Days of Change

Let’s Not Joke About It

May 31, 2016
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The Federalist Papers mention a concept called the tyranny of the factions. It is essentially an argument against direct democracy. With direct democracy, the adage that you can fool all of the people some of the time can take on a terrible meaning. The decision making process was originally designed to be long and deliberative because government had great power but should not need to express it too quickly.

While the tyranny of a passion-filled majority is bad enough, the power of a small faction to force change is becoming even worse. The pinnacle of this is the so-called bathroom policy being applied by the federal governments broad authority to hold education money, that state residents pay the federal government in taxes, over their heads.

The response has mostly been derision and mockery. I understand the instinct because the rules are idiotic. The “transgender” individuals supposedly protected by these regulations make up an infinitesimal part of the population. In fact, the number of men abusing these rules to become predators may actually exceed the number of people who have convinced themselves that their God-assigned gender isn’t working for them.

Unfortunately, the debate is the goal. What’s worse is that this idea is so worthy of mockery that it is already becoming part of the culture. Those of us who object to this kind of redefinition of reality have essentially already lost. The Republican Party’s standard bearer doesn’t care about the issue because it doesn’t poll test well.

For me, this is to serious to joke about, so I won’t. One reason to vote Libertarian this year is that such things would not be laws to a libertarian, but left to the discretion of the bathroom’s owner. That’s probably the best we’re going to get.


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Captain Libertarianism

May 30, 2016
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I went to see the “new” Captain America movie Civil War today. In this movie, the aftermath of a massive attack in the previous Avengers movie leads to a UN treaty where anyone with superhuman abilities has to register with an international authority or risk being arrested for being a vigilante. This is actually a classic story conflict, going back to myths of men fighting against gods.

Now, laws are what separates governments from a bunch of people fighting each other to be king of the mountain. Since movie heroes are often dark and complicated, they have little in the way of internal direction. If such people really existed, any fight they were in that resulted in death and destruction should lead to arrest and lawsuits. Police and soldiers are given certain immunity due to the fact that they are acting in the interest of the state and according to their rules.

Spoiler Alert.

In the movie, Tony Stark is moved to work with the government by a death caused by  events of the Avengers’ battle with Ultron. Most of the others comply initially, except for Captain America. Even though he served as a soldier for years and is freaking named Captain America, Steve Rogers apparently saw a bunch of Ron Paul rallies and decided that most governments intervene for no good reason or stay out of moral conflicts that aren’t in their petty interests. Ultimately, the movie decided to chicken out and made the registration law part of a plot to break up the Avengers through internal conflict. Captain America was right, mostly because registration was never the goal.

In a way, this represents the way I feel about Plan B, voting for the Libertarian candidate. A pure libertarian is sort of an anarchist. They believe that chaos resolves itself into order. If people are free to do almost anything, their enlightened self-interest will keep things going. Unfortunately, it sounds a lot like socialism, which relies on enlightened self-interest to guide people when their labors no longer match their compensation.

Having a choice in a democracy means using judgement. The Republican platform is more in line with my beliefs, but the party’s representative has never held political office and has never expressed a Republican position that wasn’t contrary to an opinion he stated previously. The Libertarian nominee is Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor who decided that the GOP was less freedom oriented than it should be. I can live with that.

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Good News and Bad News

May 29, 2016
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Gary Johnson will, in fact be the Libertarian nominee. But that’s all I have to say because my internet is out right now.

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All’s I Know

May 28, 2016
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Even though Murphy Brown was a haven for liberal clap trap, I was a regular viewer until the last couple of awful seasons. One character showed up from time to time. Stuart Best (played by Wallace Shawn) was one of the original anchors of show-within-a-show FYI until being ousted by Murphy and the rest of the team. He was an Andy-Rooney type of character, known for being folksy and using phrases like “all’s I know,” enraging Murphy, whom he called Murph.

