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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
November 6, 2014

Two lessons that Democrats constantly forget about American democracy.

1. Americans usually vote for candidates, not issues.

This fact is partly why the left isn't as represented as it could be - it prefers to emphasize issue conversations and de-emphasize the personal qualities of candidates, undermining some natural advantages that could otherwise be decisive.

It's also why moderate Democrats unnecessarily run away from strongly progressive positions: Not because they don't share them, but because they falsely believe it will impact their electability. It doesn't. It doesn't increase the electability of left-wing progressives, and it doesn't decrease the electability of moderates to be associated with progressive issues. Rather, issues derive credibility from their association with strong candidates, not the other way around. When we win, it is not necessarily an endorsement of our issues; when we lose, it is not necessarily a repudiation of our issues. This is basically just a restatement of the Overton Window principle.

2. Never concede or appear to concede enemy propaganda.

If a liar always lied, they wouldn't be dangerous. What makes them destructive is their selective use of truth as a weapon of deceit. The Republican narrative of an unpopular President torpedoing Democratic election chances contained a kernel of fact - that the President's approval ratings are in the minority - to produce a web of heinous fiction. And rather than slice through that web, which would have served both them and the President and the Party, many Democrats simply accepted it and sabotaged themselves by reinforcing an appearance of weakness and discord. They took no responsibility for improving the circumstances and public perception thereof, but simply reacted like prey animals.


When these two lessons are remembered, we win big. When they are forgotten, we lose big. And when some do and some don't, we end up with mixed results.

November 5, 2014

Please stop posting the following idiotic bullshit:

1. Claiming that American culture is conservative.
2. Broad smears about American voters.
3. Media-driven narratives about America as a whole choosing the GOP.
4. Whining about the Democratic Party or its leaders.

We have watched the Republican Party prepare this result for a long time through utterly lawless, criminal, and to some extent treasonous means, including nakedly unconstitutional vote suppression tactics, the elimination of campaign finance laws through fascist revolutionary judicial fiat, and other methods that go far beyond their otherwise legitimate fuckery (e.g., campaign lying). We know for a fact they engaged in crime to produce this result - we just don't know if they would have won anyway.

So we still do not know whether these criminal tactics were decisive. In other words, we don't know yet whether the result bears any meaningful resemblance to what actually happened at the polls. So don't waste anyone's time whining about what this election means, or who is to blame for it, unless you have something factual to contribute to serve as a basis, because you can't know the significance of events whose details you don't even know.

Every election that Republicans win or steal, the same script plays out. The same idiotic bullshit listed above gets said, so predictably that the process might as well be automated. Well stop it. Stop acting like robots. Stop being prompted by the media. Their scripts are written in advance - years in advance, frankly - but yours don't have to be. You are conscious human beings, so act like it.

Start asking important questions and putting together information to answer them. When you have your answers, then start talking about what to do with them. Here are the questions I have:

1. How many voters do we know firmly to have been illegally excluded nationwide?
2. How many local, state, and federal seats were decided on the basis of voter exclusions?
3. Was this decisive in determining the Senate?
4. Was it decisive in determining state legislatures?
5. Governorships?
6. Were other problems that have been identified decisive in any of these races?
7. Is the Party actively investigating these problems, and the effects of vote suppression?
8. Will the Party declare races decided due to vote suppression fraudulent?
9. If it is found that the Senate majority was determined by vote suppression, is the Party prepared to declare GOP attempts to assume control of the Senate fraudulent and resist any illegal actions they attempt to take?

Until we have at least some answers to these questions, there is nothing else to say in a broad way about the election. Individual races can be commented upon competently, but anything broader in the absence of specific facts is just either speculation or media propaganda parroting unworthy of a strong citizen.

November 5, 2014

Is the GOP Senate result legitimate?

Taking into account the number of voters prevented from voting in affected states due to Jim Crow 2, is the GOP Senate majority legitimate? Please do not speculate - specific information only.

November 3, 2014

Does anyone here vote on judicial elections?

