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Friday, August 31, 2012

Now The Fact Checkers Get Desperate

The fact checker at the Washington Post is having a conniption today. He had the job of supposedly checking the facts of the Romney acceptance speech in order to come up with places that Romney lied. After all, the latest attack line from the Obamacrats is that the Republican convention was one lie after another. It is a strange attack and one not likely to work, but they are throwing everything into it. Still, I actually feel sorry for the reporters who are supposed to seem fair as they check facts while knowing that to satisfy their bosses, they have to find against the GOP. Here are some examples from today's Washington Post:

1) Mitt Romney said this: “Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled.” This cannot be denied. Government statistics from Obama's own government back this up. The fact checker, however, starts to stammer that further back in time, gas prices were higher than they were when Obama took office. Somehow, this is supposed to turn the truth into a lie. Really? That is the best this reporter can come up with?

2) Mitt Romney said: “And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” Our trusty fact checker again calls out Romney for the statement. No, there's no denying that Romney has such a plan. Instead, the Washington Post fact checker denounces the Romney statement because it comes to only 250,000 jobs created per month over four years. Hello! Mr. Fact Checker! Did you bother to look at how many jobs have been created in the last four months? The number under Obama is around 80,000 jobs. That makes 250,000 per month look pretty damn good. In fact, with 250,000 jobs per month, the unemployement rate will go down. Under Obama the last few months, the unemployement rate has been going up.

There's more, but you get the idea.

Is this real?

Over at Powerline, John Hinderacker is discussing a private poll taken last week in Minnesota. It shows Barack Obama with a lead over Mitt Romney in the state of one percent. ONE PERCENT!!! I realize that this is just one poll, but if it is anywhere near accurate, it is earthshaking. After all, Minnesota has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972; that's a streak of 40 years. Even when Ronald Reagan carried 49 states in 1984, it was Minnesota that stayed with the Democrats.

If there is any truth to this poll, it is time for the Democrats to panic. If Obama loses Minesota, he will also lose Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana -- five heartland states he carried last time that together have 53 electoral votes. Right now, public pollsters are putting only Indiana in the Romney column. Obama cannot afford to lose the other four states. Indeed, if Romney only picks up North Carolina where he is now favored and Florida which is also trending toward the GOP, he wins the election with these five states.

But, but, but...I thought Romney didn't care

With the Republican convention over, Mitt Romney has gone to storm ravaged Louisiana to thank the first responders and to comfort those whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Isaac. It is Romney's first order of business after the convention. President Obama, on the other hand, has been too busy campaigning to take a moment to see all the damage himself. Indeed, he has not even declared all of Louisiana a disaster area entitled to full federal help. Apparently, red states and their citizens can just wait. In a display of who he really is, Obama has now announced a belated change of his schedule so that he can make a quick stop in Louisiana on Monday. When the schedule change was first announced, Obama was going to make a campaign stop on the way to New Orleans. After a batch of criticism, that campaign stop has now been cancelled.

I hope everyone remembers seven years ago when George Bush was criticized for flying over the destruction of Hurrican Katrina the day after the storm ended. Bush was "heartless" we were told and he did not care about the poor black folks in New Orleans. Even so, Bush made it to Louisiana on the ground more quickly after the end of Katrina than Obama will with Isaac. Anyone want to guess how many stories we will see in the media about Obama's being heartless? Here's a hint: you won't need any fingers to count them.

Once again, Romney has demonstrated to America that he is the one who cares about the people. Obama cares only about his re-election efforts. We are all left to wonder if Obama would have ever made it to Louisiana but for Romney's trip.

The GOP Convention -- Thursday

The last night of the Republican convention focused, of course, on Mitt Romney's acceptance speech. I thought it was a good speech. It did not have the ideological focus that Paul Ryan brought the night before. Nor did it have the soaring rhetoric of a typical Obama effort from 2008. What it did was show Mitt Romney for who he really is: a direct, no nonsense problem solver, someone who can see the difficulties that we face and actually do something to help fix them. The contrast with president Obama was stark; Obama, after all, is a man who thinks that rhetoric is more important that accomplishments. After four years of talking about fixing the economy, Obama has done nothing to help. Perhaps the entire speech could be boiled down into one line that Romney spoke in which he said that four years ago, Obama promised to stop the rise of the seas and to heal the planet; after a pause Romney added that his promise was to "help you and your family." In other words, the pie in the sky rhetoric may have sounded nice, but now we need someone who knows what has to be done and who can actually do it. This ought to resonate with millions of folks across America who need hope right now.

Earlier in the evening, there were perhaps the most emotional section of the program, but a section that none of the networks televised. I had to watch it on C-span because even the cable channels cut away from it for the most part. I am speaking about the statements from two different families about how Mitt and Ann Romney had helped them deal with personal problems. One speech came from a couple who lost their 14 year old son to cancer about 25 years ago. They explained how Mitt Romney of their church had come to visit the boy repeatedly, how he had arranged an outing that the boy really wanted (in between hospital sessions), how he had drafted a "will" for the boy at the boy's request, and how, also at the boy's request, Mitt had delivered the eulogy at the funeral. Even after the boy's death, Mitt Romney kept checking on the parents to see how they were faring. It was an incredibly emotional story of a truly good man. The second speech came from a mother who related the tale of her daughter who was born three and a half months prematurely. Again, Mitt Romney was there to help; he did more than just visit in the hospital. On Thanksgiving, with their daughter still in the hospital, this family had not focused on the holiday. On Thanksgiving morning, the Romney's arrived with an entire Thanksgiving meal that they had cooked for the family. The baby survived and grew to be a woman. She suffered through her life, however with the aftereffects of her birth ordeal. She died at 26 in 2011 in California where she had moved with her parents over ten years ago. Here's the clincher: when she died, the Romney's took time out from the presidential campaign to come to California to comfort her parents.

These are amazing stories that we had never heard before. I could not help thinking about the contrast with Obama. Obama's past was built up into mythical proportions even though he really had not done much. Obama has a brother who lives in a hut in Africa in complete poverty. Recently, when the brother needed $1000 for medical treatment for his child, Obama did not help. Obama's aunt lived in Massachusetts, also in total poverty. Again, Obama did not help. The president of the United States gave the cold shoulder to his close family members. But the press told us what a great man Obama is. On the other hand, Mitt Romney lived his life actually helping others. The stories above are not about close relatives; these were folks in his church, nothing more. How many men would do what Romney did? But, being humble, Romney never publicized these stories. Instead, he had to withstand attacks from the Obama machine claiming that he is a cold and heartless plutocrat. Well, now the truth is out. The cold and heartless one is Obama, the man too busy campaigning to help his brother in need. Romney is the good man.

I hope the true story get out to America.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


When I filled up at the gas station this afternoon, the price for regular gasoline was $4.49, an incredible price for the end of August. All of America is suffering the result of short sighted energy policies adopted by president Obama. Just imagine what the cost reduction would be if Obama had allowed drilling on Federal land to rise like that on private land has. The oil production from private land over which Obama has no control is up by over 15% in the last four years. Production from federal lands and off shore, the place where Obama has control, is down by about 11%. Had Obama just allowed the production on federal land to keep pace with the private efforts, there would be much more oil flowing from American wells right now. No one can say for sure exactly where the price of gasoline would be right now, but one thing is certain: it would be substantially lower than $4.49. A fair estimate is that a reasonable energy policy could have the price down by about a dollar a gallon right now. In short, Obama has failed and we all are paying the price.

