About that Morning Joe Mid-Term Prediction

June 13th seems like a few years back, not merely a few months, however it stuck out for me because that day’s show had Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough go into a rant promising a massive Democratic wave this fall.” Joe even held up a newspaper to confirm the date, just like a hostage video; which in some ways describes Morning Joe fairly well.

As I had posted at the time: Challenge accepted.

In service to keeping Joe honest on his prediction, I watched the entire three hours of his show this morning.

Please thank me for my service.

As I suspected, Joe did not mention his June prediction once, although he did show a clip from the show made on the same day, one of Mark Sanford pouting after he lost his primary race, but reminding everyone of his big “massive democratic wave?”  No chance.

Of course I had made my own predictions about how the mid-term races were going to play out; the Republicans would maintain control of the House and the Senate.  So how did I do?  Well I only got that half right. The Democrats took the House, gaining 34 seats, while the Republicans maintained control, and gained seats, in the Senate.

As a point of comparison to other recent mid-term elections:

President Obama (D):

2014: 13 Democratic House seats were lost, from 201 to 188

2012:  62 Democratic House seats were lost, from 256 to 193

President Bush (R):

2006:  30 Republican House seats were lost, from 232 to 202

2002:  8 Republican House seats were gained, from 221 to 229

President Clinton (D):

1998:  5 Democratic House seats gained, from 206 to 211

1994:  54 Democratic House seats lost, from 258 to 204

So based on recent history, it’s pretty obvious that there was an opposition party “wave” in 2012 and 1994 for the Republicans.  Democrats have made up for that in Presidential year elections, but even in bad years for Republicans, the Democrats have not been able to reproduce a mid-term wave.  But a 34+ gain for Democrats this year is fairly equivalent to the damage Republicans took in 2006.

In other words, it was a fairly normal mid-term election.  It seems that normalcy was the biggest surprise of all.

 

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Screw Puerto Rico

I barely noticed the imbroglio over the Harvard and George Washington studies that contradict the official Hurricane Maria death toll for Puerto Rico by raising the deaths to several thousand, 4,645 for the Harvard Study and over 3,000 for the George Washington University study.  I figured that they were in some way phony, and were just a grab for federal cash, and my checking the methodology of the George Washington University Study showed I was right:

“We implemented the project as three studies, each with specific yet complementary methodologies. Our excess mortality study analyzed past mortality patterns (mortality registration and population census data from 2010 to 2017) in order to predict the expected mortality if Hurricane María had not occurred (predicted mortality) and compare this figure to the actual deaths that occurred (observed mortality).The difference between those two numbers is the estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane. “

In other words, the studies were simply statistical analyses, with no examination of the actual causes or mortality.  Living in a hurricane zone, I’m well familiar as to how hurricane deaths are actually counted, and that’s through death certificates; the actual causes of death.  Imagine its three days after a hurricane and a family runs their generator inside their home and die of carbon monoxide poisoning (it happens after every hurricane):  That’s a hurricane death.  Choke on a peanut?  Not a hurricane death.   It’s not difficult and doesn’t add up to a requirement to run a statistical analysis of any sort.  Just look at the death certificates.

So in spite of the running around by Puerto Rican officials shopping around these fake reports as a way to say screw Trump and Trump please send us more money, I ignored the issue until I happened to catch this interview with Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Morning Joe last week.

Most of the interview is Rosselló making the case for the studies, and the various needs of the island for disaster preparation but there was a point in which I found myself, as the kids say, triggered, by Rosselló’s comments.  Starting around 6:28, “legendary” journalist Mike Barnicle asked Rosselló to make his case for statehood. Rosselló went on to blabber that the only reason that Puerto Rico’s recovery was different from other areas was because Puerto Ricans are treated as second class citizens and Puerto Rico is a colonial possession of the United States, and the “root cause” of the problem is colonialism. He phrased it thusly, “Do you want the United States to be the standard bearer of democracy while carrying colonial territories in the 21st Century? How can you go to Cuba or Venezuela and preach democracy while you have over 3 million US citizens disenfranchised?”

This is his case for statehood?  That the United States is an oppressive colonial power, therefore let us join it?

Throughout history, there has been one solution to imperialism for a colonial territory, independence.  If Rosselló really has a vision of the United States as an imperial boot on the necks of freedom loving Puerto Ricans, that actually really isn’t different from the views of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments toward the United States, and it’s not that different from the view the old Soviet Union for that matter. Why the hell is he serving as governor of a territory that’s, in his view, is an occupied territory?  That makes him no better than a Quisling.

If Rosselló and Puerto Rico feel so damn oppressed by the imperialist colonial running dogs of the United States, I feel the only and correct solution to such an injustice is for Congress to act and grant immediate independence to the “colonial’ territory of Puerto Rico.

Good luck with your next hurricane.

