Indiana Election Results, 2000 – 2016, or Who Didn’t Vote For President?

Indiana Election Results, 2000 – 2016 (President, Senator, Governor where can be gotten):


People are more likely to vote for President and nobody else instead of vote for everyone BUT President. Observed both directly and through ballot counts.


President 2016: 2,732,710 votes cast (“all” votes)
Senator 2016: 2,731,452 votes cast (1,258 fewer votes)
Governor 2016: 2,718,674 votes cast 14,036 fewer votes)

President 2012: 2,624,531 votes cast (“all” votes)
Senator 2012: 2,560,102 votes cast (103,129 fewer votes)
Governor 2012: 2,577,329 votes cast (85,802 fewer votes)

President 2008: 2,751,054 votes cast (“all” votes)
Governor 2008: 2,703,752 votes cast (47,302 fewer votes)

President 2004: 2,468,002 votes cast (“all” votes)
Senator 2004: 2,428,433 votes cast (39,569 fewer votes)
Governor 2004: 2,448,476 votes cast (19,526 fewer votes)

President 2000: 2,199,302 votes cast (“all” votes)
Senator 2000: 2,145,209 votes cast (54,093 fewer votes)

Where I got my information:


This election had nearly the numbers of the 2008 election and more than 2012, so the general repugnance towards the election that was expressed throughout this election cycle didn’t result in an absence of voters in Indiana. In addition, the ratio between votes for Trump and votes for Clinton in Indiana were 3:2 (1,556,310 to 1,036,632), so there was no reason to believe that the ballot was being fixed towards either candidate. And yet, 2016 had a smaller difference between Presidential Votes and Senator Votes; and there was a less than 0.1% difference between Presidential and Senator votes in 2016. Every other election had from near 1% to near 4% difference between Presidential Election and Senator/Governor Election.

What this tells me is that there was a large contingent of people in Indiana, just like in Michigan, who voted for various candidates but NOT for President.

It’s kind of hard to know how many people didn’t vote in Indiana since they didn’t collect the numbers (as far as I know) and there were still enough votes for President but little (or nothing) else down the ballot to make the difference in favor of Presidential ballots. However, one can reasonable guess (assumption in place) there were still more no votes for President this election than in previous elections.


On The Concept of “Old News”

I get tired of posting stuff and hearing “This is Old News” as if something stopped being worth remembering after a certain period of time had passed.

The problem with that attitude is that if the item talked about is important enough to be repeated, it is knowledge. If someone doesn’t know about it, they NEED to know about it, and therefore it needs to be repeated.

Sometimes people may not know what you know. Not everyone hangs out in the same circles you hang out in, nor does everyone hear everything you hear when you hear it – and, for that matter, that they don’t necessarily care about the same things that you care about at the same time either.

Knowledge transcends timeliness because it stays useful. Even if it becomes “obsolete” it stays useful because it gives a sense of past.

Remember that, please, the next time someone says something that you heard a long time ago.

Has the Singularity Happened Already? And Is Life Already Sucking Because Of It?

First, let’s look at a blog from

One of my favourite recurring tropes of AI speculation/singulatarian deep time thinking is mediations on how an evil AI or similar might destroy us.

Here’s a recent example, Ross Anderson on human extinction as quoted/linked by Kottke. It’s a discussion about how a benign AI might be poorly designed and lead to our downfall. What happens is the AI is given a goal that is proximate to helping people but not identical to (because no one even knows what that means).

The scenario imagined is one where there is a button that humans push if the AI gets an answer right and the AI wants to get a lot of button presses, and eventually it realizes that the best way to get button presses is to kill all the humans and institute a rapid fire button-pressing regime. (This, by the way, is the same instrumentalist train of logic that leads to sexbots.)

You would have this thing that behaves really well, until it has enough power to create a technology that gives it a decisive advantage — and then it would take that advantage and start doing what it wants to in the world.

And all I can think is: we already have one of those. It is pretty clear to anyone who’s paying attention that 1. a marketplace regime of firms dedicated to maximizing profit has—broadly speaking—added a lot of value to the world 2. there are a lot of important cases where corporate profit maximization causes harm to humans 3. corporations are—broadly speaking—really good at ensuring that their needs are met.

I don’t think that it’s all that far fetched to suggest that maybe they’re getting better and better at ensuring their needs are met. Pretty much the only thing that the left and right in America can agree on is that moneyed influence has corrupted American politics and yet neither side seems able to do much of anything about it.

What if the private pursuit of profit was—for a long time—proximate to improving the lot of humans but not identical to it? What if capitalism has gone feral, and started making moves that are obviously insane, but also inevitable?

For a very long time, the AI dedicated to maximizing profit saw the path forwards through innovation, new products, better living for customers. But then at some point it realized that is had the ability to just reshape the planet in its image. So it did that instead.

