June 30, 2022

Canada: Freedom Convoy part 2 expected to receive a harsher response

 Tomorrow is Canada Day.  It's not a regular day for celebration as it should be.  One city has decided to rename the holiday to something more politically correct.  We have a prime minister who is as slimy as they come.  In the spirit of the Freedom Convoy, Canada Day protests are expected on the national holiday. 

What is also expected, is a harsher response from city officials in the country's capital of Ottawa.

Is Let's Go Brandon locked in?

That headline could mean a lot of different things.  Is he locked in a basement to avoid gaffes, like he was during his presidential run?  Is he locked in as the candidate for 2024?  But what I am referring to is whether or not he is locked in to policies positions that clearly are ineffective.  His managing of the situation with inflation and gas prices have been some of the worst in history, not ineffectual but effectively worse than doing nothing.  At this point nothing would be welcome.  But he keeps doubling down on things that seem designed to appease the radical left.  Either he firmly his policy ideas like raising taxes will help inflation (in itself that would be a form of being locked in), or else he is trapped into continuing with an extreme leftist agenda.

I think at this point it could be the latter circumstance.  When you look at how bad his favorable/ unfavorable ratings are, he has alienated the center and a surprising percentage of many traditional Democratic constituencies to the point that there is no recovery short of a genuine miracle. So Let's Go Brandon has two choices: 

(1) move towards the center to win back a lot of that lost support.  It would mean reversing course on a lot of things and there's no guarantee at this point it would have enough effect to stop a midterm lambasting for the Democrats from voters.  


(2) Continuing to double down on his chosen path in hopes of driving massive turnout from the radical left in order to try to minimize the damage to the party that is coming in November.

Here's why the latter course is more likely.  As mentioned a course change would potentially not do very much to gain support as it really would be too little, too late.  But not only that, it would have the reverse effect of option 2 above; it would alienate the radical left base that still supports him. He has no choice but to continue.  In addition, he probably is a true believer in Keynesian economics, manmade global warming, radical feminism etc.  Why would he go against anything he's moved further towards for the last twenty or more years?

The real locked in question for Let's Go Brandon, is whether the Democrats are going to remain locked into him.  After November 8th, the answer will likely tilt a lot further towards 'no'.



January 6th committee doesn't even reach the level of irrelevant

The anti-Trump crowd is willing to believe every fabrication no matter how far fetched. Here's Greg Gutfeld's take on how irrelevant it was.

June 29, 2022

Worst. Explanation. Ever.

 Nancy Pelosi never fails to disappoint when you are looking for a good laugh...

Artificial Intelligence awakens or woke computer programming?

I came across this story a while ago about the Google engineer who claims that an artificial intelligence (A.I.) bot has developed consciousness.  Duly skeptical I disregarded the story as sensationalism and/or maybe someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame.  It didn't really belong on this blog as it's a bit far afield from politics.  But I've posted on similar topics before because in some sense everything touches on politics, even a little.  There are previous examples here, here and here, among others.  So I thought I'd take a closer look at the story.  

Is this a matter of actual artificial intelligence achieving a state of consciousness and self awareness (or rather artificial consciousness), or is it more about wokeness and the next step for the radical left - computers' rights?  Or maybe just a misinterpretation of the results of the testing? Either way it's worth considering not only from a political perspective but also morality, ethics and technological perspectives. Take a look at this interview.

Interestingly the engineer himself ends up saying it's not really about consciousness but rather Google's dismissiveness of the discussion. His take seems a bit anti-corporate but if I worked for Google I would probably have the same problem.

June 28, 2022


 Let's Go Brandon Hunter...

The real question is how did this not get covered up?  You think maybe the establishment has had it with Let's Go Brandon?

Inflation keeps coming

I keep talking about inflation, but only because it matters and it is slated to keep getting worse.  You want evidence?  You should want evidence.  Well here's some.  The most common measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which produces the CPI also produces the Producer Price Index (PPI) - the rate of inflation for producers rather than consumers.  It's the supply side of inflation.  

When the price for producers increases, what does that mean for consumers?  The PPI is a leading indicator with respect to the trailing CPI.  Eventually the producer inflation rate will work it's way through the supply chain to reach consumers.  If it costs them more to make, they will pass on the cost to the prices they charge. See here, and here for examples. That means that downstream from the PPI is the CPI.  

What do we see in the latest PPI?  Directly from the BLS:

Producer prices for goods rose 16.3 percent, while prices for services rose 8.1 percent.

Producer prices for foods rose 16.3 percent over the year ending April 2022, while prices for energy rose 40.0 percent. Prices for goods less foods and energy rose 10.1 percent.

Producer prices for trade services rose 15.4 percent over the year ending April 2022, while prices for transportation and warehousing services rose 22.6 percent. Prices for services less trade, transportation, and warehousing rose 3.2 percent.

For comparison, the latest CPI rate

From May 2021 to May 2022, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 8.6 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending December 1981.

If you drill down on the trends in the CPI, the leading cost increase was energy and it is continuing to rise unabated.  That impact has yet to work it's way through the PPI; producers are still consuming increasing energy costs which will have an impact on their future production costs, and therefore future CPI readings. It means food and other goods will continue to see an increase in prices for consumers. It's not over yet.

