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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fixing Scotland's Cultural Cringe

  Just been looking through Carol Craig's book The Scots Crisis of Confidence. She says that the Scots tradition of equality, a fine thing when it is equality of opportunity as it used to be ( "The rank is but the guinea's stamp, The Man's the gowd for a' that"), has become a lack of respect for individuality and a stultifying culture of conformity, which is inevitable when we redefine equality to mean "equality of outcome".

   The Enterprise section is introduced with an old Russian joke - Peasant Ivan is jealous of Boris because Boris has a goat and he doesn't. Fairy gives him a single wish for whatever he wants which, rather than anything for himself, is that "Boris' goat should drop dead".

     Now that is something socialists often approve of and indeed have occasionally actually said - they would rather see the poor stay poor as long as the rich don't get richer.

     While in theory Scots should be reasonably good at starting businesses in fact we are at half the level of similar small nations. What the book finds is not merely that Scots in Scotland have a very low TEA (Total Enterprise Activity, sorry)  of 3.9 as opposed to 12.7 for English but that when we go abroad we develop a very high rate. People of Scots ancestry in the US makes up 1.7% of the population but 9.3% of millionaires! The Scots figure there is also 3 times better than that of English ancestry. Scots also have a higher rate of references to scientific papers (the best measure of real scientific achievement rather than just publishing to keep the numbers up) per capita than any other country with the possible exception of Switzerland.

      Putting all that together it is not a problem of our personal culture but must be one of the national culture.

      That is to say we are being stifled by the useless bunch of parasitic big statists numpties, of all parties, that make up our political class.

       Pretty much what I have been saying for a while but good to have some evidence that seems impossible to interpret any other way.

       So we have a particular problem to fix - produce a national culture where we do not feel under pressure to stifle our proven individual abilities. In the long term hanging everybody in Holyrood using the intestines of every civil service manager would be beneficial. Everybody interested in improving the country should start thinking of others. Our culture is not going to reverse itself quickly and there are doubtless many individual actions that would help.

      However inculcating a spirit of enterprise or indeed hard work can be done by rewarding it.. The traditionally successful way of encouraging anything [dependency, dishonesty, scare stories, aggression and entrepreneurism] is to reward it. So lets reduce income tax in Scotland by the 3p of the Tartan Tax.

      The whole thesis of Scotland's automatic cultural cringe is proven by the fact that that though Westminster gave us the power to do this and though it would certainly have a strongly positive economic effect, as well as the cultural effect I refer to today, no party in Holyrood, neither the one that pretends to believe in free markets nor the one that pretends to want to use powers England denies us to improve the economy, has dared to suggest that we cut income tax*. This despite that they are all quite certain that they have more than twice that much money spare than the £1 billion a year that would cost, to blow on windmills, cycle paths and teaching van drivers to drive slowly. Only if Boris was on the dole and paying no income tax would he believe that it is better to blow billions on windmills than to cut income tax - if he had any sort of job he would behave smarter and more constructively than the average Holyrood politician.
      Which is why it should be a major policy of any true progressive in Scots politics.

*To be fair to the LudDims they did come out for cutting a penny (without saying where it would come from so clearly just a PR stunt) and thereby caused the budget of the minority SNP to fall. To continue being fair they, on seeing it work they immediately dropped the policy and obediently put through the budget.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

More of My E-Petitions


The government propose spending £400 million on a new barracks in Scotland.
Keetwonen is the name of the biggest container city in the world. Living in a converted shipping container was a new concept in the Netherlands when launched, but the city of Amsterdam took the courageous step to contract to go and realise it. It turned out to be a big success among students in Amsterdam and it is now the second most popular student dormitory offered by the student housing corporation
These converted containers are publicly advertised at £2500 each housing 4 or 2 with a separate room.
With 3,000 units lets, very pessimistically, double it for shipping costs and getting it on site.
Lets add 50% for the related facilities.
£22.5 million as against £400 million
Ask ordinary soldiers if the Keetwonen facilities are as good as, or better than normal barracks. Let Parliament debate whether spending £400 million or £22.5 million is better.

