Contributors

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Trump Chant

I wonder if political candidates truly understand what happens when you poke the darker parts of nationalism in a country.

Because you get shit like this.

In Iowa, students chant 'Trump! Trump!' after basketball loss to more racially diverse high school

At least something has come out of it...



Trump's recent David Duke and KKK comments come as no shock to me whatsoever. His base is composed entirely of rabid racists who want the Antebellum South to rise again.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Donald Trump With A Gay Voice

Is Trump Going Senile?

Donald Trump has received some endorsements recently. Some are relatively benign, though hypocritical, like Chris Christie's. Some, like Paul LePage's, the kookie governor of Maine that everyone in the legislature hates -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- are of limited utility.

Other endorsements are completely toxic for the general public, such as the various hate groups that have been running phone banks supporting Trump's candidacy. And then there's David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

When asked if he would refuse endorsements from Duke and other white supremacist organizations, Trump acted confused, repeating himself over and over like some doddering old man:
"I don't know anything about David Duke. I don't know what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don't know. I don't know, did he endorse me, or what's going on?" he said. That prompted a back-and-forth that went, in part:

Trump: I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. ... If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow them if I thought there was something wrong.

Tapper: The Ku Klux Klan?

Trump: You may have groups in there that are totally fine and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I'll let you know.

Tapper: I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here.

Trump: Honestly, I don't know David Duke.
Trump is either confused here, or has lost his memory, or is lying. He should know exactly who David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan are:
In 2000, when he ended his presidential campaign, Trump cited Duke's participation in the Reform Party as one reason he no longer wanted the party's nomination.

"The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. [Pat] Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. [Lenora] Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep," he wrote in his statement.

I'm going to engage in some armchair neurology here. Donald Trump is 70 years old. If elected he would be the oldest man ever elected president, beating Reagan by several months.

As Timothy Egan noted, Trump has suffered from sleep deprivation for decades:
Sleep deprivation, we know, can make you cranky and temperamental, and throw off judgment. The severely sleep-deprived are more impulsive, less adaptable and prone to snappish decisions, and they have trouble listening to others. They miss out on essential REM time, which allows people to process emotions and events in their lives. Smaller things set them off.

“You know, I’m not a big sleeper,” Trump said last November. “I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on.”
Sleep is essential for good health. As I've written about previously, during sleep the brain cleans out toxic protein buildup. Those proteins are the same plaque tangles that cause Alzheimers. Lack of sleep can cause Alzheimers.

Now, some people are able to function with little sleep. Bill Clinton is cited as an example, and he's the same age as Trump. But comparing Bill Clinton's manner and Trump's, Clinton's mind is clearly still sharp, while Trump is quite evidently suffering from significant personality, memory and cognitive deficits.

The reason Trump sounds like your crazy old uncle, is that -- like your crazy old uncle -- he's getting senile.

When Trump is viewed in this light, everything becomes clear. He thinks he can build a wall and make Mexico pay for it because he's going senile. He is prone to bouts of bile, vulgar tempers and frenetic excitement because he's suffering from Alzheimers. He talks at a third grade level not because of a grand strategy to condescend to his poorly educated audience, but because that's all he can manage. He constantly repeats himself  because he can't remember what he just said.

He runs his presidential campaign from Twitter like some 13-year-old mean middle-school over-privileged princess, not because he's some brilliant media savant, but because mental deficits have regressed his intellect to that of a teen-aged girl.

Last year Trump released a bullshit letter from his doctor claiming that Trump was in the best shape any president ever was. It was written just like a Donald Trump press release, and was obviously penned by Trump's PR flaks. Hilariously, Trump tweeted that the letter had been written by a doctor who had been dead for five years. Trump is in such bad shape he can't even remember who his doctor is.

Clearly, Trump is in a constant state of angry befuddlement.

This suggests an entirely new avenue of attack on Trump: the rest of the Republican field should demand that he submit to a real physical and mental examination by a qualified neurologist or gerontologist, instead of Trump's fart doctor.