I want to be as involved as I can, but every time a ballot comes with judicial candidates - at least in my experience - there is absolutely no basis for a citizen to make a decision on them. There are no candidate statements from them, no campaign websites, nothing - just a list of names that might as well be random strings of letters for all they mean anything.

My best guess - or rationalization - is that it's a release valve in case a judge is so outrageous and infamous that someone wants them thrown off an elected bench by waging a campaign against them. But I've never in my entire life run into a situation like that in my voting experience.

So does anyone here vote in judicial elections? What basis do you use, since there's no listed political affiliations, no candidate statements, and no apparent campaigns whatsoever? Or is it different where you live?

November 3, 2014

We should know by now which races are rigged. Do we?

By now we should already have a firm accounting of voters who have been denied the right to vote due to Jim Crow 2, and have a good statistical grasp of what districts their exclusion will be decisive in. So I'd like to know the following if anyone has this information:

1. How many do we know firmly to have been excluded nationwide?
2. How many more may be excluded on election day?
3. How many local, state, and federal seats is this likely to be decisive in?
4. Is this likely to be the decisive factor in determining control of the Senate?
5. Are there any states whose legislatures will fall - or fail to become Democratic - due to Jim Crow 2?
6. Governorships?
7. Is the Democratic Party prepared to call races where Jim Crow 2 is decisive fraudulent?
8. Is the Democratic Party prepared to call the loss of the Senate or statehouses fraudulent if due to Jim Crow 2?
9. Has the Democratic Party prepared effectual strategic and tactical mechanisms to resist the illegal political actions of such illegitimate office thieves, when The Five fascist revolutionaries on the Supreme Court inevitably find in favor of their accomplices?
10. Assuming the Democratic Party will do nothing, probably because Hillary Clinton (superb Republican that she is) will say not to, does anyone else have a plan?

October 29, 2014

China's Chang'e 5 lunar test vehicle captures amazing Earth + Moon image.



The little-seen Far Side of the Moon is visible.

The image on the site can be expanded to see details.

Chang'e 5 is an unmanned vehicle on a circumlunar flight to demonstrate technologies for an eventual lunar sample return mission.

October 27, 2014

Taxpayers may be spending $1 billion to reward Steve Ballmer for buying a sports team.

"Billionaire Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in August for $2 billion, but he could write off as much as half of that amount in taxes by 2030, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

A tax break for owners of sports franchises would let the ex-Microsoft CEO claim about $1 billion of the team's purchase price from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years, said the report, published Sunday in the London newspaper (paywall, registration required).


This may happen, mind you - Ballmer has not yet actually availed himself of the option, so this story is about the Satanic injustice in the tax code, not a slam at Ballmer. Yet.

Nonetheless, it does give one visions of guillotines and red-starred berets when you realize that such "incentives" exist against a backdrop of Republicans insisting the government doesn't have the money to provide food stamps, put books in schools, or keep bridges from falling down.

I would urge Steve Ballmer not to avail himself of this tax option. The man is already a billionaire and has nothing to gain but ego points from making another billion dollars, and it would be frankly outrageous to put his sports business on the American taxpayer dole to a ten-figure tune. Hopefully this is something that can be fixed in the tax code as well. The option simply should not exist.

October 26, 2014

Why is the American left not as effective as the European left?

Whenever I ask this question, there are always a torrent of responses that attribute the American left's relative weakness to external causes: Mainly the wealth, power, and ruthlessness of the (pseudo-)American right. But such explanations only illustrate the real answer - the left in the US has an almost entirely negative self-definition, as a political space where the destructive ideologies of the right are rejected without necessarily having any unified vision of what to do with that space.

This is why the multi-generational failure of the American left to establish lasting foundations of governance in this country is almost universally excused as a product of Enemy Action: "They won't let us do the things we should do!" And for some reason it's usually just left at that, with no further examination. The laziness and childishness of this attitude should be immediately obvious, as well as the fact that it's an excuse for failure rather than a productive thought process toward achieving better results.

