Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Someone is not thinking this through

Friday, November 20th, 2020

So, over in Trump-land, despite having lost by 7+ million votes in the popular election, and many states in the electoral collage, Trump is trying to overturn those results so he can continue being dictator.

 

I guess first I’m curious about who the deplorables.. and I think that word really does fit .. who are okay with the fact that Fearless Leader clearly lost but is trying to cheat his way to a victory are. I know part of what’s going on there is that their news sources are lying to them – as they have been this entire time – and they still keep patting themselves on the back about how the ‘lamestream media’ is lying and Fearless Leader is telling the truth, despite all kinds of data to the contrary.

 

Beyond that, I’m curious what Trump thinks will happen if he does cheat himself to victory? Does he think the American people, who just voted him out rather decisively, will not use stronger means of persuasion if he decides to refuse to leave and order us all to yell “Heil Trump!”. I mean, we’ve seen recently – as Trump lied about Antifa – that many, many Americans are not okay with cops murdering citizens. I think Trump would discover that even more Americans are not okay with being led by a fascist dictator.

 

I also still have hope that at some point those who enabled this catastrophe will feel shame – and I would *like* to think that them as voted in the people who are currently supporting Trump in his attempt to subvert fair and free elections will be voted out, but I’ve come to accept that people on the right are about as smart as Charlie Brown expecting Lucy not to pull the football away. After all, they fell for the Laffer curve again. And they fell for WMDs. And they’ve fallen for many, many things. They still think money is the value, rather than a pointer to it, and they can’t understand why them Democrats “Stealing money from my wallet!” actually makes everyone including them richer because they can’t understand that wealth is about resource flows, not about money. So they probably won’t realize they elected someone with the morals of hitler combined with the IQ of Amazon Alexa. But maybe their children will.

 

Anyway, as I said, even if Trump manages to cheat his way past this defeat by invalidating the votes of hundreds of thousands of people, I don’t see the endgame working out well for him.

 

One problem.. (Good vs Evil)

Monday, October 26th, 2020

So, one thing the recent supreme court nomination and confirmation illustrates is the problem of good vs evil – evil doesn’t care about the rules. Evil doesn’t care about lying. If you’ve decided that you will have your way no matter what (as Mitch clearly has and no one has stopped him) you can do enormous damage to this world, and it does in general lack protections. In general I’ve come to suspect that the cops (who shoot random citizens and get told “Good job.”) are controlled by people I’d identify as far more evil than good. (While I grant you that Biden is definitely better than Trump, I’m still very saddened that he chose a prosecutor – by definition a force for evil – as a running mate. On the other paw, your choice here is between mildly tarnished and the devil himself, so it’s not hard for me to endorse the man on the left.)

Of course, a lot of the laws themselves are evil. Certainly the laws against immigration,  setting quotas, making it difficult, are evil. Certainly laws against acts that harm no one, or harm no one but the committee of the law, are evil. And I’d also have to say that laws that attempt to legislate a particular religious view of morality are evil.

Anyway, the question remains, how can not-evil possibly win if evil doesn’t care about the rules? For the most part, I think with superior numbers – and also I have to imagine that it’s a lot easier to look yourself in the mirror every morning if you’re not a crooked cheat.

The whole thing does make me think that in general man does not do well when saddling himself with government, and I think a big part of the problem here is that it’s not a great idea to let anyone who wants a lot of these jobs have them. Anyone who thinks they’re *worthy* to be a judge should be disqualified, and certainly anyone who thinks they should be president is the last person you’d want for the job. But, traditionally we let people choose their own employment. I don’t know what the solution is although I still suspect that judicious use of AI, and having us all agree to the programming of the AI, would work a lot better than having us directly rule. At least it would be less corruptable.

 

If anyone is curious, here is my guess for the 2020 presidential election

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

The fraud of voter fraud

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

So, for about a year, I was paid by a organization I am not going to name, at least yet, to examine California’s rolls for signs of voter fraud. What I found was a little bit of ‘noise’ – a few hundred cases.. a few thousand if you take the view of the Republicans that homeless and drug addicts should not be permitted to vote. I did not find any signs of massive voter fraud, nor did I really expect to. Nothing I saw came anywhere near possibly changing a election – but the voter fraud that the republicans are perpetrating right now in restricting access to mail in and drop off voting during election very well might enable their destructive and, frankly, evil brand to continue to hold onto power and use it to destroy our way of life in favor of more yachts for Betsy Devos and more power for the toddler Trump.

