They give Bernie a 49% chance of winning a simple majority of the delegates, and establish a 24% chance that no candidate will come to the convention with enough delegates. Biden is considered to have a 19% chance. If you’re scoring at home, that only leaves 8% for all other candidates added together. (Basically 4% each for Warren and Buttigieg, and zero for the others.)

Bernie is also the betting favorite at this point, with Bloomberg now closest.

The Bookmakers now consider Trump a favorite in the 2020 general election, and his odds have been improving steadily in the past two months, starting the day the House voted to impeach. His betting line rose to +140 during the investigation phase, but dropped to -125 after the impeachment vote. The line now stands at -150. The overseas bookmakers show even shorter odds (typically about -162), and they are still shortening. They could shorten far more if and when Bernie’s nomination gets more certain.

(I don’t think there have been any “Trump vs Sanders” polls since the Iowa debacle and the Senate acquittal.)

Overall, despite some stops and starts, Trump’s likelihood of re-election has been increasing for a year now, as the Democrats have produced no clear, powerhouse contender.

Well, in order to answer that question, we have to pose another: what factor should determine the first state. For the sake of this link, the assumption will be “It should be the state which best reflects America.”

You may supply other criteria, of course, but let’s go with this one for now in order to evaluate which state best meets that particular criterion, since the media chatter for two weeks or more has centered around the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of America.

So. If you were a marketing company testing a new product for a possible national roll-out, which state would be the test market most suitable to best estimate your product’s success in the full USA?

The answer supplied by this firm in 2016 was Illinois. It contains the correct proportion of midwestern farms, urban concentrations, rich suburbs and small towns. It contains approximately the correct proportion of whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians, all in the approximately representative proportion of religions. It contains the proper proportion of elite universities, graduates from functional colleges, people with some college, high school grads and high school drop-outs. It contains the right mix of liberals, moderates and conservatives. It contains the right mix of income levels. Given all of those factors, campaigning in Illinois does not allow for pandering to small town and rural White America, as the candidates do in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the mix in Illinois also precludes pandering to any other groups. Any position taken there must either appeal across-the-board to one’s party base, or must be a calculated risk, just as in the whole of America.

The film which did this study compared dozens of factors in each state to national averages, then distilled all of those specifics down to five general categories. Illinois finishes among the top six best matches in all five categories, and is the absolute best match in demographic and income factors.

In contrast: New Hampshire is one of the states least representative of America (nearby Vermont is the least typical state), and Iowa is somewhere in the middle.

Iowa results are getting there – 97% in as I type.

To me the only star to emerge from the Iowa mess was a little-known polling firm called dbr. Unlike the established pollsters, dbr totally kicked ass in predicting the final results. In the table below, the first column of numbers represents the % of polled voters who were certain about their choice of the listed candidate. Those “certain” percentages do not add to 100 because 33% were either undecided, uncertain (lean), or preferred another candidate. The next column takes that 33% and reapportions it to the Big Six in the same ratio as their “certain” supporters. The final columns represent the final (well, almost final) results of the caucuses.

dbr 
“certain”
actual
dbr
“certain”
reapportioned to 100
SDEs popular vote
Buttigieg 17 25.4 26.2 25.0
Sanders 16 23.9 26.1 26.5
Warren 13 19.4 18.2 20.3
Biden 12 17.9 15.8 13.7
Klobuchar 8 11.9 12.2 12.2
Yang 1 1.5 1.0 1.0
undecided/other 33

As far as I can see, no other polling organization even came close to getting those proportions right. On the popular vote, they got Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar on the money. Biden did slightly worse than they expected, Bernie slightly better.

On to New Hampshire, where Bernie is now a prohibitive favorite.

Well, I guess we’ve always known that, but more specifically, the results of the caucuses are fucked up.

While we wait, here are the results of the entrance polling.

 

Some observations

The age of voters:

Bernie’s popularity is inversely proportionate to age, and the difference is one of the most dramatic I have ever seen in demographic studies.

He is preferred by:

age 17-28: 48%
age 30-44: 33%
age 45-64: 11%
old geezers: 4%

Biden and Klobuchar’s support is exactly opposite to Bernie’s. The older the voters, the more they like those two.

