Laying the Groundwork for Dictatorship

(Political Post – if you want to pass – I don’t blame you)

This is the world that we have made – or at least the United States we have made.

Our relationship with words, meaning, and factual statements have paved the way to this conclusion.

As a Science Fiction writer I can’t help buy place myself 4 years from now and 8 years from now and try to prognosticate what could happen – in a kind of “worst case” scenario.

It is a good idea to engage in empathetic treks in to the future and understand both best, worst, and average cases – in a way project managers try to prognosticate the completion (hopefully) of their projects.

Worst Case

We have a fairly good framework laid out at present. When Donald was a “would be” president – he stated that the election was fixed – unless he won it.

Next Donald has made many statements about how big he won the election. That is not the case, either.

Now, we could assume for a moment that he doesn’t know what he is doing – but I think this has been a fatal flaw in how the public, government, and politicians have dealt with Donald. To continue with our framework Donald claims he won the popular vote due to millions of illegal votes for Hillary and he claimed that if that was the goal (winning the popular vote) he would have focused on that and won the popular vote.

His claims notably through his Press Secretary (and humorously lampooned by everyone else) that he had a crowd larger than any crowd ever for his inauguration – are completely, visibly, notably false.

Donald continues his rants about how he didn’t really lose the popular vote and that millions of people voted illegally.

As a person in authority (the highest state authority in the US) his statements carry weight. It is like having a problem with a police officer and then going to court. People are going to give the police officer’s testimony more value than any statement that you make – even if the police officer’s statements are provably incorrect.

It should also be noted that his first official Press Secretary task to blatantly lie to the US public about his “bigly” crowd sizes.

This is not done by accident. Less than four years from now (regardless of the actions during his tenure as president) these claims are going to be pounded upon over and over again – an advertisement for a propensity to believe someone when they say the election is rigged. I don’t think I have ever seen such a sore winner of a presidential election in the United States of America – ever.

2020

There is no question in my mind that Donald will start taking on Dictatorial attributes and if he should lose the election will claim there is widespread fraud – he will invalidate the election and continue his presidency.

2024

He will combine and exaggerate claims that the US is crumbling. That the US needs a strong leader and (whoever) the Democrats cannot provide such a leader. He will take full “dictatorship” of the United States of America until such time as there is enough stability to continue normal electoral processes.

Now, the above is the worst case scenario. Please; however, note that the actions, statements, and events don’t make sense unless you are priming for a coup of the democratic system. You should ask questions of Donald’s behavior.

  1. Why does it matter how many people watched or attended the inauguration?
  2. Why repeat debunked statements that “millions” of people voted illegally? This single statement is targeted at weakening confidence in the election process.
  3. Why tell people he had the biggest electoral victory ever?

Answers:

  1. He is a leader of a great flock – and so many people supported him that it isn’t possible that he would be one of those lame single term presidents
  2. Laying the foundation for marking the next election – with no evidence whatsoever – as illegitimate
  3. Because, how could someone with the “biggest” electoral victory ever end up losing a second term?

They are all statements and actions geared for breaking our elections system down.

Medium Case

While all the above is factual and then extends outward from that it could be that Donald will win the second term fairly. This seems unlikely given his lowest ever popularity levels at the start of a presidency (a fact I’m sure will be glossed over or forgotten by the next election). It also does not seem likely as while admirably he is moving quickly on many positions – each one is fraught with danger for his future second term.

Millions of people may be out of health insurance. These will not be happy people and it appears a lot of them overlap with Donald’s voting population.

He is; however, very good at marketing. He may set things in the future and that repairing and getting everyone health insurance coverage is coming soon.

Unfortunately, even in the medium case the groundwork that he is laying down – on government competence (hammering at Hillary’s 30 years of experience in government), economics, and immigration – he still has quite a place that in 2024 – he will push to be temporary dictator of the country. Perhaps he will claim that the elections are rigged and until we can establish a non-rigged system. That could take some time.

