April 2016 Archives

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders said "I could care less" this week. STOP THE MADNESS. G+
"If you are a Republican voter who refuses to accept that Hillary is more appalling choice than Trump, then you have made a choice that a Hillary presidency is not something you're willing to do everything you can to prevent. And you have to own that choice." -- Herman Cain

I do own that choice.  I think Hillary Clinton would be a terrible President, but I can't see how she -- from my very conservative perspective -- is objectively worse than Donald Trump.  I am not willing to do everything to prevent a Hillary presidency, when the alternative is -- at best -- no better.

It's not my job to rationalize the choice of Donald Trump; it's his job to convince me that he would be a good President.  Heck, he only has to convince me that he wouldn't be a terrible President.  And so far, he's done nothing but the opposite. G+
Long story short: Trump's bigger numbers do not come from convincing more people to vote for him, but from convincing people that he is the inevitable nominee, so if they don't support him, they stay home.

It's odd that they would believe his lie that he is the inevitable nominee, since presumably most of the reason they dislike him is because he is a huge liar.  But there you have it. G+
I finally finished the 5-pound Hershey's chocolate bar I got for Christmas. G+
This page is a good reference for the likelihood of Trump getting a majority of the delegates.  Basically, 538 has targets they think the candidate needs to hit in order to get a majority of the delegates, and Trump's been slightly behind those targets for most of the race, and has been falling behind more with almost every race.  Obviously he got closer to his target with NY's primary, but he's still well behind.

The biggest day left, other than the final day on June 7, is this Tuesday.  Trump has a high chance of getting the most votes in the contests, but he has to win 56% of the delegates to hit his 538 "target" for the day ... and needs 83% (143 of 172) to get back on track to a majority overall.

There's almost no chance he can get the nomination with committed delegates.  He needs the unbound delegates, probably at least 1/3 of them.  And the unbound delegates are usually people who work in the party, who tend to hate Trump.  Since Trump has been getting only about 1/3 of the popular vote, and the popular vote tends to support him more than the "insiders" do, it seems unlikely he'll get that much of the unbound delegates. G+
This scene isn't the most disturbing part of the film; that would be the fact that The Joker, the one doing the torturing of Robin, is Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker.  He's as bad as Anakin. G+
Something I wrote last August: "Bernie Sanders has literally no chance of being elected President.  It isn't possible.  He is just way too far left.  He is like Trump or Cruz ... he speaks to a lot of feelings and concerns of a lot of people, but at the end of the day, there's no chance anything close to a majority of people will vote for him." G+
I made up a club to help further my views.  My club is open to anyone, and the only rules are that majority rules.  My club does stuff, like endorse policies and candidates for office.

So there's 80 of us, and 20 of them are unhappy with the policies and candidates we endorse, so they get 20 of their friends to join our club and push for a change in direction.  The other 60 of us, well, we are split between a couple of different directions (35 one way, 25 another) ... but we all agree we don't want the change that these 40 other people want.

They are telling us that because they have 40 people -- more than the other two groups, at 35 and 25 -- they should get to tell the rest of us what to do.  We are perfectly willing to let them have their way, if they get a majority.  But they don't.

They tell us the process is "rigged" just because they can't have their way, even if they don't have a majority.

We think they are being dishonest and stupid. G+

The Prince of China died today.

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The Prince of China died today. G+
Nothing will change, in terms of who is deported, as a result of the Supreme Court's decision on the President's immigration executive order.  Everyone in that courtroom -- all eight justices, and all the attorneys -- agrees that the President has full authority to decide to not deport someone, individually or as a group.  I've been saying that from the beginning of this controversy, and the Texas Solicitor General conceded it in court:

"[C]an the government say to all of these people, and say it all at once, not one by one, yes, ….all of you are low priority. We will not be coming after you, and we will not deport you unless we change our minds?"  "Justice Kagan, they can do that."

So all of the protestors saying "don't break up families!" on one side, and "deport the illegals!" on the other, are simply arguing the wrong case, because it's got nothing to do with this one.

This case is only about one thing: whether those people covered under the executive order can get certain benefits, in particular, whether they can start accruing time for Social Security and Medicare benefits.

And remember, an "executive action" is not a real thing in the law.  It's just the President telling the people who work for him what to do, and this action to give these benefits is lawful (or not) regardless of whether he tells those people what to do verbally, through a written executive order, or sent using Morse code generated by dribbling a basketball.  All that matters is whether the order he gives, however transmitted or recorded, is lawful. G+

This is bad.  Really bad.

