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 library.com
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.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Networks To Limit RNC/DNC Convention Coverage, Tampa Dem Mayor, Isaac and the RNC Convention, Cardinal Dolan at the RNC, Electoral College Predictions
The Republican National Convention - catch it on Cable News or C-Span - image: urbanchristiannews.com
It’s a wrap – the New York Times is reporting that the three major television Networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) will not offer full coverage of either the Democrat or Republican Conventions, rather one hour a day from Tuesday through Thursday for both, focusing on major speakers. Apparently, the networks are working on the assumption that viewers are disinterested in the process; therefore, it is a cross between ratings, and a public service not to air the conventions in their entirety. There are, as the network executives pointed out, other ways for those wishing to view the convention to do so, they named the web and “other sources” – those would be the cable news networks, as well as C-Span.
Meanwhile, in Tampa a bit of a storm is brewing besides Tropical Storm Isaac – from CBS Local the Democrat Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, indicated that in the event of a hurricane threat, he would have to cancel the RNC Convention. Brietbart.com suggests the Mayor, who supports his party’s nominee, incumbent President Barack Obama, maybe a bit overzealous. The Mayor, who most likely made that statement in regards to public safety, had previously noted that the RNC Convention in Tampa brings the City to the forefront, but, and this is a big but, he’s previously addressed concerns about public safety, including multiple scenarios ranging from anarchists to bio-chemical warfare in the streets of Tampa. (Indybay.org) Isaac is just one more “disaster scenario” that has come to the forefront. The probability for protestors exists at any convention, RNC or DNC, as well as the weather being a factor - however, in all honesty, the weather can be a larger threat in certain areas of the country than other – what the city of Tampa will lose should Hurricane Isaac actually materialize, would be substantial and regardless of political affiliation a Mayor of any large city, specifically in these hard economic times, faces substantial economic hardships – and the monies and publicity for the city as a travel destination due to the RNC Convention, would be sorely missed. Take this one with a grain of salt and an obvious mistrust of Democrats in general.
A larger political storm maybe brewing – New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be giving the benediction at the RNC when Mitt Romney officially becomes the GOP Nominee. Romney will also appear on EWTN (Catholic Cable Channel) in an interview that will air at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 23, 2012. (Zap2it.com) The Cardinal’s spokesman suggested that he would speak at either the DNC or RNC conventions, citing that the benediction was not an endorsement of any candidate. One would think that mean’s the Cardinal is protecting the Church because on surface, a church cannot endorse and or support a candidate publicly without the threat of loss of Non-Profit status. Additionally, the Catholic Church, in particular is not thrilled with the current administration – it is not only the issue of the President forcing religious affiliated organizations (specifically Catholic) to pay for abortions through their insurance coverage (against their faith as well as trampling on the Constitution), but goes deeper, into the administrations heavy hand when it comes to individual rights and limited freedoms. (See National Catholic Newspapers: the National Catholic Register, American Magazine Our Sunday Visitor, multiple publications off-line, and the Catholic News Service)
Adding to the drama this week The Denver Post reports that two professors, who have predicted the outcome of the Electoral College since 1980, based on economic forecast models, show Mitt Romney with a fairly large lead over President Obama: 320 (R) to 218 (D), the Huffington Post was quick to point this out and compare their own model which is more generous to the President showing a national split and several races up for grabs. That said, using a non-scientific method of measuring approval ratings state by state, over a 3 year period, with Gallup polling data, modeled on the 2012 electoral college and shift in votes away from traditional blue states to red (lost Congressional districts, and population affect the EC), the scenario is similar to the Denver University predictions.. (This blog).
