Friday, February 21, 2014
Ted Cruz speaking in Sarasota, image from the Bradenton Herald
There’s just is something about Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas – he rails against the GOP leadership, he is not concerned so much about his place in the party, rather in following what he believes to be right for his state and the U.S. overall – by the book – which is the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, as the left media (Mainstream) throws bomb after bomb, and are joined by the likes of John McCain and Mitch McConnell (the Establishment GOP), one wonders where on earth the appeal would be for Cruz by center, rather than hard-right Republicans?
In a word, he is forthright and as far as one can tell, speaks to what he believes in, not necessarily what is politically correct – he is refreshing.
When a rally was held in Sarasota for the Senator who was receiving a Statesman of the Year Award by the Sarasota GOP, they expected 200 people, 2,000 showed up. The gathering in Sarasota contained those people most likely to vote for a standard center right Republican Candidate, say a Mitt Romney; yet, they came to see Cruz, and gave, significantly, to do so. According to the article on Breitbart, it was noted by a FL GOP spokesperson that Cruz did well with those in FL most capable of donating large sums to the GOP.
This astounding Cruz popularity makes for a conundrum of sorts, since one thinks of Cruz, given the national media, as a Tea Party only Senator or a “wacko bird” in McCainian speak. Yet, he is more an everyman, which is the appeal, and why, when seen engaged in speaking (not in sound bites) he is instantly liked, even by those whose party is more progressive!
Although the media in Florida had different accounts of the crowd size (Palm Beach Post, suggests 1000,, while the ABC Affiliate in Bradenton suggests 1500, and the Sarasota Herald Tribune admits to “more than a 1000” ) it is apparent that the event was noteworthy for two reasons: one Cruz generates media, and thereby attention, and two, it was more than the anticipated 200 attendees – bearing mention.
One may hypothesize that Senator Cruz will be running for President in 2016, or perhaps, he feels so strongly about the many things that are wrong with the status quo in Washington D.C., regardless of political affiliation, that he is just out there on the stump spreading the message of standing up for what you believe in regardless of party. The bonus is that in and by doing so he is also raising money for state GOP’s. 2016 sounds more likely – and those pundits in D.C. and elsewhere that will be looking for the right meld of moderate again, will be wasting their time. Regardless of the intent of Cruz, he has a growing base of admirers – including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where grassroots will be flooding to Manchester to hear him speak in April, 2014 and the event it sold out, with a waiting list only in case a larger venue is found or seats open up (unlikely).
Maybe, just maybe, the nation is looking for someone sincere, who doesn’t sound like Washington, and who is – simply put, unafraid and smart. The addition to the 2016 potential candidates of Senator Cruz, would make for an interesting primary, specifically if the choices include Rand Paul, and then the “old guard” – Santorum, Gingrich (no kidding), and Jeb Bush (even his mother is against that move). A more constitutionally based, Jeffersonian GOP is certainly possible, and that terrifies the left media, as well as the major political parties, who would hold less sway with a Libertarian leaning President who would not cow-tow to the right nor the left.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Historical Weather – The Farmer’s Almanac versus – NOAA – National Weather Service – Who Do You Think Nailed the Winter 2014 forecast?
A typical New England Day 2014 - photo from Bangor Daily News
If one answered the National Weather Service versus the arcane Farmers Almanac one would be wrong - In an article fromBloomberg’s Business Week, the discussion of how the use of climate forecast models, did not apparently work out so well this year for the government’s weather division:
The cause of the tough winter, as is well known by now, is the polar vortex, a strong and persistent ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific and the west coast of the United States. First, it’s causing California’s drought. Second, polar winds are flowing northward around the high-pressure ridge and then plunging down along the ridge’s backside.(Bloomberg)
What the Climate Prediction Center hasn’t been able to figure out is why that ridge has maintained its position so persistently. “Sometimes trying to figure out why something happened is as hard as making the forecast of what will happen,” Halpert said in a Feb. 14 interview.
