Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If I seem to be stuck on this, remember: I've been waiting for it my whole life

Pat Hughes's hometown call of the Great Moment:

It's not just hard-core Trump supporters that make me wonder whether America can still be saved

I'm a great admirer of Winston Churchill. I've thought a great deal of late about two quotes from the great man.

One is, "Democracy is the very worst form of government- except for all the others."

The second is, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

The average voter has never had either the time or the inclination to be as informed about the matters our system requirea him to pass upon as he ideally should be. His sources of information are limited. It's truly amazing that We, The People have done as good a job of governing ourselves as we have lo these past two and a half centuries, and the other Western democracies for some time less than that.

But we have. We've produced Jeffersons and Churchills and Roosevelts and Lincolns and Reagans. Even or worst presidents haven't been Mao or Joseph Stalin.

Except that some of us don't know that. The rise of Donald Trump and the emergence of ignorance-driven extremism as the dominant political force at both ends of the spectrum have  made me seriously question whether we're still capable governing ourselves adequately. And we shouldn't blame it all on Bernie Sanders and the psychopathic ignoramus who will (to the deafening silence of the media) be going to trial on Federal racketeering charges next month, Donald Trump. They are only symptoms. The real disease is pandemic ignorance.

A third of millennials think that George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin.

Whether it's Trump or gay activists or neo-atheists discussing the Bible and religion or an increasing number of people on either end  of the political spectrum discussing anything at all, a degree of ignorance amounting to a functional disconnect from reality is spreading faster than the bubonic plague, and has claimed at least as many victims. People can't reason logically. The don't- and in many cases literally can't= read. Their world is little bigger than their own lives and they are apt to not only believe anything they're told but even things the infer from what they've been told.

In an age when political discourse is so overheated and the political Center has essentially disappeared, our disconnect from the wisdom of the ages combined with a poverty of essential knowledge and the absence of either the tools or the inclination to acquire them do not paint a pretty picture of the future of Western society. I'm becoming increasingly grateful both for the fact that I have no children and that I probably don't have more than 20 years or so left living in this madhouse we call the Western world.

I don't even want to think about the future we're headed for.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The short version

Here are the last three outs of Game 6 of the NLCS. May they foreshadow an even bigger celebration during the next week or so.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bill Murray reacts to last night's final out

In addition to everything else, Trump's nomination is suppressing the Republican turnout

Donald Trump is as clueless about winning elections as he is about policy. He has practically no "ground game" because he doesn't believe in having one. He doesn't think that he will need to actively try to get his supporters to the polls. He thinks he can win through his sheer awesomeness, which illustrates just how out of touch he is with reality.

That means that a very large percentage of potential Trump voters- many of whom are not accustomed to voting in the first place- won't make it to the polls on Election Day. And having a voter's support does a candidate no good if that voter doesn't vote!

Even worse for Trump, college educated male voters- a traditional Republican strength- are deserting him in droves. In their self-destructive foolishness, the Trumpsters ridicule and insult Republican voters who are dissatisfied with Trump rather than trying at all costs to woo them back. And one of the consequences is that even more of them than otherwise might do so are going to vote for McMullin or Johnson or even Clinton.

But while nobody in the Trump campaign seems to realize it, we aren't his biggest problem. His biggest problem is the college educated Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are going to react to Trump by not voting at all. Nate Silver reports that early voting figures show that while Democrats are voting in roughly the same numbers they usually do, early voting in states whose Republican voters are largely educated is lagging badly. That's where a "ground game" would be essential to any campaign that had the slightest idea what it was doing.  That's where attempts to woo back lost voters might at least to some extent come to Trump's rescue.

But it's not happening. Part of the reason is Trump's arrogant refusal to see the necessity of doing these things. Part of it is that in counting on his voters to show up at the polls because they're so highly motivated he fails to take into account the fact that many of them simply aren't in the habit of voting and despite their intentions simply won't make it to the polling place.

But even more, the Trump Effect that has doomed the Republicans at the presidential level (and, it seems, at the level of the Senate as well) isn't simply driving actual voters into the arms of the Democrats or third parties and independents. It's also suppressing the Republican vote.

Large numbers of normally Republican voters are reacting to Trump's nomination by not voting at all. That's disastrous news for any campaign. But it's absolutely fatal to one whose ineptitude combines with such arrogance that it's not going to even try to do anything about it.

Here it is!

The game that made it all worthwhile....

A night I've waited for all my life

I'm emotionally exhausted right now. The heartbreaks of 1969, 1984, 2003, 2007 and 2008 have been redeemed. The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Rather than trying to express how I feel I'll let the late Steve Goodman do it for me. Steve was the author, among others, of the song "City of New Orleans," recorded by Arlo Guthrie and Johnny Cash. But here are my two favorite Goodman songs.

