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Culture War Roundup for the week of November 7, 2022

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There is now a USA Election Day 2022 Megathread for all your deliberatively democratic posting desires.

It seems to me politics are especially bad at countering inflation. People may be pissed off the "government isn't doing enough" to fix it. However, the levers the government can easily pull to fight inflation (raising taxes/interest rates, cut transfers/subsidies, lower consumption/wages) won't gain them any popularity points. Even worse, there are plenty of socially-desirable policies that'll make inflation worse: tax cuts, raises, loan forgiveness, more transfers. I'm grateful our system is even capable of doing unpopular things like raising interest rates. If monetary policy had heavier democratic influence, I'd worry high inflation would just be the long-term equilibrium.

Ontario's leader is under heavy fire for playing hardball and preventing educational workers from getting large raises. I don't know the details well, but couldn't one argue this is what fighting inflation looks like?

The question remains: what mechanism would be especially good at countering inflation?

Say we have an nRX-approved philosopher-king who holds absolute political power. What are his options if he decides to keep inflation level? It doesn’t seem amenable to single, decisive actions, so he’s left with the same interest rate, tax, or command economy options. I suspect those will cause roughly as much suffering/ if implemented decisively rather than by a democratic half-measure.

Then again, I’m not terribly well versed in economic history. How effective was austerity at fighting inflation? If it failed, was that due to wreckers political will, or to outside economic forces?

austerity at fighting inflation? If it failed, was that due to wreckers

Very funny. But I don't recall persecution of enemies of austerity, as enemies of communism were. Thus this seems to be either a) minimizing communist atrocities or b) inventing neoliberal ones.

Say we have an nRX-approved philosopher-king who holds absolute political power. What are his options if he decides to keep inflation level?

The hypothetical dollar is now replaced with a centralized digital currency. All taxes are only payable in it and all payments on hypothetical soil are to be made in is, all physical bills are destroyed.

Once adoption is widespread enough, the King presses the inflation tax button and burns enough money in everyone's wallets to decrease the size of the money supply as needed. Or makes a given amount of them only spendable over a long period of time so that their velocity is reduced.

Taxes go into the government coffers and then get spent, creating welfare dependents.

Simply burning the money is much better, as that doesn't create a class of welfare dependents.

It's faster and you burn the proceeds so there's no chance they get back into the economy through government spending.

But yes you could very well replicate this using taxes and the national money hole.

I think the framing is wrong. Inflation is a trailing indicator resulting from either or both an increase in the money supply and a decrease in the supply of goods indexed. It seems like we've had both of these things, some from governmental actions and some from actions it would have been difficult or impossible for government to prevent entirely although could have mitigated them better. Inflation is prevented before it happens and just grown through after the fact. The nRX approved philo king would have done many things differently resulting in more manageable inflation, among which include more carefully managing the money supply and creating more robust supply lines, for example building these chip plants domestically a decade ago.

Keeping supply stable seems like something that could be achieved by an NAP-king. It’d be more expensive, in the short run, than our free market solution. That’s not inflation, but paying a price for antifragility. So that works towards keeping inflation down.

What does the NAP-king’s ideal money supply look like? Are you thinking of something as technocratic as @IGI-111’s digital deflation (or a more conventional version of literally decirculating currency)? I’m trying to get a handle on what deflationary policy looks like without the constraints of politics.

I'm unusually for liking crypto but also recognizing some inflation is probably ideal to shift the balance somewhat against creditors and in favor of borrowers. I would however like this rate of inflation to be stable and predictable, which is in theory what the current fed is tasked with as the problem isn't as simple as just having the money supply grow linearly because the overall size of the economy and number of participants isn't static. I think something like the fed should exist but with constraints, more than anything being forbidden from printing more money for the sake of paying for policy, perhaps the inflation targeted money would go straight to the federal budget as a base tax on all cash holders but anything more than the exact amount measured to keep inflation at an ideal level would need to be raised through taxes or debt.

I find @IGI-111's suggestion strange and don't think it'd work very well in practice.

To be clear I'm not for monetarism, my preferred way of doing it is to use sound money instead of trying to plan the size of the money supply.

But if you're going to plan, that's how I would do it.

instead of trying to plan the size of the money supply.

The money supply isn't set by God - someone is choosing it. If you use a gold standard, that is likely to be foreign gold speculators - or in the most famous case of an inappropriate monetary contraction with megadeath consequences, a foreign central bank.

Seriously, the reason why monetary policy is hard is that the use of money as store of value and money as medium of exchange conflict - money which is hoarded is not circulating. Stablish prices and fullish employment require a stablish supply of circulating money, but the demand for hoarded money can vary rapidly due to speculation. So you either need sufficiently and predictably high inflation that the demand for hoarded money is consistently negligible relative to the demand for circulating money, or you need to vary the supply of money to match hoarder demand.

The classical gold standard that actually existed, as opposed to the one which modern goldbugs think should have existed, depended on the ability of the big fractionally reserved central banks (the Bank of England, the Banque de France, the Reichsbank before WW1, the Federal Reserve Banks after WW1) to print money - particularly to carry out their lender-of-last-resort function. The NBER paper I link to makes the argument that when the Banque de France tried to move closer to a full-reserve gold standard without deflating the French economy (in effect by redeeming GBP and USD for gold and hoarding the gold), it crashed the system causing the great depression.

I don't think stable, predictable inflation shifts the balance between creditors and borrowers. Lenders would just increase the nominal interest rate to get the same real interest rate.

The reason economists today support a small, stable rate of inflation is that it keeps money circulating and prevents deflation, which would be disastrous economically.

It does shift the balance in favor of borrowers generally because it puts pressure on creditors to lend money or watch their capital depreciate. It's a component of why deflation would be disastrous economically. If it costs you every day you are cash heavy then you're going to be much more willing to lend.

As long as the long run rate of deflation is less than the real interest rate paid on other safe, liquid dollar denominated assets like treasuries that doesn't really matter much. I don't think you understand someone holding cash is essentially already lending their resources out at 0% interest.

This is the best explanation I can think of for what we're talking about.

Interesting. I’m seeing taxation as deflationary because it’s the government acting as a “sink” for excess dollars. Does that only apply if it runs a surplus, or can a cut from year to year have the same deflationary effect?

I’d also be interested in hearing more about said laws.

I feel like since an nrx government wouldn't have to buy votes for $10,000 a pop in handouts, inflationary spending wouldn't be a serious issue in the first place.

If prices started going up, the government's main lever would be sighing and delaying construction of the giant gold pyramid housing the AIngram of Charles I.

I don’t buy it.

Government spending isn’t the only (or main?) source of inflation; the whole process of lending adds money into the ecosystem. Even without any welfare or public payroll, if Charles I cranks down the federal funds rate, people will take advantage of “cheap” loans and circulate more currency. Whether or not that guarantees inflation...I’m not actually sure. I think so, assuming demand for goods doesn’t scale accordingly?

