December 31, 2016

2016 was not the worst year ever.

Paul Joseph Watson sums this up pretty well - 2016 was not the worst year ever.  WWII might have been a little worse.  WWI might have been a little worse.  The Great Depression might have been a worse year.  9/11 was a worse year maybe. Years with plagues perhaps.

Yes, I'm bummed out by many of these losses of celebrity.  Some talented people have passed away.  I feel bad for their families. But even if my very favorite celebrity had passed this year it would not be worse than millions of deaths.

Trump won.  Worst year ever?  Maybe if you are cheering for the downfall of America and the continued rise of globalism.  Maybe if you favored a two tier justice system - one for the elite and one for the rest of us.  Then maybe it was a bad year.  But even so, as someone who loathes the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency, I'd take  a Clinton over a plague or a global war any day. I would not be happy but I would not resort to they hyperbole evident on the left or evident in so many millennials, because it's untruthful. It's at a minimum misguided.

For example, president Obama has done a host of stupid things in his waning weeks in office - abandoning Israel, blaming Russia for clearly political reasons, annexing land in Nevada and Utah for federal purposes at odds with state desires, and that's not a full list.  But I don't consider it the worst year ever.  It's not even the worst year of the Obama presidency, as bad as all that is. 

Let me not end on a bad note - I expect great things in 2017; a buoyant and growing economy, continued consumer confidence, a reversal of American fortunes, smarter government, governmental reforms and a recovery of American exceptionalism and prestige. Best wishes and good luck to everyone, even liberals.  Maybe you'll do better under Trump. 

Happy New Year

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2017.

I'm not a huge ABBA fan but this song does fit.

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all.

December 19, 2016

Zero votes count

Faithless electors in the electoral college is something the Democrats are looking to find - not to punish because every vote should count, but rather to encourage. Democrats have long pushed the mantra, since the Al Gore loss in 2000, that every vote should count and every vote should be counted. But now, along with arguing that the electoral college should be abolished in favor of a popular vote style election (apparently majority tyranny doesn't matter if they are the majority) but also that the electoral college is a vital part of democracy necessary for blocking a madman from becoming president.  They want electors to go against the mandate they were given and not vote for Donald Trump.

Ultimately they are seeking to disenfranchise 62 million people who voted for Donald Trump.  That's a lot worse than 500 votes in Florida in 2000 in terms of disenfranchisement.  The duplicitous hypocrisy of the Democrats, and the astounding lack of coverage of the attempt to disenfranchise 62 million voters is no longer a surprise.  It's business as usual from a corrupt cabal of insiders who don't give a damn about American voters.

December 18, 2016

December 16, 2016

Friday Musical Interlude - Sweet Brown

I'm not sure why other than it's kinda funny.

December 15, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash - Ending soon

Turns out, nope.
For a few years I ran almost every week a Thursday Hillary Bash in the hopes that compiling an ongoing list of her misdeeds would be useful when it came to her second shot at the presidency in 2016.  It turns out people had long enough memories and didn't really need my help to ensure she didn't win the election. I have not posted any Thursday Hillary Bash items since the election.  She lost, she should fade into the sunset as an ignominious two-time loser (three if you count the effort to try to pile on Jill Stein's bogus recount efforts, and four the effort to subvert the electoral college electors to her side).

It's time to retire the Thursday Hillary Bash, just like it's time to retire the Clintons - Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and any other carpet bagging, blow hard, substance free gold digging families that want to run the country for personal gains.

After the electors certify Donald Trump later this month, I'll officially retire the recurring piece.

December 14, 2016

Trump Won, Get Over It, redux

You got skunked.
Recently I posted a few thoughts on the fact that Democrats, progressives and other sundry Trump haters are still not over the election and they are trying to derail Trump in the electoral college, or failing that, over the next four years (+) of his presidency. My message, was 'get over it'.  But the anger and the effort to derail him will persist regardless of what I or anyone else will say.

I also mentioned that blame is not a policy position.  Yet the blame persists and it is everyone but themselves of course.  In that regard, here's an asterisk to my comments on who to blame, via Michael Barone via RCP:
The first thing Democrats need to do is to end the alibi game. Yes, it's a shattering experience to lose a presidential election that, until the 9 o'clock hour on election night, you seemed sure to win.

But alibis don't help you win next time. Don't blame "fake news" when your candidate had lots more money to spend delivering her message. Don't blame the FBI director when your candidate violated criminal laws and the attorney general had to disqualify herself after revelation of her secret meeting with the candidate's husband.

Don't blame the "racism" of an electorate that twice elected the first black president. Don't blame the Electoral College when everyone knew beforehand that you need 270 electoral votes, not a popular vote plurality, to win.

Blame instead the Clinton campaign's "ascendant America" strategy -- to reassemble the 2012 Obama coalition of nonwhites and millennials, on the assumption that the attitudes of other voters, notably white non-college graduates who cast critical Obama votes in the Midwest, would remain static.
That about sums up the blame issue. What about the "Well but, electoral college and popular vote, blah, blah, blah..." arguments? The Washington Post provides a great rebuttal actually in three distinct parts.
1) Clinton got more votes than any presidential candidate except President Obama in 2008:

...Clinton will apparently have won the second-most votes of any presidential candidate ever. But that's because there were millions more eligible voters in 2016 than there were in 2012, when there were millions more eligible voters than there were in 2008, when there were millions more eligible voters than in 2004, etc., etc.

...If you compare Clinton's vote total to the voting-eligible population, in fact, she won about 29 percent of people who could have voted for her. Relative to other candidates who won the popular vote over the last century, that actually puts her in the bottom half...
But Stein's voters might have made a difference for Clinton in the swing states;
2) Green Party nominee Jill Stein exceeded Trump's margin in the states that mattered

The argument here is basically that if Stein hadn't run, her left-leaning voters might have put Clinton over the top...

