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February 04, 2020

Comments

I keep looking for the candidate who has no obnoxious supporters.

So far, no luck.

Here's the long story:

https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/2/5/21123009/acronym-tara-mcgowan-shadow-app-iowa-caucus-results

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/inside-acronym-the-tech-consultancy-behind-the-disastrous-iowa-caucus-app

I keep looking for the candidate who has no obnoxious supporters.

not a lot of Klobuchar supporters are threatening to sit it out if they can't have their way.

On elf the more depressing articles I've read in a while:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-2020-disinformation-war/605530/

yeah.

we're done for.

humans are much better at lying than they are at understanding.

i'll rest easy knowing i was on the side of truth. the MAGAs can enjoy their 'win'.

not a lot of Klobuchar supporters are threatening to sit it out if they can't have their way.

A point solidly in her favor
.
Here's the long story

Here's the short story, as I understand it.

The Iowa (D)'s, or whoever, spent about $60k on the app. Depending on market, that is something like three to six months of one mid-career developer's time.

In real life, that is a tiny amount of money to spend on building a piece of mission-critical software. Piddling.

Putting something as consequential as measuring the outcome of a state-level primary for major party candidate for POTUS at hazard by committing to a system with a half-assed level of investment is profoundly irresponsible. Whoever had the brilliant idea should never again be trusted with anything more than ordering staples.

In private industry, people get fired for stuff like this. People I've known and worked with have gotten fired for stuff like this.

Organizations with concerns about the security and accuracy of information spend millions and millions if not billions of dollars to guarantee the availability and reliability of the systems they use to manage it. And an additional millions and millions if not billions on careful consideration on how the system is to be used, and how to make it sufficiently intuitive to use that people who understand what they are trying to do, but are not particularly interested in software systems, can use it effectively.

I have no idea if there was some kind of skullduggery involved here, and it's not necessary for there to have been any for a clusterfnck like this to have happened. All that is required is for some smart-ass who thinks they know what they're doing to pitch the right people with the "hey, you can do it on your phone!" bullshit.

I don't know how other countries do things, but the way we here in the US elect people to national office is the most god-awful mash-up of quaint folkways and grifting bullshit that I can imagine.

There needs to be a national standard for who can vote, and there needs to be national investment in simple, basic, reliable systems for ensuring that everyone who is eligible to vote can do so, that their vote is reliably and durably recorded, and there needs to be a bullet-proof procedure for addressing and resolving the anomalies that inevitably arise.

Being able to "do it on your phone" should be one of the least important considerations. If you want to make it convenient for people to vote, make election day a national holiday.

What we have now is a freaking mess.

I have no idea if there was some kind of skullduggery involved here

one point on the "not likely" side: $60K isn't enough to pay for development time and subsequent silence.

On elf the more depressing articles I've read in a while

Yes, we're soaking in it.

The triumph of the shameless.

I have no idea if there was some kind of skullduggery involved here, and it's not necessary for there to have been any for a clusterfnck like this to have happened. All that is required is for some smart-ass who thinks they know what they're doing to pitch the right people with the "hey, you can do it on your phone!" bullshit.

This, and the rest of Russell's comment, is the point I was trying to make, none too clearly, I guess. I happen to be involved with a company that is in the business of designing and building mobile apps. I can tell you that we would have considered it insane to take on this job for $60K with a two-month time frame.

So the issue here is likely incompetence, not skulduggery, on the part of the Iowa Democrats, which led them, I suspect, to accept assurances they shouldn't have accepted. Just a small effort to get bids from other vendors would have told them this was a bad idea.

Instead, they went with the connected firm.

That's what I meant by cronyism. It doesn't have to be corrupt. Sometimes it's just stupid.

What we have now is a freaking mess.

With vested interests in keeping it that way or making it even messier.
The only simplification acceptable would be 'landed gentry only' (with no check of citizenship).

Vox looks at the same stuff Nigel's Atlantic piece did: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/1/16/20991816/impeachment-trial-trump-bannon-misinformation

i feel no more optimistic

I have no idea if there was some kind of skullduggery involved here...

Someone who does software postmortems has apparently obtained a copy of the Iowa Democrats' app. His (unverified) report is that it used Facebook's open source React Native framework, and looked like whoever wrote it was working their way through some dated React tutorials for how to do things. Sounds like incompetence on multiple levels rather than skullduggery...

Being able to "do it on your phone" should be one of the least important considerations.

Everyone can (and should!) vote on their phone, already!

Here's how: Enter the voting booth. Drop your phone on the floor. JUMP on it, hard. Stand on the resulting debris. Then vote.

Congratulations, you've just voted on your phone. And made the electorate smarter also, too.

I either lost or had a lengthy comment on this news get caught in the jaws of OBWI's moderation net.