At the simplest level of understanding, inflation is the consequence of too much money chasing too few goods.

Since none of us are Scrooge McDuck, we don't have a need for money: we want the goods that money represents.

An NrX solution would be to appoint Jeff Bezos as a Czar of logistics with the intent of increasing supply. I would nationalize all food banks and related charities, and import German managers from Aldi to coordinate them. I would create biblical-scale, Josephian government granaries that are needlessly large - seven years worth? - enough to convince even the most ardent hoarder that there is a lot of goods to be had.

I would also enlarge the strategic fossil fuel reserve and convince oil companies to invest in extraction with a fixed, contracted price. Housing is more difficult, but the creation of a state-based stockpile of common building materials - ensuring a stable price for construction - would also work, too.

The best thing about all of these agencies is that their mission is very defined: and can be phased out when the need passes.

Taming inflation is pretty doable for a fiscally responsible government that can redenominate the currency. Aka reintroducing the gold standard while doing austerity. I mean, it wouldn’t be popular and it would have other drawbacks, but it would work.

Even worse, many people identify pro-inflation policies as tools that could cut inflation. The only realistic path to curbing inflation seems like aggressive monetary policy being less tied to public opinion. I suppose I could hold out hope that Republicans could cut social spending in 2025, but I'd expect that to come with tax cuts that would offset any savings anyway.

That's a terrible poll. Number 1 is "increasing domestic oil production", which depending on how you do it could increase, decrease, or keep inflation the same. The next one, "investing in strengthening the supply chain" is vague to the point of uselessness.

It's definitely not a given that monetarism and democracy are compatible, laying the fate of the nation on the idea that people are wise enough to vote themselves into misery instead of just throwing the whole system into the fire doesn't sound like a good bet to me.

I'd rather go the Austrian way and not trust anyone to plan the size of the money supply, but right now there's nothing to do but hope that we can ruin ourselves quick enough to avoid more ruination.

American Congress could stop funding the Ukraine war and stop sanctioning Russian energy and Russian business, and push for negotiations and the end of the war and that would ease some of the pain points.

A recent YouGov poll showed that, regardless of support of opposition, 55% and 52% of Americans respectively believe that increasing domestic oil production and "investing in strengthening the supply chain" would lower inflation. Increasing domestic oil production may lower energy prices but this is the kind of thing that takes years. Companies are intentionally limiting their drilling operations to avoid having a crash like in 2014, and they aren't going to drill beyond their current long-term plans unless there's some kind of subsidy, which would be inflationary in the short term. I don't know what "investing in strengthening the supply chain" means but any time people talk about investing in a political context it normally means more government spending which, again, would be inflationary in the short term regardless of its long-term effects.

Next up, 47 and 44% of respondents, respectively, thought that fining companies for price gouging and having the government enforce limits on price increases would lower inflation. I won't comment on the appropriateness of price gouging laws generally, but those that do exist aim to prevent sharp price increases of goods in limited supply in situations where there are acute shortages. It's hard to argue that price increases of a few extra percentage points annually (or even 20% annually) is price gouging in the traditional sense. Enforcing price controls sounds good in theory until you go to the grocery store and discover they're out of half of the items on your list. Those price tags look good, though.

Those are actually fairly reasonable, though, because next we have a couple of real doozies. 38% of Americans believe that cutting taxes would decrease inflation, compared with only 19% who believe it would make it worse and 17% who believe there would be no change. And 35% believe that lowering interest rates would curb inflation, compared with 25% who think it would make matters worse and 14% who believe it would have no effect. I'll let those ones speak for themselves. On the other side of the coin, 31% believe raising interest rates actually helps inflation compared to 32% who think it makes matters worse. 29% believe that reducing the number of foreign imports would cut inflation compared to 22% who believe the opposite. The only semi-reasonable position on the whole list is that 33% believe reducing spending on social services would help, compared to 17% who believe it would make things worse.

avoid having a crash like in 2014,

Was that one Saudi caused?

Is this the same poll the_nybbler was complaining about below?

It can’t just be poor phrasing, because some of those beliefs are pretty unambiguous. It probably isn’t mere partisanship, because Have You Seen Gas Prices Lately has been universal, and partisan criticism has been focused on doing something/anything rather than on efficacy. There’s a case for economic illiteracy—raising rates means I pay more, so it must be inflationary, right?

Regardless, it’s depressing.

Yeah, it's the same poll, and it's totally economic illiteracy. I'm no fan of Biden but when I talk to conservatives about inflation they assume that Democratic "big government" spending policy is the cause of this mess and that it will abate as soon as Republicans take control of congress. While there's certainly an argument for less spending these people inevitably point to Trump-era pandemic policies that have already ended. I don't know how many times I heard that the labor shortage was caused by enhanced unemployment benefits months after those benefits had ended, or how the eviction moratorium was an issue even though the hated Democrat Tom Wolf signed an order ending it well before anyone was complaining about it.

Keep in mind that elections are not just a tool for choosing forward-looking policies, but also for punishing or rewarding successful or failed policies. It may be the case that what inflation we get is mostly baked into the cake, but firing the chefs that mixed up that batch of ingredients (often enough, while denying that inflation is any concern at all!) is a useful incentive for future politicians not to make the same recipe.

Unfortunately the cake has been baking for a long time. Biden, Trump, and probably Obama have all contributed. But people don't understand this, and so they just blame whoever is in power when it happens. The Fed definitely screwed up not raising interest rates earlier, but making it subject to short-term political whims is not going to be an improvement.

Well, that is why the Fed is designed to be relatively immune to short-term political considerations; for example, Fed governors serve 14-year terms, and cannot be reappointed.

OTOH, it is worth mentioning that inflation affects different groups differently (eg: borrowers at fixed terms are helped by inflation, and the real value of their payments decline over time. Lenders and people on fixed income are hurt by inflation. And, since inflation affects different sectors differently, their are always relative winners and losers. And, of course, a recessionary anti-inflation policy harms some people more than others; some people are far more at risk of being laid off than others are. So, even a policy that says, "the Fed should prioritize fighting inflation, even if unemployment rises" is itself a political decision.

And since the Fed is supposed to be independent, I doubt they can just outright say to Congress "If you pass X bill, you're making our job harder, please don't do that."

Surely there's backchannels that allow the same communication to take place, but it would look a bit suspicious if the Fed was taking open policy 'positions' based on their supposed impact on the rate of inflation.

The Fed was openly asking Congress to do more fiscal stimulus during the last recession. They comment on this stuff all the time.

The government's policy economic policy has been so nutty that it's hard to believe inflation is not a policy goal. The trillions of dollars freshly printed and handed to people to *not * work immediately turbocharged the price of every equity and commodity. Instead of slowly raising rates early to counter the effect of unprecedented helicopter money and restrictions imposed on economic activity, they waited until a recession started so that they can see what it's like to hike into it. Energy is even worse. Governments are telling oil & gas companies that they need to invest in capacity, but also that they're going to shut it down in 10 years. I don't have a tendency to overestimate government officials, but nobody is this stupid.

