Monday, December 28, 2015

Catching up: Pope says Jews are saved

I almost missed this. Jews are not damned to hell for not accepting Jesus, according to the Vatican. Not only are Jews not damned (despite that crucifixion two thousand years ago), are they saved and are to be considered 'elder brothers.'

But let me clarify. At first I thought the pope himself had declared this. No, afraid not. It was a Vatican committee. And the committee can't quite explain why Jews are saved, instead falling back on the well-used excuse of divine 'mystery.'

Does this sound like they've discovered something new (and convenient)? Maybe, but they claim it's based on St. Paul's epistle to the Romans. It was in there all the time, but was ignored for, um, a few centuries or more. Too bad for all those Jewish criminals killers sinners victims during all those years.

Image: examiner.com

Extras. Sorry, but the Vatican is wrong about this. There's not an exception for Jews (and it's proved by different bible verses). The only reasons I saw this--because of click-bait about Kim Davis and her fabulous victories this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Catching up: Dems are doomed!

I've been ultra-busy with work and holiday prep and holiday visiting. So I haven't been able to write some posts I've been thinking about.

First, there was a column by Matthew Yglesias about how much Democrats having been losing at the state level, and why they should be worried about it. This isn't news to me. I don't subscribe to the theory that Dems lose because sometimes voters are just stupid. Dems lose for a variety of reasons, including that sometimes Dems are awful. On the other hand, sometimes Dems win because the GOP is even worse.

However, hoping that your opponent will be even worse isn't a good overall strategy.It's much better to try to be the best candidate you can be, and for the party to try to be the best. Dems haven't been doing this. They've been protecting their own and trying to avoid crazy. Sometimes it's good enough, but often it isn't. So Dems are losing more often.

Yglesias wrote about this two months ago. The effect? A ripple and then nothing. But that is what he expected: "But the truly striking thing is how close to bottom the party is already and how blind it seems to be to that fact." I'll let you know when I see the signs that the Dems are waking up. So far, they're still in deep slumber.

Image: jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com

Extra. An example of turning to the GOP because Dems won't do what's necessary.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blaming the talkers, not the shooters

Is Harry Reid right when he blames the murders and shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Republican politicians?

There are some good arguments for leveling some of the blame on them. Many of them aren't moderate in their statements, but instead ramp up the anger at those who support and provide abortions to the women who want them. They don't take the extra few seconds to remind people to try to stop abortion only through rational, respectful discussion. The GOPers as a whole have quite a history of lying about abortion, like 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. Shouldn't the GOP be held responsible when lies like this influence someone to kill? When I put it like this, yes, it seems they should be partially blamed.

But then I tried a thought experiment--do I feel the same about protest movements that I have more sympathy for? How much do I blame the Black Lives Matter movement for execution-type shootings of police? The answer to that one is easy--I don't blame Black Lives Matter, or the vast majority of their advocates and supporters. A few protesters have encouraged the shooting of police, but very few. And even then, they weren't directly involved in shootings, so they aren't guilty of incitement or conspiracy. I'm not even sure there is a crime for what they did, if all they did is yell.

So, am I going to have a different standard for conservatives and their causes than for liberals and their causes? It might be tempting, but I'm not. People are morally responsible to the lies they tell, or for the hate speech they mutter or shout, but they're not responsible when someone else pulls the trigger--unless they cross the gray line between advocating a position and advocating specific violence.

Am I right about this position? I'm not totally sure. However, I don't want to choose what is expedient, but what is fair.

Is it a lie? Is it incitement?
Image: lifenews. com

Extra. Ed Kilgore, a mildly progressive blogger whom I read often, makes a good argument for assigning more blame. But I'm not convinced, because sometimes the shoe is on the other foot.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Questioning whether Ted Cruz is an extremist

I've seen Ted Cruz labeled an extremist so many times, and that's generally my own impression, but I forgot to actually ask the question whether he is an extremist. Does Cruz actually hold extreme positions? His most well-known position was being against Obamacare, which is so common among Republicans that it can't be called extremist. So I wondered about extremist positions--whether he's advocated truly extreme positions such as deporting or locking up large numbers of people, establishing religious tests for civil rights, overthrowing the current government by insurrection, or some such.

I don't remember any policy position like that. But where did the impression of extremism come from then? It could be his rhetoric, such as calling Obama an apologist for Islamist terrorists. That's an extreme thing for an elected official to say out loud. It's more typical of political shock-jocks, not those who are supposed to be responsible, judicious, and fair.

Looking at Cruz's rhetoric, it's easy to find violations of the norms. He'll imply that Obama is a totalitarian, or that former senator Chuck Hagel was in the pay of North Korea. He'll advocate carpet bombing in the Mideast, as though carpet bombing didn't mean killing or wounding every living person in the effected area. It's the equivalent of say "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

His associations are scary. His father, Rev. Raphael Cruz, who frequently campaigns with Ted (making it hard for the son to distance himself) says such things as Obama is trying to destroy Christianity in the US. Other extreme associations include supporters of Uganda's death penalty for homosexuals.

Cruz's tactics aren't mainstream. When the GOP in Congress was voting in vain to repeal Obamacare, Cruz encouraged the 'defund Obamacare' strategy, though perhaps it was rhetoric and not meant to be seriously followed as a strategy. Nonetheless, it led to a government shutdown, and Cruz got much of the credit and/or blame.

I'm not sure I can point to other tactics that might be considered extreme, so I guess Cruz's extremism is primarily in his rhetoric and somewhat in his associations. But there's plenty of that. Just Google it.

Image: wrongforminnestoa.com

Extras. Quite the catalog on Ted Cruz at Right Wing Watch. Outlawing abortion without a constitutional amendment? Totally possible. Here are those 8 outrageous quotes. A fake Cruz quote, so don't trust memes.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Short: Textbook example of secret campaign donors

Here's a great example of what they've gotten from the Citizens United decision. This Politico article shows how Joni Ernst, the newly elected senator from Iowa, got a huge helping hand from an organization called Trees of Liberty. You can easily skip the first portion of the article and scroll down to where they discuss Trees of Liberty.

The story is chilling. Trees of Liberty pretended to be a social welfare organization, but it spent most of its funds on advertising. It avoided being called out as a political organization by pulling "down the television ads just before the calendar reached the one-month election countdown."

