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gulliver's Journal
gulliver's Journal
September 2, 2023

Men, we like you, Buddies!

I think a lot of times you have to tell people things directly. That's especially important if there is ambiguous "subtext."

I don't think it's silly to think that a lot of working- and middle-class men simply need to hear that the Dem Party likes them. Or at least they need to hear it more often. We can't let some J-random, off-the-wall someone talk about "toxic masculinity," for example, and then be silent with the obvious, necessary, counterbalancing, "but most Dems think that's dumb and ignore the people who say it." If we don't say that, out loud, we leave the all-important "Dem personality subtext" to whoever self-elects themselves to be a rude loudmouth.

We could get droves of men, good, solid people, back to voting for bread-and-butter issues with the Dems with a fairly simple appeal, imo. "Tell him about it!" (Apologies to Mr. Billy Joel.)

August 26, 2023

I challenged my grocery store's decision to charge me for groceries (gofund me)

It's a nightmare. Please help!!!

I went to the store to buy some Panko to make onion rings. On my way out, when I got to the door, some guy from the store asks me if I "paid for that Panko."

So, naturally, I said, "No," and kept walking.

And the guy's all, "Well, you're supposed to pay." And I'm all, "I actually own the Panko. I happen to believe that. Now be off, swine."

And he's all, "I don't appreciate that language, Sir," and "Are you nuts, Sir?" Etc.

So naturally, I walked out with my Panko. It's mine. I believe that. In my heart. So, yeah, that means I can do anything I want.

Anyhoo, I get to my car and up pulls this corrupt "police car." The "cop" is like, "Did you pay for those groceries, Sir?" And I'm like, "What this? I own this." And the cop is like, "Well, did you pay for it? With money?" And I'm like, "I don't have to pay for something I own. Did the Democrat Party send you?" And the "cop" is like, "Can I have your identification please?"


So here I am now on my phone. Could someone please, please set up a gofundme for me? I need to fight this charge.

August 19, 2023

Keeping fringe ideas at a volume commensurate with their representation

There's a great article in the Atlantic now: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/08/donald-trump-constitutionally-prohibited-presidency/675048/?utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_content=true-anthem&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.

The argument is great. Trump's not eligible to run for President at all, thanks to the 14th Amendment. The United States didn't want Confederate, insurrectionist jerks running for President, so they put that in the 14th Amendment. Sucks to be Trump.

But here's the thing. The article points out that well-respected legal scholars have concluded that Trump is right in the sweet spot of exactly the kind of dirtball the 14th Amendment was designed to protect the nation from. Great. But what are the poor lost Trumpies going to say? "Well, legal scholars are woke now, so who cares what they think?"

That's why idea representation needs to be commensurate with its democratic consent. It's not, "everyone gets to be believed and respected." It's everyone gets their say, and everyone gets their listen. And everyone gets their judgment of what they heard. It's all of those at once.

It's not whoever is most passionate gets the mic. Anyone who wants the mic is probably a fool. The burden is on them to prove otherwise. And no, crying and raging isn't proof. It has its place, but it's usually more like disproof, more like backfire, more like self-owning.

Put the people at the mic who are wise and correctly and proportionately represent the consent and preference of the majority on a one-person-one-vote basis. Then, all folks will start to respect people such as legal scholars again. And other institutions too.

August 6, 2023

The way to de-Trumpify is to take away his support

Trump is just a symptom. If we want to get back to equality, comity (even some unity), national health care, reproductive rights, climate progress, sensible gun laws, working class values, we need to prioritize those things. We need to get back the white working class (and all working class), add to our suburban support, especially among males, and appeal to moderate or slightly conservative minority groups.

Trump is a response to Democrats not making a habit of keeping our equanimity and remembering who we are. We have all the good positions. We just need to make sure they are front and center. The boring, normal, and sensible need to be front and center. The wild, fun, dumb, "anger tail-spin" stuff, the dying on every dumb "angels on the head of a pin" hill, etc., needs to be given its proper level of attention and attenuation (based on priorities driven by one-person-one-vote rights).

July 29, 2023

How we keep getting election nailbiters

I keep wondering how our side doesn't just win every time. I think I have a model. We start with a core of platform positions that just plain make sense and everyone is for. If we just stuck with those positions and put competent, focused people on them, we would simply dominate every election. But what happens?

We fail to control ourselves. That forces the election to control us. And elections are won by winning 50.0000001% of the vote. That number is the limiting constraint the two-party, winner-take-all system gravitates toward. We take our good ideas that would have, say, 85% support and then allow opportunists, fools, and propagandists to, basically, do dumb and crazy stuff to cost us votes.

Thanks to a lack of self-control on our part, the 85% support drops to 84%, then 83%. Eventually it reaches 50.0000001%. Then and only then does the only natural control take effect, elections. We lose, or we win in a squeaker that lets elections be stolen or ignored.

Loss "teaches us a hard lesson." We go easy on some of the inputs of dumbness/craziness that lost for us. The 50.0000001% goes back up to 51%, then 52%. There's now 2% in the budget! So, of course, the dumb, crazy, and propaganda input rate increases accordingly. The number goes back down to 51%, then 50.0000001%. And so on.

It's an equilibrium, in other words.

How do we get out of it? Control ourselves. Don't let the election be the only thing that controls our image. When a sale is made, stop talking. When we're dug into a hole, stop digging.

