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User Journal

Journal Journal: Post election 12

Assuming we don't elect the fascist, both Democrats and Republicans are going to have to do some desperate soul searching this election.

Democrats are going to have to acknowledge that the race was, at one point, extremely close (at the time of writing, it isn't, but what's to say it won't again in the next three weeks.) They're going to have to recognize that this was, in large part, because whatever Clinton's professionalism and qualifications, and however unfair it might be that she's suffered a decades long smear campaign, even without the smears she was never a great candidate. She represents a centrism and a failure to push for substantive change that is anathema to a significant number of people in the US.

How bad is she? Trump's obvious fascism was not enough to make people vote for her. The entire election has just fallen because he's shown himself to be an unpresidential thug towards women. Not because he advocates violence against his opponents. Not because he has promised to abuse the power of the Presidency to punish and imprison political enemies and journalists. Not because he has promised to make it easier to punish those who criticize the rich and powerful. Not because he has scapegoated immigrants for the problems of Americans. Not because he has smeared as rapists, murderers, and terrorists, immigrants and members of minority religions. Not because he has enlisted and cultivated the support of foreign anti-American despots to his presidential campaign. And not because he's been blatant about it, proposing simplistic solutions to complex problems without details or fact based arguments to back them up.

No Presidential candidate in recent history has been so obviously opposed to the values America fought in WW-II to defend, and yet that candidate got close enough to the Democratic candidate to seriously threaten her chances of winning. The Democrats, by any reasonable measure, put up a terrible candidate.

Republicans are going to have to acknowledge that the experiment started in the early nineties (perhaps earlier) to discredit and illegitimatize Democratic Party Presidents has caused unbelievable damage to the country, and destroyed both parties in the process. From Rush Limbaugh's early beginnings as describing the Clinton Regime as an "occupation", to the scorched Earth treatment of the Obama Presidency by Republican legislators, the end result wasn't a stronger Republican party, but a party that lost control of itself enough to find itself under the control of the first Fascist major party presidential candidate in living memory.

That means Republicans will have to bite the bullet and work with Clinton if and when she gets into office. Both parties will need to find points of agreement, areas where ordinary people will benefit from action, from infrastructure to improvements in healthcare, That's not to suggest they should hide their differences, but the last eight years in particular have been completely ridiculous, with Republicans failing to support stimulus and infrastructure improvements they clearly have no problems with, simply because Obama might get credit.

If you want to get good, honest, respected people to stand for leadership of government, it's a good idea to make that government good, honest, and respected to begin with. It isn't.

Whether either side will do any of this is.... I'll be happy if they do, but it really requires both parties to understand what just happened, and to change direction. I'm not sure they can.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Value of voting? Even in winner-take-all elections? 16

The continuation of this discussion:

I think that any winner-take-all system (including instant run-off) is going to destroy a party's ideology, because for every "normal" issue the voters are going to be distributed on a bell curve. Actually, it is possible to imagine 3D or higher issues, but that's not how it works in practice as the elements and dimensions are reduced to the minimum in search of clarity (or suitability for public debate?). Black-and-white binary issues are quite rare in the real world.

Assume that you start with two politicians discussing an issue. Then each of them is motivated to change his position towards the middle to capture the largest number of voters. If he crosses the middle, then he may start losing the small tail of voters "far behind" his new position, and that's where you seem to be. However, because you are in the small tail, it's still a winning election strategy, and you're more likely to be "neutralized" by some extremist on the other end who is equally offended by the politician who started on his side before moving to the center.

Today's so-called Republicans tried to "fix" the problem by moving the goalposts. That's more like rigging the game. They quit worrying about their actual beliefs that could be rationally justified and just started each discussion from the most extreme position on each issue. Essentially they were trying to redefine the bell curves more in their favor, but they have completely fallen off the cliff at this point. In other words, they started each discussion by lying about what they really believed, but instead just said whatever was most distant from their political opponents. The party of Honest Abe has been taken over by right wing extremists, anti-government fanatics, and various strains of haters. Not all of their voters, but definitely the entire leadership. GOP party-line discipline has become more extreme than within Lenin's Bolshevik Party.

At this point, the internal strain has become so severe that the so-called Republicans are alienating a key constituency, the people who always vote the same way. The evidence indicates that most people prefer to repeat their last vote rather than admit they were wrong. (That's the key to gerrymandering, by the way.) About 60% of the voters have been regarded as predetermined voters. Trump is actually flipping many of them because he focused so strongly on the extremists. Inertia notwithstanding, I am increasingly unable to see how any moderate person is still willing to call himself a Republican.

