Friday, April 04, 2014

Is the google listening?

Version 0.9

Is the google Listening?

This is actually a public and slightly redacted version of a message I sent to one of the google people I know:

If my mood does not improve, then I actually think I should avoid speaking to you .
Most of what you wrote was quite reasonable, but...

In my Gmail I just received the most beautiful piece of phishing crap that I've ever seen. Actually, I received it some hours ago, but it's future dated to this afternoon and I would not even trust my interpretation of such a beautifully written BS header.

In spite of my suspicious and paranoid nature, if I were an actual customer of American Express, I might well have been taken in and captured.

Why doesn't the google have any expedited mechanism to address this kind of excellent garbage? If I had the tool to do so, I certainly would annotate it for near the highest priority response, just below "imminent terrorist attack", and if that tool had existed for a while, it would also show that I rarely give such a high ranking, so someone should wake up and nuke something. Why is there no such spam-fighting tool in Gmail?
Because the google is EVIL and becoming more EVIL each day. I really believe that.

Let's start from the position that corporations are people, as the US Supreme Court again ruled a few days ago. If so (and I don't believe it for a New York second), then what kind of people are they?

If you knew an actual person who was so single-minded and absolutely focused on getting more money, then what would you think of that person? I think I would regard that person as a dangerous sociopath and I would be surprised or depressed or shocked (or victimized) to encounter such a person anywhere that wasn't that person's prison cell.

Of course the google isn't going to jail. Much too big to jail. That's another special rule for corporate people, since in practice they are much more equal that other folks.
Me? Yeah, I'm crazy, but at least I know there are things that are more important than money.
Actually, the main topic on my mind before the distraction of this marvelous piece of garbage was the genetic evolution of cancers in the context of the Fermi Paradox. I've almost reached a conclusion, but it is also unsuitable for polite table talk. In short, we will soon be extinct. If I were a gambling man, I would bet against any descendents.
Certainly not in corporate form a la google.
Wouldn't Gmail be more valuable if they fought against spam? Google makes money from advertising (that abuses your privacy) while protecting the spammers who are destroying other companies' reputations. I now think google is EVIL.
Obviously, this is extracted from a longer dialog, but in particular I don't feel privileged to reveal the other half, the part that I didn't write. This is the same interaction that led me to the conclusion that "All your attentions are belonging to the google", which is related to the titular question, so if you want to answer it in a non-rhetorical way, then the answer must be "Yes, absolutely and to everything."

Just throw it open to your comments or questions? If you feel you need more context, then ask about what you can't figure out and I'll try to answer without intruding on other people's privacy, as they say. 
Again, my apologies for the moderation of the comments, but again, I refuse to support spammers. I'm basically going to approve any comment that isn't spam, even and especially your disagreements with my positions. One of the reasons I like to formulate my thoughts in written form is to learn from the exercise, but I can learn even more if they are strongly challenged. Feel free to be impolite, if that's how you express your sincerity (but if you go too far along that path, then I'm liable to invert and hammer you).

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Nature versus Nuttier

Version 0.4

Nature Versus Nuttier in Texan Politics

Whenever I notice there is an election for which I am a qualified voter, especially an official governmental election, I feel obliged to participate. Recently two things reminded me that this is an election year in Texas. One was my voter registration certificate and the other was a bunch of unsolicited spam from rightwing lunatics. As a result, I initiated an attempt to perform my civic duty, and I ran into more of the usual obstacles. An old friend (actually one of my first computer mentors) asked me to explain what happened, and I decided to prepare this public statement of the situation

There are two underlying and extremely basic principles in this presentation: (1) Change happens and (2) Democratic government is good. Why do I need to start so far back? Because my conclusion (which will follow from considering these principles) is so sad, which goes back to the overlying theme of this particular blog, which is that America really is close to its end this time around.

As long as we are alive, as long as we participate in the flow of time, change happens. Some people argue that change is the very nature of time, but my concern is with two types of change that I'll call evolutionary versus revolutionary. Something of a strained metaphor, but evolutionary change is similar to the evolution of a species. After enough generations, the species is going to be different, but there is a line of continuity there. Revolutionary change is different because there is a serious break there, in the natural metaphor corresponding to the extinction of a species. In general, the niche is still there, but some other species (or several species) will fill it.