Big News from Pier 1

About a year and a half ago, I recommended the stock of Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (symbol PIR). When I last discussed the stock, it was selling for $11.82. Since then it has risen sharply and closed yesterday at $18.24. This morning, however, there is news which ought to send the stock up more in the near term. The company announced sales and expected earnings for the quarter that just ended on August 25, 2012. Sales were up 8.3% to 368 million dollars. Estimated earnings per share were 24 cent on a GAAP basis and 19 cents on a non-gap basis. Both numbers beat the estimates of the analysts.

The report was a good one no matter how one looks at it. There is hidden information, however, which makes the report look stellar. Let me explain. For the longest time, Pier 1 had no internet business at all. A visit to the website could help one locate a store, but that was it. Then, the company organized their site to permit a customer to order merchandise on line, but that customer still had to go to a store to pick the order up. In the middle of the just-completed quarter, Pier 1 finally went live with a site where one can order good directly from the company. It is a full service on line store. The current quarter's results include the results of that effort for one-third of the quarter. The website officially commenced operations last week, but it has actually been up and running for about a month. According to this morning's report, total sales by the company were up year over year by 8.3%, but comparable store sales were up 6.7%. The key additional fact is that the company has essentially the same number of stores this year as it had last year. That means that something like 1.6% out of and 8.3% sales increase is due to the new website. If the website could generate those sales in a month prior to the official launch, just imagine what it will do when it operates full time for the coming quarters with full advertising support from the company. It is not difficult to forecast the website to add ten percent or more to the company's sales.

One needs to keep in mind that Pier 1 already has a gross margin of about 60% on sales. For marginal sales from the website, this margin has to be higher. In short, most of the additional sales revenue will go (after tax, of course) straight to the bottom line.

What all this means is that outlook for the future profitablility of Pier 1 just got a great deal rosier. It is true that Pier 1 will be captive to the overall trends in the economy, but even there, the company has advantages. The nascent recovery in housing could be a boon to Pier 1 even if the overall economy continues its descent into recesssion. On the other hand, if the economy somehow manages to pull out of its decline, Pier 1 could catch that wave to profit in a major way.

Even after the more than 50% increase in the stock price since I last recommended Pier 1 stock, I still think it is a good buy. My twelve month target for the stock is twenty six dollars.

DISCLOSURE: I am long Pier 1 stock.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The GOP Convention -- Wednesday

The Republican convention has completed another night and it was amazing. The highlight of the evening was the speech by Paul Ryan, the nominee for vice president. Ryan managed in a short while to sum up the faults of the Obama presidency. It was once of the clearest and most accurate assessments of the failed four years of Obama that I have heard. Ryan also made clear that Mitt Romney and he understand the nature of the crises that America faces and the failed reasoning that underlies the disasterous Obama program. He also made clear the nature of the program to be followed to fix the problems. Obviously, not all of the details were there; he only had a half hour to speak. What was totally clear, however, is that Ryan is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, that he is logical and incisive, and that he is someone who most Americans would be proud to have lead them. I could go on with praise of the Ryan speech, but two overarching points stand out at the moment. First, the contrast between bumbling Joe Biden and Paul Ryan is stark; no sane person could have watched Ryan speak tonight and observed Biden over the last four years without concluding that Ryan is head and shoulders above Biden in quality and character. Second, my sense is that the speech will be a major boon to the Romney campaign. Millions of voters now understand that Romney picked a serious problem solver to be his running mate. Unlike Obama, Romney did not settle for a buffoon who added good optics to the ticket. Ryan is a first rate addition who will make governing much easier. It speaks extremely well for Romney's ability to deal with the problems facing the country.

Beyond Ryan, there were also speeches by Condi Rice, Susannah Martinez and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee spoke first. There are few men who can connect with the a big segment of the GOP base better than governor Huckabee. He was just as effective tonight, delivering a major speech in support of Romney.

Condi Rice came next. As with Ryan, it was clear from the speech that Rice is a major intellect. She addressed foreign policy, an area little discussed in the convention so far, and Rice's indictment of the Obama failures was on point and devastating. Even so, the strongest portion of her speech was her discussion of American exceptionalism and the need to preserve it.

Martinez was another star. She is not the orator that Rice and Huckabee are, but the recounting of her story was still riveting.

On the whole, it was a great night for the GOP.

The McMahon Surge is Real

In the last two weeks, polling in the Connecticut senate race has shown Republican Linda McMahon leading Democrat Chris Murphy by 3 point, 49% to 46%. The polls, by Rasmussen and Quinnipiac, were shocking to most observers. Connecticut is a blue state in a blue region. Could Connecticut voters really be leaning towards selecting a Republican as a United States senator? It seemed like an historic shift, but the polling firms involved have decent track records, and so it seems that we may indeed see senator McMahon sworn in next January.

Today, there is further proof that the surge in voters for Republican McMahon is real. Public Policy Polling is out with a poll of the race that shows Democrat Murphy ahead by 48 to 44 percent. You may wonder how a poll showing Murphy in the lead is proof of a surge to McMahon, so let me explain. First of all, Public Policy Polling has a track record for its polls always overperforming for the Democrat. The differences in some states are as large as seven percent better results for the Democrats in a Public Policy Polling effort compared to the average of all other polls. That means that a 48 to 44 margin for Murphy probably translate to at best a tie for Murphy in a poll by an unbiased pollster, and more likely, a McMahon lead. Second, Public Policy polled registered voters for this poll rather than likely voters. In general and particularly in Connecticut, registered voters poll about two or three percent more Democrat than likely voters. In other words, an unbiased poll of likely voters would show McMahon in the lead by a margin much like the one in the other two polls. Third comes the clincher. I realize that many folks will look at this matter with cynicism. Did Public Policy Polling actually favor Murphy, they will say? Here is what you need to know. One month ago, Public Policy Polling did a poll prior to the McMahon surge; they poll gave results for likely voters. Then, McMahon moves ahead of Murphy, and the pollster switches back to registered voters. Public Policy Polling made a switch in methodology that it knew would add two or three points to Murphy's numbers and subtract a like amount from McMahon's. Clearly, the pollster determined that without the switch to registered voters, McMahon would have a third poll showing her in the lead.

I Doubt It was Me, But It Probably Did not Hurt

Earlier today, I wrote to Yahoo to demand an appropriate response to an outrageous statement by the head of Yahoo News in Washington,DC. The culprit, David Chalian broadcast last night during the GOP convention that Romney and the Republicans were happy to have a party while black people were drowning. Remember that Chalian has been running all Yahoo News in the nation's capital, perhaps the most important news spot in the country. Chalian's statement was not only false, but also it was racist, bitter and hateful.

Word is just out that Yahoo has fired Chalian and apologized to the Romneys and the Republican party. Good. Chalian can always get work at a fantasy leftist news site like Salon or maybe the Huffington Post. At least there his bile will just be clearly identifiable for what it truly is. No one will confuse it for accurate. Even better, maybe Chalian will now find employment in a field closer to his true calling: trashman.

And The GOP is Racist?