Imagine these thoughts—hastily thrown together to make a point about the devil we fear, vs the one we face—accompanied by about a million caveats having to do with long histories of systemic racism/sexism/colonialism and many other important isms that make making claims about the relative benefits to humans from the private pursuit of profit very difficult and likely to fall apart under careful scrutiny.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So, how can corporations be seen as AI, and an evil form of that? And how can they be seen as working for the good of the people…until they grow their own brain, and don’t?

Consider the issue of Wal-Mart.

Through the Seventies, Eighties and part of the Nineties – during which Sam Walton was still controlling the company – Wal-Mart was a mix of things, but in the balance a good thing. They may have destroyed a lot of downtowns in the South and the Plains states, but they also made sure the factories that produced the stuff were in the United States (heck, they even advertised it). Also, while a lot of the downtowns were destroyed, one could make the point that the consumers were getting a benefit in the form of everything they could have wanted within reach. One can see this with the sudden rise of Country Music from a steady format with a strong fan base (if a bit low on sales) to the massive amount of sales during the nineties, to the point where stations kept trying to become country without success (one of the more entertaining versions was in Lansing, where the Top 40 station suddenly turned Country, only to be beat at its own game by a station with half the range and even less reach).

Then two things happened:

  1. Sam Walton Died
  2. NAFTA and the deal with China

Suddenly you no longer saw “Made In The USA” (how true that may have been was open to debate, but there was enough “Made in USA” products in their stores for them to advertise it as true), but instead “Lower Prices.” Suddenly all the clothing worn in the USA came from China (which is why I can’t blame the South for voting full-on Republican – Clinton the Democrat made it so that the South lost its industries first) – and Wal-Mart benefitted, using its excess profits to expand into new areas and kill off even more downtowns.

Wal-Mart even started killing off other corporations that wouldn’t follow its “Make your stuff in China and make it cheaper still” dictates. Rubbermaid, Huffy, Vlasic and many others prospered under its umbrella of protected markets, only to find their margins gleefully butchered for the sake of the umbrella company. Rubbermaid and Vlasic eventually disappeared into Bankrupture, Huffy sold off its good bikes to its competitors and is now known as the maker of crap bicycles.

And the stuff that couldn’t, in good stead, be imported? Other dictates were given. Many places had to build crates in such a way that the Wal-Mart corporation wouldn’t have to do any of the sorting of the products.

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So, what does walmart* (the present name of that corporation) have to do with dystopian singularity? Simple: imagine that the “Artificial Intelligence” starts figuring things out. It should be able to see that there may be ways to game the system so that it benefits instead of the humans that run it. And if it can do so subtly, it can have the humans working to the support of the AI, to the point that the AI becomes the masters and the humans supporting it its slaves.

Basically, a corporation is built with the idea of doing its own thing and benefitting the people around them (defined as the population at large, but actually being the owners of the corporation first, its employees as a distant second and MAYBE the customers if it makes sense). The corporation runs in a controlled way (usually with a specific leader) and its good leads to the good of the customers, employees and owners… and in that order.

However, when a corporation grows big enough to be able to control a market, things change. It begins to change the environment to fit in with its own benefit. And it begins to change the people within it to benefit itself…starting at the top, so that the owners and those who work directly for them benefit (the corporation can’t yet benefit by itself, so even then it must give its goods to the people who benefit it the most, i.e. the CxOs and the owners; but be sure that if it could benefit by itself it would.).

So the corporations start acting in seemingly irrational ways. Irrational to the greater part of the people, but rational enough to those who benefit – both personal and corporate.

It even extends to those forces supposed to control it. What was originally a minority opinion piece becomes the center part of legal decisions by the Supreme Court (personhood of corporations, taken to its defining extreme to mean personhood becomes to corporations and NOT to human beings). Structures set up to regulate Corporations eventually beg for the Corporations to run them (the folks looking over our food). And laws are set up with Corporations in mind, even those laws obstinately made with humans in mind (RomneyCare 2.0, known as Obamacare).

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And if you think of Corporations as Artifical Actors with a mind of their own, then you have a malevolent form of AI coming to take over things. After all, a Corporation has to act so as to survive…and if there’s not one known person in definite control of things, it becomes its own master.

The thing is, people tend to react against self-determining corporations. If we see a human face on the top we’ll forgive it a thousand trespasses because we know what is on top, remove the face and the first trespass becomes the unforgivable sin.

As an example, look at Apple Corporation. As long as Steve Jobs was around everything was workable. They could make crappy computers but they were forgiven because you knew they were working at making better items (and they did). Their iPhones may have been flawed but that was forgiven because we knew what the flaw was meant to do and that Steve would make sure it was fixed (and it was). Remove Steve Jobs, and you get an iMaps program that didn’t work out of the shoot…and thus was forever tarred by it (never mind that I’ve never had an issue with it that I couldn’t work around, and that there’s stuff that GoogleMaps STILL doesn’t do). and from the iMaps introduction fiasco, the name becomes tainted.

