Monday Between Halloween And Scary Election Day Ethics,11/2/2020 [CORRECTED]

I had a conversation with a friend who said she would never speak to anyone so devoid of values and intelligence to vote for Donald Trump (she was bluffing) and then immediately thereafter demonstrated that she was incapable of explaining what was so unbearable about the President beyond generalities, Big Lies, and deflections (when the quality of the President’s advisors are a go-to argument three minutes in, you’ve got nothin’…) Upon cross examination, she could not coherently justify voting for Joe Biden either, except through denial (“He’s not senile, he’s just not as sharp as he used to be, and at that age, who is?” Yes, and that’s why nobody has run for President at that age. And no, Joe did not used to forget who he was running against, what office he was running for, or repeatedly get thousands mixed up with millions) even when it was acknowledged that he was far from the sharpest tack in the package. Finally, she said, “I’d vote for Biden even if he was completely demented.’

And there it is: the rational, informed, analytical Democratic voter. In the end, it’s mostly about hate.

  1. Speaking of dementia…Conservative flame-breathing pundit Kurt Schlichter tweeted that Sean Connery’s last words were “Elect Donald Trump.” Sure, Kurt. Yesterday I learned that 007 had been losing a long bout with dementia. If he was no longer compos mentis, that endorsement really isn’t worth much, and he would have been much more likely to endorse Biden out of comradery.

2. What’s going on here? What are we to make of all of the sudden reports that the President is surging in multiple states? For example, yesterday the Des Moines Register described the poll results showing that what had been a Biden lead was now a 9 point Trump advantage:  “Republican President Donald Trump has taken over the lead in Iowa as Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden has faded…”

There are similar stories coming out of other states, and more than one pollster is now predicting a decisive Trump win. Are pollsters deliberately trying to avoid a catastrophic embarrassment by hedging their bets at the last minute? Are conservative media forces trying to bolster GOP confidence to get out the vote? Are we witnessing another election where the undecideds suddenly all flip in the same direction in the final hours, like in 1948, 1980, 1988, and 2016?

The problem is that we can’t trust anybody even vaguely related to the news media. I must add, repeating myself, that the deification of Nate Silver, who relies on the wisdom of crowds to insure himself against the consequences of failure, is unwarranted. If one poll is right and 50 are wrong, the “average” of the polls is a useless number that has the illusion of accuracy but in fact is exactly that, an illusion. If the President wins, Silver will say, “Our predictions were accurate! We said he had a 15% chance of winning; we didn’t say he wouldn’t win!” Brilliant! And those who said (like, say, me) that the President’s likelihood of winning has always been 50% or better based on multiple factors and historical trends? Just unscientific.

3. A quote of the day from Ann Althouse:

I am abstaining in the 2020 election, so I’m about as distanced and cruelly neutral an observer as you’re going to get. I care about the quality of journalism, and the main thing I do here on this blog is monitor elite media. I’ve found the bias in favor of Joe Biden absolutely disgusting. And I believe Biden is a stalking horse for Kamala Harris, whom the mainstream media hasn’t subjected to any serious testing. 

Observations:

Screen Shot 2020-11-02 at 4.25.15 AM

  • Note how Althouse pats herself on the back for deciding to sit out what may be an existential election. I take that to mean that she is where I was not long ago, lacking the guts to vote for someone she dislikes and wishes weren’t President, and concocting rationalizations to justify ducking an unpleasant decision.
  • The impetus for her post was yet another fake news headline from the media (above), with a BBC announcement that said both candidates had “hit” swing states in the waning days, when Trump had in fact done that, traveling to five states in a day, while Biden campaigned in Philadelphia, not far from his headquarters in Delaware.
  • When I suggested to my friend referenced above that I found the Democratic scheme to use Biden to beat Trump while counting on his dementia to open the door for a female, dark-skinned, far more extreme Left, and scantily qualified individual whom they knew couldn’t be elected directly to take over as POTUS, the response was, “Wow, you really do believe those conservative media theories, don’t you?”
  • The media bias for Biden is disgusting. But we knew that.

4. Harris and “racism.” I have now read multiple critiques of GOP critics referring to them as “racist” for pointing out that Kamala Harris is not an African American, and that it is deceptive to represent her as such.