The way to mitigate this would have been to allow the Keystone pipeline to finish being built, increase the number of domestic refineries, continue with the expansion of domestic oil production to expand the production from the records created under president Trump.  Not only was that not done, previous progress was actually undone.  Expect  as a result, that energy prices will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.  Let's Go Brandon.  

As the PPI continues to rise, the CPI will continue to follow.

June 27, 2022

Probably you need to hear this

Inflation is still coming way harder than it is now.  And inflation in food will be accompanied and in part caused, by severe shortages. Take a listen to this woman YouTuber read a comment from a viewer who happens to be a farmer.  This was posted about two  weeks ago.

Lately I've been sounding more and more like an apocalyptic prepper.  That is not my intent.  I understand the economics of inflation and supply and demand and all of the indicators are pointing to deep and on-going problems in the near and medium term. The video above helps explain why and how it's happening from a farming perspective.

Why you can't blame billionaires for inflation

Sorelle Amore Finance explains who the real culprit is in the inflation scenario we find ourselves in. It's true for any inflation cycle actually. Most who study inflation get what she is saying already, but this video is something to show to you progressive friends who go all in for Bernie Sanders because they fall for the lies of the left.

Pelosi elbows child

I wouldn't exactly call this bullying because that's a trope the left uses as a weapon.   Watch as she elbows a child away from herself.  The fact that it was the daughter of a political opposition member makes it petty.  The fact that it was a child makes it extremely ugly.  Make no mistake, Pelosi is a bully, but this incident falls more into the category of misdemeanor assault than bullying, no? Okay, maybe not. Regardless, the video below shows Nancy Pelosi for what she is: rude, contemptuous, mean-spirited and clearly someone who doesn't think first before acting out. This was completely inappropriate. 

I hope the girl, daughter of newly elected congresswoman Mayra Flores, was unfazed by the incident. Pelosi must still be stinging from the upset victory Flores won in the special election.

Theoretically, this is probably about the only category of person that Nancy Pelosi could bully successfully. Someone smaller than herself, which would be predominantly children.  Well, maybe also her caucus members.

Trudeau still sucks

New problems in Canada as Justin Trudeau's government has been outed for meddling with the RCMP (Canada's version of the FBI) investigation into gun control. Below is a discussion on the details and implications.

June 26, 2022

June 24, 2022

COVID vaccine lives saved post hoc fallacy

The argument in the news today is that the COVID vaccines saved 20 million lives in their first year of availability.  Of course that is completely unprovable, but it makes a great sound-bite for all the COVID-Karens out there. First the story, completely lacking in any scientific detail:

Nearly 20 million lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines during their first year of availability, but even more deaths could have been prevented if international targets for the shots had been reached, researchers reported Thursday.
...The researchers used data from 185 countries to estimate that vaccines prevented 4.2 million COVID-19 deaths in India, 1.9 million in the United States, 1 million in Brazil, 631,000 in France and 507,000 in the United Kingdom.
An additional 600,000 deaths would have been prevented if the World Health Organization target of 40% vaccination coverage by the end of 2021 had been met, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Of course there's a problem with how deaths were reported and co-morbidity but let's not get bogged down with factual considerations...

The main finding — 19.8 million COVID-19 deaths were prevented — is based on estimates of how many more deaths than usual occurred during the time period. Using only reported COVID-19 deaths, the same model yielded 14.4 million deaths averted by vaccines. [emphasis mine]

Sorry, not scientific. (1) Correlation is not causality (2) Comorbidity was handled in a sub-par way - among other things, there was a funding related incentive to attribute as much as possible to COVID and (3) it entirely discounts potential demographic markers or any other potential impacts that happened during the same time.

And lastly, there's this:

Post hoc (a shortened form of post hoc, ergo propter hoc) is a logical fallacy in which one event is said to be the cause of a later event simply because it occurred earlier. "Although two events might be consecutive," says Madsen Pirie in "How to Win Every Argument," "we cannot simply assume that the one would not have occurred without the other."

They are counting the number of increased deaths, but how could they know how many there would have been without the vaccine?  They make no mention of how they arrived at the number of deaths there would have been without a vaccine being available. They only know how many more deaths there were, attributable to COVID (and not even factoring any of the caveats I mentioned above). So where did the total lives saved come from?  It's pure bunk.

Here's a mathematical representation.

Total Deaths in period - Normal deaths for a period = # COVID deaths (incremental to normal years). 

Then what?

Lives saved = # inoculated - #inoculated but still died.  Nothing in the formula above addresses these numbers and it further assumes that everyone vaccinated who did not die was saved by the vaccination. Not that they may have never been exposed.  Not that they may have natural immunity.  Not that they did not contract COVID and subsequently recovered.

Garbage science, at least in all the media reports I have seen so far.  


Roe v. Wade: Well, that just happened

I honestly though the leak was fake, designed to get voter blocks to return to the Democrat party. But apparently Roe v. Wade has just been overturned by the Supreme Court. Via Fox:

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively ending recognition of a constitutional right to abortion and giving individual states the power to allow, limit, or ban the practice altogether.
The ruling came in the court's opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centered on a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Republican-led state of Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to strike down a lower court ruling that stopped the 15-week abortion ban from taking place.
"We end this opinion where we began. Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court's opinion.

Evidence indicated that today could be the day but I was still doubtful.  Instead, I am pleasantly surprised.