Exit polls showed 60 percent of Stein backers said they would have stayed home if she weren't on the ballot. Among the rest, Clinton led by about a 2-to-1 margin — 27-13, to be specific — but Trump took a fair amount of voters.

Applying those numbers to the totals above means Clinton would have gained about 4,300 votes in Wisconsin and about 6,400 in Pennsylvania — not nearly enough to change the results...
And the newest misdirection? 3) Democrats won the Senate
popular vote...

Basically, the problem is that 16 to 17 states don't vote in any one cycle, which means the popular vote is very reliant on the 33-34 states who do. The biggest blue states (California and New York) both voted in 2016, but the biggest red one (Texas) didn't. And in this election cycle, there was a fluke-y situation in California that made the popular vote look like a landslide for Democrats in a highly deceptive way.

California's top-two primary system advances the top two candidates to the general election regardless of party. This year, that just happened to be two Democrats: Now-Sen.-elect Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez. That means the 12.2 million ballots counted so far in that race have all been for Democrats. In a regular election, Republicans might have won about 5 million or 4.5 million of those votes, reducing Democrats' margin to 2.2 million or 3.2 million voters, respectively — 9 million or 10 million less.

And that basically, by itself, explains why they won the Senate popular vote.
What it still comes down to is "You Lost." You are still losing. If as Michael Barone notes, you don't realize it, you won't recover and correct the course. I'd be perfectly okay with that though.

December 13, 2016

Tillerson, Russians and Democrats

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson as his nominee for Secretary of State and Democrats, as they have been for every single nominee, tweet, etc. since election night, are fit to be tied.

Via Bloomberg;
Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson will be nominated as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state, setting up a potential confirmation battle with U.S. lawmakers who have questioned the oilman’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin...

The prospect of a Tillerson nomination has already drawn some objections from lawmakers in both parties, who expressed concern about his two decades of dealings with Putin at a time when possible Russian interference in the U.S. election is under scrutiny. That suggests that the Exxon executive could face a messy Senate confirmation fight. Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida were among those who said they had questions about Tillerson’s dealings with Putin.
Much of this is politics.  Democrats have reflexively resisted everything from Trump going back to the time of his nomination by the GOP.  And to claim the questions are bi-partisan, you need only look at the Republicans who are named Rubio and McCain - not exactly Trump enthusiasts, to realize that Tillerson's Russian dealings aren't really a bi-partisan issue.

More importantly there's the Russia hypocrisy emanating from the Democrats.  A party that once seemingly embraced Soviet style government, a party that prided itself on Hillary Clinton's Russian reset (failure) has suddenly become the alarmists about Russian aggression in the cyber realm. Clearly that's a matter of convenience for them; Russia rigged the American election, Trump and his cadre are too close to Putin and Russia.  Yeah.  Given the source of the hand-wringing I'm not that worried.  Trump and Tillerson are capable of dealing with Russia and both seem to get the idea of America first.  

The idea that they will be played by Putin is a possibility - it happened to Obama and Hillary Clinton time and again, so there's a bit of projection in Democrats' concerns.  But who is to say that Tillerson who has been closer to Russia than most hasn't been effectively playing Putin and the Russians?  Or, perhaps in dealing with Russia just as with every other country, deals are not a zero sum game.  Just maybe both sides can benefit from dealings and as long as America gets the lion's share of that total benefit, then positive dealings with Russia might not be a bad thing.  That America can end up on the wrong side of the equation is possible but less likely given Trump's America first mandate and guiding principle. 

I expect Tillerson will get the green light along with most every Trump appointee, if not all of them. 

Kellyanne Conway kills it on the state of the nation

...and on other things like why Trump won. Worth the 9.5 minute watch.

December 12, 2016

Remember when I said "What If"?

On election day, I had a short little post asking what if Trump won.  Looks like that post was a bit prescient.

Susan Olsen and freedom of opinion

The lesson here: everyone is entitled to their opinion, they are just not entitled to voice it if it isn't politically correct. Or perhaps the true lesson - you should not live your life on Facebook.

Susan Olsen a.k.a. Cindy Brady of The Brady Bunch put a rant on her Facebook page, and it looks like it cost her the radio talk show job she was in.
The 55-year-old Donald Trump supporter, who served as a co-host on LA Talk Radio's show Two Chicks Talkin' Politics, reportedly wrote a now-deleted homophobic Facebook rant directed towards openly gay actor Leon Acord-Whiting.
The rant contained vulgarities directed at gay actor Leon Acord-Whiting. To be clear, it was not professional. But to also be clear it was:

(1) her opinion (the first amendment still exists, doesn't it?)
(2) outside of work in a Facebook setting (although arguably, related to her work)
(3) not directed at an entire community but rather an individual, using slurs based on his personal community identification.

But to be clear also, the actor acted not in kind but with slurs that cut across an entire half of the country, who supported Donald Trump - in other words his actions were bigoted across a group, hers were directed at an individual, using bigoted language.
The fued [sic] seems to have stemmed from Leon's own Facebook status, where he slams Susan for heated language about Hillary Clinton and the Koran, calling her a "Trump fanatic" and equating her statements to "idiotic lies."

Leon goes on to say that he will no longer appear on L.A. Radio until Susan is off the air, adding her opinions are "dangerous" and "unprofessional."
Because her opinions differed from his her opinions are dangerous and unprofessional. He ranted about it on Facebook instead of discussing it. She responded on Facebook. This is not conducive to a civil society. That's where Facebook fails utterly in helping society. It has become a platform for people to hurl insults from a distance. In addition it invites consequences for people unable to police themselves: your opinion is your own, if you share it in your personal space, you invite consequences in your professional life. That's not a failing of Facebook, it's a failing of people to understand the consequences of their actions.

