Stay away from conspiracy theories

[Tuesday afternoon I will be in London on a panel at the NIESR, with Roger Farmer.]

My views are much more consistent than people assume.  I now have almost the exact same view of Trump, and Trump voters, as I had 6 months ago. Commenters often think they spot inconsistencies, because they read more into a post than is actually there. (No, I never said Trump = Hitler).

One area where I am especially consistent is in my skepticism of conspiracy theories, concocted by both the left and the right. I always thought that right wing conspiracy theories of Obama being born in Kenya, or secretly being a Muslim, were utter nonsense (in the latter case I’d add that it wouldn’t matter if he were a secret Muslim.)  I don’t believe that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy (as Trump claims–or used to claim).  Nor do I believe any of Trump’s other nutty conspiracy theories. BTW, a president with his finger on the nuclear trigger who believes bizarre conspiracy theories?  What could go wrong?

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-55-55-pm

I am also skeptical of talk of widespread cheating in elections, which the right uses to justify tighter voting regulations (and which tend to reduce minority turnout.)

Unfortunately, now you have Paul Krugman engaging in the same sort of conspiracy theorizing as he used to mock:

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-32-52-pmAnd this:

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-33-21-pm

To his credit, he doesn’t say the conspiracy theories are necessarily true, but he gives them far more credence than they deserve.

Of course this stuff has a long history in American politics.  When I was young, people frequently claimed that Nixon lost in 1960 because Mayor Daley delivered lots of phony votes to Kennedy.  This is simply a lie. Not that there wasn’t cheating in Chicago, but rather the claim that this is why Nixon lost.  He would have lost the election even if he had carried Illinois.

Conspiracy theories almost always turn out to be false.  When conspiracies do occur (the 1972 break in at the Watergate Hotel, the 1991 Russian coup attempt, the recent Turkish coup attempt) they tend to be clumsy and ineffective.  All three ended up hurting the plotters.  It would be very foolish for one political party to try to steal a national election.  The conspiracy would have to involve lots of people, and when that occurs the secret almost always leaks out.  It would end up hurting the party that attempted to steal the election far more than the other party.

HT:  Caroline Baum


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94 Responses to “Stay away from conspiracy theories”

  1. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    25. November 2016 at 08:30

    Still, something is just a little creepy about votes tallied by computers, no paper ballot back-ups.

    Given the Electoral College, one would just need to goose results in few states…

    And for the record, Scott Sumner never said Trump=Schicklgruber.

  2. Gravatar of Bob Murphy Bob Murphy
    25. November 2016 at 08:43

    I really hope nobody thinks this post is saying Trump = General Ripper. I mean, Ripper drinks grain alcohol, and Trump doesn’t drink. Stop reading stuff that Scott isn’t saying, folks!!

  3. Gravatar of entirelyuseless entirelyuseless
    25. November 2016 at 08:44

    While I would normally assume a conspiracy theory is false, I don’t understand where the “utter nonsense” is supposed to come from.

    Take for example “Obama being born in Kenya.” Is that utter nonsense because there is documentary proof that he was not, or was the whole idea nonsense from the beginning, before investigation? If it because of documentary proof, then the idea is not nonsense, but requires investigation on the part of the people confirming the documentary proof.

    So take the supposition that it was nonsense from the beginning. Plenty of people are born in Kenya. So why is it so nonsensical if Obama was?

    Again setting aside documentary evidence, the only reason to think it nonsense is that he ran for President, and being born in Kenya would legally invalidate his Presidency. But I don’t see how that makes the idea nonsense at all. Suppose that Obama had been born in Kenya, but that no one, including Obama, remembered this fact and noticed that it would legally prevent his Presidency until he was already running for President, and it was obvious that there was a good chance that he would be elected?

    What are the odds, according to you, that in this scenario Obama and his team would have made a conspiracy to cover up the fact that he was born in Kenya? For your utter nonsense thesis to be true, these odds have to be approximately zero. And that, I say, is itself utter nonsense.

    (Again, I do not think he was born in Kenya. I just do not think the idea is utter nonsense.)

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    25. November 2016 at 09:02

    Bob, Sterling Hayden was a far better actor than Trump will ever be.

    Entirelyuseless,

    The question was worth asking at the very beginning, but not once he’d already been elected President. Trump pursued the question when it was no longer in doubt.

  5. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    25. November 2016 at 09:59

    While some liberals like Paul Krugman, whose writing has been on a slow decline since partisanship started eating his brain in the early 2000s have suggested conspiracies, I’m happy most liberals aren’t blaming Comey more. Sure, his announcement about finding more Clinton emails 11 days before the election was ill-advised, but my impression is that he’s an honorable man who made a mistake. Besides, his July press conference presumably helped Clinton, so it was roughly a wash. That press conference was also a mistake. The FBI should go back to not commenting about ongoing investigations.

  6. Gravatar of bill bill
    25. November 2016 at 10:04

    Is Krugman saying that the potential hacking is terrifying?
    Or that it’s terrifying that some “experts” are urging a challenge to the results?

    Either is kind of ironic. I recall Trump getting attacked for saying he’d only accept the results if they were legit.

  7. Gravatar of AL AL
    25. November 2016 at 10:20

    We are likely entering a political era in which it is going to be extremely difficult to tell fact from fiction.

    Not just because of Fake News, but because that norms-shattering thingy appears to be on an exponential path

  8. Gravatar of Market Fiscalist Market Fiscalist
    25. November 2016 at 11:09

    ‘To his credit, he doesn’t say the conspiracy theories are necessarily true, but he gives them far more credence than they deserve.’

    I don’t think this is to his credit. I have noticed it is his consistent MO to float stuff like this (including nasty swipes against his fellow economists) but in such a way that he can deny ever endorsing such views later.

  9. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    25. November 2016 at 11:45

    Never blame on conspiracy what can be explained by error or incompetence is a good analytical principle. Rather Occam’s Razor too, as error or incompetence is almost always by far the simpler explanation than the control-over-so-many-moving-parts required for conspiracy.

  10. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. November 2016 at 12:33

    Let’s all admit it: Paul Krugman is not a member of the reality-based community. He is a scam artist. If something he writes today is true, it can only be explained as a coincidence. He has the same attitude to truth as Donald Trump.

    Just look at this:

    https://goo.gl/YqZlBj

    Scott, probably everything Comey did hurt Clinton.