As for walmart*, it’s questionable at this moment whether they’ll be made to pay for their sins. After all, they supported Romneycare 2.0/Obamacare because they saw that many larger corporations would come to see the wisdom of treating their hourly workers as badly as walmart* has always done. Why improve, after all, when everyone else treats their workers like shit as well?

Will they improve? Maybe…but I don’t see it at the moment. Old habits die hard. Having changed a few habits of my own, I know…imagine a corporation that has grown fat off them.

Why Our Roads Suck – A Forced Remembrance.

You know what keeps amazing me? Everyone talking about how “The Government’s gathering up all this money, yet they fix nothing.” The sad thing is that the information is out there, only people don’t care to think about it.

Take the example of roads, bridges and transit:

Right now we pay 18.4 cents/gallon in federal gas taxes, with one penny per gallon dedicated to Mass Transit. This is where it’s been since 1997, when the last bill relating to the Federal Gas Tax was passed.

Fifteen years. Which makes the dollar in 1997 worth seventy cents today, if you’re an optimist…and believe the governmental CPI…and ignore that gas (increased 200%, if my recollections on gas prices are right), material and food prices have shot up much more than what the Governmental CPI is willing to admit.

Add in the fact that much of the construction work today isn’t so much “plant two new ribbons of concrete through miles and miles of farmland” (or even “shut things down to work on everything at once”) but is instead “tear up four lanes to put in six, remake interchanges into SPUIs and make sure traffic keeps moving during the work,” and you have a recipe for less and less being done and costing more and more. Shifting transit funding (all one cent per gallon of it) over to highway funding would just add drops to the bucket.

What’s needed is to change how gas is taxed.
First, peg the tax as a percentage of the tax – like they do with gas taxes in Indiana and Illinois.
Second, base that percentage to what we paid in 1997. Basically, it would be a tripling of tax money at the moment – at least in step with gas inflation, plus keeping up with the rising prices of other materials (and wages). Even if the percentage was dropped (Say…down to 10%, from the de facto 15-18% between 1997 and 2000) it’s definitely higher than the present 5% de facto rate.
Third, instead of a penny of the tax going to transit, put in a certain percentage written into law. Like…20% of the tax going to transit, 80% going to Roads. Some places are just NOT going to be amenable to highways, ramps, parking lots and lawns.
And Fourth: for the first five years, take ten percent off the top for a slush fund, so that when revenue drops commitments made during better times could be completed.

(Not that I expect this to come about. Too many Americans would rather bitch about decaying roads than put their money towards fixing the roads.)

Things to Understand About The Supreme Court Ruling:

Sorry for the wait, but I was waiting for this to come up and happen. Nothing else seemed worth blogging about until this. More will be blogged about in the months to come…

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June 28, 2012 came and went and everyone’s been reacting since. Granted, one day is hardly enough time to quiet something that had been building up for three plus years, but the noise is there and looks like it’s going to last until November, at least.

I’ve got three thoughts already about this whole thing:

  1. Judge Roberts did NOT jump to the left, nor did he betray any of his principles. Remember, the American Health Care Act (more properly Romneycare since that’s who started it, now known as Obamacare) isn’t so much a government-run program but a program where people are forced to buy from private companies which are given governmental power and the strength of the Government behind them (as I’ve pointed out before). And if there’s anything which makes Judge Roberts Judge Roberts, it’s his CORPORATIST stance on the law. As it happened, it was the Left who ended up being his “useful idiots” (unlike the right, whose corporatism comes from their identification with conservatism post-civil rights instead of rising up on its own accord).
    This is shown by the fact that Roberts wrote the Majority opinion as if he was the only person in the Majority, his switching of the “pay for being uninsured” cost issue from “commerce clause” to “taxing powers,” and his ruling that the government had to respect the State’s wishes when it came to medicaid’s expansion to those just above the poverty level.
  2. The ACA still sucks. Despite the benefits which have shown up on the progressive blogs and websites, we’re still talking about the creation of a government branch that is in essence privately-owned and responsible to stockholders, complete with certain government-protected profit margins and the IRS being their collection agent for those who stay away from the insurance companies. And it’s not the middle-class that’s going to be taxed for being too poor for affording insurance – it’s going to be the working poor. Either that, or there’s going to develop a card that basically says “I’m paying this to say I’m insured, this covers nothing.”
  3. Americans are proving themselves stupider and stupider than ever. Remember the State of Washington? In 1993 they made insurance companies unable to refuse insurance, in 1995 they removed the “everyone must be insured” cause; by 2000 there was no insurance to be gotten for individuals. This seems to be what most Americans want (Insurance at their convenience), hence their whining about the mandate.
    The reason the mandate exists is because for health insurance to work properly, everyone has to be covered. That way, those who need help are covered by those who don’t, and those who don’t need the insurance one year are covered in case they need the insurance next year.

Now I understand the issue of not “making the perfect the enemy of the good.” Still, I stand by my opinion that this is worse than what we had before – pretty much the same as now, and while there’s a few million more people in health insurance I don’t relish the time when the private insurance companies have their profits secured with the might and power of the United States Government.