Morning Joe Makes the Case for John Bolton

Although I can see the reason that Trump fired H.R. McMaster, Trump’s most recent National Security Advisor, I admit I’m not much of a fan of his replacement, John Bolton.

Bolton’s never met a war he didn’t like, and doesn’t see any diplomatic quagmire that can’t be fixed with a little pre-emptive bombing.  So…not my cup of tea, and no surprise, he was panic inducing to the whimpering girls and man-girls of MSNBC. In a Morning Joe video called, “Former Ambassador is scared by naming of John Bolton,” the shaking and shivering is cringe inducing.

0:35 Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says he’s scared by Bolton (man up you pussy!).

1:05 Former Ambassador McFaul says John Bolton will prefer military solutions in North Korea.

5:00 Reporter Courtney Kube makes gratuitous reference to The Hunger Games (?).

8:15 Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas frets that not only North Korea has to be nervous, our allies in the region have to be nervous. She notes that Bolton had previously been banned from negotiations by North Korea, who called him a “bloodsucker,” and “scum.”

11:30 McFaul says that Trump is putting together a team to go to war with North Korea.

Mika ended the segment by noting how disturbing it all was.

Ha!

Although this resembled the usual media hair on fire reaction to anything Trump does, it actually provided a little information that helped me put the Bolton hire into perspective. First, I don’t disagree that Bolton has publicly stated positions that polish his war-monger credentials, since he penned an op ed last month calling on a preemptive strike to eliminate North Korea’s missile program.

What was really interesting to me however, was that Bolton was a known player to the North Koreans, having been the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security when he made a 2003 speech, in which “he described North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a “tyrannical dictator” and saying that, for North Koreans under Kim’s rule, “life is a hellish nightmare.” In response, a North Korean spokesman said “such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks.””

And that’s when it hit me that Trump might be favoring him because of his bad reputation with the North Koreans, not in spite of it.

I’ve mentioned before my four theories of Trump’s operating system.  In this case, the typical liberal/establishment/media view would be theory one, Trump is all id who saw Bolton on Fox news who said some tough things, and Trump liked it.  But this looks like a theory three situation, in which Trump is putting on a show, in this case for the North Koreans.  Trump in negotiating likes for his opponents to think he will do anything, and what better optic to underscore that point than by firing McMaster for bomb thrower Bolton right before the beginning of high level negotiations with the outlaw state?

I’m suspecting the “chaos” of the revolving door White House might instead be more that Trump is hiring temps for piecemeal work.  In this case, Bolton was the perfect foil to frighten the Norks, thinking that a guy who has been advocating bombing of North Korea now has the President’s ear before the beginning of talks between the two countries.  Hopefully after Bolton has served his purpose he will be shown the revolving door.

 

When the News No Longer Resembles News

I honestly think I’ve had about enough.  If you happened to catch Chuck Todd’s apoplectic reaction to President Trump’s news conference on Tuesday.

What made me reach my breaking point came at about the 1:34 mark, “…when was the last time you saw a President of the United States defend the cause of White Nationalists?”

It’s an insane smear, but I’ve no doubt that Todd was being totally sincere in his belief that Trump was rooting for the Nazi’s.  As for me, I’ve been a news junkie for decades. Up until the internet made it ridiculous, I had a subscription to the local newspaper and I would make sure I caught a steady stream of news shows on cable and the traditional nightly news. Most mornings I would have the morning news shows on in the background while I worked. So generally, I’ve watched a lot of news.  Not just hours a week but hours a day.

But I’ve never felt so estranged from what newspaper columns and talking heads on cable are babbling about as I have this year. It’s as if they are living not just in a different moral universe, but a different factual one as well. Their editorial decisions seem like they are being made by college student government rather than seasoned, professional editors. How can you spend 8 months on wall to wall Russia when there has yet to be any actual evidence of a Russia collusion story?  It’s simply a daily rehashing of a burned out conspiracy theory.

I’m tuning out the news more and more these days.  I can get all my news online with a lot less wasted time and no smug pomposity; which is particularly galling with their track record of inaccuracy.  After the election, it occurred to me that I would have been better informed if I had spent 18 months leading up to the election just reading Scott Adams’ blog than the hundreds of hours wasted watching Morning Joe.

Hopefully, when this age of mass hysteria and moral panic has passed, and the news media has returned to some sort of semblance of normalcy, I can return to getting my media news junkie fix.  But for now, I’ll be a lot healthier if I’m off the stuff.

12 steps…

What Do We Get in Trade for Joe Scarborough?

Breaking news from the who-the-hell-cares department, but MSNBC token Republican Joe Scarborough, of the Morning Joe show, has left the Republican Party. . .   I’m shocked, shocked I say!

