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November 14, 2019

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also... NC is likely to gain one, maybe two, seats from the next census.

so, 2020 is going to be an absolutely crucial election.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/stephen-miller-can-push-racist-crap-but-the-president-has-his-back?ref=scroll

Cohen and trump and the entire nest of vipers are merely the latest malign instruments of the anti-American conservative movement conceived of decades ago.

Already, murderous evolving evil even worse is being gestated within the conservative movement to succeed the vermin like Cohen and trump.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/1/1896408/-Alt-right-trolls-make-life-miserable-for-Charlie-Kirk-and-his-Turning-Point-USA-Culture-War-tour

If Stephen Cohen and most of the rest of the White House staff are not publicly executed along with the traitors Trump and Pence, then all of this "process" is a fucking waste of America's time.

These filthy hateful predators cannot be permitted to melt back into the political opposition where they will continue to fuck America and Americans.

No more politically correct "tolerance" for these vermin.

And there are plenty more of the ratfuckers where they come from.

Notice how quiet malignant beasts like Ryan and Norquist are lately? They lurk as their evil political movement circles the drain, hoping to re-emerge among the smoking wreckage as voices of reason by comparison.

No. Fucking goddamned NO!

My bones speak.

They know the horrific future America is looking down the conservative movement gun barrel of. They know what needs to happen in savage self-defense and who it needs to happen to.

The President of the United States and his crypto-religious demon base want violent Civil War.

I want to be one of the millions of Demons who will fulfill their wishes.

JDT, that Daily Beast article is titled:
Stephen Miller Can Push Racist Crap But the President Has His Back

This surprises anyone why? That Trump personally is a flaming racist has been obvious for decades. Why would one of his top advisors being a racist be anything but a recommendation as far as he's concerned?

Yet another country falls to the subhuman, murderous worldwide conservative movement led by trump, Putin, Bolsonaro and company.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/11/bolivia-the-white-revenge

But the Chilean people show the world how to disobey, disrupt, and destroy predatory oligarchs, like our home-grown filth.

I wish Milton Freidman was still alive to be extradited and placed on trial In Chile for his crimes in support of the murderous Pinochet putsch.

We could always dig him and seal his mouth with salt, just to make sure.

https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cvenzmgyg45t/chile

Maduro of Venezuela must of course be slaughtered as well, but fascist conservative populism imported from America must be resisted in that country by brutal force.

"This surprises anyone, WHY?"

It's completely normalized now, just as the conservative movement has wished it to be since it emerged as the cuck subsidiary of the John Birch Society and Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, which recruited racist confederate Democrats as the centerpiece of virulent anti-government cultural and economic war.

It would be good if it WAS a surprise. But the dark heart of racist nationalist America has been normalized at the highest levels of government and formerly polite society, which means the measures that Will be taken to eradicate this prion disease once and for all from my country will be horrific.

We're not doing this any longer. We're fucking done with these monsters.

NOTHING Matters.

I'm also curious as to when it was discovered that pi is a constant. It seems utterly mundane that the ratio is the same for all circles, but is that just intuitively obvious?

Archimedes's method for estimating the ratio, at least, based on inscribed and circumscribed polygons and the length of sides of triangles, is independent of the value of the radius, so must be a constant. He lacked the tools to prove that the two infinite series would converge to the same value, but that's at least intuitively comfortable.

“ Yet another country falls to the subhuman, murderous worldwide conservative movement led by trump, Putin, Bolsonaro and company.”

You mean the coup supported by the liberal NYT editors and HRW grand poobah Kenneth Roth in alliance with Trump and Marco Rubio? Ah, bipartisanship.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/opinion/evo-morales-bolivia.html

Unlike Loomis, I don’t think this is due to naive American liberal ignorance regarding how fascist the Latin American right is. Some people, including some liberals, prefer fascism in other countries over an anti American leftist populist who might or might not have done something irregular in the election. ( as is typical of the NYT, they leave out arguments of people who question the claims of the largely US funded OAS.). Morales is not exactly clean here, but he was forced from office months earlier than the end of his term by the military. Didn’t matter— they were already holding Morales responsible if things didn’t go smoothly.

If Trump were a Bolivian and not American, he could have led the coup and the NYT editors would make fun of people who called it a coup.

Good to see you back, Donald.

I'm down to reading the recipes in the New York Times Magazine.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-second-most-dangerous-man-in-america.html

By the way, Bill Kristol does not get to be a friend or ally of mine.

He brought us half way to fucking Hell.

Thanks John. I still lurk here sometimes. But most of the time I don’t feel like ranting. The Bolivian thing ticked me off— not your remark— it gave me an excuse to vent—as the hypocritical applause given to the coup not just by Trumpists, but by some liberals. Leftwing Twitter was well ahead of the mainstream press in reporting violence by the coup supporters.

