The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘clinton

Good morning Widdershins.  I truly hope your weekend was a great one.  If you are wondering, our friend MB is on a much deserved vacay.  She will be enjoying some R&R through next week.

Something much different for today.  Almost finished with a post, I ran across this awesome and most righteous Twitter thread from yesterday afternoon.  If ever there is a Nobel Prize for Twitterature, this gentleman will win it.

Eric Garland

Eric Garland

The author’s name is Eric Garland, @ericgarland. His profile says he’s a strategic analyst for businesses and government agencies. A linguist and a bassist.

Imagine for a moment, this is over 240 tweets, back-to-back over a couple of hours yesterday afternoon.  To get them in a form acceptable to WordPress, I copied, pasted, by the ones went through them, and put them in an acceptable form. The substance of the tweets remain original to Mr. Garland.

As to what you would call this, I don’t know.  This is a call to arms.  A call of patriotic resistance.  The climatic speech of every science fiction movie president. A Fox Mulder long-stare soliloquy.  Whatever it is, it is worth the read.

Eric Garland‏@ericgarland

<THREAD> I’m now hearing this meme that says Obama, Clinton, et al. are doing nothing, just gave up. Guys. It’s time for some game theory.

ACTOR ANALYSIS: The Russians enter the Game with a broad objective, flexible tactics, and several acceptable outcomes.

Russian interests have been, for many years now, the subversion of Western institutions, principally NATO, but any will do.

This subversion can take many forms: driving wedges between US-Commonwealth-Euro intel cooperation, break up NATO, create chaos.

This game has been developing for many years, is asymmetrical, and much cheaper than building a decent aircraft carrier.

Plus, the Russians f**king rule at covert shit. Always have. Ask a cold warrior. Mucho respect for our adversaries. They do clever work!

Post-communism, they’re reduced to Drunk Uncle status in the global balance of power. Mouthy, smart, degraded, much reduced in stature.

Russians as *people* are civilized, artistic, enamored of brilliance and tragedy, and generally proud. And should be. They do not like this.

From this position launches an initiative from an old hand at the KGB, now solidified in influence: Subvert for the throat. Go big. Go hard.

While the West is frivolous and lazy and “Post-History,” the clever take advantage. And here begins our present story.

Let’s skip ahead to “Wikileaks.” BRILLIANT. Ingratiate the Left into this anti-establishment distrust of Western intel.

The Dubya Years

George W Bush and Dick Cheney being slovenly, reckless idiots, the moral authority of Iraq and US intel is nil. In step “journalists.

Stealing hard drives from US intel and dumping them to foreign agents? That’s *snicker* “journalism!” FREE SPEECH! ROFLMAO.

Oh, and such grand characters, so well run: Manning, Greenwald. So righteous, yet fragile! And feisty! Try a Twitter war with Glenn!

OH YOU PHILISTINE, YOU JUST HATE JOURNALISM! *sigh* *swigs something strong* And Moscow must have been doubling over.

Putting Snowden and his mole in context

THEN, OMG, that worked so well that the pièce de résistance was next: SNOWDEN!!! BOOYAH! THE BIG GAME! NSA! PRISM! SPASM!

(incidentally, the NSA was about the only agency the Russians took seriously) But then this EARNEST young man. He tells THE TROOTH!


And still hungover from the rotten venality of the Iraq War and Bush’s perversion of the Intelligence Community as reliable, Wikileaks journalisms the NSA!

DON’T YOU CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE. HARD DRIVES FROM THE NSA IZ JOURNALISM! Even when you take the files to Brazil! Honest! Ask Glenn!

And then, automagically, our man Ed ends up…what’s this now? In Russia? Well, they are such welcoming folks! How…nice!

Langley and Fort Meade run out of bourbon in about three hours, and every intel guy in Russia is drunk, dancing on the desks, and LAFFING.

AND THE LEFT! HOLY F**KING ADORABLE BATMAN! Honi soit qui mal y pense! How dare you suggest untoward Russian involvement! Journamalisms!!!!

