Last updated:
4:47 PM, 23 April 2017



Jim Miller on Politics

  Email:
jimxc1 at gmail.com



What's he reading? Francis Parkman.

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R-Rated:
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Emeritus:
Alien Corn
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*new



Pseudo-Random Thoughts

Macron Will Face Le Pen In The Second Round Of The French Presidential Election, Two Weeks From Today:  That's what pollsters have been projecting, for hours now, and unofficial vote totals confirm their projections.  As I write, Emmanuel Macron has 7,899,305 votes (23.49%), and Marine Le Pen has 7,431,410 votes (22.10%).  They are followed closely by François Fillon, who has 6,642,361 votes (19.75%) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has 6,536,936 votes (19.44%).

The polls were exceptionally accurate, which makes me comfortable in predicting that Macron will defeat Le Pen in the second round by about 65-35.

That would be a big defeat, but she would still do much better than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, did in the 2002 runoff, when Jacques Chirac defeated him 82-18.
- 4:47 PM, 23 April 2017   [link]


Why The Rising Support in France For Mélenchon?  If you glanced over that graph of French poll results, you were probably struck by two trends, the decline in support for François Fillon after the stories about his wife's no-show job, and the rise of a far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Pamela Druckerman thinks the French are so desperate that they are ready for a "Hail Mary" play.
The ’ail Marie — as I’ve been pronouncing it — is the best metaphor I’ve found for the French elections this Sunday.  The country that gave us the Enlightenment, Cartesian logic, the Napoleonic Code and possibly reason itself may be about to just throw a ball into the distance and see what happens.

Proof of this is the sudden rise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, until recently an angry ex-Trotskyist on the left wing’s colorful fringe.  He probably never thought his policy ideas — like cutting the workweek to 32 hours (from a punishing 35), letting everyone retire at 60, and possibly leaving the European Union and joining an alliance with Venezuela and Cuba — would need to pass a reality test.
. . .
A worker at my local supermarket told me he became a Mélenchoniste because the candidate promised a sixth week of annual vacation.  He added that he knew Mr. Mélenchon would be “catastrophic” for the French economy, then gave me a guilty look.
Marine Le Pen may prefer Russia as an ally, but, like Mélenchon, she wants France to leave NATO.

Like Druckerman, I don't see that as a rational position.

But my explanation for Mélenchon's rise is simpler than hers; French President François Hollande has discredited the Socialist Party at least temporarily, which left millions of voters on the left looking for a candidate they could support.
- 9:29 AM, 23 April 2017   [link]


Having Paid Almost No Attention To Bill O'Reilly Over The Years, I have little to say about his firing — except that he seems to be accused of behaving like Bill Clinton.
- 7:39 AM, 23 April 2017   [link]


Here Are The Opinion Polls On The French Presidential Election:  They should be the latest available, since France prohibits publishing polls on the day before the election.

From Wikipedia:
Opinion polling for the French presidential election, 2017:


French pollsters have a "near-perfect" record in recent presidential elections, but this election may be harder to poll because:
With four candidates within 3% of one another in the polls, France’s presidential election remains volatile.  The two most dramatic statistics frequently ignored in the past few weeks, however, are the high level of undecided voters (as much as one third) and those who say they won’t vote (about 28% in a country where 80% turnouts are the norm).

All this, together with the tragic shooting of a policeman in central Paris just days before voting make this easily the toughest French presidential election to call in the history of the 5th republic.
Barack Obama is backing Emmanuel Macron; Donald Trump is backing Marine Le Pen.

(Both Obama and Trump should have kept a discreet silence, just as they should have before the Brexit vote.)

None of the top four candidates are what I would call pro-American, though Macron and Fillon would probably work with us, from time to time.

British bettors are expecting Macron to finish first, Le Pen second, and for him to easily defeat her in the second round.
- 4:00 PM, 22 April 2017   [link]


CRISPER (1):  For my contribution to science today, I won't be marching; instead I'll be starting to learn the basics on CRISPER.
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR, pronounced crisper[2]) are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences.  These play a key role in a bacterial defence system,[3] and form the basis of a genome editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 that allows permanent modification of genes within organisms.[4]
Okay, the "short palindromic repeats" makes sense, but I'll have to spend some time studying, before I understand the rest.