22/9, 28/10, 18/11 ORION NUCLEAR PULSE SPACE ROCKET - 10,000 tons to orbit, "Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970"

The Orion nuclear pulse rocket was first proposed in the early 1960s. It would have been able to put 10,000 tons of material in orbit at a tiny fraction of the cost of the Shuttle. Their motto was "Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970". British born Freeman Dyson, who worked on it as a young man and is now arguably the greatest living physicist has confirmed it would still work.
It was costed then at $100 million annually for 12 years. With inflation now £450 million annually. We now spend this on the NERC quango annually (one of several whose main function is "raising awareness" of "catastrophic global warming"). The ideal launch site is South Georgia or one of the South Sandwich Islands, British territory. This is because they are not only thousands of miles from inhabited land but the wind pattern, eastward round and round Antarctica, would mean radiation release anywhere inhabited would be less than 1,000th of natural background radiation.

22/9 m 26/9, 28/10, 18/11,21/11 ABOLISH THE HEALTH AND SAFETY BUREAUCRACY

Economist's Rule of Thumb is that government inspectors cost the industries inspected 20 times as much as they cost the government to employ them. Thus the 200,000 assorted "safety" inspectors destroy the productive work of 4 million workers or about 1/7th of the workforce. We all know of deaths that happened because the HandS people wouldn't allow rescues. Beyond that the strongest correlation with safety is national income. Each 1% increase in national wealth saves 21 lives per 100,000 people. So even in its own terms the HandS organisation kill about 1,000 times more people than they save.

Rejected because "E-petitions cannot be used to request action on issues that are outside the responsibility of the government. This includes:
party political material

commercial endorsements including the promotion of any product, service or publication

issues that are dealt with by devolved bodies, eg The Scottish Parliament

correspondence on personal issues "

I can only assume this is saying that the "Health and Safety" regulations are entirely "outside the responsibility of government" ie entirely the responsibility of the sovereihn power - the EU.

Rejected again - interestingly for the entirely different reason that petitions are rejected if they "contain offensive, joke or nonsense content

use language which may cause offence, is provocative or extreme in its views

use wording that is impossible to understand

include statements that amount to advertisements"

Rejecterd again for the same alleged reason.
"I must ask you to state which particular part of the epetition is a joke, incomprehensible, an advertisement or alternately why any reduction in government regulation is considered too erxtreme for the public to be allowed to consider it?"


The Norwegians have cut hundreds of kilometres of tunnels at 4m per km yet London's Crossrail, which not much more than 26 miles of tunnel is costed at 16 bn. Richard Rogers is on record as saying that of the #670 million the Millenium Dome cost only 46 million was spent building it. Our railways are far more expensive than continental ones because the infrastructure building and repair costs many times more. There are 2 possible explanations - incompetence and corruption. If there are more perhaps someone could say. Either way Parliament should be able to debate it and provide an answer. This is, historically, what they exist for.


We call on Parliament to debate getting an internationally respected firm of independent accountants to calculate a cost benefit analysis of our membership of the EU. This has meny times been proposed but for unknown reasons been rejected by governments of all parties. By producing actual facts it would make the EU debate more reasoned and less argumentative, which all sides should wish.

Rejected becuase this petition covers it. Please sign it.

Parliament should debate the rountine refusal of the e-petition site to process various petitions, without notification, or to reject them as being "party political material or commercial endorsements" when they neither endorse anything commercial nor are taken from any party material let alone referring to any party and arguably, as in the petition about the censorship of the acknowledged murder of 210 unarmed civilians at Dragodan by our police, do not even refer to anything any UK political party is even willing to discuss, let alone have a policy on.


This was proposed in the series Yes Minister in the 1970s. Parliament should at least get the opportunity to say why not ---------"He proposes that every council official responsible for a new project would have to list the criteria for failure before he's given the go ahead.

I didn't grasp the implications of this at first. But I've discussed it with Annie & she tells me it's what's called the "scientific method.  I've never really come across that before since my early training was in sociology & economics. But "the scientific method" apparently means that you first establish a method of measuring the success or failure of an experiment. A proposal would have to say: "The scheme will be a failure if it takes longer than this" or "costs more than that" or "employs more staff than these" or "fails to meet those pre-set performance standards!.