Now it's time to justify democracy and democratic forms of government. The basic problem of government is that groups of people are more powerful than any individual, and we are social animals that are going to live in groups and we need rules and laws to limit the chaos. The difference with democracy is that each individual can feel a vested interest in the survival of the society because they participate in it, at least to that degree. Rationally I know that my vote is unlikely to make any difference, and the likelihood goes down as the scale of the election goes up, but I still feel that the act of voting gives me some stake in the system. Maybe my candidate didn't win this time, but I can always hope to pick a winner the next time, and therefore I should go along with the system and even try to make it better.

Now the background of the current situation is that the elections in America have been turned on their head. Instead of voters picking someone to represent them in the political process, the professional politicians pick the voters who will keep them in office. The mechanisms have varied over time, but the current mechanism is legalized bribes, and the most cheaply bribed politicians write the laws on behalf of the greediest and least ethical businessmen. Since the goal is to make more money, of course American politics has become a kind of monetary game, where the goal is to buy just enough votes so that you have just enough representatives to dictate the rules of the game. In the last election, most voters wanted Democratic Party politicians to represent them in Congress, but the gerrymandering and other mechanisms resulted in a House of Representatives that is dominated by neo-GOP politicians. Getting too far afield in this paragraph, and I've said this stuff before, but...

Let me get back to my own situation, eh? I still have this delusion that democracy is good and that I am morally obligated to vote. However, over the years it continues to become more and more difficult for me to actually do it. I think that is a systematic thing. I am categorized as a troublesome voter who mostly opposes the elected politicians, and voters in my category should be discouraged from voting whenever possible. Over the years my so-called franchise has become more and more restricted and ever harder to exercise.

This year I sent in the forms and received a response that, although my forms were mailed before the deadline, they were received too late. I have no way to check that, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out they were 'mislaid' for a few days to make sure they were too late. I was told that there was still an option via FAX machine, if only I knew where one was and had the special knowledge required to send an international FAX.

If they actually wanted me to vote, then they could simply have assumed that I wanted to vote. Based on my past record of voting in almost every election in the past, then it's a safe bet that they could just send me the ballots if they wanted me to continue to vote. Even on this issue of the FAX, there is a viable alternative that I suggested and which was ignored. My suggestion was that they accept a scan of the FAXable forms attached to email--but that idea is evidently too convenient (for those pesky little voters) to even consider or respond to. It's just one of the suggestions I've offered several times, but...

Another option I considered was asking a friend in the States to FAX the form domestically, but I decided against that on the grounds that they might get prosecuted for improperly assisting an actual voter. These days one of the top strategies to disenfranchise voters is to go after people and organizations that try to help people vote.

Then again, even if I got the ballot, Texas persists in using a really bizarre and oddly sized ballot that is rejected by all of the international standards. It's only a minor injury added on top of the insult, but it's a rather expensive form of stupidity that they must have noticed over the years. Well, that they must have noticed if they actually had any sincere interest in encouraging votes, that is.

Now we get to the awkward punchline and the relevance of the stuff about evolutionary versus revolutionary change. In my situation, the only possibly meaningful election I can still participate in is the so-called Republican primary in Texas. I suppose it's possible the clerks who have been working so hard to prevent me from voting are just sincere public servants, but I think it much more likely that they are sincerely partisan as a job requirement of modern Texas. In the old days, that was actually tilted the other way, in favor of the so-called Democratic Dixiecrats of Texas, and the most meaningful election was the Democratic Primary.

How could my vote have mattered? Confession time. It could have mattered by voting in the primary against the candidate I dislike more. In other words, I think the neo-GOP has rejected any possibility of evolutionary change and they need to experience the revolutionary change of going extinct so that a better species of politician can take their place. Stretching the metaphor again, but sometimes a species commits suicide without regard to the competitive competition. In natural terms, the species goes crazy and commits itself to extremism that results in extinction. It certainly isn't pressure from the Democratic species that has forced the neo-GOP down this road. Rather, Abe Lincoln's progressive and liberal Republican Party evolved into the increasingly conservative GOP of Teddy and Ike, but has now branched into an evolutionary dead end as today's neo-GOP.

Anyway, I wanted to write more on the topic, but I also wanted to finish today, so the compromise is to decrement the version number and publish it as is... In closing, I want to clarify my personal policy regarding moderation: Spammers go away. Anything else is going to get approved, but I admit that I may take the last word if I strongly disagree with your comments. In extreme cases, I'm just going to say something like "See what an extreme lunatic supports the neo-GOP" and not waste any keystrokes arguing with the fool, however I'd actually be grateful to get useful new data or superior reasoning that obliges me to learn something new.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Trying to vote absentee in Texas

Version 1.0

Trying to Vote Absentee in Texas

Here is a now-open letter that I just sent to my voter registrar. Any questions?
Recently received my voter registration form, so I decided to request my absentee ballots for any elections in which I am entitled to vote. I just spent a while getting the runaround of your various websites. Links can be useful, or they can be designed to lead on a merry wild goose chase.
In conclusion, I still want to perform my duty and exercise my right to vote, but I'm convinced you don't want me to vote.

