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Another Prediction

I’ve lived through a number of predictions. Global Cooling. Global Warming. Millions will die from climate change by 2020. Hole in the Ozone. Reagan will start nuclear war. The Rapture (several times). New York & Florida under water. Oil will run out (several times, one prediction was 2020). No glaciers left on Mt. Kilimanjaro by 2020. So. Many. More. I’m a little dubious of any prediction at this point.

Here’s one from yesterday. “We’re going to see hospitals collapsing in the next two to three weeks.” Obviously this has to do with corona virus. This will happen according to Dr. Michael Osterholm. I’m not sure he believes it because he said specifically, ‘we need someone to say this’ which gives him weasel room. But that’s what weasels do. They find a way to instill fear, then when tragedy inevitably doesn’t strike (but they’ve got the fear response they were trying to create) they say, “that’s not exactly what I said” or “I was being hypothetical” or whatever. Here’s the full quote so you can make your own decision about what he said or didn’t say.

“We need somebody to say this is what’s happening, this is how bad it is,” he advised. “We’re going to see hospitals collapsing in the next two to three weeks. And this is what we’ve got to do to address that. And just remember one thing, for the next three weeks the cases are already in pipeline. The people who are infected this morning will be the cases of next week in the hospital, a few days after that, and will be in the intensive care rooms and dying after that. So even if we did everything we could right now, we would still not turn this thing around for literally three to four more weeks.”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, on MSNBC

This was yesterday. What I’m going to do, is leave this here, and then, in three weeks from yesterday, on December 10th, I’m going to revisit this issue. I’ll be looking for Dr. Osterholm to say ‘oops, I blew it’. What do you think the odds of that are? If it is addressed at all, which it usually isn’t, there will be some extenuating circumstance that happened. Maybe hope for a Biden Presidency is a natural vaccine to covid, I don’t know.

If, on the other hand, we have hospitals overburdened with patients, I will say, ‘Oops, I blew it.’ Just like I did with global cooling, and warming, and the ice caps, and the ozone, and the extinction of polar bears, and nuclear war, and the thousand-thousand other doomsday predictions that came true that I had to apologize for not believing in and/or making fun of.

And the Winner is

Those Kooky Sociopaths

I’d like to announce the winner of the 2020 Presidential election. I will not be the first to call the election. Tons of media outlets have done so, virtually all for Biden. They’re probably right about who gets to sit in the chair, but whether or not they are, there is an actual winner in this election. And it’s crystal clear. There will need to be no recount. There will be no argument. Once I lay it out, everyone will agree that I’m correct. It’s not sleepy, creepy, Joe. It’s not ‘hair like piss colored cotton candy’ Trump. (And no, sadly it’s not Jo Jorgensen either….)

It’s the online gambling sites. Until the election is ‘officially called’ they’re keeping the money from both sides. Over a billion dollars was wagered. Every day this drags on, they’re earning about $14,000 in interest. OK, it’s not a lot in the big scheme of things, but compared to the poor gamblers, who will get nothing additional for all the time their money is tied up it’s pretty massive. And if the online casinos aren’t concerned with it, I can give them my public key so they can deposit it in my bitcoin locker. I’d be delighted to help.

The casinos still might lose overall, the money favored Trump by a lot, and the odds weren’t able to keep up. If Trump pulls this out the interest gains will be more than offset by how short the major services are on the Trump side. But if Biden is installed, as is now all but certain, it will be a big payday.

Of course, one other thing could happen here. Trump could flip a couple states in the courts. I haven’t read the ToS on any gambling site, but it is conceivable that they reserve the right to declare extraordinary circumstances like this a push, which would mean that neither side wins the bet. If they do that (if they are able to do that) they simply return all the punters’ money, avoid the Trump payout losses, and keep all the interest payments. Ain’t gambling great? If you’re the house, and you don’t care about the country.

The Democrat Enemies List

There have been several calls for holding people ‘accountable’ for supporting Trump. Various Democrats have suggested keeping lists, reeducating Trump supporters or worse. There’s a group called the Trump Accountability Project that was created for that purpose. The Congresswoman who doesn’t like to be referred to as AOC tweeted this.

“Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future”

A writer at Slate called for the imprisonment of one of Trump’s advisors because he was advising Trump. Others have said that everyone associated with the Trump administration be ‘blacklisted’ so they can’t get jobs and so on. McCarthy anyone? Anyone questioning the election (and that should be everyone with a pulse) should never be allowed to serve in office, on a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite society’ according to Jennifer Rubin.

Jen, can I call you Jen? If your idea of polite society involves never questioning things that stink to high heaven, I’m really not interested. I have better liquor at my house than you have at yours. I probably make better appetizers. And I’m more entertained by any number of things than I am likely to be by your mindless, slavish drivel.

Also a few weeks ago, Robert Reich called for a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ to ‘…erase Trump lies, comfort those that have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.’ (emphasis mine) That doesn’t sound ominous. Not at all.

There’s the background. Now, you should know I’m not a huge fan of Trump. I didn’t vote for him in 2016, and I didn’t vote for him in 2020, although I would have if I hadn’t been certain that my state would be solid Republican. Not that I like him. I don’t. I don’t agree with all of his policies. I’m especially critical of his spending trillions of dollars of my grand children’s money that was supposedly necessitated by shutting down the economy for what was supposed to be 15 days to slow the spread, and turned into the greatest destruction of real wealth I’ve ever, ever seen. But the Democrats were complicit, and in fact wanted to spend more and close more so they wouldn’t have gotten my vote at the point of a gun.

I say that to tell you this. If you’re making a list, put me on it. The fact that you think a difference of political opinion calls for black lists and reeducation camps and whatever the hell else makes you my enemy. So we should be clear. I will fight you at the ballot box, although it’s becoming increasingly clear that the entire process is a sham. I’ll fight you in the classroom where I’ll offer alternatives to your fantastic ideas that are fantastic except for the tiny fact that they fail every time they are tried. I’ll fight you by spending my money to support people who do not think losing or winning an election are reasons for revenge, or to burn down cities. I’ll fight you in the judicial system until it’s too corrupt to matter. And, if you come to me with violence in mind, I’ll fight you with gun, knife, baseball bat, IED, or anything else that I can imagine. I’m smart, I’m resourceful, I’m educated, I know how to use a hammer, a drill press, a firearm, and a chemistry set. I do not want this, or any kind of fight, but if you’re determined, as the picture at the top of this post says, ‘I’m you huckleberry.’

Remember Remember

Been Caught Stealin’

Jane’s Addiction

I walked right through the door. I walked. Right. Through. The door. Hey all right! If I get by it’s a-mine! — Donald Trump and/or Joe Biden probably

I have no idea who won the Presidential election, but I know who lost. America. There will be lawyers on both sides, lots of bad noises, endless accusations of cheating. And I believe them. I believe all of them. Do I think that Trump would send in lawyers to disenfranchise voters? Yes I do. Do I believe that Biden would do the same? Yes I do. What do I base this on? Primarily the idea that they are politicians, but also the tons and tons of real-world stuff that has been going on, preparing us for this.

The Democrats were not competent to run the Iowa Caucuses. Democrat primaries have had counting troubles and balloting scams reported. The general election has been rife with suspect voting stories. Use a search engine other than Google and find them if you’re interested. The list is depressingly long, and just as depressingly uninspired. Paying for votes. Registering the dead. Forging ballots. Stealing ballots. Disposing of ballots. Et cetera, ad infinitum.

At least one Republican was found guilty of requesting multiple mail in ballots. The President encouraged people who voted by mail to ‘go to the polls and try to vote’. The reasoning was supposedly that if your ballot had been counted you’d be turned away. Ok, maybe, but I’m inclined to think otherwise, because I don’t trust these people. At all.

On balance there has been a lot more news on one side than the other, but maybe that’s just because one side is better at it. And I don’t care. Any is too much.