As I was ranting ( in private, to real life friends) the other day, it would be nice if we had news organizations that really tried to report the news without spinning it one way or another. My far left sources spin things one way, but it isn’t hard to see the level of BS in the supposedly responsible msm. Bolivia was obviously a coup and yet the msm was straining not to call it that.

Back to lurking.

For sort-of-unbiased news, I generally look at Reuters, maybe Christian Science Monitor, and (believe it or not) USA Today.

I'm curious to know if others either find the above to actually be not-so-unbiased, or if you know of other good, relatively neutral sources.

I haven't read the NYTimes since the Bill Keller days.

I like The Washington Post these days, and give them as much love as I can. It was my family's paper growing up, and although I boycotted it for awhile, they've redeemed themselves very well for the most part. They have many despicable columnists (and I occasionally weigh in and complain, but mostly just don't click), but their web front page is usually pretty good. I find that the arrangement of the front page of the web version is very important to me, and usually I don't have a beef.

The Washington Post usually focuses on Washington politics, which I like because that was my upbringing, and it's my interest. They fall somewhat short on international news. Maybe it's there, but not prominently, and I tend not to loo for it online.

I think russell's news sources are good. More than one news source is essential because one can't align one's views perfectly with one editor, and if that's happening you have to wonder whether your own critical thinking is working.

I hate to say it, but I am a Twitter addict. People can choose to follow people they trust, and click links accordingly. Hilzoy is someone I follow, for example. Never disappointed in where she sends me.

Just reminding people here that our good friend nombrilisme vide, you know - the longtime commenter who hasn't showed up since 2016, hated and tried to discredit Andrea Chalupa, whose sister, Alexandra Chalupa, has been vilified by Trumpists based on Ukraine politics.

The right-wing smear conspiracy pumping up Putin's Ukraine puppets: just be aware. These people find collaborators, or willing dupes, or whatever.

Nice people all. Some have children or pets.

This reminded me that I hadn't looked at hilzoy's twitter feed in ages. To my great joy, I find that on November 12th, talking about the Ukraine situation and what Zelensky had said about the Trump call, she quoted Monty Python's Piranha Brothers sketch (as I have often done here). Oh the bliss.

hilzoy: When I read the line about how Zelensky said there was no pressure, I think of this:

"Interviewer: I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.

Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to buy his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me."

I read the NYT every day, and have held off on a WaPo subscription because of cost. I sort of feel that I should only have one at the moment. (I am currently on a special, cheap subscription to the New Yorker, but probably won't continue it when the few initial weeks are up.)

Nice people all. Some have children or pets.

When I reread that, it almost seemed that I might have been saying something against kids or pets. Hope y'all didn't read it that way - my point is that people can be loving towards creatures around them, while being completely horrendous to others.

GftNC, I was so glad to read that connection with Hilzoy!

I'm mad at the NYT. I read links occasionally but don't pay for it. I pay for the Post, and have watched the hearings on the Post's live feed.

I wish I'd had Marie Yovanovitch as a role model in my youth. So grateful that she spoke out. I love her so much.

NYT i do not understand; they seem so sloppy with facts sometimes - i can't even attribute it to bias because they're sloppy in all directions.

WaPo hates Trump. and that makes me smile.

WaPo hates Trump. and that makes me smile.

I'm not sure that's really true -- stipulating that Trump certainly sees it that way. They hate how he behaves. They hate what he is doing (and trying to do) to the country. But there's nothing personal in it.

“ Just reminding people here that our good friend nombrilisme vide, you know - the longtime commenter who hasn't showed up since 2016, hated and tried to discredit Andrea Chalupa, whose sister, Alexandra Chalupa, has been vilified by Trumpists based on Ukraine politics.”

Kinda hate to break it to you, but some lefties don’t like our policies in the Ukraine. I could do links, but I don’t feel like I know enough to really get into ranty mode on Ukrainian issues. But I have seen this on the far left, just in case you think this is supposed to prove Putin or Trumpian sympathies. I saw it in 2016 and I actually think I once linked to an article critical of Chalupa.

Politics is kind of complicated and there are often multiple factions arguing about the same events. It is a mistake trying to force everyone into one of two categories, but Americans often do this. Hell, a few times Trump himself has actually said things that echo far left criticisms of US foreign policy. Usually within 30 seconds or so he is pardoning war criminals, advocating blatant imperialism ( taking Syrian oil ) or advocating the killing of families of terrorists, which spoils the effect.

I gotta stop lurking for a bit or old patterns will reassert themselves.

