Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween

Wishing all you spooks and goblins out there a Happy Halloween. I fear the holiday is somewhat constrained by the corona virus. 

We were out briefly and saw someone wearing an all-encompassing black and white bovine costume. It was the very picture of an anthropomorphized Holstein, assuming such could walk on its two hind legs.

Now that November has shown up, we may begin getting some actual autumn here in northern CA. The leaves need to turn and fall, they haven't yet really begun that process.

Trends Positive for a Trump Win

Last minute trends are looking positive for a Trump win. Are they real enough, big enough and soon enough to do the job? We'll know sometime next week, or maybe later. It is fingers-crossed time.

Regular Time Resumes

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight before bed, or tomorrow a.m. upon awakening. We will get back the hour we 'lost' in March. 

Don't whine about the slightly changed schedule. Anyone who's done any serious travel has dealt with much worse time changes, and survived just fine.

I remember a trans-Pacific cruise on which it seemed every other day was only 23 hours long, that got a little strange. With time always available ashore on the cell phone, the only time I wear a watch is on shipboard and I was forever resetting it to match ship time.

About Polling and Campaigning

We've written about the problems political opinion polling has demonstrated in recent elections, most pointedly in 2016 when most polls predicted a Clinton win that never materialized. For another look at polling's problems and approaches to circumvent them, check out this article at American Greatness.

Asking variously who your social circle will vote for, or alternatively your neighbors, is one approach to getting beyond the social desirability bias issue. Another with less track record is asking which major party will carry your state. That wording puts even more distance between respondent and the expressed opinion.


Let me note that polls which report percentages of Americans favoring each candidate are effectively useless. It is entirely possible to win the popular vote and lose the election, Clinton did so in 2016. The U.S. is a republic, not a plebiscite democracy. 

Whether a candidate wins a state by one vote or a landslide makes no difference, the number of electors voting for him or her is the same. If most of a candidate's voters live in a few states where they run up huge super-majorities, he or she is at a disadvantage. This fact is normally a disadvantage for Democrats as their voters are more concentrated.


Also, if you live in CA, NY, MA, AL, WY or UT, the campaigns mostly ignore your state. Everybody believes they know a priori who will win those states. Dems will win the first three, Republicans will win the second three. 

It is the states where both sides have a decent shot at winning where the campaigns spend their time and money. These are usually labeled "battleground states" and if you live in one of them you'll be hectored by both sides till you are sick of it.

Friday, October 30, 2020


My data-crunching research days are long behind me. That said, I pose a hypothesis a younger somebody ought to test after the election data has all been tabulated and the elected sworn in. 

Some data-driven scholar should compare the votes for each of the two major parties in 2016 and 2018 with those of 2020 for the regions where, in the intervening interval, major Antifa and BLM violence, looting, and destruction occurred. My hypothesis, the "troubles" have influenced a significant number of former D voters to vote R in 2020. Comparison groups would be cities with no significant rioting, of which there must be at least a few.

To the extent precinct level data is available, I would anticipate this trend particularly in largely white precincts. You might (or might not) see the opposite effect in minority precincts.

I would also expect the degree of shift to be proportional to the length and intensity of street violence. Portland would likely anchor the high end of that scale. 

Another factor to dump into the regression equation is the elapsed weeks between the end of the violence and Election Day. Philadelphia's violence now ongoing should have more impact than, for instance, that of Minneapolis which appears to have ended a month or two ago. Recency is an issue.

Further Evidence ....

The polling firm YouGov asked Americans their opinion of various countries. Power Line has some of the results of comparing the views of Democrats and Republicans.

Two very interesting findings pop out. First Democrats have a higher opinion of communist Cuba than they have of Israel (39% vs 36%). Second, Democrats have a higher opinion of France than they have of the United States (71% vs 68%).

With the usual caveats about problems with polling I suggest: As a group, Democrats are neither smart or patriotic. Likely not great neighbors, either.

Competing Civil Religions

A good article at the Law & Liberty website treats the progressive-conservative debate on-going in our nation as a competition between two "civil religions." It is an interesting and relatively balanced treatment of our two antagonistic belief structures. 

I won't try to summarize it for you, it is worth reading. Hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.

Problems with Opinion Polling

I've been reading a variety of articles discussing the possible existence this election season of "shy" Trump voters, which there is reason to believe exist as they did four years ago. Supposedly they don't want to tell a stranger on the phone that they'll vote for Trump.

This caused me to think of another factor biasing telephone polling. Do you get a lot of "junk" or "spam" calls? I certainly do. 

Do you answer calls whose calling number your phone does not 'recognize,' who aren't in your address book? If the caller's name is shown and it is someone with whom I'd like to speak, I do. 

Otherwise, if no name is shown or it's someone I don't know, I just let it ring. Therefore I will not be a respondent to a telephone poll as I'll never take their call. I figure there are millions like me, what do you think?

Maybe it is time to begin ignoring opinion polling as we've known it. I believe a huge chunk of the populace is unlikely to ever be included in their samples, rendering the polls invalid. This was true in 2016, let's see what happens in 2020.

I guess it could be possible to somehow determine how the "don't answer" bias is distributed in the populace and weight the sample accordingly. I'm certain those who've made a career out of polling will try to rescue the art form, I wish them luck.

Maybe the turnout at rallies is the best measure of voter enthusiasm and motivation, we should know in a week or so.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Very Good News Indeed

UPI, aka United Press International, carries a report of research on the effect of getting flu vaccinations upon subsequent cases of Covid-19.

People who received the flu vaccine in the year before testing positive for COVID-19 are nearly 2 1/2 times less likely to be hospitalized with a severe form of the disease than those who were not vaccinated, an analysis published Wednesday by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found.

In addition, those vaccinated against the flu within a year of being diagnosed with COVID-19 were more than three times less likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit because of the new coronavirus, according to researchers at the University of Florida.

Let's be clear. The influenza vaccine does not stop you developing Covid-19. It does appear to cause the corona virus to make you less sick. And it reduces likelihood of getting the flu, too, making it a win-win proposition. 

The DrsC got their flu shots over a month ago, a yearly ritual in our household. It is a good habit to develop. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Social Media Bias on Display

The Federalist reports Twitter suspended the account of the chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commission. That gentleman, Mark Morgan, had sent the following message:

To which The Federalist adds:

“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” Twitter wrote in an email explaining the suspension. As is clear from the banned post’s text, the commissioner did not threaten anyone based on race, national origin, or anything else.

What Morgan wrote is not the functional equivalent of shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theater. If he was harassing anyone, it was criminals and drug smugglers - not exactly protected classes.

Assuming Republicans ever get control of Congress again, there is a serious need to rein in social media political bias. These dudes are out of control, declare them public utilities and regulate them. 