The article from Bloomberg goes on to describe the difficulties of long-range forecasts, and the ways in which these climatologists are going to use this year’s data to help with next.
One might suggest they purchase a copy of the Farmer’s Alamance as soon as it’s released in August to give them a helping hand. The Farmer’s Almanac’s 2014Long range weather forecast here was, as one might say – spot on, predicating colder than usual temps, and a ton of snow across the nation. (Farmer’s Almanac).
They rely on, as far as one is able to tell – historical weather data – for kicks one might take a trip down memory lane or through history by date on their website at www..faramersalmanac.com/weatherhistory.com where there is the ability to choose an area by zip code and specific dates going back as far as 1945. Looking at February of 2014 and comparing to February 1955, in decade increments, one finds a pattern emerge – of cooling and warming and cooling over periods of years. Go figure.
One might agree or disagree with either model, but one model has been fairly consistent since it was first published, while the other...not so much.
The bonus, there are recipes and planting tips for those so inclined, and although no one, from those using science to those using other methods can accurately predict 100% of the time what is going to happen with the weather – one has to wonder why there is such a difference between the climatologist and the historical weather forecaster. Although, to be truthful, one might add another category to the mix – those who have lived through 4 or more decades will remember cooler winters, deeper snows, hotter summers, colder summers and so on. Again a pattern emerges. –go figure.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The Affordable Obama Care Act – Government Funded Groups Use Campaign Model – Failure to enroll targeted groups in significant numbers – Enrollees still not paying premiums – Are they enrolled?
The New York Times attempt at writing a glowing piece on enrollment campaigns for Obama Care (which is the Affordable Health Care Act) is somewhat disingenuous, although the title “Obama’s Vote-Getting Tactics Struggle to Find the Uninsured”, may suggest otherwise. The story speaks to the difficulty canvassers using the Presidents’ campaign model (and prior campaign staff members) is having difficulty:
The hunt for the uninsured in Broward County got underway one recent afternoon when 41 canvassers, armed with electronic maps on Samsung tablets, set off through working-class neighborhoods to peddle the Affordable Care Act door to door. Four hours later, they had made contact with 2,623 residents and signed up exactly 25 people(New York Times)
They are using targeting, to find those individuals that most likely would “benefit’ from enrolling in the mandated plan.
Who is running the campaign – and to what end?
The campaign is staffed by organizations deploying thousands of paid and volunteer canvassers across the country. Planned Parenthood, one of the most aggressive groups, has raised millions of dollars for the effort. It is paying about 400 workers like Ms. Morwin $12 an hour. They are knocking on an average of 18,000 doors a day in eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Enroll America, a nonprofit group that is trying to expand the health care rolls, has hired 266 people and recruited 14,000 volunteers to not only canvass neighborhoods but also make calls at phone banks and host events at community colleges in 11 states. The group has also spent $7 million to advertise on the Internet.(New York Times)
Therefore what we have is government funded groups paying volunteers to knock on doors in the hopes that they will increase the enrollment of a government funded plan – to date the New York Times estimates there are 3.3 million insured under the Affordable Obama Care Plan. The article continues in a hopeful vein, suggesting that the numbers will increase, yet does not mention that fact that those enrolled may have difficulty proving they have coverage at all, nor the impact on the taxpayer, many of whom have seen drastic increases in premiums or have lost their insurance altogether due to the mandates under the Affordable Obama Care Plan.
One of the difficulties in tracking enrollees is that the the plan fails to bill enrollees, simply because they never built the system (computer)to bill those that had signed up on the site to begin with! (Kaiser Health News). Therefore if one hasn’t paid a premium, is one truly insured? That seems to be the question for those attempting to receive health care.
Additionally, those most likely to benefit would be the insurance carriers themselves, due to the fact that Obama care reimburses insurance companies for any losses due to many claims as the young and healthy aren’t signing up in droves (even though one would not be able to actually be confident one was insured) – the New York Post considers this arrangement a Bailout -or another example of government – corporate collusion that has a hefty price tag that must be paid for by –the taxpayer. – More on that note from Insurance Networking News article “Obama care’s Outrageous Bailout for the Insurers -Obamacare has always depended, both operationally and politically, on an alliance between the administration and insurance companies. But that alliance is vulnerable.”worth the read.
