2019 Predictions Wrap Up

I had a fairly substantial improvement in the predictions biz success rate this year so let me take a moment to brag:

Whoohoo!

Now to my predictions!

Mueller’s Investigation will not show any collusion between Trump or the Trump campaign and Russia to “hack” the election.

Easy win.  The charge was absurd to begin with, so the only uncertainty was when the report would be released, not what it would say.  So the much awaited “Mueller Time” turned out to be a big goose egg for the Democrats and media.  Not that it mattered.  They still believe Trump is a Russkie spy anyway.

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on articles of impeachment this year.

This was getting a little down to the wire, but the Judiciary committee finally voted on impeachment. Of course, even if they hadn’t I might have taken the credit for this anyway since the House did hold an “impeachment inquiry” then of course a full vote in the House.  But I still win even with my very specific prediction.  I must have powers!

Sorry Bill Maher, but no recession by the end of this year.

Not just Maher, but multiple economists all generated “reports” stating that the economy had topped out and would begin sliding into recession or that Trump’s crazy trade policy would push us into recession; in any case, the economy would be in recession in time for the 2020 election.  This sounded like a lot of wishful thinking, and considering some of the sources (I’m looking at you Mark Zandi!) I figured this was a hope, not a data driven prediction.

No Brexit.

In spite of that “hard date” of October 31, 2019, I had a suspicion that with a government jam packed with remainers, it would be next to impossible to push Brexit through this year, and on that I was correct.  Of course, the recent British elections have cleared that logjam, so next year may be a different story.

President Trump will have another Supreme Court nomination to make by the end of the year

This was my choke point.  I thought that Clarence Thomas might see the opportunity to resign and get a strict constructionist, a much younger one, to replace him.  Instead, Thomas is having the time of his life and shows no sign of leaving.  RBG is apparently much sicker than was known this time last year but I saw a Thomas graceful exit as more likely than Ruth Bader Ginsberg being carried out.

So that gives me an 80% success rate this year.  Let’s see if I can maintain that level of success next year!

With a short impeachment trial, more GOP sabotage of Trump

I almost popped out of my chair when I saw these headlines:

U.S. Senate leader McConnell raises possibility of quick impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised the prospect on Tuesday of a short Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump in which no witnesses would be called.

Unless McConnell’s goal is to damage Trump’s re-election chances, that’s one of the dumbest things he could do.

While Trump has repeatedly called the House Democrats’ impeachment investigation a “witch hunt,” he also has called for a trial with witnesses testifying.

In a tweet on Dec. 5, he wrote: “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify.” He was referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Biden, his son Hunter and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all Democrats.

Last week, Trump dispatched his top White House lawyers to attend a lunch with Senate Republicans to discuss the possible impeachment trial.

White House legislative liaison Eric Ueland told reporters after that meeting that in order for Trump to make an effective case to the Senate, “We need both a full trial and the opportunity to call witnesses,” pointing to the Senate chamber.

This guy gets it.

McConnell unfortunately does not. Either a short Senate trial, or a motion to dismiss, will make it look like the fix was in and instead of giving Trump a chance to make his case, it will make him look guilty as hell, saved only by slavish Trumpies in the Senate.  Of course, there are no Trumpies in the Senate, slavish or otherwise. So that makes McConnell’s statement all the more confusing.  Does McConnell actually want to taint Trump and damage his re-election chances?

Senator Lindsey Graham is also another one who wants to end this quickly.  Version 1.0 has been trying to masquerade as Graham version 2.0.  It didn’t work.  He wants to let the managers present their case, then vote.  No witnesses called.

“My goal is to end this as soon as possible for the good of the country because I think it’s a danger to the presidency to legitimize this,” Graham stated.

“Does that mean no witnesses at all?” Hemmer asked.

“I don’t need any witnesses at all. I am ready to go,” Graham replied, adding that the issue of Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine can be addressed outside of impeachment hearings.

No it can’t.  Nothing will be addressed, ever if it’s not addressed during the impeachment trial.  That’s the necessity of having a trial in the Senate for as long as it takes to pick apart this fake frame job.  If that means calling every single witness who was called in during the House hearings, and pick apart exactly what they think the President did that was impeachable, including Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, so be it.  Sure there is a fun aspect to this too.  The prospect of getting Hunter under oath and finding out exactly how much his father knew is tantalizing, as well as getting Adam Schiff under oath and pick apart the timeline of his contact with the whistleblower, and scheduling it during the Iowa caucuses would be high political art.

However the Senate GOP establishment types who want to give the House Democrats a pass on this snow job raises my alarm bells.  Is the goal to harm Trump by not giving him a chance to expose this fraudulent impeachment, or are they trying to hide something else?  I don’t know, but this is yet another reminder that the goals of GOP office holders and GOP voters don’t always, or even most of the time, line up.