I'm sure Ben Carson, brain surgeon, can recommend someone as a parting gift as he drops out of the race.

Mass Mass Shootings


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Food Fight!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 12 year olds that are conservatives today.



What a fucking embarrassment. As I have said for many, many years...adolescents.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Was Scalia on the Take?

In the Republican debate last night all the candidates said that Antonin Scalia was the kind of justice they would appoint. But what kind of judge was Scalia? 

A judge who accepted hundreds of free trips from private individuals, universities and corporations between 2004 and 2014. The question must therefore be asked: did Scalia clearly separate these private gifts from his court decisions? Or did Scalia receive quid pro quos for the decisions he made?

If Scalia hadn't been gallivanting around the country with elitist wanna-be Knights Templar, and had instead been at home in his own bed, would he be alive today?
The ranch where Scalia died may hold some answers.

The owner of that ranch, John Poindexter, had a case before the Supreme Court just last year. It involved an age discrimination lawsuit at the MIC Group, in which the Supreme Court rejected the plaintiff's petition.

That wasn't Scalia's only connection to Poindexter. Poindexter is an officer in an elite secretive religious organization called the International Order of St. Hubertus. The order is also linked to other secret societies:
The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove — one of the most well-known secret societies in the country.
It's not certain what Scalia's relationship was to the Order, but Scalia obviously liked to pal around with wealthy, titled and entitled European nobility. The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria.” There were also persistent rumors that Scalia was a member of Opus Dei, another secretive religious organization.

Members of the judiciary are supposed to recuse themselves in cases where there are conflicts of interest or any appearance of impropriety. But the conservative wing of the court has taken hundreds of trips paid for by private groups, corporations and individuals, many of who have cases before the court.

Now, not every trip the justices take is suspicious. Many of them are on the up and up: it's completely reasonable for a university to pay for a justice to make speeches before a conference of legal scholars and allow law students to directly interact with a justice of the Supreme Court. But is it right for conservative "think tanks" and foreign entities to give Supreme Court judges free junkets to Hawaii, Hong Kong and Singapore?

This is particularly important, because one of the court's most controversial decisions in recent years was Citizen's United. In that decision the conservative majority threw out most campaign finance laws, removing almost all limits on corporations trying to influence elections. The conservatives completely rejected the idea that there would be corruption when corporations can give infinite amounts of cash to politicians. Indeed, the first thing Clarence Thomas's wife did after the decision was to go out and start a Tea Party group so she could cash in on the decision.

The vast majority of Americans know Scalia was full of crap in Citizen's United. Democrats and independents certainly do, and the popularity of Donald Trump -- whose big claim is that he's so rich he can't be bought -- shows that most Republicans also believe that unlimited campaign contributions corrupt the political process.

Now, despite rumblings from morons like Trump that Scalia was murdered, all indications are that Scalia died of "natural causes," perhaps because he forgot to use his CPAP machine at the ranch. Yes, Scalia snored himself to death.

But here's the question that conservatives should ask themselves: if Scalia hadn't been gallivanting around the country with elitist wanna-be Knights Templar, and had instead been at home in his own bed, would he be alive today?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Moby Trump


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Good Words

From a question on Quora...

The question isn't to amend or abolish the second amendment, it is to properly apply it.  If the President, Congress and the Courts would focus more fully on what a "well regulated militia" is, I think we'd find compromise.

For example, I would propose:

  1. In order to own anything that is not a hunting-purpose long gun (Shotguns without tactical attachments, centerfire/rimfire rifles without tactical attachments) you must be: a) willing to serve in some sort of reserve unit of the Armed Forces or b) some sort of police / sherrif / state trooper auxillary unit
  2. In order to serve in this well regulated militia, you must a) complete a series of psychological evaluations and b) complete comprehensive training with firearms and other aspects of your job.
  3. This would effectively get you into the VA (or state equivalent systems) regarding mental health.

If you are serving in a militia in good standing (including retired), then you can have whatever guns you wish.