Wasn't it nice back in the old days? Back when the voters actually got to choose their representatives and before the politicians learned how to choose their voters.
I was going to thank you for the voter registration, but since it now appears to be an exercise in futility, I guess not. Let me repeat my ancient suggestion, though I'm sure you'll ignore it again. If someone has taken the trouble to vote in most elections ever since becoming old enough to vote, then you ought to assume that the person in question actually wants to vote in the next election, too. Instead, there is a clear trend over the years of Texas politicians doing their damnedest to make it as hard and as inconvenient as possible, but especially in the years since I became a resident of Japan. At this point, your anti-voter policies are one of the strongest reasons I am unlikely ever to return to the States.
Oh yeah, who am I? According to this new fangled voter registration certificate, I'm voter # .
Whoever you anti-voter bastards are, I hope you have a really bad day, and I still want to vote in any elections for which I am an eligible voter. It's my duty and supposedly my right as an American citizen, for what little that is worth, thanks to people like YOU.

Freedom = (Meaningful + Unconstrained) Choice ≠ Beer

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Bill Nye and the One-Legged Stool

Version 0.3

Bill Nye and the One-Legged Stool

Some alternative titles might have been "Bill Nye can't Tip a One-Legged Stool" or "The One-Legged Stool Beats Bill Nye", leading to the conclusions that he isn't much of a debater and that he took his opponent rather too lightly because he presumed too much upon the weakness of his opponent's position. The topic is actually his recent so-called debate against a prominent creationist. It was actually such a dour show that I didn't feel like watching it to the end. I'll reduce it to one impression and a metaphor that came to my mind afterwards. I'll also address a few of the one-legged stools, including the biggest one.

However, as part of the introduction I should justify it's inclusion under the general theme of this particular blog, the decline of America. Mostly that's justified by a point that Bill Nye returned to several times, America's need for sound scientific research based on science that is not tainted by or limited because of religious biases. However, I think it's also qualified under this theme because of the low quality of the debate itself as part of the broader public discourse and the strong sway of these peculiar religious views over the political processes in large parts of America.

My general impression was that Bill Nye didn't bother to prepare at all, whereas his opponent has been playing the same game for many years. Precisely because the foundations of his creationist argument are so weak and baseless, he has to focus on clever argumentation and on laying rhetorical traps. Nye's response reminds me of "Ignorance of the law is no excuse", though in this case the form is more like "Ignorance of specious arguments is not going to make them go away." Many prominent scientists such as Professor Dawkins said this debate was a waste of time and would just give credibility to the creationists' fantasies, but I think the result is even worse than that. I think they are fundamentally sophists and will continue to rely on sophistry. As it applies to this situation, they will apply two tactics. First, the creationists will go down the list of their arguments to pick out the ones that Bill Nye didn't explicitly refute and proclaim that those arguments, no matter how silly, were not refuted because they are actually valid or even strong. Second, they will go through Bill Nye's comments quite carefully looking for any mistakes or bits that can be taken out of context, looking for anything that can be used against him, as proven by the use within the "debate" of several clips of Bill Nye that the creationist had prepared for use in his presentation.

My metaphor is the titular one-legged stool, which starts by representing the Bible in this situation. A small one-legged stool can actually be useful for some purposes. You can actually sit on it in a stable way, as long as your own two legs form a stable tripod. You can't move too much or raise one of your legs, and you have to be a bit careful, especially in standing up, but at least you can rest a bit. You can say that a bit of religion has a corresponding limited but positive usage, as long as you don't go too far with it.

However, the creationists are going much farther than trying to comfortably sit on a little one-legged stool. Their one-legged stool is giant, with a base that's 10 feet across and a giant leg. You can stay balanced on such a stool, but you aren't going to do any resting up there. However, the creationist's go even farther than that. On top of their giant one-legged stool, they are balancing a bunch of other smaller one-legged stools, one for each of their supposedly distinct "debating points". The one-legged stool is the only design they can understand, and all of them actually rest on the same leg, the literal accuracy of the Bible. All of the arguments are weak and constantly trying to fall down, and the creationists are desperately running about and trying to keep things balanced--mostly by accusing people like Bill Nye of sitting on one-legged stools. Remember, that's the only design model they can understand, so it's only natural for them to project.