Fantastic. We'll get going on this right away. he only thing is, I can't understand why this hasn't been done before."

Rejected because it "contain offensive, joke or nonsense content

use language which may cause offence, is provocative or extreme in its views

use wording that is impossible to understand

include statements that amount to advertisements "


  The Israelis and Americans developed this mobile laser system. In November 4, 2002, THEL shot down an incoming artillery shell. A mobile version has completed successful testing. During a test conducted on August 24, 2004 the system successfully shot down multiple mortar rounds. Anything that can do that can do the same against aircraft which are larger, far more expensive and slower moving. Armed forces with lots of aircraft have been understandably unwilling to make extensive use of a weapon that makes them obsolete, but obsolete they are. At "$3000 per kill" they are clearly far better value than the Eurofighter at $20 billion for 232 planes and available immediately off the shelf. Unfortunately British military procurers have a long record of paying billions for the development of weapon systems when cheaper alternatives are already available off the shelf. It is proposed Parliament should debate making the purchase of such weapons a top priority.

The BBC's Charter requires that their reporting show "balance". Parliament should debate whether the BBC' has breached their Charter. For example giving more coverage to deaths in the Gaza war than the 1,800 civilians killed by being dissected to have their body parts sold, by our policemen in Kosovo. Equally we have the BBC deciding that anybody doubting that we are experiencing catastrophic global warming should almost never be reported because they allege their is a consensus the other way, though the BBC have repeatedly refused to name a single scientist anywhere in the world, from the majority not employed by the state, who supports their alleged consensus. Closer to home we have the BBC giving 40 times more coverage to 1 political party, almost entirely supportive, per vote received than to another, almost entirely opposed. Parliament should therefore debate when the BBC broke their Charter and how they could best repay the licence fee vitiated by that breach.


A 24 point proposal has been made to get out of recession within days and into fast growth - see here Not MP has been willing to say that even one of these proposals would not work

let alone all 24. Politicians of all parties  seem resigned to at least 6 more years of recession and claim not to know of any way to achieve growth (while the rest of the world continues with 5% annual growth & China & India with 10%). They should, at least, be willing to debate such an option and say why they reject it.  Since the programme involves cutting parasitic government spending, regualyion and controls of our lives and dropping the Luddism all parties are adicted to it is understandable they do not want to. However the public has a right to know if they have any non-self serving reasons to reject a growing economy.

  Here are another batch of E-Petitions I have put on the government's site. This links to the full run of them. Please sign any you agree with. We don't get that many chances to have even a tiny influence on government.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big Engineering 47 Expanding Cities Downwards

  This proposal has been made for expanding Amsterdam downwards but presumably could apply to any city built on clay soil rather than rock, which certainly includes London and probably most of those built on river estuaries, which is most of them.
Architect Moshé Zwarts says ""There has always been a lack of space in the city, so what we are doing is building a city under the city by using a new construction technique, which will not interfere with street traffic."- by draining and then building under the canals....

The engineers say it is doable. "It is both feasible and sustainable, creating a city beneath the city is not futuristic, it is a necessity in this day and age." Zwarts says the geology is great for this. "Amsterdam sits on a 30-metre layer of waterproof clay which will be used together with concrete and sand to make new walls. Once we have resealed the canal floor, we will be able to carry on working underneath while pouring water back into the canals. It's an easy technique and it doesn't create issues with drilling noises on the streets."

 The "environmentalists " agree it is feasible and are against it so that is a strong strike in its favour.
"This scheme and its underlying drivers, fly in the face of every responsible principle of sustainability and current trends. The architects also claim that the proposal is CO2 neutral but when questioned by WAN, Professor Zwarts acknowledged that his calculations omitted the carbon generated by construction, which in a mammoth scheme like would take many decades to recoup, if ever.....That this project is technically achievable is not in doubt, but that does not justify its flawed concept."

   It is unlikely that this will, currently, be worthwhile in smaller cities since it depends on a lack of affordable land for it to be economic. It fits Professor John McCarthy's suggestion that the problems of car parking can be solved by providing virtually unlimited parking spaces under the roads. and with the general improvement in technology of tunnelling.