Much like in Australia, you'd have to do some sort gun buyback which would probably go over like a lead balloon.

I'm not sure people have a problem with sensible gun ownership, but instead on whether the mentally unfit / untrained people are using them. 

At least that's my take.

And a great take it is! The Gun Cult chides continually that gun safety advocates have no real plan and or idea what new laws should look like. This is a great example of exactly what it should look like and something I firmly support. I would add that the mental health evaluations be at least three times a year and one hundred hours a year minimum training.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

War Zones Are Safe!

Monday, February 22, 2016

What Drives The Gun Cult

I was recently asked to answer a question on Quora about gun rights activists. Here was my response.

There are several reasons why gun rights activists ignore gun control success in other countries and they all revolve around the reasons why they are passionate about their guns in the first place.

First, like any hobby, people love their toys. If there is a chance that they might be taken away, it's only natural that people would get upset. Seeing that the rest of the civilized world functions just fine with stricter gun control translates into the possibility that their toys will be taken away hence the emotion, temper tantrums, and willful ignorance of functional societies.

Second, gun rights activists are generally a very insecure lot who draw empowerment from their guns. It would be interesting to see a peer reviewed study on how many of them were bullied as kids because they've always struck me as having inferiority complexes. Seeing other people "disarmed" in other countries strikes deep to their biggest fear: being powerless. Ironic, for two main reasons. One, owning a gun makes it more likely that they will injure/kill themselves or others as opposed to protecting them against bad guys.

Two, having a few guns against a federal government who has drones/tanks/planes/battleships and thinking that somehow they are a force to be reckoned with is pure fantasy. Speaking of governments...

Third, gun rights activists believe that they are guarding against a possible, future totalitarian government. This is a very powerful belief that overcomes any positive news about countries with successful gun control. They disseminate propaganda that "proves" that countries with stricter gun control are subjugating their people. Here is an example...



Fourth, gun rights activists, like most conservatives, experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with objective reality. When they see how successful gun control has been in reducing violent crime in every other civilized country in the world, their brains react in such a way that the feel like they are under physical attack. Several peer reviewed neurological studies have shown this to be valid and are detailed in the following book.

Amazon.com: The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science- and Reality (9781118094518): Chris Mooney: 

Books In many ways, this is the most direct and scientific reason why they ignore the precedent set by other countries. It makes them feel physically uncomfortable and this is due to the previous three reasons mentioned above.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

So Long, Jeb

After yesterday's 4th place finish in South Carolina, Jeb Bush suspended his presidential campaign. I suppose no one should really be surprised given the nature of the GOP base these days. Ad in the fact that Bush came off every single day like your awkward dad and it simply spelled doom for him.

I was pretty surprised myself. I thought the boost from his brother and mom would at least put him in third place. This was not the case as Rubio eeked out a 2nd place win with Cruz in third. Kasich and Carson came in 5th and 6th as I originally predicted. Rubio's finish surprised me as well but it does help to have endorsements. It appears that we now have a 3 man race and the hopes of GOP leaders are now pinned on a guy who panics when the spotlight is on him.

So, now the question becomes...is Trump inevitable? The answer is no. Politico's Ben Shcreckinger points out that it's going to be a long ride.

Despite Trump’s polling lead, there are significant obstacles to his running away with the nomination in the coming weeks. With Rubio buoyed by momentum, Nevada’s organizing-heavy caucuses set for Tuesday, and the first half of March weighted toward states where Cruz is poised to finish strongly, there is little space for Trump to translate that lead into a certain nomination in the coming weeks. 

Agreed. Rubio is a very imperfect candidate but he polls better against Hillary Clinton than Trump or Cruz. Speaking of the Hilz, as I predicted, she won the Nevada caucuses yesterday and more or less put Bernie Sanders' bid for the presidency to rest. Bernie will be a significant factor, however, in shaping the 2016 Democratic platform which I think is a very, very good thing.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Pope V The Donald


Friday, February 19, 2016

Nevada and South Carolina Prognostications

I was all set to predict Bernie Sanders for the Nevada win but some recent polling and Nate Silver's model has led me to change my mind. Hillary will win Nevada 52-46 and the talk about Bernie being a truly national candidate will begin. Does he really have appeal coast to coast? I''m not sure he does.

