September 30, 2016

Friday Musical Interlude - Georgia Blues: Blind Willie McTell

Another Blues Documentary.

September 29, 2016

Wikileaks - Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS

 Wow. Is this for real???
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is a controversial character. But there’s no denying the emails he has picked up from inside the Democrat Party are real, and he’s willing to expose Hillary Clinton.

Now, he’s announcing that Hillary Clinton and her State Department were actively arming Islamic jihadists, which includes the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Clinton has repeatedly denied these claims, including during multiple statements while under oath in front of the United States Senate.

WikiLeaks is about to prove Hillary Clinton deserves to be arrested
I am truly shocked. Waiting for more information to come in.

Refugee supports Trump

This. Is. Awesome.

Hillary Clinton taken down on taking credit for Bin Laden

Hillary Clinton has a history of rewriting...well, history. From going into Bosnia under "enemy fire", to Benghazi to her private email servers, she's not trustworthy. Now there's this - she's taking credit for getting Bin Laden.  Not so fast says the man who took out Bin Laden.

 

Meanwhile in Germany

You have this still happening.  


Migration is not a problem. Mass migration, especially undocumented invites chaos and violence. That in turn invites recrimination. Violence will beget violence. Stupid policy will lead to terrible consequences, unintended though they may be.

The Johnson Takedown Strategy

With Libertarian candidate stumbling on Aleppo in an interview a while back, and the polling evidence that his support is pulling voters more from Hillary Clinton than from Donald Trump, it was only a matter of time before the liberal media piled on tried to suck all of his support away from him as quickly as possible.  With Clinton having, at a minimum pre-debate, having lost momentum, it's become necessary to find her a path to victory.

Trump did not tank at the debate, even if the perception is that Hillary might have won the debate, she did not sink Trump.  Trump did not sink Trump either. So the Gary Johnson thing might really matter.

It's no coincidence that a progressive liberal (socialist) leaning network like MSNBC is trying to give Gary Johnson some rope to hang himself by having him on.  Bernie Sanders supporters are generally younger and certainly feeling the sting of being treated as outsiders after the scandalous DNC attempts to ensure a Clinton victory in the Democratic primaries.  And Libertarian candidates like Johnson have tended to have more success among the same demographic than older ones - at least when it comes to attracting new voters.

So the MSNBC strategy is targeting correctly - get those voters who you can possibly peel away from Johnson and get him to slip up again. Clearly Johnson is an isolationist and another slip up on foreign policy was/is bordering on inevitable.



Whether it just turns them off from voting this cycle entirely rather than turning them to Clinton is another matter.  But you won't convince me that this was not a deliberate vote grabbing attempt by MSNBC.

September 28, 2016

Time for a change

The time for a change has come to America. Like the proverbial frog in a slowly heating pot of water, America is being boiled to death and has become too ignorant, too lazy or both to recognize it and do something about it.  But it grows more urgent with each passing day, as a growing percentage of the populace come to believe that the boiling pot of water, the poison as it were, is the cure.  With 20 trillion in national debt, trillions more in unfunded liabilities, a gutted military, dwindling global influence, an anemic education system, bureaucracy trumping common sense, a choked economy with near-stagnant growth and business looking to move production or themselves entirely elsewhere all just some of the myriad problems facing the country, the time for a change in direction is now.  Every passing day is a day squandered.  

What people believe works for them in the form of government handouts at subsistence levels is the reason that for 50 years poverty, valueless education, the decay of the family, moral decay and other issues have become cyclical. That hand promising to lift you up, is the hand that is actually holding you down.

 What has been tried for decades has not worked, does not work and will not work with more money thrown at it.  The American people are unlike people anywhere in the world but they have been numbed into forgetting it. Within each person in America is tremendous potential that is being squandered in exchange for an Obamaphone - as if that is the solution to the problems in your life.

It's time to change the outcome, not by changing your expectations but by changing your actions.  Do something different.  One election will surely not solve all of these problems.  But when you are walking towards a dead end, another step in that direction only enhances the potential of a dead end outcome.  A step in another direction, ANY other direction, has the potential to reverse the potential for that outcome.  It does not guarantee a better outcome, but it does guarantee a different outcome.  

Let's be clear - not all change is good.  In 2008 Americans were promised change - they got it. The last 7+ years have proven that repeating the changes made in the past have provided the same outcomes - a growing dependent class, a country in a malaise and a people more despondent.  But just because not all change is good, does not mean continuing with a bad change is good.  In fact, stopping a bad idea, is always a good idea.

The time has come for a change.  It is bigger than Donald Trump, who has added a populist face to the notion that America needs to be made great again. It is bigger than Hillary Clinton who0 can provide no positive reason for herself to be president only suggestions that an outsider who has risen to the challenge is not right for the job.  Perhaps.  But clearly Hillary Clinton is the establishment status quo, as evidenced that party elders from both political parties favor her.

If that is not a red flag for you, perhaps you have become color blind because everyone should be seeing that. 

Donald Trump offers a shot at a 4 year experiment in something else - anything else.  It's a roll of the dice at a craps table, but America you are running out of chips and betting the same way decade after decade has not worked. Switch it up and play an entirely new game.  If it doesn't work change it again.  Just do not do more of the same and expect a different result.

Please.

Seriously, what gives?

Hillary Clinton standing over a dead body with a bloody ax, still might avoid prosecution.  I wonder if the subliminal message from Comey is that Hillary Clinton is above the law and therefore doesn't deserve your vote. Possibly, but these are not subtle times.  Perhaps Comey didn't get the memo on that.  Otherwise, seriously, what gives?

