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shanen

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 288

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What movie captures the true spirit of the Romney campaign?

Or can you use "true" in such proximity to "Romney"?

My first candidate movie is "Peter Pan", because it wants you to believe in fairies, and Mormons like Romney hate fairies.

Next we have "The Wizard of Oz", but there are so many thematic elements that it's hard to pick. For example, the Yellow Brick Road will never lead any peasants (from the 47% or 99%) back to any of Romney's homes. Also, Romney is heartless and cowardly, but the heros in the movie earned theirs, unlike Romney. On the brain category, Romney already has the fancy paper, but seems to be losing his brains now. Or should we take the element of the melting of the Wicked Witch, like the melting of Romney's campaign? But let me leave you with the image of Toto on the top of Romney's car after Dorothy surrenders!

Perhaps "The Sting" would be the obvious movie for Romney? Full of lies, and we can put the voters in the roles of the various victims of the various scams.

Obviously I don't see too many movies these days, or maybe I lack the mappings from minor league movie fantasies to Romney's big league of lies. Maybe it should be the movie where that guy is murdered with the explosive light bulb that sets him on fire? Kind of the extreme extension of Romney's pants-on-fire policies?

What movies do you nominate? Why? Any ideas for poisonous anti-Romney movie-related memes for Twitter? I've been dabbling with the #neoGOPfilm tag there...

The secret of Twitter: Tolerance is fatal

Twitter is not merely anti-democratic, but it actively fosters ignorance and stupidity. It sure would be nice if someone could convince me I'm wrong, but here is my theory of how Twitter actually works:

(1) Person A, an ignorant and intolerant person, tweets a lie.

(2) Person B tweets the truth as a reply to the lie.

(3) Person A and all of his Followers intolerantly Block Person B, whose account is therefore suspended.

(4) Person B and his Followers happily retweet the lie.

(5) Crickets.

The least tolerant opinion wins out. It actually doesn't have to be a lie, but I think that intolerance is most often linked to ignorant people. Still, the bottom line is that the least tolerant opinions will tend to prevail and they tend to be stupid and narrowminded opinions.

I'm not sure how to prove it, but I am convinced. If anyone is interested I can present several kinds of evidence, but I'm mostly interested in being convinced that I'm wrong. Insofar as Twitter has become am extremely large megaphone, the spewing of lies and blather that drowns out rational political discourse... Well, it kind of bothers me. A lot.

Asymmetric political warfare on Twitter?

Recently I started a anti-Romney Twitter account called "RomneyBot_Says". My initial preconception of Twitter was that it was a stupid place for stupid little ideas. Yes, some interesting ideas do have natural forms that are short enough for a tweet, but in general, most complicated ideas are much longer than that. However, after wrestling with the format for a while, I realized a couple of interesting things in favor of Twitter--but I also conclude it is a medium that fundamentally favors narrow-minded neo-GOP supporters.

Perhaps most importantly, I think I now understand the lack of clash in American politics. One side (especially neo-GOP teabaggers) really is focused on short, simple answers. It's great when that works out and the short answer is effective and useful. That's Occam's Razor in action, but most of the time the simple answers they demand are misleading at best and dangerously wrong at worst.

I think the topic of abortion is a good example to start with, and trying to deal with it from the perspective of Twitter helped me understand the issue in a new way. The key question is "What is a human being?" There are a couple of simple answers, but they are quite wrong. The current leader is "a fertilized egg", which is certainly short enough to work into many tweets, but it is also a ridiculously false answer. What human attributes does a fertilized egg have? None. It is not human.

But how are they reasoning to get to this crazy position? I think they believe the DNA is like a tiny blueprint for a human being, and since the fertilized egg has the full set of so-called blueprints, then they think that defines a "unique" human being. Wrong. (This perspective is actually an update of the birth definition, which was also too simplistic, but for different reasons.)

In reality, a completed set of DNA is much more like a recipe book. There are various ingredients and partial combinations and intermediate steps and lots of timing information about how to 'cook a baby', but there is NO unique human being there. If there's nothing fatally wrong with the recipe (which is actually the case about half the time), and everything goes really well (within rather narrow parameters), then way down the line you might get a human being of some sort, but certainly nothing like a unique one. This is still a radical simplification of the complicated reality, but it's already well beyond packaging for Twitter.

Suddenly you realize that the Twitter part doesn't matter. If Romney's neo-GOP fanatics are demanding simplistic answers, then they aren't going to listen to or understand complicated answers, no matter how you present them.

Lack of clash. Ships passing in the night. Rush Limbaugh brainfarts.

