Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

What's up with the vote recounting?

Something shitty I'm sure. Here is one theory:

Yes, I know, an anonymous youtube post that makes fantastic sounding claims. Serious allegations against the Clintons and others. Claims that Trump will be blocked, and that congress will "appoint" a person who is not Trump or Clinton, but who will actually be a surrogate for Clinton. Still, in 10 days, we can see if all or part any part of it has any traction.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Trump Win; how we got here

It was a combination of many things, but primarily Hillary's mistakes and weaknesses, combined with shifting demographics and political concerns that transcended party politics:

The Improbable Demographics Behind Donald Trump's Shocking Presidential Victory
[...] The Revolt of Middle America

America is a nation of many economies, but those that produce real, tangible things — food, fiber, energy and manufactured goods — went overwhelmingly for Trump. He won virtually every state from Appalachia to the Rockies, with the exceptions of heavily Hispanic Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and President Obama’s home base of Illinois.

Some of his biggest margins were in energy states — Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota — where the fracking revolution created a burst of prosperity. Generally speaking, the more carbon-intensive the economy, the better the Republicans did. Many of his biggest wins took place across the energy-producing regions of the country, including Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Idaho, and especially West Virginia, where he won by a remarkable margin of 68% to 27%. The energy industry could well be the biggest financial winner in the election.

The Green Trap

Clinton’s support for climate change legislation, a lower priority among the electorate than other concerns, was seen as necessary to shore up support from greens threatening to attack her from the left. Yet the issue never caught on the heartland, which tends to see climate change mitigation as injurious to them.

This may have proven a major miscalculation, as the energy economy is also tied closely to manufacturing. Besides climate change, the heartland had many reasons to fear a continuation of Obama policies, particularly related to regulation and global trade, which seems to have been a big factor in Trump’s upset win in normally moderate to liberal Wisconsin.

Trump either won, or closely contested all the traditional manufacturing states — Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and even Michigan, where union voters did not support Clinton as they had Obama and where trade was also a big issue. Trump did consistently better than Romney in all these states, even though Romney was a native of Michigan. Perhaps the most significant turnaround was in Ohio, which Obama won with barely 51% of the vote in 2012. This year Trump reversed this loss and won by over seven points.

Agricultural states, reeling from the decline of commodity prices, not surprisingly, also went for the New Yorker.

Premature Epitaphs For The White Voter

Race, as is often the case, played a major role in the election. For much of the election, commentators, particularly in the dominant Eastern media, seemed to be openly celebrating what CNN heralded as “the decline of the white voter.” The “new America,” they suggested, would be a coalition of minorities, educated workers and millennials.

To be sure, the minority share of the electorate is only going to grow — from less than 30% today to over 40% in 2032 — as more white Americans continue to die than be born. Just between 2012 and 2016, the Latino and Asian electorate grew 17% and 16%, respectively; the white electorate expanded barely 2%.

In Colorado the new minority math was seen, with a strong showing among Latinos, the educated suburbs around Denver and millennials.

That may be the future, but now is now. Exit polling nationwide showed Trump won two-to-one among people without a college degree, matched Clinton among college graduates, losing only those with graduate degrees, a group that has voted for the Democrats since 1988.

But there’s simply more high school graduates then those with graduate degrees. And for now there are a lot more whites than minorities. As we look into the future, these groups will fade somewhat but right now they can still determine elections. Nowhere is this clearer than in Trump’s decisive win in Florida, a state that is home to many white retirees, including from the old industrial states.

Latinos may be the one group in the “new America” that made a difference for Clinton, not only in Colorado, but also in Nevada. Republicans paid a price for Trump’s intemperate comments on immigration and about Mexico.

They also made states like Texas and North Carolina closer, and may have helped secure Clinton’s win in Virginia. In contrast, neither African-Americans or millennials seem to have turned out as heavily, both in numbers and percentage terms, as they did for President Obama. Trump appears to have made some modest gains with both groups, contrary to the conventional wisdom.

Class Warrior

Class has been a bigger factor in this election than in any election since the New Deal era. Trump’s insurgency rode largely on middle- and working-class fears about globalization, immigration and the cultural arrogance of the “progressive” cultural elite. This is something Bill Clinton understands better than his wife.

Trump owes his election to what one writer has called “the leftover people.” These may be “deplorables” to the pundits but their grievances are real – their incomes and their lifespans have been decreasing. They have noticed, as Thomas Frank has written, that the Democrats have gone “from being the party of Decatur to the party of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Many of these voters were once Democrats, and feel they have been betrayed. And they include a large swath of the middle class, whose fury explains much of what happened tonight. Trump has connected better with these voters than Romney, who won those making between $50,000 and $90,000 by a narrow 52 percent margin. Early analysis of this year’s election shows Trump doing better among these kind of voters.

At the same time, however, affluent voters — those making $100,000 and above — seem to have tilted over to the Democrats this year. This is the first time the “rich” have gone against the GOP since the 1964 Goldwater debacle. Obama did better among the wealthy, winning eight of the 10 richest counties in 2012. In virtually all these counties, Clinton did even better.

