Jack Shafer writes that fear of the effects propaganda is excessive and elitist. If anyone was deceived by "fake news" this year, it would seem to have been the elites.

In this sense, the shrillness of the propaganda debate reveals a deep distrust of citizens by the elites. The Ignatiuses and Stengels of media and government don't worry about propaganda infecting them. Proud of their breeding and life experience, they seem confident they can decode fact from fiction. What they dread is propaganda's effect on the non-elites, whom they paternalistically imagine believe everything they read or view. But they don't. The idea that naïve and vulnerable audiences can be easily influenced by the injection of tiny but potent messages into their media feedbag was dismissed as bunk by social scientists as early as the 1930s and 1940s. According to what academics call the hypodermic needle theory (aka magic bullet theory, aka transmission-belt model), there is little evidence that the public was the defenseless prey of mini-doses of propagandists. Larger doses don't seem to be very effective, either.


Old-age might seem a long way off, but if you care about your children you should buy long-term care insurance now. Unless the insurers are going to go out of business, in which case you shouldn't. Fortunately for us younger folks, the aging Baby Boomers will probably be forced to solve this problem in some manner before we're old. Of course, the cost of that solution will probably be paid by... us younger folks.

Enter the idea of long-term care insurance. Buy a policy when you're still relatively young and healthy, pay the premiums every year, and if you do end up needing intensive support services, you can go to a nursing home secure in the knowledge that your spouse and your legacy are protected. Personal-finance columnists have been solemnly recommending long-term care insurance for years, though in my experience, this advice is often just as solemnly ignored.

That's because the policies are now quite pricey. When long-term care policies were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed like an attractive deal. As it turns out, that's because they were underpricing the insurance. Insurers expected a significant portion of people to drop the insurance every year (meaning that their previously paid premiums would be all profit). Instead, only about 1 percent did. They also underestimated costs.

And while typical health insurers don't have to worry much about interest rates, because they generally pay this year's health care costs out of this year's premiums, long-term care insurers need to park the money between taking the premium in and paying the benefits out. The ultra-low interest rates of the last decade have made those investments less profitable, hurting them still further. And state regulators have proved resistant to efforts to raise premiums to make the insurance more actuarially sound.


Scott Alexander has a long and thoughtful post explaining that, despite Trump's many flaws, our president-elect isn't racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., and that such fears distract from the real need to keep a close eye on his actions and policies.

I stick to my thesis from October 2015. There is no evidence that Donald Trump is more racist than any past Republican candidate (or any other 70 year old white guy, for that matter). All this stuff about how he's "the candidate of the KKK" and "the vanguard of a new white supremacist movement" is made up. It's a catastrophic distraction from the dozens of other undeniable problems with Trump that could have convinced voters to abandon him. That it came to dominate the election cycle should be considered a horrifying indictment of our political discourse, in the same way that it would be a horrifying indictment of our political discourse if the entire Republican campaign had been based around the theory that Hillary Clinton was a secret Satanist. Yes, calling Romney a racist was crying wolf. But you are still crying wolf.

It's 8,000 words, but worth your time if you're worried about Trump.

(HT: Scott Adams.)


Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions to be our next Attorney General, and by all accounts he is competent and qualified. However, I'm not enthusiastic about some of his positions on personal freedom issues.

He has opposed efforts to overhaul prison sentencing, back off the war on drugs and legalize marijuana.

Those three issues need to be re-evaluated by conservatives. Marijuana is already de facto legal in most of the country (possession being rarely prosecuted), so let's drop the charade. Prison reform is a tough issue that requires more expertise than I have, but I feel confident that America can design a more fair and more effective prison system than we have now.


Maybe a good start would be avoiding the disparaging term "flyover states".

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who hasn't ruled out such a challenge, said Tuesday that Democratic leadership needs to be more regionally diverse if the party is going to win back the rural voters who have fled to the GOP's tent. States like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin "don't have a lot of representation" relative to the coastal states, he said.

"We lost those voters and we've gotta find a way to get them back in, and that starts with a message that resonates in the flyover states," Ryan said.