The electric company doesn't get to turn off your power because they don't like your politics. Twitter and Facebook shouldn't be able to cut you off for that reason either. The First Amendment's protection of free speech is relatively absolute.

A Political Dilemma

British politics are intermittently interesting. Today comes a story from Axios about the Labour Party suspending former leader Jeremy Corbyn for tolerating anti-Semitism during his leadership of the party.

The U.K.'s Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Labour was "responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination" linked to anti-Semitism, per the BBC.
  • Its report found "a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it." 
  • It also found that Corbyn's office had "politically interfered" on 23 separate occasions regarding the anti-Semitism complaints.

One supposes Corbyn did what he did to appeal to the U.K’s Islamic voters, mostly immigrants from former colonies India and Pakistan. Which raises the question of where those voters will find a home if the Labour Party rejects their reflexive Jew-hatred and the foreign policy positions associated therewith? 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Partisan Humor

John Hinderaker, first among equals at Power Line, posts a video in which a pretty lady named Allie Stuckey claims to be a spokesperson for the Democratic Party. Topic by topic she systematically eviscerates them. 

It is well-done parody, scarily on the nose, and she does it with a straight face. Enjoy the show.

Explaining Softballs

A couple of days ago I wrote about the seeming death of journalism. Today comes a more elegant treatment of the same subject by Prof. Charles Lipson, who writes this of journalism for Spectator, USA.

Reporters aren’t demanding answers or making the candidates pay a price for the silent treatment. The reason is painfully obvious. It’s not just that most reporters and media operations consider the Democrats ‘our ticket’. That’s been true for decades. What’s different now is that they consider this particular Republican a danger to the Republic.

Protecting the country from another four years of Trump in the White House is a more important, more patriotic duty for journalists than their normal job of asking hard questions, demanding evidence and investigating big stories. That’s why, when reporters do get a rare opportunity to ask Joe Biden a question, they toss him softballs.

Journalists believe the half of the country that doesn't agree with them will forgive and forget when Trump is history? Improbable, to say the least. 

The Internet has made journalism non-essential where it was once essential. Journalism is a legacy technology that will wither as those accustomed to routinely consuming its product die off. I wonder what Gen Z will use to wrap fish and line birdcages?

A Survivor

Sarah Hoyt blogs at Instapundit. She links to the two installments (first, second) of a charming very short biography of a Romanov princess, with the descriptive title of “The Princess Who Went Her Own Way.”

While it is totally out of character for COTTonLINE, I found I enjoyed it, I hope you do too. 

It’s a Minefield

Instapundit posts a Tweet by Andy McCarthy that is masterful irony, here it is:

That right there is some serious snark. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Thought Experiment

Try a thought experiment. Imagine you are Joe Biden and you are running for president. You go out to do campaign appearances and a handful of people show up. Meanwhile you've seen the President's rallies on TV and you know he draws thousands, often turn-away crowds.

I know your handlers say to criticize the Prez for allowing a large group to come together, but meanwhile how do you feel about your popularity versus the Presidents' evident popularity? The polls say you are the choice of a majority of voters, so why don't they show up for you, cheer for you, do boat parades for you?

I have to think at some level this demonstrated disparity in popularity has to be galling. He has to be telling himself that come Election Day he'll be vindicated and the Orange Man will be shamed. What does he tell himself if that proves not to be the case? 

What if the crowd sizes are an accurate indicator of popularity? Pollsters who measure voter enthusiasm suggest they are just that. The polls blew it four years ago, who's to say they haven't done it again? I think if I were Joe Biden about now I'd be scared silly. 

Inferential Findings

Breitbart, which favors Trump, reports the results of a poll that tried to get beyond the "shy voter" problem. USC Dornlife asked people who their friends and neighbors would vote for. In contrast to their "who will you vote for" results which favored Biden, asked about their associates' votes they answered Trump.

Using this same method today, USC says “it’s looking like an Electoral College loss for Biden” — with Trump only down by four or five points nationally.

Finally, there is one pollster taking a similar approach to the USC Dornlife “social desirability” question, and that’s Trafalgar, who made some tough calls in 2016 and got a lot right. Trafalgar currently has Trump up by just under a point in Pennsylvania, up by three in North Carolina, up two in Michigan, down by only a point in Wisconsin, up two in Florida, and up four in Arizona. If Trump wins those states, he wins re-election.

So ... there is reason to hope, if not for wild optimism, and to vote to reelect.

Election in One Week

Everyone has been talking and writing about the 2020 election for over 2 years. Now it is one short week away and a whole lot of folks, including the DrsC, have already voted. 

We voted absentee as we're currently snowbirds and can't make it to the polling place a few miles up the road from our WY place. We were concerned about the mail thing until I realized that WY was going to vote for Trump even if we didn't bother or our votes didn't arrive. 

We did, however, bother and I presume they have already arrived. Now we await results.

Barrett Sworn In

Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest member of the United States Supreme Court, brings it back to full strength. 

Your honor ... make us proud.

Telling Truth to Power

Gail Herriot is a conservative member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who posts at Instapundit. A majority of its members are progressives. She writes minority opinions debunking their racist claims.

The authors of a new report featured in Washington Post would have us to believe that arrests of African Americans are higher than for other races mainly because cops are biased and African American neighborhoods have historically been “over-policed.”

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently made the similar claim that students of all races misbehave in school at equal rates, and that (by implication) disproportionate discipline rates should be blamed on biased teachers. It was easily proven false.

The reasons for arrest/discipline disproportionality are complex and nobody should claim to fully understand the problem. But the notion that it’s primarily the fault of overzealous police and teachers is off base.

She is correct, of course. School discipline and law enforcement swarm misbehavior the way flies swarm roadkill. If some groups get more attention it’s because they misbehave more.

Trump Not Going Away

Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, writes a weekly column for USA Today. Today he answers the question, “Will a Biden presidency return everything to normal?” with a resounding NO. I believe you’ll find Reynolds’ reasoning persuasive. 

A defeat won’t even make Donald J. Trump leave the public stage. Imagine a defeated Trump holding rallies around the country leading his own version of a “resistance” and urging his followers to disrupt the progressive agenda. 

Trump is probably less disruptive to national life inside the White House than he will be as a free agent. Right now he is the only American political figure with a truly sizable, enthusiastic national following.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Finally, a Poll Makes Sense

Ed Driscoll at Instapundit links to a Rasmussen Reports poll result. Rasmussen found:

The latest national telephone and online survey finds Trump edging Democrat Joe Biden 48% to 47% among Likely U.S. Voters. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, while two percent (2%) remain undecided.

Last Wednesday, Biden held a 49% to 46% lead, but the race has been tightening since early in the month.

All the votes have to be cast by a week from tomorrow. I sure would enjoy a pleasant surprise on the 4th, or whenever we get something approaching a final count. 


