November 2016 Archives

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.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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