September 27, 2016

Debate Wrap, it's a Trump trap

Donald Trump is a genius. He did what he had to do in the debate last night because he has set himself up brilliantly going forward. At the end of the debate, as expected, everyone has retreated to their corners and claimed their candidate the victor.  That's patently ridiculous. The debate itself has become somewhat akin to kabuki theater - each candidate plays to their voters or perceived 'getable' undecideds. This was moreso the case yesterday, despite 80 million viewers.

Who won the debate doesn't matter; who helped their chances to win the White House is what matters, in that regard there is some analysis I can add to the blizzard of post analyses already out there today.

First let me summarize the post-game reviews. The consensus is that Hillary Clinton won on points. Trump won first30 minutes, Hillary won the next 30 minutes and the last 30 were fairly even with Hillary winning by a bit. But that's debate points.  The debate winner doesn't get a medal, let alone the White House.

As an aside the moderator Holt interrupted and fact checked Trump something like 13 times, at one point arguing with the candidate, and Hillary a total N'once'. Zero.  The same was true for crowd scoldings; he clearly had a bias for the Democrat and will be rewarded with possible medals from fellow media talking heads for tilting the floor in her direction.  He was not terrible, but he was not impartial.  To me, that's not a pass.

Rush Limbaugh pointed out today that the media is measuring the debate by old standards.  He may be right. It's too early to tell, but let me postulate this - it's a trap.

Donald Trump did what he had to do - he stayed relatively even keeled and still stood up for himself. By being on the stage he proved he could behave in a way befitting the office.  More importantly, he did not go for the jugular of Clinton - a woman.  Doing so would have done him more harm than good.  By not doing so, he leaves room to go after her very hard in the next debates and allow him a pass when and if he does. He's proved he could be civil, the media claims he lost - he has an excuse to go hard at her the next time.  He can be relentless because he's behind and come off as tough but not get the bully label.

If that's Donald Trump's plan it's truly brilliant and I would not put anything beyond the scope of his strategy.  The next debate will prove that to be true or mere speculation on my part.  I don't think it is.

September 25, 2016

September 24, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (a "what if" scenario)

Here's a bonus Saturday Learning Series installment today in the form of a "what if" scenario.  What if everyone in the whole world, all 7.4 billion people, lived in one city?  How big would that city have to be?  Take a guess before watching the video.

Here's the answer, it's an interesting explanation.

A liberal pundit leaning Trump

I just posted some proof you can't trust CNN on politics.  Here's a liberal pundit who seems to be leaning Trump and supporting the argument that the media is clearly planted in camp Clinton. Is he right on all of this? There's certainly evidence of it and it must be relatively strong evidence if liberal pundits are talking about it like this.

Why you cannot trust CNN on politics (with examples)

There's a bias in ideology at CNN and not just when it comes to Trump but conservative ideas in general.  However the video below cites with evidence specific examples of CNN punditry blatantly misleading viewers that do not align with what Trump said at his GOP convention speech.

Ted Cruz finally gets around to endorsing Donald Trump

Ho hum, that's the headline here.

During the primaries I was rooting for Cruz to emerge as the candidate.  I get why Trump won, and win or lose the general election, there's concrete value in the shake-up it has caused within the Republican establishment.  Nevertheless, Ted Cruz didn't seem to get it.  I understand why, there was a lot of vitriol during the primary campaign.  So during the Republican national convention, he deliberately refused to endorse Donald Trump, despite taking an oath to support the eventual nominee prior to Trump winning the nomination.

Make no mistake, that had an effect on Trump, fuelling the #NeverTrump crowd's flickering flame.  But that flame itself eventually dwindled.  Ted Cruz did not endorse Trump during his August polling swoon either, when it might have mattered more.  Ted Cruz finally gets around this week to endorsing Donald Trump after Trump has surged to near parity with Clinton.

Cruz makes a solid case as to why he's endorsing Trump, and he's outwardly at least, doing it for the right reasons.  And it's good that he has stepped up and done the right thing rather than continuing to be petulant.  But....Ho hum. The endorsement is a day late and a dollar short as the saying goes.

I say that because at this point, that endorsement no longer matters. Ted Cruz supporters have either exited the Cruz bus, or decided to not vote for Trump already.  The splash was the non-endorsement. Endorsing now has gotten little press coverage on the left or the right - the former because it doesn't help Hillary and the latter because they've already moved on to deciding for themselves either way. There's no splash. Maybe there would have been if Cruz had emerged from Trump's plane and spoken on Trump's behalf at a rally.  Then it might have really gotten some attention.  Not on Facebook though.

So who does this endorsement actually help? Ted Cruz.  If Trump wins and a few states are squeakers Cruz can point out to Trump that his endorsement may have made that marginal difference that got him elected.  And maybe he can get a plum appointment from Trump to a cabinet post or even as a Supreme Court Justice (a role he would be well qualified to serve).  Additionally, this can serve Cruz to help him repair his reputation from his seemingly jilted non-endorsement during the GOP convention.  Two reasons for Cruz to endorse Trump that have little to do with Trump.  

In fact, Cruz' endorsement of Trump rings more of a disavowal of Hillary Clinton than as an endorsement of Trump. If it had been the latter, and if he had truly wished to fully own his own shortcoming, and move past them, there would have been an apology attached to the endorsement. There wasn't.

Cruz could have actually made a bigger splash had he waited until after the debate, especially if Trump had a bad night.  And maybe that's his calculus - maybe he figures Trump will exceed expectations, do well and not need another endorsement and Cruz' own endorsement at that point would have zero value. It would be perceived as hopping on the bandwagon.  That's a risk.  But it's a risk for Ted Cruz, not for the good of the party. The risk worth taking for the good of the party and of the country, would have been to wait, and risk having his endorsement not matter, but be available to knock some of the wind out of Hillary's sails should Trump have not fared well during Monday's debate.

