Friday, November 11, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Well, not so much. Actually I’m about as happy as could be expected. I wouldn’t have wanted Clinton or Trump to win. I had also largely resigned myself to Clinton winning. I had resigned myself to 4 years of machine politics coupled with liberal smugness, scolding those of us idealistic unrealistic dreamers who think that maybe we shouldn’t be in undeclared wars everywhere at once, and explaining to us why we’re sexist if we don’t support the Clinton Administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, which they'd tell us she has personally fixed and which really is the gold standard now.
Make no mistake. Trump or Clinton, I’d likely be opposing nearly anything they’d be likely to do. Neither of them were progressives. The problems would come from trying to successfully oppose a centrist capitalist democrat as a progressive or as anybody else on the radical left. Speaking with the experience of someone who has tried to do just that through eight years of Obama, it isn’t easy. So here are some reasons to be cheerful.
- Clinton winning would have been a disaster to the Democrats, for reasons explained in my earlier post from back in July. Now we have a real shot for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. Sure, we’re told that “You could have just challenged her in 2020!”, but anybody who seriously believes that is somebody with a serious disconnect from the realities of party politics. The 2020 Democratic Party would be crippled, demoralized, fractured, and ready to hand the reins of the 2020s over to the Republicans.
- It’s a perverse reality in national politics that nothing defeats a movement like winning. And nothing alloys and empowers an opposition like losing. This gives us the chance to clean out the Democratic Party, to say goodbye to the days of the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Podesta, Donna Brazille, Huma Abedlin, and all the rest of that irreconcilably corrupt crowd. It lets us unite as activists in opposing Trump and the many wrongheaded and unrealistic and ineffective policies he’s going to likely propose. Meanwhile, the Republican base, the alt-right Trump voters, will be exultant up through the inauguration at least, but inside of about a year they’ll be angry and disillusioned. By 2018, once they don’t get their ponies, they’ll be sitting home in anger. Conversely if Clinton had won, the Republican base would be very angry. We had a very real risk of, at best, 1990s levels of domestic terrorism. Like a repeat of the OKC bombing, but more so, and probably quarterly. And at worst, a full nationwide multi-faction violent insurgency. There were an awful lot of ways that a Clinton victory could have gone very violently wrong.
- Republican incumbent politicians over the next 2 years will have to decide if they’re going to oppose Trump or work with Trump. If they work with Trump, they’ll be opposed by the left and by centrists in 2018, who will be able to attack Trump as president without being saddled with the defense of Clinton. If they oppose Trump, they’ll be opposed in primary fights by the alt-right who will view them as traitors, as they already do Paul Ryan, John McCain, and others. This opens the door for us to get some great candidates in office for the first time, or promoted to higher office, in 2018 and as prep for 2020.
- We're now much better positioned for 2020, and 2020 is all the marbles. If you remember 2010, the 2010 Census led to redistricting that gave the GOP a stranglehold on the US House of Representatives for the 2010s. 2010 was a midterm election and a backlash election for Democrats, and this got Republicans into state legislatures nationwide. Those state legislatures are where state level politicians draw the political districts both for the US House districts and often for the state legislature seats. In Ohio they turned three competitive districts into one packed safe Democrat district and 2 safe Republican districts. These districts were carefully gerrymandered down to the street level, if I lived in the next subdivision over I'd be in the GOP district. Now, in 2018 and 2020 the left probably isn't going to take back the US House, although it'd be nice. But what we can do is make huge gains at the statehouse level. This sets us up to carry out fair redistricting after the 2020 Census, which will give the Democrats a much better chance not only of taking back the House in 2022 (but maybe as early as 2020), but of holding it through the 2020s.
- The Republicans have controlled the White House, House, Senate, and Supreme Court all at the same time before. From 2004-2006. It led to a massive Democrat wave in 2006 and Obama's election in 2008. And they didn't put gays in camps or overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, the worst things the Bush Administration ever did, he had bipartisan support in doing, and prior to 2004 no less. Having single party control over the government leads to the opposition setting their heels in and actively resisting everything, and it leads to a backlash from voters. The backlash from Bush was pretty good, the backlash for Trumpism will be amazing.
