theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hugo Chavez Throws Support Behind President Obama

  • Venezuela Elections .jpg
  • A supporter of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles holds a poster that shows Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as a supporter of Capriles during a campaign rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. Capriles is running against Chavez in the country's Oct. 7 election. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
It has been a weekend of political upheaval in Venezuela.
Following the double murder of two of Chávez’s opponents’ supporters, the controversial president has decided to weigh in on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
  In a televised interview that aired Sunday, Chávez put his support behind President Obama saying he'd like to have "normal" relations with the U.S. government.
  The Venezuelan leader said in his words that, "If I were American, I'd vote for Obama."
Like President Obama, Chávez is on a re-election campaign of his own, seeking another six years in office in an Oct. 7 vote.
   On Sunday a huge crowd filled the streets of Venezuela's capital of Caracas cheering for Chavez’s competition, candidate Henrique Capriles.
   Waving flags, the supporters were rallying in the last week leading up to the country's hotly contested presidential election.
   Capriles waved from a truck that rolled through the vast expanse of supporters. The crowd filled a downtown avenue and appeared to surpass 100,000 people.
   While President Hugo Chávez was leading weekend rallies elsewhere in the country, authorities were investigating the killings of two men in a shooting that erupted during an opposition campaign caravan in western Barinas state on Saturday.
   Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said in a message on Twitter on Sunday morning that a suspect was arrested in the double murder, but he didn't immediately identify the suspect.
   Opposition lawmaker Julio Cesar Reyes said on Saturday that a group of Chávez's supporters blocked the caravan and people on both sides were arguing when a gunman appeared and started shooting.
Opposition officials said both men killed were participants in the motorcade of Capriles supporters.
   Chávez, meanwhile, rallied thousands of supporters on Saturday in Guarenas, a town east of Caracas, telling them: "It's impossible for us to lose." The crowd chanted: "Ooh, Ahh, Chávez won't go!"
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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5 Worst Taxes ‘Obamacare’ Will Impose in 2013

Becket Adams

The Grover Norquist-founded Americans for Tax Reform, a 501(c)(4) lobbying group that opposes “all tax increases as a matter of principle,” on Friday released a list of what, they say, are the top five worst taxes The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. “Obamacare”) will impose on Americans in 2013.
Here they are [all block quotes via the report]:

The ‘Obamacare’ Medical Device Tax

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $20 Billion
Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales — even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year. In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care — making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

The ‘Obamacare’ ‘Special Needs Kids Tax’

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $13 Billion
The 30-35 million American who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap).
There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

The ‘Obamacare’ Surtax on Investment Income

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $123 Billion
This is a new, 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income:
Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013
Courtesy Americans for Tax Reform
The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

The ‘Obamacare’ ‘Haircut’ for Medical Itemized Deductions

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $15.2 Billion
Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans. This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

The ‘Obamacare’ Medicare Payroll Tax Hike

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $86.8 Billion
The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits. Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:
Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013
Courtesy Americans for tax Reform
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Americans For Tax Reform report.
Photos courtesy the AP.

Turkey; awakening the sleeping giant...

by F. Michael Maloof

Iran, Turkey vying for influence in Iraq.

WASHINGTON – As Turkey’s Kurdish problem becomes more serious, Ankara is looking to the Kurdish area of northern Iraq not only to help contain the attacks originating there, but also to increase its military presence as a way of impeding Iran’s growing influence, said a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Turkey Army

   The attacks have been by the militant Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK.
Turkish troops in southern Turkey are coming under increasing attack from the PKK, which then seeks refuge back in northern Iraq. In turn, Turkey has been launching airstrikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq.
Turkey doesn’t intend to launch ground forces, since the PKK is in mountainous areas that give their guerrilla tactics an advantage over conventional Turkish forces.
   However, Ankara wants to set up bases in northern Iraq from which it can gain information and then act on it before PKK guerrilla launch attacks into Turkey.
   As of now, there are some 2,000 Turkish troops and some tanks and helicopters in the area now.
While such an approach is to head off future attacks, it could give Turkey a military presence in northern Iraq that concerns Tehran.
   Turkey backs northern Iraq’s current president of the Kurdistan Regional government against the PKK.
However, the departure of the United States from Iraq has opened up the prospect of competition between Ankara and Tehran for influence in the area. Tehran’s own influence in neighboring Iraq has increased considerably with the departure of U.S. forces and the election of the Iranian-backed Shi’ite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki.
   However, Iran doesn’t want to push Turkey into any potential confrontation, even though they are competing with each other for influence in Iraq.
   With Iran’s own PKK problem, however, Tehran wants to work with Turkey on this common issue and other regional matters such as Syria.
   Turkey also sees an economic competitive opportunity in northern Iraq where there are vast reserves of oil which Ankara desperately needs. Similarly, Iran also has economic interests which it wants to pursue.
However, sources believe that given the deep-seated economic relationship that Turkey already has fostered in northern Iraq, it could achieve an advantage.
   Last June, Turkey visited Arbil, Iraq, and agreed to build a power plant in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. It is part of a Turkish effort to expand northern Iraq’s energy infrastructure.
   Turkey’s interest in working with the Kurdish regional government has placed it in competition with the Iraqi central government. Turkey’s interest in energy development in the northern region already is attracting foreign oil companies, since Iraq has placed considerable obstacles in their way in investing in Iraq’s own oil development.
   In vying for influence in Iraq over Iran, Turkey will be looking to the Sunnis for help against the Shi’ite Baghdad government which is in an increasing conflict with the Sunnis.
   Inside Iraq, the Sunnis are looking for outside help from Turkey as well as the United States in standing up to the al-Maliki’s Shi’ite government. Analysts say, however, that their influence with the Shi’ite Baghdad government is not as influential as that of Iran. Indeed, al-Maliki is looking to Iran to provide help against the Sunnis. For Iran, it will be a balancing act, since Iran doesn’t want to go too far against the Sunnis.
   Tehran needs to have decent relations with the Iraqi Sunnis to have influence over the Sunnis in Syria where Iran is seeking to preserve the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also a Shi’ite but from the Alawite clan offshoot.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Supreme Court to weigh affirmative action case