Good thing, too, as we would all be headed for Guantanamo:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/31/trump-rolls-back-obama-era-restrictions-on-landmines.html

The nicest thing I said was that I wouldn't wish a republican conservative piece of dog shit on the bottom of the one remaining shoe of Paul McCartney's lying one-legged second (ex)wife.

Kudos to vermin everywhere for not being Trump and his murderers. Vermin are ensouled compared to republican filth, particularly the stinking, murderous fake Christian variety in America.

The Republican Party has given us semi-automatic weapons of war and now restores landmines to our arsenal.

They are the instruments of Rapture.

Use them.

Blow up Bannon's zone.

I dunno about skullduggery, but in the bigger picture there's gotta be some cronyism going on. I know we're all John Waynes and we're gonna do our elections our way while we're pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, but the lack of standardization is inexcusable at this point.

I'm no genius, stable or otherwise, but my wish list is ranked choice, offline voting machines with a locked data port, and one machine per location with e2e encryption to wherever the results are tallied. And a paper receipt. If CVS can print out my life's history every time I buy a tube of toothpaste, that doesn't seem like a big ask.

It's 2020. I've given up on my hoverboard, but this one seems doable. Like, today.

I haven't gotten to the Vox piece yet, but after reading the Atlantic piece, I've come to realize what a perfect villain Mysterio from Spider-Man: Far From Home was for our times (despite being based on a villain from the comics dating back to 1964).

I don't know how many others here have seen that film, but I have kids, so I did see it. It even ends with the public airing of a deep-fake video from Mysterio, the nature of which I won't reveal. No spoilers!

Beyond that, I'm finding the world I live in to be increasingly surreal. I don't like it.

It's 2020. I've given up on my hoverboard, but this one seems doable.

Smellevision is 20 years overdue.

Beyond that, I'm finding the world I live in to be increasingly surreal.

Allow a discount for your age... :)

Kirk Douglas is gone and the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts.

Is there an app for nuclear war?

Is there an app for nuclear war?

WOPR for iOS

And an additional millions and millions if not billions on careful consideration on how the system is to be used, and how to make it sufficiently intuitive to use that people who understand what they are trying to do, but are not particularly interested in software systems, can use it effectively.

Forget "intuitive" -- because what is intuitive to the developer frequently isn't to users. Especially users who, like most caucus chairs, didn't grow up with this kind of stuff.

I think the biggest, and most culpable, failure was in not having trainers out across the state in the week before, to make sure everybody had successfully downloaded and installed the app. And had tried it out and understood how they would be using it. Training! -- there really is no substitute. And no excuse for not doing it.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/fox-news-hosts-reaction-romney-impeachment-trial-vote

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/schiff-bolton-refused-to-submit-affidavit-to-house-after-senate-rejected-witnesses

They remain Republicans. Fuck them.

Perhaps this reflects the mindset behind the app:
https://dilbert.com/strip/2020-02-06

(Sometimes Dilbert still nails it.)

I think the biggest, and most culpable, failure was in not having trainers out across the state in the week before...

No kidding.
At that point they’d have quietly abandoned it.

lo and behold, "Clog The Lines"

Incidentally, I have no idea where the elf came from....

Lindon, Lothlorien, and Rivendell

Kind of a mash-up of two previous links on this thread concerning stolen elections:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/02/get-ready-for-1984/

In sane countries, when elections are stolen, killing, butchering and slaughtering follow.

Ask the fucking Founders.

Then the illegitimate government, in this case the corrupt, fascist Trump Republican Party, the unelected thieves of the sovereign vote, begin committing genocide on their enemies ... US.

True, no one wants that.

Most of history wasn't requested.

David Brooks never fails to massage the prostate of the republican party with his forked tongue:

he twats:

"Instead of spending the past 3 years on Mueller and impeachment suppose Trump opponents had spent the time on an infrastructure bill or early childhood education? More good would have been done."

I have no idea where the elf came from....

  1. You hit the space bar an instant before the "e" in "one", instead of after.
  2. That leaves you with "eof" as the second word, instead of "of"
  3. Auto-correct helpfully changes the "o" to "l", in order to get a real word
Presto!

Timing is everything.

"Instead of spending the past 3 years on Mueller and impeachment suppose Trump opponents had spent the time on an infrastructure bill or early childhood education?"

An argument for policial theater over legislation. Besides, it's more entertaining.

nobody tell Brooks the House Dems passed an infrastructure bill... last week.

...but in the bigger picture there's gotta be some cronyism going on.

Of course. The Iowa Democrats had a procedure in place for the precincts to phone in their results. Reportedly, the DNC told them two months before the caucuses that phoning in wasn't acceptable. The response to that was undoubtedly a panicked meeting that started with the question, "Who knows someone that can give us a spiffy-looking high-tech solution in two months? For less than the $60K left in the budget."