US intel snorts all of the Robotussin in the DC/MD/VA area. Putin calls Snowden “A weird guy.” LOLZ. Moving on to the current chapter.

MEANWHILE, AT THE FOX NATION FORUMS: The other part of this impressive op is percolating – the buttress of the Alt-Right.

ONCE UPON A TIME, Dan Rather chased Nixon around a room asking him questions VERY HARSHLY and the notion of the Evil Media Elite was born.

See, because Nixon got impeached, that meant the media was in on it! WaPo! NYT! Traitors! We look bad! And the media hate begins.

Never mind that to know something in Topeka, somebody’s gotta send you a newspaper or a radio signal or whatevs: The Media Is Lying.

Now, it’s true, high level journalists and editors don’t always see the world like Johnny Lunchpail in Missouri. True facts. But. Trouble.

Republicans decide to create a whole new layer of think tanks and media outlets in the 1980s dedicated to The Other Side.

The think tanks have a POV, but some are quite good, Cato in particular. Heritage came up with what’s now Obamacare. AEI…ehhh. 2 outta 3.

But then the media play comes in. The cranky insane tent pastors on AM radio get…a makeover. They become Legitimate. Embraced.

Magnates start investing in outlets. Brand new pundits get huge audiences yelling about The Way Things Ought to Be (for White People).

And it’s more successful than free chicken and beer. The money flows, the ratings swell. An Australian starts a TV network in the US.

What develops is an attractive, well-produced alternate universe. You no longer need an alternate take. You have alternate facts.

Al Gore mutters and bores his way out of a presidency in a race against a guy who spoke English like he learned it from Rosetta Stone.

And now, the stage is set for a metastasis of batshit nuttery, jingoism, and irrational autocratic fervor. A party becomes a cult.

9/11 and our Response in Context

September 11, 2001 occurs. A buncha guys are in DC who couldn’t wait to go to Iraq. And the right wing media is shiny and tuned-up.

We go kick a bunch of barbarian ass in Afghanistan, as well we should have. They were beating women and destroying Buddhas. F**k ’em.

But then, The Axis of Evil Speech. And all the analysts in DC I know collectively go, “Oh, fuuuuu…they’re not serious, are they?”

Bill Clinton spent most of his years pounding the living snot out of Hussein. Dude built anything funny lookin’, in came the rockets.

There was one concerning nation-state for most, and – hint – it’s in Asia. The other threat was non-state actors. *ahem* Which played out.

And now – *headdesk* – they’re going to Iraq. With bullshit intel. Goddamn it. GODDAMN IT. This is going to suck, said smart people.

And there’s the entire right-wing think tank and media machine blaring, careening, gloating. From the gov’t itself, and from every outlet.


And goddamn, did those media outlets sell a lot of ads for trucks, pain killers, pharmaceuticals and financial services. $$$$$$

Many earnest patriots also pointed out, hey, um, there apparently are no weapons that could have blown up Cleveland, so…

But now, this whole thing has morphed into tribalism. YES THEY DID TOO FIND WEAPONS OF MASS DEPRESSION AND YOU SUCK BUSH ROCKS PUSSY

Ann Coulter comes on TV to talk over B-roll of rusty munitions WE SOLD HUSSEIN and said, well look, there they are. Total. Propaganda.

America looks like shit. Our intel services take a helluva beating. Iraq’s invasion – which was basically unplanned – results in chaos.

Katrina. Bush. Looking out the window. Confused. Hey, but in intel news, the National Geospatial-Intel Agency helps critically.

2008.  The housing Ponzi we used to get out of the DotComBust-9/11-era recession has now gone pear-shaped. Utterly nuclear.

America’s banks, the one thing other than movies and video games we do reliably, all shit the bed simultaneously.

The Obama Administration

We then elect a cappuccino-colored president whose middle name is Hussein. The Right goes completely over the f**king cliff into insane.


This political movement happens when the only thing Obama has really said with conviction is “Fired up! Ready to go!” In late November 2008.

But ON GEORGE WASHINGTON’S GRAVE THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR!!! And the entire right-wing media gets its next several years of revenue LOCKED.

