Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit result was all about young versus old

The Brexit outcome boiled down to age demographics:

The younger the voter, the more likely they were to vote against Brexit. And yet the younger the voter, the more likely they did not show up to vote.

We're hearing much about how the old have decided the fate for the young in the UK, but the young(er) have only themselves to blame. Wake up young people, not voting has consequences!

The Brexit outcome proves two things: 1) younger voters are lazy, and 2) older voters are gullible, misinformed -- but gosh darn it, they will show up to vote, a dangerous combo!

USA, you are forewarned!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Republicans: You have met the enemy and he is you

Can all too many Republicans please stop bemoaning the fact that Trump is going to be your nominee?! As if he has accidentally done so well for so long in their own political party that it's just some weird happenstance event, something that is completely befuddling -- oh please!

Wake up Republicans, all of you, every single one, and look in the mirror. This hair-challenged buffoon won easily versus your supposed best of the lot (and there were lots of them). All comers gradually fell by the wayside leaving Trump the winner, fair and square. Where is the debate? What is the argument? If Trump does not represent the Republican Party, then how the heck did he win in a relative cake-walk to become the presumptive nominee of the party?

It's understandable how many "respectable" Republicans have chosen to deny what has in fact occurred, to believe that the Trump ascendency is a indeed a fluke, an outlier outcome due to this reason or that. But the key word with such folks is "denial" or even better "delusion," as these more "serious" Republicans willfully rationalize away the rise of Trump in their midst.

Again, Republicans need to collectively take a good long whiff from a trough of smelling salts. Trump is just chum in the water. His foul bile and hate-speech is nectar to the ears of the susceptible and ignorant.

The entire Trump ascendancy is looking like a Twilight Zone episode. How many times did Rod Serling portray the dangers of mass hysteria and paranoia, the caving in to fear which quickly leads to animosity and violence?

And only at the end of the episode do the individuals realize what has happened, that they are the ugly, the ones to be condemned.

Trump would be nothing if not for his ample support. Look around Republicans, see who stands with you in your "big tent." It's long overdue to do so some serious inventory checking. Perhaps that tent is only big enough to accept what won't be accepted elsewhere.

And I would finally just ask, what about Trump's many liberal positions, past or present, which for some reason his many far-right supporters have no problem overlooking or ignoring? Cruz or Rubio or any of the other one-time candidates would've been crucified for these "waffling" leftist positions, but Trump has been afforded a free pass -- why? Could it be his racist vitriol and tough-guy rhetoric provide more than enough red meat to pacify his supporters, effectively blinding them to his more moderate stances?

But let's be serious, as we approach November, Republicans will unify, as they do, and coalesce around Trump. The media will play their part in enabling Trump to be considered a "serious" candidate.

In the end, Republicans are obligatory lemmings. They would unite to vote for a block of gouda cheese if the framing and messaging were right. And it usually is.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's simple, direct answers, stupid.

Kevin Drum writes about why Hillary continues to be hounded by skepticism concerning her forthrightness, especially when it comes to Millennials. It has to be the #1 problem adversely affecting her likeability or favorability ratings.

As Kevin says, many believe she's just too "slippery." A reason for this sentiment is that Bernie gives very blunt and unequivocal answers to questions, whereas Hillary does not. Instead she offers very nuanced answers that often come off as seemingly disingenuous or hiding something.

Important: it's not that Hillary is actually hiding something or dodging or lying, rather that it just sounds that way. However that is the crux of her problem, the appearance of sounding evasive or waffling. And it's no doubt amplified with straight-talk Bernie as a foil. In fact, what better opposing candidate to shine a bright light on Hillary's trust problem than an older, frumpy, plain-spoken Independent?

Kevin discusses the Clinton burn out experienced by many of us. We became numb to the incessant witch hunts leading to nowhere. But Millennials were spared this nonsense, so what gives with their heightened skepticism?

I think the lingering email controversy is the problem. Millennials may not know the details concerning the Clintons in the '90s, but they hear things, they Google, they learn just enough to be suspicious -- and then this email thing comes along and it's game over for many. To them it screams poor decision process (I too wonder, why did she do it?!), leave aside legality. It's about judgement and that could very well have Millennials thinking if she did this then what would she do in office? Fair? Maybe, maybe not, but the damage is done.

And I've also heard some Millennials make the point of privilege (a very big word with Millennials), that anybody else would be going to prison for this email crap. True? Maybe, maybe not, but the damage is done.

So given her unfortunate history, unjustifiably hounded, etc., Hillary's decision to sidetrack emails was indeed a profoundly poor one. And it does not matter if it's technically legal.