- Trump was completely full of shit pretty much 100 percent of the time. This will hurt him with many of the people who voted for him because a lot of the things he said he'd do, he can't or won't do. Take gay marriage for example. It's a good wedge issue to stir up Republicans to get them to vote for you, and essential if you want to keep them voting for you in the general. But 60 percent of the country supports gay marriage, and that number isn't going down, so repealing it is political suicide plain and simple. They're going to talk about it, but they're not going to do anything. On top of that, there are quite a few Republican Senators in the US Senate who won re election and who support gay marriage. Rob Portman is one. Any GOP senator for a state where gay marriage is heavily supported is not going to want to fight that fight.
- Anything that Trump and the Republicans actually manage to accomplish will lead to a huge backlash. It'll suck in the short term, but be much better in the long term. Say they actually manage to repeal Obamacare. Well, Obamacare sucks. It does some things well, but it does a number of other things very badly. If it is repealed, none of the underlying problems that caused Obamacare to be passed into law go away. Instead they return, stronger and worse.
- The Clinton campaign for some reason decided to embark on a dangerous anti-Russian course. Putin is terrible. He's done terrible things. The Russians are a huge problem. The resolution to that problem isn't blaming them for hackers getting your poorly secured emails, or arming militias fighting a government armed by the Russians. Under a Clinton administration we faced a very real threat of increasing and escalating brinkmanship. Including a worst case scenario of the US military directly fighting the Russian military in Syria. Which could very easily lead to World War 3. Assume that the worst case scenario put forth by the Clintons and their media friends is true, and Trump is directly a puppet of Putin. Hey, that sure makes World War 3 a lot less likely? We can come back from Trump and Putin dividing up the world like Molotov and Ribbentrop, we couldn't come back from a nuclear war. Maybe Japan and Saudi Arabia get nukes... but Israel and Pakistan and India already do. And I'm less worried about a handful of nukes in those countries than I am about a full nuclear exchange between the US and Russia.
- The TPP is dead now. It isn't going to be lost on Trump or on Republicans or on Democrats that he won the Rust Belt, and in no small part because he was the only candidate credibly opposing the TPP. Clinton supported it as a Secretary of State, unconvincingly changed course when running for office, was shown by her emails to be posing for votes https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/8452 , and she lost union households in Ohio probably as a result. Now it and other abusive trade deals are very likely dead in DC for the foreseeable future.
- Probably the best result from this is that the Clinton way of politics has been resoundingly defeated. Big money has failed. Corrupt domination of the primary process has failed. Collusion between the media and a political party has failed. And in so doing, it has been irrevocably tainted. I wrote before about the risks of the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund and the dangers of that way of politics becoming standard. Well, it's pretty fricking dead now. Whoever the Democrats put up as candidates in 2020, they'll be the product of a populist process, not least because the old guard of Democratic politics is old now and aren't likely to be on deck to run in four years. Whatever remains of the Democratic establishment in 2020, they'll be very hesitant to try and force an unpopular candidate on the voters.
Now, if you're a communist (I am), or LGBT, or a religious minority (I am), or an immigrant, you have a good reason to be worried about the coming four years. Because Trump and the Republicans could do all sorts of terrible things. But if it seems like working class rural Americans don't care about your problems so long as their concerns get addressed, well, at least now you have some idea of what it feels like to be a civilian in Syria or Yemen or Pakistan or Iraq, living under the constant threat of death thanks to Obama's foreign policy, with a bunch of Democrats in the US completely uncaring about your problems so long as their concerns get addressed.
Atheists and homosexuals are killed by the government in Saudi Arabia, the country working with the US to massacre Houthis in Yemen and arm militants in Syria, the country that gave between 10 and 25 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Life under a Democratic administration sucked for a lot of people in the world, life under a Republican administration will suck for a few more people, including those in the US, for a little while. And when the Republicans try to go to war somewhere now, maybe the Democrat establishment will actually help us oppose it, instead of the enthusiastic cheerleading that American militarism has enjoyed under Obama and would have enjoyed under Clinton.
To put it more succinctly, are you scared? Under the Obama Administration, Pakistani children learned to fear the sky. They were scared too. And now, with Clinton out of the picture, we have a good chance of joining with the Democrats and with the rest of the world in fighting these policies instead of tacitly or openly supporting them under the umbrella of lesser-evilism.
Monday, July 25, 2016
1. Clinton is demonstrably corrupt, as is the DNC machine that got her the nomination, and electing her rewards that corruption.