Now, we’ve got a really, reaaaally fertile field in which former KGB agents can make a long play. And Moscow gets to work.

America’s at this weird nihilistic place, which is one thing for France and Russia, but NOT for earnest midwesterners who are agape.

Now the American Left has got some juice back again. But the Right is just apoplectic from pure suffering. Both are ripe for subversion.

The Left is out of love with American business and military-industrial, the Right foams at the mouth against legitimate government.

And the guys who have been twisting minds from Vladivostok to Havana and back get to work building an “alt” media structure.

We’ve already covered the genius of that who Wikileaks op on the Left. SCORE! Now for the perversion of the formerly nationalist Right.

JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST THERE’S A BLACK DUDE IN THE WHITE HOUSE! LIVING THERE! It’s not hard to convince Southerners this is insane.

But put a little elbow grease in on some internet forums, and pretty soon you can have Northern John Adams-type conservatives, too.

A whole generation of disaffect Rush Limbaugh fans (WE LISTENED AND DITTOED SO HARD WHY IS THERE A BLACK DUDE THERE?) is ripe for picking.

In addition to alt-finance sites and “Russia Today” a new TV network, they start infiltrating “social media.”

Disclosure: Because I’m mouthy all the time like this, RT had me on as a guest. They prop up US “subversives.” And they don’t edit you!

Fun fact: Al Jazeera and RT just let me talk. US media almost always wants some hand in your final product before booking you. Ironic, no?

But from about 2009 to the 2016 election, a madness is being brewed and slowly poured down the throats of increasingly hysterical Americans.

When you imbibe from this potion, everything is awful and everyone official is lying to you. Only other members of the cult are with you!

US media, which is complicit in many of our problems, is portrayed for the extremists as conspiratorial liars. All the time.

Formerly sane members of US society start sounding like my schizophrenic grandfather, who said Government was keeping him from His Mission.

Only the Gubmint knew the Archangel Gabriel was sending him to find the next Jesus. So, cut it out, CIA! Stop it, Giant Conspiracy!

And then people you knew from Functional Daily Life started talking that way. People with car dealerships. Dentists. Regular folk.



A CABAL CALLED The Pentaveret: The Queen. The Pope. The Gettys. The Rothschilds. AND COLONEL SANDERS, BEFORE HE WENT TITS UP!

If you haven’t unfollowed by now, 1. You’re nuts and 2. Thank you for indulging my So I Married an Axe Murderer reference.

The 2016 Election

MOVING ON. The conspiratorial fever at about 108, we begin the 2016 election – AGAINST EVERYTHING HOLY – in 2015.

The Republicans debate over 712 times, discussing topics such as who hated Obamacare more, and who had a large penis. Jesus, that happened.

The Democrats all debate who’s going to get out of Hillary’s way first, except for VERMONT’S OWN BERNIE SANDERS, who…gets popular?

I’m from Vermont and have known Bernie forever, so I’m very surprised, but everyone kinda likes it. Hillary wins anyhow.

And now, the target for electoral mischief is enormous. Hillary is the most known quantity in America, with huge backstory.

Creating a conspiracy narrative around the Clintons is like creating a “southern” narrative around NASCAR and grits.

Now – with Trump as the non-conformist, not-like-all-the-other-rotten-conspiratorial-assholes paragon, the Russians go into overdrive.

The Russians didn’t create Trump – only New York City and American gullibility could have done that. But they’ve got a SWEETHEART outcome.

Trump – a moron – is probably unlikely to take the whole enchilada, but that’s perfect. If he gets close enough, he can cry UNFAIR! forever.

Amazing scenario for Russia – instead of RT, they get an institutional nihilist chowderhead with American credentials. They butter him up.

Hell, to hear many tell of it, the have kompromat on him. But anyhow, they invest in his stuff. He was there in 2013. They have a lever.

IF on the off chance, Trump actually (and who could guess this) wins, then…wow, they’ve got quite an opening.

Either way, on the run-up to Nov 2016, Russian involvement was as subtle as a fart in a spacesuit. Scroll down my TL for details.

