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Following are contributions from others submitted to Hard Left Turn for publication:


POSTED 5/8/2017

   Number Games

   By Leo Cohen


On May 2nd the primary elections were held in the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina to select candidates for the June 20th election of the Congressional representative to replace three-term Republican, Mick Mulvaney, who was confirmed as Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The Democratic Party made a selection. The Republican Party reduced its candidates to two who will be facing each other in a primary runoff on May 16th. Even before the runoff primary and well in advance of the election itself Hard Left Turn received a preview of the June 20th outcome from one of its European correspondents.

The June 20th 5th Congressional District of South Carolina special election for the U.S. House of Representatives produced a clear result. Republican Party candidate Tommy Pope, the State House Speaker Pro-tem, received 57% of the vote, defeating the Democratic Party candidate Archie Parnell who received 53% of the vote. President Trump called Tommy Pope to congratulate him with his election, saying that the win was almost as great as his own over Hillary Clinton. The election had been called to replace the now director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, who had represented the SC 5th District for three terms.


The New York Times, which had covered the election closely, noted that the total vote of 110% was an unusual outcome requiring explanation. In response to inquiries from reporters from the newspaper a spokesman for Mark Hammond, the South Carolina Secretary of State, said that the New York Times should not lose site of the fact that politics in America was moving in new directions and that the electorate was uninterested in “wasteful” not interested in investigations into trivial points of arithmetic.


Other observers of the election have been struck by the peculiar outcome as well and have been consulting experts to obtain clarification. Brian Dijman, head of the University of North Dakota Department of Social Mathematics, was one of the pundits willing to be interviewed. He pointed out that numerical shifts are increasingly more commonplace. He could see precursors in sports.


He noted that American football, for example, had a complex system of rewarding points to various actions – safeties, field goals and touchdowns – whereas its historically older world-wide counterpart, soccer, awarded only single points for the only scoring possibility, goals. In basketball, he noted, a shift in counting points had been introduced: adding the three-point field goal, which previously had been worth only two points.


Political scientist George Cooley from the University of Wyoming said that there were indeed indications of major changes in measuring magnitudes in politics. He pointed to the “landslide” popular-vote victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, where a minority vote had become a majority vote and that 51% in a Turkish referendum was being perceived as 99%.


Jillian Magnum of the Modern Culture Department of Clarkson College in Nebraska said that the science of arithmetic in the 21st century was undergoing a transformation such as the one seen earlier in the field of linguistics. “Arithmeticians are restraining themselves from telling people how to work with numbers,” she explained, “but are concentrating more on noting how people are working with them. They’ve become more like behavioral scientists. Linguists, who were seen in the 19th century as the grammarian keepers of correct speech are now much more focused on recording language usage. This is a fundamental movement from prescription to description in science and reflects devolvement of regulatory power in response to populist pressures.” She noted that emergence of the new field of “social mathematics” was an example of this trend.



John Fahrming, professor of Philosophy of Science at the Boise State University in Idaho expressed outrage over South Carolina’s 5th District election results, saying mournfully that this was one more illustration of “post-truth” modernism.


Earlier today White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, acting on behalf of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, released preliminary 2020 census results for the western states of the United States. Wyoming counted 1,301,279 inhabitants, showing a population increase of 110%; the populations of the Dakotas increased by roughly 190%, and even larger gains in population were shown for Montana, Idaho and Utah. Nevada, Oregon and Washington showed declines in population from 6% to 12%. The findings for the California population showed a staggering decrease of 30.3%, a population reduction of roughly 10 million people. Conspicuously absent at the presentation was the Census Bureau’s director, statistician John H. Thompson.


At the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that President Trump had been heartened by the population figures. The President, he said, saw the count as support for his policies. “Increasing numbers of people are leaving bad, Democratic strongholds and are emigrating to Republican states.” According to Spicer, this augured well for the president’s reelection in 2020. Questions about real-estate investments by the President and his family in the population gain states were dismissed as outlandish.


Governor Jerry Brown of California expressed surprise at the finding of a phenomenal population decline for his state, saying that he was under the impression that the state’s population had been increasing. “If the findings are true,” he noted wryly, “we will have less reason to be concerned about the loss of federal funding for our environmental projects.”


Elizabeth Williamson, chair of the University of Utah’s Department of Demographics, was asked if she could confirm the figures. She said she had not been able to do so yet. She said that she was on her way to her university office to check the figures, but had become ensnarled in a sudden and unusual traffic jam paralyzing the Salt Lake region. However, she said that she did see many cars with California state license plates.


Closing note - It has been assumed by quite a few people, most likely incorrectly, that Donald Trump has strongly-held anti-transcendental views, views opposing the idea that there is a spiritual or non-physical realm. There had been fears that because of this his election to President of the United States could have an impact on transcendental values. There have to date, however, been no changes observed in π nor in e and research is still ongoing with regard to the Champerowne constant and the Liouville numbers. None of the mathematicians we have consulted expressed concern.


