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“No choice, Pal.” The limited range of policy options in the US political system

In the original Bladerunner, when Deckard meets his former supervisor Bryant, he tries to refuse the mission to hunt down replicants. Bryant tells him, “In this city you’re either a cop or little people.” Deckard replies “No choice,huh?” Bryant tells him, “No choice, pal!”

The story seems to be the same for voters in the US political system of today. It is less about the cops than the powerful elites representing the rich and large corporation. With the change in media (concentration into a few corporations controlling programs and message) and especially news reporting moving from an effort to gather and report on the facts to the personality hosted opinion shows – whether on Fox or CNN and MSNBC. The primary focus of these shows is to gain and hold the users’ attention by raising the emotions of their viewers by demagoguery inspired rants or experts and facts, whatever works with the respective silos. These reenforced through the deliberate and automatically curated echo chambers of social media equally dependent on fueling the emotions to keep attention.

I am not discounting the current crisis of an extremely corrupt version of fascist conservative government, which was put in place both through an unholy collaboration with the influence of an enemy power and extreme irregularities in the election process orchestrated by conservative elites. That is simply an effort to reset the balance firmly to a more conservative position. This has gone off-track by using a Reality TV personality as presidential stand-in, while using a scripted actor, who knew his lines and could take directions, worked so well in the past.

When we look at the overall policy positions of the right and left prior to Trump we see that they are not really far apart. They appear to provide choice, but actually in the end result in very little difference. Obamacare managed to retain the near monopolies in the healthcare system without real price controls and in some ways was a boon to insurance companies and pharma. It was derived from a conservative proposal. It really did not impact the fundamental issue that healthcare is not easily affordable for large segments of the population. Insurance rates mediated by the portals are still onerously high in comparison to lower incomes. Environmental efforts moderated the impacts on environments and climate change, but they were only separate from conservative approaches by a degree and totally insufficient to fundamentally address the problem.

One of the reasons the system can be manipulated is that we do not have a popular democracy. The separation of legislative and executive powers coupled with a two chamber system, where one chamber influenced by a small part of the population can overrule the other, leads to a two party system. Our approach to elections requiring large investments leads to corruption and hidden interests. And because lobbyists hedge their bets and invest in both sides, the policy positions influenced by this are only different in the way they are expressed. Fundamentally they are not that far apart – especially when we look at real policies enacted as a result of the legislative process.

For those controlling events these false alternatives are used to keep the population divided and to some extend in fear of each other.

We do see the rise of outliers like Bernie Sanders, who was forcefully shunted aside by the apparatus in the last election even at the price of allowing a person like Trump to gain the upper hand. But when we look at “centrist” positions of the leading Democrats, they are really not far from those of “moderate” Republicans. They align to create a compromise with what is good for those in power (corporate interests and billionaires,) while being tolerable to the people.

Meanwhile the Super Majority is quite united (65% – 80% on key issues) in supporting stronger measures to effectively deal with real world problems of climate change, the cost of medical care, education, and income inequality. The latter is the elephant in the room. It is really hurting the lower income classes, young people entering the work place, and an aging population trying to retire.

Alternate models are clear and effectively implemented in Europe leading to hire levels of satisfaction and stability. They are driven by parliamentary democracies. These polities are not perfect (see the current unrest in France,) but are not likely to create the conditions threatening societal chaos as modeled by Cliodynamics (History as a Science) – overcrowding of elites and income inequality. Cliodynamics currently predicts a high level of social instability around the time of the next elections.

The one hope is in the increasing activism and participation of the younger generation and the new generation of representatives that have swept into office. They are not afraid to sweep aside the “centrist rhetoric” from the “centrist establishment” and ad hominem tirades from the right. Together with the continuing voice of Bernie Sanders it will hopefully shape the conversation of the leading centrist contenders like Kamela Harris to realize that there is real opportunity in representing the true Super Majority instead of just following the “prudent” route and wishes of the powerful liberal elites.


Private Launch of Orion: here’s why NASA’s administrator made such a bold move Wednesday (Ars Technica)

Ars Technical: Here’s why NASA’s administrator made such a bold move Wednesday

Interesting move. In a way the Trump administration follows in Obama’s food steps, who haggled for the “Commercial Manned Flight Program” by continuing to fund the SLS, the “Senate Launch System.”

The latter pretty much looks like a massive boondoggle to create a massive rocket with replenished old, expendable technology to keep a massive number of jobs from massively lobbied companies.

It looks pretty clear that apart from the cost-plus massive and ongoing development expense (if you miss a deadline, you make more money) each flight will also be massively unaffordable.