A new Gallup poll released yesterday shows Romney’s lead (This week) with Romney 47 to Obama’s 45, still within the margin of error, however, climbing. Also check the latest Demographic Trends, specifically HHI: Romney leads in HHI of $39,000K and up, as well as among all Education Levels with the Exception of Post Graduate, by wide margins. Generally, the conventions would give a candidate (with nationwide coverage of the convention) a boost in the polls.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Sarah Palin Aiken Should Step Down, Palin will support Sarah Steelman as an Independent – Cites 28 days for Aikin to Step Aside
Sarah Steelman, Palin's Choice for MO Senate Candidate - image FoxNews.com
Sarah Palin made an appearance on Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record”, blasting Missouri GOP primary winner, Todd Aiken for his comments regarding rape, and his misguided, draconian, insane statement on what might be considered “rape”. The statement caused a firestorm coming from within the GOP establishment – generally known to boot anyone who steps outside the line, no matter the offense, to the curb, and quickly. The Democrats immediately attempted to link the crackpot from Missouri with the balance of the GOP candidates – not an unusual step for a party that is filled to the brim with candidates and incumbents who have been convicted, investigated, chastised, and supported – by the DNC. The Democrat who strays from the appropriate is applauded and protected by the main Party – regardless of the charges (See Rangel and Frank for prime examples). It is rank partisanship on one side (Democrats) and intolerance for any member who strays from reality or is charged with an offense on the other side (Republican) that might, at times, have independent thinks a bit mind-boggled.
Palin, who was furious with the situation in Missouri, and made no bones about it. She suggested that the “establishment” Republicans had supported Aiken, and now are calling for him to get out of the race, should have supported her candidate of choice to begin with – Sarah Steelman. In the segment (shown below) Palin went on to suggest that Steelman run as an independent, and basically offered both political and financial support in order for her to do so. This is in the event that Aiken does not remove himself from ticket by September 28th. Sarah Steelman is the type of candidate that would gain Palin’s backing (See the candidates site at www.sarahsteelman.com, issues page), a conservative, who has served as the Missouri State Treasurer and is a fiscal hawk.
According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, a candidate has six weeks (the 6th Tuesday) prior to the general election) to formally withdraw, in which case the political party may appoint a successor. Palin’s suggestion that Aikin would face reality as the national GOP leadership and State GOP will stop funding the candidate, giving time to run Ms. Steelman as a Republican, and if not, as an Independent.
Palin, who in 2010, helped propel both Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates to office, has supported both Tea Party as well as Establishment GOP candidates. In addition, she has had a history of bucking the party in general.
When Biden made the racially charged statement in August, Palin was quick to suggest that Biden be removed from the ticket and replaced by Hillary Clinton, for the good of the nation. That video appears below and is worth watching.
Palin’s sincere passion for the political process, but more specifically for the individual candidates character, regardless of party affiliation, is what most of her detractors studiously miss about the former Governor of Alaska. In reality, the nation needs more Sarah Palin’s, those who are of one party or the other, or no particular party at all, but who stand up for the process, not the party – being truly independent and a voice for the American people.
Palin on Aiken
On August 14, Palin suggested that President Obama choose Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his running mate - Palin has a deep regard for the nation that goes beyond partisan politics, although she is cast in that light more often than not.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Money and Religion – Obama Campaign in the Red, Romney Ups Donors in July, Obama “Supporters” Question Paul Ryan’s Catholicism – Dems Desperate
Latest Romney Ryan Crowd - Manchester New Hampshire Rally - image iconicsurrealism
The focus on Presidential Campaigns and fundraising prowess as “proof” that a candidate would win a race has been part and parcel of news articles and television news broadcasts for decades. The last Presidential election was a litmus test of sorts, as the constant drumbeat on the millions upon millions of dollars brought in by the Obama Campaign sent the general message that no-one would be able to best the candidate with the most cash. The most money, so the logic follows, equals the most popularity and given the number of individual donations one must receive, not including those corporate, “Hollywood”, Wall-Street or National Union donations, surely then candidate Obama would see success. Now, one finds that the tables have turned on the President. His campaign is running a deficit while the Romney Campaign is bringing in more cash and individual donations. In addition, the Obama Campaign is over-spending on negative advertising and staffing, in what is, in actuality the early stages of the Presidential Campaign. The Romney Campaign brought in $25 million more than the Obama Campaign for the third month, according to USA Today’s report on recent FEC Filings. It is to the point where actor George Clooney has to hustle to Europe to hold fundraisers for the President(USA Today).
Therefore, at the moment, given the sheer fundraising prowess of Mitt Romney, one would think that given 2008 reporting, Romney is a shoe-in – Not so fast – a Reuter’s report suggest that the Romney Campaign is Battling for Cash ignoring hard numbers, the report suggests that somehow Obama is in a stronger position – which is generally the case for an Incumbent regardless of the cash on hand. That said, very few incumbents actually manage to see a second term, recent exceptions being William Jefferson Clinton and George W. Bush, one must keep in mind, both political parties, as a rule, are subject to the variances in economic conditions, or poor management (Carter (Both), Ford (Neither(Nixon), George H. Bush(Economy) – With a President’s ability to handle the job at hand, coupled with extremely poor economic conditions, one could raise more money than Midas and still find themselves out of a job.