Given the above scenario –that government funded groups, are having difficulty increasing the numbers of enrollees in a government mandated and funded plan, which said enrollees are not billed for and technically not insured, while promising the insurance companies who must pay claims once these individuals are treated, suggests a system that is beyond the pale – incompetent and costly. Which is why, there are some who believe that bigger government or government involvement into the private sector (Healthcare) is a really bad idea. The simplest fix: Those that are not able to buy insurance due to income levels should be able to enroll in Medicaid – the ridiculous limit on insurance carriers in states in general, should be removed, and a federal law (commerce clause here), instituted that allows all insurance carriers to compete nationwide – thus dropping the premiums due to an increased pool, and the laws of competition. Remove the mandates with one exception, mandatory physical exams yearly at no cost, thereby allowing insurance companies to offer “a-la-carte options for plans” that would vary in price and fit the individual consumer. There would be no need for mandated coverage, thus removing the IRS and any penalties to consumers, saving the taxpayer further and with more money in their pockets, further enhancing the economy.
That’s simplistic of course, and would work of cause, which is why it is not even remotely on the table.
There is always 2014 and 2016 – yet, in the meantime, the level of incompetence is stunning while the odds of a failing system are increasing.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Although it is understood that Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner now, given polling data and the obvious choice of the “next in line” of both political parties, one individual can best her – Elizabeth Warren. It began slowly with a great deal of hype about Hillary being unbeatable. She was pitted against Chris Christie the Republican Governor of New Jersey, with little to no push with the GOP and Independent Base, Hillary being the only “name” choice besides Biden, won handily. Warren, on the other hand was getting some press, and speculation early on, however that has ramped up as the news outlets are starting to push Warren over Clinton.
The Democrats will run an ism – in this case on feminism, so, it is almost certain that the nominee will be a female – they’ve got fewer bombs to throw with a generic male. The shot at Hillary came from several sources suggesting she may be too old to run for President (i.e. the John McCain syndrome), but the one that catches the eye is from NBC The Perils of being the presidential frontrunner. and the risks inherent this early in the game – while noting she is the frontrunner it also covers Elizabeth Warren, who is suggested as an option. The reason this is of import is that main news networks are now laying the groundwork for an anti-Hillary. The political blogs had previously, as noted, suggested age would be an issue See Politico – opinion on Hillary Clinton being too old to be President: this one suggests Generation X may choose a younger Republican. (Politico).
Elizabeth Warren is the first term Senator from the State of Massachusetts. (warren.senate.gov) and her short list of legislation since she was elected here at the library of Congress She is a former Harvard Professor, and had worked diligently for consumer rights in D.C. The Hill Blog’s Bernie Quigly, writes an almost unintelligible article on Warren suggesting an historical “Zen” moment. While MSNBC has literally had a meltdown as far as the suggestion Clinton would run, while there’s a perfectly good Elizabeth Warren in the wings Washington Post.
The obvious comes to mind when one is considering Senator Warren, specifically the similarities to the President – little to no experience in the legislature and a background in academics rather than in the private sector. That said, she is unabashedly, at this point in the game, a progressive – with no excuses – taking credit for the 99%, and owning the “movement”. If she stays true to herself and her ideology that would be commendable, but doubtful if one is in the Presidential race to win. She is, for good or ill, the darling of the left, and the progressive left is now firmly in charge of what once was a working man’s political party. They are not above making promises to pass legislation, whereby they are not necessarily forthcoming about the outcomes and the effect on the working class (See Obamacare).