I've been saying this for years, but every government policy makes sense if you assume they believe its going to fail in the next 10-15 years, and they're just looting all the valuables off to their hidden vaults while insisting everyone remain calm the eastern offensive is going to turn around.

None of the hard decisions about social security, Medicare, defense spending, the petrodollar, the deficit, the national debt, all the unfunded public employee pensions, the everything bubble, the housing bubble etc. are going to be solved before the next massive recession hits just as the boomers are all retiring...

This is the most favorable government cashflow is ever going to be (all the boomers are at the top of their career and peak tax paying) and the government's still insolvent. over the next 5-10 years all those valuable boomers are going to turn from the highest earning assets, into the largest liabilities any citizen has ever been in any nation...combine that with cold/hot wars with China and Russia, probably another Arab spring in 2023 with rising food costs, the subsequent hit to global oil markets... that's it.

The libertarians and fiscal hawks were saying we only had 30 years in the 90s, 20 years in the 2000s, 10 years in the 2010s... and now its next year or the year after.


This is why western governments passed trillion dollar bailouts and gifts to their friends in 2020-21... they expected it was the last time they'd have the power to do it. They're just extracting the last dollops of money and power before the next big political happening kills the golden goose and strips them of power.

Boomers are generally defined as the generation from 1946-1964. Assuming a retirement age of around 65, that would mean over a half of them being retired already, and the rest are hardly going to be at their career peak at this point either.

What's the point of letting r_tarded people restrict oil & gas production while at the same time draining the strategic reserve? Nobody wins except oil & gas firms themselves, and even then only in the short term. Given that these companies have been the favoured whipping boy for politicians everywhere in my lifetime, it would be strange to turn around and reward them now. Especially while the President (lol) simultaneously cries about price gouging on Twitter.

Unless they're simply paying a cost to kill Europe and reward OPEC, it makes no sense. The NS2 event and reaction suggests that this theory may have some merit.

The libertarians and fiscal hawks were saying we only had 30 years in the 90s, 20 years in the 2000s, 10 years in the 2010s... and now its next year or the year after.

Do you have a citation on this? (Especially the implied consensus)

I was hearing about how the entire system was going to fail from deficits, inflation, and the demographic collapse of social security since 2008 when i was still in Gradeschool.

The centrality of the looming death of Social Security and medicare under the boomer's mass retirement has been a fiscal hawk talking point forever.

David Stockman, Regan's Budget manager, has been talking about almost nothing else since the mid-90s. This is also a perennial obsession of anyone related to Austrian economics. Anyone who's work appears at Zero hedge... this a founding narrative of the modern American economic right... and the timeline has not changed like other doom predictions, though several tried to suggest the market wold correct early in anticipation and a lot of people lost money gold speculating that inflation would suddenly hit in like 2012-2014...

But the narrative arc and the timeline of when social security and the empire would collapse under demographic and fiscal weight... that's always been late 2020s early 2030s and maybe a bit sooner if the market notices the gravity kicking in

The trillions of dollars freshly printed and handed to people to *not * work

And not just that; but also in a global production/transit slow-down!!!

The truss case is a bit unusual: The inflation hit very quickly and her policies were a very apparent cause.

The average case is a lot muddier. Prices are sticky and it takes a while for inflation to get noticed. Most nations saw a steady inflation increase since 2020. Many of those nations, like the USA, have new leaders since the inflation started. It's probably the case that some leaders picked known inflationary policies before elections to get more votes (e.g. student forgiveness before the mid-terms), knowing the resulting inflation would be delayed and its cause nebulous.

The Liz Truss case is not particularly unusual for third-world countries - it is just that the post-Brexit UK is the only first-world country to be stupid enough to elect a government that is stupid enough to do what Truss did.

There are a number of relevant differences between the UK and US that mean the punishment for Truss' mini-budget was much faster than it would be for a similarly stupid US government:

  1. The US dollar is the global reserve currency, so it is less likely that a Liz Truss level of stupid would tank the dollar the way the actual Liz Truss tanked the pound.

  2. The US is a less open economy than the UK (mostly because big countries are more self-sufficient than small ones, not for any policy reason) so the impact of a falling dollar on Americans' cost of living is less than the impact of a falling pound on Brit's cost of living.

  3. British mortgages are much less likely to be long-term fixed rates, so the increase in interest rates has a much more immediate impact on household budgets than it would in the US.

Beyond the conflating of money supply inflation, asset price inflation, and consumer price inflation, everyone experiences the erosion of their purchasing power differently and seems to have a weak understanding of how leads and lags affect apparent inflation levels and the tools policy makers can use to combat it.

You can run through all the factors on the supply side, demand side, supply chain issues, protectionism, changing consumer behaviors, shortages & gluts, and so on, and then try to wrap your head around the way money and debt is created/moved/destroyed in the global financial system and how that impacts the money available to consumers with different spending habits, and you'll only realize this is too complex to comprehend.

The simple solution is energy. Energy is directly included in the CPI basket as electricity and fuel, has a significant role other items like transit and air travel, and indirectly affects almost all goods and services as goods need to be manufactured, distributed, stored, and sold, plus people need to move to perform most services.

Fighting inflation generally, but especially for Europe now specifically, can not be done without cheap abundant energy. Draining the SPR was/is the best tool available to the US government to have an immediate effect on inflation however poor a decision that may be in the longer-term strategic context of sustained low oil and gas capex, deteriorating relations with OPEC and Russia, and the strength of the anti-fossil fuel political/social movement in the west.

With debt levels where they are, continued elevated inflation (4%-6%, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up fast) is really the only path forward for major sovereign governments to remain solvent over the coming decade. As long as we are able to produce enough energy, we should avoid major fiscal crises and severe inflation, but that is looking more challenging as time goes by.

Ontario's leader is under heavy fire for playing hardball and preventing educational workers from getting large raises. I don't know the details well, but couldn't one argue this is what fighting inflation looks like?

Only if those raises would otherwise come from new currency (i.e. the Canadian central bank prints new money), which I would assume is not the case. I don't think that has any connection to inflation.

It's not that simple. Tax cuts increase inflation without directly printing more money. Raises are a big component of inflation. If everyone got a 5% raise do you think prices would remain the same?

Monetary inflation isn't the only cause. Demographic turnover (large generation retiring/small-generation aging into the workforce), supply chain restrictions/problems, new regulatory compliance restrictions, and more all can cause wage/price shocks. While you're correct that the monetary solution to those shocks are not popular, there are other actions which can be taken (as appropriate) which combat non-monetary wage/price shocks - trade policy, onshoring of industry, immigration policy, etc.

American midterm election predictions?

Does anyone wish to use this space to register predictions for outcomes in tomorrow's American midterm elections?