I'm not suggesting Olsen be allowed to keep her job - the radio station (or network?) is of course allowed to exercise their judgement in determining whether an individual is beneficial or detrimental to their brand. And Olsen should have chosen her words more carefully. But that doesn't allow political correctness off the hook. If her opinion is discounted simply because it does not conform to societal norms then there is no freedom in society.

Furthermore, Leon Acord-Whiting has faced no such consequences concerning his vitriol about Trump supporters and opinions. Such a double standard will only serve to further alienate half the country who felt that their opinions were disregarded and elected Trump in the first place.

That fact seems to escape liberals who remain smugly steadfast in their belief that they are right about everything. As people find themselves on the 'wrong' side of any issue they will be forced to conform or be relegated to being racist/homophobic/anti-fill-in-the-blank/bitter clingers. More and more people will end up on the other side of the divide as their opinions become outcast. What is correct and allowable will grow ever smaller and more insular, and the trend towards Republican victories across America, will continue. Alternately, but far less likely given the American spirit, the country will conform to each new norm and there will be no real freedom of opinion, let alone expression.

Pennsylvania recount "borders on the irrational"

And the recount gets tossed out. Via the AP (emphasis added):
In his 31-page decision, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said there were at least six grounds that required him to reject the Green Party's lawsuit, which had been opposed by Trump, the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office.

Suspicion of a hacked Pennsylvania election "borders on the irrational" while granting the Green Party's recount bid could "ensure that that no Pennsylvania vote counts" given Tuesday's federal deadline to certify the vote for the Electoral College, Diamond wrote.

"Most importantly, there is no credible evidence that any 'hack' occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania's voting system was not in any way compromised," Diamond wrote. He also said the lawsuit suffered from a lack of standing, potentially the lack of federal jurisdiction and an "unexplained, highly prejudicial" wait before filing last week's lawsuit.
That's finally finished, along with the Michigan recount dried up, Trump's going to be president unless the Democrats keep trying to find more faithless electors for the official Electoral College vote.

Trump won, get over it.

Trump won, move on MoveOn.  Move on Jill Stein. Move on all you weepy college students who clearly are so woefully underprepared to deal with adversity that you don't even realize that Donald Trump winning the presidency will create ZERO personal adversity in your own life, besides whatever your imagination might conjure up.  Move on president Obama, your policies have been rejected, despite your personal popularity.

So move on.  Stop trying to re-litigate the election.  It was not the Russians who handed him the win with their hacking.  It was not fake news.  It was not FBI Director Comey's dithering on indicting Hillary Clinton. It was not 'stupid' Middle America.

Or don't, I don't care.
For a villain in this melodrama, look at the Democratic party, and their allies across the mainstream media.  Look at the flawed candidate chosen to run against a candidate  that you viewed as more flawed. Look at the machinations used to ensure Hillary Clinton would not be bested by socialist Bernie Sanders.  It was cheating, pure and simple.  Look at the party that had moved so far left from the mainstream that Sanders became almost palatable enough to beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  Look at the disdain for national security in Clinton having a private email server, and in accepting donations from around the world.  Look at the president and his bloated bureaucracy that repeatedly claimed everything was great as they drove people out of the work force and companies out of the country, all the while being more concerned about who goes into which bathroom than the lives of Americans who recognized their own situations were worsening year after year.  Look at a party that with a near supermajority shoved a super-partisan Healthcare bill of 2700 hodge-podge pages down the throats of America. Look at a president who felt that his pen was mightier than the Constitution.

There are your reasons for losing liberals and progressives.  Besides, blame is not a policy position. You are free to choose to deny the reality, but it won't win you any more votes, and it will ensure your electoral defeats in the future elections of 2018, 2020 and onward.  

Further if your goal is to delegitimize Trump's presidency, that will also fail. The more you try to do that the more you will look like sore losers with an ax to grind, and dishonest players in the political saga of the next 4 or 8 years.  How did trying to delegitimize Trump prior to his election work out for you on election day? Arguing the electoral college is at fault because more people voted for Hillary than for Trump is as flawed as arguing that it was the Russians. Or racists. Or Global Warming.  The voters you so smugly disdain see through you.  Perhaps the true reality that you are not yet prepared to face.

December 11, 2016

December 10, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (France)

Geography Now's look at France.

And the flag video:

December 9, 2016

Friday Musical Interlude - Gotan Project - Vuelvo al Sur

An electronic tango from Argentinia band Gotan Project; 200's Vuelvo al Sur:

Ugh - Global Warming Hysteria Continues at the Weather Channel

Climate change and global warming used interchangeably among more serious issues with this 'report'.  If you can stomach it, watch this.  Then following below, the co-founder of the Weather Channel says climate change is a myth. They are supposedly repudiating Breitbart's faulty claims in the segment but somehow manage to throw their own faulty logic in there frequently. Suddenly they've added the claim that sea temperatures matter in global warming considerations. Where were they with that claim back when the surface temperatures were rising and they didn't need to factor it in?

A more robust debunking of this drivel may unfortunately be merited at a later date.  Then again, who actually watches the weather channel for news anyway?  Maybe I'll just add them to my fake news list.

John Coleman a few years back said Global Warming is a farce.

Nevertheless they continue to push the hype and try to stoke the hysteria that world is on the brink of climatological collapse, all thanks to mankind - specifically America.  Now that Trump is president-elect, expect this, along with every other liberal progressive agenda item to be ramped up to 11 on the Spinal Tap dial.

