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Winning, Losing, and Whining

Winning, Losing, and Whining

Why (almost) everyone is a loser this cycle

 

First, it was Trump, widely expected to lose and making baseless claims of rampant voter fraud.

Now that the results are in, it’s Jill Stein raising $5M+ (more than her campaign raised) for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Hillary’s camp is on board. Why not? Nothing left to lose.

If that’s not enough, it’s now Trump claiming he won the popular vote and millions voted illegally for Hillary. Great.

 

Let’s get real.

Count. Recount. Count again. Trump won. He’s going to be president. The recount money is about as well spent as this money.

Jill Stein knows she isn’t going to win. There’s no chance this flips for Hillary. And if the laughably ignorant Dr. Stein preferred an outcome other than a Trump presidency, she should have backed the Democratic nominee. Instead, she continues to put her personal fame ahead of smart political calculus. She won 50K votes in Michigan. Hillary lost by 10k. This race was closer than some other swing state surprises, but you can do the math. (Swing state third-party voters — WTF? Seriously, WTF?)

This recount effort, much like the medically (and mentally?) unsound Dr’s sad campaign, isn’t about politics. This is Dr. Stein opportunistically drawing upon widespread rage and disappointment in a desperate and vain attempt to burnish her reputation and remain relevant for a few more days. Go home doc, the party’s over. And folks, stop donating! You could burn that cash for heat.

 

There’s still no widespread fraud

It was a lie when Trump started it. It remains untrue despite his win and his recent outlandish claims. We all know he’s a sore loser. Now we know he’s also a piss poor winner. I’m shocked!

 

Great expectations, miserable failure?

Hillary has to own her loss. The country is, on the whole, in pretty great shape and she lost to an angry sweet potato. That’s a bad loss.

 

There are no winners, but…

There’s one candidate who is decidedly less of a loser today than the rest. He’s a dimwit who is unfit for the presidency, but it’s fair to say that, both before election day and since, he’s acquitted himself in a more dignified manner than his competitors. Electorally, his performance was about as expected, despite knowing little of the world. His earning 5% of the vote, with few brain cells firing, a highly questionable track record in NM, and little money offers hope that a better third-party candidate might one day be relevant. (I can hope, right?)

As importantly, he’s ridden off into the sunset (on his bike and blazing a joint?) without making a fool of himself. Yes, the same guy who fakes heart attacks.

 

We get another crack at this soon enough. The 2020 campaigns will start in a little more than two years. Let’s do better, ok?

 

But from this moment, every day and forever, support and defend our democracy. It’s baseless and classless for both sides to malign the process. The process is great and it’s incumbent upon all of us to support and defend it, even when we disagree with the results.

 

Trump Translation Guide

Trump Translation Guide:  Promises vs Reality

After running the most fact-free campaign ever, President-elect Trump is already backpedaling on many of his promises and he’ll find it impossible to make good on others. As such, I’ll try to maintain this “Trump Translation Guide”, distilling his middle school social studies education, Forrest Gump-like command of the language, and reckless overpromising into what he means, or what might actually happen.

There’s a pattern here and it’s more than ‘everything he says is BS’. While true, on a policy level there is increasingly less daylight between him, Hillary, and Obama.

Congratulations Trump voters! For little difference in policy, you elected the least prepared, most obnoxious candidate ever.

This isn’t a fact check, so much as a reality check.  It should be fun.

 

Build a wall, get Mexico to pay for it:

  • Maybe a fence in some places.
  • Mostly an investment in border security.
  • Mexico is NOT going to pay for it, unless indirectly via US consumers.

Deport 14M illegals:

Repeal and replace Obamacare:

  • Not taking insurance away from 20M people.
  • Keeping protections for pre-existing conditions and kids under 26.
  • No word on the individual mandate.
  • It will get the fixes it needs. This is inevitable and not a partisan issue.

Drain the swamp:

  • Load up on insiders and immediately hire supporters, irrespective of personal qualities.

Mitt Romney is such a loser:

  • Have you met my Secretary of State?

 

I know more than the generals:

  • About my insane hair.

 

Mosul is such a disaster:

  • I don’t have a plan, but criticizing everything seems to get me on TV.

 

I’ll keep (I kept) that business in the US:

  • Not according to Carrier.
  • Ford was never leaving Kentucky for Mexico.

 

“Lock her up!”:

  • Nah, just kidding.

 

Global warming, the Chinese hoax:

  • Maybe, just maybe, even I am not that dumb.

 

There’s plenty more and there’s no end in sight. The upside is that his caving on these issues brings him closer to a normal, centered reality that’s better for all of us.

Totally worth hiring an incompetent asshole to do most of the same things as an accomplished policy wonk with some flaws, a frosty personality, and a love of pantsuits.

Trump Protesters – Go Home

Trump Protesters — it’s time to go home.

 

I know you expected a different outcome. I did. Most of the world did, including, if we and they are honest, many of Trump’s own supporters. That contributes to the shock value of the result. That’s fair.

