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11/12/2006

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robert

What the election "proves" is that this was our Munich moment, i.e., when the US essentialy started the process by which it will give up on the Iraq enterprise. And, as a consequence, we will have done more than waste the blood and treasure of the nation, we will have proven to our enemies that we lack the will to defeat them. And, after that, God help the West.

robert

(Was to read "essentially")

Justin

This election proves that the Electorate is unwilling to "stay the course," not leave the job undone.

Eugine

Another thing this election proves is the value of midterm elections in being one of the mechanisms for providing effective checks and balances in the US political system. It might have easily seemed wasteful or bureacratic not to have a single election every several years. I thank the founders of this country for having the wisdom and courage to devise this feature of the federalist system that could have so easily been critiiized and discarded elsewhere in the name of efficiency.

Wes

Gerrymandering may not have had the intended effect (keeping the Republicans in power) but certain features of the election are consistent with gerrymandering.The proportion of Republican and Democrat voters is roughly 50/50 and gerrymandering can't change that. What it did, though, was create large numbers of districts with a small Republican majorities and a small numbers of districts with large Democratic majorities. This meant that the number of Republican districts exceeded the fraction of Republican voters but that the Republican districts were very sensitive to small but pervasive changes in public opinion.The results of the most recent election are consistent with this. A large number of Republican districts shifted to Democrat but few, if any, Democrat districts shifted to Republican.The Democrats also did well in districts that were not subject to gerrymandering (senate and governor elections) but my impression is that the effect was particularly pronounced in the house elections.

Anonymous

It's ignorance that leads you to downplay the failures of electronic voting equipment.

In many cases it's impossible to answer the question "how do you know?" other than to swallow the assurances of suppliers operating in inefficient markets filling state and local contracts. Voting machines do not have widespread use in any competitive marketplace, and indeed compared to products that do (ATMs) voting equipment is shoddy by design.

Several local elections immediately appear to have been nothing more than shams, and it's troubling to consider the implications of state and federal elections run on the same or similar equipment. Our only solace is that the supply and configuration of voting machines is not (yet) monopolized, and the errors seem to have cancelled themselves out substantially on statewide and federal scales.

Roy Jessee

Judge Posner,

I learned tonight, for the first time, that you have a blog. My friend, Steve Minor, referenced your blog on his law blog, and I checked it out tonight, for the first time.

I very much enjoyed your analysis of the 2006 election and your analysis of the election process. I agree with your analysis. The nay-sayers who bemoan the failings of the democratic process, all too often the losers in the most recent election, ever seem to ignore the cogent analysis you offer in this post.

As an alum. of UVA School of Law, class of '91, I was exposed to some of your writings in the field of law and economics, when I was in law school. Truth be told, I dismissed much of what you wrote, at the time, because, in my view then, it ignored the "human factor," in the process. After a one year clerkship for an appellate court judge and practicing in a very general civil practice for over 14 years, I now view your work and your opinions on the wisdom of allowing our jurisprudence to be guided by basic economic principles as being right on point. I suppose that I am a convert, if you will.

Of course, the individual case was what caused me to have a moment of pause and disagreement, in my law student days. On occasion, if economic principles are our sole guide posts, we will get it wrong, in terms of justice, as to an individual's case. On balance, however, when we weigh in the balance all of the civil cases, I believe that the application of economic principles to the cases, as a whole, will result in reaching the best result for society, the system, and, ultimately, the client, in the vast majority of the cases.

I have added your blog to my list of favorites, and will post again.

Oren

Great post all around but I don't buy your analysis of gerrymandering. Often it is the case the gerrymandered districts preserves the incumbents of /both/ parties even if there is a preference towards the party in control of the statehouse. California is a good example of this - Dems and Reps figured it was easier to just divvy up the spoils instead of waging a protracted battle for, at most, +/- 3 seats. In the '04 house electrion, every single incumbent was reelected. In '06, one republican lost while Duke Cunningham's seat was narrowly kept by the GOP.

The damage from these arrangements is immediately clear. Uncompetitive races lead to the election of more extreme and less competent candidates while moderates get disaffected with a system that is more or less deaf to their concerns. In the final analysis the members of congress are chosen by the party leaders and a small number of primary voters. Incumbency virtually guarantees reelection - 90% reelected this year is considered a movement.

It really is time for redistricting to be handed over to some non-partisan board (and no, I have no clue on how to actually constitute such a board).