If not for Bernie, Democrats would be suffering from low turnout in primaries. The youth vote went big for Obama and they're going big for Bernie, helping him win one of biggest upsets in polling history (Michigan), but will these Millennials show up for Hillary when it truly counts?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Watch what you wish for....

For quite some time now I've felt Trump has been punking us. I've always believed that he entered this race as just another vanity endeavor (much like many of his endeavors), and as with The Apprentice, which caught on like wildfire and he rode until it inevitably burnt out, he's again riding this streak. 

Yes, this is not his first rodeo, he's run for president in the past, but this time around he learned a thing or two. From who? From Mitt Romney. Once a moderate Republican, who no less gave birth to Obamacare in MA, Romney learned quickly when he was running to be the Republican nominee that he had to start saying outrageous nonsense and fact-free crap to win over the kooky GOP base. And lo and behold, it worked and Romney became the chosen one. Trump likely saw that it worked for Romney and decided to do it on steroids -- and what a shocker, it's working! 

Implicit in all of this is I have to (or want to) believe that Trump is not actually as crazy as he sounds. Indeed, Trump has supported more liberal positions in the past (such as Planned Parenthood to this day). In fact, I predict in about a year or so that Trump will appear on his buddy Howard Stern's radio show and admit that he was just saying the most outrageous fact-free crap because he knew much of the GOP base would love it (and of course he's right, as we can plainly see).  This does not excuse what he's doing or saying, but it at least professes that he's been acting. In stark contrast to Cruz and Rubio who actually believe the crap they spout, they are definitely for real, and therefore they're much scarier than Trump.

So what Trump is doing might be a gag (as I'm positing), but it's a gag that's working. So what does that say about the modern day Republican? As in the the classic movie "Network," Howard Beale was mentally incapacitated, going through a crisis, and yet the people loved and adored him. I'm not suggesting Trump is Beale, disassociated from knowing what he's doing or saying, far from it, but rather that the audience, or the people (in this case Republicans) are the fuel to the fire. There would be no Trump mania at this point if not for the popularity giveth by Republican voters. 

And yet "respectable" Republicans are freaking out. Trump is throwing a monkey wrench into the plan of how it's supposed to go.

But back to Trump himself, I have to think a part of him just can't believe it, that these rubes are eating up his crap, he probably didn't think he'd go this far for so long, and now he has to keep going (like rollercoaster, strapped in, can't get off now). In large part, perhaps, it's why he keeps upping the ante with his comments, like his penis size reference and go-beyond-waterboarding stance in the last debate, like he's almost trying to get out of this. And yet the more outrageous and crazy and fact-free he gets, the more the base loves him. Recall that when Howard Beale started to convey facts, albeit dour messaging, his popularity plummeted.

Trust me, when the GOP finally does implode, they'll be writing about this moment, when a billionaire with funny hair said all kinds of irresponsible nonsense and the "adults' in the room, i.e. Republican voters, ate it up and applauded. It's why Louis CK is not too far off in making Hitler comparisons to Trump, as Hitler said all kinds of crazy hateful rhetoric and yet the German public loved it and hoisted him into power. Hitler of course was absolute evil, but he couldn't have done it without the many Germans supporting him. 

If Republicans want to get angry at Trump, just look in mirror, he wouldn't be where he is right now without the help of Mr. & Ms. Republican. You reap what you sow.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

My recent exchange with a sane Republican friend

All Republicans are not crazy. Some are just delusional and/or in denial -- and/or a friend.

From a text exchange tonight with a non-crazy Republican friend who was bemoaning Trump's popularity, my response:
The rest of the Republicans are kooks, and yet Republicans have to vote for someone. 
The party is imploding, a long slow car crash.
They only have Congress due to gerrymandering.
Trump's popularity in the GOP is not really surprising, just look at their last two picks, Romney and McCain. Two guys who were actually more moderate at one point in time. Like Trump. But were forced (?) to say crazy things to become the nominee. Presumably like Trump. We'll learn the truth one day on a Howard Stern (confessional) show.
As I said, this party is imploding.
More/less half the people in it declare themselves to be "independent" (code for embarrassed Republican) or want to vote for a foreigner like Merkel.
Good luck winning the White House with that! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Classic McConnell Hypocrisy

A president should not nominate a Supreme Court justice -- unless that president happens to be a Republican. It's what McConnell and the Republican Party are all about. Sheer, stark, brazen hypocrisy. But hey, who's paying attention?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Robo-Rubio moment(s) = his Dean scream

