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March 22, 2018

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Count, the guy was a trained killer, better to have him outside the country than in...

A fascinating example of voter revolt:
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/27/paul-lepage-maine-governor-ranked-choice-voting-217715

Imagine its adoption for the presidency...

From Nigel's link:

voter surveys have shown that people in cities using ranked choice voting in 2013 were significantly more satisfied with the conduct of municipal campaigns and felt there was substantially less negative campaigning compared with their counterparts in cities that used conventional plurality voting.
Which makes sense, when you think about it. You don't want to do negative campaigning when your election is going to depend, in part, of being the second choice of those folks whose favorite you might have been trashing.

I found this amusing:

Manafort’s attorneys in January and again in a longer, 38-page filing Tuesday argued that acting attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein improperly ordered Mueller to investigate “links and/or coordination” between the Russian government and Trump campaign, as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from” that investigation.
Who objects to the "improper ordering of an investigation" if there is nothing there to see? It may, like taking the 5th, not be actionable in court. But anybody looking at it has to figure that there is something nasty hidden there.

The article at Nigel's link at 12:59 a.m., on ranked-choice voting in Maine, reminds me of a saying I read a long time ago:

An idea is not responsible for the people who espouse it.

Despite some behind the scenes shenanigans on the part of the people pushing ranked choice, I'm cautiously optimistic about trying it out.

With crowded primary fields in both parties, I'm hoping ranked choice will inspire people to take more care in vetting the candidates, and that we'll get better candidates out of the process than crowded fields might spew forth from the plurality-take-all system (LePage being a primary example of the latter).

Janie, I didn't quite notice. Will the parties allow you to use Ranked Choice in their Presidential primaries in Maine?

I ask because, while here in California we are using a "top two, anybody can vote for anyone" system for everything else, for the Presidential primary line, you can only vote for someone in the party you are registered in (if any). It seems the parties get to set their own rules, state law notwithstanding.

Janie, I didn't quite notice. Will the parties allow you to use Ranked Choice in their Presidential primaries in Maine?

There's a lot of info here, but I don't have time to read the fine print at the moment. Bottom line, though -- we have caucuses to select presidential candidates.

bob mcmanus put this link in the other semi-active thread. I put it here, since this one is open.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/27/insect-decimation-upstages-global-warming/

There's also this:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/catastrophe-as-frances-bird-population-collapses-due-to-pesticides

and this:

https://www.geo.tv/latest/187345-steep-decline-in-bird-populations-in-balochistan

and this:

https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/south-african-bird-populations-have-never-been-in-a-worse-shape-13696788

and this:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-24/decline-in-insect-population-baffles-scientists/9481136

Insects and birds disappearing. Canary in a coal mine? How does this continue to make its way up the food chain? When does it reach us (meaning humans, if that wasn't clear enough)?

Canary in a coal mine?
Yup. (Good thing the climate isn't changing and we don't need a Federal department to fret about the environment, huh?)

How does this continue to make its way up the food chain?
Just for the obvious: no insects (it's not just bees!) means no pollination. Which means no food crops or land food animals.

When does it reach us (meaning humans, if that wasn't clear enough)?
Too soon. Burying one's head in the sand never was a great approach to problem resolution. Still isn't.

But robo bees have just been patented to take over the (commercial) pollination. Other plants are useless anyway.

Just for the obvious: no insects (it's not just bees!) means no pollination. Which means no food crops or land food animals.

Globally, about 60% of the world's total direct calorie consumption by humans doesn't depend on insects for pollination: corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sorghum, yams, and cassava. In some poorer regions, those staples account for 90% of calories consumed. That percentage goes higher when use of the stuff on that list for livestock feed is included. Higher still when you consider things like grass-fed beef -- grass is wind-pollinated but doesn't count against the grain staples.

But damn will the diet be boring.

saying that a mere 40% of the world's food supply is at risk does not leave me feeling very reassured.

I'm not simply concerned about pollination. This represents fncking with the delicate balance of nature in general. Where that goes is anyone's guess.

Oh, I'm not just concerned with pollination. But it's significant, and it's the part that the general public can wrap their heads around easiest. Sometimes, you gotta point people at what they can understand, even if it's not the whole story. Especially when they have doubts about any expertise beyond their own understanding.

If I wanted to discuss things at the level of the general public, I wouldn't need to be on this blog. ;^)

A mere 40% doesn't reassure me, either. Less than that, though, if more of the calories are consumed directly rather than going through a 10:1 reduction via cattle. I was taking issue with wj's flat "no food crops or land food animals".

To the balance of nature thought, we've already fncked with it -- monoculture agriculture, staple grain and tuber crops grown over huge areas where they are not native, etc. Much of the agricultural pollination in the US is done by colonies of European honey bees, initially established in North America by settlers in the 1600s.

insects are food for a lot of animals, too.