Personally, I take a kind of efficient markets approach to this stuff, so I'll defer to the betting consensus. But if you want your time-stamped judgment registered as part of the official Motte record, here's your chance!

Mods - please feel free to remove if you don't think this is a good fit for the space.

I'll make the relatively tame, if potentially controversial here, prediction that we get a split congress just barely, 60% confidence. I think the incentive of pollsters has become to slightly favor the republicans because if they favor the democrats and the republicans win it's much worse for them than the alternative. Seems most places are giving R a slight edge so I'll give D a slight edge. I probably wouldn't stake more than a hundred bucks on this though.


If polling aggregators are a thing you find interesting, here are links to 538's 2022 Election Forecast page and RealClearPolitics' Election Central 2022 page.

If you're going to be glued to the television/internet tomorrow evening, and want to know what races to watch as early indicators, here's an hour-by-hour breakdown from Decision Desk HQ, and their General Results homepage. The night will begin at 7 PM EST with a trio of key Congressional races in Virginia, and the Governor and Senate statewide races in Georgia. At 7:30, start looking for returns from North Carolina and Ohio.

One of the reasons DDHQ is one of the best locations for US election returns is that their analysis pays particular attention to margins of victory, not just winners and losers, in forecasting outcomes on election night. Sure, a particular county might always vote Republican, but if the margin is R+5 on the night in question, that's very bad news for Republicans if the county was R+15 in 2016. You'll also see a lot of "if this race is called early for the Democrat, that's good news for the D party; but if the call is delayed, that's good news for Rs" or vice versa, depending on the race in question.

If you're going to be glued to the television/internet tomorrow evening, and want to know what races to watch as early indicators,

My plan is to turn off TV/devices in the early evening and review the results when I wake up on Wednesday morning. If experience is any guide, though, I'll be refreshing the standard real-time update feeds compulsively until 2 am.

If you're going to be glued to the television/internet tomorrow evening,

BWAHAHA nope. I'm going to find a way to enjoy the nice weather and literally not think about it. I'm also pretty confidence it won't have a major impact on my life either way. Besides, I teach a class at the gym and I like my students better.

Not passing judgment on anyone who enjoys it as a spectator sport, with the understanding they have no influence on outcome though.

I expect mild Republican 'overperformance' (defined here as 'winning a few races that were considered likely Dem wins). I don't think we see any surprise Dem victories at the federal level.

I officially expect the GOP to control the Senate. I will not be terribly surprised if they get 54 votes total. I'm with you as to believing the markets are correct. Indeed, I suspect the markets are a little underconfident. If they've priced in the risk of fraud and recounts then it's hard to see how we get any scenario other than GOP house and Senate, with small possibility of Dem Senate.

The two races I am particularly interested in as 'bellwethers' are New York and Arizona Governor. If Kari Lake wins I think that's proof positive of a 'red wave.' If Hochul loses... we're in a red tsunami scenario. I expect Lake to win. 60% confidence.

I also expect Herschel Walker to win by an unexpectedly large margin. Anyone showing up on election day that is undecided will be likely to go with him. He's got more name positive name recognition in Georgia than any other person I could try to name.

Oh, I am also officially predicting that Florida will get it's count done (i.e. able to definitely declare victory in all state and federal-level races) on election day or shortly thereafter (before noon the next day), there won't be a need for a recount, and there will be no major voter fraud (defined at 1000 or more 'false' votes in any given county) detected. 90% confidence on all of the above as a group.

PLEASE call me out on this if I'm wrong, I'm feeling extremely confident in my calibration, which is weird for me.

I'm going to guess that certain other states will have a harder time getting done on day of.

Oh, I am also officially predicting that Florida will get it's count done (i.e. able to definitely declare victory in all state and federal-level races) on election day or shortly thereafter (before noon the next day), there won't be a need for a recount, and there will be no major voter fraud (defined at 1000 or more 'false' votes in any given county) detected. 90% confidence on all of the above/

They did exactly that in 2020, because they allow counting of mail-in votes early. States which didn't allow such counting took several days. Apparently this was evidence of fraud despite being pointed out by 538 at least a week before the election.

Welllll they (which is to say, specifically, Desantis) also booted the Election Officials in Broward and Palm Beach County that made 2018 more fucky than it should have been.

I'm not going to repeat my arguments around that, feel free to read the context here:

Also, this is the first election year that the FDLE's Elections Crimes Unit has been active, so I can't see any way that attempting to cheat this year will be worth the risk.

When I say it was evidence of fraud, I meant it was asserted to be evidence of fraud in other states that went for Biden. One example can be seen here since the original was deleted.

AFAICT whether or not someone claims an election was valid or secure or whatever, is pretty much 100% determined by whether their preferred candidate one. It's just blatantly obvious confirmation bias from every corner, to the point where legitimate concerns probably end up overlooked. I don't have time to read your whole other post now, but "the governor instituted a bunch of election reforms right after almost losing an election" probably doesn't sound like the defense you think it does.

This is largely a prediction that the races in Florida won't be very close.


I've been saying this for literal months.

Late calls require both a level of slow counting and a very close election. FL won't have any of the latter, and therefore they almost surely won't have late calls.

All you're telling me is that I'm being under confident at 90%.

Which sucks for FL voters who don't get a meaningful say in their government.

I find your addition of these little barbs to be mildly amusing.

Florida has, under Desantis, an absolutely insane amounts of economic growth, with generally minimal government intervention. Find me a single 'objective' metric under which Florida has gotten worse since 2018 and I might, MIGHT cede you a point.

The recovery from Hurricane Ian (ONE MONTH AGO) has been mindbogglingly fast considering the damage it did.

The Democrats haven't been able to put up anybody who could possibly pose a reasonable alternative to what Florida currently has. They're rerunning an old, formerly republican governor as their candidate.

I genuinely think you're bemoaning the fact that the population of a state actually likes their political representatives and is, therefore, rewarding them.

Which in my book means that most of the people feel like they have quite the meaningful say indeed.

More damning for the Dems, this appears to cross racial lines as well.

I don't think you have a leg to stand on in arguing that a GOP sweep is somehow not representative of Florida voter's political preferences.

It's not like some people in Florida don't support Democrats.

And they will have their representatives and they will have their local governments composed of dem-friendly candidates.

It would make no sense for them to have a majority if they aren't representing a majority of the voters.

It's bad when elections don't matter, and incumbents just get put back in office with no competition.

Hmm. I wonder what I'd find if I looked at those Dem-leaning districts and checked incumbent win rates, especially at local levels.

Your point is fine, but you're aiming it at a state where it might apply less than average. Florida was considered 'purple' for decades.

I don't think I need to make a point about the current makeup of the Federal Congress and incumbency advantages.

Which sucks for FL voters who don't get a meaningful say in their government.

I literally don't understand this, even reading your clarifications below. Does no voter get a meaningful say unless an election is close?

