Friday, December 17, 2021

What Really Happened to the Southern Vote

 We have heard quite often over the last 20 years about the "Southern Strategy". The primary thrust of this narrative, largely used by the Democrats to explain their loss of hegemony in the southern states, was that Republicans used "dog whistle" language in the 1960s and onward to attract Southern racist voters to the Republican party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA).

This explanation has an emotional value to the Democrats, who remain members of the party that actually passed Jim Crow laws, opposed the abolition of Slavery, and tried to stop school integration.  Given their history, it would seem like the first thing that should be toppled in a post-CRA America would be the Democratic Party, and yet...

So they are told by their party that the Democrats are the anti-Racists, like Magic!  It flipped from Democrats racist, to Democrats anti-Racist.  They need to believe that to absolve themselves of the moral failures of their party... and explain why, in the cast off of all of that baggage of a bygone era they couldn't manage to change their party name.

A too-convenient-by-half skepticism of that narrative aside, there are a number of ways that the narrative just makes no sense.

The first problem with the argument is that they target the wrong governmental bodies.  Segregationist laws were all at the state level, past by state legislatures and implemented by state and local authorities to protect state Democrat hegemony, so the canary in the coal mine for "Racist Southern Voter Migration" would be at the levels of Government that were the enforcers of state Democrat control, namely state houses and Governor seats.

So CRA was passed in 1964... so when did the Democrats lose control of Governor seats? Well...

The Georgia Governor was dependably Democrat from 1872 to 2003.

Alabama had consecutive Democrat Governors from 1874 to 1987, and didn't have back to back Republican Governors until 2003.

Mississippi's Republican Governor elected in 1992 was the first in 118 years and there wasn't a back to back Republican elected until 2012.

Louisiana hasn't had back to back Republican Governors since 1877.

South Carolina's firs back to back Republican Governors was 1999, current Republican hold has been in effect since 2004.

North Carolina hasn't had back to back Republican Governors since 1874.

OK, so the Democrats held control of Southern Governor seats for 30-40 years following the passage of CRA.. but surely the state houses, the hot bed of Segregationist power turned Republican, right?  Well....

Georgia Democrats held the state House, Senate and Governor until 2002

Alabama Democrats held the state House and Senate until 2010

Louisiana.. also until 2010

South Carolina until 1994

North Carolina, other than a 4 year period from '95 to '98, also held state house and Senate until 2010

Florida Democrat until 1994..

Tennessee until 2004...

So, at the very least I guess we can see why the narrative of the "Southern Strategy" has picked up speed over the last 20 years.  As illogical as the explanation appears, the Democrats needed some way of explaining their loss of the South in the late 90s and early 2000s.  But trying to argue that the switch slow burned through a the racist south can't really explain why so many of those racist Democrats, and Democrat voters remained Dmeocrat to the day they died.

So what explains it?  The switch happened for two primary self-evident reasons.  The first explanation covers half of the "Southern Strategy" argument, but not the half the Democrats need.  The other is just plain demographics.  I'll explain both in turn.

To explain the demographic shift it is necessary to first understand the source of power of the pre-CRA southern Democratic Party.  Lost in the simplistic explanation of pre-CRA South, an explanation that posits Segregation and the only political platform that really mattered, is that inside the Hegemonic Southern Democrat party there were as many ideological fissures separating party members as there were separating Northern Democrats and Republicans.  Segregation and Jim Crow had become a last gasp of the "State Rights" argument that had been lost in the Civil war.

As an aside, the Southern Democrat "State Rights" argument was always doomed to fail because how the fights they chose to take against Federal Power were not targeting Federal legislation directly, they challenged the founding principles of the nation.  They posited the argument that the states.. really that any governmental body, can decide what natural rights are and are not inalienable.  They werent fighting federalism as much as they were fighting the whole concept of natural rights.

They lost in 1864, and then again, a century later in 1964.

So, in pre-CRA South, the disparate factions of the Democratic Party came together on only one issue:  Segregation.

"Ah HAH!!" THe modern Dmeocrat would say.  "You see!  Southern Politics was driven by racism!!"

Well yes, self evidently.  And following the passage of CRA the old Democrats continued to vote Democrat to the day they died.  Why they did that is for another discussion, and likely my explanation would be more controversial than the argument I will make here.  The why, therefore, we can skip.  All that needs to be pointed out here is that the Southern voter that voted Democrat before the passage of CRA largely continued voting Democrat where it mattered for the rest of their life.

So why did it turn Republican?  Easy answer:  Demographics, Demographics, Demographics.

To understand the Demographics of the Southern turn we have to first understand general ideological shifts in voting behavior by generation.  Specifically we will focus on the age old and time tested trend that every generation if most progressive in their politics in their late teens and 20s, and begin to shift conservative in their late 30s and 40s.

My theory for why this happens is pretty simple, and follows the same path as movies, music and any number of other individual preferences.  If you ask most people what their favorite band is, a 20 year old will usually name something contemporary while a 50 year old will name a band that was big when they were 20.  We lock into a preference sociologically and psychologically at a point in time that we see ourselves as most vibrant, usually in our 20s at the bridge between teen naivete and optimism and middle aged realism.

