Thursday, 15 September 2016

5 Reasons Why The Polls Aren't Accurate

While no poll can ever be perfectly representative, the five reasons for inaccurate polls cited here tend to produce results that favor the Democratic and Republican parties. Given that many of these polls are conducted by corporate media companies who also happen to contribute heavily to the two parties, we don't believe these biased methods and slanted results are a coincidence. In support of this view, here are 5 of the main reasons why election polls aren't accurate:
  1. Pollsters usually only call landlines. This a problem because many younger folk don't own one. Furthermore, retirees are more likely to be home to answer their landlines. This means polls are skewed in favor of candidates liked by the elderly. Younger people are known to favor 3rd parties more.
  2. Sometimes people under 35 or 40 are intentionally excluded from polls (see video below). The justification is that older folk are more likely to vote. This makes polls needlessly unrepresentative.
  3. Many polls don't even include 3rd party candidates as an option. They just give the two main candidates and a choice of "other". This biases people towards choosing the candidates listed in the poll. It also prevents 3rd parties from getting the polling figures needed to reach the debate stage.
  4. Some polls ignore Independent voters altogether (see video below). They only ask registered Democrats and Republicans. Independent voters represent 43% of the population. This makes such polls woefully unrepresentative.
  5. Most pollsters phrase the question in a way that biases the outcome. They say "who would you vote for today?" rather than "who would you like to be President?" (see video below). This means previous polls bias the result of the current poll, because many people vote tactically based on polling data. This creates a self-reinforcing perception of two-party dominance. Asking who people actually want as President would be a truer measure of current opinion.
If these five reasons weren't enough for you, let me break it down: this is intentional. The corporate media who run the majority of the polls also fund and receive favors in return from the two main parties. As we learned from Wikileaks, the Democratic Party has a cozy relationship with the media. The same is likely true for the Republicans and Fox News. The corporate media are simply not interested in giving an honest representation of 3rd party support.

Just to give an example of how this works; consider the Green Party. Green Party supporters are predominantly under 35, don't own landlines, are typically classed as Independents, and would be more likely than a Democrat or Republican to change their ideal voting preference to vote tactically. The Libertarian Party has some of the same issues, but probably to a lesser extent.

 In other words, 3rd parties are being under-represented in the polls, and it's clearly intentional.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Hillary Supporter Translation Guide

Welcome to the `Hillary Supporter Translation Guide', a page for people who're confused by the vacant ramblings of dangerously uninformed Hillary Clinton supporters. If you've had the misfortune of encountering a Hillbot, you've probably heard them utter one of the phrases below. This page offers a clear and authoritative translation of `Hillspeak'.

What Hillary Supporters Say What Hillary Supporters Mean
“She would be the first woman President.” “I see gender as a qualification.”
“Vote blue no matter who.” “I would vote for George W. Bush if he wore a blue tie.”
“Hillary is very qualified.” “Hillary has been on CNN more than the other guy.”
“She has plans.” “I have no idea what plans she has.”
“Hillary has been endorsed by lots of prominent people.” “I revere authority and like being told what to think.”
“Bernie is a socialist.” “I’m in the wrong party.”
“She’s better than Trump.” “Don’t look at Hillary. Just focus on Trump. He’s bad.”
“It’s her turn.” “I think the United States is a monarchy.”
“If you don’t vote for Hillary, you’re helping Trump.” “Maybe I can shame you into voting the way I want with some fallacious reasoning.”
“Do the math.” “I haven’t done the math.”
“That’s just how the system works.” “I have no fight left in me because I’m dead inside.”
“It’s all Republican lies.” “I don’t need to dispute the things you say. Blue team good. Red team bad. Ooga booga!”
“Hillary has already won because CNN said so." “I don't know how the super delegate system works because I'm a tool.”
“I don't care about the things you say Hillary has done.” “I forgot how to be a Progressive.”
“You won't vote for her? Then say hello to President Trump." “I'm preparing for defeat, and I'm preparing to blame you for it.”
“Bernie just wants to give you free stuff.” “I would sooner vote against my own interests than look at how other countries have made Bernie's policies work.”
“She will continue Obama's work." “I like the status quo. Change? No we can't!”
“I don't care about the emails.” “I don't care about transparency or accountability.”
“She's inspirational and a role model.” “She's female."
“Hillary has experience and knows her way around politics.” “I don't know what corruption is, but I think it has something to do with Karl Rove. He's the devil.”
“She'll release her Wall Street transcripts when the Republicans do.” “I hold Hillary to the standards of Republicans.”
“You're just sexist.” “I'd rather demonize you than argue with you.”
“Stop being divisive” “Vote for my divisive candidate.”