David

I'm not sure I can agree with one of your assertions--namely, that if the end results are the same, it doesn't matter if some people can disenfranchised. Are you basically saying that the means to the end doesn't matter so long as the end result is the same--that if the people getting disenfranchised represent a cross-section of the voting spectrum, we shouldn't be concerned? What if half the voters were disenfranchised but in such a way that it didn't change the result--would that be acceptable as well?

John C. Stalnaker

Does Judge Posner have any comments on "The Myth of the Rational Voter" by Bryan Caplan? The book isn't out yet, but Caplan has been discussing its ideas on line. He is considerably more pessimistic than Posner on the implication of an ignorant electorate.

N.E.Hatfield

Gerrymandering, Hmmm. I take it your refering to Delay's New Texas. ;) But, it's just one of the many tools in the election control toolbox. How about voter roll manipulation, residency requirements, landownership requiremnts, gender/race requirements, or Chicago's favorite, one person- multiple votes? As the old saying goes, "power corrupts". Yet somehow the Republic seems to pull through it all.

As for the "ignorant" electorate, this always seems to be the line of the "educated" elite. Have we just discovered another "tool" from that elections tool box? Strange, I've also heard such comments in the hallways of the Courts in reference to juries. Better a wide ignorant electorate voting,, than a narrowminded elite. At least for the Republic and John Q. Public and myself as well.

MNPundit

One of the worrisome things is that for the first time, more than half the voters lacked confidence in the voting process. The system works because we all choose to believe it works and results in a system we can all live with. Call it a social fiction (with a touch of Rawlsian ideas as well).

Another thing, both you and Becker have discussed limitations on campaign contributions to reduce the effect of money but I haven't seen a discussion of Public Financing of Campaigns. Removing ALL the private money's from direct donations to a candidate. I would say that this would have a different effect than just limitations.

If this has already been addressed on the blog let me know and point me there. Thanks!

Kevin O'Connor

In response to Oren's pondering about what authority should be put in place to redraw districts in a non-partisan way, may I suggest that members of the judiciary could do such a job. Accepting there is a known skepticism In the American mind of the political impartiality of judges I feel this fear could be allayed with a set of guidelines issued to the public specifying the geographic and population makeup of districts, etc and a right of appeal where such guideline aren't adhered to. It would at least make races more open and more competitive.

Enlightenment

Now that our side has a majority in both houses they should actually USE the subpoena power and launch a REAL independent investigation into 9/11.

One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

Debunking Popular Mechanics lies:
http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=6880
someone else debunking Popular Mechanics crap:
http://www.serendipity.li/wot/pop_mech/reply_to_popular_mechanics.htm
still more debunking Poopular Mechanics:
http://letsroll911.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5505
and still more debunking of Popular Mechanics:
http://www.reopen911.org/ericreubt.htm

Poopular Mechanics staff replaced just before laughable “debunking” article written:
http://www.reopen911.org/hiddenhand.htm
another neo-con 9/11 hit piece explodes, is retracted:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2006/180806hitpiece.htm
Professor Steven Jones debunks the N.I.S.T. “report” as well as the F.E.M.A. one and the 9/11 commission "report":
http://www.infowars.com/articles/sept11/wtc_buildings_collapse_steven_jones.htm
N.I.S.T. scientist interviewed:
http://www.teamliberty.net/id235.html
F.B.I. says no hard evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11 which is why his wanted poster says nothing about 9/11:
http://forum.afghansite.com/index.php?showtopic=9349
Fire Engineering magazine says important questions about the Twin Tower “collapses” still need to be addressed:http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=Display&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID

Twin Towers’ construction certifiers say they should have easily withstood it:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/november2004/121104easilywithstood.htm
USA Today interview with the last man out of the South Tower, pursued by a fireball:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/12/19/usat-escape.htm
Janitor who heard explosions and escaped has testimony ignored by 9/11 whitewash commission:
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/ignoring_9-11.html
Janitor starts speaking out about it and his apartment is burglarized, laptop stolen:
http://kurtnimmo.blogspot.com/2005/08/apartment-of-nine-eleven-hero-william_28.html
Firefighters tell of multiple explosions:
http://www.wnbc.com/news/1315651/detail.html
Eyewitnesses tell of explosions:
http://research.amnh.org/users/tyson/essays/TheHorrorTheHorror.html
Interview with another firefighter telling of explosions:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/Banaciski_Richard.txt
Firefighter saw “sparkles” (strobe lights on detonators?) before “collapse”:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/Fitzpatrick_Tom.txt
Other eyewitnesses talk of seeing/hearing explosions:
http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2005/11/more-proof-911-inside-job-witnesses-to.html
Surviving eyewitnesses talk of multiple explosions there:
http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/veliz-bombs.htm
Cutter charge explosions clearly visible:
http://www.rense.com/general63/cutt.htm
The pyroclastic wave (that dust cloud that a second before was concrete) and how it wouldn’t be possible without explosives:
http://st12.startlogic.com/~xenonpup/physics/
Detailed description of the demolition of the Twin Towers:
http://gordonssite.tripod.com/id2.html
Freefall rate of “collapses” math:
http://www.911blimp.net/prf_FreeFallPhysics.shtml
More about their freefall rate “collapses”:
http://www.serendipity.li/wot/second_wave.htm
Video footage of the controlled demolition of the Twin Towers:
http://www.plaguepuppy.net/public_html/video%20archive/
Video footage of the controlled demolition of WTC # 7 building:
http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/wtc/videos.html
More of WTC # 7 controlled demolition:
http://www.wtc7.net/
Naudet brothers' video footage of the North Tower crash:
http://www.911blimp.net/vid_Naudet.shtml
Photos of the Pentagon’s lawn (look at these and see if you can tell me with a straight face that a jumbo jet crashed there):
http://www.911blimp.net/cached/HuntTheBoeing!.htm
More photos of this amazing lawn at the Pentagon:
http://cryptogon.com/docs/Introducing%20the%20amazing%20Penta-Lawn%202000!%20(9-11).htm
Very unconvincing fake “Osama” “confession” tape:
http://welfarestate.com/wtc/faketape/
More about the fake “Osama” tape:
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape2.html
Fake “Mohammed Atta” “suicide” letter:
http://www.welfarestate.com/wtc/fake-letters.txt
Commercial pilots disagree with “official” 9/11 myth:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/september_11_us_government_accused.htm
More commercial jet pilots say “official” myth is impossible:
http://www.masternewmedia.org/2001/10/31/commercial_jet_pilots_analysis_of_the_twin_tower_attack.htm
Impossibility of cell phone calls from United 93:
http://www.physics911.net/cellphoneflight93.htm
More about the impossible cell phone calls:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO408B.html
Experiment proves cell phone calls were NOT possible from anywhere near the altitude the “official” myth has them at:
http://physics911.ca/org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9
Fake Barbara Olson phone call:
http://www.vialls.com/lies911/lies.htm
Where the hell was the Air Force?
http://www.welfarestate.com/wtc/af-scramble.txt
More about the Air Force impotence question:
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0331-11.htm
Sept. 10th 2001, Pentagon announces it is “missing” $2.3 trillion (now why do you think they picked THAT day to announce it? So it could be buried the next day by 9/11 news):
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/main325985.shtml
Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0513/p05s01-wosc.html
Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan mentioned:
http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/05/19/OutOfAfghanistan
More on Unocal Afghan pipeline:
http://www.newscentralasia.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1031
The attack on Afghanistan was planned in the summer of 2001, months before 9/11:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1550366.stm
Pentagon deliberately misled 9/11 Commission:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=EGG20060802&articleId=2887
Evidence destruction by authorities and cover-up:
http://www.flcv.com/coverup.html/
9/11 whitewash Commission and NORAD day:
http://fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/071204_final_fraud.shtml
The incredible fish tales of the 9/11 Commission examined:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=%20GR20051213&articleId=1478
Jeb Bush declares state of emergency 4 days before 9/11 for Florida, saying it will help respond to terrorism:
http://www.eionews.addr.com/psyops/news/jebknew.htm
Steel debris removal from Ground Zero, destruction of evidence:
http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/groundzero/cleanup.html
Over two hundred incriminating bits of 9/11 evidence shown in the mainstream media:
http://thewebfairy.com/killtown/911smokingguns.html
Tracking the “hijackers”:
http://www.welfarestate.com/911/
“Hijacker” patsies:
http://911review.org/Wiki/HijackersPatsies.shtml
“Hijackers” receiving flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0208/S00085.htm
Several accused "hijackers" still alive and well, wondering why they are accused:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1559151.stm
Yet the F.B.I. insists that the people it claims were the "hijackers" really were the "hijackers":
http://www.prisonplanet.com/fbi_denies_mix_up_of_911_terrorists.htm
No Arabs on Flight 77:
http://www.sierratimes.com/03/07/02/article_tro.htm
Thirty experts say “official” 9/11 myth impossible:
http://911fraud.blogspot.com/2005/06/us-governments-offical-911-story-is.html
“Al Qaeda” website tracks back to Maryland:
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/alqmaryland.html
Al Qaeda videos uploaded from U.S. government website:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2004/140704governmentwebsite.htm
Operation: Northwoods, a plan for a false-flag “terror” attack to be blamed on Castro to use it as a pretext for America to invade Cuba, thankfully not approved by Kennedy back in 1962 but was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent to his desk:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/us_terror_plan_cuba_invasion_pretext.html