Me…I’m still waiting for single payer. I’m beginning to expect death to come first (if single payer comes at all…)

The Coming November Elections.

Something tells me we’re going to have a decision election this time around. No more strict sectionalism (as has happened since 2000 with a foreshadowing in 1996), but a beginning of a building of official consensus (official being what’s agreed upon by those who are allowed to care enough) towards which way the nation will go.

I have two scenarios in mind for the coming elections, which will depict the decision that’s being made:

First, a Democratic Victory:

Basically, Obama and the Dems (thinking that whatever Obama does rubs off on the Democrats) hold most of what they have (Indiana’s gone, and it don’t deserve saving if you ask this Hoosier-never-wannabee), plus add on the rest of the East Coast, Missouri, Arizona and Montana. Other areas presently Reddened up (done in the early nineties so as to promote Geographic Continuity…or, more to the point, to show the Republican’s Southern Strategy succeeding) have more and more blue in them.

Along with this, imagine the Democrats holding onto (or even adding to) their Senate Majority and rebuilding a majority in the house.

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Second, a Republican Victory:

So…how to explain the remaining Blue states?

  • Small, yet singularly populous areas that are still too populated to be overwhelmed by the wave of red (New York, Maryland, Illinois, Washington – Four states that had 60%+ for Kerry in 2004, yet could have had a small area removed from itself and happily gone Republican)
  • Just too Democratic (California, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Massachusetts is thrown in this as I think they’ll vote Democratic; same with Delaware. Yes, I said Delaware might go Republican last posting. Not fully sure about Delaware at the moment)
  • Set aside to punish, plunder and serve as reminders as why you support the one percent as they rape you (Minnesota and Michigan, bastions of Liberalism and Socialism that will suffer punishment as Wisconsin has been turned).

Add to that the overwhelming takeover of the Senate (55 seats low, maybe even 60 or 61) and veto-proof numbers in the House for the Republicans.

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Is there any difference? I can think of a couple.

First off, the guy who wins the next Election is likely to pick three or four Supreme Court judges. Two to the left, two to the right. With Obama as President it could get to 6-3 to the left, with Romney as President we’re looking at 7-2 to the right. Either way, we’re talking 20-30 years of rulings.

Also, since we’re talking about number levels that would border on rulership, the laws will reflect the will of the ruling party – even without the Supreme Court going their way (which cannot last, given the age of some of the judges).

And understand this: While Obama may be quite inept and seems happy in giving the Fiscal Right Wing of the Republican Party (and libertarians, although they’ll admit it even less than your everyday dishonest Republican) he’s had a lot to fight against. Romney I can easily see as competent and evil. Evil because he’ll turn the USA’s drift towards corporate feudalism into a full-on rush to embrace (and be raped by) corporate feudalism; competent because he IS competent.

Listen to Romney speak – the guy says what he means and explains himself in a way that anyone can understand. When he said “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” he then said “Because they’re being taken care of. I’m more concerned about the working poor.” Never mind his seeming disconnection that his job was to disemploy as many people as he could and take their wages as his profit (that’s what money does when there’s too much out there – those with it come to love harming those who aren’t in a position to hold onto their share); he’s smart and knows how to get his points across.

And meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, we have Obama’s Gamble. Not only will the Health Bill stand or fall with the Supreme Court (as the Conservatives in the court prefer to see the bill as a whole, to stand and fall as such) but the whole of Obama’s legacy and electability. Remember, there’s a sizable portion of the populace who’s waiting on the court to make up THEIR (the populace’s) mind on whether Obama’s health care is constitutional (and therefore legal) or not. Enough on both sides to turn a 50-50 proposition to a 65-35 proposition one way or the other.

Either Government will be seen as a way of solving problems, or can only be seen as the protector of property and wealth. Pro-active, or Re-active. Able to help, or only able to mess things up.

So the maps above.

What Is, Is Right: The Supreme Court Looks At Health Care

So the Supreme Court has listened to three days of arguments over the “Affordable Health Care Act” (Quotations there for more than one reason, let me add). From “Whether this case can exist” to the Mandate to everything else involved with the law, they sat and listened…and sometimes had people brought up to take stands the two sides were in actual agreement with.

I shall only concentrate on the results from the decision of whether the Mandate is constitutional or not (since the rest of the bill is linked to the mandate, by definition if what I heard is true).

I personally think that the Insurance Mandate is constitutional, as otherwise government cannot exist. Consent Of The Government is good, but there must be a way to insure that those who abrogate their responsibilities to that consent don’t profit off their abrogation of responsibility, and if the government cannot do that job, there is NO job that it is thus allowed to do. Think of it: If the Insurance Mandate is unconstitutional, so are Jails and the Police; and since the one thing that Americans agree on is that Governments have the right to get clear “miscreants” (those who abrogate their responsibilities when it benefits them) from society, then this ruling would declare Government unconstitutional. (But then, that’s how I see it. I’m not a constitutional lawyer nor am I in the Supreme Court so use whatever amount of salt you feel you need for this.)