Standard engineering rules apply. You can have it fast, good, or cheap; pick two.

I think that if the DMC had been up to any actual intentional skullduggery, they would've come up with a plot more effective than one that gave Bernie a quarter of the votes and only fifteen percent to Joe.

What scares me about this is the ineptness. We are depending on the DNC to lead us through an election fraught with Russian inference and REthuglican cheating. And their effort to have transparency and protect results in a massive fuck up.

Not to mention Republican ratfuckery...
https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/clog-lines-iowa-caucus-hotline-posted-online-encouragement-disrupt-results-n1131521

You can have it fast, good, or cheap; pick at most two.

Fixed that for you.

The myriad failures surrounding the app are fun to dive into but they miss the point: Iowa is a failed state, because of the resource curse, and their sham caucus is the key mechanism by which they exploit the non-failed-states.

This is easier to see outside the US, so compare Saudi Arabia to Egypt. One has lots of oil, the other doesn't. Egypt has a lot of engineers, scientists, doctors, artists, business-folk -- Egyptians are productive, despite living under a brutal kleptocratic dictatorship that ruins their economy. SA, well, SA doesn't have any of that. 90% of the country lives on government assistance and most of the real work in the country is done by foreign laborers, many of whom are abused horribly and treated like slaves. It is not a coincidence that the 9/11 attacks were paid for by a rich dude from SA, used muscle mostly from SA, but were planned by an Egyptian. Half a dozen Nobel Price recipients are Egyptian, but only one from SA.

Why are these societies so different? Because of the resource curse.

Well, Iowa suffers from a resource curse too, except with ag instead of oil. Just like in SA, most of the actual farm work is done by guest workers, or as we call them, undocumented migrants. Every year, Iowa votes for stricter punishments and fewer rights for all the undocumented workers that do so much of the ag work there; that makes abusing those folks even easier.

Iowa has exactly the kind of degraded institutions of democracy that one finds in other resource cursed states. Can you imagine if someone proposed a voting system to preferentially disenfranchise poor people, people with small children, disabled people, sick people, people abused by their partners? The whole thing is a joke. Part of that is because people from Iowa are incompetent (for evidence, I present to you: the Iowa caucuses). But part of it is because the point of the caucuses isn't to select nominees, but rather to maximize excitement for TV news. Nominee selection is just a side effect, and honestly not one that the IDP cares all that much about, judging from the process they've designed.

But the TV news excitement is worth an extra Senator or two. It ensures that Iowa retains its magical first in the nation status so that no one can think of becoming President without spending months in Iowa, sucking up to Iowans and promising to do whatever fool thing Iowa wants. That's why we have an ethanol mandate, which is way of taxing people from economically productive places and shipping the money to Iowa.

It ensures that Iowa retains its magical first in the nation status so that no one can think of becoming President without spending months in Iowa, sucking up to Iowans and promising to do whatever fool thing Iowa wants.

Most of which is peripheral to all the money spent by the candidates. And, as a side effect, all the news organizations who have people there covering the event.

While I suspect that Sanders might not be the preferred choice of the DNC regulars, I like to think I don't suffer from apophenia, which is also my least favorite Who album.

My best guess on the Iowa clusterfnck is insufficiently-trained staff combined with new rules/reporting combined with troll shenanigans combined with a groupthink/ego-driven "app-for-that" solution, because "Look at our App!".

The "bigger picture" I was tryna get at is that elections are one of those things that maybe the free hand doesn't do that well. This looks like a mess to me. Does everything have to be a market?

Give the FEC oversight, let them pinch a few propellerheads from NSA and sort this out. One nation, with the same voting rights, procedures, & hardware across the board. If some Congresscritters want to hash out who gets the sweetheart manufacturing jobs for the constituents back home, fine. And maybe let's not farm this one out to Foxconn.

We could even have a series of SuperTuedays by region, maybe even rotate them so everyone gets to be first once in a while. That might take some cooperation, tho. Dare I dream.

Fixed that for you.

Thank you. Yes, we've all worked on at least one project that was very late, worked badly if at all, and was grotesquely expensive. I worked on the periphery of a software project that spent $150M (in 1995 dollars) over the course of two years and produced exactly zero working lines of code. Impressively inept.

Grifting, via Atrios.

When I hear the word "disruptive", I check my wallet.

I suspect that Sanders might not be the preferred choice of the DNC regulars

They have to be at least thinking about the chances of going down a Corbyn-style rathole with Sanders. Leaving 4 more years of Trump in our future. God forbid.

Russell's link brings me back to CaseyL's comment from yesterday morning.

The phenomenon strikes me as a sign of fin de siecle: when an economy manufactures nothing of actual value, and the people who make out like bandits are the ones who degrade value for their own (enormous) profit.

