Hunter Biden

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and likely Mike Mulvaney were out to smear Joe Biden, because he looked like the most likely Democratic candidate in 2020.  In the process, they would have to smear his son, Hunter Biden.  Trump didn’t care about the truth.    There were enough bits of truth  where falsehoods could be inserted.  Giuliani and Mulvaney just did what the President wanted.   There was a lot of collateral damage, including the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch.     Burisma was code for the Bidens.

The Republicans wanted Hunter Biden to testify at the impeachment inquiry in order to create a false narrative  that the good mayor of NYC, Rudy  Giuliani  was so concerned about the Ukrainian company, Burisma, and prior connection with Hunter Biden, that he flew to Ukraine to launch his own investigation and uncover the truth.  The truth of the matter is   Giuliani went to Ukraine for two reasons – as Trump’s personal lawyer to help Trump win 2020 by creating a scandal built on lies , and to make himself rich (really richer) dealing with corrupt politicians in Ukraine and two con artists posing as investors with a made up company, called Global Energy Partners.

What was revealed in the inquiry, was that after the Ukrainian revolution, corruption was widespread, and the US and other countries grew concern that at the very top of government, Chief Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, would do nothing  to investigate corruption including the natural gas company, Burisma.  Typically, when faced with illegal actions, corrupt officials seen a chance to get a piece of the action.    I have included the biographical summaries of Viktor Shokin and others.  .

Here’s the complete story as summarized by Wikipedia:

In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Mykola Zlochevsky faced a money laundering investigation,[27][28] and his company Burisma Holdings, the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine,[8] assembled a “high-profile international board” in response.[29][28] Biden, then an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, was hired to help Burisma with corporate governance best practices, and a consulting firm in which Biden is a partner was also retained by Burisma.[30][31][32] Chris Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk.[28] Among those who joined the board of directors in April 2014 were Biden, Archer and former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski.[33] Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019,[34] receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months.[15][35][36] Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates[37][38] and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden’s having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden’s anti-corruption work in Ukraine.[8][28] While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin,[39][40] who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations.[41][42] The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.[43][44]

In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings,[45][37] however, there is no evidence that this was what happened.[39][46] There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing done by Hunter Biden in Ukraine.[47] The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that the current investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014.[48] Shokin in May 2019 claimed that he was fired because he had been actively investigating Burisma,[49] but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin’s dismissal.[28][49][50] Ukrainian and United States State Department sources have maintained that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.[46][38][51]

As usual,  Wikipedia backs up it facts with several references, which can be found online.

The Board of Directors do not run a company.  It is very commonplace to select outside directors to help establish the legitimacy of a company. A former Burisma board member, ex Polish President Kwasniewsky,  has stated that Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma because of his name.   See link below.  I usually don’t quote from Fox News, but this article comes from a first hand account of Hunter Biden, and directly contradicts the Trump- Giuliani narrative.

It seems Hunter Biden and Joe Biden were part of the solution, not the problem with Burisma.   According to Wikipedia:  “Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.[39][58][59]”  According to the testimony at the impeachment inquiry,  the IMF and others in the European community were glad when VP Biden demanded the firing of Viktor Shokin, so anti-corruption prosecutions could go forward.

The Republicans would love to put Hunter Biden  in the spotlight because he has abused drugs and alcohol in the past by his own admission.   He was divorced in 2016, and Republicans would have a field day with his ex-wife’s accusations, as reported in Refinery29:  “In 2016, Hunter’s wife Kathleen Biden filed for divorce, stating in the motion filed a year later that Hunter “created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.” After the divorce, he went on to date his late brother’s widowed wife, Hallie Biden.”   Pretty juicy stuff.  Republicans would also love to focus on Hunter Biden’s dismissal from the Naval Reserves because he tested positive for cocaine.

So:  Republican talking points would be a long one,  really coming down hard  on Hunter Biden’s past personal problems.   Somehow, this made the dirt collecting mission of Giuliani permissible.   Trump continues his attacks on Hunter Biden.

None of these problems seem to affect his legal and business consulting career.  Today, he is re-married and by all appearances, is doing well.  See links below.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia: Hunter Biden 

Wikipedia:  Viktor Shokin

Refinery29:  Hunter Biden Opens Up About Struggles With Addiction

Why Giuliani Singled Out 2 Ukrainian Oligarchs to Help Look for Dirt

AP/ Fox Business News:  Hunter Biden hired because of his name: Burisma board member

Nice to see Fox Business News doing some news reporting!

