Tag Archives: Predictions

Today’s Quotes: Why Predictions By Experts Are Predictably Poor

“…[A] survey of predictions by pundits has confirmed that ‘The future is impossible to predict.’ Liberals, moderates and conservatives were ‘equally ineffective’ in foreseeing global events while the most celebrated experts tended to be the worst, because they’re so sure of themselves that they deny evidence that contradicts their conclusions. ‘In other words,’ adds UC psychologist Philip Tetlock, ‘Our political discourse is driven in large part by people whose opinions are less accurate than a coin toss.’ ”
— Philip Proctor, “Weird Science,” Planet Proctor 2011-3, Feb. 28, 2011.

“Not one so-called ‘expert’ on the Middle East in the American media predicted the Tunisian uprising or Mubarak’s downfall in Egypt. It’s my belief the reason is that all of them come at any situation overseas with notions that were conceived during the Cold War and their thinking hasn’t progressed since. That, and their knowledge of the Middle East is filtered through the lens of American exceptionalism that automatically downgrades all foreigners to the status of ignorant second-class human beings. As long as this is the case, we will continue to blunder our way through that part of the world to our sorrow.”
— Richard Sherricky

“In normal circumstances, people who turn their backs on reality are soon set straight by the mockery and criticism of those around them, which makes them aware they have lost credibility. In the Third Reich there were no such correctives, especially for those who belonged to the upper stratum. On the contrary, every self-deception was multiplied as in a hall of distorting mirrors, becoming a repeatedly confirmed picture of a fantastical dream world, which no longer bore any relationship to the grim outside world. In those mirrors I could see nothing but my own face reproduced many times over.”
— Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, as quoted by Davidson Loehr in “Egyptian Irony,” CommonDreams, Feb. 11, 2011.

“Predictions of the future are never anything but projections of present automatic processes and procedures, that is, of occurrences that are likely to come to pass if men do not act and if nothing unexpected happens; every action, for better or worse, and every accident necessarily destroys the whole pattern in whose frame the prediction moves and where it finds its evidence.”
— Hannah Arendt

“You can never understand the present, nor anticipate the future, without accurately knowing the past.”
— Arris Jaye

The Tattlesnake – Sifting Through the Post-Election Ashes Edition

First off, in my previous ‘Toast and Coast’ pieces, I accurately predicted that Republican Teabaggers Linda McMahon, Carl Paladino, and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Palins, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, were all toast, along with the Billionaire Girls Club of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. G.I. Joe Miller in Alaska and Ken Buck in Colorado are still undecided at this hour. That leaves two where the Tattler’s crystal ball was cloudy – Rand “There’s Something About an Aqua Buddha Man” Paul in Kentucky and Mark “Captain Blight” Kirk in Illinois – but 6 out of 8 ain’t bad. Ron Paul’s offshoot was the biggest surprise, but probably should not have been in a Red State that elected a turtle wax replicant like the sour-lipped Mitch McConnell to the Senate.

As I watched the televised bulletins from the Planet Xenon otherwise known as the Mainstream Media carve up and autopsy What This Election Means today, of course the MSM managed to bungle and bypass any realistic diagnosis as they became trapped in the humbug of their own quackery and delusion. A blur of the Pundit Class’ finest recruits for Perdition hilariously kept sawing on some iteration of this soggy paper-maché log: “This election will show Obama he has to cooperate with the Republicans to get things done!” Really? What has he been doing so far?

The official DeeCee Democratic Party, naturally, will take the wrong lesson from this drubbing – “We need to be more conservative!” rather than, “We have to stand for our progressive principles and stop backing down!” So, have no worries, Teabaggers, the GOP, even though a majority only in the House, will get everything it wants out of the Senate, from budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and further corporate deregulation to, perhaps, some curtailing of unemployment benefits and elimination of the minimum wage, hastening our final plunge off the economic cliff.

And you won’t hear John Boehner solemnly announcing, “Impeachment is off the table!” To the contrary, the Republicans will be conducting proctological investigations of every person who ever spoke to Obama in an effort to find some scrap of sleaze with which to remove him from office, aided and abetted by Fox News and the other media gangsters on the right. (Orly Taitz, get ready for your Congressional appearance!) While the GOP likely won’t be successful at actually impeaching Obama, they will so muddy his name and reputation that they’ll get their wish – he’ll be a one-term footnote in history, ‘first African-American president,’ with no other accomplishments listed.