   The problem for Britain is that our engineering costs are dwarfed, around eightfold, by governmental bureaucracy costs. For this reason the cost of public projects has gone up 4% above the rate of inflation annually for 52 years, for reasons which no civil servant can, officially, explain.
    Another example I recently found out about is the Thames Tunnel, a 34km sewage outflow tunnel (which is why it doesn't get discussed) from London which is costing £3.6 billion. This is £105 per km for something the Norwegians are doing at £4 m per km - probably it is reasonable that, cutting under London, it might cost more than in Norway but 26 times! .
    However this is simply bureaucracy costs and could be ended at any time the political will is there. The engineering is clearly "doable".
 PS I found this idea through this list of 10 megaprojects of which 10,9,6,4   are "renewable" based rather than economic, 8,5,2 & 1 are a close to things I have proposed, this is 7. ~3 - using genetically modified coral to save Venice and build in the sea is cool.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2 Space Items

  Both from The Register, which for reliable news comes ahead of anything from the dead tree press or main broadcasters. 

A Date For Humanity's Diary
NASA has announced that - all being well - the first mission to the International Space Station by a privately built and operated spacecraft will lift off on February 7. The craft will be a Dragon capsule launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket, both made and handled by techbiz visionary Elon Musk's new company SpaceX.

  We really can be that close to a commercial space Singularity.
The term "technological singularity" was originally coined by Vernor Vinge, who made an analogy between the breakdown in our ability to predict what would happen after the development of superintelligence and the breakdown of the predictive ability of modern physics at the space-time singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole. Some writers use "the singularity" in a broader way to refer to any radical changes in our society brought about by new technologies
    That and Presidential front runner Newt Gingrich proudly defending his support of space industrialisation from a disingenuous attack by Romney on a national, TV debate  (Romney must note that Newt supports X-Prizes not the conventional and wasteful funding of NASA.) 
    Can anybody imagine any main party leader showing such vision and commitment in a party debate here. To be fair John Redwood has written in favour of space and I can well imagine UKIP doing so, but they haven't yet.

Mars Goldilocks Zone May be Larger Than Earth's
A group of Australian scientists have created a “whole of planet” model that suggests large parts of Mars are capable of supporting life – as long as it doesn’t mind living underground.
Instead of the piecemeal approach followed by most astrobiologists – which, it must be said, is fair enough since the various probes sent to the Red Planet have only sampled tiny areas – the Australian National University team led by Dr Charlie Lineweaver sought to compare what’s known about the whole planet to Earth’s environment.
They focused on two characteristics, comparing the temperature and pressure conditions here to those likely to exist on Mars. Their estimate comes up with a surprise: while only one percent of Earth’s entire volume falls under the heading “habitable”, Mars beats us at three percent.

  I would never have thought of this but in retrospect it is obvious that Mars, with a lower gravity will have a much lower pressure gradient. This doesn't mean anything but microbes and may not mean that since an input of some highly organised form of power (ie light) seems necessary for energy using life. But if life is at all common across the universe it will be there. The options are that it is life related to us - ie that either light pressure or meteors brought it from one planet to the other; that it is life unrelated to us - it is conceivable that life only developed once in the universe but not only twice; that it isn't there - which makes life anywhere else that much less likely; or the not thought of yet option.

   Whatever , if this isn't worth orders of magnitude more than anything we could get from Afghanistan there isn't intelligent life on Earth.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Salmond and the Eco-Nazi Traitors Stealing Another £11 Billion

  There has been a certain amount of negative reporting of a recent Audit Scotland report saying that Alex Salmond's programme of cutting CO2 production will cost £11 billion over the next 8 years.

