> Stebbins was hired as the agency’s executive director in February 2018 to bring fresh scrutiny to its finances and operations.
Who hired her?
> “I find this outrageous!” Batjer wrote to her old colleague. “I’m terribly worried. Thanks much for any advice/help you can get before this gets much worse.”
> “Let’s get together and figure this out!” Lee responded. “We will help you fix, don’t stress.”
I can count on zero fingers the number of times I've used an exclamation mark professionally. Batjer then proceeds to essentially conspire with other board members to fire her, breaking the law in so doing.
I feel self conscious now.
Imagine some day I decide to expose something. What steps should I take? How should I proceed? What's the calculus for deciding? I imagine it'd resemble spy craft.
Also, I'd like some philanthropic group to become a resource for whistleblowers. Pretty much like outreach programs for victims of domestic violence. Anonymous, no strings, coaching. Plus a mountain of cash for legal stuff. I imagine your case worker would help you assess the merits of your case. They'd plug in some numbers and predict the enormity of the undying hell you're about to unleash.
I looked a bit after the Sibel Edwards event. The whistleblower NGOs I found seemed little more than a support group with other survivors.
I keep thinking of that group of lawyers that's made huge money suing pharmaceutical (or maybe it was pharmacists) under the whistleblower statutes. Surely more such groups could pop up, each with their own expertise.
One of his books might be helpful for a future whistlebower:
The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth. (2011) with Tarek Maassarani.
I have no association with GAP. They can be contacted at email@example.com. Heard an interview of Devine via podcast On The Media episode "Nice Democracy You've Got There..." Sept 19, 2019. https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-med...
What does your preferred language use for the logical negation operator?
You probably come off as a bit stiff then.
Of course, in formal documents, you never use it, but in person-to-person communication in 2020, you use it about once in any email or text as a softener.
"Good to see you the other day! [...] Let's do this."
Or the exclamation mark comes at the end, which might be a bit too much for me.
This has been the habit for a couple of decades now...
But see my prior comment.
You think journalists have been lying about corruption and minimized consequences for so long that people are unsurprised by corruption AND that in turn caused corruption? Also who is talking about "the capability of the government to do any good"?
Kevin McCarthy is the house minority leader for the GOP and he's using his airtime by talking about how the presidential election is a fraud. That's a taste of the calibre of counter-narrative the GOP chooses to air.
I would argue there's more healthy idea generation within party than between party.
There have been investigations into allegations of voter fraud in this election. In fact one of the cases the Trump campaign alleged in Pennsylvania turned out to be true! The guy voted for Trump twice!
There is a substantial difference between claiming that you lost for reasons that are problematic (i.e. propaganda and the structure of the electoral college) and claiming that you didn't lose at all, despite being behind by 7 million votes, because of a massive conspiracy so powerful as to make our democracy meaningless.
In 2018, 66% of democrats believed it was “probably true” or “definitely true” that Russia “tampered with vote tallies” to help Trump win the election. That’s a majority of voters on one side.
Note this poll was taken a year and a half after the poll you cited. This emphasizes the point that the media drove this issue as a wedge through the populace and corrupted its viewers’ faith in the election.
"Tampered with tallies" might be misinterpreted by those with poor comprehension.
Very interesting so thanks!
It's worth noting that (at least with the phrasing you're giving) that does not necessarily imply a belief that Trump did not in fact win in 2016.
Also, given the amount of legitimate criticism that electronic touchscreen voting machines have gotten in the tech community for decades, I wouldn't be surprised if you'd have gotten a similar result in a poll of technology professionals & enthusiasts.
Trump lost the election, objectively. Elections are the basis of democracy. if you do not accept their outcome, you do not support democracy. The vocal left did not LIKE the outcome of the last election, and did not approve of the electoral colleges role. But they did not at any poin reject that the democratic process was valid . They are arguing very different things ultimately.
I don't watch any major media coverage of politics, but a mathematician and comedian I follow on YouTube (from a different country who presumably has no horse in the race) has analyzed some of the numerical allegations of fraud:
Because change in voting systems has well-studied partisan and ideological impacts, and many of the people who know enough to understand the way that our current voting system contributes to widely-recognized problems in governance also have studied the issue well enough to understand those impacts, and many of them, even while accepting the problems as problems, think that the likely shift in ideological outcomes would be more adverse to their preferenced than the current set of problems.
> The states should be independent enough to introduce one for themselves
They are, but they don't want to. The only major voting system reform that has anywhere close to critical mass is IRV, which should have minimal impact (which is actually why it is within the space of possibility, though obviously not something advocates publicly trumpet.)
- IRV is commonly used for local positions
- Other positions seem to use a system where all the political parties have the same primary, and then only the top two candidates are on the ballot for the general election. Wikipedia describes it well:
> Under California's non-partisan blanket primary law, all candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party. In the primary, voters may vote for any candidate, regardless of their party affiliation. In the California system, the top two finishers—regardless of party—advance to the general election in November, even if a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the primary election. Washington and Louisiana have similar "jungle primary" style processes for U.S. Senate elections, as does Mississippi for U.S. Senate special elections.
Every senate election I can recall in California has been Democrat v Democrat by the general election.
So, you have a very short memory? The nonpartisan blanket primary was adopted in 2010, so no elections prior to that were Democrat-Democrat; 2012 also wasn't. 2016 and 2018 were.
Which is the point of the system. Republicans only have a shot if they don't compete with each other, and no third party candidate ever has a chance.
