Gotta Love the Low Information Undertow

3 05 2016

Los Angeles

Azealia Banks and Ta Coates are feuding on Twitter, something about how she’s mad that Beyonce is too light skinned, or something like that.

Be careful, Azealia, you’re talking to someone who popularized the term “black body/ies.”

White Privilege

2 05 2016

Claremont, California

Claremont Independent, via AR:

The Scripps Survival Guide defines “White Privilege” as “the set of unearned benefits white people gain as a result of systematic racism and discrimination” that “benefits even those white people who are disadvantaged by other forms of institutionalized oppression like ableism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia.”


“White privilege” is how black millionaires convince themselves that broke white meth addicts in Appalachian trailer parks are oppressing them.

I Nailed It

1 05 2016


Totally nailed it.

When I predicted that the Obama daughters would be going to Harvard.

It was down to it or UT-Chattanooga, and I’m sure it as agonizing for her to pick between the two of them.  I mean, UT-Chattanooga is like the Harvard of Chattanooga.

Because it was such a gutsy longshot Leicester City style bet to make.

Obama to Trump:  Phooey on you, my daughter got into Harvard, and your kids only went to Georgetown and Penn, so nyah.



Sunday Wrap-Up

1 05 2016


* No shirt, no shoes, gives you service.

It was either him or Jared.

* All the fault of gangs, and all the fault of heroin.  Feel better now?  Or did you miss the sarcasm on my part?

* Ferguson:  Back to normal.

* Yet another glimpse into St. Charles County’s AFFH future.

* Speaking of St. Charles County.  Aside from his other issues, it says here he was an assistant wrestling coach, which makes me thing of Dennis Hastert.  Though, really, if he did anything like that, someone would have said something by now.


* Kenya.  Hmm.  I wonder what our own Kenyan has to say about this.  (He couldn’t be reached for comment.)

* Fine, I guess, but it seems a lot like closing the barn doors after the cows got away.

* By any other name.  Just say that they’re coming here to fight transphobia.


* For what?  The Federal crime of first degree dissent?

* Fine, all well and good.  But remember, before you do, your ability to engage in civil disobedience depends on how tightly your cause aligns with The Narrative.  And nothing is more narrativey than Martin Luther King.  Your cause?  Not so much.

* Shorter Salon:  Black suspect, yellow cop, and we can’t find a way to play pin the tail on the honkey.

* I’ll say it again, because it is one of the running themes of this space:  Data/mining/tech/analysis are how we do racial profiling while giving ourselves plausible deniability.  That is, until the super-sleuths at NPR start sniffing around.

* It’s gotten a lot of play, and while I did read it, I didn’t have much of a reaction to it.  So little that I put it off until this week’s wrap-up.  All I need to say is that the Obama legacy of “anger, fights and division” is only “disappointing” if you were ever so naive as to buy in to the 2007-8 era deceitful utopian marketing of the person of Baraq Obama.  People who paid attention knew that he was always the “bring a gun to a knife fight” sort of partisan-ideological-goon, as Bill Clinton called him, a “Chicago thug.”

* Here’s one thing that Big Ricky hasn’t considered and people worrying about what he is doing haven’t realized.  This “delegate poaching” strategy of his is nothing more than him getting verbal commits from delegates that they would vote for Big Ricky after the first ballot, if there’s no winner on the first ballot.  The problem is that verbal commitments are usually as good as they paper they’re written on.  These people who gave Big Ricky their verbal commits saw the results from New York State, then Acela Tuesday, and will be watching things play out the rest of the season.  And they’re going to realize that if Trump is close to but not at or above 1237, they should get him above that on the second ballot.

Besides, if it comes down to negotiation at the convention, Trump has Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, lots of casinos.  The entire #NeverTrump crowd and the entire Republican establishment and all their combined assets won’t be able to outglitz Trump if it gets to that.  I mean, if you’re a Cruz delegate, thinking about who to vote for on the second ballot, would you rather spend two days and a night in Trump’s own nest on the 68th floor of Trump Tower, or take a tour of the Koch Brothers’ chemical processing plants in Kansas?