Ethics foul. Facts aren’t racist. Harris is Jamaican and Indian in heritage. If the Democrats want black votes based on group identification, they are basing the strategy on misrepresentation, and it is legitimate to point it out. They chose Harris almost entirely based on race and gender; the party cannot fairly legitimately complain if the basis for that selection is challenged on the facts. If the U.S. went mad and authorized reparations for slavery, Harris wouldn’t get a cent.

5. Now THIS is a frivolous lawsuit. Louisville Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, one of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, has filed a civil suit against the Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker for emotional distress, assault and battery. Walker opened fire on the officers when the entered Taylor’s home in the early morning hours based on bad information [the warrant was, however, made out for the “right” address, because Taylor was suspected of harboring illegal drugs—I had that wrong in the original version of this post] , looking for illegal drugs. Walker says he thought the officers were home invaders, opened fire, with one shot that hitting Mattingly in the leg. Police returned fire, killing Taylor. The lawsuit claims Mattingly experienced “severe trauma, mental anguish, and emotional distress” because of Walker’s actions.

“Walker’s conduct in shooting Mattingly is outrageous, intolerable, and offends all accepted standards of decency and morality,” the complaint says, citing one of the legal standards for intentional emotional distress. 

You know, I haven’t been in a courtroom as an advocate since 1975, but I’m confident I could successfully defend that lawsuit with half of my brain tied behind my back. The police were in the wrong. The defendant’s girlfriend was killed by their bullets. Who sympathizes with the police? The Golden Rule precludes this suit from succeeding. The jurors will be asked to imagine themselves in Walker’s situation.

66 thoughts on “Monday Between Halloween And Scary Election Day Ethics,11/2/2020 [CORRECTED]

    • There had been scant media coverage on Biden’s weakness with Black voters-but there is some.

      In one of his YouTube videos, ProfBlackTruth showed screenshots of a CNN.com article showing Biden’s lead over Teump regarding black voters as only in the high 60’s- well below Clinton’s lead over Trump in that demographic on Election Day 2016.

      Ernest Owens, in an article in the Daily Beast, cited Five Thirty-Eight in clsiming that Trump’s deficit with black voters as compared to Biden was 57 percentage points-implying that Biden is below 80 percent among Black voters.

  1. Silver’s methodology is not flawless. It is, however, far superior to the Pundit’s Feelings. It reminds me of baseball purists that deride analytics as inferior to “instinct” and “intangibles,” whatever that means.

    • Bad analogy. Baseball and sports isn’t human nature and politics. (Though Nate, who comes to politics from sports, obviously misses that point.) For example, when I say that no first term President who has run for reelection after not being challenged in the primaries and not facing at least two strong opposing candidates in the election has lost a re-election bid since 1930, that’s a fact, not a feeling. Or that no President with an approval rating as high as Trump’s has lost ever. Or that no candidate showing clear signs of dementia has ever won. Or that no political party with as radical an agenda as the Democrats in 2020 has ever prevailed.

      As for baseball, eventually even Bill James decided that much of what was important and indeed decisive in baseball couldn’t be reduced to numbers. He used to say, for example, that clutch hitting and hitting streaks were illusions. No, they are just real phenomena that can’t be measured well by statistics.

      • I fail to see how your cherry picking of random trivia invalidates my point. Analytics is a useful but hardly foolproof tool in forecasting and strategy.

        By the way, hitting streaks and “clutch” performances are indeed illusions.

        • NO, they are really not, and if you watch a lot of baseball, it’s obvious. Thus Bill James finally started adding rbi % to his statistical tools. Eddie Murray and David Ortiz were clutch hitters their whole careers. Jason Varitek choked with the bases loaded predictably and routinely. Jackie Bradley Jr. has long cold streaks followed by not quite as long hot streaks. Some people in all professions thrive under stress and pressure, others don’t. To maintain that wouldn’t hold true in sports is just bizarre, and it was tunnel vision like that that discredited analytics for so long.

          Historical Presidential election trends aren’t trivia. What a lame rebuttal!

          • The fact that you tely on anecdotes shows how weak the evidence is for the existance of “clutchness.” What makes someone clutch versus erratic and/or lucky, for example?

            Your Presidential facts are indeed trivia. The Democrats have never lost an election with a Black person on the ticket, for example.

            • There’s only been one. That’s not trivia, it’s a trick statistic.