Last night, Mia Love, a Republican congressional candidate from Utah spoke at the convention. Love is the mayor of a small city in Utah and she happens to be black. The speech was extremely good. So what was the reaction of the left to this speech by a black woman. The answer was swift. The Wikipedia entry for Mia Love was modified while she was speaking. Love was called and "aunt Tom", a "dirty whore", a "house nigger" and more. Remember the reaction when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut? The media went crazy. Have you heard any outrage over what was done to Mia Love? Nope!

The left is the only real large section of America that still clings to racism.

Morphing Obama

After yesterday's theme at the GOP convention which was "We built it", the Obama apologists are out this morning trying to explain president Obama was correct when he told business owners that "you didn't build that; somebody else did." It's actually fun to watch the process.

Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times explains this morning that "we all built that." He points out that one of the speakers at the GOP convention built her business after getting a loan from the SBA and winning government contracts. What better proof could there be, he argues. Kristof needs to remember what Obama said. Obama was not arguing that businesses get help from government; Obama was very clear. "You didn't build that; somebody else did" is not a statement that the government helped. Obama was claiming that the business owner gets no credit and government gets all credit. Obama was just plain wrong, and everyone knows that.

The important point here is that millions of businesses across America are run by owners who have to struggle each day to keep the doors open, to pay employees, and to satisfy customers. These folks are the principal reason that the businesses survive and grow. Did the SBA loan funds to a business? Yes, but who then was obligated to pay that loan back if the business failed? Here's a hint, it wasn't the government. Have governments made purchases from businesses? Sure, but that doesn't mean that the government built the business. And it makes sense. When governments try to build businesses we end up with failures like Solyndra. A business has to operate to make a profit in America; if it is just meant to make a political point like the Obama green energy businesses, it will surely fail.

The GOP Convention -- Tuesday

It was an interesting evening in Tampa on Tuesday. The highlight for me was the speech by Ann Romney. While watching Mrs. Romney, I was struck by how brave this woman is. She has had multiple sclerosis for many years. At one point she was nearly unable to walk, but she worked her way back using equine therapy. We recently learned that during the primaries, Ann Romney started to get an flareup of the disease. She just kept going. Fortunately, the flare subsided. As if that was not enough, a few years ago, she was afflicted with breast cancer. But there she was in Tampa. She spoke brightly and cheerfully and from the heart. I think she reached millions of people across America.

The keynote address by Chris Chistie was also masterful. The pundits criticize it for not mentioning Romney enough, but the speech certainly spoke to me. Christie laid out the Republican vision for the future. The GOP will deal with the nations problems rather than follow the Democrat practice of hiding the problems or, if that fails, blaming someone else for them. The issue, Christie properly points out, is what we do now, not how did we get here.

Two other speeches also merit mention. Nicky Haley of South Carolina was particularly effective at pointing out how president Obama has spent four years fighting with American business rather than helping it to thrive. There is no valid answer to this charge from the Obamacrats. Artur Davis, former congressman from Alabama, also spoke powerfully. Davis is a former Democrat who delivered one of the seconding speeches for Obama four years ago. He made clear that after watching Obama in action for four years, he could no longer support Obama. It was eye opening stuff.

I also did my usual of flipping from channel to channel to compare the coverage. It was fun to watch the MSNBC crowd try to do instant rebuttals to what was said at the podium. It never fails to amaze me just how idiotic Chris Matthews really is. I also thought that Fox News had a real coup in getting Peggy Noonan on as a commentator to discuss the big speeches of the evening.

On Wednesday, the big speech will come from Paul Ryan. It ought to continue the Christie theme of tackling the big issues.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Musician Ought to Know

In what passes for news these days, the New York Times published a column written by Sean Lennon. In case you do not recognize the name, he is the son of John Lennon of Beatles fame. Lennon "reports" about the damaging effects of natural gas drilling and warns against allowing it to be done in New York. Here is the key section of his article:

I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value.

Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.

It is amazing that the Times would print such rubbish. Actually, if you think about it, it is not amazing, just sad. The Times is more interested in ideological purity than accuracy.

First of all, there have been no instances of "ruined drinking water" as a result of drilling for natural gas in shale formations. The EPA (yes, the Obama EPA) investigated three separate locations where claims of contamination were made. In each instance, the EPA determined that there was no contamination from the gas drilling. There are places in the country where gas is located in shallow seams and leaks into the ground water; such contamination is not due to drilling, however. In fact, drilling in those areas reduces the gas pressure underground and lowers the likelihood of gas being forced into the water supply.

Second, there is also no instance of gas drilling in Pennsylvania putting toxic fumes in the air. Once again, Lennon is just repeating the hype not the facts. The Pennsylvania State government issued a report in 2011 commenting on the effect on air quality of gas drilling. It found no increase in pollution as a result of the drilling.

Third, the idea of "industrialized landscapes" actually tells you that Lennon does not know what he is talking about. Nearly all gas drilling into shale is done by means of what is called horizontal drilling. That means that a well is drilled vertically down for one and a half or two miles. When the target zone is reached, the drill is turned to the side and the well continues horizontally through the shale. Customarily six or more wells are drilled from one drill pad and they go off in different directions once the horizontal turn is made. That means that there is one small drill pad no bigger than the site of a house that provides drill coverage for an area of about a square mile. Once the drilling is complete, there is a small installation left at the site; this is the size of a small shed. It is about as far from an industrial landscape as one can get. But of course, these are facts, and Lennon does not care about facts.

Fourth, Lennon next goes to the claim that each well results in five million gallons of contaminated water. Clearly, Lennon has not bothered to even read about the proposed drilling in New York. The New York Landowners Association has proposed having the drilling done using the Gasfrac process. It uses no water at all. The wells are fractured by a process that uses propane, and the propane is all recovered back from the well when the procedure is finished. Lennon's estimate of five million gallons of contaminated water per well is off by five million gallons per well.

Fifth, Lennon complains about the release of radon and uranium. This is another mistake on his part. In the past, environmentalists complained that the water used in fracking would dissolve radioactive minerals buried deep in the earth and bring them to the surface as the water was pumped from the well. That theory was tested by the state of Pennsylvania. No instance was found of increased radioactivity in any of the water used for fracking. Further, since the New York wells that Lennon is discussing would use the GasFrac method, no water at all would come to the surface. That means no radon and no uranium. Lennon is completely wrong.

Finally, Lennon goes off the deep end discussing "leaking" wells. He's wrong. Natural gas is highly combustible. That is why it is used for fuel. That is why it is piped into people's homes to use in stoves and furnaces. The technology to control leaks is very good. If sixty percent of wells actually leaked (as Lennon claims) we would see a large number of well explosions each year. There are none because the wells do not leak.

I know that Lennon had a famous father. It did not make him an expert in drilling. Maybe his dad sang that all you need is love, but if you want to talk about drilling for natural gas, love is not enough. You need facts and they had better be correct.

Stop Campaigning Mr. President

For the last few days, the media has been abuzz with talk about whether or not the Republican Convention should be curtailed because Hurricane Isaac would be hitting Louisiana at the same time. It seems to me that this is not the right story to follow. The Republicans in Tampa cannot do anything to help the folks in the path of the storm. That responsibility belongs for the moment to president Obama. So what is Obama doing? You guessed it. He is out campaigning for re-election. He hasn't even bothered to interrupt his campaign schedule to monitor events in the Gulf when the hurrican comes ashore later today. To make matters worse, Obama has been giving the storm short shrift. Once again, Obama is more taken with what he says than what he does. His speeches are full of words about how we all need to fight the storm together. According to Lousiana's governor, however, Obama has failed to issue the full federal disaster declaration that would allow Louisiana the full resources needed to deal with the storm. Even worse, the Obamacrats are not responding promptly to requests from the state in this time of crisis. I guess Obama figures that he is unlikely to carry Louisiana in November so he sees no reason to spend time doing his job.