They have to be at least thinking about the chances of going down a Corbyn-style rathole with Sanders

They should know from rabbit holes....they left McGovern high and dry.

They have to be at least thinking about the chances of going down a Corbyn-style rathole with Sanders.

Everyone not entrenched in the MAGA camp fears that, and it's a very legitimate concern. But they also have to be thinking about a Hillary-style path with Electable Joe. These are the bigly questions.

Whoever "won" Iowa, if Vegas and 538 are indicators, Sanders is now the Dem frontrunner. As of this morning, 538 has him forecast to run the table, including SC and Delaware.

We'll see if/how the tone of his campaign (and of his more obnoxious supporters) changes with that new (and unfamiliar) status.

To my mind, Sanders resembles Corbyn far, far more than he does McGovern. YMMV, of course.

"The key to success is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made." — George Burns

My impression is that Sanders is one of the very few politicians not faking it. That doesn't convence me to vote for him though.

I'm finding the world I live in to be increasingly surreal. I don't like it.

A pretty exact description of how I feel most of the time now when watching the news.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf4L6pA6WJI

To my mind, Sanders resembles Corbyn far, far more than he does McGovern. YMMV, of course.

The compare/contrast is difficult and way above my pay grade. I think Sanders may have a fraught path to navigate if he solidifies his position in NH and NV, which suddenly seems possible if not likely. Trump is still the ultimate target, but punching down against the rest of the field requires a much more delicate touch than punching up, and that's not a term usually associated with Sanders.


FWIW, my odometer was pretty low in '72. :-)

But the TV news excitement is worth an extra Senator or two. It ensures that Iowa retains its magical first in the nation status so that no one can think of becoming President without spending months in Iowa, sucking up to Iowans and promising to do whatever fool thing Iowa wants. That's why we have an ethanol mandate, which is way of taxing people from economically productive places and shipping the money to Iowa.

Thank you. Also, it's really good to see you here, Turbulence.

The Alien Trump Republican Party eats through all of our sacred American institutions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEqHJ1tomnk

Nuke it from space:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA8jv1M6Y2g&t=1s

On the subject of cults, I don’t see the difference between the Clinton cult and the Obama cult and the Sanders cult. You have people in the first group who think every criticism of Hillary, for instance, is driven by Russian bots and/or misogyny. It’s reflexive. There can be no legitimate dislike of Hillary and btw, to forestall the obvious retort, I bring her up because she shoved herself back into the limelight attacking Bernie. Obama is also a sacred cow too with some. ( And the 2008 primary between them was vicious.).
Many politicians attract a collection of whackos who make their political beliefs into some weird religion and that is before we get to the Republicans.

And having lurked on various parts of the internet the notion that Bernie supporters are especially loathsome is bs. Women who support Sanders can tell you stories if you look for them, but it doesn’t fit the narrative that centrist liberals out forth, The msm has a mostly centrist liberal bias and they don’t like some of the criticism they get from the Internet crowd— far lefties now have something of a voice independent of them. Everybody does now, This is both good and bad, since we can also just retreat to our own bubbles. But I think it is clear that some in the centrist liberal press miss the good old days when you could only yell at them with a letter to the editor which they might or might not print and where, for better or worse, the msm told us what respectable opinion was. The far left doesn’t especially like the msm on a great many subjects and it has been that way for decades. The press doesn’t like criticism, but now they can’t avoid it.

A lot of people like Bernie because he is the first politician with a serious shot at the WH who genuinely reflects their views on many subjects and btw, we disagree with him on some subjects. It is evidently impossible for centrist liberals to conceive of such a thing. And yes, when people are passionate about certain subjects they often get angry with people who disagree. All of you know how conservatives get treated here sometimes. Are you being morally pure assholes or is it because when you get outraged your outrage is legitimate, but those awful Bernie Bros, males and females alike, are just expressing their cultishness? Or can people be assholes sometimes, but also be right about the issues that they are yelling about?

I could start listing issues. But I won’t. Dont’t feel like ranting on too many different subjects at once.

I will support any Democrat who gets the nomination. I will even shut up for a few months about whatever disgusting positions they might have given the opponent is Trump. But the coalition against him is not a mutual admiration society. The Democratic Party doesn’t want people pulling a Nader and voting third party or staying home. Okay then, but guess what? The far left will try to take over and centrists will resist. It is not a group of people united on issues. On some things yes, but not on others.

Is Sanders too extreme to win? I have no idea. I don’t drink the koolaid about that put forward by the Sanders optimists. Some part of me almost wishes that a genuinely likable moderate was the leader— at least we wouldn’t have to listen to the gaslighting centrists who oppose Sanders on policy pretending like it is all about electability concerns. Maybe a charismatic moderate would have a better shot. But otoh Sanders is a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone whose views we genuinely respect to run for office. Oh my goodness, I am being cultish. So I will vote for him in the primary without knowing who is genuinely more electable,

Also, it's really good to see you here, Turbulence.