* The WRPT isn’t needed here, because they give us plenty of visual hints.  However, in the absence of those, and presuming the necessity of the WRPT, it would have kicked in at “neighbors had no idea this was going on,” about something so visually and openly obvious.  That level of insouciance screams Bell Curve City.

* It’s The Onion, it’s also the truth.


* Queen’s English?  Hardly!

* Ann Coulter got raked over the coals for making the same point.

* Curious:  In spite of my generation and its stereotype, I don’t know the answer to this offhand.  But is there a character in the Marvel Comics universe that combats sociopolitical hypocrisy?

* Deny?  Why would you want to be so Islamophobic to deny this?  Most Green Party style leftists are actually proud of this, they like to brag about all the intersectionality they’ve got going on.

* Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, transgenders and transsexuals, cats and dogs, may we draw an inference from this about French prisons?

* “No diversity out here, either.”

* Black Rhodes Scholar refuses to tip his white waitressNow if that isn’t sticking it to white privilege, I don’t know what is.

(Insert “black people don’t tip anyway” and “how can you tell it was a political protest” one-liners here)


* It’s just one of the many neat counterintuitive things water can do.

* The most improbable part of George Bingham’s Fur Traders Descending the Missouri is the fact that he painted a cat in the canoe.  I got the impression the first time I saw it, and I still think, that he pained the cat there as an afterthought, because the painting was too busy on the right half.  Who in the hell, after all, takes a cat on a canoe?


* Speaking of things that lean to one side…

* Speaking of cats.  Though I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to keeping cats as pets, what we don’t know won’t hurt us.  I wouldn’t want to know what cats are really thinking, because if they think as arrogantly and selfishly as they act, nobody would ever want to own one.

* She shouldn’t have stopped him.  “REBLE” would have been an indicator to his future potential girlfriends what a dumbass they’re about to hook up with.

* This reminds me of the BSOD meme.  And while I’m on the subject, do not do an in-place “up”-grade from Win 7/8 to Win 10, because a lot of people who do all of a sudden find their login passwords don’t work.  A fresh Win 10 install, okay.  Which reminds me:  It looks like the DNC in Philly in July is going to be powered by MSFT.

* Good news.  Now, who wants to put the bell around the cat?  Translated:  We can probably get to all this oceanic uranium, but there’s almost no political will to build any new fission power plants.

* It can record video?  Well then, don’t go to a movie house.


Falling Out of the Intelligent Design

30 04 2016


Rich Danker, who ran a pro-Cruz 527, spills the beans.

There’s a lot here, so scuba gear.

It’s easy to forget, but when Ted Cruz announced his presidential candidacy 13 months ago at Liberty University, he was far from top-tier status. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker were in front, with Ben Carson showing well as the outsider candidate. Many polls did not bother to include Donald Trump, and those that did had him in the low single digits. Cruz was in the high single digits – in the middle of the pack of an unusually long list of conservatives competing to be the nominee.

I wrote here myself after Trump announced that I thought at the time that his effect on the race that it would start a demolition derby in that candidates who were considered top tier at the time would crash and burn way earlier than expected, and candidates in lower tiers would last longer than they thought, and that the ultimate nominee, while not being Trump himself, would be a surprise, considering the conventional wisdom pre-Trump.  The only thing wrong about my analysis is the part about the ultimate nominee.

It should also be noted that Cruz was the first to announce his campaign formally, in March of last year.  At that time, nobody but nobody but nobody was thinking that Trump would run, he did not announce until June 16, and only after a very short period of media speculation about a candidacy.  Trump was not in any polling at the time of Cruz’s announcement.