In the Tattler’s occasional Unscientific Barroom Polls, I ask tipplers of various ages and colors to state, in a few short words, what they think conservative Republicans believe in: “Tax cuts,” “Small government,” and “Strong defense,” were the most frequent answers. I then ask the same question regarding the Democrats. Most people stared at me agape, unable to think of a thing, although one respondent said “Weakness” and another uttered “Big government.” During the time of FDR, most Americans presented with the same query about Democrats would have said, “Saving the economy,” “Fighting for the little guy,” “Creating jobs.” Will the Dems learn that lesson? You have to stand for something.

In two years America will be sick of the Republicans, or what’s left of America anyway, and ready to toss the conservatives out in favor of Democrats who think they should be more conservative, and the dance will continue until the global economic collapse that is certain unless a miracle happens and Obama starts taking tips from FDR instead of Lincoln.

© 2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The Tattlesnake Goodbye Specters of Doom Edition

A Brief Breakdown of Today’s Most Notable Primaries

Pennsylvania Democratic Primary: One of the best political ads I’ve seen in some time is Rep. Joe Sestak’s spot featuring Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter admitting he changed parties solely to get reelected. The old lizard practically hisses when he snarls the word “reelected” and you could easily imagine his desiccated Dorian-Gray-on-the-easel face asking Eve if she wanted a bite of his apple. Mr. Magic Bullet Theory has shown himself time and again to be a coldly calculating old-line politician at heart, and now it’s caught up with him. The last polls I saw had Sestak and Specter running even, but I don’t think it will be that close the solons of the Big Media (BM) Punditsphere don’t seem to have noticed that Arlen has no real Democratic constituency in PA, unless it’s 80-year-old vipers, and, contrary to Dem Gov. Ed Rendell’s public support, the Edster is not about to exercise his state political muscle to shoehorn a creature like Specter into office again, especially after Obama and Biden politely flipped Arlen off. I call it Sestak by 10 points. (Tip to Dems: Follow Sestak’s lead and run ads showing your GOP opponent making an ass of him or herself in their own words. They work.)

Arkansas Democratic Primary: Once again the BM has managed to miss the story here, as they did in Connecticut when Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Dem primary. As in Specter’s case, what was Lieberman’s core base of support? Wealthy insurance company execs, AIPAC and Republicans. Why would the GOP back Quisling Joe? Because they knew he was a closet Republican with electable name recognition who would help with their issues and screw up the Dem majority in the Senate. But this won’t happen down in Clintonland sitting Dem. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, like Lieberman, has very narrow Dem support and none of it particularly enthusiastic, and the GOP hates her. On the other side, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has the same kind of avid progressive ground game Lamont had in CT. It may not even be close but, if it goes to a run-off, Halter will win the day: He’s got the eager troops; Blanche has the establishment Dem coffee klatch. Halter by 5 points.

Kentucky Republican Primary: Let’s keep it short and sweet: A Libertarian who believes in legalizing drugs and ending our wars overseas, Rep. Ron Paul’s son Rand Paul, is about to beat the pants off of the official GOP-endorsed candidate, Trey Grayson. This election may be a heads-up ‘game changer’ with a long shadow GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell’s KY machine is dead and a Red State is heaving toward purplish Libertarianism rather than Mitch’s grisly Bush Neoconnery. The bonus is that the always-wrong and unfailingly unpopular (except to the BM Punditocracy) Dick Cheney has wholeheartedly endorsed Grayson, the sure kiss of death. Paul by at least 10 points and probably much more.

Update, May 19, 2010: Here’s how I did:

Pennsylvania: Sestak beat Specter, but I didn’t cover the spread Sestak won by only 9 points instead of 10.

Arkansas: Headed for a run-off with Halter and Lincoln neck-and-neck. I’ll stick with Halter by 5 points in the run-off.

Kentucky: Rand Paul walloped Trey Grayson by more than 20 points. Although this election is being framed by the BM Punditburo as a victory for the Tea Partiers, do they mean the original Ron Paul Libertarian tea partiers or the astroturf Dick Armey-Glenn Beck corporate Teabaggers? Methinks it’s the latter, and the BM has it wrong again.