  11. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. November 2016 at 12:36

    The good thing about Paul Krugman’s lack of regard for truth: if the Dems keep this up, they will be totally unable to take back the House in 2018, even if the GOP doesn’t deserve to keep it.

  12. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. November 2016 at 12:40

    “He would have lost the election even if he had carried Illinois.”

    -Nixon needed Illinois and 24 more electoral votes to win. Those 24 electoral votes could have been satisfied by either Texas or New Jersey+Missouri.

  13. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    25. November 2016 at 12:51

    Is it a conspiracy that the national media was so incurious about how Barack Obama governed, or failed to do so? Vanity Fair published an expose of the President’s underwhelming leadership but such criticism was overwhelmed by the fake news of Obama’s political perfection.

    Steve Sailer noticed the Vanity Fair piece and added his commentary: http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/11/i-told-you-so.html?m=1

    GW Bush failed because he valued loyalty over competence. There was no conspiracy, just tremendous latitude for incompetence. Likewise, the Obama presidency will be remembered for its symbolism but not for accomplishment because the absent leadership of the President resulted in mostly half-baked solutions that will be overhauled or replaced.

  14. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    25. November 2016 at 13:06

    @Dan W: W failed, Obama failed Who was the last president to not have failed in your opinion?

  15. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    25. November 2016 at 13:55

    Bill Clinton governed public policy exceptionally well. His lack of self discipline in personal matters greatly diminished his presidency. Then there is Reagan who matched policy to his rhetoric and succeeded triumphantly – the wall did come diwn and Communism was defeated.

    Obama was capable of exceptional rhetoric but he was incapable at implementing the policy to match it. Of course a big problem is Obama’s global view sounded much better in abstract. It is nice to believe in global peace but world events kept intruding on the dream. Confidence one’s president will keep one safe matters more than his faith people of different cultures and religions can all get along. It also didn’t help Obama that all too often he displayed contempt for those different than him, suggesting even more that his words were empty rhetoric.

  16. Gravatar of tobias3 tobias3
    25. November 2016 at 14:48

    I am wondering if he doesn’t do that on purpose. He clearly is a political figure with a lot of influence at this point and if he puts forward rational arguments he’ll just preach to the choir which doesn’t help in this situation. The republicans just won with conspiracy theories… maybe the more rational side needs to become more “privately rational” and dump down the arguments to the ones with the most political weight (Trump is Putin’s puppet instead of simply an idiot…) and present things less nuanced.

    This isn’t my opinion, but then I don’t have as much information and as much of an inside view as he has.

  17. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    25. November 2016 at 15:12

    Scott –

    I’m skeptical of conspiracy theories as well. Most conspiracy theorists are nuts, creating elaborate fantasies with no evidence, insisting that lack of evidence only proves how good the conspirators are.

    But I think we should distinguish between the grand conspiracy theories of a secret cabal ruling the world, and the small conspiracies. It’s very different to say that generations of people can keep secrets, than it is to say “Electronic voting machines seem to report 7% less votes for Clinton than paper ones. That seems strange. Let’s take a look and make sure some hacker didn’t mess with this.”

    It’s almost certainly nothing, maybe the places with electronic voting machines are wealthier and more Republican. Or maybe more Democrats at those polling places requested paper ballots. Probably it was some other logical explanation. It doesn’t hurt to take a look.

  18. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    25. November 2016 at 15:33

    Lorenzo,

    I agree compleletly about conspiracy theories.

  19. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    25. November 2016 at 15:49

    “My views are much more consistent than people assume.  I now have almost the exact same view of Trump, and Trump voters, as I had 6 months ago. Commenters often think they spot inconsistencies, because they read more into a post than is actually there. (No, I never said Trump = Hitler).”

    Sorry, but it is too late. The numerous examples of you juxtaposing and suggesting innuendo of relating Trump with Hitler is there for everyone to see.

    It won’t do to hide behind the excuse “I was only kidding”. The historical blog posts I cited in the previous blogpost were not “read into too much”. They were not “misunderstood”. They were not “unair”. The words you used and the ideologies you referred to when you described Trump over the months, the constant indirect comparisons and mentions of Hitler have, whether you liked it or not, revealed who you think of when you think of Trump, or, at the very least, what you WANT your readers to think of when they think of Trump, which considering your past admission of being piurposefully deceitful to your readers, the “noble lies” or whatever else you called it, it would not be improbable at all for the whole Trump=Hitler innuendos, “jokes”, to be intended as both dog whistles and virtue signaling to your peers, and impressing the comparison on your readers, so that on the one hand you can accomplish a goal that more honest and upfront bloggers would have admitted to be their intention, and on the other hand hope to deflect identifications of what you are in fact doing.

    You seriously have no clue if you believe your readers are as stupid as you want to imagine them to be so as to maintain a fake image of yourself.

    Perhaps you lack the intellectual wherewithal to make convincing arguments to show how what Trump intends to do, would be economically and socially destructive? Perhaps, maybe, you know at some level that to refute Trump on intellectual grounds, would be an act of self-immolation, which is so painful to think about that THAT is a big reason why your mind keeps transitioning, “pivoting”, to Hitler? That there is this reaction formation going on whereby you identify the absolute worst in Trump, as a means to psychologically distance yourself from him so as to go on about your days believing you’re nothing like him?

    The way you speak of Asians, the way you believe you’re thinking “positively”, is at root as racist as Trump questioning a Mexican (read: not Hispanic) judge’s impartiality about a case of Mexican litigants against an American institution, given that the judge is a member of “La Raza” which literally translates to “The Race”?

    The way you attack “Nationalism”, is as bigoted and relativistic as Trump’s championing of it. Utilitarianism? Humanism? Why does your use of these always include special interest groups and excludes everyone else? Of course, you have never explicitly defined which group under which we are to be duty-bound and alleging towards, as a replacement to pure individualism. Unintentionally of course, the practical effect is always some variant of fuzzy nationalism or for lack of a better term fuzzy “continentism”. Most of the time it is unintentionally set at the coercive, aggression established boundaries of fiat money hegemonies. For it is these “nations” that you want the individual to be sacrificed under. In whatever silly name that serves the day. Nation states ruffle Cosmo feathers because dollars and yuan are worldwide. How dare anyone challenge the fiat money boundary criminal oligarchies?

    Watch Sumner defend nationalism when the prospect of China and India in a worldwide democratic state having the population weight to vote against whatever SJW policy that is in vogue that out of touch virtue signallers talk amongst themselves with.

