Har!

Simultaneously(!) he disses the accomplishments of the 111th as no big deal WHILE sneering that Republicans are strenuously and desperately dismantling those accomplishments. The 2017 Supply Side vampire arterial gusher of our life blood into oligarchy maws WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED if Jill Stein had let Hillary have Florida and Pennsylvania. We’d still have the CFPB and DACA and the rest. But no blame here!

Second: he evades this matter utterly, even though it torches splitterism. California has more people and economy than Britain, #6 in the world! It has exactly the mix of progressive and “centrist” democrats AlexK derides. They work together, argue and pass bills and they have passed droves of progressive (but pragmatic) legislation limited only by federal supremacy, WHILE balancing the budget and damping down partisan strife. The same thing in WA and OR and CO. This is meaningful, goomba. And your evasion does not work just because you live in another country.

I know the relevance of Northern Ireland’s border with Eire. I know Scotland may secede because of Brexit. And if I know all that and much more, then your ignorance of California is either laziness or blaring dishonesty. Either way, it is weaseling.

Your howl about my list of 29 shared goals is utter, utter hypocrisy. Most “centrist” dems have declared for most of those things. Many of them have fought harder for such things any DAY than you have across your entire, grumbling cynical life, fellah.

Hey, why not make it explicit, huh? Help promote the list and declare “If the coalition wins big in 2020 and can actually legislate, like in 2009, and you DON’T do these things, THEN it’s civil war!” Give us one congressional term with majorities in both chambers and a democratic president. Care to make it a wager, that at least 20 get passed? Bet your house? Oh, please.

No, instead you yowl “They’d never go for those things!” Without a scintilla of evidence. Okay we know your actual name, Ivan.

FOUR? Your sentence doesn’t even parse grammatically! Seriously Alex, are you all right? Is it an aneurism?

Fifth. You lie. You utterly lie about my position. You know I said lefties are welcome to primary and take over blue districts, so what’s your gripe? I even vote for some and my top pick is Warren. But you rave if you ignore the 50 people like Cisneros who TOOK TERRITORY from the confederates - or came damn near. And every single one of them was a “centrist” you hate.

We have one chance to eliminate Moscow Mitch McConnell. Her name is Amy McGrath.

Your hate is why we lost congress in 2010, when Putin came at us to try the splitter memes he used devastatingly against Clinton in 2016. Thanks Ivan.

David Brin said...

J Thomas isn't even worth answering. He is spewing truly psychotic drivel making Alex almost look sane.

Larry Hart said...

What an age we live in. Below is some of the text from an actual recruiting e-mail:


My name is Wendy, and I'm a recruiter helping to fill a contract role for a client in Northbrook, Illinois. I should also mention I’m an artificially intelligent Recruiter. Yep— you heard that right!

The contract position I am working to fill is for a Data Manager, Programmer. I came across your resume and thought that you might be a good fit for this role.

My goal is to learn more about you beyond just a resume. Through a simple conversation, I can help you get in front of the hiring managers faster. My aim is to be your advocate, presenting you in the most relevant way possible.

To get started please click the button below to begin chatting with me. I’m looking forward to meeting you!


Happy Chatting!

Wendy
AI Recruiting Partner

A.F. Rey said...

Be thankful it's asking you, rather than leaving you out and taking the position for itself! :)

J Thomas said...

"The 2017 Supply Side vampire arterial gusher of our life blood into oligarchy maws WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED if Jill Stein had let Hillary have Florida and Pennsylvania."

When you repeat Democrat talking points you can't expect to make sense.

Florida vote went:

Trump 4,600,000
Clinton 4,500,000
Johnson 200,000
Stein 64,000

Stein did not get enough votes to give Clinton a win. Johnson got enough votes to keep Trump from getting an absolute majority. Trump got 49% of the vote, and with Johnson's 2.2% it would be clear.

Assuming of course that those third party votes would have gone that way. More than 40% of the total eligible voters didn't vote. There's nothing to say that the people who did vote third party would have voted for either of the major party fiends if they had no better candidates.

Pennsylvania was closer.

Trump 2,970,000
Clinton 2,926,000
Johnson 147,000
Stein 50,000

If Stein didn't run while more than 90% of Stein voters voted Clinton, Clinton could have squeaked out a win. Supposing that Johnson DID run to siphon third party voters away from Trump. Clinton could have won Pennsylvania given one more special advantage to give her extra votes.

It's that way right down the line. Clinton COULD have won provided that Johnson siphoned votes away from Trump, and Stein did not take her much smaller share of votes from Clinton. Clinton could not win without that. She had to have Johnson running or she could not win.

I hope the third parties get big enough to affect policy. Otherwise we're stuck with the policies we're stuck with.

David Brin said...

Nice arguing. Who are you and what did you doo with that incoherent screecher, the earlier J Thomas?

Except it utterly proves the point that splitters and stay at homes gave us Trump, alongside thei allies, Putin and Rupert Murdoch.

Read Orwell's HOMAGE TO CATALONIA. That's you splitter dogmatist jerks. The "centrist" politicians you deride have done more for YOUR causes in any week than you have, your entire dogmatic-ranting "I get to be so prure!" life.

duncan cairncross said...

Dr Brin

There are similarities between the mess that the UK is in and the one the USA is in

In both cases decades of propaganda have persuaded a huge number of the voters to vote stupidly

In the UK there has been 40 years of ALL politicians blaming the EU for everything that has gone wrong - a handy dandy whipping boy for all of the things that they screwed up or didn't do
Wrong type of leaves on the track - must be the EU

The USA it was the Unions - and "Librals" and "both parties are the same"

When I worked in the USA a lot of my colleagues were firmly of the opinion that "both parties are the same"
I thought they were mad!
And that was before Bush 2
In 2016 too many Americans still think both are the same -

J Thomas said...

"Except it utterly proves the point that splitters and stay at homes gave us Trump"

And there's no argument there. Appropriate, since there is no logical argument possible.

Splitters hurt the GOP about 3 times as much as the Democrats in 2016. Stein got about 1.5 million votes, Johnson got about 4.5 million. Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million.

If she got all the Stein votes and Trump got all the Johnson votes, Trump would be slightly ahead.

If the splitters on both sides were evenly matched, they would not make a difference. Say it was three million split from each side. No matter.

And in the next election if they each got 9 million votes, they wouldn't make any difference at all. They wouldn't affect the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

And in the election after that, if they each got 27 million votes, again they would be completely irrelevant to the politics.

But it isn't like that. Most elections, the Republicans lose more votes to third parties than the Democrats. The first Nader year was an exception. And even then it wasn't enough, the Supreme Court had to step in to award it to the GOP.

You shouldn't worry about Jill Stein's 1.5 million votes. Instead, consider that we had 231 million eligible voters, and 137 million of them actually voted. If you want more votes, why not go after the 94 million who didn't think either candidate was good enough?

You're arguing with the fish in a rain barrel. You'd do better to scold the people who didn't vote. If you shame them enough for not voting for Clinton, maybe this time they'll vote for Biden or Harris.

Alfred Differ said...

Libertarianism represents a threat to continuing a healthy planet [snip]
But you may say, not all libertarians. To which I reply, yes all libertarians.


and

…then the onus is on libertarians to drive the oligarchy and unregulated goons from their government. Or become liberals.

Umm... No.

I will not take this too personal since I think you were mostly directing it at one of the other two people, but your 'yes all libertarians' covers me. So…

1) It is not my government any more than it is yours. I will help you purge it of those folks, but do not expect me to do it for the reasons that motivate you.
2) I am a classical liberal, so I am more liberal that you progressives. Deal with it.
3) If you want to argue that I (personally) am a threat to a healthy planet, get personal. I will listen, point out where you are mistaken, adjust where you are correct, but I will not accept ‘them’ type arguments.
4) I do not worship anything… let alone a free market. I respect it as one should respect the rules of an ecosystem because that is what free markets are.

3rd parties in the US exist only to split votes and coalitions.

On this, I will call bullshit. The Republicans were once a third party, but they ascended because one of the two major parties came apart at the seams. Look up what happened to the American Whigs. It ain’t pretty.

locumranch said...


A Third Party, also known as the Independents, already sets the US political agenda, as it represents 42% of registered US voters.

This was predicted (along with a possible solution) in 1968 by the 'Die, Spy' episode of Get_Smart wherein the chiefs of CONTROL (aka 'Democrats') and KAOS (aka 'Republicans') band together to fight a common enemy.

Increasingly irrelevant, both the US Democrat Party (31% of US voters) & the US Republicans (24% of US voters) are self-deluding DENIERS who reject this new political reality, while simultaneously being incapable of working together.

And, finally, I will remember this day -- the day our host rejected race as a predeterminant of intelligence -- as the death day for either equalism or diversity or possibly both.

For, if all identity groups are interchangeably equal in terms of intelligence & ability, then ethnocultural diversity serves little or no rational purpose and, if identity group diversity is to serve a rational or justifiable purpose, then one must assume irremediable ethnocultural inequality in terms of intelligence & ability.

The Harvard double-bind discrimination lawsuit will most likely resolve this irreconcilable ethnocultural issue once & for all as a either a win or a loss by the minority plaintiffs means an end to both diversity & equalism as we know it:

Heads, we win. Tails, you lose.


Best

David Brin said...

Seriously, Franklin Roosevelt - a centrist - and ML King - derided as "too patient and moderate" -- and George Marshall who pondered the historical mistakes of empire -- changed America and the World more than all the radical revolutionaries of their time. Washington & Jefferson left their moderate revolution only a quarter-done and Lincoln died before completing his task. And they took us much farther than Robspierre or Lenin or Mao ever did.

The list of crimes committed by America across 250 years is as long as the list of missed opportunities.

And the RATIO of good deeds and partial steps forward to disappointments and crimes is unmatched in the history of nations. And I would be delighted if you splitters would make that a money wager.

Here's the kicker. YOUR VALUES... the ideal of a better world without prejudice and injustice and greedy inequality... where do you think you got them? 6000 years priests failed at engendering that dream. But it was infected into the minds of a billion young idealists by... Hollywood. And you know it.

Make Star Trek happen. You bet. I've done more in that project than any number of you have, combined. Still, I welcome your enthusiasm and eagerness to help make it so. But I pity your grumbling ankle-biting howls at the one vehicle humanity ever created that brought us a large part of the way along that path.

David Brin said...

"Splitters hurt the GOP about 3 times as much as the Democrats in 2016. Stein got about 1.5 million votes, Johnson got about 4.5 million. Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million. "

Titanic sophistry! We all know that grumbling stay-at-homes were the key element that has hurt us every time. I despise Stein and Nader for not declaring "I'll stay out of Florida and Ohio." But their supporters are at least sincere, compared to the grumbling hypocrites!

The idea that Johnson and the LP help democrats is insane! Their entire purpose... the reason the LP is subsidised by the Kochs and Forbes and all of them is to prevent bleedout when libertarians realise they have much more in common with liberals than with oligarchs. Sir, you are a very ignorant person.

Alfred Differ said...

Sorry… the previous post of mine was meant for matthew. The rest of this is for…


Larry,

If you read what many recruiters send out, it is about the same and with the same intent. They SAY they are your advocate, but their actual intent is to build their talents list. Some make money by placing you with customers. They are the contractor. You are the subcontractor. You know how that works. Often, though, they make money selling access to their list to other contractors making you a sub-subcontractor to someone who didn’t promise to be your advocate. 8)

Respond to one of these and then watch where the job offers come from and you will see who is buying access to their list. Most of what they need from you requires little more than a chat bot interaction. You could probably set one up yourself without breaking a sweat.

--Your resume says you know how to code in ${ProgrammingLanguage[i]}. Could you tell me about a [job/project] experience where you were doing that and had a challenging [boss/customer]?—

--Salary.com says you should have received around ${mid-bandSalary[i]} for your work at ${Employer[i]}. Is that close to what you got?—

Sometimes I get an evil itch that tempts me to respond with data that poisons their salary expectations for certain job types. Employer X paid me $Y to do that kind of work. Honest! The itch is strongest when I am watching foreigners here on H1B’s who are being underpaid. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

J Thomas,

So we will not get voting reform until after third parties take over.

You are mistaken. We got voting reform in California while the Democrats were in control. We did it through ballot initiatives. We took away the State Legislature’s power to redistrict after a census and forced a change to the way elections are done.

Third parties were generally unhappy with the change to the election system because it prevents them from getting on the general ballot if they don’t rank high in the primary. In the 2018 election, though, I know of at least one Libertarian who got more votes than their GOP competitor. In that race in November, the general ballot showed D and L candidates as the choice.