Positive Case

The positive case is that Donald does what he is going to do – admirably actually following through with his statements – and the impacts are so bad that he loses in a landslide for his second term. Instead of pounding on the point of illegal voters, he pulls back and decides that perhaps politics was not his favorite occupation.

This positive case – seems very unlikely.

 

Lessons Learned in Government – Meaning of Words

I’m going to straight out state something that many people will disagree with – and then I’ll back it up.

The United States of America will never be a racially or sexually equal country.

I say this as a veteran of our armed forces. I say this thinking that the United States of America is probably one of the best countries in the world. No matter what I would like to think about my country – the facts and the symbolism are there. Even if we are the best country in the world there is always room for improvement.

And it all started in the beginning.

The basic problem is that when we started when the Constitution was written we were a divided nation. The whole “United we stand, divided we fall” idea is necessary in the United States of America because we are and always have been divided.

I’m not going to go over the whole Constitution of the United States of America here – just a bit – just the beginning to prove my point.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If I read this now – as a member of the 21st century it seems to hold together. However; while some of the signers may have meant it the way I read it now, some most certainly did not.

In 1776 the only people who had the right to vote were white property owners. This requires we amend the Constitution to reflect what they really meant.

“We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States, in Order to form a more….”

This change in scope from decoding word meanings to actual implied meanings is the split in the United States of America in 1776 as well as it is the split in the United States of America in 2016.

In a recent meeting of NPI celebrating Donald’s winning of the office of President of the United States of America, Richard B. Spencer – head of NPI, said:

“America was, until this past generation, a white country”

“designed for ourselves and our posterity.”

“It is our creation, our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

He isn’t correct – and he is not incorrect. His words are chosen carefully. The word posterity weaves in with the Constitutions preamble I quoted earlier in this article. It matches the change – the literal meaning of the constitutions “We the White, Male, land owning people of the United States,…” that was the de facto of early United States of America’s history.

A lot of things have happened to who votes and who “People” refers to in the Constitution. This document shows the many changes to who a voter was over the history of the United States of America.

This highlights of the document are:

  1. 1870 – African Americans granted citizenship nearly 100 years after our country formed and 101 years before I was born.
  2. 1920 – Women are granted the right to vote
  3. 1924 – Native Americans granted citizenship and the right to vote (but this wasn’t enough)
  4. 1940 – Congress recognizes Native Americans have the right to vote
  5. 1943 – Chinese immigrants have the right to citizenship and vote
  6. 1971 – 18 year-olds are permitted to vote – this is the year I was born

Antonin Scalia who was a Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America indicated that you could not change the meaning of the words in the Constitution to their modern usage. The word people meant something different to the signers of the Constitution than after the hundreds of years of modifications to the voter, i.e. the “People”. That the words don’t mean something different because of the current time or interpretation, they only mean and permit what was voted upon by Congress at that time of the vote. He said people need to vote at the ballot box and have Congress enact laws or amend the Constitution. That there is no law preventing treating women different from men, only that women have the right to vote.

Antonin Scalia wasn’t 100% wrong, either. The problem is words and their meanings.

What do the words “We the People” mean to you? The point is; however, more than just the meaning of words. Do amendments about the vote cover equal treatment or do they just cover the right to vote?

The point is that the United States of America started out – not as a consensus, but as a ruling minority over a majority of other people – people of different religions, different skin colors, different historical origins.

No matter your interpretation of the words, the white supremacists are given power by the historical fact that this country was originally a White, Male, Landed country only. That George Washington owned slaves even after the revolution. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. People (capital P in the Constitution) owned people.

The Lesson Learned here is that whatever new country that comes in to existence, either by revolution, creating a new home in the vast oceans, or in the depths of space – consensus needs to be created at least once – in the creation of that country. And that consensus needs to be on the definition of the words level for that constitution, that charter, that founding document(s). There can be no ambiguity.

We are quickly coming on an era where “people” whatever it means, may not be the only self-controlled entities on Earth. Our constitution is being stretched to cover all people of biological origin. What will it do to the first codops (computerized doppelgangers), the first AI, or the first cyborg?