The only good news is that Trees of Liberty is a 501c(4) organization, so those secret donors weren't able to deduct their contributions. That's not much consolation when a few fabulously rich people can flood our political system with money, and 'liberty' means their liberty to do so.

When the Tree of Liberty was a tree, not a slush fund.
Image: bostoniansociety.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Downed Russian plane cools cries for war

After the attacks in Paris, conservatives were complaining how lackadaisical Obama is in fighting ISIS. So what did the conservatives say after the Russian bomber was shot down? Did any of them walk back their calls to increase our involvement? Did any of them say that maybe involvement isn't such a good thing?

Well, no, the conservatives didn't say that. Hardly anyone in politics or punditry admits a mistake, so it's no surprise. But it did mute their cries for the US to get further involved, especially as a strong man dictating what should happen. Maybe it also paused their admiration for Putin as a strong man who gets the job done.

The downing of the Russian plane should give everyone pause. Russia may want to respond by shooting down some Turkish planes or destroying something in Turkey, but there would be a high price for doing that. Turkey is in the NATO alliance, and you can't just start a war with a NATO country without bringing much of NATO down on you. Because of that, I think Turkey isn't going to suffer any major consequences for downing the plane, and Putin is going to have to take his lumps on it.

Charles Krauthammer, a supreme neocon, is backing down somewhat. He said these unexpected words:
"I give Obama credit for this..."
The credit being that Obama doesn't want Russia in the coalition fighting ISIS--the coalition having 65 member countries. Krauthammer was singing a different tune just 6 weeks earlier;
"And he said, oh yes, ‘the community of nations’ will take it on. The community of nations doesn’t exist."
I agree with Obama's limits on involvement. The Syrian conflict is amazingly messy, and no side is going to get a clean win, no matter how much money and troops they commit. If that's true, that there can't be a clean win, what should our strategy be? Does military history provide us with an answer?

Not that I know of. It doesn't look like anyone else has the answer either, no matter know loud they shouted a week ago.

 Image: mirror.co.uk

Extras. HotAir has little analysis of what it means to the US role in Syria. Marco Rubio thinks Russia got what it deserved. Paleoconservatives, being a different breed from neocons, say that this clearly shows what a mess Syria is. Weird theories from the internet here and here. Much more sober analysis here, including a reminder that this would be much more common with a no-fly zone. Hillary will want to rethink her support for a no-fly zone if she's elected. Finally, a round-up of crazy courtesy our presidential candidates.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Where is the battle? Why is it there?

I've been very busy with work and reading a slew of interesting books. That prevents me from going hyperbolic over the terrorist attacks in Paris, but I wasn't likely to go hyperbolic anyway.

The attacks in Paris aren't surprising. There are a lot of Muslims there, and some are radicalized. Military-style weapons aren't readily available, but they can be smuggled easily enough from other places where they are readily available. Perhaps the surprising thing is that there aren't more attacks. And not just in France, but all over Europe, in the US, in Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Jordan. Why are all these places relatively quiet versus the level of bombings in Iraq or in much of northern Africa?

Of course I'm glad that we don't do have all out warfare over much of the globe. But wouldn't it be helpful to understand why some areas are fairly peaceful and others aren't? It is because the security and surveillance networks are working well in the US, but less well in France? Maybe there are other reasons.

Another question is how bombing more targets in Syria, which France has started to do, has anything to do with terrorists acts in France. The problem is in France, not in Syria, isn't that correct? That seems the obvious logic to me, and there would have to be quite an explanation for why the problem is in Syria, and not France. Of course, the French response could be a case of do-something-ism--making a show of a response.

I may be asking questions that don't take many words to express, but the answers aren't going to be simple. Some people, like too many commenters on this thread, want to wipe out all Muslims, or maybe just all violent Muslims, or all Muslims in the middle east. Ideas like that are fraught with difficulties--moral, ethical, operational, etc.

So when I ask a simple question, I'm not looking for a simple answer. I'm hoping for a greater understanding of very important, difficult, widespread, and deadly issues. Don't try to give me a quick fix. It's not going to work, and most of us know that.

Image: niagarafallsreporter.com

Extras. I googled 'terrorist killings in Egypt' and didn't find long lists. Well-known was the recent bombing of Russian plane. Not well-known was the killing of Mexican tourists.

Complaints that Obama isn't hyperbolic in his response. What part of "It's going to take time" is wrong?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The power of football players

Who knew that college football players had so much latent power? The players at the University of Missouri just deposed the president of the college. It seems that he wasn't proactive enough about racial incidents, and the mostly black football squad exercised some collective bargaining power against him. Good for them.

The racial balance at the university does sound pretty awful, with very few black faculty and staff. The black students have been organizing heavily this fall (as discussed in this fascinating interview), but the knock-out was from the football team. They refused to practice or play until the president resigned. That gave the president a very short timeline--less than a week until the team defaulted on a game this upcoming weekend and the university faced a $1 million fine.

I do wonder what football players here and elsewhere will do next. I hope they use their power wisely. I hope other football teams also use their power wisely. However it's beyond my ability to predict, so of course I can't wait to see.

Image: ktrs.com


Extra. Maybe this issue deserves its own post, but I'm not sure. The students (with faculty provocateurs) forced journalists out of the center of campus, asserting their right to deny other people's rights. How quickly revolutions turn to tyranny--one day in this case. Be sure to watch the entire video. Note the faculty member who is ordering journalists out. Also note all the sheep doing her bidding. It's instructive. 

By the way, this is my advice to the journalists: Sit down. Then they can't push you. They have to step over, on, or around you, and it's on them if you get hurt.

The aftermath: praise for the journalists, hasty 'apology' from the tyrannical faculty provocateur. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Scary study about non-citizens voting (but not really)

A jerk/troll commenter on Bernstein's blog complained about the 'illegal alien electorate.' I decided to research how large this electorate could be, and the search was fruitful.

Did you know that non-citizen voters could have provided the margin of victory in five state in 2008? The states are North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Virginia, according to this article.

But before anyone jumps up and screams about fraud and stolen elections, let's think about this. The population or the US is about 320 million. The immigrant population is about 20 million, or 6.25%. So any state with a margin of victory less than 6.25% might have been swayed by non-citizen voting. And if a state has even more non-citizens, they could steal an election more easily by overcoming even more legal votes. In a closer election, like in 2012, non-citizen votes are even more likely to overthrow legitimate votes. This is a travesty!