I think that coalitions help, though some of that is by venting off the extremists into their own parties. They still feel like they are represented even though the votes of their representatives are almost never decisive. However, perhaps the larger problem is with direct democracy itself. It doesn't scale, and I'm increasingly in favor of scalable hierarchical systems where your votes are actually more meaningful.

You may be familiar with the economists' analysis? It is so unlikely that your vote will matter that any other use of your time is better than voting. Economists are supposedly good at figuring out prices, but not so good at real values. I'd prefer a mathematical approach... How many times would you have to vote before one of your votes would turn out to be decisive? It's kind of like the birthday paradox. With two people, the chance that the 2nd person has a different birthday is 364/365, which is quite small, but as you add more people, you multiply 364/365 by 363/365 by 362/365 by... Around 30 people, you're almost sure to have a match, and you can use the same approach (but with more complicated math for multiple races in each election) to figure out when you would actually get to pick a winner.

Thank you for the provocation of my thoughts. Seems heavy enough to be worth porting to my journal...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best simple SID to USB connection? 3

That may not be a good way to describe it but... I have a C64 I never use and I think I shall desolder its SID before consigning it to recycling since they are now officially hard to come by. What can I put it on that will let me use it efficiently?

User Journal

Journal Journal: What I think of you based on your politics 12

(0. You don't have the vote. Sit down, relax, and watch the fireworks I guess.)
1. You're voting for Trump because you agree with him or hate Clinton that much: You're probably a horrible person. You should definitely feel bad.
2. You're voting for Trump because you want to upend the establishment: I don't think you're very bright. Hey, I don't want to live in suburbia any more, but I'm not going to get out of it by committing a Federal felony and letting the FBI know. I'd rather bite my lip until an opportunity arises to move to somewhere better. There are worse things than "the establishment" (like a fascist government), just like there are worse things than "Suburbia".
3. You're voting for Clinton: Probably the best choice given the circumstances. Don't blame you.
4. You're voting for Johnson or Stein in a swing state: OK. Well, I respectfully disagree with your decision, I feel Trump really is that bad, but at least you're letting the politicians know you're not happy with them and what direction to go in.
5. You're voting for J or S in a solidly red or blue state: Cool.
6. You're not voting: what the f--- is wrong with you? Write yourself in if you have to, but vote.

Regardless of my feelings towards your decision, I love you all. I just think those of you who actively support Trump probably deserve a good kick in the sensitive places.

User Journal

Journal Journal: WikiLeaks has Trump's tax returns! 25

Just joking. This is only a thought experiment. Had this been an actual emergency, you would have seen it on Twitter already. Notwithstanding...

What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?

(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?

(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.

(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.

(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!

Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Kapla: Spirals

Just building stuff, sometimes continuing the following week: Week 1 Week 2

The booklet had a spiral which took some time to figure out. Basically, 2 pieces in the middle, and 1 on each side of it, which makes it look really cool, and more importantly, supports the turned pieces. They do a slow turn though.

After figuring it out, we went for a 3, that is, 3 in the middle, 2 on each side, and 1 on each side of that. With 1000 pieces, that allows 111 levels of 9 pieces each, which is what a friend built in the picture. The last piece might be lost, but there are 3 warped pieces in there. Got to watch out where to put them!

Kapla is expensive, but with a small table, the enjoyment never ends. In only takes a few minutes for even the ardent to give in and start building!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What "rights" did Microsoft claim today? 1

What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?

Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.

I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.

Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?

Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...

Where do I want to get screwed today?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The lameness filter is broken (again) 13

Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.

The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Powell did not say who he was voting for 5

In reply to the following comment took enough compositional effort that I want to keep a copy in so-called my journal.

Your comment has a false subject. ["Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary"] Powell has said he will not yet say who he is voting for.

Your body is also highly questionable. I remember watching at least one speech in which Powell endorsed then-Senator Obama, but I don't remember anything that approximated "enthusiastic supporter". Nor do I recall any of the marks of enthusiasm such as actively campaigning for Obama or speaking at the Democratic convention. According to my research just now, Powell only made his endorsement two weeks before the election in 2008.

One obvious lie and a highly questionable comment in such a short comment? Let me predict you are a Trump supporter, and in that case the only relevant question is "Who do you hate most?" Every Trump supporter I've met so far has been a deplorable hater, and I can only pity them. Maybe some of them can grow into less hate-filled people?

