The Problem with the Double Standard

Orange Koolaid
Still Drinking the Kool-Aid after seven years

Once again the Nation gets to watch the MAGA/GOP swill down the Orange Kool-Aid as Donald Trump does his best to help the prosecution in the Florida trial. An what is even better is how much the GOP leadership is doing it’s best to look like total idiots and fools. Lets just look at what has happened over the last few days.

First Donald, in an interview over the week-end, once again admitted to knowingly keeping the documents while, at the same-time, not doing anything to help keep him out of trouble. He also has shown he has no idea of what laws he has been accused of violating. He keeps talking about the ”Presidential Records Act” and that hasn’t even been mention in passing in the indictment .

Next let’s look at what the House Leadership is talking about, the ”Double Standard” that Trump is be teated with. Now this is something I can agree on, Donald Trump is being treated differently than Richard Roe, private citizen. If you know someone who has or had a security clearance just what would have happened to them if they took home a classified document. I bet they would have told you Federal agents of the appropriate agency (FBI, DIA, USMsh) would have arrested them and taken into custody and then figured out if they should hold you. An if you were charged you would have had a good time trying to get released, much less keep your passport. Now I ask you, did anything like that happen to Donald Trump? Did anything happen to Donald Trump? Was he told to surrender his passport? Was he told to not leave the jurisdiction of the Court? Of the State of Florida? No, he was not. He did even have to post any bail!

So we now have hard evidence that a double standard does exist. It just not what the GOP Leadership is complaining about or maybe it is but they don’t want the GOP rank and file to notice just what is happening. Most people understand where the MAG/GOP rank and file are coming from when they get upset about the perceived special treatment for Biden or Hilary. But what gets hard to take is when they refuse to see it when it applied to Trump. Go ahead and complain about a double standard but keep your eyes open for where and when it happens. The double standard has little to do with what political party you belong to. It has everything to do with how much power/influence/fame/wealth you have.

The Continuing Sheldon Crisis

Hari Sheldon

With the Indictment of Donald J Trump last week and the first of the formal court proceedings (aka reading the charges) we are now entering what is the next phase of our Sheldon Crisis. We are now nearing one of the major crux of this crisis, I hope. In the next year or so we can expect to see one or more things happen, and I am taking this time to list the ones I see right now.

Trump is not convicted.

This can happen in several ways. First and most unlikely is that the Prosecution does an incredibly bad job and/or the Defense does an incredibly good job. As I said, not likely but it has happened in the past.

Next, a still unlikely the defense is able to convince at lest one juror to vote for acquittal . This would end up in a hung jury and most likely lead to a new trial. So the defense needs to get the presiding judge to declare the miss-trial with ’prejudice’.

What I think the defense is trying for is to get the presiding judge to throw out most if not all of the evidence of what Trump is accused of. This is very hard to do and timing will be everything. If at all possible these ruling(s) need to take place so that the prosecution has little or no time to appeal.

Trump is convicted

Now let’s get to the dangerous part. The trial runs its course and Trump is convicted on one or more counts. Now what happens?

Almost assuredly Trump appeals all the way up to the Supreme Court and it has one of several things it can do.

First it could just not hear the case. This could be the best for the Court if the lower court throws out the conviction. But if the conviction is still standing when SCOTUS hears it then the court still has several things it can do. The best for the court would be to put the case on what is sometimes called the ’Merit Docket’ hear all the arguments and then make it’s ruling. Unfortunately this case is the political hot potato of hot potatoes and this court has not shown itself to be willing to take on this kind of case in the ’Merit Docket’ To many people will see just who is a loyal MAGA who isn’t.

SCOTUS could also decide to take the case on what is called the ’Shadow Docket’. This is attractive in that it is done all behind closed doors and without any of the justices putting their name on the ruling. In fact no reasoning needs to be given. SCOTUS could just rule that the case is overturned with prejudice and say nothing else. The one major problem with doing this is that what ever the prestige SCOTUS has with the general public will take a very big hit.

Well my computer is now overheating with running all the Sheldon Equations so I’ll say good by for now.

Why the MAGA GOP is not really concerned about the US Defaulting

What Me Worry?
What? Me Worry?