By David Demirbilek

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: A Supreme Court Police officer stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
   The Supreme Court marks the beginning of its new term on Monday. Although last year’s judicial fireworks, featuring challenges to the Affordable Care Act and Arizona’s immigration law, aren’t likely to be repeated, the Court will hear several high-profile cases in the month of October.
Affirmative action
   Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a challenge to Texas’s use of affirmative action in college admissions, is widely hailed as the most important case the Court has agreed to hear thus far.
   The case could potentially sound the death knell for affirmative action in the United States.
Texas requires that every student graduating in the top 10 percent of his class be admitted to University of Texas.       However, when Abigail Fisher did not graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, she was thrown into the remaining pool of UT applicants where racial preferences are utilized in the selection of students.
   Upon being denied admission to UT, Fisher brought suit in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the affirmative action policy she believed barred her admittance to the school.
   The Court last examined racial preferences in 2003, narrowly upholding them in the case Grutter v. Bollinger. However, Sandra Day O’Connor, Grutter’s swing vote, was replaced in 2006 by Samuel Alito, widely believed to be a skeptic of affirmative action.
   With four conservatives and Anthony Kennedy — who issued a fierce dissent in Grutter — currently sitting on the Court, many experts believe Fisher stands a good chance of prevailing against Texas’s affirmative action policy.
Argument Date: Oct. 10
Property takings
   In Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, the Court will examine whether intermittent flooding of land by the federal government constitutes a taking of property.
The U.S. Army Corps of engineers periodically flooded thousands of acres of land owned by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission from 1993 to 2000.
   The Commission brought suit against the United States, alleging that the flooding equated to a taking of their land by the government. The government disagreed, asserting that the flooding was only temporary and thus not a taking.
   The Heritage Foundation has remarked that under the government’s theory, “the flood in Genesis that wiped out every living creature except the ones aboard Noah’s ark was not a ‘taking’ because the water subsided after 40 days.”
Argument Date: Oct. 3
International law
   The Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum may present serious implications for international corporations.
The Kiobel case revolves around the Alien Tort Statute, a 1789 law adopted in the last few decades to sue in U.S. courts for violations of international and human rights law abroad.
   Two major issues are at stake in Kiobel. First, does the Alien Tort Statute even apply to offenses committed abroad? If so, second, does the Alien Tort Statute apply to corporations?
   Esther Kiobel, a Nigerian citizen, filed suit against Royal Dutch Petroleum and other oil companies for their complicity in the death of her husband. She alleged that the companies colluded with the Nigerian government in committing atrocities while putting down resistance to oil drilling, killing her husband in the process.
   If the Court rules for Kiobel, it will open a new channel for human rights and international law violations to be litigated in U.S. courts.
Argument Date: Oct. 1

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Savage: 'Spineless' Obama 'crawled' before U.N.