> The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. It is also known as the window of discourse. The term is named after Joseph P. Overton, who stated that an idea's political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within this range, rather than on politicians' individual preferences. According to Overton, the window frames the range of policies that a politician can recommend without appearing too extreme to gain or keep public office given the climate of public opinion at that time.
> Which is the point of the system.
Yes, but not the way you paint it.
> Republicans only have a shot if they don't compete with each other, and no third party candidate ever has a chance.
No, the point (at least, insofar as created by same-party general elections was the point) of the system was that Republican-leaning voters would have an impact on which Democrat was elected in safe Democratic seats.
No, the result is not “Republicans only have a shot if they don't compete with each other” (except to the extent it it is equally “Democrats only have a shot if they don't compete with each other”; it does disadvantage a party having support spread among many candidates vs concentrated on a smaller number, but there's nothing that makes that more true for one party that the other.) And no third party candidate ever had a chance before the blanket primary. (The blanket primary probably slightly improves this for the Green Party in certain Democratic-dominant districts, but only if Democratic support is highly concentated on a single candidate such as an in-party popular incumbent, but its still not much of a chance.) But, again, that's not new with the blanket primary; classic partisan primaries and FPTP voting were more than sufficient to make that generally the case just as it pretty much is everywhere in the country that uses those systems.
So the two things that make up “everything you said” are not the result of the system.
What "flipped" is that it went from overall < 50% to > 50%.
It would require a constitutional amendment. In modern times, that would seem to require the sort of prolonged alignment that follows a deep and lasting shock to the country.
I don't want be around the sort of calamity that could produce a constitutional amendment.
> the most extreme case was in South Carolina, where an impossible 101 percent of all eligible voters in the state had their votes counted
It seems like the best way to get proportional voting is to create your democratic system with it that way from the beginning.
What we really need is a switch from "first past the post" to approval/score/range voting, which would dissolve the two party system by eliminating spoilers and thereby making third parties viable.
Score/range voting is "that thing the Olympics uses"; approval voting is "that thing the Olympics uses if the only possible scores a judge can give are 0 or 1".
As far as I can tell the biggest impediment to this is a lot of people proposing alternative systems that aren't as good (e.g. IRV) and then no change is made because proponents of change are divided on which change to make.
Less places than you might think. It especially wouldn't for Congress (so long as it was proportional by a method similar to STV within state delegations, or within some subset of state delegations), as the only barrier there is a statutory prohibition on at-large districts for delegations greater than 1, adopted to head off the use of FPTP at-large districts to systematically deny representation not minorities.
> Also, proportional voting introduces all kinds of unnecessary problems like not having districts
Party list proportional would do that, but most other proportional systems would not.
> and thereby constituents having their votes diluted
Proportionality doesn't dilute votes; the more proportional a system is the more efficiently it allocated votes to give them maximum effect.
> and not having a specific representative
Proportional systems don't need to have that effect, either, no matter how you measure it (and FPTP—and any other simple singlr-member district system—definitely has that effect for supporters of the nonwinning party in a district, who are effectively unrepresented entirely.)
It causes your vote to be mixed with a larger number of other votes, which is the definition of dilution. By giving the candidates more alternative constituents to win over in order to stay in office, your vote is less important to them and there are more ways they can screw you over and still stay in office.
> the more proportional a system is the more efficiently it allocated votes to give them maximum effect.
That isn't inherently true. Suppose you have a state with two districts. 60% of the state are religious conservatives, 30% are libertarians, 10% are socialists. With proportional representation the socialists get disenfranchised because they don't get their own candidate. Even the libertarians might get disenfranchised if the religious conservatives manage to get two representatives. But with range voting, you end up with a candidate who has to make all the interests in their district as happy as possible because anyone who comes along and can make them happier would defeat them in an election -- so nobody gets disenfranchised because every victor needs to make everybody happier than anybody else.
Proportional systems also fail in the same way but worse when forming governing coalitions. Suppose you have a White party and a Black party and the White party voters are 70% of the population. Then proportional representation gives them 70% of the representatives, they form the majority coalition and the Black party representatives lose every vote.
Compare this to range voting where if you so much as have a White party, they lose even in many majority-White districts against a moderate candidate who can earn the support of both White and Black constituents. It promotes the election of moderates with broad appeal over the election of extremists who fight to gain a majority coalition that can steamroll over anyone in the outgroup.
Wut? Literally every vote would be worth the same under proportional voting, that’s kind of the point isn’t it?
Of course that means that people whose vote is currently outrageously relevant will have their vote dilluted.
(dragonwriter disagrees https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25549671, but I'm not sure what he/she is referring to)
Edit: that party got 50 seats total.
Systems like approval voting or STV when used with single member districts do not reduce the two party duopoly. To achieve this you must use multi member districts, which has the effect of reducing the threshold to gain a seat. The best case study for this is maybe Australia, which has been running systems like this for a century. In their Senate they elect using very large multi member districts and have a representation from a number of parties, whereas in their House they use single member districts. And the result there is a two party duopoly.
For example at the moment in their Senate (multi member districts) currently there are seven parties and one independent:
One Nation (2)
Centre Alliance (1)
Lambie Network (1)
Liberal National (1)
Centre Alliance (1)
WRT your concern about who is your representative in the multi member case. It can be argued now ~40% of people who vote for the loser in our current system don’t have a representative, and a more proportional system would clearly improve this. So I think, if say we had RCV with five member districts, you could either just contact whichever member you prefer, contact them all, or they could introduce joint offices to work together, or a system could be set up to assign them to “sub district” that would be akin to our current districts. For example assign them based on who gets the most first preference votes in a district. Or rotate them every six months between sub districts. This might even reduce partisanship.