Steve, a lifelong Cub fan, died of leukemia days before the Cubs won the first championship of any kind they'd won in either of our lives, the division title in 1984. The first song, "Go, Cubs, Go," is appropriately triumphant for the night the Cubs have won their first pennant in 71 years. The second- especially given Steve's own story and how closely it tallies with the lyrics- is bittersweet at best, and probably more bitter than sweet, especially since he performs it himself.

But the years in the wilderness deserve to be acknowledged one last time, too, as we celebrate their long-overdue departure.

So lets go, Cubs! Beat Cleveland!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Let there be no mistake about where the blame lies for the GOP disaster of 2016

Recent polls show Sen. Marco Rubio tied in his re-election race in Florida and Sen. Kelly Ayotte- one of the brightest of the bright new GOP stars- eight points behind in her re-election bid in New Hampshire

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats a 72.2% chance of re-taking the Senate, pointing out that the GOP's Senate chances are following the prospects of doomed presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Since Trump himself repudiated his pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee before he was awarded that title himself, all of his competitors for the Republican nomination were surely absolved from their pledge to support him- a pledge which, when they took it, assumed a degree of common sense among the Republican electorate it turned out not to have. It's interesting to speculate what would have happened in Florida especially if Rubio had done the reasonable and consistent thing and refused to support a nominee he had rightly portrayed throughout the primary campaign as dangerously unfit to hold the presidency.

But depending on how one sees Rubio's decision to honor that pledge- as an honorable keeping of his word or as a cynical insurance policy for 2020- Trump has Rubio fighting for his political life. Ayotte, who has had the courage and the common sense to disavow Trump, seems to be in the process of being dragged down by him anyway.

This was a year when no reasonable Republican presidential nominee could have lost. The GOP's control of the Senate should have at least remained stable and probably grown slightly stronger. Instead the party's heritage has been denied and its brand possibly damaged forever, a third consecutive Democratic term in the White House has been assured, and both control of the Senate and the careers of some of the party's brightest young stars placed in danger of oblivion all because a large group of unsophisticated and uninformed voters decided that they wanted to express their rage by nominating an ignorant, psychologically unstable, emotionally immature, and unelectable demagogue rather than electing a president.  Their historic hissy fit has denied America the opportunity to save the Supreme Court and the Constitution and to roll back some of the Court's worst mistakes.  Not only that but they have blown the opportunity to repair  the damage done by a diplomatically feckless and stat clueless administration to our national security and to world peace and to let  common-sense, proven conservative economic solutions get the economy back on track.

All along we've heard absurd attempts by Trump partisans to blame the Never Trump crowd for the impending disaster. That, of course, is absurd; if every Never Trump Republican had instantly fallen into line, his fate and that of the party would have remained unchanged- except that the GOP would have lost its soul instead of merely an election. But if the Trump crowd weren't given to the absurd it never would have supported a buffoon like Trump in the first place.

It's Donald Trump and his equally clueless supporters who are to blame for the impending disaster at the polls and for all those lost opportunities to set so many historic wrongs right, Typically, they seek to blame others for their own foolishness.

But history isn't going to buy it. The impending disaster of 2016 and all its tragic consequences are the faults  of Donald Trump and his supporters, and theirs alone.

They have lived the past year in denial, and it has cost the party and the country dearly. But they will not be able to escape their responsibility before the tribunal of the ages.

To have blundered badly enough to have gotten Hillary Clinton elected president- as she surely will be in a couple of weeks- is an achievement that will live in the annals of political self-destruction, and it will not do to blame as "traitors" those who tried to warn about what was coming and who have put country ahead of party by refusing to be complicit in it. The real traitors are those who  betrayed everything the Republican party has ever stood for by getting Donald Trump nominated in the fist place and those who have enabled and validated him thereafter despite the efforts of those of us who tried to save us all from their foolishness.

Hopefully the third time's the charm

In both 1984 and in 2003, the Cubs came within six outs of going to the World Series.

With yesterday's 8-4 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS, the Cubs, for the third time in my life, are one game away from breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat.

Here's hoping for a different outcome this time. And yes, I'll be especially nervous during the seventh inning of Game 6 Saturday,

The game (or games) remaining in the NLCS will be played at Wrigley Field. NOBODY go after any foul balls! Of course, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, even at home the Cubs will have to struggle to avoid a Game Seven Sunday.

Here's hoping they succeed, though. This is something I've waited for all my life, and more drama is something I just don't need.

ADDENDUM: My nephew Tim- who was too young to have remembered this- pointed out to me that the Cubs were actually eight outs away when Leon Duram's Gatorade-soaked glove malfunctioned against San Diego back in 1984.

Maybe we're making progress after all.

ADDENDUM  II: Actually, he WAS old enough to remember. I had forgotten that too.

With these two candidates, why am I not surprised?