Michael Savage


   With his Middle East policy imploding, Barack Obama “crawled” before “anti-American jackals” at the United Nations General Assembly today to apologize for a film that insulted Islam, said talk radio host Michael Savage.
“We have the most spineless, dangerous president in American history,” Savage told his “Savage Nation” listeners.
   He expressed disgust for Obama giving deference to an audience that includes “Third World gangsters who sit there in their silk suits enjoying the 25 percent we the American taxpayer pay to keep them in their silk suits and their prostitutes on the Upper East Side.”
   Notably, he said, the audience included the “Hitler of our time,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel’s destruction.
   The Obama administration has blamed the attack on the anniversary of 9/11 that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya on rioting provoked by a bizarre anti-Islam trailer posted on, despite evidence of a coordinated attack by jihadists tied to al-Qaida.
“Our president begs them to forgive him for the video, when it wasn’t the video that caused it,” Savage said of Obama’s speech today.
   Obama told the General Assembly he has “made it clear that the American government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity as an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well.”
“I’m ready to throw up,” Savage said after playing a clip of Obama’s statement.
“Obama goes before the U.N. like a child and talks about a video? Uses the video to cover for his foreign policy disaster?”
   Savage said Obama, who he called a narcissist, can’t ever admit he made a mistake, including his misjudgment of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions across the Middle East.
Obama thought that by appeasing the Muslim world, Savage said, “they would love him.”
   “Instead, they killed our ambassador, and he’s done nothing about it, except crawl on his hands and knees.”
The attack that killed Stevens and three American diplomatic staffers, Savage said, was an act of war requiring a military response.
   “Any other president would have launched missiles at their training camps,” he said, noting the Libyans have indicated they know who is responsible.
Mahmoud in love
   Continuing with the theme of servility, Savage turned to CNN host Piers Morgan’s interview last night with Ahmadinejad.
   Amid concern about the issue on everyone’s mind – Ahmadinejad’s repeated threat to destroy the nation of Israel – Morgan asked: “How many times in your life, Mr. President, have you been properly in love?”
“I’m in love with all of humanity,” Ahmadinejad replied through a translator. “I love all human beings.”
Morgan laughed, commenting: “That’s probably the best answer I’ve had to that question.”
Savage didn’t hide his revulsion.
   “Shame on the stockholders of CNN,” Savage said, noting Ahmadinejad gave his speech in the city with the largest population of Jews outside of Israel.
   Later, Savage wondered what it might be like if Morgan had interviewed Adolf Hitler: “Instead of asking about the box cars, the genocide that we hear that is going on in the death camps, Morgan says, ‘Mr. Hitler, when did you decide to become a vegetarian? Mr. Hitler, what is your favorite Bavarian pastry? Mr. Hitler, do you and Eva plan to tie the knot some time in the future?’”
   To further compound the insult, Savage noted, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
It’s like saying on Easter Sunday, he said, “I’m going to kill all the Christians.”

Unskewed Polling Data 9/29/2012


UnSkewed Polling Data
Saturday, September 29, 2012 3:30:51 PM
UnSkewed Avg.9/4 - 9/27----44.151.5Romney +7.4
Fox News9/24 - 9/261092 LV3.046.044.0Obama +2
Reason/Rupe9/13 - 9/17787 LV4.345.052.0Romney +7
Reuters/Ipsos9/12 - 9/201437 LV2.944.054.0Romney +10
NBC News/WSJ9/12 - 9/16736 LV3.644.051.0Romney +7
Monmouth Univ.9/13 - 9/161344 LV2.545.050.0Romney +5
QStarNews9/10 - 9/1520753.044.055.0Romney +11
NY Times/CBS News9/8 - 9/121162 LV3.044.051.0Romney +7
Democracy Corps9/8 - 9/121000 LV3.143.052.0Romney +8
Wash. Post/ABC News9/7 - 9/9826 LV4.045.052.0Romney +7
CNN/ORC9/7 - 9/9875 RV3.545.053.0Romney +8
IBD/CSM/TIPP9/4 - 9/9808 RV3.541.050.0Romney +9
ARG9/4 - 9/61200 LV3.043.053.0Romney +10

What does being American mean?


   When I was a young boy, being American meant that no matter what happened in my world there would always be a hero near by to protect me from harm, and for the most part that was true. Police on the beat were actually your friends.
   People were more socially integrated, and likely knew your family, even if they lived several blocks away. Practically ever child was into athletics, and playing baseball. punch ball, stoop ball, stick ball, basketball and football and even skipping rope was  non-stop 7 days a week activity.
 It's where kids learned how to be kids, and learned some of life's most helpful behaviors, some good, some bad, but let's be honest good, or bad then, was nothing like what America has become. We always felt safe, and wandered blocks away from where we  lived to visit school friends. And some were even girls. Not like the girls of today, but nice girls who actually wore dresses and were well mannered. Kids just acted like kids, somewhat bazaar, trying to construct full sentences when talking to each other, and just plain unassuming, maybe naive.
   It surely was a better time. Sure we had a bully on the block, who would pick on certain kids, yet never do any real physical damage to them. I call this time in my childhood the period of discovery, when everything seemed unusual and new.
   We're now what sociologists call the "Baby Boomers" you remember, the ones that marched against Wars,  Civil Rights, Equality of Women and much more, and maybe even some of us were democrats, not the self indulgent democrats of today, but people who cared about helping each other.
   It's a funny thing growing up and watching how good ideas, have become bad ideas. Who says that intent doesn't matter. It couldn't be more obvious today that all the intent is for a larger government crippled by corruption at every level telling all of us what we must do. I grew up in a world where public servants worked for me, not the other way around.      
   We thought we had all the answers, unfortunately we didn't have all the solutions. What this nation needs is a rebirth of the faith that made this nation great. When I say faith, I mean a sense of responsibility that you wore as a badge of honor that compelled you to do your best, and for the right reasons. We are in bad times and need to make things unassuming again. Transparent.
   We need to teach our children success is an individual right not given to us by our government,  but our creator, and to fight with a unified force to preserve that right. Get out and vote for Honor, Integrity, and Duty. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012.