December 6, 2016

Trump's Taiwan call - smart geo-politics

There's a great quote in the Washington Post today by Marc A. Thiessen that sums up perfectly Donald Trump's call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen:
...Trump knew precisely what he was doing in taking the call. He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president — an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations. The message, as John Bolton correctly put it, was that “the president of the United States [will] talk to whomever he wants if he thinks it’s in the interest of the United States, and nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to.”
The reaction in the media to the call that Trump was either unaware or foolish is ridiculous. What was naive or foolish was president Obama's apology tour. His embrace of Hugo Chavez. His deal with Iran. His embargo relaxation of Cuba. His snub of Queen Elizabeth II. Or Hillary Clinton's Russian reset or Benghazi mess.

It must be painful for the media when their political adversaries get it right where their heroes got it wrong.

December 4, 2016

December 3, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Macedonia)

F.Y.R.O.M.?  Starting with some name drama, here's Macedonia from Geography Now.

And the flag:

December 2, 2016

Whittle on Recount

I've previously commented on the recount issue, here's Bill whittle's incisive take on it.

An addendum via BillWhittleChannel: **The reference to "Leon Ponetta" near the end of this video refers to JON PODESTA. The person responsible for sacking the former quality control position has been sacked. Updating ASAP and I regret the error.

Friday Musical Interlude - Blue Monday remix

Not to be confused with the Fats Domino classic Blue Monday, this remix of the New Order dance hit Blue Monday is still pretty catchy.

November 29, 2016

Try replacing George Zola with Ass Hat

I don't consider myself part of the Alt-Right, although they do have a number of laudable political positions.  What they are NOT, are White Supremacists, White Nationalists or Racist Bigots.  Any movement can contain idiots, but the bigotry that truly pervades comes from those who label them as any of the above.

What Alt-right really represents or means is conservatives who are fed up with being marginalized and are fighting back.  The messed up response from the progressive left?  Lay it on harder:
But activists have warned that the phrase “alt-right” is simply a sanitized rebranding of “white nationalism” and conflating the two has dangerous implications.

That’s why a New-York based advertising professional, who is using the pseudonym George Zola, created a Google Chrome extension called “Stop Normalizing The Alt Right,” which automatically replaces all mentions of the “alt-right” with the phrase “white supremacy.”
That is bigoted, simplistic and other-idea-phobic.  It's the work of an ass hat.  I apologize for my vulgarity, to everyone except someone who is using that synonym. He, or she, deserves it for being so juvenile.

Catching up on Selective Vote Recounts

Green Party candidate Jill Stein is trying to initiate a recount in 3 states that Donald Trump won.  Not in any states that Hillary Clinton won, only Trump state wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  The selectivity is even more odd since Hillary Clinton has suddenly joined the challenge after publicly admonishing Trump before the election for not agreeing to abide by the results.

Stein seems like she's angling for funding for her party as the Kickstarter campaign or whatever is asterisked to state that any funds not used for a recount will go to the Green Party.  Given that she's already missed the deadline for Pennsylvania, that Wisconsin and Michigan alone won't change the election results even in the unlikely event they flipped - she could be angling just to raise funds.  That's pretty cynical and manipulative of her, but hey it's politics and anyone thinking the Green Party is squeaky clean would end up with the government they deserve - a crooked one.

What's more interesting is the Democrats and Clinton looking to join in on the recount.  Three theories have been advanced (1) they're actually trying to steal the election (2) they're planting the seeds to delegitimize a Trump presidency because he lost the electoral college and didn't make 270 votes by certification day and had to be appointed by the Republicans thanks to a few states being tangled up in legal proceedings ("selected not elected" like Bush) or (3) they're trying to hide their own ballot tampering efforts and don't want it coming out.

All three are possible, the first two would be unsuccessful ultimately.  The third one is the most intriguing consideration.  But I don't know that participation would amount to successfully hiding their own nefarious activities.   And of course if  they are successful we'll never know that it was their intention.  The Democrats' end-game here is not clear but to steal 70,000 votes in PA is impossible.  Michigan and Wisconsin would leave the electoral college at 280-252 in Trump's favor.  With Hillary Clinton leading the popular vote by 1.7 million votes Democrats might claim Trump has no mandate whatsoever. That might be their real goal; setting themselves up for the 2018 midterm elections where they will already be playing defense.

November 28, 2016

Catching up on Castro

Thuggery defined
A number things have happened this past Thanksgiving weekend that are worth mentioning, even though I don't have a lot of free time lately.  The first one worth commenting on is that Fidel Castro has died.

He was a tyrant. He was a dictator. He was a brutal thug in the vein of Saddam Hussein.  He kept his people under his thumb.

You wouldn't know it from the bland eulogies from the left and in particular aggrandizing from ultra liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose father was a pal of the thug Fidel:
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
But the man was a criminal. Justin Trudeau knows no shame nor reality.  I am salivating for his extradition from the Prime Minister's office
...In the wake of his overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in 1959, supporters of the old government were sent before summary courts and at least 582 were shot by firing squads over two years.

Estimates of executions under Castro’s 50-year rule run into the thousands, with monitors warning of unfair trials, arbitrary imprisonment and extrajudicial executions.

Castro responded by insisting that “revolutionary justice is not based on legal precepts, but on moral conviction”.

As the one-party system came into force, independent newspapers were closed and homosexuals, priests and others viewed as a threat were herded into labour camps for “re-education”.

Censorship and repression spread, with fans of American rock ‘n’ roll among those targeted. Freedom of expression, religion, association, assembly, movement and the press were denied.
Cuba is better off without him, even though his brother has been running things for years already.

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Finland)

If only Finland had fjords - for the alliteration.

Flag information:

November 25, 2016

Friday Musical Interlude - Anything Goes

More profundity, this time from Cole Porter; Anything Goes from 1934. I suspect he's not wrong.

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Be joyful for what you have been given.

November 23, 2016

Trump, unfiltered

I've been unusually busy the last week or so. But I haven't disappeared just because  Trump won the election and the GOP kept the house and senate. I'll have more time soon to pick up the mantle of conservatism and continue.

