Print Story The great gig in the sky
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 12:43:46 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Politics (all tags)
Reading: "The Gradual". Politics. Links.

What I'm Reading
The Gradual by Christopher Priest. Literary SF novel set in the author's "Dream Archipelago" world. A composer lives in the grim, staid nation of Glaund, locked in war with a rival. But when he manages to get on a rare concert tour of the Dream Archipelago, it leads him to a crisis and transformation.

I liked this one. Though the pace is a bit languorous it does have something of a plot. It's also good to see a bit more of this world and some of its anomalies.

Well worth reading if you can cope with the combination of SF and slow-paced literary fiction

So, Trump. There's thinkpieces galore so I don't have much to say. Made the mistake of looking at Metafilter which is going completely ape. My random thoughts.

  1. Terrible result for climate change and science.
  2. Bad news for minorities in the US.
  3. Foreign policy: unclear. In theory he was less hawkish than Clinton, in practice his inability to keep his temper may be a problem.
  4. For straight white Americans, probably not that bad (despite the gleeful anticipation of apocalypse on Mefi). For one thing there may be a functioning Federal government again.
  5. There's no simple way to untangle xenophobia and economic anxiety, as I said before they're tangled together like twin boa constrictors
  6. Willingness to say racist things was a huge help to Trump in the primaries. In the general it was a dog that didn't bark: he didn't get more votes overall than Romney, didn't get more white votes than Romney. But it either didn't dissuade Republican voters, or attracted as many as it dissuaded.
  7. Compared to the last two elections, the Republican vote held steady but the Democrat vote collapsed. To that extent, it was Hillary's loss rather than Trump's win. However Trump did manage to not lose votes despite a hostile press, being outspent, the supposedly inferior "ground game", and Republican opposition. He also managed to extend the Republican vote to less affluent white voters, and into Rust Belt states.
  8. The analogy with Brexit can be overplayed. Trump extended the vote a bit, but Trump voters were still wealthier than Clinton voters; while Leave voters were poorer and more working class than Remain. Democrats should try to avoid the Remainer mistake of making too many specific, immediate predictions of disaster.
  9. Polling was reasonably accurate, only a 2% systematic error. American pollsters string of luck in not actually getting a Presidential result wrong is over though. Welcome to our world.
  10. Did like this Mefi comment: "More than 80% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. These are people who've spent the last forty years fantasizing about being brave resistance fighters against the Antichrist. And when an authoritarian cult arose around a charismatic leader who's literally the opposite of Jesus, they couldn't bend the knee to him fast enough."
  11. The "President Lex" storyline looks way more plausible now
Socioeconomics. Uber ruling. Uber: control without obligation:
Go back to the 18th century and you would find a place like London was one big gig economy. Few people had jobs as we know them now; most were hired intermittently and were paid by the "piece" or task...

Manufacturers replaced putting out with the factory system to control and standardise processes thereby ensuring quality control and driving down costs. The only problem was that when workers were together they tended to do awkward things like take collective action and demand employment rights, a process which eventually saw most piecework being replaced with regular wages . The factory system can therefore be said to have created employment in the way that we now understand the term, complete with its legal obligations.

New technology, though, enables companies to control their processes without their workers being in the same place. You can therefore combine factory discipline with the piece rates and reduced obligations of the putting out system.

Politics. A short critique of Stallmanism

US Presidential Politics. Why were the US polls wrong? Michael Moore: Morning After To-Do List. 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. The Democratic Party Establishment Is Finished. Glenn Greenwald: Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit.

Parenting. Screen Time Studies Parents Should Know About. Wooden train parenting.

Local. Is London too small? London's Top Six Truncated Hyperbolic Paraboloids.

Sci/Tech. Pornhub Bypasses Ad Blockers With WebSockets The Government IT Self-Harm Playbook. Green Revolution wasn't all that.

Random. British author Sarah Caudwell wrote four mystery novels without revealing the main character’s gender. Medieval bathing. How to smash a grape through your head. 10 lost artistic works. Funeral trolleys.

Video. Space station flythrough, more.

< But you'll be hearing from me baby, long after I'm gone | Should I post here, there or in a swamp? >
The great gig in the sky | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
the mefi political threads by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 01:02:12 AM EST
once Florida went sideways, it became probably the bleakest commentary I've ever seen on the web.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

It's an understandable overreaction by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 3) #2 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 01:31:26 AM EST
But I don't think America has suddenly become more intensely racist, especially since they elected Obama twice

One problem with the discussion there is that you can't really say anything negative about Clinton without hurting lots and lots of precious feelings. It's hard to have any meaningful analysis of the result in a place where you're effectively not allowed to say anything critical about the candidate who lost 14% of the 2008 vote while the other one stood still.

The result is not purely down to Clinton's own weaknesses, there was some institutional sexism, and some strengths from Trump. But it's too big an element to ignore.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

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I'm fine with their moderation choices by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 04:07:23 AM EST
a lot of people saw their life prospects take a huge hit in the span of three hours. Had they just let the thread go it would have been become vicious in a terrible way.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

[ Parent ]
Negativity and Clinton by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 10:29:29 AM EST
the other issue is that there has been such a constant barrage of hate toward Hillary since roughly 1992, eventually you either believe it or ignore it. Don't forget the constant fishing expeditions in Congress since at the Obama election (and during the Clinton administration, of course), people either believe "where there's smoke there's fire" or "the boy has been calling wolf for 20 years, I'm tired of it".


