Whose votes were wasted?

If all those voters hadn’t wasted their votes on Hillary and instead voted for Johnson, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

Five million less people voted this year compared to 2012. Obama also happened to win by about five million votes. Hillary Clinton took that Obama coalition for granted. She wrongly assumed she would inherit it just by winning the nomination. The Clinton campaign also took multiple states as givens. There wasn’t a day that went by where the media wasn’t talking about the “blue firewall” of rust belt states. The Democrats assumed far too much, and made true asses out of themselves.

Source: Don’t Blame Gary Johnson For President Drumpf, Blame These Three Things

Trump and the trifecta of decline

The fall of Rome

We have become a nation almost completely unmoored from its founding principles. We have become a people that has for too long sought solutions for our problems in the pockets of others. We fear the power of the one solution that once made and may again make us exceptional — our own selves left alone to pursue our happiness. Where once we embraced the concept that we rise or fall on our own merits, we instead brandish a self-serving license to blame others.

We have become a nation that operates under one tragic contradiction: We simultaneously fear and rely upon the one institution that has the sanctioned ability to take away everything from us — our livelihoods, our property, our very lives — and yet we gave it that sanction.

As a result, we have allowed our democracy become so corrupted by these powers, that we have turned to authoritarian ideas as a solution, thinking that this will only affect “them”, not us. Our contradictions and hypocrisies have made us easy prey to those who work in collusion with our rulers to keep us confused and angry. We play right into their hands.

I suppose it has become cliché to peg our country’s decline on this or that, but we have just elected a president that two-thirds of the country does not trust. How does that happen? How does it happen that we look for leaders among our lowest common denominators rather than our best and brightest? We have just elected a man that represents everything I fear: Power, privilege, and ignorance. The trifecta of decline.

It happens because we forget, and because we seek the easy solution that starts with abandoning our own responsibilities. We don’t believe that we rise and fall on our own merits, and the resulting discourse has become a cacophony of finger-pointing. How, we ask ourselves, can we make our government force the other guy do the right thing?

Until we wake up, open our eyes, and see the real reasons for our failures, it will get worse. We can bitch and moan all we want about corporations, rich people, Mexicans, and whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s just us in that voting booth. We should use that vote as an affirmation of our principles rather than a weapon against someone else’s.

Every time I think this country has turned a corner and corrected itself, I find myself profoundly disappointed. I have considered myself an informed and principled citizen for my entire life. I resisted becoming saddled with pessimism, but I know as a student of history, when your society begins to reject reason and intellect, only tragic outcomes result.

The best years of my life lay behind me, so I look at my daughter, and all I can do when she asks “why” is shrug my shoulders. “Sorry, kid. I tried.”

Hot wreaking mess of an election

A few days ago, I met up with a Greek documentary producer touring the area to shoot a video about the effect of the Greek diaspora on American culture, particularly on its cuisine. Of course, we spoke about diners.

But besides diners, we had an interesting off-camera discussion about the election. She wanted to know what was going on. I said this country’s system for picking its leaders has devolved into something just short of disastrous.

We now have a system, I told her, that like the priesthood and the police, attracts mainly candidates from the margins of society. No one with any abilities applicable in the where most of us live would dare pursue this job. No one in their right mind would subject themselves to the kind of scrutiny we now pour upon our potential leaders.

Politics has always meant appealing to the mob, and thanks to the internet and the 24-hour news cycle, that seems to be all it appeals to. Any attempt to discuss substance becomes drowned by the cacophony of the infantile outrage. A thoughtful candidate could ignore the fringe, but the fringe has taken control. The lunatics run the asylum.

As a result, this election presents us with a “choice” between two very emotionally damaged people, both coming from dysfunctional families, and suffering from serious daddy issues. Lucky us.

I said to my new Greek friends that it’s been a long time coming, but the all the ingredients that have made up for this particular election have laid upon the counter for far too long. Finally, instead of tossing out this garbage, we’ve somehow managed to toss it all into the pot and turned up the heat to high. Get ready to choke on this wreaking stew for the next four years.

Presidential electors should vote their consciences

The idea that a presidential elector should vote his conscience is not new. The Framers of the Constitution assumed that electors would be seasoned statesmen who would exercise informed and independent judgment. The Electoral College, as it came to be known, was meant to be a buffer between rough populism and elitist cronyism.

Source: Richard E. Sincere column: Presidential electors should vote their consciences

Mathematical Definition of Wasted Votes

A wasted vote is a vote that provides no determination or effect on the final outcome of the election. According to Wikipedia: “Wasted votes are votes cast for losing candidates or votes cast for winning candidates in excess of the number required for victory. For example, in the UK general election of 2005, 52% of votes were cast for losing candidates and 18% were excess votes – a total of 70% wasted votes.”