Don't get me wrong, I like most of Ted Cruz' policy positions. If he were to run again I would consider supporting him (although I'm not 100% certain he would be my choice).  But to me, his endorsement of Trump, because of the under-the-radar timing of it make it a non-event in my eyes.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Equatorial Guinea)

Equatorial Guinea doesn't get much attention, and most of this was pretty new to me. Live and learn.



And of course it wouldn't be a geography lesson without the flag episode.

September 23, 2016

State of the race - September 23rd

I recently had some questions about a couple of NBC polls that have Hillary Clinton up by numbers out of line with other polls.  More polling has come in and it's only muddied the waters.

Firstly, the RealClearPolitics electoral college map has Hillary winning the presidency by an electoral college count of 272-266 in a no-toss-up state race.  That's just as tight as I'm seeing the race right now.

But meanwhile a McClatchy/Marist poll has come out that has Hillary Clinton up by 7 points. So maybe the NBC data isn't really all that far off.  But not so fast.
McClatchy/Marist comes up with the exact same spread in their first poll in nearly two months, but it’s actually much better for Trump than their previous result — a 48/33 outlier...

...The poll appears to slightly oversample women (54/46) and a bit more significantly undersample white voters (67%) in comparison to 2012’s exit polling (53/47, 72% respectively). The age demos are structured differently, but appear to lean a little young compared to 2012. On the partisan affiliation side, the split seems reasonable at a D+5 in both RVs and LVs.
So the sampling splits leaves it a questionable poll. But there are problems for Trump there too; his polling numbers with women, and whites are still below the numbers he needs to have a shot at winning, if the poll is accurate.

But all of this is moot. The first debate is on Monday. No stool for Clinton. No commercials, no breaks and they're expecting a record audience. Polls late next week are the polls that will really matter.

Friday Musical Interlude - Chicago Blues

A documentary on the Chicago Blues scene.

September 22, 2016

New polls, new view

As I mentioned previously, I had a problem with the recent NBC/Survey Monkey mega-poll that had Clinton up by 5 points in the national poll.  I've excluded it in my analyses, including todays.  Interestingly a poll was added, again NBC but this time NBC/WSJ, not NBC/SM, that has Clinton up by 7 points.  Only the NBC polls are showing Clinton ahead at this point, almost as if they have an agenda to have her continue to appear to be the frontrunner.  But it's a smaller poll and I've left it included in my averages in the chart below.  The x axis reflects first half and second half of each month.  Excusing the NBC/SM poll (I hadn't even touched on the bias towards the tech savvy respondents in my critique of that poll, but it should be noted), there's a clear trend towards Trump and away from Clinton.  As other recent polls come in, we'll see if the NBC numbers are indeed outliers.  

Stay tuned for that - especially after the debate on Monday.

The graphic below is a weighted average of all polls by number of respondents. It includes only polls of Likely Voters, where a margin of error has been specified and is 3.5% or less.
(click to enlarge)


September 21, 2016

New NBC/SM poll has issues, like Clinton up by 5%

I've been looking at the trending of polling over the last two years using RealClearPolitics average of surveys among various pollsters as my base of polls to include.  I've been screening out Registered Voter polls in favor of likely voter polls, as likely voters are more likely to vote, and therefore their opinion is more likely to matter come voting day.  Likely voter models do contain a risk in that they can fine tune results too finely and skew results.  But for 30 years they have generally proven more predictive than Registered Voter polls.

In looking at those polls there is a clear trend towards Trump in September.  But my most recent Excel refresh suddenly shifted back towards Clinton - even my weighted average model, which sums voters across polls so polls with larger populations have a higher impact on my results than smaller polls. Granted, different pollsters could be calling the same voter and I could be double counting, but the risk of that is miniscule and even if it were the case, any attempt at averaging the polls would be impacted by the issue. So I'm willing to overlook the problem.

What I was not able to overlook was a reverse shift.  So I dug into the polls and the most recent NBC/SurveyMonkey poll caught my attention immediately.  It polls 13,320 likely voters and has a margin of error of a mere 1.2%.  The poll, stands athwart all other recent polls has Hillary Clinton ahead by 5%. Wow! What could account for such a dramatic shift?  A major Trump gaffe?  His son's Skittles comment?  People coming to their senses?

Well, first we have to take a look at the poll's particulars - crosstabs, methodology, etc.  My first concern is that they have scrubbed out very few Registered voters, claiming their Registered Voters polling is pretty close to likely voters already;
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll screens for adults who say they are registered to vote, and we weight the data to reflect the demographic composition of registered voters (by age, race, sex, education and region) using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Demographically, our results closely mimic the population of registered voters.

In addition, we also believe that the method used by SurveyMonkey to recruit respondents into the weekly tracking poll selects the most likely voters from among the population of people taking SurveyMonkey surveys. Our respondents are selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. To do so, for a random sample of those taking a survey, SurveyMonkey displays a map of past election results colored in gradations of red, blue and purple and they ask those individuals to "help us predict the 2016 elections." Because individuals choose whether or not they want to help predict the election, those individuals choosing to participate are arguably more likely to be politically interested and likely to vote than respondents who see the same invitation and decline to participate.
That's a pretty strong assumption. People take polls for a number of reasons - financial gain, the opportunity to influence public opinion or to pretend to be an adult all are possible. Yes, there is some validity in their point but it is not necessarily an overarching correlation to likely voter-hood. Which brings me to another point.
After reviewing the previous research and available evidence in our own data, NBC News and SurveyMonkey have concluded that the best approach for our tracking survey data is a "likely voter model" that makes only modest adjustments to our self-reported "registered voter" results.
The survey is an online survey. Identifying who is completing the survey is impossible, it's blind. In addition there is no indication of whether all self-reported volunteers were included or how many or whom was excluded. The crosstabs were not provided in a robust way. I'm not convinced that this survey would pass scientific rigor despite it's large sample size. There have been 5 recent Likely Voter polls including this one. 3 have Trump ahead. 1 is a tie. This poll is clearly the outlier among the polls, not only showing Clinton leading but by a wide margin that does not approach any of the other polls.

