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gulliver's Journal
gulliver's Journal
October 24, 2018

We need someone to "call the rumble."

Trump has called a rumble against us. He's lying his ass off and ridiculing us, and it's making his voters want to pound us at the polls. Trump and his Republicans want us crying the day after the election--so bad they can taste it.

We need to feel exactly that same feeling, only a hell of a lot stronger. Trump and his Republicans need to lose. Hard. We need to administer some punishment at the polls. If we do that, when the votes are all counted, it's their folks who will go home crying, not us. We will go home having whipped their asses and having set them straight about us. Think how great that would feel. Wouldn't it be great?

October 21, 2018

Tao Te Ching Chapter 18: When people are unsettled, loyal ministers arise.

When the great Way is abandoned,
Benevolence and righteousness arise.
When wisdom and knowledge appear,
Great pretense arises.
When family ties are disturbed,
Devoted children arise.
When people are unsettled,
Loyal ministers arise.


I think this applies very much to our current situation. Anyway, worth a read, imo. Any discussion welcomed.

October 7, 2018

Unity/altruism appeal ads that ask people to help us and others and vote for us.

One thing I really never see is messages in which well known leaders in the Dem party (particularly people like Obama, Clinton, Sanders, etc.) all speak together and simply ask people to help us by voting.

Anyway, it's a different communications world out there now, and we can actually define ourselves better by speaking up frequently from a unified, central source. That makes it harder for others to define us. Trump, of all people, is demonstrating this. Trump uses Twitter and televised rallies to lie and manipulate "directly from the horse's mouth." In today's communication environment, that is apparently exceptionally effective. It gives Trump huge rhetorical mindshare traction even against colossal (in terms of reliability and credibility) fact sources like NYT and WashPo.

We need to steal a page or two from that playbook—not the lying and manipulation, of course, the direct communication. We need to directly communicate (and frequently) that we are good people. Otherwise we are vulnerable to outside reputation manipulation against us. If Trump effectively disputes fact-oriented, rational sources like NYT and WashPo with help from Fox News and Russia, we can effectively dispute Fox News and Russia with the help of fact-oriented, rational sources like NYT and WashPo.

Finally, persuasion by logical and even impassioned rhetoric alone is very difficult when people don't know who to trust and are being messaged as if they are hearing only from "what's in it for me" and "who should I dislike" perspectives. If we address them only from those perspectives, that will strengthen only those perspectives. Here I am talking about ads that say, "women, you should be angry...sick and old people, you should be afraid because you're going to lose out." Those messages are both true (in my opinion) and important, of course.

But the other side of the coin is that people like to help other people whom they like and whose ideas they agree with, whether they, themselves, get personal benefit or not. A lot of people, particularly of our Dem/left leaning variety respond to true altruism in other words. Therefore, the message, "help us please," is important. Even if someone isn't a woman or old or sick, the message "you can vote and help women, the old, and the sick," is an important message.

We're good people. We're together. We want to do x, y, and z. We need your help. Please vote for us in November. Please visit xyz.com for the names of the candidates we are running on your local ballots or text "link" to 555555 for a link to be sent to your phone. We promise we won't pester you. I nominate Sarah Silverman to write and direct.

October 6, 2018

"He said, she said" and "I believe her" are both wrong.

Both sides are oversimplifying the situation. Just because a witness is uncorroborated and lacks physical evidence, it doesn't mean you can't act on their information. Of course you can. If you are hiring a babysitter and your friend tells you that their kid saw the sitter drinking booze on the job, you can refuse to hire the sitter. Not only that, you should refuse.

But isn't the sitter entitled to the presumption of innocence? If the kid's story can't be corroborated, doesn't that mean you are forced to hire the sitter in order to be fair? One person's word against the other means you have no actionable information?

Of course not. That's ridiculous. It seems ridiculous, because it is ridiculous.

So the people who mouth "he said, she said" when talking about uncorroborated accusations of sexual assault are wrong at best. Yet we hear that all the time, and that hugely wrong idea is often taken for granted as right, even common sense. People who think they are being neutral will say (incorrectly), "it's a he said, she said situation." But it's not neutral. It's a gross misstatement about our prerogative to actually think about the full context of the case and judge accordingly.

On the other hand, no, of course you don't have to "believe" the accuser. You get to take into account a whole bunch of things, including the accuser's character and past history. You get to take into account motive. There's no presumption of truth on the part of the accuser, but you can choose to believe or disbelieve them to whatever degree you feel the available evidence supports. And you can then act on that choice.