Time to break a few legs. Let me start by breaking the leg of the largest one-leg stool, the inerrant nature of the Bible itself. It's sufficient to consider the internal contradictions to see that something is wrong here, but I favor the approach from information theory. We imperfect humans only developed the mathematics in the last century, but any powerful and knowledgeable god would have figured this stuff out long ago. Now we humans could write clear and unambiguous messages (within the linguistic limits of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem), but the authors of the Bible could not (unless by lucky accident, and they obviously weren't that lucky). Now if you think a wise god inspired or even wrote the Bible, what is that god's excuse for the poor presentation? The clever god couldn't even figure out how to write clearly in one language, whereas we lowly humans are now capable of encoding arbitrarily complicated messages to withstand lossy transmissions and various transformations, even translations?

One of the creationist's favorite little one-legged stools involved the existence of a few scientists with strong religious beliefs. Evidently the idea is to claim it is possible to do sound scientific work in spite of creationist fantasies. The obvious leg-breaker there would have been Bill Nye citing himself as proof of how mixed human beings are. From the creationists' perspective, his religious beliefs are completely incorrect, but that doesn't prevent him from doing good scientific work in various fields. In other words, no one is perfect and all of us, even the best scientists, have some mistaken beliefs. The trick is to have accurate information in the areas where you are doing your actual scientific work.

Another one-legged stool that came up several times was the dating thing. The creationists insist that none of us really know the past, but we can only see things that we interpret as evidence of the past. This leg is broken because there we can clearly see evidence of continuous processes that have been going on long before the creationists' time limits. That means there are only two cases: (1) The processes have drastically changed at some point in the past, where there is overwhelming evidence that the processes are constant, or (2) The evidence has been massively forged. Either there is a highly malicious god who wants to fool all of us with apparently overwhelming evidence of millions of years, or there is a malicious anti-god with godlike powers who is doing the fooling. Any way you slice it, it comes out looking ridiculous and completely unprovable. We could just drop to solipsism, eh? The whole universe was created 5 minutes before the debate started along with all of our memories of anything that's older than that.

There were various other one-legged stools. However, none of them were any stronger or more plausible or any easier to balance on. Actually, their main trait was probably just how forgettable they were.

One of the audience questions did hit a bit towards the creationist's weak leg. The question was whether any evidence could change the creationist's mind, and he honestly answered "No" and Bill Nye answered "Yes", though not very strongly. A rather stronger form would have been something like "You expect to meet Jesus. What if you meet Him tomorrow, He proves to you that He is Jesus (according to whatever criteria you set), and then He tells you that you are mistaken and the Bible does contain errors. Would you believe Jesus and change your mind?"

In conclusion, the simple facts that this sort of debate is still continuing and that proponents of these ridiculous views are still affecting the public policy of America are large reasons America is failing and ultimately falling.

Monday, January 13, 2014

All Your Attention is Belong to the Google

Version 0.2

All Your Attention is Belong to the Google

This one is actually based on a social meeting and email exchange with one of the googlers I know socially. For the sake of social convention, I think I have to protect his anonymity and also preface these comments with a caution that I think he disavows my conclusion, which is summarized in the title of this blog. However I also feel that he has partially failed to understand my central points. Not sure if it is worth continuing that discussion with him, but for now I'm evidently just blogging my spleen, as they say.

One place to start is with the various kinds of realities we live with. Some examples include mathematical realities (absolute within the bounds of the assumptions), scientific realities (supposedly based on solid evidence), religious realities (where faith trumps evidence), business realities (reduced to the bottom line), and political realities (such as the dysfunction in today's USA). However, the particular kind of reality that is bothering me just now is social reality, where a particular social reality is based upon what some group of people believe about their society. The underlying problem is that a social reality can be wrong, can be changed, or, worst of all, can be manipulated. Today's questionable social reality is that advertising can and even should be shoved in your face.