              The reason clutch performance and streaks rely on individual cases is that thre’s no way to strip the luck out of clutch performance. There is in hitting streaks, now that the speed of hy balls can be calculated. To measure either, you would have to measure well hit balls during clutch situations for each player. You would have to distinguish between what we call “clutch”—big game performance, game deciding situations, simple men on base situations…they are all different. Plus, a clutch hitter who hist a line-drive that is caught has still “delivered” in the clutch as much as he could.

              There isn’t a single player, manager, scout or coach in the game, I’m reasonably sure, that believes that hot streaks and clutch performance is a statistical illusion. Discounting their experience and observations is just arrogance by people who only understand data. Again, human nature and character is involved.

                • You said Harris was not African-American, which is correct in the technical sense.

                  Almost everyone would consider a Jamaican to be Black.

                  • They are Caribbean. If you are going to play group identification games, I’m going hold you to the rules.(I don’t mean you you, I mean the generic “you.”) She was not disadvantaged by slavery and Jim Crow, nor were her family members. If all black means is “not white,” then I’m black, being half Greek, and olive skinned.

                    “Correct in the technical sense” is a long way of saying “correct.”

                    • The populace considers Carribeans to be Black. It’s sort of like pornography; people seem to know it (race) when they see it.

                      Kind of like “clutch.”

              • You make my point. “Clutchness” has no definition. What is “big game performance”? Was the pitcher “clutch” or did the batter “choke”?

                It’s only a mirage; a sequence of lucky and/or erratic play that appears to have a correlation.

                And I’m surprised that you would cite baseball pros (i.e. “the experts”) to support your argument. The experts once thought the earth was flat too! And of course, an outsider proved them wrong.

                  • If you claim something exists, it is on you to provide convincing evidence of its existence.

                    So far, I am unconvinced that “clutch” and “choke” are anything more than humans erroneously finding patterns where there are none.

  2. Funny… as an admirer of your obvious intellectual skills, I thought you always, and quite naturally so, operated with half your brain tied behind behind your back.

  3. 1. I’m sure Schlicter was employing satire; it’s his stock in trade. He may not have known about Connery’s dementia. I didn’t. I’ve been (satirically) attributing those same last words to any celebrity who has died since RBG’s alleged dying declaration.

  4. File this under the heading of “Left-winger Having a Normal One”

    While most of us assumed that these comparisons would have no where to go once over-used, we have the President of the World Mental Health Coalition showing that once wall to wall comparisons of Donald Trump to Hitler lost effect, that indeed they still have second life by rehabilitating Adolf Hitler as “not such a bad guy after all”.

    She (@BandyXLee1) plumbs new depths of Trump Derangement, in a now deleted tweet, where she compares President Donald Trump to the now-eulogized Hitler:

    “Donald Trump is not an Adolf Hitler. At least Hitler improved the daily life of his followers, had discipline, and required more of himself to gain the respect of his followers. Even with the same pathology, there are varying degrees of competence.”

      • Needless to say, I think in all professional settings, if you are going to make a point, and your lead in to the point starts with “At least Hitler”, as a professional, you should step back and ask yourself if the point you are trying to make can be made in a way that doesn’t require rehabilitating the world’s most iconic mass-murdering dictator.

        • Trump has never murdered anyone, leave along ordered the genocide of “undesirables.” That’s the problem with history – when too much time passes those who have gone before become pale shadows of what they really were and people start comparing current people to them. I also bet that this woman thinks Columbus was some kind of monster, and that he too was worse than Hitler, which is objectively untrue, but chic.

          • I rarely, if ever, watch MSNBC so I have no idea who this Lee person is. I checked out her twitter feed and, oh my, she is a special kind of lunatic.

            I wonder, though, if this (Trump qua Hitler) really is about the passage of time? I don’t think so. It’s about people so blinded to reality that they can’t even see how stupid the comparison is and there is absolutely no amount of discussion that could show them otherwise. Call it delusion or what have you, but they have conditioned themselves into believing that canard.

            Anecdotal, but In 2016, just after the election, I was sitting at a Starbucks enjoying a caffe mocha, when a lady walked by with her pooch. I may have mentioned the incident here on EA.