It truly is too early to speculate, but with so few choices from the Democrat Party – one has to speculate that they will need a “hook”, which would be the female vote, and that they need a squeaky clean – brand new candidate to replace anyone with a hit of scandal outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - . That would be Elizabeth Warren.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Elites versus the working man – a schism in American Politics and the rise in popularity of the anti-incumbent
A Tea Party Protest at the Capitol - from the teapartytribune.com
An article in Salon on the political landscape in Kansas by Thomas Frank almost hits the nail on the head – almost. His piece entitled: “The matter with Kansas now: The Tea Party, the 1 percent and delusional Democrats”, suggests that the Tea Party (and independent parties) fueled by the Christian right, in Kansas, is responsible due to a populists movement of the elites versus the common working man. In the later he is correct, and perhaps for Kansas, the Christian right appears to fuel this divide, however, if one were to export the theory nationwide, one might find a rejection of all things “elite”, specifically as it applies to those in Washington D.C., and statehouses and City Councils around the country.
Perhaps, just perhaps the liberal dogma that suggests there are class systems in the United States (First Estate, Second and ad naueaum), is being rejected by those who, not specifically lacking in education, and able to understand the Constitution and Bill of rights, understands that the United States was not founded on the principles of class – rather than every individual had the ability to make their own way.
It was not to elect a king, or a body of respresentative who would be kings (and queens), it was modeled as a Republic in order to prevent that very scenario from occurring. Therefore, as elections come and go, one might find the incumbents out in the street, and those who are running for office too far left and yes, too far right, abandoned for a candidate that may not necessarily be considered viable by those who would be kingmakers (the professors (elite), the media (elite) and the political class (notice that’s common) who are – elite).
From Red State an article on Macon, Georgia, local politics, where the NPR station concluded that due to the fact that a white Republican won in an overwhelming African American district, the candidates being Democrats, that race must be a factor. Although concluded by centrist Democrats and Republicans that it was not. It was the same litany of “race” that stems from the liberal theology, that is part of the problem, and may actually lead to a choice that would be, not racist, but anti-establishment.
How so? When those who sit in ivory towers lecture on “institutions” (isms), the magpies in the media suggest this to be “fact” rather than what is contrary to the principles on which the country was founded. Therefore, all things being political, there is a rejection of those that would be part of the body politic. It is indeed a populist uprising against those who consider themselves part of a specific class, due to a degree, or lineage, by those who disagree that blind allegiance to a party, or ideology has led the nation down the wrong path.
Simply put, the revolution has begun to take place at the ballot box and there is no turning back. Those that may be considered “safe” are those that break rank with their particular political party –that condemn those in Washington as “elite”, and, with libertarian principles strongly grounded in the Constitution, will appeal to those who are no longer trusting of the lot of them.
The recent shock election in San Diego may be worth a second look, a Republican, “Kevin Faulconer won a decisive victory over Democratic Councilman David Alvarez in the San Diego mayor’s race Tuesday, signaling a new chapter for the city after the scandal-plagued tenure of former Mayor Bob Filner. Faulconer had 54.5 percent compared to Alvarez’s 45.5 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting. (UT), a race that was considered a toss-up by Reuters.
San Diego was not so usual in this election cycle (2013-2016), the same scenario played out in small and mid-sized cities, even those with political machines in place, across the country in 2013. In some instances, even fiscally proven Democrats lost seats, while incumbent Republicans (on the “establishment side) were also defeated. It is a non-partisan rejection, and there is that danger of throwing the ‘baby out with the bathwater” but – call it the unfortunate casualty of the ballot box revolution.
The Tea Party, as so often maligned as racist and full of ignorant, even right-ring Christian individuals, is more a conglomeration of all ideologies, specifically those who reject the elitism of the “ruling political class”. It is the economy and it is the infringement on rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the abuse of the same Document that has driven the working man and women to rethink blind political allegiance to one political party (or the other).
Tea Party Poster from 2009 - the beginning - from southchicagoan.blogspot.com
This will bring those “elites “who recognize the climate, to join ranks, be less party centric, and take advantage of the movement, yet, there will be, one can hazard to guess, few of those. The low information voter, a coveted prize by on party or the other, is no longer the uninformed, and therein lays the hope for the nation.