Another thing we can do is change the voting system, of course, and go to one of the various forms of instant run-off.

July 22, 2023

Voting for Trump would be voting for a kind of revolution

I'm not sure what kind. Our only serious vulnerability is "wokeness," that wonderful gizmo term that has been such a joy to everyone since it emerged. I doubt the vast majority of Dems seriously support or even care about the things the right defines as "wokeness." So, I'm hoping we can make our argument simple and commonsense. Less, "Ten angels fit on the head of a pin, and I'll die on that hill!" stuff. More, "Let's get national healthcare, abortion rights, legalized pot, free education, climate jobs, sensible gun control."

July 14, 2023

The poor rainbow gets used everywhere.

Newton figured out what it was scientifically. Before that it was a promise from God, a pointer to a pot of gold, etc.

Everyone love's rainbows, so of course, every conceptual framework that can be mapped to a spectrum or a set of distinct subsets wants to glom onto it as an analogy. Try it. The set of the days of the week is like a rainbow...

It was about racial and ethnic subsets back in Jesse Jackson's time on the main stage. Now I guess it's about a whole bunch of gender- and sex-related things, at least to a lot of people. Then it gets put in a flag. I'm not fond of flags except the U.S. one. Not really fond of any symbol that can be shown to people in front of other people. The time-honored misuse of that kind of symbol is to make sure the symbol's "volunteer cops" know who's saluting the symbol—and who's not.

Ah well, it's not a bad song by a couple of really cool people. I imagine it was misunderstood by a lot of folks to be a "rainbow national anthem," that you have to stand for or else. I don't see anything wrong with the song, but remember, it's not what the singer sings but what the audience hears.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow was good too.

July 1, 2023

Obstacles to getting tuition to be free and loans forgiven

It really should be a no-brainer that people should want motivated people to make themselves more useful through training. The arguments against that seem to fall into a few categories:

1. Skilled trades aren't covered enough
2. Money going to waste on college administration fees
3. Money going to politically incendiary fields of study
4. People should pay for things of value, including education

It seems to me that 1 and 4 are easy. Just make sure funding goes to pay for skilled trades training, apprenticeship, and so forth. And make sure people know that trained people end up paying higher taxes, in effect paying for the "free" training that way.

Item 2 is also easy, because I doubt a majority supports administrative fat in an organization.

Item 3 is a tough one probably, and might require a lot of negotiation, imo. However, I don't think we should let the obvious (and huge) benefits of free universal training be held up while that negotiation is done. Just set aside the politically incendiary fields and work to get majority support for how to fund them, perhaps through some kind of "discretionary" portion of grants to students. E.g., the student gets 5% politically discretionary money. They can use it to take a course in anything legal.

On edit: I think our Dems have a majority for student loan forgiveness already, and the recent Supreme Court decision is another big problem for Republicanists. However, I'd much rather see the Dems have, say, 95% support than 52% on the issue. And I'd like to see the concept expanded to universal free training, even paid training where you are paid to take the training.

May 27, 2023

Not sure this kind of stuff is going to get us more votes

The tendency to categorize other identities and distill a meaning for them that promotes the formation of higher proof "rage rotgut" is one we should avoid if we value our livers.

I'm not sure why we would choose to confront all of the many foolishnesses of Republicanism at the wall of masculinity. It's extremely bad strategy. It's like aiming to bruise their fists with our faces.

Is there a "crisis of masculinity?" Well, yes and no. There's a crisis of yacking about it; that's for sure. I'm actually glad a cowardly, conniving, twerp like Josh Hawley decided to run to the vanguard on the issue for the Republicans. That must bum them out. He's going to sink the whole thing.

May 21, 2023

How to deal with the term "woke" (whatever it means)

The word "woke" doesn't appear in the Dem platform document, so it's clear that we Dems don't consider ourselves defined by the term (whatever it means). But what can be done to reform this label, if anything, and, perhaps, turn it against the right?

One way is to disassociate the Democratic Party from the word. We could simply put in the platform that Dems aren't "woke." Something like, "The term 'woke' doesn't appear in this document. It has no solid formal definition, and it appears to be a name-calling label wielded by the right to attribute to Dems whatever awful thing the right wants to label us with at the moment. To be clear, the Democratic Party doesn't deal in labels, and we explicitly don't accept this one. A voter who chooses to label themselves 'woke' is encouraged to vote Democratic if they support the Democratic Platform, as are voters who agree with the platform but either don't consider themselves woke or choose to ignore labels entirely (which we recommend)."

That sort of approach is what you might do if you wanted to emphasize that the Dems have never said we were "woke," and that Republicans saying we are, therefore, is a lie. In rhetoric, unfortunately, you often have to explicitly deny that you are saying a thing to prevent it being inferred from subtext. Republican extremists are counting on us not doing that in order to paint Dems as radical boogie people.

Another thing we could do is go the other way and define the word "woke" normatively in the platform document. The definition could emerge from the official Democratic Platform process. I would hope (and do assume) that the process is grounded in one-vote-per-person representation. You could create an "official" definition of the term "woke," in other words, for the purposes of the document. This is done all the time in official documents such as contracts, laws, and standards. If we did that, we would have a ready response whenever a Republican implies that "woke" means something awful. Just point to the definition and note that all of the awful "reductio ad absurdum" cases they like to whine about aren't in the definition.

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