But wait. This is based on a couple of surveys from 2008 and 2010. In the 2008 survey, 67 respondents claimed to be non-citizens, but still registered to vote. 38 claimed to have voted, and this is out of 338 respondents who said that weren't citizens. You might think that 11% of non-citizens are voting!

But the numbers are much fuzzier than that. The survey sample in 2008 was 32,800. If 6.25% of those were non-citizen, there should have been 2050 non-citizens in the survey, not 338. Can you really extrapolate from this survey when its sampling of non-citizens is so poor?

The survey asked about election participation, issues importance, and selection of candidates. Maybe the survey didn't get data from very many non-citizens because they didn't participate since they aren't voters. The sample of non-citizens in the survey could be skewed to those who don't know they can't vote, but still only about 11% of them voted. By 2010, the percentage of non-citizens claiming to have voted had fallen to 3.5%.

A better extrapolation of the number is not that 11% of non-citizens voted, but that 0.2% to 2,8% of non-citizens voted, or 40K to 500K votes across the whole country.

But don't even believe those numbers. In this survey, respondents may have incorrectly indicated that they were non-citizens when they actually were citizens. Or maybe a lot of non-citizens incorrectly said that they citizens on this survey, and we have to worry about some of those 'citizen' votes being illegal.

Maybe that study is a totally worthless piece of trash. Except if you want to claim:

Jaw-Dropping Study Claims Large Numbers of Non-Citizens Vote in U.S.

Lining up to vote in our their elections.
Image: bbc.co.uk

Extra. My earlier post, showing 100 non-citizens voting in one state, 200 in another. No massive fraud to unhinge your jaw.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Short: The danger of a president with weird ideas

What would President Carson be like? Let's speculate...

We might have weekly inanities about immorality, wickedness, Satan tempting people, and the dangers of believing scientists rather than the bible, preachers, and the goodly prez. That could be easily ignored.

However, what would Carson do in a crisis? Will the soft-spoken believer freeze up? Will he blindly choose some odd course of action based on an obscure biblical passage? Who knows. By the grace of God, we won't find out what he'd do. I may be curious, but I'm not crazy. This is an experiment I don't want to run.

Predicting what Carson will do...
Image: google.com

Extras. Inspired by this article, and particularly this sentence: "Now stay with me while I argue that Ben Carson’s views on the provenance of the pyramids actually do matter."

Need another laugh? "So when does the real Ben Carson, celebrated brain surgeon, finally manage to break free of his captors and emerge to confront the impostor?" -- some guy on twitter


Monday, November 2, 2015

Trump's exit strategy

Donald Trump is probably not a graceful loser--does anyone doubt this? No, probably not. Also, his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination are pretty small, at least according to the conventional wisdom of collective political scientists.

So, I've always expected Trump to bow out of the race at some point with complaints that:

  • He coulda won if he stayed in.
  • He was treated unfairly by the Republican party, or the media, or Fox News, or whomever.
  • He's got better things to do.
This has been my expectation for a while, but why am I writing it now? Because of this:

Trump will negotiate directly with networks on debates

Well, maybe I'm reading too much into this. Trump might not demand too much, have his requests denied, and skip one or more debates in anger. But somehow, some way, he will get angry, go home in a huff, and blame someone else. Mark the prediction--it will be vindicated.

Image: quotesgram.com

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rubio scores with rhetoric and (gasp) truth

I'm very impressed with part of Rubio's performance in the recent debate. He took down criticism of a local paper, the debate moderators, and Jeb Bush, and he did it very well and cleanly.

This was perhaps the most talked-about moment in the debate. Rubio was able to turn the tables on Jeb Bush after Bush attacked him. It's worth looking at how Rubio did this.(Video here, transcript here.)

The moderator referred to recent criticism that Rubio is skipping a lot votes in the Senate while he's campaigning. Rubio handled this so deftly that it should be a blueprint for others. He said:
"in 2004, John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes. I don't recall the Sun -- in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again."
Then Jeb Bush piled on, saying he was criticizing him as a constituent. This is how Rubio answered him:
"...you're modeling your campaign after John McCain... You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you're now modeling after? ...I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you."
How Rubio turned the tables

First, Rubio didn't deny that he was missing votes, He didn't get defensive about why it was OK for him to be missing votes. Instead, he pointed out the important issues facing the country, implying (correctly) that's where the focus should be, not on a tiny non-issue of a senator missing non-important votes:
"For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses closing than starting. We have a world that's out of control and has grown dangerous and a president that is weakening our military and making our foreign policy unstable and unreliable in the eyes of our allies."
He also didn't get whiny, with his focus on the unfairness of it all. His focus was on the argument being made, and how weak it was.

Rubio pointed out the same newspaper that complained about him endorsed both Kerry and Obama for president, even though both missed many more votes than Rubio did. The clear implication is that 'missing votes' was a smokescreen, showing the complaint was likely a partisan attack, not a major point of principle. Well done!

When Jeb Bush piled on, Rubio was clearly ready. "Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you" is a very raw truth, and it definitely rings true. Bush is not politically very different from Rubio, so his attacks aren't going to be on major issues, but on minor kinks that he'll need to exaggerate in an attempt to gain an advantage.

Don't sweat the small stuff

The truth is that missing Senate votes isn't generally a huge issue for the few senators who are campaigning. However, it's used as an attack because it shows that the candidate isn't PERFECT. Well, duh, we know that. Candidates get into trouble by pretending they are perfect. Rubio definitely avoided this pitfall. Other candidates would be wise to study and learn that technique.

So what is the blueprint for handling attacks? If it's a nothingburger complaint, as this one was, point out how shallow it is, and how hypocritical your opponent is for making such an attack. Of course, this means that you have to live by that standard. I hope Rubio does, as I would hope that all candidates would.

Note that this strategy doesn't help with the big attacks on big issues. That's so different that it has to be a different post.

 Image: freehqphotos.com

Monday, October 26, 2015

Benghazi hearing round-up

Nope, I didn't watch the Benghazi hearings where the GOP hoped to embarrass Hillary Clinton. I caught up with the news later. It seems that Clinton did pretty well and the committee was blah, as befits a newstory that's been raked over for three years already.

When I first checked Google News for stories, I noticed the lack of stories from conservative sites like Breitbart and Daily Caller. Oh my, they didn't have any stories to trumpet. Looks like it was a bad day for the Hillary-haters all over the US internet.