This is the real story here. Don't hold your breath waiting for the media to cover it, however.

I Wonder If They Know?

In the last few days, I have seen a great many pundits on television discussing the nature of the presidential campaign. Some have offered interesting insights; others not so much. What has struck me, though, is the decision by the Obama campaign to use race as its main argument for the moment. The Obamacrats are attempting to paint Mitt Romney and the entire GOP as racist. It is an amazing strategy.

Let me give you an example. As many of you are aware, Romney has been very critical of the decision by Obama to allow waivers of the work requirement that was the principal accomplishment of the welfare reform of the 1990's. That requirement forced a big portion of welfare receipients to either work or go through job training in order to keep getting their payments. It was remarkably successful; the number of people on welfare fell dramatically with most of them returning to the workforce. Obama's plan to waive this requirement brings things back to where they were prior to the reform. Some of the items that have been proposed for these waivers include counting "bed rest" as work, counting personal hygiene as work, describing dance lessons as job training, and the like. In short, the Obama waivers would eliminate the work requirement.

For the last week, I have seen one liberal pundit after another annouce that Romney's criticism of Obama over his destruction of welfare reform is racist. Rachel Maddow called it "obviously racist" last night. Another pundit said that the criticism was equivalent to "communing with the Klan". Their reasoning is all the same. In essence, they argue that white America equates welfare with blacks, so any criticism of Obama's handling of welfare has to racist.

I know that this reasoning is ridiculous. I even feel foolish calling it reasoning. But the comments have been repeated in place after place in the liberal media. Without a doubt, this is the talking point selected by the Obama campaign to counter Romney's attack on the Obama position.

As I have watched this nonstop injection of race into the campaign by the Obamacrats, I have been wondering if they understand what they are doing. Sure, they know what words they are saying. Clearly, they understand that they are sticking race into the campaign by falsely accusing the other side of doing just that. I believe that they think that they are revving up the African American portion of the Obamacrat base. I get all that.

What I wonder though is if these liberal pundits realize that they are also stoking enormous anger in the conservative base. Even worse for the libs, they also are driving away the few independent and undecided voters left in the electorate. I believe that these racial attacks by the liberals are more likely to motivate conservatives to vote than the African Americans at whom the comments are directed. In modern America, to be falsely called a racist is not a minor thing. A great many conservatives worked long and hard to get welfare reform passed through Congress and signed by the president. It was not racist then, and it is not racist now to criticize Obama for undoing that reform. Watching the Obamacrats use personal attacks rather than logical thought to support Obama's actions is infuriating. There are also undecided voters who are listening to these statements. It does not take a genius to realize that except for true believers, no one will accept criticism of Obama for undoing welfare reform as having anything to do with race. The racist rhetoric makes the Obamacrats look nasty; it also makes clear that they have nothing meaningful to say on point.

It may take a while for the full impact of this exchange to manifest itself. When it does, however, I believe we will see higher levels of turnout among the GOP base and a slide of some of the undecideds to Romney.

I just wonder if the Obamacrats know what they are doing?

Monday, August 27, 2012

What to do when your whole hand is just the race card

The main stream media is making a big deal over Chris Matthews telling the chair of the RNC that the Republicans are playing the race card in Tampa. There are many required responses; here are a few:

1. Why would anyone care what Matthews thinks? He is totally in the g=bag for Obama. Matthews is the one who famously said that he gets a thrill up his leg when Obama speaks. Matthews is Debbie Wasserman Schultz with shorter hair.

2. Matthews, like so many Obama supporters in the press, acuses the Republicans often of playing the race card whenever Obama's campaign starts to falter. In that world, reminding America that Obama took $716 billion out of Medicare is playing the race card. Obama's failure to make any headway improving the economy is playing the race card. Indeed, any criticism of Obama is playing the race card. The truth is that Obama does not have a "get out of criticism free" card. He is president and he is doing a terrible job. Pointing that out has nothing to do with Obama's race.

3. Matthews has nothing else to say. Obama has already called Romney a felon and a murderer. It has had no effect. The only thing left in the Obamacrat playbook is the race card. Matthews is the one who is using it, not the GOP.

Murphy's law

Chris Murphy is the Democrat candidate for senate in Connecticut this year. It is his first statewide race, and in view of the huge advantage for Democrats in this state, Murphy ought to be way ahead of his GOP opponent. Murphy, however, has fallen behind according to the latest poll. It seems that for the first time in his political career, Murphy is running against someone who is prepared to tell voters who Murphy really is.

Let me explain. The GOP candidate is Linda McMahon, the extremely wealthy wrestling owner/executive. She has adequate funding, something new for a Murphy opponent. As soon as the primary was over two weeks ago, McMahon started running a TV ad that pointed out Murphy's failure to show up in Congress. During the financial crisis, Murphy missed 80% of the meetings of his assigned committee whose job it was to deal with that crisis. The ads ask the salient question: how can Murphy do his job if he won't even show up to work? Most people in Connecticut have no idea who Murphy is, so these ads introduced Murphy to many people as yet another freeloader politician who spent his time worrying about elections rather than about doing things that might benefit the country. The impact was great.

The Murphy campaign decided that it had to hit back. It put out the word in ads and in the media that the McMahon ad was false. Congress, you see, was not even in session during the period that McMahon was referencing. Murphy did not fail to show up; there was no reason to be there. It was a surprising position and one, if true, that would doom McMahon. How could she launch a totally phony attack like that?

It took about a day or so for the news media to investigate Murphy's claims. It turns out that no only was Congress in session during the time period, it was passing some very important financial bills that came right out of the committee in question. Perhaps the biggest one of these bills was the Troubled Asset Relief Program which is better known as TARP. Murphy missed all of the committee consideration and Congressional debate of TARP. The Hartford Courant labelled the Murphy counterattack on McMahon as bogus. Murphy, it seems, was the one who was lying.

McMahon now has ads running across the state letting the folks know that Murphy is a liar on top of being a typical self-interest pol. I do not know how many people are actually paying attention, but I am sure that those who see these ads have had their views of Murphy colored for certain.

If Obama wins big in Connecticut (which is certainly possible), Murphy may still get dragged across the finish line by that momentum. On the other hand, if the presidential vote is even reasonably close here, McMahon may win. For Murphy, everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.

Hurricanes and Campaigns

The GOP Convention in Tampa was shortened to three days due to Tropical Storm Isaac. The decision was made two days ago when it looked like the storm would pass off shore near Tampa. Now, Isaac is heading much further west. New Orleans looks more in danger than the west coast of Florida. In other words, there was no need for the change in the convention. Still, the goal of the RNC in making the change was safety of the delegates and releasing the various police and other personnel to deal with the storm rather than with the convention. They made the right call.