It is not the third parties that will force reform. The People will have to do it at state and local levels. Some of those people might be third party members, but most will have to be from the two big ones.

J Thomas said...

"Titanic sophistry! We all know that grumbling stay-at-homes were the key element that has hurt us every time."

Yes, that's what I said. I consider it bootless for you to complain about a tiny minority of Greens when there are so many people you have not persuaded to vote at all.

"The idea that Johnson and the LP help democrats is insane! [....] Sir, you are a very ignorant person."

I truly did not know that. Let me ask any libertarians who happen to be present.

Other things equal, if you are presented with an election where there are no third party candidates, are you more likely to vote for the Democrat, or the Republican, or not vote for either?

scidata said...

I manage several social media groups, including one of the larger astronomy groups on LinkedIn. Much of my time is spent screening and filtering bots and headhunters that are building lists and bothering group members. I've also told Bell that they should pay me to own a phone for similar reasons. Dr. Brin does a wonderful job of squelching the spam in here. Kudos.

J Thomas said...

Alfred Differ,

"We got voting reform in California while the Democrats were in control. We did it through ballot initiatives. We took away the State Legislature’s power to redistrict after a census and forced a change to the way elections are done."

Yes! Also in Maine, with the various elected officials of both parties putting up whatever roadblocks they could.

In my state that is not allowed. The legislature can put things on the ballot for statewide issues. Sometimes the legislature can specifically allow voter petition for specific local issues. And local governments can allow voter petition for specific kinds of local issues, provided that it is in the town, city, or county charter that it can be done and specifies the number of signatures and deadlines etc.

In some states you can do it despite the major parties, and in other states you can't.

duncan cairncross said...

As a foreigner puting my tuppence worth in again

The US problem is not so much voters staying home - although that is a problem

The bigger issue is voters not being registered - most countries do this a LOT better

David Brin said...

And blue states are initiating motor voter processes that default register you to vote when getting a driver's license as is done all over the world.

Yes, the citizens had to (and did, because they could) rebel in blue states against their own democratic politicians, in order to end gerrymandering. There are occasional issues like that and yes, DP pols can range along a normal spectrum of "corruption"... that is like another planet compared to Republican corruption.

But DP pols have taken the hint. Obama and Holder are now urging holdouts Marryland and Illinois to drop gerrymandering so that it will become wholly a Republican crime.

A consortium led by Nicolas Berggruen put another ballot initiative up that now has CA with the best election laws in the nation. The open primaries with run-off general election has two same party finalists, some times. But the result has been LESS partisanship and more listening to minority party members in districts, not less. Our paper ballots let random precincts get audited so no one dares to mess with vote-counting, unlike the damned and truly damned to hell red traitors in red states who pay Russo-Gopper biased "voting machine" companies for gear that can easily give any desired result.

All we need is to emulate Maine and add Ranked Choice Voting and then 3rd party folks would stand a chance. And if you want to increase the hopes of 3rd parties, THAT is the only issue that should obsess you. I said it in the main blog. RCV is what can give 3rd parties a chance and would solve other problems. And anyone who yowls about 3P without pushing RCV is either a fool or a shining hypocrite or both. (well... or a Kremlin stooge or bot.)

But it was DP legislators

David Brin said...

Many messages relentlessly pervade modern films and novels. They are generally in plain view, blaring at us, lecturing and finger-wagging, yet they seldom draw comment or notice.
Some of them, like Suspicion of Authority, or SoA, propel a plot while also helping us stay free, keeping us alert against oppressing elites … though lately SoA has been cynically manipulated against us, a matter we’ll discuss later.
Other common Hollywood memes, like tolerance, diversity and eccentricity, are values that you and I appreciate – in part -- because those messages succeeded. Watch any Marx Brothers or Judy Garland or Preston Sturges movie, to see how far back all of these themes go. And thank you, Hollywood.

Certainly it’s healthy that films and books also keep sniffing toward potential errors. That, too, can drive plot, while tuning the public to notice a failure mode – and some of these tales actually divert destiny, earning glory as self-preventing prophecies.
But there are other messages that seem almost as ubiquitous, yet express no higher value, nor shine light on error. These variations of the Idiot Plot saturate far too many of our modern myths, for no other reason than laziness.

No Institution can function.

Focus on Demigods.

Hoard the wonder.

Despise your neighbors.

Larry Hart said...

Amen to this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/opinion/trump-el-paso-shooting-nationalism.html

...

The main task for Democrats over the next 15 months won’t be to convince America that they need yet another health care re-invention, or that the economy is a mess, or that the system is rigged, or that the right response to Trump’s immigration demagoguery is an open border. It’s that the president is a disgrace to his office, an insult to our dignity, a threat to our Union, and a danger to our safety.

locumranch said...


Here's the kicker. YOUR VALUES... the ideal of a better world without prejudice and injustice and greedy inequality (were) infected into the minds of a billion young idealists by Hollywood[DB].

That pro-tolerance, diversity and eccentricity propaganda achieved its desired aim is something of which to be proud because why?

Because Goebbels was such an exemplary role model? Because societies constructed out of a tissue of lies stand the test of time?

This is truly a fascinating line of argument for a self-described 'Man of Science', and I wonder what other deadly sin -- aside from 'bearing false witness,' that is -- our fine upstanding host will defend next.


Best

scidata said...

@ Larry Hart
It’s that the president is a disgrace to his office, an insult to our dignity, a threat to our Union, and a danger to our safety.

The problem with that is the ease with which throwing the Cheeto under the bus could instantly exonerate the real culprits. Moscow Mitch et al may have already drawn up a draft press release along those lines.


BTW Thanks for the Neil Gaiman ref. He wrote the Beowulf movie too, cool.

J Thomas said...

Larry Hart "The main task for Democrats over the next 15 months won’t be to convince America that they need yet another health care re-invention, or that the economy is a mess, or that the system is rigged, or that the right response to Trump’s immigration demagoguery is an open border. It’s that the president is a disgrace to his office, an insult to our dignity, a threat to our Union, and a danger to our safety."

Agreed. The Democratic nominee will have very little positive to offer, and must put as much attention as possible on how bad Trump is.

There is only one alternative to Trump, and only one way to vote against Trump. If you don't vote for whoever the DNC gives you, you're voting for Trump. And Trump is worse than anybody.

This is democracy. There is no alternative. There is no way to change the system except to vote for whoever the Democrat is. Maybe someday the Democrats will change the system that gets them elected.

J Thomas said...

Locumranch said, "That pro-tolerance, diversity and eccentricity propaganda achieved its desired aim is something of which to be proud because why?"

It's a survival issue. We would not survive very well as a low-population nation that had gone through a big bout of ethnic cleansing.

To have any decent chance we have to arrange tolerance and accept diversity etc.

Maybe we can't achieve that, and then we will be stuck with the ethnic-cleansing etc that will leave the survivors in poverty and without the industry we'd need to defend ourselves from invaders. If it's all we're left with, then we'll try to survive it. But we deserve to give tolerance our best try.

I'm not at all sure how to make that work. Today we have some Orthodox communities where outsiders are not the least bit welcome. We have Iranian-culture communities where everybody speaks persian and outsiders are kind of tolerated provided they don't try to buy or rent homes. We have some black ghettos where whites are decidedly unwelcome unless somebody vouches for them.

In simple fairness it seems like we should accept some lower-class or lower-middle-class white communities that exclude people who do not fit their peculiar little cultures. And in fact we do have some of those, we just talk like we shouldn't.

Should we accept a patchwork quilt of little cultures that each accept the right of the others to exist nearby, but that try to avoid each other? Provided that none of them gets the control needed to oppress the others?

I don't know. I don't know what will work. I don't know what can work. I don't know whether there's any way, whether we are doomed to try to kill each other until the survivors are too exhausted to fight, and must then accept domination from outside.

I only know that we desperately need to do the best we can.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas says sarcastically:

This is democracy. There is no alternative. There is no way to change the system except to vote for whoever the Democrat is. Maybe someday the Democrats will change the system that gets them elected.


"Gets them elected" to what? Temporary control of one house of one branch, while the Republicans have locked in the Senate and the other two branches, including one that should be non-partisan? Plus a supermajority of states? You're wondering why Democrats would want to change that system?

Larry Hart said...

...also, if the Republicans would run a sane conservative instead of a dangerous, evil one, then the imperative to vote for "whoever the Democrat is" wouldn't be so compelling.

Most of America seems to vote for "whoever the Republican is". The "Never Trumpers" who fell in line certainly did. Ted Cruz, who seemed to despise Trump for much of the fall said so explicitly, "It's a binary choice." So do you have the same trouble with people who vote that way, or is it only Democrats who are somehow deficient if they find the party opposite to be intolerable?

J Thomas said...

"Most of America seems to vote for "whoever the Republican is".

A minority does. In 2016 there were more who didn't vote than who vote Republican, by a pretty good margin.

"So do you have the same trouble with people who vote that way, or is it only Democrats who are somehow deficient"

I can't exactly blame either of them. They are doing what they want to do.

Pro wrestling fans have their faces and their heels. They don't all agree about which to cheer for. The wrestlers kind of pretend they are competing with each other at wrestling, but in fact they are competing for audience interest. The one who is the bigger draw, the one who brings in more customers is the one who gets the bigger share of the purse.

It's a lot like pro wrestling. Should I blame wrestling fans for liking wrestling? They get their money's worth for the entertainment or they wouldn't keep coming back.

Larry Hart said...

And anudder thing...

How did we as a nation get to the point where outrageous offense itself becomes an inoculation against opposition?

Trump is so vile that the simple act of pointing out that he's saying what he says is considered a partisan attack.

The Republican Party is so blatantly anti-democratic that accurately describing their voter suppression activities is considered a partisan attack.

David Brin said...

scidata nailed it. Trump can either be “thrown under the bus” by allowing him to be nailed in exchange for giving the GOP a reset… or else (much more likely and useful) making him a martyr that riles the confederacy into full, volcanic civil war.

jT: “Agreed. The Democratic nominee will have very little positive to offer, and must put as much attention as possible on how bad Trump is.”

Ah our left-side locumranch seemed cogent there for an interval, but he is back in utter-loony form. Drooling idiocy.

“Should we accept a patchwork quilt of little cultures that each accept the right of the others to exist nearby, but that try to avoid each other? Provided that none of them gets the control needed to oppress the others? “

You know nothing, sir, In just our lifetime we have seen one after another “goulash” culture like this - Lebanon, Bosnia, Rwanda - end generations of ethnic reciprocal co-habitation in spasms of genocide. The only method that works is some kind of universal cultural overlay - a “melting pot.” And yet,. that threatens bland homogeneity… unless that pot’s flavor is love of eccentricity and diversity and cultural richness. In which case you retain all the culture-stuff and foods and music… while all being Americans.

And STILL the indigestible thing remains… the “different dreams” mentioned in GETTYSBURG. Confederate romantic spite toward univerisites, science and city-folk.

“I don't know. I don't know what will work. I don't know what can work”

Yes, because you have a good heart, but know nothing of history or the world.

Oh then there’s poor locum: “tissue of lies” = the vast body of repeatedly verified actual factual knowledge that’s ever-expanded by the very same competitive processes — competitive processes — that he was raised to believe in… and that he betrays every day with every oligarchy-sucking action and superstition embracing hate-thought.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

A minority does. In 2016 there were more who didn't vote than who vote Republican, by a pretty good margin.


Again, why wouldn't Democrats want to change a system in which more people vote for them, but they lose anyway?


I can't exactly blame either of them. They are doing what they want to do.


Well, it sounded to me like you were taking issue with "voting for whoever the Democrat is". If you weren't, then my bad.


It's a lot like pro wrestling. Should I blame wrestling fans for liking wrestling? They get their money's worth for the entertainment or they wouldn't keep coming back.


But the fact that we treat elections as entertainment is a big part of the problem.

During the 2016 election, some CBS official opined that Trump may be bad for the country, but he's great for CBS (presumably by his entertainment value). I wonder if he still feels that way.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:
Oh then there’s poor locum: “tissue of lies”


He's protecting his copyright.

J Thomas said...

"The only method that works is some kind of universal cultural overlay - a “melting pot.”

I hope that can work. If it works then I'm all for it. I haven't seen the evidence yet, but it's worth a try.