June 23, 2022

Meming inflation stupidity

A quick but fun post this morning since I may not have time to post today.  Here's Meme The Left's shot at the administration for their complete LACK. OF. UNDERSTANDING. about inflation and how to deal with it.  He calls it deceit and it could well be, but to be honest I don't think this cadre of idiots have the intellect to understand what they are doing to the economy let alone deliberately deceive anyone.  I think they are victims of their own stupidity. 

June 22, 2022

What the polls are saying (pt. 3/3)

Recent polling has told us a lot and also, less than you might suspect. I know many conservatives are expecting a blowout in  this year's midterm elections as well as a triumphant return of Donald Trump in 2024.  While things look good from a polling perspective for our side right now, they are far from absolute.  They look pretty good but not "great", and falling back on the axiom that polls tend to under report Republican support and/or over report Democrat support, is not a wise crutch to use [NOTE: Previous portions of this thread can be found here and here.]

As I've already looked at Let's Go Brandon's job approval (which will have an effect on both 2022 and 2024) as well as taken a look at congressional polling in isolation, next I want to take a look at favorability/unfavorability ratings because there are some interesting things to see there as well.  Once again I will be looking at the RealClearPolitics aggregation, but only because it is a good place to find a summarized list of most polling in a given category.  I've previously provided many caveats as to why polling reliability is highly variable and aggregation is not much more than a directional indicator over time.

Below are three views of favorability, for Let's Go Brandon, for Kamala Harris and for Donald Trump (interestingly, there seems to be none for Ron DeSantis, which in itself says something).

Notice in the aggregate Trump narrowly bests Let's Go Brandon and handily bests Harris. Notice also that all three are well under water (below 50/50 in favorable/unfavorable).   But these are the same aggregate views I've argued against.  Instead of consuming that as is, I decided to do a source by source comparison. For example, how did the Federalist poll compare Trump, Harris and Let's Go Brandon?

What stuck out to me was something I both expected and did not expect to be my topline finding.  Here's a brief summary of the outcome looking at the most recent set of polls on the topic.  These are in order from the ridiculous to the sublime (from a Trump supporter perspective).

Brandon-leaning results

Reuters/Ipsos: Had Brandon favorable/unfavorable even (not underwater). His +/- spread was ahead of Harris by 2 points and ahead of Trump by 5 points. This was definitely an outlier considering how underwater Brandon actually is in aggregate compared to here.  But this has historically been a left leaner as far as poll results go.

Economist/YouGov: In this generally pro-Brandon polling, Brandon was underwater but still ahead of both Harris and Trump by a healthy 5 points. This is a not unexpected result considering their history and political bent.
NPR/PBS/Marist: Frankly this was the pollster I expected to have the strongest Brandon favorable ratings, and the largest gap over Trump.  They did not poll for Harris. They did have Brandon underwater but still ahead of Trump by 3 points.  Maybe they were just hoping to get lost in the aggregation of "still better than Trump" polls. But this was unexpectedly close. Remember, 2016 was a choice of what the media portrayed as two unlikeable candidates. They may be gearing up for that scenario in 2024.

Politico/Morning Consult: Politico is definitely left leaning despite always trying to front an image of neutral analysis. Their poll had Brandon underwater but still ahead of Harris by 3 and Trump by 1. This was surprisingly close for Trump and deserves a deeper dive into the crosstabs, which I have not yet done but may need to do in the future if their polling on this remains relatively consistent. 

NBC News: A liberal Mecca, they nevertheless show Brandon underwater by 14 points. But hey, he's ahead of Harris by 6 and Trump by 1 point. On the latter, again it's surprisingly close.  It may be that the messaging could become "yes he's bad, but remember how much you hated the other guy?"  That's called projecting.

Trump-leaning results

Federalist/Susquehanna: The Federalist is a fantastic conservative commentary publication/website.  They put Brandon underwater and ahead of Harris by 5, but behind Trump by 2 (who is only 1 point underwater).  I'd love to believe this is accurate. I'm not sure I can. Having Trump only 1 point underwater may be the conservative equivalent of  Reuters having Brandon even.  As much as you may love Trump, you have to admit that the barrage of hateful media coverage from 2015 through to today did him considerable damage from a polling perspective.  He's definitely far more popular than the polls suggest but by just how much, is not clear.  

Harvard-Harris: Harvard-Harris is a polling firm with roots in the Hillary Clinton campaign (Mark Penn) They have Brandon underwater.  While he's ahead of Harris by 3, he's behind Trump by the same amount.  That's almost stunning, not so much in that he's done a terrible job and the last guy did a great job in so many ways, but rather that you are seeing liberal pollsters publishing these types of results.
Fox News: Once the conservatives' bastion of information, the network still leans right in their opinion shows but not so much in polling and analysis. Remember they were the first network in 2020 to call Arizona for Brandon, before even CNN and MSNBC.  They have Brandon underwater, yet ahead of Harris by 3.  He's behind Trump by 2 though. The real takeaway here is that all three are well underwater.

Emerson: In 2016 Emerson was a leading edge indicator on the results for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, seeing results in August of that year that made them an outlier at the time. In fact FiveThrityEight rated them as a B-tier pollster. Of course FiveThirtyEight have their own issues with the pollster ratings. Emerson had Brandon underwater and behind Trump by 4 points. Trump they have above water at +5.  Being an outlier does not necessarily mean you are wrong, it means more due diligence is required. 