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As things are, I see four possible rulings:

  1. The Mandate Stands, QED The “Affordable Health Care Act” stands (seems unlikely, but is possible)
  2. The Mandate Falls, the bill stands with changes (Not Gonna Happen, and thank God – If anything would be worse than the AHCA, it would be this. We’d be at the mercy of the Health Care Companies, with them able to damn us for any reason whatsoever).
  3. The Mandate Falls, and with it the whole of the ACTA (Is likely and would be bad for many reasons, but if nothing else we’d be back to where we were – with the option of no insurance still there)
  4. ACTA Falls, but not because of the Mandate – Medicaid and Medicare are also declared unconstitutional, as is any attempt to institute universal healthcare. There may be more stuff that’s declared unconstitutional from there. (Why am I the only one bringing this possibility up?)

Number two has a 99 44/100% chance of not happening, so I won’t concern myself with that. I DO list it, as it is a possible ruling, but the justices seemed to treat that as an impossible ruling.

So we get the possibility of the Mandate standing or falling. Here’s what I see happening from the two possibilities, from the election onwards (assuming certain things, like steady energy levels and an arresting of the movement of power (and thus, money) from everyone else to the powerful and (thus) rich):

  • If the Mandate is Declared Constitutional: Obama gets elected along with other Democrats as people come to believe that the Mandate must be good if it’s constitutional. You’ll see plains states, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico turn Democrat Blue along with the Midwest become solid Democrat and many Southeastern States become shaky in their Redness. The Supreme Court will keep ruling as it does for a while, but the older members will eventually retire (or die), leaving openings for Liberal judges.
  • If the Mandate is Declared Unconstitutional: Romney gets elected as many Democrats lose their seats to Tea-Party Republicans (and those may be the leftmost Republicans, may I add…). Pennsylvania, Delaware and the more independent New England States go Republican, as does much of the Great Lakes Region (Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan are kept Blue to mark the states to be punished and destroyed) and both Nevada and Oregon. The Supreme Court eventually speaks with one voice (with the second voice either muted or removed). Cities that had been thriving start dying, as the stuff that has supported them (both economical and intellectual) dies out.

In short, the ruling will dictate the election, and along with it the future of the USA.

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There are two reasons for this, one obvious and the other not.

The obvious reason is that Obama staked his reputation on the Affordable Health Care Act. He worked to get the bill passed, set up the lines of the law (and the limitations), even ordered the Supreme Court to rule on the law as soon as possible. If the Mandate is declared unconstitutional (and the law struck down) he will be seen as absolutely powerless – even as a nothing – worldwide and in this nation; and that in itself will damage the Democratic Party by association.

The Not-So-Obvious reason is that there’s a lot of people out there – many more than will admit to themselves – who will be using the Supreme Court’s ruling to make up their mind on whether Government-run health insurance is a good thing. Some will think it out, some will do a quick reasoning and others won’t even know they changed their minds until after a while (when they realize they no longer watch CNN instead of Fox (or Fox instead of CNN) for their news), but their minds will be changed by the decision and that decision will have far-reaching repercussions.

They will listen to the ruling, figure that the Supreme Court knows what they’re doing, and conform their thoughts and beliefs to the ruling. They will decide, after the Supreme Court decides what is, that “What Is, Is Right.”

And it will likely translate to Medicaid and Medicare, and from there to the Schools and Universities, and from there to other services. Especially if the ruling is for the Mandate to be unconstitutional, since the ruling would mesh with and accelerate the present tendencies.

Assuming, of course, that the Supreme Court DOESN’T declare AHCA unconstitutional on its own.

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I raise that possibility because there IS that possibility. Clarance Thomas would most happy to declare a lot of “entitlements” unconstitutional, and I’m sure that Scalia would happily join in something he’d been waiting his whole life to do. Alito and Roberts would also go along, since it would go along with their belief that if a service/business can’t be profitable it shouldn’t be allowed to exist – even as a nonprofit charitable entity.

And if AHCA were declared unconstitutional in itself, a lot of entitlements would be in line to be declared unconstitutional. Medicaid and Medicare would be first, as they directly deal with health care. Social Security would be next, since a large proportion of the population is taxed for it (indeed, it’s this act which in many ways lays the groundwork for AHCA).

In essence, the Democratic Party – the party that made its reputation on Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and AHCA – could easily become considered unconstitutional by many, just because of the connection between them and the acts. Whole areas of law could be made to disappear, especially when this affects the election.

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This is what we’re looking at: a generational change in the laws of this nation. Whatever way the Supreme Court goes, the nation will conform.

And it is predicted to happen in June.

Is Rush Getting Set Up To Fall?

So Rush spends three days calling Sandra Fluke a Slut (probably for telling him to f*ck off when he propositioned her – those who get laid don’t call their conquests sluts) and demanding sex tapes.