There is also smart campaign management and the laws of governing Presidential candidates, The Romney Campaign has been run like a business, and as Romney is not yet the nominee (officially that takes place at the RNC Convention), he has not yet had the financial support of the RNC available. Knowing when to hold them, and knowing when to fold them is of import, given the fact that most voters aren’t even paying attention to the election now, tuning out rather than tuning in, or simply not all that interested. One should see an increase in Romney advertising after the Republican Convention in late August, a fact that the Obama Campaign is surely aware, and therefore, taking potshots at Romney’s tax returns, and grasping at the straws of desperation when it comes to his running mate, Paul Ryan.
A recent article in US News and World Report headlines:”Why Obama Supporters Question Paul Ryan’s Catholicism” – which goes toward Ryan’s plan to overhaul and save Medicare and Medicaid for those in need. Of course, the Obama supporters (and campaign) suggest otherwise, that the plan will hurt everyone from the elderly to those on disability, however, stretching the truth about the plan apparently did not sway both Ryan’s Bishop nor a Cardinal, both whom have more knowledge of Catholicism than an “Obama Supporter” who is blinded by political partisanship first, their religion second. The fact that Ryan is pro-life is also of issue with those who call themselves Catholic, yet suggest that abortion is perfectly fine. Perhaps, it is convenient to suggest, as a Catholic, that one can hold these views, as one gets to run to confession at the end of the week and restore one’s good standing. However, what this does suggest is that the Obama campaign desperately wants to hold onto the majority of the 70million plus voting bloc of U.S. Catholics. That’s not always an easy task, given that Catholics overwhelmingly supported George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004 – as a group, Catholics are no different than – any other voter. When personal swipes at someone’s religion begin, and that includes questioning President Obama’s Christianity, or Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, it is a ploy by the political strategists to sway voters doubts, or by those so blinded by religious zeal, to negate the worth of a candidate based solely on their religion of choice, no matter how pious or non-pious one is perceived to be. It may or may not work, depending upon a number of factors, including how vested individuals are in their religion, rather than their political party, or if one is able to divest the two, being religious and voting as a citizen as a separate act.
There is also that nagging document, the Constitution, which gives each and every U.S. citizens the right to practice their religion as they see fit, whatever religion that may be – with safeguards in place that ensure that no one religion will be put in place as a national religion. (The real gist behind Church and State).
Money and Religion – is that truly what this election is about? Hardly, this election is about the State of the Union as it relates to the economy, and how little each individual has at the end of the week, or when one leaves the grocery store. It will be a decision based on whether or not a voter feels that the President is capable of fixing the economy, or if perhaps his challenger Mitt Romney would do a better job. That, and that issue alone, will decide this election – no matter how much the Obama Campaign attempts to distract from the issues that people care about, jobs, taxes, security in finding, and keeping a job and affordable groceries. The distractions are nothing more than obvious desperation and it shows. Which might explain the huge discrepancies in crowd size at rallies.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan in New Hampshire Today – Stadium Erected at St. Anselm College Begins at 10:00 AM – Romney’s 100th Town Hall Meeting
Crowds joined rally for Ryan in his hometown in WI, however, smaller crowds In New Hampshire (3800 for Obama) are anticipated given the size of the Romney Staging and Seating Area. Image:Iconicsurrealism.com
The Boston Globe: news this morning is brief on a Romney-Ryan Campaign event that is taking place in Manchester New Hampshire at the Quad on St. Anselm’s College. The President was in New Hampshire late last week, drawing a crowd of 3800- he was greeted by small business owners who protested along the President's campaign route, holding signs that said “We did build it/”. Traffic advisories out of New Hampshire appear, at 6:28 am, to show no signs of stoppage, however, The Union Leader is suggesting that students and teachers get there early to avoid traffic and find parking.
How large will the event be?
According to the examiner : "The workers already had in place portable metal bleachers on three sides that frame a center cockpit filled with individual seats. The quadrangle in front of the Alumni Building where commencement and graduation ceremonies are staged and the Romney-Ryan rally will take place was cordoned off with a six-foot tall chain-link fence metal fence. The area in front of the bullpen. The structure is said to be able to seat 3, 025 people." However with several acres of the quad available, there should be room outside of the structure for those supports, or protestors who care to witness the Town Hall.