In fact since June 1st, only 14 polls have had Hillary at 50% or more support and 4 of them have been by NBC/SM. If we look at only like voter models the total of Clinton >50% drops to 5 surveys; PPP (a Democratic pollster) in July, Bloomberg and Quinnipiac in August when Clinton did seem to be surging. In September this NBC/SM poll and a Washington Post/ABC poll from September 8th. If more polls come out in the next few days, I'd be more inclined to believe this one. But for now, not so much.

Evidence that Clinton's campaign is in danger

Some anecdotal evidence that Hillary's campaign is in trouble.

Cenk admitted it, in a desperate plea for the campaign and the media recognize it and reacte.

An endorsement of Trump on terror from...Piers Morgan???? Piers a stoutly liberal media personality.  When he clearly takes shots at Clinton and Obama, you know he's sensing which way the wind is blowing.  It's in his best interest to be on the right side.  Equally, he clearly has to be considered in his opinion to go against liberal orthodoxy on this issue.  Perhaps his own views have, to borrow an Obama term, 'evolved on this issue'.

Hillary Clinton has shockingly turned unfavorable in the resolutely liberal California.  While she is in no danger of losing the state, it is clearly a sign of a problem.  It's even worse when coupled with the fact that president Obama is putting himself on the campaign trail, unwilling to leave Hillary's chances of winning to her own devices.

Despite a massive advertising spending differential, Hillary can't pull ahead in Florida (and elsewhere) and is even in danger of losing.

And there's this:


None of this proves anything.  But it does look like a crumbling has started.  It can't likely be stopped via business as usual.  The debates may change things, but the operating model the Clinton campaign is using hasn't been working for a while.

State of the race - September 20th

Not my assessment today, I'm otherwise occupied.  However I thought I'd share a couple of interesting notes from others.  Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, a highly respected pollster/analyst, has Donald Trump's chances of winning at 48% today.  A month ago he had it at 3%.  That's an amazing shift.

In addition, there's this, from CBS.

September 20, 2016

Skittles

I want to apologize for not having time to post today. I  had some great ideas but no time. And now that I have time I find that I have no energy.

Nevertheless I do want to express my exasperation at the Clinton campaign as well as the mainstream  media regarding their phony outrage over Donald Trump's son's comments on Syrian refugees and Skittles.

1. This was not the candidate it was his son.

2.  If they hope to tear down Trump by emphasizing his children didn't turn out as great as they portrayed themselves at the GO Convention they are not going to get much traction outside the liberal echo chamber. Seriously,  no one is going to care beyond 5 hours ago.

3. Trump junior's comments were not wrong.
Skittles will never amount to a deciding factor in this election. Thinking otherwise is folly. 

September 19, 2016

CNN already running cover for Clinton on Birtherism

Donald Trump on Friday denounced the Obama birtherism narrative as false.  He used the opportunity that the media was hoping would be a gotcha moment on Trump as a 30 minute free infomercial for his campaign before offering a quick denial.

The media was trolled and they knew it.  So they've turned the conference into a new wave of attacks on Trump.  CNN in particular has decided to run cover for Clinton, since Trump and others have rightly pointed out that birtherism had its roots in the Hillary Clinton camp in 2008.

Trump did not start birtherism, and CNN does not claim he did. They however, working with Politifact, determine that Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with it, and her campaign was basically free of guilt (mostly). Except Politifact is a liberal organization and has vested interest in the conclusion.

Trump has made it clear that Obama was born in America. End of story.   But the liberal mainstream media, of which CNN is a part,  needs to help Hillary get back on offense after a great week for Trump and a terrible week for Clinton.  Birtherism is their latest Holy Grail in that effort.  It's not going to work.  Trump would do well to leave this one alone, and ironically, so too would Clinton.  It's not an issue that people are going to focus on when compared to jobs, wages and security.  Nevertheless, it's going to be the meme of the week.

State of the Race - Sept 19th

I've started looking at the state by state polling for the swing states.  Interestingly some of them don't have much recent polling (beyond August, or early September) and a lot has happened in the last two weeks.  But as it stands, in a 2 way race and assigning even margin of error states to who looks to be reasonably ahead, I currently have Hillary Clinton winning the electoral college 293-245.

Tenuous

But despite the 48 electoral college vote lead, her grasp is tenuous.  Several states fall into true toss up status even though she currently enjoys a lead.  Among those most interesting Nevada (6) has as it's most recent polling Trump winning. Wisconsin (10) has a comfortable lead for Clinton in the RealClearPolitics average of polls - as of August 28th.  Those polls really need a refresh. Colorado (9)  had a sliding trend with a Clinton lead in August.  The only September poll has Trump ahead by 4 but with a 3.9% margin of error. North Carolina (15) had different polls showing both candidates ahead, even at the same time, in August.  It's a true dog fight in that state.  The only September poll has it as a tie. I'd rate it right now as the 'tossiest' of toss up races.  Maine's 2nd CD, a single proportional electoral college vote appears to be safely Trump's even though Clinton will win the other votes from the state.  Maine is one of 2 states that allocates an electoral college vote proportionally. That's a flip from my last prediction where I had unwittingly allocated it to Clinton.

States more likely to remain faithful to their histories

Arizona looks like a toss up but is looking more to me like it will remain Republican and Trump will prevail.  So too the race in georgia; it should shake out for Trump. Trump has recovered from a Florida swoon in August and the state has been trending his way all September - he's now ahead and the trend appears to be unfinished.  Iowa seems to have broken for Trump. The two polls from August 31st onward have him ahead by 5 and 8 points. In Ohio, despite the refusal of a scorned Kasich to help Trump, only 1 poll in the last 6 has Hillary ahead of Trump in the crucial state - by 7 points. Every other recent poll has Trump ahead by as little as 1 and as much as 5.  Ohio has broken for Trump it would appear.