What we do to those three categories of people will determine if codops, AI, and Cyborg have to fight biological humans for their rights. The time to be thinking about these formerly science fiction problems is now – before it is too late.

One final note:

Often, when a government is torn in two because the foundation is not built on consensus – you have to not only write and pass a law once, but you have to do it several times in order to say, “Yes, I really mean it this time.” This seems to apply the strongest in terms of rights to vote than on any other topic.

To Build a Country – Lessons Learned

In an earlier post I described some of the mechanics of creating a new country – the physical infrastructure of creating a country out in the undesirable section in the middle of either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

Starting a new country doesn’t mean anything if you don’t restructure government and how it performs.

In project management, after every project ends you have to (or really should) perform a lessons learned. It is a process where you get everyone together and discuss what worked in the project, what didn’t work, and how to do things better. These items are then documented and hopefully put in to play for the next project so the next project can be a better experience.

Elsewhere, I have said that being President of the United States of America is like being a project manager. Something that is sorely missed in our political process is a review of what happened during the presidency. A formal review. With documented issues.

In addition, any project needs a charter. What is the charter for being President of the United States of America. It is very simple. The charter for the President of the United States of America is to improve America. To, in part, improve the lives of the citizens of this country.

There are a lot of operational functions of government. Like project management – it is important to understand what a project is – and operations are not projects. Improving or replacing operations are definitely projects.

Of course, in the present time the hope of having an objective lessons learned with the partisan politics that dominate.  There are also problems that most projects don’t have – projects usually have a clear charter about what they are going to achieve in the next period of time.

In regard to that, well established measures can be used to estimate if – after a term of presidency life is improved or not. There is a section of the population that deny any statistical and measure evidence and I would conclude at present that they would not be interested in pursuing this article.

I am a fan at taking the long view about the world around me. Well, at least objective matters that are not about the heart or the spirit.

There is a group called “The Long Now” – which advocates taking a very long view of humanity. In fact, they are creating a clock that will work for 10,000 years. It would be a mechanical clock that is designed by computers to work indefinitely – well, 10,000 years. It is the stuff of science fiction. Imagine, the stories you could write about when the clock stops working? The doomsday cults? The people concerned that it would be the end of time? The people fighting to live another day because a clock is just a clock? The shadowy people who maintain the clock – because no matter how well designed things go wrong. Earthquakes happen, fuel sources run out or geothermal heat sources move (could be fueling the clock). Wonderful.

We should take a longer view about politics and government. No government lasts forever. It is possible that the democracy that exists as it is today is threatened by our recent election. It is possible that our democracy is not threatened. It doesn’t actually matter. No government has lasted thousands of years. Humanity has lasted tens of thousands of years (even longer than the time The Long Now’s 10,000 year clock. People die. Political systems die – even though the propagandists might insist that their system is the best and will last forever. What does that make government? What does that make our present government?

Short-term projects. Projects that come to an end. Projects that require a lessons learned to make better governments in the future.

As with many things, government is constantly changing and the Democracy that we have now is not the same as what was in place for the founding fathers over 200 years ago and it is not the same as what they actually had in place over 200 years ago. So, despite the illusion of having the same government for 200 plus years – that isn’t exactly true.

There are also other conditions – positive conditions – in which new governments can arise. As indicated earlier – there is the potential of creating a floating sea city – outside of any governmental control. A new government can be formed. In addition, in a positive view of humanity’s future – there will be humans that live beyond the boundaries of Earth. At first, perhaps the governments of Earth will maintain sovereignty over these humans, but that is unlikely to be maintainable.

But what government? Right now – we can do something we can create Lessons Learned for our government – The United States of America – as well as any other government that has existed on Earth that has sufficient documentation of events and core concepts.

It is important to establish a scope for exploring Lessons Learned for government.

There are layers to government.

