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I’m reading 7 Men and 7 Women and the secret of their greatness, by Metaxas, as an antidote. Starts with Washington and Wilberforce. Good, encouraging stuff. They might have faced greater odds than we do. Good stories and makes a fine summer read. Better than a novel.
Politics for Conservatives | Political Discussion ForumsShare
What a surprise! Carbon-based energy is much more important than we were led to believe. A slight reduction in domestic resource development has sent seismic shock waves throughout our economy. Bottom line: Folks are often willing to go along with calls for sacrifice… unless and until they are made to really suffer.
Michael Crichton’s next-to-last novel, State of Fear, is about politically motivated weather exaggeration. The real meat, however, is in his epilogue. It is there that he explains how the perceived intelligentsia is particularly susceptible to fads and hoaxes. His prime example is Eugenics, the early 20th-century movement to prevent the further “mongrelization” of the human race and the increase in the numbers of “inferior” beings. Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to further this cause. Adolf Hitler went even farther in his pursuit of the same goal. These so-called smart people were either unaware of, or failed to grasp, the basic biological principle of hybrid vigor (heterosis). It so happens that reproductive mingling between previously isolated gene pools tends to produce healthier, more vital individuals by bringing new DNA combinations into the mix.
The obvious question is: how will this all play out? The corrupt news media will likely go even farther in its over-the-top hysterical portrayal of ordinary weather events, trends, and hiccups. As in Crichton’s novel, what used to be a typical seasonal phenomenon – hurricanes -- are now being portrayed as cataclysmic events, even though the last 140 years have seen no significant trend up or down in frequency. And yet, the EPA claims the opposite, even though most of its sources show stability instead. That’s what you get when you rely on corrupt government scientists. Meanwhile, the damage being done by suppressing the use of carbon-based energy will continue, though defections from this dogma have begun, out of obvious necessity.
Also, there’s this pesky scientific discipline known as "geology" and its biological cousin called "paleontology." The most recent ice age ended 11 to 12 thousand years ago. At its peak, about 30% of the Earth’s surface was covered by ice. Such ice has been melting ever since and causing a gradual rise in mean sea-level that has steadily averaged about 3.4 millimeters per year or about 13 inches per century… that is, until the next ice age begins.
There’s currently news being generated about the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake, which is really the largest remnant of the inland sea that once reached from the Rockies to the Sierras (a.k.a. the Great Basin). Aquatic dinosaurs paddled around in its waters. The point being that we well know of the severe, but typically gradual, changes in Earth’s climate over the eons past.
And, of course, doomsday cults are particularly appealing since they offer an escape from the drudgeries of ordinary life. But at what price? Again, we are really starting to feel the pinch. There’s also the human tendency towards tyranny. Taking advantage of the pervasive ignorance of earth science allows ambitious demagogues to continue trying to enslave the masses. Which easily explains the pugnacious disdain wannabe tyrants have for skeptics, also known as deniers.
Perhaps because of magical thinking, the climate alarmists were not expecting such abrupt negative consequences for their early GND implementations. This pushback is gathering steam throughout the western world. After all, Europe is not as energy-rich as the U.S. and is much more dependent on supply chain sources.
It was the midterm election of 2006 that began the prioritization of “global warming” as a component of our political agenda. It also put Nancy Pelosi at the top of the food chain. Coincidence? Not at all.
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Why Democrat Poll Numbers Are Worse Than You Think By John Kudla
Before the 2020 presidential election, I became curious about political polls claiming that Joe Biden had a ten-percentage-point lead over Donald Trump. At that time, Trump was addressing crowds in the thousands. When he was not barricaded in his basement, Biden was lucky to draw a crowd of a hundred. That did not seem right.
So I did some research and concluded that the polls were undercounting Republicans. In one of the articles, which you can read here, I predicted the silent Trump vote to be north of two percent of the electorate. I was not the first to consider this, but I was one of the first to make a prediction.
Polling organizations would not admit their polls were biased against Republicans. However, it turned out my estimate was too low by half. In fact, the polling error for the 2020 election was roughly 4% nationwide, the largest in the last 40 years.
Fast-forward to today. Inflation is 8+ percent, the price of food and gasoline is way up, crime is up, there is a nationwide shortage of baby formula, and don't get me started on the border crisis. Yet Joe Biden's job approval is close to 40% positive. That means almost four out of every ten Americans think Joe is doing a good job if you believe the RealClearPolitics average. And I don't.