Seconded. Hope all is well!

I will support any Democrat who gets the nomination.

Nuff said.

Even level-headed moderate midwesterner Klobuchar yells at her staff, apparently. Everybody's got issues.

Ham sandwich.

On the subject of cults, I don’t see the difference between the Clinton cult and the Obama cult and the Sanders cult. You have people in the first group who think every criticism of Hillary, for instance, is driven by Russian bots and/or misogyny.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama is running. I do not think that every criticism of Hillary is driven by Russian bots and/or misogyny, but there was a fairly extensive investigation that found that many criticisms were Russian bot driven.

Since we're talking about the cult effect, let's just mention "the crime bill!", which Hillary Clinton didn't sign, but Bernie Sanders did. Just a random thought.

Obviously, Hillary signed the authorization for the Iraq war, and many people held it against her (including me, when I supported Obama in 2008). I think she had an excuse, but it was an impure thing to do for sure. Also, she supported Libya, and things didn't turn out well (and I supported that too), so blame. Fine.

Not every criticism of Clinton is misogyny or Russian bot driven, but refusal to vote for her against Trump? Hmmm. And, Donald, I take you at your word that you did hold your nose, throw up, beat your breast, gnash your teeth, and then cast your ballot for Hillary Clinton (I hope you did, anyway). But telling everyone that, yes, they had to do all of that first really didn't help much, did it.

Thanks. Now onward from 2016 to 2020.

I fear there is no stopping Donald Trump but I'm happy to try, by campaigning for, and voting for the candidate who wins the Democratic nomination, including Bernie. And if the time comes that he is nominated, I will not signal that I have to hold my nose, throw up, beat my breast, gnash my teeth before casting my ballot. I'm going to go door to door and talk good about Bernie.

I'll follow up.

Here's the thing. Four years ago, Donald J Freaking Trump won the (R) nomination, then won the general election.

Who'd a thunk it?

We're in a weird place. None of the normal categories seem to apply. Anybody who tells you they know who is Most Likely To Beat Trump, or why, is lying. Because nobody knows. Nobody has the special political psychic knowledge to predict how anything is actually going to play out.

I feel pretty comfortable saying that neither Gabbard or Yang are going to pull it off. Other than that, as far as I can tell it's a jump ball.

Given that, everybody should vote for and/or otherwise support whoever they would actually like to see as the (D) candidate for POTUS, and the chips will fall where they may.

If you're interested in trying to peel a few Trump supporters and/or any of the mythical "people on the fence" over to the (D) column, probably the best thing to do is not yell at them. Here on ObWi it's probably OK to vent, in real life or on your FB feed probably best to keep it to yourself.

It just makes people double down.

Trump is a fucking sociopath, and now he is Trump Unbound. It's going to be scorched earth from now until November. Probably beyond, no matter what happens.

Don't freak out. Give him the least amount of space in your head that you possibly can. Find constructive things to do, and do them. When people piss you off and you want to punch them in the face, be nice to them instead. If you can't do that, don't engage at all. Take a walk, listen to music, read a good book, call a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Do whatever it is that you do, to avoid the powerless anger death spiral.

It's a fucked-up time, but believe it or not, things have been worse. Things might, probably will, actually get worse than they are now before they get better.

Buckle up, be your best self, rise above, and bring as many people along with you as you can.

And that's about all any of us can do.

That's all I got. Wish I had something more constructive to say, but I don't. Best of luck to us all, and to the world.

Sapient, I have mixed feelings about our whole political system. The campaign season seems to last four years. People are either worrying about midterms or about presidential elections.

My suggestion or wish, made before, is that we compress everything into a much shorter period of time and spend 95 percent of our time talking about issues. When elections come around, it would be clear to most people who the lesser evil is, or we might even be enthusiastic.

As a bit of balance, here is yet another reason for despising Trump.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2409119/bears-ears-grand-staircase-escalante-reductions

I saw another piece today about how the building of the stupid wall is causing environmental damage in another location— Arizona, I think.

Though most of what he does on the environment just seems bad the way Republicans are bad. I also saw a piece about a new low yield nuclear weapon he is deploying, which upsets the Russians. A new nuclear arms race with the Russians is not a good thing.

Thank you, Donald. We're on the same side in the end. I sincerely hope that this isn't the end, though.

Here is the reality:

Trump is the fucking Joker, as POTUS. He has no regard or respect for the office he holds or for the institutions and traditions he represents. He's going to do whatever the hell he wants and whatever he can get away with, and so far that has proven to be a remarkable amount.

I don't really get the thought process of the folks who support him, and I'm not sure I care to. All of that is on them.