Today while listening to the ”Sisters in Law” podcast they were asked Why the GOP is not worried about the US defaulting on its debt? It is a good question and the Sisters in Law gave several good answers but I think they really missed the mark and I’d like to share my take on an answer.

There are several things to keep in mind when trying to answer this question and the most important is that there are some 271 GOP members of congress. That’s a lot of diverent views of the problem even not considering all the ’conservative’ mover and shakers exerting their influence. So with that in mind lets get started.

First, for the extreme MAGA wing of the party any hurt done is totally immaterial. All that maters is “Owning the Lib’s”. This is a two teared goal. First the Lib’s in the congress have to be seen to cave in to them. Next if the Libs do not cave in any and all harm can and will be all the Lib’s fault. This will most likely be expressed in the classic abuser ”Look What You Made Me Do!” If the Lib’s had just been good little boy’s and girls and done what the MAGA told them to do nothing would have happened.

Next, for the regular GOP members it is as simple as they just do not believe anything bad can happen to them. They are the ”Elite”, ”The Chosen One(s)”, the ones who never seem to get in trouble even when they are in the middle of it. A while this is mostly true for the top 5% (what I like to call the Upper/Uppers) they will, at most, have to curtail some of their staff. After all it is hard to tell the difference in how you live when your net worth goes from $5 Billion to $3 billion. Or million for that matter. Now it is much easier when your income goes from $100,000 to $60,000 or from $40,000 to nothing.

Finally, for the members of the GOP who do realize just what default can and will mean; they think that the political gain for them, both personally and party wise, fair out ways any suffering of the mass’s. Indeed, some of this group actually think they see ways to personally gain, both politically and financially. That they maybe mistaken never seems to cross their minds.

In closing please remember that this is just the top three answers to the question. Also, my dear reader, remember that anyone of the MAGA GOP can switch between any and all of these answers and can mix them anyway they want. Just remember we are in a political game of ’Chicken’ and that game can only end in two ways; Someone swerves or someone dies. Sometimes two someones.

A Simple Solution to the AI Problem

Puzzled Computer

For the past few months I’ve been hearing a growing alarm over the ”AI Problem”. First my credentials: lI have been a ”Coder/Programer/Software Engine/Software Designer” since 1973. A while I retired in 2013 I’ve kept up a lively interest in the industry. Also I am a great fan of Science Fiction, in fact some of my earliest favorite stores are Dr. A’s Robot novels & short stories. A while I have never directly worked on any Artificial Intelligence projects i have written a few programs that faked being human. It is not as hard to do as the layman thinks.

My suggestion to the current issues with AI is quite simple. Let’s just go back to the legal doctrine on who is responsible when a slave broke the law. Back in Roman times the owner of a slave was held responsible for any and everything a slave did, good or bad. Let’s just do the same thing with all programs, AIish or not. The person, corporate or individual, should be held responsible for anything the Program does. Criminal or Civil.

I know that it will take a lot of effort to work out the details on how the law(s) would work but we have a great deal of legal history to draw from, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, and Chinese just to name a few. The benefits would be great. First and for most there is someone who can and should be held responsible for the use/misuse of a program. I also know that there can, and should be, objections to this idea but I am convinced this a place to start.

Hypothesis on Why the Debt Limit Crisis

Apocalypse?  NOT!
Apocalypse? NOT!

This is not a conspiracy theory. It is, at best a Conspiracy Hypothesis. For sure it is my idea of why the Crisis is happening. So sit back, get comfy and hang-on the ride just might get bumpy.

First I do not think there is a single causal factor for the Default crisis. I think it has many causes, big and small and I’m not going to try give them any any order and I just may leave out a few. So, dear reader, if readers there be, feel free to share with me your ideas.

To start with let’s look at the very bad idea that politics is a Zero Sum game. While politics can be played as a zero sum game doing so means there can be no compromise. There is no possibility of everyone wining or loosing. This goes against everything politics is suppose to be about, ”Compromise” is what it’s all about. Yes, there are some things you can’t compromise on but you need to be very clear in your own mind just what they are and what standing your ground will cost. You always have to assume the other side has their own no-compromise issues too. An you have to be ready for everyone to loose.

