Cloud Cuckoo Land

After revoking the WaPo’s press credentials for accurately reporting that he insinuated President Obama is in league with terrorists, Trump is now doubling down on that very same bat-shit insane accusation and tweet-wanking over his own alleged prescience yet again:

The embedded article from Trump propaganda outlet Breitbart is entitled “Hillary Clinton Received Secret Memo Stating Obama Admin ‘Support’ for ISIS.” Vigorously auditioning for the role of “MiniTruth” in the dystopian hellhole of a Trump administration, the Breitbartians offer proof of nothing but their own disconnection from reality and inability to comprehend an intelligence report. Hillary Clinton is not amused:

Early on in this circus, someone observed that Trump’s success in the GOP primary was based on his willingness to ratchet up the insults and accusations beyond the bounds of rational discourse but that eventually, he would run out of room to escalate without sounding like a drooling psychopath.

Fellow citizens, we’ve arrived at that moment: The primaries officially ended last night, and Trump is already accusing both his opponent and the sitting President of the United States of being traitors who conspire with ISIS. I don’t believe in Peak Trump, but I am having a hard time imagining where he goes from here. The Illuminati? Chem trails? Lizard people? Help me out here…



Trump-proofing the Republican nomination process in the future

This post is speculation. It assumes that Trump will lose and lose big in November and that the Republican establishment as defined by a variety of rules committees has the power and the will to institute changes to the Republican primary process to Trump-proof the process.

The easiest way for the Republican Party to Trump-proof itself is to stop lying to its supporters. The Republican Party elite is fundamentally not trustworthy to its base voters. The core example is the promise that a Republican House and a Republican Senate could force President Obama to unwind PPACA while he sat in the White House. That was not going to happen. Trustworthy elites won’t happen as there is too much money to be made from fleecing the rubes. Once we take policy honesty off the table, rule changes are the next step.

Trump is the delegate leader (and presumptive delegate majority holder once the process plays out) with a low proportion of the total vote.

He benefited from a split field and a rules system that allowed factional plurality leaders to amass delegate strength out of proportion to their actual vote counts. Winner take all elections with more than two candidates have this common failure. There were two sets of winner take all elections in this current Republican primary. The first was state level delegates where the winner of a state received a significant bonus number of delegates and then winner take all at the Congressional District level. The Republicans assigned three delegates to each Congressional District without regard to how many Republicans actually lived or voted in that district.

538 has a good example of how this flat allocation of winner take all delegates by district helped Trump:

If Ted Cruz wins by a huge margin in Milwaukee’s suburbs, as expected tonight, he’ll get all three delegates from Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District, which cast 257,017 votes for Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election. But in two weeks, Donald Trump could capture just as many delegates by winning a majority of the vote in New York’s heavily Latino, Bronx-based 15th Congressional District, which cast only 5,315 votes for Romney four years ago.

Three weeks ago, Trump won three times as many delegates — nine — at the Northern Mariana Islands convention, which drew just 471 participants.

This is problem #1. The GOP primary delegation process favors plurality winners and it favors candidates who can win in very low turnout environments. There is a massive variance between the minimum number of votes needed per delegate and the maximum number of votes needed per delegate. Some districts are extremely efficient and some are extremely inefficient places to win. The Republicans treat districts like the Senate treats states. The first rule change would be to scale the delegate award to some measure of Republican vote strength.

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My greatest post of the year

Unquestionably this nugget.

[…] By Halloween the only way you still hear about Trump is if he takes his National Front fan base and runs third party.

polls

I guess that in the future everyone gets to be Dick Morris for fifteen minutes. Aside from Dick Morris of course, who has to be Dick Morris all the time. And Bill Kristol.

Do you have any least greatest hits of 2015 that you want to share? I could use some company.

Open thread.



Everything Old Is New Again — John Rogers Is Always Right Edition

Top line from today’s New York Times/CBS poll of the Republican presidential primary:

The proportion of Republican voters favoring Mr. Carson rose to 23 percent from 6 percent in the previous CBS News poll, which was taken just before the first televised Republican debate in early August. Over that same period, Mr. Trump made modest gains, to 27 percent from 24 percent.

In case any of our MSM friends are truly arithmetically challenged, that means that Donald Trump and Ben Carson — two men who have less capacity to fill the office they seek than I do to perform neurosurgery or figure out how to lose money owning a casino — combine to grab half of Republican electorate.

50%.

One out of every two polled.

Damn.

Hieronymus_Bosch_011

The key number, of course, one that I’m sure leapt out to this particular audience, is Trump’s total, that “modest” step to precisely the level that John Rogers identified, so long ago, as the crazification factor:

John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is —

Tyrone: 27%.

John: … you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.