What do you mean?
Suppose you have a single member district with four parties running: Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Libertarians. First past the post polling shows 48% Democrat, 48% Republican, 2% Green and 2% Libertarian. Your preferred candidate is polling at 2%.
You're then going to vote for one of the major parties because you know perfectly well that your preferred candidate is not going to win and you also know that you prefer one of the major party candidates over the other one.
By contrast, with approval voting, all four candidates get around 50% approval because there are no spoilers and no reason not to approve of the candidate you actually want, so one of the third parties can plausibly edge out both of the major parties for the highest approval and win the district. They also have a much better case that they could win which means they can get into the debates etc.
Also, approval voting makes it plausible for independents to win when they tailor their platform to the district, which just might destroy the political parties whatsoever -- and that would be most excellent.
> It can be argued now ~40% of people who vote for the loser in our current system don’t have a representative, and a more proportional system would clearly improve this.
No one disputes that the existing system is terrible. But approval voting still fixes that, because a candidate with 60% approval loses to one with 70% approval, so someone who can make more of the district happy wins. And there is no way to give full consideration to 100.0% of the voters short of direct democracy, which has its own set of problems.
> ...we really need ... approval/score/range voting
Agreed. That's been my long time position.
That said, per The Democracy Nerd podcast, I'm newly curious about multi-member seats. Which might be a smaller lift in a lot of places.
"... Kristin Eberhard from Sightline Institute discusses her proposal to eliminate the state Senate, along with other ideas to save democracy in Oregon."
(Sorry, no timestamp.)
Eberhard claims that prior to eliminating multimember seats, Illinois' legislature was far more productive, constructive.
FWIW, I'm strongly in favor or unicameral legislatures at the state level, and I'm chewing on the notion for the federal level.
The US Senate was originally appointed by the state legislatures and intended to represent the interests of the state governments at the federal level -- representation that they no longer have, leading to a massive federal takeover of government. Compare the ratio of tax revenues collected by the state vs. federal governments before and after the 17th amendment. There was a drastic, immediate, permanent shift.
In your future perfect PR world: Still bicameral? PR just for House? Replace House & Senate with a parliament?
Or do you still want to preserve the vetocracy with a Senate (House of Lords)?
What do state, county, city governments look like?
I'd rather phrase it, the proportional systems have quite large districts (or alternatively, much more of representatives per district) to achieve the proportional allocation. But I get what you mean.
However, it is very well possible to design variations to any traditional party list proportional system where (at least nominally) one representative is identified with each current-sized and located district.
For example, take a classic proportional system, and use it to select the number of representatives per party list. In proportional methods, usually the list is either preordered by the party or order within the list depends on the individual total popularity of candidates in all districts. So, to achieve nominal geographic representation, one can assign a district to each selected representative. E.G. each district is nominally represented by the one of those elected who had the largest share of votes in that district and is not yet assigned to some other district by the same rule (if one complains that one may have their representative elected by people out of one's district, this implicitly happens in such proportional systems anyway).
Alternatively, one could achieve remarkable amount of geographic identification by relaxing the "one representative <-> one district" requirement. For example, require that each party list can put forward only one candidate per (equally populous) district; a candidate gets personal votes only in that district, but the number of seats given to list is allocated proportionally over all districts, as usual in proportional systems. Then the order within list is assigned by the personal votes of each candidate. (This has the added complication -- or benefit -- that districts with low overall turnout may be left without a specifically named representative and the district with high turnout for all candidates standing there may get them all elected; nevertheless, all votes count towards the party list total sum, no matter the district.)
As a European, the elections in my country are:
-- Presidential: uninominal majority (of course).
-- Assembly: uninominal majority.
-- Senate: no universal vote, voters emanate (mostly) from municipal councils majorities.
-- Regional: allegedly proportional lists, but in fact a majority vote, since the leading list gets a majority bonus of 25% of the seats, and then only proportional applies (and still, it is a two-round vote in which lists under 12.5% are evicted from the first round, and then can be evicted again at the second round, even from proportional). So in practice the leading list is always granted more than 50% of the seats.
-- Departmental: uninominal majority
-- Municipal: in large towns, allegedly proportional lists, but in fact a majority vote, since the leading list gets a majority bonus of 50%!!! so there is not even a slight theoretical possibility of having a balance; in villages: plurinominal majority (so a list where every member gets 50%+1 votes gets 100% of seats).
So, not a single actual proportional election, even in those which purport to be such.
(That's France, if you wonder.)
As a practical note, I would like to add that concerning the Assembly, the uninominal voting system used to produce a sort of balanced result, because of differences in history, culture, sociology, traditions and so on in different voting districts; but at present the populations are mixed, the medias are national, everything is more standardised, and so votes are more uniform, and as a consequence a party who has a small lead now has it almost everywhere and can get an overwhelming majority of seats despite only having that small lead.
That system mostly worked, but it still required a civil war to prove the Union was really was sovereign and states could not leave.
When you’re baffled by things happening over here, remember that the United States is less analogous to France or Germany and more analogous to the European Union. The individual states are more analogous to EU nations. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s helpful.
"[R]epeal advocates blamed proportional representation for the election of communists to the city council. While the communist issue might have doomed proportional representation, the true deathblow came when the Republicans joined the Democrats to oppose it. Republicans had been early champions of proportional representation, but defected due to their dwindling role within a diverse and mostly progressive minority coalition."