That seems to be the consensus--no big moments going against Hillary. A bust for the committee, if we are to guess what their real objective is.



Extras. The MSM reviews the conservative media (3 stories). Politico's top moments. Very pithy and readable analysis. I sought out a bit of video.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The liberal blogosphere misread Paul Ryan

I'm not sure why, but most of the liberal-leaning blogs I read incorrectly predicted what would happen with Paul Ryan. In a previous post, I referred to this Bernstein article where commenters were overwhelmingly wrong in understanding the situation.

Here is Ezra Klein, also not understanding the situation:
"Ryan should hope he doesn't get the job."
No, Ryan hoped that he would get the job. He hoped that he would bridge enough of the divides in the House GOP caucus. It was important (to him) that the various factions would look like they can unite and actually accomplish something. It presents a horrible picture when people within the same party can't decide on a leader. Why should such people be entrusted with any more power, like, say, the presidency?

This was the grim picture facing Republicans. Most Republicans knew it. They knew that their chances of winning the presidential election were dropping if the House GOP continued to joust and wound one another.

Of course some House Republicans are so blinded by their principles that they don't acknowledge that shutdowns and default threats hurt their standing. You can't make the willfully blind see, and no one can convince some of these hardliners to stop the tactics. (Well, unless their money dries up.) But enough of the hardliners saw that, and accepted Ryan. And of course, Ryan would want the GOP to have good chances for the 2016 election, so of course he wanted this infighting to end. So it wasn't that hard to predict it would happen.

Blind to the signs

... or maybe it's harder than I thought. The hardliners were strong enough to oust Boehner and nix McCarthy. Was it predictable that they would accept Ryan? The conservative press was pushing against Ryan with stories about him being for bailouts, and especially amnesty--that most heinous of sins in the hard-conservative world.

Maybe I could see the signs that, despite the barrage, Ryan was on track. Others couldn't see those signs. They were fixated on the idea that this hard rump of the caucus wanted to run things, or that no sane GOP rep would take the thankless task. They didn't see any hardliners as seeing or being wary of the major negative consequences of the GOP House not being able to choose a leader.

Also ignored were signs that hardliners were moving to Ryan. Jason Chaffetz dropped his candidacy and endorsed Ryan. The Freedom Caucus was split. While pressure was put on those to stay strong and keep the fight, the number declared against Ryan was conspicuously low, only 9 or 10 out of a purported 40 members on the day I checked, which was 10/21. I could read this as a likely victory for Paul Ryan, but most commenters (or pundits) couldn't. Why so blind? I don't know. Of course, I was tipped off by Harry Reid, so I had that advantage.

Image: cagle.com

Extras. I didn't survey much of the huge liberal blogosphere to see who else was wrong, but I checked two favorites. In these three posts from Washington Monthly, no one mentions the threat to GOP presidential chances, ignoring this huge motivation to settle the issue. Jonathan Chait has a very good take on the situation. The GOP needs the presidency, and Ryan knows this. It's just a question of whether enough of the Freedom Caucus can see that Ryan is the best chance they have.

Of course, none of this is a guarantee that the wingnut factions of the GOP won't do something to ruin or greatly lessen the GOP's chances in 2016. I wouldn't ever rule that out.

Short: Trump insults former supporters. Surprise!

I haven't written about this before, but I expect Trump to lose the GOP nomination, and I expect he'll get very nasty when that's happening. He's already complained about being treated 'unfairly' while he was rising. Now imagine what he'll do when he's dropping.

So, what was likely to happen when Trump stopped being the frontrunner in Iowa? Something like this:

Image: vox.com

But NEVER MIND. It was the mistake of a 'young intern.' Not the first mistake, though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Harry Reid tries to doom Paul Ryan with reverse psychology

This trick worked so well for Claire McCaskill when she ran a campaign ad asking if Todd Akin was too conservative. The primary voters in Missouri fell for it, but our Washington pols are supposed to be more sophisticated, right?

So, will Paul Ryan become toast after the blessing by Harry Reid? I don't actually think so. Harry Reid runs Hail Mary political plays with some regularity. Remember the super-secret confidence about Romney's taxes? It didn't work, but he tried it anyway. This is just another example of a Harry Reid desperate move. I'm guessing Paul Ryan's chances are pretty good, and Harry Reid won't be able to change that. But he stills tries.

Image: twogaybullies.wordpress.com

Update 10/21/15. I looks like I'm doing pretty well in my analysis. In a comment at Bernstein, I wrote this:
[Ryan's candidacy for Speaker] is a serious offer, and I think it's going to go through. He's the best hope for the House GOP. If it isn't him, they'll have weeks or months of turmoil, with debt ceiling problems during that time.
He'll probably be able to peel off enough of the hardliners... He's playing hardball by demanding a public endorsement, which might mean getting over half to endorse him. That's a pretty high bar. He might back away from that requirement if he gets enough support.
I also wrote that it wasn't a worrying sign if some Freedom Caucus reps were loud in their rejection, as long as the number didn't go above 20. According to this report, Ryan got support from 70%. I guess that means most are not as dumb as they seem. They can do some (political) calculus.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ted Cruz, he's my man!

A commenter on Bloomberg who's occasionally sensible linked to a website that compares your views to the candidates, and tells which ones you're closest to.

I'm 78% with Bernie Sanders, aside from electability, tax policy, escalating social programs, and maybe a few other dealbreakers. But that's not the biggest surprise.

At the same time I'm 78% with Bernie, I'm also 56% with Ted Cruz!

Maybe it was the lack of questions about whether I personally detest any particular candidates. I could hate Bernie for being an Eastern commie-leaning Jew. Maybe I hate Hillary for being a fat, bitchy, pantsuit-wearing liberal woman, Maybe I loathe Ted Cruz being a conniving, political con artist.

Without questions like these, the website's algorithm concludes that I agree with Cruz over half the time. But I still have to wonder why. Luckily, the website states the reasons. For example:
Should the U.S. reduce corporate income tax rates? 
Ted Cruz: Switch to a flat tax with no deductions. 
[My] similar answer: Yes, but eliminate loopholes and require corporations to pay a minimum tax.
I can't report all the times that the algorithm thought I and Ted were somewhat on the same page just because I'm not a total liberal with major socialist leanings. Here's a supposed partial similarity between Ted and me:
Should foreign terrorism suspects be given constitutional rights?
Ted Cruz: No, they are not U.S. citizens and should be subject to enhanced interrogation methods.
[My] similar answer: No, they should be tried in military tribunals but not subject to torture.
I'm adamantly against torture, Ted Cruz seems to be adamantly pro-torture, but you couldn't tell from the way this question was weighted. Thank God for the explanations, where I could see how far I actually am from that despicable charlatan.

