Fight to Evolve by Willam T. Hennessy Number 2 on Amazon Kindle Store for Censorship.

Thanks for Overwhelming Book Launch!

Just a quick note because I’ve been on the road all week.

Fight to Evolve: The Government’s Secret War on NTX just hit Number 2 in Censorship category on the Amazon Kindle store. (These numbers change a lot, so I’m posting this screenshot to prove it.)

Fight to Evolve by Willam T. Hennessy Number 2 on Amazon Kindle Store for Censorship.

Fight to Evolve by Willam T. Hennessy Number 2 on Amazon Kindle Store for Censorship.

And it’s #1 on Hot New Releases!

 

Thank you all, so much, for pushing this vital story to the top. NTX is a lifesaving functional food innovation that could end liver disease caused by alcohol. If you, like me, enjoy your drink, you need to read this book. And you need to find an adult beverage that’s made with NTX.

Please read this book, and make sure your friends and loved ones who drink read it too.

Don’t drink? That’s okay. The book is about how crony capitalism kills people. Real people. Really dead. And how the crony capitalists nudge the federal government to stifle free speech. (There is no First Amendment for innovators, did you know?)

Liver disease can cost millions of dollars, but Fight to Evolve on Kindle is only 3.99. That’s dirt cheap compared to illness, is it not? Buy it now, read it now.

Thanks, again, for putting me on top of Kirsten Powers and within striking distance of Juan Williams. (click here to see what I’m talking about.)

Thank you, readers and book lovers!

Fight to Evolve on Kindle Now!

How a Strategist Looks at the Supreme Court Nomination Battle

In a moment, we’re going to look the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland and find the best strategy for Senate Republicans. In a moment. First, let’s just relax and think about a party. And pretend you’re a paid strategist.

Hennessy’s View  Podcast:

Party Now or Party Later?

Tim and Mary Johnson want to have a party for their friends. They’ve been talking about it since spring, and now it’s nearly winter. Their condo is too small and the walls too thin for a big party inside, so they decide they must hold the party outside on their patio and common ground. Finally, they decide “it’s now or never.”

Mary and Tim start calling their friends on Tuesday. They invite 20 people to their house on Saturday afternoon for barbecue and drinks. Weather is supposed to be perfect: clear, sunny, 70 degrees, zero percent chance of rain. You couldn’t ask for better day. The problem is, only 15 people can make it this Saturday.

The Johnsons really want all of their friends to be there, so they ask about the following weekend. It turns out everyone can make it the following weekend, so Tim checks the weather on Wednesday. Even though it’s over a week out, the weather the following weekend is expected to be cold with highs in the 40s with occasional rain and drizzle throughout the weekend. Tim knows that forecasts a week out are only about 50 percent accurate.

Before reading on, please write what you think the Johnson’s should do. Should they hold a party this weekend for 15 of the 20 people they want and 99 percent chance of great weather, or should they plan their party for the following weekend when all 20 of their friends can make it but there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll have to cancel it altogether? Please, write your answer and how you arrived at it. I’ll wait. [You should write your answers in the comments below.]

Strategists reduce uncertainty to risk. Uncertainty cannot be quantified; risk can. Here’s how I conclude the Johnsons should hold their party this weekend instead of next week.

  • This weekend, they have a 100 percent chance of a party with 75 percent of their friends. Multiply those values, and you get a party quality of .75.
  • Next weekend they have (at best) a 50 percent change of a party with 100 percent of their friends and a 50 percent chance of no party at all. .5 * 1 = .50.
  • Therefore, with information available on Wednesday, the Johnsons choice is obvious. Seventy-five percent of a perfect party is better than fifty percent chance of a perfect party and fifty percent chance at no party at all.

Answer: Party Now!

Confirm or Don’t Confirm?

And that’s exactly the situation facing Senate Republicans in the confirmation question of Merrick Garland. First, ignore the emotional issues and wishing to “beat” Obama. Think about the issue strategically and find your best strategy.

Let’s say that, as a judge, Antonin Scalia was a 99 on a scale of 100. For comparison, let’s call Ruth Bader Ginsberg a 1 on the same scale. From everything I’ve read, Merrick Garland is about a 75 on that scale, probably like Anthony Kennedy. You might disagree with that, but there’s no way to prove anything. So I’m basing my 75 score for Garland on the descriptions and ratings from several Supreme Court watchers left and right. I’m pretty sure 75 is a good score for Garland.

