from Green Politics

This Election Year, More than Ever, We Need Third Parties

While gathering signatures to put Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential candidate, on the ballot in Virginia this November, I often came across Democrats who refuse to sign. 2020, apparently, is the most important presidential election ever, which means that no one other than Democrat Joe Biden should even appear on the ballot. Of course, the idea that this election is the most important one is a tired cliché. 2016 was supposedly the most important election of our lifetime. So was 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000. Each election is so important – so integral to the success of American democracy – that there is not a single opportunity for any third party to participate ever. Sorry, maybe next time.

It is time to retire this cliché and recognize instead that this election year, more than ever, we need third parties. By we, I do not just mean those of us on the left appalled by Joe Biden’s rejection of Medicare for All, reductions in the military budget, or the legalization of marijuana. I do not just mean those who are fed up with the two-party system and its inability to reflect the diversity of views that voters hold. Rather, everyone has something to gain from supporting third parties this year. The two-party system encourages partisanship and negative campaigning which undermines rational decision-making and discourse. It results in captured constituencies that have no alternative channels through which to make their voices heard, resulting in their concerns going unaddressed. It limits public discussion to the options proposed by those two-major parties, ossifying debate into a black-and-white dichotomy. It results in a self-fulfilling prophecy in which dejected voters begrudgingly vote for the “lesser evil.” Shamed and browbeat into believing that third parties can never win, voters pick the two-major parties yet again, preventing third parties from winning and justifying another round of shaming and browbeating. At a time of uniquely high partisanship, negativity, and voter apathy, it seems that now, more than ever before, we need third parties.

Even just having the choice of voting for a third party can help break these patterns. Yet, third parties are forced across the country to meet increasingly difficult thresholds just to compete. We need hundreds of thousands of signatures from registered voters just to get on ballot lines, enormous fundraising just to get those signatures (and the Green Party takes no corporate or Super PAC money), and 15% in the polls just to get into the presidential debates that millions watch. We are systematically excluded from media coverage in all mainstream outlets, or ridiculed and smeared if we are covered. The pandemic is making all of this much harder for us, but no one seems to care. We sued Virginia to eliminate the signature requirement for this election only, but the court refused, forcing us to still get 2500 signatures in the middle of a pandemic. This is a major threat to our democracy, but it received next to no media coverage.

This sort of intense restriction and blackout can end as soon as enough voters demand to live in a real democracy, not just a pretend red-or-blue one. Of course, it is an uphill battle. Despite the best efforts of the two-party system, we did succeed in at least getting write-in votes for Howie Hawkins to count this year. Democrats will no doubt discourage people from voting their values and insist that anyone writing in Hawkins is “wasting” their vote. But in reality there is no time to waste voting for the same old parties that got us into this mess. This is, after all, the most important election of our lifetime.

 
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from mundell

There is a disconnect between payoffs and probabilities. People don't understand the difference between the two and which one you should value more. A payoff is a return on an investment or bet. Probability is the likelihood of something happening.

What we are looking for is asymmetric payoff opportunities. This means that the potential payoff from being right outweighs the negative effects of being wrong. A simple example is preparing for a natural disaster, let's say a hurricane. Nobody knows exactly when a hurricane is going to occur, although they are more likely from June to November. But the potential benefits (payoff) from preparing for a hurricane are large. Ensuring you have extra rations, a generator, a safe location to stay, and a plan ahead of time can potentially save your life. The money spent on these items is trivial when compared to the value of your life or home.

We should live our lives thinking about the consequences of events, rather than the probabilities of them. Look at the potential return on investment behind a bet. Probability and payoffs need to be considered together since gambling your life savings on a 1 in 10,000 bet is practically guaranteed to lose although it offers a massive return. You want to find an arbitrage in investments. Does Option A give you 3x higher return than Option B for only 5% less risk? If yes, invest in Option A.

The common analogy is the “picking up pennies in front of a steamroller” vs bleeding a little bit each day on your bets in hopes for a large payoff. This is hard to do because it hurts more to lose money than it does to gain money. Not many can endure the emotional toil caused by losing some money everyday. Watch or read up on The Big Short. It's a story about the 2008 financial crisis. Michael Burry bet his entire firm that the housing market would collapse. Leading up to the collapse he was losing a lot of money each day and had to reassure investors and hold the course. When the market collapsed he and his firm received a massive return on the bet, although to an ordinary person the probability of the bet working was low (hint: it wasn't).

