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Woman Sexually Assaulted by Deputy Sheriff During Traffic Stop Says Qualified Immunity Is Blocking Her Quest for Justice

Lynette Christmas wants her day in court. Not just against the former deputy who assaulted her, who is now jobless and financially unable to pay restitution, but against the department and the county who enabled his actions.
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With Less Suburbia, More Americans Could Live In Lovely Neighborhoods

I agree that the overwhelming single family zoning suburb model is ugly, and anti-community.

I would much prefer a mixed use zoning going back to a traditional neighborhood model, which stimulates and facilitates stronger community ties. The only issue I have is ceding control to the federal government, though a local tyrant is the same if they behave in the same way.

Urban sprawl and strict zoning laws destroy our respect for tradition, waste taxpayer money, and hurt our sense of local community.
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Neil Howe: Fourth Turning Predictions – August 2020

Because the boomer generation destroyed all foundations.

What happens, ultimately, is populism moves from becoming the outside to the inside. This is why populism and authoritarianism are actually two sides of the same coin. And that goes back historically to the very origin of the term. Who were the first Populares, as we used to call them in Latin. They were the ones that supported Caesar. He was the first dictator. He spelled the end of the Roman Republic, and those who opposed him were the Optimates, the good people, the senators, the elite class, those who deserved to rule.

Well, when a popular party takes over because it’s pushing out all the encrusted elites who used to run things, they need one person to embody their will and run it. You get the logic here. So populism almost needs a single authority figure to give expression to what it wants. And this is why the two have always been linked historically. Ultimately, what happens when populism finally succeeds is it creates this extremely effective, authoritarian government that can actually get things done. And that’s very convenient and it may be very welcome in a crisis.

I think one aspect of the pandemic that I think has been particularly demoralizing for Americans is to realize what a dysfunctional country they’ve become relative to the rest of the world. It has exposed all of our civic vulnerabilities – that we don’t follow laws, that we don’t trust our leaders, that we have no top-down federal power.
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The bargain the GenXers will Demand of the Boomers

I think that as the Boomers fade away, they will attempt one last grasp at controlling and crafting their legacy in their twilight years, all at the expense of the future generations. This could very well go wrong, as the leftist boomers. Ow are revealing.

The quote from The Fourth Turning above illustrates the hard choice GenX will make, so long as the boomers pay their price. I don’t mind hardship at the end of their long selfish life for boomers, as long as the generations behind me get a chance to grow up in a wholesome world again.

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Must-see interview: Joel Kotkin on the coming new feudalism

In many ways, he’s an unreconstructed old-school liberal — but he’s seeing that what I call the Brahmandarin left is pushing society toward neo-feudalism, is fundamentally anti-democratic (preferring rule by executive order and administrative regulation because “the poor dears don’t know what’s good for them” [my paraphrase]), and is fundamentally contemptuous of the working and middle class it used to champion.

The tech oligarchs he sees as the new feudal nobility; the media-educational complex as the new clerisy. The shrinking old middle class is the yeomanry, while an increasingly larger underclass living hand to mouth from menial jobs (or on the dole) are the new serfs. The serfs get to foot the bill for the climate and “equity” obsessions of the oligarchs and the clerisy (who buy themselves indulgences or grant them to each other).
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Trafalgar: The Pollster That Keeps Getting It Right

Overall, the polls showed the largest statistical bias toward Democrats in 2020 in the history of U.S. elections, underestimating Republican performance by nearly 5 points on average.

Media and Democrat polls got the presidential, Senate, and House elections all badly wrong in staggering ways. The Economist election unit’s final presidential polling forecast, for example, gave Biden 50 more electoral votes than he actually won. An ABC News/Washington Post poll had Biden winning Wisconsin by 17 points with a week to go before election day. The final result in Wisconsin showed a 0.7-point margin between Trump and Biden. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average showed Trump barely winning Ohio by 0.8 points over Biden. The actual result was that Trump won Ohio by 8.4 points. The New York Times predicted that if the polls were as wrong as they were in 2016, Biden would still win Florida by close to 1 point. But Biden lost to Trump in Florida by 3.3 points. FiveThirtyEight’s final U.S. House polling forecast gave Democrats 20 more seats than they actually won. In the Maine Senate race between Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Sara Gideon, every single poll, all 14 of them, mostly conducted by media and Democrat polling groups ranging from the New York Times to Change Research, got the race wrong. One Quinnipiac poll gave Gideon a 12-point lead over Collins. The final result was that Republican Susan Collins won the race by 8.6 points.

After the great polling debacle of 2016, one would think that the polling industry would have tried to make adjustments to more accurately gauge what voters are actually thinking. But the statistical bias that polls displayed in favor of Democrats actually became worse in the 2020 election compared to 2016, rising from 3.0 to 4.8 percentage points.