2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The Tattlesnake Random Notes on Bush’s Exit, Obama’s Entrance, and the Dying of the Right Edition

Part the One

— Wow. Obama’s been president for three days and already he’s signed Executive Orders closing Gitmo; banning torture; suspending those odious ‘military tribunal’ trials; ending revolving-door lobbying; preventing lobbyists from occupying senior positions in agencies they once lobbied; requiring ethics courses for all of his staff (and he took the course himself); limiting the use of secrecy classification, even imposing Justice Department oversight on his ability to classify documents secret; and expanded government transparency, directing his administration to err on the side of Freedom of Information Act requests rather than the other way around. He also froze the pay of senior White House staff and informed them that as long as he’s president, none of them will quit and then turn around and lobby their friends still in his government, reversing years of Bush/Cheney corruption, sleaze, secrecy and illegality.

What’s more, he did all of this while acting like a grown-up, speaking in full, clear, grammatical sentences, and taking his job seriously. It will be difficult, but pleasant, to adjust to a president who doesn’t have a smirk perpetually playing about his mouth, doesn’t need someone else to run his brain, and can think on his feet. We’ve gone from Barney Fife to Denzel Washington, and the change is striking. I’ll be criticizing Obama in the future I’m sure, but for now all I can say is: Wow. I think he’s one of those rare politicians who really meant what he said when he was campaigning.

— The Dying of the Right 1: While the vast majority of America is celebrating our new competent president, the peevish drones over at Fox News, led by Chris “My Dad’s the Journalist!” Wallace, have been foaming at the mouth over whether Obama’s really president, since Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts bumbled the reading of the oath on January 20th and Obama followed him. This is the largest load of unprocessed fertilizer since the questioning of Obama’s birth certificate. (Hint to all the ‘reporters’ at Fox: As well as the certificate itself, long available online and sanctioned as genuine by fact-checking organizations, there was also a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper welcoming Barack H. Obama Jr. into the world in 1961.) In fact, the law says that, as the victor in the last election, Obama was officially president at Noon last Tuesday, whether he was sworn in or not, and documents were signed after the inaugural ceremony signifying that official transfer of power. Just to head off frivolous lawsuits from tinfoil-hat pinheads, Obama had Roberts drop by the White House the next day and redo the swearing in. Incredibly, some of the bloviating scoundrels claimed this was a oooohhhh — ‘secret ceremony’! Horse pucky. The press was invited in, still photos were taken and an audio track was recorded it was as secret as an American Idol audition. Only the TV cameras weren’t involved, and that was likely because Obama wanted this formality completed quickly and didn’t want to get bogged down with silly questions from the Usual Media Meatheads like Fox News. (“Mr. President, will you now come clean about your place of birth? Weren’t you really born in Kenya or Cuba or Mexico? Isn’t it true that Patrice Lumumba is your real father and Squeaky Fromme is your real mother?” )

— The Dying of the Right 2: Rush “Rhymes with Limbo” Limbaugh, who once went apoplectic criticizing liberals as ‘unpatriotic America-haters’ because he had convinced himself they wanted the Little King to fail in Iraq, has now joined the ranks of unpatriotic America-haters, according to his lights. On his radio show the other day, he confessed openly, “I hope Obama fails.” Aside from the fact that about 83 percent of the public doesn’t agree with him, even some the brain-dead rubes who still give any credence to the great blubbery gasbag, suffering under the GOP economy and dying in the senseless Republican wars Rushbo helped peddle, had to be appalled by this statement. He wants the country to go down the drain to what make the era of conservative Republicans look good? That’s some patriot; George Washington would be proud. Prediction: This is the sort of nasty, psychotic hypocrisy that is losing ratings for the neocon hustlers of the broadcast media and it’s going to result in Limbo being dropped from the airwaves across the country. In eight years, Rush will have lost his syndication deal and will end his miserable existence shouting through a tin can at a little 1000-watt daytimer in North Peckerwood, Alabama. (“Hey, Limbaugh, y’all forgot to take out the trash from the studio last night!” “I’ll get it, boss, I’ll get it!” “Yeah, and don’t forget to mop them washrooms extra good while you’re at it.” )

— Laugh-A-Bullroar: If you were watching the inaugural ceremonies on CNN or MSNBC, did you notice they cut the mics picking up the crowd sounds when Bush, Cheney and the Republicans were introduced? And the band was cranked up extra loud to try and drown out the tidal wave of booing. Earlier in the day, even addle-pated ‘Morning’ Joe Scarborough remarked on the two to three million Obama fans flooding into Washington that the GOP had better pay attention to this political shift or risk being the minority party far into the future. Forget Dimmy and Dick, they’re gone, but I wonder if those Congressional Republicans got the point? (Some of them nearly lost their safe seats last election.)

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