So if the Republicans confirm Garland, they are fairly certain of adding a judge who’s 75 percent of their ideal.

Now, let’s see if they decide not to confirm.

  • If the Senate holds hearings and rejects Garland, Obama will not appoint someone more to the Republicans’ liking, so we need go no further down that path.
  • If a Republican wins the White House and the Republicans keep control of the Senate, the next president could appoint another 99 judge like Scalia. Let’s call that the best-case scenario.
  • If a Democrat wins the White House and the Republicans keep the Senate, the new president will likely appoint someone more like Ginsburg. Let’s call that a 25 score. And the Senate will eventually confirm someone.
  • If Democrats wins the White House and the Senate, expect the new president to appoint another 1 on the 100 scale.

So what are the odds of each of these scenarios?

I’m going to do some wishful thinking here and ignore the current prediction markets. Prediction markets are far more accurate at forecasting political outcomes than opinion surveys. That’s because asking people who they think will win is more effective than asking who they hope will win. I’m very optimistic and say there’s a 50-50 chance of either party winning the White House and a 60-40 chance the Republicans will control the next Senate. (Prediction markets are far less optimistic.)

(Here’s more on Exceptions vs. Opinion)

Now, we just do the math:

  • Merrick Garland: 75 * 1.0 = 75
  • R President, R Senate: 99 * .5 *.6 = 29.7
  • D President, R Senate: 25 * .5 *.4 = 5
  • D President, D Senate: 1 * .5 *.4 = .2

This formula is pretty simple. It’s just the expected conservatism of the judge (1 to 99) multiplied by the chance of each variable based on my very optimistic values. I use .5 for either party winning the White House and .6 that the GOP will keep the Senate.

You can make the case that you think Ted Cruz will win both the nomination and the general election and that the GOP will keep control of the Senate, but that’s not strategy. It’s daydreaming. If you’re 100 percent certain that Cruz will be the next president, how certain were you in October 2012 that Romney would win?

You can fudge my numbers and try it your way, but only blind wishful thinking will return a result where not confirming Garland becomes a winning strategy. Think the GOP has 75 percent chance at the White House? Okay: 99 * .75 * .6 = 44.55. Confirming Garland is still the strongest play. Give the GOP 75 percent chance at both President and Senate? That’s 55.89, still almost 20 points below confirming Garland now.

I urge you to do the math until you get the results you want. You’ll then make a great government budgeting expert, because wishful thinking is why we have a $19 trillion debt. But it won’t make you a strategist, and our side needs strategy now.

(For more on how the Republican vanguard discourages new blood, read this.)

Strategy, Not Emotions

At this point, the only argument for not confirming Garland is purely emotional: you don’t want Obama to “win.” Fitness to lead requires, at some point, getting over emotional wins and losses and going for real wins using logic and reason.

“But, Bill,” you might say, “if the Senate confirms Garland, then Cruz wins, we’ll have wasted the appointment.” It might seem that way, but think about this: how long will Ruth Bader Ginsburg stay on the bench? And she’s a 1, remember. So let’s say the GOP confirms Garland now. That’s a net lost of 24 points from Scalia. Then Ginsburg leaves the bench and Cruz appoints another 99 to replace her. That’s now a net gain of 75 for our side. Thinking about the next move is critical to strategy, and you’re becoming a more strategic person with every word you read.

Plus, confirming Garland would send a signal to the non-ideological voters that Republicans can get something done. That’s a good signal to send to the 80 percent of voters who are more ambivalent ideologically. That would increase the chances that the Republicans keep the Senate in November.

Finally, I’ll say this. If Garland had been confirmed two weeks ago, he might have ruled with the conservatives on the public union ruling last week. That victory alone would have been huge. But now it’s lost for a generation.

Therefore, I reluctantly say the Senate should confirm Garland to the Supreme Court before Obama withdraws the appointment. It’s nothing personal; it’s just math.


If this post makes you think I’ve lost my mind, wait till you read my new book.

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Save Your Life?

My latest book, Fight to Evolve: The Governments Secret War on NTX, is available for pre-order now at Amazon.

GET IT!