That was a frequent theme among the Democrats emerging from Tuesday's closed-door meeting in the Capitol.


There's a lot to agree with in Glenn Greenwald's analysis of the ongoing refusal to learn the lessons of Trump and Brexit. Greenwald is far to my left (and supported Bernie Sanders), but nonetheless correctly identifies many of the critical failures of the "elite" on both the left and right.

The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much -- when they caused a ruckus -- and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population -- all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction -- are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They're going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard -- not without reason -- as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

I'm personally optimistic that Trump will be a better president than many people fear, but his election should be a stark warning to the elites who have "gorged themselves" at the expense of the rest of us.


Will Rahn of CBS correctly identifies the media's problem: hubris.

The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

It's a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There's been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from "heroin country" that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it's our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?


Harry Enten notices that of the states that elected Senators last week, 100% of them picked senators of the same party as the winner of their electoral votes -- that is, Trump states elected Republican senators, and Clinton states elected Democrat senators.

In the run-up to Election Day, we wondered whether more voters than normal would split their tickets because of Donald Trump's unique candidacy, perhaps voting for Republicans down-ballot but for Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest. Republican Senate candidates, unsure of how to deal with Trump, tried different approaches -- endorsing him, disavowing him, refusing to say whom they'd vote for. In the end, it didn't matter. Every state that elected a Republican candidate for Senate voted for Trump, and every state that elected a Democratic Senate candidate voted for Clinton.

The 2016 Senate elections were the most nationalized ever.

The amount of straight-ticket voting was unusual even for the highly polarized era we live in. Four years ago, for example, Democratic Senate candidates won in some states where President Obama lost by healthy margins, including Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. Republicans, meanwhile, held their seat in Nevada even though Mitt Romney lost there by 7 percentage points.

The evidence provided doesn't support the claim. It's entirely possible that ticket-splitting increased, decreased, or stayed the same. If Adam votes for Trump and a Democrat senate candidate, and Betty votes for Clinton and a Republican senate candidate, then they both split their votes. The data provided tells you nothing about the prevalence of vote splitting.


I'll update this with more thoughts as I process today's news.


You should be glued to the NYT Election Night Dashboard. Excellent tool.


I don't have a strong opinion on whether or not felons who have served their sentences should having their voting rights restored. I can see reasonable arguments in both directions. However, Terry McAuliffe's naked politicizing of what should be a solemn responsibility is appalling.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has granted voting rights to as many as 60,000 convicted felons just in time for them to register to vote, nearly five times more than previously reported and enough to win the state for his long-time friend, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Virginia chief executive claimed to have "no idea" how felons would vote and said he had never thought about it. Clinton's staff emailed him after the 200,000-voters move to call it a "great announcement" and set up a call about it.

McAuliffe also did a major favor for the wife of a senior FBI executive who was running for a Virginia legislative seat at the same time the bureau was investigating Clinton's use of private email addresses and a home-brew server to conduct the official diplomatic business of the U.S.


Well this video is fun:

Is this real or paranoia? Considering how the year as gone so far, maybe it's both!

There's also a lot of chatter from right-wing conspiracy sites about the contents of Weiner's laptop -- including claims by unnamed NYPD officials that they're prepared to push the investigation into Hillary themselves.

NYPD detectives and a NYPD Chief, the department's highest rank under Commissioner, said openly that if the FBI and Justice Department fail to garner timely indictments against Clinton and co- conspirators, NYPD will go public with the damaging emails now in the hands of FBI Director James Comey and many FBI field offices.

"What's in the emails is staggering and as a father, it turned my stomach," the NYPD Chief said. "There is not going to be any Houdini-like escape from what we found. We have copies of everything. We will ship them to Wikileaks or I will personally hold my own press conference if it comes to that."

The NYPD Chief said once Comey saw the alarming contents of the emails he was forced to reopen a criminal probe against Clinton.

"People are going to prison," he said.

Stay tuned... I think things are going to get weirder.


Well this video is fun:

Is this real or paranoia? Considering how the year as gone so far, maybe it's both!