USA Today: Trump’s conspiracy theories thrive in Ukraine, where a young democracy battles corruption and distrust

And there’s tons more:   Wikipedia: Dmytro Firtas    

(Conspiracy advocates, take a look at the names,  William Barr,  Victoria Toensing, Joseph diGenova,  Rudy Giuliani,  Dmytro Firtas accused of bribery).  Money doesn’t talk, it swears (Bob Dylan).

Wikipedia:  ” As vice president, Joe Biden had urged the Ukrainian government to eliminate middlemen such as Firtash from the country’s natural gas industry, and to reduce the country’s reliance on imports of Russian natural gas. Firtash denied involvement in collecting or financing damaging information on the Bidens.[86]”

The bigger scandal is how Putin worked with the corrupt oligarchs in Ukraine.

Investigation #1 – 2016 elections interference

I’ll admit this – the narrative of the two investigations in return for aid money gets long and complicated, due to the many official involved and various meetings and encounters.   And as in any organization, there were a lot of short hand expressions, such as “2016 elections” which needs some explanation. So, here is how Trump laid it all out:

Trump began, “A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine. They have the server, right? From the DNC — Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in and they told them ‘get out of here, you’re not getting it, we’re not giving it to you.’”

He continued, “They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still want to see that server. You know the FBI has never gotten that server, that’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”

When Doocy asked Trump “Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?”, the president seemed to wobble, saying “Well, that’s what the word is.”

It’s is very wrong on a whole series of levels.   It begins with a huge lie.  One of the founder of Crowdstrike, is Dmitri Alperovitch, is  a Russian-American who has lived in the US since 1994 with no connections to the Ukraine.  The other two co-founders are George Kurtz and Gregg Morrison and are as American as apple pie.   I felt a bit silly looking up where each of the co-founders were born.  So the narrative begins with a “Pants on fire” lie.   When a computer gets hacked, the signs of the hack can be pretty subtle and not discovered for months.  A small piece of code, had been inserted into the server, which facilitated unauthorized  access to critical files.  There is no need to physically remove the server and dust for fingerprints.

The  Democratic National Committee (DNC) called Crowdstrike,  to determine if, in fact, the security had been breached and information stolen.    The top priority  is to remove any unauthorized code on the system to prevent future access. A secondary objective would be to figure out the origins of the code.   The code in this case, has been identified as

Now, there is a badly misconstrued morsel of truth, in what Trump is saying.    The DNC did decline an odd request by the FBI to allow the illegal access to continue, in order to get more evidence on the hacker activities.  I think this was very reasonable given the elections were 5 months away and a miserable time to conduct a sting operation.  From the Daily Beast website:

The DNC turned down one unusual FBI request early in the hack investigation. The bureau wanted access to the DNC’s network while the Russians were still in it, most likely to stage a counter operation against the GRU. The DNC declined, perhaps reluctant to have two intelligence agencies playing capture-the-flag in their systems five months before a presidential election. The DNC later authorized Crowdstrike to share full copies of the hacked servers with the bureau, giving the FBI access to the same evidence Crowdstrike had.

The GRU is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian military.  The full copies of the server would generally be referred to as “cloned copies”  allowing the forensic experts to examine an exact copy of the operating system at the time the copy was made.  Crowdstrike turned over all  copies of the servers it made and all analysis to the FBI, who reached the same conclusion that the hack came from Russia.   Other organizations made the same conclusion.     Robert Mueller secured Grand Jury indictments on 12 GRU agents responsible for interference in US elections, including hacking.

But just for grins, let’s follow the Trump’s crazy story.   The FBI comes knocking on the door demanding the DNC  turn over the server.  Instead of complying with the FBI,  the IT guys at the DNC call Crowdstrike,  which takes physical possession of  the server  and puts it on a plane to the Ukraine.  I guess they do this in the dead of night, so nobody sees them pulling out all the equipment.  (fails the laugh test).      Now, Ukraine has total access to all the Democratic emails, by way of Crowdstrike operating under the orders of the DNC and they subsequently  leak them to Wikileaks.  We know that the FBI and others involved in computer forensics got the cloned copy of the server and concluded that this hack was done by the Russians.   So it follows that Crowdstrike would have to alter the cloned copy, inserting a false Russian code,  and putting their growing billion dollar company at risk.  Also, after removing the server,  Crowdstrike had to install an exact duplicate server, also in the dead of night, so nobody would notice the equipment is missing.   These systems work 24/7, with all kinds of security checks and backups.