Buttigieg and Warren show consistent support among all ages.

Education:

Bernie’s support resembles Trump’s in one way – he is overwhelmingly more popular with the less educated. He pulls 16% with college graduates, 30% with the non-degreed.

Issues:

  • The people who care most about foreign policy prefer Biden by a landslide, and basically ignore Bernie and Warren.
  • Those whose major concern is “who can beat Trump” surprisingly (to me) prefer Mayor Pete! Biden is a close second.

The Sanders surge seems to have upset the applecart

The two most recent polls (1, 2) indicate that Bernie is the most likely winner, possibly by a substantial margin

The average of those two:
Crazy Bernie 28
Sleepy Joe 18
Pocahontas 17.5
Alfred E Neuman 15

Well, I think the most likely winner of that competition is actually Donald Trump.

Which raises an important question: Do any foreign powers have any good dirt on Bernie? “Russia, if you’re listening …”

Let me digress in tone for a second to present a serious point. Trump may change his mind about Russian interference if Bernie gets the nomination. I think there’s a good chance the Russkies may prefer Bernie, on the assumption that he will hurt the American economy. Man, will the Donald be singin’ a different tune if that happens.

Alexander has a truly novel reason why no witnesses are necessary – we already know Trump is guilty AF! (But that is not grounds for removal.)

The logic goes like this:

* There’s no doubt that Trump did what he is accused of
* Therefore, we need no more witnesses or evidence. It’s proven.
* But what he did does not merit removal.

Honest to God, I’m not kidding. That really is his argument. See the Tweet below. Overwhelmed by a mountain of uncontradicted facts, and still intending to vote against removal, some GOP senators have obviously decided to salve their consciences with the “Yeah, he did it, but it’s not impeachable!” argument.

That’s actually a pretty clever position. Weaselly, but brilliant, because it allows them to vote “nay” on removal and “nay” on witnesses while avoiding the accusation of a cover-up. In essence: “When we voted to exclude witnesses, that was no cover-up. We already knew what he did, so what did we need additional proof for? But even given our knowledge that he did everything he is accused of, we can’t agree that it reaches the bar for removal from office.”

The reason that position is so brilliant is that it is defensible. What Trump actually did is not a matter of opinion. It’s a fact. He did it. There’s overwhelming proof. But whether that is sufficient grounds for removal IS a matter of opinion because the Constitution leaves plenty of wiggle room. People can argue that Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” or they can argue that he has not, and scholars could debate this ad infinitum with erudite references to the Federalist Papers and citations from precedents, but no matter how long they argue, neither side can say “The definition of a removable offense is completely clear.”

He’s on the rise, and now leading, in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Both states are now lining up as follows: (1) Crazy Bernie, (2) Sleepy Joe, (3) Alfred E Neuman, (4) Pocahontas, (5) Amy “Too Boring For a Nickname” Klobuchar

Nationally, Biden is still the frontrunner, but Bernie is gaining and has opened up a massive lead over Warren. Mayor Pete has dropped to fifth, behind Bloomberg; Klobuchar is way down in seventh, behind Yang. (Yang is trending upward.)

Damn, I miss Loopy!

“I’m thrilled to be on center stage again!”

“Oh … never mind.”

 

Main revelation in Bolton’s book excerpt: Trump guilty AF

Wow! Now Susan Collins may not only wring her hands, but may also have to mop her forehead before voting to acquit. That’s huge!

Top rebuttals:

1. Fox News: This means somebody did something very bad and should pay for it – the person who leaked the book excerpt.

2. Dershowitz: There’s no such thing as an impeachable offense. It was a typo in the Constitution.

3. Other people present during Trump’s crimes: “Do not recall” what happened.

4. GOP lickspittles: Bolton should withdraw the truth until after the election.

5. Trump: I’m innocent, I tells ya. Hey, what is the deal with those new toilets? Hey, what about that Adam Schiff? His neck is so wafer-thin it killed Mr. Creosote. What a great crowd. I’ll be here all year. Be sure to tip your waiter.