Meanwhile, here, unfiltered by a biased mainstream media, is a president-elect Trump message for the American people.  Approaching the public this way is a great idea for president-elect Trump and far superior to the MSM liberal elite who filter and twist any message to suit their own agenda.  This allows Trump to tailor his message to the audience and not have to parse every phrase so as to avoid manipulative media distortions. I would mention this in his first address and every state of the union speech to remind people that they can by-pass untrustworthy media and ultimately pressure them to come back to fair and balanced reporting if they want to remain relevant.

November 20, 2016

Leaked: Clinton premature celebration on election night

Election night.  Back when the Clintons thought they had won the election: [Update: video was removed, another version has been added below.]

Excuse me for enjoying it, that's not very nice. Nevertheless, it's difficult to not have the same level of glee that Hillary Clinton lost.


Sunday verse

November 19, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Fiji)

Geography Now's world tour continues with a place I'd love to visit, Fiji.

And the flag:

November 18, 2016

What Democrats think they've learned from Trump

Whenever a party loses an election, or a series of elections, introspection is often required.  Democrats find themselves in need of that right now, whether they realize it or not.  I say realize it because a lot of progressives on the left seem to be stuck in the same vile rhetoric that they were resorting to using prior to the the election.  Compound that with violence and lingering denial of the results of the election, and you do not have a recipe for the Democrats to move forward.  Not all on the left are mired in that classist group-think and a number of them have started talking about understanding the implications of the elections since 2010, wherein Democrats have lost group in the Senate, Congress, governorships and in state legislatures.

For me to diagnose the problem as an outsider has both its pros and cons.  I'm not at all interested in helping a party that seems set on dismantling the very ethos of America - that which has made it great for over two centuries, from incubation through to world superpower and bastion of liberty.  That is unless of course it helps them change their ways to become a more center-right party.  But let's face it, that isn't going to happen.  In typical liberal knee-jerk reaction, liberals have decided they haven't moved far enough left, that Hillary Clinton was just too cozy with Wall Street.  So their answer in the immediate aftermath of a surprise presidential election this year, is more Howard Dean, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison.  In other words, socialism.  Their answer is more name calling and alarmist rhetoric - America is fraught with racism, sexist, and homophobia.

Good luck with more of the same.
For over a decade Democrats have relied on a basically two-pronged approach to the future (1) indoctrinate youth through liberal education and owning the media culture and (2) the erroneous notion that demographics is destiny.  Democrats have labored under the belief growing Hispanic and African American population proportions have made it impossible for Republicans to ever win the presidency again. It was not only this election that has proved that wrong, as I've already noted. What Democrats have failed to realize so far, is simple;
What Democrats should realize, because everyone else does, is that voters rejected both their policies (which have undermined middle- and low-income families) and their governance (which has fueled rage at a power-hungry federal government). Hillary Clinton proposed more of the same. Coal workers said no. Blue-collar union workers said no. Suburban moms said no. Small businessmen, drowning under Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare, said no.
As I noted, Democrats have taken the wrong lesson from the drubbing;
Instead Democrats think last week was an accident. Mrs. Clinton tells donors that she only lost because of FBI Director Jim Comey.Barack Obama faults Hillary’s tactics—she didn’t spend enough time in the right states. Michael Dukakis says Democrats only lost because of the Electoral College. Rachel Maddow blames third-party candidates.

All this denial has cleared the field for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the leading voice now calling on the party to recognize it has erred and needs change. She is telling the masses, however, that Democrats lost because they didn’t go big enough. They didn’t spend enough. Didn’t regulate enough. Didn’t socialize health care enough. Her prescription: Double down.
Demographics does not dictate party affiliation.  Deliverables do.  In other words, what matters is what voters see as working and what they see as being in their best interest.  If Donald Trump for example is able to normalize or commoditize education across all communities, and thereby level the playing field for jobs and success in general, African Americans will no longer be a lock for Democrats. 

Interestingly, more socialism is not necessarily, right now, a bad prescription politically - arguing that Democrats care about the middle class and their welfare, their health care etc. is not by definition a losing message. If delivered properly there is no reason it can't happen again. But it's not a winning formula for two or four years from now. If president-elect Trump has any level of success on jobs over the next two years, the peripherals like healthcare will matter far less to a larger swath of the population. 

I suspect the conservative model for success will work, but it's too early to be certain. Things happen. But just as I can't predict how the economy will precisely look in 2 years, neither can Democrats. So formulating a double down strategy now, potentially puts them on an irreversible path that bodes well for Republicans in 2018 and 2020.

Friday Musical Interlude - It's All Over But The Crying

Timely song today from the Ink Spots back in 1947.

November 15, 2016

Whither goest #NeverTrump?

The clear distinction between diehard progressive liberals and #NeverTrump that is visible to date is that the latter have accepted a Trump presidency and in many cases are actually hopeful (though unconvinced) that some good will come out of the 2016 election.  The former group are out in the streets creating havoc, or at a minimum sporting Not My President placards.

There's another important distinction. While the Democrat party are never going to work with president-elect Trump (though many say they will), team #NeverTrump now realize that this was not just a Trump win.  They see that Republicans still control the senate, congress, the presidency, the supreme court and a stunning number of state legislatures and governorships, with the wind at the back of the Republicans in the senate for 2018.

Every challenge is also an opportunity and those on the conservative and Republican side have largely realized this.  Today Paul Ryan even said big things are coming.  That's a profound revelation.  It's not about revelling in the glow of the win, it's about the GOP having more power than they have in nearly 100 years. The opportunity does not present itself often obviously. The window, despite the very real prospect of further gains in 2018, is inevitably going to be short.  Furthermore, under Obama the aggressiveness in the shift left for the country was astounding.  Their actions not only justify a strong reaction, but also provide some limited cover for that reaction.  Obama also spelled out for conservatives exactly what "the fierce urgency of now" means.