"He observes that by 2000, human beings accounted for about 30 percent of the biomass of all land mammals, with our domestic livestock making up 67 percent of the rest. Due to human activities, the total amount of mammal flesh is 'over seven times greater than it was before humans came along.' And this does not take into account the billions of domestic poultry we raise. The upshot is that 'the natural state of the world—to be full of large herbivorous animals and carnivores that eat them—continues to the present day.'"
Humanity Isn't Destroying the Natural World. We're Changing It.: Welcome to Anthropocene Park.

To the balance of nature thought, we've already fncked with it --

But these latest large-scale, readily observable consequences are still at least mildly alarming, no? We're talking about a global, rapid decline in numerous insect and bird species. Fundamental sh1t is going wrong.

Much of the agricultural pollination in the US is done by colonies of European honey bees, initially established in North America by settlers in the 1600s.

The Americas also managed to get along without earthworms until Europeans brought them too.

not entirely without earthworms. there are native NA earthworms in most of the Americas (not in the north - they were mostly wiped out in the last ice age). but the introduced species have done pretty well for themselves.

Back to one of our earlier topics in this rambling thread, maybe Maine is not going to use ranked choice in June's primaries after all.

Perhaps wiping out butterflies will do to the GOP EPA what mass shootings of schoolkids will do to the NRA.

One can hope.

We have probably reached peak farmland. If we would eat less meat and do away with the ethanol program, we could take even more land out of production.

Janie, that article says "Dunlap is expected to lay out his explanation for why ranked-choice voting cannot be used this June to a legislative committee on Thursday afternoon". I'm thinking that, by now, it's pretty late afternoon there in Maine. Any word on what he had to say for himself?

wj, I haven't heard anything yet. I'm not connected in the way I was for one phase of my life, and I'm going out for the evening shortly.

But I'll keep you posted. As the article indicates, it's a mess. But then, the ranked choice thing has been messy all along, with accusations and counter-accusations and some dishonesties that have frustrated people I'm acquainted with. I keep holding on to what I started with: "an idea isn't responsible for the people who espouse it." I like the idea of ranked choice and I'd like to see us try it out. I'm not impressed with some of what I've heard about the push for it.

The Stupidest Environment Imagina ... holy jumping tweets!!! Hail Freedonia!!

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/trouble-in-conway-paradise.html

Mr Conway's sock drawer is full of fake Clinton dic pics. It's what moves him.

Insects, butterflies, and the birds are gacking out, but the rats are f&cking each other overtime.

See them scuttle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1rnBQJxfdk

I root for the deep state, that figment of the tiny imaginations of republican vermin.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a19641717/trump-public-servants-suffer/

But, when demonized, become the demon, with bells, is my prescription.

Federal employees should do their patriotic duty and sabotage and destroy as much of the federal government's functionality as possible from within.

republican filth will love them for it. The only sort of fucking piece of shit federal employee shithead republicans like are the jackbooted variety.

Don't attempt to govern me, republicans.

Or at least have the forthrightness to speak Russian when you do.

Don't fucking govern me.

There's a list of those who try, assholes.

It's just so intolerably irritating, when your only real policy priority is "Reverse anything Obama did!", when stuff like this comes along:

Top Trump administration officials are engaged in a heated debate over how to undo federal fuel-efficiency targets for cars and light trucks, as manufacturers voice concern that a major rollback of an Obama-era rule could go too far and fracture the nation’s auto market.

The internal negotiations over relaxing carbon-emissions limits for cars and SUVs slated to be sold in model years 2022 to 2025 underscore the challenge officials face in trying to fulfill President Trump’s 2017 promise to ease the regulatory burden on Detroit.

Some of the same companies that had pressed for action worry that they will be forced to comply with two standards: the stricter specifications that California imposes on its massive auto market and a separate requirement for the rest of the country.

You can understand that it would be a real pain for auto manufacturers to have to make cars to two different standards. Blame all those #[email protected]%!! coastal liberals in California -- even if a dozen states, by law, follow California's standard. Even if vast majorities of of the public like them. Like I say, irritating.

SubHuman Resources:

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/03/the-white-house-personnel-office-is-just-a-big-frat-party/

Easter and April Fool's Day.

Just saying.

The "deep state" is the government. It's the people who actually implement, at a hands-on level, the policies that elected representatives define, either through legislature or executive order.

It is in fact independent of whoever happens to be elected in any given year. That is by intent and, as of the later 19th C., law. Civilian employees of the federal government used to be creatures of whoever happened to be elected that year. That approach sucked. So, we instituted, by law, the idea of a professional civil service, where appointments were generally based on merit.

