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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
https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/08/22/2034212/fbi-finds-14900-more-documents-from-hillary-clintons-email-server 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.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more partisan abuse of the House of so-called Representaives 33

In response to https://verdict.justia.com/2016/08/19/outrageously-false-charges-perjury-hillary-clinton

It's a deep analysis, but from a lawyer's legalistic perspective, and it misses the point. It is not insightful. However, the data point that should be the key to the analysis is the approval rating of Congress. As of this writing, it's around 13%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

Not that I'm sure where the true insight lies, but there are several possibilities. None of them are legal. Some of them are political, but the more interesting are psychological, so that's where I'm going to start. (Though I'm going to write "firmly", that doesn't mean I have any proof that would stand up in court, or even that I am as convinced as my words might sound.)

This so-called lawsuit is a desperate maneuver by terrified men. They are perpetual cowards who right now are most terrified that they will lose their death grip on the House of so-called Representatives.

They have good reason to anticipate that outcome because they are clinging to power by tiny legalistic threads. They also know that they are violating their own oaths to "support and defend" the Constitution. The Founders' clear intention, clearly expressed in the Constitution, was for the House of Representatives to be the MOST representative and responsive and directly responsible part of the federal government, but today's so-called Republicans are merely using it as a kangaroo court for partisan politics.

If the House actually represented the voters, a 13% approval rating should mean that almost all of them would be thrown out at the next election--which is precisely why the entire House faces election every two years. They are terrified that the contagion of Trump's disastrous campaign could have that disastrous outcome this November, even though the so-called Republicans have become experts at winning while losing.

With approval ratings around 20% in the last few elections, how have the incumbents survived? By rigging the voting process so that the House of so-called Representatives is dominated by an actual minority of the actual voters.

That minority-wins effect is mostly the effect of gerrymandering. They concentrate and effectively waste many of the Democratic Party votes, while distributing their own votes in safe majorities with little waste. In other words, by partisan redistricting, they select their own voters before the voters have a chance to select them. Though the GOP gets fewer votes, they still wind up controlling much more than 50% of the resulting anti-representative House.

On top of that, insofar as their selective disenfranchisement is accurately targeted at "hostile" wannabe voters, the reality is even worse. The GOP is now dangling over the abyss. If they lose their grip on the reins of political power for a moment, they would be totally crushed. They are terrified of a flood of new and hostile voters, they are more terrified of honest redistricting, but they are MOST terrified that the Democratic Party will abuse political power in exactly the ways that they have.

From watching the Democrats in action (and mostly in inaction), I think the GOP's ultimate fears are projections and even delusional. Even when they have power, the Democrats can't figure out what to do with it and they've never sustained any focus. The Democrats just squabble among themselves (which is the main weakness of Hillary's campaign, by the way). The so-called Republicans can't afford to squabble. Like Lenin's Bolsheviks, strong party discipline is crucial when you actually represent a minor lunatic fringe.

Which brings us back to the Donald of Trump and the real terror underlying this feeble lawsuit. If Trump loses and drags many of the down-ballot Republicans down with him, it would be a total disaster for them. Think of the children and the Republican Congressman dragged away from the government teat and forced to actually work for their daily bread.

Oh wait. For a moment I forgot that they are just a bunch of rich lawyers. No real danger of actual work.

Moot to me. My own vote was neutered and negated four times over. Congratulations to the dictators of Texas. Though I was born there, I now regard myself as a stateless American of the "No Vote for You" Party.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Christian Distributism, explained 62

The capitalist solution is to allow one man to own most of the hens and turn to distribute eggs to workers who prepare the nests for him. The Communist solution is putting all the eggs into the hands of the dictator cook, who makes an omelet which is bound to be unsatisfying because not all the people like omelets, and some do not like the way the dictator cook prepares them anyway. The Christian solution is to distribute the hens so that every man can cook his eggs the way he likes them, and even eat them raw if that is his definition of freedom.

-- Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom under God, Economic Guarantee of Human Liberty, 1940/2013 (PAGE 129 -130)

User Journal

Journal Journal: By Fulton Sheen's Standards, Trump and Clinton are Communist 3

"MOST LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMS, political slogans, and radical catchwords of our times are concerned with the satisfaction of material wants. The Communist catchword is âoejobsâ âoejobsâ âoejobsâ; the politicianâ(TM)s slogan is âoeworkâ âoeworkâ âoeworkâ; the legislatorâ(TM)s promise is âoe[more] material security.â Add to this the sad fact that millions of citizens, whose bodies and souls have been ravaged by a materialist civilization, have reached a point where they are willing to sacrifice the last crumb of liberty for a piece of the cake of security. Reformers [and community organizers] have not understood their cry. Because man make demands for security, our reformers have neglected to inquire what they really want. A starving man asks for bread, when he really wants life. âoeThe body is more than the raiment, and life is more than the food.â The unemployed, the socially disinherited, the poor broken earthenware of humanity ask for âoework,â but what they really want is independence. The normal man does not want to be fed either by a social agency or a state; he wants to be able to feed himself. In other words, he wants liberty. But, as we said in the last chapter, there is only one solid economic foundation for individual liberty and that is a wider distribution of property.
Property is here understood primarily as productive property, such as land, or a share in the profits, management or ownership of industry. Property does not mean a distribution of created wealth [past savings] such as bread, circuses, and jobs, but a redistribution of creative wealth [future earnings]; not rations handed out by an agency or an employer, but a shared ownership of productive goods. Liberty to be real, concrete, and practicable must have a foundation in the economic order; namely, independence."
~ Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom under God, Economic Guarantee of Human Liberty, 1940/2013, (page 49).