2. With a corrupt and unpopular incumbent, the Democrats lose downticket elections in 2018 and 2020, as well as allowing someone even worse than Trump to take over the Republicans and beat Clinton in 2020.
3. The president's party loses seats in the midterms more than 75% of the time.
4. Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats since the reasonably popular Obama was elected, and it'd be much worse under Clinton.
5. Republicans need 38 state legislatures to be able to overrule the Supreme Court and change the Constitution and its amendments however they want.
6. Currently Republicans control both chambers of the state legislatures in 31 states, and one of two chambers in 8 more.
7. If Trump wins, it will be a disaster for Republicans for the same reasons that Clinton would be a disaster for Democrats.
8. Trump isn't nearly as bad as he's presented, and his worst excesses would be limited by the leadership in his own party.
9. For these reasons, it is imperative that Clinton loses in November, because the alternative is 12 years of Democrat losses. A Trump presidency would be bad but it wouldn't be that bad, but it would lead to 12 years of progressive wins.
10. Vote for whoever you want. Clinton, Trump, Stein, Johnson. Trump perversely actually does have the best and the most specific trade policy right now, Johnson is pro-TPP, and Clinton is lying about opposig it. I'll probably be undecided until I push the button on the Diebold machines only to have it get edited in post to a Clinton vote.
Recently emails were released that were hacked from DNC email servers showing something we all suspected, that the DNC was extensively colluding with Clinton and with the media to favor her campaign over that of Bernie Sanders.
In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.
“She finally did, but not before speaking with President Obama — and not without a fight, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations.”
“I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years. I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie–which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states. I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.”
“The bottom line: Republicans now control about 56 percent of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats, up 12 percentage points since 2009.
Thirty-five states posted double-digit seat losses for the Democrats in state legislatures, including more than 50 seats each in Arkansas, New Hampshire and West Virginia.”
“According to Article V of our Constitution, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications.”
Cruz, along with fellow Republican presidential aspirants Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), has endorsed an old conservative goal of a Constitutional amendment to mandate a balanced federal budget. The idea sounds fanciful, but free-market ideologues associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive group of right-wing legislators and their corporate allies, are close to pulling off a coup that could devastate the economy, which is just emerging from a recession. Their scheme could leave Americans reeling for generations. A balanced budget amendment would prevent the federal government from following the Keynesian strategy of stimulating the economy during an economic depression by increasing the national debt. (Since 1970, the United States has had a balanced budget in only four years: 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.)
Article V of the Constitution lays out two routes for changing the law of the land: An amendment can be proposed by Congress or by a constitutional convention that is convened by two-thirds of the states (34). Either way, three-fourths of the states (38) have to ratify it. Previously, changes to the country’s founding document have been achieved by the first process. But as of today, 28 states—six shy of the two-thirds threshold required by Article V—have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment.
The ALEC-affiliated Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (BBATF), which proffered the pledge signed by Cruz, is hoping to meet that 34-state threshold by July 4. BBATF is one player in an astroturf movement backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and embraced by right-wing state legislators.
Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs.
One: I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified.
Two: I'm going to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.
Three: I'm going to direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then direct all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses.
Four: I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.
Five: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply.
Six: I am going to instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO. China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO, and I intend to enforce those rules.
Seven: If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
President Reagan deployed similar trade measures when motorcycle and semiconductor imports threatened U.S. industry. His tariff on Japanese motorcycles was 45% and his tariff to shield America’s semiconductor industry was 100%.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Obama had BLM in the WH. They are a terrorist group, and will be labeled as such soon. Cop killers in the WH sucks & so does the potus!After 15 years of the War on Terror, what do we do with terrorists? We jail them indefinitely sometimes. More often, we kill them. Classifying someone as a terrorist means you take out their vehicle or wedding party or house with a Hellfire launched from Nellis, or you light them up with an Apache, or Marines take them out. We kill terrorists.
Black Lives Matter is a political movement, one I consider myself part of, that believes the police are far too ready to use and misuse deadly force, and that they do not have enough legal accountability for this, and that people are too ready to excuse them when people, predominantly African-Americans, die as a result.
For example, in florida this week a black behavorial therapist was shot by a cop while the therapist tried to calm an autistic patient in his care. When the black man, who thankfully survived, asked the cop why he was shot, the cop said "I don't know."