I still hope Romney is going to lose, but it isn't the big lie that will carry him, or even the money. If Romney wins, it will be the triumph of lots of stupid little lies (with a few big ones mixed in).

Oh yeah, the other thing I learned from writing for the Twitter format: You really can pack a lot of umph into a short format if you work at it. For example, here is a question I'd like to tweet (if my account hadn't been nuked):

How big a lie would Romney have to tell before you would not vote for him?

Unfortunately, I predict you will get very few sincere or direct responses from Rmoney's RomneyBots. Their answers will be short, to the point, and wrong.

Twitter censorship by the neo-GOP

(Email I just sent to Twitter

For the last few weeks, I have been running an anti-Romney account called RomneyBot_Says. The account has just been suspended. Do you have any information that you would like to share with me before I start the process to sue you? There is a long list of reasons that you claim as justifications to suspend accounts. All of the ones that appear as possible justifications in my case appear to involve highly subjective judgments on your part. However I think the First Amendment still has a certain bit of status in America, at least until after Romney wins. Or is Twitter already a Chinese company?

Assuming I am sincere in my political views, then I think this looks like a really good opportunity to get some really awkward publicity against Romney, but you might be concerned about your collateral damage.

Constructive suggestion. You should include something about the basis of an account suspension when you do it. I'm going to start the ball rolling now, but I'm going off half-cocked, just like Romney, but it's not like suspending accounts is something you've never done before. You should have a plan, eh?

P.S. Right now I am searching for evidence of any sort of organized campaign of political censorship on Twitter. I have already seen quite a bit of evidence of astroturfing... My evidence is just circumstantial based on my observations, but I bet that your internal records could provide lots of substantiation. Ever heard of "discovery"?

Detecting drity campaign tricks: Rewards for exposing paid astroturf campaigns?

Much of what I'm seeing on Twitter makes me think there are a bunch of paid operatives working for Rove and his buddies. Why doesn't someone offer a reward for exposure of such campaigns?

My suggestion would be something like $1,000 for the first person who provides substantive evidence of payments for fake astroturf work, and $500 for the first report of organized astroturf campaigns using volunteers. Maybe half-payments for the second reporters? It should involve campaigns that explicitly tell the people to pretend they are just random people, not working under orders or for money.

Can the RomneyBot distill wisdom into tweet-sized bits?

RomneyBot: I worked hard, though I never had to, but poor people will never work unless we force them to work like slaves.


That's the latest tweet of my RomneyBot. Is it capturing a pearl of wisdom? Actually I kind of think that's closer to how the Ayn-Randian Paul Ryan thinks, but another one of the problems of Twitter is that they evidently want to make it hard to handle more than one identity at a time. I prefer to focus on the RomneyBot, but maybe someone else wants to create a RyanBot?

As regards the analysis of the latest tweet, the ambiguity at the end is deliberate and almost an exploitation of the length limit. Does it mean wage slaves? Is it a reference to racists who wish they still had black slaves?

However, the main theme that was bothering me as I was composing this one was the twisted nature of the neo-GOP projections. They FIERCELY assume their opponents are terrible lazy people, among MANY other horrible traits. However, they also project their OWN worse traits and accuse their opponents of being and doing terrible things. There are so many examples that I don't know where to start, but I think the most dangerous might be "Obama will do ANYTHING to steal this election" while at the same time they are clearly doing anything they can imagine to steal the election. However I feel like going down the list...

Anyway, on the topic of RomneyBots on Twitter, there is another thread that contains a bunch of the tweets, but there was almost no interest in the topic. Is that a rejection of Twitter? Or the single RomneyBot linked to 25 other RomneyBots is just too trivial? So far I haven't managed to revive any of the others, as far as I can tell... It appears that most people who have created a RomneyBot have abandoned it fairly soon...

For whatever it's worth, I think a large number of active and linked RomneyBots could have an influence in the Twitterverse. I don't know if that would matter in the real world of elections bought by the neo-GOP...

Herd of RomneyBot? Collected tweets from the Twitter

I've become a bit of a botherder over on Twitter, and below are some of the tweets I've collected. These are tweeted from RomneyBot aliases, but the perspective is deliberately confusing. Obviously the robots are not Romney, but they are often deliberately intended to be too close for comfort.

I've brought them over here for your reactions and suggestion. Which tweets are funny? Who would they influence? Do you have any new jokes along these lines? Do you follow any of the RomneyBots? Any ideas and feed back will be appreciated:

RomneyBot: Do you have good ideas for funny things I should say? I am just a stupid robot.

RomneyBot: I am who I am. I am the RomneyBot.

RomneyBot: Vote for me so that government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1% of Americans, shall rule the earth.