In short, we love change until it moves past us or, from a different perspective, we get old enough to see the folly.

Consider this general, inescapable Demographic ideological shift in the context of the CRA.  A child born after the passage of the CRA grew up in largely integrated schools, with largely shared integrated popular music and cinema, and no expectation that this had ever been different.  That generation latched on to the progressive party of the 1970s (Democrats), and came into their 20s under reagan, and reached middle age in the late 90s and 2000s.

Southern Democrats no longer had the unifying taint of Segregation to hold the party together, and so the Southern Dmeocrat, whose parents had always voted Democrat, had started to bury their parents, and vote their interests, which were naturally more conservative, and was anchored in the politics of the 1980s, when Reagan was president.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Who Factchecks the Factcheckers?

For the last 4 years Glenn Kessler has been running a Lie Tracker on President Donald Trump for the Washington Post.  In those four years he has determined that Trump lied 30,573 times.. a number that he, and those pundits who use Glenn to support their narratives, claim to be unprecedented.

The claim of unprecedented lying from Donald Trump is itself dubious given that Glenn Kessler has never run such a statistical  project on previous administrations and has announce that, with the oncoming Biden administration, he will go back to not doing it again.

One might want to point out that such comparative arguments without data is, itself, a lie... but that is just small potatoes.  The real meaning of Glenn Kessler's lie tracker can be derived by actually reading it, an act that, you will discover, nobody was ever meant to do.

I decided to do it because I'm mostly borded, but also because I'm seeing a lot of "lying-est president EVAR!" argumnets cropping up again as a response to claims that President Biden might have not told the truth.  Someone pointed me at Glenn Kessler's work as proof and, unfortunately, I read it.  I was so befuddled by the bizarre argumnets being used that I decided to restart this blog just to score Glenn Kessler's work.

So, let's score Glenn Kessler's running tally of "fact checks" or Trump using his own database, and his own methodology. 

From the start I will point out that Kessler plays very loose with his definition of  "lies". In the case of his Trump tally he counts any mistatement, difference of opinion, over statement or understatement as "lie".

Moreover, when Trump makes a statement wherein the meaning of the claim is undefined, rather than attempt to get a clarification of the claim, Kessler simply substitutes his own definition to the claim and then determines that the claim is a lie.  That is, in fact, a lie on the part of Kessler, not Trump.

What Kessler does here is, itself, a lie by his own definition.  It is misleading at best and, as we'll see as I walk through the 40-odd claims on his tracker page, very likely intentionally dishonest.  That is abysmal behavior for anyone who claims to be a purveyor of facts.  But don't trust me, look at Glenn Kessler's tracking page, read his explanations, then read mine.  Critique my assessments if you want.. the simple fact that we can argue the validity of Kessler's assessment is just futher proof that Kessler is giving opinion, not facts.

Then again, when he does give fact it seems to rare be on the actual substance of the quote he attributes to Trump.  But enough preamble, let's get to it.

Away we go...

1) “We also got tax cuts, the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country, by far.” - Trump

In this first "lie" we see what will become a habit on the part of Kessler to attempt to define the statement after the fact in terms that he finds best helps his case.  

In this case Kessler decides, for no stated reason, that Trump meant "largest tax cut compared to GDP" and then he goes on tpo state that by Kessler's criter it is not the largest.  Whereas if you count the total tax dollars, or the total nmber of people who received a tax reduction, you may very well find that Trump's claim is true, but in this case Kessler's straw man is fabricated and misleading, so Kessler gets the points...

Kessler: 296
Trump: 0

2) “We just got seventy five million votes. And that's a record in the history of in the history of sitting presidents.” - Trump

Kessler's evaluation is just a flat redirection.  Trump clearly qualified "sitting president", which was true, regardless of whether or not Biden received more votes, Biden wasn't the sitting president.

Kessler: 312
Trump: 0

3) “One of the things we're very, very proud of is the selection of almost three hundred federal judges and three great Supreme Court justices.That's a very big number. That's a record-setting number.” - Trump

Kessler's explanation here is a clear mischaracterization on the one hand, and a quibling over the term "nearly" and "selection"...

Trump's "record setting" number was 3 Supreme Court justices in 4 years.  That is true.

Trump stated "slection" of nearly 300 judges, not the seating of those judges, and even counting only seated judgesKessler is down to hanging his hat on the meaning of "nearly"... thin gruel. 

Kessler:  396
Trump: 0

4) “Our first lady has been a woman of great grace and beauty and dignity. And so popular with the people, so popular with the people.” - Trump

Honestly, I could hit Kessler for poll shopping here and do an analysis of the various polls which may or may not prove his point, but sure.. Trump said something nice about his wif that might not be true for a slim majority of people.

Kessler: 396
Trump: 1

5) “That's why [regulation cuts] we have such good, and have had such good, job numbers. The job numbers have been absolutely incredible.” -Trump

Here Kessler mixes up causation.  Trump was speaking of the record employment before COVID, the shutdowns by states after COVID were not federal regulations, so in fact, Kessler would need to determine what unemployment would be today had unemploymnet not been so low at the start of COVID... but he didn't so...