I keep track of the weather in Wyoming where we are domiciled, even when we’re elsewhere exercising the snowbird right (rite?) of cold weather avoidance. Last night the weather was predicted to drop to -2℉ and it was at that level when I checked it just now, at what would be just after 7 a.m. Mountain Time.

This is cold for a few days before Halloween, it’s still October after all. That’s all you need to know about why we are snowbirds. Like the migratory birds and mammals, we find winter is a great time to migrate to lower elevations and warmer temperatures.

About half of those who live in WY all year envy our ability to depart for warmer climes. The other half really like winter and many of them snowmobile, ski or snowboard, all of which does look like fun for those younger and more agile than I.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Different Strokes

Writing at Townhall, Beth Baumann headlines a column as follows:

A Little More Than a Week from Election Day and Biden Calls an Early Lid

I presume she thinks this choice is folly. I'm not so sure she is correct. Let me propose an contrarian explanation. 

The more people see of Joe Biden, the worse he does. The more they see of Donald Trump, the better he does. So each is playing to his strength, Trump by holding rallies and Biden by staying mostly out of view.

People who dislike Trump enough to vote for Biden don't want to be reminded of the drawbacks their choice involves. People who like Trump enjoy both the chance to see him in person, as friends of ours did a week ago in Carson City, and watching him on TV revving up the overflow crowds.

Trump was already a successful developer when he discovered he enjoyed being a performer. Whether or not he wins reelection, I am certain he has had a blast doing the campaign rallies. It is a performer's dream, SRO packed houses and unlimited adulation. He gets to pig out on standing Os.

Journalists Told to Lie for Biden

The Washington Examiner quotes a piece of advice to fellow journalists written for The Washington Post Perspectives section, by someone named Thomas Rid. He writes:

Take a step back, and the Russian interference of 2016 holds valuable lessons on what to do and what not to do in 2020. We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.

I presume the editors of the WaPo are not in violent disagreement with this advice, since they published it. By doing so the WaPo has sacrificed its right to call itself a "newspaper."  

WaPo is still a publication - by definition - but when it knowingly publishes things it knows not to be true it is no longer in the news business. It has become a self-confessed propaganda mill. 

Perhaps we need to convene a celebration of life for journalism. If journalism hasn't died, it appears to be on life support. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll blogging at Instapundit for the link.

We Are the Target

A Catholic named Jennifer Fitz writes at She has been a never-Trumper third party supporter who now feels coerced by events into voting for Trump’s reelection. See her conclusion:

From the right, I continue to see the usual callous indifference to the lives of ordinary people, but it’s just indifference. The message I am getting from the left is that I am a target they mean to destroy.

I’m not real comfortable with that.

Fitz states this conclusion early on. She spends the rest of the column explaining what factors cause her to reach that conclusion. 

We’d better hope she has had lots of company when the votes are counted. I continue to halfway expect that she has.

As a regular reader, I daresay you agree. Hat tip to for the link.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Trump Rally

I was just watching some of a Trump rally being rerun on Fox News. Donald J. Trump is one of the most talented retail politicians I've watched in a long and somewhat misspent life.  

Trump may have a game plan for those hour-and-a-half long, apparently stream-of-consciousness orations of his, but he sure makes it look like he's winging it. He delivers one applause line after another, and talk about mastery of the subject matter, he has it. The crowd is eating it up.

The contrast with shrill and tired Joe Biden couldn't be clearer. Trump gets energy from the crowd, and pumps them up in return. I expect the "Trump rally" will be recorded in the political science pantheon of masterful performances, alongside FDR's radio "fireside chats." 

It is populist evangelism, all the way down. Instead of "hallelujah" and "amen" from the crowd, Trump gets "U-S-A," "four more years" and "lock 'em up."

One Accomplishment, Now Disavowed

Forty seven years in government and the only real accomplishment Joe Biden made for Americans is one he now disavows. Namely, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 aka the Biden Crime Law.

The practical effect of this law was the longer-term incarceration of violent felons, many of whom were Black males. It also supported financially the employment of perhaps 100,000 additional police. Neither of these are popular with Black activists today, so of course Biden tries to put his one-and-only achievement behind him.

Laughter the Best Medicine

A quick reminder to check out the funny stuff at The Week in Pictures over at Power Line. Much humor there at the expense of Jeffrey Toobin who was caught whacking off on a Zoom call with a bunch of talking heads from The New Yorker

Heaven knows what he found sexually stimulating about that particular setting. A sane human mind cannot possibly fathom it.

Don’t forget to check out the TWIP comments section, readers often contribute stuff as good as what Prof. Hayward comes up with.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Tugging the Reins

If you needed another reason to vote for Trump, The Washington Post provides one. It reports an order has gone out to executive branch agencies to remove civil service protections from government workers whose roles include policy-making. 

Most government employees will not be affected as they merely carry out policy made by others. Needless to say this order is wildly unpopular with senior DC swamp critters. 

Fans of the PBS Brit-com shows Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister will recognize it as an attempt to rein in the insider-armed-with-stumbling-blocks role of senior civil servants who frustrate administration policy initiatives at every turn. This action is both long overdue and classic Trump.

The Too Late Debate

The final debate of the 2020 presidential election was held last night. Most commenters believe Trump had the better of it, but many wonder if it mattered given how many have voted early.

As an often-contrarian, I suspect all who’ve voted early were clear in their own minds for whom they would vote and were unlikely to be swayed by a debate performance. In other words, it probably didn’t matter much. 

In future cycles, if lots of mail voting will be on offer, the debates should be scheduled earlier before the voting begins. Now we wait until Nov. 3. 

Do we end up with (a) the reality TV star back for another four years, or do we get (b) four years of the low-energy swamp creature? And are the results accepted calmly or do we have a mini-civil war in the city streets? 

Danged if we don’t live in times interesting to a would-be pundit ....

Thursday, October 22, 2020

NPR Bans Anti-Biden Stories

Daily Wire and Breitbart are both reporting National Public Radio is refusing to report the story about sleaze emails and pedophile pix on Hunter Biden's computer. NPR Tweeted:

Why haven’t you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story? We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.

It is long past time federal subsidies were withdrawn from NPR and maybe PBS. I resent my tax dollars being wasted on leftist propaganda mills. If progressives want to support them with out-of-pocket contributions as non-profit co-ops, I have no problem. 

There is non-news programming on PBS I do like; British mysteries, science programs, history and some music shows. Their news shows are very one-sided and the people-are-destroying-the-earth message in their nature programs is entirely overdone.

Good News

The Washington Examiner reports pro-Trump movement of two recent polls which, four years ago, proved predictive of the outcome. See what’s happening.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who led President Trump by 12 points just two weeks ago, has seen his lead tumble to just 3 points in the much-watched Rasmussen Reports survey.

In its weekly “White House Watch,” Biden leads Trump, 49%-46%. It was the first time in a month of Rasmussen head-to-head polls that Biden fell below 50%.

