Monday, May 14, 2018

Anti-Male sexism exists.

I met this guy the other day.   He claimed he wasn't a racist because he liked black folk just fine, it was just n-word he hated.   I was shocked of course. 

This man is a racist.  The n-word is just code for black people he dislikes.   Just because you recognize that not all of a group conforms to your racist beliefs does not mean you are not a racist.

A transvestite is a man that refuse to conform to our sexist stereotypes.  They dress and act like women.  That's all.  Nothing necessary sexual about it.  Nothing perverted or otherwise evil.  Just refusing to abide by the sexist stereotype.  

Please note the t word is used almost exclusively to talk about men dressing as women.  No one calls a women that dresses in slacks a transvestite.

To the extent that our society is prejudiced against transvestites, it is prejudiced against ALL men.  You can't say "I only dislike men that dress and act like women", that  is just as bigoted as saying you like black people fine, just not n-word. 

The real issue here is that the our society evolved out of a heavily sexist culture that considered women second class citizens.  Which means that men that trying to act like women get treated as if they are trying to be weak.

As we evolved, we have begun to overcome these issues, but obviously we still have a long way to go.  Women have earned the right to vote, the right to work, and the right to choose if they will  have a child or not.  Men have not been given similar rights.   But if I were to name those rights, you would claim I was defending weaklings.   The men that want those rights are called unworthy of being called men.

Our society has reluctantly come to accept the women that break these stereotypes.  Powerful women (even while we pay them less than men, and generally mistreats them) are still admired.  Now a days, a woman that becomes a doctor, lawyer, etc. is considered a 'catch' as a wife.  But a man that becomes a nurse, para-legal, etc. is not.

Men are considered weak if we break these stereotypes.  Which is why the men's rights groups are full of horrible, weak people.  Most of us are still taught to hide our weakness, and the men's rights groups tend to attract only those that embrace those weaknesses.

But that does not change the fact that we are still massively prejudiced against these men - even if they complain about it in a manner that reflects poorly on them.

The self same behavior that we dislike about them would be much more accepted as normal if done by women.   Women complaining about men all the time.  Most men don't dare complain about women, on pain of, well, being treated like those poor men in Men's Rights Groups.

Transvestites are men that dress and act as women. If our society is prejudiced against transvestites, then we are prejudiced against ALL men.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Moral Atheism vs Religion, and the Prisoner's Dilemma

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a ethical quandary.  In short, two prisoners are arrested with a minor amount of evidence against them.  If neither squeal, they get a light sentence (1 year for example).  If both squeals, they both get medium sentences (2 years) , if only one squeals, the squealer goes free while the upstanding criminal gets a heavy sentence (3 years).

Each individual prisoner is better off if they squeal: if you don't squeal you will either get 1 year or 3 years, if you do squeal you will either get 0 years or 2 years. Yet, people do not squeal.  In real life, many, many criminals are offered something very close to this, yet they do not rat. Most humans understand why this happens, it's a recognition of an unspoken contract and sticking to it because you realize the group as a whole is better off.  (Note, religion has nothing to do with it - these prisoners are not afraid God will punish them for squealing. )

But not everyone does keep silent.  Some people do squeal.   They do so because they think it is better to take advantage of the unspoken social contract, rather than to obey it.

There is a psychological word for these people:  "sociopath".  Sociopaths recognize what they are doing and feel guilt about it, but they do it anyway.  They are not pyschopaths - who feel no guilt and may not even understand why it is wrong.  Sociopath simply thinks that while society benefits from the unspoken social contracts, they personally are better off if they break it - just like the Prisoner's Dilemma.

A friend recently sent me a video from a man named Jordan Preston, claiming that religion was the only reason not to commit a crime (squeal).  Jordan is wrong, and is in fact a sociopath.   He knows about the unspoken social contract, but thinks there is no reason for anyone to follow it.

The reason most people do not commit crimes is not, as Preston thinks, only God.  Instead it is four fold.

First, the unspoken contract - I agree not to murder, steal, cheat, etc. because I want other people not to murder, steal, cheat against me.

Second, even if I am a sociopath, I also understand that the government has created a legal system, complete with cops, judges, lawyers, etc. to enforce the social contract, at least the parts they wrote down.  As such, I must take into account the chance of being caught and punished for my crimes.

Third is the social disproval, should I be found out.   This applies to all of the unspoken contract, even the stuff not written down as law.  I.E.  Should you skip the line, people will get upset and you know it.  If people get too upset, they can even riot and/or lynch you.   See the poor black men that were lynched  for decades (even centuries) after the American civil war - they broke the vile rules white men enforced even if they were not written down as laws.  Or see the parts of Mexico where vigilante citizen groups are in a war against the cartels.