Frustrating given the private business progress and lost opportunity for other science missions not getting funded.


Simulation Conundrum III :: This Cult About Money


“Easier said than done.” He rubbed his face. “Events are not deterministic. I am not sure, what all got them on the path to mess up that ecosystem so much.”

“Well,” she said, “there are the economic systems to consider.” She studied the monitor. “Funny, they believed in something they called ‘Capitalism.’ They first used some rare material like shells or metal as a meta value to trade goods and services.” She took a pause looking. “Then they created polities with elites and created this thing called ‘money’ literally named after the place they mined and minted it. Later they just went to printed stuff. It all was based on a belief in a mutual promise, which I guess is as good as anything.”

He laughed looking at the scape. “They believed money was absolute and a trading system based on it was ‘objective.’ First ‘Cargo Cults,’ then ‘Capitalism’ as a cult. Kind of like their religion, only no guy with a beard.”

She countered, “Actually, there was a guy with a beard and another belief system called ‘Communism.’ Marx or something. And the people from one cult fought the other. The weirdest thing is that they thought that this exchange mechanism was the sole basis for a value system in their polity. Perhaps meaningful, while things are scarce. But really stupid with technological evolution when all stuff becomes abundant.”

He squinted at the scape letting out his breath. “Interesting contradictions. In some areas they were so advanced, but they still adhered to pure materialism in their science and philosophy despite the obvious contradictions. They blew each other up with nuclear devices, so they had an understanding of the quantum world.”

“No simple answers.” She agreed, “No simple answers.


A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality

A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality

This is fascinating. But I think we have to remember that out mental models are just that. If there is a shared reality, this implies that it is more complex than we can imagine.

An article in the MIT Technology Review describes how Proietti and co actually was able to perform the Wigner’s Friend test, an experiment using six linked photons.

“Wigner imagined a friend in a different lab measuring the state of this photon and storing the result, while Wigner observed from afar. Wigner has no information about his friend’s measurement and so is forced to assume that the photon and the measurement of it are in a superposition of all possible outcomes of the experiment.

Wigner can even perform an experiment to determine whether this superposition exists or not. This is a kind of interference experiment showing that the photon and the measurement are indeed in a superposition.

From Wigner’s point of view, this is a “fact”—the superposition exists. And this fact suggests that a measurement cannot have taken place.

But this is in stark contrast to the point of view of the friend, who has indeed measured the photon’s polarization and recorded it. The friend can even call Wigner and say the measurement has been done (provided the outcome is not revealed).

So the two realities are at odds with each other. “This calls into question the objective status of the facts established by the two observers,” say Proietti and co.

That’s the theory, but last year Caslav Brukner, at the University of Vienna in Austria, came up with a way to re-create the Wigner’s Friend experiment in the lab by means of techniques involving the entanglement of many particles at the same time.

The breakthrough that Proietti and co have made is to carry this out. “In a state-of-the-art 6-photon experiment, we realize this extended Wigner’s friend scenario,” they say.

They use these six entangled photons to create two alternate realities—one representing Wigner and one representing Wigner’s friend. Wigner’s friend measures the polarization of a photon and stores the result. Wigner then performs an interference measurement to determine if the measurement and the photon are in a superposition.

The experiment produces an unambiguous result. It turns out that both realities can coexist even though they produce irreconcilable outcomes, just as Wigner predicted.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands for the SuperMajority


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex Interview in Vanity Fair

AOC has hit a raw nerve leaving a daily trail of ad-hominem attacks by the right. She is branded a communist and socialist. But if you examine the issues, she is clearly reflecting the desire of the SuperMajority!

She is also articulate, transparent, and honest. She is not inheriting from the elites. This is why she is seen as dangerous even by some Democrats.

The new generation of freshmen (women) Democrats represent a powerful group representing the people. Let us hope that their advisors help them through the treacherous swamp of American politics driven and paid for by powerful interests. There is deep corruption on both sides of the isle.



NYTimes: The Oppression of the Supermajority


The New York Times: The Oppression of the Supermajority

“The defining political fact of our time is not polarization. It’s the thwarting of a largely unified public.”

There is a real problem with our framing, the way thoughts are presented to the public by all sides of the media. It about left vs right, Socialism vs Capitalism, Democratic vs Republican.

In reality, the vast majority of this country are united about a number of things:

“About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.”

I have also seen strong evidence the vast majority is for Medicare for all, Social Security, and effective measures to deal with Climate Change. They are against corruption by the elites and frustrated over the preferential treatment of large corporations.
Candidates would do well to move past the labels of being socialist and address the issues directly.