Kessler: 397
Trump: 1

6) “When we started, had we not been hit by the pandemic, we would have had numbers that would never have been said already. Our [employment] numbers are the best ever. If you look at what happened until February a year ago, our numbers were at a level that nobody had ever seen before.” - Trump

Kessler attempts here to substitute participation rate with unemployment, a switcheroo that any economist would tell you is utterly foolish.  Participation rate is the number of working aged individuals versus total people enmployed or seeking employment.  As such, participation rate will be low in an aging population since retirees, being voluntarily out of the work force, still count in participation rate even when they are happily retired.

Moreover, Kessler makes the bixzarre hand-waving attemot to clainm that low unemployment before COVID was the consequence of "steady population growth" .... what....

No, Glenn, there are any number of countries that would like to have a word with you on that stupid rationalization. 

It's so stupid I really want to give Glenn double demerits... but I'll stick to the plan.

Kessler:  493
Trump: 1

7) “What we've done has been amazing by any standard. We rebuilt the United States military.” - Trump

Kessler again attempts to define what Trump said in a way to create a lie where no lie exists.  The truth is that the US military was growing under Trump even while Trump was spinning down foreign deployments.

Kessler's lie here is the presumption that when a war spins down over seas that the US military shrinks.  That might have been true back when our military was built on the draft in times of war, but not the case with an all volunteer army.  The reason that the army shrinks today is an unwillingess of a given administration to replace losses due to retirement.

In an all volunteer army the size of the military is entirely the discretion of the CiC.

.. but then the numbers show the lie in Kessler's argument.  Trump did largely shrunk US troop involvement overseas and the miltary grew, it didn't shrink.

Kessler:  743
Trump: 1

8) “We took care of the vets, 91 percent approval rating.” - Trump

Here there is a claim by Kessler that the 91 percent was a 2014 number, and that the number is now 82%.  I give this one to Kessler.

Kessler: 743
Trump: 58

9) “Our beautiful vets, they were very badly treated before we came along. And, as you know, we get them great service and we pick up the bill, and they can go out and they can see a doctor if they have to wait long periods of time.”

Kessler calls this Trump's "most insidious lie" but it seems to be Kessler's most insidious tactic in this "fact check".  Note that Kessler begins with the following:

"Trump does not mention "VA Choice" but he is referring to the Veterans Access"

.. Is he Glenn?  Did you ask?  Could he have been talking about the MISSION Act, a bill that he received a considerable amount of praise for?  In fact, what Trump described in that statement is precisely what the MISSION Act was written to acocmplish, per Military.Com:

"At its core, the MISSION Act reflects the president's vision that veterans need to be at the center of their health care decisions. If it's too long a drive to the VA, if wait times are too long, if we can't offer the services a veteran needs, or if it's simply in the best medical interest of a veteran to use non-VA services, they can now seek care in their community."

You lied, Glenn.

Kessler: 960
Trump: 58

10) “We got it so that we can sadly get rid of people that don't treat our vets properly. We had we didn't have any of those rights before when I came on.” - Trump

This statement is more of a muddle, and the kind of grey area that Kessler feels most comfortable in.  The point of 
 the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was specifically to grant the DVA more power to discipline VA workers that they didn't have before, and even Kessler has to concede that the rate of firing under Trump increased by a whopping 32%.. proving the intent of Trump's statement to be true, and unworthy of the designation as a "lie"...

Kessler: 1,079
Trump: 58

11) “We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world…Powered by these policies, we built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” - Trump

Here is yet another case where Kessler has taken a statement by Trump, decided what he thought it meant, and then cast judgement, again engineering the lie.

Now, before I go to far on this, I should point out that the US economy has been the greatest economy on the planet for a very long time, and so long as it is growing it continues to be the greatest economy the world has ever seen.  Even during the recession the US economy was the greatest in the world, but it wasn't as great as the economy in recent past.  So Trump's statement, in that regards, is a "well duh", but that is because it is obviously true, not because it is a lie.

That being said, when all of the economists that Kessler chooses to listen to claimed under Obama that the cap on 1st world economic growth is capped at 2%, Trump exceeded that in an economy that the Glenn Kesslers of the world had claimed were already recovered. 

So Trump's cheering the Trump era economic growth is not misplaced, and not a lie.

Kessler: 1,572
Trump: 58

12) “All Americans were horrified by the assault on our capital. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated.” - Trump

In this "fact check" Kessler inserts opion into a claim that it quite clearly true and tries to build a thought crime behind Trump's statements against the January 6th riot.

But then alkso look what Kessler did here.  Trump said "all Americans were horrified" and Kessler attempts to "debunk" this statement by making it about Trump and Trump alone.