Fourth, one of the advantages of religion is (as Mr. Preston pointed out), to convince people that even if our faulty legal system doesn't catch you and punish you, God will.

For someone to commit a crime, the following has to happen:

1)  They must either be a sociopath, or be pushed out of the social contact by others (i.e.  if no one is willing to sell you food, you will steal it rather than starve).
2)  They must also be willing to risk the legal system - they must believe the  potential gain outweighs the risk of legal punishment.
3)  They must also be willing to risk illegal revenge by a lynch mob.  Generally this risk is relatively small if the legal system is strong, but where the legal system is weak, this risk increases.
4) Finally, they also must believe God will not punish them (or much rarely, that the punishment would be worth it.)

These situations are rare. Less than 1 in 20 people decide to commit a crime, at least in America.  But Religion is the last and weakest of the stopgaps.

Usually if you are capable of believing in God, you are also capable of believe in the social contract.  It takes a lot of education to convince a sociopath that God is real and that they will punish you for evil you do. It's not impossible, but it does happen.  Many sociopaths become atheists, but that does NOT mean that many atheists are sociopaths.  All lions are cats does not mean all cats are lions - most cats are house pets.

When you fail to understand that atheists have lots of very good reasons not to commit crimes, you are not being 'rational', as Mr. Preston claims, instead you are being sociopathic.  Failing to understand the basic unspoken social contract.

This is all made worse by one simple factor: Religion does control people's behavior, but there is nothing stopping Religion from being used to make people do evil rather than good.  And throughout history, every single major religion has been used to do evil. Every religion has a Spanish Inquisition, jihadists, or similar fanatical extremists that break the law in the name of God.  Mormons - some of the least criminal people in the world - have a history of murdering people and blaming Indians.  Even Buddhists attack Muslims in Myanmar.  Religion's ability to control people is not always good.

Many atheists believe that the good religion has done is outweighed by the bad.  There is no way to actually tell if this is true, but crime statistics in atheist countries support this belief.  (https://www.quora.com/Are-atheists-more-or-less-likely-to-be-criminals-than-theists)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Quadrant Voting Vs Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is a complex issue.   We want to let communities vote without outside interference, allowing, for example, a hispanic community to elect a hispanic representative, despite being surrounded by non-hispanic people.  But we don't want one political party to use it to prevent subsections of people from having a voice in politics.


So here is a radical, new version of democracy to consider.  I call it Quadrant voting.

Basically, we group districts into sets of three to five contiguous quadrants, with a requirement of each state having no more than 3 quadrants having less than or more than 4 districts.  All votes are done over an entire quadrant, for the party, not the candidates.  

In the primary elections, the parties members select the four (or 5 if the quadrant has 5 congressmen), best vote getters, and they rank them from least to most popular.

Say your quadrant (like most) was entitled to 4 congressmen and the GOP had six nominees in the primary.  They would end up with the 4 highest vote getters being listed in the general, for example: #1 Smith (most votes), #2 Johnson,  #3 Rodriguez and 4 Peterson.

When the General election is held, you vote for the party, not the man, and you get just a single vote for the entire quadrant.   In a 4 district quadrant, if your party wins 21% of the vote, you get one congressmen, 42% you get two, 63% you get 3, 84% you get four congressmen.  (Three District, the numbers are 26%, 52% and 78%. Five District quadrant use 17%, 34%, 51%, 68%, and 85%).  So Peterson only gets elected if the GOP gets 84% of the quadrant's vote. 

Given our current system, most of the time the quadrants would be fighting to get to 63% for the third vote.

Note that this makes the primary more important.  The quadrant system basically ensures that the congressional make up will match the state's make up, and that party's best vote getter will always stay in power - it's only their secondary people that get kicked out.   It's really hard kick someone out of power if their own party likes them.

Moreover, it ensures that communities can elect someone that represents them.  Have a city that's 30% black, 30% Hispanic, and 40% white?   You are going to get one at least one black, one Hispanic and one white congressmen.  Only the last one is up for debate.

More importantly, gerrymandering is now meaningless.  Make one quadrant 90% black, you just gave them four congressmen and less than 6% wasted votes.  Make your own quadrant 63% Republican, your opponent still gets one out of 4 congressmen - two if your party does something stupid and loses some of the expected vote.

Basically, much fewer votes get wasted.

It would make minor changes more important for the general vote count.

The downside is you are voting for the party, not the man.  People at the center of big scandals would still get elected if they were more popular inside their own party - it would be their less popular associates that pay the price, rather than them.

Effectively, this Roy Moore would win, but it would also mean that they would have a lot less power. And his own party would be very very upset with him for losing them votes.