John: Objectively crazy or crazy vis-a-vis my own inertial reference frame for rational behaviour? I mean, are you creating the Theory of Special Crazification or General Crazification?

Tyrone: Hadn’t thought about it. Let’s split the difference. Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification — either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy.

John: You realize this leads to there being over 30 million crazy people in the US?

Tyrone: Does that seem wrong?

John: … a bit low, actually.

Of course, based on the recent polling gains recorded by our favorite lunatic neurosurgeon, we may be in a situation even the great Kung Fu Monkey has not yet encountered.  It’s entirely possible that we could soon see a survey that has both Trump and Carson at 27%.  Do we have non-overlapping magisteria of crazy working now in Not-Your-Grandparents’-GOP™?

Run away! Run away!

Open Thread, my friends.

PS:  Bonus link to Charles Pierce on the special snowflake that is Our Donald.  When Pierce nails an image, that image stays nailed:

Trump is so thin-skinned that, if he swallowed a flashlight, he’d glow like a Japanese lantern.

Hieronymous Bosch, Ship of Fools (detail), betw. 1488-1510. (Unsure on the color correction on this one, folks.  Been decades since I saw it in the flesh).



Kentucky Fried Showdown

Well, I didn’t think the Kim Davis story could get much worse here in the Bluegrass State.

It just got worse.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

In a phone call with Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”

Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.

I’m sure this will end well, right?

In all seriousness, do we get to use the term “domestic terrorist” and actually have it mean something if armed goobers like this are going to butt heads with U.S. Marshals after Davis inevitably violates her court order?

Bonus question:  Do these guys show up at the Rowan County Clerk’s Office to “protect” Davis from same-sex couples wanting to get married?

Double bonus question: if you’re publicly announcing your intent to “interfere” with county sheriffs and U.S. Marshals, why are you not having a nice conversation with law enforcement in a little room with no windows?



Late Night Open Thread: “The Problem with Confidence”

ESPN just extended Curt Shilling’s suspension for hate-tweeting through the end of the season, which gives me the excuse to link to David Roth, at Vice:

We’re born weird, which is good. Or, more precisely, we’re born as soft, stupendously incapable noise machines and gradually lengthen as we pass into a period spanning several years that’s defined by the sort of free-associative disinhibition associated with mellower hallucinogens. Then we’re emotionally 14 years old for like, twenty years, and, somewhere in there, a combination of negative reinforcement and the world’s pressures turn us into humans. It is not efficient, nor is it especially pleasant in parts, but it is the best we’ve come up with after a few millennia. For the most part, it works.

There are exceptions to this rule, however, and they are fucking terrifying…

Curt Schilling, who was a great and gritty Major League pitcher and who is settling loudly into a second career as a curdled Facebook uncle, allowed an especially dank and not especially coherent Islamophobic meme to escape from his Facebook account and onto his Twitter feed. He was suspended by his current employers at ESPN, and apologized. He will absolutely do this sort of thing again, because he is Curt Schilling. And Curt Schilling is this way, and is the flailing vainglorious dipstick that he is, in part because he is That Type of Person.

He is hugely blessed, and the lightning in his right arm has made Schilling’s life very different, and made Schilling himself very different, than they otherwise might have been. This has worked out well for him in some ways—he earned nearly $115 million as a baseball player, and enjoyed other advantages like having the state of Rhode Island mistake him for someone who deserved a $75 million business loan. His talent shaped his life, and more specifically shaped it into a bell curve of sorts: he leveraged his talent and became great, and then at some point the relationship shifted such that he was on the wrong side of it, and Curt Schilling just became kind of an asshole. Schilling is, as any athlete and many non-athletes claim to be, an authentically self-made man. It’s just not much of a compliment in this case…

To see Curt Schilling in action—gleefully inveighing against entire religions and orientations and belief systems and worldviews, blithely believing that every bit of offense or outrage or hurt he causes is the result of someone else’s ignorance or sissification or bad faith—is to see someone who, as the pitching coaches say, trusts his stuff. It’s also the natural behavior of someone who has been trained never to question himself, and who spent so much of his life—including that period in which the rest of humanity is broken and remade by the world into actual people—being coddled and indulged and absolved and deferred to because of that magical right arm of his….



Prepare the Ice Floes

The New York Times reports on the next great cost saving measure in the US:

Medicare, the federal program that insures 55 million older and disabled Americans, announced plans on Wednesday to reimburse doctors for conversations with patients about whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.

Time to prepare the ice floes for Grandma before global warming forces us to use more expensive methods…

Or this is a simple, minor technocratic fix that enables people to make more fully informed decisions about their lives, their families and their expectations while they are not under pressure of contradictory information and values? Read more