Tag Archives: Pundits

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 — The Alvin Greene Fraud (and More) Edition

Just How Stupid Are South Carolina Republicans?

“I’m the Democratic Party nominee. I mean, I mean, the people have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina.”
— Alvin Greene, apparently accepting the Dem nomination for US Senate from South Carolina, as quoted by CommonDreams.org.

Did the South Carolina GOP really think they could sneak this poor hapless vet through without anyone noticing? Regardless of what the Bias-Belted Insider Punditocracy says, I think the SC GOP, including cynical rump-pimple Sen. Jim DeMint, are a lot more vulnerable than the Big Media Babblelonians realize. It’s the only reason the GOP dirty tricksters would try a lame stunt like this what with the aftermath of the Mark Sanford scandal and the Republican-run state cratering economically mired in record unemployment, they’re getting desperate.

Sadly, 13-year military veteran Greene resembles an advanced PTSD case in the way he speaks and acts. He may also have a drinking or drug problem that needs servicing. Such people are easy to hornswoggle for money into buffoonish charades such as this. If the SC Republicans abused a brain-damaged vet this way, they should be boiled in BP’s Gulf oil. (They should anyway, but that’s another story.)

It shouldn’t be too hard to find out how an unemployed man who had declared himself indigent a couple of months ago came up with $10,400 to put his name on the ballot, didn’t spend a dime for anything else in his ‘campaign’ (even his t-shirt reads ‘Greene Family Reunion,’ although he wears it as if it had something to do with his senate run), and somehow won against an experienced former judge and state legislator, Vic Rawls, who actually went out and campaigned across the state. (Maybe it has to do with the fact that in SC Republicans can vote for Dem primary candidates, or the state’s easily-hacked, no-paper-trail touch screen voting equipment manufactured and installed by GOP-friendly companies.) This stinks of blatant election fraud and it would seem easy to prosecute the seamy GOP lowlife that is surely behind it.

Not only that, but SC Rep. Jim Clyburn’s Democratic primary opponent, a shit-grinning ‘bidnessman’ named Gregory Brown, supposedly spent $70K to challenge incumbent Clyburn. Curiously, more than a third of that money was paid for ‘marketing strategies’ to a firm owned by Preston Grisham, who worked as a special assistant and campaign manager for Republican Rep. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson up until November of 2009, and was flacking for two SC Republican candidates at the same time he was being paid by Brown. Move along, nothing to see here, stop connecting those dots.

Perhaps this is to be expected in a state that spawned the late Lee Atwater and his nasty and devious approach to political campaigning, but certainly Eric Holder’s DOJ can take action to charge those responsible for such obvious, and stupid, attempts at defrauding South Carolina voters these were elections for federal office, after all.

Read more:

“Clyburn’s Dem Challenger Denies He’s A ‘Plant’ — But Hired GOP Rep.’s Aide”
— Christina Bellatoni and Justin Elliot, TPMMuckraker, June 11, 2010.

“Clyburn Alleges Conspiracy To Plant Candidates In Three Dem Primaries In S.C.”
— Christina Bellatoni, TPMMuckraker, June 10, 2010.

“The Alvin Greene Interviews; a TPMtv Original Video”

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 Why the GOP Hates ACORN and the Poor Edition

Remember those ACORN-office videos that a right-wing ringer named James O’Keefe, posing as a pimp, surreptitiously taped with Hannah Giles, a young woman pretending to be his prostitute, that were a media kerfluffle a few months back?

Watching them gave me a familiar feeling it was the same feeling I had back in 2003 when glowering TV Doctor Colin Powell, performing at the U.N. Club in New York, shook a vial of white powder in front of the camera and claimed it was Saddam’s Very Own Anthrax. The feeling only increased when ‘Dr.’ Powell produced artist’s renderings of super-secret Iraqi chemical-labs-on-wheels, views that we apparently couldn’t catch photographically from sophisticated spy satellites or aerial reconnaisance overflights because well, he never actually said why.

This feeling, as close as I can come to describing it, is akin to doing Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture trick, wherein the master magician was suspended upside-down in a glass-paneled cabinet filled to the top with water — only instead of water, imagine horse manure.

The Tattler was wincing with disgust while laughing as I watched geeky white boy O’Keefe, dressed for all the world like Sonny Bono when he had Cher, babe, trying to pass himself off as Mr. Bad Ass Pimp to a collection of black women from the ‘Hood who had doubtless seen the real thing at sometime in their lives it was like casting Wally Cox as Don Vito Corleone: “Gee whillikers, we’ll make ’em an offer they won’t get mad at and refuse!”

Hannah didnt play her role much better she was dumb enough, but a little too clean and preppy but hers wasn’t the important role.

The college-educated ofay voice of O’Keefe, in the same tone as a census-taker, earnestly asking for help to avoid paying his pimp taxes and advice in running a brothel with underage girls rightfully had the ACORN women stifling grins. This was a surreal spectacle that only a teabagger could swallow whole without gagging on the absurdity.

Well, a teabagger, our vacuous illiberal media, and the growing crop of space cadets in our Congress.

It was expected that the GOP would indulge in their usual over-popped level of fake moral outrage they paid for the video, after all — and the pundits live off their crumbs, but couldn’t we have had at least one Democrat call ‘bullshit’ on this silly nonsense? No one but a halfwit would believe this skinny white boy wearing his mother’s old chinchilla coat is actually a pimp, and anybody who’s been around a city block more than once knows it. But the risible sight of O’Keefe in his cartoon pimp outfit is instructive, both as to the contempt with which the corporate Republican elite hold the public, and to their knee-shaking fear of the extension of democracy and equality to people without money.

The Republican Party’s fringe-right wingnuts, excuse me for repeating myself, have long had a bitter grudge against ACORN, the community service group that registers voters and helps poor people. Why? Because, to put it simply, the GOP hates the poor, even though they work diligently to produce more of them to reward their corporate backers with a large pool of ever-cheaper labor. This is filtered through several levels of the corporate Republican psyche:

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