Some advice for your own life is this: suffer small losses each day, hoping for a big win instead of gaining a small amount each day but exposing yourself to blow-up risks. This can be easily done by spending time producing rather than consuming. Producing costs a small amount and gives you unlimited upside. Even if you fail you will be able to learn from your mistakes and try again. Consuming makes you feel good while you're doing it, but you're never actually improving.

 
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from not my peak

I am not big fan of the direction in which write.as is headed, so I have to leave. Sometime is is too good to be true.

You can find my blog here: notmypeak.com

Feel free to visit me there. I wish you all the best!

 
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from Jing's Blog

  1. Enjoy being together!
  2. Respect the other's life style, opinions, choices, and dreams.
  3. Share responsibilities, mentally, financially, physically.
  4. We recognize everyone has different approaches. When the other person frustrates you, tell them (at the right time).
  5. Both of us make independent and responsible decisions in relationship, that means you do not judge or hold the other person for your decision.
  6. We believe everyone should have individual alone time. When it’s needed, the other one should respect that.
  7. We will voice our concerns openly. If we cannot reach an agreement on things need joint decision, one person will make final calls each time in rotation.
 
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from selmakovich

Ce sont souvent des poursuites, je cours, je tombe, j'accélère, je me réveille.

Hier, j'ai traversé une ville citadelle, poursuivie par un groupe d'hommes en cape. Les ruelles s'enchaînent, les ombres des hommes se projettent sur les murs et me suivent. Je me réfugie dans un hôtel splendide. Les hommes sont toujours derrière moi. Je traverse des chambres décorées avec soin, dans un style moderne et victorien. Dans une des pièces, des tableaux représentants des scènes du Château dans le ciel. Dans la pièce suivante, Miyazaki boit un thé. Je sais que c'est lui car il a un visage rond et bienveillant, ainsi que deux oreilles de chat au sommet de sa tête. Les hommes me rattrapent dans la prochaine salle. Je me tue, donc je me réveille. Ainsi je ne leur aurai pas parlé. Je n'ai rien dévoilé

#100daysToOffload

 
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from G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

My friends at Radix Media launched their Kickstarter today.

They're planning a whole collection of graphic narrative publications including an adult coloring book by none other than the bohemian mistress of rebellion herself, Ms. Molly Crabapple, as well as a graphic novella written by scholar of the written word Mr. John Dermot Woods and brought to life by inkslinging ninja Mr. Matt L. The collection also includes my own graphic novel epic THE SOLAR GRID, which Radix Media will be serializing in 10 saddle-stitched artisanal booklets.

Early pledgers get the chance of scooping up the entire graphic narrative collection for only $150! 🤯

I suspect Radix Media will be producing these in relatively limited quantities, so this kickstarter may be the only way to guarantee acquiring these unique editions.

#Work #Publishing #Comix

 
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from Weekly Musings

Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Time to get a bit more introspective this week, with thoughts about something I've never been much good at. Well, one of the somethings. But with the events of recent days, it might be time to take another kick at that can.

With that out of the way, let's get to this week's musing.

On Journaling

Sitting in front of me on the table were a black Uniball pen and a fresh 5 by 8 inch notebook, open to its pristine first page. The dot grid on that page stared up at me as I picked up the pen and removed the cap. But as the pen descended towards the page, my hand froze. My mind went empty — tabula as in rasa. The page stay unsullied.

Once again, I came face-to-face with my inability to get the hang of regularly writing in a journal. It doesn't matter if it's paper or electronic, I just can't develop the discipline of regularly jotting down what happened during the day, of recording my random thoughts about the day and its events.

Whenever I did try to regularly journal, I found that it had a number of benefits. Journaling isn't only therapeutic and cathartic, it's also a good record of where I am and where I've been. It can help show progress in life, and remind me of what I've done right and what I've done wrong.

There are other benefits, too. Like what? Let's say you aspire to write. Keeping a journal helps you build the discipline to write daily. As you get more confident and comfortable with writing in a journal, you'll notice that you're writing more each day. You're developing a style and a voice. You're developing the writing habit.

