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I’m Still Around

I’m thinking about how to write about Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Kathryn Harris, the 2000 election in Florida, the 2008 Democratic primary, and why I have never voted for Barack Obama, and will never vote for Hillary Clinton.

I started voting for Democrats in 1964. Unfortunately the party hasn’t nominated any Democrats lately.

As long as the Greens will nominate real liberals or progressives I will vote Green. I’m here and I vote in every election. Give me someone I can vote for in good conscience and I will do it.


1 Kryten42 { 07.27.16 at 9:54 pm }

I know that boat well! It’s become a Global problem (which a few notable exceptions) I’m afraid. It’s easy to see from our recent election weeks ago that nobody here really had a clue who to vote for (though 2/3 of the House of Rep’s seats have been declared with the final result looking to be 76/69 as I thought), the Senate probably won’t be known for another Month or so!

2 Bryan { 07.28.16 at 9:19 pm }

You do realize that you have a much more democratic system than the US. Of the 535 seats in Congress only one or two is ever occupied by anyone who doesn’t belong to one of the big two parties. The electoral system is designed overwhelmingly to favor the two parties at the expense of the others.

3 Kryten42 { 07.29.16 at 6:31 am }

In theory, sure. In practice… We have 150 Seats. The two major parties will control 145, 1 will go to Greens, 4 to independents. The system here is designed to be complicated, so most people take the easy out and simply select the major party of choice because if you decide to select individuals, you have to check a lot more boxes, and you really have to understand how the preferences will be distributed since selecting a non-party candidate doesn’t mean anything unless they win their seat. So most people just don’t bother.

I received a comment a couple days ago on one of my Bernie Sanders pin’s on Pinterest: “The Democrat National Committee doesn’t care about what the people want. Sanders could have won the nomination but the fix was in the elite Democrats decided no matter what the people wanted they would make sure Hillary was the nominee. The system is rigged. The democratic party is not the democratic party of John Kennedy.”


4 Bryan { 07.29.16 at 8:55 pm }

Yes, democracy can be more involved than doing what you are told, but you are at least offered the opportunity. We have more and more complications added every year designed to make people give up.

I don’t know that Bernie would have won, but he didn’t have a chance thanks to the games that were played.

The Democrats use “super delegates” elected officials and party officials to insure that only the desired candidate of the establishment is selected. The Republicans will probably do it after this year.

5 Moi;) { 07.30.16 at 2:11 pm }

I am still around, too. 🙂 And I moved off that awful Tumblr. Now I gotta get the band back together……..

Hub and I were Berners, too. But I just can’t vote for Trump. I feel your pain. Told him I wanted to change parties, I was Independent for a long time. Sign Moi Resigned and disgusted….sigh…

6 Bryan { 07.30.16 at 9:12 pm }

I want someone who is going to fix things. We know how to do it because FDR tried everything until he found the things that worked. We have been screwing everything up since the 1980s and are hellbent on continuing to screw things up.

I hope you and yours are well. We will get through this and at least half of us will hate the outcome. Actually, anymore, I think the majority will hate the outcome…

7 Badtux { 08.01.16 at 11:39 am }

The two party system in the United States is inevitable because we have a strong president system and that’s how the math converges. If you remember negative feedback networks from your electronics training, that’s what the US political system is, except that instead of a differential + – op amp it’s the fact that you need 50%+1 votes to absolutely guarantee victory in a first-past-the-pole voting system. In parliamentary systems this still leaves room for regional parties, and of course in proportional representation systems like Israel’s or Italy’s there’s tons of little parties.

So what happens is that, over time, in a strong-president first-past-the-pole system the smaller parties form coalitions *before* the election and the two eventual parties that arise are coalitions of what would be smaller parties in a parliamentary system, with the smaller parties occasionally shifting to a different coalition like when the black vote and the Southern bigot vote traded parties in the mid 60’s. So what’s the downside? Well, smaller coalition members get less power than in the Parliamentary system where they can collapse the coalition with a threat to leave. This is especially true if the threat to leave would be meaningless because the only other party has their polar opposite in it. The Southern bigot vote and the black vote in the same party would be like matter and antimatter, it just doesn’t work unless you want a big explosion.

Of course, the downside of proportional representation systems is that they give the minor parties more power than their numbers represent since they can collapse the coalition and force an election if they threaten to withdraw. Thus the ultra-right-wing parties force Nuttyyahoo in Israel to do things that are even nuttier than Likud usually does, under the threat that if he refuses to do them, they withdraw from the coalition and force elections. So giving every special interest their own party to form coalitions *after* the elections doesn’t seem to be any more ideal than doing it *before* the election. But that’s neither here nor there, my point is that your argument is with math, not some vast conspiracy on the part of Republicans and Democrats to keep third parties down. As long as major groups that would be political parties in a parliamentary system stick with their current coalition, the system converges to two parties. Occasionally, such as immediately prior to the Civil War, coalitions spin apart and form a new coalition (when the Whigs, who represented the wealthy and business interests, spun apart and either joined the new Republican party or joined the Democrats because Southern planters and Northern factory owners had nothing in common except love of money). But the system eventually converges right back to two again, because that’s how the math works. Rage against math all you want, rage that the square root of two *must* have an exact value because irrational numbers are, well, irrational, but rage doesn’t affect math at all. Mathematics simply is…