I do already understand, vaguely, why this is important:  The new technique may make possible precise genetic engineering.  The potential improvements over current techniques are so great that some are suggesting we call the new technique '"gene editing", as opposed to "gene modification".
- 1:27 PM, 22 April 2017   [link]


Before Yesterday, People In This Area Were So Starved For Sunlight that this cartoon fit the local mood.

(Yesterday was almost perfect, sunny all day, with a light breeze and a high around 65 degrees.  But it came after a miserable, miserable winter, and the forecasters aren't predicting another like it in the next five days.)
- 12:55 PM, 22 April 2017   [link]


For Years I have Been Arguing That We Should Pay More Attention To Values In Deciding Who Can Come To The United States:  (For example, in this 2017 2007 post.)

Now, the Australian government has come to a similar conclusion for Australia, and is acting on it.
It may soon become harder for immigrants to become Australian citizens.  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed sweeping changes Thursday.

Turnbull said applicants would need to be permanent residents for four years — three years longer than the current wait — show higher English competency and display even more evidence of integration through work or school and "respect for women and children."

"There is no more important title in our democracy than Australian citizen, and Australian citizenship, the Australian citizen, that institution must reflect Australian values," Turnbull said.
For example, if a man thinks it is his right to beat his wife or marry off his underage daughters, he should not be allowed to become an Australian citizen.

Though most who worship "diversity" would disapprove of both wife beating and underage marriages, they will find this common sense proposal troubling.

Economists will mostly continue to ignore values, and say that we should judge potential immigrants on their skills.  That isn't a criteria we should ignore, but I will remind you that the late Osama bin Laden was highly skilled.
- 10:44 AM, 21 April 2017   [link]


Lincoln Beauregard:  I don't plan to write further posts on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's legal problems, but I can't help but mention that I am charmed by the name of Delvonn Heckard's lawyer:  Lincoln Beauregard.

Lincoln led the Union during our Civil War — and Beauregard is the last name of a famous Confederate general.

It would be interesting to know why his parents chose that combination.
- 8:37 AM, 21 April 2017   [link]


Worth Reading:  Charles Krauthammer's column, "With North Korea, we do have cards to play".
The crisis with North Korea may appear trumped up.  It's not.

Given that Pyongyang has had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for more than a decade, why the panic now?  Because North Korea is headed for a nuclear breakout.  The regime has openly declared that it is racing to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States -- and thus destroy an American city at a Kim Jong Un push of a button.
We can only hope that Trump administration officials are playing those cards, intelligently.

(Krauthammer doesn't mention what we might call the Chicago card — but I think it might come up in our talks with the Chinese, very discreetly, of course.)
- 7:51 AM, 21 April 2017   [link]


This Week's Collections Of Political Cartoons from Politico and RealClearPolitics.

My favorites:  In Politico, Rick McKee's Jon Ossoff; in RealClearPolitics, Signe Wilkinson's Step Two.
- 7:27 AM, 21 April 2017   [link]


No Doubt There Is An Explanation for this donation.
Venezuela has donated $500,000 to US President Donald Trump's inauguration, newly released records show.

Citgo Petroleum, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, is named in papers filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The revelation comes as the Venezuelan economy appears to be crippled by food shortages, violent crime and inflation.
But so far it has eluded me.
- 8:54 PM, 20 April 2017   [link]


The Lawsuit Against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray:  Wikipedia has a brief summary.
In April 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Murray by Delvonn Heckard [22] who claimed that Murray "raped and molested him" when he was a teenager in 1986.   The lawsuit alleged Murray paid the then-teenager $10 or $20 in exchange for sexual contact.  Heckard says he was a high-school dropout and addicted to crack-cocaine.[23]  Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson made similar allegations against Murray in 2007.  Additionally, in 1984, Simpson accused Murray of sexual assault while he was still a teenager.  He spoke with a social worker and detective at the time; however, no charges were filed.[24]

Mayor Murray's personal spokesman, Jeff Reading, said in a statement that the allegations are false, politically motivated and that Murray would fight them.[25]   Later, Murray's lawyer stated that Murray had undergone a medical examination that disproved a key anatomical claim by the accuser, and that the lawsuit should be dropped.[26]

Jeff Simpson, Murray’s former foster son, says Murray began sexually abusing him as a 13-year-old and later paid him to perform sexual acts.  Lloyd Anderson said Murray paid him for sex on several occasions as a teenager.
Heckard lives in the Seattle area, Simpson and Anderson in Oregon.  The detective did pass on Simpson's accusations to the prosecutor's office, but they decided not to file charges.  At the time, Murray was working as a legal aide in the public defender's office.