So, is there anyone besides Trump  promoting this stuff?   Yes.  Vladimir Putin for one, who early on pointed the finger at the Ukraine, after the usual denials.  Similarly, he denied the assassination attempt in 2018,  on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.    There are three other individuals as far as I can tell.  Two other conspiracy have been convicted for lying to the FBI:  Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.  It was pretty obvious that these two individuals were desperately looking for ways  to avoid long sentences.  Also, helping the general cause cause was Julian Assange (Wikileaks)  who said he did not get the emails from Russian agents, but did not point the finger at Crowdsource or Ukraine.    Julian Assange remains in prison in England,   Obama did not extradite him to the US, so this of course feeds into the conspiracy narrative.   Trump said he would, but the stature of limitations may run out.  Also, he will be claiming his right as  journalist,  Of course, there are a whole slew of radical right wing websites which love to spin conspiracy theories.  But it isn’t easy to find a promoter who hasn’t been sued or imprisoned.    Almost forgot- Rudy Giuliani promotes this stuff because Trump wants him to.    When you are a personal  attorney, you stick with your client come hell or high water.   And Mike Pompeo has turned his head so many times, he’s getting neck pain.

Dr. Fiona Hill really nailed it at the inquiry, when she pleaded to the committee to reject these wild conspiracy theories, and accept the collective conclusions of the intelligence community and Mueller investigation, that Russia had interfered with the US elections.  Trump attempted to resurrect and reinforce a debunked theory about Ukraine’s “theft” of the DNC servers via Crowdstrike by withholding military aid to Ukraine is an impeachable offense.  Yet I believe the Senate will acquit him, as the Republicans hold the majority.   I am hoping that this victory will be short lived, when the US electorate overturns his Senate win.

I’ve only included a few links, because so much can be found by Google searches, including the incisive statements by Dr. Hill.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wired:  July 16, 2016:   Here’s What We Know About Russia and the DNC Hack

(Wired got it right more than 3 years ago!  –  yet this, the FBI and Intelligence community couldn’t convince Trump)

Daily Beast:  Updated Oct 16, 2019: The Truth About Trump’s Insane Ukraine ‘Server’ Conspiracy

Trump Explodes About Ukraine Conspiracy on ‘Fox & Friends’

“Are You Sure They Did That?” Even Fox Questions Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory

Wikipedia:  Crowdstrike company

Daily Beast: June 17, 2018:  Trump’s ‘Missing DNC Server’ Is Neither Missing Nor a Server

Impeachment Inquiry and Bribery (Nov 21)

Ok, I plead guilty to watching the impeachment inquiry  testimony for hours at a time.  I listen to both Republicans and Democrats members of the Intel Committee.   It is  like a courtroom drama, except there is no neutral judge to disallow certain testimony, the defense is not allowed to call their own witnesses, and the jurors on impeachment are obviously  biased.  Democrats get to decide on the rules.    The partisan nature of impeachment is part of our system.   The general charge is that Trump violated the constitution by conditioning the military aid to the Ukraine on an announcement of two investigations, one involving Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 elections and the second on the Bidens, to help Trump win in 2020.

Several tactics have been used to defend the president.  The first is to attack the witnesses as partisan, just out to embarrass Trump  which has been a terrible disaster.   Trump started this attack in very disrespectful attacks on  Ambassador Yovanovitch, who was subjected to a smear campaign in the State Department, and officials there knew about it.  Rep Jim Jordan is easily identified in the hearings as he does not wear a suit jacket.  His job is  the witness attack dog and he sought to discredit Lt. Col. Vindman, who received excellent reviews from his superiors.  All witnesses strongly supported Trump’s policies of providing lethal military aid to the Ukraine.  So, really every time he questions a witness, they seem partisan, but in the direction of Trump rather than Obama’s policies.  It continually backfired.

The second line of defense is to focus on the ultimate outcome, which is Ukraine  got the aid without having to announce an investigation.  But as every lawyer knows, bribery does not require the completion of the bribe in exchange for something of value.  The third line of defense is to consider holds on assistance a fairly routine occurrence.  Again, this fails because the reasons for the hold were for political dirt to for the 2020 election.   There is no other analogous case.   Finally, Jordan has forcefully put forward that none of the witnesses have proved that a specific demand for “Biden dirt” came from an email or conversation with Trump.   Schiff was quick to point out that proof of bribery does not require this and corrupt officials are not likely to put into writing that they are interested in bribing the government of a foreign government.