The poll echoes another out on Wednesday, the IDB/TIPP survey, that had the race even tighter, 48.1% for Biden to 45.6% for Trump.

The IDB/TIPP poll is often described as one that called the 2016 race. Rasmussen was the one that got the popular vote percentage right between Hillary Clinton and Trump.

If the race is polling this close, it likely means Trump is in fact ahead. Particularly because he is the only candidate with large numbers who actually favor him. 

I continue to be cautiously optimistic about the outcome but pessimistic about the chances for domestic tranquility in the aftermath. It’s likely ‘Biden’s Brownshirts’ (Antifa, who actually wear black like Mussolini’s goons) will tear up a number of cities if/when he loses.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Reminder

 Winter Is Coming

~ House Stark family “words,” from Game of Thrones.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

10 Reasons Trump Can Win

Writing at Fox News, Tom Del Beccaro lists 10 reasons Trump will win reelection. He describes each but I will list them for you. 
1. Democrat voter registration down in PA. 
2. Same true in FL. 
3. Latinos favor Trump more than in 2016. 
4. Same true for Blacks. 
5. Biden will increase taxes. 
6. Enthusiasm matters, Trump has it. 
7. Early voting trends in MI, WI, and OH breaking even. 
8. Voters more satisified than in 2016. 
9. Party ID leaning GOP. 
10.Voters believe Trump will win. 
On the other hand, most polls continue to say Biden will win. In 2016, the polls were wrong. One set of indicators or the other will be proved wrong in 2020, which is anybody's guess.

Being the Un-Trump

Joe Biden and his handlers are making an interesting bet. They're betting there are enough people who don't like Donald Trump to elect Biden. 

If Biden has a program he hasn't spent much time talking about it. Quite simply, he hasn't spent much time talking publicly at all. When he has spoken, he's pretty much limited himself to gauzy feel-good platitudes.

The Biden campaign believe they've learned the lesson of 2016 - when enough people voted against Hillary to elect Donald. Essentially they are trying to replicate Trump's 2016 "I'm not the person you dislike so much" pitch and, like him, win on the basis of it. It may work.

I'll admit I found Hillary repulsive, but I voted for Trump because I liked what he said he was for: defended borders, repatriating manufacturing jobs, an America-first foreign policy, less foreign war, reducing governmental regulation, and conservative, originalist judges. My judgment: he's delivered on most of these, and tried to do so on the balance. 

Trump accomplished much of what he promised in spite of the Democrat "resistance" with which the media and academia collaborated. If he was sometimes wrong about Covid-19, so was every supposed 'expert' as a new disease always has surprises for us.

Monday, October 19, 2020

What I Believe

I believe the United States is a fundamentally good country, imperfect as all human institutions are, but good nevertheless. I believe our history mostly noble, our founders awesomely farsighted, and our intentions generally benign. 

I believe the U.S. is less racist than most countries, that it celebrates religious freedom, including the freedom to be irreligious, that it treats women, minorities, and the sexually unconventional better than most nations, and that our capitalism with generally encouraging government oversight produces more economic benefit for more people more of the time than any other system. 

Good as our country is, it should not welcome all the world's poor to our shores. High human density is the enemy of quality of life. We need to make things better for the people already here.

If you believe what I believe, or something close thereto, your choice in this election is unambiguous. President Donald J. Trump believes what you and I do, as do his associates and most elected members of his party. He (and they) deserve to be reelected.

Poor Joe Biden has claimed so many conflicting 'beliefs' over the years it's hard to know what he believes, if anything. Honestly, it doesn't much matter as he is a "front man" or shill for his party's real leaders. 

What is sadly clear is that his supporters and advisors believe the U.S. is a badly flawed country populated by bad people and needs reengineering, or perhaps a revolution. He appears to have engaged in "pay for play" influence peddling with his son and perhaps his brother. He does not deserve your vote and he won't get mine.

Three Possible Outcomes

The Federalist reports the results of the Claremont Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation collaboration to war-game the possible outcomes of the Nov. 3 election. They find three likely outcomes.

The first two are clear wins by either Trump or Biden. Even these will not be known for some days or weeks as mail-in ballots are counted and adjudicated. 

The third and most fraught outcome is the proverbial “big mess.” In this outcome everything is in chaos, in controversy, and subject to lawsuit, and endless appeals. They describe this third (and least desirable) outcome as follows:

An ambiguous result, with the final election results of several states delayed and subject to intense court fights resulting in a struggle right up to the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress where the ballots of the electors are unsealed. Uncertainty could extend even beyond this as decisions for both the presidency and vice presidency are battled out in Congress and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

And what if this happens, how will it unfold? 

  • Regardless of the outcome, the winner isn’t likely to be known on election night.
  • The large number of mail-in ballots may prove hard to validate in many states, as systems have not been prepared to process the ballots and count them, while tremendous pressure will be brought to bypass safeguards against fraud and produce results.
  • When employed, the legal system will be up to the task of adjudicating disputes over election results.
  • There is a significant chance for unrest, stoked by a dominant corporate media in which the American people have lost trust; internet giants actively deciding what information to allow the public to see; domestic opponents to America’s constitutional system, and by foreign powers, mainly the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia.


  • If the contest doesn’t produce a majority (50 percent plus 1) of the votes of seated electors by Jan. 6, there are clearly established constitutional procedures to determine a victor.
  • There are two areas of uncertainty at the late stage of a contested election:
    • Each house determines the final election results of its membership. This means the Democratic majority in the U.S. House might decide not to seat duly elected Republican members to prevent the Republicans from holding a 26-seat majority in the state delegations if they, with one vote per state, are used to determine the president if no candidate has the needed absolute majority of seated electors’ votes. Given that the majority’s power to determine the membership of the body, House or Senate, is absolute, the sole check on the use of this political power is the potentially dire consequences of its abuse.
    • Should the results be undetermined through Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the Succession Act would suggest that the speaker of the House would become acting president until one is determined and, if the House cannot decide, then elevating the vice president, even if selected out of the Senate.

Please join me in hoping we don’t go down this third path, which appears to lead to unimagined anguish, and possible civil war. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Snark

Drawing the media as a quasi-phallic figure is a nice touch. Image courtesy of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, who writes he found it on Facebook. It's too good not to share. Coincidentally, this image relates to the prior post.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Extreme Federalism vs. Secession

Tyler Durden is a frequent contributor at Zero Hedge. Today he writes about secessionist tendencies rising out of our current extreme political polarization. He surmises the losing side in next month's election will perceive themselves to be the victims of chicanery. 

Durden makes a point we've made, the antidote to secession is extreme federalism. If we could decide to let virtually all laws not dealing with foreign affairs or interstate commerce be decided at the state and/or local level, secessionist tendencies would likely fade away. 

