dilemmanade
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
  On the Vote

  People write about the results of the election as if we can have any idea of what the real vote totals were, when we simply can't.

  Some people know how to hack some machines. Probably more than one entity, with different interests. Some people know how to cheat in other ways. Probably almost no one votes twice-- the risk is too high and the effect too negligible. But some corrupt people know how to suppress the vote here and over-count it there-- done strategically and right, the risk is low and the gains high.

  We vote, the vote is somewhere around 50/50, and the hackers and vote counters fiddle around the edges. And perhaps there is one group that determines the outcome every time, but perhaps there is competition. Either way, inside players determine the outcome, not voters.

  Without transparent (paper!) balloting, it's a question of who won the count, not who won the vote.

  All explanations of the result that discuss ups or downs in percentages of types of voters is so much fantasy football. Same with discussions of strategy.

  Hillary seemed surprised, so she must have thought the riggers were on her side, like Romney in 2012. The CIA making noise about the Russians probably means that they were surprised, too.

  That in turn probably tells us that the deep state was in the tank for Hillary, and was out-hacked. But by who? The Russians? Anonymous? Rogue operators in the NSA? The RNC? All are legitimate possibilities. Another less well known entity? That's possible, too.

  Being bent out of shape over what the voters did is silly. They didn't do anything unusual. They went about 50/50 like they do every four years, no matter who the candidates are. They don't decide presidential elections, or at least we can't presume they do.

 
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
  Deregulation and Privatization

  Politicians are fond of saying that the government should not be picking winners and losers. Paul Ryan said it just the other day.

  It is a lie that needs to be put to bed once and for all. The truth is that picking winners and losers is exactly and the only thing government does.

  Politicians choose between legislation and tax codes that favor fossil fuels or renewables. They choose between national health care and insurance companies. They choose between guns and butter. And so on. Every bit of it picks winners and losers.

  Politicians are elected to look after the public good. And this is the point: More and more politicians have shunted the public good aside altogether. They use the hideous hand waving justification that giving more and more deference to the profit motive and the already rich (private good), will magically result in rainbows and ponies for the rest of us (public good): the Myth of the Magical Marketplace.

  The MMM argument boils down to this: uninhibited selfishness leads to the greatest good. The theory is absurd on its face, and no amount of hand waving or magical thinking will make it less vile or more true.

  You don't have to believe in MMM to like free enterprise. Freedom is good, and free people will be enterprising. But we don't need to tilt the board toward the already rich and powerful in order to have free enterprise.

  Deregulation and freer private markets doesn't mean the best product or service wins, as the MMMers would have you believe. It means, instead, that the already powerful can use their size and wealth to crush competitors, and raise prices, and eventually degrade products and services. A free market without regulation is a free-for-all market. The winner is the biggest, strongest, the most brutal or unscrupulous. That's how free-for-alls play out. And that kind of winner does not play nice once they're on top.

  Politicians who want to deregulate and privatize ultimately want to do so because they get contributions or await sinecures from corporations that will benefit from deregulation and privatization. They are choosing private good over public good in order to benefit themselves. They are corrupt.

  Donald Trump is pursuing Trump private good right out in the open. He's not pretending to not pick winners and losers. Sure, it's corrupt. But it's petty.

 
When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade.

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