For instance, in my state, official (legally recognized, meaning access to the ballot) parties are organized by legislative, county, and state wide. Depending on the whatifs, who's got the real power changes over time and context.
And the intraparty Democratic fighting is far worse than the interparty stuff. IMHO.
(Though I've attended Republican events, having never participated in their orgs, I can't compare. Though from popular press accounts, insurgents like the Tea Party, taking on their establishments, sounds comparable.)
Then we have all sorts of non partisan politics. Like interest groups, lobbyists, agencies, media, etc.
So while doupoly sucks, and PR would be so much better, our current system is not monolithic.
Sunnyvale just switched to single-member districts because of this.
See the radical shift when New Zeeland shifted to MMP, which although not perfect is better.  For party-list based systems some modification of the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method  is often used to have about perfect representation compared to the votes with the caveats you desire, e.g. lower thresholds and so on, while still allowing some choice in the actual person and not party representing you.
And I'm guessing the reason for that is that politics has gotten too nationalized, and the state-level opposition is too unwilling to distance itself from its national party to make itself competitive.
- Republicans running for Congress (Senate and House of Reps) tend to be aligned with the national party platform, and therefore sound super out of touch to me. For this reason, I doubt we'll see a Republican Senator from California anytime soon.
- Republicans running for state positions tend to be more moderate, and sound a lot more palatable as a result. Doubly so for the less political positions like state auditor and treasurer, which are not about making policy as much as just making sure we use the state's resources appropriately. At least, for the candidates I see on my ballot in San Francisco.
Previously on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25190668
It’s only sad to Republicans, and only because it’s not their party in power.
So some democrat can make it his core issue to stop corruption and the people can vote for him/her.
I’m not sure that party affiliation has anything to do with the level of corruption. I would imagine that corruption tracks far more closely to regional GDP - more money, more backroom deals.
Is the right to refund really regulated? Or it's that exact case where competition and market forces do work for the mutual benefit of seller and consumer?
I don’t think that public-interest groups have as much money for backroom deals as multi-national corporations. So that’s why I’m pretty sure of it.
The regulation enables the corruption.
The amount in question in that article is $5,000.
For comparison, the amount in question here is $34,000:
IMO those in charge should be forced to drink/breath from whichever area tested most polluted on a regular basis, and as a public event. Once they can no longer hide or pass on the consequences they should take the problems more seriously.
When it comes to the economy, we should legislate and tax externalities. For everything else regulation is uniformly bad.
Someone joins your company and starts leaking all your intellectual property. It is all good, though, because legislation related to that doesn't exist.
A developer joins your company, and shortly after uploads your entire code base to github. That's OK due to lack of legislation saying otherwise.
A sysadmin changes all the passwords and asks you for a ransom to unlock your production database. That's also OK.
Your ISP randomly makes your internet 99% slower and then asks you for an exorbitant amount of money. That's also OK.
The accountant forged your signature and stole all the money. That's also OK.
Your customers randomly decide to not pay you. That's also OK.
Your employees start dismantling the office and taking furniture and equipment home. That's OK.
The mailman shows up wearing the company swag you ordered. Doesn't matter anymore.
HR people upload a spreadsheet with everyone's personal information and salaries to the Internet. That's OK.
Some larger company sends some gangsters to force you to sell the company for a fraction of its price. That's OK.
As you can see, saying "regulation is bad" is nonsensical. Without certain guarantees, businesses cannot exist.
Anywho, the problem with this trail of discussion is that you can come up with an infinite amount of "problems" and libertarians can likewise come up with a "solution" to each one. However your rebuttal would always be yet-another problem because the original "solution" didn't cater for some arbitrary corner case or something basic that you assume can only come from a society with a government.
E.g. "Your customers randomly decide to not pay you. That's also OK."
Answer: Have an escrow organization that both parties trust. Rebuttal: "Your escrow organization decides it doesn't like a certain legitimate business and won't accept your trade." Or "Your escrow organization's owner is buddy-buddy with your customer and he decides to not keep their part of the bargain". Okay - "contracts", followed with "but who will enforce the contracts", etc etc.
As a side note: A lot of the time libertarians and anarcho-capitalists don't "pick" lack of regulation out of practicality, but rather out of plain moral principle. A lot of what is considered "regulation" and "rule of law", when stripped of it's noble/protective aura, is just authoritarianism and bully-like behavior.
Without a monopoly of violence, you have 3 alternatives:
a) Multiple entities keeping each other in check, in perpetual competition...
b) One faction becomes more powerful than the rest and eventually assimilates the rest or turn them into vassals.
c) Factions decide to ally up and either assimilate the rest and make vassals out of them.
Basically, smaller fish gets eaten by larger fish. The world is just like a large prison where you have to either become a large entity or belong to a large alliance otherwise you're fucked.
But we don't have that. We belong and are forced under subjugation to our individual governments without any say in the matter other than "voting" and "community participation". We can dress it up any which way we want, but we're forced into a relationship by virtue of birth and we have no option to leave.
On the other hand, campaign contributions are common, legal, and involve large sums of money (especially to PACs).
Systemic corruption of elected officials, resulting in de-regulation in order to benefit wealthy shareholders at the expense of the public, is more concerning to me than the possibility of low-level officials seeking bribes.
To me, someone funding raising through a legal, transparent PAC might not be desirable, but it’s far less insidious than backroom dealings that pervert the rule of law.
It seems strange not to take the next logical step and conclude that there were some backroom dealings, especially if the politician later takes an action that is favorable to the donor.
Parent is making the point that due to the one-party system, the latter outcomes will never happen.