Pennsylvania is looking likely to be a relatively safe hold for the Democrats and Clinton.  So too is Virginia - the race there is tightening but she's still got about a 3 point lead and a VP candidate from the state. I'd be surprised at this point if Trump were to win it. New Hampshire still looks like a Clinton hold too. The trend is running towards toss up but she still leads.  And while Michigan still looks like Clinton is favored, the trend line is not favoring her and the state could be in jeopardy for her.  A poll with a Trump lead in Michigan in the next week would throw the entire race into chaos because Michigan is supposed to be safely Democrat.  But with Ford closing plants in Michigan and moving production to Mexico, such a poll is a real possibility as the trend line preceded Ford's announcement.

Other considerations

I haven't yet started analyzing the 4 way races with Johnson and Stein factored in, as I think their numbers will fall as we close in on election day.  Nevertheless, they do merit a review, which I will do soon.

Additionally, the debates are rapidly approaching.  Aside from 'events' (e.g. an email problem, a major verbal gaffe, a terrorist attack) the debates are the biggest remaining factor - even bigger than a coming Clinton ad bombardment in swing states, though if not countered by Trump or Republican SuperPACs, those will matter too).  The debates are live and could easily swing the campaign either way.

Summary

As I mentioned, currently I have Hillary Clinton winning the electoral college 293-245.  But 4 tenuous states do have the potential to flip the winner.  If Nevada, Wisconsin, North cArolina and Colorado all flip, Trump would win 285-253.  And that is within the realm of possibility.  And if North Carolina and Wisconsin flip but Colorado and Nevada don't, Trump could still win 270-268.  And even more bizarrely, if we switch Colorado for Trump and Wisconsin back to Hillary, we'd have a 269-269 tie.  In that case, Trump would win.

So it's still very, very tight and getting tighter by the day right now.  It's going to be an interesting next 6 weeks.

Happy Birthday

To my wife Michelle.

September 18, 2016

September 17, 2016

An honest Cenk moment. Who knew?

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks is a progressive socialist.  Normally I'm critiquing him.  But this week he's calling the liberal media to task for sticking their heads in the sand on Trump's momentum and Hillary's campaign.  He's right - I just hope the liberal media isn't paying attention to him.

Is the Hillary Clinton campaign robbing her poorest donors?

What difference does it make where the money came from?
Via RWN. If this story proves out, and there's evidence to suggest that it will (follow the link for details), Hillary Clinton is a vile human being.
A recent article on Observer detailed an unbelievable happening in the Hillary Clinton campaign, impacting her low-income donors. To make an extremely long story short, Hillary for America is systematically overcharging and stealing from Hillary’s poorest donors, and it’s happening at such a frequency that the fraud department at one of the nation’s biggest banks is receiving up to 100 phone calls a day from Hillary’s small donors, asking for refunds for unauthorized charges to their bank cards made by the Clinton campaign.

...What’s worse, there’s another disturbing trend within the Hillary Clinton campaign’s theft. As unwitting donors are charged multiple times, it’s always for a total of less than $100, which is a key trigger point for banks’ internal action systems that would require them to investigate the fraud. So, this hardly seems like an accident, but rather a well thought out, purposeful plot to try to take advantage of Hillary’s own donors.
Perhaps the Clinton campaign feels that the 'donors' will complain to the banks, the banks will regard it as small potatoes, they'll refund the discrepancies and it will amount to the Clinton campaign robbing from the banks and not the poor. That doesn't make it less of a problem. In any case, expect the standard blow-it-off response from the campaign; 'These were merely clerical errors made by volunteers and action has been taken to rectify the problem. Move along, nothing to see here.'

It's not that funny but I think I'll have to start referring to Hillary Clinton as Hilarity Clinton on my Thursday Hillary Bash segments because the things she does are so repulsive that you have to just laugh.  Of course it's never her, it's always someone else on her team. There's always plausible deniability. But the tone of the campaign comes from the top, not the bottom.  No, apparently what comes from the bottom is the unintended funding.

Saturday Learning Series - geography (bonus stuff)

Geography more covers a bit of Bahrain, Bangladesh and Barbados. Some interesting tidbits in this video not mentioned in the specific videos for these countries.

September 15, 2016

State of the race - September 15th

Two recent polls have Donald Trump pulling ahead among Likely Voters in the critical states of Florida and Ohio. Combined, those two states have a rich total of 47 electoral college votes (more on that later.

Looking at the safe states scenario, Hillary Clinton has a pretty safe lock on 200 of a needed 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency. Trump has 163. If we assume that the polling trends in Florida and Ohio will give Trump those states, he takes a 210 to 200 lead.

In addition if Trump loses either Georgia or Arizona then Hillary will have already won in a landslide - having taken both Ohio and Florida in the process. So adding those two states to Trump's column, is a fairly likely outcome, because barring any October surprises (which are still possible). That bring's Trump's total up to 237. And that's where Trump's path becomes more difficult.

Virginia has trended Democrat over the last two elections and while Trump can win it, it's 13 electoral college votes likely will end up in Hillary's column. The same is true for vote-rich Pennsylvania. Trump could surprise there but that is a longshot scenario. Tiny Live Fee or Die New Hampshire likely falls Hillary's way unless we are in a Trump landslide scenario. Pollster Frank Luntz believes Trump's momentum in N.H. will continue and Trump will win it. Maybe so, but not yet.