To this day, the polling industry generally has not changed its flawed methodologies and in many cases has refused to correct for unprecedented levels of pro-Democrat bias. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, the polls during 2020 were “pretty normal by historical standards.” (This is almost as embarrassing as Silver’s 2016 election night call, when at 8:13 pm – even after Trump had been showing remarkable strength in early Florida and Virginia voting – Silver went on ABC News to dramatically announce to a breathless George Stephanopoulos that he had changed the chances of a Hillary Clinton victory from 72% to 76%, and added that the evening was going pretty much as the Clinton forces had anticipated.)

There is, however, one pollster who has consistently outperformed the others during the Trump era. That is the Trafalgar Group.  

In 2016, the Trafalgar Group’s polling data did not just show that Trump would win the presidency, it accurately showed that Trump would get 306 electoral votes and that he would win Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin, something virtually no one else was predicting.

In 2018, the Trafalgar Group released a poll showing Ron DeSantis winning the Florida Governor’s race. By contrast, the New York Times poll for that race showed Democrat Andrew Gillum up by 5 points and an NBC News poll showed Gillum winning by 4 points. DeSantis won the race on election day as the Trafalgar poll had predicted.

In 2020, polling from the Trafalgar Group had the lowest average error of virtually any other polling group in the nation, beating out polls from the New York Times, ABC News, the Washington Post, and even Rasmussen. Trafalgar Group polling correctly showed Trump winning North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Florida and accurately showed that the Wisconsin race would be decided within a 1-point margin.

AMAC Newsline recently interviewed the CEO of the Trafalgar Group, Robert Cahaly, to discuss why his polls often get it right when the media and even Republican pollsters keep getting it wrong.

Cahaly noted that one of the things that makes the Trafalgar Group “an industry disrupter” is that they “reject most of the polling orthodoxy.”

Among his insights, Cahaly understands the design of the polls themselves can drastically alter who responds to the sample. “Long questionnaires are just not realistic,” he said. “You are not going to get a mom or a dad to answer long questionnaires. You aren’t going to get average people. These people that you get answering 30-question polls are more invested in politics than the average person. No normal person will take the time to answer 30-question polls.”

Cahaly also thinks that what he calls “social desirability bias” can impact polling results. When asked whether there is such a thing as a shy Trump voter and how pollsters can best get shy conservative voters to answer questions truthfully, Cahaly replied, “People are hesitant to admit that they will vote for someone who is controversial. You have to get that answer.”

Cahaly has developed a variety of techniques to do just that. “What we did a lot of in 2016 is we would ask, ‘Who do you think the neighbors are voting for?’ That’s a way we found over the years to get an answer. Give people a polite way of telling you something uncomfortable. If somebody has a position on a controversial issue, they don’t want to be judged for what they think.”

“In 2016, what we found is people didn’t want to admit they were voting for Trump,” he continued. “Clinton is saying everyone who’s voting for Trump is a deplorable and all this nonsense. People were hiding their feelings. In 2020, it was even worse. Due to this cancel culture stuff, conservatives didn’t even want to participate in a poll. Period.”

So his firm dug even harder to find the hidden Trump vote in 2020. “One of the methods we used was telling people who we were,” he said. The pollster told them “just put our name in Google and you’ll see we are an actual polling group and not affiliated with a campaign.”

Ultimately, Cahaly thinks Trafalgar Group is consistently turning out more accurate polls than its competition because “other polling groups from 2016 to 2020 did not change. They said they sat down and figured out what they did wrong and were adjusting their models. But they never actually did.”

He finds this difficult to fathom. “We had a dress rehearsal for 2020, and it was called 2018,” he said. “If you look at the Governor’s race in Florida, we were the only ones who said DeSantis would win. Every other poll had the Democrat Gillum winning that race. The issue is that they can’t conceive of the fact that they have an old model and people lie.”

“People are just tired of being judged,” he said. Cahaly believes that polling in the Trump era must find ways of measuring voter sentiment that address this obvious social desirability bias.

When asked whether media polling with an overwhelming statistical bias toward Democrats amounts to “suppression” polling, as Trump alleges, Cahaly said: “It’s either done on purpose or its incompetence. So many so-called political pollsters also continue to get it wrong who poll for the Republican Party.”

One major example of polling failures in both the 2016 and 2020 elections was in gauging minority support for Republicans. Cahaly notes that Hispanics especially supported Republicans and President Trump, and not just in Florida and Texas. “It was all across the country, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin and California. When you talk to the polling establishment, they said the exit polls don’t indicate that. But you have to ask, how are they doing the exit polling? People are going to be less honest with you in person in exit polls when someone has a clipboard or an iPad.”

