Friday, August 24, 2012

As Jobless Claims Rise, Cost of Milk, Food & Gas Rise – Media Turns Attention to Romney & Ryan’s Religion! Anything but Economy & the Oval Office

Grab Your Pitchforks The Mormons and Catholics are Coming! Comedian Stephen Colbert - pitchfork in hand - image from the agnostic

Bloomberg reports that jobless claims rose for the 2nd straight week in August – the job market is still stagnant. In addition, consumer confidence dropped to the lowest level since January – Bloomberg finds that, for some reason, the public is pessimistic about the economy. From the same Bloomberg report, it is noted that the cost of fuel has risen, to the point where families are cutting food in order to fill their gas tanks(KVAL – Eugene Oregon). Those families are making hard decisions as the cost of food has also risen over the past four years, milk and corn products will also see increase, conditions such as drought coupled with the high cost of fuel (delivery of the food to market) has effectively increased what one would pay at the grocery store to the point where paychecks are stretched so thin that there is little left. This effects every single person living in this country, regardless of whether one has a job and pays taxes or one is holding an EBT card, the money is now barely covering basic needs. In Bloomberg’s report, the fact that companies are concerned about the uncertainty of U.S. tax policy is cited , not cited, increasing regulations from new government programs, which drives up the cost of compliance (think paperwork). Simply put, American business is being cautious, and has been for the past three years, because it is better to stay in business with the employees one has left, than to take the risk of having to layoff additional personal in a short period of time (there is a cost associated, both in human capital and in real capital).

The U.S. media, will of course, cover this somewhat, citing that “job claims rose unexpectedly” (emphasis on the unexpected), and reiterate the fact that the economy was in dire straits before the President took office – a narrative that has little to do with what took place after Barack Obama assumed the role of the Chief CEO. It is the policies in place by this administration which are responsible for the current state of the economy, no matter how much fluff, finger pointing and distractions that are thrown at the general public, the fact remains, the buck stops with the CEO, or in this case, with the President.

The President’s increasingly dismal record, explains the media’s sudden intent on the religions of Republican nominee in waiting, Mitt Romney and his V.P. choice, Paul Ryan. One need only subscribe to “Google News alerts” on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and find one negative blog, newspaper article, and or local television affiliate report on Romney’s Taxes, Romney’s past business associations, and Ryan’s Medicare plan (note: they are using a proposal that was written before the actual plan that is quite different). Now, as those strategies appear not to have worked so well (given the gigantic crowd disparity between Romney/Ryan events and those of President-Candidate Barack Obama and his V.P., Joe Biden), the polls showing Romney cutting Obama’s lead in places necessary to win an election, and in some cases passing the President by double digits (likely voter polling begins now, and that will clarify the data – see notes on polling below), the media is left with little – but to focus on both candidates' religion.

For Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, it is all about uncovering Mormonism – a landslide of articles and network specials are appearing on the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon – rather odd when one considers that, with few exceptions, the fact is well known, and has nothing to do with anything. The focus on Ryan’s Catholicism is of note, apparently, the comparison between Ryan’s practice of the faith, and any Democrat who supports abortion and call themselves Catholic, has begun. Branding Ryan as an extremist who holds the point of view that abortion is against Catholic Church policy – defies logic – because it is the Catholic Church and its teachings, not the secular pro-abortion lobby that defines Ryan’s faith. There is a piece worth reading here: Daily Caller: “Media declares open season on Mitt Romney’s Mormon Faith”.

From a personal perspective, as a Catholic with Evangelical Christian leanings, and a healthy respect for the Constitution, a political moderate who will cast a vote, regardless of party, for the politician who holds fiscal restraint dear to heart, and is more to the dead center, the focus on the frivolous by the media and the Obama Campaign is a complete turn-off. Therefore one finds themselves weighing the options, and making choices based on what one finds when one weighs those options. The decision to support Mitt Romney came only after all other options were exhausted, and there simply was no alternative. Sounds harsh, however, as the choice was made, and digging deeper into the candidates background necessary to be able to justify the support – articles on character, and faith as well as deeds emerged, that made supporting Mitt Romney easier, and not without a lot of enthusiasm. Suffice it to say, had the information on Romney’s personal side been readily available when the contest began, Romney would have been a first choice. Paul Ryan, as the V.P. choice and said support, came out of the gate, no hesitation at all – because his record in Congress, and how he runs his life (going back before any Tea Party), made him an outstanding Representative of the People. Ryan’s style, is not unlike that of Scott Brown, although there are variances, one can be certain, both men care more for the people they represent, than the political party.

Thus, the “grab the pitchforks, we’ve got ourselves a Mormon with a Real Catholic!” brouhaha from the media (and if one thinks they are not supporting the current administrations reelection efforts, think again). To the moderate, who comes in all forms, (Democrat, Republican, and Independent), the single most important factor in this election cycle will be: which candidate and that candidate’s policy can get us out of this mess? - The constant “anti” drumbeat which has pervaded the nation’s news media for the past 15 years, has worn thinner over time and more obvious, which is something that the aforementioned have failed to notice. Blind, political partisanship has that effect - Rome is burning, and yet, the news media chooses instead to focus on religion and negativity.

Note on polling and processes: There are several types of polling and pollsters who are now tracking the Presidential and general election races for Congress and the Senate, and have been since 2011. The method most often used, is general polling, mostly automated (either by a firm or university using a computer based model that dials random households and offers prompts to whomever answers the phone and completes the survey), which is far less expensive as a method, and far less accurate in predicting an outcome than a “likely voter” poll, which measures likely voters, rather than the general population. There is more data mining involved, thus the cost is increased, as well as the accuracy. These types of polls will come into play with more frequency after the RNC and DNC conventions. The first out of the gate, a bit early, came via Fox: who explains the methodology at the end of the article on the poll results: “The Fox News poll is based on live telephone interviews on landlines and cell phones from August 19 to August 21 among 1,007 randomly-chosen likely voters nationwide. Likely voters are registered voters who are considered most likely to vote in the November presidential election. The poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.“
Although that poll did use likely voters to come to the conclusion that the race for the White House is a virtual tie, it is still subject to scrutiny: (See Article from The Examiner: which notes that the Fox poll oversampled Democrats by 8 points. That said, likely voter polls are considered the most accurate as far as an attempt to predict the outcome – simply because if one is a likely voter, one is more likely to vote, or be registered to vote, rather than a general poll which shows support for a candidate, rather than an indicator that those polled may actually vote.
All polling, regardless of methods, and padding the poll with an extra percentage of one party or another, does serve to uncover “trends”, which aids a campaign in deciding which method might best be used to attract voters. It is obvious by this point, that regardless of the method, the sheer amount of vitriol and negative press, as well as campaign ads from the candidate (President Obama) and his supporting PAC’s, suggest a race that is not as tight as the polls suggest, and those 8 points added as a cushion, are just that. Any poll that offers a 6 point lead going forward, for any candidate, would suggest that candidate would win that state, or federal race. In the case of oversampling, therefore (taking the fox poll as an example), the dead heat poll, taking 8 points from the Democrat, with a 4 point margin of error, would suggest a decisive victory of 4 points.

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