It would also mean that a lot more states would be much closer to 50-50. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

The governing party is always conservative.

There is a common refrain among conservatives that states:

In any stable country, the most common political belief is conservatism.

This statement, without any proof is usually taken at face value.

While I suspect it is true, they are ignoring several important factors.

First, it using the definition of conservative as "conserving the past and reluctant to change" and nothing else.   It is not the more commonly promoted anti-tax, anti-regulation, pro-religious politics used as propaganda by the current Republican Party.  The actual core philosophies of the Republican Party are different than either of these.  In the 2000's it was a rural party, and Donald Trump is remaking it into a fascist party.

Second, people and political parties are not one thing, they are often several things.   Life is complicated.   Every political party has some conservatism and some liberalism, they also have some aspects of authoritarianism, freedom, etc.  When I say a party is conservative, it generally means they are more conservative than most other parties they compete with.

Thirdly, there is the difference between the beliefs and philosophy claimed and the beliefs they use to decide how to actually govern.


Which leads me to my main point. 

Assuming the aphorism is true, not only are the majority of the population always conservative, but by definition so must the party in power be.  Regardless of what they say they are.   At least for their real beliefs, if not their claimed beliefs.  If they've been in power for more than two years, they become conservative because they cease trying to pass new kinds of laws and instead merely try to maintain the changes they already passed.
So at the height of Obama's power - just after he passed Obamacare - the DEMOCRATS were the conservative party.  Yes, they had hints of urbanism and progressiveness, but conservative became their major trait.   The democrats may have claimed to be liberals, but they were conservatives.

At that time, the Republican party, despite claiming to be a conservative party, was actually a "Radical Right" party - a political party intent on overturning the current improvements and returning to older methods.

When the Republicans get into power, after they pass their laws, they become a conservative party and the Democrats stop being conservatives and become progressive party.  They retained hints of urbanism as well as a few other flavors (pro-environment, anti-discrimination, etc.)

If you are wondering where the liberals are, they go by the name "libertarian".  The word liberal refers to someone that cares more about freedom and liberty than anything else.   But they can never truly gain power because their political belief is at heart against government power.  It's like a pacifist army - a silly idea that won't work.

P.S.  Just as the Democrats and Republicans aren't really liberals or conservatives, most of the time the people claiming to be libertarians aren't really libertarians.  Sometimes they are Radicals that like freedom, sometimes they are Conservatives that like freedom, and s


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

3 new laws America needs

1)  All money confiscated by the police must fund Legal Aid Society.   There is nothing wrong with police confiscating money from criminals, the problems is letting them spend it on themselves.  They want to take the jewelry off of little girls, then they have to spend it to defend accused criminals.

2)  No political district may touch one that is more than 10% different percent of the top party, nor can it be entirely surrounded by another district.  That is, if a district is 80% democrat, then it can not touch another district that is less than 70% democrat, and must touch at least two such districts.  This rule makes gerrymandering much much more difficult.

3) No jail for failure to pay.  Any fine, bail, or other payment less than $3,000, may be fulfilled by community service, at the request of the person required to pay.  Said service will be paid back at the federal minimum wage, so if the federal minimum wage was $8/hour, then a fine of $800 could be paid with 100 hours of community service.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

How You Can End Spam

Ending spam is possible.  Any email provider can do this without any regulation, neither government nor industry help is needed (but they can help).

The underlying issue is that spam is anonymous on multiple levels.  We can't tell who sent it, or how they got your email.  They need to get your email from somebody.   With this system,  we can easily figure out how they got your email and attack the problem at that end.

All current emails look like this:
username@url.com
The username identifies which specific person you are sending the email to, the url identifies which server will do the last mile.

My plan uses a new standard, an email address with three parts. Put a tag in the middle.  I suggest using a "!" to separate it, just as the @ separates the username and the url.  It doesn't have to be a "!", in fact, if different domains use different symbols, it enhances the security (by making it harder to tell what is the username and what is the tag).   "!" works particularly well in this example because we can pronounce it as 'bang', just as "@" gets pronounced as "at".


Parts of my new enhanced email address:

username!tag@url.com

Your email server strips off the !tag@url.com and delivers that email to username, but also does the following.

1)  Check to see if you have an active folder for all "!tag" emails.  If it exists, it places that email in that folder, and moves that folder to the top of your folder list.

2)  Then checks to see if you have an inactive folder with !tag.  If you do, it knows that email is likely spam and puts it in your spam folder, labeling it as "inactive tag".

3)  If you don't have any folder (active or inactive) for that tag (or it has no tag), it goes in a general "untagged" folder.  When you open that email, it immediately asks if you want to create an active folder or declare it spam (creating an empty folder for it and then making that folder inactive.) 