The Program is slated to start at 10:00 a.m. – and coverage will be on c-span.org/Campaign2012/Events/Mitt-Romney-and-Paul-Ryan-Hold-New-Hamhsphire-Town-Hall To check Traffic, if attending or simply curious: at 6:42 Traffic is Moderate going into the campus according to local conditions.com.
With New Hampshire latest polling on the Granite State showing a statistical ties (includes WMUR-UNH polling), it will be interesting to see crowd size, given NH is a swing state. Although, for both the Obama Campaign and the Romney Campaign, crowd size in New Hampshire, also includes residents from all surrounding state (MA,CT, VT, and ME). It is not often that a political event takes place in the aforementioned states, so this is, for all intents and purposes, a New England Political Rally.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Obama Blasts Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan - Ryan on Medicare Speech to Seniors in Florida 2012 – Flashback: 1999 Ryan Bill to Protect Seniors
2012 VP Candidate Paul Ryan with Mother, Betty, speaks before huge crowd in FL on Medicare! - Crowd size visible on Real Clear Politics Video in link Paragraph 3 - image csmonitor.com
President Obama, on the stump for re-election has charged that the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan would hurt seniors due to the voucher system that is included in the plan. (AP) That may be news to Romney and Ryan as that has not been the intent of either man – rather, they are proposing a plan that would insure those 55 and older continue to receive benefits without any changes, while those under 55 would have a choice of either staying with traditional Medicare, or buying insurance that would be subsided, based on income, in an open market (where one would have the choices that Federal employees have as to health care providers, not limited by states). As the DNC talking points continue to insist that the Romney Ryan Plan is going to cut Senior Benefits, Ryan is talking to seniors about how the Obama Health Care Act includes drastic cuts to Medicare (Billions), and also includes the installation of a panel of bureaucrats which will decide further cuts, as well as care decisions. (Which is true under the Health Care Affordability Act).
In general elections Medicare is generally brought up by Democrats in mailings and advertisements telling seniors that if they vote for a Republican, they will lose their benefits, and in general elections of the past, politicians, including Bill Clinton, have avoided the big issue of Medicare in elections Philadelphia Inquirer Archives Sept.15, 1996., based on polling data – the same was true of Bob Dole, the GOP candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Clinton that year.
However Ryan, in his speech to seniors in Florida, suggested that the plan he and Romney proposed is based on one similar to Bill Clinton’s.video here at realclearpolitics.com. In fact, in 2011 there was a brief meeting between President Clinton and Paul Ryan in which the dire situation of Medicare was discussed as Clinton hoped the Democrats would not “do anything” Watch on You-Tube.com here
Ryan is not new to the Medicare Debate, and has been trying to protect seniors since entering Congress – from the Milwakuee Journal Sentinel Headline February 7 1999 “Janesville Republican’s Bill Would Shield Current Benefits from Cuts” - Ryan stated: “No matter what other reforms need to be made to make the program solvent in the future, there will be no change to current or soon to be retirees” he said..
Although in most general elections this would be political suicide, regardless of party, to bring up any changes to entitlement programs, even if they are designed to save a program – it is so much easier for those running for office, or those in office, to use it as a political football, and then kick it down the road. In this election there is more at stake, as the Medicare Program is gutted under the current Health Plan and melded with Medicaid, furthermore, that panel of bureaucrats who would cut services to seniors, does so without consent of Congress. For those seniors on Medicare or those 55 and older, this cannot be comforting. Individuals who have paid into Medicare all of their lives, should have some benefits at the least when they retire and are booted off traditional insurance. In this election, Romney and Ryan are at least proposing ideas to salvage the system and replace what is surely unfair to seniors with a program that protects them.
What is normally not ground for discussion on a GOP ticket, or even a DNC ticket, has come to the forefront – with Ryan’s understanding of policy and budget structure, his warnings, if unheeded may have dire consequences ten years from now. It remains to be seen if the millions of seniors that vote each year, as well the millions of baby-boomers nearing retirement, will take the chance that the Democrats will “protect” their benefit, while Republican’s will take the benefits away. If Seniors are paying attention, then the unthinkable may happen and the Democrats stand to lose yet another “group” that normally is in their back pocket.