still crazy, and still afloat

OK then. Political polling.

Sunday is the day we’ll be taking a weekly peek at that, once weekly being more than enough for now.

But before we get to that, let’s recap just some of the mischief The Donald and his troupe of comedians has been up to lately in the last month or so, in no particular order;

  • He suggests that the “second amendment people” will be the only remaining remedy for a Supreme Court stacked with liberal pond scum by Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president.
  • A Trump surrogate, in response to a query about whether making a speech to white people in a white neighborhood is really the best strategy for winning black votes, wonders on live TeeVee if Trump would get more traction with black voters if  “there was a burning car in the background” at his speeches and interviews.

    Picture11

    The media is pretty much throwing the kitchen sink at Trump now, and the cartoonists are hard at work as always too. But will it backfire? He’s still dominating the news cycles at will. Are we about to find out if there’s truth in the old saying about “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”?

  • When asked in an interview about what he’d do with the father of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, a US citizen born in Afghanistan who has committed no crimes, he said; “I’d throw him out. If you look at him, I’d throw him out.” He then went on to say that Mateen wouldn’t be the only person he’d “look at” with a view to deportation.
  • Glibly suggests that if his daughter were the victim of sexual harassment at work, he would hope she’d have the strength of character to go out and find another job.
  • States clearly, then doubles down on the assertion, that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are “literally” the founders of ISIS. He then asks why “people are complaining about that.”
  • He continues his flame war with the parents of a soldier killed in action—known as Gold Star parents in the US—suggesting among other things that their religion may have prohibited the mother from saying anything publicly of her own accord.
  • One of Trump’s named “foreign policy advisors”, a lawyer named Joseph Schmitz, is reported as having said, among other things, that “the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews”.
  • He say he “regrets” something or other, but nothing specific, and certainly not for demonstrating his natural affinity for diplomacy by suggesting that while the US would be obligated to defend Japan if it were attacked, Japan would not be obligated to “do anything” if the situation were reversed and could happily “sit home and watch Sony TV”.”
  • Representative Al Baldasaro, a state lawmaker in New Hampshire who co-chairs the Trump campaign’s national veterans’ coalition, stated that “without a doubt” he stood by his assertion that Hillary Clinton should be shot to death.
  • He shitcans his odious senior campaign staff and replaces them with possibly even more odious flamethrowers from Breitbart.com, arguably one of the internet’s more disagreeably racist and hateful rest stops.
  • He visits the scene of the Louisiana flood disaster—against the advice of the emergency personnel and governor—where he signs some tee-shirts then hands out boxes of PlayDoh™. No, really, he did.

In addition to all that, Clinton’s national campaign fielded 10 times as many personnel and spent more than seven times as much on advertising  ($38m vs $4.8m in July) than did Trump’s, and raised twice as much money.

Also more than 70 GOP politicians  sent a letter to the RNC urging them to cut funding to their own party’s actual nominee and instead sluice the cash to downballot races in an attempt to limit the scope of the looming electoral damage.

Then there’s the “Trump is Putin’s bitch” narrative,  with which the cartoonists are having a field day and which is supported by the likes of (usually) GOP stalwarts like George Will, who has suggested that the reason Trump won’t release his tax returns is to hide the depth of his involvement with “Russian oligarchs”.

Oh yes, and which spawned this ad;

 

So.

Just what are the current polling trends over the last couple of weeks against this backdrop of what would normally be considered campaign suicide?

 

national average Aug21

Clinton’s lead has shrunk more than 2 1/2 points according to RealClear’s chart above. Similar tightening appears in all of Nate Silver’s models, but not so much on Huffpollster which has both candidates losing ground about equally with “undecided” going up a bit.

This has been two weeks, let’s observe, without any especially negative coverage of Clinton’s campaign beyond the usual ambient background noise about email servers and Benghazi and the FBI and the Clinton Foundation and her drowning puppies for fun arranging the murder of godknows how many people for obstructing the Clinton dynastic plans.