As an example of what I’m talking about let’s look at one of the most well known Zero Sum games, Tic-Tac-To. Played correctly neither ”X”s or ”O”s can win, it always ends in a draw (by the way it’s the same in chess). Unfortunately way too often when you try to play a non-Zero Sum game as a Zero Sum game you can end up with all the players loosing. A well known modern example is the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction”. (A wonderful movie explaining this is ”War Games”)

Another idea helping the crisis along is that the other side will blink. This is a fools bet. It is based on the false assumption that the other guy is going to blink and you have nothing to loose. I politics this comes down to believing your people are willing to pay the price of everyone loosing. It is kind-of like playing Chicken by driving your car head on into another car believing that even if you hit you won’t be that bad hurt. In this case we have two sides playing Russian Roulette with fully loaded automatics pointed at their heads.

Finally I think a big reason for the crisis is the hubris of the House GOP Leadership. Particularly the current Speaker of the House. In making the deal(s) to get elected Speaker Rep. McCarthy demonstrated just how badly he wanted to be Speaker and that he was not willing to give it up for any reason. He now has the problem of not being able to control any of the several factions of his party. That he really is not a leader, but just a mouth piece for the current, most powerful faction. That he can not negotiate in good faith because any and every thing he agrees to has to be taken back to his caucus and it only takes five votes to renege on his agreement. That there are rumored to be a sizable number of votes in the GOP house caucus for forcing a default just makes things all the more difficult.

So that is it for now. Do let me know what you all think of these ideas I promise more once my ideas come to geather.

What is Coming For the Republican Party

Rebranding the GOP
The Rebranding of the GOP

Of late I’ve been hearing a great deal about just what is going to happen after the 2024 election. Most of it is quite negative for the ’libertards’ and the Democratic Party. Some even talk about the coming total dominance of of the GOP and Donald Trump. I’d like to take sometime to look at it a little differently. From the view of a student of the American Civil War and the decade that proceeded it.

While most Americans know that Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President few know that the Republican Party did not exist in 1850. Only ten short years before Lincoln’s election. Nor do they know of just how troubled the politics of the US was in the 1850’s. Many of the issues we are dealing with today we were dealing with then. Immigration, race, states rights, and political corruption, just to name a few. All of these issues, and how they were dealt with can give us some clues as to what is going to happen now.

The 1850s was the true spread of new communications technology that greatly increased the speed and easy of communications with the spread of three innovations…..The steam Boat, The railroads, and finally the telegraph. Let’s just look at two, Trains and the Telegraph. With the spread of trains that could reach the unheard of speed of 50 MPH. Just think of it, in one hour you could travel the same distance that would have taken you two days hard travel by foot or horseback. The telegraph had even bigger effect as news could spread across the country in hours instead of weeks. Just think of it, what happened New Orleans in the afternoon would be in the morning edition of the Boston newspapers. We in the 21st Century like to marvel out how much Smartphones, Social Media, and the internet have changes (speeded up) our world. But rest assured our ancestors of the 1850s were just as amazed as we.

This is why I feel that we can learn a lot from a careful study of the USA in the 1850’s. We gone thru this before. The problems we face now have antecedents then and the solutions they found, no mater how good or bad they were can help us make sense of what is happen now and what we can and should do and not do. So that said, lets get on with my ideas of what is to come.

First and foremost by the election of 2032 the Republican party will no longer be a major player. Like the Wigs of 1860, they will still exist here and there but they will no longer be one of the big two. What the new party will be like I have no clear idea. Just like in 1852 few, if any, people would predict just what the Republican party of 1860 would be like. I am confident that it will consider itself ”Conservative” what ever that means.

In the area of political corruption I fully expect the problem of gerrymandering will ether be solved or its solution identified and being worked on. The same with the issue of ’Dark Money’. I hope that the ’Dark Money’ solution will entail dealing with the gross miss-use of LLCs. As always corruption is always found in both business and politics and therefore the solution(s) will be in business and politics.

Well, that’s all for now. To those who were expecting ideas on how to deal with the problems show here, sorry. I’m having enough of hard time trying to clearly identifying the problem. I do promise to continue my research into the 1850s in hope of identifying possible solutions. Hope you, dear reader have been encouraged to do the same.

Once More: Acceptable Casualty Rate

Back in 2015 I wrote a post here called “Acceptable Casualty Rate” where I talked about why we have a problem with Guns. Today I am not going to be so detached…..You Have Been Warned.