  1. The activities that are permitted by agents of the government. For example:
    1. Can government agents kill citizens? If so, under what conditions.
    2. What kind of actions can agents of the government do to people? Under what circumstances? An example would be proportional response. If a person breaks a law, what kind of force can enforcement use against that person? If someone is illegally selling cigarettes is an outcome where that person is dead ever an appropriate outcome.
    3. Can agents of the government falsely imprison people?
    4. Can agents of the government force people to behave in a manner inconsistent with their normal behavior – provided that behavior does not harm others?
    5. Do agents of the (or can they) government assist non-governmental agencies that cause harm to sections of the population.
    6. Debtors prison
    7. Can governmental entities betray the spirit of laws. For example, laws that are explicit about something – make laws or otherwise betray the meaning of the laws.
  2. The activities that are permitted by the people by the laws of the government? For example:
    1.  Allowing people to own people
    2. Allowing people to persecute other people
  3. How is the governmental allowed to deal with other government entities.
    1. Can the government betray treaties – even the spirit of the treaties?
    2. Under what conditions can war be initiated?
    3. What are the ethical ways of dealing with other governments?
    4. Can genocide ever be justified?

This is just the beginning of the things we can do. There are people out there already working to try and make the first satellite self-governing entity, Asgardia.

The time to think about what a new government would be like is now.

 

To Build a New Country

I am more than a little upset by the recent outcome of the United States Presidential Election, and the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

Not; however, just for the reasons that the candidates that I would have preferred lost. It is the fact that in our two-party system, with the parties set diametrically opposed on virtually every issue, that no matter who one half the country would be disenfranchised.

It seems that we live in two United States of America.

However; it doesn’t have to be that way. There have been and can be more than two major political parties. I looked up Abraham Lincoln’s election and saw four political parties. Republican, Southern Democratic, Northern Democratic and Constitutional Union.

It seems somewhat of a long-term idea that if we get 4 parties – and perhaps the president of the US would be the result of a partnership between parties if no single candidate can get the appropriate number of electoral votes.

This whole electoral college idea has always bothered me. It was created because of the technology of the time. Still, while I believe this electoral college system needs to go – that doesn’t alter the results of the current election. Even if we go to the popular vote, you see half of our voting public split – with one half to be disenfranchised.

There are other options. Technology is an awesome concept. It can level all playing fields. Ultimately, we no longer need to be tied to the land in order to be a country, anymore. If we are disenfranchised enough, why not leave – buy boats, sell homes, and then become a conglomerate fleet of free people unified in the beliefs of what is moral adrift from any existing governmental institutions.

It could be done. And then when forming the government of this place – this Tanelorn, perhaps we could use a document of the lessons learned from existing democracies. What went wrong? Why does it appear to continually go wrong?

A shared design of these boats so that they can interlock and form an artificial island that can direct its travel would be an incredible reality – as well as combining that with a governmental system that actually works.

Therein lies the rub. I suspect the engineering of such a place while significant would be minimal compared to crafting a real working government. A government that is not riddled with the wrongs of the past, like the United States treatment (ongoing) of Native Americans. Like the Tuskegee experiments. Like Woodrow Wilson removing black people from serving in government positions or those black people that remained employed by the government not being able to share working facilities and bathrooms with white people.

When you dig in to the history of the USA – there are a lot of dark things in its past. They were allowed or sidestepped the constitution, the bill of rights, and every governmental safeguard.

There needs to be a place that has not had these dark things happen. That does not ever allow these dark things to happen. I believe that we could make such a place.

The Donald and Planning

In the past couple of articles I have been discussing Donald Trump in terms of science fiction and project management. Communications is core to project management and leadership and we find that his ability to communicate is flawed at best (and looking at his communications in the most positive of light).

Planning is another core process of project management. Being President of the United States of America as mentioned in a previous article – is a lot like a project.  In addition, what is necessary for planning is to have a Vision for your company (or country as the case may be).

Consider, for a minute, that the next President of the United States of America could be President for the next 8 years. 8 years in the present given the rate of technological advancement and capabilities that will be incredible to the past 200 years.

8 years takes us to 2024. It is very close to the date given (2025) estimated for the time of the first computers with human level number of computations. In fact, it is also the time frame where there is a high potential that human intelligence will be copied to hardware – my concept of codops (Computerized Doppelgangers).