   Personally I was surprised it could be so low and checked the report which says
The Climate Audit did not consider renewable energy (or a few other things - Appendix 1 p15)
    So this £11 billion £1.4 bn annually) is in addition to the +£1 bn a year poured into windmill subsidies or the several billion caused by the fact that electricity costs could be only 7% of what they are, or the fact that we are only in recession because of this Luddite thievery.
    Since this isn't about the basic production of energy we are simply dealing with Lagging housing and producing more expensive building standards - £4.5-4.8 billion

   Transport policies - £3.8 billion - including getting buses and taxis to reduce their emissions at £1.1 bn - putting £1.1 bn into "cycling and walking infrastructure" (all p 11 # 40)  - there is also £6 million going to train van drivers to drive using less fuel! (p12 #46)

    Obviously this is complete nonsense which will not achieve anything significant, compared to the cost. If people wanted houses which cost several hundred thousand extra to build but cut power bills by 20% the market would produce them without subsidy. If van drivers wanted to drive slowly and cautiously they would not need a government parasite to tell them it could be done.

    On the other hand it will give ever more money for thieving parasitic traitors like Salmond to hand out /split with his cronies.

    I previously suggested that instead of subsidising windmills that £1 billion could be put into cutting income tax by 3p. Well that goes in spades for this nonsense. Does anybody believe that we would be out of recession if we cut income tax by 3p, cut corporatio9n tax by 50% (or offered rebates for 50% which gets round the fact that CT is officially still a Westminster matter) and cut business rates by half - each one costing £1 billion. Those 3 together would cost £3 billion - possibly marginally above the subsidies discussed but certainly lower than the subsidies plus even a tiny increase in the revenues from a tax base growing because of it (as described in the Laffer Curve).

   Let us not, under any circumstances whatsoever, accept any claims from the SNP that there is any real problem with such cuts when they are wasting and stealing from us like this. Let us not under any circumstances accept that any politician who supports this and claims to be against "cuts in essential services to the poor" is ever in the remotest degree honest or cares is the tiniest degree about the poor as they steal billions form us.

a thieving fascist traitor gives us a sign

   While we are at it here is Hondurus going for an idea I suggested for Islay years ago and more generally here, which could also get us a spare £6 billion annually, should that be desired.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Trams "Fixed Price Contract" Promise Is Just What We Expect from Our Political Classes

20 May 2008
City of Edinburgh council and tram project promoter Transport Initiatives Edinburgh announced on May 14 that contracts worth £512m had been placed for the 18·5 km tram network being developed in the Scottish capital.

The BBS consortium of Bilfinger Berger and Siemens has a €350m (£299m) fixed-price construction contract, under which consortium leader Bilfinger Berger will be responsible for civil works valued at €190m ((£162m) while electrical and mechanical equipment will be supplied by Siemens.
Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF was formally awarded the €170m (£145m) contract to supply and maintain 27 trams.
The first tracks are expected to be laid by September, and opening of the line from the airport through the city centre to Newhaven is planned for mid-2011, with Transdev as operator.

And then

2 September 2011

Councillors in Edinburgh have voted to rescue plans to build a tram line into the city, which could eventually cost £1bn.
Eight days after residents were told the council had voted to stop the trams two miles short of the city centre, it agreed by a majority to reinstate the longer route at an emergency meeting on Friday....

Bungled decisions and setbacks have increased the project's official costs from £520m in 2008 to the latest figure of £776m. The new line to St Andrew's Square in the New Town will cost the city about £86m per mile, but that figure too is expected to rise.
Although officials hope to strike a more competitive deal with the contractors or get more government funding, the city will have to borrow up to £231m to build the extra section of line.
The costs of that loan over the next 30 years would push the total figure beyond £1bn.
That money will be spent on building a line that will still end eight stops short of the destination agreed in 2008
 There has been little public discus ion of the officially annou8nced "fixed price2 nature of the contract. Was it always a total and deliberate lie ot did TIE deliberately vitiate that contract by adding to it. I suspect the latter. Either way some group of civil servants, possibly also councillors and MSPs, engaged in deliberate financial fraud on a a massive scale ripping us off for hundreds of millions of pounds.

Yet so corrupt is Scotland's political class that not only is there no prospect of any of the thieves going to jail; not only is there no prospect of any of the thieves even being fired; but there is no prospect of any Scottish "journalist" reporting what happened.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recent Links

  Admitted that there have been 1,500 accidents and 4 deaths in British windfarms over the last 5 years. That is 4 more than at Fukushima ; twice as many as have happened, worldwide, over the last 20 years, in the nuclear industry; 8% of all the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, which is worse than even the theoretically worst accident possible with modern reactor designs. On the other hand it is only 12% of the deaths in the recent outbreak of e-colli in a German organic farm.