  20. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    25. November 2016 at 16:41

    Sumner is ignorant of statistics. Even a small error in counting votes could swing the election to Clinton in any recount. In fact, a recount of the entire state of Florida (rather than the disputed Broward county) sponsored by a newspaper after the 2000 elections found that Gore in fact won the state. It’s surprising the major political parties concede defeat so readily, I guess they think “the computer is never wrong” (typical tyro thinking about PCs).

  21. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    25. November 2016 at 17:10

    Conspiring, taken literally, is what politicians do normally. They deceive and manipulate to win elections and contests for power. A “conspiracy theory” generally means a nutty, dumb, unfounded idea, not just the mere accusation of normal every day conspiring.

    From dictionary.com, conspire’s #1 definition: “to agree together, especially secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal”. Any propaganda or deception coordinated by multiple people is conspiracy.

    Much of modern politics is conspiracy. Politicians normally conspire to make their candidates and policies look good and the opposition look bad. Politicians aren’t trained to be honest and transparent, quite the opposite, they are trained to win elections and various competitions for power and leverage. Conspiracy is a regular part of that.

    The Romneycare/Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage”. This is quite literally the definition of conspiracy.

    From Forbes:

    “Gruber made an argument that many of Obamacare’s critics have long made, including me. It’s that the law’s complex system of insurance regulation is a way of concealing from voters what Obamacare really is: a huge redistribution of wealth from the young and healthy to the old and unhealthy. In the video, Gruber points out that if Democrats had been honest about these facts, and that the law’s individual mandate is in effect a major tax hike, Obamacare would never have passed Congress.”

    That is textbook conspiracy.

    Challenging President Obama’s birth location was dumb. Obama was ideologically foreign, not foreign in physical birth location.

  22. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. November 2016 at 19:04

    sponsored by a newspaper after the 2000 elections found that Gore in fact won the state.

    Only in your imagination, Ray. Press recounts could not contrive a pathway to awarding the state to Gore.

  23. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. November 2016 at 19:05

    Sorry, but it is too late. The numerous examples of you juxtaposing and suggesting innuendo of relating Trump with Hitler is there for everyone to see.

    Yeah, that was pretty audacious of the moderator.

  24. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. November 2016 at 19:23

    Obama was ideologically foreign, not foreign in physical birth location.

    Not in the least. BO is a familiar metropolitan bourgeois type in this country, and adds hardly a touch of individuality to anything he advocates (other than an absence of conscience and an abundance of verbiage). He’d fit right in as the deputy dean of students just about anyplace. The contrived harassment of cultural minorities (Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor) and the repetitive attempts to stick the bill for slum crime with rural gun owners are signature features.

    There is one respect in which he’s more like casino bankers than student affairs apparatchiks: conspicuous consumption. As press reports have it, he and Mooch will soon be the proud occupiers of three homes (two purchased via straw buyers). Their primary residence will have 8,200 sq. feet to house three adults, one youth, and another youth in seasonal residence (with Secret Service agents on rotation). They’re renting; the owner is a professional flack who bought the place for $5.3 million. That a man who makes his living in this manner can afford that is an indicator of the stupidity of the age.

  25. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    26. November 2016 at 06:29

    Ironic, that picture of Sterling Hayden as the anti-Communist General in Strangelove, as the picture made a joke out of a TRUE CONSPIRACY in history. One that reached into both MI 5 and MI 6, the Queen’s own family and the economics professoriat (Pigou) in England.

    In America, at Treasury (White, Adler, Silvermaster et al), State (Hiss, Service, Paton-Davies, et al), the CIA, at least one congressman, Hollywood (numerous actors, including the one in the picture, screenwriters and producers), writers of stature; Hemingway, Dorothy Parker.

    All devoted to advancing the interests of the worst tyranny the world has ever seen.

  26. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    26. November 2016 at 07:08

    @Art Deco – “Only in your imagination, Ray. Press recounts could not contrive a pathway to awarding the state to Gore.” – nobody is disputing that. I’m talking about the consortium of FL newspapers that paid for a recount in 2001 or so and found in fact Gore won more popular votes than Bush in FL. Thus a recount today might give Clinton certain states initially won by Trump. Computers are not infallible. I even put money where my mouth is and donated to the Jill Stein website for a recount.

  27. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    26. November 2016 at 08:24

    On second read, this article is right for bashing Paul Krugman for feeding nutty unfounded rumors of election hacking and fraud. Kevin Williamson wrote the same thing.

    @Art, you are current that Obama’s ideology isn’t unique, it is common in the US, but it definitely felt foreign, hostile, and unexpected to many Americans including Donald Trump.

  28. Gravatar of JJ JJ
    26. November 2016 at 08:27

    Scott,

    Not all conspiracy theories are bullshit. You would have laughed at anyone a decade ago who said that Interest Rates were fixed by the banks. After the LIBOR fixing scandal came out, those allegations turned out to be true. Major banks were defrauding trillions of dollars with the interest rate fixing.

  29. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    26. November 2016 at 11:17

    Well, Trump has just bested Obama in responding to Castro’s death.

    ——————Obamaquote————–
    At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.

    For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

    Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
    ————-endObamaquote—————-

    Trump’s Reaganesque statement being;

    ———–quote———
    “The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in a statement issued hours after Castro’s death. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

    Trump, who has pledged to roll back the Obama administration’s diplomatic opening to Cuba, said the nation remains “a totalitarian island,” but he hopes that Castro’s passing will mark “a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”
    ————-endquote———-

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    26. November 2016 at 11:43

    AL, If Trump says it, we can pretty much assume it’s fiction.

    Harding, That’s nice, but he didn’t win those other states.

    JJ, You would have been laughed at if you claimed they earned trillions, and still would be today.

    Patrick, Trump’s statement is more honest, but Obama’s policy is 10 times better. The embargo helped keep Castro in power all this time. He could (wrongly) blame the US for his failures. BTW, I first heard the news from you, right now. Let’s hope Cuba opens up.

  31. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    26. November 2016 at 13:29

    I’m talking about the consortium of FL newspapers that paid for a recount in 2001 or so and found in fact Gore won more popular votes than Bush in FL.

    You’ve got it completely backwards, Ray.

  32. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    26. November 2016 at 13:32

    The embargo helped keep Castro in power all this time.

    Rubbish.