Since the Viet Nam War ended, our bitter disagreements tend not to be about foreign affairs and defense. Why shouldn't states have differing laws about, say, abortion or transgender rights? Or about concealed carrying of firearms, for that matter? 

Doing extreme federalism might mean backing away from the Bill of Rights to some degree. Free speech and banning 'hate' speech appear mutually exclusive to this observer. I can imagine states which would like to, for example, ban pistols or perhaps ban all privately owned firearms. 

Upon further reflection, the constitutional changes necessary to accomplish a degree of extreme federalism acceptable to most Americans are probably impossible to achieve within our legal system's checks and balances (which often constitute hurdles). Durden concludes:

Unless Americans have a change of heart and begin to decentralize the political system, expect a growing unwillingness to accept the outcomes of national elections and growing resistance to the federal government in general. What follows is unlikely to be pleasant.

California’s Slo-Mo Suicide

Do you remember four years ago an article describing the 2016 election as the “Flight 93 election?” The then-pseudonymous author turned out to be Michael Anton who has the uncanny ability to write about things in an apocalyptic fashion. Now he’s at it again.

RealClearBooks runs an excerpt from Anton’s recent The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return. This excerpt concerns the state of disintegration and dysfunction in modern California

You think Victor Davis Hanson has been downbeat about California? Anton is like Hanson on steroids, and the sad thing is he doesn’t exaggerate all that much. The insanity he describes is really happening here.

If you are fortunate enough to live elsewhere, view this article as a cautionary tale. It’s a disturbing picture of what not to do where you live. Nobody has ever done “Don’t Californicate (fill in the blank)” any better.

Anton writes powerful stuff, and it comes at you like an avalanche. He gives CA the same treatment Dante gave Hell, he richly embroiders its horrors. I just finished reading it and I - a normally even-keel fellow - am depressed.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Godfather Biden

Making reference to all the money Hunter Biden has raked in selling his father's influence, and the supposed Hunter-to-his-daughter-Naomi email claiming that "unlike Pop I won't make you give me half your salary," President Trump today wisecracked as follows:

Hunter made no money until his father became vice president and now he’s like a vacuum cleaner….It’s an organized crime family, as far as I’m concerned.

As a NYC developer, Trump knows an organized crime family when he again encounters one.

Biden's Last Nite Goofs

Poor old Joe Biden didn't cover himself with glory last night. Of course, you might respond, "When did he ever?" and be mostly justified. 

Breitbart, no friend of Biden, has a list of 15 things he said that range from flat-out lies (the Boilermakers' support) to ill-advised (capping all fracked wells) to insane (trusting 8 year olds to decide to undergo gender reassignment medical procedures). 

I dare you to read the list and, having done so, imagine Biden as your president. He makes flamboyant Trump look, by comparison, like the very soul of probity. 

After winging it all his life, Biden has finally reached what Lawrence Peters called his "level of incompetence." That is, the level at which he is out of his depth and cannot function effectively. His advanced age has more than a little to do with it.

Ratings? Depends on Who You Ask

Last night Joe Biden and Donald Trump squared off in simultaneous town halls, Biden on ABC and Trump on NBC. Neither was heavily watched on broadcast, with Biden slightly ahead. However, the Hollywood Reporter notes:

The NBC-Trump town hall was simulcast on MSNBC and CNBC, which will likely add a few million viewers to the total in the final ratings out later in the day. (This story will be updated when they become available.) There's a good chance the aggregate viewership for the NBC special will end up with more viewers, though ABC is likely to retain its lead in the broadcast-only numbers.

In other words, ratings comparisons will be somewhat “apples and oranges” as NBC has the cable news outlets while ABC does not. Expect each campaign to tout whichever metric - aggregate or broadcast-only - makes them look stronger.

Later ... Updated figures show 13.9 million viewers for Biden, 13.1 viewers for Trump, though we are cautioned these are not the real "final" numbers. A difference of 800,000 viewers in a nation of 330 million is more or less irrelevant, it is something like 0.2% or 1 out of 413.

Later still ... The more-or-less final numbers are these:

All told, Trump came out on top with the most viewers online and on TV combined — with 17.8 million views versus Biden’s 16.8 million.

This means roughly 10% of Americans had a look at one of them. Put another way, ca. 90% of us couldn't be bothered. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Weird Neurological Science

United Press International reports findings that show apathy is an early precursor of the eventual development of senile dementia.

The nine-year study of more than 2,000 older adults -- average age 74 -- found that people with severe apathy -- a lack of interest or concern -- were 80% more likely to develop dementia during the study period than those with low apathy.

The time lag involved suggests either (a) apathy causes dementia or (b) both are caused by the same unknown thing while the apathy manifests sooner than the dementia. This blog is my anti-apathy project, what's yours?

Warning: If you don't care about this finding, you could be apathetic.... 

Alert 2.0

Remember the Hunter Biden computer content leak story we wrote about yesterday? The original story mentioned the FBI has had the computer since December but I didn't focus on the relevance of that fact.

So the FBI had a hard drive with a former Vice President's son smoking crack and doing sex with some unidentified woman. It also contained emails revealing influence peddling by said ex-VP who was then campaigning for the Democrat nomination to run for president.

Writing a column at PJ Media, Megan Fox asks why the FBI did nothing with this information? If the repair guy hadn't made his own copy of the drive, and shared it with Rudi Giuliani, we'd have never learned of it. Fox writes:

Why didn’t the FBI come forward with this evidence about Hunter Biden’s emails, which appear to show collusion and influence-trading? Isn’t that something they should have told the president or members of Congress? Was the FBI deliberately covering it up? (snip) If true, it’s a stunning indictment of the FBI that an American citizen—who alerted them to alleged multiple crimes involving a guy with the last name Biden—knew not to trust them and made other arrangements should they try to cover it up (which, apparently, they did).

FBI Director Wray must get out ahead of this story with a credible explanation before sunset today. Failure to do so means his FBI career is over by Friday of election week, regardless of who wins. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Weird Gut Microbiome Science

Research on mice found that giving young mice fecal transplants from old mice caused the young mice to exhibit some "elderly mouse" traits. The study was published in Microbiome and described at the website New Atlas.

The procedure had an impact on the expression of proteins involved in key functions of the hippocampus – an important part of the brain that has a vital role in a variety of functions including memory, learning but also in spatial navigation and emotional behavior and mood.

One of these days us old crocks may get a young poop transfusion every couple of years to keep us alert and feisty. That is, if the procedure works in the opposite direction, something it appears we do not yet know. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.


Go here to read a story in the New York Post about the Bidens' - father and son - shady dealings in Ukraine. It is a story Facebook and Twitter are censoring discussion of because, they say, it is of unproven veracity. 

