DDoS is Screwing With de Internet

In case you haven't noticed, there have been some major disturbances in the Force, er, interruptions in the Internet today. Several of you have commented at my blog, and I have not replied because Disqus is down. Not just there, but most every site I've visited. The Disqus site itself is accessible, but comments are down. (LCR is an exception)

Twitter is down, along with other random sites. It has been called a Distributed Denial of Service attack. The Feds are aware of it and are trying to track down those responsible for it.

There's is nothing wrong with your set. We control the vertical. We control the horizontal.

If you are suffering from Extreme Twitter Withdrawal, please call 1-800-Get-a-Life. Operators are standing by...

Stat of the polls - October 19th

By Dean L

[Note: In a few previous posts on my own blog, I've analyzed some of the impacts of the polls and where I thought the race was actually at.  There's some good background on the analysis below here and here and here].

The final debate is today.  Going into it, I thought the exercise below would be useful, since I suspect  the polls will change in the next week.  Rather than looking at the race today, I thought I'd take a look at the polls themselves and see if there's any accounting for the Hillary Clinton October surge that is seemingly suspect.  A couple of things have jumped out.

Following are polls from the RealClearPolitics average of polls, looked at in isolation. In each case I've looked at polls sectioned into the 1st half /2nd half of each month dating back to June 2016. Let me add a caveat here.  There is an additional overlay that is needed here which is to compare these polls to how they performed or assessed Trump and Clinton in the primaries.  A lot of pollsters predicted Trump's death during the primaries.  Many of those who were wrong are predicting the same now.  And that should be factored in as an adjustment factor here.  I have not had the opportunity to do that here.

Another thing that should be factored in is that the polls don't all share their weighting of polling participants.  They are black boxes and those methodologies definitely can skew results.  Not making that methodology available makes a poll suspect in my eyes, as a hidden methodology allows the opportunity to manipulate results.  In turn, I have also not had the time to review most polling crosstabs where they are available, so there's some culpability on my part as well.

Firstly let's take a look at Rasmussen, a pollster generally regarded as conservative-leaning.  I've selected this one first because there is an obvious point that comes from it.  Here's what a trend of their polls look like.

Rasmussen: Click to enlarge

Forget the trends, look at the x axis.  The last included Rasmussen poll included is from July.  But Rasmussen is still polling to this day. Rasmussen has the race tied.  But it does not reflect in the RCP average anymore.  Why not?  That's strange.

Next let's look at the LA Times polls.  This poll is an outlier as it has Trump leading.  This poll has caught a lot of flack from pollsters and journalists but it has been a consistent methodology poll and therefore can indicate a trend regardless if the polling mix is correct or not.

LA Times: Click to enlarge

To me this poll indicates a narrow "trading range" for each of the candidates : Trump 43 to 46 and Clinton 42 to 45.5 since early August. This poll displays much less fluctuation than other polls and is probably more reflective of decided voters since the same voters are being repeatedly polled whereas in other polls we see a fresh set of voters each time.  The takeaway is that Trump voters are likely not abandoning him.  Rather the question regarding this poll is, "have they selected a truly representative sample of voters?"  

In contrast to the LA Times polls, CNN-related polls tell a different tale.  CNN showed a narrowing race, as did many polls through the first half of September but a suddenly widening gap in October.  That's representative of the RCP average of polls and reflects the narrative that the October surprise of Trump's verbally abusive hot microphone comments.  Is that properly reflecting the present situation?  At odds with the LA Times, that's the real question, which we do not know the answer to as of yet.

CNN: Click to enlarge

CBS, echoes the CNN narrative but with a wider divide throughout,  settling in at 11 points so far.  That seems unrealistically high, nevertheless the trend observed in CNN related polls is echoed here.

CBS: Click to enlarge
Fox News, cognizant of their viewer base but nevertheless an establishment institution mirrors CBS but on a smaller scale - either in an attempt to ameliorate the feelings of their viewers or in an unintentional bias in their polling.  The question is - does the bias overstate or understate Trump support?