  33. Gravatar of Don Don
    26. November 2016 at 15:10

    Krugman’s tirade was amazingly stupid. What economist would see a voting differential between counties and assume voting machines are rigged rather than simple demographics? He must think that everything between NYC and LA is homogeneous hillbilly land. Embarrassing for the profession.

  34. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    26. November 2016 at 16:30

    this article is right for bashing Paul Krugman for feeding nutty unfounded rumors of election hacking

    True, how bizarre of PK. Who will believe hacking turned the election? The Soviets, er, Russians have always been terrible at tech.

    If PK wanted to taken seriously he should have said Putin paid Comey to ‘reopen the investigation’ as he did, just exactly when it mattered. Much more plausible, and KGB-ish.

    (On a related note, perhaps some intrepid reporter should keep an eye open into the future to keep a tally of the free rounds of golf Comey gets on Trump courses and the comps he gets at whatever Trump casinos still remain.)

  35. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    26. November 2016 at 17:53


    The embargo helped keep Castro in power all this time.

    Is there any serious proof of this? It’s not sincere to imply something like this without any proof.

    I assume you could look at other dictatorships that had limited trade with the free world in the past and then switched to more open trade. China comes to my mind. I assume the communist regime of China will lose its power any day now?

    Another example: Turkey got more and more open trade rights over the years, I always thought that approximately during this time Erdogan turned his country more and more into a dictatorship.

    Castro endured many crises, especially the many economic ones. The Cubans did not get rid of Castro during all those crises, it’s hard to see why they would have gotten rid of him in times of a more booming economy after a lifted embargo.

  36. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    26. November 2016 at 20:01

    ‘Obama’s policy is 10 times better.’

    What exactly has Obama accomplished?

  37. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    26. November 2016 at 20:51

    I wonder how much the Putin intervention idea could be counted as a conspiracy theory, at least as far as just being behind the DNC hack is concern. We know someone hacked it, as it’s how we got the information. We know that something like this is only published because someone wants it to. The one leap is to wonder if it was a Russia financed hack, and it seems like a very likely candidate: The head of the NSA thinks so.

    Foreign countries trying to affect who is in office, by any means, is not something new. We are pretty sure the US did that in a variety of occasions to others. It’s not really any more outlandish than what the US tried to do to Castro over the years, with no success.

    Now, evaluating how much the release of the emails, or the actions of Comey influenced the election is another story. I for one don’t think the influence of the Comey story was that big, based on some other data sources that made it look like the rust belt was heading in a republican direction weeks before Comey made his unconventional comments.

    Now, if you want a conspiracy, there’s this whole recount debacle, which sounds like a real conspiracy theory, as the number of people that would have to be part of an operation like that is just too big. But that’s complex election fraud. I’d not consider this absolutely impossible, but I’d bet a lot of money against the conspiracy being true.

  38. Gravatar of Brent Buckner Brent Buckner
    27. November 2016 at 03:58

    @Ray Lopez

    You wrote: “I’m talking about the consortium of FL newspapers that paid for a recount in 2001 or so and found in fact Gore won more popular votes than Bush.”

    c.f. http://www.factcheck.org/2008/01/the-florida-recount-of-2000/

    The closest they came to your position is that “the study also found that Gore probably would have won, by a range of 42 to 171 votes out of 6 million cast, had there been a broad recount of all disputed ballots statewide.” but “Nobody can say for sure who might have won. A full, official recount of all votes statewide could have gone either way”

  39. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    27. November 2016 at 04:12

    Of course, if there were a lot of successful conspiracies (or perfect murders) out there, then you wouldn’t exactly know about them, would you…

  40. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    27. November 2016 at 05:38

    I’m sure there’s fraud in some US elections. Voter registration in the US and in the UK is totally outdated. Both countries might be the only advanced nations which have such old and odd systems that are so susceptible to fraud. All other advanced countries I know got systems that are much safer.

    But I think systematic fraud is stilly pretty hard to do in the US, especially in three different states at once.

  41. Gravatar of H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover) H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover)
    27. November 2016 at 07:01

    I can’t understand what this face means

    http://www.themoneyillusion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Screen-Shot-2016-11-24-at-10.55.55-PM.png

  42. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    27. November 2016 at 07:54

    I’m sure there’s fraud in some US elections. Voter registration in the US and in the UK is totally outdated. Both countries might be the only advanced nations which have such old and odd systems that are so susceptible to fraud. All other advanced countries I know got systems that are much safer.

    Local officials have made the voting system worse in the last generation by (1) witless and pointless application of information technology, (2) failing to purge the lists periodically, and (3) promiscuous and pointless use of postal balloting.

    It used to be in New York that you’d purge anyone who hadn’t voted in four years and send them a notification card that they had to re-register. In my last bout of canvassing (after an 11 year hiatus), I was handed a printout (which had been done on a pre-1979 dot matrix printer, btw) and reading through it I see the name of a local faculty member who had lived in town for only two years. She’d left four years earlier. She probably voted from that address once.

    Conjoined to lists with masses of dead entries, widespread use of postal balloting is begging for fraud.

  43. Gravatar of Scott Everett Zorn Scott Everett Zorn
    27. November 2016 at 09:08

    Corruption is why we win.

  44. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. November 2016 at 10:19

    Patrick, It’s easier to travel to Cuba than it used to be.

    In any case, no one should take anything Trump says about Castro seriously. We know what he thinks of Putin, so it’s naive to think Trump doesn’t like dictators just because they have a bad human rights record. Trump said that to please conservatives.

    Saturos, Yes, but assuming success is normally distributed, you’d eventually hear about certain successful ones, a few decades later.

    On the other hand, you are probably just joking, so never mind. :)

  45. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    27. November 2016 at 11:02

    ‘Patrick, It’s easier to travel to Cuba than it used to be.’

    Who wants to go there. Anyway, that mostly benefits Raul Castro and the Cuban military…they control tourism. I’m interested in the benefits to ordinary Cubans. Or ordinary Venezuelans whose country is currently under the thumb of Cuban security (i.e. secret police).

  46. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    27. November 2016 at 11:51

    Speaking of Cuba’s ally;

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/11/27/venezuelas-currency-is-so-devalued-it-no-longer-fits-in-ordinary-wallets/

    ————–quote—————
    It’s not so easy to find someone who still uses a wallet in Venezuela, where inflation is expected to reach 720 percent this year and the biggest bill — 100 bolivars — is worth about 5 U.S. cents on the black market.