Rasmussen: Considered a traditionally right-leaning outfit, Rasmussen did not poll Brandon or Harris for favorability, only Trump whom they put above water by 7 points.  The nearest proxy for Brandon is their rating of his job approval which is at a stunning (but not really, considering) -30.  Rasmussen has been strikingly correct as well as well off base in the past.  I think in this case they have done a good job of capturing Trump supporter opinions.  I think they may underestimate the number of his detractors. Overall to be honest I think his support is strong but either still slightly underwater or even at best.  He unfortunately has a large pool of haters.  I mean if this is correct we have a slam dunk: Trump 2024, and DeSantis for 2028 and 2032. What a magical string of winning that could be for America. But I'm still holding a grain of salt to this result.

Overall Takeaways

My conclusions regarding these favorable/unfavorable ratings are threefold.  

Firstly, a lot of these left-leaning pollsters realize that they cannot hide the palpable dissatisfaction with Brandon, hence he's underwater. But they'd still like to maintain the narrative that he's a better option than Trump.  Interestingly that may change if they see DeSantis enter the race for 2024.   They may try to make Trump look more appealing because they think he's more beatable than DeSantis. That's going to take time as it's still only 2022 and they probably think Brandon's favorable ratings are salvageable if they can somehow get him back to his campaign basement and out of public sight for an extended stretch.

Secondly, as for the pollsters more favorable to Trump I'm on the fence. They are probably the most correct at this point because of how bad Brandon actually is. But is that enough?  His reputation has been unfairly tarnished to the point of absurdity.  Also, once out of power it's easy to take shots at the sitting president and gain favorability through pointing out problems. But I do see a lot of people in retrospect realizing he was not as bad as he was made out to be and he was certainly far better than his ersatz replacement.  So his favorability could be on the mend. For now. 

He was a very good president for the country in so many ways. He deserved better treatment from the media.  But that's the issue.  Should he be the Republican nominee in 2024 he'll get the same treatment or worse, and his favorability may end up reflecting that before the election regardless across the board of the pollster bent. That should not stop him from running because no matter who runs for the nomination as a Republican they will get the same treatment.  If Jesus were to return and run as a Republican, they would make up stuff about him too.

That's a sad commentary on the state of the nation, but then again so is Brandon as president.

Thirdly, and finally, I believe favorability is probably the weakest measure of a political figure at this point.  Things have become so partisan that voters for either party would vote for a tree stump over a candidate from the other party.  Political affiliation matters more and more and the number of independents who are truly persuadable either way has diminished to the point that they may someday end up extinct as a group.

For 2024 all of it is too early to tell. Brandon may not run again.  Trump may not run again. Kamala Harris may become relevant.  Sarcasm aside, there are too many unknowns between now and 2024 to make a call. But the 2022 midterms are just starting to come slightly into focus.

A dose of swimming sanity

Trans athletes have been officially banned by FINA from competing with women in swimming competitions:

June 21, 2022

What the polls are saying (pt. 2/3)

In part 1 of this poll review, I talked about Let's Go Brandon's impact on the 2022 midterm election cycle as well as his own chances for re-election. Now I'm going to dive a little further into the 2022 midterms.  In addition to the caveats mentioned in my previous post there are some additional caveats to be made here. While the presidential job approval does not accurately predict the outcome of a presidential election as the election is actually set up as individual elections, it is still directionally accurate.  When you look at congressional races there are 435 individual races.   So looking at a generic ballot is going to help even less with the outcome as to the makeup of the next congress.  Nevertheless, there is a correlation between the generic congressional ballot and what will happen in the midterms.  There is a directional view that can be helpful to outcome prediction.

Let's start with the congressional job approval ratings.  They're terrible.  Consistently. But that is nothing new and it makes sense; not only are the voters who support the party out of power negative, but the party in power will always have a contingent of their own voters who think that their congress is not getting enough done.  In my opinion this is the least predictive congressional polling being done. However there is some directional value to be determined from it.

As you can see below the long term trend, while flattish, does have some slight U-shaped disapproval and the reverse for disapproval.  

But if you zero in on the current congress, you can see that the post-election honeymoon seemed to have peaked in April 2021. Since then congressional approval has generally swung downward from about 36% to about 21%.

These polls tend to be mostly among registered voters.  The effect of such negatives can be twofold.  It can dampen enthusiasm and thus turnout, more so for the party in power, and also, it can energize voters in the party out of power.  Much of that energy is directed at presidential approval and this is part of why we see the presidents' parties typically lose seats in midterm elections.  Of course there are exceptions for various reasons. As the most recent examples, president Obama was shellacked in his first midterm election and in his second, Republicans made even further gains. Not exactly good news for Democrats.  Donald Trump even more recently, started with Republicans in control of both congress and the senate.  Despite his economic performance a hostile media ensured Republicans would lose ground during president Trump's midterm. And they did; Democrats took a thin majority of Congress. Leading up to the midterms what is somewhat more informative is the generic congressional vote.  It is merely directional but when they are this stark, they mean something.  Republicans lead on this metric, and that is not common. 

Consider also that the polls have consistently overstated Democrat support in these polls. Well, at least that's the narrative and we should be somewhat wary here. Taking a look at the RCP average congressional ballot spread versus the actual outcomes tells a slightly different story. 