If you want to good laugh, take the test and see how much you have in common with your most hated presidential candidate.

Image: isidewith.com

Hillary being stupid on Syria

I think I'm hitting my limit with Hillary. She is making one pandering bad decision after another.

This time it's calling for a no-fly zone in Syria. As a candidate, she can do this without political cost to herself, as she isn't the president who'd have to deploy forces, order missile attacks, order shots fired at Russian aircraft, and deal with the consequences.

She should shut up and rethink her position.

Syria has proven to be a no-win situation. We dislike Assad, but we dislike ISIS even more. The only people we half-way trust have failed and/or been crushed. We should chalk this up as a short term loss, with the long term not visible at all at this point. Unfortunately, the hawks in the US aren't able to accept this loss, and they seem to want to throw more into this no-win situation. BAD IDEA!!! I don't know how much clearer it could be.

You want a piece of this?
Image: middleeastmonitor.com

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hillary panders on the Cadillac tax

This is disappointing but not surprising. Hillary Clinton is calling for the repeal of the Cadillac tax provision of ACA. And like many repeal proposals, she's vague on what she'd do to make up for the lost revenue. Actually, she's silent on what she'd do.

This is just bad, typical pandering. Some unions want to protect their benefits as much as possible, and they don't want members hit with the punishing 40% excise tax on the primo health benefits. However, the premium must be over $27K for a family. That's pretty damn high. How many people really have such generous health benefits?

I couldn't readily find any numbers. Companies have been trying to change their plans in preparation for the Cadillac tax starting in 2018, but also to rein in health insurance costs and to get employees to share the burden. I don't think that's at all bad. It's better for employees to be aware of healthcare costs, rather than treating it like a perk that someone else pays for.

The arguments for repealing the Cadillac tax aren't very strong. Opponents claim that it will hit 82% of all employers by 2023 because of the indexing (if they don't make adjustments, which they are). That leaves plenty of time to adjust the indexing if needed. Opponents also don't answer about how to make up for the lost revenue, which is just so typical.

Image:freerepublic.com

Extras. Forbes complains about higher cost or lack of choice, ignoring responsible decision-making. The Fiscal Times seconds that. A different author calls it 'modest.'  The typical economist response here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

McCarthy and the real purpose of the Benghazi committee

For laughs and for posterity, here is what Kevin McCarthy, a House GOP leader and probable next Speaker of the House, said about the Benghazi investigation committee on Tuesday:
"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."
This is what he said on Thursday:
"This committee's sole purpose is to find the truth why four Americans were killed that night, and that is the work they have done, that is the hearings they have done, they have been applauded on all sides of the aisle, so it was never my intention to say that."
And some people think politicians, some of them at least, aren't regular and habitual liars. This shows how truth is the exception and must be 'clarified' or contradicted post haste.

I'll say it again--all politicians are liars. It's completely ridiculous to claim a politician is a liar and therefore no one should vote for him or her. There would be no one to vote for. So, go ahead and vote for the liar of your choice, even McCarthy, but don't claim he's not a liar.

Liars to the left of us, liars to the right
Image: crooksandliars.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trump plans to blow up the budget. Conservatives don't notice.

Trump continues to pretend to be a serious candidate, at least part of the time. In that vein, he threw together a tax plan, cribbing a lot of it from Jeb Bush, and announced it yesterday. It's got lower tax rates, it's got more breaks for low-income people, it's got lower corporate tax rates.

What's interesting is that he seemed to choose the rates only to beat those proposed by Bush. That seems to be the extent of his math--just underbid Jeb.

Plenty of conservatives commented on the similarity to Jeb's plan, but few bothered to ask whether the plan would lead to huge deficits. Among the see-no-evil brigade are Mark Levin (who is possibly evil incarnate), the Daily Caller, and Breitbart.

Among the ludicrous praise:
  • "Trump’s plan appears to be economically sound and is very clever politically in building a broader Republican coalition."
  • "I did the plan with some of the leading scholars and economists and tax experts that there are in this country," he said. "They love it, they say, 'Why hasn’t this [been] done before?'" -- The Donald praising his own plan.
One conservative writer, a no-namer on HotAir, mentioned at the end of his piece that the tax plan might not be revenue-neutral, so The Donald might have trouble paying for his grand plans of military superiority and healthcare for all. But even the writer didn't mention that deficit spending would soar.

How much could the deficit soar? Maybe by $10 trillion over the next 10 years. So Obama-sized deficits. But when did Trump ever go small?

Image: townhall.com

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Peeling through the many reasons for Boehner's resignation

Boehner's resignation is not a surprise to me. I don't know how he could stand the job. That said, I didn't know he would resign imminently, or that it would be on Friday, Sept. 25. So why now?

Reading the news reports, at first it sounded like Boehner was somehow inspired by the Pope's visit. Boehner stated that he woke up and knew that "this is the day."

The same story says that Boehner had determined to resign on his 66th birthday on Nov. 17, but brought it forward by a few weeks. Foolish me, I thought he finally got fed up.

Luckily I can read, and found much more revealing reports elsewhere. This article lays out the actual reasons pretty clearly:
  • The Freedom Caucus (a very conservative group in the House) were planning to challenge Boehner's speakership if he didn't let them shut down the government by sending appropriations with poison pill/veto bait provisions defunding Planned Parenthood.
  • Boehner found out that the Dems weren't going to help him stay as speaker, so the threat of being unseated was credible. 
  • Boehner will resign, avoid the challenge, and gets to avoid the shutdown with a clean appropriation bill that lasts until mid-December.
  • The GOP will have between now and mid-December to elect their new speaker, if they can settle on someone.
So the arch-conservatives are forcing Boehner out. This will almost certainly be destabilizing. The Freedom Caucus will either force a shutdown, or will face the humiliation of not being able to force one. Can that really be a good idea? It doesn't sound like a good idea now, but forcing a shutdown in mid-December, just in time for Christmas, sounds even worse.