  That is why every remotely honest broadcaster and newspaper gives hundreds of times more space to stories about windfarms being dangerous than nuclear reactors, and thousands more to organic farms. But only every singer honest one.
  And talking of wholly corrupt Fascist broadcasters Christopher Booker has done well researched and footnoted report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation showing how corrupt the BBC is.

   Not reported by the BBC
 Anthony Jay creator of Yes Minister (mentioned many times by me) has also damned the BBC and explained how they censor and lie without technically lying.  "If you believe in a free country and a free press, why do we have a state broadcasting system at all?’ he said.
We were masters of the techniques of promoting our point of view under the cloak of impartiality. The simplest was to hold a discussion between a fluent and persuasive proponent of the view you favoured, and a humourless bigot representing the other side. With a big story, like shale gas for example, you would choose the aspect where your case was strongest: the dangers of subsidence and water pollution, say, rather than the transformation of Britain’s energy supplies and the abandonment of wind farms and nuclear power stations. And you could have a ‘balanced’ summary with the view you favoured coming last: not “the opposition claim that this will just make the rich richer, but the government point out that it will create 10,000 new jobs” but “the government claim it will create 10,000 new jobs, but the opposition point out that it will just make the rich richer.” It is the last thought that stays in the mind. It is curiously satisfying to find all these techniques still being regularly used forty seven years after I left the BBC.
  Cameron says of the refusal to sign the new EU treaty "It is not easy when you are in a room where people are pressing you to sign up to things because they say it is in all our interests....‘I cannot do that, it is not in our national interest, I don't want to put that in front of my parliament ” which shows that, ignoring his claims to acting out of principle, that he knows he couldn't get his party top vote it through. Had half his backbenchers not voted for a referendum he would not have done that. Had over 100,000 people not signed the e-petition producing that debate and many thousands of individuals not written/emailed/phoned their MPs to get them to stand up and had all the Tory MPs not known that UKIP were able to pick up thousands of votes in their constituencies that rebellion would not have succeeded.

   Occasionally, even in our "democracy", ordinary citizens can have an effect.

The Euro default is not so new, nor the nor so much the end of the world, nor need it be stopped by a common currency.

WSJ article on the 1841 default by 8 American states. It did reduce the creditworthiness of all state governments but the US (and British banks who had put up most of the money) survived it.
Spiked on how Scotland's "anti-sectarian" law is simply an attack on both freedom of speech  and the football loving working classes by Scotland's unconnected political elite.
More fraud by global warming alarmists - this time to fake a rise in sea level.
In 2003 the satellite altimetry record was mysteriously tilted upwards to imply a sudden sea level rise rate of 2.3mm per year. When I criticised this dishonest adjustment at a global warming conference in Moscow, a British member of the IPCC delegation admitted in public the reason for this new calibration: ‘We had to do so, otherwise there would be no trend.’

  LudDims boasting of how donations have risen from "£571,715 in the third quarter of 2006" to "£1,199,623 between July and September this year".

  Perhaps this is because of some unnoticed great rise in the party's real popularity, or because the economy is growing so well that people have more money to give away. If not the only other explanation I can think of it that at least half of all donations to parties are because the donors are buying access to those in power and the LudDims, hated as they now are, didn't have a sniff of power before. I don't like the idea of parties being funded by government on the basis of the votes they get. On the other hand I much less like the idea of them being funded by businesses, lobbyists and individuals buying the friendship of lawmakers. I love to hear of a 3rd option.

  American Democrat party strategy seems to be fixed on getting the votes of the non-employed and the civil servant class, having lost a majority of the workers and just geting to get out the loyal vote. In Britain the "workers party" seems equally intent on ignoring the remaining workers, on the other hand so do the Tories, particularly in Scotland. Call it forward to basics.
Will the president hold sufficient support among communities of color, educated whites, Millennials, single women, and seculars and avoid a catastrophic meltdown among white working-class voters?

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