Yes, I know, the chart is built around national averages and what really counts is Electoral Votes and anyway it’s still too soon to get excited, and of course the polls are still saying that Trump is way behind—most especially from the Electoral Vote perspective—with current estimates giving Clinton something approaching 350 EV’s and showing Trump possibly in trouble in unlikely places like Arizona and maybe even Georgia.

But goddam it, here we have this obvious con artist and petulant little popinjay almost daily violating just about every last shred of traditional political wisdom in the book, and not by just touching, but gleefully grabbing, every political “third rail” you can think of and then some, then just about completely dominating every news cycle while doing so.

And still he’s polling in the low to mid 40% range?  The completely neglected question is why the hell he’s not trailing by 40%.

Just how fucking crazy is that, and what does it say about how flawed and deeply vulnerable a candidate Hillary Clinton really is?

A Reboot for the Ages

There’s been a lot of fevered speculation in conservative circles, over how (or whether)  the Donald might finally grow up, and behave like a person whom someone sane could vote for.

(To be clear, all that anyone asks is that he pretend to be such a person.)

The manager who tried to make this happen, having succeeded before in Kiev at the fine art of improving the allure of a pig, was one Paul Manafort.

He succeeded in Kiev for a while, made Putin’s Prior Puppet over there electable, for at least one cycle.
But it ended badly.

Today’s news:

Manafort is demoted.

The chairman of Breitbart “News” is the new campaign director, and a pollster who’s worked for Cruz and Pence in the past, the campaign manager.

They intend to “let Trump be Trump”.  Apparently Trump thinks this is a cool idea.

Rance Preibus must be ready to end it all.

Check it out.

 

hubbard’s corner

The Professor is doing his presidential poll analyses once a week at this point, usually on Sundays, so let’s see how things are bumping along.

EV+count+0814

Pretty good, it turns out. Well no, that’s not right.

Nowhere near as bad as it could be. Yeah, that’s more the mark.

A few words from the Prof himself then, who is often rather delightfully quotable ;

The changes that look temporary: Utah went to solid Trump on the strength of a single poll from the only company putting Trump in the lead. Even Trump on the stump knows Utah is going to be tough. Trump is the stereotype of what Mormons think non-Mormons are like.

Missouri had a couple polls with Trump up by 10 in July, now his lead is 1 or 2. South Carolina is polled for the first time and Trump is up by 2. Prior history says these are comfortable wins for the Republicans. If Trump is truly struggling in those states, Clinton’s electoral count could climb past 400, a number I still consider beyond reasonable expectations until serious evidence proves otherwise….

The changes that looks permanent: Wisconsin is solid Clinton now and it will likely stay there. I know I have at least one reader who will be happy about this. New Hampshire is now solidly Clinton based on all the three polls taken in August. I’m starting to believe it’s really in the Clinton camp, which is a little odd. Vermont and Hew Hampshire are neighbors and are usually worlds apart. Vermont is the hippie state, while New Hampshire is the “Get off my lawn!” state.

Oh, and the ever present “if the election were held today” odds?  99.97% likely Clinton win.

Which leads us to one more likeable quote;

….don’t let anyone tell you this is close, even if his name is Nate Silver. Right now, this is an ass-kicking and Hillary Clinton has room to improve.

Reds!

I know most of you are cautious enough in your day to day lives to steer clear of the worst of the seriously commie publications, much less subscribe to them. Which would be outright asking for intense scutiny from the Rightthink bots and the Righthink bot controllers, and who needs that kind of misery, right? Well I’m not scared of anyone, so I’ve had a subsciption, for some little time to…  don’t think less of me now… Scientific American.

I hope you are still reading now my dirty little secret is out.  Anyway, I thought I’d just quote you the shocking conclusion section in the latest special issue “9 Key Question About Our Future”. (‘Our’ in that title, of course, this being such a left-of-left rag, refers not to ‘Americans’ or even to residents of the Western Free Market Economy, but -whisper it- all human beings.)