But I believe this very political shrewdness is also what undermined his quest for the GOP nomination. Cruz’s obsession with being the conservative in the race barred the door to the broader Republican primary electorate that, while just as conservative as Cruz, does not base its vote on an ideological scorecard, or even fidelity to the conservative movement.

This hearkens to David French’s famous NRO piece back in January, that most “conservatives” aren’t that ideological, they just want someone to bare fangs against the kook left, and in fact, too much conservative ideological purity, especially on the wrong issues, will defeat that purpose.

Cruz’s operation was oriented around microtargeting various types of voters using big data. This involved reaching individual voters with unique messages designed to appeal to their researched opinions. It was executed using everything from Facebook ads to canvassing via phone banking and door knocking through a large network of volunteers.

Trump’s operation essentially consisted of the candidate doing news interviews, flying around to speak at rallies, and issuing direct public statements on channels like Twitter. Only shortly before the actual voting did he deploy paid advertising and use volunteers. Unlike Cruz, he appears to have done no polling or other type of opinion research. Rather than microtargeting, Trump aimed for mass appeal among the GOP electorate.

Thereby proving once again that big data isn’t that important.  Big data and microtargeting got the credit for Obama eeking out re-election in 2012, and I bought into that bullshit at first myself.  Then the next summer came, the Census Bureau report on who turned out to vote and who didn’t, and it showed that all the precious constituencies that were targets of Obama campaign big data microtargeting turned out less in 2012 than they did in 2008, that insofar as turnout, it was the middle aged and elderly black women that turned out in even bigger numbers in 2012 than they did in 2008, that saved his bacon.  They’re not the kind of people you reach with Facebook ads.

If you had described these two approaches to any professional in politics before the campaign started, they would have predicted Trump to fail spectacularly. This is what most prognosticators like Nate Silver on the left and Karl Rove on the right did. They would have thought it insane that his approach – never mind his persona – would actually serve to make him the frontrunner. Trump threw out virtually every teaching in the rulebook of how to run for president.

And is in the process proving the irrelevance of a lot of industries and a lot of mindsets.  That sound you hear is of a lot of polysci, PR and marketing textbooks being torn up in advance of having to be rewritten. It also explains why certain people in certain industries are so desperate to ruin Trump, because his victory ends their industries and therefore their jobs.

Political professionals have gotten so much power in presidential campaigns that they have diluted the candidates of a message and put up barriers to getting votes. They convince the candidates to run from most media interviews for fear of a gaffe (making them ultimately more gaffe-prone since they get rusty), stick to a boring, limited stump speech to give their talking points more resonance (even though saying something in a new way is more potent), and slice and dice the voters so that virtually everything the candidate says is geared toward an interest group rather than the electorate per se.

Why? Being stage-managed gives more power to the consultants. It makes the candidates more dependent on staff and vendors to navigate them through the torture chamber those people make the election into. The consultants become the smart people and the candidate is a commodity. This attitude is shared by the political media, whose access to the candidates is dependent on sharing a worldview about campaigns with those consultants.

And consultants are often the paid stooges of plutocrats, he might have added. Consultants want to be hired and paid, so they want candidates who are able to raise money. This is why they direct their candidates to raise lots of money from big donors by having them cede to the wishes of big donors. While money is not a problem for Trump, he’s also not in much of a mood to spend it just for the hell of it. His campaign has spent shockingly little, and yet, he’s on the vestibule of the party nomination.

It’s giving Trump too much credit to say that he meant to expose the stupidity of professionalized politics, but that’s what he ended up doing. And he got lucky in the sense that his final primary opponent – although in just about every other way the type voters were looking for in 2016 – was somebody who leaned on that professionalism.

My read on this is that it’s half by design and half by accident.  Hence the title of this post.

Campaign strategy aside, many conservatives are perplexed that Ted Cruz could lose to Donald Trump when Cruz is undoubtedly the closest ideological approximation to Ronald Reagan since he left the scene. He’s the perfect conservative, many said, so how could he lose in a conservative primary?