I live in Oregon, which is (usually) heavily weighted against my interests, and it does usually seem to not matter whether or not I vote. But that doesn't mean that the majority of progressives who win almost everything here didn't get a meaningful say, it just means I'm in the minority (hopefully not this time).

I don't necessarily believe in "if this happens, it's definitely a blowout" with regards to the NY governor race. I agree Hochul is likely to win but NY, like the rest of New England in a more exaggerated way, has interesting local political dynamics and because of the distribution of the city/suburbs/upstate split a relatively modest discontentment with the (perceived) weak-on-crime policies of the Democrats in the city and even moreso the suburbs could put a Republican in the governor's mansion.

Alls I'm saying is that I expect a Hochul loss to strongly correlate with a "GOP wins 54 senate seats" scenario.

I have paid virtually zero attention to the ground-level politics in New York.

Red Congress. GOP wins 52 Senate seats and 232 House seats. I'm basically going by Fivethirtyeight aggregations with an estimation of slight GOP overperformance.

Blake Masters has had shocking overperformance despite Mitch McConnel and the GOP establishment basically withdrawing all support from him (its a 50-50 race and they're spending nothing on it)

If there was anywhere I'd expect the republican leaning polsters to be systematically undercounting out of ideological affiliation and to demoralize it'd be there... Predictit has it at 47-53 odds against masters, so its already neck and neck and any ideological thumb on the scale of the polls would mean masters is positioned to win

Didn't Thiel spend $14M or something on Masters' campaign? Fair to note that establishment has abandoned him, but he certainly isn't unfunded.

Ya Theil will basically have his own private senator if masters wins... which we'd expect anyway, given Masters was the one who wrote his book

Kelly had spent more than twice that by July. Masters is extremely underfunded for a competitive Senate candidate.

With Milwaukee County giving other areas of the state the heads up that they're going to be reporting their final results after the rest of the state is done, I'm expecting another episode of whatever this is.

To clear, I'm not darkly hinting - I expect Milwaukee to count things up late, I expect that Milwaukee is 80% Democrat or higher, and I expect a similarly goofy looking curve to result. Republicans will look at this as obvious fraud, Democrats will look at it as a totally normal thing to happen with a large tranche of D votes dropping late at night, and it might be enough to push Evers and Barnes to victories. I don't really have a strong opinion on whether anything shady is actually happening, but I think it looks awful and should have been reformed as soon as the bizarre 2020 result happened. This isn't even difficult to do - nearby Dane County has almost as many absentee ballots, but counts them quickly because they don't centralize the process. No one familiar with Dane and Milwaukee Counties will be surprised that Dane's handling is fast and efficient while Milwaukee's is comically ridiculous and damages trust.

The 2020 election had quite a few actual irregularities in addition to the aesthetic I presented, such as a quarter million people doing an end-run around normal ID procedures by claiming to be indefinitely confined. The sitting governor has consistently vetoed bills targeted at reducing fraud; in some cases, I think the pretexts for doing so are incredibly thin and it mostly just comes down to oppositional defiance. Edit - In other cases, I think the bills are pretty stupid, I'm not saying these are all good measures.

If you want me to state my best guess, it's that I don't think there is very much actual vote fraud in Wisconsin. My reason for saying that I don't feel strongly about that position is that while I don't see great evidence for there being widespread vote fraud, I don't think it's great that we have a system that plausibly could be exploited and actual results that are pretty weird looking. In my dream world, we'd knock it off with the adoption of mass mail voting, or at least knock it off with the loophole that allows avoiding identification. Given the current procedures, I have no idea how you'd go about detecting many types of fraud; if I moved out of Wisconsin next year, it seems like I'd have zero trouble continuing to vote in Wisconsin and the governor opposes measures that would prevent that.

So again, I don't personally think there's actually widespread fraud, but I think we're going to have shaky optics and plausible reasons for Republicans to be pissed off.

That's one example, which almost certainly was (IMO) people saying "I'm staying at home due to COVID, so that's me being confined due to illness, sure."

I agree. I don't think that was actually legal and I'm highly skeptical that these people actually confined themselves to their homes indefinitely, but I will absolutely grant that this is both the mostly likely reason for the spike and could reasonably be tolerated in 2020. My complaint isn't that it was tolerated in 2020, but that this loophole wasn't closed in 2022, which gives the appearance of bad faith and allowing avoidance of IDs.

Wisconsin's election results don't have any of those weird patterns.

They actually did. There probably is some cogent explanation for the weird patterns there, but they are actually are weird!

Again though, I really don't need to relitigate 2020, I would just strongly prefer that we stop using a system that's more or less guaranteed to get results that have terrible optics when it's pretty easy to just not do that. The refusal to correct these sorts of things is actually more suspicious to me than anything that I see in 2020.

It was a recent switch. Note that the other two counties in the initial picture that were still counting (Brown and Kenosha) are also on the list of counties that switched. I'm sure there is a logistical reason that they wanted to do so and it probably simplified something, but it seems more like it should be, "we tried that and it worked poorly" than something that has to be maintained for historical reasons.

I read /u/walterodim as saying something like “Whether or not anything shady is happening, it’s going to look like it is. My point is that this appearance is bad in itself. However, I don’t want to get sidetracked into an object-level debate about whether anything actually shady is happening, so I’ll refrain from expressing a view on this” (probably because they have neither time nor inclination, something I can empathise with).

That was my understanding as well.

That was more or less my feeling, but here I am, getting sidetracked anyway! That anyone looks at that 2020 graph and thinks, "yeah, probably a good plan, let's run it back with no changes" is wild to me.

but I think it looks awful and should have been reformed as soon as the bizarre 2020 result happened.

I maintain, the best way around this trying to glean information out of vote totals almost minute by minute is simply that no vote tallies are released anywhere until all counting is complete. There is too much noise for anyone watching externally to know whether something is legitimate, fraudulent or just weird. All it creates is the opportunity for narratives to be fitted (either way!) We can do reveal parties with Red or Blue cakes or balloons or whatever.

The switch over doesn't happen for months. There is no need to actually know on the night who wins what.

I would also advocate mandatory free federal government IDs for all citizens, mandatory ID checking for voting and mandatory voting. Massively reduces opportunities for fraud AND boosts democratic legitimacy because everyone has to vote. Hits the Republican "make it more secure" AND the Democrat "Don't disenfranchise people" buttons. Then we can really see how America would vote as a whole.

Mandatory voting is probably unconstitutional and is in any event likely to be hugely unpopular with Republicans, since conventional wisdom is that Republican demos usually have better turnout.

Likewise, free federal voter IDs are likely to be opposed on pragmatic grounds (e.g. NC voter id laws, which were targeting at obstructing Democratic demos) and on ideological grounds (federal voter ID means federal voter ID database).

I know, that's why I had both in there. Things both sides want as well as things both sides don't want.