    The currency has dropped dramatically in value as Venezuela’s oil-based economy has cratered and the government has frantically printed more money. Prices, meanwhile, are soaring. So Venezuelans must handle huge volumes of cash — so much that the bills don’t always fit in a standard wallet — with many people packing wads of currency in handbags, money belts or backpacks.
    ————endquote———–

    Next, Weimar Wheelbarrows?

  47. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    27. November 2016 at 12:11

    @Art Deco- my friend, you make it so easy for me to win the argument… you’re almost as easy as Sumner, who thinks Fisher Black did not believe in money neutrality. Revisionist history at its finest.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2008/01/the-florida-recount-of-2000/ (“On the other hand, the study also found that Gore probably would have won, by a range of 42 to 171 votes out of 6 million cast, had there been a broad recount of all disputed ballots statewide. However, Gore never asked for such a recount.”)

  48. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    27. November 2016 at 14:55

    @ssumner: Actually Trump likes Putin because he’s a ‘winner’. Not so sure he would have the same admiration for Castro, who’s more of a ‘loser’ even if he’s been a ‘successful’ dictator.

  49. Gravatar of Banned Norse Warrior Banned Norse Warrior
    27. November 2016 at 15:34

    Ray: 0
    Art Deco: 1

    http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/04/04/florida.recount.01/index.html?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS

    During the last election, politifact gave me a bad taste in the mouth: in awarding pinochios to Trump, they confused 2 rhetorical devices, lies and hyperbole. There was plenty of Trump lies, there was no need to count his hyperbole.

  50. Gravatar of Engineer Engineer
    27. November 2016 at 16:04

    There is a far cry from Russians (and probably others) being able to guess at Hillary’s password (probably just used the forgot password route), and modifying the US election. Sounds like a Green Party publicity stunt. Krugman is either in denial or has decided the conspiracies sell subscriptions. Krugman cashed in any intellectual reputation long ago for a bigger paycheck.

  51. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    27. November 2016 at 16:45

    Let’s see how Trump deals with Putin.

    Did Sumner attack Obama when he said that he wanted to “reset” America’s relationship with Russia in 2009 implying that Dubbya was way too hard on Putin? Did Sumner attack Obama and the media when they mocked Romney in 2012 for saying that they should worry about Putin and that Putin’s Russia is still America’s “number one geopolitical foe”? I don’t think so. He seems to be biased in this case.

    Trump’s statements about Putin are mixed, like most of his statements about policy. I’m going to judge him about Putin but only when I see actions and results. But one thing seems sure: It will be hard for Trump to invite and soft pedal Putin more than Obama did.

  52. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    27. November 2016 at 18:13

    Now Trump says the election results are off by millions… Our next president says he thinks the results were rigged… By his postion alone he makes an argument that should not be ignored… This needs to be clearled up… the intergtiy of the office of the presidency demands it…

    Face it…trump will turn the presidency of the united states into a reality TV show…

    Donald Trump is now questioning the legitimacy of the election he won

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/27/13758538/donald-trump-vote-illegally-tweet

  53. Gravatar of Brent Buckner Brent Buckner
    28. November 2016 at 02:39

    @Banned Norse Warrior

    Note that your CNN article’s study did not refer to a broad recount, only a recount of undercounted ballots. The study reported in the factcheck.org article included consideration of overcounted ballots.

    As to your CNN article’s consideration of the popular vote in Florida note that “The newspapers’ review also discovered that canvassing boards in Palm Beach and Broward counties threw out hundreds of ballots that had marks that were no different from ballots deemed to be valid. The papers concluded that Gore would be in the White House today if those ballots had been counted.”

  54. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    28. November 2016 at 05:41

    @Brent Buckner – thanks I was just about to say the same thing to Banned Norse Warrior based on his link.

    It’s amazing how close the 2000 FL race was, coming down to three votes difference, in favor of Gore, out of the millions cast. One vote (or three votes*) does make a difference (in theory, not in practice). That’s one reason I’m counting on a re-count.

    * “Ironically, a tougher standard of counting only cleanly punched ballots advocated by many Republicans would have resulted in a Gore lead of just three votes, the newspaper reported. “

  55. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    28. November 2016 at 06:09

    OT – Read this story and comment on what is significant, hint: money neutrality is the issue. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38128236 (Zimbabwe’s new bills)

    Dumb as this group is, I doubt a single person gets it (I got it btw, showing I have a flexible, open mind). It reminds me of a history teacher in the UK who once wrote that throughout the semester he kept saying, ‘if there’s one thing I want to have you remember in this class, it’s the Battle of Hastings and the date 1066’. So, when he posted a question on the final exam “What is the one thing you remember in this class involving a date and a battle?”, only half the class wrote 1066 or Hastings…

  56. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    28. November 2016 at 08:33

    OT – wise counsel from Arnold Kling, “Memoirs of a Would-Be Macroeconomist” –

    “3.  Stay away from the following: “microfoundations of macro;”  regression analysis of time series data;  monetary theory.  At best, each of these topics is a “well-squeezed orange,” to use a Kindleberger expression.  At worst, they are a waste of mental energy.

    4.  The “macro wars” also are a waste of mental energy, at least if you choose sides.  If I had been a less partisan Keynesian when I was in graduate school at MIT, I might have appreciated Fischer Black’s ideas sooner than I did.  Rather than believe that there is a right side and a wrong side, it is better to consider that there may be merit in a number of points of view.  I find myself mixing very disparate ideas, such as Fischer Black’s views on inflation with Hyman Minsky’s views on financial cycles.

    Among macroeconomists, I would say that Ben Bernanke, Ken Rogoff, and Larry Summers have had interesting lives.  All three have spent time in Washington in high-level policy positions.  They did not put most of their energy into any of the “poison” topics, and as a result I think that their academic work will have a longer shelf life than that of most macroeconomists of my generation.

    I am happy with the choices that I made that cut short my career as a would-be macroeconomist.  I am particularly happy that I did not stick with macroeconomics, given that I believe that the leading academics in macro took their profession down what seems to me to be a narrow road ending in a cul de sac.”

    Cul de sac, waste of mental energy, Keynesian / Monetarist macro as “poison” describe Scott. Appreciating Fischer Black, describes Ray. Wise words from a great economist.

  57. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    28. November 2016 at 12:26

    Vive la France;

    http://www.france24.com/en/20161128-fillon-conservative-voters-choose-clear-vision-france

    ‘By overwhelmingly backing former prime minister François Fillon, voters in the primary held by France’s centre-right on Sunday opted for an economically liberal, socially conservative candidate whose vision for France leaves little ambiguity.

