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Profile Information

Name: Kurt Cagle
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cascadia
Member since: Sat Dec 3, 2016, 02:02 AM
Number of posts: 546

About Me

Contributing Writer, Forbes Magazine

Journal Archives

538.com: Biden chances for winning 77%, Trump 22%

This projection was 65/35 at the end of August, and Trump has fallen a point every day and a half since. GA and IA are now both reported as tossups.


Where Does RBG's death put Roberts?

Reading up on Five Thirty Eight about the impact of a Trump SCOTUS appointment will play out, I noticed, an interesting graphic:


One of the most startling observations was that when he was nominated in 2005, Roberts was about as conservative as Alito, but especially in the last few years, Roberts has become almost scrupulously moderate. The reputation of the supreme court is actually something very much of value to him, and he has become a mentor to Kavenaugh to the extent that Kavenaugh's been surprisingly moderate in his own decisions.

I have to wonder, if Trump does attempt to push through an arch-conservative (and his judicial list has a bunch of them), Roberts may very well move farther to the left to compensate - not necessarily because he's temperamentally becoming more liberal but because he doesn't want to see the courts become a political instrument.

Another thought. Breyer is 82, Thomas is 72, and Alito is 70. For reference, Ginsburg was 87, and while we hoped she'd lived to be ninety she's been battling cancer for a long time now. Should Biden win, I suspect that Breyer will announce his retirement in February, putting a young (likely black female) justice on the court (Michelle, where are you?). This brings up an interesting possibility. Thomas at that point has to make a decision - stay on until health does become an issue (and his health isn't great) or retire as well.

Let's say that Trump decides to put forward the current version of Laura Ingraham in a black robe (https://www.ratfuckingthecourts.com/post/report-amy-coney-barrett), it's likely that McConnell may be in a quandary, as it pushes a raving lunatic into senate judiciary hearings in prime time election mode at a time when people are angry at how extreme right the GOP has gone. That gives McConnell about sixty days to put a second appointee up after the election, before Trump is out on his ear.

The SCOTUS decisions traditionally are made in June. This means that worse case scenario there will be a counter to Trump Pick #3 in place (Roberts shifting leftward) and the very real possibility that either Thomas or Alito will end up retiring or possibly dying between now and the end of Biden's term.

Of course, if Trump wins, we're screwed regardless, but I don't think he will.

Has any action been taken to declare the West a Federal Emergency by the BLOTUS?

I was in the hospital with angina and am still catching up?

Is Putin Distracted?

Russia's primary income comes from oil, natural gas and wheat sales to Europe, and at the moment, neither oil nor natural gas are doing that well. There are also two sets of protests, one in Belarus (where a Putin sympathizer is under siege) and one in Kamchatka, which could very well break away and deprive Russia a Pacific facing coast. This means that Putin's financial resources are under a lot of pressure right now.

I have to wonder if part of the reason that Trump is panicking at this point is that the Russians aren't coming to his rescue the way that he expected them to. He's showing signs that his campaign funds are drying up, and he's now seriously pissing off the military and explicitly supporting his white supremacist shock troops, rather than being subtle about it.


Why Republicans seems to score better on economic issues than Democrats

I've observed this for decades, and I think it has to do with the way that people react to leaders, specifically how introverts vs. extrovers react.

Republicans, for the most part, are extroverts. They gravitate towards leaders who exude confidence, who brag about their achievements, and who seem to constantly be battling crises, because that is their impression of how a leader should act. One thing you will note us that the typical wealthy republican is almost always in marketing, sales or administration, or are used to working in hierarchies.

They perceive that they are very good with money, because this is one of the hallmarks of a "successful" businessman. In reality they tend not to be deep thinkers, and more to the point they are usually not systemic thinkers. They also see society in terms of "Ive got mine," because otherwise they have to admit they got lucky, and that is not something most want to believe.

Dems tend to skew towards introversion, and are often more likely to be systemic thinkers, analysts, and activists. They value competence, and dislike braggadocio. When they focus on finance, they are usually quite good at it, but they tend to look at finance from a quantitative perspective. When they don't focus on finance, they usually tend to gain mastery within their respective fields, but don't always become wildly "successful" (i.e., rich) simply because it is not what interests them.

Republicans understand that the easiest way of making money is to convince other people to give them money for the least amount of work. They usually look at everything from the perspective of how they can most benefit financially from the current situation, and only secondarily do the look at it (if at all) from the standpoint of whether what they are doing is in fact the right thing to do long term.

Democrats, in general, tend to think much longer term - ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred years down the road. Republicans think about next quarter, maybe next year, but anything beyond that is simply not important, because by then they'll be on to the next scam ... er, leadership position. Republicans are not system thinkers, and what's more, when they look at Democrats, they don't see those Democrats doing anything "big" - they don't meet each crisis head-on, because a typical Democrat is more likely to defuse a situation before it becomes a crisis, but this is invisible to the conservative mindset.

Democrats build foundations. Republicans build walls. Trump is almost the perfect Republican - he has trouble thinking about long term legacies, because he can only see what's immediately ahead of him. He only sees what's in it for himself, which is why he treats the presidency like being a king. His "signature" legacies were in general done by the GOP between 2016 and 2018 - the corporate tax breaks and the stacking of the judiciary, which was basically rubberstamping whoever the Heritage Foundation put in front of him, but its very significant that once the Democrats took over the House, he accomplished nothing else (oh, yeah, he's built 4.5 miles of wall).

