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ProfessorPlum's Journal
ProfessorPlum's Journal
February 21, 2019

If you'll vote for Sanders if he's the nominee, then he is EXACTLY the same as every other candidate

so you can shut up about his party affiliation.

You will vote for one candidate. You will not vote for any of the others.

You will probably have lots of reasons to vote for one or the other of them. And if the label is completely disqualifying for you, then great, you've eliminated one out of the dozens of candidates. Based on what I think is the dumbest reason possible, but hey, to each their own.

THE ONLY time that Sander's label matters is if you won't vote for him if he's the candidate. That's a de facto vote for Rump.

SO, if you are making a big deal about Sander's party, that means that you will vote for Rump over the nominee if it is Sanders. That's the only reason to even mention it.

February 20, 2019

If Sanders not being officially in the party bothers Democrats so much

then they won't vote for him in the primaries.

See? The problem solves itself.

February 19, 2019

Can somebody explain the rationale for Amy Klobuchar?

People seem to be quite excited about her run, but I don't associate her with any particular policy or outlook or messaging or anything that I recognize as a compelling rationale to get excited about her. Obviously that's my own ignorance - but can someone pinpoint their rationale for supporting her? Thanks in advance.

February 18, 2019

Medicare for all versus the current situation

obviously originally about the UK and the NHS, but relatable

February 18, 2019

Parasitic Ideas and the Endarkenment make us the victims of our own successful civilization

I've been thinking a lot lately about ideas which are parasitic. Parasitic ideas are ones that are inherently anti-civilization, but they can only take root where a successful society has made their absurdity almost invisible.

Like the parasitic idea of anti-vaccine mania. Through thousands of years, our understanding of disease has slowly increased, slowly slowly, through painstaking work and careful documentation. We only figured out the germ theory of diseases about 150 years ago. And then, in the 20th century, we took all of that information and began devising ways to manage our immune systems to the point where horrible, life-threatening and -altering diseases were averted and almost wiped out. Suddenly, childhood was rid of a ton of the misery and death and fear and suffering that had always attended it.

And then naive people were born into this relative utopia, grew up without suffering through measles, whooping cough, polio, etc. looked around and decided that they weren't going to have their children vaccinated. This is an idea borne of ignorance - of not having any visceral feeling for either what vaccines can help us avoid, or how well they have worked.

The same thing with Libertarians, who seem to have been born into this wonderful society we have, built on the sweat and cooperation and taxes of millions before them (and also slave labor), opened their kitten-like eyes and decided that they didn't have to participate. "I want to live like a parasite in this infrastructure which is already all around me and for which I have no clue how hard it was to create, how long it took to develop, and which I haven't taken a minute to think about how much I value." They live with the naive fantasy that they don't have to pay taxes, and everything will just continue to be great, tra-la, because they are ignorant fools.

Trickle Down Economics also falls into this category. The societies of the 60s and 70s, having a thriving middle class built up by progressive taxation, strong labor policy, and a social safety net, were charmed into thinking that everything was going to be OK, even as the rich and powerful dismantled all three of those things. With no regard for the massive fight and sacrifice labor leaders put in to getting us there, we allowed the very basis for our pretty great society to be attacked and start to crumble.

"Voter Fraud" is another one. We have democratic elections where more people's votes count than ever before, thanks to all of the people who fought to expand the franchise - to women, to minorities, to younger people. But the rich and powerful don't like democracy, because their greedy ideas can be voted down. So, while committing election fraud with one hand to subvert the will of the people, they scream about non-existent voter fraud with the other. And people ignorantly let them take our rights away.

Every victory that we achieve as a species, as a society, can be taken away from us when that victory (and the struggles behind it) fade from the popular memory. We are, as species, remarkably easy to con into throwing away our advantages in fits of naive ignorance.

Other parasitic ideas:

killing off Social Security, because the problem of old people in dire poverty doesn't seem to be around anymore.

killing the EPA, because the air and water seem clean enough and regulations interfere with profits


I leave it as an exercise of the reader to reflect on which groups of voters are most susceptible to Parasitic Ideas.

February 12, 2019

Let's REBUILD the American Middle Class with POLICY

Creating the American middle class was the result of policy decisions, mostly implemented by Democrats, that deliberately increased the flow of money to the lower part of the economic ladder.

Money going to the poorer people gets spent. It makes them customers. Suddenly, it creates a market for what poorer people want, and supply follows.

Getting money into the hands of poorer people happened by

* Supporting Labor Unions, to give them power to negotiate with capital
* Increasing minimum wage, to reward work
* Social Security, aid to widows and orphans
* Unemployment insurance
* Disability
* Food Stamps
* Overtime rules

The GOP has been working to slash all of these things for forty years, and is largely succeeding. Supporting these Robin Hood policies ensures a healthy economy, participation in the economy by the most people, creates markets, etc.

The way back to economic sanity runs through strengthening and increasing these policies. Let's work towards them together.

February 8, 2019

Enjoyed passing out my hearts this morning

It reminds me of the many people who devote time and effort to make this place a decent place, where I get a ton of my news, and I make friends and allies who help me refine my views.

I'm an 18 year veteran here. That means I've survived the primaries in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. It can be done.

Thank you to all of my friends here, especially those who have helped me navigate the world of high-stakes alerting. (Full Ignore is your friend).

Thank you to the moderators and hosts. It's been a wild ride.

February 7, 2019

Can the Democratic Party disapprove of something/someone and also not give up power?

Handing the leadership of a state over the GOP does a lot more harm to the cause of oppressed people in that state than acknowledging some flaw in the human(s) that represent the party. We aren't likely to find a lot of people without mistakes or flaws.

Could we, for example, officially rebuke or sanction them? Pledge not to support them in the next primary? Have them really meet and talk with representatives of the groups they have wronged? Demand a full investigation? Demand that the person involved step down but retain the power of the successful election, so as not to shaft all of the voters who came out for Democrats?

I'll say it again - Democrats would rather be beyond reproach than in power. And Republicans would _much_ rather be in power than be beyond reproach.

Giving up power doesn't always mean that we value the people harmed - especially if it leads to more harm. Blackface and KKK costumes definitely cross _way_ over lines. But is the result that we have to empower the VA GOP?

The position seems to be "well, you got us. Our politician is a flawed human being. Therefore we are going to throw away all of the work, money, and time spent getting them elected. And be sure to vote for Democrats next time, it's totally worth it."

February 5, 2019

Americans are told almost constantly to eat shit. Of course the whining of billionaire assholes

is ignored.

From stagnant wages, to shitty expensive health insurance, from polluted air and water, to work with no paid vacation, the American worker is told to be tough, work harder, belt-tighten, get sick and die quickly and quietly.

And for the most part, like Boxer in Animal Farm, American workers do just that. Make do. Scrape by. Survive. Keep working. Die quietly.

And now, along come Howard Schultz and Mike Bloomberg to complain about possibly having to pay a couple more bucks in taxes. Not surprisingly, no one has time for their shit. Because, if the extent of hardship in your life is paying a bit more for income over $10 million a year, you already have enough bread that you aren't tasting the shit in the shit sandwich that is American life. A few more bucks in taxes is effectively nothing to them - they'll still have all of the money they could possibly need, and they will never miss it. The rest of us could make good use of that extra tax income, though, to make life slightly less awful.

No wonder Schultz's approval rating is 4%.

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