What this mostly tells me is that right now, we are seeing voter fraud. The republicans are committing it. By claiming (even though we all know it isn’t true) that there’s massive voter fraud in mail in voting, they are lying in order to suppress part of the vote and cheat on the upcoming election. This isn’t surprising – Republicans are the party of cheating, after all – but it is saddening. It says truly bad things about the state of our democratic republic that federal judges are encouraging voter suppression. It isn’t that shocking – I am sure they are enmeshed in the false reality pushed by the republican-held and controlled media (the true purveyors of fake news, as anyone who actually tries comparing reality with the statements of the media can fairly quickly figure out)

It is sad that the republican-affiliated citizenry, rather than trying to stop their runaway representatives that are willing to cheat to win, is cheering on the cheating. They know, for example, that Mitch did not permit a supreme court justice pick by Obama to go through because it was too close to a election, and yet they are cheering on the frantic (and COVID-spreading) attempts to wedge the current justice pick just *days* before the election.

This is not a matter of preference in the same way windows vs unix or Yankees vs Red Sox is – this is actively a case of the people in power are doing massively destructive things and people are defending it. It’s not clear whether tehy’re defending it because they’re brainwashed by the lies being sent out, or they’re defending it because they don’t know how to *not* defend the people who are affiliated with their brand, or they’re defending it because they embrace evil and find it beautiful, or because they think that the 1% should be richer than they are and the rest of us poorer – but defend it they do.

Part of the problem with brand loyalty in politics and a two party system

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

So, it has occured to me that the decision to politicize wearing PPE during a pandemic is impressively moronic. It also has occured to me that given that Trump is very likely a russian asset, it’s possible that Russia has been pushing the message of not masking to the US as a way to hurt the US.

On the other paw, long term, it might actually kind of help the US. I know plenty of conservatives who are smart enough to still wear PPE, so what it might be doing is weeding out the dumbest – one unfortunate thing about birth control is that it *encourages* the dumbest among us to be the most prevalent in the next generation – it’s kind of the opposite of evolution. Things like seeing who is dumb enough to buy the message that the media is lying to you and you should not wear a mask during a pandemic might actually act in a pro-evolutionary manner.

Anyway, this does kind of illustrate the problem with a two party system. People start building polarizing decisions around really stupid things. I realize this is very convenient in the case of the global warming debate – a few old guys get to get richer, then die before the rest of us have to face the consequences for their awful decision-making. Of course, in general that’s a problem that we have with the command and control axis on earth – the old folks who don’t have to suffer the consequences end up with the most power and making the most decisions. Then you add in a religion that teaches that as long as you have this one wacky belief it doesn’t matter what you do and you have a pretty good recipe for some pretty dystopian moments.

We need a new meta-law here..

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

So, we have a representative government. One in which the Democrats in fact have a slight majority.

That said, Trump’s latest fake-survey-to-collect-money to his mailing list had a two-option question “Which do you identify as?” -> “American” or “Democrat”.

We need a new meta-law. This level of fragrantly failing to represent more than half the country in a representative republic should lead to the cuffs going on, and Trump hearing the cell door slam. Of course, he seems to be completely immune to prosecution for *any* crime and his followers seem to be completely immune to having any grip on actual reality – I suppose it will be interestingly ironic if inability to correct for brand loyalty is what leads to our species going extinct. Starting to look like a distinct possibility.

I do find it interesting that the republicans are fine with this, are actively cheering on the sledgehammers hitting our country. As long as they get rich, who cares how many die? who cares about the total destruction of America?

Whatever the opposite of patriots are, when measured for any *real* value of patriotism, these people are it.

(Interestingly, they’d say that patriots do of course destroy the environment, start wars, commit murder, lock children in cages, lie, cheat, steal.. and democrats are evil because oh no they’re going to take your money and use it to keep people from starving! they’re going to limit the amount of profiteering health care companies can do! in essence, they’re going to make people share..)

The biggest problem – mostly of the behavior of Mitch McEvil – is that once the political arena has sunk to a level, it doesn’t *come back* from that level. Future generations will be following Trump’s playbook, and Mitch’s – probably both on the left and right – to cheat and get billions of tax dollars stolen from us, the people, and given to the billionaires – and to get the insane special interests of religion and the religious pandered to.