theodore miraldi

Shifting Reports on Libya Killings May Cost Obama


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s shifting accounts of the fatal attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, have left President Obama suddenly exposed on national security and foreign policy, a field where he had enjoyed a seemingly unassailable advantage over Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
   After first describing the attack as a spontaneous demonstration run amok, administration officials now describe it as a terrorist act with possible involvement by Al Qaeda. The changing accounts prompted the spokesman for the nation’s top intelligence official, James R. Clapper Jr., to issue a statement on Friday acknowledging that American intelligence agencies “revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.”
   The unusual statement was not solicited by the White House, according to Shawn Turner, the spokesman for Mr. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, but it seemed calculated to relieve some of the pressure on the White House for the contradictory accounts given in the two and a half weeks since the attack. It is unlikely to stop questions from the Romney campaign, which senses an opportunity.
   “This incident is a hinge event in the campaign because it opens up the opportunity to talk more broadly about Obama’s foreign policy,” said Richard S. Williamson, a former diplomat and an adviser to Mr. Romney.
   But the questions are likely to come not just from partisan Republicans. The Benghazi attack calls into question the accuracy of intelligence-gathering and whether vulnerable American personnel overseas are receiving adequate protection. Even allies of the president like Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have petitioned the White House for more information about how the government protects diplomatic installations abroad.
   Almost since the smoke cleared in Benghazi, Republicans have accused Mr. Obama’s aides of deliberately playing down the attack. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, condemned the administration’s initial account of the attack as “disgraceful,” saying on CBS that it “shows a fundamental misunderstanding not only of warfare, but of what’s going on in that part of the world.”
   The White House maintains that its account changed as intelligence agencies gathered more details about the attack, not from any desire to diminish its gravity. Mr. Obama, his aides point out, labeled the assault an “act of terror” in his first public response, in the Rose Garden, a day after it happened.
“In any situation like this, you know more one week later than you did the day after, and more two weeks later than you did one week after,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “Given the demand for information, we feel there is a responsibility to provide the facts as we understand them.”
   For the White House, the latest intelligence is helpful in one regard: It indicates that the attack, while carried out in an organized manner, mainly by a local extremist group in eastern Libya, Ansar al-Shariah, was probably not planned months or weeks in advance.
   After poring over intercepted electronic communications, informant reports and photographs and video from the scene, American intelligence and counterterrorism officials have concluded that a small number of the local Libyan militia members probably have ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Qaeda affiliate in North Africa. But analysts say they have not found any evidence to indicate that the affiliate ordered or planned the attack.
In his statement, Mr. Turner said that it was unclear who had directed the attack, but that “we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to, Al Qaeda.”
   At the same time, further details about the attack could lay bare lapses in security that could damage the administration. CNN has reported, from a diary belonging to J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador killed in the attack, that he harbored worries about his security. Mr. Williamson, who served as special envoy to Sudan under President George W. Bush, said it was unlikely that Mr. Stevens would not have relayed those concerns to the State Department.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, Steven Lee Myers from the United Nations, and Ashley Parker from Bedford, Mass.

Lap Dog Media Turns To Lap Dog Polls

by Tom Dougherty

The phone rings …
Good morning, lap dog media and polling. How may I help you?
Why good morning Mr. President and what can we do for you today?
Yes sir, we can certainly come up with some polling to support our ongoing meme that the race is over and you’re going to easily win.
Oh, don’t worry about that sir, we know you don’t understand numbers and simple math but that’s why you have us in your corner. You just leave everything to us and enjoy your day.
  The worst kept secret in the United States is that the media is in the bag for Obama, and their incessant meme of late is the race is for all practical purposes over. However a good story is better with pictures or charts so lately the media has evolved from just being journalistic hacks into mathematical hacks as well.
   Much has been written of late about party bias in both national and swing state polling so I won’t regurgitate it here but a quick lesson in simple math and how it affects polling results is in order.
   An individual poll is a snapshot in time with little long-term value. Trends formed over a period of time using multiple polls has greater prognosticating value but I digress. Here we just want to look at how the media has used biased polling practices to create inaccurate pictures to support their partisan reporting.
   In a perfect world a poll would use a cross-section of people that exactly represented the demographics of the area being polled, the US if national or an individual state, but that’s impossible. However most pollsters try to get the demographics as close as possible to reduce bias in any direction.
   For the purpose of this article the demographic we are concerned with is political party affiliation because it can potentially skew poll results more than any other demographic group. Certainly it’s easy to understand the moreDemocrats you ask who they’re voting for the more Obama answers you’ll get, and vice-versa. Now that doesn’t mean that every Democrat will vote for Obama any more than every Republican will vote for Romney, but you get the general idea.
   The following chart represents the party affiliations from the 2004 and 2008 general elections, the 2010 mid-term elections, at the end of 2011 and the most recent available percentages for 2012. See the author’s notes below for the source of the data.