8 Badtux { 08.01.16 at 11:59 am }

Regarding Jill Stein, she’s an anti-vaxxer or at least panders to them and her party platform calls for government support for homeopathy (the bullshit belief that water with no molecules of active ingredient can cure illness via magical woo woo essence, or something like that). I’m not interested in voting for someone who’s anti-science. Not that she’s going to win any elections given that the Green Party doesn’t have it shit together enough to get onto the ballot in even half of the United States… and don’t tell me about two party yada yada. For example, our local city council election are totally non-partisan — you pick 3 candidates out of the pool of candidates, the candidates with the most picks get to be on the city council. Getting into the pool requires the signature of 1% of the city’s voters, I saw one Korean guy make it past that by holding a rally in his restaurant with free food and drinks, while one of his daughters passed around the ballot access sheet for people to sign. How many Greens are in that pool? None. The Green Party basically doesn’t exist except as a tool for Jill Stein to exercise her ego. Reminds me of Ralph Nader in that regard….

9 Bryan { 08.01.16 at 7:55 pm }

I’m dealing with equipment failures, but I will cover this in more detail, but I’m not arguing with the math or ‘first past the post’. The reality is that California, New York, and Louisiana have more democratic systems than most states. We are chipping away at the walls the two parties have built in Florida with the referendum process, but it is a long haul.

10 hipparchia { 08.02.16 at 9:30 pm }
11 Bryan { 08.03.16 at 5:25 pm }

Thanks for the research, Hipparchia. I couldn’t imagine Dr Stein being an antivaxxer.

12 hipparchia { 08.04.16 at 8:12 pm }
13 hipparchia { 08.04.16 at 8:19 pm }

probably the most reasoned (instead of knee-jerk) piece calling her an antivaxxer —


14 Bryan { 08.04.16 at 10:43 pm }

I am all for vaccines and medication that work, but taking care of my Mother and the various medications she dealt with, I have no trust in the FDA. I would suggest that the author of the ScienceBlog article review the drugs and vaccines approved in the last 20 years and explain where any confidence is warranted.

As for allowing a medical excuse for vaccinations, if you are allergic to eggs or horse serum there are vaccinations you cannot take.

15 hipparchia { 08.05.16 at 7:40 pm }
16 Badtux { 08.05.16 at 7:53 pm }

I trust the FDA more than I trust the drug companies or the anti-science crowd. Of course, I’m always reminded of Ronald Reagan’s statement about trust — “trust, but verify”.

17 Bryan { 08.05.16 at 8:05 pm }

Flossing is just the latest in a long list of “Never mind’s that we have gotten from medical professionals. Because I was flying world on a monthly basis, if there was an immunization I got it and our aircraft got fumigated at various landing sites. I have three visible smallpox scars and one that has faded. That said, I wouldn’t willingly take the anthrax vaccine – there hasn’t been enough testing and there are plenty of known bad reactions.

I had the measles, mumps, and most of the other “childhood” diseases and no one wants them. If you have never had them or had the shots, get the shots, because they are worse if you get them as an adult. and you damn sure don”t want to give any of them to your kids or grandkids.

18 Badtux { 08.06.16 at 3:36 pm }

Thing is, if you flossed, you weren’t doing active harm to yourself. The same is not true if you refuse to get your child vaccinated, you are doing harm to that child if that child comes down with a preventable disease and has his or her health permanently damaged.

The thing about anthrax is that it doesn’t pass from human to human very easily. The only way for a human to catch it (other than biological warfare) is if the human is in close contact with cows or sheep on an extended basis. That doesn’t describe most of us. The diseases for which children are routinely vaccinated, on the other hand, *do* pass from human to human very easily, which is why near-universal vaccination is necessary to keep them from causing mass outbreaks.

19 Bryan { 08.06.16 at 8:13 pm }

There have to be medical exemptions because the egg allergy really takes out a lot of shots and the horse serum allergy knocks one the big ones of the list. But these are medical exemptions, not some guy on the ‘Net said your genitals would shrink if you take the shots – that’s only true if the shots are anabolic steroids.

20 Badtux { 08.09.16 at 1:37 am }

Thus the words “near-universal”. If you have sufficient people vaccinated — around 98% or so — it becomes difficult for disease to be transmitted and it dies out before it reaches those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. See: “Herd immunity”.

21 Bryan { 08.09.16 at 9:24 pm }

Dr Stein’s objection was to the lack of a medical exemption, not to a lack of a belief exemption. Egg allergies are quite common in the US and can cause severe reactions. The problem is that people like absolutist answers, and life rarely works that way.

There used to be immunization requirements to travel abroad. You had to carry your yellow shot record with your passport. Apparently that is no longer the case. Standards are falling…