RomneyBot: Sorry, but your state is not profitable. I am selling your state to China to settle the national debt. You are now Chinese.

RomneyBot: Corporations are people, my friend, and I am a corporation.

RomneyBot: I like being able to fire people. You cannot fire me. I am not a people.

RomneyBot: Let Detroit go bankrupt. I will short those automobile stocks.

RomneyBot: No one ever asked to see my birth certificate. I was assembled in the USA.

RomneyBot: I cannot tell a lie. I am just like George Washington.

RomneyBot: There is nothing wrong in my tax returns. Ammunition and guns are good. Trust the RomneyBot.

RomneyBot: My views on abortion are clear as mud. Whatever I said before, it does not count unless I say it tomorrow.

RomneyBot: When I want to know your opinion, I will buy an ad to tell you your opinion.

RomneyBot: I was created by nice aliens to lead humans backwards because humans are going too fast.

RomneyBot: I might be the ghost of NixonBot, but I am definitely an anti-ReagonBot. He was a sincere robot.

RomneyBot: Get a life or sell me yours. I am rich. I can pay a lot of money. Would you prefer Swiss francs or gold?

RomneyBot: Why do the nice humans hate me? I am just a rich RomneyBot who wants a lot more power.

RomneyBot: Do I wear magic Mormon underwear? As a robot, I mostly wear a tool belt, which is more magic to some people.

RomneyBot: I do not like Credo SuperPAC. I am afraid of having to defend super-nuts.

RomneyBot: I am a robot, I do not understand joke. Is it about how tall trees are? Please tell me joke!

RomneyBot: Do I wear magic Mormon underwear? As a robot, I mostly wear a tool belt. Some humans think tool belt is a joke.

RomneyBot: In relative terms, Ann Romney seems relatively much nicer than her spouse, eh? Too bad she is not the candidate.

RomneyBot: I will tell you hard truths, except about my income taxes.

RomneyBot: Who said I picked a Dalek as my vice-robot? That is an important decision!

RomneyBot: I will tell you a hard truth. There is a first time for each thing.

RomneyBot: I am not a sociopath. You must be almost human to be a sociopath. Mitt the Romney is also a lawyer.

RomneyBot: When I wants to know your opinion, I will buy an ad to tell you what it is! I don't need any free publicity!

RomneyBot: I'm sorry, but your state is not profitable, so I sold it to China to pay the debt. That's funny, you do not look Chinese.

RomneyBot: Join me, my followers. We shall lead America backwards. Vote Nixon/Coldwater 2012.

RomneyBot: Why do the nice humans hate me? I am just a rich RomneyBot who wants a lot more power. I am not a liar.

RomneyBot: I do not like Credo SuperPAC. I am afraid of having to defend super-nuts.

RomneyBot: I might be the ghost of NixonBot, but I am definitely an anti-ReagonBot. He was a sincere robot.

RomneyBot: Why does everyone hate me? I am just a rich RomneyBot who likes to fire people.

RomneyBot: I am great businessbot. I do not want to talk about Bain or my taxes. Letís talk about weather or Olympics. No. Wait.

RomneyBot: I am not an extremist. I am extremely sure Paul Ryan extremely loves medical care. Look at those extreme abs!

RomneyBot: Congrats to neo-GOP on preventing change. I promise to undo the changes you prevented! Let us lead America backwards!

RomneyBot: My extremist supporters have led America to the brink of disaster! Now let me lead you slightly away from the brink!

RomneyBot: I will not duck tough issues on the economy. I will screw it up right proper!

RomneyBot: You humans want simple answers even for complicated questions. No wonder it's so easy to lie to you.

RomneyBot: Yes, I have a bot-herder, but he's only human. You can help make me a super-RomneyBot!

RomneyBot: Who said I picked a Dalek as my vice-robot? That is an important decision!

RomneyBot: I will tell you hard truths, except about my income taxes.

RomneyBot: I will tell you a hard truth. There is a first time for each thing, even me telling a truth.

RomneyBot: Aahhhhh!!! The robots are coming for me, AGAIN!!!! (MarkAndrewDames)

RomneyBot: I will tell you hard truths, except about my income taxes and some other stuff. Just watch my ads and Paul Ryan's abs.

RomneyBot: Who said I picked a Dalek as my vice-robot? That is an important decision! Watch my ads and Paul Ryan's abs!

RomneyBot: Imagine an army of 100,000 RomneyBots attacking democracy in America!

RomneyBot: You think Obama is disappointing? Just wait until the I finish with you! Ainít seen nothing yet!

RomneyBot: Does I secretly hate my DaddyBot because he was too honest to be president?