A duopoly is a fraternal monopoly, marked by common self-serving behavior.
Both parties trade law and power for campaign funds on a massive scale - every day of the year. It's unclear why one flavor of that might be preferable.
This is deeper than partisanship, one party rule, pay for play.
Robert Caro's The Power Broker is one primer for how true power works in our system of government.
I'm still clueless what the remedies are, indeed if there are any.
Drew Davis was recalled when he refused to pay $80B in enbezzled utility costs, and started an investigation of the embezzling. Arnold had the state just pay the $80B.
Somebody got every penny of that $80B.
I also remember the campaign to replace him devolving into a total zoo with all kinds of kooks on the ballot.
The rolling blackouts were an integral part of the embezzlement scheme; getting people to blame Davis for them was clever marketing. So was the zoo: when people are confused enough, they vote for a familiar name, and there was Arnold.
The prospect of $80 billion, free and clear, buys a lot of clever marketing.
If you constantly criticize the state and their elected officials, or do something unpopular like pissing off 38% of the state population (Hispanics/Latinos), do not expect your party to achieve anything significant in this state.
Which will keep happening, because the sane ones get primaried out.
I’m not sure why you equate corruption with where you sit in the political spectrum.
A misunderstanding of accounting practices?
The article seems to say that this money was not accounted for at all in the documents, and that in general, the accounting is a mess. If you don't know all your financial information, then how do you make financial decisions?
Well it doesn't matter in CA apparently, you just ask the state govt for more, who then either says they are underfunded and need to raise taxes, and/or ask the federal govt for more. The whole thing is a racket - be very very suspicious of any entity that is purposefully opaque by design, and gives you a shrug/"gee-willickers" reply to how this is just the way it is and can't be changed.
money is going from people to utility coffers, where it stays, and it gets divvied up by CPUC salaries and utility CEOs, like loot.
then govt increases taxes because there is no money coming from people.
and there-in lies the catch - you cannot know for sure something that hasn't happened yet. There can not be accounting practises that count money that has yet to be received on hand.
They’re just tools, as such expected to be held the wrong way by some people.
PS: I had a lot of fun developing an accounting system for a client that needed to solve exactly this problem :)
The goal is transparency. Yes, if someone owes you money it’s an asset on your books. But there are a ton of rules around proof that you expect to be paid, when it must be paid by, when you need to write off all of it or some of it.
How about this example:
> $11 million in grant funding ... 740 unserved households
First project on the list:
> up to $7,603,656.30 ... 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1,000Mbps upload to 588 unserved households.
So, gigabit Ethernet, at a cost of only $12,931 per household.
>According to the California Interactive Broadband Map, the area only has access to dial-up service.
According to my search of that very same site
just now, three competing cellular providers serve data to Williams, with T-Mobile claiming minimums of 9/4 Mbps.
> residential and low-income broadband pricing plans ... for two years starting from the beginning date of service. ... 25 Downstream(Mbps)/25 Upstream(Mbps) - $25/month
Wondering how many of those 588 households are behind on their monthly bills just now? How many would, if given the choice, prefer to have the CPUC pre-pay for them a couple of years of cellular hotspot service, and simply refund the remainder of "their" $12,931 in cash, so they can all be assured of making their rent or mortgage payments for a while? About 588 households, I would guess.
My theory: It's a subsidy program for the broadband landline industry. Regulatory capture, as usual.
Edit: Thank you for changing it from the original "California Public Utilities Commission fired director who exposed $200M missing" to ""California Public Utilities Commission fired director who exposed missing $200M"
Not sure why that earns me downvotes.
200m missing, and the state is having massive forest fires, electrical outages and way too many people living in tent cities.
What an absolutely disgusting waste.
I believe there are several large scandals brewing in SF government and many government officials are committing crimes against the citizens. I hope ProPublica or another journalism organization will take on the project to uncover them. I just donated to ProPublica. I hope you will, too.
Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck
Unfortunately there isn't a direct solution (if I remember right), as much as an excellent assessment of where things go wrong and why they are hard to fix (and thus a direction in which we can push to improve things).
I suspect this article has done a good job of shining a spotlight on a situation where accountability has disappeared.
Any location is a compromise, it's about weighing what's most important to you. After a decade in new Zealand I see it's problems very clearly as compared to the uk and while I've witnessed my birth country melt down spectacularly over the last few years, I can also see that my home country has a bleak future without a significant change of course.
If anyone reading this does move to a new country please take on just one piece of wisdom from me when you do so: Do NOT establish a friend group in your new country that consists primarily of other expats. You'll get stuck in an echo chamber where comparisons between places are always de jour. This should be recognized as toxic. To properly settle into a new place conversation is best done inside your own head with yourself or (sparingly) with your partner. Being careful about this can make all the difference between successfully integration and, well, other less desirable outcomes.
There was a piece on BBC radio 4 about this. Stuck in a cell and not allowed to lean on walls had to sit up right the whole time horrendous.
Usa has its problems, it also has a constitution and the first amendment. Sadly here in the UK we do not.
In particular, why you think this is "the NHS", and not some specific services in one part of the country, and also why these patients can't make use of private healthcare instead.
Smokers and obese people are being prevented from receiving surgeries that are not deemed "essential" unless they stop smoking for 8 weeks or loose weight, respectively.
> In particular, why you think this is "the NHS" and not some specific services in one part of the country
Maybe this question isn't to be taken literally, but multiple articles' titles with some variation of "NHS bans some obese and smokers from surgery 'indefinitely'"
> and also why these patients can't make use of private healthcare instead.