Wes

On the subject of how to draw districts, I like the idea of establishing a "non-partisan" computer algorithm to draw the districts. Then it wouldn't matter as much who was doing the redistricting - although judges seem like a good choice for overseeing the application of the algorithm.The challenge would be to decide what the appropriate "non-partisan" redistricting criteria should be. Everyone could probably agree that the districts should be geographically contiguous and that they should contain roughly equal numbers of constituents. Unfortunately, though, this is not enough to uniquely specify the district boundaries.Another criteria that seems intuitively satisfying would be to minimize the geographical distance between constituents within the same district. This criteria would have a smoothing effect - essentially giving the boundaries something like surface tension. Rather than elongated districts with rough boundaries this criteria would result in compact districts with smooth boundaries.It would also be possible to choose districts so that the districts were either evenly balanced in terms of political affiliation or segregated by political affiliation. It's not clear, though, which of these two criteria (if either) would be more desirable.Eventually, it may be possible apportion representatives without regard to geographical proximity. For example, a moderate libertarian constituent would be represented by the moderate libertarian representative. If it turned out there were enough moderate libertarians to be represented by two representatives then other distinctions could be made - for example, moderate libertarians concerned primarily with taxes and moderate libertarians concerned primarily with civil liberties.Eventually, I could imagine a system of Internet voting that approximated direct democracy. Every week or so the constituents would get to vote directly on which laws to pass or reject but they could also have the option of delegating the decision to their representative.

Kosta Calfas

There seems to be a sinister collusion between the economic interests of the american private sector and the education level of the american electorate. A "stupid electorate" is not merely politically ignorant, but ignorant generally, mostly as a result of their limited educational opportunties and laissez-faire public policy (from both the left and the right) that gives those of limited opportunity enough rope to hang themselves with; i.e. a choice of wide range of useless opinions and material goods from privately owned corporate interests. They thus remain subservient to highly centralized private interests for the fulfilment of vulgar pleasures which do nothing to improve their lives in a genuine way.

Put more simply, highly educated people make terrible consumers from the perspective of economic return. Educated people consume good wine, great books and interesting conversation. Un- or undereducated people consume junk food and shoddy wares their modest incomes afford. Is it, therefore, entirely coincidental that amongst the largest American corporations are McDonald's and Walmart?

The inherrent vice of an unregulated free-market is it becomes impossible to establish standards and values against which an individual can discern what is truly part of a good or moral life, and what are the genuine needs for the fulfillment thereof. An unregulated free market poses as much a threat to freedom and social stability as radical socialism. A radically free-market indulges wants and pleasures without regard to the impact that indulgence might have to the well-being of a society. It is also potentially ruinous in that the market does not discern morally between which political parties to support. Provided that political interest serves the profits of the private or corporate interest, there is little question about social impact.

So what does the election prove? I agree with Justice Posner, very little. The democrats win today, republicans tomorrow, the bottom line is the American electorate is no closer to being able to discern their actual interests or demands as opposed to the false interests or wants imposed upon them by vulgar consumerism.

jack

it is good

Lammert

The election occurred near a time of maximum saturation consumerism in global macroeconomy that has never been more imbalanced in terms of: gross differences in international wages, massive foreign ownership of US debt, highest ever percentage GDP balance of trade dysequilibia; consumer, state and national debt; oversupply of speculative hard assets; falling value of hard assets; inflation of summation commodity prices and equity prices; and coming due adjustable debt instruments: The cracked Titanic has a large rent below its waterline made worse by prior orchestrated unnaturally low fed fund rates and new and strange and imprudent lending instruments. The tilting upwards of the ship make those in the fore compartments holding equities elated, while those in the below compartments below the waterline who recently acquired real estate feel the minutely anxiety of the ever rising waterline of depreciating values. The potential economic destructive power of those Asian countries holding a trillion dollars of US debt is a greater potential force than the military and nuclear advantage that the US holds. The symbiosis represents a complex variation of the Nash game. But the Titanic will mostly sink and sink after reaching its maximal equity, CRB, and debt instrument ideal apogee on 22 November 2006:

From the Blog of theeconomicfractalist

Veterans Day and 22 November 2006: The Corrected Maximum Growth Saturation Day.
Posted at 2006-11-18 16:36:50 by theeconomicfractalist The Quantum Fractal Hypothesis, Theory, and Laws of Saturation Macroeconomics. Science: ' an operating process that looks for patterns and organizes them as theories or laws .....' The real science of Quantum Fractal Saturation Macroeconomics is defined by composite asset valuation saturation curves. The valuation saturation curves are organized in a precise and elegant mathematical repetitive fractal order intrinsic to and optimally self-assembled by the causal self-balancing oppositional major elements of the nonstochastic macroeconomic universe. This new paradigm view of the macroeconomy may provide monetarists, macroeconomists, and national banking reserve and regulatory agencies a new framework in assessing and controlling macroeconomic dysequilibria incurred by the major money expansion parameters of interest rate policy, lending policy, governmental debt, and perhaps the investment asset area of equity classes. The latter of these elements consumes much, adds little to the real economy, and is ultimately a source of amplified instability and devolution near the end of great credit cycles. Malinvestment in equity paper assets - rather than facilitated investment in savings, innovative or improved domestic products and services, national infrastructure, and domestic factories - ultimately subtracts from the available creative investment money that produces sustaining and linchpin domestic wages. Imprudent policies and practices involving the aforementioned elements leads to overvaluation, overproduction, over supply, over borrowing, and malinvestment. With the rate limiting factors of one: wages of the masses which are both dependent on and supporting of the whole system and two: ongoing accumulating debt load which ultimately limits and contains dynamic and useful consumption, the excesses created by the money expansion elements necessarily causes or leads to a final asymptotic saturation state where money growth is exactly balanced by asset devolution, debt default, and money contraction. After asymptotic saturation,interconnected and progressive asset deflationary collapse rapidly occurs proportional to the accumulative preceding excesses in debt, over supply, and money expansion. It may be that paper equities representing an amplified derivative of companys' profits, assets, potential earning powers, and debt loads - now considered as an asset class with useful economic purpose - are the most illusive and destructive of all malinvestment areas, unnecessarily amplifying money destruction during the asset deflationary phase. The empirically derived mathematical law for maximal quantum fractal growth is: X/2.5X/2.5X :: 159/398/398. 24 November 2006 is the 398th trading day of the ideal 2.5 X third fractal maximum growth. 24 November 2006 is the final Ideal Maximum Saturation Day for the 14 trilliondollar Composite Wilshire - (secondary to its March 2000 all time high.) Kindly visit: The Economic Fractalist. Lammert.....Addendum and correction: Veteran's day, while a holiday for this veteran, was not a trading holiday. The 398th day for the Wilshire is 22 November 2006. The 16th day of the concurrent and final 8/20/16 day growth fractals for the ten year note, 30 year bond, and CRB is 22 Novembr 2006. The 58th day of the 29/73/58 day fractal for GM is 22 November 2006. 22 November 2006 is the ideal final saturation day for the Wilshire secondary to its March 2000 all time high. Lammert.

Larry

First, I have to deny that the "system is poisoned." We still maintain the most prosperous, most free, most wonderful republic on earth.
Second, I would point out that the gerrymandering which packs black voters into the districts of John Conyers and Alcee Hastings is the type which best creates GOP-majority districts, and that system was ordered by a very politically correct (and in my view, liberal) Supreme Court. So much for handing the problem over to the judiciary...
Finally, I would say the gerrymandering has been done by both sides since the days of Mr. Gerry without terribly much damage of long-lasting consequence. Most of the districts change, albeit gradually. Most of the state legislatures change majorities, offering a different group to define the congressional districts every ten or twenty years. In short, what we have works, and if it isn't broken...
There are short term inequities, often lasting exactly ten years. We had the same thing under the Northwest Ordinance respecting the conversion of territories into new states. But who remembers today the unsavory scheme by which Ohio was admitted to the union in 1803 with less than the required population in order that it could deliver its three electoral votes to President Jefferson for his reelection in 1804?

Jake

Judge Posner observes that "although surveys reveal that most Americans are indeed political ignoramuses, even the significance of this fact for the healthy functioning of the democratic process can be doubted."

It might not be significant to the healthy functioning of the democratic process, but for the fact that one of the two major political parties has incentives to pander to, and perpetuate, a "dumb" electorate. For example, the NEA and public school teachers' unions oppose any meaningful reform of public education in this nation, and consistently support one political party, both financially and at the ballot box. That party, in turn, returns the favor by blocking educational reform in favor of the ineffective status quo, thus maintaining the hegemony of the NEA's membership over our children's public "education."

Maintaining an ignorant majority among the electorate, in the long run, is a sure-fire strategy for the political party most committed to wealth redistribution and penalizing capital formation. Marx would approve. Friedman, now departed, alas, would not.

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