#NeverTrump is more likely to be heard and influential from inside the tent than outside the tent.   Trump and his supporters meanwhile have won and allies in politics are hard to find.  There's little harm in working together and developing some synergy with those who were #NeverTrump in order to have that notion dissolve away and get things done rather than alienate them in some sort of vendetta.  No one wants Trump have to get his allegiances from the Sanders crowd because that will not only enshrine that #NeverTrump was right but possibly destroy what's left of the republic in the process. I don't think anyone expects that at this point, but why leave it to chance.

So unless your name is Glenn Beck, you're probably safe to come back into the tent.  Many are doing so openly, some more reluctantly, and some not at all. It's up to Trump and his team to move people from (pardon the phraseology) from the bucket of resolute, to the bucket of hesitant to the bucket of surprised and now on board. It's also up to the #NeverTrump crowd to make up their minds so they don't end up (again, pardon the wording), at the back of the bus, because some other people are now getting ahead of them in the lineup.

November 13, 2016

60 Minutes Trump interview, still liberal bias

I'm watching the 60 Minutes interview with Donald Trump (his first since being elected) and there is indeed some liberal bias but what strikes me more is that Leslie Stahl is being very disrespectful to president-elect Trump, interrupting him in a way she would not dare or want to do if she were interviewing president Obama.  It's disgraceful.

And then there's the bias - she talks about people harassing Latinos but no word about Trump supporters being pulled from cars and being beaten.  That's not disgraceful but rather wholly one-sided.

The media has clearly not learned it's lesson - it's bias is killing the media itself.  But they'll continue doing it, just as they will continue losing viewers//readers, and continuing shrinking in importance and influence for the very reason that they cannot set aside their bias.

Bannon and Priebus named to Trump governing team

Via Fox News, the start of the transition team announcements Reince Priebus is going to be president-elect Trump's Chief of Staff and Steve Bannon is set to be senior counselor:

Sunday verse

November 12, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - U.S. geographic facts

A brief list of not commonly known facts about the United States.

November 11, 2016

Thank a veteran

Happy Veteran's Day to all who have served, your effort and sacrifice are truly appreciated.

Friday Musical Interlude - How Soon Is Now?

From 1985, The Smiths doing some death rock.

Thank a Veteran

Remember to honor those who served in the cause of freedom.

November 10, 2016

Ezra Levant on Trump's strength

Why Trump was the right pick, summed up in a few tweets.

November 9, 2016

An Obama surprise & Hillary true to form

Much ado has been made about Hillary Clinton's gracious concession speech.  I didn't see it - she sounded quieter but still shrill.  She seemed like she was still seething underneath the surface.  Franky I'm glad we don't have to hear from her - she was not only an ersatz candidate, she was also an ersatz politician and Secretary of State.

By contrast, there was Obama.  I am far from a fan of Obama, and this impression might be tempered by the circumstance in which it was delivered, but I thought it was likely his most gracious speech of his presidency. Yes, there was a bit of revisionism in it but it was his most inclusive speech since he told Republicans that he won and they were not getting the keys to drive the car back.

Of the two, Obama seemed to better grasp the emotion of the moment; Hillary Clinton is still looking to grasp emotions outside of bitterness and anger.

Post-mortem reminders

🔺  A few reminders to myself about future posts on which to work:

1. What was up with the polls.  Yes, Trump's win was not a shock because Hillary's leads were typically  (though not always) within the margin of error.  BUT - they all had her ahead by more than 2 points except for the LA Times and the IBD poll.  The learning - polls need tweaking.

2. What should Trump's agenda focus on?  It's not a wall, it's the economy and jobs - that's where he can win a landslide re-election over Kanye West in 2020.  Jobs mean votes.

3.  How does this impact the rift within the GOP between #NeverTrumpers and the grassroots? See here for my initial thoughts.

4.  What now for Democrats? Do they go through the soul-searching exercise that Republicans did (though not well) after the McCain loss in 2008? Here's my initial assessment of the Democrats' response so far.

5.  What now for the media as 'loyal opposition'?

6.  What can we expect with a Trump presidency, and a Republican Senate and Congress?  How will Trump lead?  How will Republicans govern?

7.  What does the Trump win mean re: conservatism versus populism versus nationalism?

8.  Will we ever hear from Hillary Clinton after 2016?

Hillary Clinton refuses to give a concession speech

No speech, S.E.L.F.I.S.H.

Her supporters deserved more, Trump deserved more. Sore loser,

UPDATE: Hillary is expected to speak this morning, shortly in fact. I guess she had to get the last word.

Bill Whittle reacts to Trump win

Bill Whittle - so right on so many things:

Trump victory speech

I'm happy with the results (more to follow) but I was up quite late last night watching returns come in. For now, here is Trump's gracious acceptance speech.

Democrats react to Trump win

This about sums it up:

November 8, 2016

So it begins

In one minute the first polls will close and reporting will begin in earnest shortly afterwards. Whatever happens, this election will be a watershed for America.  I pray the citizens of the great nation of the United States get this right. A mistake could doom the country to irreversible decline.

America, you have a great responsibility, you must get this right.

Races to Watch

What to look for as election night unfolds.

All times E.S.T.

7 p.m.

If Trump wins Virginia he's going to win the White House unless later on in the evening he manages to lose Florida.  However, should Trump win Virginia Florida seems far more likely to land in his column than Clinton's.  If Trump even keeps Virginia close, then it bodes well for more likely swing states like Colorado or Michigan, Pennsylvania or  Wisconsin, as there would be evidence of a rising tide that may carry across all states.

If Clinton keeps Georgia closer than predicted, then it bodes very badly for Trump's prospects in true swing state must wins for him, particularly geographically proximate Florida.