 POSTED 4/2/2016

    Belgium Poppies

    By Judy Catterton


   Do poppies still grow

   in Flanders Field, I wonder,

   red remembrance of men

   buried under crosses row on row

   men killed in a war to end all war?


   Do they blow like the poppies

   sown and crushed in Afghan

   farmers’ fields, grown

   as opiates to help us forget?


   We’ve been here before,

   never really left our old

   tribal hatred, only

   harnessed new ways to kill.


  Gone the gas and agent orange,

   replaced by IEDs, drones

   and suicide vests.

   Gone are gooks, krauts, and japs,

   replaced by rag heads

   and camel jockeys.


   Some talk of spying on fellow citizens

   and closing borders to fleeing children,

   othering, a new word emerges,

   but no new word for death

   no new word for war

   no new word for innocents.


   Do we still ask

   Where have all the flowers gone

   when lying on the Brussels pavement

   they don’t remove the stain of blood?


   When will we ever learn?

   From poppies to remember

   poppies to forget.


POSTED 10/20/2015


      By Judy “Poetry HOund” Catterton


  • I listen to the radio announcer say the next show

    would explore the problem of the transgendered

    in public bathrooms.  


    I think, people can carry a concealed weapon into a toilet

    but not a concealed penis.


    I marvel at the hubbub over a dead lion

    when 9 children are slaughtered every day by gun violence,


    I wonder why we struggle to fix unemployment

    when decrepit bridges and roads need fixing.


    I question those who are both pro-life and pro death penalty.

    Isn’t the opposite of planned parenthood random parenthood?


    I suffer when16 million American kids are hungry everyday

    and Congress cuts food benefits.   SNAP!


    And then there’s clean coal,

    what the Hell is that?

POSTED 7/31/2015

     Lamenting Cecil

     By Lucas Beck*


While the death of this magnificent and charismatic animal is tragic, I have been disappointed by the coverage of this incident in the media.  Lions, tigers, grizzly bears and countless other species are imperiled, and we are all culpable. The death of this single animal is far less of a threat to an imperiled species than the dwindling resources allocated to federal and state conservation agencies, our continued prioritization of the profit of fossil fuels over the long-term sustainability of our society, and our refusal to allocate resources where they are needed, rather than simply using more. While the death of a lion is saddening to me, and if any laws were broken Palmer should be prosecuted, I am afraid that Cecil's death is being used to release the guilt that many of us feel about the state of our planet's natural heritage, rather than directing us to look in the mirror at the ways that we as individuals and a society threaten wildlife and the ecosystems upon which they and the rest of us depend.


 *  Lucas Beck is the 19-year-old son of Larry Beck and a sophomore at the University of Vermont.



 POSTED 5/13/15


    This I Believe

    By Lucas Beck*


I believe I am lucky and that I am guilty. I am lucky, as I am benefiting from a system that benefits very few. When I do not have a roof over my head, it is because I wish to see the stars, not because I have no shelter against the wind. When I have little to eat, it is because I chose to feel how simply I can live, not because no more has been given to me. I always have enough water, and it is always clean. I am lucky.


I have been born into a privilege that either no one or everyone deserves. It is privilege not of my own making.


I am guilty because my privilege is not free. It is paid for by others. People paid for my privilege, when they showed people like me, with pale skin and light eyes, how to farm this land only to be killed with cold steel, hot lead and invisible germs belonging to the people like me. The land I will own was taken from their dead hands. I am guilty because the man who grows my food has to worry about feeding his children. I am guilty because I will have excesses while others who work harder, who perform more essential tasks, who bear more pain, will struggle for necessities, and many will lose that struggle. I am guilty because by virtue of my lifestyle, or rather lack thereof, I am sending others back to the earth early, even as I break every life supporting system on this planet simply to support my excesses not their needs. I am guilty.


            *  Lucas Beck is the 19-year-old son of Larry Beck and a sophomore at the University of Vermont.



POSTED 12/10/2014


     Separate and Unequal (written after Thom Ward)

     By Judy Catterton


     Justice is a copper penny clanging in a tin cup.

    Brown and black men shackled silent are on parade,

    their manhood hidden in baggy orange jumpsuits.

    And look, the judge doesn’t have enough Equal in his demitasse!

    Protestors shout at clinics to protect

    microscopic not- yet life but are voiceless

    as poison pours into drug deflated veins of still -life.

    If justice rolls down like water

    and righteousness like a mighty stream

    what if the creek has run dry?

    Maybe the most we can hope for is to learn

    that a pack of Skittles is not a weapon

    and two palms up means I surrender.



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