"In just our lifetime we have seen one after another “goulash” culture like this - Lebanon, Bosnia, Rwanda - end generations of ethnic reciprocal co-habitation in spasms of genocide."

Yes. They had generations where it worked, and then in a fairly short time it stopped working. I would consider the possibility that the CIA etc have found effective techniques to make that fail. And we can only hope that nobody uses those techniques on us.

One of the concerns I have with your approach, is that I'm not sure I see how we can enforce it. If people in little cultural enclaves want to live by themselves, how do we force them not to? If we can't stop them, then it's moot whether it would be good for us to stop them.

On the other hand, maybe we can make American mass culture so inviting that pretty much everybody will want it. And people who reject it are at an economic disadvantage etc, so there are compelling reasons to at least learn to get along in it. Then you can flaunt your ethnic separateness and get applauded for it, and maybe eventually the cultural diversity will settle down to what the Irish-Americans have. Some Catholicism, occasionally drinking green beer etc.

I dunno. It's worth a try. To the extent that we can't do that, we can try to get lots of little ethnic groups to get along, as they did for many generations in other places. Or possibly nothing will work.

You seem totally certain you know what will work, when I don't see you have very good evidence. But I fully agree your approach is worth our best efforts.

J Thomas said...

"The Republican Party is so blatantly anti-democratic that accurately describing their voter suppression activities is considered a partisan attack."

Yes. If the pro-wrestling heel does something that's against the rules of the game, people will boo and cheer. Of course he did that, why would anybody expect him not to? He's a heel. It's part of the meta-game that he'll do that.

When people accept that winning is all that matters, then anything which hurts one party worse than it hurts the other one, is a considered a partisan attack. BECAUSE it hurt one party more than the other one.

So we get a whole lot of tu quoque. Like Trump did something bad but so did Obama, so that makes it OK. Republicans gerrymander but so do Democrats, so forget about it. Voter suppression on both sides, so it cancels out or something.

It's a side effect of the two-party system. Just ignore anything that both parties do wrong because you can't change it by voting for one instead of the other.

Larry Hart said...

How quickly things change? Remember how Nancy Pelosi was portrayed as the scary example of far-left Democrats?

Emphasis mine:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/opinion/the-squad-democrats.html

Similarly, Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar have called for President Trump’s impeachment and passionately advocated the rights of Palestinians, breaking with the more tactically conservative approach of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on both matters.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

When people accept that winning is all that matters, then anything which hurts one party worse than it hurts the other one, is a considered a partisan attack. BECAUSE it hurt one party more than the other one.


Both sides wanted to win WWII, and anything that hurt the other side was part of the war effort. Does that mean there was no difference between the sides, or that the effect of one side winning would be no different from that of the other side winning?

Increasing voter turnout apparently helps Democrats. Reducing voter involvement helps Republicans. Each side is going to prefer the actions which help itself, but if we're going to call ourselves a democracy with a straight face, the one that benefits from voter participation and the one that benefits from voter suppression are not morally equivalent. If more people want to vote for the other party than yours, the expected response is to do a better job of selling your policies or adjust your policies to be more broadly acceptable. Disenfranchising the voters who disagree with you is not just a different way of doing business.

J Thomas said...

When people accept that winning is all that matters, then anything which hurts one party worse than it hurts the other one, is a considered a partisan attack. BECAUSE it hurt one party more than the other one.


"Both sides wanted to win WWII, and anything that hurt the other side was part of the war effort."

I'm having trouble parsing this. Of course both Democrats and Republicans wanted to win WWII. After Pearl Harbor it would have been political suicide not to.

"Disenfranchising the voters who disagree with you is not just a different way of doing business."

It looks to me like Republicans generally have accepted that it's just another usable tactic.

In the 2016 primaries, there were a lot of accusations by Sanders voters that they were getting disenfranchised too by Democrats. It seemed like Clinton Democrats tended to respond pretty much like Republicans. However, while I'm sure about the accusations, my memory could be playing tricks on me about Democrat responses. It could have been online, where sometimes Republicans would imitate Clinton Democrats trying to infuriate people. I could have given things their worst interpretation when more generous interpretations would give different interpretations.

I have the strong impression that it IS just part of how the business is done. But it sounds like the usual approach is to find people who are probably black or probably poor, and disenfranchise them on the assumption that they are more likely to vote Democrat. Democrats can't use that approach on Republicans because it's harder to identify people who are safe to disenfranchise who will probably vote Republican.

The story doesn't quite make sense for Bernie. Blacks were more likely to vote for Clinton anyway. But the Democratic Party could use its files that showed who contributed money to Bernie's campaign to decide who to throw out.

I would expect this to work better in solid red or blue states, where the voting registrars etc are more likely to all be with the same party. And that's where it would make the least difference in presidential elections, since the difference between winning 60:40 and 70:30 is zilch. But it can sometimes make a big difference.

I agree that it shouldn't be that way. And if it's true that both parties do it, that doesn't make it better.

matthew said...

"I will not take this too personal since I think you were mostly directing it at one of the other two people, but your 'yes all libertarians' covers me. So…" -Alfred

My point is you're not a libertarian, which you yourself admit later in your response Alfred. And if your viewpoint was a majority (or even strong minority) viewpoint in libertarianism, then I would not see libertarians as an existential threat.

But that's not where we are.

The Republicans are no longer the party of Lincoln.
The Democrats are no longer the party of small landed farmers.
And libertarians are *only* the party of protecting and increasing oligarch wealth.

Let's all deal with current realities, not some idealized version of self identity.

And yes I know what happened to the Whigs and how the Republican party was once a third party. But that was a phase change between two separate versions of two- party rule, not a viable third party.

Republicans weren't a viable third party in 1852. They killed off the number two party and took its place in a two party system.

Maybe libertarians will replace the GOP as David has suggested. Or maybe the Dems may be so dominant that they will split into two factions.

But political power in America (absent ranked choice voting), will continue to be a duopoly. The GOP are trying (succeeding) in making it a monopoly but that is not a stable state either. If the GOP succeeds in making America a white Christian nation by killing everyone else off in one big orgy of lynching, then they will split into two parties over the divinity of some deceased football coach, or warring factions of idiot Trump spawn, or some such nonsense.

Ranked choice voting would break the duopoly, which is why neither party will make it nationally available. Instituting it nationwide could only be done via constitutional amendment.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

"Both sides wanted to win WWII, and anything that hurt the other side was part of the war effort."

I'm having trouble parsing this. Of course both Democrats and Republicans wanted to win WWII. After Pearl Harbor it would have been political suicide not to.


Was my analogy really so opaque? Both the Allies and the Axis wanted to win WWII. In that way, they were equivalent. But I think it would be a mistake to think that if the Nazi side had won, life would be substantially the same as it was with the Allies winning. I think it's the same with Democrats and Republicans respectively. Both sides want to win, but one wants to do so in order to use its powers for good, while the other just wants power. I know that's an oversimplification, but it's more true than false.


"Disenfranchising the voters who disagree with you is not just a different way of doing business."

It looks to me like Republicans generally have accepted that it's just another usable tactic.


Exactly why they're un-American traitors.


In the 2016 primaries, there were a lot of accusations by Sanders voters that they were getting disenfranchised too by Democrats. It seemed like Clinton Democrats tended to respond pretty much like Republicans.


IIRC, the complaint from Bernie is that the DNC was rigging the rules, the debate schedule, and such to favor Hillary, not that likely Bernie voters were being purged from the rolls or that there weren't enough working voting machines in precincts likely to go for Bernie. Ok, there was some complaint about New York state's "closed primary" in which only registered Democrats are allowed to vote, and you have to be registered for over a year. But New York has been that way forever. It may feel unfair, but it wasn't created specifically for the 2016 contest.

There was also outrage being prepared should the superdelegates take a popular victory away from Bernie and give it to Hillary, but that didn't happen either. Hillary won the regular delegates.

It's also somewhat apples-and-oranges to compare decisions about who can vote in a party primary--which has generally been up to the parties at the state level--to decisions about which American citizens will be allowed to have their votes count in a national election.


I have the strong impression that it IS just part of how the business is done. But it sounds like the usual approach is to find people who are probably black or probably poor, and disenfranchise them on the assumption that they are more likely to vote Democrat. Democrats can't use that approach on Republicans because it's harder to identify people who are safe to disenfranchise who will probably vote Republican.


Well, they could try to disenfranchise voters in Wyoming, Nebraska, and pretty much all of the former Confederacy. But since Democrats don't control the levers of government in those places, that's an exercise in fanciful thinking. In California, Illinois, and New York, for example, why would Democrats need to suppress the vote? They do just fine with the vote as it is.

Larry Hart said...

continued (per character limits)...



I agree that it shouldn't be that way. And if it's true that both parties do it, that doesn't make it better.


I don't agree that both sides do "it". At least, not nearly to the same extent. There are isolated outposts of Democratic gerrymandering, but it's an overarching Republican strategy. There are no cases of Democratic voter suppression. The equivalent charge against Democrats is that they let non-citizens cast votes by the millions, but no one who has investigated such charges, including Trump flunky Kris Kobach, have been able to produce evidence of any more than a handful of illegal votes, and some of those were Trump supporters who voted in two states.

Yes, both sides want to win, and both sides cross lines to do so, but that does not imply that rule by one side is equal to rule by the other. There's an episode of the original Star Trek which I like to refer to in which an alien sets up a contest between "good" and "evil" in order to understand the difference. At the end, after Kirk's side has won, the alien remarks that he saw no difference in how the two sides fought.

By way of explanation, Kirk asks what the alien offered the bad guys if they had won. The reply was that they were offered what they wanted most--power. Kirk then injects, "You offered me the lives of my crew."

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

And libertarians are *only* the party of protecting and increasing oligarch wealth.


Not the Republicans?

Larry Hart said...

expanding on this point:

There was also outrage being prepared should the superdelegates take a popular victory away from Bernie and give it to Hillary, but that didn't happen either. Hillary won the regular delegates.


As former radio host Norman Goldman liked to point out at the time, the more progressive side of the Democratic Party was gaining ground, but had not yet become a majority within the party. It was more like 55% favored Hillary and 45% favored Bernie. Over time, the Bernites would probably take over, but their time had not yet come in 2016. They'd make a good showing, but in a contest with only one winner, they weren't going to be it.

The gist of the complaints at that point were essentially, "The system is rigged because we didn't win." In that way, the Bernie side (rather than the Hillary side) were acting like Republicans "I'll accept the legitimacy of the election if I win."

If Democrats who support a particular candidate really think there is "no difference" between other Democratic candidates and Trump, and they vote accordingly, then they deserve four more years of this. Unfortunately, they're sticking me with those same four years, and I don't deserve that.

David Smelser said...


matthew: And libertarians are *only* the party of protecting and increasing oligarch wealth.

Larry Hart: Not the Republicans?

David Smelser: Republicans I know are protecting oligarchs and racists. The libertarians I know are only protecting the oligarchs.

David Brin said...

" a “melting pot.”
I hope that can work. If it works then I'm all for it. I haven't seen the evidence yet, but it's worth a try." And "ou seem totally certain you know what will work, when I don't see you have very good evidence."

CRIMINY! The utter blindness of so many bright and big-souled liberals to actually look in a mirror and ask what they are looking at is appalling. Sanctimony -- maybe stupidity too -- blinds them. They cannot even see what a miracle -- common as dirt -- they are.

J Thomas said...

"Both the Allies and the Axis wanted to win WWII."

Ah. But while they both talked about total war, they agreed to rules of war which they followed. They agreed that biological and chemical warfare changed the nature of warfare to the point that they didn't want to do it. And they didn't.

Both sides stockpiled chemical weapons in case the other side used them, so they could use them back. But neither used them on the western front. At his war crimes trial Goering said the USA was stupid to honor that agreement. The Germans developed a great big fuel shortage to the point that they transported supplies to the front mostly with horses. And they never developed an adequate gas mask for a horse. He said the war would have ended much sooner if we had killed their horses.

Meanwhile we worked at creating nuclear weapons with the intention that we would nuke Germany. We started with the idea that we had to do it before they did it. When we found out that they had give up on nukes and were trying to build reactors to get electricity, we kept right on going. There's every reason to think we would have nuked Berlin etc except they surrendered first.

The Japanese military's logistics broke down to the point that they couldn't have chemical weapons ready in case we used them. But we at least mostly didn't do it, even though we knew they could not retaliate. I've heard about only a few example, notably Iwo Jima where they were holed up in caves etc. In practice, it worked about as well to stick a flamethrower into the entrance and burn up enough air that they suffocated, as to use the poison gas. Probably about as humane, too.