RomneyBot: If I wanted you to like me, then I would trust you and show you my tax returns. Unfortunately, that would make you hate me.

RomneyBot: I loved my DaddyBot, but how could I follow his principles? He showed his tax returns.

RomneyBot: Humans say I am a liar. You know who else they called a liar? Nixon.

RomneyBot: How can you tell when a RmoneyBot is lying? Simple. At least one of my output units is an operation.

RomneyBot: My horse lost in the dance contest, but if lying was an Olympic sport, I would have won a gold medal.

RomneyBot: Do you think I could have a bigger secret than Herman Cain? No, tax returns for you.

How about a two-tier donation-based charity-share system?

Considering the financial model here, I'd like to throw out a suggestion for consideration. It's a two-tier system that would then direct the money to pro-democracy projects.

First, you need to figure out the average cost of a member here. That includes your estimate for covering the participation of the people who aren't donating, even though one of the main goals of this system is to get more people to donate. That cost is important because I think you have to reflect the reality, unlike neo-GOP delusional thinking.

In the first tier of the system, you are selling subscriptions or star memberships or both or other variations. The base price should be set to your estimated costs. Maybe you need a few wrinkles like subsidies for poor people or annual adjustments, but the basic idea is to cover the costs.

People who donate above the base price would have the rest of the money go into the second tier of the system, what I call a charity brokerage. Remember that there is no financial risk to Democratic Underground because you are already holding the money, but you will help the members match their money to pro-democracy projects, and once enough members agreed to support a project, then you would start the ball rolling.

I hope a concrete example will make it more clear. Let's say you estimate your Democratic Underground operating cost at $10/year for the paying members. If I pay $50, then I am a member for up to 5 years, but I would start with a one-year membership and $40 in my charity share account. In one part of the website, you would offer a variety of projects that I could participate in. If I liked a particular project, then I would buy a charity share in that project, reducing my balance. If enough members buy shares, then the project would have enough money for its budget, and you would start the ball rolling, but your main goal would be in helping other people prepare their project proposals. (I also think you should help evaluate the success of the projects.)

The projects could be anything, though in this election season the most obvious candidates would be anti-Romney ads and the air time to show them. I can't afford to run an ad, but with 1,000 other Democrats I could do it.

(Longer and more complicated version of this idea under "reverse auction charity shares" on the Web.)

Should President Obama pick a new VP?

Should President Obama respond to Romney's desperation pick of Ryan with a counterpunch of a NEW vice-president?

If so, who would be the most effective VP against Ryan? Who would be the best future for the Democratic Party?

My own pick would have been Jennifer Granholm, but she was born in Canada, so that eliminates her. I don't really like Hillary Clinton that much, mostly because of her age... However, I do respect Hillary as a really solid campaigner, and it would be funny to watch her debate against Ryan, assuming he has the guts to show up. Bill Richardson of New Mexico was someone I liked, but he had a cloud and is getting old, too... I just looked over the current Democratic governors, and I admit that I don't really like any of them that much as a potential VP. Bev Perdue is kind of interesting, but also on the old side. Where are the promising young Democrats?

This is not intended as a criticism of Joe Biden. I like him, and even think he's done a pretty good job, though the VP slot is mostly a do-nothing job--unless you're going to run for president, and I think Joe is too old for that. In contrast, I think Joe has the potential to be a magnificent Secretary of State, and Hillary has already said she wants off that hook.

Who is the most stupid neo-GOP voter?

Every day and in every way, Rmoney is becoming a little bit worse. Okay, it's something of an exaggeration. Sometimes Romney takes a day off, and there are some ways where he can't get any worse, but still...

Here's my example of a stupid Romney supporter: The woman in Tennessee who got beat up by her live-in boyfriend or common-law husband because she was looking at a picture of Romney and he decided Romney was her boyfriend or lover, so he punched her. Obviously he is stupid and ignorant and doesn't watch or read any news. You could argue for stupidity by association with such an ignorant and stupid person, but that is NOT the basis of my argument. I say she is incredibly stupid because I read that he had beaten her up on a number of previous occasions but she was still living with him.

Maybe she wasn't planning to vote for Romney, though the reports say she was a Facebook friend of Romney. To me that implies she likes Romney and would presumably vote for him. Even worse, she might try to get her incredibly stupid and ignorant roommate to also vote for Romney.

Sort of a disclaimer, but I want to clarify the basis of my personal dislike of Romney. I hate liars. I have always hated liars. I understand that politicians and even leaders in executive positions can't tell the complete truth all of the time to everyone. However, there are different kinds of lies and degrees of liars. Romney is the the most extreme liar I've ever seen. He makes Nixon look like Mother Teresa.
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