Actually I really was shocked.  I thought Scarborough left the Republicans years ago.  He didn’t vote for the Republican nominee not just last year, in 2016, but the last go around, in 2012.  If you never vote for Republicans, on what basis do you call yourself one?   Well maybe he was an “MSNBC Republican.”  If someone’s primary political issue is gun control and their most hated senator is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, you are either Senator Diane Feinstein or… “Conservative” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.  But Joe’s left leaning positions aren’t new.  I used to think Joe was trying to just keep his job.  MSNBC did fire Pat Buchanan for driving while conservative, so I figured, if you like those nice paychecks, you have to sing their tune.

When the network takes an editorial position, they can count on Joe to follow along loyally. The key to that is to join, or as is often the case, lead, the mob. Joe is the first one to pick up the torch and pitchfork and begin to emote, throwing logic and reason to the wind and just feel. He did it with Newtown, with Joe calling for tight gun control regulations (they did this daily on the show for almost 6 months after the shooting). If there is any incident that generates a purely emotional mob response Joe is there for it.

The Gabby Giffords shooting? He was there to warn the right to stop targeting innocent lefty politicians. He joined in blaming Palin and the Tea Party for the shooting.

Trayvon Martin? He joined the network in emoting about tea and skittles over and over again, even while his network was editing 911 calls from the shooting.

Ground Zero Mosque?  He demanded that be built too.

So the reason why Joe Scarborough can make it on MSNBC as a Republican is because he has been a faithful team player.  But now that he’s come out of the closet, he doesn’t need that.  It turns out that he can now to be free to be himself: A confused guy undergoing a mid-life crisis.  How else to explain first the affair, then divorce, and now engagement to co-host Mika Brzezinski?  And now a ridiculous “music” career, including Manhattan gigs and music videos.  Videos mind you, that he, without the least bit of shame, airs on his show.

As for Joe’s affair and divorce, each marriage is a mystery, so maybe I shouldn’t judge that, but I feel perfectly free to judge falling into the arms of Brzezinski.   Without claiming any psychic powers, I can tell you that on his deathbed he’ll regard his affair and engagement to Brzezinski as his biggest mistake (assuming he didn’t kill that intern in his office in Pensacola).

And yet I’ve been a long time viewer to Morning Joe.  For all the flaws of its hosts, it’s been different than any other dull and dumbed down morning show.  It’s provided some drama, such as when Mika and Joe got into a fight when she called him a chauvinist (I didn’t know at the time it was flirtation), and Yuval Levin discussing the Burkean and Paine traditions of American political thought.  You can’t get that on the Today Show. And Joe Scarborough did great work in eviscerating Paul Krugman on a debate on the Charlie Rose Show.  It’s always entertaining when a University of Alabama grad, ex-Politician, and TV host, gets the better of a New York Times columnist and Professor of Economics in his own field.

So while I’ve enjoyed the longer conversational style aspects of Morning Joe; the show’s #nevertrump descent into pure snarkfest had ruined what was formerly a useful show, and turned it into a 3 hour morning long Cobert Show, only without the attempts at humor, all the while the main host acts out his mid-life crisis on live TV.

But as Joe pursues establishment approval that will never come, no matter how much he debases himself, he won’t be missed on the right, even if he takes all 12 or “Joe Scarborough Republicans” with him.

So bye Joe.

But, do we get anything in trade?  If we’re trading Joe to the left, does the left have anything to offer us?  Well as a matter of fact…

You may not have heard of Laci Green, particularly if you’re over thirty and don’t follow Social Justice Warrior intersectional feminism (and who does?) but in the world of YouTube, she’s a big star. Her feminist blogger YouTube channel has a million and a half subscribers and 146 million views.  That’s a big audience for a lot of feminist yammering about Planned Parenthood and pansexuality.  But then something weird happened earlier this year…

Suddenly Laci was talking about meeting some anti-feminist video bloggers and listening to different perspectives.  “Listening to different perspectives” is exactly the opposite of what’s typical on the left these days, and particularly among the SJW set.  Why oh why would she suddenly be interested in “different perspectives” that run counter to not just her world view and politics, but her business model?

You guessed it, she met a guy.  And the guy she met is an anti-feminist you tuber who goes by the name of Chris Ray Gun.  If you were a publicist, you could hardly craft a better Romeo & Juliet storyline.  The MTV movie practically writes itself. In the world of you tube, Chris Ray Gun is a much smaller commodity than Laci Green is, but at almost half a million subscribers, he’s still a pretty big deal.  But Chris shows no signs of reconsidering intersectional feminism, Laci is the one with her worldview shattered.