A greater bit of stupidity visited on us, the American people, is changing at the eleventh hour our voting procedures. It is my opinion that this was done to sow confusion and allow for fraud. I don’t know what is in the hearts of men, I am not The Shadow, but the idea that a ballot that you mail out (often without request) and gets filled out in the privacy of who knows where and sent back in, and even the signatures don’t have to match is as secure as a polling place watched by both major political parties with identification checks and counting cross checks is prima facie absurd. Anyone arguing otherwise has an agenda.

At this time, lawyers are descending on Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia at least, maybe other states. And they are not there to make sure that all votes are counted. Make no mistake, no lawyer from either side is there to make sure that this is fair. They are there to win. This is a high stakes game where the victor gets access to tremendous amounts of power and influence. They will mouth the right words. I’ve already seen it. The Democrat line is ‘every vote counts’, and the Republican one is ‘every legitimate vote counts.’ This difference allows an astute observer a tiny peek into the battle plan. The Democrats have probably flooded key states with illegitimate votes, or votes that shouldn’t count. The Republicans are going to attempt to identify those votes and keep them out. In addition, they’re going to target other groups of votes and argue that they are illegitimate on some technicality. For instance, late arriving ballots. The Republicans will (rightly) say if the ballot arrived after the day it was legally required to be here it shouldn’t be counted. But they won’t look too closely at Republican districts, and they’ll probably push for an exception for military ballots because they tend to skew Republican.

In the end, we’ll have the President who’s machine is best able to manipulate the levers of power, and that I suppose is some sort of a litmus test for how effective a President they might be. It’s not the one I want, but it is, I suppose, a necessary political skill. And as a bonus we’ll be treated to another four years of ‘they stole the election’ from whatever side is unsuccessful in stealing the election. And even if the ‘right’ side, that is the side that would have won without interference, gets the Presidency, it will still have been stolen, not from the other candidate, but from the American people who were supposed to be able to have faith in our representative republic, and now can’t due to all of this crap.

After over 200 years of elections, why are some states able to get it right, and some not? Why do those states most often have Democrat governors, and why are they ‘swing’ states? Counting is not hard. We have computers for that. Determining who is allowed to vote is not hard. We have rules. It really seems like we’re making this harder than it should be specifically so the results are not in the hands of the people.

Jack Dorsey Wants My Help

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey appeared (virtually) before Congress today and was grilled pretty severely. At one point he asked what Twitter could do to ‘earn our trust’ or some such. I can’t speak for anyone else, and there is no way Jack Dorsey would be interested enough in my opinion to read it, much less act on it, but I’m going to offer my thoughts on the matter. As a former Twitter user, I can tell you what it would take to get me back.

First, you can advertise anything to me you want. The platform has to make money. You can sell my likes, show me ads for penis and breast enlargement at the same time, even attempt to track me across the web and develop a deep understanding of me as a consumer.

Now, what do I want in return? It’s pretty simple.