Simpson attempted to publicize these charges in 2007 and 2008.  News organizations, including the Seattle Times, investigated, but ran no stories.  The investigations were not extensive.

So there you are:  Three accusers, all with troubled lives, all telling similar stories.  So far, I have seen no evidence that Heckard knew the other two before he filed this lawsuit.

So far, I have seen no evidence that the charges are politically motivated.

I'm not sure how I would vote, from the evidence so far, were I on a jury.

As you can imagine, this has upset politics in Seattle, and this year's mayor's race.   Murray has drawn several new challengers since the lawsuit was filed, including the man he defeated, Mike McGinn.

(There are more details in this Seattle Times article.

The "anatomical claim" is a supposed mole.  So far, none of the stories I have seen have mentioned that it is not unusual for moles to disappear on their own.)
- 3:41 PM, 20 April 2017   [link]


Since I Was A Skinny And Geeky Guy In My Youth, I guess I can get away with saying this:

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in Georgia's 6th district, looks a lot like "Pajama boy".

With, of course, the exchange of pajamas for suits.
- 11:15 AM, 20 April 2017   [link]


"Only" Three Were Killed In Yesterday's Protests In Venezuela:   Only?  Yes, I said that because I was expecting more, given the size of the protests, and the deaths, five I believe, in earlier protests.  And, of course, the willingness of Chavistas to use violence against peaceful protesters.
At least three people have been killed in Venezuela in protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

A teenager in the capital Caracas and a woman in San Cristobal, near the Colombian border, were shot dead.

A national guardsman was killed south of the capital.

Tens of thousands of people rallied to demand new presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians. Mr Maduro accused the opposition of attacking police.
More massive protests are planned for today, so there is a good chance that there will be more deaths.

This BBC story is a good, though incomplete, description of the background.  For example:
What does the opposition want?

They have four key demands:
  • Removal from office of the Supreme Court justices who issued the 29 March ruling
  • General elections in 2017
  • Creation of a "humanitarian channel" to allow medication to be imported to counter the severe shortages in Venezuela
  • Release of all the "political prisoners"
Humanitarians have offered food and medicines to Venezuela; as far as I know, the government has rejected all such offers.

("Mainstream" news organizations, including the BBC, routinely leave out the Cuban influence within the Venezuelan government.  Some observers have even said that the Chavistas made Venezuela into a Cuban colony.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that, right now, experts from the Cuban dictatorship are helping Maduro plan repressive measures.)
- 10:44 AM, 20 April 2017   [link]


There Are Suspicious People Who Will Believe Those Chinese Decisions Aren't entirely coincidental.
SHANGHAI (AP) — Since her father was elected president of the United States, global sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise have surged and the company has applied for at least nine new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S.   The commercial engine of the first daughter's brand is stronger than ever even as she builds a new political career from her West Wing office.

Sales hit record levels in 2017, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise.  U.S. imports, almost all from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent last year.

The brand, which Ivanka Trump no longer manages but still owns, says distribution is growing.  It has launched new active wear and affordable jewelry lines, and is working to expand its global intellectual property footprint.  In addition to applying for the new trademarks, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC has won provisional approval from the Chinese government for at least five since the inauguration.
(Emphasis added.)

For fun, I once tried to work out what Donald Trump could do to avoid conflicts of interest.  I concluded that he, and his children, would have had to begin selling their businesses — at least five years before he started his 2016 presidential campaign — that it would have taken that long to unload all those properties.