You and I know they're really doing it because it makes Joe Biden look even sleazier than he already did. Those closer to the story than I claim it shows Biden Sr. lied about his lack of knowledge of Biden Jr.'s influence peddling (aka 'business' dealings) in Ukraine. And it hints Joe met with Hunter's 'employer.'

I especially enjoy that the information came out because deadbeat Hunter left his computer at a repair shop to be fixed and never went back to claim it and pay for the work. So the stiffed repairman downloaded Hunter's hard drive and sent the copy to Rudi Giuliani, This, it appears, he was entirely within his rights to do.

No politician has an intimate relationship with the truth. That sad fact is essentially a given. In spite of which they dislike being shown to have lied to cover their own backside. In modern parlance, being caught in a self-serving lie isn't a good look.

Inside Politics

Steven Hayward of Power Line takes a deeper-than-usual dive into Democratic politics, and finds that it is White Democrats who have move leftward in recent years. Non-White Democrats are more centrist, more supportive of controlling illegal immigration. And perhaps more likely to vote for Trump.

He reports that Republicans have been doing a much better job of registering new voters than have Democrats in the battleground states of FL, PA, and NC. Only in AZ have the Dems registered more and their margin in AZ is slender. Hayward’s observation: 

This has been a deliberate strategy of the Trump campaign for the last three years. You don’t think those huge rallies in places like Minnesota are just for fun, do you?

Not that Trump doesn’t enjoy the rallies, he obviously does. Nothing wrong with enjoying your work, I always say. 

What performer doesn’t love an appreciative audience? I’ve had ‘em and it’s a great feeling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Biden Writes Off Majority

In Cincinnati, Hot Air reports Joe Biden was asked the following by a media reporter: 

WKRC: Gallup reported last week 56% of Americans said they were better off today than they were four years ago—would’ve been under the Obama-Biden administration. So why should people who feel they are better off today, under the Trump administration, vote for you?

To which Joe Biden replied: 

Well, if they think that, they probably shouldn’t.

There is more to his response, basically saying those who think they're better off today are mistaken, confused, and honestly, fairly stupid. I'm convinced he believes that, but saying so is beyond impolitic.

Does anybody else hear an echo of Hillary Clinton describing you and me as "deplorables?" I'm sure hearing it, loud and clear. 

Tuesday Snark

 Happy snark headline from the satirical Babylon Bee.

Democrat Proposing To His Girlfriend Says He Won't Reveal Position On Adultery Until After The Wedding

I love making fun of Joe Biden, it is so easy to do well. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Wild, Unfounded Claims

You’ve probably read something about a race-baiting screed at the New York Times which tries to claim the founding of our nation happened in 1619 with the arrival of the first contingent of kidnapped Africans in North America. Historians near-universally discount that thesis.

Whatever happened in our part of North America prior to 1776 was mostly Britons doing whatever Britons were up to in those years. Bringing those Africans here and welcoming their labor? British colonists did that. 

Using their labor to produce tobacco and cotton, both much in demand in Britain? It was done at the instigation of British importers.

If what happened earlier bothers you, blame Brits. Until the Revolution, there were no “Americans.” Who was here were colonists from a variety of European locales, many of them Brits, Scots, and Irish, but also French, Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, and a few Dutch. The colonial governments, such as they were, existed at the sufferance of the British crown, and were run by colonial administrators sent out from London.  

Those who forget (or never learned) history make all sorts of wild, unfounded claims. These are best ignored, or if you have the energy and time, refuted.

More About Columbus

A majority of Americans have European ancestry. Before signing onto the “hate Columbus” bandwagon, ask yourself a simple question. Would you be happier if your ancestors had remained in Europe? 

I cannot predict your answer except by considering my own. I am more than happy that my ancestors came to North America, some of them nearly 400 years ago. 

While it has been a tough job, building out what passes for civilization in North America has produced the world’s preeminent nation. It is a magnet for people with aspirations from all over the world.

I salute Christopher Columbus for having the salesmanship, courage and drive to first acquire the necessary resources and then accomplish the discovery-for-Europe of the Western Hemisphere, of North and South America. What he found wasn’t what he expected to find, but what he did find was darn amazing and very much worth honoring.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Honoring Columbus

Tomorrow, October 12, is Columbus Day, the anniversary of the day on which Christopher Columbus - exploring on behalf of the Spanish crown - first set foot on the soil of the Western Hemisphere. His discovery of these two continents began their integration into the world community, which already included Asia, Europe, and Africa. 

It has become fashionable to view Columbus as a despoiler, a bad man. It is a fashion which I pointedly disavow, I honor his accomplishment.

At a time when the earth was not universally viewed as roughly spherical, it took enormous courage and leadership to sail west into a seemingly limitless ocean in hopes of reaching Asia and its spices. A route to Asia he did not discover, although others eventually would.

What he did discover has been of immense importance:  two large, rich continents with wildly diverse climates, terrains, and natural riches. Both were lightly populated with Neolithic peoples, some of whom were agriculturalists, many were hunter-gatherers.

Pundit Predicts Trump Landslide

Kevin McCullough writes opinion at Townhall, today he looks at the various indicators of what will happen when November’s votes are tallied. He argues, and I concur, that the polls are literally the only indicator which predict a Biden win. 

He then discusses several other indicators which strongly suggest a Trump landslide. If you’d like a mood lifter, you owe it to yourself to read his column. 

For those in a hurry or already enjoying as much euphoria as the law allows, I’ll just list the other indicators. McCullough cites evidence that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to conceal their true voting intentions. He cites hard-to-ignore evidence of a huge gap in voter enthusiasm, including the boat, truck, and car parades for Trump. He mentions Biden’s anemic ‘crowds.’ 

There is considerable evidence Trump is doing much better with Black and Hispanic voters than any Republican in recent memory. He adds in promises kept, where Trump has done very well, and also the booming economy Trump had going before the Chinese virus hit.

Is McCullough correct? We’ll know in a month, won’t we? I believe he makes a decent argument. Hat tip to for the link.


As “snowbirds” the DrsC regularly flee the high country at this time of year, and go where the snows of winter are found mainly atop high mountains. We just completed that trip, uneventfully. 

It is fun to see 80 mph speed limits posted on the ID and NV interstate highways. Towing an RV we don’t do 80, we try to hold it down to 70 until we reach CA where the max posted speed for any towed rig is 55 and by convention we can “get away with” 60.


When we left WY, the aspens were in full gold glory, while the bluish-red maples were mostly gone. Most days were pleasant, but the nights were going below freezing. 

By dropping roughly 6000 ft. in altitude we effectively went backwards from high country late autumn to low country early autumn - very few deciduous trees here are anything but green. We’ll get our autumn leaves in late November. That’ll also be our first frost, if the year runs true to form.


We noticed that, as we drove west, we saw more and more people wearing masks even when walking outside alone. You don’t see that much in the Rockies, except in chi-chi, touristy Jackson where Teton County has a “wear your mask” law and electric signs as you enter town reminding you to mask up. 