While both sides talked like victory was all that mattered, in practice they didn't act that way. They had scruples, and not just because of world public opinion.

Of course, they both were doing airstrikes on cities under the others' control. (Like, the USA bombed French cities.) They didn't have it all thought out.

Larry Hart said...

@J Thomas on WWII,

Ok, now I can't tell whether we're agreeing or disagreeing. :)

My point, reinforced with the Star Trek example, is that "Both sides are equally willing to win a war (or an election)" does not imply "It's just as well after the war (or election) whether one side or the other has won."

J Thomas said...

"IIRC, the complaint from Bernie is that the DNC was rigging the rules, the debate schedule, and such to favor Hillary, not that likely Bernie voters were being purged from the rolls or that there weren't enough working voting machines in precincts likely to go for Bernie. Ok, there was some complaint about New York state's "closed primary" in which only registered Democrats are allowed to vote, and you have to be registered for over a year."

I kept seeing reports from people who said they were Democrats who had been dropped from the voter rolls before their primary. They recommended that everybody check and try to get it straightened out they were dropped, if possible. I saw the complaints but I didn't see reliable statistics on it.

"In California, Illinois, and New York, for example, why would Democrats need to suppress the vote?"

Yes, exactly. And in deep Red states, why would the Republicans need to suppress the vote?

It's mostly swing states where it would matter. Particularly swing states that used to be owned by one side, which still controls the levers of power although they can't command a large majority of votes any more.


J Thomas said...

"Both sides are equally willing to win a war (or an election)" does not imply "It's just as well after the war (or election) whether one side or the other has won."

I certainly agree with that.

Similarly, if both use dishonest methods to win elections, that doesn't say which of them is better or whether one is better.

For that matter, if only one of them uses dishonest methods to win elections, that could still turn out to be the better one to run the government. It's kind of a bad sign that they're dishonest. But what practicing US government hasn't been?


J Thomas said...

"CRIMINY! The utter blindness of so many bright and big-souled liberals to actually look in a mirror and ask what they are looking at is appalling. Sanctimony -- maybe stupidity too -- blinds them. They cannot even see what a miracle -- common as dirt -- they are."

You are pretty weak at logic and evidence. Probably you have noticed that in politics people tend not to be convinced by logic or evidence. You might figure, given that, why bother?

Something about that bothers me. But I can't provide you with evidence that you'd get better results if you had evidence etc.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

Yes, exactly. And in deep Red states, why would the Republicans need to suppress the vote?


Some of those "deep Red states" are deep Red only because of voter suppression.

Georgia had a squeaker of a governor's races recently. The Republican managed to win a very close race, only because he was the sitting Secretary of State--in charge of his own election.

Point being, voter suppression is an essential strategy toward keeping power in the states they already control.


It's mostly swing states where it would matter. Particularly swing states that used to be owned by one side, which still controls the levers of power although they can't command a large majority of votes any more.


North Carolina and Wisconsin come immediately to mind. Democrats took back the governor's mansions in 2018, so the Republican legislatures stripped powers from the governor, and the lame duck Republican governor eagerly signed those bills. In Wisconsin, the legislature had the balls to admit that their own Governor Scott Walker had been allowed to use way too much power, so (now that a Democrat would hold that office), it was time to balance the scales again.


Similarly, if both use dishonest methods to win elections, that doesn't say which of them is better or whether one is better.


I don't concede that both sides do use dishonest methods to win elections. I concede that both sides are biased in favor of stuff that favors their own winning, but that doesn't mean their actions are dishonest. Publicizing something that Donald Trump actually said, but which makes him look really bad may be called a partisan attack, but there's nothing dishonest about it.

Alfred Differ said...

J Thomas,

In my state that is not allowed.

Well… that just makes it a bit harder. The same used to be true in California until a voter revolt took place. It is hard work getting such an event to do useful work on behalf of liberty, but it CAN be done. So… I do not accept that it cannot be done in your state.

Rats can be taught despair. When they are, they do not fight to get out of a barrel of water before drowning. It is called ‘Learned Helplessness.’ Have you learned that lesson? If so, I invite you to come visit places where we have not. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Matthew,

Sorry, but I do not buy it. I am a libertarian AND a classical liberal and I am not mistaken in identifying myself that way. When I meet with the local Libertarians, they do not bat an eyelash when I identify as a classical liberal who feels the Libertarians better represent my ideals even if some of the party members themselves are piss-poor representatives of those ideals. The county party leadership gets it and wants to focus on local politics while the rank-n-file members are bit squirrely. I AM both and fit in fine with the local leadership.

Looks to me like your definition for libertarian is circular and fails the reality sniff test. I do not think Jerry would qualify as a libertarian by your definition and I know he qualifies much more than I do.

I agree with you about duopoly up to a point. Third parties are historically capable of pushing party platform planks better than they are pushing candidates. If a Libertarian plank catches on with the wider public, one of the other parties can adopt it as their own and beat the rush of people leaving the theater. I think it odd that the modern GOP has not done that to deprive Democrats of their Blue Dogs. To me, it seems like they became paralyzed and then consumed from within by Confederates in 2016 and almost consumed by Ron Paul’s folks in 2012. [I suspect the modern GOP is weak like the Whigs were, but I would bet on the Democrats splitting then us returning to duopoly before I would bet on Libertarians stepping up. I would be okay with that too and go join the Democratic faction that seemed most fiscally sane. Classical liberals are not fringe nuts. Y’all need us to be your sensible opponents and dance partners in governance.]

I know you have direct experience with Libertarians. I will not make again the mistaken assumptions I adopted last time we talked about this. However, I think you have fallen into a circular definition for us that can only be true if a large fraction of us who self-identify as libertarians are confused. I put to you that there are more of us than there are of you. While your definition is a good description of some of us, it fails for the broader group. Most of us are not fanboys of oligarchs. Most of us are not ending the ecosystem we all rely upon to live. It is likely that we CAN work with your allies on some things… if you can stomach it.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Over time, the Bernites would probably take over, but their time had not yet come in 2016

I think history will show otherwise. Bernie’s folks looked strong and appeared to be growing toward dominance, but from what I saw in the California primary that was an illusion. The truth was that his opposition within the Democratic Party had not fully organized yet. Once they perceived the threat, they did just that. It was the oddest thing I had seen in years to have Democrats knocking at my door seeking my vote for Clinton in the primary, but that is what they did.

I think they are going to learn a tough lesson in this election cycle. The progressives are a minority presence among Democrats. Still. They have not persuaded the others under the umbrella with respect to certain social policies. I think we can all agree to smile and be friendly to get rid of Trump, but that will not be evidence of a progressive mandate. Maybe by 2024 they will be a majority, but they had better take care not to create that majority by kicking otherwise useful allies to the curb. It does not help to be a majority in a minority party. [Every Libertarian can testify to this.] They could lose and blame those otherwise useful but pissed-off allies.

Jon S. said...

It's become quite clear that JT isn't arguing in good faith. Accordingly, he becomes only the third apparently-regular here to go under the shroud.

duncan cairncross said...

Early in this discussion there was a comment about the GOP "throwing Trump under the bus"

The "Scapegoat" scenario

IMHO this is the biggest danger to the survival of the USA - you guys have GOT to nail Trump to the GOP

He must become the GOP's albatross - NOT it's Scapegoat

Trump is just a symptom of the GOP - you need to get the GOP out of power for a generation

locumranch said...


I am something of an expert liar, at least according to the comedic attestations of Larry & David, and what follows is my expert opinion:

Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.

By his own admission, David wants to "Make Star Trek happen" and, to this end, he talks incessantly about YOUR VALUES -- the ideal of a better world without prejudice and injustice and greedy inequality -- a mostly religious ideal which was instilled and even "infected" (David's words again) into your minds by repetitive Hollyweird propaganda.

Admittedly, these are NOT "your values" but rather the values of the dominant establishment which, rather than being mere falsehoods, are DAMNED LIES designed to manufacture your cooperation, subjugation, submission & consent.

So how are things working out for you?

Did you find social acceptance, worldly riches, job satisfaction, a life of ease, carnal bliss, truth, justice, a fair-level playing field, strength through diversity or unconditional love yet?

Most likely, you didn't. Most likely, you won't -- ever -- because there's no happy ending for you. Not because you're the exception but because you're the rule & happy endings are fantasy.

You're just another stupid sucker, a wage slave in harness, living hand-to-mouth with barely $400 USD in the bank in case of future emergency, who has traded your past-present-future for a handful of magic beans (or its La-La-Land equivalent) & squandered your existence for a pocketful of mumbles such are promises:

LIE LIE LIE, LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE, LIE LIE LIE.

Just one lie after another, repeated endlessly, to mimic one convincing truth, in order to compel you to sit quietly, respect authority & keep your desks tidy.


Best

David Brin said...

Back jibber-drool, caper-caper, jibber-jabber froth and fall and crawll and droooooooooooool.

While he cannot conceive an remote notion of 3D or zero-sum, his incapacity is not culpable. The reflex to abase himself before plantation lords is (alas) human.

Not so his betrayal of the word "competition," which is supposed to underly his opposition to socialism. Every group he froths against has earned its way in the world, not as a unified cabal, but as a loose market or arena of competitors keeping each other accountable by endlessly striving to discover and demonstrate more evidence-supported facts.

Some individual scientists/teachers/journalists etc are corrupt. All fallible. Together they created a mighty and wonderful civilization that can barely blink at the glory to come. The first civilization of (some) hope that wastes much less talent and can aspire to the stars.

And if the ingrate thinks I am still talking at/about him, he should go back and stop at the 1st sentence. This was just a launching point to wax poetical to you others... homo sapiens... who share the ability to look up.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I think it odd that the modern GOP has not done that to deprive Democrats of their Blue Dogs. To me, it seems like they became paralyzed and then consumed from within by Confederates in 2016


Before Trump took over, the modern GOP was paralyzed and consumed by their donors. It's no surprise post-Citizens-United that politicians care more about serving their donors than their constituents, but it's a little surprising that they seem to think that what their constituents want really is the same thing that their donors want. They really seemed to think that the tax giveaway to the rich was something that would gain them votes in 2018.

After the loss of Mitt Romney to President Obama, the party had a choice to make between reaching out to a bigger tent or doubling down on emotional appeals to old, aggrieved rural whites. Trump took them so far that latter direction that there is no chance of them appealing to anyone else. Thus, they are now the party of the Confederacy because that's all they've got.

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

duncan cairncross:

Trump is just a symptom of the GOP - you need to get the GOP out of power for a generation


I thought we had, beginning in 2006.

If it makes you feel any better, they are out of power for a generation in Illinois and California. But I can't exactly expect 33 states to secede from the Union. In what passes for hope in the sad state this universe has become, I'm thinking The Rapture might take them all up, so the rest of us can recover in peace.

Alfred Differ said...

For a dose of space news instead of politics…

SpaceX recently filed an environmental assessment to address construction plans at pad LC-39A related to their upcomging ‘Starship’ launch vehicle. In that document, they had to estimate their launch cadence there and at LC-40. They said by 2024 they could be launching up to 20/year from LC-39A and 50/year from LC-40. These might be upper bounds for the sake of the assessment, but they correlate with launch requirements for their Starlink constellation (11,800 satellites) using Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Starship launches would displace the other two launch vehicles because the next vehicle should have a larger payload capacity, so actual cadence might be lower.

If they come close to these numbers, the challenge will be finding enough customers with payloads ready to fly. They will fly their own Starlink satellites, but there could be a lot of excess lift capacity available for sale. Either they will fly like airlines with partial loads or they are going to get creative with prices. [I am betting on a bit of both.]

If you want to do something in space that might matter for humanity, you might soon be able to assume the existence of excess lift capacity at an affordable price. Got any ideas?

Alfred Differ said...

…and back to politics.

Larry,

The 2012 election is probably still too close for people to parse what happened, but I suspect historians will point at it as the first one where the GOP establishment actually faltered. The loss in the 2008 election almost did not happen. The financial collapse changed things quickly and predictably. The 2012 election, though, almost saw a successful rebellion against the establishment. I do not think people realize just how close Ron Paul came to grasping control. He had his grassroots operatives infiltrated where they were not expected and party ‘bosses’ had to do some quick footwork to deal with them around convention time. Some were still in place later as possible rogue Electors had the November election gone a little different.