Powell is a realist. His assessment of Hillary was not particularly favorable, though I'm not sure how they compare with his personal assessment of Obama. However, it is clear that his personal assessment of Trump is extremely negative. He personally might well prefer the positions of Johnson on many issues, but he knows America has a winner-take-all system, so I predict that he will ultimately endorse Hillary or say nothing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more false equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney 46

False equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney

There are certainly some things to dislike about Hillary, but I actually think she was being refreshingly honest with the "basket of deplorables" comment. You sure can't tell from the worthless commentary of the worthless media, but it is important to understand the REAL differences.

Hillary was clear in stating that "deplorable" referred to racists and various other categories of bigots. That is, she was referring to people who hate other people, either for accidents of birth or for various acquired characteristics such as religious preference. She regarded it as deplorable that such people are eagerly supporting Trump, though I regard it as MORE deplorable that Trump welcomes their support. At this point, I am convinced the Donald is NOT faking it, and he really will do ANYTHING to become president, which includes accepting and even soliciting support from people who are deplorable or worse.

In contrast, Mitt's infamous 47% comment was really about HIS personal hatred towards roughly half of the entire population. He regarded those people as lazy bums who were never going to vote for a hard-working vulture capitalist. He was deploring their lack of HIS brand of greed, which is completely different from deploring their hatreds of other people.

I'm not sure where Romney got the exact value of 47%, but I can guess where Hillary got the "half", and even why she had to be fuzzy about it. The value depends on the exact question you ask. The question determines what kind of hatred you are measuring, and when such questions are put to Trump supporters the results range up to 70% picking the hate-filled response. Other questions elicit smaller percentages of "deplorable" responses, but "half" seems downright generous.

The latest poll shows about 40% of the voters supporting Trump, so the estimate of 20% of the voters as "deplorable" haters certainly is a lot of people. However, I think the standard of comparison here should be the percentages of voters who supported bad leaders in the past. Your political views probably don't matter as much as you think. If you deplore President Obama, then you think more than 50% of the voters made a terrible choice TWICE. If you adore Dubya, then you have to admit that more than 50% of the voters preferred Al Gore. (I'd even be curious if you have any rational and nonpartisan basis for attacking Obama, but I think I've seen all the criticisms and attacks by now, and many, perhaps most, of them qualify as deplorable.)

The original Republican Party led by Honest Abe was about constructive change (even though that led to an incredibly destructive war), and the GOP of Teddy and Ike was a party of gentlemen and their ladies. None of this applies to today's so-called Republicans led by Con Man Donald, the man of 3,500 suits, at least four major bankruptcies, and uncountable political bribes (but his tax returns would help count some of them).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't try to borrow money from rms 28

In response to

I actually admire rms and regard him as a great man, but probably for smaller values of "great". In particular, he has little conception of money and his financial models have never demonstrated anything approaching viability or critical mass.

In years past I actually ran a few alternative financial models past him. He did ask an extremely perceptive question in one exchange. The question led me to a significant improvement in a financial model, but mostly he convinced me that he never has understood money, and probably never will. He wouldn't even be interested in whether or not he helped out, but he lives in a kind of money-free fantasy land, and I think his latest suggestion is just more evidence. Yes, he sees part of the problem, but his idea of anonymity as the solution is completely half-baked. If someone is motivated to donate, why would that motivation be affected by anonymity?

What the online media needs is a focus on SOLUTIONS. How many of us are sick and tired of reading about problems without solutions, and the media should earn a kind of tithe for helping to SOLVE the problems. The articles should be followed by links to some solution projects, and if enough readers (or viewers of a video) agree to support a project, then it would get funded, and the website would get a percentage for (1) publicizing the problem, (2) bringing donors to the solution project, and (3) evaluating the results and reporting them.

The details don't really matter to me, so in that sense I might be as bad as rms. You can call it an agent's fee if you prefer, though before that discussion with rms I mostly called it RACS (for Reverse Auction Charity Shares) and at some point afterwards I favored the idea of a charity share brokerage. DAUPR.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The ongoing death of OSS 7

My response to (from the comments) follows:

Oh, wait. Oracle apparently and unfortunately seems to have a highly viable financial model. The current problem is merely that OpenOffice was NOT a part of those profits and Apache also lacks a good financial model.