Stop the “Not My President” bullshit. Don’t like me calling it what it is? Tough. How obscenely racist would that hashtag have been in 2008? You’re arguing the results of a clean and fair election. You lost. I lost. She lost. But the process is fair and final. He is your president and mine, no matter your opinion. Stop with the absurd petitions to stop him and anoint Hillary. It’s not happening, and anyone with more than a couple of functioning brain cells should know that.

Imagine the hew and cry if Trump supporters were in the streets and chanting “Lock Her Up”. You’d be in a tizzy. You’d call it treasonous and want the protesters arrested immediately for crimes against your feelings, and the state.

Take a step back and recognize that no one is saying this about you. You have every right to have your feelings heard, but know that all you’re doing is expressing your feelings. You’re not protesting anything in particular, rather simply expressing disappointment and frustration, with an understandable dose of fear.

I understand your frustration and concern. I do. Trump said some horrible things and campaigned on a platform built on lies, innuendo, fear, and bigotry… fill in the undesirable attribute of your choosing. There is legitimate cause for concern over many of his proposals, much of his rhetoric, the broader Republican party platform, and the motivations of some who supported him. But nothing has actually happened yet. Your grievance is with his words. You are not aggrieved.

By protesting words, and worse, blocking roadways, and doing property damage (sounds a lot like rioting), you’re affirming the belief of many Trump supporters that we are, increasingly, a weak nation of thin-skinned children. Prove them wrong by accepting the results of our robust democratic process, even when you don’t like the result. Grow up. Go home.

Gear up to protest things that actually happen and have real-world implications. Emboldened by a dramatic win and with control of Congress, Trump and the Republicans may well try to do some horribly regressive shit. Protest then. Protest that. Demand the best of your elected leaders. Save it for actual policy disputes, things that matter and are real.

Go home. There’s nothing to protest right now. Not yet.

Make your vote count!

 

trump-clinton
Sick of all the political posts? Tough shit, snowflake. It’s the most important thing in the world right now and some people clearly need more information. Make your vote count!
 
Vote however you like. If you’re undecided, well… I’m glad the docs were able to awaken you from the long coma.
 
But on a tactical level, those of in swing states (other than UT) need to know the following:
 
Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be our next president. Odds are excellent that they’re not your top two choices, but one of them IS GOING TO BE PRESIDENT. (It’s going to be Hillary, in a landslide, but that’s not the point of this post.)
 
If you’re in a swing state and considering a third party candidate, just write in Mickey Mouse. Or stay home. It’s all the same. There are many ways to avoid what might be (but shouldn’t be) a difficult decision. Just don’t pat yourself on the back and sport an “I voted” sticker after you effectively put your ballot in the trash. It’s your right, of course, but you did not perform your civic duty. You punted.
There’s no honor in a “principled” rejection of the process. (I’m looking at you, John Kasich.) And it doesn’t matter what you, I, or anyone else thinks of your 3rd, 4th, or nth party candidate. He/she isn’t going to be president. That much we know.

“It’s just one vote”
Sure, but let’s have mass action, instead of mass inaction decide this, ok?
 “I wish there were more / better choices”
As do most people, myself included. But this is where we are today. You can participate or punt.

Please participate.

Massachusetts Ballot Questions, Answered

Here’s the latest polling I could find:

Hillary is going to win Massachusetts. The down ticket races are mostly uninteresting. The ballot questions, as is often the case, are where it’s at!

Text of the questions here.

An unbiased analysis, here.


 Question 1 — Slots – YES

“A fool and his money are soon parted.”

If you want to move money from your pocket, through a slot machine at -X% implied return, and into cities and towns, who am I to stop you?

Will this project achieve the lofty returns the “pro” group is touting? Probably not. Is it immediately accretive to the state’s coiffeurs? It sure is.

Vote yes to accept tax donations from willing gamblers!


Question 2 — Charter Schools – YES

This one needed its own post, here.


Question 3 — Conditions for Farm Animals – NO

A solution in search of a problem.

The market is evolving rapidly. Walmart is going cage-free. Even McDonald’s is moving in this direction. Cage-free eggs are widely available, so if you’re passionate about this issue, you can buy them in most markets right now.

California is the only other state with similar regulations. Naturally, they now also enjoy the highest egg prices in the country.

Animal welfare matters, but there’s only one farm in the state of MA not currently in compliance with the proposed standards, which won’t be implemented until January 1, 2022. The real impact of this measure will be on egg imports. We’ll no longer be able to buy eggs from out of state producers who don’t comply with this law, closing the market and raising prices. This is why there’s no opposition from local producers. They’ll enjoy higher prices with no compliance cost.

As is the case in California, this will raise prices. I love eggs. They’re an affordable protein choice that many people enjoy. By passing this measure, we raise prices without making meaningful change in a market that’s currently self-correcting. Lower income families will be disproportionately impacted by this unnecessary regulation.

Vote NO on 3.

More excellent analysis, here.

 


Question 4 — Marijuana Legalization – YES

Stop the madness… the “Reefer Madness”, that is.