6. The Onion: “Bolton Pledges To Donate All Proceeds From Book Towards Killing Iranians”

America’s top diplomat tries out a new form of diplomacy.

This reminds me of when the polite, predictable mainstream comedy of the 50s and early 60s first acquired an edge, then gradually morphed into insult comedy. Now it’s time for polite, predictable mainstream diplomacy to follow that path to insult diplomacy.

Actually, Pompeo seems to be floating a novel new defense of Trump: nobody cares if he fucks Ukraine over, which is basically accurate within Trump’s low-info base.

Continue reading “America’s Secretary of State: “Do you think Americans care about fucking Ukraine?””

Lev and/or Igor taped Trump going ballistic over the ambassador to Ukraine and ordering his minions to “take her out.”

“Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

By the way, this excerpt is a one-one-one exchange between Trump and Parnas, the guy Trump says he doesn’t know and never had a conversation with.

Tapes are Trump’s greatest enemy. Every time independent evidence has emerged, we have seen that whenever there is a dispute between Trump and somebody else about a private conversation, Trump’s version is always a lie, but so far only Omarosa knew Trump well enough to be able to document it. (She had been working with him for years and knew exactly what to expect, so she taped everything.) I’m hoping that Lev and Igor have more!

Well, obviously. Trump could not perform in front of an audience of randomly-selected people, and the commission would not allow him to choose the audience. But why not compromise and simply hold the debates without a live audience?

As for moderators, surely they can find somebody in America who is considered a neutral newsperson, neither pro nor anti Trump. Chris Wallace seems fine to me. This chart seems to indicate that the Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor are either unbiased or only slightly biased, and that AP and Reuters are both dead center and completely reliable.

The emails are heavily redacted, and the details of what was being discussed within them are almost entirely blacked out. OMB said the heavy redactions are necessary because disclosing the details would inhibit “the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision making.”

(Otherwise known as “criminal conspiracy.”)

Needless to say, Dersh has now determined that this logic only applied to Democrats in the office.

By the way, the attorney general also wrote that presidents who misuse their authority are subject to impeachment.

Of course not. It’s total nonsense, with no evidence to support it. The headline is click-bait. 

But as I thought about it, I realized that would be the ultimate act of loyalty. It would 100% guarantee an acquittal for Trump in the Senate, no matter what evidence emerges.

Bear with me for a second …

For the moment, let’s assume that tomorrow we find a video tape of Trump committing a completely evil act. He reveals the name of every undercover agent and informant overseas, or agrees to nuke California – make up any horrible crime you can think of.

  • If Pence is vice-president, the Senate would vote to remove Trump from office and accept Pence as the new POTUS.
  • If there is no vice-president, the senate votes to acquit. Not a single Republican senator would vote to remove – no matter what Trump is proven to have done – because removing Trump would make Nancy Pelosi president.

Pence’s resignation would be the ultimate insurance – an absolute 100% guarantee that every Republican senator will vote to acquit, no matter what they hear at the trial, no matter what they believe to be true.

That resignation leads to some interesting speculation.

 

If we had any other President, that headline would only be found on The Onion. In this case, however, there is no irony or snark. That headline is literally true.

The White House is looking at ways to circumvent the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

And the President really said, “It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas. We’re going to change that.”

To be fair, Trump has a good point, although coming out in favor of bribery and corrupt practices is really not the best way to express that point. This is one of the few areas where he is not ignorant. He knows this situation well because of the business he was in. In many, many countries, you can’t build things without either (1) having extremely powerful friends or (2) bribing people. Or both.

I had the same challenges in my area. There are many countries in the world where one can’t obtain the simplest business permits without bribing one or even a series of corrupt officials. Some countries are worse than others. Among the most populous countries, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico and a few others are especially corrupt, but they are not the only ones, just the worst ones. There are corrupt countries in the E.U., and there are many parts of the USA that are crooked as can be, although we tend to disguise our bribes in euphemistic terms like “campaign contributions” or “supporting your foundation.”

Of all the countries I worked in, there were only about ten where the basic business processes (licenses and permits) were quite transparent and the results seemed to be determined honestly and objectively. The Scandinavian countries were quite honest, as was The Netherlands. I never dealt with Canada or New Zealand personally, but many colleagues told me those places were honest and straightforward. Germany and the UK were also ethical, in my experience, but loaded with unnecessary red tape and too much bureaucracy.