With those states falling that way, we have a 237-237 electoral college tie. Adding Maine's votes-plitting system to Clinton's tally, and Nebraska's to Trump (a likely outcome in each case) we're at 238-238 with 62 yet unallocated.

16 come from Michigan (which are Hillary Clinton's to lose, even with Ford closing plants and moving the jobs to Mexico a move no doubt that helps Trump's chances there). Clinton leads by 5 with less than 2 months to go. If Trump closes Michigan that could very well land him the race but I still see Michigan in the Clinton column.

6 votes are from Iowa Trump is now slightly up Iowa and this state is continuing to trend his way. Give these votes to Trump.

9 electoral college votes are assigned to Colorado used to be a swing state. It's gone liberal and Clinton has an 8 point lead. There's no polling that I'm aware of in September, there which is problematic, but the state is likely going blue again and Hillary will get those votes too.

6 votes come from Nevada. Nevada has gone reliably blue forever. In August, Hillary was 5 points ahead (on a volume of one poll). In a single poll in September, Trump was ahead by 1. Trump's a casino guy and Nevada is a casino state. Despite Clinton's lead among Hispanics, a key voting block in that state, I think pulls off a surprise in the state.

That puts Hillary at 263 and Trump at 250 and 2 states remaining; 10 from Wisconsin and 15 from North Carolina. If Hillary wins either state she's won. In North Carolina Hillary leads by a mere 0.6% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. The state is simply too close to call. Wisconsin is another matter. Hillary has a 4 point lead. But again, those polls are all from August during Trump's swoon, and prior to Hillary's latest issues about health and calling Trump supporters a "basket of deplorables". My view is that Hillary still leads but that the margin is likely almost as slim as North Carolina.

In other words, this contest is currently a coin toss and victory is a razor thin margin for either candidate. But I don't expect it to stay that way.

We haven't seen the debates yet. Will Hillary wilt? Will Trump stick his foot in his mouth? Either could happen. Then again, either candidate has the potential to do well for themselves as well. It's a big unknown.

WikiLeaks is promising some devastating leaks on Clinton emails in October. If they have anything it could be a big deal. If Julian Assange is just trying to promote his site, and there's nothing there, it is a complete non-factor.

Trump hasn't released his taxes. Either he does and it has bad news or optics for him, he doesn't and he looks supsicious or he doesn't and it has no bad news. Again, it is an unknown.

But there's an even bigger factor than all of these I think.
Hillary Clinton has had a tough week, but here’s something she’s doing extremely well: raising enormous amounts of money. As of late August, Clinton had raised a total of $446.4 million (including through SuperPacs) compared to Donald Trump’s $137.3 million. That’s a prodigious advantage and one that could certainly make the difference in a tight race.

...Even though Clinton has spent $349.6 million so far compared to Trump’s meager $96.7 million, the race is nearly even.

...Still, Hillary’s campaign apparently thinks money can buy her much-needed love. Early efforts to make Clinton more “likable” came up short as outings like the cross-country trip in her “Scooby” van and (secretly scripted) chance meetings with everyday Americans flopped. As the campaign has progressed, her unfavorable ratings have steadily climbed. A recent CNN poll shows her negatives are now worse than Trump’s, and that’s an accomplishment.

...Donald Trump scored points in August by visiting flood victims in Louisiana and meeting with the president of Mexico. Hillary Clinton was resting and meeting with donors.

...Clinton’s money haul will not only give her a big TV advantage, but it also allows her to open more offices, organize more phone banks, send out more flyers and otherwise invest in the machinery of delivering votes and voters on election day. One analysis claims Clinton has more than three times the number of campaign offices in swing states as Trump does.
Team Trump meanwhile, believe that they have found a way around the tranditional advertising and campaign offices approach. They proved that in the primaries, but the primaries are a different beast than the general election. Their unconventional approach is a gamble. Who's right? Again, it's an unknown. Right now, this race is just too close to predict. The next 6 weeks will reveal a lot, and I suspect by election day we will probably have a better idea, before election-day voting even gets started.  In the meantime, with all of those upcoming unknowns (likely some breaking each way in favor of either candidate), it's going to be a wild ride.

William F. Buckley vs. Saul Alinsky

Mobilizing the poor, on Firing Line.  Saul Alinsky was a far left progressive, communist.  Hillary Clinton, not only wrote a thesis on the man, she was clearly a fan.



As a palate cleanser, here's Buckley with Margaret Thatcher.

Gallup - Americans really don't trust the media anymore.

It seems a lot of Americans get it - the media has bias.  Gallup confirms the lack of trust.
Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans' trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans' trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

Thursday Hillary Bash - A bit of humor

If you don't know about Hillary and Bill Clinton's history of suspicious deaths of acquaintance deaths,  then you probably won't find this funny.  And if you didn't know Hillary Clinton recently suffered a recent fainting spell because of 'pneumonia', you won't find this funny.


September 14, 2016

Thomas Sowell on wealth

Thomas Sowell offers great insights on wealth.

September 13, 2016

You know who is deplorable? These guys.

Boko Haram - deplorable.



ISIS - deplorable.  Al Qaida, deplorable. Kim Jong-un? Deplorable. Adolph Hitler...was deplorable. Joseph Stalin; deplorable. Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, deplorable. Chicago's homicide rate? Deplorable.

Trump voters? Disagree with their politics all you like, calling them deplorable is grossly unjust. Period. Hillary Clinton twice called half of Trump voters deplorable. 


Election is closer than it appears

RealClearPolitics regularly updates a poll summary and provides an aggregate of recent polls to come up with an average of polling numbers.  It's become the widely referenced source of voter preference using it's polling average.  But to blindly have faith in that is a risky proposition when it comes to predicting the presidential election.

Let me start by explaining the caveats for the headline before pointing out why the race is closer than the media would have you believe.