   Before we go on let’s address a few things that are important. First, you can forget the 2004 and 2008 numbers because the 2012 race has little correlation to either of those years, despite punditry that would say otherwise, and you can dismiss 2010 because it was not a general election year. Second, the motivation of the voters within each individual party is an important number since a more motivated group of voters are more likely to actually go vote on Election Day.
   For our purposes, we do not have to factor in motivation since both parties have a level of voter support that is reasonably close. That leaves us looking at the party affiliations at the end of 2011 and the current 2012 numbers which average 32% for the Democrats, 30% for the Republicans and 38% for Independents and Others. In theory then these are the percentages that any fair-minded and unbiased poll would seek to use as a sampling by party affiliation.
   Let’s start with a few recent national polls presented by some media outlets and look at their results, party affiliation percentages and deltas against the real averages:
FOX News on 9/26 had Obama +5 with 41% Democrats (+9) and 38% Republicans (+8)NBC News on 9/16 had Obama +5 with 32% Democrats (+0) and 25% Republicans (-5)CBS News on 9/12 had Obama +3 with 35% Democrats (+3) and 22% Republicans (-8)ABC News on 9/09 had Obama +1 with 32% Democrats (+0) and 26% Republicans (-4)
   Therefore the party bias in favor of Obama for these polls respectively is 1%, 5%, 11% and 4%.
However it’s the swing state polls that come to the forefront, given that national polls are of lesser value since we know the Electoral College will come down to a just a handful of states. Looking at some recent media polls at the state level we have:
OH: CBS News on 9/24 had Obama +10 with 35% Democrats (+3) and 26% Republicans (-4)
CBS News on 9/24 had Obama +9 with 36% Democrats (+4) and 27% Republicans (-3)
CBS News on 9/17 had Obama +1 with 30% Democrats (-2) and 31% Republicans (+1)
CBS News on 9/17 had Obama +4 with 35% Democrats (+3) and 24% Republicans (-6)
CBS News on 9/17 had Obama +6 with 35% Democrats (+3) and 27% Republicans (-3)
FOX News on 9/18 had Obama +7 with 42% Democrats (+10) and 36% Republicans (+4)
FOX News on 9/18 had Obama +7 with 38% Democrats (+6) and 33% Republicans (+1)
FOX News on 9/18 had Obama +5 with 42% Democrats (+10) and 37% Republicans (+5)
NBC News on 9/18 had Obama +8 with 36% Democrats (+4) and 31% Republicans (+1)
NBC News on 9/18 had Obama +5 with 33% Democrats (+1) and 28% Republicans (-2)
   You can do the individual poll math but the average Democratic bias in these ten polls is 5% including one where there is actually a 1% Republican bias. Also these are only polls taken on behalf of media outlets and do not include some of the most abusive polls where there are biases in favor of the President by more than 10%. Truly a case of lap dog pollsters providing additional cover for the lap dog media and it’s no wonder, given such one-sided sampling, that the recent poll results favor Obama.
   It’s no secret that most polling firms have had, and will continue to have, a political bent and tend to favor one party or the other. However, 2012 has seen an increase in the blatancy of such bias and a recent press release that accompanied a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, a known Democratic leaning firm, may be all that is necessary to see just how blatant. Consider the following quote and you be the judge if any faith can be placed in any organizations who would espouse such a statement.
“Barack Obama is starting to pull away in Iowa,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Voters there just really don’t like Mitt Romney. It would be more competitive if the Republicans had a half decent candidate.”
So what’s it all mean?
   First there are few polls that can be taken at face value and Barack Obama is not leading by anywhere near the numbers, nationally or in the swing states, the media is citing.
   Taking the last dozen published national polls (not including Gallup or Rasmussen’s Daily Tracking) and adjusting them for party bias, the popular vote stands at Obama with 47.2% and Romney with 46.4%. That’s less than 1% in a group of polls with a margin of error over 3%, while the RCP Average that uses polls at face value says Obama has a 4.1% advantage.
   Looking at the swing states the RCP Average for those states that, in my opinion, are the true battlegrounds is up by 4.2%, but again adjusting for party bias the real number is 1.5% in the President’s favor. That’s less than half the margin of error and, to use an abused phrase, a statistical tie.
   Despite the lap dog media narrative and their lap dog pollster numbers the reality is not at all what we’re hearing and seeing on a daily basis. In fact, if Obama loses in November, that phone just might ring again with a conversation that includes “Well sir, you should know better than most people using bogus numbers will yield poor results. Please enjoy your retirement.”
   AUTHOR’S NOTE: The 2004, 2008 and 2010 party affiliations were obtained from exit polling conducted by Edison Research for the major media outlets and independent polling conducted by Pew Research. The 2011 and 2012 affiliations are the average of numbers published by Gallup, Pew and Rasmussen Reports.