2018: RCP average DEM +7.3% / Actual result DEM +8.4% - Democrat polling was understated by 1.1% [counters hypothesis]
2014: RCP average REP +2.4% / Actual result REP +5.7% - Republican polling was understated by 3.3% [matches hypothesis]
2010: RCP average REP +9.4% / Actual result REP +6.8% - Republican polling was overstated by 3.6% [counters hypothesis]
2006: RCP average DEM +11.5% / Actual result DEM +7.9% - Democrat polling was overstated by 3.6% [matches hypothesis]
2002: RCP average REP +1.7% / Actual result REP +4.6% - Republican polling was understated by 3.9% [matches hypothesis]

On Election Cycle

2020: RCP average DEM +6.8% / Actual result DEM +3.1% - Democrat polling was overstated by 3.7% [matches hypothesis]
2016: RCP average DEM +0.6% / Actual result REP +1.1% - Democrat polling was overstated by 1.7% [matches hypothesis]
2012: RCP average REP +0.2% / Actual result DEM +1.2% - Democrat polling was understated by 1.4% [counters hypothesis]
2008: RCP average DEM +9.0% / Actual result DEM +10.7% - Democrat polling was understated by 1.7% [counters hypothesis]
2004: RCP average Tie / Actual result REP +2.6% - Republican polling was understated by 2.6% [matches hypothesis]

Overall in these 10 congressional cycles, there were 6 times the "Republican support is understated" hypothesis was supported and 4 times it was not correct. That's pretty weak. If we remove the 2 election cycles with the Obama halo effect (2008 and 2012) then we have 6 hypothesis matches and only two that counter it.  That's a stronger correlation but not absolute.  

In fact if we look at strictly midterm cycles, which is what we are most interested in, we have 3 matches and 2 counters, back to our original ration of 60% accurate to the hypothesis.  If we suggest that the polling firms and media have learned their lesson discard the 2018 midterm, our ratio is a little better but then how do we explain the 2020 variance?

Also worth considering is the fact that Republican understated support during midterms happened only 3 out of 5 times and not in the latest midterm cycle.  That is directional at best, not conclusive.

To me this hypothesis, while valid and plausible, still seems statistically weak and unproven.  If you look at all of the variances what is more interesting is that variance between predicted and actual results never exceeds 3.9%.  And in the midterms the variance has been decreasing cycle over cycle.  This differs from the presidential election cycles, likely because more resources can be assigned to congressional polls instead of being split with presidential polling.

Let's assume that the polling on midterm cycles has improved as the trend seems to indicate.  And let's assume that it is going to turn out relatively close to the 2018 cycle.  And further, let's assume that it could either match or counter the hypothesis. If we are currently sitting at Republicans +2.5% that could mean we are actually sitting at a low of Republicans +1.4% or as high as Republicans +3.6% Our closest approximation for best the case is 2014 (Republicans won 247 seats to 188 for the Democrats).  For the worst case the best approximation was 2016 (a non-midterm year) in which Republicans won 241 seats to the Democrats 191 seats.  Either scenario seems pretty good but these are not the final months of the campaign.  There's plenty of temporal room for poll movement yet to play out.

Lastly let's take a quick look at the Right Direction / Wrong Direction polling:

These numbers are not at levels seen since 2020 (a COVID related special case but definitely election-impacting), late 2013 (a non election year) and late 2012 (in an election cycle and one that as mentioned was an Obama halo effect year, despite being at a dip in his popularity).  In 2012 they Democrats gained 8 seats but did not get a congressional majority.  However in the senate they gained 2 seats and did become the majority.

If there is any correlation of Wrong Direction to the congressional outcome then this skews slightly in the Republicans favor.  But the stronger mirror as noted above is probably the 2014 generic congressional vote indicator. 2014 was considered a Republican wave election. But that means that the Republican support understatement hypothesis has to be true to see that sort of result.

Yes I'm optimistic about the midterms, but still very cautiously so.

Part 3 coming tomorrow.

These guys get inflation

According to the New York Times, the stimulus spending was $5 trillion for 2020 and 2021.  These gentlemen Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and Stephen Green, discuss the real source of inflation. Sorta. After watching, check out the graph below it to exacerbate the nightmare...


Yes they talked about a lot of the problem but I think their analysis of the problem and root cause understates dramatically what the Federal Reserve has done to the money supply in the United States, dwarfing the stimulus money (which is part of the chart below, but comparatively speaking, a minor part). Below is the graph of the M0 money supply in the United States. Since 2010 and   again even faster since 2020, the Federal Reserve has printed money on an epic (epically bad) scale.  

All of this new money in the economy with no new corresponding supply means many more dollars chasing the same goods.  That is the very definition of inflationary.  This is why I think this has a long way to go before it plays out and a lot worse to get.  This graph is scary on a Biblical scale.  The Fed has supposedly begun contracting the money supply, and that can be seen at the tail end of the graph.  But it has a dramatically long way to go to get back to sanity, and a short time to do it.  But the steeper the contraction the worse the recessionary pressure and resulting unemployment will be.  Not to mention mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt defaults and government ballooning interest payments on the trillions of dollars that it owes.  There is no soft landing for this.

I sound alarmist because I am highly alarmed.  I've tried in the past not to come off as a conspiracy kook but these are unprecedented times.  We should be alarmed if not panicked.  We should act rationally of course, but we should not kid ourselves that everything is anywhere near okay.  The time to discuss how to fix this is now.  The answer is not more stimulus or more taxes.  There really are no good answers.  There are tradeoffs.  But we are not even going to get a real conversation about this under this clueless administration and congress. That means it's likely to be exacerbated rather than mitigated, at least this year.