Kessler: 1,573
Trump: 58

13) “Together with millions of hardworking patriots across this land, we built the greatest political movement in the history of our country.” - Trump

Sure, Trump bravado here to placate his base isn't actually true.  But even with the statement set up on the T for Kessler he can't help but fudge with the "fact check", comparing the Trump movement to "the global Human Rights movement"... which doesn't stick within the clear qualifications of the statement.

But the Trump statement is false.

Kessler: 1,573
Trump: 75

14) “Our agenda was not about right or left. It wasn't about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation.” - Trump

Kessler attempts to make this a lie by saying that Trump painted Dmeocrats as "evil"... then goes on to try and prove that by showing that Trump claimed that Democrat policies were not good for the country.  So Kessler failed to show it was a lie, only that Trump felt Joe Boiden's polcies would be bad for the country.

Not a lie, Glenn, an opinion.

Kessler: 1,574
Trump: 75

13) “We slashed more job killing regulations than any administration had ever done before.” - Trump

Here Kessler goes back to his old methodology of determining what Trump meant and then attacking that.  In this case Kessler has chones to read "job killing regulations" as "regulations" as a general term, and then tried to show the regulations didn't save jobs because... wait for it.. COVID.

State regulations in the case of COVID killed jobs.. quite literally on purpose.  THat isn't Trump administration regulations of regulation cutting, that is state.  

But really, Kessler takes a shot on his own goal at the very beginning of his explanation:

"There is no reliable metric on which to judge this claim — or to compare him to previous presidents"

Huh.. well if there is no way for Glenn to determine the triuth of this statement then there is no way for Glenn to determine it is a lie.  So we are left with Kessler establishing a lie from thin air... which is, at best, misleading, and by his own methodology, a lie.

Kessler: 1,774
Trump: 75

14) “We imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China….Billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the U.S.” - Trump

This one is a puzzler... in his explantion for why this is a lie Kessler closes with the  following statement:

"Through Jan. 13, 2021, the Trump tariffs have garnered about $75 billion on products from China"

So what Trump stated in the quote provided was 100% correct.  Thanks, Glenn.

Kessler: 2,022
Trump: 75 

15) “NATO countries are now paying hundreds of billions of dollars more than when I arrived just a few years ago. It was very unfair. We were paying the cost for the world. Now the world is helping us.” - Trump

Again, Kessler shoots on his own goal in the closer:

"NATO estimates that European NATO and Canada will add $130 billion in cumulative defense spending through 2020, in 2015 dollars, as an increase over 2016 spending. NATO also estimates the cumulative figure will rise to $400 billion through 2024." 

So Trump's statement is true.

Kessler:  2,158
Trump: 75

16) “Perhaps most importantly of all, with nearly three trillion dollars, we fully rebuilt the American military, all made in the USA.”

For some reason Kessler decided that "rebuilding the military" meant equipment only.  (Hint: It's not)

But, interestingly, regarding equipment purchases, that 20% is actually a stand out.  In general, equipment cost is about 10-15% of total cost with 85-90% of cost going to maintenance and personnel.. so 20% is high.

But that is beside the point.  Kessler doesn't even try to prove the Trump statement here is a lie, he just changes the subject.

Kessler:  2,275
Trump: 75

17) “The Abraham Accords opened the doors to a future of peace and harmony, not violence and bloodshed.” - Trump

Kessler decides that "opens the door" is not something Trump said, and decided to evaluate the statemnt as if the Abraham accords were ending active wars between those states.

This might be the most shameful of Kessler's "fact checks", and I think deep down he knows what an awful thing he did here... but mostly that is because I still hold out some hope that Glenn Kessler has a conscience.

Shame on you, Glenn Kessler.

Kessler:  2,311
Trump: 75

18) “I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.” - Trump

In an attempt to make this a lie, Kessler points out that Jimmy Carter also didn't start any wars....

Let's see.... 2020 ... minus 1980... carry the 1... 

Well gee, Glenn, that was 4 decades ago.  So it's true.

Kessler:  2,312
Trump: 75

19) “[We] renegotiated the one-sided South Korea deal.” -Trump

Kessler's gotcha here amounts to there was a South Korea deal and Trump renegotiated it.

In your face, Trump!

Kessler:  2,328
Trump: 75

20) “We replaced NAFTA with the groundbreaking USMCA — that’s Mexico and Canada — a deal that’s worked out very, very well.” - Trump

Kessler decided that he'd rehash his South Korea trade argument here by calling this a lie because, while Trump says he replaced NAFTA with USMCA, what he really did was replace NAFTA with USMCA.

Got 'eem!

Kessler: 2,486
Trump: 75

21) “America outperformed other countries economically because of our incredible economy and the economy that we built.” - Trump

Kessler again tried to fabricate a lie by deciding what Trump meant and then attacking it.  He wants you to believe that China's economic growth, not its overall size, is the mark of heath when, in reality, such growth is a product of an China being a depressed economy recovery from being a 2nd World economy, rather than a matured 1st World economy like the US.

What Glenn tries to do here is like claiming that a 90 year old man who malked half a mile, doubling his average walking distance, is healthier than a person who runs 6 miles a day because they didn't increase their distance.

It's economically illiterate is what I'm getting at.