User Journal

Journal Journal: If I say Charter of Rights and Freedoms

If I say Charter of Rights and Freedoms, nobody in America has a clue what I'm talking about.

If I say Bill of Rights, everyone on both sides of the border (and in other countries) knows what I'm talking about.

Capiche?

Now get off my freaking case, civvies.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What defines a troll? 36

I think this was a relevant comment for a discussion of censorship on Twitter, but slashdot's so-called lameness filter disagreed, so I'm putting it here. I think increasingly lame slashdot doth projectith too much.

If there were a "polite" dimension of moderation, then I think one of the most prominent features of trolls would be negative politeness. Large amounts of rudeness. Not the only defining characteristic of trolls, but I think it's an important one, and one of the MANY problems with trolls is how the use of a label as a dimension makes it hard to understand the problem. "Thought-provoking" is NOT the same as troll, though it may be accidentally true from time to time. "Disagrees with me" is also different from troll.

Having said that, I still think trolls should be free to speak, notwithstanding the different form of confusion mentioned in my sig. That right should NOT include the right to waste my time, however, and I should be free to ignore trolls, preferably before I have to read any of their tripe.

As noted before, I'd favor a three-part strategy to ignore them: (1) A kill filter for long-lived trolls, perhaps as an option on the Foe status of slashdot. (2) A maturity filter for fresh sock puppets. (3) A self-deterrence for insincerity. Negative sincerity is another characteristic of trolls, and it would be simple to implement by inverting (1) and (2). If a reply would be ignored, then the author of that reply should be encouraged to post elsewhere (perhaps at the top), but if the troll insists, then the reply should be given an insincerity warning: "Not a sincere dialog, and ostensible recipient will never see this reply."

Democrats

Journal Journal: This is not helpful (Updated) 60

As the CEO of the American Baby Mulching Corporation, I usually avoid taking sides when it comes to National Politics. Privately, I would generally consider myself a Republican, but a corporation such as ours must be seen to be above the fray. In 2001, for example, we donated equally to the campaigns of both Mr George W Bush, and Mr Joseph Lieberman.

But it has become abundantly clear that this country is now facing a very real threat in the form of Donald Trump. Mr Trump has made a number of statements we at American Baby Mulching consider to be seriously worrying. Mr Trump has made many statements alienating our allies. Mr Trump has made it clear he considers the use of Nuclear Weapons a viable form of warfare. He has pitted Americans against one another with his extremist anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant positions, slandering hard working Mexicans and creating a climate of fear.

As a Republican, I would not normally be comfortable endorsing the Democratic candidate for President, but in this case I feel I must, and I believe it would be the right thing for our country. Sure, Mrs Clinton and I have our differences. I personally oppose her positions on taxation, and as the CEO of a major company that requires a steady supply of disposable babies, we obviously abhor her position on abortion.

But in my dealings with Mrs Clinton, I have always found her fair and reasonable. She understands the need for corporations such as ours to mulch babies, harvesting their essential nutrients for eventual supply to ammunition manufacturers. She understands that businesses like my own require flexibility when it comes to environmental regulation, that we would be unable to employ so many workers without a low minimum wage, and she understands the need for regulators to overlook the use of undocumented immigrants and prisoners to solve staffing shortfalls.

For these reasons, I will be casting my vote for Mrs Clinton this year and I urge you to do likewise.

Updated: I'm just going to ignore the discussion at this point. It was supposed to be a comment about how things like that former CIA directory's "endorsement" of Clinton, and Bloomberg's, etc, wasn't necessarily helping those of us who are having to hold our noses and vote for a giant leap right-ward by the "left wing" party in the US this November. You know, humor. As far as the comments section goes, I've never seen such bare faced idiocy in my entire life. No wonder Trump is, current slump aside, doing so well. He might even win.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Abusive relationship with Microsoft's so-called "support" 19

How do you get locked out of Microsoft "support"? Is there any way to get back in?

My little meta-problem of the day is being locked out of Microsoft's so-called support. The email part (on outlook.live.com) works as usual, but every attempt to access the support part returns "Something went wrong and we can't sign you in right now. Please try again later." It's a black hole page with no links or options or suggestions. Once you get there, you are dead to Microsoft. Whenever I try to go to Microsoft support, that's all I've seen for several weeks now. (It may have begun months before that, but I'm glad when I forget ugly details. Dealing with Microsoft support has always been ugly.)

Returning to the original problem (of the month), the Start button is broken on one of my Windows 10 machines. Left click is dead. Fairly well known problem, but none of the solutions from non-Microsoft webpages has fixed it. If I ever had mod points, I'd mod you up for the solution, but all I can do is ask nicely.

In general, Windows 10 seems to be a good thing--but I don't really know how much it is abusing my personal information and privacy. The abusive relationship with Microsoft support is clearly the same, bad as it ever was. I really wish we actually had some good choices rather than having to search for the least bad or least evil options. There is a slightly adversarial relationship between buyers and sellers, but these years it is downright hostile. (Adversarial negotiations can still be win-win, but hostile negotiations are always lose-lose.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Secret Files of the Inquisition 2

http://www.pbs.org/inquisition/

After 700 years, the files of the Inquisition are being released, and like with the German Holocaust during WWII, they turn out to be a treasure trove for historians, since one of the primary functions of the Inquisition was to introduce better record keeping and rule of evidence to the judicial system.

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