The guardrails that our form of government normally provides to keep natural-born chaos monkeys like Trump in bounds have proven ineffective, because they rely on other parties acting responsibly, and those other parties have failed to do so. There's an election in nine months, but that could go either way. Even if Trump loses, the toxic freaking national id he has exposed and exploited is still going to be there.

This country is kind of fucked up at the moment. Maybe we'll improve, maybe we won't. At some point we probably will, but who knows.

People who think things are going south need to focus on whatever they can find that is constructive, positive, useful, and non-toxic. There isn't really a lot of room for bitching about who is worse, Sanders or Clinton or whoever.

As far as votes go, it's gotta be POTUS Ham Sandwich. Full stop.

As far as daily life, find useful constructive things to do, and do them. Find the things that keep you from feeling like every damned thing in life is going to shit, and immerse yourself in those.

Be your best self, and rise above. If you can do that, you can make a shitty situation ever so slightly better. Maybe even a lot better.

If you can't do that, then you can't make anything better.

Try to quit giving that toxic SOB any more room in your head than you need to. Focus on sanity.

This year is going to be a freaking puke funnel of rancid crap, 24/7. Don't get caught up in it.

This is actually kind of an emergency. Focus on keeping your head in the best possible place. Focus on making things better.

if Vegas and 538 are indicators, Sanders is now the Dem frontrunner

history:

the Dem winner of Iowa has won the nomination, last four times: Clinton, Obama, Kerry, Clinton.

the GOP winner of Iowa has not won the nomination, last three times: Cruz, Santorum, Huckabee.

Iowa don't mean shit.

WRS.

Also, Donald's position seems entirely reasonable, irrespective of our politics being somewhat different.

WRS.

Also, Donald's position seems entirely reasonable, irrespective of our politics being somewhat different.

Seconded.

Now just wash your hands...

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/risa.13438
...Increasing the level of hand cleanliness to 60% at all airports in the world would have a reduction of 69% in the impact of a potential disease spreading. We investigate how those results change for different hand‐washing model parameters and we perform sensitivity analysis of the epidemiological model parameters showing that our results are quite robust with respect to the infectiousness of the disease....

With respect, I can't endorse WRS said this time around:

"Be your best self, and rise above. If you can do that, you can make a shitty situation ever so slightly better. Maybe even a lot better.

If you can't do that, then you can't make anything better.

Try to quit giving that toxic SOB any more room in your head than you need to. Focus on sanity.

This is actually kind of an emergency. Focus on keeping your head in the best possible place. Focus on making things better."

It is true that Anne Frank became her best self as she and her family hid from and forestalled their savage doom at the hands of far right-wing conservatism, nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism. She even managed a sweet crush on a boy before she went into hiding as recounted in her diary. She had hobbies and other distractions among the small joys allowed her under the circumstances.

Feast your eyes on this chart of the German CDAX during the 1930s. Focus on that two-year long flat-to-down-line consolidation roughly from 1937 into 1939 fantastically labeled "Worries that Hitler may have gone too far."

When it was clear the murder of Jews and the millions of others was proceeding apace, German and foreign investors, many American fascists, as well, I suspect, resumed buying with both blood-stained murderous hands.

THINK about that.

https://www.google.com/search?q=german+dax+chart+during+1930s&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=3N1ONTORg08jNM%253A%252Cb92ki73cC7N8OM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kTThKzHthZbf9snXmPo_lZ4mEiN1g&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi3uOfujMDnAhVMG80KHXhmBwoQ9QEwAXoECAoQBw#imgrc=3N1ONTORg08jNM:

We just passed through that similar little fraught interregnum of fear that Trump "might have gone too far".

The fools and filth bought off by tax cuts and soaring stock market prices have relaxed now.

Anne Frank should have escaped her hideaway and died killing and butchering, and slaughtering the stinking, evil profiteers of Hitler's beastiality.

"This year is going to be a freaking puke funnel of rancid crap, 24/7. Don't get caught up in it."

And beyond. Trump will win in a landslide. Think about the fact that these monstrous filth will win despite the their stealing of votes and preventing good people from even getting to the polls, the latter of which would be the occasion for savage killing violence in countries not mesmerized by fucking bullshit.

And if he doesn't, the 62 million will murder all of us anyway.

Yes, hold your fire until the puke is at chin level.

Swallow as much of the rancid crap as possible until it begins to taste good to the rest of us outside the puke and crap-loving 63 million as well.

I think a new nuclear arms race with Russia, China, and Iran is a good thing for all the wrong reasons.

It is true that Anne Frank became her best self as she and her family hid from and forestalled their savage doom

I'm not Anne Frank. You're not Anne Frank. Most likely nobody reading this is Anne Frank.

There is most definitely a point at which "being your best self" is no longer a sufficient response. You think we're there now. I don't. I'm not naive, I just don't think we're there.