Of course not all polls are created equal.  Firstly, some poll Registered Voters, others poll Likely Voters (which rely on different models to predict turnout).  Registered Voter polls typically skew Democrat as many Democrat voters, particularly younger voters, don't turn out as strongly as older, more conservative voters.  But a Likely Voter model entails risks as well.  Bias can creep into what a likely voter is and therefore the model can be skewed as well.  Unfortunately there's no way to tell what the individual skew might be.  Nevertheless, on the whole the Likely Voter polls tend to be more accurate, and as we get closer to the election, more polls switch to the likely voter model.

Secondly, polls all have different sizes and different resulting margins of error.  A poll of 827 Likely Voters is not the same as a poll of 1476 Likely Voters.  But in the RealClearPolitics average, it seems the average of polls does not weight the polls according to size. Three smaller polls could carry the same weight as 3 larger polls with lower margins of error.

Even that is a minor issue compared to poll weighting.  Some polls are conducted entirely randomly, but many polls weight the people they question to reflect what they believe the ratio of voters of Democrat to Republican to Independent is reflected in the general population.  This most certainly increases bias as using an electorate split of 2012 in the 2014 election led to many polls to be considerably off - the same was true with Obama's re-election in 2012.  Some reliable pollsters were quite humbled by their inaccurate predictions that year.  Clearly this approach can possess a high degree of bias or simply a misreading the electorate.

Some other issues include whether the polls include the third party candidates or just poll head to head.  As we approach election day, often the support of third party candidates like Gary Johnson will drift to the main candidates or those voters may simply stay home.

And of course at the end of the day, even if all of the above issues are reasonably resolved, the polls are at a national level and as we all know the electoral college is conducted on a state by state basis and unless either candidate has a lead of more than 4% nationally, then the really important polls are the state polls, particularly in the swing states - Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and potentially in this election Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Pennsylvania.  That's what matters.

Nevertheless, there is some value in the RealClearPolitics all polls data - it can help identify trends as there is a plethora of polling data included - many data points.  I've taken the polling and looked at the Likely Voter polls only using Microsoft Excel.  Here's my results by half-month, along with a polynomial regression of voter preferences for Trump and Clinton.  Clearly using Likely Voters, the election is a lot closer than the media is portraying it.  Additionally Trump has a slightly upward trend and Clinton appears to have roughly flattened out.


Take it with a grain of salt - after all, September and October is when people pay attention and this is where preferences get cemented or are most subject to change.  But to me this election, right now, is a lot closer than an individual ABC News/Washington Post Hillary +8 poll of 640 likely voters would have you believe.

CBS caught editing news (again)

Via TMZ, Bill Clinton may have accidentally slipped up in an interview with Charlie Rose.  But CBS doesn't want you to know that.  They've edited Bill Clinton's response to clear up his accidental truth-telling.

Here's what CBS is showing on the interview;


And here's what he originally said;


Here's what TMZ had to say about it;
The "frequently" part was edited out of Monday's evening news. What's interesting is ... it was left in when a longer version aired Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

It's only 3 seconds ... so, seems odd it would have been removed for time purposes.

We've got a call into CBS, but no word back yet.
This is the same network that ran a false, fabricated story about George W. Bush when Dan Rather was at the helm.

The Road To Serfdom

A reading of the eye opening Hayek book on socialism.

September 12, 2016

Sickly Hillary

Hillary Clinton brought her own October surprise for Democrat supporters - she's unhealthy.



Who knew? Oh yeah, all of the pajama media class who the liberal mainstream media were calling conspiracy theorists. Guess what - we were right.

As I tweeted earlier Colin Kaepernick won't stand up, Hillary Clinton can't.

Milton Friedman - myth versus reality

This might seem stale but it is as relevant to this year's election as it was decades ago when it was made.  Milton Friedman on myth versus reality.

September 11, 2016

September 10, 2016

Basket of Deplorables? Gee Hillary, that's not very uplifting


Hillary Clinton insults Trump supporters as a basket of deplorables and it cannot be allowed to stand.  When Mitt Romney did the same thing in 2012, writing off 47% of voters the media skewered him unmercifully.  Short of doing the same thing here, for the same reason, is not only deplorable but I'd argue a fireable offense for the media and should be a disqualifier for Clinton, who clearly lied when she promised to run an uplifting and positive campaign.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (El Salvador)

This week, El Salvador.


And of course, the flag episode;

September 8, 2016

Julian Assange - useful

Several conservative pundits have criticized conservatives for erroneously cheering on Julian Assange.  No doubt Assange has been a double edged sword not only for conservatives but also for America.  His Wikileaks site has done more harm than good.  But it has done some good and it does serve a purpose.  I think it's fair to say that most people on the right are not lionizing Assange or Snowden and their ilk.  

It's not a good idea however, to ignore useful information when it's provided, no matter how it was obtained. This one issue has the potential not only to derail Hillary Clinton but also keep the Senate Republican. To ignore it, to not take advantage of it, is folly.

It does not mean that Assange will be invited at the next Republican convention to speak via satellite.  He is not a hero.  No one on the right is planning an Assange parade.  He is merely a convenient and welcome opportunity to be leveraged. I suspect most conservatives see him as nothing more or less and have not forgotten that the Chinese and others have benefitted from his actions, to the detriment of America.  That said, the political jiu jitsu of using your opponent's momentum to your favor is inarguably a smart thing to do.

One last thought for your consideration - doesn't the fact that Assange has access to all of this intelligence tell you something about the weakness of American cybersecurity?  The fact alone that he has brought to light the need to improve that, is another important purpose that Assange has served.

Thursday Hillary Bash - Hillary gets a C

Hillary Clinton does not get a C grade for anything she's done, not from me.  She gets a C means that she understands, and understood that a C on an email was related to the term Classified and not some weird alphabetical rating of the email. Anyone naive enough to buy her explanation is either an idiot or willingly suspending their common sense for the purpose of convenience.

