Thursday, September 24, 2009

Universe of Wing-Nuts or the art of politics absurdum.

Ignoring punctuation, spacing, and capitalization, a monkey typing letters uniformly at random has a chance of one in 26 of correctly typing the first letter of Hamlet. It has a chance of one in 676 (26 × 26) of typing the first two letters. Because the probability shrinks exponentially at 20 letters it already has only a chance of one in 2620 = 19,928,148,895,209,409,152,340,197,376 (almost 2 × 10^28). In the case of the entire text of Hamlet, the probabilities are so vanishingly small they can barely be conceived in human terms. The text of Hamlet contains approximately 130,000 letters. Thus there is a probability of one in 3.4 × 10^183,946 to get the text right at the first trial. The average number of letters that needs to be typed until the text appears is also 3.4 × 10^183,946 or including punctuation, 4.4 × 10^360,783.

Even if the observable universe were filled with monkeys typing for all time, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be less than one in 10^183,800. That is 10 with 183,800 zeros! In other words, it is impossible!

What does this mean to this particular blog entry, except for instant glazing of ones eyes or an intense math headache? My point is that the number of Tea-Baggers present at some of the protest marches- whether these numbers are artificially inflated or not- is really not a relevant issue. No matter how many of them there are, or how many of them they claim there are, they still contribute just as much constructive dialog to the political discourse as a universe of monkeys banging out Shakespeare. So why are they in the political picture at all? Why is a large portion of the health care reform centered on refuting these crazy rumors and outright lies? As soon as the momentum of one rumor gets dispelled, another one pops up to take its place.

Well, in spite of the up front, easy targets of the tea-baggers with their misspelled signs and toothless smiles, the true power brokers of the Washington inner beltway are shrewd, very intelligent, and quite capable of putting together a sophisticated strategy for keeping the status quo. There are very large sums of money at stake based on the outcome of this reform and it has been beaten off several times in the past.

Don’t think that is a possibility? Let me give an example -

The tobacco industry sells a product that has been known to be deadly poison, killing hundreds of thousands of people a year. The death toll is way beyond what is produced by the illicit drugs sold in this country. The country has been involved in a “Drug War” for decades while a greater poison is sold over the counter at grocery stores. The toxicity of cigarettes has been known for 60 years based on early studies and internal memos discovered and published by the very same tobacco companies. So why has it been so long to get any thing done about it? A substantial reason is that the Tobacco Industry has employed some of the best strategists and political lobbyists in the nation. Think about it. Your product is a deadly poison, a killer, yet year after year you have been able to dodge, squirm, compromise, and subvert the laws to stop selling it. A faulty kid toy causes 2 deaths and the product is pulled off the shelves immediately with the toy company facing dire consequences. But tobacco, after 60 years, only has to put warnings on the side packaging. Paying the states for health and education money is just passed on by making the price of the product so high. What is the difference? Lobbyists and a well conceived strategy.

Getting back to the health care reforms, in my opinion, and I may be crazy in my thinking, is that the Tea-baggers, the Town-hall bezerkers, etc could just be a manipulated strategy to divert the public's attention from the real “behind the scenes” strategy of stifling the real reform in the health bill, adding so many amendments and resolutions while any organized grassroots protests against removing specific items such as the Public Option can be lumped together with the “Crazy Protesters” that the public is getting weary of. All it would take is a very small percentage of media wingnuts to lead in the disinformation, repeating it day after day to implement this idea.

This prevents any legitimate protests from reaching strength enough to force the politicians that are straddling the fence to make a decision for change. Sort of a divide, delay and conquer strategy of discourse.

Then a health care bill could be passed that is so watered down and full of concessions that the general public could be in worse shape than before the whole thing started. This administration would catch the full blunt force of the public's repercussions for this fiasco. The whole Republican campaign strategy for the next election could be based on the "failure" of Obama's health bill. A failure that the Republicans created themselves behind the scenes.

Nahhh, probably just getting paranoid and curmudgeon-like in my old age. Well at least I am not mowing the lawn in shorts, black socks, and sandals.......yet.

The solution for the statistics of the infinite monkey problem as described in the first paragraph is not by me and has been used in several texts before although I do not know the originator. I apologize for that to whomever in advance. It probably was written by that sadist math professor I had in my Junior year.

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