Speaking of Jackson, the famed “Billy burger” there is no more. The family which owned the series of restaurants which produced ‘em - Billy’s and then The Lift - has apparently retired. I wonder if the pandemic was the impetus?

We’ve found another burger purveyor we can recommend - Liberty Burger - located on Cache St. just a half block north of the town square. Very decent burgers, excellent shoestring fries, and a nice waitstaff. Their onion rings look spectacular but are in fact bland compared to, say, Outback’s “bloomin’ onion.”

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Quick Link

Just a reminder to check out Steven Hayward’s The Week in Pictures over at the Power Line website. Much snarky humor lives there, mostly of a conservative political nature. The “comments” section is almost as good as the stuff Hayward posts.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Good News from Gallup

Findings from a recent Gallup poll of voters, you’re going to like them. The question was this: Are you better off than you were four years ago? The percentages at the end of the first four years for recent presidents:

Trump              56%
Obama            45%
Bush 43           47%
Bush 41           38%
Reagan            44%

For whatever reason, Gallup did not list a finding for Clinton, who held office for 8 years between Bush 41 and Bush 43.

They also report that people agree with Trump’s positions on issues, but prefer Biden’s manners - no surprise.

Thursday, October 8, 2020


If you noticed that I didn’t post yesterday, after the VP debate, it was because we were in a location with no WiFi connection. We are in transit from the high country down to the coastal lowlands where we winter.

From what I’ve read of that debate, Pence did the better job. This isn’t surprising, Kamala Harris has a track record of being a poor spokesperson for herself. After all, Harris was so uninspiring she dropped out of the race for the presidential nomination before a single vote was cast by anyone.

Given Biden’s age and frailty, his Veep could become our next president. Harris surpasses Obama in terms of personal shallowness and could be an even poorer president.

Pence on the other hand was an excellent governor and would make a good POTUS. As moderator, Susan Page did a better job than Chris Wallace, but was still clearly biased against Pence. 

Discounting the Youth Vote

Writing for RealClearPolitics, professor Samuel J. Abrams reports on the political opinions and motivation levels of Generation Z (18 to 29 year olds). This group prefers Biden 2 to 1 over Trump, and is expected to be a source of votes for Joe. However, the motivation levels of the Biden supporters are about half that of the Trump supporters. 

I don’t believe Abrams makes the point directly, but if there are twice as many who prefer Biden but care little for voting for him, and half as many who prefer Trump but are very motivated to vote for him, do the math. Trump could get half the votes cast by this group as many of those who prefer Biden view him very much as the slightly less bad of two evils. The money quote:

Do not assume that Gen Zers will vote this fall. Excitement for Biden is low and large numbers of Gen Zers already report that they do not intend to vote in November. Given the fact that survey data on vote intentions often over-report turnout intention, it is quite possible that participation will be far lower among our youngest cohort of voting-aged Americans.

The bad news in this article for Republicans is the young’s dislike for Biden is because he is insufficiently radical, not progressive enough. One has to suppose his very apparent age and lack of charisma are factors as well. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Friedman: Not All Conflicts Matter

My current favorite writer on foreign affairs - George Friedman - appears at Geopolitical Futures. Today his topic is the change in U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. He observes:

During the Cold War, everything mattered to the United States, because the Soviets could and would exploit any opening. The Soviet Union was a global power, with a military second only to the United States’ and a covert capability that frequently put Washington in difficult situations.

But there is no threat from the Soviet Union today. Only some things now matter to Washington. (emphasis added) This is a shock to a world that expects the U.S. to take a leadership role, indifferent to the price the U.S. paid in the Cold War for taking the reins. Engaging globally carries with it a high price that can be paid when necessary but should be avoided when possible.

His point: it is now possible for the U.S. to ignore some world conflicts, including the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. What happens there, while of life-and-death importance to the locals, is not an American problem, rightly understood. If we ever were, we are no longer the world’s police force a 911 call away.

The Samizdat Function

This morning on RealClearPolicy there’s a link to a Politico article with an intriguing title.

Why the right wing has a massive advantage on Facebook

More or less completely missing from the argument made there is the pervasive left wing bias in the legacy or “mainstream” media, including at Politico. It’s likely Facebook has become an outlet for viewpoints that are mostly unwelcome at The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Minneapolis Star Tribune, etc. as well as at the three main TV networks, plus CNN and MSNBC

I’d argue it is the “Fox News phenomenon” revisited. When half the populace only has one news channel which is sympathetic to their world view, it will be the ratings killer Fox routinely is. The other half is spread across everyplace else. 

With progressives controlling most media as tightly as did the old Soviet Union, the few places which permit right wing opinion become latter-day samizdat. No more nuanced explanation is needed.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Trouble in the Caucasus

The Russians and Turks are having another little proxy war. This time it’s between the Armenians (a client of Russia) and the Azerbaijanis (backed by Turkey). 

The fight is unlikely to spread beyond the two neighboring former SSRs but, like the war between the Serbs and Bosnians, it seems darned bitter and could end up killing a lot of people.

Something nobody wants to point out, as it was in the Balkans this one is also Christians vs. Muslims. These two groups rarely play well together for very long. 

Levels of Care

President Trump has gone home from the hospital, which is positive. Of course he can get better care at the White House than you and I could at a hospital. 

Speaking of which, the other DrC and I had a scare recently. She started feeling “off” and discovered she had a low fever, later that day I had the same experience. So we called our health provider who recommended we go to the drive-in Covid-19 testing site at our valley’s hospital. You can read a description of what transpired there here at her blog. It came out negative, no corona virus.

We asked the person administering the test what would be done if we showed up positive. She replied, “Well, it’s a virus so there really isn’t much we can do for it.” 

This happened before Trump went to the hospital and we read all the good stuff they did for him. She did mention that really serious cases were getting medevac to Idaho Falls, likely by helicopter. Last I checked our whole county has had exactly 1 Covid fatality. My guess is local doctors haven’t treated very much of it.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Another Brick in the Wall

The last day of the Obama administration, an email with attached letter was sent by the outgoing White House counsel to a list of recipients. WND reports copy of that email has been pried loose via the FOIA by American Center for Law and Justice. Hat tip to for the link.

ACLJ writes:

We sent a FOIA request regarding former FBI Director Comey's spies inside the White House: Anthony Ferrante, Jordan Rae Kelly, and Tashina Gauhar. It's important to remember that one of those was the liaison to the FBI. One held a tech job and somehow got to stay in the White House. And one was at the National Security Council.
ACLJ reports many names on the distribution list are blacked out but two are not: former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. ACLJ has been unable to get a copy of the attached letter as it is classified. They are suing to get it.