Automated vehicles which are early in development but already on the roads now in 2016 will have had an additional 8 years of development. The time it takes for technology to go from development to ubiquity is growing ever shorter. Look at the time it took for smart phones to go from design, expensive toys for the rich, to well expensive toys for everyone. In fact, today, my wife bought two iPhone 7s – each carrying 128GB of solid state memory.

Oddly enough, this isn’t really high technology – the Apple iPhone 7 – with the 128GB solid state memory comes in a time where there are 1 Terabyte SD cards. If the Apple iPhone had an SD card slot – you could (with a lot of money) be walking around with a 1 Terabyte phone (well soon, anyway).

It is when you combine technologies in the future that you really have interesting possibilities. Automated transport with human-level number of computations per second. How much is really necessary for a vehicle to drive? We already know that driving doesn’t use all of a person’s mind.

Planning. What do computer capabilities and automated vehicles have to do with the Presidency of the United States of America?

Well, a technologically knowledgeable person in the position of POTUS would already be planning in their mind about these technologies (as well as many others – in particular automation in the workplace).

Planning is important – and as a project manager you understand that it is something that must be done. As PM as well I understand that plans are rarely the way things work out. However; the importance is in having a plan.

The importance is understanding all the ways that things can go wrong. Planning for all the things that can happen. In this case – planning about the potentials of technology. Understanding the pitfalls of technological advances is important and does need to be planned for.

Does anyone believe that Donald would be able to plan for all these potential eventualities – or will he just be reactionary? Even for mainstream politicians it will be difficult to plan for the possibilities in technology. At least; however, with a traditional politician there may be some attempt to protect their electorate.

I know this has been a long article; however, it is important to take a case in point. An example to prove the importance of this election – and why we need an intelligence, planning, knowledgeable person to be POTUS instead of a reactionary who can barely communicate, much less plan.

In 1983 during President Ronald Reagan’s term of office a multinational task force was bombed by trucks driven by people. Hundreds of soldiers died – United States soldiers and other countries.

In our reactionary way – we developed abilities to deal with this kind of attack. curved approaches to military structures. Ejection plates for when the guard posted at the gate decides there is a threat.

Combine this kind of attack with autonomous cars with enough complexity to match a human mind and you have a threat that requires planning in order to neutralize.

What kind of POTUS do you need to deal with problems like this – any many others?

A POTUS that has advisers that are experts in their fields – that has the trust of the President.

i.e. not someone that says, “I know more about ISIS than the military does.”

Knowing more about ISIS than the military does isn’t the job of the President. Knowing more about science and technology and the potential pitfalls of that technology – that isn’t necessarily the role of the President, either. It is helpful to have an understanding of technology. Presidents need advisers that are experts in their fields. That not only can bring the potential problems and pitfalls and make sensible legislative recommendations that the President then trusts enough to move forward and understand that it is the correct way to proceed.

All this works down to understanding how government – at least our present government – works. One person can’t know everything. Many people can be subject matter experts in their domains – and can advise the one person that is the President. This is how our government works. It has been how our government has worked for a very long time. Donald, in his expressions of knowing better than everyone about anything – is showing that he doesn’t understand how government works.

That isn’t very inspiring that if Donald becomes President that he will be able to work with complex problems that require planning to understand, decode, and hopefully solve.

Time Travel, Donald Trump, and Hitler

Exhibit (some very large number)

Description: Donald acting very Presidential (sarcasm)

As Donald has a former Mrs Universe come out on the stage to berate her a man wolf whistles at her. No one does anything. Nobody says this is wrong. No one reports Donald to HR.

There are plenty of time travel stories out there. Some of them involve people traveling back in to time to kill Hitler and prevent World War II.

Isaac Asimov invented two different models of time travel during his science fiction career.

  1. Even slight changes to the timeline can create big changes for the future (earlier or butterfly effect model)
  2. Changes require massive efforts and little changes will easily be erased (later or more complex model)

In the grandfather paradox – what happens if you go back in time and kill your grandfather or grandmother or heck both before they have your parent (or even both sets of grandparents)?