Fed's Fisher says U.S. "drowning in unemployment"

Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, answers a question from the audience after delivering the 2009 Albert H. Gordon Lecture about the current financial crisis at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts February 23, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
RICHARDSON, Texas (Reuters) - The United States is "drowning in unemployment," its economy is running at stall speed and inflation is "not a problem," but easier monetary policy is not the answer, one of the Federal Reserve's most hawkish policymakers said on Friday."We've had a recovery that is quite disappointing," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told a group at the University of Texas at Dallas.
But without more certainty on tax policy and regulation, he said, "all the monetary accommodation in the world" will not get businesses hiring again.
The Fed this month said it would buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month to in an effort to boost employment, and pledged not to stop buying until the labor market improves substantially, as long as inflation remains under control.
The idea behind the program, known as quantitative easing, is to push down borrowing costs for home purchases and other investments, freeing up household cash. With consumers spending more, businesses are expected to boost hiring to meet the demand.
The trouble with that logic, Fisher said on Friday, is that businesses cannot make decisions about hiring as long as tax policy is in the air. Of particular concern is a raft of spending cuts and tax increases dubbed the 'fiscal cliff' that looms at the end of the year.
"A short-term fix to the fiscal cliff will do nothing but push out the envelope of indecision and we will continue to be plagued by high unemployment," Fisher said.
Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years; inflation is currently below the Fed's goal of 2 percent.
Fisher, who opposed the new round of stimulus, said he agrees that the issue of the day is jobs and putting people back to work, but was concerned that the Fed could lose its focus on inflation.
"I do think that it would be a dangerous thing if we were to abandon containing inflation and inflation expectations to achieve employment targets," Fisher told reporters after the speech. "We have to make sure that we carefully work on both fronts."
Like some of his more hawkish colleagues, Fisher said his opposition to further easing also stemmed from worries over what will happen once the Fed needs to reverse course.
The Fed has kept interest rates at zero since December 2008, said it would likely keep them there through at least mid-2015, and bought more than $2.3 trillion in long-term securities to further lower borrowing costs. Many economists expect the Fed's balance sheet to be well above $3 trillion by the time the current bond-buying program ends.
"We've never been here before so none of us know how we're going to navigate out of this particular quadrant of the liquidity pool in this ocean of money. And what I'm concerned about is that we may be painting ourselves into a corner," he said.
"We've done a lot ... It's not clear to me despite our theoretical ability to understand the tools very well, in practice, how we are going to get out of this."
Fisher also said he was worried about "what it will look like" if the bond-buying program does boost the economy and rates start to rise, forcing the Fed to incur losses on its multitrillion-dollar portfolio of bonds.
In recent years the Fed has turned a hefty profit and sent most of the proceeds to the Treasury.
(Writing by Ann Saphir; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

What Obama daughter's vacation cost...


What Obama daughter's vacation cost

Lawsuit filed over government funds expended on Mexican spring break


The Obama administration is unlawfully withholding public records about the spring break trip to Mexico funded by taxpayers last March for Malia Obama, according to a new lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, the government watchdog organization based in Washington.
   It’s not the first blackout the government has imposed on the trip, Judicial Watch noted.
Press reports of the trip for the then-13-year-old, a dozen friends and an estimated 25 Secret Service agents were erased from the Web on orders from the White House.
   The new lawsuit claims not only are the records for the expenses of the trip required to be public, it is illegal for the administration to withhold them.
   “Contrary to federal law, the Obama administration has simply ignored this basic [Freedom of Information Act] request. I have little doubt that this stonewall is because of the embarrassment of the security costs for the spring break trip of the Obamas’ daughter,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The organization previously has ferreted out details, including estimated expenses, for other Obama vacations at taxpayer expense.
   For example, the organization said it discovered a February 2012 weekend ski vacation to Aspen, Colo., for Michelle Obama and her two daughters included U.S. Secret Service costs of nearly $49,000.
   And Judicial Watch said costs for the U.S. Air Force and the Secret Service for Michelle Obama’s August 2010 vacation to Spain were at least $467,000. Further, a trip by Michelle, her family and her staff to South Africa in 2011 cost another $424,000, excluding transportation, security and other costs.
   The lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service seeks to force compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.
Judicial Watch said it submitted a FOIA request to the Secret Service on March 29 by certified mail seeking, “Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the expenditure of U.S. government funds to provide security and/or any other services for Malia Obama and any companions during her March 2012 visit to Mexico.”
Although the Secret Service acknowledged receiving the letter and assigned it a file number, the administration has refused to respond.
   “The Secret Service’s determination was due by May 4, 2012, at the latest. As of the date of this complaint, Defendant Secret Service has failed to … determine whether to comply with plaintiff’s requests [or] notify plaintiff of any such determination.”
   It was on March 19 when “numerous online press outlets reported that the president’s 13-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, was on a spring break trip to Mexico accompanied by 25 U.S. Secret Service agents and as many as 12 of her friends.”
However, Judicial Watch explained, “shortly after the press reports surfaced, they were quickly removed from the Internet.”
   “The trip reportedly took place shortly after the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a statement advising students on spring break ‘to avoid Mexico.’”
Politico reported at the time that the removal was on orders from the White House.
   Kristina Schake, communications director for Michelle Obama, emailed to Politico: “From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.”
  Politico reported the story was picked up by Yahoo, the Huffington Post and the International Business Times along with overseas publications such as the London Daily Mail, the London Telegraph and The Australian. By the end of the day, however, the story had been removed from the sites.