Louisiana's Democratic governor reelected. A couple of Trump visits and a bunch of GOTV tweets notwithstanding.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/election-results/louisiana/

And Alabama with a Democratic Senator. Verily, even in the deepest of the Deep South, things are showing signs of change.

Pitch perfect - and probably smarted more than the most coruscating of insults...
”Tonight, the people of Louisiana have chosen to chart their own path," Mr Edwards told a crowd of supporters on Saturday.
"And as for the president, God bless his heart," he added, drawing laughter from some onlookers...

Of course we have been saying all along that if the Democrats will nominate an antiabortion, gun rights advocate it becomes easier to win elections in the south. I'm pretty sure Edwards wouldnt win a MA Republican primary, he would be too conservative.

Naturally, Marty.

But if Louisiana elects Democrats like that to Congress, they won’t vote to confirm presidential lickspittles like Bill Barr.
Or attempt to repeal Obamacare.

What Nigel said.

Better is good!

Oh you mean they present a compromise position. Where purity test voters on the left or right actually have to make a choice?

What a novel idea.

Although I'm not sure they dont vote for Bill Barr.

the last President tried to be one of those people.

you gave him less than zero chance.

I gave him two years, then suffered through the next six. Zero chance is not what he got. Like this President he was surprised that the most powerful person in the world needed other people to get things done.

Elections have consequences, he just didnt understand what that really meant.

People who need Mitch McConnell are the most shit-outta-luck people in the world.

Unlike this president, he wasn't a crook.

Fox News. Pretty concise summary.

Get him the hell out.

I look forward to the day when "scandal" means something like tan suits and putting your feet on the desk.

And with reference to that, some of us remember when Trump was tweeting about Napolitano calling him "a certain very talented legal mind” and a "very talented lawyer on Fox [News]" In fact, I seem to remember even more lavish praise, but can't be bothered to find it.

unsurprisingly, over on the Fox News site the comments aren't supportive of Napolitano.

lots of people are pointing out that Napolitano is unaware of specific parts of the imaginary Constitutions they have all memorized.

Nominally relation to the Original Post, on the grounds that matter matters.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/11/neutrino-oscillations-lead-striking-mathematical-discovery/602128/

It's just way too cool . . . even if the math is over my head. I particluarly like the fact that we may be another step towards figuring out why the universe has so much matter and little or no anti-matter.

No, Marty. I mean that rational conservatives have no place in the party of Trump, and are running as Democrats.
If the US cannot have a rational conservative party, then the Democrats may become a very broad church.

Nothing anti-matters.

I just read that article this morning.

Nigel, I can just see heads exploding when the realization sets in that I'm a Democrat now. (Not now)

America's epistemic crisis has arrived.

Good read.

bobbyp's link nails it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD2186Yh0Uc

They are here ... now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA8jv1M6Y2g

And, they are not leaving:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/opinion/trump-leave-white-house.html

I'm with Ripley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCbfMkh940Q

bobbyp's link nails it.

Yep. Fear and confusion. Truth is unknowable.

“They’re screwed,” Pareene wrote of conservatives, “because they and their predecessors engineered a perpetual misinformation machine, and then a bunch of people addicted to their product took over the government.”

yup x 60M.

That is what a tribalist like Trump wants: for communication and compromise across tribal lines to become impossible, so that loyalty becomes the only measure and everything is reduced to pure struggle for dominance. If he makes it through impeachment unscathed, he and the right will have learned once and for all that facts and evidence have no hold on them. Both “sides” have free rein to choose the facts and evidence that suit them. Only power matters.

Trump has already proved that, decisively.

he lies more often than not. he lies so brazenly and so frequently that it's not even news when he does it. and he's violated every principle the right has ever claimed to hold. and the GOP base does not care. they only care that the GOP has the ball. absolutely nothing else matters. ain't that right, Marty?

the GOP is a cult.

From JDT's NYT link:

From another vantage point altogether, there is the dilemma of the conservative who finds Trump repugnant, but also views Democrats as worse.

Charles Murray, a political scientist affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Coming Apart,” believes that Trump is

a malignant narcissist, which includes as symptoms some of the most unattractive qualities that human beings can have. He also exhibits textbook traits of mental decline that have worsened measurably over the last three years. I find in him no evidence of redeeming traits — no instance of loyalty to a friend in trouble or of unconditional generosity. I despise him and think he is unfit to be president.

Despite that, Murray continued, “it is also quite possible that I will find myself voting for him next year.” The conservative scholar said he approves of many of the things that have happened during the Trump years — especially “the judges he has appointed and the steps to roll back stupid and obstructive regulations. I also think that the nation needs to control its borders and limit low-skill immigration.”

