A reality check before the election

With just a few days to go before Tuesday’s election, this is the time when both sides tend to start panicking about the outcome. While the Biden supporters may take comfort from polls showing that he has a comfortable lead, we all know that there are problems with polls. It is not that the polls were that wildly off in 2016. The national vote at the end was consistent with predictions of Hillary Clinton winning. But the state polls were close enough that relatively small deviations were enough to give Trump the electoral college win. We should always bear in mind that polls are always statistical and there is always a margin of error. Black swan events can occur and grey swan events have even greater chance of occurring. (I don’t know if there are grey swans but you get the idea behind the metaphor.)
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Samantha Bee on the children separated from their parents by the US government

The way that hundred of children were separated from their families for years and whose parents cannot now be located is truly a scandalous indictment on a country that proudly professes to uphold the highest values. But hey, we’re the country that loudly proclaims its belief in God and family, so what we do can’t be wrong, right?

Should I vote for the lesser of two evils?

That question is the dilemma that always confronts voters when you have more than two candidates and there is no ranked choice voting system. You have to choose between voting for the candidate you really like but who likely has no chance of winning versus voting against the candidate you really dislike by voting for the person who is most likely to be able to defeat that candidate. This comes up in almost every major election in the US because the two major parties, beholden as they are to the business-war machine, both put up highly compromised candidates that are far from the ones that one can be enthused about.
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How the AP will call the election

As I have said many times before, in the US the official election results seems to come almost as an afterthought. Well before that final certification, various media outlets ‘call’ the result, in other words say that they know for sure what the outcome is going to be and these verdicts are taken as definitive. Some of them ‘project’ what they think the result will be based on the data they have but this represents a lower level of confidence.

The Associated Press has the reputation of being the most reliable source when it comes to calling the result and is the equivalent of the fat lady singing. They were the first to definitively say that Donald Trump won the 2016 election, making that call at 2:29 am in the early hours of the morning after voting had ended. So what is the AP and how does it do its work? This article provides a pretty good window into its operations on election night.
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Jared Kushner’s gives advice to African Americans on how to succeed

I do not know who I despise more, Donald Trump or the smug Barbie and Ken dolls that are his daughter and son-in-law, all of whom represent in almost caricature form the utter cluelessness of privileged white people with inherited wealth and family connections who think that they got where they are because of their intelligence and hard work.

Analysis of early voting patterns

One big piece of news in this year’s election is the huge number of early voters. As the US Elections Project website reports, as of this morning, over 79 million have voted, already well exceeding the record total of 47 million that voted early in 2016. This number is 58% of the total votes cast in 2016. Analysts were earlier forecasting up to 80 million early votes by the time Monday comes around but it looks like that number will be easily exceeded, likely by later today. [UPDATE: Yep, the number has been exceeded.]

This website looks at early voting patterns since 1992.

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The shady relationship between Trump and Deutsche Bank

Have you ever asked a bank to forgive your loan because you couldn’t pay? The chances are that the thought never even crossed your mind because banks are known to be very hard-nosed and demand that you pay them back every penny you owe. That is because you are small fry and they will not even lend you any money unless you provide them with sufficient collateral that can cover the debt and that they can seize if you default.

A new report into Trump’s finances reveal that banks were willing to forgive $287 million in loans that Trump owed them.
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The wrecking of asylum protections

Seeking asylum in another country is the last refuge of desperate people. Leaving one’s home and fleeing with just the possessions one can carry, often with children in tow and traveling through dangerous territory where criminals can take advantage of your desperation, is not a decision that people make lightly. Hence the right to seek asylum is one that should be protected for the sake of simple humanity. But decency and humanity are not words that racist Trump and his racist cohorts understand and so it should not be surprising that they have almost completely destroyed even the limited protections in the US that were in place to protect the right to asylum
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