Friday, September 28, 2012

'Liberals, Obama is laughing his a-- off at you'

by Kathy Shaidle

Sean Hannity
Hannity took the media to task for spreading Obama’s misinformation about the Libyan embassy attack (FREE audio).

“I’m going to tell you something,” Hannity said on his radio show. “All you liberals out there, all you people in the media, I’m telling you, Obama in private is just laughing his a– off at all of you because you are so dumb, so gullible, so easily manipulated. And all he has to do is tell you that there is a doughnut in the sky and you’ll report there’s a doughnut in the sky.”
Rush Limbaugh
This week, Rush boldly proclaimed, “Barack Obama is a serial liar, and I think it’s time to call him out on this” (FREE audio).
That was in response to the overwhelming evidence that the administration has been lying about the true cause of the attack on the American embassy in Libya.
On a lighter note, Limbaugh mocked Madonna’s “outstanding, uplifting endorsement of Obama” – who she referred to as “a black Muslim in the White House” (FREE audio).
Michael Savage
Savage bashed CNN’s Piers Morgan for cozying up to Iranian dictator Ahmadinejad on his show this week (FREE audio).
“Piers Morgan asked Ahmadinejad how many times he’s been in love,” an incredulous Savage told his listeners. “He didn’t ask him why he makes genocidal statements or why he wants to kill Jews. I’d say, ‘Shame on you,’ but it’s the stockholders of CNN who should really be ashamed.”
Savage also blasted First Lady Michelle Obama for talking about slavery and Jim Crow laws during an address to the Congressional Black Caucus, “stirring up racial division and distrust in a way I have never seen” (FREE audio).
Aaron Klein
Should any doubts remain about the president’s true agenda and beliefs, this week Klein played a newly discovered audiotape in which the young Barack Obama declares himself in favor of “wealth distribution.”
Klein also exchanged words with a British Muslim radical who is clinging to the myth that his co-religionists around the globe are rioting in response to a low-budget video on YouTube. Along with the latest news from North Africa and the Middle East, Klein served up an exclusive interview with Ed Koch, asking the former mayor of NYC if he still planned to support Obama’s reelection in light of the president’s tepid support for the state of Israel (FREE audio).
Mark Levin
To call Mark Levin unimpressed by Obama and Clinton’s “apology crap” would be an understatement. Instead of getting serious about national security, says Levin, the president and his predecessor are all over the media, apologizing to Muslim fanatics instead of defending cherished American rights and freedoms (FREE audio).
The first lady didn’t escape Levin’s wrath, either. He castigated her draconian school lunch programs – and praised the students who were speaking out against what is amounting to a starvation diet (FREE audio).
Laura Ingraham
The ever-controversial Ann Coulter joined Laura Ingraham to talk about her new book “Mugged,” which looks at the history of race relations in America from the 1960s up to today. Coulter explained that contrary to popular belief, the Democrats, not the Republicans, have been the ones supporting slavery and Jim Crow laws.
She also spoke with George Buckley Sr., whose son, Lance Corporal George Buckley Jr., was killed by a police trainee in Afghanistan. Buckley said the U.S. government lied about the circumstances of this son’s murder, and he wants answers. However, it seems Obama was too busy partying with celebrities to meet Buckley when he had the chance (FREE audio).
Glenn Beck
Who is really waging a “war on women”? Republicans or Democrats? Glenn Beck’s answer may not surprise you: He criticized Obama’s (female) deputy chief campaign manager for implying that most American women don’t know or care much about political issues (FREE audio).
Beck countered that women “are the ones who are most often in the trenches and have felt the pain of the last four years probably more than anyone. They are the ones that are shuffling the kids to and from practice, getting them to daycare … taking them to a friend’s house or going to the doctor’s office with them.”

Mitt Romney winning 301 electoral votes

Mitt Romney winning 301 electoral votes as projected by polling data.