    ‘Any hope rival primary candidate Alain Juppé had of springing a surprise in the Les Républicains party run-off vote failed to come to fruition, with Fillon taking some 66.5 percent of the vote.’

    Fillon had campaigned on firing hundreds of thousands of France’s civil servants.

  58. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    28. November 2016 at 12:27

    Ray:
    I’m too dumb to understand your point.(I feel safe admitting it here because you’ve pointed out that everyone else here is also too dumb to understand your point.) Please explain to me how Zimbabwe’s experiment with a bond note to tackle a cash shortage and after a history of hyperinflation proves that money is neutral.

  59. Gravatar of Adam Adam
    28. November 2016 at 12:38

    Apologies if it’s already been said (I generally have a hard time reading the rest of the comments here), but the Comey letter isn’t a conspiracy theory. The director of the FBI did in fact act in a way that had an influence on the election. Arguably even a decisive one.

    Maybe he had to (I don’t think there’s an good argument he did), but there’s nothing nutty to believe about that.

    Then there’s the question of who hacked the DNC and Podesta. I don’t know, but the head of the NSA tells us it was Russia. At minimum, the fact of the hack isn’t a conspiracy theory. I don’t think believing the NSA is particularly nutty either, especially in the absence of evidence it was someone else.

  60. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    28. November 2016 at 13:51

    I like the “reasoning” of Team Stein: They state they have no evidence for hacking and they also say that they do not want to change the result but they still want a recount anyhow. On what basis? And what’s their motivation then? Of course they want to change the results. That’s the point of a recount. Lying about that is just a bit too much.

    The same thing with Team Hillary: They admit now that since day one of the election they have dozens of lawyers and data scientists and analysts combing over the results to spot anomalies that would suggest a hacked result. They did not find anything but now they still want a recount. Again: On what basis?

    This is the stop-and-frisk method in elections. No it’s even more than that: It’s stop-and-frisk-and-frisk-and-frisk-and-frisk-and-frisk.

    @Adam
    I don’t think Sumner said Podesta and Comey are CTs. What’s your point?

    @Bill
    He said that the popular vote is way off. The result of the election is him winning either way. He does not question that. Why would he? It’s sad to see (but no surprise) that Vox.com and all the others can not come up with something better.

  61. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    28. November 2016 at 14:34

    @Patrick
    You mean the following guy, right?

    “A hard-right politician, written off by pollsters and establishment pundits for month, rockets to the top of the polls in his party’s presidential primary. He vows to “conquer Islamic totalitarianism,” promises to clamp down on mass immigration, and calls for a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. When the vote is finally held, he trounces his establishment rivals, setting him up for a once-inconceivable general election victory.”

    http://www.vox.com/world/2016/11/28/13763476/francois-fillon-france-election-2016-2017

  62. Gravatar of Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton
    28. November 2016 at 15:30

    Christian, As worrying as Putin apologia is that article is a joke. Supporting decreased immigration and fear of Islamism does not make one hard-right.

  63. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    28. November 2016 at 17:14

    @Carl – you’re not that dumb; you got it. I said money neutrality is the issue in the article, not that the article proves money neutrality. And you’re right, the fact there’s a US dollar shortage in Zim that requires Zim to issue their own currency proves–if you believe the article, which is anecdotal–that money is NOT neutral. BTW, on your hyperinflation point, even I have said during hyperinflation there’s no money neutrality due to shoe leather and menu costs. As an aside, during the 19th c various US commentators said there was a ‘small bills shortage’ which argues for money non-neutrality (since if money was 100% neutral presumably there would be a quick and easy private mechanism to substitute private small bills for public big bills), again, persuasive for money non-neutrality if you trust in such anecdotal evidence.

  64. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    28. November 2016 at 18:21

    OT- a natural experiment in money neutrality or non-neutrality is being done in India with their abolishing of large notes. But it does not seem to have effected their economy that much (except for anecdotal stories of bad effects). Conclusion: money is (largely) neutral. More info here: http://www.alt-m.org/2016/11/28/indias-currency-cancellation-seigniorage-and-cantillon-effects/

  65. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    28. November 2016 at 19:48

    From the Vox article;

    ‘Fillon became one of the premier critics of the French welfare state, arguing for a need to slash 500,000 civil service jobs and cut spending by $116 billion in five years. He criticized France’s famous 35-hour workweek, arguing that French workers were too reliant on the government, and argued for tax cuts to relieve the burden on the middle class.

    ‘This is a wholesale rejection of France’s postwar model — a kind of hard-right turn akin to what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher promised their respective countries in the 1980s. Both the French and British press frequently compare Fillon to Thatcher.’

  66. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. November 2016 at 02:11

    Patrick and Christian, Let’s hope that Fillon defeats France’s Trump.

  67. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    29. November 2016 at 04:03

    “The Election was Stolen – Here’s How…

    Friday, November 11, 2016
    Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.

    Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.

    The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report,
    “The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters,” 8/24/2016.

    Crosscheck in action:
    Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107
    Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

    Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257
    Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

    Trump victory margin in North Carolina: 177,008
    North Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393”
    http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/

  68. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    29. November 2016 at 07:38

    Note that your CNN article’s study did not refer to a broad recount, only a recount of undercounted ballots. The study reported in the factcheck.org article included consideration of overcounted ballots.

    The ‘overcounted’ ballots were those where a party had punched holes for multiple presidential candidates. No clue how the news organizations proposed to ‘count’ them.

  69. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    29. November 2016 at 07:40

    Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act –

    The ‘gutting’ consisted of a ruling that the Justice department could not continue to insist on pre-clearance requirements based on 50 year old data on the local voter rolls.

  70. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    29. November 2016 at 10:02

    @Postkey
    You haven’t convinced me. What are the numbers in California, New York and Illinois or did you just check up on the states Trump won? What are the historical patterns of purging? Which states are using which system for crosschecking? Are there correlations between types of registration records and purging? Did you consult this site: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/spring-cleaning-your-voter-lists-webinar-the-legislative-role.aspx?

    During the course of developing 3 minutes of deep expertise on this subject, I also found this study from Pew, http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2012/pewupgradingvoterregistrationpdf.pdf, that refers to some study by RTI international that claimed there are probably 24 million registration records that are inaccurate or invalid including 1.8 million registered dead people. Given those numbers, the numbers you quote might not be outrageous at all.