7:30 p.m.

North Carolina is critical for Trump, if he loses this close state it could be game over unless he pulls out a rabbit from his hat in Michigan or Pennsylvania.  However, I suspect this race not to be called until much later as it is likely going to be a close race.

8 p.m.

Florida - see North Carolina at 7:30.  Trump will not win if he doesn't land Florida.  Again, I expect a very late call on Florida, possibly after midnight, especially if Trump is overperforming in other states.

New Hampshire - if Trump wins tiny new Hampshire and their 4 electoral college votes it helps him enormously mathematically since the race could be very tight.  Additionally, it bodes well for Trump more generally, in terms of a rising tide of support across swing states.

Pennsylvania - if Trump wins here, the race is over.  He'll win other subsequent swing states most likely.

Maine Congressional District 2 - if Trump wins the 1 vote from this rural district it helps just as New Hampshire does.  It could be the 1 EC vote that moves him from 269 to the needed 270, and it could portend good things in states with a healthy rural mix of voters such as Colorado later in the night. 

9 p.m.

Colorado - some late polling puts this state in Trump's grasp after last week it looked out of reach and a blown opportunity.  If Trump does win here as I think he might, he holds Florida and N.C. and takes N.H., all ahead of this state, it's over. Nevada won't matter.  

10 p.m.

If we get this far without upsets it will be critical to see if trump's election day voters can surmount the early voting lead Hillary Clinton has likely logged ahead of election day.  If It's a tight race, this state could end up the decider.

How it games out as these poll closings pass still has a lot of variability.  Other states that could surprise (and turn out to be important) are of course Michigan and Wisconsin and possibly even Minnesota.  States that likely are set but still considered as swing states are Iowa and Ohio, which Trump will very likely carry handily.

Here's a disturbing thought...

Should Trump pull off a victory tonight, does Clinton challenge the validity of the of the results using Trump's unwillingness to accept the results if he lost, as her justification?

State by State poll closing by EST (with Live Updates)

Below is a list of state poll closing times, along with a running tally of  of cumulative electoral college votes by candidate.  Some of the swing states could be wrong obviously as it's merely my best guess for each state, and not all states are equally certain to turn out as expected.

By my latest estimation Trump wins this 273-265.  Obviously the path becomes easier or more difficult for Trump to win, by early swing state flips.

State (Electoral college votes) Predicted Winner -- Running EC Vote tally (Trump/Clinton)

I'll add the actual results in [winner name] as the results get reported.

Closed at 7 p.m. EST

Georgia (16), Trump -- (16/0) [Trump]
Indiana* (11), Trump -- (27/0) [Trump]
Kentucky* (8), Trump -- (35/0) [Trump]
South Carolina (9), Trump -- (44/0) [Trump]
Vermont (3), Clinton -- (44/3) [Clinton]
Virginia (13), Clinton -- (44/16) [Clinton]

Closed at 7:30 p.m. EST

North Carolina (15), Trump (reported very late) -- (59/16) [Trump]
Ohio (18), Trump -- (77/16) [Trump]
West Virginia (5), Trump -- (82/16) [Trump]

Closed at 8 p.m. EST

Alabama (9), Trump -- (91/16) [Trump]
Connecticut (7), Clinton -- (91/23) [Clinton]
Delaware (3), Clinton -- (91/26) [Clinton]
Florida* (29), Trump (reported very late) -- (120/26) [Trump]
Illinois (20), Clinton -- (120/46) [Clinton]
Maine (4), Clinton 3, Trump 1 -- (121/49) [Clinton 3/3. Maine CD2 still TBD]
Maryland (10), Clinton -- (121/59) [Clinton]
Massachusetts (11), Clinton -- (121/70) [Clinton]
Mississippi (6), Trump -- (127/70) [Trump]
Missouri (10), Trump -- (137/70) [Trump]
New Hampshire** (4), Trump -- (141/70)
New Jersey (14), Clinton -- (141/84) [Clinton]
Oklahoma (7), Trump (148/84) [Trump]
Pennsylvania (20), Clinton -- (148/104)
Rhode Island (4), Clinton -- (148/108) [Clinton]
Tennessee (11), Trump -- (159/108) [Trump]
Washington, DC (3), Clinton -- (159/111) [Clinton]

Closed at 8:30 p.m. EST

Arkansas (6), Trump -- (165/111) [Trump]

Closed at 9 p.m. EST

Arizona (11), Trump -- (176/111)
Colorado (9), Trump -- (185/111) [Clinton]
Kansas* (6), Trump -- (191/111) [Trump]
Louisiana (8), Trump -- (199/111) [Trump]
Michigan* (16), Clinton -- (199/127)
Minnesota (10),  Clinton -- (199/137)
Nebraska (5), Trump -- (204/137) [Trump]
New Mexico (5), Clinton -- (204/142) [Clinton]
New York (29), Clinton -- (204/171) [Clinton]
North Dakota** (3), Trump -- (207/171) [Trump]
South Dakota* (3), Trump -- (210/171) [Trump]
Texas*  (38), Trump -- (248/171) [Trump]
Wisconsin (10), Clinton -- (248/181) [Trump]
Wyoming (3), Trump -- (251/181) [Trump]

Closed at 10 p.m. EST

Iowa (6), Trump -- (257/181) [Trump]
Montana (3), Trump -- (260/181) [Trump]
Nevada (6), Clinton -- (260/186) [Clinton]
Utah (6), Trump -- (266/186) [Trump]

Closed at 11 p.m. EST

California (55), Clinton -- (266/242) [Clinton]
Hawaii (4), Clinton -- (266/246) [Clinton]
Idaho* (4), Trump -- (270/246) [Trump]
Oregon* (7), Clinton -- (270/253) [Clinton]
Washington (12), Clinton -- (270/265) [Clinton]

Closing at 1 a.m. EST

Alaska (3), Trump -- (273/265)

*Varies by time zone. Some polling places will close an hour earlier.
**Multiple closing times.