It is possible that Biden's job approval is being helped by positive coverage from the news and social media. But I am not buying that, either. Spin can go only so far, and even rank-and-file Democrats have to fill their gas tanks and buy groceries.
The big difference between today and two years ago is that pollsters will now admit that their results are systemically biased against conservatives. For example, in an article published in Vox, pollster David Shor said:
For three cycles in a row, there's been this consistent pattern of pollsters overestimating Democratic support in some states and underestimating support in other states. It happened in 2018. It happened in 2020. And the reason that's happening is because the way that [pollsters] are doing polling right now just doesn't work.
Pollsters face two fundamental problems. One is developing an accurate voter turnout model that predicts who is likely to vote. The other is getting an unbiased measurement of what voters think, known as a random sample.
The turnout model is usually based on demographic distributions and historical voting records. If pollsters get the model wrong, it can bias their results. For example, in the 2020 election, most turnout models did not account for Republicans who rarely vote, participating in larger numbers than predicted.
The second problem is getting a random sample of the electorate. Unfortunately, in recent elections, this has become increasingly difficult to do. Although there are several theories as to why this is happening, it boils down to two issues. One is technology, and the other is a lack of trust in political polls.
According to Fairleigh Dickinson associate professor Dan Cassino:
Caller ID, more than any other single factor, means that fewer Americans pick up the phone when a pollster calls. That means it takes more calls for a poll to reach enough respondents to make a valid sample, but it also means that Americans are screening themselves before they pick up the phone.
The trust issue is a societal problem that has been building for many years. Due to partisan infighting, some voters have lost faith in our national institutions; politics; and, by association, political polls. This issue affects conservatives more than liberals, causing a polling effect called partisan nonresponse or nonresponse bias.
Partisan nonresponse is a phenomenon where low-trust conservatives opt out of participation in the polls and are replaced by higher-trust liberals. So why are conservative voters opting out? Pollster Nate Silver has two theories:
First, Republicans are becoming more distrustful of institutions and society, and that may be extending to how they feel about pollsters. Second, suburban Republican college graduates are more likely to fear professional sanction for their views and are therefore self-censoring more, including in surveys.
High-trust voters are basically the opposite. They tend to be highly educated, liberal, and more enthusiastic about talking to pollsters.
Independent pollster Richard Baris believes that the reason for Democrat bias is where they are polling.
You have to look not just at who[m] you poll, but where you poll. The way they're polling, they are reaching voters that skew too urban. In that case, your Republican sample will be stacked with the John Kasich ... and Bill Kristol Republicans[.] ... [T]hat's not the Republican Party that gave the presidency to Trump.
Pollsters say they are open to new methods of contacting voters besides landline telephones. And they intend to research which voter groups may be missing from their samples. But will that correct the polls for nonresponse bias?
According to Shor, the answer may be no.
Qualitative research doesn't solve the problem of one group of people being really, really excited to share their opinions, while another group isn't. As long as that bias exists, it'll percolate down to whatever you do.
Let's see if anything has changed since 2020. If you average the two 2020 October polls from New Jersey, Biden is leading by 22 points. According to the Cook Political Report, he won by 16 points, a miss of 6. In the 2021 New Jersey state election, polls overestimated Governor Murphy's margin of victory by 5 points. Apparently, the Democrat bias did not change in New Jersey.
If you averaged the final four polls from Virginia in 2020, Biden leads by 11.5 points. He won by 9.4 points, a miss of 2.1. In 2021, the polls seemed to have got it right, predicting a Youngkin margin of 1.7 percent versus the actual result of 1.9.
However, we see a different picture if we focus on the one outlier poll included in the Virginia average. The outlier is Fox News at Youngkin +8. If we remove the Fox News poll, the average changes to Youngkin +0.4. Therefore, the adjusted polling average underestimated Youngkin's support by 1.5 percentage points. So the Democrat bias is still alive and well — just masked by one flawed poll.
On top of nonresponse bias, another fly in Democrat approval numbers is that most polls currently sample registered voters rather than likely voters. Nate Silver believes that midterm polls of registered voters tend to lean toward Democrats.
We estimate that on average in midterm years since 1990, registered voter polls have had a 2.6 percentage-point Democratic bias — compared against likely voter polls, which have been unbiased.