  1. Declare that the First Amendment of the Constitution applies to your platform. That means that, barring certain very limited exceptions such as direct threats, if I post it, it stands. That’s it. If I post hateful comments about races, so what. I’m sure the world will take care of me. It doesn’t need you to protect it. If I post that Donald Trump is actually a lizard in a human skin, leave it up. Humans can sort through this stuff. We don’t need a nanny. This is going to cause you some consternation, because you’re used to allowing liberal insanity, but not conservative insanity (or even conservative fact) and it’s going to mean you don’t get to control thought. You’re still rich. Go with that. I mean, you’re rocking the whole Rasputin + nose ring look. Do you need to control our minds too?
  2. Show me what my friends and the people I follow want me to see. As a logical continuation of point one, if I’m free to say it, others should be free to listen. Don’t hide things you disagree with. Don’t silence voices you disagree with. Let the arena of ideas defeat the bad ideas. I understand some of those bad ideas might be your own. It sucks. I have things that I believe very strongly that have been rejected in the arena of ideas. I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong, but I am sure that if the ideas were more compelling I wouldn’t be as alone in having them. The market works babe. Let it work. And remember, roughly half of all people disagree with you. In business we have a word for those people. We call them customers. We take their money. We fold it in half, put it in our pocket, then pull it out when we go to McDonald’s or buy a Lear jet.
  3. While you’re showing me what I want to see, don’t influence it in any way. If I follow Michael Moore, and I don’t engage with his tweets, SHOW THEM TO ME ANYWAY. Don’t organize my feed in a way to promote engagement. Don’t organize my feed at all. Give it to me chronologically. Give it to me completely. Intersperse ads, so you can make money, but that’s it. Don’t decide that someone, say Glenn Beck, isn’t worth my time, and so you just don’t show me what he puts out. I followed him (for example) for a reason. I WANT TO SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. If you can’t respect that, as you currently don’t, you won’ t have me as a customer.
  4. Don’t put your nose ring in between me and what I want to see. I don’t need to have information flagged, fact checked, or covered up. I don’t need to be told to think before I tweet. I’m not a child. I know that Donald Trump isn’t really a Lizard (maybe) and if I don’t who cares? I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said believe half of what you see and even less of what you read on the internet. Your transparent attempts to shape the conversation are insulting to my intelligence at best, and in my opinion, treasonous at worst. Stop. (And if you think Snopes is reliable, stop again.)
  5. This is kind of an obvious restatement of the above, but don’t ban or block people unless they break the law. I want terrorist cells planning their next ‘outing’ on Twitter. I can see them there. I want people who believe that we didn’t go to the moon exchanging conspiracy theories online. If I happen to see it and be entertained, hooray for me. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but terrorists and conspiracy theorists buy things. That means that they are, and I used this word earlier, so I’m assuming you get the point, customers. Don’t kick customers out of your store.

Now, I can imagine Jack stroking his beard, fidgeting with his nose ring, cleaning the mucus off of it with a pinkie fingernail, reinserting it and saying, ‘But we don’t want to support bad stuff. Terrorist are bad. Conspiracy theorists mislead people. And Trump is the worst!’ Yep. Ok. You want to be a publisher then, not a platform. Let’s say a play is performed in New York, and judged by the authorities to be obscene. Who do they arrest? Maybe a lot of people, but they don’t arrest the stage. If you want to be a platform, a stage if you will, then be a stage. If you want to be the producer, then you have to take responsibility for all the content, not just the content you don’t like. You have to, in the ever popular sports metaphor, be prepared to call balls and strikes. The umpire doesn’t rule on 20% of the pitches in a game. They rule on every one. Unless you’re willing to do that, stick to being the boards under your actors (customers again — as a business prof I felt like I had to make that point one last time) feet. It’s a job you and your platform can, with a few minor but painful changes, perform admirably. Do that, and I’ll be back.

If the Democrats Lose

If the democrats lose the upcoming Presidential election there will be lots of finger pointing. I am not going to speculate too much on who the democrats will blame. I’m sure it will be cheating and dirty tricks, and stupid bible thumpers, and all the usual suspects. Instead, I’m going to point fingers, with full realization that it is very likely that they will win, and everything I’m writing will not have mattered. But, I like to write, and I’m trying to write more often, and this is what is on my mind, so in no particular order, here’s what went wrong, if they lose.

I said no particular order, but this first one is really big, and probably the only one that affects their own party members. The democrats blatantly stole the last nomination from Bernie Sanders. I’m still mad about that, and he wasn’t my guy. But I believe in the process, and they abused the process. The evidence, other than it was obvious even to a casual political observer, was plain to see in the stolen (not hacked — add this to the list of constant big lies, another item I’ll get to if I get to it…) emails. If they’ll rig their own primary, what else will they do?

Changing the rules in the middle of the game doesn’t sit well with anyone, especially conservatives. I know there is a pandemic, and some of the changes being made with mail in voting and such are well intentioned. But changing the way we vote, introducing the potential for fraud, so close to what is at least the most emotional election in my lifetime will make people distrust you. There doesn’t have to be any shenanigans for this to matter. Just the possibility being introduced is enough to sow discord, and the perceived threat to the integrity of the election has motivated the right.

