Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Hillary Clinton (page 1 / 1)

Did a Voter ID Law Really Cost Clinton a Victory in Wisconsin? →

It's not easy to say, but recent reports suggesting that Voter ID lost Wisconsin for Mrs. Clinton are overstating the evidence. So says Slate anyway, and they're not noted for being Republican shills.

But the Nation headline doesn’t say it all—not even close, as a number of political scientists and polling experts were quick to point out.

One of the first to arrive on the scene with a big bucket of cold water was Eitan Hersh, an assistant professor of political science at Yale University who has studied the effect of voter ID laws.

No offense, but this is something that is going to be shared hundreds of times and does not meet acceptable evidence standards. https://t.co/4M3ipqiaWg

— Eitan Hersh (@eitanhersh) May 9, 2017

The most glaring problem with the report and how it’s being interpreted, Hersh told me by phone, is that the firm behind the analysis decided to operate at a surface level when it almost certainly had the data and expertise to dig much deeper. “Civis presents itself as a very sophisticated analytics shop,” Hersh said, “and yet the analysis they’re offering here is rather blunt.”

The group relied largely on state-by-state and county-by-county comparisons to reach its conclusions, but it could have—and Hersh maintains, should have—conducted a more granular analysis. Civis could have isolated communities that straddle the border between two states, for instance, or even used a comprehensive voter file to compare similar individuals that do and don’t live in states with new voter ID laws. Doing either would have allowed Civis to eliminate variables that may have ultimately skewed its findings. “It’s very weird to do an analysis the way they did when they presumably had a better way to do it,” Hersh said. “That’s a red flag that jumps out right away.”

Civis says it mostly limited itself to publicly available information so that its analysis was repeatable; Hersh counters that repeating a flawed analysis will just lead to the same flawed results. As the New York TimesNate Cohn pointed out on Twitter, and as Hersh echoed in his conversation with me, the absence of a detailed voter file-based analysis of the impact of voter ID laws—by Civis or anyone else for that matter—is in itself telling at this point. “I would in no way argue that these [voter ID] laws have no effect, but what we’ve found is that it’s a relatively small one,” Hersh said. Making things more complicated, he added, is that the effect of a voter ID law can be difficult to separate from that of other non-ID-based measures that disenfranchise the same types of people. “It’s just very unlikely that these voter ID laws by themselves would translate into the effect of 200,000 voters,” Hersh said.

Richard Hasen, an occasional Slate contributor and a professor of law and political science at the University of California–Irvine, voiced similar concerns about the Civis findings on his blog, pointing to a New York Times story published in the weeks after the election. Reporting from Milwaukee in late November, Times national correspondent Sabrina Tavernise cited Wisconsin’s voter ID law as one potential reason why turnout was down in the city’s poor and black neighborhoods. Tavernise, though, ultimately found a bounty of anecdotal evidence that black voters were simply far less excited to vote for Clinton in 2016 than they were to pull the lever for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Here again it is difficult to offer a single explanation for depressed voter turnout: If a black man in Milwaukee decides it’s not worth jumping through hoops to cast a ballot, do we explain that by citing voter enthusiasm, the ID law, or both?

One of My Reasons for Voting Third Party →

A lot of people (most people?) think that voting for a third-party candidate is wrong. It's either throwing your vote away or it's enabling the "wrong" candidate to win. Roderick Long, at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, gives one of my reasons for voting for a third-party candidate.

And once one considers what other results one might be contributing to besides someone’s simply getting elected, the case for voting third-party looks even stronger. After all, the larger the margin by which a candidate wins, the more that candidate can get away with claiming a mandate, thus putting him or her in a stronger political position to get favoured policies enacted. So if one thinks that both of the major candidates would do more harm than good if elected (even if one is worse than the other), then making the winning candidate’s totals smaller becomes a public good to which one might choose to contribute – perhaps by voting for a third-party candidate (though also, perhaps, by voting for whichever of the major candidates one thinks is most likely to lose).

If you think both Trump and Clinton are unfit to be president, which I do, than this is a way to decrease the vote share for both of them.

I'm voting for Gary Johnson. I'm not delusional — I'm well aware that he won't win tomorrow. But my vote against both Trump and Clinton ensures that whoever wins, wins with a smaller majority than would otherwise be the case and wins with a smaller mandate than would otherwise be the case. It's an infinitesimally small contribution to the vote pool, but it's all I can do.

Who's Responsible for Benghazi?

Three weeks ago, I was predicting that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would fight to the death, trying to pin Benghazi on each other. For instance, What Happened In Benghazi

The State Department has released a transcript of a briefing that two high-ranking department officials gave to a number of reporters via conference call on October 9 (Tuesday). I am not certain about this, but I believe the transcript was only made public today. You should read it in its entirety; it is the most detailed description I have seen of the events in Benghazi on September 11.

While this is by no means clear, it appears that the State Department may have released the transcript as part of the escalating conflict between Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. In their desperation to avoid responsibility for the Benghazi debacle, Obama and Biden have pointed fingers in two directions: at the intelligence community for reporting incorrectly that the incident was a protest over a YouTube video clip, and at the State Department for not providing adequate security for the Ambassador.

