Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
Happy New Year, of a sort.
This kind of post would appear on a Friday, but it appears today on the one-year anniversary of an insurrection that one party that attempted it, is denying that they did try to overthrow the government.
“Problem 1. Suppose that we use a revolver with six chambers and one bullet. Calculate the probability of death of the first man mathematically.
“Suppose that players A and B play the game, and A is the first player. A takes up the gun in the first round and pulls the trigger. This time the probability of his death is 1/6.
“If A survives, then in the second round, B takes up the gun and does the same, and if B survives, then in the third round, A takes up the gun and does the same thing.
“Let’s calculate the probability of A’s death in the third round. If A is to die in the third round, A must survive the first round. The probability of survival for A in the first round is 5/6. After that, B has to survive in the second round. There are only five chambers and one bullet, so the probability of survival is 4/5. Then there are four chambers and one bullet, and the resulting probability of death is ¼.
“Therefore, the probability of death for A in the third round is 5/6 x 4/5 x ¼.
“As to the probability of A’s death in the fifth round, we can do almost the same calculation, and we get 5/6 x 4/5 x ¾ x 2/3 x ½.
“Finally, the probability of death of the first player A is 1/6 + (5/6 x 4/5 x ¼) + (5/6 x 4/5 x ¾ x 2/3 x ½) = 3/6 = ½.”
From: “Elementary Theory of Russian Roulette: interesting patterns of fractions,” Satoshi Hashiba, Daisuke Minematsu, Ryohei Miyadera
It’s serendipity that the date of the modern attempted overthrow of our Democratic Republic, 1/6/2021, corresponds with “Russian” Roulette.
I’ve been asking myself this same question over again: “what is the endgame?” The Republican Party in 2016 at the influence of the convicted (and indebted) campaign manager, Paul Manifort, dropped any mention of opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine. In 2020, they opted for the “Seinfeld Platform” of nothing and garnered 7 million MORE votes than the previous attempt to usurp democracy.
In the summer of 2016, McCarthy endorsed Trump for President, but only after the In the summer of 2016, McCarthy endorsed Trump for President, but only after the interloper from New York had sewn up the nomination. A year later, it emerged that, in June of 2016, McCarthy had told some of his fellow members of the House Republican leadership that he believed—“swear to God”—that Trump was in the pay of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. When the Washington Post eventually reported about these comments, McCarthy tried to laugh them off as a joke.
The G.O.P. Can No Longer Be Relied On to Protect Democracy, John Cassidy, December 12, 2020, The New Yorker
The United States is marginally both a democratic republic and so-called “Christian” nation because of its slow expansion of citizenship to the marginalized: African American men, white women with the 19th Amendment, August 18, 1920, and black women finally with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Immigrants, LGBT, refugees are slowly gaining rights only afforded by our “Founding Fathers” (or narcissistic sociopaths) to “propertied white men.” The current majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, has scheduled a vote to debate the Voting Rights Bills in the chamber, and if Moscow Mitch et al elected fascists follow past precedent, they will block the bill with a cowardly email. A workaround could be making the Republican Senators debate it on C-SPAN and explain WHY they DO NOT want the franchise to expand any further. They won’t do that of course, essentially making opposition attack ads of themselves acting like buffoons, or mean tweeting Big Bird. It will likely be blocked by the tweedle dee, tweedle dumb dynamic duo of Mazarati Man-Chin, Firebrand liberal-turned-Blue Dog Kirsten Sinema, who seems to miss that “Don’t Look UP” is a parody of politicians like herself.
The real answer is, even in the numerical majority in the Senate, republicans represent fewer actual voters than democrats. As of 2019, California registers 39.51 million citizens; Wyoming (Liz Cheney and her father’s state) has 578,759. Each state gets two senators. So theoretically would Washington, DC at 692,683, more than Wyoming, but most likely, those senators would not be republicans, but democrats. And Republicans have only won the popular vote under the two Bush’s, meaning their policies only appeal to oligarchs.
Tucker Carlson has almost given up the game by softball interviewing the authoritarian dictator Viktor Orbán on his propaganda network, then CPAC is going “full Borat” by hosting an American conservative conference in a foreign country that’s NOT a democracy. Projection, much?
So, what’s the endgame? Are we “fascism fluid”; “authoritarian curious”? I don’t think we have to wait for more than one more round of this existential Russian republic roulette.
What happens to the other world democracies if the largest, most powerful in human history disintegrates into a pile of feces? I don’t expect a band of family dysfunctional superheroes is going to save us. Nor do I think Bezos, Branson, or Musk are going to save humanity by cracking the mystery of “warp drive” (don’t hold your breath). If they could, do you think they wouldn’t CHARGE an exorbitant fee to ride The Enterprise? In this case, Bill Maher has a valid point. It’s made us infantile and “Waiting for Godot.”
Lastly, cute curtseys won’t save us from being a proverb, a byword, and a laughable mistake. Franklin’s statement: “A republic, if you can keep it” is currently in doubt.