Because Cruz and Co. operated as if the politics of the season were nothing more than a conservative purity contest.  And that of course is a derivative of what is currently my blog’s subtitle/tagline:  I don’t care who casts the votes or who counts the votes. I care about who interprets the results.  Just as the Republican establishment has, in its own self-interest, and the interest of major party donors, interpreted 2012 as a function of the party and its 2012 nominee not being open borders enough, lamestream conservative ideological cultists interpreted the results of 2012 as a matter of Romney not being a pure enough lamestream conservative, and assumed that the missing white voters were lamestream conservative ideological cultists who did a purity test on Romney and didn’t like the results. (That is actually one of the essences of a cult — Giving it credit for everything that goes right, and citing the lack of it for everything that goes wrong.)  Both contentions have been proven false over and over again, but nobody is paying attention to good solid reason.  So this is why Jeb! and Marco Rubio did what they did, because their campaigns were products of the “not open borders enough” bullshit interpretation, and this is why Ted Cruz did what he did, because his campaign was a product of the “not a pure enough conservative” bullshit interpretation.

I think this analysis misunderstands how Reagan framed himself as a candidate. He was not running to be winner of the CPAC straw poll or get the most conservative endorsements. He made it clear he was running to revive the U.S. economy and defeat the Soviet Union. Those were objectives that made it easy for any voter to support him. A majority ended up getting behind him because his ideas achieved those objectives, not because they dazzled on an ideological scorecard. Like Cruz, Reagan in 1980 had to get by better-funded establishment Republicans. But he didn’t try to shrink the nominating contest into a conservative beauty pageant.

It’s not even that difficult.  Lamestream conservative purity made a lot more sense in 1980, because lamestream conservatism was established to solve 1980’s problems.  Problem is, the problems of 1980 that lamestream conservatives set out to solve, they solved them, and they’re no longer problems.  Yet and still, today’s lamestream conservatives haven’t realized that.

I believe Cruz’s ideas on reviving the economy and destroying ISIS could have won over voters, but they got diluted by his quest to be seen as the most conservative candidate in the field – a contest that’s a sideshow to most Republican voters. Picking a president is about the candidate’s vision of where to take America. “Make America Great Again” may be facile but it meets this objective. Cruz did not have a campaign theme like this of his own, never mind a slogan for it.

Cruz did have a campaign slogan of his own.  The problem is, it was either ambiguous or disturbing, depending how you interpreted it.  One could either read “Trusted” or “TrusTED” from the way the letters were colored.  And that speaks to the first problem, the ambiguity.  The other problem is that if one interprets it as “Trust Ted,” that leaves a lot of people with the impression that Ted has done a lot of things in the past to make him untrustworthy, and he’s trying to live that down with his slogan.  When someone tells you in the imperative sense to trust them, you usually think that they can’t be trusted, and you fear in the back if your mind that if you do trust them, they’re going to let you down. “Trust me” is often the final sales pitch of the scam artist.

But Reagan made his conservatism seem utterly relevant to the world he was campaigning in.

I just explained that.

Donald Trump loses to Ted Cruz on a conservative scorecard, but he did a better job on selling his conservative positions as the cures to today’s public evils.

Better put:  Ted Cruz wants to solve 1980’s already solved problems, Donald Trump wants to solve 2016’s problems that have become apparent in the wake of 1980’s problems being solved.

Close Call

27 04 2016


Hot tub time machine, dial it back to November 2000 through January 2001.

Let’s say that the recount, court, lawsuit, dimpled chad, hulabaloo would have gotten really bad, and it would have resulted in no winner in the Bush vs Gore election actually being certified.  (Though, in reality, as Mark Levin has proven, there was no real world path for either Gore to win or for no winner to be declared, all the real world possible scenarios led straight to Bush being the 43rd President.)  This would have meant that on January 20, 2001 at noon, Dennis Hastert would have become President.

Virtue Signaling

26 04 2016


Yeah, I noticed that some time back.


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