If you'd like help translating other phrases Hillary supporters use, place them in a comment below and I'll see about adding them to the list.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Bernie Supporter vs Hillary Supporter Conversation

This is a mock conversation between a Bernie supporter (blue text) and a Hillary supporter (red text). It includes parts of real conversations I've had with Hillary supporters, and it hopefully exposes a few of the logical fallacies and biases they exhibit.

“I won’t vote for Hillary if she's the Democratic nominee, and about 50% of Bernie supporters are with me.”
“You should vote blue no matter who. I’m going to pick Hillary. Do the math!”
“OK, but if you only care about the blue team winning, you'd pick a candidate who won’t be abandoned by 50% of Bernie supporters. Furthermore, you'd pick someone who doesn’t have an unfavorable rating of 54%; who isn’t hated by around 80% of independents; who isn’t anathema to young people; and whose primary victories aren’t predominantly in red states that will vote Republican anyway. Your candidate is hated outside your party, and the places that like her will vote full red in the national; not the half red Hillary offers. Nominating Hillary could easily cost Democrats the election.
“None of that matters. Once the Republicans get their teeth into Bernie, he will be seen unfavorably too. The independents will hate him then.”
“So you’re going to base your decision on a hypothetical scenario rather than a real scenario? That seems awfully risky for the blue team's chances.”
“Listen, I’ll vote for who I want, and you vote for who you want. Just vote blue in the national election, ok?”
“That's a little contradictory. You're saying I can vote for who I want now, but not in the general?”
“I'd rather vote for who I want all of the time. That's what democracy means. If Hillary is the nominee, I’m going to write in Bernie or vote Green."
"Don't be stupid. If you don't vote for her, you are actually supporting Trump. Is that your intent, to help elect Trump?"
"Republicans tell me that if I don't support Trump, it's actually a vote for Hillary. So which is it? How can not voting for either of them somehow be a vote for both of them? Do you see what being a tribal partisan does to the logic centers of otherwise sane minds? Please snap out of it."
"You're the one being ridiculous. Hillary is a much better choice."
"Hillary doesn’t represent me or any other progressive. She’s the establishment. She stands for corporate power and embodies everything I dislike about modern politics. I think her well-documented warmongering will lead us into a war, and that’s something I cannot have on my conscience. Hillary is actually worse than Trump on a number of issues. He's worse on others, but even if voting for a lesser evil made sense, Hillary wouldn't be guaranteed my vote. Many other progressives and independents who’ve also done their research feel the same.”
“Oh be quiet. Everything you've just said is Republican lies and trickery, courtesy of Karl Rove.”
“The Republicans didn’t make her do all of those things. They made a big deal out of some of it, but they can’t take credit for her votes, positions, flip-flops, unethical behavior, and corporate servility.”
“Whatever. You’ll come around when faced with the prospect of Donald Trump.”
“That sounds like another hypothetical scenario grounded in wishful thinking. What if we don’t come around? Independents have no loyalty to the Democratic Party, and they represent more than 40% of the electorate. Bernie supporters also seem adamant about not supporting her. You’re taking a big gamble, and, if you only care about the blue team winning, it looks like a completely unnecessary one too. There's a candidate who is far more electable.”
“Look, do you want Donald Trump? He’s going to be like Hitler. He’ll take away our rights and fill the Supreme Court with Republicans. What’s wrong with you? Are you a Republican troll trying to split the Party?”
“Did you hear any of what I just said? No amount of shaming or fear-mongering is going to make me vote the way you want. I don’t want Trump, but I don’t want Hillary either. That’s the way I’m voting. I'm sorry that irks you, but it’s Bernie or bust.”