Trump and COVID 2 : health care

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

One interesting question is, if Trump spends a week on a ventilator will he change his tune about destroying healthcare for most of America to enrich his billionaire pals? Will the republicans realize that their “my money is more important than your life” point of view is awful? Or will he continue the hypocracy that has been going for quite some time – through both left and right wing presidents – which is to say “The president deserves the best. You deserve the shaft.”. I mean, Obama and Dubya both smoked weed but they didn’t do prison time and they didn’t move to strike the laws that result in people doing prison time (and neither will Biden – the political elite on both the left and right are awful, the right is just *more* awful).

Trump and COVID

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

I’m trying to figure out how I feel about thew news that Trump has COVID.

While I’ll be the first to admit that him dying of the disease that he helped spread would be a very poetic end, I also suspect I’d find it deeply unsatisfying. This is partially because I have two entirely contradictory thoughts about it – one of which I wish I didn’t have, because it speaks to me having a flaw that seems to be common to humans, and the other which I think most people would agree is reasonable.

The first thought is a desire to see him punished for the massive harm he’s done to our world and the people in it. While it’s true Trump hasn’t hurt as many people as Dubya, he has hurt millions and millions of people and made the world a less safe and less desirable to live in place. I generally don’t think we should punish people, although we should set them up for situations that invite rehabilitation, but there is a part of me that wants Trump to get repeatedly beaten by the very cops he told to be more violent when arresting people, and wants him to hear the slam of the jail cell and feel the steel bracelets and know that ultimately he did not get away with it. I don’t really like what this thought says about me – I know that anger is a reasonable response to being hurt and Trump has hurt us all, but I also don’t think it does any good for anyone to hurt back simply because we’ve been hurt.

The second thought is a desire for redemption for Trump. I want some sort of Hollywood-style character arc where he learns and grows, and if he dies now that becomes impossible – whereas if he lives through COVID but faces some of the fears that I would imagine are associated with having it and realizes some of what he’s done to the world maybe he can be a tiny smidge less self centered and less horrible in the future. I think this is something we should all want for each other.

Anyway, for the second reason I am going to wish him a full recovery but hopefully enough of a symptomatic experience to learn some things.

Part of the political picture

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

So, from where I sit, the left is currently concerned about the right because the right is making decisions that may well lead to the extinction of the human race – no, global warming isn’t going to kill us, but the attitude the right has towards our ecosystem very likely will sooner or later – you can only knock so many steps out of the food chain before something crashes, and beyond that our increasing population and attempt at a increasing economic level of production is going to sooner or later break our ecosystem and leave us dead.

From the right’s perspective, the left is taking away too much money from them. Looking at the actual numbers and more importantly resources consumed, it’s largely the military that’s bankrupting us all, but from the right’s perspective as I understand it it’s largely social security – we should be paying in but not taking money out. (Yes, the right’s media spins it as if we’re spending more money on social services than anything else by pointing to medicare, medicaid, and social security.. something we all pay for, so they’re basically counting money we banked in order to use later as money we paid as taxes. Dishonesty, as I think I’ve mentioned before, is a hallmark of the right. The thing is, it wasn’t always. At one point they were just of the point of view that small government led to the most freedom and the best user experience. And then, things happened.

Anyway, my point is, the left has our continued survival as a primary concern where the right has money. (Well, to be fair, they also sell the idea that we should be deeply afraid of immigrants – something that statistics do not bear out, as immigrants statistically are far more law abiding than citizens. In general, statistics are not the strong suit of the right)

Anyway, is it any wonder that the right must increasingly lie and cheat to even keep people attached to their point of view? Or that those of us on the left increasingly think that adherence to the right with the right in it’s current state – defending white supremacy, destroying key functions of our government like the post office, blatantly flip-flopping on rules like “we shouldn’t appoint judges right before a election” .. “unless the election might cost us seats” in other words displaying no honor at all – causes those of us on the left to at this point think people on the right are, well, basically, not very good people?