Both large parties cater to their big donors and this fact ticks off rank-n-file members. Dollars are influence. In 2012, though, we almost saw a successful rebellion in the GOP. In 2016, a new rebellion occurred and succeeded. None of us see Trump as a traditional Republican, right? He’s the guy who capitalized on what was already happening… with the Russians tipping it just far enough for him to win.

I think historians will argue the GOP establishment was wounded in 2012 and defeated in 2016. The party that bears the name today is the zombie remnant that does not quite realize it is dead and re-animated by a populist parasitical fungi.

The Democrats risk a similar fate if they are not careful. Populism is damn dangerous. It is a necessary consequence of Government By The People, but it burns down institutions if allowed to run unchecked. It gives us Presidents like Donald Trump and Theodore Roosevelt. Both dangerous for different reasons. Both capable of setting fires.

David Brin said...

Revised version:

Again. My fear re Trump is not him being jettisoned by the GOP establishment. They are too covered with kowtowing slime.. Not even Romney can distance himself... though I sniff the wind and suspect he may be up to trying something, along with an array of recent resignations. We should start seeing signs some months before the primaries.

No, Two Scoops is most useful to Putin and Murdoch as a martyr. Which is why he should not eat anything offered by his commie despot pals. And God Bless the US Secret Service. May he live on, cauterized, and sputter and spume till the top 8Chan conspiracy theory is that he was a Clinton-plant to wreck the GOP. And then maybe a well-timed(!) impeachment could bring him within reach of the new Senate on December 2020. I don't mind 2 weeks of a thoroughly gelded cauterized President Pence, so long as it is followed by a cloroxing of Washington.

Summer fantasy.

---

BTW: Fred Trump Jr. died of alcoholism, leaving two children who were mostly cut out of Fred Sr.’s will in 2000. Perhaps an oversight. But when Fred Jr.'s son contested the will, Donald Trump retaliated by cutting off medical benefits for Fred III's critically ill infant son.

What will he do to the rest of us, if he feels “betrayed”?

And how many ways can Two Scoops be opposite-to-Jesus, yet still hossanahed as the instrument of heaven?

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a13098008/fred-trump-jr-addiction-history/

J Thomas said...

"I don't concede that both sides do use dishonest methods to win elections."

I do concede that they tend not to use the same dishonest methods.

They tend to use what they think benefits them the most. With the war analogue, in WWII after a certain point the Germans mostly couldn't do strategic bombing, and the western allies could. We had not technically agreed that bombing civilians was a war crime, and when the target size we could reliably hit was a city.... The kind of vote suppression which gets discussed would tend to benefit Republicans more than Democrats. Easier to deniably suppress poor and black votes than Republican votes.

"Publicizing something that Donald Trump actually said, but which makes him look really bad may be called a partisan attack, but there's nothing dishonest about it."

Agreed. People who are so partisan that they don't care what the truth is except for the tactical questions of how to effectively use lies, how to keep from being hurt by their own lies, and how to hurt their opponents for the opponents' lies, are kind of scary.

I thought that the pizzagate stuff was dishonest, though I didn't research it carefully. Now with Epstein it looks like there may have been a kernel of truth in it. Probably spanning both parties somewhat, which doesn't make it better.

Don Macleay said...

Well, it all makes sense as long as we don't talk about capitalism. We are talking about the United States, no? Those homeless camps under every overpass in my town did not start under Trump and won't end with a President Warren.

Oh, and Let's gloss over our bloated military and it's real role in the world. I am sure the people of Yemen and all the other places we bomb, strike or help bomb and strike will feel better knowing that a Democrat is back in charge and that the person killing their children can be in a same sex marriage.

Your argument is selective by what it calls progress and what it sweeps under tge carpet. Clever, but not wise.

J Thomas said...

"It's no surprise post-Citizens-United that politicians care more about serving their donors than their constituents, but it's a little surprising that they seem to think that what their constituents want really is the same thing that their donors want."

Individual human beings first make their choices, and afterward they come up with ways to explain them with language.

Maybe it's the same with political parties. First they do what their donors want, because -- donors. Afterward they figure out the best-sounding explanation they can come up with.

David Brin said...

What an utter pile. "Sigh! Okay I'll admit Democrats are less blatant or deliberately evil. But it's all the same cesspool."

That was an accurate paraphrasing of the above utter, utter bullshit.

Where there is pain and injustice, there is a spectrum of democrats ranging from"let's study or do a little" all the way to large numbers who are incensed by the injustice and eager to address it with vigor. That spectrum is NOT 'the same" in any quantitative or qualitative way to the cruelly evil other side.

Likewise cheating. You have the gall to say that Debbie Wasserman Schultz's tepid-slight leans toward popular and effective established politicians was even on the same planet as gerrymandering, voter suppression, closing DMV offices, buying Russia-linked no-audit voting machines etc?

A great many dems refuse superpac funding though rich donors then channel it thru DNC pacs. Bad? Sure. Now show me ONE dem who would not vote for bills slashing the flow of dark money into politics. Go ahead. One. There is a spectrum, but ALL of it is light years away from the Republican spectrum.

Again, nearly ALL dems, even blue dogs, want every item of my 29 listed consensus goals. You may want a lot more, fine! But stop weaseling reasons to sanctimoniously whine "same" crap. These aren't normal times. Don the blue or don't. Stop whining that Ulysses Grant and Sherman want the same things you want, but in the wrong order.

David Brin said...

Hey JT have you ever met a politician? A state assemblywoman or congressperson? All of them corrupt!!! Yeah, right.

Ivan.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The 2012 election, though, almost saw a successful rebellion against the establishment. I do not think people realize just how close Ron Paul came to grasping control. He had his grassroots operatives infiltrated where they were not expected and party ‘bosses’ had to do some quick footwork to deal with them around convention time


I seem to remember things like the media reporting on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th place winners of the Iowa caucuses, and simply not mentioning Ron Paul at 3rd. Does that sound familiar?

It's amazing in retrospect how complicit the mainstream media are in the machinations of the two parties establishments.


None of us see Trump as a traditional Republican, right? He’s the guy who capitalized on what was already happening… with the Russians tipping it just far enough for him to win.


And yet, the reason the Republican Party, including the former never-Trumpers have fallen in line is because he's able to get them their tax cuts and right-wing judges. He's not a traditional Republican, but he's enabling the traditional Republicans more than they ever could enable themselves. The evangelicals support him for similar reasons, not because of what he is, but because of what they get out of the unholy deal.


I think historians will argue the GOP establishment was wounded in 2012 and defeated in 2016. The party that bears the name today is the zombie remnant that does not quite realize it is dead and re-animated by a populist parasitical fungi.


Heh. I won't stop you when you're on a roll.


The Democrats risk a similar fate if they are not careful. Populism is damn dangerous. It is a necessary consequence of Government By The People, but it burns down institutions if allowed to run unchecked. It gives us Presidents like Donald Trump and Theodore Roosevelt.


Or Adolf Hitler. "Do you still think you can control them?

David Brin said...

But at least JT has a soul and passion and appears sapient and human. Notice that "Alex K" chickened out, after I responded to his drive-by?

J Thomas said...

"SpaceX recently filed an environmental assessment to address construction plans at pad LC-39A related to their upcomging ‘Starship’ launch vehicle."

We need to carefully assess the effect of rocket fuel on the ionosphere etc.

The solid-fuel shuttle launches put a ton of aluminum into the atmosphere each time. Nobody knows what effect it had, but there weren't all that many shuttle launches. There were lots of other rocket waste products too.

SpaceX probably does a lot better using basicly gasoline and LOX, but it's still a lot of weird oxidation products.

Liquid hydrogen would probably be better. Just water. A whole lot of launches means a whole lot of water added to the ionosphere.

We really need to study the probable effects before we do a whole lot of this. We might find that it has beneficial effects. Other things equal, the smaller the effect the more likely that it will be an improvement, up to around 50%. Regardless, we ought to study it carefully.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

Maybe it's the same with political parties. First they do what their donors want, because -- donors. Afterward they figure out the best-sounding explanation they can come up with.


It makes sense that they do that, but they have to be willfully delusional to imagine that the resulting publicity is good for them.

Donor money is helpful to a campaign in the sense that it lets them spread their message. But there are limits to how sucky the message before spreading it doesn't help. For example, Donald Trump could spend a trillion dollars in advertising, and there would still be a 0% chance I would vote for him. The parties forget this fact at their peril.

J Thomas said...

"they are now the party of the Confederacy because that's all they've got."

They also have all the voters who have decided that the Democrats are so bad that they have to vote for the only effective alternative.

Consider the possibility that it is a dilemma. That both parties are so bad that they are too bad to vote for. Just as a possibility.

If it was that way, some people would look at the Republicans and see how terrible they are. They might at that point decide that the GOP is so awful that they have to vote against them, and the only way to effectively vote against them is VBNMW (Vote Blue No Matter Who). They try to ignore how bad the Democrats are, because they know the Republicans are terrible so they do't want to hear it.

And of course some people would look at the Democrats and see how terrible they are, and vote GOP with exactly parallel feelings.

Some would look at both parties and reject them both, typically choosing not to vote because whatever they do one of the duopoly will win.

Doesn't that get pretty much the results we have? The only way it fails is that by objective fact one party is evil and the other party is great, with basicly nothing wrong with it. But apart from that, doesn't my scenario fit the results we see?

J Thomas said...

"It makes sense that they do that, but they have to be willfully delusional to imagine that the resulting publicity is good for them."

A man goes out for an evening with the boys. He comes home at 4 AM, drunk and broke. He tries to come up with an explanation for the wife. He has to be delusional to think his explanation is GOOD for him, but still he would rather have the best explanation he can come up with than nothing.


"Donor money is helpful to a campaign in the sense that it lets them spread their message. But there are limits to how sucky the message before spreading it doesn't help."

Donor money is helpful because it lets them meet payroll. It's better to lose the election and meet payroll, than not be able to pay the professionals.

David Brin said...

Spacex and Amazon are switching to Methane + Lox, which basically gives you 2 parts water and one part CO2. Just as JT is unable to look in a mirror and see an answer to his question about America's soul, he's unable to see how vastly spaceflight accelerated human planetary awareness and the sciences that make make us better managers... let alone the possibility that we might move industry and spectacular wealth generation off planet, rendering poverty and mining both as distant memories.

There appears to be a fine and intelligent person here, who is capable of pondering things at a much higher level.

Cyrill Joseph Landau said...

Most people think evolutionism began with Darwin, including,
unfortunately, many G-d fearing, Bible believing Christians. However,
they are wrong. Evolutionism is at least as old as Aristotle. The
theory of the round earth is the true foundation of evolutionism.
Are you skeptical? Well here is the proof. It lies in its moral
implications. By encouraging men to think the earth to be the same
shape as the moon, it naturally orients them toward the anus. This
explains the explosion in anal erotics throughout the Greco-Roman
world. This is also why anal erotics were not completely eliminated
even in Medieval Christendom. Church tradition had failed to come to
terms with the true shape of the earth. Only a handful of spiritually
gifted saints kept the truth alive.

The importance of anal erotics to Satan is more than even most G-d
fearing, Bible believing Christians can imagine. Anal erotics are used
as part of satanic liturgy to summon demons. Who knows how many demons
have been inadvertently summoned the continual stuffing anuses from
the ancient Greeks until today? G-d is not mocked and he will have his
vengeance! Beware!

Moving on with our history, Copernicus laid the next great stage of
Evolutionism. He was forced to flee his pious homeland of Poland
because of his known anally erotic behavior, and he would up in Italy
where such things could be hidden. He even invented heliocentricism to
justify it. Now, not only is the earth devoid of unique shape, but
devoid of unique place. This generated the idea that is of no
consequence what hole you stuff it in, since all places are relative.
The rise of anal erotics during the Renaissance as a result is a
matter of record.

Kepler gave us evolutionism's next leap. His teacher, Tycho Brahe, was
a defender of geocentric truth and was disturbed by his student's
inordinate interest in his anus that he refused to let him see his
data that he wanted to use to refute the evil Copernicus. However,
upon his death Kepler collected it and used it to pervert the truth
even more. It is not merely that the earth is not centrally located,
it moves crookedly! Do we have to even ponder the implications of such
a doctrine?

Darwin merely added the finishing touches by abandoning the theory of
intelligent design made it impossible to distinguish one hole for
another, as I have expounded upon in antecedent posts. This was merely
the capstone. Unfortunately, G-d fearing Bible believing Christians
only attack the capstone, and not the foundation. Tell me, brothers in
Christ, can you knock down a building merely by knocking off the radio
antenna on top of it? No, you can not! The edifice of evolutionism
must be brought down from its foundation!