It also can't escape notice that it's essentially false: Contrary to myth accepted by both the left and the right, principled left-wing politicians are not rare in America. What's rare are principled left-wing legislative accomplishments, because the American left doesn't reward leaders who do things - it punishes them, because action intensifies attention, which (under the previously mentioned negative self-definition) causes unreasoning and unprioritized obsession on flaws.

A left-wing legislator who just sits quietly between symbolic speeches, but never once passes or in any way tangibly affects a bill that actually does anything, will not be punished by the left for their laziness. But a legislator who fights actual battles, and causes legislation to be passed that moves the country in some tangibly leftward direction, will not be rewarded for it - they will be tarred with the difference between that legislation and a perfectly ideal conception of what it should be, as if that ideal were a real thing and the bill they passed were a movement to the right for not living up to it.

This is an illustration of the quixotic, monkish, fantasy-based solipsism in American left-wing politics. It's a mentality that is self-satisfied with inaction - because inaction doesn't disturb the tranquil contemplation of ideal absolutes - while the rigors of actual governance are resigned to right-wing politicians and moderates. Think about this scenario:

Let's say that only 40% of the people have healthcare. The left says 100% of the people should have healthcare. Every once in a while, left-wing politicians introduce legislation (that never leaves committee) providing healthcare to 100% of the people. The fact that these bills never pass does not register with them or their base - the mere symbolic act of advocating them is considered an achievement in itself, sufficient and perfect, because the reality that no one is actually getting healthcare because of them is considered immaterial. None of these politicians are penalized by their base for doing nothing to actually create healthcare for real people - in fact, they're rewarded for "standing firm" in the face of reality.

Now suppose a pragmatic liberal politician gets a bill passed that increases the percentage of people with healthcare from 50% to 80%, and this is the first time in, say, thirty years that anyone has significantly increased the proportion of people with healthcare. Any remotely sane progressive would be over the Moon at this accomplishment, doubling the provision of healthcare to the American people, right? But in the negative psychology of the American left, that's not what just happened: That bill did not just double healthcare, it cut it from 100% down to 80%. And thus the liberal politician who just saved millions of lives is not a liberal at all, but some kind of Republican Lite or corrupt Betrayer who "sold out" the remaining 20% in some kind of smoke-filled backroom deal with cigar-smoking Mayflower descendents.

And...this is not an exaggeration of how left-wing politics in America thinks. It's the exact picture. I'm not saying that everyone on the left is guilty of this, or guilty to an equal extent, but it is the general environment. The American left operates like a set of monastic orders, not a political movement. It retreats from the world and from messy reality, content in impotence, seeing it as preferable to guard ideas from the dangers of practical trials than to participate in a "profane" and "corrupt" system that can't possibly do them justice. Needless to say, this is a perfect recipe for self-inflicted under-representation and irrelevance - more perfect than anything the other side could possibly design.

It is, in essence, a Loser Factory: A set of attitudes and cultural prejudices that turn humanistic ideals against themselves, and make people who could do the most end up doing the least. It takes away vital public support from politicians who try to achieve things, making them instead targets of the very people they try to serve, and make useless rhetoric machines incapable of political accomplishment into heroes. There seems to be no analytical ability to distinguish between real liberal achievers and people who legitimately deserve the title of "sellout," and the result is that the latter are empowered because insultingly pitiful fig leaf accomplishments still feed more people than Noam Chomsky monographs recited to empty committee rooms.

While the left is characteristically fractious everywhere, in Europe it actually has an interest in governing. Relative to our version, it definitely rewards its leaders for winning elections and passing legislation, instead of treating these accomplishments as grounds for suspicion. There are all the same ideals and kaleidoscopic interest groups, but except for the most impotently and irrelevantly radical of them, they don't jealously withhold their ideals from practical politics like some kind of sacred idol - they try to demonstrate their ideals in practice so that other people can see the benefits, and build networks of political support to continue and grow their programs.

