What Elon might do… probably won't... but someone must do…
At a sage online conference on Web Disinformation, a speaker referred to my 2017 blog appraising methods of "fact-checking." Alas that none of the problems have been remotely solved and none of the suggested solution methods at all tried. Judge for yourself.
See also my posting: Can we 'fix' social media while maintaining arenas of discourse?
And the CA Democratic Party asked me for a piece of 'futuristic legislation' that would address current problems. The result? The Fact Act.
== A do-able reform ==
I wrote the following predictions before the recent US midterm election results. And it seems nothing about it was rendered obsolete. These reforms are still guardedly possible!
But what if it’s good news? A combination of world events and unexpectedly fine polemical persuasion by Biden and others give us a Real Congress of folks dedicated to ending this wretched Phase 8 of the US civil war, by ending the tsunami of cheating?
- Revive the Voting Rights Act. John Roberts has said Congress could do that, any time and thereby eviscerate a lot of the gerrymandering and voter suppression etc. that Republican/confederates depend on. Ye, Roberts will likely writhe for new excuses. Elsewhere I offer additional maneuvers t corner him, then corner him till there’s no room left.
- Forget Constitutional Amendments. Won’t happen. Grow up.
- But this suggestion (offered by one of you in this blog!) could work very well. Repeal the 1929 Permanent Apportionment Act that fixed the maximum number of U.S. House of Representative members at 435. Institute the ‘Wyoming Rule,’ where the least populous state gets one rep… and the number of representatives each other state gets is proportional multiples of that population. Wyoming’s 578,803 becomes the population needed for one representative. Hence California (population 39,237,836) gets 68 reps, an increase of 16 over its current 52.
That increases the number of House reps to 573. Not an unworkable number at all!
A decent contractor can expand the halls of Congress to seat more reps and provide office space - or these reps can work remotely based on seniority (which is how they assign office space anyways). It would leave the insanely disproportionate representation of small states in the Senate, only now in at least one chamber every citizen-voter would be equal.
This would also remove the distortions to proportional representation in the electoral college. And of course that is what would drive the goppers absolutely screeching hysteric. Their only chance would be to alter the incentives they have built in for decades, encouraging their own partisans to go Riefenstahl-insane and instead veer toward the center.
- Also make DC and Puerto Rico states (both have more population than Wyoming). DC would get 1 rep and Puerto Rico would get 6, further increasing House membership to 580.
- Dems were already giving Republicans subpoena powers in the Trump Impeachment hearings. And hence, Pelosi & co. should right now act on my suggestion to grant every House member one peremptory subpoena per year. It would ensure the minority party can always investigate! And when that minority is a pack of pig-headed confederates? Big deal! It's when decent folks are in the minority that this would pay off for us all.
After 1870 (DeLong asserts with evidence) it became more like slamming on the gas. Spectacular acceleration… though the steering, through massive veers and devastating wars, seemed more like the gyrating tugs of a terrified drunkard. The unprecedentedly fast change brought with it profound political instability and conflict that (believe it or not) steadied into a better era, after 1945. In fact, as DeLong notes and I have, elsewhere, there are reasons (despite the news) to see glimmers of utopia ahead… once we get past a few cliffs… Interesting interview.
Oh, the title is a take off on W.B. Yeats’s poem The Second Coming:
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,. Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
"Opinion Nazi analogies are dangerous. But they are increasingly relevant today."
== Cause for optimism? ==
Big Think offers: Nine astonishing ways that living standards have improved around the world. The world has improved in mind-blowing ways. This is NOT an excuse for complacency! Rather, this and much other good news should give us confidence we CAN eliminate the remaining bad.
I would add:
#10... that 90%+ of all living humans have never witnessed war with their own eyes. Name another time when that was so.
#11. No other civilization trained all its brightest young people to be harsh critics of their own tribal leaders and societal mistakes.