Let that soak in, because it's terrifying. It'd be even more terrifying if I was a black man, but as I possess empathy and common decency I can at least try to imagine how terrifying it would be to be in that position. What's more, that black man had been lying down on the ground with his hands in the air explaining to the police what was happening and that the autistic man had a toy truck. There is nothing more he could have done to comply and be non-threatening, but he couldn't change his skin color.
So, that's why Black Lives Matter exists. But to that Trump supporter, we're a terrorist movement. And in the US we kill terrorists.
After everything went to fucky fuck hell, the friend who'd asked the question initially made another post bemoaning the lack of unity and civility in American politics.
How can we expect our leaders to work across the aisle when we can't do the sane with our friends and neighbors? I asked a question to Trump supporters today and was shocked at how rapidly it turned partisan. What I found, in my opinion, is we share many of the same concerns. For me the only major difference is immigration. I do believe we need to put aside our preconceived notions of what a conservative and liberal are and speak to each other with a more open mind and try understand why others hold the beliefs they have.The white woman who'd called BLM terrorists replied to this blaming us, and also quite inaccurately calling me a Clinton supporter, saying
Your Hillary friends started the insults & mud slinging. You asked your Trump friends for their opinion and we're getting good feedback until the Hillary supporters started attacking. Just saying. Go figure.My own response to his post is reproduced below in its entirety:
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Obsidian kills White Walkers, and obsidian is formed from lava. Dragonfire can melt stone and sand, as evidenced by Harrenhal. Dragons can turn sand into things that can kill White Walkers.Somehow this was considered a "logical leap" and "video game logic" by some.
Which is ridiculous.
First, "Dragonglass" is just obsidian.
Dragonglass is a common name in Westeros for the substance known as obsidian, a form of volcanic glass.Second, "Obsidian" is just "a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization."
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.Third, "Felsic Lava" can be produced at temperatures of 1200-1400 Fahrenheit if the chemical composition is correct.
Felsic LavaFourth, the question now becomes, is Dragonflame hot enough to melt stone? Well, yes. This was done to make the dragonroads, the Black Wall of Volantis, and to thoroughly wreck Harrenhal. The color of the dragonfire of Dany's younger dragons indicates it is roughly 2000F give or take. More than enough to make Felsic Lava.
Felsic or silicic lavas such as rhyolite and dacite typically form lava spines, lava domes or "coulees" (which are thick, short lava flows) and are associated with pyroclastic (fragmental) deposits. Most silicic lava flows are extremely viscous, and typically fragment as they extrude, producing blocky autobreccias. The high viscosity and strength are the result of their chemistry, which is high in silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, forming a polymerized liquid rich in feldspar and quartz, and thus has a higher viscosity than other magma types. Felsic magmas can erupt at temperatures as low as 650 to 750 °C (1,202 to 1,382 °F). Unusually hot (>950 °C; >1,740 °F) rhyolite lavas, however, may flow for distances of many tens of kilometres, such as in the Snake River Plain of the northwestern United States.
No leaps of logic, no video game logic, just a combination of the fantasy rules already established within the Game of Thrones setting (for example, "dragonflame is hot" and "dragonglass kills white walkers") and of real world science.
I'm not the first person to make the connection either
Dragonfire can be used to make more than just castle ruins, it can also turn sand to glass. Dragonglass seems to be obsidian made with dragonfire instead of a volcano. When lava rich in feldspar and quarts is cooled very quickly, there isn't enough time for the molecules to align neatly and form a crystal. Instead, the molecules harden in a disordered fashion and become glass. The resulting "volcano glass" is more commonly known as obsidian. This is a distinct two step process. First the rock is melted and becomes liquid and is then cooled quickly. However, in certain cases this two step process happens very quickly and it seems the glass is produced in one step. At the Trinity test site, it is not unusual to find what is called Trinitite or Trinity Glass. During the bomb test the desert sand, composed mainly of quartz and feldspare with hints of other elements, was sucked up into the bomb blasts fireball, melted and cooled rapidly as it rained down. It can be found in several colors depending on what trace elements are present, some types are even red when copper from near by electrical cables was brought into the mix. It is mildly radio active. This whole process can also happen when sand is struck by lightning. The sand melts with the heat of the lightning then solidifies into glass very quickly. It seems that there is no reason this shouldn't happen with dragonfire. Interestingly, the temperature needed to melt rock and form obsidian is very close to the temperature needed to melt granite. Seems like these dragons were made to conquer Westeros and create the weapons needed to rule Beyond the Wall. If any one of the great dragons blew fire on sand or other glass-forming compounds, the sand would melt then harden quickly into the Walker-killing glass.Hilariously, after I pointed all this out, the one who'd said
You got some heavy video game logic going on there.Replied to my science with
In a fantasy world, yes I am going to assume that not everything in it is similar to the real world.Now who's using video game logic?