On the GOP side, Donald Trump will pick up another primary with Ted Cruz coming in 2nd, Bush 3rd, Rubio 4th, Kasich 5th and Ben Carson 6th. Bush's 3rd place showing will keep him around long enough until Super Tuesday. Rubio's camp is going to have to start answering the tough questions starting with a the big one. Why is someone who has finished 3rd place or worse still in the campaign? Kasich sill be around until Super Tuesday as well. Carson needs to give it up. He has just enough of that wacky, ideological nonsense to appeal to the right wing blogger but they are a pretty small part of the electorate.

I hope the GOP continues to enjoy their top two candidates. They certainly deserve them:)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Politics of Polls

Take a look at today's president polls on a national level. The head to head match ups are very interesting. Clinton bests only Trump and is behind Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Kasich. Yet Bernie Sanders beats all of them handily. Why is that?

Well, for starters, it's polling registered, not likely voters. And we are looking at national numbers and not the coveted state by state numbers. It really doesn't matter how a candidate is doing nationally because the only polls that matter are the ones in the swing states. Candidates like to spin how well they are doing nationally but I'm only interested in how they match up in Ohio. Or Florida. Or Virginia.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ending the Transgender Bathroom Hysteria

South Dakota is the latest entrant in the fearfest many Republican-run states have been whipping up over transgendered individuals and bathrooms. Mike Huckabee dialed up his creep factor to 11 last year when he said:
"Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE," Huckabee said.
The number of transgendered individuals in South Dakota high schools is going to be amazingly small. The number is estimated to be about 0.2 to 0.3 percent, or about 700,000 Americans. Given South Dakota's small population and lack of tolerance for transgendered individuals, there can't be more than a couple dozen in the entire state. So why the big stink?

The problem, as conservatives appear to see it, is that males claiming to be transgendered will be physically attracted to women and wish to spy on them in the toilet (because sitting in the stall next to someone taking a dump is so alluring).

However, many people born male who identify as women are attracted to men. And many people born female who identify as male are attracted to women. Which, in Republicans' minds, means they are gay. That means Republicans want to make people with homosexual tendencies use restrooms that are frequented by the sex they are physically attracted to.

In other words, Republicans want to force Mike Huckabee's wet dream on these transgendered individuals.

Not that long ago Republicans were going through a gay panic, worried that they would be trapped in a bathroom with a rapacious gay man. Now, just a few short years later, they want to force every allegedly gay man to share bathrooms with them, even when they've sex reassignment surgery, lopped off their penises, taken hormones and grown breasts.

Now, imagine how disconcerted Mike Huckabee will feel when he's taking a leak in the men's room and Caitlyn Jenner walks in. Wouldn't he rather she visit the ladies room and save everyone the embarrassment?

And how is this going to be enforced? Is South Dakota going to post toilet police outside every restroom and check your ID before they let you in? Or are they going to strip search everyone on the way in? With all those phony IDs floating around you just can't be too safe.

One thing these Republican men may not be aware of is that women's bathrooms provide a great deal more privacy than men's bathrooms. Men's bathrooms sport communal urinals, but women get private stalls. There's really nothing to see in a women's bathroom.

When I went to high school, boys showered communally, which I felt was a terrible invasion of privacy. Unlike Mike Huckabee, I didn't really like getting naked with a bunch of guys. However, my wife's school had private shower stalls in their locker rooms. The locker rooms in the women's sports programs at our local university have separate showers, the men shower communally. Even women's prisons, if Orange is the New Black is any kind of guide, have separate shower stalls.

So, sorry, Huck. Even if you had claimed you were a girl in high school, you'd be showering alone in a personal stall anyway.

Scanning the Internet, this seems to be the way it is across the country: women get privacy in their bathrooms, while men get communal urinals and sometimes even rows of toilets with no walls separating them.