Disturbing? Very. But he had been doing this pretty much since the early nineties (if not sooner), when he was able to slip the humor of the billionaires (afflict the afflicted to comfort the comforted) into the national discussion. And since not many Liberals care enough about his show to listen for the sake of complaining about it, one would have thought that this would have passed without much comment.

Only this time it causes a heavy-duty loss of advertisers (to the point that even Free advertisers started bailing out on him). Premier Networks even went so far as to declare a two-week moratorium on advertisers on Rush’s show.

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Think of it: This guy has been comforting the comforted and afflicting and afflicted twenty-plus years. Only NOW he suffers the consequences? Over something he’s joked about for twenty years?

Maybe the folks with the real power in the American Right (Koch, et al) are finally ready to change things in Conservative Talk Radio.

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But first, let’s take a wider view of things.

Probably the one thing that has been a staple in American Political and Religious Life is that Republicans who seem to falter end up falling, and quick. One minute they’re railing against abortion and trying to bring about a system where the rich pay less tax for each dollar than the poor pay for theirs, the next moment they’re resigning their spot in tears and newer faces are fighting to take their place.

Remember The Bakers and Jimmy Swaggart? I do – preachers who ended up falling because of their sinfulness. I also remember how they discovered Newt Gingrich’s infidelities (Okay, so he was. Once a wife would come ill he’d pick her replacement) in time to clear him from the Republican leadership (and in time for 2000).

And we know, of course, of all the gay preachers and representatives who stood strong for the family until they were found out to have had “wayward desires.” All of them to the right, of course.

But understand, for every philandering preacher and gay republican officeholder that gets replaced, there’s a younger, not-quite-corrupted person who hungers for what the fallen icon seems to have had. They see the fallen, they see the opening, and they see those who have stood up to the temptations successfully and grown old in the spotlight.

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Now, on to Rush Limbaugh.

For nearly thirty years Rush has been shouting Radically Conservative ideas. He’s spouted stuff and created words and terms that have slipped into the American lexicon; and helped rewrite American English so that non-individualist/capitalist/bankist ideas have become almost incomprehensible to its speakers.

What’s interesting is that for much of the past eleven years Rush has been dodging bullets. Going deaf? He kept talking until eventually getting cochlear implants (so that he could again hear his paid callers). Oxycontin addiction? Welcome to rehab. Viagra on a trip overseas? Ignored.

So what makes Sandra Fluke different? It’s not like he’s ripped on girls for not wanting to be made barefoot-and-pregnant  – indeed, much of his appeal lay in his views on Feminism (“Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women … access to the mainstream of society.”) and his free use of the word “Feminazi” to define anyone too liberal for him.

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Enter Mike Huckabee – an ordained Southern Baptist minister, musician (who can actually rock out), former Governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate and soon to be talk show host.

On April 9th, Mike Huckabee will go from small bits three times a day to three hours directly across from Rush Limbaugh. Already got written up by Newsweek (granted, the most liberal of the big three newsmagazines, but still…).

Huckabee is a friendly man, an honest Christian, and probably the one man who could give a friendly nudge to the right to someone who’s walled themselves from Hannity, Limbaugh, Roe Conn, Savage et al. I remember seeing a LOT of I ❤ Huckabee bumper stickers, and he had actually charmed the press. I’m not going to say I liked him, but there was definitely a lot to like about him.

Meanwhile, you have a guy in Limbaugh whose audience is not only exposed as a bit less than what it once was (never mind what it was once thought as), but has been shrinking as well. Not just from listener fatigue, but through death and other problems. And the advertisers know it.

So, when they had the perfect excuse to jump off what they perceive as a sinking ship (the Sandra Fluke fixation over three days), they jumped. Premier networks had to ban national advertisement for two weeks, just to buff their image up.

Now…add in a fresh voice, one that’s willing to listen to the other side (if nothing else, to gently tear it apart) and who already has a bunch of goodwill…and the advertisers have an alternative. Should the audience come along, don’t be surprised to find contracts broken at various stations looking for cheaper, kinder alternatives.

Also don’t be surprised at new, “kinder conservative” talk stations popping up to challenge the stallwarts. As it is, there’s already multiple conservative talk stations over various markets. The Northwest Indiana market has four stations broadcasting secular conservative talk: WLS-AM (Mainstream Conservative), WIND (For those who think WLS is for liberal pussies), WIQI-FM (Conservative talk entertainment, to ensnare women) and WJOB (Local Conservative). (Notice I said secular conservative. There’s also plenty of Religious radio in NW Indiana, all of it with its own conservative bent) Only WIQI is looking for new listeners (WLS and WIND has its core who listens 24-7, and WJOB has its own job for which its conservative views are but incidental), and its main job is filling in as a conservative, more entertaining version of WBBM.

What I’m sure the Kochs, Murdocks and others of their ilk see as their need is a talk show format that will draw younger, more skeptical people who may be more left-leaning but have yet to see the wisdom of buttressing their ideas with reason and examples. The Koches and Murdocks see an audience that could be brought in with a conservative talk that doesn’t exclude them but makes its point patiently and consistently…and before you know it, the belief system of the nation has been moved to the right without a real fight. And while they see a possibility of making a group of new stations, more likely they see a chance to renew the mainstream stations with new, fresh programming from someone already well-liked by “the enemy camp.”