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Donald Trump has "Lyin' Ted" and "Crooked Hillary." How about "Stupid Donald"? G+
Kasich gives the best answer possible, and gets grief for it.  The people who are criticizing him care more about grandstanding for political points than actually preventing sexual assault.  No, he is not blaming the victim; but potential victims can take steps to make becoming a victim less likely.  And this is the biggest thing they can do to that end. G+
Corey Lewandowski did not avoid being charged because he didn't do it.  He did it.  The videos prove it.  The prosecutors even said he did what Fields said, in that he grabbed her and violently pulled her back, and that this meets the threshold of simple assault, and he was properly charged by the police for that crime.

However, they also said that Lewandowski would have a credible defense in court: that he was defending Trump from Fields, because Fields touched Trump.  The prosecutors do not accept that argument, of course: they even said Trump's security didn't think that Fields was a threat.  But the question of whether Lewandowski thought he did is enough, probably, to provide reasonable doubt.

So, yeah.  Lewandowski violently grabbed Fields, and then lied about it, and so did Trump. G+
I say "good boy" to my dog to confuse her. G+

Trump vs. Reality.

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Dear America,

Stop saying that the primary process has anything to do with whether we are a democracy, or a republic.  Stop saying (as a Trump guy did on TV) that in Colorado, people in the armed services were denied the right to vote for President.

Stop thinking that we are electing a President.  We are not.  We are selecting delegates who will go to the convention of a private organization and pick the person who will represent that private organization in the presidential election.  This private organization can make up any rules it wants to.  It can pick its nominee based on a game of Star Trek Pinball if it wants to (which I'd be in favor of).

If you don't like it, then participate in the party to change it, or don't vote for their candidate ... or just be quiet.  But don't think you can say that the party is corrupt and rigged against you, and think that you can convince the people in the party to support you.

Along those lines, please stop saying that Cruz won in Colorado primarily because he organized better.  The truth is that he didn't really organize in Colorado at all.  The reason he won is not because his campaign did a better job, but because the people who are already involved with the party, who know the rules, who have been at this a long time ... they hate Trump, and prefer Cruz.

That's the bottom line here.  Republicans who understand politics better, and participate more, favor Cruz over Trump, by a huge margin.  That is why he won in Colorado.  There's no secret sauce, there's no rigging, there's no corruption ... there's just a popularity contest inside this private organization that Trump is trying to win the approval of, and Cruz won it. G+
My favorite part of Trump's whining about an "unfair" process is that he is arguing against himself, constantly.  In Louisiana, he got a few more votes than Cruz, but ended up with the same number of bound delegates.  "Unfair!," cries Trump.  After all, he got more votes, so he should get more delegates.

The problem is that Trump has about 35 percent of the votes, but about 45 percent of the delegates.  If it were a fair system and he got the proportional number of delegates to votes, he'd have far fewer delegates. G+
I see a commercial for "Peloton."  And they say you can "ride live with some of the best studio cycling instructors in the country."

What am I missing, that I don't understand the value of a "cycling instructor"?  I don't think I need someone to instruct me how to push bicycle pedals.  I've never understood this.  Someone help me! G+
Does anyone think that if the tables were turned and Trump won the Colorado delegates, he would be saying it was "unfair"?  Did Trump say it was "unfair" when he won the Nevada or Hawaii or Kentucky caucus? G+
The idea that this was an intentional way to hurt Trump and help Cruz is bizarre.  The number on the ballot isn't what matters: it's the placement on the ballot.  So if you pick the second "378," that will count for the Trump delegate "379," even though it says "378."  So someone who wants to vote for "378" might end up voting for "379" by mistake, just as easily as the other way around.

Further, this is so obvious and easy to capture with a picture, that there's no actual reason to do this intentionally.

So, no, this was not a "dirty trick," unless the trick was to make Trump folks lose their heads. G+
"Making America Great Again" -- Washington State Republican Party Convention, Tacoma 2012 G+
If there is a revolution over the idea that you need a majority to be the nominee, then it is the stupidest revolution ever. G+
Dear America,

Can someone tell me what's wrong with saying that people do not have to participate in wedding ceremonies they disagree with?