So Ford, having no motive to lie and charging Kavanaugh with something it was highly unlikely for her to have forgotten, was easily believable enough to keep Kavanaugh off the court. The only reason that argument fails is because it isn't used. Instead, one side says it's "he said, she said" hands down, while the other says "we believe her (and not him) completely no matter what." Both sides think the other is unreasonable, and both sides are right about that. That's one way the action taken ends up being a simple party line vote. Thinking failed.

July 14, 2018

Immigrants are just a scapegoat. Modernity is the "culture fabric" culprit.

This anti-immigrant feeling is a conceptual mistake. We're in a big argument about which rain god caused last week's flooding, but it was the clouds.

As a thought experiment, suppose all the world's cultures peacefully sorted themselves geographically. Suppose we fed the world's land area into a computer and had the computer "fairly" divide the area into zones, one zone per categorizable culture. All the people of each culture could then move to their designated zone. Each zone would have a homogenous "cultural fabric."

Let everything else about modern life stay the same though. Everyone gets to keep their mobile phones, their Internet access, their Amazon Prime. There is still tourism and free trade among "culture zones." People still go about their jobs, their education, etc., exactly as they do now. The only new rule in the newly organized world would be "no immigration of any kind." If you are in a given culture zone, then you stay there.

Who in their right mind thinks that the "culture fabrics" in the world would then stabilize?

They simply wouldn't. A thousand homogenous culture fabrics with mobile phones, the Internet, free trade, tourism, etc., would almost immediately turn into a thousand heterogeneous culture fabrics. The big changes we see in culture, some very good, some inarguably horrible, don't have much to do with immigration. They have everything to do with modernity.

On edit: And I'm not arguing against modernity by the way.

July 4, 2018

What would Fox News do if news orgs all had "fact checker" sections that included other news orgs?

On my wish list, what if all authentic news organizations had a fact checking department that checked other news organizations? The Washington Post and New York Times have fact checker sections, for example, but they have a huge gap. They leave out other news organizations.

Why? It makes no sense. I actually think the idea of news organizations fact checking one another would be healthy, enlightening, and entertaining. I would love to see Fox New's take on The Washington Post's journalism, and I would also love to see the Post's and the Times's take on Fox News's journalism parody.

It would put Fox News in an interesting position if news organizations had fact checking departments. Fox News would have to decide whether or not to add fact checking to its news parody. If Fox didn't have fact checking, all of the authentic news organizations could have, as the first line on their own fact checking pages, "Why doesn't Fox have a fact checking section?" If Fox did have a fact checking section, I'm sure it would be very entertaining.

June 24, 2018

Sarah Sanders can't just use her government position to attack a citizen.

We're all so worried about whether the Red Hen owner did the right thing by kicking out Sanders that we seem to be overlooking the far greater wrong done by Sarah Sanders. Can Sanders just use her office and platform to attack a private citizen like that?

The Red Hen owner was completely within her rights to kick someone she didn't like (for non-discrimination reasons) out the door. Do we think it's Ok for government officials to then attack citizens for exercising their property and free speech rights?

No way.

What if Sarah Sanders were just Sarah Sanders, manager of a tree service, and not the President's Press Secretary? Sure, she might tweet how pissed off she was about being kicked out of the Red Hen for backing taking children away from their parents and lying all the time. Her five followers might care. So what?

But Sanders, the federal government employee and highly placed political administration official, has 3 million followers. They aren't following her. They are following her position. She just abused it.

Why are we being so nice about this? What Sanders did can't be allowed in America. She needs to resign.

June 24, 2018

Force Trump to build a border wall?

Trump refused a deal from Schumer that included a "border wall" back in January. I don't think Trump wants a border wall. He would be right not to want one, in my opinion. It's a huge loser for him.

Maybe Dems should force him to build one then. I'm not talking about "enhanced fencing with drones and patrols." I'm talking about a wall. We should force Trump to build a "really huge, beautiful wall," just like he always says he wants.

Bear with me. (And, remember, there are no bad ideas in brainstorming.)

If the Dems put a fully funded, fully Trump-featured border wall on the table, then DACA would become law. Most people (even a lot of Republicans) support a DACA deal. The Dems would get credit for compromising. The dreamers, importantly, would get a path to citizenship.

Trumpies, unlike Trump, really want a wall. Trump would have a hard time refusing a deal that delivers to the Trumpies exactly what Trump sold them. Republicans in Congress, like Trump, probably don't really want a wall, especially border state Republicans. However, as we have seen, Congressional Republicans are petrified of resisting Trump on anything.

Despite being forced into the deal, Trump would declare it a huge victory. Republicans in Congress would be under a lot of pressure not to deny Trump his "victory." Dems would be voting for the deal. Would the Republicans in Congress choose that moment to turn on Trump? It doesn't seem likely. Either we would get enough Republicans to pass the deal or Republicans would need to be near-unanimous in rejecting a deal supported by Trump.