But then, Mrs. Clinton took responsibility for the event.

Clinton: I’m responsible for diplomats’ security – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

"I take responsibility" for the protection of U.S. diplomats, Clinton said during a visit to Peru. But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened in the attack that left four Americans dead.

Clinton said President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.

"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.

After thinking about it for a few hours, I saw one possible motivation for this: make the the President look bad by showing up his attempts to duck responsibility. It's possible that the President agreed.

Obama Camp: On Libya, President ‘Takes Absolute Responsibility’

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton said, “I take responsibility” in reference to the Benghazi attacks. But in an interview today, Obama campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki stressed President Obama accepted responsibility.

“President Obama takes responsibility for the safety and security of all diplomats serving overseas,” Psaki told Fox News Channel’s Studio B with Shepard Smith. “Secretary Clinton, of course, has a great amount of responsibility as Secretary of State and she was doing interviews yesterday as she often does on the first day of a foreign trip and said look we do own, the State Department does own decisions around funding for diplomats.”

But there's something else to notice: Mrs. Clinton took responsibility for the safety of the diplomats. She didn't say anything at all about the ensuing "it was the video!" cover-up attempt. She's more than happy to let the President explain that one himself. What's more damaging, when it comes to politics: the lapse or the cover-up? Mrs. Clinton may be betting that it's the cover-up.

The Obama-Clinton “Prisoner’s Dilemma” →

Smitty analyzes the State Department-White House blame game, in terms of the prisoner's dilemma.

Here, we have two public figures who both look negligent over a tragedy. And they hold grudges against each other going back. They can both get hammered together, or can try to minimize their damage by pinning blame on the other.

The most likely scenario, I think, is that Secretary Clinton and President Obama drag each other down, in a downward spiral of escalating recriminations.

President Obama's Foreign Policy Foolishness

President Barack Obama won election, promising to mend our "broken" diplomatic relationships. He pledged to be more welcoming of our foreign allies. Earlier this week, President Obama met with Prime Minister Brown, of England. The two government heads exchanged gifts -- a time honored diplomatic tradition. PM Brown gave President Obama some very thoughtful gifts.

The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.

The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.

Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.

President Obama gave PM Brown some similarly thoughtful gifts.

Barack Obama, the leader of the world's richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films - a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.

Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown.

The DVD collection included Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Star Wars: Episode IV, It's a Wonderful Life, ET, The Wizard of Oz, and Vertigo. Those are great movies, but I'm sure that England has a least one video rental store. The article says that the set "was produced by the American Film Institute as a 'special request' for the White House last month." I'm not sure why that was even necessary. Most discount chains would be happy to sell you a box set of those same movies.

Not only that, but PM Brown probably won't get much usage out of the DVDs:

Going back to the topic of is he just that stupid or is he doing it on purpose, consider the fact that Gordon Brown is blind in one eye and has some visual deterioration in the other (how much is unclear). A calculated insult could not have been more on-target.

And what about the children?

In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children's books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.

In return, the Obamas gave the Browns two models of the presidential helicopter, Marine One, to take home to sons Fraser and John.

I'm pretty sure you can get those same models at the White House gift shop.

How embarrassing. This is the way that America strengthens our diplomatic alliances? By giving cheap and insulting gifts to the head of government of our oldest and most reliable ally?

Let's move on the new State Department. How are they doing with the outreach to Russia?

With a media gaggle looking on, Clinton handed [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov a green box tied with a green bow. He opened it to reveal a "reset button," a reminder of Vice President Joe Biden's recent remark that the Obama administration hopes to reset U.S. relations with Moscow.

Trouble was, the Russian-language label the Americans put on the button had the wrong word. Before she realized the mistake, Clinton assured Lavrov, "We worked hard to get it right."

"You got it wrong," Lavrov responded with a smile. He said the word the Americans chose -- "peregruzka" -- meant "overloaded" or "overcharged" rather than "reset."

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our new foreign policy team. Aren't they great?

Symptoms of Victory

I think we're making progress in the War on Terror -- both in Iraq and in the rest of the world. Here is my evidence for tonight.

American Thinker: A Quiet Triumph May be Brewing

There are signs that the global Islamic jihad movement is splitting apart, in what would be a tremendous achievement for American strategy. The center of the action is in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the very territory which is thought to harbor Usama, and from which Al Qaeda was able to launch 9/11. Capitalizing on existing splits, a trap was set and closed, and the benefits have only begun to be evident.

There were already signs of a split, but recent events strengthen that trend. In March and again in May of this year I reviewed relevant South Asian media reporting to predict that the global Islamic jihad movement was cracking up. That theory focused on a split between the leadership of al Qaeda and the jihad groups that secure them in Pakistan such as the Taliban.

He is probably the most responsible for turning the Taliban -- which he had a significant hand in creating -- against al Qaeda. Which means, believe it or not, on some level he may be working with the Pakistani government and possibly the US government, since he is purely an opportunist. No doubt he will not advertise that fact to his jihadists buddies.