If the polls are overestimating approval numbers for Biden and other Democrats, how bad is it? The political climate today is different since the 2020 election, but the Democrat poll bias seems intact, which was 4% nationwide. Since nonresponse bias, 4%, and registered voter bias, 2.6%, should be mutually exclusive, we can add them together. This gives us a total Democrat bias of roughly 6.5%
What does this mean? Until pollsters switch to sampling likely voters right before the election, you can subtract a solid 6 percent from Joe Biden's approval numbers. And if nothing changes before the election, any Democrat who leads by 3 percent or less is likely to lose.
Democrats had better pray I am not underestimating the number of hidden Republican voters, as I did in 2020.
We hear plenty of reasons for the perfect storm that imploded California. One-party, progressive government, of course. Decades of unchecked illegal immigration, without doubt. Years of mass flight out of state of the productive middle classes, certainly.
But perhaps the most important, but overlooked, reason has been the infusion of trillions of dollars of mostly tech capital into the state. Unimaginable sums of market capital warped politics and led to a top-down, feudal society, run by progressive elites who are shielded from the ramifications of their own toxic ideologies.
More specifically, the common denominator was the emergence in California of a selfish, monied, left-wing political class. In concrete terms, it cared little for others but masked that unconcern with abstract leftism, emulating medieval penance and indulgences to assuage guilt over its enjoyment of sheltered and very good lives.
California’s recent premier politicians at the local, state, and federal levels—Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Gavin Newsom, and Nancy Pelosi—all enjoyed wealth and power, whether by inherited money and family brand names, through marriage, or using their positions to leverage lucrative family and personal business with the Chinese.
Their lifestyles before, during, and after office-holding reflected both their privileges and the vast material differences between their own lives and the millions of Californians who suffered enormously from their utopian bromides. Yet a world away from their homes in Grass Valley, Kentfield, Lake Tahoe, Napa, Pacific Heights, or Rancho Mirage, the rest of the state’s residents who voted for them currently cannot afford a house, a full tank of gas, a chuck steak, or an air-conditioned afternoon.
At least the Church of the 15th century offered formal contractual indulgences and personal penance manuals for the guilt-ridden elite eager to abort their earned inferno-to-come. In California, however, to enjoy affluence and leisure without guilt or recriminations, left-wing power elites virtue signaled their progressivism, even as it wrecked the lives of distant others.
If it were a question of drilling more oil while transitioning to clean power or shrugging that nobody José Martinez in Sanger would pay $6.50 a gallon to commute to work, it was a no brainer: Mr. Martinez was simply out of sight, out of mind collateral damage.
So too all of California’s poor and lower middle classes who could not afford to flee and now cannot afford shelter, food, fuel, and safety, due to decades of policies that zoned away new home construction, strangled the gas, timber, and mining industries, taxed and regulated gas and diesel to the point of unaffordability, neglected the needs of the state’s once rich farming industry, and loved fish far more than people. Apparently, these well-educated and self-declared Socrateses believed that Californians could drink Facebook, eat Google, drive Twitter, and live on Snapchat.
The far-left Atlantic’s various contributors for years have been cheerleading most of the policies adopted by the Bay Area elite—defunding the police, decriminalizing an array of crimes, appeasing homelessness, ignoring dangerous drug use and dealing, and urging more redistributive taxation and entitlement.
But now Atlantic essayist Nellie Bowles warns us that San Francisco is a “failed city.” And she is correct in that the city is increasingly medieval. Its downtown is emptying, filthy, toxic, dangerous, and pre-civilizational—perhaps an unfair term since it was rare in pre-Roman Gaul or nomadic North Africa for tribal residents to sleep in the village pathways, fornicate and defecate openly among children, and violently attack random passersby.
In truth, the implosion of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and California more broadly is no accident. Destroying all the bounty that was inherited from far better and far-seeing generations was the logical result of deliberate policies—reflecting the self-interest of a few million rich, educated professionals. They apparently decided that their genius and superior morality had transcended worries over ancient challenges of food, water, shelter, transportation, and received law and custom.
California’s anointed enjoyed safe neighborhoods from Malibu to Presidio Heights. They inherited or purchased beautiful coastal corridor homes worth $1,200 a square foot, from La Jolla to Berkeley. They drew income from the trillions of dollars invested in Silicon Valley and the new globalized and Asia-centric economy that opened markets of multibillions of consumers for entertainment, media, finance, law, academia, corporations and the accompanying credential professional classes.