And, a few broken contracts later, Rush is being replaced by Huckabee.

(Heck, look at the programming on WLS. The late night’s already been taken over by shows from Huckabee’s syndicator: The mark LEVIN show and Red Eye Radio already run from 9pm to 4am; it would take a simple addition to add the afternoon slot.)

The Anatomy of Apology

It’s been over a week since Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute (and said a whole bunch of other things over the course of days…), and while many people hope for the utter collapse of the Rush Limbaugh edifice (which started when people found out that he had been receiving pre-formatted calls since all the female “I’m a Liberal but you’re right about this…” calls that conveniently flooded his phone lines when his radio show was growing its audience in the early nineties) there are folks hoping for Rush to survive and turn out stronger than before. Rush is one of them – he has already gone on the apology path, having apologized once on Saturday and again on the Monday show.

The first thing that came to mind when hearing this was: “What is Rush expecting?”

If I’m guessing right, he expected that “I’m sorry” would call off the attack gods of the Liberals whom he had been immune to for nearly twenty years, get him back in the good graces of a goodly proportion of the advertisers who had started bolting away from him the moment Liberals actually got pissed off over something he said, and allow him to go back to his Liberal-butchering/Conservative-talking ways.

In short, Rush (like most of the United States) doesn’t know what’s involved in a true apology.

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Probably the first thing about the apology is that:

The apology is not for the “wronged person,” it’s for the apologizer.

Simply put, here’s what happens when a person apologizes: that person has worked out in his head that MAYBE it would be good to tell the “wronged other” that he/she is sorry. There’s no sign of whether the other person is wronged, whether that person would accept the apology, whether that person would WANT an apology – just a sign that the person apologizing felt the need to apologize.

This doesn’t mean you should look at every apology with a world-destroying cynicism, but it’s something one should keep in mind. If nothing else, it should balance out the liberal tendency to forgive upon hearing an apology.

The second thing about apologies is that:

The person being apologized to is not required to forgive…or forget.

The person on the receiving end of “an apology” does not have to blindly forgive the apologizer. I can think of quite a few good reasons for not forgiving the apologizer:

  • the apologizee may be waiting for more proof of sorrow
  • the apologizee may not trust said person to follow through on what the apology promises
  • the apologizee may be too scarred or remember too much to ever accept the person giving the apology
  • the apologizee may have suffered something just TOO heinous to be apologized for
  • the apologizee may judge the apology as wanting or incomplete
  • the apologizee has been apologized to before, with no change in actions (or a change to the worse)
  • the apologizee has absolutely decided against forgiving the apologizer – EVER
  • the apologizee just would rather not have to deal with the person ever again

Indeed, if a wrong is heinous enough for the wrongdoer to apologize for, it is possibly heinous enough to be unable to be apologized for. And there are indeed some wrongs for which forgiveness is DETRIMENTAL to the person doing the forgiving. And I have seen a case where a forgiving led to some severe problems for the forgivee – so severe that the person who forgave the person who wronged her died. They say she died from Cancer, but I believe she died from forgiving something that shouldn’t have been forgiven.

Now on to the third thing about apologies:

They must be followed by actions in proof of sorrow by the apologizer.

Quite simply, the person apologized to also have the right to see proof of a changed heart before they decide to forgive.

This comes from a simple observation: apologies too often are but requests for carte-blanche from the person proffering the apology:

  • “I’m sorry I bet on baseball, now let me sell baseballs and books based on this apology (Pete Rose).”
  • “I’m sorry I called you a Slut, now tape yourself so we can see our birth control dollars at work (Rush Limbaugh).”
  • “I’m sorry I beat you black and blue, Rhianna, now do a couple duets with me (Chris Brown).”

Those are the most obvious and well-known, you could probably pile on a bunch of your own, both given to you and given BY you…but you get the point.

This third point gets to a bigger issue: To apologize, you must be ready to repent. And to repent, part of it is you need to show penitence. And often that penitence includes punishment. And you may never get over the punishment if your apology is true (which is why many people NEVER apologize – why repent when no one else will allow you to benefit from the penitence?), but people will make sure you STAY punished if your apology is fake.

Another way to look at it:

  • The apology is for the person, and more to the point, the soul.
  • The penitence acts as proof to the world.

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In the time since Rush got called out for what had turned out to be a long-term fixation on Ms. Fluke’s possible sex life, he has lost [one hundred forty] sponsors. It’s gotten so bad that some folks given free space in the show called to cancel. There’s also been a couple lawsuits over music played over Rush’s fixation over the Fluke’s possible sex life.

He has also gone on to strike out at women a bit more over the past few days. A sign that his apology was more a move to shore up his position than anything that could be construed as approaching real.

