Stop Making Predictions About Presidential Politics, Because You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

One fallacy I often encounter during online discussions of presidential election politics is what I’ll tentatively term, “appeal to precedent.” It goes something like this: People who think of themselves as very savvy and knowledgeable about this subject will eye-roll and sigh at predictions of how, say, Jim Webb could topple Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, because some data point drawn from previous primary contests shows that she’s the unassailable front-runner.

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Jeffrey Goldberg Strikes Again Despite Being A Confirmed Fraud

Yet another international “crisis” has been sparked by none other than Jeffrey Goldberg, a confirmed fraud whose propagandistic browbeating in favor of the Iraq War should’ve decimated any remnant of journalistic credibility he ever had, but instead further bolstered his influence and stature. Because as we all know, the incentive structures of elite journalism are laughably broken.

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Why Does Michael Barone Still Have A Job Commenting On Politics

On November 2, 2012, professional political pundit Michael Barone announced that he was “going out on a limb” to predict that Mitt Romney would win that year’s presidential election by a landslide.

Barone didn’t make a prediction that turned out to be incorrect, but might at least be considered reasonable. He “went out on a limb” in order to bring attention to himself, and predicted that the Romney/Ryan ticket would win the states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Now, nobody — not even the pollsters most sympathetic to Romney — was predicting at the time that Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were even competitive, let alone likely to be won by Romney. This was a totally ridiculous stunt by Barone — again, for no apparent purpose other than to generate attention to himself, and therefore clicks. Because he couldn’t possibly have been that stupid. (Or could he?)

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Another Brief Note On The Idioicy Of Pro-Football Arguments

Jonathan Chait, one of America’s foremost trolls, and hence one of America’s most influential political analysts, has written a widely-recommended apologia about football. Chait played as a young man, you see, and can speak from personal experience about football’s virtues. According to Chait, football provides boys with a means by which to channel their masculine rage. “In Defense of Male Aggression” is a pretty good troll headline, and I’m sure it earned New York Magazine an impressive number of clicks, but Chait’s article doesn’t do very much at all in the way of justifying the culture of male aggression that football promotes.

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Ralph Nader on Middle East Turmoil, Ron/Rand Paul, Netanyahu, DNC Militarism, and More

MT: I think the major reason I was more appalled by the Democratic Convention was because at least with the Republicans, you know what you’re getting.

RN: Oh yeah — everything was scripted, censored. It was like the Commissars were in charge. All the speakers had to be — to use the terrible term — vetted. Which means they were forced to comply with a formula. And everyone got up — including Elizabeth Warren — and started with the same story: “My parents, my grandparents, I worked at 13,” and so on. Continue Reading →

In Time of Crisis, Movement Conservatism Exposes Itself

There are two general species of conservative who, astonishingly, defended Mitt Romney yesterday — notwithstanding the candidate’s manifestly depraved comments with respect to the attacks on U.S. Diplomatic Posts in Libya and Egypt. The first species: Movement Conservatives, long ideologically-committed to the election of Mitt Romney, and totally untethered to principle. Doubtless Romney himself has made friendly appearances before some of their editorial boards. The second species, naturally, are your classic neoconservative browbeaters like Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. (Clearly there is overlap between these two sorry categories). But it’s not worth anyone’s time to analyze the deranged psychology of Bill Kristol, so let’s take a prime example from the former species: Continue Reading →

I Had To Wait Five Hours To Get My Media Credential At The DNC

An under-discussed chilling effect on freedom of journalistic expression is the petty tyranny of media credentialing. It took me approximately five hours yesterday to retrieve my duly-assigned credential for the Democratic National Convention. Partly this was my own fault; journalists were instructed to arrive between 10am and 1pm to get their pass, and I showed up at 1:30. But in fairness to me, I had to write yesterday morning, and with all the traffic and multiple layers of security and challenging parking situation, I don’t regard myself as particularly to blame. I’d assumed that naturally someone would be available to accommodate journalists whom, for whatever reason, were unable to make it during that narrow window. This assumption proved wrong-headed. Continue Reading →

Notes on Newt Gingrich in Staten Island

A few extraneous items that didn’t make it into my Salon piece on Gingrich’s campaign appearance in Staten Island this past weekend.

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What Happened at Occupy Newark Last Night?

Yesterday I stopped by @OccupyNewark for the start of its encampment in Military Park. Police had informed demonstrators that the park’s 9pm curfew was going to be enforced, and that they’d “do whatever they had to do.”

It should be noted that curfews are just about never enforced at this park, where homeless and mentally ill people sleep every night.

But regardless, a crew of officers showed up ahead of the deadline. One officer, Sgt. A. Martin of the Newark Emergency Service Unit, said he supported the Occupy Movement, though wasn’t very clear on all the details of it. “I’m a working man, you know?” he said. Continue Reading →

The NYPD’s Disdain for the Rule of Law

Longtime observers of NYPD tactics at events associated with Occupy Wall Street may recognize TARU officer Ray Rivera. Short for Technical Assistance Response Unit, TARU officers have been present at nearly every major Occupy event, wielding handheld camcorders to document all the action, and Rivera has always been at the fore.

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