So, as the testimony goes on, you can mark down the number of times we have (1) Character attack, witness bias (2) They got the money anyway  (3) Holds are common place and (4) Evidence lacking tying Trump to a bribe.  I might also add a number 5 defense, in that Trump’s aid to Ukraine was much better than Obama’s, which has failed because witnesses, if asked, are agreeing with this, and it tends to weaken the character attack defense.  I might add a number 6 defense in which to point out inconsistencies from prior testimony.  It is a kind of “are you lying now or were you lying in your first deposition” or “how is it that you claim this, as other witnesses/documents show the direct opposite?” .  I call  this a bit of the war of words.

Democrats have their tactics too, as they are trying to show how all the testimony fits together, and at times they oversimplify things.

Throughout all of this, I still wish the impeachment inquiry was finished with as I feel it will end with the Senate acquitting Trump, and he will be using the word “hoax”  – as in impeachment hoax and Russian investigation hoax about a million times from now until election day.  Still the evidence is strong – see CNN summary.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

CNN Opinion: Trump and bribery claim: Does the shoe fit?

They all lie!

This is the response I get when I tell a Trump supporter of Trump’s trouble with the truth.  He’s been amazingly consistent with lying throughout his career in real estate (see Wikipedia link below).   Just recently,  Trump stated that some of the DACA recipients were “harden criminals.”   Of course, that is a lie, because they would be immediately disqualified for the program if they have any convictions.  His record of 4% totally true statements from politifact.com website is really unbeatable among politicians.

Yes, they all lie, but nobody tells as many lies in both critical domestic and foreign areas as Trump.  He never admits he was wrong.  He is very self centered and often exaggerates his own success, while ignoring the accomplishments of others.

So, how does Trump’s record stack up with Biden, Sanders and Warren.  Or with Obama.   Trump is clearly the winner – far and above the biggest liar of  them all.

I used Politifact, and summed up the percentages each of them were as far as truthfulness (True, Mostly True and Half Truth):

Warren  (17% true, 38% mostly true, 42% half true)  =  87%
Sanders (13% true, 36% mostly true, 26% half true) =   65%
Biden   (13% true, 23% mostly true, 25% half true)  =   62%
Obama  (20% true, 27% mostly true, 26% half true)  =  73%
Trump   (4% true, 10% mostly true, 14% half true)  =  28%

Pretty incredible difference.   If I sum up the false and pants on fire category, the rankings would be:

Trump  = 50%
Obama = 13%
Warren =  0%

Of all the politicians,  Elizabeth Warren ranks the most truthful,  followed closely by the other Democrats.  Warren has made one statement considered mostly false or 13%.  Donald Trump is the most dishonest by almost any measure. Politifact does not consider how often a person repeats a lie.   The Washington Post does, and the tally in October 2019 came to an incredible 13,435 lies or misleading statements, over 993 days or 13.5 lies per day.  See links below.

Other websites have reveals many false claims from President Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact.com

Wikipedia:  Veracity of statements by Donald Trump

Factcheck.org Oct 11, 2019 Trump’s error filled cabinet meeting

https://www.factcheck.org/

Was Mueller’s Appointment legal?

I heard this accusation before and pretty much just thought it was total nonsense.  The idea was one could ignore everything Mueller investigated, because his appointment was unconstitutional.

I was surprised when I listened to a speaker on a conservative law forum, featured on C-Span, addressing this issue.   He had obviously thoroughly researched this topic.  I did not know the history of this issue.   These arguments have been used twice in District Court and rejected and then again in the Appellate Court,  where the three judge panel rejected all the arguments.  Once it gets rejected on appeal and not reviewed by the Supreme Court, it becomes case law – Mueller’s investigation was legal in the opinion of the court.

In 2018, a series of well written articles were published and posted online, detailing why Mueller’s investigation was illegal, written by Steven Calabresi,  a Professor of Law at Northwestern University.