Kessler: 2,515
Trump: 75

22) “We also unlocked our energy resources and became the world's number one producer of oil and natural gas.” - Trump

When it comes to Presidents and the macro economy, or the energy economy, there should be a Hipocratic oath: "First, do no harm".

Look at the wrath a new Administration has reigned down on the energy sector, let's just say that, at worst, Trump was a better steward of US energy independence.

Also, insofar as Trump did open public land for exploratoion, an executive order that Biden recinded, clearly Trump was telling the truth.

Kessler: 2,516
Trump: 75

“We passed nearly four trillion dollars in economic relief, saved or supported over 50 million jobs and slashed the unemployment rate in half.” - Trump

Kessler again ignores Trump's own qualifications in this statement "Saved or supported" and attempts to show that Trump didn't save 50 million jobsHe then goes on to show that Trump's initiative saved 14 million jobs and never bothers to try and figure out how many jobs the initiative supported.

That, Glenn Kessler, is misleading, and a lie by your own methodology.

Kessler:  2,535
Trump: 75

24) “[We] stood up to Big Pharma in so many ways, but especially in our effort to get favored nations clauses added, which will give us the lowest prescription drug prices anywhere in the world.” - Trump

Kessler attempts to write off this claim by saying that the EO signed by Trump was "toothless" and would accomplish what he intended.

It was so toothless that Biden, who raked in millions from Big Pharma during the elections, recinded that EO on his first day in office.

.. why do you suppose that was, Glenn?

Kessler: 2,620
Trump: 75

25) “We passed VA choice.” - Trump

Digging into the spreadsheet here shows Kessler played loose with what he was considered "VA Choice".  Essentially if Trump ever said VA and "Choice" in the same sentence Kessler called it a lie.

Even in his wrte up on the list he states that Trump meant the Mission Act.  So it's not a lie, he signed an amendment to the VA Choice act... and Kessler makes that a lie.

You all following along here?  If Trump says he replaced a trade deal Kessler calls him a liar if the new trade deal contains elements of the previous trade deal, and if he amends a bill he is called a liar if he mentions the name of the bill.

With Kessler it's "heads I when, tails you lose" for everything Trump says.

Even assuming Trump calling the Mission Act VA Choice, it's not a lie unless Glenn can prove it's intentional.  If Trump hadn't passed the Mission Act then Kessler might have a point...

But he did, so he doesn't...

But for fairness, I'll split this, and even hand Trump the remainder.

Kessler:  2,728
Trump: 184

27) “The American people pleaded with Washington to finally secure the nation's borders. I am pleased to say we answered that plea and achieved the most secure border in U.S. history.” - Trump

This "fact check" is just bizarre.  Here Glenn tries to prove Trump is lying about boarder security by stating the record number of apprehensions at the Southern boarder during the Trump administration....

.... I

... but....

Those statistics support Trump's claims, they don't disprove them.

Kessler:  2,796
Trump: 184

28) “We proudly leave the next administration with the strongest and most robust border security measures ever put into place. This includes historic agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador...” - Trump

Kessler's argument here is that Trump didn't get everything he wanted with regards to boarder security, so it's a lie.

It's not a lie.

In fact, if you go read his explanation for this one you see that he actually shot his argument for #27 in the foot.  But then that wasn't all that impactful since he already fed his argument in #27 through the wood chipper.  All he had left to shoot was the foot.

Kessler: 2,797
Trump: 184

29) “...along with more than 450 miles of powerful new wall.” - Trump

Kessler's argument here was that Trump built onlky 450 miles of new wall, not 450 miles of new wall.


Kessler:  2,909
Trump: 184

30) “The world respects us again. Please don't lose that respect.” - Trump

Kessler's argument here is a series of polls that show foreign people in various countries don't like the US.

"Like" and "Respect" are two entirely different things.  A marine in basic at Camp LeJeune may not like drill instructors, but they respect them.

Kessler:  2,990
Trump: 184

31) “Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week.” - Trump

Glenn Kessler can't read minds, so any "fact check" of what someone else is thinking and feeling is a lie.

Kessler:  2,991
Trump: 184

32) “It's been tremendously successful, far beyond what anyone thought. We're stopping, in large numbers, the drugs coming into the country for many, many years and decades.” - Trump

In the same way that Kessler attempted to turn total apprehensions at the boarder into a proxy for Boarder security, he tries the opposite here, arguing that a decline in drug seizures at the boarder means more drugs are getting through.

This is about as solid an bit of evidence you will ever find that Glenn Kessler is useless as a fact checker and an incompetent bufoon as a propagandist.  He has used used the same argument twice, but drew different conclusions as it suited his goal.

Again, I should award double points, but I'm fair...

Kessler:  3,093
Trump: 184

33) “There does seem to be a surge now because people are coming up. Some caravans are starting to form because they think there's going to be a lot in it for them.” - Trump

Glenn Kessler calls this a lie because "there is no evidence of a surge"... the same Glenn Kessler who used the surge in arrests as proof Trump lied about boarder protection.

