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2020-11-30      Lame Duck Loses Quack   

That is all.

2020-10-15      Probably the End   

I'm paid to next June. I imagine that, by that time, I'll be permanently done with this. I have to accept that 25-30% of all Americans are evil people. These are the people who know Donald is a child molester. They know he is a fraud. They know he is deep in hock to foreign interests (in particular Vladimir Putin). Yet they support him. That is because each of those individuals believes that he hates his or her outgroup most of all and will punish them for existing. A black man who supports Donald does so because the group he hates most is one of the following:

1) women
2) Hispanics or Asians
3) homosexuals
4) Muslims

Similarly, a Mexican man who supports Donald does so because he the group he hates most is one of the following:

1) women
2) blacks or Asians
3) homosexuals
4) Muslims

And so on, swapping the list around as necessary.

Caveat: some wealthy members of one of these out groups may simply be taken in by the na´ve idea (proffered by right-wing propaganda organs) that the wealthy all benefit from a right-wing dominated government. In the case of the last two Republican administrations, the wealthiest far outstripped the mere multimillionaires in gains.

The remaining supporters are the profoundly gullible. There are some patriotic Americans who will support what they perceive is good leadership. They lack the curiosity and, I would argue, good citizenship to see what that really means. Instead, they opt to lazily accept the reporting of clear propaganda organs such as Fox News, OAN, and Russia Today as if they were legitimate news organizations.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, I assume that the victims of the John Birch Society brainwashing will not rest until they have destroyed democracy and rational thought forever in this country. In its place, they hope to plant a permanent aristocracy of the worst sorts of people on the planet. And they will be armed with thermonuclear weapons.

Humanity is damned, at the hands of its worst members.

2020-08-31      Fixable   

All of this was fixable. The sum total of reforms (a bit simplified, to be fair) is this:

  1. Limit campaign donations:

  • A citizen may only donate to a person for whom (s)he may vote in the next election.
  • The sum total of donations must be a very small amount, allowing access to any person.

2. Limit access to lawmakers:

  • Every meeting with every individual who is not a constituent must be logged and recorded as a permanent record.
  • Every meeting with a constituent must be logged, but not necessarily recorded.

3. A holder of national office must divest his or her holdings:

  • An exception to this is dwelling real estate or small (very small) business.
  • Real property of little financial value may be retained.
  • Value of previously held stocks, bonds, etc. would be directed to an anonymous and wide-ranging fund directly proportional to the standard holdings within the US citizenry.
  • A non-partisan legal and fiduciary committee would review all transactions of the national officials with veto authority.

2020-07-30      If a Dictatorship were Declared in this Country   

... it would be the duty of every American citizen to devote his/her life to the restoration of Constitutional government.

2020-06-30      The Confederacy   

Let us consider the 11 states that would have stars in the Confederate flag. The first official Confederate flag was the "Stars and Bars" and not the early "Beauregard flag," its successor, the "Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia," or the second ("Stainless Banner") or third ("Bloodstained Banner") official Confederate Flag. Nevertheless, for this calculus, we will consider the listed states as having been under the "Confederate Flag" for the entire period from the official formation of the Confederacy to the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse. This period, from 08 FEB 1861 to 19 APR 1865, lasted 1,521 days. For comparison, the duration from original statehood to formation of the Confederacy is considered along with the time from Lee's surrender to now. The percentage of that total time during which these states claimed to be a part of a separate nation is shown on the right.

Date of
StateDays as USA State (Antebellum)Days as CSA StateDays as Returned USA StatePercentage Confederate
23 MAY 1788South Carolina265581521566951.79%
10 DEC 1817Mississippi15766 1521 56695 2.06%
03 MAR 1845Florida5821 1521 56695 2.38%
14 DEC 1819Alabama15032 1521 56695 2.08%
02 JAN 1788Georgia26700 1521 56695 1.79%
30 APR 1812Louisiana17816 1521 56695 2.00%
29 DEC 1845Texas5520 1521 56695 2.39%
25 JUN 1788Virginia26525 1521 56695 1.79%
15 JUN 1836Arkansas9005 1521 56695 2.26%
21 NOV 1789North Carolina26012 1521 56695 1.81%
01 JUN 1796Tennessee23628 1521 56695 1.86%

An insignificant fraction of total statehood of each was spent under one iteration or another of the various Confederate flags. As such, it would seem there must be some other reason for certain people to venerate this particular part of their collective history.