Maybe they'll wait until February, except that it's primary season, so that's not a good time either. The further they push the shutdown, the closer to Election Day it gets. So a failed shutdown (the outcome I predict) will be fresher in the minds of voters.

THIS IS THEIR STRATEGY?

Unbelievable. I have got to watch this melodrama unfold. It may even be better than The Walking Dead. We may have flesh-eating conservatives attacking fellow GOPers on the House floor. Maybe Dems will come in toting assault rifles. What a spectacle! I can't wait! (Or maybe I'm losing my mind. Time to stop blogging for tonight.)

Image:backfromthedepths.co.uk

Extras. The conservative press didn't seem to know the resignation/ouster was about to happen. No articles in HotAir, Daily Caller, etc. announcing a planned move. The Hill warned about the coup two days before Boehner's resignation. A member of the Freedom Caucus told a local Arizona paper about growing discontent. But when hasn't there been growing discontent?

A listing from 538 of the ultra-conservatives who ousted Boehner. Maybe some Democrats were going to prop up Boehner. A reasonably good summary of Boehner's history from a MSM perspective. Most interesting point: Boehner got to the top of the leadership pyramid because he wasn't highly implicated in the lobbying (Abramoff) scandals that wiped out most of the House GOP leadership.

What I have in common with Donald Trump

I have almost nothing in common with Donald Trump. I haven't been divorced, haven't done deals or written books, don't have a terrible combover, and don't traffic in the swallow analysis like this: "I like the evangelicals, and it's really shown in the polls."

So, to stop being coy, I'm like the Donald because neither of us has to stay on a script. Donald can break with the business orthodoxy about immigrants. He can remind other GOP candidates that ripping up the Iran deal isn't the best course (while saying plenty of stupid shit about the deal too). He can talk about tax rates being too low for hedge fund managers. He can slam other Republicans for being foolish warmongers. He can respect someone in the past and slam them unmercifully now.

Liberty . . .

This liberty to say whatever, untethered from party or factional talking points, is absolutely great, and a lot of fun. At least the Donald certainly appears to be having fun.

For me, it's different. I don't want to be a zipperhead or dittohead, and I know it's actually hard work to avoid that. It's hard to question all your received ideas and political positions. For one thing, there are a hell of a lot of political positions, and reexamining them takes time.  You can't do it in a short span. It's going to be a long process, and an ongoing process.

For example, I don't take the typical liberal or moderate view on immigration. It took me a long time to accept what reason told me about immigration--that the high level during the last three decades has had enormous negative consequences. Despite my pride in my immigrant roots and my personal empathy for immigrants, I can't ignore the results I see. This is a bad situation, and we've been following the wrong policy for 25 years.

Liberty, Analysis, Socrates

What motivates me to be different, and to examine all these positions? I want to be realistic, grounded, and right about my opinions. I can only feel confident that I'm right if I've subjected the opinion to a lot of fact-checking and questioning.

That is what I learned nearly four decades ago when I first learned about the Socratic method. It was a powerful lesson--to question honestly, answer honestly, and examine honestly. That's hard work and a very high standard, but it's what I try to do on every important question.

Somehow, I bet the Donald can't say that.

Image: philadelphia-reflections.com

(My first attempt at Photoshop. Argghhh.)


A conservative blog investigates... and collects evidence

I've complained many times about how poor conservative journalism is. They provide much more conjecture and unsubstantiated claims than hard evidence.

So this is a remarkable difference. The Blaze, Glenn Beck's conservative news website, gathered a bunch of evidence that a 13-year-old black conservative is also a fraud. He appears to have made false claims that Obama banned him from following @POTUS on Twitter. Now the boy refuses to answer any questions.

Fraud happens regularly, and it's a real drain on time and resources. You can spend all your hours trying to debunk fraudulent claims. Meanwhile, new fraudulent claim are popping up, and there's no way to debunk them all.

So good on The Blaze for exposing this one.

Crop, cut, and paste for instant celebrity.
Image: theblaze.com

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Short: What went wrong with Walker

Buried in a predictable but correct article by Sean Trende is perhaps the best guess at what happened to Walker's bid for the presidency:
Walker lost because he had no strategy. There was no David Axelrod for the Walker campaign; Scott Walker hired Scott Walker to be his David Axelrod.
...A presidential candidate has a more-than-full-time job: being a candidate. He or she does not have time to follow ever-changing electoral dynamics. So when a candidate without a good strategist is faced with Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, questions about the legality of abortion to save the life of the mother, the rise of birthright citizenship as an issue or, say, the ascendency of Donald Trump, that candidate will flail.
Sounds plausible to me. Of course I read many comments from Wisconsiners about how horrid Walker was and predicting his failure. However, you can always predict the failure of a presidential candidate, and 95% of the time you'll be right. Only one person is going to make it to the White House, and all the others will reward your dour predictions. Predicting the winner is hard, predicting a loser is like hitting the broad side of a barn. I guess Walker hit that barn pretty hard.

Image: @Anomaly100

...Or did he tank because he frequently looks like a doofus?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The old appropriation two-step

The choreography we get from Congress at the yearly appropriation deadline is getting as familiar as the Christmas Rockettes show. Plenty of R's claim that only the Dems are talking about shutdowns, and a few mentally feeble ones (R's) might actually believe the Dems would be the cause of a shutdown.

The R leaders are giving their caucus lots of chances to vote for their issue du jour. (Not that the issue matters. Two years ago it was defunding Obamacare, and it didn't happen. This year it's defunding Planned Parenthood, and we can watch while it doesn't happen either.)

After the ritual yet useless votes, the R leaders will trot out a clean, status quo bill, and we'll all yawn and go to bed. Well, a few people will scream about betrayal and cowardice and turn strange shades of red (such as Erick Erickson), but the rest of us will be watching reruns and drifting off to dreamland.

The only question is how many times the Republicans will repeat this ineffective strategy. At least once after 2016, that's my prediction.

 Image: dailymail.co,uk

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trump tumbles?

Is it really possible to predict what will trip a candidate who's gotten away with saying this about Mexicans?
"They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Or one who's increased his stature by disrespecting John McCain for having been captured?

But, finally, this week Trump seemed to be dropping. Carly Fiorina put him in this place by pointing out that we hear him loud and clear when he spews his outrageous blather. The specific topic was her face (not generally a national issue), but it's true of everything he says. His own words are his clearest reflection. They should be his strength or his undoing, and Fiorina let them stand starkly. That's the best way to argue against him when he's blatantly being a horse's ass--just let his words stand.