When a left-wing leader is elected in Europe, their first order of business is coalition-building to navigate their agenda into effect. They find out who's who and what's what, and figure out how to make something happen. In the United States, it's more like "Well, I'm going to be a tireless advocate for thus-and-such, and if they won't listen, that's their problem." There's no recognition that being a politician (they despise the very word, let alone the concept) is their job, not being a motionless totem pole to symbolically represent their agenda. If you added 20 exact copies of Dennis Kucinich to the House of Representatives, they still wouldn't do anything, because zero times twenty is still zero.

That's why in America the issues we support, that have the backing of huge majorities of the people, are treated in politics like a radical agenda: Because our left doesn't merely disbelieve in the union of ideals and practical achievement, it won't allow it. Achievement, for all intents and purposes, is the enemy. Achievement is a distraction from basking in moral perfection. So leaders who want to achieve cannot count on support from the left. It can be had briefly, but it cannot form a stable base. There is nothing to gain over the long-term by trying to form a solid political alliance with the left in America - it doesn't reward those who serve it, and does reward those who sabotage it. Like a battered wife, it only feels at home in utter powerlessness, and resents anyone who challenges its comfortable resignation.

The worst part isn't that the American left likes to elect weaklings - it's that they turn against leaders who prove to be strong, almost like clockwork. If you go to any of the more stridently ideological discussion forums and tell the people there that President Barack Obama is a liberal progressive, they're absolutely scandalized by this statement. In their world, opening up healthcare to tens of millions of more Americans, opening the military to gays, preventing war with Iran, using Executive Orders to advance all sorts of labor and environmental objectives, etc. etc. - these things are not liberal achievements because (as with the 100% vs. 80% example above) there is some divergence with a perfect, ideal system that never existed.

Obama halted the march to war with Iran in its tracks and opened up diplomacy, but because the US still wages war somewhere, on some level, he's Dick Cheney. We have Obamacare, but because it involves mandates and private health insurers rather than a purely public system, it's the same as doing nothing and letting millions die from lack of healthcare. Then there's the ever-present "What has he done for us lately?" which never seems to acknowledge the existence of the other two branches of government, like if Obama were a true liberal President, he would magically overcome a bottomlessly corrupt GOP Congress by the sheer force of his progressive piety.

The attention paid by the American left to a subject tends to be inversely proportional to its own influence over it, so Congress - which we can affect much more quickly and effectively than any other aspect of the federal government - gets short shrift in these conversations. When it decides (usually erroneously) that the White House is failing to meet its obligations, does the American left then say "Hey, there's a midterm election coming up, let's take over Congress and force the Executive branch to the left from another branch"? Of course not. Because achievement is the enemy.

An achievement-oriented, left-dominated Congress would be extremely effectual - far more so even than having a liberal President - and yet that goal makes a vanishingly small element of political activism and conversation on the left. It would be so effectual that the other two branches, even if in the hands of the radical right, would be constantly on the defensive: A right-wing Republican (but I repeat myself) in the White House would have to practically automate the process of vetoes, and would frequently be overridden; and the Lawless Five on the Supreme Court would have to be in session 24/7 to strike down all the progressive legislation, probably resulting in some Constitutional amendments passing to override them or at least check their radical judicial abuses of power.

So, in summary, this is why the American left is far less effective than the European left:

1. Self-absorbed and insular, waiting for the country to come to it rather than acting as bold missionaries for its values.

2. Flighty and abstract, obsessing on symbols and feelings while treating objective judgment and logic as profane.

3. A negative self-definition that unjustly concedes the moral substance of American culture to false right-wing definitions.

4. Rewards dereliction by political leaders who fill the void of accomplishment with ineffectual symbolic advocacy.

5. Punishes leaders who produce tangible achievements by obsessing on flaws as measured against nonexistent fantasy programs rather than against the preceding state of affairs.

6. Virtually ignores Congress - the most effectual branch of government to control - in favor of obsessing on the Executive Branch.

7. Instinctively prefers the personal freedom of being inconsequential over the moral dangers of governing effectively.

If you see any of this in yourself, address it and you will - by however small a measure - make the country a better place, make better decisions as a citizen, and probably be more effective as an activist.