            I talked to her for a few minutes about dogs and stuff, and then she launched into a screed about how, as a Jewish woman, she was terrified that Trump won and would soon fire the ovens to target Jews for automatic extermination. Somehow, being Jewish gave her a special dispensation to say awful things. Trump. Whose daughter is married to a Jewish fellow and is raising her children in the Jewish faith. This is the same Trump who actually moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. This is the same Trump who has done nothing but support the Jewish community his whole life. She was unpersuaded.

            I didn’t realize what was going at the time. Medical professions had not yet studied this phenomenon in any great depth, and had not yet diagnosed the condition as Trump Derangement Syndrome, and Big Pharma had not developed a drug to address it, so I was caught flatfooted, and being from a town near Cleveland, OH (both of which had significant survivor communities, some of whom I knew personally), I was appalled and horrified by the comparison and the accusation that this nation, in the 21st century would allow genocide to occur (and no, Dr. Lee, the deaths resulting from the Wuhan Virus, though tragic, do not constitute genocide; if I have to point out why that is, then mayhap you should do a bit a reading about a few incidents in the 20th century [Rwanda? Armenia? Germany?]).

            Over the past four years, Trump and Trump supporters have been accused of being deplorables, white supremacy, Nazi storm troopers, and a whole host of other grave evils. It is a convenient position to take because it is so offensive, that any discussion (fruitful or otherwise) is impossible. It is intended to make the listener think, “Hmmm . . . Hitler was an evil monster. Hitler’s supporters are evil. Hitler’s party was the Nazi party. That means Nazis are evil. I hate Nazis. But, wait: she said ‘Trump is Hitler’. That means Trump is an evil monster. Trump’s supporters are evil, too by extension. If Trump is a Republican, that also means Republicans are Nazis, as are Trump supporters. Oh no. I support Trump; therefore, I must be a Nazi. I hate Nazis, though. How can I be something I hate?”

            jvb

            • Perfectly said, John. I am copying much of it to keep – might even be memorizing it, for my future conversations with a Jewish guy I work with. He is convinced that every wannabe disciple of Jesus Christ is a vengeful, raging bloodshed-craving wannabe murderer of every one of HIS kind. I have yet to ask him what he observes about me that makes him feel that way about me.

  5. Although Kamala Harris couldn’t get reparations for being a descendent of slaves, if you wanted to force all descendants of slave-owners to pay reparations, would Kamala Harris have to pay them? Her ancestors owned slaves. Joe Biden would have to pay. So would Barack Obama. Is it a requirement for people on the Democratic ticket to be the descendants of slaveowners.

    Donald Trump’s family did not own slaves. However, Trump was criticized in the press for speaking in a town named after a family that owned slaves. Neither Harris, Obama, or Biden have been criticized from coming from slaveowning families. Only Democrats are allowed to own slaves, apparently.

  6. The warrant did not have the wrong address. They were coming to search her apartment because she was part of her ‘ex’- boyfriend’s criminal enterprise.

    • My mistake: I regard police using a battering ram to break into a home early in the morning when they find nothing incriminating as “being in the wrong place”, hence “wrong address.” But as this piece explains, you are correct:

      Claim: Police were at the wrong apartment

      Various Facebook and Twitter posts have claimed that Louisville police went to the wrong apartment the night of Taylor’s death when they served the no-knock warrant.

      Ben Crump, a Florida-based attorney involved with the Taylor case, wrote on Twitter on May 11 that police “had the wrong address AND their real suspect was already in custody.”

      The Courier Journal obtained copies of five search warrants Louisville police received March 12 as part of a narcotics investigation.

      One was for Taylor’s apartment, three were for adjacent homes on Elliott Avenue in the Russell neighborhood and one was for a house on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The Muhammad Ali Boulevard warrant was not executed.

      The search warrant for Taylor’s home includes her street address, apartment number and photos of her apartment door, which police later broke using a battering ram.

      Taylor’s name, birth date and social security number are listed on the warrant, alongside the names of the narcotics investigation’s main targets, Jamarcus Glover and Adrian Walker.


      In the affidavit for the search warrant, Jaynes wrote that he’d seen Glover get a package from Taylor’s home and that he used Taylor’s address as his own on documents.

      Verdict: right address.

      I’ll fix that.

      • That’s a “biggie.” Thanks, AJ and Jack. When I read what Jack first posted, I cringed in disbelief. It’s always better to know the real story, even if it hurts.