This week Trump didn't correct a person at a town hall meeting who said Obama was a Muslim and not born in the US. Trump's been pandering to this type of person for over 5 years, so it's no wonder that someone said it at one of his own gatherings. However, Trump made a poor contrast to John McCain, who corrected a women back in 2008 who made a similar hateful and/or ignorant statement. Trump, who's supposed to be the big, brave alpha-man, was shown up by the past actions of John McCain.

Then Trump made it worse by tweeting that he wasn't "morally obligated" to defend Obama. No, he isn't morally obligated. However, Trump would be wise not to use the words 'moral' or 'obligated' because they are a reminder that Trump isn't moral and doesn't honor his obligations. That's why he's been married and divorced several times over, and declared bankruptcy rather than pay from his own billionaire pockets. Not to mention that Trump feels no moral obligation to the truth. reality, or humility.

Today, Trump is declaring that he has Muslim friends. That's got similar optics to saying that some of his best friends are black.

But as I wrote at the top of this post, can we actually predict when Trump's unending blather will hurt him? Maybe it's unsafe to predict, but this week's polls show that Trump has fallen considerably. He had 32% support, and is now down to 24%.

Better late than never.

Image: 123rf.com

Extra. There's still no shortage of blather. Carson says Muslims are unfit to be president.
 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Resilience

An American remembering 9/11:
...I was in an office five blocks from the Capitol on 9/11, and after watching the second plane hit the Trade Center live on television, and seeing the smoke rising on the horizon in the direction of the Pentagon from our windows (right after a colleague called in to say she had seen a plane crash into the Pentagon from her car on I-95), several of us, without words, left our office and walked out onto Pennsylvania Avenue and stood on the sidewalk staring at the Capitol, from which pedestrians were streaming. The dome looked so incredibly frail, like an eggshell. 
I also have vivid memories of 9/11. Like the author, I was watching live reporting when the second plane smashed into one of the World Trade Towers.

All that fall, I worried about additional attacks. And they happened--in the form of anthrax sent through the mail. I was on edge for months, turning on CNN immediately after coming home from work or errands.

Gradually, I got over this anxiety and obsessive vigilance. And even my anxiety was a luxury because the country didn't come close to collapsing. I wasn't worried about defending myself, my family, and any survival provisions we had. I watched as debris was cleared, people moved back into homes near the disaster site, the economy teetered but didn't nose-dive.

Still Going

What I saw was the resilience of this country. But it wasn't a large attack. It's unclear what the Islamist planners of the attack thought would happen. Perhaps they thought it would provoke a major war between the West and the Islamic countries. If so, they partially got their wish.

However, neither side is even close to victory or defeat. There is still lots of fighting, but it's confined almost exclusively to Islamic countries, while the Western countries enjoy mostly peace and relative comfort. Perhaps that means the planners of the 9/11 attacks failed, but they play the long game--hoping for success decades or centuries from now. I don't think they will win, but the hope clearly keeps them going.

I'm so happy for my resilience (which didn't face much of a test), and for the resilience of the US. Unfortunately, the people who hate us are also resilient. But perhaps that's an attribute of humanity, so I can't be too upset about it. Better that we're all resilient than none of us.

Then...

Now...
Images: (top) nbsnews..com; (bottom) cheekyspanky

An alternative to sending Kim Davis to jail

If you're a judge trying to ensure compliance with the law, what can you do when someone like Kim Davis absolutely and publicly refuses to follow the law?

I'm not sure there's an alternative to 'showing them who's boss,' with 'boss' being the law, not the judge. I think it was correct to send Kim Davis to jail, and it was correct to release her once her office started issuing marriage licenses to all who qualified, including same-sex couples.

This article, however, suggests a very good alternative to jailing Ms. Davis:
Bunning could have simply ordered that, if Davis would not carry out her constitutional obligation to issue marriage licenses on an equal basis, she would be forbidden to issue marriage licenses at all. Under Kentucky law, the responsibility for issuing marriage licenses would then devolve onto Rowan County Judge/Executive Walter “Doc” Blevins, who had expressed willingness to issue the licenses on an equal basis. To ensure that Davis did not reap a windfall from that decision, Bunning could have ordered the county to withhold whatever portion of Davis’s salary was attributable to her marriage-license duties and to use that money to reimburse the judge/executive’s office.
Yes, that does sound a good solution.

Image: kentuckykindredgenealogy.com

Friday, September 11, 2015

Last outpost of crazy: Ohio war

Just imagine that you're engaged in a guerrilla war. You can pick your side: a church or a strip club.

Usually, I'd pick the church, but not this time. They started the war:
... a nine-year battle that began when church members protested at the Foxhole on weekends, posting patrons' license plate numbers online and urging them to repent. [The owner] sued the church in federal court and lost in 2009.
So what's a good countermove in such a fight?  How about sending topless women to church services?

Now, guess which one wants protesters to stop getting on the property, intimidating visitors, and blocking entrances. Probably both.

Effective protest? Made you look? Made you think?
sbccfilmreviews.org

Extras. This has been going on a long time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another 'Cops should be perfect' story

I'm so incredibly tired of people defending assailants who shoot at the police. Here's the latest:

Police: Cops Fired Into Car Not Knowing Infant Was Inside

Look at the entire story, and you find out that this headline would also be applicable:

Man knowingly fires at police with infant in back seat of car

In this case, a man with a long criminal history put himself, his girlfriend, and her 4-month-old son in grave danger by shooting at police. He actually knew who was in the car. He knew how many weapons he had. He initiated the exchange of gunfire. Is it really surprising that the police shot back? Should they have waited to see if he would shoot again, maybe blowing someone's head off?

According to the girlfriend's mother, yes, they should have waited. They should have put themselves in that dangerous position rather than fire into the car. According to her, the law enforcement officers should take on all the risk, so that her daughter, who was riding with a criminal who had more than one loaded gun, and who shot at police, could be safe.

To me, this is a patently ridiculous viewpoint. Perhaps it's mitigated because the mother is grief-stricken, but I've seen it too often to think that it's grief every time. Instead, it's become a pattern among many blacks to blame the police, no matter how justified they are.