The man of the people image of Donald Trump is what a lot of supporters are trying to sell to voters who haven’t decided whether they hate Trump or Hillary less than the other. The fact is, however, that Donald Trump grew up in a bubble of wealth like George Bush (either one) or Mitt Romney, although Romney’s father sold paint out of his trunk at one point. I believe that Trump is as earnest a man as Romney or George W. Bush. Trump just talks plainer.

I understand the attempts to humanize Trump, but I think the idea that he’s somehow in touch with blue collars because he talks to the working class is only indicative of the stereotype of some wealthy patrician who only communicates with the upper crust and the occasional manservant. Whether Trump is dumb or playing dumb to fit in, it’s mostly coming off as the former, and the latter would be even worse.

The interesting thing about the character of Stuart Best is that he came back in a later Murphy Brown episode as a newly elected Republican congressman in the landslide 1994 elections. He was eventually revealed to be a candidate who took money from shadowy racist and fascist groups who had no idea what he would have to agree to after the election. Donald Trump won’t be beholden to moneyed interests, but he will need to account for his often contradictory statements. Right now, I can’t support someone whose main focus was trashing people for their past actions while having none of his own.

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The First Convention

May 27, 2016
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This weekend is the Libertarian convention in Orlando. From the outset, I and others have concluded that the Libertarian Party was the only remaining option other than the Clinton-Trump axis of Evil. Then again, if John McAfee is chosen, we have three insane people running.

The few polls including Libertarians, mostly former governor Gary Johnson, have put him at around 10% popularity. This is huge at a time when Johnson got 1% of the popular vote in 2012. With enough media attention, he could get to 15%, which would then get him the ability to debate the Democratic and Republican Party nominees. Then all hell breaks loose.

In 2008, Obama ran as a non-Democrat Democrat. Trump is running as a non-Republican Republican. The Libertarians have the chance to trump Trump. Just 35% of the popular vote might be the plurality needed to win a state’s electoral votes. Why vote for a 150 year old party with another jerk in charge when you can vote for a whole new party who has never had the White House before?

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Donald Trump is the Nominee… Sort of

May 26, 2016
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Lots of people would say that Donald Trump was going to win the Republican nomination a year ago when he announced he was running. I think our fate was sealed when John Kasich chose to stay in the race after all the other nonviable candidates left, making pluralities be as good as majorities for Donald Trump. One of Trump’s personal standards is that getting 35% of the vote should earn him 100% of the delegates and that delegates should be stamped with their assigned candidates name so they can’t be unpledged and make their own decision as Republicans.

It should come as no surprise that the second standard (as well as the first) still doesn’t really apply. The Trump campaign has decided that their delegate math now counts just enough unpledged delegates who verbally endorsed Trump to get him to 1239. I guess being called the “presumptive nominee” wasn’t good enough for the next two weeks.

I’m sure if any Trump supporters wanted to read these posts they would argue that Trump will be the nominee no matter how much I whine about it. I think it is all but certain he will be the Republican nominee, but his jumping the gun reminds me a lot of Barack Obama. After getting more electoral votes on Election Day 2008, he started using a “presidential” seal that used the term “Office of the President Elect of the United States.”

But then Trump is nothing like Obama. Certainly not.

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It’s Not Ignorance

May 25, 2016
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The more I know, the less I understand.

-Don Henley “The Heart of the Matter”

The internet’s free circular, Politico, went all out to intellectualize the meme that both Donald Trump and Donald Trump supporters are not only uninformed, but are unaware that they are uninformed. Plus, they think they are more informed than everyone else.

No less than David Dunning of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, authored a piece about how Donald Trump speaks to the “strong and wrong” crowd because he is less informed that other presidential figures in modern history. The Dunning-Kruger Effect shows that people who are not aware of their lack of understanding can be unaware of their ignorance and actually makes them more likely to think they are knowledgeable. In contrast, people who are well-informed and competent often underestimate their knowledge of a subject or skill.