And so, they grew hubristic and stupid. In their arrogance and ignorance, they began to feel their own bounty and leisure were birthrights. Free from worries about who brought them their water, food, safety, energy, and shelter—or how—they were liberated to institutionalize their own visions of 21st-century-correct living to less fortunate others, albeit from a properly segregated distance.
Freeways were obsolete ideas. The fewer built, and the even fewer maintained, the more likely the clueless could be crowded into cost-effective, clean, and safe mass transit.
So, a $15 billion high-speed rail disaster arose and remained inert like Stonehenge monoliths. Meanwhile, thousands of the poor on the obsolete Highway 99 continued to die and were maimed in daily accidents on a Road Warrior-esque obstacle course. The nearby Amtrak trains still sat delayed on side-tracks, for want of a simple, 19th-century two-track rail. How strange that bankrupt 21st-century visions came at the cost of easy 20th-century solutions.
Aqueducts, reservoirs, dams? These were likewise relics of previous delusional generations. That the coastal corridor’s water came from aqueducts across vast distances was mostly unknown by those who crowded into one of the most naturally unsustainable regions on the North American continent—a coastal strip mostly dry and bereft of an aquifer to sustain its tens of millions.
So, the state stopped building water storage. More often, it released snowmelt and runoff water into the ocean rather than to farms and to replenish aquifers.
Fires? Let forests of evergreens burn as they had in primordial times, better to burn to provide mulch for worms and birds—and scare away the deplorable foothill folk who had no business living in the mountains, anyway.
The elite now dreamed of returning to a half-million person California of the 19th century, reputedly with lush riverbanks from the sea to Sierra, with salmon runs to the mountains. They recoiled at the very idea that a 40 million-person state of mostly poor immigrants—over a quarter of the state’s population was not born in the United States—might need water for their towns or for the farms they worked.
How ironic that millions fled Mexico and Central America to enter, often illegally, the once golden California, land of plenty. They were welcomed by the state’s business and political elite but not to be housed, fed, and schooled as were the elite. Their directive was to vote correctly for their supposed betters and to supply janitors, landscapers, nannies, cooks, and housekeepers for those who welcomed them in—on the condition that they not dare demand the state’s green resources for good homes, affordable gas, or a nice lawn or long shower.
Let them instead eat a solar farm, bike path, or Tesla.
And so it went, each carefully placed brick in the once sturdy long wall of California, laid carefully over the past 150 years—to ensure a naturally fragile state with affordable food, energy, security, housing, transpiration, schools, and education—was ripped out, mocked as obsolete, and written off an embarrassment to the present.
Californians who look at their aging dams, their granite classical civic buildings, and their large municipal parks, are like Dark-Age Greeks who stumbled around the ruins of Mycenaean palaces and walls, wondering who were the demi-gods who built such things that now were impossible to emulate. So, too, we are bewildered at Balboa Park or the California aqueduct, or rather saddened that simply copying them is beyond our moral power or expertise.
The state was once rich and secure in gas and oil, nuclear power, cutting-edge freeways and airports, water storage, law enforcement, a topflight public school system, and an effective higher education triad. All these resources have become either politicized or taboos that are neglected, dismantled, or destroyed by a class that commuted little, was nonchalant about their power bills, put their kids in private schools, and enjoyed neighborhoods whose zip codes and private security patrols bounced away revolving-door felons and homeless far distant to the haunts of the middle class and poor.
Rich leftists quote the Gini coefficient chapter and verse, oblivious that they have created a state of affairs in which California ranks second to the bottom—below even New York—in such calibrations of inequality. The Silicon Valley motto should be, “I create inequality by hating inequality.”
We have not built a major mountain reservoir outside of Los Angeles in over 40 years even as the population has soared. The main north-south laterals of the state—the 101, I-5, and 99—often narrow into four-lane deathtraps. SFO and LAX are among the more nightmarish airports in the nation. California’s test scores rank in the nation’s bottom 10 percent of schools.
Over one-fifth of the state lives below the poverty rate. Urban geographer Joel Kotkin recently noted that African Americans and Latinos in California suffer among the lowest real incomes in the nation, 48th and 50th respectively. How could that be true in the land of Mark Zuckerberg, Nancy Pelosi, and Jerry Brown?