Fox: Click to enlarge

Over the last 6 weeks, Fox has had a Clinton lead ranging from 5% to 7%.  Only in the first half of September was the race really tight in their polling.  The consistency mirrors the LA Times a little better than other polls.  That's interesting: (1) is the consistency more reflective of the race than the sudden swings (I believe it probably is) and if so (2) is the Fox polling getting a better or worse sample than the LA Times?

One set of polls I have consistently taken issues with are the NBC-related polls.  Specifically their SurveyMonkey polls I find dubious but in addition the plethora of NBC polls (excluding CNBC and MSNBC) seem to be stacking the RCP averages just because there are so many of them. Nevertheless, despite their almost outlier-esque differentials, take a look a this trend - it's interesting:

NBC: Click to enlarge

Their view of the post Labor Day Trump free fall has him bottoming out in the first half of October and already rebounding. Has their sampling changed?  They seem to be an outlier in terms of a Trump recovery or support turnaround.  On the other hand, they are showing Hillary above 50%.  That's definitely an outlier at this point.  That's not to say it cannot happen and they may be a leading indicator of that but at this point I'd be very reluctant to believe her support has surpassed 50%.

Next up is Reuters.

Reuters: Click to enlarge
What's interesting about Reuters-related polls is that Trump never breaks 40% and Hillary and Trump combined are very low numbers, indicating a large number of undecided and/or other party voters.  Hillary Clinton never breaks 44%. Interestingly, the Trump slump here also appears to reverse in the second half of October.

I also looked at Monmouth and Quinnipiac.  The former interestingly has polls showing up consistently in the latter half of the month and the latter seems to be overdue for another poll.  Both, seemingly refuting my earlier point about Hillary Clinton support not exceeding 50%, so perhaps there is some evidence that should could be there now.  Again, the evidence is thin, but there is more evidence  than I mentioned above.  Take from the two pollster views below, what you will.

Monmouth: Click to enlarge

Quinnipiac: Click to enlarge

If pollsters are skewing results, they will have to rid themselves of their biases over the next two weeks if they wish to maintain an air of expertise.  If the election rolls around and your polls are off - you get hammered. Zogby used to be included in the RCP average but was way off in recent elections and got themselves bumped from not only RCP but from the media in general.  Pollsters don't want that for themselves.

The debate tonight affords them the opportunity to adjust any bias.  If Trump or Hillary Clinton slays the debate, there's an immediate opportunity to adjust accordingly.  But if the polls are prejudicially skewed by the pollsters (say against Trump), and the debate is close to a draw and they have to adjust Trump's support upwards, where does that leave them in explaining the late shift?  Late deciders are breaking for Trump?  That's a tough pill to swallow given the build-up in the narrative to this point.

At this point one thing is clear, the post election poll analysis is going to be a lot to sift through, but it will probably be quite revealing, regardless of who actually wins the election.

Trump - A bitter but necessary pill

By Dean L

The establishment in Washington D.C. extends far beyond the White House and Congress. The establishment extends even beyond the various self-serving government bureaucracies.  It includes lobbyists, the beltway establishment media, wealthy political donors seeking crony capitalism and supposedly philanthropic foundations. It probably includes a lot of others as well.  Power and wealth has become clustered around a small number of people and institutions to the exclusion of everyone else in the country.  That's not to say you cannot do well outside of that cabal, but the glass ceiling to real wealth and power is real, and it's not made of glass, but rather steel.

That is not what the country was founded on and runs counter to the core American concept of liberty and justice for all.  Those who speak to that notion for your votes are being duplicitous.  They say it but they don't really mean it. Nearly six decades of liberal policy has not lifted everyone out of poverty.  It never will.  Just like the Clinton foundation, or any crony capitalist company like G.E., government has grown to the point where it exists to serve itself - first, last and always. The elite wish to stay the elite and they will do so at your expense.