Kessler: 3,094
Trump: 184

34) “So if you read my speech -- and many people have done it, and I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television -- it's been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate....they've analyzed my speech and words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate.” - Trump

Kessler barely tries here.  Trump's statement is typical politician speak, and yes, people have determined it was appropriate.  Not everyone deemed it appropriate, but it's not a lie.

What Kessler does here is determine that HE didn't find it appropriate, as so therefor he'll count it as a lie.

It's not a lie.

Kessler:  3,094
Trump: 184

35) “If you look at what other people have said -- politicians at a high level -- about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle, in various other -- other places, that was a real problem -- what they said.” - Trump

Kessler calls this a lie because Trump didn't name anyone specifically for supporting the riots of the past summer. I can show receipts if Glenn wants, Maxine Waters, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Ocassio-Cortez, etc. etc. along with Dmeocrat supporters in the media who spent time down playing those riots or even supporting them (Chris Cuomo famously asked where it said in the Constitution that protests must be peaceful...)

If anyone needs receipts I'll provide them.

Kessler is playing dumb here... or maybe he's just dumb, in which case this is a wash.

Just kidding, Kessler is a liar.

Kessler:  3,095
Trump: 184

36) “The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country.” - Trump

The claim here is that even though it's all the same people, and all the same overstepping of Constitutional norms, that it's totally different.

It's not.

This is an opinion, not a lie.

Kessler:  3,096
Trump: 184

“In every region that we've built the wall, illegal crossings and drug smuggling have plummeted. Absolutely plummeted. In the Rio Grande Valley, crossings have dropped nearly 80 percent. In Yuma, Arizona, illegal entries have been slashed by 90 percent.” - Trump

Kessler gives Trump 1 lie for this for "cherry picking Data"... but Trump made a very specific claim here that Kessler tries to "disprove" by trying to prove something else.

.. and he uses the same dubious claim that higher numbers of apprehensions and lower drug seizures both equate to a less secure boarder.  There is no way to prove one of those claims without disproving the other.

In other words, Glenn Kessler is being misleading.

Kessler: 3,097
Trump: 184

38) “Nationwide, ICE and Border Patrol have seized over 2 million pounds of fentanyl, heroin, meth, and other deadly narcotics, saving thousands and thousands of lives.”

Kessler again tries to change the argument.  Trump stated a quite clear statistic that ICE and Boarder Patrol seized over 2 million pounts of drugs and Kessler tries to disprove this by lining to the CBP database that shows boarder patrol ahas seized... over 2 million pounds of drugs.

I mean seriously, this is right out of the link Glenn Kessler gave:

So Trump told the truth, buut Kessler determined Trump meant something else, and that something else was a lie.

I'm seeing a trend....

Kessler: 3,098
Trump: 184

39) “We’ve arrested nearly 500,000 illegal aliens with criminal records, some with very serious criminal records of the type you don't want to know about, like murder.” - Trump

Here we have Kessler again deciding that Trump didn't mean what he said, and changed the argument.

Trump gave no time frame to that statement, and would be read as over his entire 4 year term, and yet Kessler decides that Trump only meant 2020, and so decides that 103,000 arrests in 2020 is far fewer than Trump's claim of 500,000.

So... let me do the work that Glenn Kessler dihonestly avoided, per the CBP page he linked to:

2017: 143,479
2018: 158,581
2020: 103,603

Total:  548,663...

So Trump understated the number of arrests... so clearly Glenn had toi find some way of turning it into a lie.

Kessler's lie.

Kessler: 3,099
Trump: 184

40) “We removed nearly 20,000 gang members from the United States, including 4,500 members of MS-13 -- probably the worst gang of them all.” - Trump

In this case Kessler provides no actual evidence to counter Trump's statement and passes a claim Trump stated regarding 3 years, rather than the full 4 years.  So really Kessler is misleading again, claiming a lie when he doesn't actually have the data to back it up.

Kessler: 3,100
Trump: 184

41) “Our most important reform was ending catch and release -- not easy to do; you're dealing with Congress; it's very, very difficult -- which is the functional equivalent of open borders, but even worse: It's catch and release them.” - Trump

And finally this, where again Kessler fails to stick to the subject.  The Trump adminsitration ended catch and release, this is true.  Some jurisdictions have challenged catch and release and refuse to hand illegals over to ICE when they are caught.

Why do they refuse?  Because ICE will deport them rather than hand them a summons and release them with the hope they will return for a trial.

So again, and finally, another lie by Glenn Kessler...

Kessler: 3,135
Trump: 184

Glenn Kessler has so consistently flipped statements and built straw men in his pursuit of fact checking Donald Trump that it defies any attempt to excuse it as accidental.  He is a paid liar.

Of the 3,319 "lies" that Glenn Kessler documents on his Trump "Lie Tracker", a whopping 94.5% of those lies are by Glenn Kessler, not Trump.