Example:  you are username "jdoe", and your email server url is gmail.com.  Enron asks you to give an email address.  You respond "jdoe!enron@gmail.com"  When your sister asks for your email, you tell her your email is "jdoe!family@gmail.com"

If Enron sends you real email it goes to your Enron folder.   But suppose Enron get hacked (and admits it) - suddenly you start getting viagra spam addressed to jdoe!enron@gmail.com.  Not a big deal, you tell  Enron that your new email address is jdoe!enron1@gmail.com and you make !enron inactive.

Now suppose Enron actually makes it a practice of selling email accounts.  When jdoe!enron1@gmail.com starts getting spam, you know where they got your email. 

Your IT admin guy can call them up and complain, you can start a twitter war site page complaining about Enron selling emails, and/or (if your government has the right laws) you can sue them because you have evidence of what they did.  Legitimate businesses will quickly bow to pressure and stop selling emails.

If enough people do this, the practice of selling emails will die out.  Sure, people will still scrape emails and sell hacked emails, but we made it harder for them and easier to go after

But it doesn't matter if this doesn't happen.  You already know they are selling your email address and can stop communicating with them.  Just let their emails go to your spam folder.  If they can't be trusted with your email, they probably can't be trusted for any other purposes.

Also note, your email is automatically folder-ed for you, with a minuscule amount of extra work on your part (thinking up tags and clicking "active folder" when the first email comes in.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Texas voting, Likely vs Registered voters

In the past I have talked about how Texas is primed to flip from Republican stronghold to Liberal territory, mainly based on the growth of Hispanic population, along with long term trends such as senior citizens slowly dying and younger voters turning more liberal.

Recently (early September 1-11, of 2016), there was a poll done by Texas Lyceum, that has some interesting results.  As always, they do a lot of questions, and several different analytical methods.

The one they concentrated on was the "likely Voters, who do you prefer out of the four candidates",  There, Clinton came in at 32% vs Trump's 39%.  Johnson got 9% and Stein got 3%.   Trumps minute lead of 7% is ridiculous for a GOP candidate in Texas.  For comparison purposes, in 2012, the actual poll results were: 4,555,799 votes for Romney (57.2%), 3,294,440 votes for Obama (41.4%), 8,110 votes for Johnson (1.1%) and 24,450 votes for Stein  (0.3%).

Yes, Johnson and Stein - the candidates for the Libertarian and Green party - ran in 2012, just as they are running in 2016.

But that is not the whole story.  First, note that the poll is likely voter, not registered voter, not actual voters.

Likely voter is something that the POLLING company determines.   Good polling companies base it on answers to questions such as 1) Did you vote in the last presidential election? 2) Did you vote in the last non-presidential election. 3) Did you know where people in your district have to go to vote? 4) Rate your chances of voting.     Not-so-good polling companies try to do calculations such as x% of Democrats voted last time, so x% will vote this time. 

Second, note that lots of people will give their 'real preference' in a poll, but when it comes down to actual voting in the election, they will not vote for a third party candidate unless that candidate has over 20% of the votes in the polls.  That is, they only vote for a third candidate if they think they have a real shot.

Digging deeper into the polls, we find some more interesting answers, rather than the heavily biased "likely voters, out of four".

First, let's do the Clinton Vs Trump vs Johnson vs Stein, all registered voters.  That makes it 30% Trump, 29% Clinton, 10% Johnson, 3% Stein.  That's a big deal for Democrats.  Johnson and Stein stay about the same, Trump loses a lot, Clinton loses a moderate amount (those losses are 'undecided', not surprising in unlikely voters).  But most importantly it means a LOT of the people that are unlikely voters do not like Trump.   A heavy get out the vote effort from the Democrats in Texas could easily take the state.


Now lets' ignore the people that got less than 2% the last time they ran.

Likely Voters - 42% Trump, 36% Clinton.  not much difference there, Trump still wins by 6% rather than 7%.

But Registered Voters: 35% Trump, 39% Clinton.   Here we have a huge win for Clinton.  She finally beats Trump.

The problem is, that involves the registered voters that are unlikely to vote.  The Democrats really need a HUGE Get Out The Vote program to take Texas back.

Also note, a similar thing happens For the US Congress and Texas state representatives elections, although not quite that extreme (i.e. 31% dem vs 32% rep among registered voters).

The Democrats need to create a new, superior get out the vote program in Texas.  It should be the single most important priority for the DNC.  It has to do so in direct opposition to the GOP's attempts to stop people from voting in Texas.

It probably needs to be lead by a charismatic Hispanic Texan born Democrat.