The U.S. IC had its hair on fire. This situation was incredibly dangerous. A paranoid U.S. faction backing a rogue with ties to Russia.

Back to Present Day

OK, Jesus, at LONG LAST, back to my initial premise. Why didn’t Obama and Clinton “do something?” JESUS, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You come out and have the CIA enter the goddamn race for Clinton? True or not, we look like some weird cryptofascist state.

Or, you let the Russkis laugh and taunt and infiltrate Facebook with majillions of propaganda tales for idiots? Just let them run around?

Do you come out the day after this totally weird-smelling abomination of an election with all its technical difficulties?

Do you tell America the day after the election that Russia spearfished all of our think tanks in brazen fashion?

Hillary, for her part, gives a brief and all-too-calm speech and goes hiking. Probably the best move on the board.

Obama WELCOMES! Mr. Trump in an intense, welcoming welcome. To the White House. Mr. Big Winner Guy! Welcome! Fellow American!

Trump looks like he swallowed a goldfish and stares at the floor a bit too long. As if maybe a joke has gone too far.

In the next month, a small band of propagandists run in a circle and try to look like they’re forming a government. It’s ungainly.

And now, it’s December 11th. Trump says he don’t need no stinkin’ intel agencies. Russia (BWA HAHAHAHAAAA) blames Ukraine! LOLOLOLOLZZZ

A lot of Republicans stare into the middle distance, except for McCain and Graham who are NOT HAVING THIS SHIT. (I salute you, gentlemen.)

And here we are. Americans. Hopefully soon united. This isn’t a partisan issue. Obama isn’t late to the party. People are doing their jobs.

If you think any of this is easy, you’re ignorant and delusional. Tonight, though, I write to you with great hope.

Music Working Up to Crescendo and Aliens are about to get Whooped

This may be America’s finest hour, as we act together with unshakable resolve to deal with enemies foreign and domestic.

We have done so in the past and come out a stronger, more just, more pluralistic nation. We will do so now. And for me? Or die trying.

America is the steward of a genius system entrusted to flawed stewards whose descendants seem to act on the right side of history.

This system is not rotten, not beyond repair, not exiled from the future. We have been infiltrated by agents who would drive us mad.

This is a nation built on civilization, humanity, and reason, rejecting the febrile superstitions of the past. It must stand. And will.

We are at present in a place of danger where some of our fellow citizens have forgotten our most cherished values. We’ve been here before.

America, reluctantly but dutifully, recognizes its internal contradictions and failings. Slavery. Racism. Internment. Classism.

The genius documents that gave rise to noble American sentiments were themselves authored by those who failed them. (h/t @ Mr. Jefferson)

We spilled the blood of our brothers to resolve the contradictions of slavery and then abandoned the project while killing Indians.

Americans proclaimed the equality of all men while treating women as chattel and all non-whites as lesser. We are indeed hypocrites.

But to be American is to accept that unflinchingly and to soldier forth for future generations, and DO BETTER, GODDAMN IT.

There are those who would mire us in worldly cynicism, to anchor us in a world where our institutions betray forever, where values perish.

And to be American is to face that intellectual, moral, and spiritual assault with the unshakeable devotion to something more lofty.

And when that loftiness fails, as it so often does, to be American is to seize it again and again, knowing that our Creator desire Progress.

Progress can come from Traditionalists or Labor Unionists or mystics or musicians or doctors or Senators or journalists. All are exhorted.

The Progress demanded by our Creator can be achieved by immigrants and natives, skeptics and believers, the elite and the humble alike.

That is America. That is the promise that Americans oft ignore and which more cynical nations would defile for their own gain.

That America will last long after I have died, long after new people have picked the torch. Long after we betray it again, as we will.

But America will go on, even if by another name, unless all who have heard her name are extinguished. This is just the locus of promise.

America came from the olive groves of Italy and the shipyard of Plymouth and the islands of the Philippines. Indivisible.

America came from the Torah and Voltaire’s Candide and Adam Smith and zen koans and Greek mathematics and Rumi’s poetry.