Election projection 2016. It's a headscratcher.

I honestly don't know what to think at this point. There's plenty of evidence that Hillary Clinton will break 300 electoral college votes.  There's significant evidence that she won't make 270.  Polls show Hillary up by 2% to 3%  on average. But the polls missed Reagan's landslide in 1980.  The polls missed Brexit in 2016. Then again, polls underestimated Obama's defeat of Romney in 2012. Is Trump surging or is his Democrat swing state tour this last week just bravado or desperation? Who knows?  I certainly don't, although it won't stop me best guessing.

Skipping all the boring stuff, I'll leap straight to my prognostications.  Trump will beat Hillary 270 to 268. Clinton will try to litigate it but will fail. The Republicans will keep the House and end up with 51 seats in the Senate.  That's me trying to split the difference between cautious optimism, Trump hysteria and polling and pundit commonality suggesting Hillary wins.  This is really a true unknown situation in my eyes.  I think the most telling insights will come from post-election analysis of polling data.

A few observations I can offer.  

There may be what's been dubbed a Trump Monster Vote, but the size is still TBD. I doubt it will be as big as many hoped for but bigger than expected.  I expect the real difference maker in this election will not be Democrat cross-over voters but rather dampened Clinton support and the lack of enthusiasm among Hillary supporters.   If turnout for Hillary is low then Trump's odds improve dramatically as his supporters clearly have an enthusiasm edge. 

The transit strike in Philadelphia has ended, which is likely good news for Hillary GOTV in Philadelphia.

Hillary may also have abandoned Ohio and could be looking to fortify Pennsylvania.  That's also helpful for her strategically even though to some, it might appear as a panic move.

Pennsylvania may be the state to swing the election.  But so too might be New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan or even the single electoral vote from Maine CD2, if Trump is to prevail. If Clinton emerges victorious then the state that will do it for her is either Florida or North Carolina.

It's Election Day.

Alright.  Here we go.

November 6, 2016

Duelling Echo Chambers

If you look at the 2016 election you can find pundits, pollsters and the general public who predict everything from a Hillary Clinton blowout to a Donald Trump blow out (and everything in between). 

People on the right, many of them, believe that the polls have oversampled Democrats.  That the turnout of Democrats is going to be depressed among African American voters, Bernie Sanders supporters and even to a certain extent Hispanic voters are unenthusiastic and won't turn out in numbers to get Hillary Clinton elected.  Meanwhile, Trump has surged among men, blue collar workers, and a number of other traditional Democrat demographics.  In addition, they cite things like the pollster misreads of BREXIT, where the Stay vote was expected to beat the Leave vote and it has not happened.

There are polls that support many of their assertions.  There's evidence pollsters were re-working their polls and support was converging between Trump and Clinton prior to the initial Comey news that the FBI were re-opening the Clinton email investigation (before slamming it shut again today).  But here's the thing - you can't say the pollsters were adjusting their polls AND that Trump was surging.  It's one or the other.  Additionally, there were a number of polls that showed Romney leading Obama in 2012 that turned out to be wrong.  The preponderance of the evidence of polls was that Obama was leading and he actually was.

While there is a case to be made that Trump has made up ground and that there is this mythical Trump "monster vote" that will emerge on election day.  Okay, maybe but there's no solid evidence.  As much as I'd like to believe it and I've based a lot of my own analyses on skepticism of the mainstream polls, we might be operating in an echo chamber - we hear people saying things, often anecdotally, that we are predisposed to want to believe and hence exhibit a confirmation bias belief in that 'news'.

The same can be said for Democrats, who want to believe the polling general Clinton lead.  They dismiss the anecdotal evidence of huge Trump rallies and small Clinton rallies as forcefully as Trump supporters embrace them.  The Democrat echo chamber has been around a lot longer (and consequently a lot bigger) but that makes it no more correct.

What matters is a preponderance of polls in the swing states. If there's a hidden Trump monster vote, or true unmeasured momentum for him, I'll be as happy as anyone - Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president. Trump is a coin toss at least. But until that happens, I am dialing myself back on my confidence levels.  I think at this point the ceiling for Hillary Clinton is probably about 280 electoral college votes and the floor is about 225. The same is roughly true for Trump. I think Trump's chances of winning are anywhere from 45% to 53%  That's not terrible odds (unless you are Hillary Clinton and are working to stack the deck in your favor).  As a Trump proponent, I'll take that. A Trump landslide would be wonderful, but it's not necessary.

Comey 2nd about face should energize Trump voters

Corrupt much?

Sunday verse

November 5, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography

So close to the election, I haven't forgotten about the Saturday Learning Series and this year's theme - geography.  I've moved it later so as not to interfere with possible electoral news posts.

Unfortunately we've caught up with our primary geography video source, Geography Now and are awaiting more from that wonderful series.  But since it's election crunch time in America, here is a good video on American geography.

Clinton wanted to drone Assange

Hillary Clinton wanted to drone (i.e. bomb) Julian Assange. She apparently doesn't care about taking out a building in London, England (with all of the collateral damage, both physically and geo-politically) as long as it rids her of her own political problems. That is sociopathic (for more, check this link) and shocking.

If the media covered this actual email with the same gysto they drilled down into every Donald Trump innuendo, the election would be over.  But don't count on it - vote, and inform your friends and ask them to vote like your country's future depends on it because it does.

Scheduling Note

Normally Saturday mornings Nonsensible Shoes posts a Saturday Learning Series video.  Given the importance of political events and the immediacy of the U.S. presidential election, the Saturday Learning Series video will be delayed until late evening today to provide room for other important issues that may arise.
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