“Then say hello to President Trump.”
"Really? So you admit you'll lose the election if your far-fetched hypothetical scenario doesn't pan out?"
"What? No... I'm saying it will be your fault if we lose.
“Oh I get it: you're preemptively blaming me for a Republican victory, and at the same time voting to nominate a Democratic candidate who millions of people despise and have pledged never to vote for?"
"You just don't get it. Trump is hated more than Hillary." 
"Oh, that's a comfort. She might win a contest of who's hated the least! Then again, she might not. So the question is: do you think her defeat will be the fault of people who hate her, or the fault of people who nominated her despite that widespread hatred; rejecting a better liked candidate in the process? I mean, you must know she's not liked, right? So, how about using this real data instead of relying on wishful thinking? Then, you could make a decision based on logic and numbers instead of fantasy and denial."
“Whatever. Hillary will be the first woman President, and that’s more important than whether or not some people believe she got paid by Goldman Sachs to do some damned speeches.”
“She did get paid, and we still don’t have the transcripts for those speeches.”
“She’ll release them when the Republicans release theirs.”
“So we’re supposed to hold her to the same standards as Republicans, who, even you would admit, are probably accepting bribes for political favors?”
“No, well yes, everyone should have to follow the same rules.”
“OK, then I won’t vote for the Republicans for the same reason I won’t vote for Hillary: because I don’t trust them.”
“You’re being stupid. Hillary will be the first woman President, and that should be hugely important to any liberal.”
“Did you really just ask that? Wow, you’re obviously sexist and I can no longer talk to you.”
“Oh do grow up. Equality is about recognizing everyone equally for their merits. Making one gender automatically more meritorious than another is not what I would call equality. Furthermore, despite wanting to see a woman President, I’d like to see one who isn’t a disaster. I’d like a President who inspires millions of women to want to follow in her footsteps, and millions of men to respect their aspirations. Hillary would set back perceptions of female leaders decades.”
“Whatever. You’ve proven you’re a sexist. I have it in writing. You should go vote for Trump. He welcomes bigots like you.”
“You want me to vote for Trump now? That contradicts your earlier statements. However, by nominating Hillary, you’re effectively saying you don’t want my vote or the votes of millions of others who've already said we can’t support her. But, that’s your prerogative. You can go it alone if you want. I won’t vote for Trump, but if your close-knit group of Hillary supporters lose the national election, don’t go blaming me or others like me. We gave you plenty of time to see what would happen.”
“You’re an idiot. Get lost.”

***It’s August, and the worst has happened: Hillary has won the nomination.***

“I’m really worried about all these Bernie supporters, independents, and young people who won’t vote for Hillary.”
“Are you serious? Now you're worried? You just started getting worried about that now?”
"Oh, shut up!"

***It’s November, and Hillary has lost the national election to President Donald Trump. The young people didn’t vote for her. The independents voted more in favor of Trump. The Bernie supporters wrote him in.***

“It’s all your fault! You didn’t vote for Hillary and now we have President Trump. I’m going to blame you for every life he ruins or ends!”
“I expected nothing less from the likes of you. Now, where’s that Facebook block function…”

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Americans Hate Clinton and Trump, Poll Shows

This poll from CNN shows us Hillary Clinton's favorable / unfavorable ratings, which are at an abysmal 42% / 55%. As her ratings within the Democrat party are rather better (19% unfavorable), it's starting to look like Hillary is winning the nomination because all of her support is within the party. Looking outside the party, such ratings suggest a big electability problem looming on the horizon.