America is all these things, and should yet another absolutist demagogue, foreign or domestic seize her, it will be far from the end.

Now is a time for patriots. It’s also Sunday afternoon. I’m gonna get a beer and watch football. God Bless America, and all nations.


What’s on your mind today?

Coming up with a theme wasn’t easy this year.  I thought about doing a takeoff on Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and entitling it Miss Melania’s Tower for Beastly Boys, but there weren’t enough arrows in that quiver. 1950-boy-and-bird

So here are some things for which I’m backhandedly thankful.


Thanks to Donald Trump for single-handedly spurring sales for doomsday gear, creating years of work for ethics lawyers, and bringing about the end of the Republican Party.

Thanks to Mike Pence for proving Hoosier hypocrisy is second to none when it comes to the disclosure of emails.

Also, thanks to Mr. Pence for ensuring Donald Trump will be safe for four years as he works on the destruction of the Republican Party.

Thanks to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for proving racism isn’t just a job requirement for Alabama Senator, but it can also be an asset for the highest law enforcement officer in the country.

friends-thanksgivingThanks to Steve Bannon for proving to middle-aged Coke addicts there’s always a second act.

Thanks to Donald Trump for not saying “just kidding” after telling white supremacists to “stop it” on 60 Minutes and then naming Bannon and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to Administration positions.

Thanks to Rudy Giuliani for proving that the extortion of millions of dollars and poor dental hygiene are not mutually exclusive.

Thanks to bankers for proving an entire industry can be into submissiveness in S & M relationships.

As for white supremacists, thanks to the Alt-right for proving you can’t be too crazy to have a platform.  Also, thanks to the Alt-right for single-handedly making great strides in turning the country bilingual by translating their speeches from the original German.dancing-turkey

Thanks to the Judge in Texas who saved accountants the trouble of calculating paycheck increases for millions of working class Americans by enjoining the raises proposed by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  Make America great again by working overtime at the same hourly rate.

Thanks to the pundits for using “angry white working class” when “angry white” was enough.

Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for the new spring color, “Angry White”, it is a retro-color that can only be used in areas where time stopped in the 1950s and lady parts are only discussed at the beauty parlor.

Thanks to all those voters who proved no one likes a quitter by voting for an economic policy that has provided thirty years of wage stagnation and diminished social mobility.

magic-plateThanks to Donald Trump for creating a market for old pictures of German World War II soldiers by tweeting them out superimposed over the American flag.

Thanks to the Trump Transition Team for draining the swamp by replacing old lobbyist swamp creatures with new lobbyist swamp creatures.

Thanks to the press for not bothering us with the intricacies of the tax-dodging, law-breaking Trump Foundation since it was so much easier to understand than the contrivance around the non-existent conflicts of the Clinton Foundation in keeping eleven million people alive.

And also, thanks to the press for the temporary amnesia around the ten thousand or so articles during the election about the “forgotten white working class man” since all it would have taken was one more article to prove the anger had nothing to do with racism.

One last thanks to the press for not confusing us with any investigative analysis proving that the manufacturing jobs the “forgotten white working class men” were always complaining about were never in the rural areas where these “forgotten angry voters” were.

Thanks to the Robert Mercer family for proving in America any old multi-billionaire can buy an election if you launder your money hard enough.turkey-on-the-table

Thanks to Kris Kobach for not knowing about cover sheets or folders because we wouldn’t want his plan to round-up 3 million people to be a surprise for everyone.

Thanks to Chris Christie for proving lap-band surgery does nothing to reduce one’s ego.

Thanks to Ben Carson for being a fast learner since H.U.D. is only a half a trillion dollar generator and last week he said he wasn’t qualified to run an agency, but since he grew up in a house in a city he believes he’s got the housing, urban, and development parts covered.

Thanks to Donald Trump for reminding everyone what emoluments are and that people still read the Constitution.

Thanks to Lt. General Flynn for reminding us that he always uses the bathroom stall because he doesn’t like anyone bigger than him around.

pumpkin-pieThanks to James Comey for proving a paranoid, subversive, cross-dressing Director isn’t the worst thing or biggest embarrassment that can happen to the F.B.I.