While Joe Biden might be an acceptable choice, in Murray’s view, “a Warren or Sanders presidency would be a disaster for the nation.”

Murray concluded:

So there you have it: I despise the man, worry that he will make terrible foreign policy blunders, but from my perspective policies under Trump are vastly superior to the policies that would be pursued by the leading Democratic candidates. It’s a Hobson’s choice.

This jumped out at me as being very similar to what Marty has written here. That happened before I saw cleek's last comment, so I don't intend this as a pile-on.

the conservative who finds Trump repugnant

oh what a lonely boy.

it's been a year since Gallup last showed Trump below 87% approval among Republicans.

The Hell Curve

Trump . . . 87% approval among Republicans.

Just because we're a (13%) minority doesn't mean we should be disrespected. ;-)

That Vox piece bobbyp links to @12.47 is excellent, and articulates many of my worst fears and preoccupations. I tried to choose bits to quote, but it's all true and all too good (i.e. bad). The last three sentences of the part cleek quotes @02.51 were one of my choices, until I caught up with the thread.

Just because we're a (13%) minority doesn't mean we should be disrespected. ;-)

somehow i know (and 'know') more people in the 13% than i do in the 87%.

This would have been far better off if we would’ve just taken care of this behind the scenes,” [Wisconsin Senator] Johnson said in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “We have two branches of government. Most people, most people wanted to support Ukraine. We were trying to convince President Trump.”

So, you're saying you knew about this ?

We have two branches of government

Can we require candidates for Congress to pass the same test that immigrants have to pass to become citizens?

Can we require candidates for Congress to pass the same test that immigrants have to pass to become citizens?

No kidding.

For anybody interested in watching it, Tim Berners-Lee has just given the Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2019 on his plan/plea for the future of the web on BBC1.

Can we require candidates for Congress to pass the same test that immigrants have to pass to become citizens?

Being very careful that the fine print doesn't "grandfather" any of the current members!

Or rather, I should have said:

For anybody interested in watching it, Tim Berners-Lee has just given the Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2019 (on BBC1) on his plan/plea for the future of the web.

Huh, in the Q+A he has just given a shout-out to Carole Cadwalladr - excellent!

Cor blimey, the next questioner announces himself as Alex Younger, chief of the secret intelligence service MI6. What an audience!

Representative from the Russian Embassy refuses invitation from the moderator to respond to something TB-L says! But then goes on to ask another question. OK, I'm going to stop now...

Cor blimey, the next questioner announces himself as Alex Younger, chief of the secret intelligence service MI6. What an audience!

Not sure if I'm doing it right, but I can't get this although I've created an account. Damn! I mean Darn! I mean Bloody hell!

I'm sure you will be able to get it on some BBC website, but probably not yet (maybe tomorrow). It's just finished - I haven't seen most of it yet, recorded it, but just caught the end live. Look it up under the title Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2019 (and FYI, the moderator is Dimbleby's son).

I'm sure you will be able to get it on some BBC website, but probably not yet (maybe tomorrow). It's just finished - I haven't seen most of it yet, recorded it, but just caught the end live. Look it up under the title Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2019 (and FYI, the moderator is Dimbleby's son).

Will do, GftNC. Many thanks.

cleek wins.

George Conway is telling people his wife, KellyAnne, is in a cult. Irony is dead, so it can't be that.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-supporters-are-in-a-cult-and-mitch-mcconnell-is-one-of-them-says-dan-rather-2019-11-17?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Demonology may be the new political science.

Paddy Chayefsky and Walker Percy surely deserve writing credit for foretelling the main elements of the dark, violent, and absolutely cracked fall of the United States of America.

I hope we can avoid cannibalism, just when Beyond Meat is getting off the ground.

Charles Murray, a political scientist affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Coming Apart”

Charles Murray, a political scientist affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Coming Apart: The State Of White America 1950-1980".

In which he discovers, to his chagrin, that people with white skin exhibit all of the social pathologies that people with black skin do, when their social circumstances are similar. I.e., no money and no political clout.

Sadly, he does not appear to draw the obvious conclusion that one's skin color has bugger all to do with it.

Really, I'm sick of these people. Sorry that's so, but I am.

Wow:

Gideon raised $1 million more than Collins in the most recent reporting cycle. But Collins has raised far more money – $8.6 million – the largest of any political candidate in Maine history. Pundits suggest upward of $80 million to $100 million could be spent on this race before Election Day 2020.

..the judges he has appointed

We are about to see the consequences of that on the 2nd Circuit:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/steven-menashi-second-circuit-senate-trump.html

I suppose you should be grateful Kim doesn't have any political opponents for Trump to investigate....
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/18/north-korea-nuclear-summit-donald-trump-071340

Shame about South Korea, though.