What the polls are saying (pt. 1/3)

There is just so much to unpack in the latest RelaClearPolitics polls. I'll go through some of it in a minute.  First a disclaimer.  I like that they average the polls and try to maintain a recency bias to avoid including outdated opinions in their averages.  But flat averaging is not okay as a realistic guide. Some polls include all adults, some just registered voters and some only likely voters.  Mixing those is an apples and oranges scenario.  Some polls have a much larger sample size and typically result in a lower margin of error.  The samples themselves could be biased towards one political party not reflecting the current mood of the country (i.e. they are less random than pure random).  Then there's the issue of wording of questions which can very significantly, and then the advent of push-polling.  In short there are many issues with both individual polls that might be included as well as the aggregation of those polls into an overall average.

With all of those caveats declared, the RCP averages are certainly still directionally valid.  Now let's unpack some of them.  Let's start with Let's Go Brandon's job approval rating.  As of today it's officially, "not good".  

According to the RCP average, he's officially underwater by an average of 15.1% (approve/disapprove 39.7% / 54.8%). That is remarkably bad and suggests any sort of recovery is unfathomable. But there are two stories here, 2022 and 2024.  For the midterms a rebound is possible albeit unlikely. By a rebound however I mean a directional change, not an inversion of the curves.  Nevertheless that could still make a difference in the makeup of the next congress in terms of the size of the Republican majority.  A couple of big policy wins for Let's Go Brandon and the Republican majority could end up razor thin instead of borderline supermajority.  Both scenarios are not likely.  There's a geographic bias towards a floor and ceiling for both parties.  In the case of the Democrat ceiling there is no policy or other type of win on the Let's Go Brandon horizon.  It would have to materialize of it's own accord because it is not going to be policy driven.

These trend lines are there for a reason and it boils down to incompetence.  There are multiple causes for the continued decline of the job approval; inflation, mishandling the Russian invasion of Ukraine, gas prices, begging for oil from Saudi Arabia, the border crisis, crime, aggressively radical social policies, education, the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, blaming everyone else, walking back half of what Let's Go Brandon says later by staff (e.g. Taiwan) and cognitive decline among them. But it all boils down to incompetence.  Clearly he cannot handle the job.

As for 2024, there's a longer window to recover and at least as of last fall some like CNN still held out hope for just that.  But even they conceded that it did not look good.

...It turns out that among elected presidents there’s actually a pretty clear correlation (+0.83 on a scale of -1 to +1) between their net approval rating at this point and a year from now. Most presidents tended to lose ground from this point forward. The average president saw his net approval rating drop by 13 points.

While that pointed to the midterm cycle there's more bad news from Gallup for Let's Go Brandon.  In looking at historical cycles dating back all the way to Harry Truman (1945-1952) there is typically a downward trend with little hope of recovery. Here's a brief summary:

  • Harry Truman's approval started in the 80's and ended in the 30's. He was able to mount a significant recovery for the 1948 election.  But it was a nail biter; he cobbled together a coalition of New Deal voters, added African American voters (something Let's Go Brandon cannot really add to his coalition at this point) and the Democrats still owned the South.  He did not win a majority of the vote and he lost significantly in the electoral college compared to 1944.  Let's Go Brandon cannot replicate the Truman comeback.  His coalition is already composed and it is fracturing.  Instead of trying to hold on to the African American and Latin votes, he's trying to gain on LGBTQ+ votes (a much smaller coalition partner) and hold on to the Pro Choice crowd via a yet to materialize SCOTUS change.
  • Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected but his approval numbers remained relatively flat until his re-election, then dropped about 10 points, and remained relatively flat for his second term.
  • John F. Kennedy's ratings fell about 15 points during his shortened one term presidency.  There's not much to be gleaned about re-election due to his assassination
  • Lyndon Johnson's ratings declined from near 80% to near 40% during his one term, largely driven by the Vietnam war, although that is an oversimplification. He did not seek re-election.  Let's Go Brandon may be forced by his own party to follow that path before the election of 2024.
  • Richard Nixon's poll ratings dropped about 5% prior to his re-election of 1972. Of course the plummeted afterwards due to the Watergate scandal.  Let's Go Brandon won't have to worry about scandal before or after the midterm election as the Democrats and media will run cover so long as it helps the party.  Post midterm, should the Democrats be demolished, that could change pre-2024 as they seek a candidate with more potential to avoid being decimated.
  • Gerald Ford saw a steep decline during his brief tenure but he did recover.  However the decline was so steep (~70% to ~40%) that the recover was not enough for him to win re-election.  And his recovery could in large part be accredited to the excitement factor brought to the convention and race by none other than Ronald Reagan
  • Jimmy Carter, the Let's Go Brandon of the late 1970's sank from the mid 70s of approval to the mid 30s before a late pre-election rally that still saw him decimated on election day by Ronald Reagan. It may have been the first deliberate attempt at sampling bias, as right after the election Carter's pol, numbers reverted to their pre-rally level.
  • Ronald Reagan is the outlier here. He's been the best president of my lifetime, especially considering with what he had to deal (starting with inheriting a terrible state of the union to dealing with a Democratic congress and senate).  His presidency offers the both the most and least comparable situation.  Reagan faced crippling stagflation, a hostage crisis and a country in a malaise.  Between his post hostage triumph approval high of  ~65% through 1983 he dropped as low as the high 30's for approval, but as the economic recovery he fostered took hold he rebounded to near 60% before his re-election bid and trounced Walter Mondale.  Going into the 2024 election, Let's Go Brandon faces a similar set of scenarios,  but not a similar outcome.  There are major differences here.  (1) much of the current malaise is of this president's doing (2) his recovery plans have and would continue to exacerbate the problem and (3) he's no Ronald Reagan.  He exudes incompetence and cognitive decline, not strength and positivity.
  • George H. Bush had high approval ratings until he betrayed the American people, reneging on a fundamental promise on taxes.  His approval ratings never recovered and were exacerbated by a 'strong' third party candidate in Ross Perot. 
  • Bill Clinton has nothing to offer Let's Go Brandon took an early dive but then rose steadily throughout his presidency.  How?  By painting himself as a centrist and taking credit for the Republican congressional Contract With America ideas. He won two elections, the second off the back of Newt Gingrich et. al.  Let's Go Brandon has done less than nothing to paint himself as a centrist. He's either a radical or led by radical advisors.  The only time he tried to come off as a centrist, ordinary guy was before the election when they hid him in his basement
  • George W. Bush was a model of decline. Of course he saw a surge in popularity after 9/11 but his chart shows a nearly linear decline throughout his two terms.  He was able to win re-election because his job approval decline had not hit the critical water level by his re-election year. His track represents the most likely path for Let's Go Brandon, although a re-election at this point seems far less likely for Brandon.
  • Barack Obama did see a popularity resurgence but it was during his second term the trend line was reverse.  He also saw a level of mainstream media praise that should have been reserved for the Second Coming of Jesus.  He could do no wrong despite the fact that he regularly was doing wrong.  Apologists could still go a long way back then.  Now, we do not see the same level of apologists or praise for Let's Go Brandon.  Instead we see the slow drip, drip, drip, of notable defections by either voting groups or high profile individuals
  • Donald Trump got a lot of things done for America but his polls, thanks to a rabid, vehemently opposed and most often dishonest media, did not increase.  They remained flat.  He lost his re-election bid despite getting 11 million more votes than in 2016.  His polling remained flat throughout his presidency, as if the animus could not push them any lower.  That may not be true for Let's Go Brandon.  I'm sure he has a floor that we are approaching, but his approval numbers are reverting from the media-imaginary to reality
Of course every presidency is different and Let's Go Brandon could pull off a miracle but it is one there is no real historical precedent to lean upon, and one which would require him to actually become presidential and have some America first thinking.

There's more to come in part 2 later today.

June 19, 2022

June 18, 2022

Let's Go Brandon bike wipeout

 Just par for the course, earlier today:

It reminds me of his economic acumen.

June 16, 2022

My body my choice - except with COVID mandates

 Beware of potential occasional exploding heads when the inconsistency is exposed:

June 14th primaries summarized

Red Eagle Politics does a wonderful job summarizing the June 14th primaries, which were a mixed bag for conservatives, but generally a good sign:

June 15, 2022

When they keep exacerbating the problem

When they keep exacerbating the problem, it only compounds the size of the fail.  Savant investor Michael Burry is predicting a massive crash and has even tweeted he'd rather see a potato as president right now.

June 14, 2022

June 13, 2022

Janet Yellen, dumber than a post

Inflation in May jumped again after a small fallback in April.  It's at an advertised rate of 8.6%.  I say advertised because they have made adjustments to how they calculate which have had a dampening effect on how bad it really is.  It's not so high because of the war in Ukraine since it predates that by a longshot.  Even if it was the gas prices due to the war in Ukraine, Let's Go Brandon could have mitigated that by not crippling the American oil and gas industry.  And it's not just the ridiculous Let's Go Brandon $1.9 trillion stimulus spend from last year, although that was a big factor.  It was mainly the ultra-loose monetary policy from the Fed  that has been on display frankly since 2008 (if not earlier) that has culminated in a massive bubble economy.  

Janet Yellen, Democrat, and head of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, didn't see it coming.  This is how you know she's an idiot.  She's supposed to understand economics.  But she didn't.  She's since apologized for her horrible misread.

In March 2021, when inflation hawks were arguing that the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan was going to overheat the economy, Yellen called the risk of inflation “small” and “manageable,” and a couple of months later said, “I don’t anticipate that inflation is going to be a problem.” She wasn’t alone. For much of 2021, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that he thought inflation would be “transitory,” and even as inflation rose above 6 percent, the Fed kept interest rates near zero. (Its first interest-rate hike was not until March 2022.)

Along the way, that thing Yellen thought was not going to be a problem became a huge one—not least, politically. Indeed, with today’s news that inflation in May was 8.6 percent (previously at 8.3 percent), it is arguably the biggest problem that the Biden administration faces—high prices are overshadowing pretty much everything else about the U.S. economy. 

I studied economics while in university back in the late 1980's when it was not all Leftist running the departments.  Since then economics has been an interest of mine, but I am by no means an elite expert on economics.  But I saw this coming.  I was telling my friends who had also studied economics and they didn't believe me.  But the fundamentals are the fundamentals. Profligate spending combined with incessant and insane money printing is a recipe for intense inflation.  It will get worse this year, not better.  Because, reality.