Rather than fretting about transgendered individuals sneaking peaks, legislators should be taking steps to ensure everyone's privacy in the bathroom. Every student should be free from the prying eyes of other students, whether they're straight, gay or trans.

While we're talking toilets, there's another problem that deserves mention: in many places -- sports stadiums, for example -- there are nowhere near enough facilities for women. The line for the women's room is really long, while the men's room is empty. This has prompted some women to use the men's room instead.

Many public places now have three kinds of bathrooms: mens, womens and family -- the later being a single stool with a baby-changing station. This idea should be expanded: separate men's and women's rooms should be eliminated, replacing them with facilities that can be used by anyone in privacy. An adjacent penis-only urinal room could be provided for men who absolutely must flash their dicks for other men to see.

That would also put men and women on an equal footing waiting in line for toilet stalls.

The most dishonest thing about South Dakota bathroom scare is that trans kids are threatening anyone. By far and way the most frequent sort of sexual harassment in the schools is straight students harassing gays and trans kids.

But institutionalizing that harassment is the entire point, isn't it?

A Gun That Offered No Protection

Today, I'm wondering if Trisha Nelson knew that when she bought her gun and got her conceal carry permit that she would up being shot with it.

He had served his sentence and was on probation when he shot Nelson. He most likely used Nelson’s gun, for which she had a concealed-carry permit, Padden said.

Having a gun increase, not decreases, your chances of being shot.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Supreme Court Vacancy


Monday, February 15, 2016

A Cause We Believe To Be Just


"The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me." 

(Abraham Lincoln. Speech on the Sub-Treasury in the Illinois House of Representatives, December 26, 1839)

Our Diversity


"We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith." 

(Barack Obama, State of the Union address (12 January 2016), Washington, D.C.)

Celebrate The Past, Awaken The Future


"We celebrate the past to awaken the future."

("Remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Signing of the Social Security Act," Hyde Park, New York August 14, 1960, box 910, Senate Speech Files, John F. Kennedy Papers, Pre-Presidential Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.)

Undeserved Poverty, Self Serving Wealth


"The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth." 

(Franklin D. Roosevelt, Third Inaugural Address. January 20, 1941)

The Man Who Makes No Mistakes


"The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything." 

(As quoted by Jacob A. Riis in Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen (1904), chapter XVI A Young Men's Hero)

Internationally Minded


"No nation on this globe should be more internationally minded than America because it was built by all nations." 

(Harry Truman at Chicago, 17 March 1945, as recorded in Good Old Harry)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Things Just Crazier For 2016

With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the political world has been thrown into more than just its usual upheaval. The Supreme Court is now drawn even at 4-4 and will likely vote that way on most of the incoming and most controversial cases. SCOTUS Blog has the best coverage available for exactly what it means in terms of these pending cases before the court.

President Obama has said that we will name a replacement quickly and expects the Senate to confirm his nomination. Mitch McConnell has said that such a nomination should be delayed a full year until the new president takes office. This tack was echoed last night by all candidates (save Jeb Bush) in the GOP debate. I guess the president's last year isn't exactly going to be calm.

Honestly, it's a lose-lose situation for McConnell. He stalls and the sheen that is on a somewhat productive Senate goes away during an election year. He allows a vote to go forward and the president gets to install a vote that will surely side with the four liberal justices thus tipping the balance. I think he's going to ride out that first choice as long as he can.

I hope he does:)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Stew of Resentment and Victimization

From a recent, wonderful piece on Salon.com...

But what was most obvious in the long, long list of grievances that Fry, Anderson, her husband Sean, and the fourth person, Jeff Banta, was that these were people steeped in the muddled and reactionary right-wing politics that have turned the base of the Republican Party into a stew of resentment and victimization. 

These were people who have spent years being told by conservative media that everyone is out to get them and everyone is stepping all over them while minorities and liberals and immigrants and jackbooted federal officers steal their jobs and their guns and turn America into a giant, sharia-ruled suburb of Tijuana.