And even then, there would have been all those"Trump" signs on hotels.
- 8:02 AM, 20 April 2017   [link]


Science Fiction Fans Will Like This Cartoon:

7-11 on Mars

(If you are puzzled, you can find an explanation here, though you will notice a two or three minute mistake in the cartoon.)
- 7:22 AM, 20 April 2017   [link]


Here's Another Reason to like Prime Minister Theresa May.
Theresa May will not take part in TV debates ahead of the planned general election, she has told the BBC.

The prime minister told BBC Radio 4's Today she preferred "to get out and about and meet voters".
We can hope that her example will inspire imitators on this side of the Atlantic — but we probably shouldn't expect many.
- 4:04 PM, 19 April 2017   [link]


The Vote In The House Of Commons was not a squeaker.
Theresa May's dramatic call for a snap election was backed by MPs today as she kicked off the campaign by warning that Jeremy Corbyn is 'simply not fit to lead'.

The House of Commons endorsed the PM's plan for a June 8 poll by a massive margin of 522 to 13.

That is well over the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the Fixed Term Parliaments Act - which had dictated that the next election would be in 2020.
Since there are 649 voting members of the House of Commons — the Speaker does not vote — you can see that many members, including the 54 Scottish Nationalists, abstained.
- 3:45 PM, 19 April 2017   [link]


Another Story From North Korea Too Weird not to share.
Don’t think about asking your barber for “The Kim Jong Un” in North Korea.

North Koreans can choose from among 15 sanctioned hairdos — none of which appears to include their leader’s signature swept-back style.
Democratic leaders usually see imitation as flattery.
- 3:19 PM, 19 April 2017   [link]


Sean Trende's Analysis Of The Georgia 6th Special Election Looks About Right To Me:  (But then I would say that, since it is a much more complete version of what I said on Monday.)

Sample:.
All other things being equal, Republicans weren’t neutral on the outcome here.  They would have preferred that Ossoff wind up in the low 40s or even the 30s, instead of taking them to the wire.  This district is, at its core, a Republican one, which a Republican should have won easily.   As I put it Tuesday, there was a continuum of concern among Republicans from hardly any at all if Ossoff won 40 percent of the vote to panic if he won the district outright, with genuine concern starting in at around 45 percent.  I still think that’s correct, and this outcome was closer to panic than “meh.”
Trende is right, I think, to say that this result should give Republicans reason to fear losing the House in 2018 — and that Trump will continue to be a drag, net, on Republicans.

(You can find the numbers at Wikipedia.)
- 6:59 AM, 19 April 2017   [link]


Hardened Trumpistas Won't Like yesterday's New Yorker cartoon — but most other people will (assuming they don't live in North Korea).
- 6:31 AM, 19 April 2017   [link]


Archives

June 2002
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October 2002, Part 1 and Part 2
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January 2003, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
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January 2006, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2007, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2008, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2009, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2010, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2011, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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January 2012, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
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September 2012, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
October 2012, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
November 2012, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3and Part 4
December 2012, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

January 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
February 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
March 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
April 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
May 2013, , Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
June 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
July 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
August 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
September 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
October 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
November 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
December 2013, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

January 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
February 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4
March 2014, Part 1. Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
April 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
May 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
June 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
July 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
August 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
September 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
October 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
November 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
December 2014, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

January 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
February 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
March 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
April 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
May 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
June 2015, Part 1 Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
July 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
August 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
September 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
October 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
November 2015, Part 1 Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
December 2015, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

January 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
February 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
March 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
April 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
May 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
June 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
July 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
August 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
September 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
October 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
November 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
December 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

January 2017, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
February 2017, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
March 2017, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
April 2017, Part 2 and Part 3






Coming Soon
  • Plan 17 Conservatives
  • FDR and Waterboarding
  • How Long Do Wars Last?
  • Carbon, Carbon Dioxide, and Crescent Wrenches
  • De-Lawyering and Attorney General McKenna


Coming Eventually
  • JFK and Wiretaps
  • Green Republicans
  • The Rise and Fall and Rise of Black Voting
  • Abortion, Cleft Palates, and Europe
  • Kweisi Mfume's Children
  • Public Opinion During Other US Wars
  • Dual Loyalties
  • The Power Index
  • Baby Dancing
  • Jocks, but no Nerds
  • The Four Caliphs




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