Getting to that point isn't as easy as it sounds, though. I'm not the only one who has trouble journaling — whether starting or keeping it up. I've talked to or read about ... I can't remember how many people about this. And they've run into the same roadblocks I've face. Those are roadblocks that any of use can easily overcome.

The key to journaling is to build a habit so that it becomes a normal, maybe even integral, part of your day. No matter what your reasons for keeping a journal, the first step to doing it is to put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. Sadly, far too many people get caught up in tool fetishism. They try to find the perfect pen. They try to find the notebook with just the right heft, the right weight of paper, the right cover. They hunt for the desktop or mobile app that will let them journal anywhere, anytime, using any device.

If you let yourself get caught up in that tool fetishism, you'll spend more time looking and grazing than journaling. The tool is not important. A cheap ballpoint and an exercise book from your local stationery store works just as well as that traveler's notebook. A text file works just as well as that feature-filled app. As you get comfortable writing in a journal, as you build the habit, you might run into what you perceive as that limitations of what you're using. You might want to journal with a bit more panache. That's fine — you need to feel comfortable with what you're doing to succeed with it. Just remember to build the foundations of your journaling before adding decorations.

One problem that many people don't realize that they face revolves around what to write in a journal. If we're entirely honest, most parts of our lives are pretty dull. Those parts of our lives move slowly. Our days aren't filled with sword fights, swinging from a trapeze, or solving problems that will save or change the world. Our days are filled with drudgery, mundane tasks, the minutiae of quotidian life. There's nothing wrong with a life like that. It just doesn't make for riveting or memorable entries in a daily or weekly journal.

That doesn't mean, though, that doesn't mean there isn't anything put into that journal. Look at your day, and focus on one, two, or three things that happened. Maybe you had a breakthrough at work. Maybe you ran into someone who you haven't seen for a few years. Or maybe you cooked or had a nice meal. Any of that is grist for your journal. Think of your journal as a snapshot of your daily life.

The entries in your journal don't need to be extensive, detailed paragraphs. For the longest time, I didn't write anything in my journal because I often didn't have enough to write a paragraph or two. Then, I read a blog post that Leo Babauta wrote many a year ago about journaling. That post offered a great piece of advice:

Only write a few bullet points. I don’t write full sentences — just a bullet point for interesting or important things that happened each day. I only have to write 2-3, though sometimes I write 5-6 if I did a lot. I mix personal and work stuff together. By keeping each day’s entry short and simple, I make it so easy to journal that there are no excuses — it only takes a few minutes!

As I mentioned quite a few paragraphs back, in the lead up to writing this musing I talked to several people and read quite a bit. After doing that, and after chatting with a certain friend, I think the biggest roadblock to my keeping a journal has been my approach. The more traditional way of doing the deed might not be for me.

While doing all that talking and reading and thinking, I ran into a couple of mentions of the interstitial journal:

The basic idea of interstitial journaling is to write a few lines every time you take a break, and to track the exact time you are taking these notes.

That piqued my interest. More as a way to ease into journaling, to build the habit and discipline of the task to record key moments of my day and thoughts I've had at those moments. From there, I can tweak how I journal and maybe find a style or format that finally suits me.

Keeping a journal isn't for everyone. For some, it can be a chore. It can be uncomfortable putting our private thoughts on to paper or on the screen — even if those thoughts will only be for our eyes. For others, though, keeping a journal is part of their daily ritual.

That said, I think it's time to give journaling another (serious) try. Are you with me?

Scott Nesbitt

Someone doing a better job than me of keeping a journal

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

 
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from lou lesko

Move On:

We all remember Mitch McConnell's blockade of President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland 237 days before the 2016 election. The 2020 election has already started—with voting already underway in many states—and it would be a truly inexcusable act of hypocrisy and injustice for Trump and Senate Republicans to move any nomination forward.

For the love of democracy, sign the petition.

 
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from Open Source Musings

wallabag is one of those open source applications that I don't think gets enough attention or praise. Created as an alternative to the Pocket read-it-later tool, wallabag has evolved quite a bit over the last few years.