Anyway, according the final part of the answer to their 9th question –Can We Trust Our Own Predictions?:

The inequality of our economic system, the destruction of our biosphere’s ability to support us, the possibility of a sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history being caused by us — all this will [in the near future] be well known to everyone alive. The necessity to change our technological and social systems to avoid catastrophe and create a just and sustainable world for all will be evident. And because necessity is the mother of invention, we will invent. The crux of the change will be in the laws we agree to live by, including the laws that define our economic system. Capitalism as we practice it now is the Chelyabinsk-65 plutonium plant of contemporary technologies: dirty, brutal, destructive, stupid.  It isn’t capable of solving the problems we’re faced with and is indeed the name of the problem itself. So we will modify capitalism, law by law, until it is changed into a sustainable system.

Emphasis mine  I hardly need emphasize that to read in a trad establisment rag such as Scientific American that the name of the problem itself is capitalism is, well, a rather unusual event. Or at least it would have been in the past.  So here’s my question: was someone in the editor’s office asleep at her desk or are the times really and truly a’changin’?

acronyms are expensive

Boy, are they ever.

Here it is, hot of the press. Well a couple of weeks ago, so maybe lukewarm is better. It’s the DoD OIG report on the AGF.

DODseal27Dec250

Integrity. Efficiency. Says it right there on the box.

Apparently there are some problems with the way in which the OASA[FM&CJ] and the DFAS Indianapolis failed to adequately support $2.8 trillion (that’s with a “t”) in 3rd quarter JV adjustments and $6.5 trillion (with another “t”) in year end JV adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation.

With me so far?

Good. Go ahead and find a comfortable chair,  I’m not even warmed up yet. Let’s go to the source (fair warning, it’s a PDF);

OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately document or support adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation. Specifically, OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in JV adjustments for third quarter and $6.5 trillion in JV adjustments for year end.

This occurred because:
• OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not prioritize
correcting the system deficiencies that caused errors resulting in
JV adjustments; and

• DFAS Indianapolis management did not provide sufficient guidance
to ensure DFAS Indianapolis personnel adequately supported DDRS-B
system-generated JV adjustments.

In addition, DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not document or support why DDRS-B removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million feeder file records during third quarter FY 2015. This occurred because DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not have detailed documentation describing the import process or have accurate or complete system reports.

As a result, the data used to prepare the FY 2015 AGF third quarter and
year end financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail.
In addition, DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions. …

Isn’t this fun?

Pretty soon we’ll be talking real money. Onward;

OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in JV adjustments for third quarter and $6.5 trillion in JV adjustments for year end. The DoD FMR, volume 6A, chapter 2, requires the JV preparer to identify whether the adjustment is supported or unsupported.

DFAS Indianapolis personnel determined whether the 64,321 third quarter and 142,355 yearend AGF JV adjustments, including DFAS Indianapolis‑prepared and system‑generated adjustments, were supported.
A JV adjustment is considered supported if the underlying detail transaction level documentation in support of the adjustment is available.

OK, enough, I’m getting a headache.  Wrap it up, willya?

The lack of an audit trail for the DDRS-B import process resulted in the inability to trace transactions and balances on the AGF financial statements to the balances submitted to DFAS Indianapolis.
Audit trails are necessary to demonstrate the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of a transaction and to provide documentary support for all data submitted to DFAS Indianapolis for inclusion in AGF financial statements.
Without an audit trail, the accuracy and completeness of the AGF financial data could not be confirmed, and adjustments occurring during financial statement compilation may go undetected.

Extracting the precise details from these bureaucratic prose thickets is above my pay grade and not just by a little bit. But from that last quote I’m betting  the short version is that trillions of dollars is sluiced into a bowl of alphabet soup, and from that point forward, guesswork is as good as it gets so far as finding out exactly where much of it went.

Best I can figure from looking around the internet, every word of which is true so I hear, is that the US annual military budget is somewhere between $600 billion and $750 billion, so $6.5 trillion is, let’s see, don’t forget to carry the 1, something north of a decade’s worth of military spending with unsupported adjustments a bullshit audit trail?

Y’all must have missed the reporting on this in the MSM.  I know I did.

Oh wait. There isn’t any.