Saturday, February 13, 2016
William Magear Tweed (April 3, 1823 – April 12, 1878) – often erroneously referred to as William Marcy Tweed (see below), and widely known as "Boss" Tweed – was an American politician most notable for being the "boss" of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of 19th century New York City and State. At the height of his influence, Tweed was the third-largest landowner in New York City, a director of the Erie Railroad, the Tenth National Bank, and the New-York Printing Company, as well as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel.
Tweed was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1852 and the New York County Board of Supervisors in 1858, the year he became the head of the Tammany Hall political machine. He was also elected to the New York State Senate in 1867, but Tweed's greatest influence came from being an appointed member of a number of boards and commissions, his control over political patronage in New York City through Tammany, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters through jobs he could create and dispense on city-related projects.
According to Tweed biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman:It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.
Tweed was convicted for stealing an amount estimated by an aldermen's committee in 1877 at between $25 million and $45 million from New York City taxpayers through political corruption, although later estimates ranged as high as $200 million. Unable to make bail, he escaped from jail once, but was returned to custody. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC and the new rules are likely to provide her with an advantage.
The new rules have already opened up opportunities for influence-buying “by Washington lobbyists with six-figure contributions to the Hillary Victory Fund,” said Wertheimer, suggesting that lobbyists could also face “political extortion” from those raising the money.
The move to create the “Victory Funds” – in which the money raised would be divided between the state parties and the Clinton campaign – comes as efforts to form a joint fund-raising agreement with the Democratic National Committee have repeatedly hit snags over concerns in the Clinton campaign about the current party leadership’s controlling the money in any shared account. The national committee, which is intended to remain neutral, has been accused by Mrs. Clinton’s rivals for the nomination of taking actions that could benefit Mrs. Clinton, such as restricting the number of debates.
According to a Wednesday night FEC filing, the states set up agreements with the "Hillary Victory Fund," ensuring that each state party "collects contributions, pays fundraising expenses and disburses net proceeds for ... the authorized committee of a federal candidate." Many key primary states and battleground states signed the agreements, such as Florida, Ohio, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire.
In addition to the 33 state agreements, the Hillary Victory fund also has set up joint fundraising agreements with Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee. By doing so, Clinton's fundraising dollars can aid Democrats in each of the participating states and allow donors who give to the state parties to aid her campaign, thus linking the success of other Democrats to her own dollars and vice versa.
The Clinton campaign’s super joint fundraising committee is out of the ordinary for two reasons. First, presidential candidates do not normally enter into fundraising agreements with their party’s committees until after they actually win the nomination. Second, Clinton’s fundraising committee is the first since the Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon v. FEC decision eliminated aggregate contribution limits and Congress increased party contribution limits in the 2014 omnibus budget bill.
One of the first Iowans to buy "Hard Choices" was Dr. Andrea McGuire, who was co-chairwoman of Clinton's 2008 campaign in Iowa. "I want to see what she has to say about what she did as secretary of state and how she's become the great leader she is," she said.
It wasn't a leap to suspect McGuire would add the book to her collection. The license plate on her Buick Enclave says "HRC 2016."
"It was a Christmas gift from my kids," said McGuire, who lives in Des Moines. "They said what would their mom like best and what she would like is for Hillary to be president."
Sanders aides asked to sit down with the state party to review the paperwork from the precinct chairs, Batrice said.
"We just want to work with the party and get the questions that are unanswered answered," she said.
McGuire, in an interview with the Register, said no.
Democratic voters reported long lines, too few volunteers, a lack of leadership and confusing signage. In some cases, people waited for an hour in one line, only to learn their precinct was in a different area of the same building. The proceedings were to begin at 7 p.m. but started late in many cases.
The scene at precinct No. 42, the one with the final missing votes, was "chaos" Monday night, said Jill Joseph, a rank-and-file Democratic voter who backed Sanders in the caucuses.