This letter could be as innocuous as thanks for your service, good luck in your new endeavors. Or it could be more of the “spy on Trump” stuff they’re known for, along the lines of “keep your head down, your eyes open and the info flowing.” 

The letter’s classified nature argues for the latter. The ‘Comeycrats apparently viewed the incoming Trump administration as the equivalent of Nazi occupiers and they styled themselves after the French “resistance” complete with stay-behind moles. 

They were self-deluded freaks, I suppose. Something of a cult, playing at mock heroics. I hope they have enough self-awareness to be embarrassed at how silly their antics and comments appear in hindsight.

Friday, October 2, 2020

President Hospitalized

Late today the news is reporting President Trump will shift his base of operations to Walter Reed Military Medical Complex. It is being done "out of an abundance of caution," a spox called it. According to one source I scanned, they're throwing the medicine chest at him: Vitamin D, Zinc, antibodies, antivirals, the whole enchilada. 

If I catch the dadgum corona virus I hope I get half as good care as Trump will. Which, by the way, is exactly as it should be. He is our nation's elected President and I'm lucky if a few of you "elect" to read COTTonLINE

The cautious consensus is that Trump should survive Covid-19, inasmuch as he has good stamina and appears healthy. All people of good will wish him a speedy recovery. Sadly, there are many others who do not. On them, I hope karma works its magic.

Possible Good News

Investor's Business Daily hired the TIPP polling organization to do a post-debate look at voter preferences. Their poll still shows Biden with a narrow lead, he leads President Trump 48.6% to 45.9%. Which puts Biden 2.7 percentage points ahead.

On the other hand, they also found this:

Despite Biden's polling edge, just 36% of voters expect him to win, while 45% think Trump will prevail. Meanwhile, 46% think most of their neighbors will vote for Trump, while 36% think their neighbors will mostly back Biden.

Of this finding, Power Line's Steven Hayward writes:

When people say “I think my neighbor is voting for Trump,” is usually means that the respondent is voting for Trump. Clever pollsters have been asking this question for a while now, and the pollsters who weighted for this in 2016 were closer to getting the outcome correct.

I remain cautiously optimistic. The 2016 polls said Clinton would win, Trump won. Now the 2020 polls say Biden will win, and he may. My advice: don't bet the farm on it. 

More people expect another Trump win. Incumbent presidents seeking reelection are seldom defeated. And as Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight observed and we quoted

The Electoral College is not really *safe* for Biden unless he wins by 5+.

A 2.7% lead is half that, definitely not safe. 

Trump’s Rap

Musing about the Trump rally phenomenon, I had a “maybe” insight. Suppose the shtick The Donald does on that stage is the functional equivalent of rap or hip-hop aimed instead at a mostly white audience? 

Okay, there isn’t the syncopation and rhyming, and there’s less swearing and misogyny so it’s not cultural appropriation. But there is the same braggadocio, the exaggeration, the excessive masculinity, the boasting pride, and the recitation of victories.

Maybe I’m all wet, but there does seem to be something similar going on, yes? He certainly draws huge, enthusiastic crowds that Joe Biden must envy.

A Place of Contradictions

I need to share with you the introductory paragraph of a Joel Kotkin article for New Geography about how California got so messed up.

One is often at a loss to explain California to people from other planets—like, say, earth. This is a state that issues mandates for electrification of everything while reducing its generating capacity. It blames devastating fires on climate change, without taking the blame for forestry practices that helped make the seasonal fires much worse. In California, pot is legal, but owning a car with a gas engine, however clean, may soon not be, and climate skeptics of any stripe face opprobrium, consignment to obscurity, and—if they have assets—court dates.

Kotkin explains how we got into the fix we’re in. Nobody seems to have a clue how we extricate ourselves from the corner into which we’ve painted ourselves. 

As a CA native and still part-time resident, I miss the can-do days of Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown - loser Moonbeam Jerry’s dad. He built the dams, aqueducts, universities, and highways we still use, and could use more of (except the universities which we later overbuilt).

Hang In There

Many sources are reporting President Trump and wife Melania have announced they’ve tested positive for Covid-19. The personal and political implications of this are unknown, but potentially many. 

The President is in his 70s which puts him at higher-than-average risk for serious consequences. His experience of the corona virus could be anything from symptom-free to fatal. 

Coming as it does during the final month of a presidential reelection campaign poses additional risks. He will be very tempted to over-do his activities and consequently get sicker. 

Not overdoing will put extra pressure on surrogates who will campaign on his behalf. There go the ‘patented’ Trump rallies, I fear.  The crowds won’t turn out for surrogates, he’s the star they come to see.

Did we need this, America? 2020 has certainly been a downer year for the world, for our nation, and for our President. I wish it, us, and him in particular a speedy and complete recovery. And I totally hope VP Pence stays healthy. If you have the gift of faith, prayers would be good idea.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Pardon Obama

Politico magazine asks the question:

Is Prosecuting a Former President Worth It?

It has never been done, but the leftists who dominate the discussion at Politico seem to believe Trump has crossed a red line somewhere and might therefore be an exception.

The article doesn't mention what I believe is the main reason to give ex-presidents effective immunity. If we stop doing so, one of them - facing prosecution - will refuse to leave office. 

Prosecuting former leaders raises the stakes to the point where a leader literally cannot survive losing an election and still remain in his country in retirement. It is a very third world kind of behavior. 

Fear of prosecution is the reason third world leaders corruptly stash stolen fortunes in Switzerland or the Caymans. It is so they can live abroad in luxurious exile if forced to flee.

We're doing too much third world shtick now, let's not add prosecuting presidents out of office. Much as Nixon conspired to cover up a crime, Ford did the right thing in pardoning him. 

I think President Trump should pardon ex-president Obama. Imagine the heads exploding if he did so, starting with Obama's. 

Over Exposure?

If Donald Trump loses the upcoming election, it may be because he was hard to ignore. At the same point 8 years ago Barack Obama was essentially as popular as Trump. 

As we all know, Obama was reelected. The difference, as the pseudonymous Allahpundit writes at the Hot Air site, is that Trump’s disapproval level is higher. 

Obama was easier to ignore, something those of us who experienced him as a cipher did with ease. When you looked at the news, not every story was about Obama. He was less consequential.

Reality TV star Trump somehow makes every story about himself. I suspect if he loses his bid for reelection, we will write that the voters grew tired of him.

When I approach Trump overdose levels, I tune him out. Perhaps many grow tired of making that effort.

Deer in Headlights

Moderator Chris Wallace on Tuesday night’s debate, per The Daily Wire.

“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace said in a phone interview with The New York Times about the first square-off between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He further characterized the tense 90-minute back-and-forth as “a terrible missed opportunity.”

Wallace should be sad. He had an opportunity to do his career some good; instead he did it harm, and he knows it. The spotlight was on him, and he appeared to be a wuss. That’s not a good look.