What does this mean for America’s traditional middle class, whose numbers have been fading for a generation? Long the majority, notes Pew, they are no longer, outnumbered by the lower and upper classes combined. Yet like the Anglo population, in this election what’s left of America’s middle class has shown itself not ready to face the sunset.

Now What?

Given the unpredictable nature of Trump, it’s hard to see what he will do. Although himself a businessman, he was opposed overwhelmingly by his own class. Clinton won more support from big business and the business elite. If you had a billionaire primary, Clinton would have won by as much as 20 to 1.

Initially many of those business interests closest to both Obama and Clinton — Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood — will be on the outside looking in. Their advantages from tax avoidance could be lessened. Merger-mania, yet another form of asset inflation, will continue unabated, particularly in the tech and media space.

The clear challenge for (I can’t believe I am writing these words) President Trump will not be so much to punish these enemies, but to embrace those people — largely middle class, suburban, small town and white — who are not part of his world, but made him President. If he embraces his role as a radical reformer, he could do much good, for example with a flatter tax system, restoring federalism, seizing the advantage of the energy revolution and reviving military preparedness. [...]
If you read the whole thing, I think you will sense that the author does not like Donald Trump. Which rather makes his astute observations about Trump all the more interesting.

The long and short of it is, the elites in both the Republican and Democrat parties miscalculated a number of things. The Donald spoke to the people most neglected by the elites, and they selected him as their champion. We now have a Populist President, who is not really a Republican or a Democrat, by the standards used up until now.

Is The Donald prepared to lead? He has never been elected to any position, so we can't know how he will govern. Where will he take us, what will he do? We shall see...

Also see:

Doggedness and Defiance: How Trump won


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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

OMG is The Donald Going to Win?

I predicted it would be Hillary, and said I'd have to eat crow if he won. Anyone got a good recipe for crow?

I had almost done a post about this article from the Atlantic Monthly:

Hillary Has No One to Blame but Herself
Despite all the advantages she enjoys, the Democratic candidate could lose the election in November.
If Donald Trump becomes president, the world will have Hillary Clinton to blame.

On the day her campaign released an ad that makes a brutal and effective case against a Trump presidency—“Our children are watching”—a New York Times poll revealed the cost of her squandered credibility.

Clinton and Trump are tied nationally, each supported by 40 percent of voters, in a survey taken after FBI director James Comey undercut Clinton’s shifting and deceptive explanations of her email practices at the State Department. A month ago, she held a six-point lead in the same poll.

While this is just one poll, virtually all statewide and national surveys suggest the race is tightening despite a number of factors weighted in Clinton’s favor. These include: [...]
You can read the whole thing. The many reasons. It's starting to look prophetic now. And it was one of many, from The New Yorker and more. For all the reasons these articles state.

I live in a Blue State, in a Democrat town. I've seen lots of signs for Trump/Pence. Lots of signs for local Democrats. None for Clinton. In the last election, there were tons of signs and bumper stickers for Obama. But this time, none for Clinton. I thought I saw one Clinton bumper sticker the other day, but when I got close, it didn't say "Hillary Clinton for President 2016". It said "Hillary Clinton for Prison 2016".

In so many ways, she was an unpopular choice for the nomination. So many Democrats who were younger and more qualified, who never got a chance to even try in the nomination process. This is what happens, when you try to push an unpopular candidate on people. Of course there are other factors as well. Read the articles I linked to for details!

Anyway, it's not over till it's over. We shall see.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

And I think I wanna. The title of this song by Lesley Gore could easily be the motto for both Republicans and Democrats in this election. What a choice. The Devil or the Deep Blue Sea. I will refrain from saying who is which. ;-)

I stopped voting when I lived in San Francisco, because I eventually realised after 20+ years of voting that no matter who I voted for, the Democrat Parties choice for candidate would get in. Every time. So it didn't really matter if I voted or not. I'm feeling the same way about this election. Also, look at this photo of the USA from space at night:
Clearly, the majority of the people in the USA live in the Eastern half of the country. They are also in an earlier time zone. I predict that, like every other presidential election I've seen since living on the West coast, they will be announcing the winner hours before the polls have even closed in the West. Causing many voters in the West not to bother to vote. THEY, the Eastern half, choose the president.

I also predict that Hillary will win, because... the "choice" has been made for us. The "election" is just a side show distraction, to keep us busy thinking we actually have a voice in what happens.  I'm sorry if that sounds cynical, but I've been around for 50+ years.  I call it like I see it.

I'll have to eat crow if I'm wrong, but I doubt I will be. I don't know by how big a margin Hillary will win by, but I predict the media will call it a "Landslide", regardless. Anyway, we shall see. Meanwhile, the dissatisfied in both Parties have their motto. Thank you Ms Gore.

It is what it is. And we will have to live with it. For better or worse.