Looks like Rubio's robot debate moment(s) = his Howard Dean scream moment, it's over. He admits to screwing up, never a good sign.
So I must revise my expectations which were Rubio would eventually overtake Trump for the nomination. Now I expect that Trump will continue to do well and then I think a Bloomberg enters the race. The established, elite Republicans have been freaking out with Trump's success. He's not only unpredictable and uncontrollable, he's almost certainly toast versus Hillary -- that being their worst fear. Trump plays well to a (very) select audience, but on a national scale his "platform" will not resonate and his absurd statements will come off for what they are: fact-free hot air.
Many might ask why a gazillionaire like Bloomberg would want to be president. You can ask the same thing about Trump. Ego? Vanity? Who knows. With Trump, who apart from the constant limelight that comes with the job, we have no idea if he'd actually like being president. Yet I think it's safe to say Bloomberg enjoyed being mayor of NYC (elected three times), he appeared to genuinely like governing, warts and all. And he does spend time contemplating and developing serious policy stances -- in no way can the same be said about Trump.
Regardless, I would be for Hillary or Bernie over Bloomberg, no question. However, it would at least be somewhat comforting to know that if for whatever reason Hillary or Bernie lost the election, Bloomberg would be entering the White House as opposed to lunatic Trump.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

What a performance, yeesh....

I still think Rubio gets the GOP nomination (prettiest pig), but wow, he was bad last night. It's as if he was reading from a teleprompter that wasn't there. Almost Manchurian like.
And he already comes across as boyish and too youthful, so what does he do? Recite as if he's standing before his classmates in 5th grade, giving an oral book report. Christie played the role of the intimidating, harsh teacher, admonishing him for use of excessive memorization.
Some may think Rubio will make the necessary adjustments off that dismal performance, like a football team would, but I think his ability to be something other than this robo-candidate is very limited. He can be very sharp with his answers, but they're always seemingly pre-loaded, fired off in a quick staccato that doesn't sound extemporaneous and genuine. He'll be the perfect foil for Hillary, who can sound a bit stilted at times.
In the meantime, this hilarious Republican race continues to plod along....

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I too am not a scientist

Too clever by half. 

We hear Republicans say this often, their current "clever" line to dodge climate change questions. "But I'm not a scientist, what do I know?" Of course that doesn't stop them from pontificating and passing legislation on things in which they have no particular expertise. Yet when it comes to global warming and climate change, well, then they must defer....

But let's just go with this inane method of evasion, if you lacked expertise and claimed ignorance on a given subject, what would you likely do? I bet you'd do some digging, see what the prevailing research had to say, what the preponderance of facts and evidence tended to conclude in a universal and consensus fashion, and then likely side with that for lack of a better explanation.

All of that said, you'd think after the Republicans said they were not a scientist, then the logical conclusion would be that they would defer to the preponderance of expert evidence and side with the 97% of scientists who believe in man-made climate change.

But no. Republicans say the "I'm no scientist" line, but then go on to spew drivel that has them aligning with the global warming skeptics. Or at best that no one really knows anything and that climate change remains a baffling and debatable puzzlement. 97% of the scientific community says not true, but as usual Republicans would try to have us believe otherwise, to align with the beliefs in their artificial bubble. 

It's all a joke, that is not funny. If you were dying of thirst and someone handed you a glass of water and 97 informed people told you not to drink it, that it was poisoned, and 3 told you to go ahead and drink it, what would you do?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ugh! I've been making this point for years!!

Must-read piece in today's NY Times, covering the blown opportunity for us to invest in our infrastructure during these past years when interest rates have been near zero.

I wrote about this topic here, here, here, here and here.

As we've known for quite some time now, bridges, roads, airports, public buildings, etc., are in woeful need of repair and fixing. Such projects will not go away magically – at some point, infrastructure needs to get fixed otherwise it poses dangerous consequences and risks.
Since post-2008, the years of near zero percent interest rates has been the optimal time to undertake such infrastructure projects. Funding has never been cheaper thanks to the extremely low rates AND it would’ve put millions of people to work at a time when unemployment was high and the economy needed stimulus. It was the proverbial no-brainer.
But nope. During the post-2008 period, we had to hear about the “runaway” federal deficit and how we should be “tightening our belts” and cutting back. We heard repeatedly that the last thing we should be doing is spending (investing) taxpayer money.
Never mind that post-2008 was the exact time when you should spend and invest, to stimulate the economy and get things rolling again. Especially with rates so low! You’re supposed to cut back spending during good times, not bad, it’s Economics 101.
Also, never mind that studies show for every $1 invested in infrastructure projects, GDP rises by $2 (the multiplier effect at work). And never mind that another study shows for every five years a project is delayed, its total cost doubles, i.e. better to fix things now and not delay.
But all for naught.