It is rather funny that the next hurricane issue to arise is also about Isaac. The storm will come ashore, most likely in Louisiana, on Tuesday. The press is now asking if the GOP will cancel the Tuesday session of the convention. Remembe that four years ago in St. Paul, the McCain convention was cancelled on Monday because a storm was coming ashore in the Gulf. The convention was over 1000 miles away from the storm track, but the geniuses of the McCain campaign decided that after Katrina it would look bad to hold the convention while the storm was hitting. It was the first and only time that a convention was ever postponed or cancelled due to weather somewhere else. But now the main stream media is all over the place wondering if the GOP will follow suit this year. I certainly hope that the convention goes on, and it seems that it will. No one would be offended if the convention proceeds while the hurricane hits Louisiana. The actions by the McCain group four years ago were silly. The business of America does not stop just because a storm hits one area.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Laugh Line of the Day

The New York Post is known for its witty headlines, but the funniest headline of the day comes from the AP. Here it is: Obama Says Next Term He Will Work Across Party Lines.

This one is so good that it should be added to the short list of the worlds biggest lies. It ranks right up there with "the check is in the mail."

Updating the Carnage in Syria

I have been writing about the murder campaign by the Assad regime in Syria for the last year and a half. It began small. First, there was just a crackdown on protest marchers by police with clubs. Next came the use of govenment snipers to shoot people at random at the protests. Then, Assad began to move beyond snipers to automatic weapons that sprayed the protesters. When that still did not stop the protests, Assad went to using the Syrian army to take over neighborhoods where the protests were strongest. That led to the first countermeasure by protesters (other than the marches themselves). The Syrian people began to fight back against the army, and many soldiers chose to abandon the army rather than kill their countrymen. Once again, Assad escalated the fighting. The next move by Assad was to bring in artillery and tanks to shell troublesome neighborhoods. Thousands of innocents were killed. Tens of thousands fled, many to Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon. At that point, the opposition gelled into rebel forces. All sorts of ordinary Syrians began fighting against the oppression by Assad. In response, Assad threw in the use of fighter jets and armed helicopters against the rebel positions. Fighting then spread across the entire country. Two of the biggest battlefields are the largest cities of Aleppo and Damascus.

Right now, no one knows which side will prevail. The rebels have the support of the majority of the people and they control large sections of Syria, especially in the northern part of the country. Assad, however, still has the loyalty of the remaining portion of the army as well as support from Iran and Russia. This means that the war is being fought by lightly armed rebels against heavily armed Assad forces who get constant resupply from their foreign benefactors in Teheran and Moscow. The death toll is over 20,000 already. To put this in context, this is about ten times the number of Americans killed in ten years of fighting in Afghanistan.

American policy initially was to ignore the fighting and to side strongly with Assad. Remember when Obama and Clinton called Assad a "reformer" while he was busy having demonstrators killed by snipers? While you may not remember this, you can be sure that the Syrian people do. Then Obama moved away from support for Assad to silence. There were periodic calls for peaceful resolution of the problem, but months and months went by without a condemnation of Assad by the USA. Those who were marching in the streets in Syria were on their own in Obama's view. Later, with much fanfare, Obama had the State Department announce that Assad should step down. That earthshaking moment had no effect in Syria since it did not come until there was a full scale war going on there. Contrary to Obama's own belief in his efficacy, both sides in Syria realized that Obama's words meant nothing. They were just words, nothing more.

We are now at a point where there is clear foreign intervention in Syria. Iran is now sending troops as advisers to the Assad forces. The mullahs have made clear that they will not allow their only Arab ally to fall from power. Russia has protected Assad at the UN, and it has shipped arms and ammunition to resupply the Assad forces. Obama's response has been to talk about the need for humanitarian aid (although none has been actually sent). The Obamacrats also leaked word that Obama had authorized the CIA to help the rebels. This is another of those leaks of a national security secret that are clearly designed to improve the image of Obama. For this one, however, there is not a single shred of evidence that it is true. There has not been any word from Syria that the USA is involved in any way with either side.

Last week, Obama did warn Assad that any use of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile (which is reputed to be the largest in the world) will not be tolerated. In response, Iran warned Obama to stay out of Syria and our president shut up after that. Obama just looked weak. The problem, however, is that all those chemical weapons remain in place for use by Assad if he feels it is necessary. American air power could neutralize essentially all of the chemical weapons with a few days of sorties into Syria, but that is unlikely to be ordered by Obama. Perhaps he is waiting for Assad to first murder tens of thousands with these weapons and then to disperse them into new locations so that the president can tell us that there are too many locations to take them all out with air power.

The sad truth is that there is no end in sight to the slaughter in Syria. It is unlikely to go on for too much longer, but there will still be tens of thousands more Syrians killed. The USA and the West should be condemned for their failure to take any meaningful action. This is not just some internal conflict in an unimportant country. It is a chance to remove the most important ally of Iran in the world. It is a chance to cut the supply lines for the terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas. It was a chance to establish a new Syria, a democratic Syria, a Syria that could be an ally of the new Iraq. That chance is mostly gone now. Inaction by America has allowed al Qaeda forces to get into position as part of the rebel force. Let's hope that when Assad decides to use his chemical weapons (and he will), that his targets are concentrations of al Qaeda forces.

Obama's policies regarding Syria have reduced our options to just that: hoping that Assad uses his weapons of mass destruction on the right enemy. Obama promised hope and change, but who knew that this would be the hope he brought?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Still Another Obama Lie

The Obama campaign is out with a new video called Republican Women for Obama. It is two minutes of five different women telling us that they have always voted Republican, but that this time they just cannot vote for Romney and will instead select Obama. According to the video, the attitudes of Romney and the Republicans are just too anti-women to let these five continue to vote for the GOP.

It seems like a lame video to me, but then comes the clincher. It seems that the video is just a lie. Buzzfeed found that one has been a registered Democrat since she began voting. Powerline took that a step further and discovered that she is a supporter of and many other far left organizations. She also campaigned for Obama in 2008 according to the info on her facebook page.

If the Obama folks want to promote the idea that there are Republicans who will vote for Obama, that is their right. America should know, however, that the video is just another Obama lie. Are there so few Republican women voting for Obama that the campaign could not actually find them? Apparently this is so.

Questions of Importance

Take a moment to answer these questions:

1) Is it racist to lament the fact that more people are getting food stamps under president Obama than at any time in history?

2) Is it racist to air a television commercial in which a white man says that Obama has failed us and does not deserve re-election?

3) Is it racist to complain that Obama does not care about the average American?

4) Is it racist to argue that attorney general Eric Holder is incompetent?

5) Is it racist to point out that Obama does not understand how the private sector works?

6) Is it racist to denounce the Obama campaign for running the most negative campaign in history?

7) Is it racist to vote Republican?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may need to get help. Without a doubt, you have been taken in by the liberal press that spends inordinate amounts of time labelling any opposition to Obama as "racist". The truth is that each of the items mentioned above is not only fair comment on Obama and the Obamacrats, but also is correct.

The Obamacrat campaign is based to a great extent on the big lie of racism to motivate the Obamacrat base. Let me speak from my own experience. I remember the 1960's clearly; back then, racism was real and widespread. Over the decades since then, racism has declined consistently. To hear the left describe the country, however, one would think that Bull Connor is about to unleash the dogs and fire hoses. These folks live in a world of delusion where truth does not matter. All the change of the last half century is irrelevant in their eyes.