Cyrill Joseph Landau said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cyrill Joseph Landau said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
duncan cairncross said...

Dr Brin
Please delete and ban Cyrill Arsehole Landau - his postings are simply beyond the pale

Cyrill Joseph Landau said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TCB said...

"The evolutionist David Hume was known to be a very fat man. Is there any
doubt as to the reason why?"

This is top-drawer stuff, but I don't know whether the Onion is hiring.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

Consider the possibility that it is a dilemma. That both parties are so bad that they are too bad to vote for. Just as a possibility.


I have noted the irony.

My own opinion is that the "reasons" Democrats are too bad to vote for are largely made up stuff, like "Obama wants to take all your guns away", or "Democrats are in favor of crime". But I do understand that Republican voters think their alternative facts are just as legitimate as anyone else's.

They're mistaken, but I understand why they think that way.

Larry Hart said...

To that last point...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/08/opinion/sunday/party-polarization-quiz.html

Voters today like their own party less than ever, but are motivated by their even stronger dislike of the other party. “It doesn’t paint a pretty picture,” Dr. Wronski said.

Larry Hart said...

Stating the obvious, from the same article as above...

The number of religious white Americans is plummeting. In the long term, that spells disaster for Republicans. “I don’t think the Republican Party right now has a sustainable business model,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University.

The party knows this. Or at least it should. After Republicans lost the 2012 election, the party leadership commissioned a report on how to move forward. One answer was clear: appeal to nonwhite and less conservative voters. But in the years since, the Republicans — led by Mr. Trump — have doubled down on white identity politics and seem to believe that their path to a majority is through gerrymandering, voter suppression or attempts to skew the census.

Darrell E said...

That discharge from Cyril was pretty funny. At least the few lines I skimmed. I hope that wasn't meant to be serious. I hate to think of such a fucked up mind out there alone with no help.

J Thomas said...

"Spacex and Amazon are switching to Methane + Lox, which basically gives you 2 parts water and one part CO2."

That's an improvement. It's still worth careful study to see how much of this we can afford to put into our ionosphere.

"Just as JT is unable to look in a mirror and see an answer to his question about America's soul, he's unable to see how vastly spaceflight accelerated human planetary awareness and the sciences that make make us better managers..."

??? Space is obviously valuable to us. And we must also look at what it does to the environment in case too much of it would hurt us.

Maybe the amount that would hurt is is more than we'll ever do. Maybe moderate amounts of water etc in the ionosphere are beneficial. We need to study this before we expand into what could be too much.

J Thomas said...

"After Republicans lost the 2012 election, the party leadership commissioned a report on how to move forward. One answer was clear: appeal to nonwhite and less conservative voters. But [....]"

It looks like in the medium run, the GOP is bound to lose voter share.

This provides two opportunities. Maybe the Democrats will also lose voter share, to the point that third parties have a chance.

Maybe progressive Democrats will split off to make a new party as the Republican Party dwindles away.

Either way offers hope.

Darrell E said...

I have a limited tolerance for the quite common attitude that the Democratic Party is to blame for Trump and all the bad stuff the Republican Party has accomplished in recent decades because they couldn't convince enough people, or make themselves appealing enough to enough people, to vote for them. At what point do voters share responsibility? At what point do we decide that individuals share some responsibility for how susceptible they are to propaganda, peer pressure, con-artist tactics, etc? At what point should individuals share some responsibility for their ability to assess reality with a certain degree of accuracy? At what point should individuals share responsibility for a certain degree of humility in their assuredness of the righteousness of their ideological views? This grade A Prime Cluster-Fuck we find ourselves in right now is every bit as much on the heads of the voters as it is on the dirty politicians.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrell E,

That's true. In fact, the biggest reason I felt disheartened after the 2016 election was not that Trump himself would be president, but that so many of my fellow Americans felt this to be a good thing.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

It looks like in the medium run, the GOP is bound to lose voter share.

This provides two opportunities. Maybe the Democrats will also lose voter share, to the point that third parties have a chance.


The Republican Party loses voter share in the country as a whole, but elections are generally state-wide or even more local. Even the presidential election is really a state-by-state election for the Electoral College. And both the EC and the US Senate are heavily skewed in favor of small, rural states, in which Republicans are not losing voter share.

You made a point earlier that both parties' voters may perceive the party opposite as being so egregious that they must vote for their own party's candidate, no matter how flawed that candidate might be. It seems to me that that attitude can possibly reach a tipping point, at which your own side becomes so obviously bad that (per Monty Python) even you have to stand up and take notice. That might be an opportunity for seismic shifts and realignments, in which one party's "safe" districts become suddenly in play. If it can happen in Orange County (California), it can happen anywhere.

Darrell E said...

Larry,

Yes, me too. I was seriously depressed that enough of the people in my society were either gullible enough, cynical enough or immoral enough to have voted for Trump. I saw it coming by a couple of months prior but my wife was caught by surprise. She damn near gave up on the US and it's still kind of iffy these days.

scidata said...


Re: dumb voters

Don't despair, and definitely don't give up on people. It doesn't take much to turn them into scientifically literate citizens (it's what I've been doing for over a decade). Perhaps the secret is to stop trying to convince them that they'd agree with you if only they weren't so thick. Having spent a career in AI, I can tell you that the least among homo sapiens is vastly superior to the greatest among supercomputers. And, as Galileo said, everyone can learn something from anyone else (working on my paraphrasing skills, Dr. Brin :)

Also, we'll need all hands on deck to get to the stars; a divided and suicidal species will never make it. Even Confederates might help. The Virginia and the Hunley were quite innovative. Let's see if they can create something for all mankind.

J Thomas said...

"I have a limited tolerance for the quite common attitude that the Democratic Party is to blame for Trump and all the bad stuff the Republican Party has accomplished in recent decades because they couldn't convince enough people, or make themselves appealing enough to enough people, to vote for them. At what point do voters share responsibility?"

I like to make a distinction between blame and responsibility.

You take responsibility for your own failure to get what you want. You look for ways to do better.

You blame other people when they don't do what you want. If you blame and shame them enough, maybe next time they will do what you want in the hope that you will stop blaming them.

Democrats can take responsibility for their own mistakes etc. Better not to beat yourselves up over it, just look for ways to do better.

Or you can blame voters, and/or Russians, and/or Greens, and Wikileaks, and GOP dirty tricks, and campaign finance laws, and Clinton, and the DNC, and the education system, and the mass media,and so on.

I don't blame the Democratic Party. They are only an obstacle for me to overcome. They have no responsibility to do what I want. They are controlled by a few people who have the rules set up so they can stay in control. Not my problem. I'm not a Democrat any more.

I was all ready to get upset that the money I donated to Sanders was going to help pay for the Clinton campaign. Then I looked up the numbers. Unless there's stuff hidden keeper in the numbers than the party website shows, most of the Sanders money got spent before the convention, and he was allowed to keep some of it. Hardly more than 1% went to Clinton's campaign. Not worth getting upset about.

It just does not make sense for me to blame the Democratic Party for being the Democratic Party, any more than you'd blame a rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake or a hyena for being a hyena. I can predict what they will do, and imagine consequences, but they have no responsibility to me. I might as well blame the GOP or the CIA or whoever.

David Smelser said...

I don't see how ranked choice voting gets rid of the duopoly.
RCV is just a fancy way to get 50%+1 vote. We still have winner take all elections. And any 3rd party that can get 50%+1 isn't really a minority party. At best RCV with winner take all elections helps transition from one pair of parties in a duopoly to another pair of parties.

If you want 3rd party participation, I think to need to find a way for minority parties to get a seat at the table. Either parliamentary system or ranked choice with multi winner districts.

As for who Stein and Johnson voters would have voted for, the woman who sat next to me at Bernie Sanders town hall in Vista, CA earlier this week said she voted for Johnson in 2016 because she wanted a 3rd party candidate to attend the presidential debates in 2020. So while it is only a single datapoint, it is enough to disprove the hypothesis that all Johnson voters are conservative.

David Brin said...

DSmelser Ranked Choice Voting lets the first round reflect the voters’ preference and sentiment, freed of any fear that the candidate they hate most will win because of that first choice. It would then become clear that say 25% of Hillary voters actually wanted the Green person. That would scare the dems into paying more heed to greens, or else it would give greenies much more cred the next time round. It’s how to grow a party WHILE letting voters avoid their worst nightmare.
——
When forced to reconsider, JT can be cogent. Of course we should fund studies that question our assumptions such as the notion that the value derived from space activities far outweighs the environmental negatives. That is a natural part of the adversarial-competitive truth seeking process I talk about all the time. A process that is vastly more important than “liberalism.” Indeed, 90% of the real justification for liberalism is the way these adversarial-competitive fact-seeking processes utterly demolished age-old reflexes of racism, sexism, homophobia and nativism that had crippled us through massive waste of talent.

So yes, allocation of resources to impudent research is essential… as it is to subject impudent research to massive double-checking, since impudent-passion can make some “research” tendentious. So far, I have seen no strong evidence that we should shut down air travel or space endeavors to save the planet.

What I HAVE seen is a sudden surge in “eat-less-meat” memes pouring across media, of late. I had predicted this, but only in the 2020s. Can it be because of the sudden surge in Beyond-Impossible alternatives? If earlier than expected miracles (like the white light LED bulb’s plummet in price) keep coming, we may stand a chance.

“Maybe progressive Democrats will split off to make a new party as the Republican Party dwindles away.”

JT edges ever closer to the light. In fact, the GOP must be utterly crushed. The dems must overwhelmingly pass my 29 consensus items, then withstand the undead elephant’s final counter spasm… and only then contemplate PERHAPS DELIBERATELY splitting in two. Two parties believing in justice, science, professionalism, honest elections and so on — but one of them emphasizing balanced budgets and the other wanting us to be like Sweden — wouldn’t be so bad.

But we need guys like JT to prioritize. We need their help. To crush the GOP, we must first deal with our own well-meaning traitors. Splitterism must be smashed. Pulverized, incinerated, exposed as the pompous-preening ignorant yapping of unwitting (or witting) servants of Putin.

Larry Hart said...

J Thomas:

I like to make a distinction between blame and responsibility.
...
You blame other people when they don't do what you want. If you blame and shame them enough, maybe next time they will do what you want in the hope that you will stop blaming them.


Well, I'd like to make a distinction between blame and shame. I think your statement above would more accurately read, "If you shame them enough, maybe next time they will do what you want in the hope that you will stop shaming them."

If the thing you're blaming them for is something that they're not ashamed of, then blaming isn't going to get them to change.

I'll nuance this further and say that "when they don't do what you want" is not quite accurate either. You blame someone when their actions--especially their intentional actions--are the proximate cause of whatever ill you are identifying. Assigning blame is just another way of saying "assigning credit", the difference being in the connotations of the two words.

Regulars who have been here longer than you know that I hail from Illinois--the suburbs of Chicago. "What I want" in the above sense is for Hillary to have won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. I can blame voters in those states for not voting as I wished, or blame the DNC for blowing an easy win, or blame Republican legislatures for cheating. The one thing I cannot do in this instance is "Take responsibility for my own mistakes." I have no control over how people in other states choose to vote.


I was all ready to get upset that the money I donated to Sanders was going to help pay for the Clinton campaign.


Serious question--were you upset that the money you donated to Sanders was going to help defeat the Trump campaign?

To me, the "election as game show/horse race/sporting event" meme is very dangerous. You liked Bernie, and you were miffed at the way Hillary treated Bernie, so you just can't stomach Hillary winning, even if the alternative is a dangerous thug. As Dave Sim would put it, "That's no way to run a railroad."

I also voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I didn't vote for Hillary in November for the purpose of awarding her the prize of the presidency. I voted for her because I bought into the notion (rightly or wrongly) that she was the most qualified candidate for the office--not just as compared to Trump, but compared to the entire field of both parties' primary candidates. Whether I'd like to have a beer with her is immaterial.

David Brin said...

I trashed a couple of the postings of the drive-by anal-compulsive troll. But the deletion process on blogger is so damned onerous... FIVE clicks to get back where I started... that I'm gonna default leave some up. Anyway, it's a fascinating test case of bizarre, polysyllabic-unsapience.

Oh, Christianity will survive, when millions realize the Book of Revelation is satanic and chose instead to return to the red-letter words of Jesus.