As an aside, former insider Jack Abramoff discusses the world inside Washington, including Hillary Clinton:

In the face of all of this stands Donald Trump. A loud, obnoxious, pompous, petty, foul-mouthed, blowhard who clearly has alienated women and many minority communities. Yet he stands up for correcting the ills that have become entrenched in American government and have already entrenched a national downward spiral of American exceptionalism, and will be the death knell of the American dream - not of home ownership but rather liberty and justice for all. And by that justice I mean not the equality of outcome for all, which inevitably will lead to an ersatz outcome, but equality of opportunity, that is key.

The ongoing American downward spiral is not inescapable, for now at least. Back in 1980 America escaped a malaise just as bad as today's, simply by voting for change. Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 led to an American roaring back to strength, prosperity and optimism. So too now, the stakes are high. Donald Trump is an imperfect vessel for the right elixir to what ails America. He is a bitter pill to swallow because of his personal shortcomings. But because of his personal strengths, including an unshakable faith in American greatness, he can deliver on much of what he promises. Much of what he promises is to get government to step aside and allow people to succeed. The government will be there to facilitate the success, not to drive it, not to offshore it, not to sell it to the highest bidder, domestic or foreign. That, while unspoken, is Hillary Clinton's approach.

A bitter pill to swallow is not exactly the same as A Time For Choosing, but medicine doesn't always taste good.  It's what it does for you that matters.  America needs it's government cleansed.  WikiLeaks has exposed the backrooms for what poison they are.  Americans need to come to terms with the fact that snake oil is all they are being offered.  The game must change.  The slate must be wiped clean.  No one is going to do it from the inside; not Hillary Clinton, not Paul Ryan,  not the hobbled Supreme Court, not the RNC. No one.  Trump has no vested interest in the status quo, and neither do Americans. A bitter pill yes, but it is a time for choosing too.  Not choosing to take your medicine when you need it, is suicide.

Donald Trump and the Really Terrible, Horrible Horribly Bad Word

Before we delve into the politics of Trump's potty mouth, a kind word about Bill Clinton. I say kind, because I want to reassure you that this is not the typical attempt at equivalence between Donald and Bill. Bill is not the candidate. Hillary is.

Bill Clinton is the Democrats' favorite president. You might get a "ho-hum" about Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama can fill a room, but no one excites the hearts and minds of Democrats like Bill Clinton, even if most of what they remember of his presidency is obscured by too many bong hits and not enough sleep. Whatever.

I heard one commentator on the scandalous Trump 'hot mic' tape say, that it wasn't the locker room talk so much as the idea that Trump was projecting, that someone famous enough, rich enough, powerful enough could commit a sexual assault on a woman and get away with it. Much like, say, a former President. But, then, this isn't about Bill!

Instead, imagine if you will, that Trump had gone a little farther than what he said on the hot mic, and been even more disgusting. What if he'd told Billy Bush that he'd actually raped a 12 year old girl. That he "raped her so hard, he put her in a coma!" Billy Bush would no doubt stop laughing. As would we all.

But let's say Trump hires an attorney to get him off. Specifically a female attorney, who might be able to attack his accuser with more impunity. One who believed he was guilty, and said that when her client passed a lie detector test, she "stopped believing in lie detectors after that." In Trump's defense, she attacks the teenage rape victim as a slut who pursued older men. That's right! She wanted it! And after managing to get the physical evidence thrown out, her client goes free after only time served.

 Now, before you get your habeas corpus in a uproar, yes, I believe that every person, even the guilty ones are entitled to a defense under the law. That's not the problem here. It's that in an interview years later, the attorney laughed about it.

Can you please tell me what could possibly be funny about the brutal rape of a twelve year old girl, browbeating her over supposed prior sexual activity, blaming the victim, and getting a child rapist set free, perhaps to rape again? Are any of you laughing now?

Now tell me how that attorney, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is supposed to be more respectful to women than a man who made a crude and childish remark not to a woman, but about a woman, over ten years ago? We'll wait.

"Goes to character?" Yes. Doesn't it?

But, It Worked So Well in Detroit!