What’s strange to me about the Dunning-Kruger Effect is that the original study is only 17 years old and yet quantifies something that people have basically understood forever. People with a superficial understanding of a subject are unaware of how deep it goes and the ones who do know the bottom goes much too far for them to find. Ironically, Dunning and Kruger became experts on a subject most people understand at a superficial level.

Here’s the problem. Political theory is not a subject with reproducible results. The article is filled with references to Donald Trump not knowing objective facts. This is fairly accurate. Trump shoots from the hip and often moderates his stances accordingly. Unfortunately, Dunning goes further to reference a study that made assumptions about subjective political opinions being fact. He references another study that showed people were uninformed about Common Core, a series of standards that are intentionally hidden from voters. You don’t know what you don’t know, but you can’t know what you are barred from learning.

I’ll agree that Donald Trump is generally uninformed and relies on public perception to shape his statements. However, many of his supporters objectively view the lack of forward progress in government and attribute it to the Benjamin Franklin statement that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. People like Dunning try to cloak themselves in this aura of higher understanding with these reinforcing theories that if you don’t agree with them you not only misunderstand, but you don’t have the knowledge to know that you are wrong.

Case in point. If this article is accurate, then if stands to reason that the Obama’s campaign’s idea of the “high information voter” in 2008 was a myth where a campaign was given intellectual credentials by the media and then used those credentials to confirm the ignorance of Obama supporters. Not only did Dunning not write an article about that in 2008, he didn’t mention it in this article. How about Bill Bennett’s references years before Dunning-Kruger that American students believed they were the smartest students in the world while the smartest students thought they were in the middle of the pack? Bennett attributed it to the Left’s focus on self-esteem over competence. I think that analysis is a lot closer.

A lot of Trump’s support is not because he’s the better cola, it’s because he’s the un-cola.

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Trump is Still Not the Nominee

May 24, 2016

A little slow tonight. Let’s see about tomorrow.

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Trump’s Veteran Problem

May 23, 2016
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After Donald Trump’s famous temper tantrum over Fox News asking him questions during a debate, he boycotted another one with Megyn Kelly moderating and chose to hold a paid rally for Veterans instead. The debate did about as well as future debates that included Trump, but he claimed that he got $6 million in donations to go to Veterans.

The problem is that money didn’t seem to go anywhere. On top of that, his campaign now says the money was closer to $3.1 million. Those of us who aren’t blinded by campaign lust know Trump exaggerates when he’s not lying. So expect that 10 foot fence to be about 5 feet in reality. Maybe there will be a few doors as well.

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A Fast Sale

May 22, 2016
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At an all-time high in absurdity, I see pro-Trump blogs defending Bernie Sanders and anti-Trump columnists talking about being ready for Hillary. Since this is May 22, I thought I would point out a couple of things.

  1. No one has secured a party nomination.
  2. No one even has the necessary number of delegates secured to win a nomination.

Now, there’s a sort of battle brewing with the people supporting Trump as the Republican nominee (80-90% of Republicans) and others who don’t support Trump. Trump fans are painting opponents as both irrelevant and doing damage to the party. It’s either one or the other. In the case of PUMA in 2008, the answer was that the movement was irrelevant to the presidency, although it may have cost the Democrats the majority in the House. Let’s remember some things about Donald Trump.

  1. Donald Trump has run for president before in a non-serious fashion.
  2. Trump was working with the Reform Party and the Democrats.
  3. Trump donated to Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and other lefty Democrats.
  4. Trump rejected his Republican registration after a failed attempt at hosting a debate in 2012.
  5. Trump made personal insults toward virtually every Republican running in the 2016 Republican contests.
  6. Trump trashed George W. Bush over the Iraq War.
  7. Donald Trump has never held any political or government office of any kind.

These factors may not mean that Trump is unqualified for the office of President of the United States. However, it means that Donald Trump needs to mend some fences and eat some crow if he wants a united Republican Party to support him. Or, he could choose to “tell it like it is” for the next 5 months and whine that Republicans with a little self respect are traitors. This sale is being forced on conservatives a little too fast and it could very well lead to a stronger never Trump reaction.

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