And a final thanks to Hillary Clinton for being too good for America and proving the Harvard research correct that found there is always a backlash against women in leadership positions, no matter how qualified, no matter how experienced, and no matter how extraordinarily capable they are.


Friends, 2016 has sucked.  Hard.  But, I am thankful we made this journey together.  We are more clear-eyed, resilient, and defiant.  For those things we can be truly thankful.

Your thankfulness thoughts or just your thoughts will be gratefully appreciated.



Intelligence is recognizing learning when it is offered.  Wisdom is the art of heeding the lesson and applying it.  This campaign has offered us an orange crate of opportunities for wisdom, but none better than the wheezing catcalls from the Republican Cloakroom to deny a President Hillary Clinton any nominee for the Supreme Court for the duration of her term. 8-is-enuf

With Scalia’s seat getting colder by the day, it seems as if the Republicans have conferred with noted judicial philosopher Dick Van Patten and declared, “Eight is enough.”  The despotic thinking goes something like this – the notorious RBG is old, let’s allow the actuarial tables to work and then we are down to seven.

The perfidy of their position is that no justice can be seated that isn’t a Republican justice.  There is no longer any pretense about their attempted subversion of two of the three branches of government.

It isn’t about the rule of law or justice or even any semblance of fairness.  It is about power.  It’s the Maginot Line protecting the interests of the moneyed benefactors of their party.  The Court gave Republicans a President in 2000, manufactured a personal right to weaponry in the Second Amendment, made it more difficult for poor women to gain reproductive health care, and loosed the dogs of obscene campaign spending in Citizen United.

The learning is simple and Trump has proved it in this campaign:  If you are immune to shame, there is no end to what you can do.  Being shameless allows you to ignore precedent, formality, and normal conventions.  Such cheeky impudence allows for the unorthodox to become the new orthodoxy.

Professor Krugman explained the paucity of ideas and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Right like this:

The moral of the story is that appeasing the modern American right is a losing proposition. Nothing you do convince them that you’re being fair, because fairness has nothing to do with it. The right long ago ran out of good ideas that can be sold on their own merits, so the goal now is to remove merit from the picture.

In short, never mind whether it’s right, as long as it’s politically useful.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you have been under a rock since last Friday, here are a few stories to catch you up.  Try this one and this one with ten questions and answers about the email story.

This was a conversation overheard last Friday at the corner of Pennsylvania and 10th outside the Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.  One guy was an old fellow and the other was James Comey.diogenes-2

Comey:  Hey old feller – you okay?

Old Guy:  Why yes young man.

Comey:  That’s a mighty fine-looking lantern you have there.

Old Guy:  I’ve had it for years.

Comey:  What are you doing this fine day?

Old Guy:  I’m looking for an honest man.

Comey:  Look no further.  I am the honest man you have been seeking.  In fact, I am the most honest of all men.

Old Guy:  How do you measure your honesty?

Comey:  On occasion, everyone has said I am a man of integrity and a servant of the people.  Being the most honest of all men, I believe I can declare I’m above all others.

Old Guy:  I must continue my journey since any honest man would not declare their honesty above all others since self-exultation is living in dishonesty.


Of course, the old guy was Diogenes searching the world for an honest man.  Sadly, James Comey is not the first man and won’t be the last to confuse his high self-regard with self-righteousness.  And once that level of self-righteousness is reached, it is but a short hike to where the rules no longer apply.

Comey has firmly taken up residence in the world of “the rules apply to thee, but not to me.”  His failure to follow established Department of Justice guidelines is what the law calls res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself.

It has just been reported a couple of hours ago, when Comey was faced with a decision on whether or not to release definitive proof of Russian hacking and thereby meddling in the U.S. election, Comey unbelievably said, “It is too close to the election.”

Too close to the election weeks ago to associate the FBI with a report on Russian hacking, but just eleven days from the election, the violation of DOJ protocol was justified when some emails were discovered that “might or might not be pertinent” to the Clinton private server investigation.