I’ve read over 30 instances of ballot problems including pay for votes in Minnesota, ballots in ditches, Post Office employees cherry picking ballots to ‘lose’ and so on. Some deliberate rigging of previous elections have made the news as well. These events don’t have to be statistically significant to be effective. They are fuel for the fire.

In 2019 9 unarmed black men were killed by police. I’m not sure of the situations of all of them. The most published, George Floyd, was clearly a case of excessive force and was horrifying. Some of the others were less clear cut. That’s not important to the point I’m making. What is important is that we have protests going, and the phrase ‘mostly peaceful’ is applied to them, even when the cities are burning in the background. It’s not that their protests are not justified. It’s not even that the people the protesters are harming are in no way responsible for what they’re protesting, although that will motivate some voters. It’s that the public is being lied to, over and over.

Which brings us to the media. It is OBVIOUS that they are a propaganda machine for Biden and the far left. They have said nothing, NOTHING good about Donald Trump in 4 years. Prison reform. Nothing. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, crickets. Did you know there is a peace agreement between Israel and some of its Muslim neighbors? And the opposite for Biden. Everything is good. Trump-Russia collusion was a story for four years, until it was conclusively shown that it didn’t exist. Biden-Russia-China collusion? No story here. We have a laptop, we have emails corroborated from multiple sources, we have individuals corroborating the story as well, and what do we get? We get the story ignored, or squashed. Twitter banned the newspaper that published the original story and has yet to lift the ban, even with TONS of corroborating evidence. As Joe would say, comeon man!

Which brings us to social media. Twitter, Facebook, etc., are companies. Yes the First Amendment doesn’t apply and they can do what they please. But second only to Obama using the IRS to suppress conservative and Tea Party 501C3’s the suppression of conservative voices online feels the most unfair. Terrorist organizations can recruit on Facebook. Liberal Hollywood ‘comedians’ can post pictures of Trump’s severed head without reprisal. But posting a picture of a ballot sent to your house in someone else’s name, that you could fill out and send in, is disinformation (notice that it actually happened, so by definition it is not disinformation — remember pics or it didn’t happen? No, Twitter doesn’t either) and is subject to censure, up to and including deplatforming. And if you’re an actual conservative and trying to get your message out? These companies tested their muscles with Alex Jones. When they got away with it (first they came for the Jews….) they moved on to Prager and Breitbart and Beck. If you start at the right, and begin removing information, and keep chopping off, from the right, then moderate becomes right and thus we move the conversation further left. It’s insidious. It’s deliberate. And conservatives see it.

Conservatives are sick of having language used against them as a bludgeon. The euphemism treadmill is exhausting to keep up with, and at some point rational people just get off. Conservatives find phrases like ‘women with penises’ just ridiculous. When you say man gives birth, they shake their heads and wonder how you can still claim to be the ‘party of science’ and call them science deniers. Being told that negro was ok, then it was black, then that wasn’t ok anymore, and it’s people of color seems like something designed to ‘catch’ people and make them feel as if they’re unconsciously prejudiced in some way. Case in point, Amy Coney Barret used the phrase sexual preference and was castigated for it. Biden used it and it was OK, but not her. As a matter of fact, Merriam Webster changed the definition AFTER SHE SAID IT to make it a bad thing to say. Conservatives get it.Whatever they say is bad, even if liberals say the exact same thing. Ok, let’s move on.

The constant drumbeat that all whites are racist. If they admit it they’re racist, if they don’t admit it they’re racist and just don’t know it. Even if the ‘do the work’ whatever the hell that is, they can never not be racist because they’re white. Does that sound racist to you? Someone has a characteristic because of the color of their skin and there’s nothing they can do about it. Hmm. And what does that have to do with the election? All of this stuff is supported by the left, but not the right. If the democrats lose, it is a referendum on not just Trump, but all of this stuff that has been crammed down our throats, into our companies and classrooms, into our movies, and even into our sports.