This makes an interesting counterpoint to Marty's anxieties about the preservation of the electoral college...

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/electoral-college-racist-origins/601918/
America’s institutions boosted white political power in less obvious ways, too, and the nation’s oldest structural racial entitlement program is one of its most consequential: the Electoral College....

...The delegates to the Philadelphia convention had scant conception of the American presidency—the duties, powers, and limits of the office. But they did have a handful of ideas about the method for selecting the chief executive. When the idea of a popular vote was raised, they griped openly that it could result in too much democracy. With few objections, they quickly dispensed with the notion that the people might choose their leader.

But delegates from the slaveholding South had another rationale for opposing the direct election method, and they had no qualms about articulating it: Doing so would be to their disadvantage. Even James Madison, who professed a theoretical commitment to popular democracy, succumbed to the realities of the situation. The future president acknowledged that “the people at large was in his opinion the fittest” to select the chief executive. And yet, in the same breath, he captured the sentiment of the South in the most “diplomatic” terms:

"There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections"

To play the literal devil's advocate*: the intent may then have been nefarious but it's effect to-day is beneficient,e.g.by having prevented two Dems from becoming POTUS and not unlikely to do so again soon, also forcing all serious candidates to not just frequent the populous states but to concentrate on the otherwise ignored 'minor' ones.

*insert Mephisto quote from Goethe's Faust I about the (hellish) power always wishing evil but always doing good nonetheless.

... also forcing all serious candidates to not just frequent the populous states but to concentrate on the otherwise ignored 'minor' ones.

This argument always seems a bit strange to me. If I'm a candidate, I'll go after voters regardless of where they are.

Yes, there are some places which have fewer voters. But their media markets are also a lot cheaper, so your spending per voter isn't so different.

The one difference I see is that it would no longer be worthwhile to spend lots more time campaigning in person there than the number of voters would warrant. Because you allocate your time per voter, rather than per elector. In other words, urban areas stop getting less attention than their number of voters should attract.

One of my winger friends posted the dopey fabrication discussed at the link below on facebook. It's since been taken down, but I was "lucky" enough to see it before reading about it this morning.

I has me thinking of the link Posted by: bobbyp | November 17, 2019 at 12:47 PM all over again.

https://www.mediamatters.org/twitter/how-total-fabrication-connecting-george-soros-son-whistleblower-went-underbelly-internet

Don't stop believin' !

One difference I should note is that the post my friend shared named the whistleblower, but it was the name that's been going around (which I'm not repeating here) and not Alexander Soros.

(I guess that makes it even more ridiculous, with a name that doesn't match the face.)

I sometimes wonder. Does Soros ever read about the overwhelming influence he supposedly has, and say to himself: "Wow. If only...."

This argument always seems a bit strange to me. If I'm a candidate, I'll go after voters regardless of where they are.

This might make sense if electoral votes were allocated in each state in approximate proportion to the popular vote in that state. So, if your state had 10 electoral votes, and the popular vote as 60-40 (in whatever direction), 6 electors would vote for one candidate, 4 for the other.

Most states are all-or-nothing, however, which means that if a given state has a history of being majority (R) or (D), it's unlikely to get any attention at all, because the assumption is that all of its votes are going to go (R) or (D). There's no value in reaching out to the million or so (R)'s in MA, for example, because MA is majority (D), and there is no mechanism by which a (R) candidate can pick up the almost-half of the electoral votes that they might otherwise be entitled to.

These days, support for the EC is less (or even at all) a matter of race, and more a matter of less-populous areas being afraid of being utterly dominated by the dreaded urban sectors. Especially NYC and LA, but basically any urban area.

It's not an unreasonable fear, in the sense of the pure math of the population distribution. But it is unreasonable in its assumption that everybody in Those Big Cities votes the same way. Because they don't, and neither do people in rural areas.

As a practical matter, presidential elections now are basically a process of each party gaming the electoral math. And the electoral math often has almost no resemblance to the actual popular vote. In 2016 Clinton won about 48% of the popular vote, but 43% of the electoral vote.
Trump's numbers were 46% and 56%. So, a 2 point gap, vs a 13 point gap in the other direction, so a total divergence of 15%.

The wider that gets, the less legitimate the claim to the office will be. If the winner starts losing the popular vote by double-digit numbers - which is more than possible - the POTUS' claim to represent the "will of the people" will be undermined. And, should be.

The POTUS will be the winner of a tricksy political game, rather than a representative of the American people.

If we want to privilege people in small states by enhancing the effective weight of their vote, fine. Don't know if that is still a reasonable thing to do, but whatever. If it gets people down off the ledge, I can live with it.