Sounds to me like a cult...:)

Or a gun blog...same thing...

The Trump Rally

The responses about China/Mexico and ISIS are pretty fucking hilarious.

 

Friday, February 12, 2016

What I Saw on my Winter Vacation

I just returned from a trip to Florida. We drove through Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and north Florida. Along the way we saw a lot of billboards. We watched local TV stations at night when we stayed in motels.

In Wisconsin and Illinois the billboards and TV commercials were pretty much the same as in Minnesota. But when we got into the Southern states, things started to change. There were a lot of billboards for porn shops, strip clubs, gun stores, Jesus, divorce lawyers and personal injury lawyers (ambulance chasers). There seemed to be a porn shop, strip club or gun shop every 20 miles or so along the freeway in the South. They don't outnumber the churches, but they're advertised a lot more.

Where we stayed in Cocoa Beach there was a "gentleman's club" called Cheaters across the street from a Catholic grade school. How do Florida parents explain to their children that the men who go there aren't cheating on their tests?

We have these things in the North. Porn shops and strip joints are usually buried the seedier areas of town. We have divorce lawyers and ambulance chasers, but they advertise on low-rent cable channels or late at night.

During prime time in Minnesota every other TV commercial is for cars. In the South, every other commercial is for personal injury lawyers. (No wonder Republicans are constantly yapping about tort reform -- they're constantly suing each other for car accidents.)

Now this seems counter-intuitive. The South is where Christianity is strongest. People are constantly yapping about God, and pushing their religion in everyday life (cashiers constantly order God to bless their customers). Conservative Republicans have a total lock on state governments in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. They're always bitching the moral collapse of society, as evidenced by pornography, divorce, frivolous personal injury lawsuits and so on.

But based on the prevalence of vice in these states, they do seem to be more morally bankrupt than the "godless" Yankees.

The statistics bear this out: the South has more violent crime -- with only a quarter of the population, the South has 41% of the violent crime. The divorce rate is higher in the South. Even per-capita traffic death rates are higher in conservative states (partly because population density is lower and people drive further).

The question is, why? Do Southerners want more guns because there's more violent crime, or do they want guns because Southerners are more prone to violent crime? Are Southerners drawn to religion because of moral decay represented by high divorce rates, strip clubs and pornography, or this moral decay due to the hypocrisy inherent in a conservative religion that promotes the objectification and denigration of women?

Frequently, one of the best ways to get kids to do something is for their parents to tell them not to do it. Based on the outcomes, conservative Christianity seems to be the worst nagging parent ever...

And Then There Were Six

Jim Gilmore has just suspended his campaign. I realize this comes as shock to three people in the United States but they're just going to have to muddle through.

This leaves us with Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Bush, Kasich, and Carson.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ted Cruz Is The Face of God




Just let them talk....

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Hampshire Fallout

The political universe is "stunned" at the results in New Hampshire last night. Hillary Clinton is in trouble, I guess? I have to admit that even I was surprised at how handily Sanders beat her in the popular vote. Of course, with the super delegates added in they still ended up splitting the delegate count 15-15. There have been reports that Bill has been pretty pissed about how the campaign has been organized. I would be too and said as much  last August. They should have made changes a long time ago but, obviously, with the South coming up, they are likely not too worried.

On the GOP side, Trump won to no one's surprise. As I predicted, Kasich came in 2nd and Rubio lost all of his momentum from coming in 3rd in Iowa due to his debate performance. How can he possibly go on now? Christie and Fiorina are out as of today. That leaves Trump, Cruz, Bush, Kasich, Rubio, Carson, and (why?) Jim Gilmore. Maybe Gilmore is hoping that if he hangs around long enough that it will be down to him, Trump, and Cruz and somehow, the establishment will fall in line behind him.

Next up is South Carolina for the GOP and Nevada for the Democrats!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New Hampshire Predictions

Bernie wins on the Democratic side by around 10 percentage points....