The idea that Trump is racist, and won’t deny white supremacy, is especially vexing. He dated a black woman. That was spun that after he found out she was black (as if– imagine that, in the throes of passion he looks down and says, ‘oh, wow, you’re black, gotta go…’) he stopped dating her. She said that wasn’t true, he said that wasn’t true, but no matter facts. He left a political party because white supremacist David Duke joined. If the party had room for David Duke it didn’t have room for him. His words, not mine. He has denied and denounced white supremacy in public many, many times, much of it before even running for office. And he’s still being called out for refusing to denounce it. People say he said of white supremacists ‘there are good people on both sides’. The sentence before that he specifically said he wasn’t talking about racists and white supremacists. SPECIFICALLY. But do you see that part of the speech. Hell no. Conservatives saw it, and it pisses them off that you (media, democrats, social media, etc.) practice the big lie and seem to get away with it.

It feels like bullying. These minority beliefs, being portrayed as majority beliefs feel like being browbeaten into submission. The repeated lies, piled on lies, feel like bullying. The media bullies Trump. Social Media bullies Trump. By extension, they’re bullying half their market. It doesn’t make business sense, but it makes perfect political sense. Beat them until their name is, even in their own minds, Toby.

The candidate should probably be higher on this list, but I didn’t plan this post, I just wrote it. Even if the democrat party decided to rig the primary and the power brokers were to select the nominee, wow. This is your guy? I can only assume that he was the easiest to control. No other explanation makes sense. You had the opportunity to give Sanders a second chance, and put socialism on the ballot. Elizabeth Warren was a stronger candidate than Biden, and for the social justice crowd she ticked one box and 1.6% of another. You could have run your own billionaire, or a very, very well spoken homosexual. Buttigieg might have made a great candidate. I think he would have had a lot more enthusiasm than Biden. There were more, but you get the idea.

Trumps handling of Covid was less than stellar. Of course there is blame to go around, but in hindsight I’m sure everyone could have done better, at least according to them. However, at the time, as things were happening, the things he did right were reported as wrong, and now that we know they were right (example, immigration control, limiting flights from China, etc.) he is still getting no credit. But of course he isn’t. If he did, conservatives would be less pissed off, but no one cares what they think. And all this time later, we still don’t know what’s what. The news on masks, lock downs, curfews, drugs, and all the rest change day by day. But no matter what the current belief is, we know one thing for certain. Trump is wrong.

The histrionics. Rational disagreement is fine. But this insanity of disagreement is exhausting as well. Women walking around in hats shaped like vaginas, or in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ garb to protest. Really? That’s how you make your point? You look ridiculous and it’s hard to take you seriously. Putting guillotines in people’s yards? How is that any different than a burning cross? Why on earth should I care what you say when you choose that mode of expression?

In short, it’s not that conservatives or middle America love Trump. They don’t. It’s not that Americans are racist, sexist, homophobic, stupid, bible loving, gun loving, or anything else. It’s that they can not stand the environment that the left has created. Conservatives wish that he was more soft spoken. They wish he didn’t tweet. They support things he’s done like taking care of HBCU’s and pushing the Platinum Plan. They support ‘the wall’ which is code for a rational immigration policy. They’re mad about stuff he’s done too. No one I know approved of the bump stock ban. Many conservatives are not too keen on his trade policy. I’m sure there is much more they don’t agree with, but that is not the topic of this post. What conservatives don’t want is burning cities, sky-high taxes, information control that is positively Orwellian, and all of the rest that comes with a Biden victory.

Depoliticizing Voting

How did voting become a political issue? I don’t mean who you vote for. That’s obviously very political. But all of the surrounding stuff really troubles me. Both parties saying the other will cheat. Both parties saying the other will try to keep people from voting, or will encourage people to vote more than once. And that doesn’t even begin to address actual reported voter fraud. The news is full of voter fraud lately. I think it’s time to deal with this problem and put it to bed. I suspect nothing at all will be done, because I suspect both major parties cheat, and each party thinks they’re better at it than the other. That’s not very charitable, and on other days I feel different, but that is how I feel on this day. I’d like to address several things in the next few minutes. I have no political agenda in this matter, I just believe that the process can be improved.