Plodder that I am, I want to start with an example of a thoroughly discredited social reality. Take the ancient social reality of slavery. I think nowadays we have a pretty solid consensus that human slavery was always wrong, but it still prevailed as a social reality for thousands of years. The exact forms of slavery changed over the millenniums, but the operative conventions were that the slaves were supposed to accept their status (and treatment as property akin to domesticated animals) and therefore work hard for their masters. The exact rationale for their enslavement varied, though racial inferiority was a pretty frequent theme. Sometimes it was defined by their lack of military prowess that allowed them to be conquered or their lack of belief in the proper religion (of the masters), but the important thing was that the social reality said the slaves were slaves and should remain slaves. (Going tangential again, but actually, it isn't clear to me that we've fully eliminated slavery, though we continue to change the branding. About 35 years ago I studied a major church in Houston where South African apartheid was defended as upholding the proper blessed and sacred hierarchy, with the 'niggers' on the bottom (though I'm reasonably sure the preacher didn't use the N-word himself). In the last few years we seem to be developing new forms of indebted servitude and effective wage slavery based on inescapable student-loan debts in an economic environment packed with minimum-wage jobs that can never repay those loans. Separately, there's also the aspect that governments always have a strong preference for citizens who obey the government without annoying questions.)

Anyway, back to the main theme of why I believe "All your attention is belong to the google" is such a bad thing. The discussion in question actually started from my belief that time-based economics makes more sense, as jovially summarized in "Couch Potatoes of the World, Unite!" I was rather surprised or even shocked by his frankness in response. Google just wants the most precious time of all, the time with our attention attached to it. That's the time when an ad is most likely to do the most "good" and result in a paid click for the google and a possible sale for the advertiser paying for the click.

Consider the ethical ramifications of "All your attention is belong to the google". My position is that your time is a vital and precious resource, and you want to maximize the value of it. For example, if you have children, then I think you want to give lots of your attention to your children, but now that means you are intruding on the google's rights to claim all of your attention for more advertising. Yes, I'm overextending his position, but my point is that this claim on my attention fails the most basic ethical test: No one would not want to live in a world where that principle was broadly applied to everyone all of the time. Unfortunately, that is where the google is heading, in a desperate search for new and innovative ways to intrude on our attention and divert our precious and limited time to responding to ads.

My response to that meeting was to conclude that the google has become a kind of Russian Pravda joke. I'm pretty sure things have changed since the Soviet Union went away, but it used to be that the skill of reading the newspaper in the Soviet Union involved projecting backwards from the actual news stories. For example, if there were several articles about airplane crashes in other countries, the sophisticated Soviet reader understood it to signify that there had been an airplane crash somewhere in the USSR.

From that perspective, "Don't be evil" probably represented an understanding that the google was fundamentally an evil enterprise from the git go, whereas my original hypothesis had been that the google only became evil after it reached a critical mass and was 'captured' by the American legal system. (This is actually a diversion, but here is my brief summary of business in America: Most businesspeople are fine and upstanding folks who just want to play the game by the rules. Unfortunately, the rules are encoded as laws written by the most cheaply bribed professional politicians working for the greediest and least ethical businessmen. As 'big' businessmen, they are profiting from and therefore pushing forward a cancer-like economic model that must end with the death of the host.)

In the subsequent email, he had apparently concluded that I was arguing the world is generally evil, whereas my focus is simply on making things better. To be clear, I don't think the world is evil or bad, but that the world is a pretty amazing place and getting better—but only on the long-term average, and none of us live on the long term. For example, I believe that good people generally have better lives, but any individual can have bad breaks, no matter how good. (There are many religious and philosophic books on the theme of why bad things happen to good people, but you should be glad I'm not going there today...) I would diverge farther into consideration of evolutionary versus deliberative progress, but instead I'll just recommend a couple of the relevant books: The Blind Watchmaker, one of the best treatments of evolution, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, which has a lot on related topics from the perspective of what we eat and how. (Or is this diversion just another aspect of my zen collapse?)

Not sure how to bring all the threads together, but I strongly believe that "All your attention is belong to the google" is a joke of the sickest sort. Feel free to react, and my apologies in advance for the moderation (but I will not support the spammers).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Neo-GOP Bully Christie versus Teddy

Version 0.5

Neo-GOP Bully Chris Christie versus Bully Pulpit Teddy Roosevelt of the Real GOP

This blog is mostly a response to a column on "BridgeGate" by John Dean. His surprising focus struck me as being on relatively trivial aspects, since there is an EXTREMELY direct link between the latest neo-GOP scandal and his own experiences with President Nixon. The only lesson the neo-GOP "learned" from Watergate was that the ostensible leader should be kept in the dark about the dark stuff.

