Showing all posts tagged politics:
The current legislative extremism of the ruling GOP majority is already legendary. And over and over again I hear from the far-left the repeated mantra that Democrats need to move further left to win elections.
The graph above illustrates why -- you don't gain any new supporters by doubling down on the territory you already have. You have to find ways to accommodate something from the center to gain ground. This is the essence of the Median Voter Theorem.
"Ah, but wait!" you say -- "the Median Voter Theorem is so fraught with assumptions. In the real world, these conditions are rarely all true!"
True, true, my astute friend. However, statistics sees to that as well. It allows us to ask what we should expect to see given many many trials and sets of conditions, such that we get an even truer, richer, weighted average than we would from simply measuring a single empirical event. The central limit theorem tells us that with sample sizes large enough, the distribution o...
* BHO inaugural
* DJT inaugural
* Obama cloud
* Trump cloud
* little Trump cloud
“The most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s"
-- Carl Bernstein, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal
"These systematic attacks on the media accomplish two things. First, they fire up the base, which believe that traditional media do not represent their interests or concerns. Second, they provoke the media itself, which feeling threatened, adopts a more oppositional posture. This in turn further fuels the polarization on which the leaders depend and paves the way for the government to introduce legal restrictions.
The most dramatic example was in Venezuela, where elements in the media embarked on a campaign of open warfare, engaging in overtly partisan coverage intended to undermine Chávez’s rule. Some media owners were alleged to have conspired in a 2002 coup that briefly ousted the president. Once Chavez returned to power, he rallied his supporters behind a new law imposing ...
"'I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement [the Social Democrats] exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down... This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty...
I achieved an equal understanding of the importance of physical terror toward the individual and the masses... For while in the ranks of their supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeated adversary in most cases despairs of the success of any further resistance.'
No more precise analysis of Nazi tactics, as Hitler was eventually to develop them, was ever written."
-- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
There's something those of us in marginalized groups know instinctively, having lived lives long in opposition to a dizzying continuum of Absurd Moral Authority: from outright violence, to secretive "technical" manipulations of statutes designed to erode or remove rights, to vague and carefully unstated "wink wink nudge nudge" moments from individuals of authority who had some power to constrain us -- whether it's a boss (or potential boss), a teacher, a community figure, and/or perhaps most guttingly a family member.
We know the sting of being scolded for even daring an attempt at upsetting the Tautological Supremacist Meritocracy: "If you weren't worthless, you'd already be here by now!"
The British thought we would just roll over too
But we should remember one of the primary reasons that we as a nation even won our independence in the first place:
We were underestimated.
Lord North offered tax relief to the colonies that would help "defend the motherland" in February, 1775 -...
The creator of the also excellent Century of the Self film series released his latest film in October, 2016. Dubbed HyperNormalisation, it offers both a history lesson of the complicated relationship between the West, the Middle East, and Russia, as well as an unflinching look at the roles played by technology, surveillance, and the media on our modern condition of general confusion, destabilization, and surrealism.
He says it "not in a braggadocious way" https://t.co/88ZMW8Lu6q— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) September 27, 2016
Debate 1 recaps
Markets identify Clinton as the winner
The federal debt is sort of like the balance on your credit cards, except with much lower interest rates (which we set ourselves). It also hasn’t been spent on consumer goods: it’s been spent on providing federal services, social services, and — generally — running the government.
So, once again this election cycle you will hear histrionic cries about how the national debt should trump (ahem) other priorities in the economic plan.
As long as we are comfortably able to keep paying the interest payments on the debt, there’s no particular reason to really worry about it — certainly not to the point of failing to provide needed services for the government. We have a solid track rating of paying our debts — one of the best in all of history — so we should probably not have a hard time refinancing if the situation ever becomes dire.
We pay about 2.5% interest on the debt, which ends up being a small fraction of our ~$17 trillion GDP. Much of the “debt" is actually money we t...
It's part of a broader misconception on the part of the techno-utopian set that the purpose of tech innovation is to replace human beings instead of augment us. We are being replaced now at a rate greater than ever before, as a result of the rise of machine learning.
Underlying that assumption is the dark, Orwellian belief that at its core, humanity is fundamentally hopeless, irrational, and must be controlled by some force: typically a small cadre of wise (and very rich!) men (...usually white) who are irrevocably convinced they know more about humanity than other people. Or perhaps a single, highly-authoritarian entity... not like anyone we know who is currently running for el presidente...
To wit: another presidential candidate you probably haven't heard about: Zoltan Istvan of the Transhumanist Party. I'mma let him speak for himself:
But the Anti-Enlightment period was the greatest philosophical era OF ALL TIME!:
This has been a fantasy since the Enlightenment, but despite...
Capitalism appears to favor the Robber Baron archetype above all which, in hindsight, seems less surprising when one realizes it was largely architected by individuals who shared this same basic worldview: of strong social Darwinism, of wolves and sheep, and of the accumulation of wealth as the highest calling -- an end in itself, and in some deeply profound sense, the very birthright of Men (by which was meant "civilized" men of European descent, aka white dudes) as handed down, distantly, from God Himself.
Over time, if optimized for in society, selection for Robber Baron traits can produce strange anomalies like the 2016 US presidential election, which pits arguably the world's most qualified and well-connected public servant against a brash, blowhard billionaire who is attempting to pass off a political platform based on the size of his balls as a legitimate bid for command of the supposed free world. And winning, until rather recently when the GOP leadership has started to w...