I think this shooting should be investigated, as all police-involved shootings should be. However, if the current reporting is fairly accurate, then the family of the dead couple have nothing to blame the police for. Any blame they lay on the police is misguided scapegoating, and should clearly be labeled that way. And I have to question the motives of people who don't support the police in cases like this but instead support dangerous criminals. It looks like a case of playing the racial victim card and hoping that the audience doesn't notice that the 'victim' is not innocent at all.

The shooter's other gun
Image: 13newsnow.com

Monday, September 7, 2015

The scope of conscience in same-sex marriage

Kim Davis, a protesting county clerk from Kentucky, is in jail today due to contempt of court. The Supreme Court ruled the same-sex couples have the same right to marry that opposite-sex couples do. Then the Supreme Court decided not to review Davis's suit that she should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her strongly held religious beliefs.

I'm a strong supporter of using your conscience on the job, though you don't always get to. You don't always get to do what feels right because the boss disagrees, or the company policy is X, or it's someone else's job to make that decision.

I don't remember ever having to do something that felt very wrong. And I've never had to deny services to someone who was sorely in need.

Denying services is exactly what Kim Davis wants to do, so she doesn't get my support. If she feels that she can't issue marriage licenses, she can quit her job. If she doesn't want to quit her job (and that feeling is even stronger than her stance against same-sex marriage), she can tell herself that she isn't performing the weddings or even supporting them, she is only do the bureaucratic work of asking the state's questions, filling in answers, and determining whether applicants meet the state requirements.

However, Kim Davis doesn't have the power or mandate to decide who can get married and who can't. She wasn't elected to be the judge of those issues, so she very much oversteps her mandate when she refuses to issue marriage licenses. She ought to decide whether she is going to be a county clerk or going to be an conscientious Christian during her work hours. She wants to be both, but that isn't her remit. She should stop being a spoiled brat insisting on both, grow up, and make up her mind.

Image: ifyouonlynews.com

Extras. Town vs. college in Davis's hometown. Interesting political landscape. More quotes, but not more insight in this article.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Short: China prediction

Here's a fascinating article that predicts that China won't get rich as the western countries have. Why not, especially as they've become a high-tech manufacturing giant at the expense of the US and other countries?

The average income in China was depressed by colonialism and then by Maoist communism, so the Chinese have a big gap to overcome. They've certainly been working on that gap, but it's not going to be easy to break into the rich club now. Some aspects of China will hold it back, such as corruption, zombie companies, and property laws that are less than favorable.

I would guess that its massive size will also hold it back. Can that many people become rich? It seems to me that income equality is the more likely outcome. Just look at the rising income inequality here in the US.

Image: capitalisticons.com

Extras. Based on a less-focused Brad DeLong article. Also, look at the difference between being rich on average and being rich at the median.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trump thinks he's serious

This is some of the worst news I've heard. There are indications that Trump is personally serious about his run for president. I think he's a joke candidate, but I thought he understood that--that he's just an egomaniac pretending to run for president, kind of like what happened in the movie Bulworth. He announces he's running (not a serious commitment), says a few snide things, watches his polls, says some more snide things, but it's all just a joke, so who care?

However, Trump is adding some strategy to his campaign, and that has me worried. He just held a huge rally in Alabama, with 30K people clamoring for him. Why Alabama? This is the frightening part:
Trump views Alabama, and the other Southern states that hold March 1st primaries, as the key to locking down the Republican nomination.
If he's seriously trying to win, the party is going to have to knock him down. They were able to do that with the challengers to Romney, but it looks like it might be harder this time. It shouldn't be, but it might be. Trump has got his own money to throw into the race. Perhaps he'll also collect money bombs like Ron Paul did. He could also finance his campaign on credit, then declare bankruptcy (again). The bad news is that lack of money isn't likely to stop him.

I'm not sure what will stop him. Going too far in insulting people hasn't stopped him yet, so I won't bank on that. However, he has a lot of months to say stupid stuff and collapse his campaign. There is plenty of time for bimbo eruption, treasures from legal actions and bankruptcy files, and his own words to choke him.

He may be thinking that he can wrap it all up with the March 1st primaries, but March 1st is over six months from now. Can Trump really last six months without torpedoing himself? I doubt it. I just hopes it happens sooner rather than later. I don't want to be eating my words on March 2nd, or worrying about it throughout January and February. I like risks to be remote, not in my face.

Image: huffingtonpost.com

Extras. Trump's list of good journalists includes Geraldo. Telling. Trump knocks an opponent for a Photoshop mistake, so it's not all serious stuff with the Donald.

Last outpost of crazy: Joke candidate surges

The two appropriate responses to much of this presidential campaign so far are laughter or suicide. Today I laughed so hard I was lucky that I didn't have a stroke. Of course I'd heard about the candidacy of Deez Nuts, who I assumed was a rapper. Today I read more about him. Okay, he's actually a 15-year-old Iowa boy. That's a good joke, but not apoplexy-inducing.

What was so funny? The straight-faced verbiage in the Wikipedia article. I'm going to quote in order to capture it for posterity and before someone edits it:
In polls conducted by Public Policy Polling in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina in mid-August 2015, he polled at 8, 8 and 9 percent respectively, garnering the attention of the media... 
...an analyst at Public Policy Polling... [noted] due to a fringe of the population with a penchant towards anti-establishment candidates, "You could call [the third party candidate] anything, and they would get their 7% or 8%."
But the following bit brought on the longest laughing fit I've had this year:
Relationship to Limberbutt McCubbins
Nuts polled his fans on his Facebook page on August 13, 2015, asking whether he should reach out to fellow joke presidential hopeful, Kentucky feline Limberbutt McCubbins, for a possible Nuts/McCubbins ticket. Nuts has acknowledged McCubbins as an inspiration for his presidential run.
Something cracked when I read the phrase "Kentucky feline." A reporter would list a candidate as a Kentucky senator or Kentucky governor, but to refer to a joke candidate was a Kentucky feline is pure brilliance.  That sentence is not only informing us about a joke candidate, but taking down the practice of 'objective reporting' at the same time. If only that was close to enough to tip the scales in favor of sanity. At this point in this presidential campaign, sanity is the clear loser.

v
Image: memegenerator.net


Extras. What is Deez Nuts originally? Maybe a hip-hop term, maybe not. Fucked if I can tell, and not worth my time to figure out. Finally, one more tidbit for posterity:

 Image: kingbach.tv