I read this article on CNN and I still don't get it.  A therapist asks, "What if ... she decided as a lesbian therapist that she would stop treating heterosexuals? Or that she wouldn't help a couple who had had an affair?"

Then they could go elsewhere.  If doing that violates your sincerely held beliefs, then who is anyone to demand that you violate them, or that you don't go into private practice just because you hold those beliefs?

I am not asking you to explain to me how it might hurt someone's feelings, or that a Christian should love everyone.  I personally would not engage in most forms of discrimination.  But it seems worse to me to tell someone they cannot discriminate, which violates fundamental liberty the government exists for the purpose of defending, than the discrimination itself.

Plus, it's legal in every state of the union to discriminate against people for all sorts of reasons.  I can refuse service to short, ugly, or stupid people ... or tall, beautiful, and brilliant people.  So why should this one category of things -- sexual orientation/identity/etc. -- get special protection from discrimination, along with race, religion, and sex?

I just don't see the problem here that people are protesting against.  They clearly are not protesting against "discrimination," they are saying this specific form of discrimination is particularly wrong and should get special legal protection, and I don't understand it.  Someone help me see it.  Thanks! G+
People act like the idea of someone other than Cruz or Trump winning the GOP nomination would be a great offense because the party would be "parachuting" someone in to be the nominee against the will of the people.

But that isn't what would happen.  What would happen is that a majority of the delegates could not agree on Trump or Cruz, and the delegates would therefore have no choice but to look elsewhere.  This is all in the hands of the delegates.  If a majority of them can pick Trump or Cruz, it will be Trump or Cruz.  If they cannot, then it won't. G+
Sitcom idea: Cruz wins general election with Trump as his running mate. Trump plots how to get rid of Cruz in each episode. G+
Here's what people don't get about Kasich's chances to be the nominee.

Going in to the convention, most delegates are required by rule to vote for a certain candidate.  After that (either on the second, or third, etc., depending on the state), the delegates vote for whoever they want to.  And that very well could be completely different from who they were required to vote for.  It's up to them: the party in each state (though caucuses and conventions) elected those delegates, and if you don't like how they vote, then you should have participated in the caucuses and conventions.

So no candidate wins without a majority of the delegates voting for them.  Trump is unlikely to get that on the first ballot, and he is even less likely to get it on a subsequent ballot, because it is far more likely that an anti-Trump delegate is allocated to vote for Trump, than it is for a pro-Trump delegate to be allocated to vote for someone else, because anti-Trump forces are more active within the party's cacuses and conventions.  Trump will lose votes on subsequent ballots.

For a normal second-place candidate, that would be the end of it: they would be the nominee.  But Cruz is not a normal second-place candidate.  He is broadly disliked both inside, and outside, the party.  He is almost a certain loss in the general election, according to all data we've got (although an indictment against Clinton, or a third-party candidate on the left, could change matters).

Many pundits are just assuming that the delegates will coalesce around Cruz.  I admit that this is the most likely possibility.  But there's a nontrivial chance that Trump will maintain 30-40% of the delegates, and that up to 25% of the remaining delegates refuse to support either Cruz or Trump, because Cruz can't win and Trump is terrible for the country if he does win.

If that happens, then you can have a situation where it doesn't matter how many votes you have: neither Cruz nor Trump wins.  Then the Cruz and other non-Trump delegates need to come together and find someone they can agree on, and maybe that's Kasich.

Yes, it's a long shot.  But this is how conventions work.  You get leverage, you use it, and you work to forge consensus until you get someone that a majority can support.  That won't be Trump; it might be Cruz.  But it might not be Cruz.

The idea that this would in some way violate any principles of democracy or fairness is nonsense.  It's people picking other people to represent them at the party convention, and those people choosing the nominee.

I suggest if you still think this is unfair, then you explain what you think would be more fair. G+
This is super painful, Fox News. G+
Modest proposal for Trump, to solve global warming, terrorism, and immigration at the same time.

Freeze all the terrorists in carbonite harvested from the atmosphere and use their bodies as bricks to build the wall on our southern border.  And make Mexico pay for it. G+
Chuck Todd, leading Reince Priebus: "Who does choose the nominee here?  Is it Republican primary voters, or is it the delegates?"

The delegates.  Period.

The caucus and primary systems choose who the delegates are, and decide who those delegates have to vote for on the first ballot.  But on the second ballot -- if no one gets a majority on the first -- it is all in the hands of the delegates.