  71. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    29. November 2016 at 12:20

    @Art Deco – you are quite ignorant, no doubt a Trump voter. If you educate yourself with the links upstream, you’ll find out that Gore, had he challenged the whole state of FL for a recount in 2000, and had he used the Republican (sic) standard of only counting a ballot if it had one clean punched hole or one candidate marked (no overcounts allowed, no hanging chad) then Gore would have won all of Florida by a minimum of three votes. Hence Gore was robbed, though it’s not Bush’s fault Gore never thought to recount the whole state.

  72. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    29. November 2016 at 12:21

    !!

    Lars Christensen at his blog: “John Allison just endorsed NGDP targeting”

    !!

  73. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    29. November 2016 at 13:35

    @Art Deco – you are quite ignorant, no doubt a Trump voter. If you educate yourself with the links upstream, you’ll find out that Gore, had he challenged the whole state of FL for a recount in 2000, and had he used the Republican (sic) standard of only counting a ballot if it had one clean punched hole or one candidate marked (no overcounts allowed, no hanging chad) then Gore would have won all of Florida by a minimum of three votes. Hence Gore was robbed, though it’s not Bush’s fault Gore never thought to recount the whole state.

    The study you referenced contended that it was a possibility the tally might have gone his way if the ‘overvotes’ were counted. A count of the overvotes was not an object of Gore’s attorneys. It’s difficult to see how such a count could be validly conducted.

  74. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    29. November 2016 at 14:40

    As usual, Scott doesn’t know much, when it comes to things outside his narrow interests.

    Team Hillary Clinton in 2007 came up with the conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, based on PR information Obama circulated from his publisher, which states that Obama was born in Kenya.

    So this was a leftwing conspiracy, inspired by Obama’s own PR effort to sell his memoir, as exotic “son of Keyna”.

    “always thought that right wing conspiracy theories of Obama being born in Kenya”

  75. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    29. November 2016 at 15:38

    Postkey is living proof that there are many conspiracy theorists on the Left as well, combined with shady unreliable journalism. Vox.com did better in this case by writing about some actual research:

    “The research, including multiple studies conducted over several years, has generally found that voter ID laws have a small to no impact on voter turnout. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), for example, concluded that a majority of studies it reviewed found no or even increased turnout after voter ID measures passed.”

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/11/13597452/voter-suppression-clinton-trump-2016

    @ssumner
    I think Le Pen might be far worse than Trump. At least Trump talks about classic liberal and/or free market ideas from time to time. I never heard something similar about Le Pen. Le Pen seems to be a nationalist AND a socialist.

  76. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    29. November 2016 at 15:44

    Apparently Steve Mnuchin, not John Allison, is expcted to be tapped as Trump’s Treasury Secretary soon.

  77. Gravatar of Matthew Waters Matthew Waters
    29. November 2016 at 16:53

    I’ll be honest that I didn’t read the comments. But Trump shows no signs of belief in conspiracy theories abating, with baseless allegation of two million illegal votes.

    Trump was excused by basically saying “well, he’s just a showman.” No, he has some consistent belief part of the time. His belief is especially consistent on:

    – Law and Order
    – Trade
    – Holding grudges based on perceived slights

    Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in partly with a false assumption that of course the DNC did the same thing.

    @Christian List
    “Le Pen seems to be a nationalist AND a socialist.”

    I wonder if this was written with the knowledge of what happens when nationalist and socialist are put together for, say, a National Socialist party.

    At least Le Pen would have to get a majority against either Fillon or (unlikely) the Socialist candidate. Unlike certain other countries, the President has to get a national majority in the first round or a run-off. While the Socialists have an outsider candidate which is interesting, all signs point to Fillon handily winning a Fillon/Le Pen runoff. Hopefully Fillon’s admiration of Putin extends only to some foreign policy concessions which do not ultimately threaten NATO countries.

  78. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. November 2016 at 18:29

    Christian, Trump never expresses any interest in classical liberal ideas.

    Greg, Even by your standards that is an incredibly moronic comment. My post said nothing at all about who first came up with the idea.

    Come back here when you’ve grown up.

    Everyone, don’t you love all these so-called libertarians who are sucking up to Trump?

  79. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    29. November 2016 at 18:36

    @Art Deco – see Brent Buckner 27. November 2016 at 03:58 comment from the factcheck.org article. In fact, it’s hard to say who would have won since custody of the ballots was an issue. Recall a paper ballot with a partially punched hole but with a clean hole punched for Gore can become an “overvote” if the chad covering a hole becomes damaged (from over-handling the ballot) and falls out in the post-election counting. This was an issue for certain ballots, they were roughly handled by the Republicans. In any event, Gore, like Clinton, won the popular vote and probably won the state of Florida as well, though we’ll never know for sure. Nuff said.

  80. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    29. November 2016 at 19:03

    Sumner:

    “Everyone, don’t you love all these so-called libertarians who are sucking up to Trump?”

    Yeah, I much prefer reading from the so-called libertarians who suck up to anti-libertarian, but “good”, central bank ideology, politics, deceit and strategy.

    Oh, whoops, my bad, sucking up is OK when it takes place alongside the magic word pragmatism. Greg forgot to include the magic word. Shame on you Greg.

    You also forgot to take into account the Alinsky-ist tactic when typical leftist narratives, like the “birther” movement somehow being a “right wing conspiracy” (despite the truth that it was started by Hillary’s team, thus making it a left wing conspiracy) are destroyed by pesky historical facts. The response is to attack you rather than admit that one is blithely ignorant of history.

    The response you got of “nothing at all about who first came up with the idea” is the blog author’s way of admitting he goofed and attacking you for pointing it out.

    That you were told “you’re sucking up to Trump” after you pointed out that fact of history was hilarious.

  81. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    29. November 2016 at 20:00

    Scott, you falsely suggested the conspiracy came with an ideological pedigree, but it didn’t.

    The facts refute The Narrative the the conservative movement was behind the conspiracy, when the only organized effort came from the Clinton campaign, then was picked up by random nutjobs, and not by eg conservatives in the media.

    I’m rather sick of the effort to smear people based on a false Narrative propagated for a purpose by the media and academia.

  82. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    30. November 2016 at 01:31

    Jill Stein raised over $6 million “for recounts” but needed only $2,6 million so far, liberal media says she said the other millions will go to politicians of the Green Party.

    Nate Silver says:
    “Not saying this Jill Stein thing is a scam, but if it were a scam, it would probably look a lot like this.”