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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why the Republican Party is Going to Die

It may still have a pulse, but how long will it last? Could there be an Elephant in the room they have refused to deal with? Read on:

A Republican intellectual explains why
the Republican Party is going to die

CLEVELAND — Avik Roy is a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to advancing the Republican Party and conservative ideals.

But when I caught up with Roy at a bar just outside the Republican convention, he said something I’ve never heard from an establishment conservative before: The Grand Old Party is going to die.

“I don’t think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are capable of reforming themselves in an incremental and gradual way,” he said. “There’s going to be a disruption.”

Roy isn’t happy about this: He believes it means the Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time. But he also believes the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.


His history of conservatism was a Greek tragedy. It begins with a fatal error in 1964, survived on the willful self-delusion of people like Roy himself, and ended with Donald Trump.

“I think the conservative movement is fundamentally broken,” Roy tells me. “Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.”


Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He himself was not especially racist — he believed it was wrong, on free market grounds, for the federal government to force private businesses to desegregate. But this “principled” stance identified the GOP with the pro-segregation camp in everyone’s eyes, while the Democrats under Lyndon Johnson became the champions of anti-racism.

This had a double effect, Roy says. First, it forced black voters out of the GOP. Second, it invited in white racists who had previously been Democrats. Even though many Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act in Congress, the post-Goldwater party became the party of aggrieved whites.

“The fact is, today, the Republican coalition has inherited the people who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Southern Democrats who are now Republicans,” Roy says. “Conservatives and Republicans have not come to terms with that problem.”


“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

Conservative intellectuals, for the most part, are horrified by racism. When they talk about believing in individual rights and equality, they really mean it. Because the Republican Party is the vehicle through which their ideas can be implemented, they need to believe that the party isn’t racist.

So they deny the party’s racist history, that its post-1964 success was a direct result of attracting whites disillusioned by the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights. And they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty.

“It’s the power of wishful thinking. None of us want to accept that opposition to civil rights is the legacy that we’ve inherited,” Roy says.

He expands on this idea: “It’s a common observation on the left, but it’s an observation that a lot of us on the right genuinely believed wasn’t true — which is that conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy. I think today, even now, a lot of conservatives have not come to terms with that problem.”

This, Roy believes, is where the conservative intellectual class went astray. By refusing to admit the truth about their own party, they were powerless to stop the forces that led to Donald Trump’s rise. They told themselves, over and over again, that Goldwater’s victory was a triumph.

But in reality, it created the conditions under which Trump could thrive. Trump’s politics of aggrieved white nationalism — labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists — succeeded because the party’s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights.

“[Trump] tapped into something that was latent in the Republican Party and conservative movement — but a lot of people in the conservative movement didn’t notice,” Roy concludes, glumly. [...]
So what does this mean for the future of the GOP? Read the whole thing. It has embedded links and video to back up what it's saying. I've heard portions of this argument over the years, but the author here has done his homework and tied the facts together nicely. The way he ended the article speaks especially well to what we are looking at today. Sad, but true.


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Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifteen Years Later

Never forget: 15 years of Allahu Akbar-itis

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Many Contexts of Gun Control

How Leaving America Changes What People Think About Guns
When you live abroad, you start to see your home country differently. I speak from experience: After moving to Switzerland in 2006, I began to see American policies for what they were—one country's way of doing things, but not necessarily the best way of doing things.

There are few examples that ring truer than America's obsession with guns. While the US leads the world in mass shootings, with 372 in 2015 alone, there has only been one mass shooting in Switzerland in the last 15 years. The Swiss rank fourth in the world in guns per capita—behind the US, Yemen, and Syria—but the ownership is rooted in a sense of safety and responsibility.

The recent shooting in Orlando, Florida, is a reminder that the United States has some of the loosest gun control laws in the developed world and the highest rate of gun-related homicide—about 15 times higher than 23 other high-income nations combined. And while news of mass shootings has sadly become normal in the United States, moving abroad can show how differently Americans view guns. We asked several American expats about how moving to another country changed their perspective on gun control. [...]
This is an interesting, thought provoking article. It has many embedded links to back up what it says. The comparisons with various other countries were interesting, especially with Switzerland, Israel and Mexico.

I support the 2nd amendment, but I don't believe it has to pre-clude responsible gun ownership. We strictly regulate the ownership and use of automobiles, because they are dangerous if not used properly. Should we not do the same with guns? I for one don't want to see assault weapons in the hands of mentally ill and unstable people.

Yes, it's a slippery slope. So aren't many things in life, yet they still need to be pondered and dealt with. On a slippery slope you tread carefully and take precautions when you have to. It can be done.

In the US, gun control tends to be a push-me pull-me of two extremes, an all or nothing argument, allowing no compromise. Yet, this article shows how some other countries have approached this issue; as a right, that comes with a responsibility. We don't have to do exactly what other nations do, but we can learn from their experiences, and perhaps adapt some of their better ideas to our own unique circumstances. Can we not find a better way for US?

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