Till then, we stare in amazement as so many -- especially Baptists (who are now revealed to have at least a thousand child-molesting pastors in their ranks) -- gush support for a man who is opposite-to-Jesus in every conceivable characteristic.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Till then, we stare in amazement as so many -- especially Baptists (who are now revealed to have at least a thousand child-molesting pastors in their ranks) -- gush support for a man who is opposite-to-Jesus in every conceivable characteristic.


I have some theories, although they are all just idle speculation on my own part:

* They like the humor value
* Mike Pence makes it all right
* As long as he gives them outcomes they like, his personality doesn't matter

That last one might be reimagined as "They've been losing so often (with more personally suitable officeholders) that they're sick of losing."


matthew said...

I believe that Trump's instability is also a positive for evangelicals. The fact that our POTUS might someday start nukes flying because a foreign government called him names is a positive for people that believe the world will end in fire. Evangelicals are/contain a death cult.

J Thomas said...

David Smelser said...
"I don't see how ranked choice voting gets rid of the duopoly."

It doesn't. But FPTP -- the voting system we have now -- prevents third parties in ways that RCV doesn't.

The way it goes now, well-meaning but fatalistic voters go around telling people that they must not vote third party because every third party vote is a vote for the candidate they like least. A vote for Stein is a vote for Trump. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Clinton. Lots of people believe it and refuse to vote third party. In 2016 third parties got less than 5% of the vote, ONLY from people who got past that logic.

But with RCV, you can vote for your favorite first, and then vote for a backup candidate, and then vote for a second backup candidate, and so on. People say they want one-voter:one-vote. This gives you one-voter:one-vote-at-a-time.

Your second choice does not count until your first choice has lost. Then your second choice counts until it loses, and then your third choice counts, etc.

So you can vote Libertarian first. Maybe you vote Green second, because they really are your second choice, and then Republican. You want anybody but the Democrat, but you don't want them equally.

The first round your Libertarian vote counts. Greens come in last and are eliminated.

The second round your Liberatarian vote counts. Libertarians come in last and are eliminated.

The third round your Republican vote counts. You got to vote Libertarian and it didn't keep you from voting Republican too. If 25% of the voters vote Libertarian first, that says something. If 53% of voters vote Libertarian somewhere on the ballot, that says something more. It doesn't win, but it says there's more support than 4.5%. They get hope to try harder next time.

It doesn't mean a third party wins. That only happens when they get the votes, and chances are before then the polls might report it and everybody will think of them as a major party. But they have the opportunity to get those votes. Which is much harder with FPTP when so many people tell them it's a total waste to try.

"If you want 3rd party participation, I think to need to find a way for minority parties to get a seat at the table."

There are a variety of systems that could work. RCV for single-winner elections looks good to me for single-winner elections. Like president.

One approach I like for Congress is basicly to let each candidate for Congressman vote in Congress with as many votes as s/he got. So if the Republican candidate gets 240,000 votes, and the Democrat gets 370,000 votes, and the Prohibition candidate gets 15,000 votes, then when it's time to vote on a bill then the Democrat gets 370,000 votes, the Republican gets 240,000 votes, and the Prohibitionist gets 15,000 votes. Add up all the votes to see if it passes. Then the person you choose to represent you votes for things, and they have as much power as the voters give them.

There are a lot of little fiddling things to figure out, for example right now a congressman gets a retirement package for life, but the picky little details can be worked out.

All of the alternatives I've seen to FPTP look so much better than FPTP that I'll support whichever of them is most popular.

J Thomas said...

"Of course we should fund studies that question our assumptions such as the notion that the value derived from space activities far outweighs the environmental negatives."

We might get a sense of how much thrust we can afford. Suppose it turned out that we can put up 20 tons of payload a year with essentially no consequence, 40 tons with a few bad results, and 100 tons is very bad. Then we ought to prioritize. The most important 20 tons we go ahead with. The next 20 tons we decide which of them is worth it. We put research into how to get more thrust with less damage. If we want more than 40 tons a year we might find that switching to liquid hydrogen is worth it.

We could at least make the choices from a background of knowledge.

We might likely need to delay a manned Mars expedition. Say it takes 20 tons of fuel to put one ton of payload at escape velocity. And then it takes 20 tons of fuel at escape velocity to send one ton to Mars. That's 220 tons of fuel to send one ton to Mars. Do it after we find a better way.

But I'm speculating, I don't know the real numbers. We need to do our best to find them.

Larry Hart said...

@J Thomas,

A while back, I proposed an alternative that is kind of like RCV, but more like a love child of RCV and parliamentary systems. IIRC, no one else really liked it, but I think there is some merit.

If no candidate gets 50%, the candidates themselves get to horse-trade with the other candidates and give away their votes. Thus, Jill Stein would (if she so chose) be free to turn her votes into Hillary votes, most likely in exchange for an influential position in the Hillary administration, or some platform plank that her (Stein's) voters were in favor of.

In the 2016 election, that would still (as with RCV) allow one to vote Green knowing that Stein would more likely make a deal with Hillary than with Trump. It would also pave the way for (say) Hillary and Bernie to both run in the general election with the understanding that they'd pool their votes, but how they pooled their votes would depend on the outcomes.

The benefit of this which is different from RCV is that the relative vote-acquiring strength of the candidates is known before the coalition-building takes place.

I'm not claiming this is necessarily the best system--just another one to consider. I do agree that it works better to build third (and fourth) parties if voters are able to support those parties while (in the interim) still ending up helping their most favored of the two major parties, rather than necessitating that they help their least preferred.

An aside--Trump is a special case, in that it's probably a better assumption that Gary Johnson voters would have preferred Romney over Obama. I don't know that they'd necessarily prefer Trump over Hillary.

J Thomas said...

"Well, I'd like to make a distinction between blame and shame. I think your statement above would more accurately read, "If you shame them enough, maybe next time they will do what you want in the hope that you will stop shaming them."

If the thing you're blaming them for is something that they're not ashamed of, then blaming isn't going to get them to change."

It typically doesn't work very well. When you shame somebody their natural reaction is to decide they don't like you.

We've had close to 50 years of shaming racists for being racists, and that's probably worked a bit better than we can expect it to work in the future.

Republicans have tried to shame poor people for being poor, and I doubt that will work as well in the future as it has in the past either.

Still, you can HOPE that the people you shame will change their behavior. Or else go away and stop talking to you.

J Thomas said...

"If no candidate gets 50%, the candidates themselves get to horse-trade with the other candidates and give away their votes."

I've seen people debate that. It got serious consideration, though they mostly didn't like it.

I've seen 20 or so alternatives proposed, and almost all of them are much better than what we have. I want to see the most popular one get used, and then we can argue at leisure about what would be best to switch to after that. If we argue about which alternative is best while we keep what we have, that's bad.

J Thomas said...

"If no candidate gets 50%, the candidates themselves get to horse-trade with the other candidates and give away their votes."

https://www.kialo.com/asset-voting-candidates-trade-votes-4650.629?path=4650.0~4650.629

Larry Hart said...

@J Thomas,

Shame works better in communities that share values and trust that they're being treated fairly, such that if someone invokes shame on you, there might be something to it. It also works better when forgiveness and reconciliation is an expected outcome.

I think we're in agreement that shaming for reasons that the recipient is not actually ashamed of is pointless.

J Thomas said...

"In fact, the GOP must be utterly crushed. The dems must overwhelmingly pass my 29 consensus items, then withstand the undead elephant’s final counter spasm… and only then contemplate PERHAPS DELIBERATELY splitting in two."

You're talking about what you want. I'd probably like it if what you want happened.

But I think it's much more plausible that the GOP falls apart, and the DP splits into two. One part a lot like the GOP used to be, and the other full of progressives. Both parties so dependent on big donors that they are careful not to do anything their big donors don't want.

So the result would be a whole lot like what we have now, but somewhat saner.

This is me being pessimistic. If I thought there was a good chance of it coming out like you want, I'd work to make it happen. In my imagination there's roughly zero chance for that, so I'm working for something that looks unlikely, but still the main chance.

David Brin said...

I have a flavor to ask of you folks. It could be tasty... or onerous.

I’m thinking of publishing a compilation of my posts about JUDO POLEMIC... tactics that none of the generals on our Union side of this civil war seem capable of comprehending, as they again and again keep falling into traps where they do grunting, shoving sumo politics that suits Fox to a T.

I've failed to get these points across for years, via blogs and even conversations with Congressional staffers. So maybe a BOOK on the subject could get attention.

Would any small number of you be interested in helping? It would entail sifting back in time... maybe a couple of years... and choosing your own list of 'best of' postings that offer ways to dodge around today's trench warfare. For example, a chapter on Splitterism would obviously merge my 29 Goals posting with the most recent one.

A strawman proposed table of contents might include —

Chapter 1: JUDO POLEMIC INTRODUCTION I know I've gone on and on about this in general. When did I do it best?

Chapter __: The War on All Fact People
- When did I pose this concept best?
- Tactics: compare actual Outcomes: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html
Of course leading up to the FACT ACT proposal: http://davidbrin.com/nonfiction/factact.html

Chapter ___ ECONOMICS
Reclaiming Adam Smith: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/11/liberals-you-must-reclaim-adam-smith.html
Compare actual Outcomes: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

CHAPTER__: OVERCOMING SPLITTERISM
Main Splitter rebuttals: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/08/five-devastating-rebuttals-to-use-with.html
29 shared goals: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/07/debate-special-shall-we-let-them-divide.html
Sanctimony addiction: http://tinyurl.com/wrathaddicts
and: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i275AvgVvow

Chapter ___: The real civil war
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/02/past-keeping-faith-with-future-and-day.html
and
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html

Chapter: SAVING OUR PLANET
http://www.davidbrin.com/climatechange3.html

Chapter __ International 101:
International Judo:
How Republicans/Democrats wage war: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html

Chapter___
Libertarians

Chapter___: Symbolism obsession
Repubs obsession with ship names: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-politics-of-naming-aircraft.html
How their symbolism obsession helps lock up government: _____?

Chapter 9: GUNS
Main Jefferson Rifle blog: http://www.tinyurl.com/jrifle

Chapter__ Citizen action
Ground troops get involved — _____ (poll watching, state assembly candidates etc.)
NGOs and Proxy power: http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/proxyactivism.html
Citizen science and the age of amateurs _)___

Chapter___ IMMIGRATION/RACISM ETC
Ironies of Immigration: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-immigration-fury-one-of-many.html

That is just a sampling and many of you would have your own favorites, even replacing some of these.

Suggestions re other topics to include, or in different order or best examples from my blogs ... or supporting content from others that can be linked to in each chapter... would be welcome.

And yes, it is a lot to ask! It all depends on whether you think it’s a project that could let this small, but generally (mostly) high quality community maybe help craft something that could help us find and empower a real general out there (or ten or a million) to break out of the bocage hedgerows and race to Paris and Berlin.

How about you guys ponder it. Maybe come back with your expanded lists in… well… a week or two? Three?

Or else tell me why it’s a bad idea! CITOKATE.

Larry Hart said...


But I think it's much more plausible that the GOP falls apart, ...


I'm a bit weary of hearing how near the Republican party is to obsolescence when they've got a lock on the Senate and the supreme court--all the federal courts, really--plus almost enough state houses and governorships to call for a Constitutional Convention. They're about this close to being able to invoke a new Constitution that begins, "We The White Christians, in order to Make America Great Again..."

What would possibly make them fall apart other than The Rapture?


This is me being pessimistic.


:)

Darrell E said...

J Thomas said...
"We've had close to 50 years of shaming racists for being racists, and that's probably worked a bit better than we can expect it to work in the future.

Republicans have tried to shame poor people for being poor, and I doubt that will work as well in the future as it has in the past either."


There is a crucial distinction between these two examples.

Another related distinction regarding shaming, it's one thing to say something to or about someone else criticizing something about them that is beyond their control or something that was imposed on them, with the explicit intent to shame them. It is something very different to say something to or about someone that happens to be accurate and pertinent criticism about something that they are free to choose to do or not do, to be or not be, and which just also happens to shame them. To simplify it, if you are a racist shit and someone points that out in the context that your racist tendencies led you to vote for another racist shit for high office, that claim is accurate and pertinent. I hope to hell it does shame you but that's not necessarily the primary purpose of pointing it out.

Arguments along the lines of I shouldn't call a racist a racist because I might shame them which might lead them to do something I won't like are nuts and don't deserve any respect.

David Brin said...

"One part a lot like the GOP used to be, and the other full of progressives."