As of 2015, only 10.5% of population was using private insurance . We could assume roughly 89.5% of population is covered by the NHS since it's given by default. If you cannot afford private insurance, you will only have NHS.
In my opinion, I believe having a public option will slowly eliminate private insurance or at least reduce the types of services available. Additionally I think it's dangerous for the government to set that sort of precedent.
> If you cannot afford private insurance, you will only have NHS.
Yes, that's the point. If you can't afford private healthcare in the US you have much more limited options.
Well thanks for pointing out my errors in a nice way.
There are few countries where the taxes are lower than the US Federal ones. Thus though you will have to file a tax return, in most cases you won't owe any additional taxes.
What makes the US more expensive is all the non-tax fees that are included in those foreign countries' taxes (e.g. medical costs). So you still save.
Perspective: not a US citizen through currently living in California.
But I will say that the part about the actual cost of living being more deceptive than the taxes you pay is definitely true.
I have heard that it is fairly hard for foreigners who don't speak the language. I am still considering moving there but more so due to neo-orientalist tendencies and less because I think it's a good idea...
"Hard times create strong people. Strong people create good times. Good times create weak people. Weak people create hard times."
We only get the leaders and government we deserve.
Ouch: “America is #1” is such an insidious belief system.
Have you really opened your eyes to how some countries have much, much better governing systems? Many Scandinavian countries have a higher population than most US states, yet somehow they seem to function better in so many dimensions.
I am from New Zealand and the worst interaction I have had with a government department for many many years was a breeze to deal with: competent phone help talking to a real person, emailing directly with staff, issue resolved. I am very confident the problematic process will be fixed properly within the next few years, because my experience is that every system in NZ I have ever had to deal with eventually gets fixed. For example tax returns are a breeze, and get easier each year. New Zealand has a higher population than 50% of the US states, and we are in the boondocks of the world transportation wise, yet somehow we manage to get our shit together.
Of course NZ has problems of overruns, collusion, defalcation, bribery, and corruption. Yet somehow they seem to be becoming less common... it seems to me our government keeps improving on multiple dimensions. The biggest disappointments I have had with my government have been due to pressures from the US (five eyes, copyright “reform”, trade interference, political interference, war on drugs, propaganda). I regularly read a story about the US where a structural problem just never gets resolved, or even worse, it is decaying year by year.
I have travelled the world, and you can cherry-pick areas where the US is resoundingly better than NZ (or the Scandinavian country of your choice)... I am talking about an overall measurement of functioning governance and society.
So if you're comparing a government the size of a US state to the US federal government, and saying the states do better, yeah, sure, but it's not a fair comparison. You can find US states that do better than the US as a whole, too. A much better comparison is the EU.
The US is the geographical size that is almost twice the Roman Empire (9 million km^2 for the US, 5 million km^2 for the Roman Empire), with widely varying climates and therefore economies, and a diverse set of cultures. To suggest that the solutions for a Scandinavian country (relatively homogeneous culture and climate, population roughly the size of a major US city) is unhelpful.
It's easy to say "these other people with a completely different history, geography, culture, and population" do it so much better, but it's just not helpful. Let me know hen you figure out how to apply Scandinavia or NZ to New York, the South, Utah, California, rural Iowa, and Alaska, and you can figure out a way to convince everyone it's in their best interests.
GP’s argument wasn’t that the Scandinavian model is better, they were instead forcefully rejecting the idea that everyone is as bad or worse than America. It is very common for liberals to point at Scandinavia as the ideal model, but that is not core at all to their argument.
Furthermore, while you might have a point about the geographic size of the US, as an individual it’s not clear why I should care. Living under corruption sucks, regardless of the root cause. The size of ones nation doesn’t really provide a lot of psychological protection against country specific negative experiences.
This discussion would have gone much smoother if you'd just gone with this argument rather than jumping straight to gaslighting.
It’s toxic, and I’d prefer that we don’t ‘smoothly’ gloss over that.
If you hadn’t led with “I think you have missed the point, the GP’s argument wasn’t...”, it would have gone a lot smoother. The rest of what you said stood entirely without them.
Can you say what value those phrases added other than to just undermine the person you were responding to as a way of establishing your interpretation as ‘correct’?
I see I’ve been flagged for asking if you were gaslighting, but frankly the comment I was replying to fell foul of the site guidelines too.
Perhaps I should have just flagged it, but my sense is that it wasn’t enough to warrant that.
You can interpret the question about ‘gaslighting’ as some great insult, or you can take it as real observation about a toxic conversational gambit that it seems like you unintentionally engaged in.
The entirety of NZ has a population comparable to the size of a large metro area in the US. It seems like the cherry picking is being done by you.
It’s completely meaningless to compare it to the US as if it were similar.
If you compare the US to Europe as a whole, you’ll find just as many problems, and the comparison with individual smaller states would be equally meaningless.
You’ll find this is even true with things like Covid.
And if one felt like they should leave their current country and move somewhere less corrupt, then size doesn't really matter either. If the hypothesis is "living in the US is unpleasant due to corruption" then "but <alternate country> is small" is a bizarre non-sequitur.
I’m commenting on the idea that the US could just copy ideas from other arbitrarily selected states, or that the cause of those states present condition is well understood.
I don’t preclude the possibility of learning from other countries, but I think it’s meaningless to say that just because a small country happens to be running better right now, there must be something it is doing that the US could be doing that would help.