For anyone with the fortitude to endure it, Dave Lindorf over at This Can’t Be Happening  has a more detailed write up about this whole mess;

Just to give a sense of the scale … consider that total federal discretionary spending in FY 2015 was just over $1.1 trillion. That includes everything from education ($70 billion), housing and community development ($63 billion), Medicare and health ($66 billion), veterans’ benefits ($65 billion), energy ($39 billion), transportation ($26 billion) and international affairs ($41 billion), and of course that $600 billion for the military.

All the other agencies that are responsible for those other outlays, like the Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, etc., have been required by Congress since 1996 to file reports on annual audits of their budgets. The Pentagon was subject to that same act of Congress too, but for 20 years and running it has failed to do so. It has simply stonewalled, and so far has gotten away with it.

Sigh.

And people wonder why we can’t have nice things.

coloradocare

Had a couple of guests for morning coffee today. They could clearly see both me and the dog watching them through the window, and didn't care in the least. Things are still pretty green around here, as you can see. Lovely.

Had a couple of guests for morning coffee yesterday. They could clearly see both me and the dog watching them through the window, and didn’t care in the least. Things are still pretty green around here, as you can see. Lovely.

Here in Colorado there will be a referendum measure (Amendment 69) on the November ballot, asking Coloradans if they want to replace the Affordable Care Act and its mandate to buy private insurance with an independent state-run system. web-logo-1

The proposed single-payer system, according to the details provided by ColoradoCare, the organization behind the push for the amendment,  would be funded primarily by a combination of a 10% increase in payroll taxes (1/3 from the employee, 2/3 from the employer) along with a 10% hike in taxation on investment income and a couple of other smaller scale items.

The legality of this proposal arises from Section 1332 of the ACA, which allows states to obtain waivers to create their own healthcare system if they wish to do so. The Colorado measure proposes to provide full medical coverage, including dental and vision, with no deductibles and no co-pays.

As of early June a poll showed the amendment was sufficiently popular to be on track for passage, but there’s a long way to go until November and there will be no shortage of headwinds.

An article by Lee Fang in the Intercept reveals that most of those headwinds are being generated by the usual suspects in the insurance and healthcare industries, but with no small amount of cooperation from players in the democratic party establishment.

Influential democratic consultants,  some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.

Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.

The anti-single-payer effort is funded almost entirely by health care industry interests, including $500,000 from Anthem Inc., the state’s largest health insurance provider; $40,000 from Cigna, another large health insurer that is current in talks to merge with Anthem; $75,000 from Davita, the dialysis company; $25,000 from Delta Dental, the largest dental insurer in the state; and $100,000 from SCL Health, the faith-based hospital chain.

The filing reveals that the anti-single-payer group has retained the services of Global Strategy Group, a Democratic consulting firm that has served a variety of congressional candidates and is currently advising Priorities USA Action, one of the Super PACs backing Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, has opposed the measure, as has Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, another Democrat. More evidence, as if more were needed, that the Democratic party leaders are increasingly as out of touch with the hearts and minds of a large swathe of their own base as the GOP is with theirs.

While it’s true that the force of Bernie’s remarkable insurgency, with its strong emphasis on healthcare insurance policy,  finally dragged Clinton into public support of the “single payer” model, there’s no reason to believe she, or any of the party pooh-bahs who surround her, actually mean to do anything about it. Indeed, in this instance they’re actively opposing a push for precisely such a model.

 

And speaking of faith-based hospitals; they’re growing dramatically as heavy-hitter religious hospital chains, particularly Catholic ones, buy up smaller and previously secular hospitals from coast to coast.

We here at 9thousandfeet have an ER nurse/manager working in a just such a hospital on the west coast, and the degree to which the newly imposed religious dogma is influencing what services the hospital is “willing” to offer, and the attending authoritarian culture they’re imposing on the employees is, she says, very discouraging.

Lets just say, just as one very obvious example, if you’re stricken with a terrifying crisis in a pregnancy, there are an increasing number of Emergency Rooms across the nation that you probably should try to avoid because the medical options offered and explained to you will absolutely not be selected as a result of purely clinical considerations.

This is a national scandal that’s not even a peripheral issue in this election cycle, and having a woman as one of the candidates isn’t having any effect on that at all, which is also scandalous.