Reagan provided the best example (to date) of how the deprincipled neo-GOP applied this lesson. As long as people perceived "the big boss" as a personally nice guy, then it didn't matter what crimes his subordinates committed—as long as they didn't tell the boss. Dubya was mostly following the same line, but he was largely undercut by the visible "evil genius" of the big Dick Cheney glaring over his shoulder.

Governor Christie was (and is) simply applying the same lesson of "Nixon knew too much" and was thereby too personally involved in Watergate. Based on the Nixon lesson, Christie's staff understood what to do and when NOT to tell the boss about what they did. Since I believe that Christie is relatively quite competent and even perversely intelligent, I am certain he understood full well the kind of environment he was creating. If Christie is now claiming he didn't understand what kind of vindictive person he had promoted to such a position of authority and power, then he is lying—and he is STILL responsible. Even if they can't find a law that applies specifically to closing a bridge for politically-motivated punishment, threats and intimidation are still considered crimes in most of the so-called civilized legal codes. (Your mileage may differ in today's America.) No, you can't criminalize the promotion that enabled a future criminal to commit crimes, but you can (and should) hold Christie personally responsible for crimes committed by the government (or even by a company) he leads.

Which political party is the one that keeps emphasizing "personal responsibility"? Oh, yeah. The neo-GOP (not to be confused with Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party or Teddy Roosevelt's GOP).

I think the best way to demonstrate the ultimately personal nature of the vindictive and intimidating policies of his administration would be to make a "best of the bully" video compilation from the YouTube videos Chris Christie himself has been ordering his staff to make. He actually orders aides to be ready to film his attacks on possible liberals and their progressive ideas, so he can publish those videos and gain so-called street cred with the neo-GOP fanatics. Yes, from Christie himself they are only verbal attacks, but he uses his aggressiveness and sheer size to make them seem quite threatening and on the edge of hate speech. After all, extreme hatred is what the extremists want to see—as long as they personally hate the targets of the speech.

However, it has long been OBVIOUS to me that Christie is a BIG bully, and I also believe he is an insecure coward, though the evidence of his personal cowardice is weaker and more circumstantial. Didn't you see the video of him viciously attacking the little woman who dared to ask him if he had any personally vested interest in the public schools? A simple "No, my children go to private school" would have sufficed. If he was as honest as his defenders claim, then he would have added an honest clarification: "... and it's just too bad YOUR children have to attend those lousy public schools I despise." However, what the big bully Christie actually did was get her name and go after her in a quite personal way, OBVIOUSLY seeking to intimidate her and threaten future intimidation to her and to anyone else who would dare ask him such nasty questions about his behavior and his beliefs. It was obvious that Christie is just a nasty BIG bully.

That his gang of junior bullies sometimes gets out of control is only to be expected with BULLY Christie as the leader of the gang. Why not close a bridge to punish the citizens who dared to elect a Democratic mayor? How dare a Democrat refuse to endorse Chris Christie just because he belongs to the so-called Republican Party?

Another aspect makes this bridge thing an even larger scandal to me. That's because Christie personally made the transportation problems worse by vetoing a new tunnel and other bridge projects. Instead of working to improve the traffic situation, he first makes it worse, and then his staff jumps on top of that badness and they use the transportation mess Christie had exacerbated to "punish" a trivial mayor. Apparently Christie's aides regard any trace of political loyalty to the Democratic Party as the kind of crime that deserves creative punishment.

However, I also think they followed the Nixon Rule and were quite careful NOT to tell Christie about their illegal actions, which is precisely what Christie expected them to do. Based on working with him and watching him in action, they were basically thinking that Christie certainly would approve of their thinking and actions, though he couldn't say so and MUST not be told, and they quite probably even expected him to pardon them even if they did get caught. I think they were wrong on that last expectation, and it doesn't matter if that's because Christie is a coward or cunning or a cunning coward. As for Christie's claim that he's standing on principle... Well, since when has politically safe BS been an actual principle? Oh yes. Ever since we had professional politicians.

That leads back to Teddy Roosevelt, who was such a highly principled but amateur politician that his last political act was to take the White House away from the GOP. That was the end of the first permanent-majority project of the GOP politicians. Unfortunately, now that looks like another one of those lessons no one learns from history.

New Jersey has a bad reputation, and Christie just made it a whole lot worse. Oh, and did I mention he's a big bad bully.


About Me

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As a blogger from before there were blogs, I've concluded what I write is of little interest to the reading public. My current approach is to treat these blogs as notes, with the maturity indicated by the version number. If reader comments show interest, I will probably add some flesh to the skeletons...