  7. I will do a more detailed response now. (This is one of the tradeoffs I made when accepting a full-time job.)

    I had a conversation with a friend who said she would never speak to anyone so devoid of values and intelligence to vote for Donald Trump (she was bluffing) and then immediately thereafter demonstrated that she was incapable of explaining what was so unbearable about the President beyond generalities, Big Lies, and deflections (when the quality of the President’s advisors are a go-to argument three minutes in, you’ve got nothin’…) Upon cross examination, she could not coherently justify voting for Joe Biden either, except through denial (“He’s not senile, he’s just not as sharp as he used to be, and at that age, who is?” Yes, and that’s why nobody has run for President at that age. And no, Joe did not used to forget who he was running against, what office he was running for, or repeatedly get thousands mixed up with millions) even when it was acknowledged that he was far from the sharpest tack in the package. Finally, she said, “I’d vote for Biden even if he was completely demented.’

    And there it is: the rational, informed, analytical Democratic voter. In the end, it’s mostly about hate.

    That is tragic.

    Jonathan Turley and Alan M. Dershowitz could make a more coherent case for Joe Biden.

    The problem is that we can’t trust anybody even vaguely related to the news media. I must add, repeating myself, that the deification of Nate Silver, who relies on the wisdom of crowds to insure himself against the consequences of failure, is unwarranted. If one poll is right and 50 are wrong, the “average” of the polls is a useless number that has the illusion of accuracy but in fact is exactly that, an illusion. If the President wins, Silver will say, “Our predictions were accurate! We said he had a 15% chance of winning; we didn’t say he wouldn’t win!” Brilliant! And those who said (like, say, me) that the President’s likelihood of winning has always been 50% or better based on multiple factors and historical trends? Just unscientific.

    Ernest Owens wrote this article.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/at-the-barbershop-black-men-arent-sold-on-joe-biden-and-kamala-harris

    I’d felt that when Barack Obama made a rare visit to the campaign trail last week, as the Biden campaign held a private Black male voter gathering in North Philly limited to 20 participants. I was a part of the press pool for that event and was excited to see Obama engage with this often neglected voter base but was quite disappointed when I realized that most of the guests invited were elected officials, ward leaders, and campaign surrogates who I’d already seen on the campaign trail. This felt like a missed opportunity given that the real undecided Black male voters were outside of that rec center waiting to get just a glimpse of the man.

    In the barbershop that weekend, Trump’s campaign messaging about being rugged, outspoken, and self-made seemed enticing to many of the men gathered there in a conversation where the comparisons between Trump and Biden could fairly be categorized as old-school “locker room talk.”

    There were Black men there who related to Trump, an old white guy, because they, too, have aspirations of wealth and hate political correctness. And with the alternative to Trump being another old white man who they believe is responsible for mass incarceration, they don’t seem to see much difference between the candidates.

    Now here is where he mentions Nate Silver’s organization.

    After four years of racist rhetoric, Donald Trump is now 57 percentage points down with Black voters, according to FiveThirtyEight—which is bad, yes, but is a 15-point improvement from where he ended up in 2016.

    When you do the math, this means the poll(s) that Five Thirty-Eight cite mean that Biden is under 80% support among black voters. This is worse than the polling done by UCLA/Democracy Fund.

    Could these polls cited by Five Thirty-Eight be oversampling black Republicans? Perhaps,. It seem to rhyme with other polls, like the UCLA/Democracy Fund polls I had cited before in comments on other blog posts.

    ProfBlackTruth (a YouTube user) posted screenshots of CNN articles showing Biden being well below Hillary Clinton in Black voter support.

    A recent Siena/times poll cited in a New York Times article showed Donald Trump with nearly a quarter support from Philadelphia voters. Philly is Pennsylvania’s largest city, a Democratic stronghold, and has a large black population.

    Black voters, being a solid Democratic constituency, are almost certainly much more likely than voters in general to

    – blame Trump for COVID-19 and the ruined economy due to the lockdowns
    – blame Trump for systemic racism and police brutality

    But Black swing voters do not seem to be doing this as much as black voters in general. I suspect they do this less that voters in general, period.

    How else to explain these results?

    Or does sampling methodology, for some reason, significantly oversample Black Republicans?

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