Almost certainly will never happen of course. If you want really good security when voting that means a Federal database. One pulling from the IRS and other things so that people who move are properly tracked. It's pretty much how it works in the UK when updating the electoral register we could pull directly from death registrations, Council Tax info, the equivalent of Section 8 (housing benefit records) and the like. If you want to be sure someone is eligible to vote in place A and cannot vote in place B, then you need to track where they are and when.

It would be a bitter pill for both parties to swallow, but also gives them something they want. Higher turnout for Democrats and Increased security for Republicans. Whether it is unconstitutional wouldn't be a problem because in whatever world we were in where both parties agreed the compromise they would have the ability to make an amendment or just kludge it at the Supreme Court level. That world just to be clear is not this world though.

It seems to me that this could be accomplished without compelling states to do anything - create a federal database, assign federal IDs, allow states to participate on a voluntary basis. I would certainly advocate that my state sign up for it, and by participating in such a system, you could increase confidence that your state isn't getting illegitimate voters.

I am vigorously against compulsory voting because I think the marginal non-voter is (to be blunt) an absolute moron. I would generally prefer driving down participation in any way that doesn't seem likely to cause social upheaval. Of course, at some point we're bumping into the more basic question of what the point of democracy is in the first place, but none of the answers that I come up with make true universal voting sound appealing to me.

I am vigorously against compulsory voting because I think the marginal non-voter is (to be blunt) an absolute moron.

Morons are citizens too. Smart productive citizens can navigate whatever setup happens. Morons should have a say in making sure their society is set up for them. Democracy isn't about getting the best answers in my opinion. It's about getting the answers that work for the majority of your people. And those may be stupid and counterproductive. And that is ok.

I've heard an alternative take, which is: "Democracy is how we get different groups of people with widely-varying value systems to live in the same place without violent conflict." It's like, every N years, we have a mini civil war, except instead of actually shooting/stabbing/punching each other, we just line up everybody's troops on opposite sides of the battlefield, and whoever brings the biggest army wins, and we all agree to go home without bloodshed until the next regularly-scheduled civil war.

One can argue that there's no point in including people who are indifferent to politics in this process, because they're not the ones likely to start an actual war over anything.

On the other hand, one can argue that if we did make everybody show up, the issues being discussed would be more mainstream and less fringe. Wedge issues like trans rights, gun control, and abortion might be much less salient.

That definitely is another consideration, agreed. I think though that people's level of disengagement of politics can be a warning sign. They might not start a war, but they may very well opt out of the social contract entirely, if they feel they are not represented.

Mandatory voting would permit massive law enforcement harassment, particularly if the mandatory voting is only in person (as insinuated by your id-check requirement). With that said, I think the free government ID and mandatory ID check to vote, plus "make election day a federal holiday" and "standardizing election days" would all be good ideas.

mandatory voting.

I have reservations about mandatory voting, but if implemented, I think it might have the effect of improving the quality of the national political conversation.

Basically, I get the sense that, at some point around the late '90s, national political campaigns came to understand that changing someone's vote from R to D (or vice versa!) is actually really hard, and it's more effective for the D campaign to encourage high D turnout. Driving D turnout requires impressing upon D voters that the upcoming election is crucially important, which means convincing D voters that an R victory will be a total catastrophe (the end of democracy).

Mandatory voting would change campaigns' incentives to reward actually changing voters' minds, which could help lower the temperature in the country.

I have high confidence that I will enjoy the lunar eclipse that morning (it's visible across most of the US).

I have much less confidence that the Republicans will somewhat outperform their expectations (at least 53 Senate seats and 235 house seats). The odd thing, is I live in an area that votes 70% for one party, and typically there are a half dozen signs in my neighborhood for that party's candidates. However, this year there has only been a single election sign put up in my neighborhood and it is for the candidate in the other party.

The betting markets diverge quite a bit from the polling aggregation / model at FiveThirtyEight, giving greater odds of Republican victories.

Some possible reasons for market divergence:

  • Shy Republican / Eager Democrat effects on pollsters. Perhaps those planning to vote Republican are more likely to hide it or decline the poll, and Dems are excited to have their politics represented in the poll.

  • Polls may be inaccurately weighting different demographic groups.

  • Betters may be overeager to see Republican victories and let that influence the bets they make.

  • Betters are using non-polling signals like early turnout figures to inform their bets.

What else could explain the divergence between the betting markets and the polls?

Betters may be overeager to see Republican victories and let that influence the bets they make.

I can't see how this can be squared with "and smart actors see this opportunity and place bets on the other side to drive the price back towards equilibrium" if true. Someone on the other side might want to jump on their miscalculation.

Although you can definitely argue the markets aren't fully liquid or something.

Betters are using non-polling signals like early turnout figures to inform their bets.

Seems likely. Possible that some of them have studied FiveThirtyEight's model and noticed factors it doesn't capture/underweights. I dunno.

How many smart actors are in political betting, anyway. I think it's mostly wishcasting by feverent partisans. It's best used as a gauge for enthusiasm of the core base. Ceremonially igniting your cash on a bonfire to signal faith in your tribe is worth something (and if you actually win, bonus!)

I bet in antiquity, people would watch the smoke rising from the temples to gauge which Babylonian cult was on the ascendency. It's much the same here.

I think it's mostly wishcasting by feverent partisans.

Uhhh if that's true, then you'd expect it to attract smart actors who want to fleece said partisans.

You're basically suggesting that there's a giant pool of suckers betting thousands of dollars and somehow this hasn't attracted predators seeking easy money.

Like, you, yourself. If you strongly believe it's just partisans, why not throw some money in there betting against the crowd and reap some profits?

It's all of the above, or at least that's why the betting market is the state that it is. Problem is that there's no way to know whether the 55% or the 65% of Republicans winning is correct.

Nate Silver has a very thoughtful write up about his own uncertainties regarding his model.

I'll go with slight Republican over performance against 538's predictions but not a Red tsunami. I do think abortion will cap the wave just a touch. Fundamentals point to a Republican Senate and House. Bad economy, unpopular president, mid-terms often swinging away from the governing party. Plus some unforced errors. Putting Fetterman into debate for example. Whichever aide allowed that should be fired. Ducking the debate looks bad, but his performance was worse. So they should have sucked it up, talked about how debating Oz not worth his time to give Democrat leaners an excuse to believe and moved on. He may still win but it is looks to be much closer than it should have been as Oz is not a good candidate himself.

So 53-54 seats in the Senate, 235ish in the house. But it does depend on how the pollsters have been adjusting their polls. Silver claims they have been trying to unskew the Democratic lean they had recently, but if they get that dynamic wrong (in either direction!) , with poll herding it is possible the whole thing is way off.

Registering a series of Texas specific predictions-

Republicans win every statewide office and every competitive local race, including federal house- 70%. I count federal house districts 15 and 34 as competitive, along with the Tarrant and Harris county judgeships. I do not count the Dallas county judge race as competitive.

Republicans have enough of a majority in the house that Dade Phelan is in serious danger of losing the speakership- 60%.

Cuellar loses reelection- 25%

No statewide Republican has less than a 9% margin of victory- 90%.