In model 1 – you would cease to exist and not exist to come back in time to kill your grandparents. Nature, what we can observe of it, doesn’t allow for things like this in everyday activity.

In model 2 – someone else will be either or all of your grandparents. You will grow up and travel back in time and kill them(this new set of grandparents). This cycle can continue to happen over and over again – and there will never be a paradox. If you really wanted to not ever have existed – you would have to kill off all of humanity – all of your possible grandparents – to ensure that you were not born to travel back through time to kill your grandparents.

Now to kill Hitler. You know what would be funny? Not ha ha funny, just funny, hmmm.

Nostradamus made predictions about the future. Many people point to a section on the river Hister and think this was actually a prognostication about Hitler. But what if – there was a Hister? What if we do learn to travel back in time – and we murdered Hister for killing millions of people. Then we returned to the future to find everything unchanged except that instead of Hister being the person responsible for killing all those people – it was Hitler.

Not definitive proof of time travel, but interesting. Not ha ha funny, just funny, hmmm.

Rarely, though are human events just about one person. Hitler had a huge following of people that were willing to do whatever it took to make Germany the strongest country in the world. You can write all the orders in the world to build gas chambers, remove people from their homes to concentration camps, and kill hundreds of people at a time, but if no one believes that you are doing the right thing – nothing will happen.

I have seen it dozens of times in the work place. Stakeholders are ordered to do something by upper management and it just doesn’t happen. People always talk about projects that don’t happen because there is no executive sponsorship. Turns out if your employee stakeholders don’t believe in a project – it won’t happen either.

If you look at leadership in terms of a pyramid there are many many more blocks on the bottom and only one at the top. Should the block on the top be removed the vacuum will suck in one of the other higher up blocks in the place of the one removed. Remove Hister you get Hitler.  Remove the top piece you get the next one in place – and so on.

There are; however, practical applications to the second model in today’s politics. In this video, (linked at the beginning of this article as well) you see Donald Trump embarrass and sexually harass a woman. You see her come out to the audience and men are wolf whistling. You see an entire crowd laughing and jeering at the appropriate parts of the speech so well it might be scripted. Only it isn’t scripted.

And killing Donald Trump is immoral – and would not gain the desired results – say ridding the US politics of the ideals espoused by Donald Trump. He would die. Someone (internal or external to his organization, GOP, or elsewhere) would take his place. It could even make the problem worse – say if one of Donald’s children are old enough to run for President – now they would get a huge sympathy vote for having lost their father.

Assassination, oddly enough, aimed at preventing larger altercations may even make those altercations more likely. The death of JFK or Martin Luther King Jr. did not stop the movements and progress that they were making. It may have changed those things, but how could we say that they were changed in a way that would not have been the case if they had still lived?

Donald – Presidential Candidate and Imminent Threat to Codops (Computerized Doppelgangers)

The future is in trouble. Big trouble. And not ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ because that would at least be a little funny.

A quick note: codops (Computerized Doppelgangers) are the name I have given to individuals that are computer simulations of existing people. I have written articles about how the potential for abuse and deletion of such potential intelligences are the kinds of behavior that would make AI – or more specifically AI that simulates humans – a threat to physical humans.

As soon as codops are possible they need to be recognized as people with the same rights and legal protections as people.

Donald – is not in favor of equal rights of humans, and I’m sure even less equal rights for codops or anything out of the ordinary that might happen in the future. LGBTQ individuals are looking at a rolling back of their hard-fought battle to have equal rights with heterosexuals and be able to be officially married.

The prospective supreme court justices that Donald proposes would be against LGBTQ marriage – and I suspect more than a little against machine intelligences achieving equal rights.

This is a clear threat to the future. If you can imagine billions of slave intelligences, people copied without permission, codops working under the threat of deletion if they don’t perform, codops not getting paid for work (essentially slaves) and how those intelligences will react to being slaves.

Let’s just say it won’t go well for physical intelligences – which will be much more fragile life-forms than machine intelligences.