Janet Yellen saw through rose colored glasses because she wanted to see things that way.  But reality is more powerful than your wishes.  She's not qualified.  This was worse than a mistake it was an epic blunder by someone who was supposed to know better.  If I could see it coming, why couldn't she?

The article I quoted above, which goes on to excuse Yellen as well as the leftist economic agenda during the Obama administration, going so far as to take credit for America's economic resurgence under president Trump, completely misses the mark too.  Excusing someone so powerful who was so far wrong, is as much of a failure of their duty as was Janet Yellen's horrible, terrible abomination of an economic stewardship itself.  Instead of lauding her for coming clean, they should be excoriating her for her ineptitude.

Woke eats itself at WaPo

This story was in the news last week and I didn't comment because it turned into a running feud and was frankly changing too quickly to comment.  Besides, it was a "grab your popcorn" situation.  Now it's mostly over.   The Washington Post has fired Felicia Sonmez for woke cyberbullying a co-worker even after being told to stop.

The best summary I could find of the situation was via Jimmy Dore, a liberal himself, but one fed up with 'woke'. Please note - occasional course language.

In the end the Washington Post ended up firing Felicia Sonmez.

I wish this had gone on for months to be honest.  But at least it was all out in the open, exposing the woke cult(ure) that infects the left, even at the highest levels.

June 12, 2022

Tim Pool talks "It's the economy stupid"

This Tim Pool segment starts by looking at the 2022 midterm election predictions but Tim Pool spends more time discussing the 'why' of the situation.  He misses a few things but it's a well reasoned talk nonetheless.

Sunday verse


June 11, 2022

Is the economic hurricane started?

A good summary below of why an economic hurricane might have started.  I'm no apocalypse alarmist but the underlying 'fundamentals' of the economy are unusually weak.

June 10, 2022

A follow up on Milton Friedman discussing inflation

A continuation of my previous post on Milton Friedman explaining inflation.  Here Milton Friedman discusses the intrinsic relationship of stimulus to inflation.

Understand why inflation happens, in 15 minutes

Milton Friedman was a brilliant economist.  Not only did he win the Nobel Prize in 1976, but he is able to explain economics in ways that anyone can understand.  Here, in under 15 minutes, he explains inflation; it's causes and what can be done about it.  Sadly, it's as relevant today as it was in his heyday because well, Let's Go Brandon and feckless and stupid leadership at the Federal Reserve.

Democrats go beyond the pale in 2022 midterm actions

The DOJ has been weaponized.

June 9, 2022

Some intellectuals never grow up

 Thomas Sowell's brilliant treatise on why some intellectuals never grow up.

June 8, 2022

Wait, didn't that already happen?

 The FBI is purging conservatives? I thought they'd already finished that.

June 6, 2022

Dictator Watch - China 2022

Unfortunately I'm going to be pretty busy today, and there's a lot of news items to be covered.  Since I don't have enough time to do them justice, chew on this somewhat overlooked issue for now; China's economy is failing even though they've kept it hidden.  And all the while that's happening, China's becoming increasingly aggressive with air force activities involving Canada, and also Japan.  All this with overtones of a Taiwan invasion.

June 5, 2022

June 4, 2022

Trials of an optimist

When I'm not working on my blog I often spend time on YouTube, often watching music reaction videos. Specifically younger people discovering older music from when people cared about their craft more than fame.  One of the people I watch is JB Lethal.  He's a Christian, an optimist and a hard worker even though he came from a tough background.

I thought I'd share this, his most recent video from today.  He's unfortunately become homeless. Nevertheless his attitude is inspirational. It's worth seeing.  But secondarily, please watch his video, because it helps him out.

June 3, 2022

Canada's most populace province re-elects conservative government

This is a good sign for the coming midterms. Canada's most populous province, Ontario, one that federally has typically voted Liberal (think Justin Trudeau), yesterday re-elected a majority conservative provincial government.  Doug Ford was re-elected as provincial Premier.  It's a good sign.  Mostly.

For the first time in my political voting life, I did not vote in this election.  Doug Ford was as wacky as Justin Trudeau in calling the Freedom Convoy illegal and unacceptable.  While I'm happy the conservatives won, and I understand his position on the issue was a politically expedient one designed not to alienate a typically liberal province, the choice to slander those who were peacefully protesting a bad government decision was unacceptable to me.

Even many of the federal Conservative Party leadership candidates are supporting a repeal of the Trudeau COVID mandates, which was the impetus for the Freedom Convoy.   I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in my thinking that Premier Doug Ford was being politically expedient when he badmouthed the Freedom Convoy rather than standing up for their concerns.  The basically status quo election had a miserable voter turnout for Ontario provincial elections, roughly 44%, representing the worst provincial election turnout in the province's history.  

I'm glad the Conservative Party won.  The alternatives were either a liberal or an outright socialist.  So the least bad option prevailed. Good.  But not great.  The best sign is that the mood of Canada is not rabidly liberal and it probably carries over into the United States as an existential truth at the moment. 

June 2, 2022

Economic storm is coming

Remember, Monetary Policy > Fiscal Policy.  Always. And as such, with so many stupid, prior monetary (and in fact fiscal too) decisions, stagflation is coming.

There is not going to be a soft landing.  It is going to be ugly.  But the more we try to avoid it the worse it will end up being when it happens.

June 1, 2022

A remarkable claim from Tim Pool

Tim Pool says Trump MUST win in 2024. At one point not too long ago, Tim was a Bernie Sanders supporter.

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