So I have some sympathy for Trump’s frustration, but I think that legalizing bribery sounds like a rash solution. I think it would turn quickly into a system of bribes and kickbacks. (“I can get the company to offer you a six million dollar bribe if you’ll agree to forward two million of it back to me.”)

(And there is a technical question as well. Bribes are not only illegal, but they are also non-tax-deductible. If they were legalized, could they then be claimed as deductible business expenses?)

Grandma and Grandpa Kettle had a little spat about who called whom a liar and who should take his or her pills before breakfast at IHOP.

Oh, they’re so adorable! They’re like two wrinkled little baby Yodas.

“In a tense and dramatic exchange in the moments after the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar on national television. Sanders responded that it was Warren who called him a liar.”

He then added that they should not talk about it at that moment.

There are a few new anecdotes:

1. Trump told the Prime Minister of India, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.”

2. He wanted to change US law to allow corporations to bribe foreign officials.

3. He didn’t know why Pearl Harbor was important.

4. “Trump agrees to participate in an HBO documentary that features judges and lawmakers — as well as all the living presidents — reading aloud from the Constitution. But Trump struggles and stumbles over the text, blaming others in the room for his mistakes and griping, ‘It’s like a foreign language.'”

5. Axios reported in December 2018 that former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Trump met privately to discuss Christie possibly becoming his next chief of staff. After Christie respectfully turns down the job, he asks Trump how the details of their meeting leaked out, since it was just the two of them and first lady Melania Trump in the room. “Oh, I did it,” said Trump.

In praising Trump’s new trade deal with China, Pence said, “MEN SEE ONLY THE PRESENT, BUT HEAVEN SEES THE FUTURE.” Speaking of Heaven, heaven only knows why he thought that saying was relevant in the first place, but here’s the full context:

“In the story, the King of Hell was asked why good people suffer while some bad people are able to prosper. The king used that saying to explain that mortals can only act with limited vision, while the heavens see what lies in the future.”

The Democratic party continues its march to winnow out all the youth and diversity and narrow the field to the cranky old white people.

Booker’s exit was inevitable. He had no path to victory.

He’s the Jimmy Carter for a new millennium – nice man, smart, idealistic. He even has a better resume than Carter. In fact, he looks perfect on paper: football star and class president at Stanford; Yale Law School; Rhodes scholar; mayor; senator. People say he is a moving speaker as well, yet all of those credentials couldn’t gain him any traction.

I guess the time ain’t right for Carter 2.0.

That noted, Booker seems like a great V.P. choice when the eventual cranky old white person gets the nomination.

Trump made that up.

I have to give Trump credit. Over the course of his presidency he has learned to make his lies more subtle. His exact words were, “I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.” If you think about it, that may not be a lie at all.

This is tantamount to saying “I can reveal that I believe in God,” as opposed to “I can reveal that God exists.” He wasn’t revealing that there was evidence to establish a fact, but only that he believed it, which may be true. Without the ability to read his mind, it’s not possible to conclude whether he believed it or not.

“The strategy session, which has not been previously reported, came as mass protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq were gaining momentum, putting the Islamic Republic in an unwelcome spotlight. Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect that rising anger toward the United States, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi’ite politicians, and government officials close to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.”

This is a Reuters report, not the work of some right-wing spin machine. I notice the that liberal American press has almost totally ignored this, or buried it on the back pages.

 

Biden was comfortably in double figures all through October

On Oct. 28, Pelosi announced that the House would vote that week on a resolution to officially authorize impeachment proceedings. Trump has been creeping ever closer to Biden since then, which may or not be coincidental. My view of life allows for very few coincidences.

The reporter told Giuliani he sounded crazy, but he “insisted he wasn’t,” in his “navy-blue suit, the fly of the pants unzipped.”

Giuliani also claimed that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “controlled” by Soros.

On other zany Rudy news, “Rudy Giuliani raises eyebrows after calling himself ‘Former Attorney General of the United States’ on Facebook page”