Cahaly thinks Trump’s true gains with minorities have been underreported. “I will tell you that across the country Trump did better than 35% with Hispanics as an average and he did better than 25% with African-Americans,” he said.

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The Systemic Risk No One Sees


The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

My recent posts have focused on the systemic financial risks created by Federal Reserve policies that have elevated moral hazard (risks can be taken without consequence) and speculation to levels so extreme that they threaten the stability of the entire financial system.

These risks are well known, though largely ignored in the current speculative frenzy.

But there is another systemic risk which few if any see: the collapse of social cohesion.

President Carter was prescient in his understanding that a nation’s greatest strength is its social cohesion, a cohesion that America’s unprecedented wealth / income / power inequalities has undermined. Consider this excerpt from his 1981 Farewell Address:

“Our common vision of a free and just society is our greatest source of cohesion at home and strength abroad, greater even than the bounty of our material blessings.”

In other words, a nation’s strength flows not just from its material wealth but from its social cohesion–a term for something that is intangible but very real, something that doesn’t lend itself to quantification or tidy definitions.

Here is my definition: Social cohesion is the glue binding the social order; it is the willingness of the citizenry to sacrifice individual gains for the common good.

Social cohesion is the result of the citizenry sharing a common purpose and identity and working toward the common good even at personal cost. Social cohesion arises from a national identity based on shared values and sacrifices.

To maintain social cohesion, opportunities to better their circumstances must be open to all (the social contract of social mobility) and sacrifices must be shared by the entire citizenry. If the privileged elites evade their share of sacrifice, social cohesion is lost and the entire social order unravels.

The glue binding the privileged elites to shared sacrifice is civic virtue, a moral code that demands elites devote a greater share of their own resources to the public good in exchange for their political and financial power.

Though no one dares confess this publicly, America is now a moral cesspool. As a result, the moral legitimacy of the nation’s leadership has been lost. Every nook and cranny of institutionalized America is dominated by self-interest, and much of the economy is controlled by profiteering monopolies and cartels which wield far more political power than the citizenry.

Civic virtue has been lost. What remains is elite self-interest masquerading as civic virtue.

In his Farewell Address, President Carter explained that “The national interest is not always the sum of all our single or special interests. We are all Americans together, and we must not forget that the common good is our common interest and our individual responsibility.”

Social cohesion, civic virtue and moral legitimacy are the foundation of every society, but they are especially important in composite states.

America is a composite state
, composed of individuals holding a wide range of regional, ethnic, religious and class-based identities. The national identity is only one ingredient in a bubbling stew of local, state and regional identities, ethnic, cultural and religious identities, educational/alumni, professional and tradecraft identities, and elusive but consequential class-based identities.

Composite states are intrinsically trickier to rule, as there is no ethnic or cultural identity that unifies the populace. Lacking a national identity that supersedes all other identities, composite states must tread carefully to avoid fracturing into competing regional, ethnic or cultural identities.

Composite states must establish a purpose-based identity that is understood to demand shared sacrifice, especially in crisis. In the U.S., the national purpose has been redefined by the needs of the era, but never straying too far from these core unifying goals: defending the civil liberties of the citizenry from state interference, defending the nation from external aggressors, and serving the common good by limiting the power of special interests and privileged elites.

We’ve failed to limit the power of privileged elites, failed to demand greater sacrifices of the wealthy in exchange for power, and so the moral legitimacy of the regime has been lost. And with the ascendance of self-interest and the elite’s abandonment of sacrifice, social cohesion has been lost.

This loss is reflected in the bitter partisanship, the increasingly Orwellian attempts to control the mainstream and social media narratives, the debauchery of “expertise” as dueling “experts” vie for control, the fraying of social discourse, the substitution of virtue-signaling for actual civic virtue, the institutionalization of white-collar crime (collusion, fraud, embezzlement, etc.), the increasing reliance on Bread and Circuses (stimulus, Universal Basic Income) as real opportunity dissipates, and the troubling rise in shootings, crime, random violence and plummeting marriage and birth rates.

The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

What’s the solution?
 At the national level, all that has been lost will have to be restored: civic virtue, moral legitimacy, the social contract of opportunity, shared sacrifice that falls most heavily on the wealthiest and most powerful, and a renewed national purpose centered on serving the common good.

Is such a restoration of moral legitimacy and shared purpose even possible? No one knows. If history is any guide, such a renewal is only possible after the empire of rampant self-interest implodes.

So what do we do in the meantime? Nurture our own social cohesion by living purposefully and sharing sacrifices and bounties with those we trust and admire–those in the lifeboat we chose to join.