None of the 400-plus Democrats wanted to be in charge of the caucus, so a man who had shown up just to vote reluctantly stepped forward. As Joseph was leaving with the untrained caucus chairman, who is one of her neighbors, "I looked at him and said, 'Who called in the results of our caucus?' And we didn't know."
- Donations to the "Hillary Clinton Victory Fund" are spread out among campaigns in the participating states.
- Politician campaigns for Clinton and calls on people to donate.
- Donors donate to the "Hillary Clinton Victory Fund"
- Donations are shared between Hillary Clinton and the politician who was campaigning for her.
It's all documented. And that donation-sharing goes not just for small time internet donors but for big campaign fundraisers.
- The establishment's chosen candidate, based on whoever's “turn”
it is, sets up a
Victory Fund that links funding between their primary campaign and the re-election campaigns of all incumbents, as well as the campaigns of anyone chosen by party leadership to challenge a Republican
- With the full might of the national, state, and local Democratic Party leveled against any potential challengers, the challenge becomes clearly futile (especially if Clinton's plan works in 2016) and every primary is a coronation.
- Campaign contributors, including business interests, are able to simply buy not only the candidate they want but the support of the entire state level party. The candidates who get through the process will all be corrupt, as it will be impossible for an honest politician to survive politically.
- Scare tactics will be used to coerce the voting base into voting for whoever is presented, no matter how bad they are, because they aren't on the opposing team.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I see plenty of memes on Facebook that we've had a "mass shooting a day". This number originated as intentional propaganda by an anti-gun subreddit, and has been repeated by the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the New York Times.
At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth, open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.
He then describes the different methods of counting used:
For at least the past decade, the F.B.I. regarded a mass shooting as a single attack in which four or more victims were killed. (In 2013, a mandate from President Obama for further study of the problem lowered that threshold to three victims killed.) When we began compiling our database in 2012, we used that criteria of four or more killed in public attacks, but excluded mass murders that stemmed from robbery, gang violence or domestic abuse in private homes. Our goal with this relatively narrow set of parameters was to better understand the seemingly indiscriminate attacks that have increased in recent years, whether in movie theaters, elementary schools or office parks.
The statistics now being highlighted in the news come primarily from shootingtracker.com, a website built by members of a Reddit forum supporting gun control called GunsAreCool. That site aggregates news stories about shooting incidents — of any kind — in which four or more people are reported to have been either injured or killed.
He explains the danger in using the wider definition:
There is value in collecting those stories as a blunt measure of gun violence involving multiple victims. But as those numbers gain traction in the news media, they distort our understanding. According to our research at Mother Jones — subsequently corroborated by the F.B.I. — the more narrowly defined mass shootings have grown more frequent, and overwhelmingly involve legally obtained firearms. Experts in the emerging field of threat assessment believe that this is a unique phenomenon that must be understood on its own.
I also see plenty of memes on Facebook saying that since Australia passed "reasonable gun control", meaning they more or less banned civilian gun ownership in most circumstances, they haven't had a mass shooting.
For example, the New York Times, same people who repeat Reddit when saying we have a mass shooting a day, claimed that Australia ended mass killings. In fact, in order to have Australia meet that criteria, the New York Times doesn't use the "GunsAreCool" definition of a mass shooting and instead creates their own:
The oft-cited statistic in Australia is a simple one: There have been no mass killings — defined by experts there as a gunman killing five or more people besides himself — since the nation significantly tightened its gun control laws almost 20 years ago.
Well shit, that's a tighter threshold than the FBI or Mother Jones used. By that standard we would have had much less "mass killings" in the US than even those claimed by Mother Jones, and thousands less than claimed by... the New York Times.
"We will find any means we can to further restrict them because I hate guns. I don't think people should have guns unless they're police or in the military or in the security industry. There is no earthly reason for people to have weapons. Ordinary citizens should not have weapons. We do not want the American disease brought into Australia."
When you see people supporting the Australian method, this is what they're saying. Ordinary citizens should not be arms, and guns will be restricted by any means necessary because the people pushing for gun laws hate guns. If your position is that we should have some new laws but still have citizen "weapon" ownership, realize that when you join with people pushing for Australian gun control and looking at Australia as a model.
If you're a gun owner trying to find a middle ground, realize you're working with people who hate that you as a civilian are able to own any firearm and every new law they get passed is towards the ultimate goal of ending that.