    Next question: How can this even be legal?

    Don’t raise money for recounts and then use it for something else.

  83. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    30. November 2016 at 03:19


    Trump never expresses any interest in classical liberal ideas.

    He plans a school voucher program. He wants to build infrastructure with the help of the private market. He seems to plan quite some deregulation in fields like healthcare, pharmacy, financial sector, energy, taxes, education, housing, infrastructure, research. He made it clear that Castro was an evil dictator, in good old Reagan style.

    It’s not perfect (nothing is) but there are certainly classic liberal and neoliberal ideas involved.

    In parts he resembles Reagan; in other parts he seems to resemble Berlusconi. History will tell which comparison is more accurate. I’m not going to prejudge him on this when he’s not even elected yet.

  84. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    30. November 2016 at 07:45

    “Everyone, don’t you love all these so-called libertarians who are sucking up to Trump?”

    Yes, it’s strange

  85. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    30. November 2016 at 08:09

    Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in partly with a false assumption that of course the DNC did the same thing.

    He didn’t. He did dictate a memo in July 1971 saying that it was time that Lawrence O’Brien (DNC Chairman) was held accountable for his retainer from Howard Hughes.

    John Dean thought Nixon knew nothing about the burglary beforehand and wasn’t sure how much knowledge he had of Gordon Liddy’s activities generally. There is some dispute between Liddy, Jeb Magruder, Dean, and Gordon Strahan as to who the instigator of the break in was and why. Liddy has said that they were importuned by John Dean to burgle the office, and specifically looking for information of interest to Dean personally, not to the Administration as manifest in John Ehrlichman or to the Committee to Re-elect the President as manifest in Magruder or John Mitchell. Magruder has been confused and vague on the issue, but IIRC his recollection is congruent with what Liddy has said.

  86. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    30. November 2016 at 15:56

    If you put 25 libertarians in a room and let them talk about what it is to be a libertarian for an hour…after and hour, all 25 of them would think there was only one true libertarian in the room…

  87. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    30. November 2016 at 15:59

    Tom Brown says… Yes, it’s strange

    it reminded me of a passage from my favorite book…

    p234
    “Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”

    1984

  88. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    30. November 2016 at 16:17

    MF says…(despite the truth that it was started by Hillary’s team, thus making it a left wing conspiracy)

    SO if a liberal “starts” something…and then the right wing carries it, nurtures and grows it into an enduring colossus of propaganda… It’s must remain identified as a liberal conspiracy ?

    So stupid. Do you write history books for Texas too ?
    so willfully blind to reality… stunningly immoral…
    You clearly have no ability assign responsibility with any sense of proportion… But you have no problem assigning responsibility in the most condescending manner….

    comical…

  89. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    30. November 2016 at 16:36

    gee…in trumpland exaggerations (by trump anyway ) are accurate enuff to be called true !…or …”not lies” anyway…

    Why even have the word true when we can just say… not-lie ? We can just eliminate all antonyms… just put the “Un” prefix on instead.

  90. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    30. November 2016 at 21:37

    Bill Ellis:

    “If you put 25 libertarians in a room and let them talk about what it is to be a libertarian for an hour…after and hour, all 25 of them would think there was only one true libertarian in the room…”

    OMGLMAOLOLOL

    You mean to say that when you tacitly presume the definition of “libertarianism” to include multiple definitions which are not logically capable of all being practiced at the same time, that the absence of cohesion and harmony in practice should be personified by 25 libertarian people each with a given definition?

    Hilaaaahhrrious stuff Bill. Really. I mean, obviously libertarianism is the only word where that game can be played. /s And it is not like the game you want to play is fair anyway. For if all 25 people did agree, you’d call them a cult, for there being an absence of “diversity”, and too much “dogmatism”.

    “SO if a liberal “starts” something…and then the right wing carries it, nurtures and grows it into an enduring colossus of propaganda… It’s must remain identified as a liberal conspiracy ?”

    Of course. What kind of silly question is that?

    The definition of a conspiracy. Look it up.

    What you are stumbling towards trying to say is not that the brother movement is a “right wing conspiracy”, but a political strategy which was initially used by Obama’s left wing opponents, but due to the outcome of the 2008 election began to be used by Obama’s right wing opponents.

    You seem to be oblivious to the fact that Obama’s political opponents for the last 8 years have been Republicans. OF COURSE history 2008-2016 would play out as one with the birther movement being used by the right wing establishment. With 8 years of Obama rule, OF COURSE that left wing conspiracy would end up being “carried, nurtured, and grown into a collossus of propaganda”.

    “So stupid. Do you write history books for Texas too ?”

    I know you’re mad at Trump getting elected. I get it.

    “so willfully blind to reality… stunningly immoral…”

    Bill, there is a psychological phenomena called projection. What you just wrote there, is precisely and exactly your own faults and issues. You are blind to reality and you are immoral. Blind to reality because your epistemology is a cognitive block to understanding both yourself and your place in the world. Immoral because you advocate for introducing violence against individual liberty, including private property rights.

    You are one of many modern day sociopaths who only appears to be good and moral because your actions contradict your professed principles. You, Sumner, and most of the posters here, despite your virtue signalling and depraved rhetoric, ACT as anarcho-capitalists. None of you actually act in imposing central banking on anyone, or public schooling on anyone, or the myriad of other crap you pretend to be associated with on the basis of “advocating” it, or “supporting” it for whatever fashionable reason suits the day, be it pragmatism or utilitarianism or whatever other relativist immorality. Oh no, you all respect private property rights in your actions. You are hypocritical poseurs.

    I am a better person than you and your pretentious ilk. And trust me when I say that has very, very little satisfaction involved given the standards I’m faced with here.

  91. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    30. November 2016 at 21:43

    The main interest for me here is the laughter it invokes. It is like an insane asylum on a train wreck in slow motion.

  92. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    1. December 2016 at 08:32

    Christian List
    29. November 2016 at 15:38

    Thanks for the link.

  93. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    2. December 2016 at 05:49

    Greg, Nice try, but I said Trump was promoting a conspiracy theory. But then you always were a jerk, which is why you don’t quote a statement from my post to support your claim–you know I’m right.

  94. Gravatar of morgan s warstler morgan s warstler
    2. December 2016 at 10:39

    Scott glad you are spending time with Farmer.

    Personally, I think a synthesis of your two views is where my heart lies.

    I told you once you weren’t that far away from him, please let me know if I was wrong or right.

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