Trump wins on the GOP side with Kasich coming in 2nd, Bush 3rd and Rubio 4th. Christie will have a strong showing as well. Rubio's debate performance hurt him and he's going to pay for it in New Hampshire.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Sasquatch?


Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Contrast

Juxtapose the Democratic Debate last Thursday with the Republican Debate last night. See any stark differences? The former showcased two adults having an intelligent and vigorous debate that spoke to the ideological core of the Democratic party. The latter looked like a food fight at a middle school with Marco Rubio being the kid that everyone picked on.

As Steve Benen and Tegan Goddard recently noted, the big winner of the Democratic debate was...the Democrats.

“The real winners were Democratic voters,” Goddard wrote overnight. “Anyone who watched learned a lot. It made the Republican debates look like over-produced game shows.” 

I think that’s both true and important. I don’t doubt that Clinton’s and Sanders’ backers can make spirited cases why their candidate prevailed, but I hope they won’t miss the forest for the trees: for two hours, Americans saw two very capable candidates engage in a deeply substantive, engrossing discussion that mattered.

I'd add that Bernie Sanders has been exactly what the Democrats needed at this moment in time and he knows it. For too long, Democrats have succumbed to a sort of faux compromise where the Republicans (really, the Tea Party...now fully absorbed into the GOP) stake a claim so far on the right side of the field that any consensus inevitably ends up being a conservative (see also: non functional in objective reality) solution.

Now with Sanders on the scene, he pulls the party in the far left direction and any sort of compromise ends up where it should be...in the fucking middle. 

He makes Hillary a better candidate and so does the press...beating up on her from everything to her emails, to her Wall Street speeches, to her "lackluster" campaign and especially to her honesty gap. I say get all that shit out there now so she can get her game together for the fall. Force her to go farther left on some issues that she may feel comfortable with so the nation can benefit.

Because it's pretty clear the nation isn't going to benefit from any of the GOP candidates. Take a look at how the debate started off.


What a fantastic metaphor for the GOP in 2016. It only got worse from there.

Marco Rubio has been rising the polls these last few days but he really looked out of his league last night, repeating himself over and over again.


\

Wow.

The rest of the night showed 7 little boys sniping at each other that honestly reminded me of my 8th graders. Actually, I take that back. My 8th graders are more mature than these guys.

I'll have my predictions for New Hampshire on Monday night.



Saturday, February 06, 2016

And Then There Were...Nine

As the Republicans take the stage tonight for another primary season debate, there will be a couple of less contenders with which to deal. Rick Santorum has dropped his bid for president. When you take his exit and juxtapose it with Mike Huckabee, it really seems like the evangelical wing of the GOP is dead. Sure, some of them voted for Ted Cruz in Iowa but on a national level, they have lost an enormous amount of their power with conservatives. Maybe it has something to with less people in this country identifying as Christian.

Rand Paul is also out but that's not really a surprise. If he had stuck to his libertarian guns rather than the guns of battleship (where he made his announcement that he was running), he might have fared better. Instead, he came off like a muddied candidate that no one was sure where he stood.

So now were are left with Trump, Cruz and Rubio in the top tier...Bush, Christie and Kasich hoping for some NH love and craps...Carson, wondering wtf happened...and Fiorina and Gilmore still hanging around for God knows what reason.

I'm still laughing about Rubio's speech that he stole from the president. Why was it a victory speech when he came in third?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Bias On Drudge?

I had a friend of mine tell me that the Drudge Report wasn't in any way biased. It was merely a site with a bunch of links to other news sources. Then I showed him this.














He stopped talking after that.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Monday nights caucus losers brought about a few changes. On the Democratic side, Martin O'Malley dropped out of the race leaving Hillary and Bernie to duke it out the rest of the way. On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee called it quits. Rand Paul just announced that he is suspending his bid. With the New Hampshire primaries next Tuesday, I expect there to be more winnowing one week from today.

The Republicans have Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore left. I'm not sure why Fiorina, Santorum and Gilmore are still in the race. What are their campaign people telling them?  Take a look at Fiorina's after party in Iowa.