[ Parent ]
"creates meta" by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 12:19:49 PM EST

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Also on sexism by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 3) #4 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 03:27:14 AM EST
I don't have any actual data to confirm or refute the idea that Clinton lost mainly because of sexism. But purely subjectively, it doesn't feel to me that America in 2016 is more sexist than the UK in 1979 when we got our first female PM. So the Metafilter line that the US is just too intrinsically sexist to elect a female President doesn't seem that helpful, since it might discourage the parties from choosing female candidates in future when actually the problem was Hillary Clinton as an individual.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
There's a big difference by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 11:22:04 AM EST
You guys vote for parties, not PM directly.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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"Screen Time" shit annoys me by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 02:18:11 AM EST

Anecdote == data: my eldest's vocab went from "words Daddy uses and I remember" to "hang on, Daddy doesn't use that word..." within hours of her first watching Peppa pig.

Of course, now that I've been guilted into believing that she's going to be ADHD'd into a sad shell of her former self several years from now, I'll turn the bloody thing off and keep her dutifully stimulated at all hours of the day. I can't wait for the autism correlations to roll in as well.

I mean fuck, all of the private preschools here have child psychologists coming in every fortnight to watch how the kids play[1]... and teachers worry about the rise of mental health diagnosis in young children? You don't say.

[1] This is something I'd like to know more about. I'm sceptical - thanks to my own psychological issues - and I tend to think they're paid to actively find issues. On the other hand, is it better to deal with potential issues now rather than later?

Good! by darkbrown (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 05:11:07 AM EST
I have learned lots of new English words, Bing Bong Bingly Bungly Boo!

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Let's not forget birdie birdie woof woof. by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #7 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 05:53:31 AM EST
Helped add to the confusion of what English animals say (

Oh god, I've just remembered her distress when asked if she wanted a Pooh bear jigsaw puzzle. The location translation doesn't have a hint of "poo" in it, and she took the English name at face value. The look of sheer terror in her eyes.

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I...I don't remember this at all by darkbrown (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Nov 11, 2016 at 11:13:10 AM EST
I was sure I'd seen every episode an infinite number of times

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Greenwald by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Nov 12, 2016 at 08:16:24 PM EST
I've had to stop paying attention to Greenwald.  He's an arrogant pompous contrarian. I do think he has some valid insight, but he is a massive asshole and digging through his crap to find gems takes too much of my time.  

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
The Democratic Party Establishment by jimgon (4.00 / 3) #13 Sat Nov 12, 2016 at 08:47:46 PM EST
What I learned about the Democratic Party establishment is that they don't listen to anyone outside the elites.  They adopted a professional managerial mindset.  They don't interact with or seek feedback from the people on the ground, but prefer to use analytics, data, and "professional experts."  When I was chair of a local town committee we were never consulted about anything in regards to the local level and we were never provided any resources from the state level.  When a big state level campaign kicked off they came in with their own information and their own volunteers.  We weren't needed.   

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
How much was Hillary? by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 06:47:58 PM EST
when I talked to whoever was "responsible" for Leesburg, VA she seemed happy with the party (of course, she was winning and was likely at ground zero of where the election would be won).

I suspect that attitude is pretty entrenched. Maryland has yet another Republican (in about as blue a state as you can imagine) governor. By the 2018 election we will have had a Republican Governor more often then a Democratic one. I've heard that Massachusetts (there aren't many states as blue as MD, but Mass should qualify) seems to have plenty of GOP governors as well. The last primary election involved the state establishment shoving down their hand picked candidate (who had one job: implementing Obamacare. And screwed it up worse than states actively trying to screw it up).

This is my "lizard rant"
the only way to avoid that is democracy. I think Sid Meir might have been on to something. A real democracy (note civ also had republics) would remove the corruption of politicians (axiom: a citizen voting for his own benefit isn't being corrupt. No idea how to balance that against the "tyranny of the majority"). We (well, those populations with a workable internet system, although I suspect the US one doesn't cover enough people yet) could easily set up a system to divide issues down to subsets of people (similar to congressional committees) to hash out the details and push it up to larger and larger groups for approval. A quick study of US politics as more and more people obtained power does not imply that rookies have a clue when it comes to politics (best examples: alien and sedition acts, Andrew Jackson, prohibition[, reconstruction is controversial]).

I already posted it before the election, but I suspect this is why it is needed. It isn't just the candidates, the whole party seems to assume that it is a "brand manager" and needs to behave as such (and presumably the whole reason Trump won his nomination was that Republicans feel similarly alienated by their establishment).

Are politicians actually obsolete? Could we replace them if the citizens were willing to bother governing (considering US voter turnout, good luck convincing anyone to govern)? The scariest bit about party establishments is that there simply isn't any news about the local Statehouse. Maybe it is different in other areas, but the only news that seems to come out is how easy they are to bribe, and how crazy the laws are that come out (which the governor is blamed for because nobody knows who their state rep is or how he voted). Don't ask about the school boards (although I did get a hint from a retired teacher about who was the one you didn't want to vote for).


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I don't know about Hillary by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 07:48:42 PM EST
I was ousted from the committee a few years ago.  Four years ago to be precise.  Town committees are nominally elected by the people in the town.  When the slate was submitted four years ago my name was conveniently left off.   

We currently have a Republican Governor.  Two years ago the Democratic Party decided to run the same politician for Governor who lost against Scott Brown in the Senate race two years prior.  She was a horrible retail politician, but the party insiders liked her.  

If David Brooks idea of a new moderate conservative party could get off the ground I might consider changing parties again.  

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Hillary got the most votes. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 06:32:52 AM EST
So the polls weren't that wrong.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The polls that mattered were at state level by wumpus (4.00 / 2) #15 Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 09:40:05 AM EST
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan were about as wrong as possible.


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The great gig in the sky | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback