Podcast : US media “forgets” that governing is for everyone

Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia says one thing, US media spins it as another – and not just the right wing media either.

An article on what Stacey Abrams actually said > Georgia GOP attacks Stacey Abrams … for speaking the truth (msnbc.com)

How Fox News covered the same speech > Stacey Abrams calls Georgia ‘worst state in the country to live’ | Fox News Video

The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March" The True Centre Podcast

My thoughts on the Irish Left in general and a march/rally in Dublin on Saturday in particular. Learn more about the Cost of Living Coalition here > https://www.facebook.com/COLCIreland — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/thetruecentre/message
  1. The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March"
  2. The True Centre Podcast 010 – "Beware The Thirty Odd Percent"
  3. The True Centre Podcast 009 – US media "forgets" that governing is for everyone
  4. The True Centre Podcast 008 – Elon Musk helps me define 'true centre'
  5. The True Centre Podcast 007 – Happy 20th birthday TYT

Elon Musk graphic proves “left/right” depiction of politics is arbitrary

“Elon Musk is buying Twitter, blah, blah, yaddya yaddya.” I lead with this paragraph in case you think this article has anything to do with that.

For now I’m much more interested in this graphic that he posted on his soon-to-be playtoy

I don’t care what point he’s trying to make here, especially given he named one of his children “X Æ A-12” and chose to put a car into orbit. For me, this actually highlights two points he may not have intended.

  1. He clearly believes, like most uber rich probably do, that the world revolves around him. The entire human race is represented by three stick figures on each line and he is one of them.
  2. More importantly for this web page, these varying depictions of the “left/right” nature of political thought are completely different each time, which to me proves that it is completely arbitrary. If Elon is proclaiming that they have these definitions for these particular years, why can’t we attribute our own?

Which leads me conveniently back to the most important point I want to get across in this blog, and you will see me repeat it in several posts. If you come across FPP and don’t leave it at least knowing that I firmly believe this, then I will have failed.

In my humble opinion, no matter what year it is, the true centre of a line representing political ideology is one that contains people who want a democratically elected government to provide equal opportunities for all of its citizens. As you go to the right, you have people who are supporting increasing amounts of inequality. As you move to the left, you have people who are more interested in fighting/punishing those on the right than actually working to establish/maintain that equality. Any other depiction of what is defined by “left” and “right” is an attempt to distort, usually from the “right” because they represent a minority of people but currently have a lot of power which they use to influence the masses.

THIS is what I’d like to talk about when it comes to Elon Musk, not whether or not he wants to add an edit button,. JLP

The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March" The True Centre Podcast

My thoughts on the Irish Left in general and a march/rally in Dublin on Saturday in particular. Learn more about the Cost of Living Coalition here > https://www.facebook.com/COLCIreland — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/thetruecentre/message
  1. The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March"
  2. The True Centre Podcast 010 – "Beware The Thirty Odd Percent"
  3. The True Centre Podcast 009 – US media "forgets" that governing is for everyone
  4. The True Centre Podcast 008 – Elon Musk helps me define 'true centre'
  5. The True Centre Podcast 007 – Happy 20th birthday TYT

PS : It seems The Young Turks agree in this video and of course they put their own spin on it which is worth a listen. But sure what do we know, we’re just “woke progressives” right????

The True Centre Podcast 005 – “Brave Fishermen & Ireland’s Fluid Neutrality”

The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March" The True Centre Podcast

My thoughts on the Irish Left in general and a march/rally in Dublin on Saturday in particular. Learn more about the Cost of Living Coalition here > https://www.facebook.com/COLCIreland — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/thetruecentre/message
  1. The True Centre Podcast 011 – "The Cost Of Living Coalition March"
  2. The True Centre Podcast 010 – "Beware The Thirty Odd Percent"
  3. The True Centre Podcast 009 – US media "forgets" that governing is for everyone
  4. The True Centre Podcast 008 – Elon Musk helps me define 'true centre'
  5. The True Centre Podcast 007 – Happy 20th birthday TYT

The smearing of Bernie Sanders by US corporate media reaches an all-time low. #Democrats2020

If this wasn’t so serious it would almost be funny.

Morning Joe is great when it comes to going after Trump but then they go and spoil it with ridiculous hit pieces like this one. You have to watch the clip to believe it. And by ‘believe it’ I mean the lengths to which they will go to cast any kind of doubt they can about Bernie.

To paraphrase : “Bernie Sanders has said several times that he voted against the Iraq War – well, we did some digging and it turns out that what REALLY happened was…blah, blah, blah, blah….and he voted against the Iraq War.”

Of course the key is in the ‘blah blah blah’ and I’ll let you watch the clip yourself to make up your own mind. To my ear it’s just a series of words put together so they could throw in the phrase “just like Joe Biden” several times.

Say they both went on a cooking show and Sanders used all the right ingredients for a chocolate cake while Biden used everything but the actual chocolate, which he substituted with dog shit. Then Bernie says “I made a chocolate cake while Biden didn’t”, only for MSNBC to come along and say “Well, Bernie says he’s the opposite of Biden, when our reporting shows that he used flour, so did Biden. He used eggs, so did Biden. He used frosting, so did Biden….”

You get the idea. JLP

RTÉ inadvertently explains how PR:STV should be, not how it is #GE2020

FOREWORD : In this post I give my reservations of the PR:STV method of holding elections. Please don’t take them as my discouraging you from voting!!!! It’s the most important thing you can do!!!!! However flawed the method any vote is better than no vote!!!!

Ahead of today’s General Election vote, RTÉ did one of their “Montrose-splain” videos, using schoolchildren to illustrate how the PR:STV system works. Production-wise, it is excellent. Information-wise, I feel it is misleading.

First, just in case there is any doubt, I am entirely in favour of proportional representation voting. The “first past the post” system the UK insists on using isn’t just archaic, nor is it just mathematically flawed; it is downright unethical.

But PR is far from a single entity in itself. And the one used in Ireland, the “single transferable vote”, is so complicated that I reckon as many adults would need the above refresher course as much as children would. Unfortunately, to create their simplified example in the video, RTÉ have both left out and glossed over some of the method’s most undemocratic aspects.

First and foremost, in the example above, there are only two seats on offer, and the “parties” are each running just the one candidate. This means that you cannot have the practices we see today, where the bigger parties run two or more candidates in a constituency and “manage” their voters in an effort to get more than one over the line.

I remember watching some RTÉ election day punditry in years gone by when Willie O’Dea was being interviewed from his Limerick constituency. He topped the poll by a whopping majority, yet rather than be congratulated by his fellow party member Dermot Ahern who was in the studio, the former Foreign Minister gave out to him for not manipulating his loyal voters to make sure a second FF candidate also got a seat.

People should be able to vote for the candidate they want – it’s not rocket science, although as far as election methods go, PR:STV does a decent enough impression and it is totally unnecessary.

For me, the practise of parties running multiple candidates in the same constituency is almost as undemocratic as first past the post. The principal benefit of PR is meant to derive from the fact that voters choose an alternative ideology to their first one, yet with our brand of STV, most of those who vote FF or FG with their first pick will tend to also use it for their second. And to those who say “What if a they don’t like any of the other candidates?” I give this simple answer : “You are free not to offer a second preference”.

All of which means that RTÉ’s truncated scenario is actually more ideal. Two, possibly three, seats should be the maximum in any area. So rather than having 39 constituencies many with 4 or 5 to produce 155 TDs, why not have all 2- and 3- seat ones in around 50 (with a stipulation that no party may run more than one member in each) to produce around 150 TDs or less?

Well it’s not as though my post is going to change the process, but I do believe it should be up for debate. I sense a degree of smugness from general opinion that our system is democratic while the British one is not and if that’s the consensus, and I reckon it should be challenged for two reasons : 1) Do we have to judge everything we do by comparing it to what they do?, and 2) while no method of voting is 100% ideal, I think we can do better than our current brand of PR:STV.

One final point – I really, really want someone to explain to me why I’m wrong, and no doubt someone can. I thought someone was going to make a cogent defense in a twitter thread yesterday but they stopped replying. JLP

The “discussions” about a date for #GE20 took longer than the campaign will

Saturday, February 8. Just a few weeks for the Republic to discuss the issues of the day and vote for representatives in what will be the 33rd Dáil. Absolutely shocking.

Traditionally it is the sitting Taoiseach who gets to set the date, and I have no problem with this. But let’s be clear on what has actually happened in recent weeks – Leo Varadkar was consulting heavily with the so-called leader of the opposition Micheál Martin over the timing of the election.

Why? Because they have been in a virtual coalition government, that’s why. The official terminology is “confidence and supply” but the reality is that by abstaining on votes for legislation, Fianna Fáil have effectively been supporting Varadkar’s agenda. Now we are suddenly expected to see them as rivals yet again, while those who are actually offering a real alternative to the electorate are left on the outside.

Then there’s our system of voting on these shores. In my opinion, the “PR:STV” method we employ, while it includes the words “proportional representation” in its title and thus creates the illusion of being inclusive, is actually anything but.

In my opinion, offering voters the opportunity to choose a second option* does appear democratic, UNTIL you realise that most constituencies have the leading parties running multiple candidates. If you voted Fianna Fáil number 1, chances are you will also vote them number 2 if you have the chance. So, much like the infamous “first past the post” system used in the UK, the non-establishment parties are generally shut out.

What I would prefer is for something like a merger between the two systems. Currently there are 158 seats. Rather than 3-, 4- and 5- seat constituencies, I would have 158 x 1 seat ones (actually I’d prefer fewer TDs, maybe 150 or less). THEN we can use a simple PR method of voting where there is infinitely less confusion over counts, surpluses and transfers, plus we know for sure that over 50% of voters chose the winner. And to be clear – although I favour progressive candidates, should we employ this method and the FF/FG duopoly still prevailed, I could hardly complain about it, could I.

Anyway, that is of course more of a technical matter – what lies ahead right now is a shortened election campaign, with the ridiculous posters already going up on lamp posts within 24 hours of the announcement being made.

I’m going to do my best to follow the “campaign trail” as best as I can over the coming weeks and see what kind of promises these people will be making (if any) plus how the Irish media is covering it all. JLP

* – yes I know we can also vote for 3,4 and 5 etc but seriously, how critical are those choices when it comes to your ballot being counted?