October 23, 2014

Mirror Universe: The Ebola Crisis Under the Romney Administration

President Romney has come under criticism from some liberal groups for declining an invitation from the United Nations to discuss the ebola crisis in Africa at an upcoming summit. Speaking from the President's winter palace in the Bahamas, the White House spokesman said "The President wants to remain laser-focused on the issues affecting Americans most deeply - lowering capital gains tax rates, removing regulatory hurdles to stock transactions, and expanding the recently-passed tax credit for dressage horses. The free market will sort out the situation in Africa, one way or another."


"At the Geneva summit, President Romney called for the world community to lower import tariffs on yachts and luxury jewelry, noting that it might very well lead to someone somewhere having a job who might otherwise not have one. However, the President appeared flustered when a reporter for the Washington Post asked about the recent outbreak of ebola in a Texas hospital - the first ever ebola infections on US soil. "Umm, well, look - we have plenty of nurses in this country.," said President Romney. "I doubt losing a few would have any major impact on the stock market. So let's not go overboard and disrupt the great economy they've got down there in Texas with any kind of federal interference."


"With the announcement yesterday of additional confirmed cases of ebola in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Florida, concern is rising among Americans of a possible epidemic. Speaking from his recently-constructed solid gold 200-story palace constructed on the demolished remains of a children's hospital, President Romney tried to reassure the nation:

'Look, folks, people die every day. Ebola, e-coli, whatever other e words you want to use, it's not a big deal. But I recognize that this might turn into a problem, so I've ordered the immediate signing of a $50 billion no-bid contract with a firm that I own (so I can keep an eye on it and make sure it does the job right) to supply the CDC with everything it needs. Now my administration is committed to fiscal conservatism, so that money will be made up for by closing a number of schools and hospitals in poor neighborhoods, since let's face it - poor people would only be made unhappy by education and physical health.'"


"Despite the signing of a $50 billion contract with the CDC, whistleblowers within the federal government - most of whom have since mysteriously disappeared - say that the CDC has not received a single shipment from the contractor other than boxes of broken, outdated equipment stamped with North Korean flags, in quantities far below those stipulated in the orders. Asked to comment, the Romney appointee in charge of the President's ebola initiative referred reporters to a taped recording of a voice actor reciting an Ayn Rand lecture. As thousands of new cases are announced daily, pressure is mounting on the White House to take additional action, but the President continues to insist that the stock market could not bear any overzealous action."


"Speaking from his epidemic emergency headquarters on the International Space Station, President Romney - with his Emergency Commitee (the US Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of ALEC, and his select concubines) floating beside him - vowed to expand the program of nuclear sterilization that had already wiped Michigan and Minnesota off the map, but cautioned that 'important' states like those that had voted for him in the last election six years ago (the one scheduled for two years ago had to be postponed indefinitely) remain vital to American prosperity."
October 22, 2014

Vote Suppression is Treason.

The Republican Party is against democracy. Against it totally, on every level, and wants it to end. They no longer believe that the American people have a right to say "No" to them, and have over the past several years orchestrated a number of utterly lawless Supreme Court decisions toward removing that right. The reintroduction of Jim Crow via state restrictions on voting is just the latest and most egregious example on a path that must ultimately end in purely oligarchic or despotic government.

We are forced into the disgraceful position of, every single election season, not choosing between two or more political parties with different ideas about how to guarantee American freedom and prosperity, but rather choosing whether America is permitted to exist as a republic at all. Every time the GOP comes to power, they chip further away at what remains of our laws and civilization; every government they rule looks more and more like some petty Middle Eastern monarchy.

So, going into this upcoming election, Democrats who are monitoring the GOP's attempts to enforce these decisions need to have one particular statement in mind: Vote suppression is treason. That statement needs to be on bumper stickers, on t-shirts, and spoken by voters who encounter Republican attempts to stop them from voting. It may not change what the other side does, but it can inform how we respond.

There is no real difference between a rigged election and a military invasion - they are both acts of force that put power in the hands of the illegitimate and ruthless. And when conducted by people with nominal US citizenship, both are acts of treason. Once again, vote suppression is treason. I think we've mostly treated it like a prank.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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