I realize that on the right, they *must be* brainwashed. They don’t see that their party is no longer the party of small government, but rather now is the party of blatant evil. And I know they are sold the idea that we are the evil ones – often by actually taking things the right is doing and attributing them to the left. However, given the cost of failure and the inability to reach them, it is more and more difficult to maintain friendship with the people on the right knowing that they support the abuse of immigrants, they support the robbing of the US coffers to help billionaires, they support prioritizing corporations over people, they support prioritizing economic growth over the continued survival of the human race.. I think my point here is clear. Their economic policy doesn’t even make any sense – they demonize socialism while ignoring the fact that automation is making it increasingly difficult to even think about giving everyone a job – and we at the moment have many, many makework jobs in a pathetic attempt to try and duct-tape our old views about economic theory into continuing to function beyond their usefulness. Some form of collectivism is the only sane way forward.

Part of what’s impressive here is how far people will go to defend the brand they’re loyal to. The alternate possibility is that my connection with reality has severed and I’m experiencing local generation of reality with an extremist point of view and a epicly broken political situation. (In which case I’m not sure if we’re looking at me having died and now being in hell or if we’re looking at a extreme configuration screw-up)

Variations on a theme : protecting incorrect core beliefs in a NNN

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

So, I’ve been reading Thinking Fast And Slow, which talks about several things that I’ve already thought about considerably, but from the perspective of considerably more research than I’ve done about them. One of the things it’s underlined for me is the idea that our brains have both configuration that is still flexible and configuration that has been compiled – well, actually hardwired, via interconnections between neurons – so that it can run at sub-second speeds. As a musician I am trying very hard to make the connection between the music I imagine and what my fingers do be built this way – at the moment, it is for my right hand but not for my left.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is the right wing’s continued defense of Trump even though he’s obviously a abomination. One of my friends, out of ways to defend Trump directly, has a never-ending series of ad-hominem attacks for Biden. This is the same friend who was once talking about how we shouldn’t have government healthcare because it could involve the government paying for a citizen’s mistake even though he’s only alive because the government assisted him after he did something fairly boneheaded.

So I’ve been thinking about that, and about how we parrot the statements of our peers and the talking heads on the television without thinking about them, and part of what I’m contemplating is that we may do such things as part of the process that defends our core beliefs even when we know they’re wrong.

See, it takes a certain amount of neurochemical resources to rebalance our neural networks – one of the things that ends up happening is that subnets that become a large nexus point between interconnects are still relevant even if they represent a belief that’s been disproved, because other firing patterns still pass through them. Now, of course, as with things like a closed-head injury, there are systems in place to arrange for alternate wiring, however that process must be pace-limited by the fact that it’s actually consuming resources – making wiring connections between neurons in a human brain is *not* free – *firing* is not even free, it involves uptake of chemicals that must later be released and so there’s a limited amount of it that can happen for any given amount of time.

As a result, I would imagine we have evolved defense mechanisms that will protect core beliefs that large amounts of neural circuitry are routing through *even when we ourselves know they are wrong*. I wonder if that’s part of what’s going on with my friend, since the alternative involves him having a deep lack of self-awareness.

I also wonder – one of the things in general that’s difficult to absorb and understand about the right is how they can over and over see their cherished points of view being obviously proved false (the laffer curve, for example) and then go back ot them. ANd I wonder how much of that is the above phenomenon, and what sorts of checks and balances one needs to have in place to correct for the fact that humans will cling to beliefs that are provably wrong.

One part of what’s going on with this election is that people on the right are accusing nearly all news channels of being ‘fake news’ – so they are living in a alternate reality where Trump isn’t a evil bastard who steals from vendors and from the american people, is in massive debt, has routinely acted abysmally towards woman, is probably a white supremacist, and lies constantly. Instead, everything the media says is “leftist lies”. Now part of what’s alarming to me is this demonstrates they have no memory, because we can point to things like Trump’s handling of COVID as demonstrating that he’s making statements that provably turn out not to be true in ways we can all remember. What’s also alarming is even after Trump completely flubs COVID due to treating it kind of like the right treats global warming, the right will continue to go on about the “global warming hoax” – even though other science-y things demonstrated the scientists were right, they won’t recognize the pattern and start to listen to science. These people are not in touch with reality and they don’t know it and (possibly because of the above) there is no way to put them in touch with reality. I am not sure what the solution is going forward but I am starting to think freedom of the press should be slightly abridged such that things like Fox and Friends must actively say at the beginning of each show “This is entertainment only. We are going to lie to you. None of what we are saying is true.” or some such.