If we're going to do that, we should allocate electoral votes in each state according to the popular vote count in each state. If only to preserve some realistic correspondence between the popular vote outcome and the person who ends up holding the office.

If we're going to do that, we should allocate electoral votes in each state according to the popular vote count in each state.

270towin.com ran this scenario (and several others) after the 2016 election. The final tally would have been Trump 267, Clinton 265, third parties 6. The election would have gone to the House of Representatives where Trump would have won easily. The third-party EC votes would have been three from California and one each from New York, Texas, and Utah. Odd things can happen in the House: Colorado's delegation would have voted Republican despite Clinton winning the popular vote in the state.

Obviously, if the election were run under that rule, campaigns would have allocated their efforts somewhat differently.

i've mentioned this before, but a lot of people really don't know how a Presidential election works; and many learn about it for the first time, every four years. and they're astounded when they learn how it works.

you're not voting for the candidate. you are voting for an anonymous pool of other people to cast a handful of votes for the person you chose. those people belong to something called a "college" that doesn't have a campus or even a web site.

should your pool win, the individuals in that pool could vote for someone completely different than the person you voted for, if your state allows that.

some states allow the pools to split their votes based on how many actual people voted for each candidate. most don't.

the size of the pool depends on the size of your state. smaller states get bigger votes. bigger states get smaller votes.

none of this makes any sense when you first hear it. and when you do hear it, the feeling is not "YES! THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M AN IMPORTANT PART OF A TOTALLY TRANSPARENT AND FAIR SYSTEM!" it's actually "WTF? did i just waste my afternoon?"

IMO, the only "plus" to the EC is that it amplifies vote margins, so that a razor-thin election win or loss only has to be adjudicated in a small number of states.

Now, if the EC did what it's been advertised to do, that is, use independent judgement to keep out manifestly unfit candidates, we wouldn't be in the current situation.

They had ONE JOB, dammit.

...you are voting for an anonymous pool of other people...

Part of the process of getting on the ballot in my state as a candidate for President is to name the specific nine people who will be the electors if you win the popular vote. Granted, you have to go look to see which electors you're voting for, but the names and addresses are publicly available.

You can get on the ballot for $5,000 here (in 2016 we got to choose from 22 candidates). I have a friend in Oregon who runs a Facebook page for the Cocktail Party every four years. I've told him that if we hit the lottery, the Cocktail Party will be on the ballot with him at the top of the ticket. I'll have to run around and find nine people who are willing to be electors :^) I suspect that we can get more votes than the Prohibition Party, which was on the ballot in 2016.

The final tally would have been Trump 267, Clinton 265, third parties 6. The election would have gone to the House of Representatives

My own preference for POTUS is the same as Madison's - straight up popular vote.

Failing that, the above seems a reasonable compromise. To me.

I'll have to run around and find nine people who are willing to be electors

I'm pretty sure you can find 9 people here on ObWi who would be electors for the Cocktail Party.

Maybe even 9 in OR, if you recruit from lurkers...

:)

Zu Chongzhi calculated a range for pi between 3.1415926 and 3.1415927, around 480 CE.

How did he do that?

I suppose some of the early close estimates were obtained by measurement, but that doesn't seem likely here.

I'm also curious as to when it was discovered that pi is a constant. It seems utterly mundane that the ratio is the same for all circles, but is that just intuitively obvious?

Zu Chongzhi used a method devised by Liu Hui around 260 CE, but was more assiduous in applying it.

No measurement was involved, it was all calculation.

__

Consider a regular hexagon inscribed in a unit circle (one can generalize to radius r, and all the rs will cancel). It consists of six equilateral triangles of unit side. The perimeter of the hexagon is 6, so pi is approximately 3.

Now double the number of sides, getting a regular dodecagon and calculate the length of each side. Double it again and again until you've had enough. The perimeter converges on 2pi.

Suppose the length of a side after n doublings is x_n. It's easy to show, using just pythagoras's theorem, that the length when you double the number of sides will be sqrt(2 - sqrt(4 - x_n^2)).

If we put y_n = 2-x_n^2, this simplifies to y_n+1 = sqrt(2 + y_n). So we can do as many iterations as we like with only one square root calculation for each (which matters when you're calculating square roots by hand) then do an additional calculation at the end to find the actual side length.

Then there's an additional trick, also discovered by Liu Hui. At each iteration, the side length of the regular polygon is slightly more than half the previous side length. One can do a power-series approximation to show that the "slightly more" is to first order x_n^3/32. Since there will be 6.2^(n+1) sides, the additional circumference is about 6.2^(n-4)x_n^3 and the addition to our pi estimate is therefore 3.2^(n-4)x_n^3. And since x_n roughly halves each time, each successive iteration will add about a quarter as much to the circumference, so all future iterations summed together will add about a third as much as the current one. So he added that in.