I think the thing that Democrats don't understand is that most sales/marketing people don't think in the same way that they do (I count being a CEO as being prinarily a sales role), and even that's changing, as marketing becomes more and more technically focused and data driven.

Remember what is at stake for the GOP

The GOP is no longer even trying to hide the fact that it is going to cheat to win the election. They are now facing an existential crisis:

* A massive turnout against Trump will not only shift the Presidency and the Senate into Democratic hands, but it will also result in the loss of several state legislatures and GOP friendly governors. This means that they will lose the ability to gerrymander in favor of Republican politicians for the next decade. Without that, the archconservative GOP will go extinct. Romney might be able to resuscitate a much more moderate GOP from the embers, but the vast majority of people now in power will lose out.

* There's been a lot of corruption, and it will be investigated if he does lose. This will implicate Trump and his cronies and nepotistic appointees, but it will also likely reach into the Senate as well. Given a choice between staying in power by betraying the country or going to jail, they will happily tear the Constitution to shreds.

PILF, a "think tank" on election reform, is spreading disinformation about mail-in ballots

Saw this in a WaPo comment, thought it would be worth passing on. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) looks impressive from their website:


However, it doesn't take long to realize that this is yet another RW "think tank" designed to promote all kinds of GOP Election disinformation. For background:


Donald Trump's re-election playbook: 25 ways he'll lie, cheat and abuse his power

Great op-ed by Robert Reich on the step's Trump is taking to get re-elected.


Here’s Trump’s re-election playbook, in 25 simple steps:

1) Declare yourself above the law.

2) Use racist fearmongering. Demand “law and order” and describe protesters as “thugs”, “lowlife” and “rioters and looters”. Describe Covid-19 as “kung-flu”. Retweet posts from white supremacists. In your campaign ads, use a symbol associated with Nazis.

3) Appoint an attorney general more loyal to you than to America, and politicize the Department of Justice so it’s lenient on your loyalists and comes down hard on your enemies. Have it lighten the sentence of a crony convicted of lying under oath. Order investigations of industries you dislike.

4) Fire US attorneys who are investigating you.

5) Fire independent inspectors general who are looking into what you’ve done. Crush any whistleblowers you find.

See article for more.

A Secured Fairness Doctrine

I work at the intersection of AI and journalism, and have been thinking long and hard about the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine was originally established as a way of ensuring that "yellow journalism" - the practice of using the media to disseminate misinformation - was blunted, primarily by fining those publishers who knowingly printed libelous content and outright lies. One of the first things that Reagan did when he came into office was to scrap the Fairness Doctrine, paving the way for Murdoch, Fox News, and the breakdown of trust and rise in propaganda in the media.

One of the biggest challenges in defending the Fairness Doctrine initially was that absolute truth is generally an illusion - news by its very nature will have an observer, and that observer will always be biased. The Fairness Doctrine as it existed didn't really change the way that news was reported, it just made it painful to tell egregious lies by fining the media that violated it. It was a gentleman's agreement and one that had the potential to be a tool for censorship.

Today, the biggest problem we face is the deliberate move towards fascism through the manipulation of lies and fake news. Today, arguably the Fairness Doctrine would have been unenforceable. However, one thing that has since changed actually has its rise on the web, the use of Certificates of Authority. The idea behind a CA is relatively simple. Security on the web reasonably can only happen if you trust that the person you are dealing with is the person they claim to be. This is what makes it possible to run credit cards on the web with some degree of trust, because when you get information from a site, that site must acquire a certificate from another site in order to be considered trusted, and that organization in turn needs a certificate from another trusted source.

What this does is essential create a chain of trust, and by extension, a record of parties that can be sued if a certificate was given and a given site broke the law or provided falsity of content. If you're a company selling a product and not delivering, an issuing authority has the right to revoke the authentication certificate so that they were no longer liable.

The same kind of concept can be applied to content being published on the web. Right now, there's really nothing stopping a Facebook or Twitter from buying advertisement from a company with disinformation bots, because there's no meaningful legislation that would fine either the company with the bots or Facebook (or open them to enforceable litigation). A similar type of authentication chain could, however, be set up that would provide what amounted to an escrow requirement for publishers - provide a chain of provenance that indicated the source of that would force a rebroadcaster (such as Facebook) to reveal the provenance of the their generated content in a computer legible form. Any advertiser generated content would then have to identify the issuing authority, and could make them liable.

It wouldn't stop legitimate trolls (as odious as they might be), but it would make it much harder for generated content to be passed anonymously, and the social media source could then be sued if such a publisher did engage in such practices. It would also allow for tools that would be able to rate the likelihood that such content is fake. Not surprisingly, the GOP in the Senate has been fighting this tooth and nail.

This process is a non-censorship based approach to controlling a very real problem, and it should be something that, in a new Democratic should be a high priority.

Any thought about what happens if Trump invalidates an election against him or invokes martial law?

My concern - one of two scenarios occurs: Trump writes an executive order pre-emptively canceling the election, or Trump refuses to recognize the legitimacy of an election against him?

Ordinarily, I couldn't imagine either of these scenarios happening, but given everything I'm seeing, I'm not going to rule either of these possibilities out.

If so, what happens then?
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