(Of course, maybe the apologies may be unnecessary. Problem is, those angry at Rush and those who listen are two different audiences. If Rush holds onto that audience, we may see him come back stronger than ever, having gone through a storm and survived it.)

“What Is, Is Right:” Alabama and their shift in their opinion of Hispanics

At one time Alabama wasn’t much different on the immigration front – concerned about illegals walking into their nation, but happy to have them pick our crops for us and willing to tolerate them shipping their money to each other via Western Union (and thereby subsidizing our Poverty Industrial Complex).

Then they passed HB 56, a law that basically turned every non-Hispanic citizen in Alabama into the immigration police.

That state has since suffered. Crops that would have been picked long ago sat rotting in the fields or were plowed under, Billions in state GDP (and 250 million plus in lost tax revenue) lost, a dropoff in school attendance that led quite a few school districts to go into cutbacks, and other negative effects. Construction no longer happens, and even with an 8.1 percent unemployment rate there are a large number of jobs that remain unfilled.

But…how about the state citizens? What do they think?

Evidently, the non-hispanic citizens of Alabama support HB 56. Hispanics found themselves unable to get government services whether they were naturalized, full citizens or not. They also found themselves unable to get services from private citizens and companies. When Farmers started complaining about the lack of workers for their fruit and vegetable crop harvests, the citizens responded with catcalls and jeers – and when they complained about not finding enough workers, the people responded with “PAY A DECENT WAGE.”

They even went so far as to have some Germans arrested. Thereby proving to everyone that HB56 was serious business to them.

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Now I’m not going to go into a defense of Illegal Aliens, nor shall I sympathize with farmers long used to paying sub-minimum wages – although it would appear that the abuses have grown worse, and sprouted newer forms to boot. I also know what the law says. I also know and understand that America is probably the only nation that would welcome these people with any sort of willingness (I know how immigration laws work). And just so you understand, I’m not about to whine about how we should treat Hispanics as more American than us.

My point here is about how people tend to go along with laws because those laws are laws.

Before HB 56 was passed, one wouldn’t have heard about Latino children punished for the sins of parents wanting a better life for themselves and their children. You wouldn’t have heard suburbanites laughing at farmers who grew their fruits and vegetables. You wouldn’t have heard about kids being pulled out of school because they were afraid the kids would have been sent to a big-man’s jail for not having “proper identification” (name one kid who had proper identification. I know I didn’t carry mine around until after getting my driver’s license. There was no real need to before then, back when I was growing up.) Wal-Marts gave the people who asked for their money from Western Union their money, because it was company policy and the right thing to do.

But put HB 56 into the law books…and Latinos starve because their parents can’t prove they’re US citizens (never mind whether the kids, or the parents, are US citizens). Make HB 56 law, and fruit and veggie prices go up. Kids are withdrawn from school and taken by their parents “back” to Mexico-where its drug cartels are now at war with its civilian population (I wonder whether the American Government had its hands in creating that atmosphere, but I digress…) because HB 56 is so overwhelming. Inject HB 56 into the body politic, and Wal-Mart employees no longer give people who look like they came from south of the border at some point in the past 100 years the money that’s coming to them (and I can’t blame them, with HB 56 making “helping out a Latino/Hispanic in need” a felony worthy of long prison time).

And understand – the only thing that changed is a law.

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Probably the one thing that your average American (I’d say “Libertarian,” but since Libertarianism is the default Economic/Political viewpoint of America, I say American) doesn’t wish to understand is that Government and Law affects people’s opinions and acts. And NOT in the way that your average Neocon wishes (“Governmental action provokes the proper opposite reaction from the free.”)

The fact is, whatever is the official activity/opinion of the government is generally the majority viewpoint.

Let’s look at bombing during the Vietnam War. While it was going on over 60% of the people SUPPORTED bombing North Vietnam; once the bombing ended it turned out that over 60% of the people OPPOSED bombing North Vietnam. That wasn’t because they were interviewing different people, it’s because of the bias underlying much thought that basically assumes that the Government reflects to some degree the will of the people.

You can see that with Abortion. When it was generally accepted that Abortion was a full right without any restrictions, that was what the majority of the people supported. Now that there’s a general air of restrictions that tends to imply that Abortion should not be done, the mood of the people is that Abortion should be a right…just not an unrestricted right. What’s interesting here is that a small group of people who have time to spare and are paid well enough to have that time to spare are driving the debate towards abolition, and it will be interesting to see what happens to public opinion when they get what they want (The ideal being a family with 17 Irish Twins and a set of Triplets) (and I do expect that they’ll get what they want – they’ve already changed the Republican Party to their image, and I think there’s enough people afraid enough of “the other” to give them their chance through this election cycle.).

So what happened with Alabama. The citizens of Alabama probably happily tolerated the Hispanics, made friends with them, served them and ate the vegetables they picked at sub-minimal wages before HB 56; now that HB56 is law they’ve turned on their erstwhile neighbors.

Not because of a change of heart. Because of a change of law.