Barr - hypocritical criminal, or criminal hypocrite ?

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/barr-speech-federalist-society-impeachment.html

When CA had a gubernatorial recall & replacement, IIRC it only took something like $5K to get on the ballot.

Yes, Schwarzenegger won because of name recognition, but I remain astonished that getting on the ballot wasn't given to kids as a High School graduation present, and that the ballot wasn't the size of the old-style LA phone book.

Mr. Aardmore Aardivan would have won.

From Barr's speech:

The notion that the American Revolution was against the tyranny of a monarch, Barr said, was a “grammar school civics class version” and “misguided"

There is sort of a point here, in that the taxation without representation thing was a matter of no representation in Parliament.

But has Barr read the Declaration of Independence?

"There is sort of a point here, in that the taxation without representation thing was a matter of no representation in Parliament."

Well, that "sort of a point" became pointless quite awhile ago during this most recent historical iteration of the vile, knavish (the Trevino/Tacitus in me comes in handy, even now) conservative movement when even "taxation WITH representation" was morphed into socialism, communism and theft (not that the conservative vermin during the Gilded Age leading into Teddy Roosevelt's administration didn't shit from the same mouth) and Grover Norquist made his pledge mandatory and unanimous among republican, anti-American filth.

Here's the full text:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-19th-annual-barbara-k-olson-memorial-lecture

it's pretty wild.

he loves him some Unitary Executive. and then...

Let me turn now to what I believe has been the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles generally, and Executive Branch authority specifically. I am speaking of the Judicial Branch.

heh.

but he does end with:

In so many areas, it is critical to our Nation’s future that we restore and preserve in their full vigor our Founding principles. Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive, chosen by the country as a whole.

i'll just assume 'as a whole' means he's a fan of direct election of the President by popular vote.

surprise, Devin Nunes is a hack on Tuesdays, too.

Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive,...

My impression is that the Framers viewed the Executive as begin largely an administrative position with the legislative being first among equals. A position the Congress has pretty much abdicated. They may be able to impeach a president but can't bring themselves to tell him when he can and can't go to war. And they pass vague, overly broad laws and leave it to the administration to make up and take the responsibility for the details.

Devin Nunes is a hack on Tuesdays, too.

PUPPET [email protected]#1

(makes sense if you heard his opening statement...)

Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive, chosen by the country as a whole.

And when there's a (D) POTUS again, it'll be back to Congress as the people's advocate. If Congress has a (R) majority in either House, if not it'll be back to the judiciary as the bulwark against despots gone wild.

It's a fncking power grab. Barr is, and is acting as, a partisan advocate of (R) power.

And of course, this is the cue for "both sides", but these guys don't even try to pretend.

But, will the U.S. Army protect Vindman and the other public servants, whom Marty in his contemptible disrespect for the people who protect him has accused of merely having "hurt fee-fees" (that projection is the same old sloppy sentimentalism), from the certainty of violent assassination attempts by NRA-armed conservative republican operative militias and lone wolves?

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/vindman-special-protection-army-fine-telling-truth

If you want an example of purely insurrectionist "deep state" federal employees, see trump's and republicans' rancid, malignant appeals to the INS and Homeland Security and the New York FBI and right-wing elements in the armed forces during the Obama Administration and the 2016 campaign.

Trump and Republicans even touted the Border Agent public employee union, infiltrated by thugs just as dangerous as Jimmy Hoffa, the only union the conservative movement hasn't tried to destroy outside of the Union of Concerned Conservative Assholes ... 70 million-strong and to whom I am forced to pay dues in the form of government-destroying tax cuts.

South Korea should invite Chinese and Russian troops into their country to patrol the perimeters of U.S. military installations and make sure they don't leave.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/11/19/in-non-impeachment-news-the-president-has-apparently-shifted-the-republic-of-korea-into-an-alliance-with-the-peoples-republic-of-china/

That 90 minutes of precious time not spent by Trump learning all there is to know about nuclear weapons may come in handy as he looks up and asks WTF? as the missiles enter American airspace.

The United States of America is in grave danger because of the actions of traitorous conservatives and republicans in bed with our enemies.

I've waited 65 years since the republican conservative McCarthy hearings destroyed innocent Americans' lives to say that about the real traitorous vermin among us.

I see that Nunes is hammering on about someone named Alexandra Chalupa. Who the Republicans apparently see as part of the DNC/Ukraine conspiracy during the 2016 election. It will be interesting to see whether she is among the witnesses they call during these hearings. If nothing else, as a measure of how honestly they believe their conspiracy theory.

the mythology requires new enemies to maintain its vitality.