That would be about 11% sampling of the Glenn Kessler fact check cluster boink... enough to assume that of the 30,573 "lies" that Glenn Kessler attributes to Trump, a cool 28,878 of those lies were from Glenn Kessler, not Donald Trump.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Sharpton got his Gig

Many people are wondering how a person like Al Sharpton was given the lead off to MSNBC's nightly programming, but it makes perfect sense when you hear the whole story.  Here is how it was told to me by someone in the know:

Several Years ago Al Sharpton's limousine was on teh way back from a Union rally in Western Maryland when the engine started having trouble. The limousine was forced to pull off on to the back streets to find a garage.

Not long after getting off the main road the drive was hopelessly lost and, eventually, the limousine was forced to stop as smoke began to billow from the engine.

The driver instructed Sharpton to stay put as he went to look for help. Sharpton sat in his car playing Candy Crush his way. He would just sit staring at the array of brightly colored candies on his screen trying to see if he could come up with racist patterns. "Why are their so many blues and so few yellows? Why is chocolate an obstacle!" he would bellow and the begin meticulously destroying whichever candy was in the majority. He could do this for hours.

But not long after he had begun to uncover a conspiracy in the green candies he heard something from the nearby woods. He peered into the growing fog but could see nothing, writing it off to probably Some poor homeless man, not really worth his time.

But soon he heard the sound again, this time it was maybe two or three somethings in the fog... maybe its some ecologists fighting the global warming. Good for them, but not really worth his time.

A third time he heard the noise, now it sounded like crowds of people. Maybe, he thought, there was a rally going on. With this thought he exited the limousine excitedly and carefully, alertly began to walk into the woods in search of his audience.

The deeper in the woods he traveled the more people he began to hear and the more excited he got, but it was not long before Sharpton had decided that he wasn't hearing a friendly crowd... he thought now that he might have been approaching a tea bagger rally. Unfortunately he was now too deep in the woods to be able to see the car through the fog, no matter where he turned all he could see was fog. With this realization Sharpton panicked and began running in a direction, any direction, in order to escape his imagined foe.

He quickly ran out of energy and had to stop, gasping for breath, no clearer on where he was then he had been befo.. he stopped. Gazing straight ahead of him he could make out the faintest light in the inky blackness. With that his adrenaline kicked in and he began running again. As he ran the light in the distance came in to focus. It appeared to be a small shack. With his last energy Sharpton stumbled to the shack and collapsed at the threshold and passed out.

When he came to he found himself sitting in a chair in the shack, across from him was what appeared to be an old woman . Sharpton found himself at a loss for what to say because the old woman's face and exposed skin were of indeterminate race.. could be white, oriental... jew or light skin black. He couldn't be sure.

"Welcome Al Sharpton" the lady rasped "I'm so glad you found me"

"Who are you? Black?" was all he could think to say

"My race is unimportant. What I have to offer you, is very important."

He had to ponder this. Race unimportant? Obviously this is a crazy lad. Probably conservative. He proceeded with caution.

"You are a white, tea bagger, Israel-loving papist... why should I trust you?" he said, measuring his words diplomatically.

"Al, let me be honest, I'm a witch. I have been trapped in this hovel for centuries. The fog outside this door was put there by powers greater than mine to keep me here. Your stumbling run into my home has been a great boon to me. I simply wish to reward you."

"You're not Tea bagger?" he asked, intrigued

"A what?"

"... What do you think of Israel?"

"I think Roman rule has been good for them."

"The Pope?"

"Not a fan"

"What color are you?"

"I can't even remember, my mind and body have long since been consumed in black magic"

"Oh, Black Magic? I like the sound of that!" he said excitedly

"Oh good, glad to hear it" the witch hissed through a gravely smile "So.. your reward. For giving me a human trail that I can now track out of this accursed wood I will grant you one wish. But only one."

Sharpton pondered his choice. His lifelong goal was to be in front of people, to get in their face, to root out racism everywhere it was and wasn't. He was tired of the whistle stop tours, though. He wanted to mass communicate!

"I want a TV show" he said

The Witch paused, smiling. "I will give you this.."

"But wait, I'm not done with my wish! I want this show to be on a news Network, I want creative control. Because But resist, we much… we must… and we will much… about… that… be committed..."

"Huh?" the Witch asked, puzzled.

"GIVE ME MY GODDAM SHOW WITCH!" Sharpton clarified

"Ah yes. Al Sharpton, you shall have your show...."


"You will have a prime time slot..."

"Awe give it!"


"... well... I guess that is OK"

"Then with that, Al Sharpton, I must bid you adieu." the witch said as Sharpton's eyes began to blur "When you wake up you will be back in your limo, just as your driver arrives with a tow truck. Good luck to you.... anchor man! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

Days later Al was contacted by MSNBC and the rest is history.

Oh, and the witch also cursed Al so he is slowly turning into a Pez Dispenser.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Big Idea: Healthcare Reform

As the PPACA groans and lurches forward towards collapse, many of it's supporters defend the bill with a simple, valid (albeit ignorant) question:  Well, what would you offer in return?

Well, ignoring the long list of counter proposals offered before and after the passage of PPACA that already exist, I decided to think about this a bit myself and try and pull together some of the best of the existing counter proposals as well as a few big ideas of my own (which very well might also have been proposed before... there are a lot of counter proposals out there!)