In Comey’s self-righteous mind, he, or someone, was justified to sit on these emails for a month and announce their existence before even a warrant was sought to examine them.comey-spotlight

Comey’s delusional hubris is excused by a couple of logical leaps that wouldn’t even work on a schoolyard playground.  The first is to say, “Hillary brought this on herself.”  This type of sophistry is based in some preordained orchestration of life meaning Hillary is responsible for the misjudgment, malfeasance, and misfeasance of everyone who might cross her life’s path.  Hillary is not responsible for Comey’s failure to follow DOJ procedures.

The other line of Republican defense is, “Democrats have said Comey is a good public servant with integrity.”  Just because someone has integrity and a fine record as a public servant does not mean they are immune from making bad mistakes and exhibiting abysmal judgment.  Both things are not mutually exclusive. 

It will most likely be impossible to ever prove Comey’s real intent in releasing that vacuous letter last Friday, but there are a few things we do know:

  1. Comey knew his letter was so vapid and meaningless; he did an internal memo to the FBI to assuage various warring internal factions.
  2. Comey violated FBI procedures last July by his press conference, his release of investigation notes, and investigation materials. Bending to Republican pressure was proof he is vulnerable to “working the ref” psychology.
  3. Anonymous sources say that Comey fears leaks from disgruntled conservative FBI agents who wanted to indict Hillary this summer. If Comey can’t stop leaks from inside his own house, he needs to move on.  If there are factions of disgruntled FBI agents who want someone indicted for political motivations, they need to be unearthed, shamed, and banned.
  4. The lament that “Comey was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t,” is unmitigated horse crap. Here’s what Comey did do, he decided between his own self-congratulatory reputation and the national election.  Comey chose his deluded self-interest at the cost of the national election.  He chose the coward’s course.  He should be treated accordingly.
  5. The pattern of outrageous Republican behavior is paying dividends. To drag civil servants before the Congress and excoriate them in the public eye is to chasten all civil servants.  The fear of impeachment and investigation chills a civil servant – even a civil servant with a ten-year term like Comey.  This episode has whetted the appetite for more of this behavior.
  6. Comey knows if Hillary is elected she can’t fire him.  Comey has made peace with congressional Republicans who now love him for giving Trump a shot.  It is a win/win for him and he’s gambling with the house’s money since it is our election that is at stake.  Whatever reputation Comey had should now be indexed to Joe McCarthy in the history books.


It was never going to be easy for Hillary to win the presidency.  First, she’s a woman.  Second, her last name is Clinton.  Third, well, there is no third.  The hatred and vehemence directed toward Hillary would have silenced any normal human.  Hillary’s perseverance, courage, strength, and stick-withedness are truly super-human.  She will weather this.  She expected this or something like it.  She’s better than all those who are trying to stop her.

One last thought – permission to “hate on Hillary” was made socially acceptable in 1993 when it became almost mandatory for good Republicans to despise her.  And what was her great sin of transgression?  Wanting to make sure poor people and children could see a doctor when they were sick.  It is from that act of benevolent kindness she has suffered a lifetime of animosity and antagonism.  I don’t know if the Methodist Church has saints, but Hillary surely qualifies.

What’s on your mind today?


Pull on your high top waders.  Tie on your chullo.  Carbo-load.  We are about to be hit by a polling tsunami – an experience similar to being an over-caffeinated mole in a free Whack-a-mole game.trumpkin

Each day can bring sixty new polls.  It is just an avalanche of data overload.  How do we make sense out of it all?

Let me help.

First, Hillary is going to win the election.  She knows it.  Her people know it.  The data nerds know it.  And most importantly, Trump and his people know it.

The only “unknown” is by how much.  That is important.  The control of the Senate and the working majority of the House hang in the balance.  So it is vitally important to vote.

Second, if you are interested in polling keep on reading.  If not, just skip to the “Comments” and tell me how much you enjoyed this post.