Of course Donald Trump’s immediately ceased on this with his rapid fire tweeting  machine, to be telling his millions of followers that the investigation which he claims exonerated him (of course, it didn’t clear him of obstruction of justice) was UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

So, in what’s this all about?  The President nominates and the Senate approves “Principal Officers” such as US Attorneys and heads of Departments may appoint “Inferior Officers” per Article II of our constitution.   Robert Mueller was considered an inferior officer because the Justice Department could supervise his activities and fire him if necessary.   At the core of Professor Calabresi’s arguments, it seems, is the contention that Mueller was given so much authority, he fit better into the definition of a principal officer than an inferior officer.  The Appellate court disagreed and I’ve posted their opinion.

Consider for a moment if the case had succeeded.   It would require the President to nominate and the Senate to approve the Special Prosecutor.   It would be very difficult to imagine this ever happening, so we would have lost an important means of keeping government accountable, particularly at the highest level.  There will officials in high office who will abuse their power.  No one in a democracy is  above the law.

The Miller case is one for the textbook, thanks to the challenge by Trump supporters.  It adds clarity to Article II, Section 2 of our Constitution.  In the future,  any similar challenges on the authority of any Special Counsel appointment will be quickly dismissed in the courts as long as the Justice Department retains the right to dismiss the Counsel and clearly defines the scope of the investigation.    Unfortunately, claims that Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional will live on, in podcasts, social media,  political conspiracy books, and their ilk.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

The Hill: US Law is not on the side of Mueller

Washington Post: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment is valid

District Court concludes Mueller’s Appointment is valid

(The above legal opinion is pretty steeped in law and Department rules.  Per the Washington Post, “The separate constitutional challenge to Mueller’s appointment was brought by Stone’s associate Andrew Miller, who has been trying to block a grand jury subpoena from the special counsel’s office. Miller was held in contempt by a lower-court judge for failing to testify before the grand jury as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the last presidential election.”  )

Note on the very nuanced analysis of obiter dictim on page 9 :  Obiter dictim: A judge’s incidental expression of opinion, not essential to the decision and not establishing precedent.

Trump-Ukraine Scandal: Public Opinion

C-Span has a program called Washington Journal, which allows callers to give their opinions.  They must identify themselves as being either Democrats,  Republicans or Independents and it seems they try to get a good blend of callers from these three groups.   In this case, the moderator was completely neutral.

On the issue of the impeachment inquiry, a caller described it as a totally “made up” story.  And she had her facts.  Adam Schiff had talked to the whistle blower before the whistle blower had submitted a complaint.  Also,  Schiff denied he or anyone on his staff had contact with the whistle blower.  So, this proved to the caller that everyone was lying and what was going on was just a lot of dishonest people out to get the President.   The conspiracy idea was that Adam Schiff told the whistle blower what to report, so he could get the president impeached.   He then rounded up a few dozen traitors in the State Department and told them what to say.   He must have manufactured other evidence like text messages and emails.   The news media was either complicit or just went along with this giant  hoax.

One piece of this conspiracy  immediately begins to fall apart.  Adam Schiff did not have any contact with the whistle blower – but apparently someone on his staff did, but not at a detailed level of the issues.  The whistle blower was asking what the proper way to file a complaint under the whistle blower protection laws.   What this staff person told the whistle blower is you need to get an attorney and go through proper channels.  No short cuts permitted to the House Intelligence Committee.

The evidence is really mounting against President Trump of trying to get dirt on Biden in exchange for approved military aid.   I  think this is a crime of  extortion and an abuse of presidential power.   The first day of public hearings will be on Wednesday, November 13.   The current chargée d’affaires,  to Ukraine, Bill Taylor and the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of State, George Kent, will testify.  I believe Counsel for the Democrats and Republicans  will do the questioning for 45 minutes each.   There won’t be any surprises.   I can say this because both individuals have testified extensively in closed sessions and the transcripts have been released on the House Intelligence Committee website.   So this hearing is not likely to add to the House inquiry.   It is more to legitimize the inquiry to the public.

Trump said today (Nov 8)  that there should be no open impeachment inquiry.  Pretty amazing as  Trump and other Republicans were highly critical of the closed sessions.

I hope the C-Span caller will tune in along with many Americans who have doubted the process.  This is not a witch hunt, hoax or fake news.  It is real and extremely serious.    I have included the biographies of both Bill Taylor and George Kent below.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia:  William Taylor

Wikipedia:  George Kent

 

 

 

2020 Election forecasting

I saw a headline that Moody had an election forecast model which shows Trump wins by a landslide.  I thought immediately that this can’t be.  Landslides happen when a very popular president runs for re-election, and wins big in certain key states.