  1. Only adult United States Citizens should be entitled to a vote. This does not seem to be political to me. I can’t vote in France, or Mexico, or North Korea, even if I move there. If I become a citizen, I can. Seems very simple to me.
  2. We should have a voting age. In my opinion, if you are not old enough to die for your country, and you are not old enough to make decisions about what you put in your body (nicotine, alcohol, etc.) you are not old enough to vote. You can’t have a beer but you can help decide the fate of the nation seems somehow wrong to me. I’m not advocating for raising or lowering any specific age of consent, but I am for using common sense to determine when humans are adult ‘enough’ for various activities. The founders, who placed age restrictions on various levels of service understood that youth and experience both had their place, and might disagree with me on the drinking-voting equivalency, but following their lead might not be a bad idea either. How about you can only vote for an office you are legally allowed to hold?
  3. Everyone should get one vote. This is already the law. What we need is a way to make it bullet proof, and fair to all. In this next part, I outline how to accomplish this.

A Perfectly Fair Election In Five Easy Items

Item One: Every citizen gets one vote, and only one vote. Non-citizens get no votes. The idea of requiring identification for voting has been portrayed by the left as a subtle way of making sure that the poor or disadvantaged can not vote.This facile argument doesn’t hold up. We require identification for all sorts of things and no one cares. Video stores used to demand my Social Security card to rent a copy of ‘The Mask’. But the hurdles to having identification, such as they are, need to be addressed. I’m a personal fan of the United States requiring every citizen to have a passport and just using that for voting. It’s better than the Social Security card because it has anti forging features and a picture. Its downside is that it’s expensive. I am not a big fan of taxes and such, but in this case I’d gladly pay for a second passport for someone who couldn’t afford it, if it led to greater election integrity. I’m sure millions of others would join me, and if not, the Federal Government has shown no reluctance to spending far more than this would cost on far less. So, step one is that, as Oprah would say, “you get a passport, and you get a passport, EVERYONE GETS A PASSPORT”. Each passport has a unique number on it. We’re going to use that number in a minute.

Item Two: You use your passport number to vote. Not directly, your passport number creates a new number known only to you by means of a program connected to a blockchain. That new number can be used by you to vote in person, or on your phone, or on a friend’s phone in a gas station parking lot, or whatever. You can vote on election day. You can vote the week before. If there are legally allowed circumstances, you can vote the day after.

Item Three: You can vote as many times as you want. The blockchain enabled program will only keep your most recent vote. If you’re worried you won’t make it to election day, you vote a week early. If you change your mind the day of, you just vote again. Your old vote is erased and replaced with your new vote. If you are coerced into casting a vote for someone, you can just go back and change it later, up to when the voting closes for an election.

Item Four: You (and only you) can view your vote at any time. Using your passport and code you can see who your vote was cast for. You are absolutely certain there was no fraud with your ballot. This information is encrypted into the blockchain.

Item Five: Votes can be tabulated instantly and error free. Once we call time (Olly olly oxen free!) we can have a big red button in Times Square that we press to see who won.

Is this solution perfect? Nope. Here’s a list of problems.

  1. People could still sell their votes. But it would get more expensive, because they could sell their votes over and over, then still vote for whomever they preferred in the privacy of their homes.
  2. The Passport office is not nearly equipped to do this in the short term.
  3. For this to be most effective, a combination of passport, blockchain and biometrics would be preferable. However, some people don’t have easy access to biometric equipment, but it’s becoming more and more common in handheld devices.
  4. Someday someone may figure out a way to break blockchains, and that will present a new problem. However, it seems like it would be a lot harder than ringing up a bunch of votes on a voting machine before polls open, requesting a ballot on behalf of an unsuspecting citizen, pulling a ballot out of someone’s mail box, or paying someone money for their ballot, all of which have been reported as having happened recently. And as a bonus, the world would get to forget that a chad is a little piece of paper that can be left hanging or even pregnant.