The public polling we are used to seeing is a lagging indicator of attitudes.  To explain, let’s say we were going to conduct a survey.  The initial survey would be designed, reviewed, tested, redesigned, re-reviewed, and retested before it was ever fielded for the first time.

trumpkin-ivBut before it was fielded for the first time, the sample would have to be constructed.  This means the sample’s configuration for the phone numbers would have to be designed, purchased, delivered, and processed from a data supply house.

Once these and many other steps are completed, the survey is fielded.  Typically, it takes three days of calling to achieve a sample of 1,040 responses.  For most reputable survey companies, calls are only made from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. prevailing time.  In other words, calls stop in the Eastern Time zone just as they are starting in the Pacific Time zone.

Here’s the kicker – in 2012 the survey completion rate was only 9%.  Simply put, it takes ten calls to get one complete response.  So it isn’t uncommon to buy sample of 20,000 phone numbers because you over-sample in order to make sure you have fully captured the correct demographics required by the methodology.

Once a sufficient sample is captured, the raw data is then scrubbed by data analysts.  This can take from a few hours to a few days depending upon the sophistication of the pollster.

Only at this point is the data run for analysis.  Once the data run is complete, it is analyzed by the scientists and the cross-tabs are reviewed.  A report is then written.  Polls routinely generated by the news networks are more systematic, but are still on a weekly turn-around schedule.trumpkin-ii

This is from the poll taker standpoint, here’s what happens from our standpoint as consumers of news events.  When we experience news reports, we have an initial reaction.  We take it in, run it against our experiential knowledge, figure out if it makes sense, and then run it against our personal set of biases – ethics, morals, values, philosophies, etc.  Then we forget most of it.  Then we listen to acquaintances or pundits tell us how to feel about what we heard.  We forget some of the opinion, appropriate some as our own, and then go on about our lives.

A few days later, we get a call from a pollster who asks us what we remember and how intensely we feel about that memory.

Because of all this, there is a lag time of about a week to ten days before opinions are captured in public polls.  In the throes of a campaign, this lag time is compressed because the questions are abbreviated and the samples are smaller.  Campaigns have polls in the field virtually constantly so they can register and react to events on a daily basis.

So what was the point in explaining all that?  To lay the framework for the back story of the rather surprising level of candor captured in this Bloomberg piece about the Trump data shop.

Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it…Several things jump out. Despite Trump’s claim that he doesn’t believe the polls, his San Antonio research team spends $100,000 a week on surveys (apart from polls commissioned out of Trump Tower) and has sophisticated models that run daily simulations of the election. The results mirror those of the more reliable public forecasters—in other words, Trump’s staff knows he’s losing. Badly. “Nate Silver’s results have been similar to ours,” says Parscale, referring to the polling analyst and his predictions at FiveThirtyEight, “except they lag by a week or two because he’s relying on public polls.”

The article refers to the “dark art of voter suppression”.  Honestly, it isn’t so much voter suppression as “voter dissuasion”.  Drumpf is attempting to dissuade young white liberals, women, and African-Americans from coming out to vote for Hillary.  As a weaponized political science ploy this has only been around for about thirty-years.  No one knows if it will work in a national election since it has never been tried on such a scale.

trumpkin-iiiSome people believe it could have a reverse effect and drive more Hillary voters to the polls.  In any event, the Trump data team is being managed by a guy who was an inexpensive tech journeyman known to the Trump family for his cut-rate webpage design work.  Literally, this is his first time at the campaign rodeo.  If that wasn’t enough, the data team works in an office festooned with “inspirational quotes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.”

The clamorous Yam likes to point to the Brexit vote as proof that polling can be wrong.  As with most things the Yam says, this would be true if it wasn’t false. The Brexit polling was correct.  As many polls had it passing as had it failing in a close election.

In any event, if everything goes perfectly for the Orange Marmalade Skin Puppet and he wins all the toss-up states, he will still be short of 270 electoral votes.  To analogize:  The ambulatory Pumpkin Navel Lint has to catch lightning in a bottle, turn it loose, and catch it again while blindfolded to stop Hillary from being the 45th President of these United States.

Ain’t gonna happen.

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