FiveThirtyEight.com passes on the information that 22 percent of the pro-Clinton tweets during the last debate were generated by bots.

As was 33 percent of the pro-Trump Twitter traffic.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Voted early today

And for the first time in my life voted for a third party candidate, Evan McMullin. Or technically an independent candidate. Nathan Johnson, his stand-in for Mindy Finn, was listed as his running mate- though of course that doesn't matter, since in presidential elections Americans vote for electors rather than for actual candidates.

As as become my custom in this age of judicial legislation, I voted against retaining any of the judges. Since my Democratic legislator was running unopposed, I left that space on the ballot blank. I did the same for all of the obscure trustee and board member races, in which nobody has the slightest idea who the candidates are and thus really ought to be filled by appointments made by elected officials we do know.

I did vote for Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. David Young, with whom I am reasonably satisfied and against whom I chose not to hold their support of the soon-to-be-defeated monstrosity at the head of the Republican ticket. And like most of us, I'm looking forward to not having to hear him bray his ignraant nonsense much longer.

Regrettably, we do face four long years of President Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here's hoping my former party doesn't screw up again and hand her a second term the way it has her first. As would have been the case this year, any reasonable candidate should have no trouble beating her in four years.

Of course, by then all those Supreme Court nominations the supporters of the hopeless GOP nominee have been talking pointlessly about after his nomination made Hillary's election inevitable will have been made. And the consequences will lie squarely on the heads of those responsible for getting an unelectable opponent for her nominated.

First things first

I didn't bother with Evan's debate responses tonight.

We all know that Hillary and Trump are both hopeless, that Hillary is going to win, that Trump will make an ass of himself in the mst conspicuous and attention-grabbing way possible- and that there are more important things happening tonight.

The Cubs!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A town hall meeting with Evan McMullin

if you're curious about the only conservative running for president right now, here's a town meeting sponsored by the McMullin campaign.

Decently does have a voice in 2016.

He who stands for nothing will fall for anything

The first thing totalitarian governments confiscate isn't guns. That's silly. Despite the cowboy fantasies of American gun owners, they are not going to hold off the Marines with their Glocks. Armored personnel carriers and body armor are apt to be proof against such weapons.

No, the first thing totalitarians confiscate is history.

As ugly a thing as Trumpism is, the craziness which springs from a Marxist reading of history helps make it at least a bit understandable. As The Donald goes down to a richly-deserved place in the garbage heap of history, this brief British documentary underscores the disgusting and intellectualy dishonest nonsense that helped give it birth.

The irony is that this video is an advertisement for Brexit. This is the voice of Trumpism, but with an English accent. Yet we ignore it at our peril. It is not racist to resist the rewriting of history on behalf of a political agenda, and as the video rightly says, a society for which tolerance ceases to be merely an important value and becomes the only value is a society totally without values.

We cannot let history be kidnapped by the Trumist bigots. But neither can we allow it to be kidnapped by the totalitarians of the campus and the media and the political and religious Left.

There hss to be a middle ground.

WHO is trying to "rig" the election?

And with a damn fine cup of coffee, too.

I am one of those who thoroughly enjoyed the surreal weirdness of Twin Peaks back n the day.

I'm really happy to learn that it's coming back.

Gambling site already paying off bets on Hillary

Irish Internet betting site Paddy Power is so confident that Hillary Clinton is going to win the election that it's already paying out bets placed on her.

Since what I've been saying for months- that the American people would have to be Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs to elect Donald Trump- has become even more painfully apparent in the past week than it had been before, one can hardly blame them.

The real question (aside from whether Trump will actually concede after he's defeated) is how quickly the GOP will move to repudiate Trump and Trumpism, and whether it can recover. In the short term, President-Elect Clinton's unpopularity, her personality, and simple American weariness of having the Democrats running things makes it highly likely that if the Republicans can only get their act together she will be a one-term president. The damage she will do during that one term, of course, is solely the responsibility of those who got an unqualified psychopath nominated by the Republicans this time out.

But if 2016 proved anything, is that nobody will ever go broke betting that the Republican party will shoot itself in the foot. Just ask Paddy Power.

HT: FiveThirtyEight.com

Crazy Donald is becoming Creepy Donald

Crazy Donald Trump is carrying his paranoid blather about the election he has no chance whatsoever of winning being "stolen" to new levels of insanity, calling for the polls to be monitored as if at this point the election is even going to be close. As if a majority of the  American people would even consider electing such an unqualified boob and serial abuser of women as himself as their president.

Always delusional (as are many of his followers), The Donald just doesn't get it. His cover is blown. Whatever credibility this thoroughly creepy man may have ever had with all but the most gullible of Americans has now vanished.

I don't think he'll concede on Election Night. I really think he'll continue his self-absorbed, delusional rant about the election being "stolen" right on after the votes are counted, the country be damned

It's what psychopaths do.