Folks, this is the war we’re fighting. It’s the war that pits innovation against entrenched incumbents. It’s the too small to survive against too big to fail. And it’s the reason we call ourselves conservatives.

Alcohol is killing your body, even if you’re a casual drinking. (I’m 10x casual. Maybe 30x.) But there’s a way of making alcohol that eliminates 93 percent of the damage. In other words, you can drink 10 drinks that have the effect of one. Why wouldn’t you?

You wouldn’t because bureaucrats in the U.S. government prohibited us from telling you about it. But we’re fed up. We are telling you now. Bellion Vodka will save your liver.

Buy my book. You’ll understand.

 

Thanks. I love you.

I’m trying to write the truth

I was a pretender.

In 2012, I pretended I believed Mitt Romney would win. But I knew better. I just didn’t have the heart to tell the truth to the volunteers banging doors and working call lists from our election office in South County.

But I knew Romney would lose. I suspected the GOP would not regain the Senate.

When some of our hardest workers showed up to help break down the office and move our belongings, I couldn’t look at them. Nor could I look at them at the election night watch party. I sat in the back room blogging, but I could hear them yelling at the TV as one key state after another fell to Obama. “You’re wrong! They’ve only counted three percent of the votes!”

After that, I told myself “never again.” I’m done encouraging magical thinking. And, though I sometimes get the facts wrong, I try to tell the truth when it’s important.

Which is why you’ve been reading a lot about Donald Trump on this blog.

Last summer, I was firmly in the anti-Trump camp with posts like:

Trump: Good, Bad, and Ugly <–The most important

We Deserve Better

Trump: The Final Nail in the Conservative Coffin?

The fact that most people expected Trump to win told me I should stop writing him off, but in August and September I still thought he’d fade.

Then came the terrorist attacks in France and San Bernardino. Those events led me to believe Trump would win. I wasn’t happy about it, but my gut said ‘it’s over.”

In December, I did a lot of critical thinking. I challenged my own beliefs about Donald Trump. Some beliefs changed, some were dropped, many survived. In the process, I gained some new beliefs, too. For instance, I learned that Trump is a master of persuasion. Since one of my titles is Persuasive Design Director, I should have recognized this skill sooner. But my professional judgment was clouded by my personal animosity. Confirmation bias blinded me to many of Trump’s good or useful qualities.

I wasn’t sure how to present my revelation to the world. So I avoided the subject as much as possible. I was afraid writing or speaking the truth as I saw it would anger my friends who still hated Trump or believed Ted Cruz was divinely anointed to be our 45th president. I was afraid that telling the truth would sound like an endorsement to the deep parts of their brains where powerful feelings and emotions lurk. I was afraid I’d be called a “sell-out” just for telling the truth as I saw it. Brave, I know.

Then I started seeing so many people trapped in self-imposed confirmation bias loops, or affinity bubbles. Just like I was last summer. In the conservative echo chamber, Trump became a larger-than-life monster bent on destroying America.

So I decided to write.

It’s Time to Choose

Party Like It’s 1992

I wasn’t trying to change anyone’s vote; I was trying to prepare them for what I believed was inevitable. And I was trying to get people to critically examine their beliefs of the likeliest results and likeliest consequences of the nominating process. I wanted to caution people against making promises they couldn’t keep or predictions they wouldn’t want repeated.

I particularly wanted Cruz supporters to realize his Evangelical strategy was flawed. It was based on bad interpretation of data from 2012 and 2008. The analysts who came up with the strategy failed to measure all the variables that were available to them. If they had, they’d have discovered that the missing voters of 2012 were not conservative Evangelicals but Ross Perot voters and Reagan Democrats. Here’s what Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics wrote:

What Cruz is really talking about doing is something akin to what Barack Obama did in 2008, when he turned a sizeable number of non-voting African-Americans into voters. Cruz is hoping that evangelicals and conservatives who have traditionally just not voted will opt to vote for him. It’s a tough haul, since the National Election Study suggests turnout among born-again Christians is around 80 percent to begin with. But stranger things have happened (I suppose).

The candidate who actually fits the profile of a “missing white voter” candidate is Donald Trump. As I noted Wednesday, he fits in the mold of the Nixon-Perot-Huckabee-Santorum populist strain of Republicanism.