It’s possible that there is, but there is no prima facie evidence of that. If someone wants to make that argument, they need to explain what is being done better and how the US could adopt it. Otherwise it’s just nationalism.
A meaningless cliché argument.
Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Delaware , South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming all have less population than metropolitan Auckland... so do I get to make sweeping generalisations about those states based on that?
There are 32 states with smaller populations than NZ. There are 44 states that are smaller in size than NZ.
The Tokyo Major Metropolitan Area has about the same population as the most populous state of California - so what?
If you did, that would be just as meaningless. Why do you want to make sweeping generalizations?
What’s your point? There exists an island nation of ~5 million is better run than many parts America but worse than the best parts?
What generalization do you seriously think you can make from that?
Every other country in the world manages to model their own policies by using other countries of smaller or larger size, that have wildly different societies and governance.
Each state government in the United States holds legal and administrative jurisdiction within its bounds, yet somehow US states are special, and other countries have nothing worthwhile copying.
Almost every time someone says that other countries manage to do something better, the same tired canards are brought out in attack, usually with the undercurrent of “USA #1”, therefore any other way of doing things is wrong or inapplicable.
I don’t normally argue the point, because the counter-arguments like yours are so predictable and so spectacularly irrelevant.
You mentioned Covid. Watching the arc of excuses made by citizens of the US has been a black comedy: it started with excuses about how China managed to control Covid, it moved on to different excuses when some other Asian countries managed low death counts, then the excuses changed again once some first world countries got their shit together. The underlying premise was “USA #1” therefore if another country is doing better then let’s pipe up with a irrelevant excuse meme. The pattern is tragically hilarious.
You don’t need to go outside the US to be able to contrast two different regions of 5 million people.
Showing that some administrative groups of 5 million have better outcomes than others does nothing to explain how to run a state of 350m in a better way.
You have offered us nothing of explanatory value, merely a statistically obvious observation.
My “counter argument” is predictable because it’s pointing out a predictable flaw I’m what you are saying. Ignoring it doesn’t make it less true.
If you understand the causes of NZ’s better than average governance, and can also explain why it underperforms some states, then why not offer an explanation?
If you can’t offer explanations, then perhaps that tells us something.
California could compare itself with other countries and improve some of its governance. I believe that a major roadblock to that path is the ambiance of American excellence, that blinkers the sight of citizens to solutions found in other parts of the world.
Individually, there are many citizens with a suitable social wealth that could choose to have a demonstrable effect upon the governance of their state.
Keep an open mind, try to avoid memes of mindless arguments, make an effort to improve your own governance, and if all else fails if you are technically wealthy you could always move to a country that has better social wealth.
California is the largest state on many important metrics, so usually it is comparing against other states that are much smaller on those metrics. I believe the size of New Zealand is not a reason to ridicule any comparison (zepto’s original answer “argued” that the size of NZ matters, which I feel is an evasion).
Even if it could, there is an assumption you are making that you can identify what ‘solutions’ led to particular results and can simply adopt them.
That certainly doesn’t seem to be a valid assumption about how governance works globally.
Also ‘California’ isn’t a person. ‘It’ can’t compare itself to anything.
Individual Californians can make whatever comparisons they like, and so can politicans and other leaders.
Do you have something to offer about what they might want to look at that would help them?
Do you even have an understanding of the problems? It seems like not everyone would agree on what they are.
Otherwise it just seems like your position is essentially just a claim that because there is another country that you think is run better, there are some ideas that you don’t actually understand yourself, that could help.
Edit: you added a paragraph to your comment after I posted my reply.
Please don’t do this as it can look like you are trying to change the context of the reply, which would be a dishonest move.
You added > I believe the size of New Zealand is not a reason to ridicule any comparison (zepto’s original answer “argued” that the size of NZ matters, which I feel is an evasion)
You say you ‘feel’ it’s an ‘evasion’ which is a way of dismissing this comment without addressing it.
If you think the comparison is valid then why not tell us what could California or the US adopt from NZ that would make things better?
If you don’t know, then what’s the point of the comparison, other than a kind of vague nationalism?
Edit 2: oh - I see you have changed a whole bunch of things about your earlier comments to make it look as though you made points that I failed to respond to.
You are completely intellectually dishonest and as such have nothing to offer to political discourse about corruption.
Strawman. No country can adopt arbitrary solutions from other countries - they are always modified to fit.
> Even if it could, there is an assumption you are making that you can identify what ‘solutions’ led to particular results and can simply adopt them.
Strawman. I am arguing comparisons should be made, not blindly discarded because of <insert meme>. Look at what works in other countries, and see what can help your own. Don’t just blindly discard everything as irrelevant because the country is different (for example, a different size.)
> Also ‘California’ isn’t a person. ‘It’ can’t compare itself to anything.
> Do you even have an understanding of the problems? It seems like not everyone would agree on what they are. Otherwise it just seems like your position is essentially just a claim that because there is another country that you think is run better, there are some ideas that you don’t actually understand yourself, that could help.
Those are starting to smell like personal attacks. Nobody understands much, but we all have some understanding. Yes, I have specific beliefs about what could help, but I have epsilon interest in beginning that particular conversation with you.
Edits as follows:
> Edit 2: oh - I see you have changed a whole bunch of things about your earlier comments to make it look as though you made points that I failed to respond to.
Ummmmm, nope. I didn’t read your child comment first. I did add an edit against the most obvious attack, I should have marked the edit, sorry. I made the edit within a short time, so I didn’t expect your immediate response. The edit (last para) merely reiterates the theme, it doesn’t add anything of substance.
