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  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

    Secondly, if every new incoming president is simply a referendum on the outgoing president, then the logical conclusion of that argument is that Bush and Gore, Obama and McCain, Clinton and Trump, were actually irrelevant in their own elections; that people did not vote based on who was actually running, they voted based on the outgoing president who wasn't running.

    It's not quite that simple, but to a large degree, yes.

    This is, of course, absurd.

    Why? I first pointed out this pattern on here a long time ago. I called the next election for whichever Republican candidate manages to most effectively portray himself as the anti-Obama, years before anyone even knew Trump was going to be a serious candidate, and that's exactly what ended up happening. Scientists will tell you that the most important test of a theory is whether it's able to make valid predictions, and on that all-important criterion, my "backlash model" theory doesn't look "absurd" at all.

    Third, as I already pointed out: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were popular presidents when they left office.




    What world are you living in? Do you even remember the eight years of unending scandals of the Clinton administration? The way Bush got elected as his replacement on a platform of "restoring dignity to the White House"? (Yeah, we all know how that turned out, but at the time, it was exactly what the people needed to hear, and it resonated with them, much like the equally-ridiculous-but-oh-so-timely "hope and change" and later "make America great again" did for the next few election cycles.) By the end of that mess, pretty much everyone was sick and tired of Clinton and ready for a break. I was there; I lived through it. Where were you?

    As for Obama's approval rating, it was below 40% at the end of 2014. It ended up rising to a bit above 50% (hardly "very popular"!) once election season got started and people saw how the absolute stinkers of choices they had available on all sides were even worse than him, but between that and the chilling effect of anyone disapproving of him for any reason, legitimate or not, getting loudly accused of racism, it's safe to say that the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I do think it's quite clear that Bush's unpopularity dragged McCain down and it's unlikely that another Republican would have done any better.

    To be completely honest, I think Mitt Romney would have beaten Obama in 2008, had he not gotten washed out of the primaries by Mike Huckabee's blatant appeals to religious bigotry. Between the primaries and the general election, the financial crash happened, and suddenly the biggest issue on the nation's collective mind shifted from foreign policy--McCain's strongest area--to the economy, which was Romney's strongest area, and one in which he would have wiped the floor with Obama '08. (2012 was different for a number of reasons.) But that didn't end up happening, and we ended up stuck in the same pattern for another two cycles at least.

    But that's just one election. You're making it out as if this is some kind of rule that holds every eight years. It is not.

    And yet it has, ever since we got rid of Bush Sr. and replaced him with a charming, suave, younger President who oh-by-the-way turned out later to be thoroughly corrupt and also a sexual predator, setting up the cycle of backlash...

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: tl;dr

    What I said was that "the collective national will" was to be rid of the current screwup, and that's been pretty constant for decades now.

    Heck, if you factor in voter turnout, it's been a long, long, long time since any presidential candidate actually won a majority of the popular vote, because so many voters were so disgusted by the choices available that they couldn't bring themselves to vote for either one.

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: tl;dr

    It's not a non sequitur at all, and if it seems like one to you, that says more about you than it does about this conversation.

    The point being made is that that is deliberately not the way it works, so pointing to some alternative scoring mechanism and trying to arbitrarily redefine victory in terms of it rather than the real rules is silly and pointless.

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 9:02am


    Copyright thieves deserve prison. They're parasites.

    Yes, I agree entirely. People who abuse copyright (and copyright-enforcement mechanisms) to steal people's ad revenue on YouTube, to steal people's rights to control over their own property with DRM, to steal their voice via the censorship of bogus takedowns, and so on, are thieves and parasites who deserve prison.

    ...that is what you meant, right?

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 7:03am

    (untitled comment)

    The USA has the SHIELD law, which protects US citizens from foreign defamation suits over conduct that is not illegal under US law.

    What would it take to get an equivalent shield established for stuff like this and the GDPR?

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re:

    Or, as Dr. Horrible put it, "it's about destroying the status quo, because the status is not quo!"

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: What does corporations not having free speech rights actuall

    liability is basically the entire point of corporations

    No. Protection from liability is basically the entire point of corporations. And in some cases that makes a lot of sense--it would be a travesty of justice if you, as a shareholder, were to be held responsible for corporate crimes because the person managing your 401(k) thought there was a lot of upside potential in PuppyKickers Inc. stock, for example--but when it shields decision makers from responsibility for the consequences of the decisions they make, as is all too often the case in today's world, the system is broken.

  • Nov 16th, 2018 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Sure, but we "threw out" *what they stood for*

    That argument makes exactly as much sense as claiming "my team is the real winner of the World Series because they scored more runs overall!"