Another good example of the delusions of the left is the environment. Since the environmental movement was adopted in Washington by president Nixon (yes, it was Nixon who started the federal government moving towards environmental cleanup), nearly all pollution of air and water has been removed. Rivers that used to be completely polluted are now used for fishing and swimming. Air quality on average is many times better than it was half century ago. To hear the left tell it, however, the environment is under assault from all sides. It just is not true -- but that does not stop the delusional story from being passed on in the press, in schools and on TV. The problem is that these mass delusions are capable of doing great harm to the country. Everyone needs to be told the truth.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Obamacrats need to calm down

In Michigan today, Mitt Romney was campaigning very close to the hospital where he was born. He mentioned that to the crowd and told them that no one has ever asked to see his birth certificate because they know that this was the place. The crowd laughed.

Since that joke, the Obamacrats have gone wild with indignation. Imagine, Romney made a birth certificate joke. Oh the horror! The phony indignation is actually funnier than the Romney joke in the first place. The Obamacrats know that Romney has always said that he has no doubt that Obama was born in the USA, but that is not good enough for them. The Obamacrats know that in the last two months, Obama and the Obamacrats have accused Romney of being a felon, of having responsibility for the death of the wife of a former employee of a company in which Bain Capital invested, of being a tax cheat, of cruelty to animals, of wanting to enslave black Americans again, of wanting dirty air and dirty water so as to make money for millionaires and billionaires, and of countless other misdeeds. The Obamacrats know that none of these charges against Romney are true. Now Romney makes a joke that references all those conspiracy theories floating around about Obama and the Obamacrats take offense. Please! What BS.

Someone needs to tell the Obamacrats that they would do better if they would calm down a bit. Nobody wants to listen to them whine. They need a sense of humor. I can't wait to hear the screams on MSNBC tonight.

The Next Obamacare Attack on Medicare

By now, most folks know that Obamacare took over $700 billion out of the Medicare Trust Fund to pay for other things than the Medicare benefits for which those taxes were intended. President Obama and the other Obamacrats tell us that taking these fund is not going to harm seniors or reduce their benefits; Medicare is just going to reduce payments to hospitals and doctors. The Obamacrats conveniently ignore the fact that many doctors will stop seeing Medicare patients if the payment for their services gets too low. Now, however, we are seeing another attack by Obamacare on Medicare. This time the focus of the attack is on hospitals that provide care for seniors. Starting next month, hospitals that treat Medicare patients (which is nearly every hospital in America) will be penalized if their readmission rate is too high. Let me explain. Hospitals will have to keep track of how many of their Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge; those with percentages above the national level set by the bureaucrats will have their payments for all Medicare services reduced.

This is the kind of policy that could only be approved when the decision is made by politicians and bureaucrats rather than doctors. Think about it. A senior with heart problems is admitted to the hospital for tests. then he goes home. Two weeks later, the senior has a heart attack. When he goes back to the hospital, Medicare penalizes the hospital for the "readmission". This practice will not stop the admission when the patient has his heart attack. It will, however, discourage the test that was the first admission. How about a senior with a chronic or progressive condition like cancer. The senior gets admitted after suffering a side effect from chemotherapy. When this happens again a few weeks later, the senior is back in the hospital. Should one or the other of these problems be treated only as an out patient even though hospital care is needed?

I know first hand than some elderly patients will inevitably be in and out of the hospital for months or even years. The Obamacrats now are trying to discourage full treatment for these folks. Is this the time for that pain pill that Obama talked about? (Remeber -- Obama told a woman who asked about her mother's care that sometimes you just have to tell grandma to take the pain pill.) The inevitable effect of this new attack by Obamacare on Medicare is worse medical treatment for seniors.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mitt Romney's Energy Program

Today in New Mexico, Mitt Romney outlined his program to make North America energy independent by 2020. The campaign released a 21 page document filled with specifics at the same time that Romney outlined the highlights in his speech. The results of this plan would be the creation of over three million new jobs in the USA. It also would grow the American economy by about 3.5 percent. In other words, the plan is a home run. So here's the question: how was the Romney plan covered by the main stream media?

Here is the answer. ABC has no mention of any of this on the air or on its website. Nothing, nada, zilch! ABC does have a big story about Bain Capital however. CNN follows the ABC example and says absolutely nothing about the Romney plan for energy. The big story on CNN is that Bill Clinton did a commercial for Obama. CBS has a story about Romney's energy program. I had to search the CBS website for three minutes to find the story, however. Then, when I got there, I found a story about how Romney wants to unleash drillers. There was little mention of the many points of Romney's plan. MSNBC had coverage of the Romney plan on its website. It was also hidden on the site, but at least it was there. The idea that NBC is the only main stream media company to cover this big story tells you all that you need to know about media bias.

The Real Issue is Growth

It is time for the Romney ticket to get back to the real issue of this election, namely why they have a better plan to restore growth to the American economy. Nearly all of the economic issues are just derivatives of that basic discussion. Faster growth will create jobs for the unemployed. Faster growth will generate much higher revenue for the federal government that will reduce the federal deficit. Faster growth will funnel more money into the Medicare and Social Security trust funds thereby reducing the pressure on them. Faster growth will even improve the social issues; studies show that folks with jobs commit fewer crimes, have fewer substance abuse problems and make better parents. So the important question which ought to decide the election is which side has a better plan to restore economic growth back to the area of 5% from the current extremely low rate.

Although this was not meant to be a trick question, it feels like it is. That is because president Obama has no plan feasible plan to restore economic growth. Indeed, the main tenets of what Obama describes as a plan are nonsensical. First, Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. There is not a single economist who would say with a straight face that such tax increases would help economic growth; the reverse is true. Raising taxes on the wealthy will slow the rate of growth. Indeed, both in 2009 and 2010, Obama told the country exactly this. Remember in December of 2010, Obama and the Democrats who had total control of Congress at that time extended the tax rates for everyone for two years. Obama explained that he would not raise taxes on the wealthy at that point because the economy was too weak and such a move would hurt it. Right now, the economy is substantially weaker than it was in 2010, so Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy is basically nuts.

The second facet of the Obama "plan" is to improve education. That's a fine goal and one with which Romney agrees. But improvement of education will not do anything to grow the economy for many years. America needs help and America needs economic growth now, not in ten years.

Obama's last growth strategy is to bring back government construction. He wants about $60 billion of additional construction approved by Congress. Of course, Obama has not told us what the projects will be that will be built. It is instead another plan that will move forward "shovel ready" jobs. We all know how that idea worked in 2009. As Obama himself told the country, "shovel ready jobs weren't all that shovel ready." In other words, the Obama government could not find jobs on which to spend the funds. It is a travesty for Obama to now talk about doing the same thing again without even trying to plan what jobs are to be undertaken. On top of that is another major problem with this plank of the Obama program: $60 billion is a drop in the bucket. Spending that amount in the next year would raise the GDP by one quarter of one percent at most. The country needs much, much more growth than that.

Romney's plan is much better. It actually ought to work. First, Romney wants to unleash America's energy producers. Unneeded restrictions on drilling that were put in place by Obama and the Obamacrats will be removed. Natural gas production and usage will be encouraged. This will not only clean up the environment, but it will promote economic growth. The estimate is that over a million jobs will be created just in the oil and gas industry. Higher production will mean lower domestic prices for fuel, so America's factories will have an advatage over those in places where the energy prices are higher. That too will lead to more sales by American producers of all sorts of goods. Once again, that means more jobs and more growth. Ending an ever increasing chunk of oil imports will keep hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the USA. These funds which are currently going to Venezuela, Libya, Iran and other oil producing countries will stay here with the result that growth will increase. Estimates from a non-partisan study are that the growth rate in the economy will pick up by about 2% per year for the next five years at least just from this measure alone.