I understand that this would be a new way of doing things. It would be uncomfortable, especially for people my age and older. When I was younger I worked the polls at my precinct. We, Democrats and Republicans alike, were beyond conscientious. We had a chalk line past which electioneering could not take place. It was measured at least three or four times by each side, who came ready with their own tape measures. We turned away voters in overtly political apparel, regardless of party. We counted signatures, ballots, and ballot stubs. If those numbers didn’t match, we recounted until they matched twice in a row. We then transported the locked ballot boxes to the building where they were to be counted and at least one representative from each side stayed until OUR ballots were added to the total. Sometimes it was late into the night when we left, hours after we stopped being paid (not that the pay mattered, no one there was working the polls for the money). We cared. A lot of people still do. I still do. That’s why I wrote this. I think implementing this idea will make elections more secure. I believe that it would make the counts more accurate. I believe that it would make it easier for people to vote, and harder for people to cheat. All are worthy outcomes.

My Problem With Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic & Extrinsic Sources of Motivation

I was preparing a slide deck for my Creativity & Innovation students today when I had an insight. I have a research problem. I used to really enjoy research, especially writing, but I even enjoyed statistical analysis and data collection. I’m not enjoying it right now and I find other things to do instead of doing the work that needs to be done. This blog post is one of those things.

But I figured out (I think) one key reason that research is a burden right now. I’m completely motivated to publish. Nothing else matters. I won’t do crappy work, but I will absolutely work on your paper whether or not I’m interested in it, because one more publication is one step closer to tenure. My motivation is one hundred percent extrinsic at this point. If you had some crazy post-modern paper and wanted me to try and push it across the finish line it wouldn’t matter that I think the entire post-modern movement (in academia) is a waste of time. I’d make it flow. I’d make it easy to read, I’d try to be convincing.

To me, that sounds a lot like intellectual prostitution. But I need the results of getting good (highly ranked) papers published. So far I’ve avoided writing things that I flat disagree with, but I can imagine myself doing it. I believe that I will be much happier, and counter intuitively, more productive once this tenure thing is out of the way. I spend more time writing when I enjoy what I’m writing about. I write better when I’m interested in what I’m writing about. It will be a good thing. I’m looking forward to it. It’s an old trick that our mind plays on us that some imagined state in the future will be better than the state you’re in now, but in this case I believe that it may be true. In the mean time, do you have any A or B journal material that needs polished?

It is What it Is

This is what happens when you disagree

The President of the United States is being pilloried for using the phrase ‘it is what it is’ in reference to the number of dead from Covid-19 in the United States. It was a short comment, and taken out of context for the express purpose of painting a sitting President as someone who does not care for the country. Even if you paint your own beliefs about the President on his every statement, he is not wrong. And that is why the statement stings so much.

‘It is what it is’ is an idiom that means what has happened has happened, the situation exists, and that’s it. It is a neutral phrase, often used to say that we must accept it, because we have no other choice. When it comes to the present, this is always true. It is an acknowledgment of reality. Whining that things are not as they should be, but instead are as they are, is childish at best, and perhaps delusional. Does anyone think that if the President (or anyone) refused to accept that these people are dead that they would spring back to life? Of course not. The list of people that can do that is exceedingly short, even for people who have various religious faiths.

The big problem with ‘it is what it is’ is that it does acknowledge reality. The people who are upset do not like reality as it is. Well guess what, I don’t either. I wish that we didn’t have a formerly pandemic grade virus killing people in the US. I wish that nine unarmed black men weren’t killed by police in 2019. I wish over 600,000 people hadn’t died from heart disease last year either. But it is what it is.

Understanding that ‘it is what it is’ is the beginning of meaningful change, not a mean spirited ‘up yours’ to the people of the United States. We must acknowledge things as they are before we can begin to change them. The only reason to act as if it is a giant middle finger is to denigrate the President and influence the incoming election. This President has said enough, done enough, that the peole you are trying to incite are already incited. Stick to reality. There is still more than enough ammo to keep you busy.