Predictions for 2019

With only a 40% accuracy rate for my 2018 predictions, I didn’t exactly excel, however on the other hand, I’m not putting money down on these, so why not?

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

This is in danger of becoming a perennial; however I feel pretty strongly that the end of the investigation, whenever it comes, will, try though it may, not show any collusion between either the President or his campaign with the Russians.

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

I’m not going to guess whether there will be enough votes to bring the issue to the floor of the House, but the Judiciary Committee will for sure be voting on it.  It’s too tempting to leave that candy in the pantry.

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

Maher famously said that he hoped the economy would crash so that Trump would be voted out of office, but even though there seems to be a global slowdown, I’m going to call that the US will not enter a recession this year.  Plus, just about every business and economic talking head has predicted one, so therefore it won’t happen.

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

The common pundit bet seems to be that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have to retire for health reasons, but I suspect a possible more likely scenario is that Clarence Thomas will retire at the end of the session sometime in the spring.  Why?  It would be the perfect troll.

No Brexit.

The Brits should really just take a tip from their American cousins and issue a Declaration of Independence and GTFO.  However, in a situation in which nobody in the establishment really wants to Brexit, it’s pretty obvious that they are just trying to run out the clock and pass the buck.

Another, not quite prediction:

I wouldn’t really say this is a prediction, both because it’s outside the one year window of this post and because at this point it’s more guess than prediction, but this could move up to a full blown prediction in the future (but that’s just a prediction).

The top of the ticket for the Democratic nominee will not be a white male.  I think their time is done in the Democratic Party.

 

 

Conspiracy Theories Move Left to Right

Donald Trump’s delicious troll of the media last week, when he advertised a major speech on Birtherism and then proceeded to have military veterans praising him was so tasty, I actually laughed out loud, particularly when he gave this line, “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Beautiful!

It’s had some nice side effects as well, since the media was hoping to damage Trump with the taint of the Birther conspiracy and instead by Trump pointing out that the original birther might be Hillary herself, the media; in it’s attempt to clear the old gal of those scurrilous charges, finds the truth more complicated.

So now we’ve spent a couple of days on the media attempting to clear Clinton of the birther charges, while at the same time unwittingly associating birthers and Clinton in the public mind.  One has to wonder if Trump just haplessly stumbled on this strategy or he planned it all along.

As for me, I’ve known since 2008 that it was an idea that originated with Democrats, Particularly the “PUMA’s” (Party Unity My Ass) who were fighting a last ditch effort for Hillary in the 2008 campaign.  The very first time I heard the Birther conspiracy, it was from a Hillary supporting acquaintance.  She dropped the idea as soon as Obama was nominated but it apparently had quite a roll in anti Obama Democratic circles for a while.  The Daily Beast did a pretty good origin story of birtherism and how it originated in the Democratic Party in order to provide the basis of a lawsuit against the DNC to prevent the nomination of someone who, if he were actually born overseas, wouldn’t be eligible for the Presidency. And since Clinton lackey Sidney Blumenthal tried to stir up interest in the news media on investigating Obama’s birthplace during the 2008 race, it’s hard not to see the hand of Clinton pushing the story.

But despite PUMA expectations, the party really did unify after Obama’s nomination.  All was forgiven and Birtherism was forgotten, at least it was forgotten by all but a small fringe until 2011 when Donald Trump suddenly made it an issue.  Trump breathed life into a fringe idea and firmly shifted it to the right.  Trump’s birther claims and “investigation” was one of the more difficult issues I had to overcome in order to endorse him, since as I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t like conspiracy theories and hate wasting time on them.  As much as any one single person is to blame, Trump is to blame for making birtherism a right wing conspiracy, instead of leaving it on the left wing where it belonged.

But that’s the way of conspiracy theories isn’t?  At least to my observation, they seem to start on the left, but eventually drift over to the right.  Birtherism is a good example, but there are others.

The 9/11 Conspiracy theory was a pretty well established leftist conspiracy theory by 9/12.  By 2006, over half of Democrats thought that George Bush was either responsible for the 9/11 attacks or knew of them ahead of time and let them go forward.  Now CNN commenter Van Jones lost his job with the Obama administration for his 9/11 views (among other things).  Democratic Congressman and general nutcase Alan Grayson believes that “Bush let it happen.”  But now, with no Bush in the White House to torment, interest in 9/11 Conspiracies has faded too, although there are people on the right dipping their toes into it, something that was uncommon during the Bush Presidency.

Vaccines are a popular conspiracy.  Bill Maher, official voice of “science” on the left didn’t believe in them, and Robert Kennedy Jr. has been the Congressional voice of the vaccines cause autism movement, an issue that both candidates Obama and Clinton had to dance gingerly around in 2008, but Trump was the one who was dancing around it in 2015.

Why the left will invent these wacky ideas, play with them, and then toss them aside for the right to pick up later I can’t quite grasp.  If anyone has any ideas on why conspiracy theories start on the left and move right I would like to hear.

Unless of course, the answer is another conspiracy theory.

Free Speech Thoughts by Bill Maher

The post I wrote last week felt naggingly incomplete to me for some reason.  My purpose was to note that President Obama shouldn’t have gone to the Paris march since he of course wasn’t “Charlie” and had a record of being critical of satire aimed at Islam.  And also to note the irony that the world leaders who did show up at the march were not “Charlie” either.  They came from governments that restricted free speech in one way or the other.

It was another grim reminder on how rights can be taken for granted at the same time they are being quietly taken apart.  And this brings me to Bill Maher.

Maher isn’t in any way a favorite of mine, and the last time I watched him with any regularity he had a show on ABC.  Hey I wonder whatever happened to that…  But for someone who is part of the American left in the 21st Century, he still retains a little of the old 20th Century liberal in him.  Gather round children, because you may not believe it, but there was a time when liberals actually favored free speech, even when it wasn’t politically correct!  Even when they opposed the message!  I know, it’s hard to believe huh?

Of course Maher has had more reason than most liberals to care about freedom of expression as a concept, rather than merely as an obstacle that still allows enemies of the left to voice their opinions.  Just a few months ago he was heavily protested by his fellow leftists at a speaking engagement at UC Berkeley.

So it was not quite surprising when I ran across a Daily Caller story about Maher.  The story, written by Daily Caller writer Chuck Ross (who must be single handedly producing ¾ of the Caller’s content), was taken from Maher’s show Real Time in which he criticized  a group trying to organize a boycott of sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh show.  That’s what old time 20th Century liberals would do; defend, in Voltaire-like fashion, speech they hate.  I think Maher would much rather be on the attack Rush side than on the defense, but he’s mad at official liberalism right now so he’s firing back. Wait until he starts defending Palin….

The problem with Maher is that his liberalism hasn’t really evolved since the 1970’s. Liberals used to really care about free speech, and took seriously the Voltarian maxim that I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. But that’s when they perceived themselves as the underdogs against “the establishment.” Now of course, they are the establishment. And guess what? They don’t like free speech. That’s why they want to regulate the internet, regulate political speech, and that’s why they’ve been pushing the doctrine of political correctness. Whatever speech they can’t make illegal, they want to make it unacceptable.

I’ve been surprised just how quickly the left has abandoned free speech.  Social Justice and Identity politics will not compromise with the Bill of Rights.  They demand total allegiance.

Maher is a dinosaur, and when his kind passes over to…well nothingness since he’s an atheist, the only defenders of free speech will be on the right.