  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re:

    It is entirely possible to reform the lobbying system, and reduce the undue influence of business and money on politics and regulation, without relying on a restrictive interpretation of the first amendment to do so.

    With the Citizens United ruling, and follow-up cases that double down on it, being a thing, I don't believe that this is true without a constitutional amendment invalidating the concept of corporate personhood.

    There are even detailed legislative proposals for how to accomplish this, backed by constitutional lawyers who have vetted them to ensure they don't conflict with the first amendment. For example, read about the American Anti-Corruption Act:

    I'm quite familiar with it, and the people behind it. It's a great idea, but the reality is it'll never "take" as long as corporate personhood remains a thing. I would absolutely love to be proved wrong on this point, but I haven't seen anything to make me think I will. :(

  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: What's next?

    Sure, but we "threw out" *what they stood for* by choosing the candidate who best portrayed himself as diametrically opposed to what they stood for, every single time.

  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 1:57pm

    Re: What's next?

    As I've said before on here, the long-standing political pattern in America, dating back all the way to the Clinton administration, (longer than a significant percentage of today's voting-age population have been able to vote, or in some cases even longer than they've been alive, making it the only pattern they've ever known,) is to respond to the poor job each successive President has done in leading this nation by throwing him out and picking someone of the other party, who ends up being even worse.

    We got Clinton as a backlash against Bush Sr., then Bush Jr. as a backlash against Clinton. Bush Jr. was such a screwup that we threw him out and elected Obama, who did such an inept job that we threw him out and elected Trump. That's the clear pattern: we elect Presidents based not on who they are, but on who they aren't: we pick whoever manages to portray themselves best as "the antithesis of the current President." And each one is even worse than the last.

    Next in line is a Democrat who turns out to be worse than Trump. Mark Zuckerberg would fit the pattern perfectly.

  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re:

    This is true. It's also not relevant to what I wrote.

    I was asking, in response to the article saying that a big part of the problem is that we have "No lobbying and policy reform, no real punishment, and no real attempts to rein in policy and lobbying driven disinformation"--in other words, no legal policies to stop this kind of bad behavior--what the author believes would be an effective legal policy in a world where they can claim that their bad behavior falls under the near-absolute privilege of the First Amendment.

  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 12:59pm

    (untitled comment)

    While it's great everybody's upset about Facebook and Definers' clearly disingenuous tactics, this is a problem we've let infect the marrow of American business culture--in large part because we refuse to actually do anything about it. No lobbying and policy reform, no real punishment, and no real attempts to rein in policy and lobbying driven disinformation. The best we routinely get is a few bouts of short-lived hyperventilation and some hand-wringing.

    And what do you suggest we do? As long as we cling to the notion that corporate entities have the same First Amendment rights to free speech that real people do--an idea Techdirt is consistently outspoken in its support for--they will continue to abuse it as license to do more stupid crap like this.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 7:38am

    from the be-consistent dept

    Severing access to what many deem an essential utility is not only an over-reaction to copyright infringement, but a potential violation of free speech.

    Wait a sec.

    When Facebook or Twitter decide they don't want someone on their system, that's not a violation of the user's free speech rights because they're a private company and the First Amendment doesn't apply, but when AT&T does it, that's a violation of the user's free speech rights, because...?

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 8:04am

    Re: The Internet isn't everything, nor the only thing


    I've been following the Net Neutrality stuff pretty closely, and as near as I can tell, her opponent had the right views on NN, but was kinda terrible about so many other things that it's not clear that he would have been better overall.

  • Nov 7th, 2018 @ 8:00am

    (untitled comment)

    The Swedish ISP, Bahnhof, which has spent years pushing back against copyright maximalist extremism, but without much luck.

    There's something missing from this sentence...

  • Nov 7th, 2018 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Why the sic after combatting?

    Apparently spelling like that just makes Karl sic.

  • Nov 7th, 2018 @ 7:52am

    (untitled comment)

    Wow, who was that, umm, that, uh, first guy on there? Did you, uhh, did you get Jeff, umm, Jeff Goldblum on the, uhh, the panel or something?

  • Nov 6th, 2018 @ 7:07am

    (untitled comment)

    Oh hey, looks like the usual ranting wasn't enough for Tim this time; he had to add gratuitous religious bigotry to the mix! Ugh!

  • Nov 5th, 2018 @ 11:59am

    (untitled comment)

    a cluster of users on Twitter, who, at the very least appear to be acting in a manner that suggests some attempt to influence others

    Isn't that the principal purpose of basically all communication, though?

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