The second facet of Romney's plan is to promote increased trade through international trade agreements. Obama has spent four years in office and has negotiated not a single such agreement. This has been an enormous failure on his part which has cost the country hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.

The third facet of Romney's plan is to end currency manipulation and other games playing by the Chinese. During the Obama presidency, China has continued to grow its economy rapidly. That is fine, but one of the main drivers of that growth is that China manipulates its currency to keep its goods less expensive than those of other countries. Romney is not going to accept that anymore. China is a major world economy. It cannot use gimmicks and illegal strategms to favor its own producers. It has to understand that if it continues with such tactics, it will have to deal with the inevitable consequences.

Another facet of Romney's plan is to promote job training and education. That is the same long term idea for which Obama advocates, so there is a wash here. The problem, however, is that this concept does not lead to growth in the near future.

The last major portion of Romney's plan is to cut through the over-regulation of America's businesses, to get control of the finances of the federal government and to stop threatening to punish success. This section could be the subject of ten posts without my running out of new material. The point, however, is that Obamacare and all its costs on business will be repealed. Crazy regulations like the one that is forcing the closure of most coal fired power plants will be replaced. In short, the future for business will look relatively unhindered. That will give them the confidence to invest, and investment by business is one of the main drivers of economic growth.

Romney also wants to revamp the American tax code so that rates are lower and loophole for the special interests are closed. The change will be close to revenue neutral, but the effect on growth ought to be spectacular. Just imagine, instead of people looking for investments that will throw off big tax deductions, they will look for ones that will be likely to succeed and grow. Once again, it means a big jump in productive investments and that means more economic growth.

Since the recession ended in 2009, there has been a weak, almost non-existent recovery. That is not an accident. It is a result of the Obama policies that actively tamped down growth. America needs to get rid of those policies. America needs to get rid of Obama.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This is Big

Connecticut has been a blue state for a long, long time. The issue here is normally not which party will win, but rather what the margin will be. We have not voted for a Republican for president in 24 years. We have had two Democrats as senator for ages except for Lowell Weiker who lost long ago and was a Republican in name only. Only the governor's office has been traded back and forth. We have five Democrats in Congress and lopsided Democrat majorities in the Legislature. That is why the poll out today from Rasmussen is such big news. It polled Connecticut likely voters on the upcoming senate race and found that GOP candidate Linda McMahon is ahead of Democrat Chris Murphy by 49% to 46%.

I know it is just one poll and that things may change before November. Nevertheless, it is a very encouraging sign to see that the GOP candidate is ahead at this point. Who knows, maybe even Romney can win here.

Akin is no Gump

The incredible upset swirling around Todd Akin of Missouri is disgusting. Akin has been portrayed as some sort of idiot, a Forrest Gump who has managed to succeed despite being an idiot. It is far from the truth.

First of all, let's look at what Akin said. In short, Akin said that in cases of what he called "legitimate rape", the woman's body reacts in a way that makes pregnancy unlikely to result. He then went on to say, that in the event there was a pregnancy, society should not punish the child with abortion; the focus should be on punishing the rapist.

Much of the supposed outrage with this statement is because Akin used the word legitimate in connection with rape. This outrage is ridiculous. Clearly Akin was not condoning rape. He was making clear that he was talking about actual rape, not consensual sex that later gets described as rape because one person is underage or because the woman has a change of heart. He should have said "forceable rape" to be clear. The mistake, however, is hardly one for the record books. It is certainly no worse than any other unclear statement from a politician.

Remember last winter when Romney said that he did not care about poor people? He went on to say that the poor already had a federal safety net and that the focus of his campaign would be on those with middle income. Romney was not actually declaring that he had no interest in the poor, only that he would focus on others in his campaign. Remember two months ago when president Obama told America that the private economy was doing fine? Obama later told us that he did not really mean that; it was just a poor choice of words. "Legitimate rape" is the same kind of thing, just words taken out of context.

Akins's statement about the reaction of a woman's body to rape is just plain wrong. There is no medical proof that rape is less likely to result in pregnancy, although I have not been able to find any study that provides data either way. So Akin got his facts wrong. He was still just making the point that he was pro-life without exception. Surely, that cannot be the basis for all the outcry or calling Akin stupid or unacceptable. Are the Catholic clergy in America similarly stupid and unacceptable? They hold the same position. It is a position shared by a great many millions of folks across the country.

So is Akin now to be shunned because he got his facts wrong? On that basis, Joe Biden would have been sent to a deserted island long ago; that man gets his facts wrong about as often as he gets them correct. Biden cannot even remember what state he is in or what century it is. Obama said that there are 57 states. Must they resign as a result?

I was not surprised when I saw the reaction from the Democrats and the media. One would not expect anything else from them. I have been surprised, however, with the reaction from the GOP establishment. Why the need to humiliate Akin in public? Why did one after another of the GOP power centers come forth with such rapidity? It was unseemly to say the least. I do not like to watch Republicans attack their own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Shocker Poll from PPP

For the last month or so, I have been writing about the polls done by Public Policy Polling ("PPP"). In state after state, the PPP polls always seem to run between four and six points better for the Democrats than the average of all other polls. That figure makes today's release by PPP of a Wisconsin poll all that more shocking. PPP found that in Wisconsin, among likely voters, Romney is leading Obama by 48% to 47%. That is astounding news. If accurate, it means that Wisconsin voters made a major shift from Obama to Romney after the naming of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate. Further, it means that as of now Wisconsin is in play. One cannot say that Obama cannot win without Wisconsin, but it is true that were Romney to win Wisconsin, he would have a better than even chance of victory in November.

Adding to the gloom at Obama headquarters in Chicago, a poll by another Democrat pollster was released this afternoon for Michigan. This poll of likely voters found the race in Michigan at Romney 48% and Obama 44%. It also found that in the Michigan senate race Pete Hoekstra is leading incumbent Debbie Stabenow by 2%. The polls specifically asked about the effect of the Ryan nomination and found that by a large margin Ryan made Michganders more likely to vote Republican in November. While I noted above that Obama could win if he lost Wisconsin, the same cannot be said about Michigan. If Obama goes down in Michigan, he will be returning to Illinois as a private citizen next January.

One last poll is worth mentioning. In the Massachusetts Senate Race, a poll of likely voters has Scott Brown ahead of Cherokee Liz (Elizabeth Warren) by 5%.

We are still months from the election, but the motion, at least for today, seems to be towards the GOP. Let's hope it continues.

Banks and the Government

Here is a quick quiz. First, you need a bit of background. Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the American banking system. Major banks like Citibank and Bank of America were rescued by the feds with massive infusions of taxpayer cash. We were told at the time that these banks were just "too big to fail". Washington had seen the chaos that the failure of Lehman Brothers had caused in the fall of 2008, and no one wanted to take the risk of the world financial system collapsing if one of these super-sized banks went down.

In the years after the bailout, the Democrats and president Obama pushed for and passed the so-called Dodd Frank legislation which, we were told, would impose needed regulations on the banks so as to end the era of too big to fail.