Abbott beats Beto- 99%.

Paxton beats Garza- 90%.

Democrats claim vote rigging centered around Harris county- 40%.

Harris county elections monitors do anything to justify their presence- 25%.

Republicans win a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote than 2014- 50%.

Federal investigation into Harris county elections monitoring- 20%.

Tarrant county goes red at the top of the ticket(all three of governor, county judge, and prosecutor)- 55%.

Harris county goes red in at least one statewide race- 50%.

Paxton is the lowest performing statewide Republican- 60%.

Beto wins less than 40%- 30%.

Notability threshold for claim of vote rigging- a statewide candidate, the statewide party, Lina Hidalgo, editorial board of a major dem-aligned newspaper(Texas monthly, Texas tribune, or Houston Chronicle), US house member from Harris County, or high ranking democrat(committee chair/former committee chair) in the state house.

Harris county elections monitors doing anything would entail a criminal complaint being filed, recount specific to a precinct or precincts, or an election-related case going to the courts that would change the outcome of at least one election.

I’ll also clarify the speakership prediction- Dade Phelan will be considered to have a serious challenger if there is a speaker candidate with support from at least 20 House of Representatives members who is a republican.

Beto wins less than 40%- 30%.

Hard to imagine him doing that bad but I guess the polls allow that in the margin of error.

That’s why it’s only 30%.

I would take the bet at those odds.

You pay 30 if above 40% I pay 70 if below.

Not saying you're incorrectly calibrated.

House: GOP win. As a matter of policy for the next two years, I don't really think the precise number of seats will matter much. Despite Dem's thin margin right now, I don't recall any crucial vote being held up by a handful of Congressmen the House over the last two years. Of course, having a larger buffer may make keeping the House easier in 2024 due to incumbent advantages, but policy-wise I expect all that matters is which party wins it and not by how much.

Senate: 70% 51 GOP, 30% Dem keep with 50-50 seats. I laugh at prediction markets that bet on 53, 54, or even more GOP seats. I mean yes, it's possible, but the realm of possible also includes 48 or 49 GOP seats. Senate control will matter tremendously for confirmations. If a SCOTUS justice dies or somehow retires before 2024, I expect a GOP Senate to refuse a hearing, unless Biden appointed a truly middle-of-the-road swing vote justice, which I expect he would not do, given he has shown very little inclination to moderation so far into his presidency. Appellate court appointees will probably get hearings, but I expect Biden would be forced to nominate center-left rather than left judges to these posts to ensure timely confirmation.

Governorship and state houses: Net gain for GOP. Besides favorable national environment, the GOP tended to invest more in state and local races. I don't have enough insight to predict how much the gain is or specifically where.

I've been specifically trying to avoid all but local/sports-related news for mental health reasons, but my read of the situation on the ground is that Democrats in my ordinarily "safe" blue state seem nervous. They've been really hammering on the Roe v Wade decision and "Election Deniers" but it doesn't seem to be getting any traction. Crime and the economy are issues 1 and 2 according to recent voter surveys in my state and the GOP has consistently polled better on those issues. I expect the GOP to significantly outperform polling/forecasts, but I am skeptical of this leading to a Reagan-esque "red wave". I'm guessing GOP takes the House, with an even-split/slim GOP majority in the Senate.

They've been really hammering on the Roe v Wade decision and "Election Deniers" but it doesn't seem to be getting any traction.

I realize that I'm incredibly biased in my own way and have my own information bubble, but it really seems like the whole "election denier" and "insurrection" narrative is just not very appealing to centrist normies. Regardless of the facts on the ground, the narrative just sounds weird and conspiratorial to quite a few people. I've seen people in my state's subreddit asking why Mandela Barnes doesn't pound how Ron Johnson delivering "fake electors" and I really think it's because the story takes awhile to explain and sounds super weird. That's kind of interesting in its own right - if there really was a failed coup attempt, I think most of the grilling class would look at people are really mad about it they're the weirdos.

Likewise, it seems to me that going on at length about January 6th too strongly invites people to think about which side of the political spectrum they seem to recall having some affiliation with riots in 2020.

To me it seems utterly tone deaf when the voters are concerned with economic instability to be focusing so much on events from two years ago and generally declining to lay out the plan for keeping the average person afloat in the next couple years.

Especially since so many of the participants in J6 are getting sizable prison sentences and otherwise being punished for their activities, so lingering on it this long seems excessive, especially to those who might have been sympathetic to the grievances that led to that 'insurrection.'

And there's definitely an undercurrent where touting trans issues has resulted in the Dems having the albatross of "you want to help pubescent children gender-transition and keep their parents out of the loop if necessary" tied around their neck.

I can barely think of a more hot-button issue than the safety and health of people's children which the Democrats have found out the hard way with Covid measures already, and I don't think the message that "your kids should be turned over to the state if you don't allow them to undergo invasive surgery and injection of puberty blockers and hormones" is a winner except for the lefties who are already bought into that particular narrative.

The narrative doesn’t appeal to normies because normies think they’re hypocrites. Older ones remember ‘the only difference between Hitler and bush is Hitler was elected’, Stacey abrams comes off as ‘fat black lady who claimed Georgia elections were rigged and then got mad at everyone for claiming Georgia elections were rigged’, most people don’t think J6 was a coup attempt, etc. Bothsidesism is a potent weapon for defusing ‘danger to democracy’ talk, and the grillpilled public believes it.

The omens favor Republicans. The meaning cannot be mistaken, none other than the spiritual death and overthrow of the King! I confidently predict that the tides will rise for the right, but a price will be exacted in blood.

53 R - 47 D Senate. Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania Arizona all go to the GOP but New Hampshire, Colorado, Washington, etc. stay Blue. Republicans end up at 235 seats in the House (give or take). Governorships are going to be where the biggest gains are. Republicans flip Wisconsin, Oregon, Nevada, and hold Arizona. They don't get Whitmer, Zeldin loses New York. Democrats keep New Mexico but it's closer than expected. Kansas might go GOP, it's where I'm most uncertain.

What if running a social media platform — that both turns a profit and does good for society — has a higher degree of difficulty than rocket science?

Almost certainly. In fact, running a social network that does good for society may be intractable alone, putting profit aside.

This tweet by UN Women.

Of all journalists killed in 2021, 11% were women. In 2020, this was 6%. (Source: @UNESCO)

On the International Day to #EndImpunity for Crimes against Journalists, let us say out loud:





I am still confused as to whether this tweet is a sincere sentiment felt by someone somewhere or an A/B tested string designed to be maximally infuriating/alienating to the largest number of people.

Here is my dissection as to why this tweet is especially infuriating.

  • No mention of base rates. Which would be a crucial piece of information to parse such a statistic. FYI, women tend to make up ~40% of journalists.