Moody has a forecast model, which uses economic variables to predict election winners.   They produced 3 elections scenarios:  (1) Democrats win by a narrow margin (2) Republicans win by a narrow margin and (3) Republicans win by a wide margin.   The difference in these three models is the % turnout of the opposition party (Democrats) in the election.   Republicans win if this % Democratic turnout is average or below average.  Democrats win with a high Democratic turnout.  Of course, this turnout will not be known until after the election.   It is really what every election strategist will tell their candidate, that it isn’t enough to get people to agree with you,  you have to get them to vote for you.

Rule 1:  You need to fire up your base at election time or at least more than your opponent.

Moody’s work predicts every outcome but a Democratic landslide.   Moody’s considered 3 models, all using economic data, state-by-state.  I’ve included their model description in the links.   The approach passes my quick “six state reasonable check.   Regardless of the model and turnout,  Republicans win in TX 38,  GA 16, and TN 11 while Democrats win CA 55, NY 29 and IL20.  Postal  codes are followed by the electoral votes (EV)).   Moody predicts that all toss up states go to Trump when Democrat turnout is low or average.  I’m skeptical of this result.   They include all elections from 1980 to 2016.  I believe the earlier elections with Reagan victories may have skewed their results.  No candidate can win in New York, California and Texas anymore.

I’m particularly skeptical of Moody’s  wide margin win case,  with Trump beating Democrats  380 to 158 electoral votes.  That’s a solid win but not a landslide by historical standards.   Crushing victories haven’t happened for 3 decades.   The more recent landslides  were: 1972 Nixon vs.  McGovern with 520 EV,  1980 Reagan vs. Carter 489 EV and 1984 Reagan vs Mondale 525 EV.   Yet Reagan crushed Carter in 1980, he won just 50.7% of the popular vote. Nixon won by a landslide and a solid popular vote of 60.7%, yet resigned two years with the Watergate scandal.   I won’t go there- this blog already getting long!

Rule 2: You don’t have to be popular in every state, just the ones that count.

I tried to compare Moody’s work to everyone else making forecasts, but it just got too complicated.  I’m sticking with my  list of 5 solid toss up states of MI 16,  WI 10, PA  20. FL 29 and AZ 11, made on my Aug 19 blog. I also included the extra 2 contenders for the “who knows” list:  NC 15 and  NH 4,  plus 2 Republican leaners,  GA 16 and OH 18,  both with sizable EVs.    All total  these nine states have 145 electoral votes and will decide the election.

As far as the solid Republican vs Democrat vote,  I think the Democratic candidate begins more solid support.  In the link given below, the safe EV for Democrats varies from 183 to 209.  The Republicans can count on a safe 125 EV although there is certainly an upside to this.  If we look at states which went Republican since year 2000, the EV count is 179.  See link below.

Following Rules 1 and 2 are important.  I’d like to add this final rule.

Rule 3:  Election forecasts do not necessarily get better with time.    Forecasts showing one candidate to win,  can actually help the opposing candidate.

My case in point is all the polls in 2016 showed Hillary Clinton would win Florida.  But they all showed the race to be very close.   The candidate may be popular but that’s not enough – see Rule 1.   Hillary Clinton was widely predicted to win the 2016 election and this gave Trump supporters more incentive to vote.

Every time a candidate appears to be ahead in a swing state, the opposing candidate will double their efforts.  The “close the gap” strategy precludes any landslide elections.    Each candidate will target the swing states with every trick in the book.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Moody’s Model

270toWin.com

Wikipedia: Presidential elections

 

 

Impeachment Update + Climate Change Meeting + Say good-bye Rick

Thought I would add two quick items:

I continue to add links to the impeachment inquiry page as shown on the right side of this web site.  I particularly like the CNN Inquiry tracker.   There are currently 30 requests for testimony or documents and 24 subpoenas.  The joint committee, meeting behind closed doors, has heard from 16 witnesses, so the hearings in this phase, are far from being done.    I figure with 16 down and 54 to go, this marks the 30% done level.  Of course,  the requests and subpoenas could outpace the testimonies, so this % done statistic could go down.

Imagine inviting 20,000 of your friends over for Thanksgiving and given only a few weeks to prepare.  What Madrid did, in hosting the COP25 Meeting is pretty incredible.  It will be a conference filled with intense negotiations, as reducing carbon emissions calls for sacrifice, and each country has to do their share for the greater good of the planet.  Good words with no action are not helpful.    Unfortunately, the US and Brazil look to be the only two countries who see this  terrible crisis as an inconvenience to their nationalistic political agenda.  Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, seems to believe that Brazil is somehow not connected to the rest of the planet.  Yes, our house is on fire, in California and the Amazon.   Trump will become a permanent resident in Palm Beach, Florida, and may begin to take a real interest in rising sea levels.