But that shattering is a long term process and as Laci struggles to deal with other perspectives on feminism than the ones she picked up at Berkeley, she’s dealing with the blowback of rethinking her worldview.  One can’t predict where that will lead.  With Joe Scarborough, once he began the process of status seeking among the establishment, the conversion was only going to go one way.  But a move to the right is a different story.  That’s usually with the understanding that, as Whitaker Chambers thought, that it’s a defection to a losing side.  And you lose everything else as well, your old friends and your old, respected position.  In Laci Green’s case, it could cost her a business.  So the process of conversion isn’t assured.  On the other hand, trading Joe Scarborough; for even a feminist who is willing to have a conversation; is more than a fair trade in my opinion.

 

Anand Giridharadas in Fear

Our old buddy Anand Giridharadas was back on Morning Joe, and boy how the tables have turned. I wrote in October how New York Times writer Giridharadas, on a Morning Joe appearance, couldn’t wait for the post election score settling with his arch enemy, white men.

“I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

But now the tables have turned, and with a Trump victory, Giridharadas has gone from a Brownshirt inciting a Caucasian Kristallnacht to shivering in fear in a Dutch attic.  Enjoy:

When Joe Scarborough has to be the voice of reason, “Hitler is not coming back,” then you know that someone’s gone off the deep end. But however much I’m enjoying the schadenfreude of Giridharadas having a special snowflake breakdown on television, it serves as a reminder that however much he now fears internment camps, Muslim banning, and all the rest, he’s the type of person who either thinks that you have your hands on his throat, or he’s going to have his hands on your throat.  If the tables had been turned, and Hillary had won, he would have been the first one urging internment camps and whatever final solution he feels appropriate to handle that pesky white male problem.

Demography is destiny and eventually the Democrats will be back in power.  And when they are, there will be Anand Giridharadas and others like him urging on their own pogrom.

A Reckoning

When it comes to anti white racism, I admit I’ve been pretty tolerant of it.  Mostly because anti white racism can be pretty funny so it’s hard to take seriously.  As anyone who has perused Salon, the website for white people who hate white people; can tell you, it’s sometimes hard not to get a good laugh out of it.  It’s hard to remember now, but at one time Salon used to be a legitimate and respectable magazine. But with stories like, White Men Must be Stopped, White Guys are Killing Us, America’s Angriest White Men, GOP base is still white and aging, and Time to Profile White Men; even the parody twitter account “Salon.com” has had difficulty topping the real articles and has often resorted to re-tweeting Salon’s real tweets.

Of course when real journalists do it, it’s slightly less funny, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, whose article, On a Welcome End to American Whiteness, cheers for the day of demographic apocalypse for white people in America.  Milbank sees the declining white population as an opportunity to redo American culture, to get rid of an “excess of individualism, short-term thinking and prioritizing of rights over duties.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want too many rights gumming up the works.

So I suppose I do fundamentally view a major difference between the comic anti white hatred of Salon, ranting Black Nationalists on Youtube, or various SJW’s on college campuses, and legitimate journalists positing their anti white racism in the public sphere without any backlash at all.

anand-giridharadas

That’s why I found myself someone shocked by the comments of New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas on Morning Joe this week. Giridharadas is one of those semi regular guests to the set of the MSNBC show that doesn’t, to my view, seem to offer anything particularly compelling in the way of opinion other than the mouthing of whatever the latest conventional wisdom is.  In the case of Giridharadas he also brings some sort of incomprehensible thing going on with his hair.  It’s like he’s stacked a couple of bird’s nests up there.  I guess that’s his gimmick.

So check out the video at this link of Giridharadas.

Or I’ll just transcribe the relevant comments.  When co-host and white male Willie Geist asked Giridharadas a question about what happens to the frustrations of the people who supported Trump post election, he responded thusly:

“I don’t want to wait for a leader to deal with this energy because I think how badly we went when we don’t deal with each other as human beings. I think every institution needs to do this. I would say to your point, this needs to be a two-way reconciliation, and here’s my suggestion for kind of each side. I think the elites we’re talking about who relate to understanding this pain, who didn’t see the roots of Trump, need to see it–need to re-engage with What American needs to understand what’s doing on.

I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

Geist’s reply?  “Interesting.”

Putting aside the idea that if globalization is so hard on everyone, why are we doing it, I thought the real take away was, I realized that these guys, the establishment elite types like Milbank and Giridharadas were serious.  They really do regard whites as some sort of problem, like an atavistic hold over that’s harshing everyone’s buzz.  It’s pretty blatantly racist, but it’s not a racism that anyone particularly cares about.

I’ve been writing about the increase in tribalism and identity politics for years, but it looks like it’s going for a new level.  Nothing good will come out of this of course, but now it’s not just that nothing good will come out of this in a general way, but now I feel like I’m being targeted personally.  Unfortunately Joe Scarborough recognized the rabbit hole Giridharadas was going down and sidetracked the conversation into one of “reconciliation,” I would have much rather heard Giridharadas elaborate on his point and find out just what exactly he had in mind with his reckoning “with white manhood.”

Although I think I’ll eventually find out.