Short of being at or beyond that point, I can't justify violence toward other people.

What russell said.

Are things bad? Yes.
Are they to the point of being dire? No. (And, God willing, won't get to that point. Not that there aren't people working to get there. But not there yet by any means.)

California is being part of Super Tuesday, and again this year I'm being a poll worker. Today was training day.

Fun factoids:
Last general election, some 600,000 voted in this county. (They are expecting more like 650,000 this time.)
Total number of people voting twice: 13. Out of 600,000 ballots -- what a game changer!
All of those were people who voted by mail. Then went into panic mode, lest their vote not make it in on time. So they went down to their polling place and submitted a provisional ballot -- yes, we have a process for that.

Good to know just how bad the double voting problem actually is. Ah, voter fraud....

Are things bad?

I'd say they are a good deal badder than many reasonable people are willing to admit.

Again WRS.

But certainly, things are bad. I now read that Lt Col Vindman is being moved from the White House in open retaliation for his testimony. I don't know how his father feels, but I'm guessing many people are unsure how safe it is to go openly against the President.

But also, what bobbyp said.

Things are bad. What russell said is good advice until Tuesday, November 3, giving democracy one more chance. Thereafter, we will have to reassess.

I knew that things would be bad when the 2010 midterm elections happened, but I never imagined that they would get this bad. And it is certain that they will get much, much worse before November, and deeply in the hole after that if we don't get a D trifecta. I am pessimistic.

I agree with bobbyp. We need a Democratic leader who is actually able to organize a movement that transcends politics - that mobilizes people to take to the streets to shut things down. That's the only way forward, and it would not be without casualties.

"I just don't think we're there."

I find nothing at all objectionable in your comment. But I think you are being conservative in the best sense of the word.

I am being conservative in the worst sense of the word, by getting ready to get ready to harm the attackers like a gun-loving NRA member, for example, and like a Trump conservative, relishing the day when I get even good and hard and with the full deadly power of the government behind me to get even.

Make me an enemy I say to the "conservative" movement", and you will have an enemy that introduces you to the grave.

Not that either of us resemble in any malignant way what passes for conservative in 2020 America.

How would anyone think Vindman could continue to work in the WH? The concept of how he could be an effective part of the team escapes me.

what this country surely needs are more yes-men, toadies and ass-kissers in the WH.

what could go wrong?

In Russia, my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions. And offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.

be happy you still have your life, Alex.

What bothers me is that so many of the things this (mal)administration is doing won't manifest themselves in noticeable ways soon enough for people to place the blame where it will belong. When financial deregulation results in inevitable mayhem, when environmental deregulation results in cancer deaths and accelerating global warming, when the debt being incurred is used to slash safety-net programs (already happening, but not yet affecting enough people for most to notice or care), it will be someone else's fault and someone else's problem.

It's easy to have a strong economy, for some amount of time, if you slash taxes and deregulate, even when your deficit spending doesn't create long-term value in the forms of infrastructure, education, and public health.

debt being incurred is used as an excuse to, that is.

Is American democracy screwed?

I forgot about our lack of a properly-functioning state department. A hollowed-out diplomatic corps and tattered alliances should work out swimmingly when whatever shit hits the fan.

How would anyone think Vindman could continue to work in the WH? The concept of how he could be an effective part of the team escapes me.

He had laready indicated that he would be leaving at the end of the month. This was just a matter of Trump seizing the opportunity to fire someone before his resignation took effect.

All of those were people who voted by mail. Then went into panic mode, lest their vote not make it in on time. So they went down to their polling place and submitted a provisional ballot -- yes, we have a process for that.

And presumably, only one of their two ballots was actually counted. At least that's the way it works here in mail-in Colorado. If your mail-in ballot is received in time, the provisional ballot is discarded.

I find it particularly interesting these days that the large majority of ballots cast in 2020 in the Census Bureau's 13-state western region will be cast by mail. Almost certainly more than two-thirds. There are five states where every registered voter gets a mail-in ballot: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah*, and Washington. Four with permanent no-excuse absentee ballot lists: Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada. As best I can tell, percentage of votes cast by mail in those states are Arizona 75-80%, California 65-70%, and Montana about 50%. Nevada's permanent list is new** this year.

* The decision in Utah is made county-by-county. The last two counties are expected to switch to vote-by-mail in 2020.

** Lots of Californians have moved to Nevada. I have to wonder if they got there and said, "What do you mean there's no permanent absentee ballot list?"

I'd say they are a good deal badder than many reasonable people are willing to admit.

I'll 'admit' that we're on a path to authoritarian kleptocracy. The main thing that keeps us from sliding into Pinochet or Franco territory is that the armed forces have retained their independence from the political process.

So, that's how it looks to me.

But I think you are being conservative in the best sense of the word.