Source: How Not To Waste Your Vote: A Mathematical Analysis | Foundation for Economic Education

Locker room of no gym I’d join

It dawned on me that I too belong to a gym with its own locker room. During the times I go there, it’s filled mostly with guys about my age and older, some older than Littlefinger. Not once have I heard any discussion about sex with women. Most of the time, the conversation revolves around aches and pains, stock portfolios, and how everyone’s kids are doing in college.

I’m not saying that I don’t have occasional fantasies about sex with super models or Sheena Parveen from time to time, but not only would I be ostracized in that locker room for describing aggressive sexual acts against them, I’m almost certain my mother would visit me from beyond the grave and scare the bejeezus out of me.

That all said, I think David Brooks pretty much nails the pathetic life of Littlefinger in this piece. I suppose living in such opulence would hardly qualify as pathetic, but if you consider the source of true happiness as connection to people who truly care about you, then Littlefinger’s life does indeed look as pathetic as hell.

Trump’s emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.


NYTimes: Women who don’t live in real world surprised by Littlefinger’s remarks

Or as Ray Romano once said, “If women knew what men were really thinking about them, they’d never stop slapping us.”


I’m in

Any reasonable person living in a state that’s a lock for either of the major candidates that must hold their nose to pull their lever must vote for a third party candidate. It’s the only way to make your vote actually count. There’s no such thing as a wasted vote, except when you vote for the candidate sure not to win your state.

For instance, if you live in Massachusetts, you know Hillary will carry that state by a wide margin. Voting for Littlefinger means absolute nothing in the grand scheme of things, because you cast your vote for an elector who will not vote for him (and may not vote for Hillary either). A Democrat disgusted with their nominee has to think the same. It’s long past time to end the two-party hegemony.

I’m voting Libertarian because like many of you, I’m tired of government intrusion in every aspect of our lives. Trillions spent, trillions wasted. Time for something new. And better.

Brexit and Shop Floor Wisdom

The frenetic hand-wringing over the British vote to leave the European Union makes me chuckle just a little. Sanctimonious outrage will do that to me. As usual, people apply their pre-conceived notions and confirmation biases into their thinking about this development. And as usual, I step back and take the long view.

Not surprisingly, the exit has disgusted “right-thinking” people, the intelligentsia and the so-called progressives, assuming that the British have succumbed to a form of insanity for leaving what they see as the greatest gift Europe has received since liberation by the Americans. No one really knows what’s going to happen. That’s simple truth, but the press has largely failed to mention an important fact: The referendum was not binding. Parliament still has to vote to make it official, and anything can happen between now and then.

The political establishment likes to denigrate the “uneducated” opinions of the working class and older Britons who overwhelmingly supported the exit. This reminds me of my experiences working in shops and other businesses where the everyone but the bosses seem to know why the company is going under. Those in the trenches, making actual contact with the product and the customers, often have a better sense of reality than their supervisors sitting at their desks in remote sites. Anyone who’s spent anytime in the workforce (or who reads Dilbert) can relate to this.

Maybe the shop workers don’t see the Big Picture, but the big picture rarely depicts their lives with any detail. The big picture shows them as filler or afterthoughts. Except, that they are there, and they do matter. The big picture loses a lot of color and meaning without them, and in a democracy, ignore them at your peril.

I bristle at the notion of turning over more and more decisions to central authorities, no matter the perceived advantages. The working classes of Britain understand this. They voted to exit because appointed officials in an office building in a country on another continent dictated to them how to go about making a living.

Those who voted to get out bristled against those policies affected their lifestyles and professions, and in the end, voted for more democracy, not less, and history proves that people allowed to peacefully decide on their own futures is always a good thing.

The NSA introduces us to the “zettabyte”

Talk about farm subsidies, the NSA is almost finished with its new data farm in Utah. According to NPR, it holds five zettabytes of data! 

“There is almost certainly surveillance that they would like to do and have not been able to do because they didn’t have the storage or computing resources to perform the searches.” Soghoian adds. “And this will give them the ability to do more searches through more innocent people’s information.”

The estimated power of those computing resources in Utah is so massive it requires use of a little-known unit of storage space: the zettabyte. Cisco quantifies a zettabyte as the amount of data that would fill 250 billion DVDs.

via Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm : NPR.

The thing costs $1.2 billion to build and will cost $20 million per year to operate. Frankly, I think I’d rather see that money go to actual farmers.