More than that, as of the Hatch Act in the 30's, civilian employees of the federal government are prohibited from engaging in partisan activity. The "loyalty" that Donald J demands of the folks who work for him is largely against the law.

The "deep state" is, basically, all of the people who have a freaking clue about what they're doing, who actually have some training and experience in the domains for which they are responsible, and who aren't primarily motivated by doing whatever they need to do to win the election and/or secure themselves a fat private consulting gig when their elected position comes to an end.

All of that is getting broken.

It [the "deep state"] is in fact independent of whoever happens to be elected in any given year. That is by intent and, as of the later 19th C., law.

And just possibly there you have it. If we are going to get back to another Gilded Age, and do it right, we have to get rid of the Civil Service and bring back the spoils system. How else can you reward all the fools who otherwise wouldn't be sufficiently willing to vote for you?

Granted, it doesn't make for particularly efficient government. But if you are rich, how much do you really care about that? If it was efficient, after all, it might do something untoward like require you to follow the same laws as the little people. Shudder!

Just channeling my inner Teddy Roosevelt here. ;-)

"Just channeling my inner Teddy Roosevelt here. ;-)"

BULLY!

BTW, when resurrecting TR's favorite exclamation ("BULLY!"), I prefer to think of it in the sense

"of, or pertaining to, a bull"

YMMV.

BULLY

Thanks russell, that video is a blast.

For wj on ranked choice in Maine.

Haven't read it myself yet but will after breakfast and caffeine.

Thanks russell, that video is a blast.

you're welcome. you gotta go outta your way to have a bad day when sam the sham is on the gig.

he always claimed the song was about his cat.

don't be no L-7, y'all.

Thanks, Janie, that was fascinating. And how nice to have a situation where, while some clarification by the court is apparently needed, both sides are in agreement about what the voters intended.

I admit to being quite taken by the concept of "implied repeal." One of the frequent problems with legislation done by initiative (or by the current Congress) is that it often fails to address all of the places in existing law that are, or might be, impacted. This, used judiciously (sorry!), could help work thru those.

Yes, wj, I thought that was interesting too, and maybe particularly pertinent in a state like Maine that has a relatively easy route to referenda and "people's vetos".

Now I'm motivated to dig around and see if California law has anything similar....

And it turns out we do. (I stumbled across a case in point from 1894.) Plus the usual "most recently enacted statute" principle.

So it looks like the only challenge is when a new law (or initiative) obsoletes some of a section of law, but not explicitly the whole thing. Then the courts get to step in and sort out whether, and how, the remaining language is applicable.

If we are going to get back to another Gilded Age, and do it right, we have to get rid of the Civil Service and bring back the spoils system. How else can you reward all the fools who otherwise wouldn't be sufficiently willing to vote for you?

Given the number of state legislative chambers and governors offices held by Republicans, plus both chambers of Congress and the Oval Office, it seems that the party doesn't need rewards. Plus Zinke is demonstrating that you can run a purge even with the Civil Service -- or at least the Senior Executive Service -- rules in place.

Given the number of state legislative chambers and governors offices held by Republicans, plus both chambers of Congress and the Oval Office, it seems that the party doesn't need rewards.

But with the whole of the Civil Service to work with, how much much more could be done. (Legislatures and Governors' offices are just such a tiny part of the whole.) Especially if, since you don't care whether the government works, you can fill up positions with opioid-addicted supporters -- after all, you don't really care if they aren't functional. Win-win!

But with the whole of the Civil Service to work with, how much much more could be done.

At its current pace, and in light of the ongoing rash of departures, it's unlikely that the administration will finish filling the positions that require Senate approval before the 2020 elections. Let alone get through the SES and start on rank-and-file Civil Service :^)

wj,

Who objects to the "improper ordering of an investigation" if there is nothing there to see? It may, like taking the 5th, not be actionable in court. But anybody looking at it has to figure that there is something nasty hidden there.

Who objects is anyone under investigation, whether there is anything nasty there or not. Same, even more so, for taking the 5th.

Whatever one thinks of Mueller, Manafort, and the rest of the cast here, the fact is that, all too often, the prosecutor is out to get you. It's a good idea to throw up whatever roadblocks you can, and not to help out by testifying, no matter how innocent you are.

such swamp draining !

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/04/what-an-amazing-coincidence

For anyone interested in AIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Brexit etc, this is the latest from Carole Cadwalladr. The Guardian and Observer, facing continuing threats and intimidation from Cambridge Analytica, and apparently also on occasion from Facebook, deserve support from anybody who feels strongly about the fact that this stuff needs exposing to the light of day.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/31/aggregateiq-canadian-tech-brexit-data-riddle-cambridge-analytica?CMP=share_btn_tw

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