This cannot be overstated: it is the most crucial development since the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Cutting al Qaeda's support in Pakistan has been a massive coup, of which our media has no clue of right now. It is the exact sort of thing that the Democrats and their media accomplices always complain that we are not doing and then completely ignore when we do it.

Check it out.

Next up, casualties in Iraq have been falling sharply lately -- both civilian and military. The media is doing their best to ignore it, Senator Clinton is doing her best to deny it, but it's happening.

Engram, at the Back Talk blog, has been crunching the numbers for the past week or more.

As you can see, deaths caused by Shiite militias in Baghdad dropped instantaneously when the troop surge began to unfold. This occurred because Muqtada al Sadr cooperated with US efforts by pulling his fighters off the streets as the new troops began to arrive. Up until that time, his Mahdi Army was eradicating Sunni males in an effort to quash al Qaeda suicide bombings against Shiite civilians. Note that there were other deaths occurring in Baghdad over this period, but this chart shows the number attributable just to Shiite death squads.

The next amazing chart shows the number of people killed by suicide bombers in Iraq. The IBC database has a field that describes "weapons," and the first word of the weapons description is almost always "suicide" when a suicide bomber is involved. I used that fact to identify casualties due to suicide bombers. If you don't know who the suicide bombers of Iraq are, then you don't much about this conflict (and you should not have strong opinions about the war). The suicide bombers are almost all foreigners that al Qaeda brings into Iraq (mostly through Syria) to indiscriminately slaughter Shiite civilians in an effort to incite civil war (read more about them here). They are not participants in that civil war, contrary to what clueless reporters would have you believe when they preposterously refer to these wretched terrorists as "insurgents."

As you can see from this chart, the suicide bombing campaign reached a peak in August, just before General Petraeus testified before Congress. It was a desperate ploy, and I say so because the victims were among the widely despised Yazidis. Killing 500 Yazidis did nothing to advance al Qaeda's goal of goading the Shiite militias back into the fight. All it did was provide fodder for the anti-Petraeus elements in America. They needed those casualties in order to have any hope of convincing Americans that the troop surge was a failure. But it did not work. And I know what this chart is going to look like when IBC updates its database to include results from September (because ICCC has recorded all known suicide bombings for that month already). It is going to look something like this:

Hit the link to view the astounding charts. I'm very much encouraged by this news.

Finally, we've been killing off a lot of the top leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Some of our recent kills are shedding light on who, exactly, is leading the group.

In a press conference today, Major General Kevin Bergner, the spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq, provided further evidence of al Qaeda in Iraq's foreign influence. Bergner highlighted the killing "Muthanna," al Qaeda's the emir of the Iraq/Syrian border. "During this operation, we also captured multiple documents and electronic files that provided insight into al Qaeda's foreign terrorist operations, not only in Iraq but throughout the region," Bergner said. "They detail the larger al-Qaeda effort to organize, coordinate, and transport foreign terrorists into Iraq and other places."

"Muthanna was the emir of Iraq and Syrian border area and he was a key facility of the movement of foreign terrorists once they crossed into Iraq from Syria," Bergner said. "He worked closely with Syrian-based al Qaeda foreign terrorist facilitators."

Bergner said several documents were found in Muthanna's custody, including a list of 500 al Qaeda fighters from "a range of foreign countries that included Libya, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, Oman, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom."

Muthanna's capture in early September is but one of 29 al Qaeda high value targets killed or detained by Task Force 88, Multinational Forces Iraq's hunter-killer teams assigned to target senior al Qaeda leaders and operatives. Five al Qaeda operatives have been killed and 24 captured. 5 Emirs at the city level or higher in the AQI leadership structure. 9 geographical or functional cell leaders. * 11 facilitators who supported foreign terrorist and weapons movements.

Four of the senior al Qaeda leaders killed during the month of September include: Abu Usama al Tunisi: The Tunisian born leader who is believed to be the successor to Abu Ayyub al Masri. Yaqub al Masri: The Egyptian-born leader who was in the inner circle with Zarqawi and then also in the inner circle of Abu Ayyub al Masri. He was a close associate of Ayman al Zawahiri. Muhammad al Afari: The Emir of Sinjar, who led the barbaric bombings of the Yazidis in northern Iraq. Abu Taghrid: The Emir of the Rusafa car bomb network.

Have no doubt about it, we are making progress.

RomneyCare = HillaryCare

Mitt Romney recently wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal comparing his own healthcare plan to Hillary Clinton's plan. He tried his best to present his plan as a small-government solution to the healthcare problem.

As governor of Massachusetts, I led the fight for reforms that used free markets and innovation, rather than big-government control, to lower health-care costs and cover the uninsured. I recently proposed a federalist reform plan that will use these principles to improve America's health-care system.

There's only one problem with his editorial. It's misleading. The Cato Institute explains why RomneyCare and HillaryCare are really two sides of the same (bad) coin.