The wall in the deal would have to be "huge and beautiful," just like Trump has always described it. It can't be a compromised, more economical, less environmentally invasive version of the wall or Trump can refuse the deal (which, as I say, he probably wants to do anyway). We could offer Trump $25 billion for a giant, brick-and-mortar, barbed-wire-topped, electronically surveilled wall. Can a Trumpian wall be built for $25B? Who knows? But let's hear Trump try to school the Dems on how dumb they are and raise the cost to $100 billion. I don't think he'll do it, because he doesn't want the true cost of his big, beautiful, stupid wall known.

Regardless of a deal, the wall's not going to be built anyway. In theory, Trump would go down in flames by 2020 whether he makes the deal or refuses it (or Mueller nabs him). If Trump refuses, he refuses to build the wall his Trumpie base wants. If he takes the deal, the project immediately runs into physical and political reality problems that it doesn't have to face while it is merely hot air. Two years is a long time for Republicans in Congress to stand by watching Trump fail at trying to build a monument to Republican folly. It would test their survival instincts.

The Dems don't even have to be disingenuous in the deal. The whole time we are negotiating, we can be completely clear about how idiotic the wall idea is, how Mexico was supposed to have paid for it, etc. The Dems can be up front. It's the Republicans, including Trump, who will have to be disingenuous. (That's ok, because they are really good at it.) They'll have to pretend they love the wall while scrambling to figure out a way not to support it.

If Dems don't do a wall deal, then Trump is going to use his being denied a wall (again, a wall he probably doesn't really want) against us. The Republican Congress will fail to resolve immigration, but they and Trump will blame the Dems. Republicans will try to stampede people (much like they did with Iraq under Bush in the 2002 midterms) into believing there is an imminently dangerous, huge crisis that doesn't really exist. Dems will be cast as "open borders," traitorous, obstructionist...blah...blah...Republican bullshit as usual...blah.

The cards don't look terrible for November without giving Trump his wall, so sitting tight, denying Trump a victory, and trying to win on the sheer nuttiness of the orange clown and the obsequiousness of his Congressional Republicans is promising. It's (I suppose) the safe play. And maybe there are some other things coming. Obama may get in the act for example, and we could get some more high profile traditional Republican defections. We also have some pretty good candidates, while the Republicans are still barring non-nuts from participation on their side.

If the Republicans do end up with a wall project, though, especially a Trumpian wall project, it could be good for Dems for years to come. For the price of, say, $25B (think of it as stimulous for the construction industry), we get a monument to Republican idiocy. Texans already don't like the idea. It has no chance of succeeding. When it finally fails, the Dem majority can fund the demolition project for whatever small parts of it are actually built. However we should leave about a 5-mile section of it, paint it gold, and put a plaque on it. We can have a contest about what to put on the plaque.


June 20, 2018

Is anyone still mad about Trump blackly lying about Dems?

Because I am.

The lying orange clown said that those kids were being separated from their parents because of us, not him. He told the whole world that. I'm going to have a hard time forgetting that, so I'm not going to try to. I'm struggling between thinking Dems should demand an apology for Trump's black lie about us or just tell him he owes us an apology but can keep it where the sun don't shine.

And, I certainly hope we don't rest easy thinking he backed down. He didn't.

February 3, 2018

Trump uses Twitter for "script injection" into the news media.

In software security, there is an attack known as "script injection." In effect, the attacker gets a website to pass bad JavaScript language code to the user's browser. It's probably why we have only limited markup (bold, italics, link, blockquote, etc.) here on DU. The site will scour out any true JavaScript language code that a member tries to put into the text of a post. That protects the users who view the post.

Trump, whether by luck, instinct, or design, is injecting his "English language scripts" into the news media. Unfortunately, they are playing them.

For example, think about this latest case where he refers to himself in the third person as "Trump." His first sentence is as follows:

"This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe,"

What will happen is that the news media (anchors and so forth) will read the sentence above verbatim in order to quote Trump. They will say something like the following:

"President Trump tweeted today that the Republican memo vindicates him. According to Trump, 'This memo totally vindicates Trump in probe.'"

He has just gotten a news anchor to say "This memo totally vindicates Trump in probe." People who aren't listening closely may think the anchor is the one saying the memo vindicates Trump, not Trump himself. That's good for Trump. It wouldn't work if Trump had referred to himself in the first person.

Obviously, I can't say for sure that is what he is doing or that it actually plays out as a true security exploit at the human media level. But it does look familiar from a software security standpoint. It looks like a hack.

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