By: Dean Chambers

The map showing which candidates lead in the various states in the Presidential Race.
   The Rasmussen Reports Presidential Daily Tracking poll released today shows President Obama leading over Mitt Romney by a 46 percent to 45 percent margin. The new Gallup Tracking poll released today shows the race tied at 47 percent for each candidate. Today's release of the QStarNews Daily Tracking Poll shows a 55 percent to 45 percent lead for Mitt Romney. An Associated Press/GfK poll released yesterday, based on a balanced sample showed Obama leading    Romney 47 percent to 46 percent. These are the most accurate and least skewed polls among those currently included in the Real Clear Politics average of presidential polls. The average of these four polls would put the race at 48.3 Romney and 46.3 Obama. That is within the margin of error or a tie. Leaving out the QstarNews poll, the average of the other three is a tie.
   The presidential race is decided by the votes of the states that send the electors to the electoral college who will actually elect the next president under our Constitution. State polls released today and recently are the basis for the analysis below. As former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris and others have pointed out, the undecided vote in a presidential election will always heavily favor the challenging candidate by election day. This entirely new analysis will be by regions of the country and the key swing states within them. The map above shows the map based on this analysis and projection of electoral votes.
   Northeast: Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont are strongly supporting Obama. Maine and Connecticut lean to Obama but might come into play if Romney's campaign gains more traction in the polls nationally. New Hampshire is the key swing state and Rasmussen's latest poll there shows Romney winning by three percent. New Hampshire will go for Romney in November. New York is solidly blue for Obama also.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey lean toward Obama while Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC all strongly favor Obama.
   South: This region is Romney's strongest area as it has been for Republicans in recent presidential elections. West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas are all solidly “red” and Romney states. Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are the key swing states in the South. There are many heavily-skewed polls favoring Obama from Virginia but an average of the credible polls there (Purple, WeAskAmerica and Rasmussen) shows it as 48.0 percent Obama to 45.7 percent Romney. That is statically a tie and the undecided voters will swing Virginia to Romney in November. North Carolina is a similar story but Romney leads 1.8 percent in the RCP average of polls there despite the inclusion of 1-2 skewed polls. Romney will win North Carolina.
Florida is considered to the be big prize among Southern swing states. There are also many skewed polls included in the RCP average of polls for Florida. The legitimate polls there (Purple, WeAskAmerica, Gravis, Rasmussen, AIF/McLaughlin) would average in a tie of 47.6 percent for each candidate. The undecided voters will decide the Florida vote in favor of Mitt Romney.
   Midwest: Indiana and Missouri are likely Republican for Romney while Michigan and Minnesota lean toward Obama. Obama's home state of Illinois is solid blue. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota are all likely Romney states. The leaves this region's swing states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa. The RCP average for Ohio has many skewed polls as well. The credible polls in Ohio (Purple, Rasmussen and Gravis) would show Obama 47.3 to Romney 44.3 percent. This is basically tied and the undecided voters will break it in favor Romney.
There are no recent polls for Michigan that appear credible there for this states will be classified a toss-up for the purposes of this analysis.
The RCP average of Wisconsin includes several skewed polls and the latest poll from Rasmussen poll showing the race within the poll's margin of error. Remember, the undecided voters tip Wisconsin narrowly to Romney.
The only recent and credible poll in Iowa is the Rasmussen poll of Iowa showing Romney leading 47 to 44 percent. Iowa will definitely go for Romney in November.
   Southwest: Texas and Arizona are going solidly for Romney while the more competitive New Mexico leaning toward Obama.
   Rocky Mountains: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah are all strongly for Romney. Nevada and Colorado are the swing states in the Rocky Mountains. While the RCP average of polls in Colorado includes several skewed polls, an average of the Purple, Rasmussen and Denver Post/SurveyUSA polls shows the race to be Obama 46.7 percent to Romney 46.0 percent Romney. That is a tie statistically, and it will lead to undecided voters tipping Colorado to Romney. In Nevada, the Rasmussen and Las Vegas Review Journal/SurveyUSA polls both show Obama at 47 percent to Romney 45 percent. Given that this is a tie and the known effect of undecided voters, Nevada will also side with Romney in November.
   Pacific: California is solidly for Obama while Washington state is likely to be won by Obama, and Oregon is still leaning to Obama.
Alaska will be a solid Romney state while Hawaii will be strongly for Obama.
The result is Mitt Romney leaning the states above showing various shades of red or pink that are worth 301 electoral votes while Obama leads in the blue states worth 221 electoral votes. The lone toss-up state is Michigan which is worth 16 electoral votes.
All three debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have yet to come and could move poll numbers significantly. Additionally there are still more than six weeks left until election day and many events or other issues, or gaffes by candidates, can effect the picture of the election between now and November.
The pattern of skewed polls, most of the commissioned by the mainstream media, continue to paint a much more favorable electoral picture for Obama than that shown by accurate polling. This leads to many others in the media to project very favorable maps and projections for Obama but those doing so fail to realize or accept how heavily-skewed polls distort any average or analysis that relies on them.