The arguments against this are silly. You’ve probably seen the reefer madness themed ad with pot shops on every corner and a high school kid walking out of a store with a bong and a bag full of evil weed-related product. That’s a gross misrepresentation of what this law will allow.

If you’re not yet on the YES side of this, here’s your reality check:

It’s already 99% legal and widely available. This measure, while far from perfect (it should be legal, but not so heavily regulated and taxed), reduces crime and criminal earning potential. It has the potential to create massive tax revenue. The business exists. Demand is strong. This measure helps ensure that consumers enjoy a safer product with controls around the supply chain.

This doesn’t create an industry. The industry exists and is robust. It’s currently run by criminal gangs. Let’s put them out of business, enjoy some additional tax revenue, and finally accept the fact that marijuana is no more harmful than the cigarettes and alcohol that we’re all too happy to tax and regulate. Grow up — we dish out opiates like candy. Kids are getting into them. But you’re concerned about legal weed when no one overdoses?

As an added bonus, if you don’t want to smoke weed, you still won’t have to!

Vote YES on 4.

Vote YES on Question 2

This one is surprisingly contentious. I was going to write a single post covering all four ballot questions, but this one really needed its own. Here’s why you should join me in voting YES on Question 2.

Maybe you’ll be convinced quickly?

If you support choice and free markets, as I unabashedly do, you’ll quickly come to the YES side, I hope. If you need a little more convincing, please stay with me for an objective analysis as the misinformation campaign has been rather aggressive.


The $400 million lie

Opponents are using these numbers like this to scare up the opposition. Let’s understand that this is the money that “follows the students”.  When you’re told that this money is coming out of public education, without being told that it goes with the student to their new school, you’re being told a lie of omission.

Economic facts of charter schools:

When Andy moves from a public school to a charter school, funds equivalent to what would have been “spent on him” follow him to the charter school.

Ex: District spends $15,000 per student (total of state and local funds / number of students). This money follows the student to the charter school. (This is essentially the same as the current voc-tech / agricultural funding model. A model that no one argues against.)

Further, though it’s been somewhat underfunded of late when a student leaves the public school system for a charter, the “sending” public school system gets a kickback of up to 95% of the per-student funds. This money smooths funding variance for sending schools and helps to offset capital expenditures that didn’t consider the charter school effect. This is, in fact, new money for schools — incremental state spending on education. It’s complicated. More here.

The funding model isn’t perfect. The sending district may incur additional transportation (busing) expense. We can debate and refine the economics, but beginning with the premise that $400M is somehow being taken away is a grossly disingenuous way to start the conversation.


It’s not about you

The current charter school cap is 120 and we have only 78 statewide.  But under current law, Boston and Springfield have reached their caps.  Thousands of Boston families seeking better educational opportunities are denied them every year, due in large part to this cap.  A YES vote fixes this and extends choice and opportunity to these students.

You should also know that in milky white Massachusetts, 66% of charter school students are non-white.


Charters are working right now

We all want the best from our public education system, Boston Public Schools included. Unfortunately, things are, objectively, bad in this school department. This is what drives demand for charters. With a magic wand, we could cure all that ails it. This is unrealistic and it’s unfair to subject today’s students, who have immediate needs, to the long and slow grind of structural reforms.

The charters are doing a better job.  Great stuff here from Brookings:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/massachusetts-charter-cap-holds-back-disadvantaged-students/


A NO vote solves nothing

Voting NO doesn’t make public schools any better. It changes nothing. Nothing at all.

Consider these points on Tuesday.

Vote for Trump, four reasons

Amidst the chaos and frenzy of this unusual electoral cycle, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest soundbite attack. Let’s take a longer view and explore four sound reasons to vote for Trump.

You’re a coal miner, or want to become one.

Little argument here. He promises to have your back and ignores global warming. In conjunction with other scientifically illiterate lawmakers, he may actually be able to expand coal production and help you out.

You’re rich.

Like Republican candidates before him, he supports cutting taxes for the rich — notably by trimming the top marginal income tax rate by about a third and eliminating the widely reviled death tax. (Note: .2% of Americans are subject to estate taxes. If you’re married with two kids, you can usually transfer $20M without tax penalty.)

The tax plan doesn’t match the populist rhetoric, but if you’re already rich, a vote for Trump is probably in your interest.

You’re stupid.

Globalization is real and it’s here to stay. Deny it if you like, but it’s as real as gravity. The rest of the world is going to play ball, whether you want to or not.

This isn’t Putin’s Russia and our president can’t make companies do this or that, stay or leave, hire, expand, etc.

Heavy tariffs will lead to trade wars. We are world leaders in technology and innovation. Embrace it. Invest in it. Protectionism never works.

Please tell me more about how the guy who screws vendors, pays so little in taxes and has openly proposed economic policies that benefit the rich and add significantly to the national debt is your populist champion.

You’re an asshole.

Are you racist? Xenophobic? Misogynistic? Do you want to “take our country back”? Your candidate has arrived.

I’m no fan of HRC, but the choice is binary. Trump supporters, which of these is you?