My goal was to tackle the two big problems that PPACA was -- in theory -- designed to fix, but that in practice have proven unworkable or made things worse.  Those two problems are:  Affordability and coverage for those with per-existing conditions.  

In general the balance has to be struck in creating such a plan that meets those two goals while not increasing cost to insurers and not opening the system to fraud. I think my 6 point proposal pretty well covers all of those bases.  The critical piece of my plan that I separates in from the critically flawed PPACA is that it functions on incentives rather than mandates and tax penalties.

Here are the bare bones of my proposal:

1) End the employer based insurance model. Make insurance a commodity that people shop for on their own. Employers can choose to give employees a flat pre-tax bonus for paying for insurance (this is mainly to accommodate those who live pay check to paycheck and can't really wait for an annual recoup of costs on their taxes)

2) Open up interstate commerce for health insurance. This will have limited effect, admittedly, since each state will still regulate coverage levels in their own state, but if states enter into coalitions to set minimum insurance levels in common it will allow insurers to market insurance plans to larger pools of customers.

3) The Big Idea #1: Allow insurers to prorate payouts based on the percentage of the previous year that a customer was insured. Allow the insurer to enforce this for 3 months. The full cost of expenses incurred in these three months would apply to the plan's OOPM, however.

4) The Big Idea #2: If a customer cancels their plan in the first two years they will be required to pay back all of the money paid out by the insurer on their behalf minus 85% of the premium paid. So if a person incurs $10,000 in medical expenses and pays $10,000 in premiums then the cancellation fee would be $1,500.

5) The Big Idea #3: Applicants who spent two or more years without insurance prior to application must spend at least 1 year on a healthcare plan purchased from the state high risk pool. This plan can be a catastrophic coverage plan.

6) The Big Idea #4: Allow an unlimited roll-over of Healthcare Savings plans (HSP) in perpetuity, with balances of such plans being transferable upon death to another person at a 20% tax rate if transferred to that person's HSP, or at a 50% tax rate if withdrawn as cash. The tax penalty can be reduced at a rate of 5% annually for every year the deceased paid into a high risk insurance plan.

The practical upshot of these 6 reforms is to make insurance mobile, more competitive, and to incentivize healthy middle and upper-middle class customers to invest in their state's high risk pools for tax reasons all while giving the uninsured a pathway to full coverage and providing systemic protections to insurers against people who look to game the system.

I could just as easily add a seventh point that would include tort reform, but I think any such reform should stand on its own merits rather than be lumped in with a more universal reform.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Reid's Criminal Conspiracy

Harry Reid, the featherweight politician and boxer has announced this week that he has a "source" that has proven that Romney has not paid taxes for a decade.

I would like to float out there the fact that IRS tax filings are private and legally protected from disclosure by Federal Law.  Not being a legal scholar I can not say whether Reid's third party recount of Romney's taxes constitutes a violation of those laws, or not, but if this "source" actually exists and is actually disclosing Romney's tax documents to Reid then that source is very likely in violation of federal law.

Therefor, I demand that Harry Reid immediately disclose his source or be guilty of aiding in the violation of federal law.  He is not a journalist so he can't claim any special protection.  In fact, as a Senator he is tasked with upholding the letter of the law.

So spill it, Mr. Reid.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Statements

As study in tone and message I have taken Romney's speech to Olympians and substituted entrepreneurs and job creators... now tell me, had Obama said the following would he have angered anyone?
“Tonight we cheer the young business owners and job creators, who only yesterday were children themselves,” Obama said. “As we watch them grow their business, we affirm that our aspirations, and those of our children and grandchildren, can become reality. We salute you job creators – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real. You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, studied and came back time and again, winning and losing.
“You business owners, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Obama “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, mentors guided, communities built infrastructure in order to promote business. All business owners stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the business owners, let’s also cheer the parents, mentors, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].”

I think not.

Now do the same exercise but substitute business owners with Olympians and imagine Romney saying this:

"If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so talented. There are a lot of talented people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you're an Olympian, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Olympic team didn't get built on its own. Government funding created the collegiate athletics so that all the Olympians could go to the Olympics."

Would Romney have been excoriated for such a finger pointing and admonishing message to the Olympic hopefuls?

You bet he would.

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Presidential and Congressional predictions, Hot off the Presses!!!

As a frequent doubter of Nate Silver's Five-Thirty-Eight statistics blog I have decided that what I should do is enter into a bit of a competition with Nate Silver regarding the 2012 election.  Here is my predition:

Senate:  All candidates with a 5+% lead in the polls the Friday before the election will win, the rest will split.

Congress:  All candidates with a 5+% lead in the polls the Friday before the election will win, the rest will split.

President:  The candidate with a 5+% lead in the polls the Friday before the election will take that state, while the rest will split.

Shew!  That was tough!  This is, in essence, where Nate Silver will fall on the Friday before the election, and both of us will be off by 1 or 2 seats/states on Wednesday the following week.