One of the reasons that cybersecurity and information security are so important is that a breach leads to never-ending complications. Hillary Clinton's decision to use a poorly-secured email server in her house, compounded with her "extremely careless" handling of classified information, will bedevil her for the rest of her life -- and cause harm to America for far longer.

There's no way for anyone to know if or when the last shoe has dropped. Hillary could be blackmailed at any time -- with real or fake email dumps. America's allies and enemies can be manipulated or threatened. Information that leads to "exceptionally grave damage" to national security can be exploited secretly by our enemies without our knowledge.

The fallout of Hillary's "extremely careless" decisions will continue to harm her and America for decades.

In all likelihood, there are many foreign governments and perhaps many private parties who were able to gain access to the Clinton homebrew server. Any one of them at any time could dump more information that will be impossible to ignore. No one knows what that information will be, but it is certain to embarrass both Clinton and the United States, and perhaps compromise our allies as well.


Glenn Reynolds writes that our poor presidential candidates and the press that covers them are intentionally distracting America from our real problems. Kinda like a reality TV show writ large. He talks about the five wars we're fighting simultaneously, the implosion of Obamacare, and the national dept, but the most concerning topic to me is the despicable corruption that has infested our national institutions.

The FBI ultimately decided not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton over her email scandal. That created a lot of criticism. But now it turns out that the FBI official in charge of the investigation was awfully close to the Clintons. The FBI official is deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, was running for state senate in Virginia. Her campaign received a donation of nearly a half million dollars from the political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has been close to the Clintons for decades (and has his own brushes with the law). Then, a bit later, Andrew McCabe was put in charge of the investigation into Clinton's emails, an investigation that -- to the dismay of many longtime Bureau insiders -- recommended no charges. Now McCabe is facing calls for his resignation.

As Stephen Green points out, McAuliffe encouraged Jill McCabe to run just days after the Clinton email scandal broke. I'm sure he knew who her husband was when he did so. The FBI claims there's no connection, but this is very bad for the already-tarnished image of the FBI.

How can we have a fair and just civil service when 95% of their support goes to one party? It's hard to see how we can ever root out this corruption no matter who we elect, and that's dispiriting.


People can support whatever candidate they want, but it seems like an obvious problem when the civil service is so divergent from the rest of the population. If the civil service -- or a large corporation or university -- gave 95% of its support to a Republican you can bet there would be all sorts of discrimination lawsuits. Seems like we need some affirmative action in government hiring.

Of the roughly $2 million that federal workers from 14 agencies spent on presidential politics by the end of September, about $1.9 million, or 95 percent, went to the Democratic nominee's campaign, according to an analysis by The Hill.

Employees at all the agencies analyzed, without exception, are sending their campaign contributions overwhelmingly to Clinton over her Republican counterpart. Several agencies, such as the State Department, which Clinton once led, saw more than 99 percent of contributions going to Clinton.

Employees of the Department of Justice, which investigated Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, gave Clinton 97 percent of their donations. Trump received $8,756 from DOJ employees compared with $286,797 for Clinton. From IRS employees, Clinton received 94 percent of donations.

Furthermore, does it seem plausible that the DOJ performed a fair and just investigation of Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information? The conflict of interest here is hard to ignore.


Two links today about Hillary the bully. First, her treatment of her protective detail is abhorrent.

"I'm not voting for Clinton," Air Force Staff Sergeant Eric Bonner posted on Facebook in July.

"It's because she actually talked to me once. Almost a sentence," wrote the Air Force K-9 handler. "I got to do a few details involving Distinguished Visitors."

"One of my last details was for Hillary when she was Secretary of State," Bonner continued. "I helped with sweeps of her DV quarters and staff vehicles. Her words to me?" According to Bonner, Clinton told him, "Get that f***ing dog away from me."

"Then she turns to her security detail and berates them up and down about why that animal was in her quarters," Bonner added. "For the next 20 minutes, while I sit there waiting to be released, she lays into her detail, slamming the door in their faces when she's done. The Detail lead walks over, apologizes, and releases me. I apologize to him for getting him in trouble. His words, 'Happens every day, Brother.'"

Second, Scott Adams looks more broadly and indicts the whole Democrat Party as the bully party.