So how about considering SOLUTIONS. At least LibreOffice got mentioned in a couple of posts, but the underlying problem remains unaddressed: Is the financial model viable? I don't know enough about LibreOffice to say, but if the economic model is as fundamentally broken, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Just a question of when.

What about a BETTER financial model? Beating the same dead horse, but how about creating a simple mechanism for the lusers... Er, I mean the honorable users, to fund OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) with special focus on the features they actually WANT?

I just love flogging that dead horse, don't I? Even worse that the same dead horse could be used to make slashdot viable (pending its next change of ownership and debt assumption).

Yeah, of course I'm talking about the idea of the charity share brokerage where the users would buy shares in ongoing-cost projects for features they want to keep using and feature development projects for new features. At this point I can only believe that it's the breakeven idea that is anathema. Unless there are profits, no one is interested, eh?

I'd start another poll on the topic, but it seems pointless. If anyone is interested (and I'm not holding my breath), feel free to make the polite request for additional details. Meanwhile, I'll continue switching over to LibreOffice pending its demise. OpenOffice, it was nice knowing ya, and I'll try to attend the funeral if it's sufficiently convenient.

Oh yeah. One more thing. I have to express the usual disappointment with the state of today's slashdot and the lack of high-quality comments. If the charity share brokerage system were in effect, features that would improve the quality of the discussions would be my favored donations. Not sure if that means addressing the trollage or fixing the moderation, but right now there is no decision to be made because there is no such system.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Establishment vs Establishment 1

The framing of the 2016 election is that this is the establishment vs the anti-establishment. Clinton represents Washington DC. Trump represents the masses.

This is bullshit.

There are two establishments at war here. One is the obvious one, the party elites. Clinton is more or less part of that, though not as much as people suppose. She's actually an outsider who's fought her way in. If you doubt this for a second, examine the first Clinton's presidential period of 1991 to 2001 (I'm counting the initial campaigns as much as the being in office), and notice the entire period was a war between the Clintons, a Republican establishment who despised them, and a Democratic establishment who didn't trust them and only rallied around the cause when the Republicans went over the top.

The second is the general group that's had power and had the government direct power in their favor for as long as the US has been in existence, primarily the rich, but with a white, male, protestant secondary base as a group to keep happy.

These are, to some extent, the same groups, but the second group no longer believes that the party elites can be trusted to keep bowing to their whims.

Hence the fact a third rate reality TV star whose business successes are built upon fraud and deceit is suddenly able to reach this level of electoral success. Trump is a prime example of someone government has always worked for, yet he's untainted by DC itself. His character doesn't matter. He's part of the underlying establishment, and not part of the elite, so he's the person they pick.

Journal Journal: Shouldn't need to say "I didn't care much for Gawker but..." 3

The fact you have to bend over backwards to disassociate yourself with Gawker before pointing out that Thiel's assault on it was a dangerous attack on free speech is a dangerous sign that we've already drifted a fairly long distance towards fascism.

And, FWIW, if Thiel had bankrolled Elton John's (far more legitimate) lawsuits against The Sun newspaper in the 1980s, and bankrupted Rupert Murdoch as a result, there'd have been a public outcry in Britain.

User Journal

Journal Journal: You (and I) are at least as guilty as Hillary 10

In reaction to this article I added this comment:

There were only two comments moderated as "insightful", and neither of them deserved to be. Accepting the brokenness of the slashdot moderation system, I did some textual searches of the comments and also came up dry.

There are some deep issues here, and I think that there was a time when slashdot (in a collective sense) would have been capable of addressing some of them. "Trump is a con man" and "Hillary is a witch" are NOT deep issues.

I think there are two most important issues here. One is the partisan abuse of power. Using the FBI for partisan witch hunts is bad enough, but I think the focus of Congress on partisan scheming and advertising is much more serious. There are actual national problems that the Congress could be working on.

However, for now I'm primarily going to focus on the second issue, which I can summarize as "Nobody's perfect." If you (or I) were subjected to the kind of intense scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has received, that scrutiny would turn up plenty of "evidence" of all sorts of crimes. Especially when there is no real interest in truth or justice, but only a focus on partisan advantage. I think that Hillary has a lot of enemies, and some of them are vicious to the point of insanity. Now imagine that you had an insanely vicious enemy and that enemy had complete access to all of your email. "Guilty, guilty, guilty! Off with her head!"

However, in bowing to the tone of today's slashdot, let me close on the lightheaded level. It might become a national problem if a con man occupies the oval office and there's no such thing as witches.

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