With the latest mass shooting in a school I am, once more hearing two things repeatedly said: ”How/Why did this happen?” And ”How can this be prevented?” In the first case the answer is simple ”It’s what we want.” The second is just as bad ”We Cann’t. Get used to it.”

Why do I say we want it is simple. Just look at the length of time we have been having mass shooting and just what has been done. Little or nothing is being done and it is happening because two super PACs are perfectly happy with the situation. Both the Gun manufactures and their totally captive NRA see no reason to change. The manufactures don’t want change because any change will impact negatively their profits. The NRA because it would decrease their Power and influence.

So we are left with ’thoughts and prayers’ and little else. What they don’t tell you is we MUST live with it because they find the casualty rate quite acceptable. But ask yourself this ”Why do they find it Acceptable?” To be brutal the answer is simple, they are not the ones suffering the casualties.

It is something anyone who studies military history learns early on is that when you are not the one who has to suffer the casualties the highest casualties quickly become acceptable. Now I know some of you will disagree but just go study some wars (WWI is a good place to start) and look just how far back from the front lines the people who decided to fight the battle were. In any-case it is my view that if the families of the heads of all the Gun Manufactures and the NRA were among the people who are put at risk things would change.

Not going to happen.

So what happens now? Until the general electorate is ready to make our government (all three branches, mind you) be more afraid of us than they are of the the Gun PACS nothing will change. So get it in your head this single thought:

Learn to Live with It

What Ever Trump Touches….

Dead GOP
Dead GQP

It was back in 2016 that I first heard ”What ever Trump touches he destroys”. We are now well in to the second act of our ’Greek’ Tragedy. The first seen was, of course, the long battle for Speakership of the House where Rep. McCarthy publicly sold his soul for his dream of being the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Much ink has flowed over just what it means and what it will mean. I fully expect that there are many future Masters and Doctoral Thesis’ on the subject. For now we just get to live thru the ’live action’.

We are now coming to the end of the second seen of the Act, where we all await the much anticipated indictment(s) of Donald J Trump by Local, State, and Federal law enforcement. There are many questions to be asked in this seen. Like, who will be first? How many charges against how many people. Who will turn on who and who will stay loyal to whom. All I can say is that I expect everyone to be surprised by it all.

The last seen of the act will be taken up by all of the actions taken by both Trump and his supporters. Centerstage will, of course, be Trump himself, along with as many of the House MAGA caucus as can fit. Just be sure that Trump will manage to upstage everyone and everything.

We have seen in this act of the tragedy all of the damage ’caused’ by Trump to the Republican Party was mostly, if not entirely, inflicted not by the ’enemies’ of the GOP but by it’s ’so called friends’. What for now is called the MAGA Republicans. The likes of Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Matt Gates, just to name two, have done more to harm the GOP in the eyes of many of it’s fellow Americans than anything done by other political parties.

In the name of defending Donald Trump they have taken actions which many feel goes counter to what the GOP once stood for. How can the Republicans say they stand for ’Law and Order’ while attacking the same people who defended the Capital on 6Jan2021? Or when Georgia changes its laws so that D.A. will be subject to legislature instead of independent? An let us not forget being for the rights of the individual while taking the right to make their own medical decisions away from half of the population.

No, the principles of the Grand Old Party lie in ruins. Cast down by the ”Populist” insurgents of the ’Freedom Caucus’, ’Tea Party’, and MAGA. The true Rino’s are not those who still think of themselves as Conservatives/Republicans, but the followers of Trump. An if you think this current act was bloody bear knuckles, you ain’t seen nothing yet.


Unintended Consequences

Between a rock and a hard place.

After watching the State of the Union last Tuesday and the reaction of the GOP to what President Biden said about some members of the GOP wanting to end Social Security I started looking into just what he could be referring to. Luckily the news media and the President made it very easy for me to find what I was looking for. In the large ’Pamphlet’ published By Senator Rick Scott in his effort to get GOP candidates elected to the US Senate.