You can read articles that you've saved to wallabag online or using the mobile app. Both are fine, but both also have their limitations. With the online version, you need to be at your computer to use it. The mobile app is functional, but you can't control the choice or size of the font used with the app.

If you want to take your reading completely offline instead, you can generate EPUB and load it into reader on a laptop or a mobile device from within wallabag. Let's find out how to do that.

Creating an EPUB

You'll need access to an instance of wallabag, either one that you host yourself or a hosted version. If you're wondering, I use a hosted version.

You can create an EPUB for all of your unread articles in wallabag or for a single article.

Let's say you're taking a train, bus, or plan ride and want some reading material for your trip. So, you've collected a bunch of articles and blog posts in wallabag. To save them as an EPUB file, click the Export icon on the toolbar.

The export icon on wallabag's toolbar

A panel flies out from the right. This panel lists the formats in which you can export the articles in wallabag:

  • EPUB
  • MOBI
  • PDF
  • JSON
  • CSV
  • TXT
  • XML

Click EPUB, and wait. Depending on the number of articles you've saved, it can take a couple of seconds to 10 seconds or more for wallabag to generate the EPUB file.

If you only want to save a single article — say, a piece of longform journalism — as an EPUB, view it in wallabag. In the menu on the left, click the export icon. A list of formats in which you can export the article displays.

Click EPUB. The export is almost instantaneous.

If you're wondering what the ebook looks like in an EPUB reader, here's an example:

Reading an EPUB generated with wallabag

Any drawbacks?

Only a couple. First, you can't customize the EPUB that wallabag generates. The EPUB isn't the prettiest, but it is readable

The first page of each article in an EPUB generated by wallabag is an informational page — it list the title, author, estimated reading time, the link to the original article, and when you added it to wallabag.

The first page of an article in an EPUB

I'm not entirely sure how useful most of that information is to someone reading the EPUB.

Generating an EPUB from your articles in wallabag is a good way of taking your reading portable. It's fast and easy, and works on any device that supports an EPUB reader.

Scott Nesbitt

#opensource #epub

 
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from NicoBey - Trephine

Chronique littéraire 12.2

This is the follow-up article of chronique littéraire 12.1 on Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

–“If you visit a courtroom you will observe that lawyers apply two styles of criticism: to demolish a case they raise doubts about the strongest arguments that favor it; to discredit a witness, they focus on the weakest part of the testimony.”

-“Subjects' unwillingness to deduce the particular from the general is matched only by their willingness to infer the general from the particular”

–“Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it.”

-“Success = talent + luck / Great success = a little more talent + a lot of luck”

–“The idea that large historical events are determined by luck is profoundly shocking, although it is demonstrably true.”

-“The statement 'Hitler loved dogs and little children” is shocking no matter how many times you hear it, because any trace of kindness in someone so evil violates the expectations set up by the Halo effect”

–“Those who know more, forecast very slightly better than those who know less. But hose with the most knowledge are often less reliable. The reason is that the person who acquires more knowledge develops an enhanced illusion of her skill and becomes unrealistically confident”

–“Marital stability is well predicted by the formula : [frequency of lovemaking] – [frequency of quarrels]. You don't want your result to be a negative number”

–“The two basic conditions to acquire a skill are an environment that is sufficiently regular to be predictable, and an opportunity to learn those regularities through prolonged practice. When both these conditions are satisfied, intuitions are likely to be skilled.”

–“Overly optimistic forecasts of the outcome of projects are found everywhere”

–“a CFO who informs his/her colleagues that 'there is a good chance that the S&P returns will be between -10% and +30%' can expect to be laughed out of the room. The wide confidence interval is a confession of ignorance, which is not socially acceptable for someone who is paid to be knowledgeable in financial matters.[...] confidence is valued over uncertainty. An unbiased perception of uncertainty is a cornerstone of rationality. But it is not what people and organizations want”

–“Subjective confidence is determined by the coherence of the story one has constructed, not by the quality and amount of the information that supports it”

–“A risk-averse decision-maker will choose a sure thing that is less than expected value, in effect paying a premium to avoid the uncertainty.”

 
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from Språkspel

Föranledda ledsagare, som har skjutsat mig hem och bort, och ut i början av evigheten – för mig, allt som ska komma, en lång tidsbana fram.

 
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