Independents, who make up the largest voting block in the USA at 40%, appear to despise her. This is the group that any candidate needs to convince if they're going to win an election. Furthermore, she doesn't have the youth vote, who flock instead to Bernie Sanders. It's well known that, the older you are, the more likely you are to vote Republican, so the youth vote is also crucial to a Democrat's success. These key demographics could cost her the election. The only hope for Clinton is that Trump is hated more (and he might be), but, even if Hillary does win, it won't be a big win, and there'll likely be many years of obstructionism from Republicans to follow.

The Hillary supporters I've had the displeasure of interacting with want us to ignore this poll. If it can't be dismissed as Republican lies, it must be done away with. These people are willing to risk it all and throw the country under the bus in order to get their candidate the nomination. They're willing to sacrifice the votes of those who've repeatedly said they can't vote for her. Instead, they want to go it alone with their close-knit tribe of loyal Democrats. This is not how you win an election!

Essentially, what Hillary supporters are saying to independents and young people is "we don't need your votes". That's their prerogative, of course, but they shouldn't expect me or anyone else to imbibe our own vomit on election day and vote for her. We said we wouldn't; we let you know this beforehand; so if you're not going to listen, it's on you, not us. People who tell you to "vote blue no matter who" but go ahead and choose the least electable candidate are being disingenuous about wanting to ensure a `blue win'. Rather, they're risking it all for their disfavored preference. Why should Bernie supporters have to accommodate their foolishness?

So, if it's not Bernie, I'll be writing him in. Voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for an equal or worse choice of evils next time. Voting for Hillary is a vote for war, Wall Street, and wealth inequality. How can I, in good conscience, put my name to that? I've tried to give this corporate, neoliberal, warmonger the benefit of the doubt in the past. I've tried to limit myself to positive messages about Bernie rather than negative stuff about Hillary. A month ago, I even wrote a facebook post defending Hillary against the racism accusations. No longer will I do that. Her supporters are like mini-versions of her: rotten to the core - disingenuous, negative people who take every opportunity to lie or obfuscate the truth. They're the kind of people who don't deserve my restraint or my allegiance at the polling booth. They don't appear to want it either, so I'm happy to oblige.

Submitted by Hector Danson.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Guns, Drugs, and the Backwards USA

Illegal drugs sometimes harm the people who decide to take them, but that's their choice, isn't it? The primary purpose of a drug is for personal use. It's not for shoving down someone else's throat, or injecting into someone else's arm. Why this should be illegal in any vaguely libertarian country is beyond me. If you want to swallow a gallon of bleach, you can go ahead and do it. It's your body.

Guns have a primary purpose that is to harm other people. Whether offensively or defensively, the purpose of a gun is to plant a piece of metal into another person's body at high velocity, causing grievous injury. Why such well-designed killing implements are legal in some countries is beyond me.

On this point about guns, not even libertarians should be able to disagree. Yes, we should have freedom over our own bodies and what we do with our bodies, but we don't have freedom to do harm. Guns are for harm. They are a tool for taking away the freedom of others. A tool for harming others. They are an anti-libertarian device.

It's useful to consider the evolution of weaponry. When we all had knives and muskets that could maybe be used to kill one or two people per minute, the problems weren't that serious. Today, we have assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades, and other weapons that can kill hundreds per minute. Tomorrow we might have weapons that could vaporize a room of people in a second. What happens then? Do we persevere with this corrupt libertarian idea that we should be free to harm other people if we choose? Or does the prospect of being vaporized on the train along with the rest of the passengers by someone who had a bad day at work not appeal?

So I ask, what kind of backwards country makes self-harm devices illegal, but other-harm devices legal? America, it seems, is the answer to that question.