I wonder what that could be.

2020-06-16      The Confederate Flag   

Today I had a discussion with a colleague on the "Confederate Flag" (the most common representation is not any of the three official iterations of the Confederate Flag). I hope I bored her to tears, but I find the topic interesting. I may have to expound upon this topic.

2020-05-20      Gig Work   

Today I found a author/editor whose work I know complaining that he had been applying for jobs. The context was that he has been a gig worker for some time (to the extent that he may be considered internet famous). I have found the idea of gig work unseemly for as long as I've been aware of it. Like so many things these days, I see it more as a symptom of a systemic problem.

There have long been freelancers. Though the word itself is only from the early 19th century, the concept of mercenary goes back at least to medieval times in Europe, and has analogs in other cultural systems.

The freelancer can be quite a bargain:

  1. The equipment (the "lance") is literally free. A musician or another artist generally brings along the tools of his trade.
  2. The training he brings was already acquired prior to the employment, so it is also free.
  3. The employer generally has little or no obligation to continue compensation after termination.
  4. There is no implied continuity of support before or after the term of employment.
  5. The employer may renegotiate the contract in his favor at his pleasure.

The important feature of the last three points is that there is a required context. This context is that there should be little or no safety net. Any social safety net will work against these features. Insurance - be it unemployment, health, disability, etc. - provides a level of assistance that reduces the level of urgency intrinsic to a spell of unemployment. As such, the bargaining power of the potential employer is greatly reduced.

Since FDR, the Republican Party has made a religion of dismantling the social safety net.

The concept of the "gig," coupled with this weakening of support, allows for the greater power of the employer over the employed. The combined result is the rapid upward transfer of wealth from the employed to the employer.

2020-05-05      I Lied   

I kept trying to revise my model. Unfortunately, it is difficult to cleanly factor in the social distancing and shutdown portion. But this will soon be alleviated, as those in power are apparently angry at the slowing of the upward transfer of wealth that occurs in a shutdown. As such, we will soon resume the exponential rise. Then the 2019 novel corona virus will cease to be referred to colloquially as COVID-19. It will be thenceforth be known as "The American Flu" or something of that flavor.

2020-03-30      I'm Actually Working, I Swear   

I'm working on an analysis. It seems that, despite Trump's criminally late response, there is some good news. While the inaction of the incompetent imbecile and his toadies (along with some good old-fashioned corruption) will kill many Americans, the infection rate seems to be breaking away from a strict exponential growth. While the US will surely become the late-comer epicenter of this plague, It is likely that we will not hit the worsts predictions of my earlier model. As I had stated in my assumptions, the effects of isolation (even limited and voluntary) will help. Most of the country hasn't been hit as hard as New York. Donald has a particular hatred of New York. It was a place where all who knew of him knew him as a fraud. And now this enclave, home to nearly 5% of Americans, will feel death at the hands of a petulant child in the guise of an obese elderly child molester who serves a foreign master.

2020-03-26      Tomorrow, I'll Revisit the Trend   

There was a small amount of good news recently. Today's tally fell short of my initial prediction. Yesterday's tally of 68,211 was markedly less than the rough prediction I had made two weeks prior to that date (100,000). That is good. But all it really means is that the minimal measures taken thus far have slightly curbed the otherwise exponential growth in the infection rate. Tomorrow, I'll try to explain that better with some math. Though I should note that one day after that prediction (and as I type these words) the number of identified COVID-19 cases in the US stands at 85,991.

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