“All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again“

Such a simple phrase, so fraught with deadly effects. Lets just look at what it says: ”All federal legislation…..” That means every law, ever passed by Congress, from the first congress till today would nolonger be in effect after 5 years. If you don’t think that this means a lot of work, just look at the US Tax code. A conservative estimate is that we currently have 300,000 active statutes at this time. But let’s not forget all the other laws and acts passed by congress. Would this law include all of the 47 enabling acts that added new states to the union? Who would decide? The supreme court? What about all of the acts that established the size of the Supreme Court? Or just those acts that established the Federal Court system?

What about the acts that establish the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force? Are they also sunseted? I don’t know. I don’t think anybody does. So I just ask this….Is it really worth the madness that would ensue just to play a trick move to get ride of two of the most popular laws in the country? An just what does proposing something this fraught with very bad side effects tell us about the the people and Party puting it fourward.

I leave it to you to decided.

Two Lessons To Learn From the Speaker’s Election

US House of Representatives 4 Jan 2023

It came to me today that we can learn from the battle to elect a Speaker of the House of Representatives. There are, of course, many lessons that can be learned but there are two that can easily over looked. The effects and costs of ”Zero Sum” politics and a ”Three Party” system.

Lets look at the last first, a more than two political parties in the House of Representatives. Usually when people think about having more than two national political parties they think that everything is decided by a simple ”plurality” (the most votes) wins the issue. Unfortunately that is not the case. There are times that the issue needs a majority + 1 of the persons voting to decided the issue. In other cases it can take 2/3 vote. So let us look at the simplest case, three parties in the House and lets call the X, Y, Z. and lets give them the following members X:200, Y: 202, and Z: 33.

If the vote needs only a simple majority of persons voting to pass and the Y’s all vote in favor it passes. but it needs 50% +1 of the total persons voting it wont pass unless it can pick up 16 votes from the X or Z parties. Sounds easy, right? It’s not because you have to be sure not to loose any votes in your horse trading and this can be as easy as make a deal with the worst enemy of someone on your side. If you don’t believe me go back to the 1950/60 and look at the problems they had when the sub group of the Democratic Party known as the Dixicrats held sway in the old south.

This issue with a strong an united sub-group or even a formalized caucus is what the GOP leadership is having to deal with. The real issue is not who will be Speaker, but who has the power to stop anything they want, when ever they want. This is who will control the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress.

Now lets get to the first lesson, the effects of using ”Zero Sum game theory” in politics. Just for those of you who are not very clear of just what I’m talking about just go to this link (Zero Sum). With that lets just go with the back idea that in every transaction you can only win or loose. It is strictly Binary. There are no ties if a deal/transaction is made. You can have a ’tie’, of a kind, when a trade/deal is not made. Both sides loose. Now lets add just a little spice into the game. All players must be seen to be winners to stay in the game.

Now lets say your in a league where if the people watching it decide you are a ”looser” you are removed from play, forever. An now lets add in that it doesn’t mater how successful you wins are compared to your losses:

example you make 10 deals where you make $100 and 20 deals where you loose $40 for a total of $60 in the black but all your judged by is 20 losses to 10 wins. in basic zero sum game theory every win is exactly equal to every loss. This is really true. Now lets and in just a little more hate to the game.

Lets say that what constitutes a win/loss is variable? Lets look at a chess move for example. I get to move a knight and it can do one of three things: first it can just move to a empty space. Second it can take a pawn and third it can take a Bishop. in the simple zero sum game only the first move would be seen as a loss for me and all the others a win. now lets judge by the value of the pice taken, the only the third move would be a win. An now lets do real chess, and the first move places my opponent into check-mate.

An now I can hear you all saying that chess is a zero-sum game. An it is, an it is an excellent example of why it is not as simple as counting win/loss. You have to keep the end objective in mind. The value of any move is not just the value of the piece taken, but the position the trade puts you in. An this is the trap people who don’t understand game theory fall into. The only see the immediate value in the trade and not where it will place you for future trades.

This is the trap some of the members of the GOP in the House are falling into. They see every deal as just win/loss. Ignoring the relative value of the things exchanged, nor the relative position each member of the trade is after the move.

So I say to them, if you insist on using Zero-Sum game theory for politics remember chess. Chess is a zero-sum game but every move is not equal, to win you need to think many many move ahead and finally remember that all optimally plaid games end in a draw. In politics this means nothing gets done. Not something the electorate like to see in the next election.