No candidate. No people. Wow.

And, honestly, what are Bush, Kasich and Christie hoping for? I know they are sticking around for some sort of lift in New Hampshire but they need to face the facts. This is now a three horse race. 


Aw, snap!



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Trump the Loser

After leading in the polls for months, Donald Trump came in second to Ted Cruz. He beat Rubio by a scant margin. He had polled as much as 10 points higher than Cruz, but in the end he lost by four.

In other words, Trump is a loser.

In 2013 Trump famously quoted Walter Hagen: "No one remembers who came in second." This time, though, will be different. People will remember that the big blowhard came in second to the man Trump said everyone hates.

Why did Trump lose? Chickening out of the last debate might have a lot to do with it. Caucus goers who decided at the last minute broker for Cruz and Rubio in a big way. Hearing Trump whine about how unfair it is to be asked questions by a girl may not have impressed a lot of voters.

But the two bigger reasons were organization and a misunderstanding of how political campaigns work. Trump thinks that running for office is like having a top-rated TV show: if your ratings are high, you'll win. But that's not how you get elected president.

Trump's campaign ridiculed other operations in Iowa for running their own polls. "Why do your own polls when the media does it for free?" one of his operatives said in a tweet.

The reason, as anyone who's mounted a serious campaign will tell you, is that by running your own polls you identify people who will support you. You can call them back and remind them to go vote. You can ask them for money later on. You can ask other questions that will help you refine your message. You can engage in "push polling," putting ideas in voters' heads that will make them reconsider their support for someone like Trump, and vote for Cruz instead.

Finally, winning the nomination isn't just about getting the most buzz on national TV. It's about recruiting delegates for the national conventions. These are the actual people who will show up at the nominating convention next summer. Some of these people are selected in a long drawn-out process through caucuses, primaries, district conventions and state conventions. But a lot of these people are "super delegates," party bosses and office holders who actually cast the votes on the floor of the convention. These people have a lot of sway over the other, less experienced delegates.

Ted Cruz knows how that system works. Donald Trump doesn't. He still thinks he's on a reality TV show.

In 2012 the Republican campaign had a different leading candidate every month: Cain, Gingrich, Santorum. But they all pooped out because Mitt Romney owned the political machines in the various states, and recruited the super delegates by contributing tons of cash to the reelection campaigns of office holders in critical states.

If Trump were to win outright majorities in the primaries, it would be hard for super delegates to support other candidates at the convention. But it doesn't look like that will happen. If Iowa is any indication, there will be three or four candidates in contention for the long haul. And because of the incredible amount of Super PAC money floating around from billionaires who want to own their own presidential candidates, some non-viable candidates (Bush, for example) may hang on for much longer than they might have had the Supreme Court not screwed up the American political system with their catastrophically stupid Citizens United decision.

If there's no winner on the first ballot at the Republican convention, a lot of the delegates who were committed to Trump because of primary results may be quick to desert him. They will have no allegiance to him, because he isn't a real Republican or even a real conservative. He's just a two-faced big-mouthed New Yorker who insults everyone.

The idea of a "brokered convention" is the slim hope that establishment Republicans have been holding out for someone like Rubio or Bush winning the nomination.

In the end, a huge part of politics is about loyalty. Trump does not inspire it, and he does not practice it. He will tell Megyn Kelly she is a fabulous interviewer one day and then whine that she's a bitch the next day. He will say Ted Cruz is a great guy one day, then contradict himself the next.

With Trump, it's clear that the only person he cares about is himself. Cruz suffers from the same problem, but at least he's been a real Republican for his entire career. Both Cruz and Trump have a history of screwing people whose support they could use in the future.

Guys like Bush and Rubio have burned fewer bridges, and in the end that may mean the difference between being a winner and being a loser.

Batting 1000

Looks like the Hilz took it for the Dems and Ted for the GOP. I guess I'm batting 1000 so far.

I wonder how much New Hampshire is going to change in the next 8 days.