  • (Probably intentionally) misleading the usage of a ratio instead of a percentage. A percentage is a meaningful statistic when comparing a rate change of something. If x journalists were killed in t year, and x+a journalists were killed in t+1 year, you could say that the "more journalists were killed, a increase of b %"

    Instead have a look at the numbers.

    2020: 62 journalists killed (58 men, 4 women).

    2021: 55 journalists killed (49 men, 6 women).

    This is textbook 101, lying with statistics. Less JOURNALISTS were killed. Unless you don't care if male journalists are killed. Bonus: They calculated the percentages wrong (: - They rounded down so.. thanks for the fig leaf?

  • No regard for as to whether this change is "statistically significant" (FYI, well within less than 1 stddev).

  • Just goes without saying, the tone-deafness of it. Why not "𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐏 𝐓𝐀𝐑𝐆𝐄𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐉𝐎𝐔𝐑𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐒"?

  • The childish assumption that people who LITERALLY KILL JOURNALISTS will be swayed in any way whatsoever even with a LOUD proclamation of "Don't do bad thing!".

Now jaded you might say "but this is the CW, this is what always happens and will continue to happen". I agree.

In the landscape of twitter/msm only the most ragebait of headlines grab any attention, however I would say that a lot of that ragebait can be just made by applying the principles of making the best clickbait, and they might occur to someone with a certain creative bent naturally.

This tweet on the other hand isn't mere creative distortion. It has all the trappings of being intentionally crafted. Think of it this way. Someone had to go through the statistics of various professions deaths by gender, probably something like;

SELECT occupation FROM occupational_deaths WHERE 2021 > 2020 AND gender LIKE 'Female' GROUPBY occupation;

and "journalist' was the only field that returned.

That is just especially hilarious to me.. The best trolls of our generation might not be 4channers but instead working for various corporate activist organizations.

No mention of base rates. Which would be a crucial piece of information to parse such a statistic. FYI, women tend to make up ~40% of journalists.

I'm guessing women are a much smaller proportion of journalists that report from war zones, piss off mob bosses, etc. It's possible they might get killed at higher rates than men when exposing themselves to such dangers.

However, agreed, this tweet is absurd and smells of p-hacking.

It's also possible that female journalists on average are getting more bold/desperate as the whole industry goes deeper and deeper into shit, and these are more likely to get clipped.

Does this dissection mean you’ve taken the bait?

Assuming that it’s trolling, writing a detailed takedown is a bit silly. If it’s serious, well, Twitter delenda est.

My argument is more along the lines of this is scientifically crafted bait, because you can't make up bait this good without effort.

The cynic in me says it could be serious. It's not like there aren't any priors for the woke coming to absurd conclusions in the past.

It seems likely that this is crafted bait to elicit a reaction that they can use to argue that the problems facing women stem from ‘misinformation’ or ‘lack of awareness’ or something else where the solution is hiring college educated women in first world countries to ‘advocate’.

Yes. From the companion Guardian article pimping the report:

The authors of The Chilling are calling for governments, as well as the news industry and the giant tech corporations, to do more to tackle what they say is “a crisis of online violence towards women journalists”.

It calls out “the victim-blaming and slut-shaming that perpetuates sexist and misogynistic responses to offline violence against women in the online environment, where patriarchal norms are being aggressively reinforced.”

Globally, the research found that nearly three-quarters of the female journalists surveyed had experienced online violence in the course of their work.

the abuse was highly gendered and designed to “humiliate, belittle and discredit” the journalist on both a personal and professional level.

Bontcheva called for the much-delayed online safety bill to be passed urgently as the report laid out a series of other recommendations.

TL;DR, journalists report that criticizing journalists should be a crime, and you criticizing this proves it.

It is the UN (Women's) official tweet. That gives it some gravity_.

Yes, I know that channel has posted other braindead things (is it weird that I can probably write that on reddit, but not 'retarded'?), but it's still kind of shocking to me that something so clearly bad got posted.

UN Women is just what you get when there are no men adults in the room and funding is guaranteed. Just a bunch of ladies trying to out-left each other.

EDIT: To elaborate, when there is zero external feedback, the organization's activities are purely internal status games. Whoever came up with the Tweet may very well have been daring some colleague to criticize it to give the author pretense for an attack.

EDIT: pretense for an attack.

That very well could be the case. However, I am not entirely sure if lowering the sanity waterline for office politics is any better than doing it for the express reason.

This is very strange, and I feel like to any normal person this should sound strange to them, even without knowledge of base rates. I think anyone looking at this would immediately say "wait, doesn't that mean that ~90% of journalists killed each year were men?". I also think that most people would make the assumption, if not stated otherwise, that women account for 50% of journalists and men account for the other 50%. And for it to seem like women journalists were being disproportionately targeted, women would have to account for less than 11% of journalists on a year that 11% were killed. So according to how I believe a normal person would think, anyone should look at this figure and either not care, or get outraged by the fact that they interpreted these figures to indicate there's some sort of epidemic of women journalists being killed or something.

This is one of my big issues with those do-gooder «world government» type organizations, whether incumbent or aspiring like the Effective Altruism blob. «Frightfully distant they are from the people»; they aren't just echo chambers as a result of their evolution, but they are born out of the disconnect with the hoi polloi. Their attitudes and aesthetics turn out alien to most of their subjects and one must wonder whether their values – not just formalizations, but deepest moral intuitions – are as well. They are unaligned collective intelligences.

I don't think this in particular is alien to most of the people. Male expendability is mainstream, and maybe apolitical.

this tweet seems aimed at, like, trump supporters on twitter, when the people who have journalists killed are mob bosses in foreign countries. just very out of touch.

Uh, what? How do you get 'aimed at Trump supporters' out of this?

How do you get 'aimed at Trump supporters' out of this?

We know it's aimed at Americans because Americans represent (a) most people on Twitter, and (b) the cultural / financial hegemon, by that token capable of actually doing something about it (like giving the UN money)

We know it's not aimed at Blue Tribers because Blue Tribers already handle "minority groups" (like women) with kid gloves.

QED, Trump supporters on Twitter

I doubt someone went through various occupations. I think the occupation being journalists is definitely part of the rage. If the statistic was over an increase in number of woman welders who died, that wouldn't spark the same response in the intended audience.

The tweet is a little confusing though, because these small percents really highlight how many of the killed journalists were men, so I'm not sure most people who see this will feel outraged at the dead journalists.

E: cursory glance at comments shows yes most people are a little annoyed it is about women, as opposed to just journalists. If this was crafted bait, it specifically was crafted to have a very slanted gender ratio. If nothing else, this is an effective way to talk about the number of journalists killed.

The violent death of women (and, in this case, presumably most of them are young and single) normally elicists an emotional response the violent death of men doesn't, so I think the sentiment is sincere in this case.

That's a context dependent ingroup justification for why we, the ingroup, happen to deserve our privilege. These arguments don't fly in any context where women are getting the short end of the stick.

The only sentiment that is sincere from feminism is that women are the ingroup and men are the outgroup.