> You are completely intellectually dishonest and as such have nothing to offer to political discourse about corruption.
If you get flagged, it wasn’t me.
“You mentioned Covid. Watching the arc of excuses made by citizens of the US has been a black comedy: it started with excuses about how China managed to control Covid, it moved on to different excuses when some other Asian countries managed low death counts, then the excuses changed again once some first world countries got their shit together. The underlying premise was “USA #1” therefore if another country is doing better then let’s pipe up with a irrelevant excuse meme. The pattern is tragically hilarious.”
As well as lying about not having edited your comments, this comment is contemptuously anti-American and unconstructive. You can always find citizens of a country saying stupid things.
It’s also a non sequitur to what I was
Covid numbers across Europe as a whole have been comparable to those across the US as a whole.
The two blocs are of comparable size, so this is an interesting statistic when evaluating effectiveness of governance of a large bloc.
I understand that “look at what other countries do” is hand-wavy meta-advice. However, that is the best advice I have to give.
I could drill down on a particular policy, but how does that help?
The general rule is that comparing your systems against other countries is worthwhile, and is what most every other country manages to do for breakfast. Dismissing other countries because “The entirety of NZ has a population comparable to the size of a large metro area in the US” is the problem. Start fixing that attitude, and perhaps California can learn from the rest of the world.
If most every other country managed to do this for breakfast, most every other country would be ahead of even the best parts of the US. The fact that the US and Europe as a whole are roughly comparable proves this simply can’t be correct.
“Dismissing other countries because “The entirety of NZ has a population comparable to the size of a large metro area in the US” is the problem. Start fixing that attitude..”
I’m not dismissing other countries. What I’m dismissing is this claim of a fix that everyone else is applying and that the US is not.
You mention strawmen in another part of the thread, presumably you must realize that the idea that California’s problems stem from an ‘attitude’ is a strawman.
As I point out elsewhere, the entire message you are delivering here is to attack America with this strawman and claim (now) that almost everyone else is governing better.
When asked for a single idea about how others are doing better, you simply say ‘look at other countries’ and admit that this is a vague handwave.
Have you considered asking people why they think there is nothing better? You might discover they have different values to you.
Drilling down on policy would be much more meaningful than claiming America’s problems stem from an ‘attitude’ you don’t like.
I am trying to help - you are perceiving that as an attack and you continue to incorrectly try and tell me how I think - an obvious impossibility.
> and claim (now) that almost everyone else is governing better.
Throughout this thread I talk about looking to countries that are doing things better, obviously not every country!
You choose to misrepresent a throwaway joke comment as having some deeper meaning: “What most every other country manages to do for breakfast” is an allusion to the now mostly obsolete habit of reading about international news in the morning paper, nothing nefarious.
Seems like what you mean by ‘trying to help’, is to assert that and that the US problems are the result of excuses and an attitude problem.
Do you seriously think that no Americans are interested in how other countries do things? As people have pointed out elsewhere, one of the two major political parties makes a point of citing other countries as models.
You say you are trying to help, but you haven’t offered any helpful suggestions.
You keep saying other countries are better governed, but somehow you haven’t identified a single thing the US could actually do to govern better.
It’s entirely possible that what looks like ‘better government’ isn’t a feature of a system at all, and just the result of a simpler situation of not having had to face particular challenges.
Without actually saying what the US could do better, you really aren’t making a case for anything.
What we do know, is that you keep saying that other countries are better than the US, and that you firmly believe this.
How is this different from the people who believe that the US is better than other counties? Aren’t you just the mirror image of the thing you are criticizing?
Anyway, I got it from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25552418 – but I don't think populism means “pull the ladder up”; rather, somebody observed that a lot of US populism at the moment is of the “why support any policy that doesn't directly benefit yourself?” variety.
Edit: Though there might be a little Baader-Meinhof in it, now that I think about it. There's no reason people shouldn't've been describing this aspect of US populism before.
Not those who expose, but those who cause, should be the ones fired.
then former top boss gets fired due to the the CA wildfires fiasco.... which very likely accrued for a long time, well before the former top boss' got the job.
So now the hero, has no protection from the top, and new bureaucrat goes in for the kill.
Now the person that hired the hero, and the hero herself.... are out, for trying to make things better.
The good guys get grinded out of the system , by the system itself
"Michigan’s Democratic attorney general vowed Tuesday to pursue legal punishments against attorneys who have challenged the state’s election results"
> “We’ll go to the Attorney Grievance Commission on some cases, where we know for a fact that there were intentional misrepresentations that were made, the kind where there is no question of the facts,” she said, according to The New York Times.
> “If you have your name attached to it and you’ve made intentional misrepresentations, I absolutely think you ought to be held accountable,” she said.
This seems pretty reasonable to me.
So according to you, any lawyer that questions this irrefutable, official documented fact, should be sanctioned for misrepresenting facts. Lawyers should be punished, fined or disbarred or even imprisoned for making arguments. Perfectly reasonable position.
This whole 'get out to vote' nonsense is just voting for the same corrupt crap with special interest groups winning and citizens off in the corner getting some crumbs.
The reason I used India is that those houses full of millions in cash/rupees. It's basically as shameless just through much more sophisticated layers of indirection.
Like starting a network AI infosec contractor for DoD and making millions while your product sucks, but your team has some gov connections and knows how to fill out the right forms.
It's still far from the rampant corruption in India.
But I'd love for someone to read all 6000 pages and list out where its going, then reverse the authors to the receiver of the money. But MOST importantly whether the money went to anything close
May sound sarcastic but...