Fox explains why her explanation does not hold water:



What now?  Comey at the FBI clearly does not possess the fortitude to prosecute her for these issues or he would have already done so.  The only real recourse for those who take issue with what Hillary Clinton has done is to ensure that she does not become president.  She does not deserve to be let off the hook for her lack of judgement or for her prosecutable behavior.  The only way to prosecute however, is in the court of public opinion.




September 7, 2016

Pelosi to Ryan: Lay down your weapons

Um, no to this hypocritical, laughable demand:
WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, sent a letter on Tuesday to Speaker Paul D. Ryan urging him to bar Republicans from using hacked documents in the campaign, arguing that “defending our democracy is more important than any advantage or disadvantage in this election.”
Why would Ryan agree to not use every tool available to the GOP when Pelosi had no qualms about using the most nefarious tactics available when she could?  No Nancy, Ryan won't agree to it for fear of being called Nancy himself.

Pelosi has even framed the notion incorrectly. Democracy demands that inappropriate activities be not only brought to the public's attention but also questioned rigorously.  Who else is going to do that?  The liberal media?  Excuse me while I laugh.

How about instead we wait until the GOP comments are spoken to see what's in them Nancy?

September 5, 2016

*Loud cough*

Hillary Clinton's health is not an issue? A speech in Cleveland on Labor Day indicates otherwise. At some point don't you just shut this down and recoup before trying to talk?  Let someone else speak first and come back to speak after you've recovered.  If the health isn't an issue then judgement is.

If you just listen and don't look at the video, it sounds like someone on their deathbed.


It's painful to watch.

Dictator Watch - Meanwhile in Venezuela

It looks like the socialist paradise promised and then enforced by Hugo Chavez and then Nicolas Maduro has about run it's course in Venezuela.

State of the race

With the presidential race headed into the home stretch, now that summer is over, a lot of Republicans are hoping for a brilliant finish by Donald Trump to make up the remainder of the ground he lost since the Hillary Clinton Democratic convention coronation.  That seems wishful thinking; Trump is Trump.  Perhaps he can be tempered by advisors, but not contained.  He reminds me of a baseball pitcher who you know is going to throw several wild pitches but is also capable of some terrific pitches.  The problem is control - you don't know what sort of pitch you are going to get at any given point in time.  But in the presidential race, there are no relief pitchers.

Sadly that's where that analogy breaks down because pitching doesn't score runs and that's what Trump needs now.  That's where the RNC comes in.
...Clin­ton is ahead in all 26 states that Obama won in 2012, plus the Dis­trict of Columbia, with a total of 332 elect­or­al votes, 62 more than needed to win. The closest state is North Car­o­lina, with a half-point Clin­ton even though it has gone Re­pub­lic­an in five out of the past six elec­tions. Iowa is next-closest with a Clin­ton lead of 1.5 points, fol­lowed by Nevada at 2.3 points, Flor­ida at 2.7 points, Ohio at 3.8 points and Wis­con­sin at 5.3 points. The RCP av­er­ages also show Clin­ton with a tiny, three-tenths of a point lead in Geor­gia, a state that has gone Re­pub­lic­an in five out of the past six elec­tions. Trump has a 2.5 per­cent­age point lead in Ari­zona, a state that has gone Re­pub­lic­an in five out of the past six elec­tions, and is up by 3 points in Mis­souri, which has gone Re­pub­lic­an in four out of the last six.

Taken to­geth­er, these data sug­gest that while the elec­tion is not over, it would take a pretty ma­jor event or turn of events for Clin­ton to lose...
As much as it pains me to say it, that last bit of assessment could be right. Trump could win if he had another 6 months, but he could also give up a few grand slams and bury his chances of winning.

All is not lost though for those of us experiencing nightmares over an ultra liberal SCOTUS (Supreme Court).  Clinton has been raking in cash but that's what Republicans need to dump into the race, starting today - cash.  Loads and loads of cash.  They need a state-by-state infrastructure in place and they need it right now.  They need an endless barrage of ads from now until November.  If the RNC cannot handle that on it's own then the conservative Super-PACs need to coordinate their efforts.

Trump needs to win in all of those close states - Florida, Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa and Wisconsin.  Georgia, Missouri and Arizona should work out and maybe some defense is needed.  But if Trump cannot win the latter three, he doesn't deserve to win.

Trump seems like a one man show but he's running against a machine and he needs help.  He should focus on presidential speeches, debate over-prep, and voter engagement.  That's what he can do to bend the current course further to his direction. It's what he has to do.  The RNC and every Republican and conservative PAC have to kick in their efforts.  The election and stopping Hillary Clinton is too important to sit idly by.

Black Lives Matter, Let's Do The Math One More Time.

Instead of yelling protests, maybe study some math and then listen to the truth (which contains numbers). Bill Whittle explains the truth - the numbers and beyond.

September 4, 2016

Not Sunday Stuff

Milo Yiannopoulos refuses to be bullied by a Holier Than Thou ABC host. The reason you'll like him standing up to the host, is the same reason Donald Trump hasn't gone away in the polls. People are sick of being told what they cannot say, what they cannot think. Milo happens to do it better than Trump does but Milo's not running for president, Trump is.

This isn't exactly "Sunday best" because it's argumentative.  But it is good to see Milo won't allow himself to be talked over or brow beaten down.

Sunday verse


September 3, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Egypt)

Egypt is a country with a lot of history.  Geography now, continues.


And of course, a little on the flag.

September 1, 2016

Thursday Hillary Bash - about that health question.

I think Hillary could have issues from her concussion  BUT I honestly believe the coughing fits are a stall tactic because she doesn't know an answer.

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