In other words, Cruz’s plan was get his top-performing segment to performer even better. Every motivation designer knows that’s very difficult and very expensive and runs the risk of frustrating your best supporters. (Remember, I do persuasion and motivation for a living.)

At this point I had three strong data points suggesting Trump would probably win the nomination:

  1. Trump has remarkable persuasion skills.
  2. Voters expect Trump to win, and voter expectations are far more accurate at predicting winners than voter preference polls (because voters lie).
  3. Cruz’s Evangelical strategy was flawed, but Donald Trump was designed for the “missing white voter.”

So when National Review, Glenn Beck, and others lost their minds in January, I felt I had to step up my game. They were actually helping Trump, not hurting him. And a lot of people now hate me for it. For telling the truth as I saw it.

Since then, Trump has won three straight primaries and caucuses, and he’s expected to sweep or nearly sweep Super Tuesday. He picked up two endorsements from sitting governors yesterday, and Newt Gingrich believes the nomination is over.

Some readers might think it’s my fault for not doing more for Cruz. Well Cruz was never my first choice. I like all of his policies, but that’s not enough. Cruz’s policies are not popular with Congressional Republicans. Congress will not rubber-stamp whatever a President Cruz sends up the hill. (If he couldn’t get the bills through the Senate as a Senator, why would he be able to do it as President?) To be effective, a president must be persuasive. If Ted Cruz can’t persuade a majority of Evangelicals to vote for him in South Carolina or Nevada, how will he persuade Congress to pass his flat tax? But, most of all, I never saw a path to the White House for Cruz. His general election strategy was too flawed, as I’ve said many times already.

I am not trying to influence the election. I’m just trying to tell people what I think will happen. And I’m encouraging people to have a useful contingency plan in case I’m right. I do this knowing you might not want to hear it from me. But I know that hearing it early from me will make the realization less painful.

I’ve learned that writing the truth is a lot harder than encouraging people’s fantasies. It hurts me to know my honesty pains some readers, but I think it’s my job as a blogger. And if the truth as I see it is too painful, you don’t have to read my posts. But I’m glad you do.

Thanks for reading.

campaign-2016

Trump knocks Rubio out of the news cycle

That was a strategic kill-shot, to borrow Scott Adams’s word. And it changes everything for conservatives.

After a so-so debate performance and in the middle of a 16-hour verbal assault from Marco Rubio, Trump went nuclear. But not the way everyone would expect Trump to go nuclear.

Trump didn’t need to invent a brilliant new put-down line to counter Marco. Instead, he calmly introduced Chris Christie to 10,000 fans in Texas. Christie did the rest.

I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump to be president of the United States.

Now that is a kill-shot.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele told Breitbart News, “One word: BOOM! Exclamation point,” about the endorsement:

Today after what we saw Marco Rubiodo last night, he was out there attacking Trump on twitter and Trump was like, got one for you, BOOM! Now the guy who defined Marco a few weeks ago is back in the game. He’s engaged, and he’s working with Trump. BOOM!

And New Gingrich tweeted:

Just a little while later, Maine’s governor endorsed Trump. And John Kasich predicted a Trump sweep on Super Tuesday, saying “nobody’s gonna win but Trump,” before admitting he doesn’t know about Texas. 

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan offers the best explanation of Trump’s rise I’ve read so far in Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected:

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

The “unprotected.” Perfect.

Glenn Reynolds offers a similar case for people’s attraction to Trump, and forecasts an avalanche of support about to rain down: 

In his terrific book, Private Truths, Public Lies:The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification, Timur Kuran writes about the phenomenon he calls “preference falsification”: People tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe.

This can produce rapid change: In totalitarian societies like the old Soviet Union, the police and propaganda organizations do their best to enforce preference falsification. Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don’t realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it — but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.

This works until something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers — or even to the citizens themselves. Kuran calls this sudden change a “preference cascade,” and I wonder if that’s not what’s happening here.

Sarah Palin made it okay for Tea Partiers to support Trump. With Christie’s endorsement, it’s now okay for mainstream Republicans to admit they hate the elites. 

Glenn Reynolds wrote his column before Christi’s endorsement making it somewhat prescient. I think Glenn is right, as usual. Trump is a natural leader in the new political dichotomy and the perfect embodiment of the Generation X election

For conservatives, it’s time to stop the fatalism and start planning how to get the best possible policies from the Trump administration.