Following those restrictions was the Monash University shooting in 2002.
The Monash University shooting refers to a school shooting in which a student shot his classmates and teacher, killing two and injuring five.
By the GunsAreCool standard, a mass shooting. 7 people were shot.
It began after a 39-year-old resident of the suburb, later identified as Donato Anthony Corbo, entered his neighbours' property and shot four people, killing three and severly wounding one. An eight-hour stand-off with police followed, during which time he shot and wounded two officers.
By the GunsAreCool standard, a mass shooting. 6 people were shot.
In 2014, the Hunt Family murders.
Murder-suicide shooting spree by Geoff Hunt who killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself
Five fatalities, four family members and a suicide by the killer; a mass shooting by GunsAreCool **and** FBI standards. But not by the much tighter New York Times standard intended to make Australia look perfect, which would exclude the perpetrator.
Under the new federal definition which was ordered by Obama and lowers the number required for the FBI to declare something a mass killing from four to three, Australia has another. The 2014 Wedderburn shooting:
A shooting murder of a neighbour family (Greg Holmes, 48, his mother Mary Lockhart, 75, and her husband Peter Lockhart, 78) by Ian Francis Jamieson, 63.
On top of these four mass shootings, there have also been 171 deaths in mass arson attacks, there was a mass stabbing that killed 8, and a mass blunt instrument killing that killed 5. This shows that mass murderers will find other methods.
There's a graph by GunPolicy.org an anti-gun site, showing the rate of firearms deaths in Australia falling over time.
If that data line looks familiar, there's a reason. Here's the rate of homicide gun deaths for the US for roughly the same time.
In both countries, murders have been consistently falling, at roughly the same rate and over the same period of time. Since we have drastically different gun laws, maybe the gun laws aren't the factor.
Regardless, here's my main point. If anti-gun activists want to use their wildly inflated "a mass shooting a day!" bogus statistic, they cannot then claim that Australia hasn't had any mass shootings since they passed "reasonable gun control".
And these definitions are important, as discussed by USA Today:
Yet marking the death toll of mass killings in America is anything but simple. It's hampered by the FBI's voluntary reporting system that gets it right a little more than half the time, and by advocacy groups who may count only incidents that support their cause, ignoring killings that don't involve a gun or did not get heavy media coverage.
Concentrating on just one type of mass killing — or only on those that get a lot of attention — may be worse than just using the FBI data, because it can skew public understanding and lead to ineffective policies, says Grant Duwe, a senior researcher with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, who has written a book on mass killings based on a data set he built covering the 1900s.
USA Today also mentions that the FBI is releasing the raw data for easier review but there's a caution against misuse:
Even with better data, special interest groups or unscrupulous academics can manipulate the numbers, just as with any other data set.
"If you have a cherry-picked list of cases, it's basically garbage in, garbage out," Duwe said. "And it does have important implications to additional research we do in terms of public policy."
Careful and scrupulous review of the data by USA Today provided interesting results:
USA TODAY's data debunks common beliefs. For example, it shows that the number of mass killings has not increased in recent years; most occur among family members; and handguns, not assault weapons, are most commonly used.
Honesty and academic rigor is important. It's especially important if your goal is to enact effective public policy and to negotiate in good faith with both sides of a political issue. But they are much less important if your goal is to simply repeat phony statistics that make you feel good and that you and your friends think illustrate the bloody handed evil and greed of the "gun lobby". This can feel satisfying in the short run, it may drive Likes and Shares and Pageviews, but it doesn't do anything about violence and makes genuinely effective policy changes much harder to attain.
There's a reason why people with an agenda, and the New York Times is leading the charge on that, want to use a different definition of mass shooting for Australia than they use for the US. It's important to make it look like new gun laws work. So Australia must have a perfect record. These people with an agenda are selling a promise of safety and security. "If we enact Australia's gun laws it will end mass killings in America." But nothing is certain. And the reason they use a different number for the US is so that they can inflate the severity. Four mass shootings a year would be bad enough. But it doesn't generate enough of an unreasoning panic, so they have to change the definitions to make it look like there's a Newton or Columbine every day.
The lesson of Australia is that you don't end gun violence or mass killings just by passing a law. There's not a magic legal wand you can wave to end violence. And if somebody is offering you one, they're lying to you. Be very careful before you repeat anything they say.