Me, too. And not for the first time. Funny, that.

How would anyone think Vindman could continue to work in the WH?

Nobody would think that, because Trump is the POTUS, and nobody who is publicly disloyal to Trump can be allowed to work there.

From Bill Barr, Attorney General in an administration that demonizes others for "socialism": To counter Huawei, U.S. could take 'controlling stake' in Ericsson, Nokia: attorney general

But then, we already knew they were clueless about what the term means. Or maybe it only counts as "socialism" if a Democrat does it...?

To counter Huawei, U.S. could take 'controlling stake' in Ericsson, Nokia: attorney general

Those are not US companies. They are publicly traded, but they have market cap of about $27 and $25 billion, respectively.

How the hell would this work, exactly?

State's rights!

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2020/02/06/trump-to-new-york-travelers-drop-dead-1259360

As best I can tell, percentage of votes cast by mail in those states are Arizona 75-80%, California 65-70%, and Montana about 50%.

In my (Californian) county, in person ballots were 150,000 out of 600,000. So we're at 75%. And rising.

The main thing that keeps us from sliding into Pinochet or Franco territory is that the armed forces have retained their independence from the political process.

I would counter that the main things that keep the slide a bit sticky is our tattered, but still common democratic virtues, and the tradition of non-violent succession of power when the reins change hands. Both Chile and Spain failed in that regard.

The military can, and most likely will, be subjected to the same rotting process that has befallen other branches of government (cough, cough, judiciary) and federal agencies such as State, Energy, Labor, well, the list goes on. How well can they be expected to resist?

The bolshevik conservative movement prides itself on denying the very legitimacy of the opposition. Given the realities of a two-party system, this is something that may not endure.

I have my fingers crossed.

How would anyone think Vindman could continue to work in the WH?

I don't believe anybody did think that, but why the frog march out the front door under security escort? Why not a pink slip, two weeks severance, and a nice watch?

why the frog march out the front door under security escort?

Because that's the best way to threaten anyone else who might be tempted to follow the law and, for example, respond to a subpoena. Can't have that and work for Trump.

Team?

Is that what we're calling it?

Bootlicking shitheel cowards and lackeys, more like.

There will be a team one day, a real fucking goddamned dangerous team, to wipe the Republican Trump Party off the face of the Earth.

It will consist of real American patriots who have experience goddamned killing those who need fucking killing in this country:

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

"sliding into Franco territory:

Many of the f-g-hating fascist filth over at The American conservative hold Franco and his methods in his esteem.

As I'm sure cuck Attorney General Barr does as well.

As for Pinochet, Milton Friedman and other so-called American conservatives who enabled and participated in the General's reign of genocidal terror should have been extradited to Chile and executed.

Truth. No fucking reconciliation.

I would counter that the main things that keep the slide a bit sticky is our tattered, but still common democratic virtues, and the tradition of non-violent succession of power when the reins change hands.

Basically agreed. But I also think that, absent the independence of the military, our common democratic virtues would not endure very long.

The (R)'s in the Senate and no small part of the judiciary and executive have basically rolled over like dogs begging not to be hit. Fortunately, they don't have tanks.

Many of the f-g-hating fascist filth over at The American conservative hold Franco and his methods in his esteem.

Back in my hanging-out-at-redstate-days, a pretty generous handful of my counterparties thought the policies and tactics of our fascist clients in South America - Pinochet et al - were more than fine. And, said so, more than clearly.

There aren't all that many of those folks, but they punch above their weight. Heads up!

I'm not naive about this crap, I just don't think we're there yet. We could get there, I guess. Hope we don't.

Hope we don't.

concur.

And... Trump fires Vindman's brother, too.

Why? Because he's a malicious, vindictive SOB.

He's gonna drag all of his supporters down into the gutter with him. Just to watch them degrade themselves, whether they know it or not, or whether they care or not.

Good times. Enjoy those tax cuts.

All authoritarians use the threat of punishing the families of "traitors" as a deterrent to those considering stepping out of line. So of course he fired Vindman's brother.

Hope we don't.

Amen, brother, amen.

And... Trump fires Vindman's brother, too.

Yes, we're there. Please let me know what "there" means, and how many bodies have to pile up before we understand that they've brought it.

Yes, we're there. Please let me know what "there" means, and how many bodies have to pile up before we understand that they've brought it.

Also, how many tools will we lose to fight back before we realize that we're losing them? We're turning into ant armies.

https://youtu.be/1Nvg_Lbin7E

Sondland hit too, although in his case liberals didn’t have the cojones to whack him themselves.

The team, Marty calls it. The team just ate it.

We have no idea the EVIL we’re dealing with.

A million bucks just doesn't go as far as it used to.

A million bucks just doesn't go as far as it used to

Is it that? Or just that Trump welshes on his debts whenever possible?

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