Amb Volker (who, be it noted, is a Republican witness, says:
“In retrospect, I should have seen that connection [between Burisma and Biden] differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”

So how problematic does that make the whole thing?

It will be interesting to see whether she is among the witnesses they call during these hearings.

I'm assuming "they" in this sentence is the Republican members of the committee. In that case, it will be interesting to see if Schiff allows her. As I understand it, he has been insisting that the Republicans lay at least minimal groundwork for why their witnesses are relevant to the matter under investigation, which is not the DNC/Ukraine conspiracy theory.

And I'll be really interested to see what Chief Justice Roberts allows if the whole thing comes to trial in the Senate. Myself, I expect the Senate defense to consist very largely of "The President has unlimited authority to conduct foreign policy as he/she sees fit."

I haven't had a chance to watch the actual testimony today, but (for anybody who hasn't read it) the New Yorker's piece on Vindman's testimony ended thus:

What isn’t funny at all is for the elected representatives of a major political party to question, on live television, the loyalty of a decorated military officer who has served his country for more than twenty years, under four Presidents. That is where we are. Bereft of any substantive defense of Trump, the House Republicans are betting everything on their alternative narrative, in which the deep state and its media allies cooked up the entire Ukraine story. The point isn’t necessarily to make this narrative believable in any objective sense. For the purposes of the White House and its G.O.P. allies, it will suffice to make it believable enough for the conservative media and Trump’s supporters to rally around. That isn’t a high standard to meet.

Still, nonpartisan public servants, like Vindman, who witnessed what actually happened and are willing to talk about it, stand in the way of this strategy, so the Republicans have to vilify and undermine them. Judging by Vindman’s unruffled manner and his occasional quips, he understands this and, at least to some extent, has inured himself to it. As he explained in his opening statement, he has enough faith in his country to believe that, ultimately, the truth will win out. If he’s proved wrong, it will be a tragedy for him and for the rest of us.

American Representative Ilhan Omar appeals to the better angels of our nature, unlike the hateful anti-American rhetoric of the entire conservative movement against our public servants, the free press, anyone who is different or disagrees with them, any member of the Democratic Party, any foreigner, any immigrant, teachers, scholars, scientists ...

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/11/19/non-impeachment-thread/

Good luck to her, may she remain unharmed by her mortal enemies, but there are no better angels left in America anymore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE-wx_jpQUc

You know what they say in America. You too can rise to the top and work in the White House if you are lying criminal scum:

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/11/lie-of-day.html

Do drug warnings that say "Do not operate heavy machinery" include large countries?

Bereft of any substantive defense of Trump, the House Republicans are betting everything on their alternative narrative, in which the deep state and its media allies cooked up the entire Ukraine story.

It's actually worse than that. They're still talking about the "Russia hoax". I won't say here what I think needs to happen to them, but y'all can probably guess.

So, I listened to a couple of hours of the testimony today.

Was the investigation ever actually started?
Was the aid released, or not?
Did you actually hear the President say he wanted an investigation in exchange for the aid to be released?
Wasn't the Ukraine pretty corrupt in the first place?
Didn't Hunter Biden actually get paid a lot of money by Burisma?

Plus lots of "thank you for your service".

What a lot of noise.

The President of the United States, in the context of acting as such, asked the president of another country to investigate his political rival. Plus look into some delusional BS about the 2016 election intended to distract from the assistance he received from the Russian government in that election.

None of the above in dispute, the President has freely admitted to doing all of it, and has released a transcript of the conversation.

We want you to do us a favor and look into the Bidens. And oh yeah, that whole Crowdstrike thing, one of your people has the server.

Criminally corrupt, or simply insane? Hard to tell. Doesn't matter.

I have no doubt that the military aid and the POTUS photo op were being used as leverage, but I have no idea why any of that is even a necessary part of the equation. The POTUS solicited the assistance of a foreign power in undermining the reputation of his rival. Full stop.

Trump is, personally and profoundly, a corrupt person. He is unable to relate to other people other than by transactional exchanges in which he, personally, benefits. Bonus points if the other person gets screwed.

He corrupts everything he touches. As POTUS, he touches everything.

Criminally corrupt, or simply insane? Hard to tell. Doesn't matter.

Go with
Criminally corrupt, or and simply insane.
The mental deterioration, even from the initial low, is quite visible over the course of his time in office.

He corrupts everything he touches. As POTUS, he touches everything.

Fortunately, not quite true. For example: Lt. Col. Vindman. But admittedly the fact that he seems to attract the corrupt, like a very high power magnet, does tend to conceal the fact that there some with sufficient moral fiber to resist. If the US survives and recovers, it will be due to those people.

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