And remember, the whole point of the nominee of the party is that it is the party -- which is a private organization -- deciding which candidate to put its endorsement on.  The party gets to decide who that will be, and how that person is selected.  If you don't like it, join the party and fix it from the inside, or join another party, or start your own party, or support a candidate who is not endorsed by any party.

Our whole system is based on freedom and choices and individual rights.  Any group can endorse any candidates.  It just so happens that we have two groups who are the most popular, and most voters -- by their own choice -- vote for the candidates those two groups endorse. G+
I won't ever do business with Ally Bank, because their commercials are a lie (a lot like Liberty Mutual).  Their whole ad strategy is based on the idea that it is a "fact" that "no branches equals great rates."  No, in fact, it doesn't.  That isn't remotely a "fact."  The two things are mostly unrelated.  You can have the best rates with branches, and the worst rates without them.

It's like saying that having a quarterback from Pittsburgh equals winning Super Bowls.

Worse, their commercials are just as inane as their slogan, because they try to say other things that are also true ... none of which are actually true.  Like "Grandkids = Free Tech Support" and "Working From Home = Not Working" and other stupid claims.

So ... I will never do business with Ally Bank.  They don't want customers who think. G+
I've said from the beginning that Trump won't win, because he wouldn't win a majority of the delegates before convention, and if he didn't do that, he wouldn't be able to win it at convention either.

(Actually, I said Trump "can't" win, but since that's a position that's causes unnecessarily silly arguments, I've usually framed it as "won't" win.)

I wasn't right about everything.  Early on I said he would probably have a ceiling of about 30%, and it went up to 40% in some states, and occasionally over 50%.  But my basic analysis has held: he would not get reasonably close to a majority of the votes in the proportional states, so he'd need almost all of the winner-take-all states.  And I said he wouldn't do that, so therefore, he wouldn't win the nomination, because if it went to convention, the delegates would flee on the second ballot.

Not too many people have agreed with me.  Indeed, for most of February and March, people have said I'm crazy for saying Trump won't just win the nomination outright, and crazier still for saying that Trump wouldn't just be given the nomination if he got close.

But the tide of opinion is starting to turn back to where I've been since last fall.  This is a good piece by Nate Silver that gets into more of the details of how Trump won't win at convention. G+
Dear Internet,

Stop saying Trump beat Cruz in Louisiana.  It never happened.  They both won Louisiana, tying for first place, with 18 delegates each.

This Politico article is an example of what is so completely ignorant about much of the media coverage of the GOP nomination fight.  It never mentions the fact that the only thing that matters is how many delegates you win, and that Trump and Cruz tied in delegates based on the close result.  Therefore, they both won.  It could not matter less  -- except in the perception of people who do not understand the system -- who ended up with more votes, because it was a tie.

And the reason this matters is because now people are arguing that because Trump "won" Louisiana, therefore he should get more delegates.

The system is complicated, but at root, it is very simple.  Follow along at home:

* The presidential nominee for the party must get a majority of delegates at the national convention to vote for him to be the nominee
* Each state sends a certain number of delegates to the national convention, and chooses how those delegates are chosen based on established rules

That's it.  It's not about votes, it's about delegates.  The difference in votes between Cruz and Trump in Louisiana only matter to the extent the rules in Louisiana's GOP says it matters.  And in this case, the difference is such that the rules say the difference does not matter.  Therefore, Trump did not beat Cruz.

And the rules in Louisiana say some other things, that delegates bound to a candidate (in this case, Rubio) who has dropped out of the race are free to vote for whomever they wish ... and that means they will probably all vote for Cruz, because they are mostly conservative Republicans, and Trump isn't and Cruz is.  Further, there's five additional unbound delegates in Louisiana, and they too will likely vote for Cruz, for similar reasons.

Trump can scream about how it's not fair, but he's lying.  It is entirely fair, because it's the rules of the game, rules he knew and agreed to.  And they aren't even complicated rules.

This is just another example of how Trump is completely unprincipled.  He doesn't want a fair fight: he wants to win even if it means doing it unfairly.  Even if a majority of the party opposes him -- and so far, from the beginning, that has appeared to be the case -- he still thinks they should just support him because there's more people supporting him than any other one candidate.  That's stupid, but that's what he says. G+
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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