One-third of Americans on public assistance live in California. To drive through the rural center of the state is to revisit the 1930s world of the Joads. Ramshackle farmhouses now house 20 or some immigrants. Many of them reside here illegally, in trailers, shacks, and illegal add-ons. A state famous for regulating the life out of the middle classes simply ignores systemic flagrant violations of sewage, water, power, and building codes, in the manner of the exemptions given the homeless: out of sight, out of mind.
California’s mid-size cities nudge out other blue-state metropolises to rank among the nation’s leaders in property crimes. The nation’s highest gas taxes, income taxes, and near highest sales taxes either do not mitigate the above pathologies or perhaps help fuel them.
If our liberal political elites lived in crime-ridden Stockton, San Bernardino, or Modesto, had two children in the Los Angeles City public schools, commuted daily on the 99 from Delano to Visalia, flew weekly commercial out of LAX, tried to buy a California home on their salaries as public officials, rode BART to Oakland each evening home, or depended on a business supplying the state with lumber, gas or oil, food, transportation, or construction—the stuff of life—then they might fathom how assuaging their left-wing guilt in the abstract destroyed the lives of those they never see and never wish to see.
So, in a word, California’s debacle was the work of the self-absorbed.
The self-declared most caring, virtuous, and moral in the end proved the most narcissistic, selfish, and self-centered. Yes, the rich left-wing California elites are many things, but utterly selfish explains what they do unto others.
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Why Biden's Claim of Cutting the Deficit Is False, in a Single Chart ...and why government spending is like an infestation of cicadas. Eric Boehm | 6.13.202
Since President Joe Biden took office office early last year, America's long-term budget deficit has grown by $2.4 trillion.
But that fact seems to get obscured in coverage—even skeptical coverage—of the White House's claims about reducing the federal deficit.
Starting in this year's State of the Union address and continuing through through his op-ed last month in The Wall Street Journal, Biden has constantly claimed to have overseen a huge one-year reduction in the budget deficit. Indeed, this year's deficit is expected to be less than half of last year's $2.8 trillion shortfall. Smart reporters and commentators have pointed out, correctly, that this drop in the deficit is a mirage created by the end of the federal government's COVID-19 emergency spending, which blasted the budget deficit to never-before-seen levels during each of the past two fiscal years.
To prove it, all you have to do is look at the current budgetary baseline released last month by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and compare it to the baseline from February 2021. In other words, compare the trajectory of deficit spending at the very end of the Trump administration to the current trajectory of deficit spending after one year of Biden's term in office. Here's how that looks, courtesy of David Ditch, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation who helpfully put the two trajectories into a single chart:
You can see the big drop-off from fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2022 that the White House has been talking about. What hardly anyone is discussing is the gap between the red bars and the grey bars in every year over the next decade. That gap is the result of deficit spending that Biden signed into law over the past 16 months, including the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure package, and spending increases included in the federal budget that passed in March. The root of much of this confusion is the fact that we use the term "deficit" to describe both the gap between revenue and spending in a single year and that same gap over longer periods of time. But all federal policymaking uses a 10-year budget window for the purposes of calculating deficits—thats why big pieces of legislation frequently are structured to game the CBO's deficit scoring system as much as possible. The White House's budget experts know this, so the decision to focus on two years instead of all 10 is a decision to push an obviously inaccurate picture.
To understand the comparison, it may be helpful to remove the context of government spending.
Every 17 years, much of the Eastern Seaboard is overrun by billions of cicadas that emerge from hibernation in early summer to reproduce. This happened most recently last year. There are other types of cicadas that come around every year, so if you were to measure the number of cicadas in Washington, D.C., this June, you'd get a much smaller figure than in June 2021.
If you looked at just those two figures—last year's total and this year's total—you might conclude that the population of cicadas has dropped dramatically. But that information would tell you nothing useful about the long-term trajectory of the cicada population, because you'd be ignoring the billions of cicada larva sleeping peacefully underground and awaiting the year 2038.
The only difference is that Biden's influence on the budget deficit will be apparent well before 2038. The deficit will begin rising again next year and will rise faster and higher than it would have before Biden took office, as the CBO's projections make clear.
The Biden administration has added to the deficit. That's a fact, as the president likes to say, and a fact that doesn't have to be wrapped in caveats or conditionals.