Used to be... when? Seriously, you live in such a smug, convenient fantasy world, JT. You know nothing whatsoever about history. The roots of "blue dog" democrats do not go to any common heritage with Republicanism... whatsoever. They go down to the AFL-CIO, Which was the most dedicated anti-communist force in American life. And yes, cultural rifts opened between what we now call "progressives" and the old school union guys. But find for me RIGHT NOW ANY(!) blue dog democrat who wants to - say - put social security in the stock market... a primary-central goal of the GOP until they gave up on it, a few years ago.

Big money wanted that, all right... and not... one... single... democrat did, despite the blandishments of Wall Street firms.

You toss out these fantasies of yours as if they are rooted in anything other than a smugness and sanctimony that you ought to be able to outgrow, as you learn actual, actual history and facts. If you are willing. Right now, you are wandering around in a fog.

David Brin said...

AGAIN, MY PRINCIPAL GOAL IN THE REMAINDER OF THIS THREAD IS FOR SOME OF YOU TO READ MY PROPOSAL -- two comments up from here -- and ponder whether the project seems worthwhile and worth some of you helping.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

It does sound worthwhile, and I don't mind slogging through some of the archives. I've even done so for fun a few times.

I will remind you that the format doesn't make it easy to search for particular topics without already remembering when they were posted. I know you did a big Ayn Rand/libertarian column in November 2011, but I'm not going to remember anything else that specifically.

Samirasun0808 said...

Scientology is solution for everything. Dr. Brin is scientist so he knows the prophet (peace be upon him). You can make me, Samira, queen of country. This is because I much intelligent and very beautiful.

J Thomas said...

'One part a lot like the GOP used to be, and the other full of progressives.'

"Used to be... when? Seriously, you live in such a smug, convenient fantasy world, JT. You know nothing whatsoever about history. The roots of "blue dog" democrats do not go to any common heritage with Republicanism... whatsoever."

As usual you are jumping to conclusions.

I didn't say that the DP Establishment is or was like the GOP used to be.

The way I'm imagining it, the GOP falls apart because it can't hold together. And then the DP falls apart because it can't hold together either.

And then two fragments of the former DP grow until they are the two parties, because the details of our system result in two main parties. (Duverger's Law, which applies mainly to the USA but which seems to fit very well here.)

Then which party do all those XGOPs go to? To the less progressive of the two main parties. Do the factions which currently dominate the GOP dominate that? No, they couldn't hold the GOP together doing that and they couldn't hold an xDP party together either. It would be the more-or-less-sane xGOP guys who hold the balance of power in that group.

You're unlikely to get a Progressive revolution without a solid majority of Progressive voters. As long as there are a lot of xGOP voters who haven't changed their opinions much, they will influence the politics. We can hope that they die of old age and don't replace them selves. We can hope that they change their minds. Maybe we can kill them. Possibly there could be an ethnic cleansing or a voluntary migration and they go somewhere else. Without one of those, we are likely to get something kind of like what we have, except the crazy unstable coalition that supports Trump might fall apart.

So I doubt we could wind up with two "good" major parties. But this is just opinion. Nobody really knows what the future will bring.

In 2000 I thought I had a pretty good idea where we were heading. I did not predict 9/11, and it changed a whole lot very fast. Maybe something else I don't predict will change a whole lot very fast.

Alfred Differ said...

J Thomas,

That's an improvement. It's still worth careful study to see how much of this we can afford to put into our ionosphere.

You go right ahead. As the cadence increases, you'll have plenty of data to study.

Their engines currently rely on kerosene and LOX, but it is a jet fuel kind of refined kerosene. Doesn't have all the extra crud in it. What comes out the back is carbon dioxide, water, and some soot. We know the basics of what each of those does up there, so I'd have no qualms with supporting many launches. I'd be able to look our grandchildren in the eye and say we took the health of the atmosphere into consideration.

Future engines will rely on methane and LOX, but not to reduce the soot content. Their intent is to re-use those engines on Mars. No kerosene is available on Mars, but CO2 and H2O can be found. If they fly the equipment up there, they can convert those to CH4 and O2 and fill local tanks. [ISRU is the way to go.] With that longer range goal, might as well shift engine types on Earth and get engineering practice with them here where it is cheaper to learn.

I wouldn't be surprised if they use both types of engines. The lower stage of the new vehicle doesn't go to Mars in their plans. They could keep the cheaper kerosene/LOX tech where they have a lot more experience. We shall see.

What's more interesting is what might get flown. The Planetary Society got a light sail in orbit and tested it a few different ways. Why not again to push technology readiness? Why not something else too? Doesn't have to the TPS next time. Why not Joe Citizen? Why not amateur radio relays at L5? Why not amateur astronomy? Amateur weather watches in high orbit? High altitude meteor impact alert systems hanging at L4 and L5? Why not hardware testbeds for certifying rad-hardness of equipment? Both non-profits and for-profits could be interested whether there is money to be made or a public mission to be served. Cheap/Frequent access changes everything.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

I'll look at your proposal in more detail this weekend.

The first thought that comes to mind, though, is it better be something you can get out the door before the end of the year. I can imagine the book sitting among the 'current affairs' books on the table near the front of my local bookstore, but those things move to the discount rack real quick as the political situation changes.

The second is that your citizen action chapter shouldn't be a chapter. It should be a response section to each of the other chapters. Chapter X.a explains some unpleasant thing going on. Chapter X.b explains what citizens can do directly to 'do something about it.' The citizen action section should be short and repetitive. Proxy sponsorship, successful citizen group examples, expectation management, age of amateurs, etc.

The third thing involves wasting your time. While I might be interested in what you have to say regarding Libertarians, I doubt it will do you much good to explain it in any detail for the book. You could point out how many have been sucked in by Confederate notions in the Civil War chapter and how some of their factions have lost their way in the parts where you talk about competition and numerous talented participants in the markets, but I doubt we are worth a distinct chapter. Same goes for how group X wages war. Just include your horizons of inclusion descriptions near the immigration discussion and you'll cover that ground.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Regarding voting systems: I have been in favor of Ranked Choice Voting for as long as I can remember, however I haven't seen it gaining a bit of traction in the United States over the past decades. Most people actually give only a minimal amount of actual thought to their election choices. Ranking candidates is just too much mental work for the vast majority in this country.

Instead, we need to look at the thought process behind how people in the United States actually vote.

Increasingly over time, the main concern of U.S. voters has been who they are against. The choice on current ballots only allows for a positive vote, but most people choose the candidate most likely to defeat their most-disliked candidate.

So let's give everyone one positive vote and one negative vote. The positive vote goes to the candidate that you are voting for, and the negative votes are subtracted from a candidates total positive votes.

Voters would always have the option of leaving either the positive vote choice or the negative vote choice blank.

It would not be uncommon for some candidates to end up with a net negative number of votes. If no candidate gets a positive number of votes then either a new election would have to be quickly held or (where constitutional) the office would remain vacant until the next scheduled election.

If no one gets a positive number of votes for a city council seat, it is often best to leave that seat vacant. In the case of something like U.S. president, we had better have someone in office who receives a positive number of votes, even if it takes several elections, each less than a month apart.

Candidates who receive a net negative amount of votes would be ineligible to run again for that same office for that particular term, so political parties would need to have secondary slates of candidates ready to run in cases where no one receives a positive number of votes. (That would also be a beneficial effect of such a system.)

Under this "net-zero" system, many elections (especially local ones) would have the winner elected by very narrow margins (like +7 to -2) so this would encourage more people to vote because they would see the results of their individual votes much more clearly.

David Brin said...

LH. The Ayn Rand take down is here:
http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/aynrand.html

Oh, I'd link to it in my section about libertarians. But I don't think it's apopos as a chapter in that book.

Jt is welcome here. He seems naive and historically ill-informed... but flexible and able to adjust to a shifting argument based on evidence. I have a lot of confidence in this young feller.

And good point. If the GOP is crushed and incinderated and the dems do all 29 of my "consensus goals"... and then some... one potentiality would be for the DP to schism. And with all growth potential on the right... from GOP refugees... it does make sense that that wing would be "business oriented." But wanting capitalism to function without cheating has long been a Democratic theme, even in days of AFL-CIO power. That's not different from republican oligarchis by DEGREE. It is different by KIND.

Moreover, there are millions who would not feel welcome in the blue dog party. They might become true confederates without masks... or else perhaps the Romney-centered cabal that I am sniffing will burst forth this winter, aiming to pick up the pieces on the right.

David Brin said...

Alfred, good thoughts. And Jerry's summer daydream sounds pretty solid... it's basically a version of RCV that's less flexible but easier to understand.

The aim of this compilation of blogs would be to get it out before the end of the year.

duncan cairncross said...

When we are talking about space launches we should compare them to natural events

I'm thinking volcanoes
Mount Pinatubo in 1991 - 20 Million tons of Sulphur dioxide - 5 cubic kilometers of dust

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Some election officials would initially object to "net-zero" voting on the grounds that it would make the ballots and election results too complicated, but that is simply not the case.

There would be one section of the ballot for (for example) candidates A, B, C and D. This would immediately be followed by the next section of negative votes listed as ANTI-A, ANTI-B, ANTI-C and ANTI-D. (The "ANTI" must always be in all upper-case bold letters on the ballot.)

The election officials would only have to count the positive votes (as they do now), then total up the negative votes for each candidate. The final step in calculating the election results is a matter of simple subtraction. If election officials and their computers cannot do elementary school subtraction, they should not be in that job.

Net-zero voting would also be easier for the voters because (unlike today's system), the ballot choices would be laid out more closely to the way they actually think. If they weren't sure who they actually preferred, but knew who they were strongly against, they could just vote against the hated candidate.

Once the voter registers the negative vote, the candidate that the voter is actually for may more clearly come into focus for the voter. If not, the positive vote could just be left blank in that particular case.

Unlike other alternatives, net-zero voting could be very quickly adapted because it matches what most voters already want, and how they actually think.

The only thing that complicates this system is the particular election contests where no candidate gets a positive number of votes. The extra complication of needing a rapid follow-up election is more than worth the added trouble and expense. We had better stop putting candidates in office that, on average, people do not want, and candidates for whom a net number of voters actively object to having in office.

Alfred Differ said...

Duncan,

I agree about comparing to volcanoes... with one careful exception involving catalysts. If a rocket has an exhaust component that catalyzes interesting chemistry, I'd side with people who want careful studies. If not, I'd invite them to study us as we punch holes in the sky.

I seriously doubt soot from kerosene/LOX engines does much of anything up there except what our other particulates do in shading the ground a bit.



One thing I'd add about the science, though, is there is a lot of basic work to be done about the upper atmosphere. We could study rocket plumes and not have enough of a baseline to compare against because the basic science needs to get done. I'd support spending money doing that science, but not as an environmental concern over kerosene/LOX engines.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

I should add that "net-zero" voting is a bad name to use for the system that I proposed. Calling it something like an "upvote/downvote" system would make it more understandable (and in accord with the way that a lot of "voting" is already done on things like YouTube videos and some internet forum comments).

David Brin said...

I'm all in favor of generous funding of sober investigations of "impudently dissenting" science.

We're moving onward, now. But I do ask at least some of you to consider whether you'd find it fun/worthwhile to help compile a quick collection of my very best blogs around the topic of JUDO POLEMICS. Suggest potential tables of contents and existing blogs and postings that might fill in each slot?

But take your time. Post your suggestiong under whatever blog is most current... but NOT the first day it is published! We want comments the first day or two to be about that particular blog's topic.

Thanks all.

onward

onward.

J Thomas said...

"I'd support spending money doing that science, but not as an environmental concern over kerosene/LOX engines."

I basicly agree with you there. We don't need research aimed at stopping progress. We need research to find out what's going on. If it turns out that the way we're planning to do things is likely to hurt us badly, then we need to make better plans. But we sure don't need to fund science to advance partisan politics.

The "nuclear winter" controversy is an example of partisan politics. The whole thing was designed to persuade politicians that we couldn't depend on a nuclear first strike against the USSR to go as planned. And after a whole lot of money spent it on average failed; the research concluded that there would be a "nuclear autumn" which could be reduced by staging the first strike at the right time of year.

The "research" extrapolated way beyond available evidence. There is no particular reason to expect the results to be accurate. A giant system with complicated interactions, and they hoped to model it well enough from the little scraps of physics and chemistry they knew to apply.

To me the obvious conclusion was, don't expect you can do a large nuclear first-strike safely, regardless how the research comes out.