I've been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.

If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.

If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.

if you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.

On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.

We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.

Part of the reason that Leftists work so hard to cast conservatives as racist sexist Hitlers is to justify Leftist bullying. Who can object to bullying Hitler?


Michael Buble pulls a 15-year-old boy up on stage to sing with him. It feels staged to me; maybe I'm cynical. Either way, Buble's reaction when Sam first sings is fantastic.


We don't owe the system anything, it owes us. Read the rest for an up-to-date list of how the Democrats, the media, and the bureaucrats are pulling out all the stops to ensure Hillary's victory.

I'm not fond of Trump (ugh), but Hillary and her enablers are literal criminals who care about nothing except power and wealth for themselves.

We owe the system nothing. Nada. Zip. Instead, the system owes us fairness and honesty, and without them it has no right to our default acceptance of its results. That acceptance must be earned. This means that the system must aggressively police its own integrity, and this year it has utterly failed to do so.

The most important thing in a democratic republic, the keystone that holds it together and ensures the peaceful transition of power, is the ability for a loser to accept a loss. We used to be able to fight out our political differences and, if we came up short, shrug and say, "Well, next time we'll convince a majority." We could move on, confident that the playing field had been level, that we had been heard, and that we had lost fair and square.

Not anymore. Trump's wrong about a lot, but he's not wrong about this. He may very well lose, but it won't be fair and square. And Trump is not the problem for saying so.


Even the New York Times has been forced to address the Democrat dirty tricks revealed by Project Veritas. The NYT goes to great lengths to downplay the seriousness of the revelations and impugn Project Veritas, but they do link to the videos.

Hillary Clinton's campaign and the party committee moved to distance themselves from the behavior described in the videos, and the committee said the two men were no longer assisting it. The party also cast doubt on the veracity of the released videos, which were produced by Project Veritas, a conservative group led by the activist James O'Keefe that has been heavily criticized as using deceptive editing.

No mention that Hillary herself "has been heavily criticized" for deception. I love the use of the passive voice there... the NYT gets to undermine the credibility of Project Veritas without naming or quoting any sources. "Has been heavily criticized" by whom? Let us know the source of the criticism so we can judge the source's motives and credibility for ourselves.

At least they don't bury the lede:

A Democratic operative, wearing a checkered blue shirt and a tie, spoke calmly, explaining exactly how agents could infiltrate the rallies of Donald J. Trump and cause mayhem among the Republican's nominee team, his security staff and supporters.

Creating an explosive reaction, said the operative, Scott Foval, was "the whole point of it."

Mr. Foval and Robert Creamer, another operative working for the Democratic National Committee, were the unwitting stars of undercover videos released this week in which they and others were captured discussing unseemly tactics like instigating violence at Mr. Trump's rallies and arranging for fraudulent voting.

The Democrats paid people to instigate violence at Trump's rallies, and then publically hammered Trump for the violence at his rallies.

Of course now no one in the Democrat National Committee knows anything about it. Is Brazile the source for the "heavy criticism"? She's devoted to electing Hillary.

"We do not believe, or have any evidence to suggest, that the activities articulated in the video actually occurred," said Donna Brazile, the interim Democratic chairwoman. The Clinton campaign similarly denounced the tactics, while chiding Project Veritas, saying it has "been known to offering misleading video out of context."

The evidence that the "activities" occurred is that there was violence at some of Trump's rallies! Trump's rally in Chicago was cancelled because of a riot! People were injured!

For hours, the Chicago police, along with university officers, the federal authorities and others, were out here in force. A Chicago police spokesman said that city law enforcement authorities were not consulted and had no role in canceling the event. The spokesman said there had been five arrests, two by the Chicago police, two by the university's police and one by the Illinois State Police. The fire department said three people, including a police officer, were injured. ...

Arguments and small skirmishes broke out along the streets. At one point, the police rushed in, separating people.

At least one man was hit on the head with a police baton, witnesses said, and blood could be seen coming from a gash on his face. A woman, also bloodied, was led away by police.

Supporters

Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Monthly Archives

Site Info

Support

Resources