 

Not Wired for Democracy

Although skepticism of democracy is usually an aspect of the right (and the founders BTW), in the Trump era it is seeping over to the left.  After all, what good is democracy if it doesn’t elect the people I like?  And that seems to be exactly the conclusion that UC Irvine Professor Shawn Rosenberg has come to, as noted in this Politico article.

“Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.””

Reading that paragraph, I rub my chin and thoughtfully consider the meaning behind the text and can only conclude…

HaHaHaHah!

So “society’s “elites”—experts and public figures” have lost control of the narrative so democracy stinks.

Of course, the left has always been a bit transactional when it comes to Enlightenment concepts like representative government and individual rights.  They by and large agree with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that democracy is a train, and when it takes you where you want to go, you get off.  They are not as explicit as the Turkish President was in saying that, but it’s fairly easy to read between the lines given the #resistance and the more or less permanent coup that’s been ongoing since inauguration of President Trump.

In another left leaning “end of democracy” porn, this time from The Atlantic, How America Ends, senior editor Yoni Appelbaum, goes down the predictable, yet totally opposite of reality view of; what if Trump and his supporters don’t accept the consequences of his all but inevitable defeat in 2020?  Or as he states, “democracy depends on the consent of the losers.” In its own way, that’s actually profound.  But he’s got his article aimed at the wrong direction.  Appelbaum and his allies in the media specifically and the left in general, never consented or accepted their loss in 2016. They’ve totally rejected the election results, and have acted in a way that regards the current administration as totally illegitimate.

I wrote about this strain on the idea of representative government back on Inauguration Day in 2017 when I posted how gob smacked I was that the left still hadn’t got over their election defeat.  Well here we are almost 3 years later and in the midst of an absurd impeachment battle, it’s clear to me that the left isn’t wired for democracy.  The problem is, both sides have to accept the rules to make representative government work, and since one side has categorically rejected the rules, Rosenberg’s prediction, “democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail,” is likely to come true.

 

Crisis of Infinite Earths: The Endgame of the Arrowverse

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a big fan of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and the massive fan payoff that was Avengers: Endgame.  DC’s movie universe has not fared so well.  You know things are bad when the two biggest characters in their franchise, Superman and Batman, both get “fired” in the same month.  But on TV, it’s a different story…

The Arrowverse, the interconnected TV DC superhero shows that run on the CW network, have established a rather amazing, Marvel-like history and inter-connectivity with multiple superheroes, associated cast, and…well everything that Marvel accomplished on the big screen, although on a TV budget.  Starting with Arrow; that premiered in 2012 with one well trained vigilante, it’s spawned several more superhero shows, including this year’s freshman show Batwoman, multiple Earth’s, multiple aliens, and at least two god-like entities.

Now it looks like the CW is getting ready to Endgame their massive creation by adapting the comic book crossover classic Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is the biggest comic book event in history now on the small screen. The Crisis story is too big to summarize, but let me give it a try:  A mysterious godlike entity based on antimatter wants to destroy all the universes in the multiverse to amass more power, while another mysterious godlike entity tries to stop him by recruiting an army of superheroes from many different universes.  Great battles ensue that eventually leaves only a few universes intact, including the main “Earth” which has been combined with other earths.  There is a great cost in superheroes as both the Flash and Supergirl die in the crisis.

Whew…barely touched the surface, but you can see how daunting that is for the CW to pull this off with their “Arrowverse;” it’s collection of DC based TV shows that will be the focus of this 5 episode crossover event. The amount of planning across shows that have gone into this is nothing short of amazing.  All of the shows have been feeding bits and pieces of the story since their fall premieres, with Arrow, involved almost solely with Crisis related matters this season.  But of course, Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, is destined to die in the crisis, which is another way of saying he didn’t renew his contract and the show is coming to an end.  However, a big crossover requires big stakes, and I’ll be sitting down munching popcorn when Crisis kicks off Sunday, December 8th on Supergirl.

Supergirl — “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One” — Image Number: CRS_S5__8x12_300dpi.jpg — Pictured: LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor, Ruby Rose as Batwoman, Audrey Marie Anderson as Harbinger, Brandon Routh as Superman, Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor, David Harewood as Hank Henshaw/J’onn J’onzz, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Grant Gustin as The Flash, Cress Williams as Black Lightning, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary, Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heatwave, Carlos Valdes as Vibe, Candice Patton as Iris West – Allen, John Wesley Shipp as Flash 90, Matt Ryan as Constantine, Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman — Photo: The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.