Our Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will be leaving soon, stonewalling the House for documents and testimony related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal and really embracing the “Bob Murray” energy plan to push coal and do whatever is possible to discourage renewable energy sources.   Solar panels made in China got hit with 55% tariffs and inverters, I believe, are now taxed at 25%,.

Murray Coal got everything on their agenda list they sent to Mike Pence, (except his welfare plan for nuclear and coal)  which included rolling back of all initiatives taken during Obama’s administration, yet the Murray Coal still went bankrupt.    I hope I will never see again in my lifetime the owner of a coal company have so much sway over the Department of Energy and the EPA.   Money doesn’t talk, it swears (Bob Dylan).

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Madrid to host Cop25 climate talks in December after Chile withdraws

The Trump-Ukraine scandal: Basic accusation and overall scheme

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”  John Kennedy, 1962 Yale Commencement speech.

As more interviews are conducted and documents collected, sometimes it’s best to focus on the core allegation against Donald Trump, which is abuse of power.

Trump assume Joe Biden would be the Democratic candidate for president.  He had a plan to show Joe Biden was corrupt by using his power as Vice President to enable his son to become wealthy.  To support this claim, Trump wanted the newly elected President Zelenskiy to make a public statement that there was an ongoing investigation into the Biden’s activities in the Ukraine.   In particular, an investigation focused on Hunter Biden’s consulting work and Joe Biden’s efforts to get the prosecutor at the time in the Ukraine fired.   There is a lot more to this story which is laid out in the Wikipedia link below.

In return for the public statement made by the President, he would in turn, release the 400 million dollars in military aid approved by Congress.  President Zelenskiy would be invited to the White House.  This seems the basis of the deal.

In sum, it was a business deal,   The President had attached conditions to the military aid.  This didn’t work.  The Ukraine got its military aid without  making any public statement of an investigation.   There has been no suggestion of re-opening an investigation which ended years ago.

Trump’s election strategy was to  show the American people that Biden did not care about the US and could not be trusted.  It went far beyond this claim.   Trump wanted to tell the people he was the anti-corruption president and the Obama-Biden administration was the corrupt one.   So,  the 2020 election strategy was a lot like the 2016, except of chanting “Lock her up” it would be “Lock them up”  to include the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, as subpoenas are ignored and court cases increase, the rhetoric and innuendo from Trump’s cabinet will soar.   Mike Pompeo stated yesterday to the New York Post, “This is the administration that actually provided defensive weapons systems [to Ukraine]. I could not tell you why the Obama administration chose not to [arm Ukraine]. Was it because of Hunter Biden? I don’t know!”

Gee, I do, (Pompeo knows also by the way).  From the Washington Post:

“U.S. assistance (and the threat of withholding it) has played a role in efforts to root out corruption and promote transparency in a country that has long grappled with cronyism.  Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s notoriously corrupt president from 2010 to 2014, was convicted of treason by a Ukrainian court and sentenced in absentia in January to 13 years in prison. While in power, Yanukovych was widely seen as a pro-Russian puppet: The court ruled that he called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine and that he violently quashed pro-Western democracy protests in Kiev.” (September 25, Washington Post)

Trump’s 2020 re-election strategy is to use the authority of the President to go dirt hunting along with the Department of Justice and US Attorney Durham and possibly the missing Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud.   We will soon pass two years since Mifsud went missing.  Anything that will undermine the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Russian investigation in 2016 are fair game.  Particularly juicy are claims that the Obama administration was spying on the Trump’s campaign to help Clinton.  Please read again the JFK quote.  This is all stuff which has a tiny element of truth, covered with a whole pile of s***.    I’m stopping here but I’ve included some links on these topics for anyone who enjoys this nitty-gritty.   My spell checker wants to change nitty to nutty, and I believe it has a point.

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Ukraine_scandal

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-barr-mifsud-explainer/explainer-the-missing-maltese-academic-at-the-heart-of-washington-intrigue-idUSKBN1WO1BX

https://nypost.com/2019/10/30/pompeo-forcefully-defends-trumps-ukraine-phone-call-takes-shot-at-hunter-biden/