So here is the quiz: Now that the Dodd Frank legislation has been in place for two years, which of the following is correct?

a) The ten largest banking institutions in the USA comprise a smaller portion of the total banking industry than was the case in 2008.
b) The ten largest banking institutions in the USA comprise a larger portion of the total banking industry than was the case in 2008.

The answer, of course, is "b". In other words "too big to fail" has been changed by Obama into "even bigger so we can't even think about failure."

One may wonder what the point of Dodd Frank was if it did nothing to deal with the problem which is the supposed cause of the legislation. The answer, of course, lies in what Dodd Frank does. It imposes substantial regulatory burdens on all banks. The regulatory burden is now so large, that many smaller banks can no longer afford to compete with the big ones. The cost of certain types of banking activities has been raised to the point that only those banks that undertake a multitude of that sort of activity can spread the cost enough to be able to afford the transactions. Let me explain: A big bank like Bank of America has to spend five million dollars to comply with the new regulations imposed by Dodd Frank in order to continue to deal with credit default swaps. Since Bank of America does such transactions many times each day, the cost per transaction is not that great. A small bank, on the other hand, which would do only about 50 of these transactions per year, can no longer afford to compete. After all, that small bank would now be forced to spend $100,000 per transaction just to compete. This forces the small banks out of the market and insulates the big banks from competition. Of course, this helps the big banks get bigger and the lack of competition allows the big banks to charge more for such transactions.

Dodd Frank also puts all sorts of regulations on banks which have nothing to do with banking. The best example of this are the required diversity offices in all banks that deal with the federal government. The feds will no longer deal with a bank unless it has the requisite diversity in its workforce and an office to make sure that the diversity persists. This is just another burden on the system to achieve social goals of the liberals.

Another problem of the new Obama regulatory paradigm for banks is that favoritism or crony capitalism has snuck its way into the system. With so much power for government regulators, many banks have begun to hire employees to deal with the regulators not on the basis of what they know but of who they know. The banking system is being weakened by the Obamacrats awarding favors to their cronies.

None of this has had the effect of ending too big to fail. Indeed, Obama and the Obamacrats did not push for even a single measure that would have that result. The Obamacrat goal was not protecting the American banking system so much as it was taking over American banks.

Once Obama has been defeated and his minions purged from the levers of power, it will be time for the banking system to be put right. The key here is to inject competition back into the system and to allow small and startup banks to grow so that they can compete. We also need to get rid of the giant banks that have the power to threaten the very foundation of the American economy. A simple plan to do this would run as follows:

1. Repeal Dodd Frank.
2. Reimpose the old limitation between commercial banking and investment banking. The commercial banking system ought to be safe from damage due to the overly risky trading strategies of the investment bankers.
3. Revise the antitrust laws so that they define "monopolization" as acquiring more than 7% of the total deposits in any one of the Federal Reserve Bank's twelve districts. The statute should have an effective date of January of 2014. That would give the banks that are already too large a chance to split into two or three pieces as necessary to comply with the statute.
4. Clarify the statutes regarding misuse of customer funds. There should never be another instance like MF Global where a bank/brokerage house takes funds from its clients accounts to invest for its own purposes without swift criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. (Of course, one wonders whether or not there would have been prosecutions in the MF Global case but for the presence of Corzine with all of his Obamacrat connections.)

You Have to Wonder

There is now another book by a respected reporter who tells us that president Obama was convinced three times by Valerie Jarrett to refuse approval for the mission to get Osama bin Laden. This latest book says that secretary of state Clinton was the one who finally convinced Obama that he had to let the mission proceed and that the only argument that succeeded was her point that if Obama refused the mission and word leaked out, Obama would be destroyed politically. That's right, the bin Laden mission that Obama sells as his great leadership moment was actually just part of his re-election strategy according to this book.

I do not know if this is true. Not surprisingly, the folks at the White House deny it. Of course, since this White House has been shown to be run by habitual liars, the denials mean little. Still, it is hard to believe that any American president could judge the opportunity to kill or capture Osama bin Laden on the basis of how it would affect his campaign. What about the thousands of Americans who bin Laden killed? Of course, when we watch the dishonest campaign by Obama who has shredded the Constitution, consistently lied and tried to sow fear and division in the country all in an effort to win re-election, one has to wonder whether or not this latest report is true. It certainly sounds like it is.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Intellectual Idiocy

The American Prospect is a journal of high brow liberal political thought. That is a nice way of saying that the American Prospect pumps out the same nonsense as all the other left wing sites, but the dress it as having some sort of academic insight. Even with the extra decoration, the basic thoughts are still idiotic.

A good example comes in an article in that journal by Patrick Caldwell called "Romney's Race Based Initiative". Caldwell claims to have discerned the clearly racist undertone to the Romney campaign commercials and related positions. Here is a good example of what this article has found: The Romney campaign is running a commercial that shows and older American with a sad look on his face while the announcer says "You paid into Medicare for years. Every paycheck. Now when you need it Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare. So now the money you paid for guaranteed health care is going to a massive new government program that's not for you." Here comes the clincher as far as Caldwell is concerned; the guy on the screen is (gasp) white. That's right, with an electorate that will be about 81 or 82% white, Romney used a white man on the commercial. What could be more racist! But it gets better. Caldwell also points out that the commercial used the word "you". That word is, according to Caldwell, code for white America. After all, all those racists in white America understand "them" to mean blacks and "you" to mean whites.

I am not kidding. This is actually the reasoning that The American Prospect is publishing. They actually believe this stuff. Pictures of white folks in an ad and the use of the word "you" are both racist in the view of a progressive egghead.

It is an incredibly insulting aspect of the liberal intelligensia that they can push such a large percentage of whites into the racist camp. These are the same whites who four years ago voted for Obama. Now, when issues like the Obama raid on the Medicare Trust Fund are raised, the basis for the attack is supposedly race rather than the incompetent and harmful policies put in place by Obama and the left.

The real truth is that it is critical for Romney to win so that folks like Caldwell can be removed from the government. Obviously, civil service employees will still be there, but the political appointees of Obama who believe all this racist claptrap have got to go. We need the government to focus on reality, not on some imaginary land where all are victims.

More Lies and Ridiculous Ones to Boot

President Obama answered four questions from reporters this morning. The mini press conference came after Obama had been ridiculed for avoiding the press for ten weeks. He had gone on some local radio shows where they asked him tough questions like "if you were a super hero, what would be you super power?" But for 70 days, Obama had not answered any questions from the White House press corps.

The amazing thing is that in answering four questions, Obama managed to tell a blatant lie. He was asked about whether he was comfortable with the tone of his campaign that had done things like call Mitt Romney a felon. Obama actually then said that he saw no problem with the tone of the campaign because ,"nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon. Unbelievable! Obama just lies about what his campaign had said.

Drudge has links to some of the examples of Romney being called a felon by the Obamacrats. Here is the link to the general counsel of the Obama campaign saying that. Here is the link to the number two person in the campaign Stephanie Cutter calling Romney a felon. There are many, many more examples of this. But Obama just denies the existence of these attacks.

Is Obama unable to tell the truth? Does he not recognize reality? Is he intentionally lying or is this a mental health problem? Does it even matter? The president of the United States consistently fails to tell the truth to the American people.

Obama has got to go!

Another Low for Obama

Just when you think that the Obama campaign has sunk as low as it could possibly get, things get worse. Today, Obama decided that he is going to ignore the tradition of each party not interfering with the conventioin of the other. For the past century, the candidate of the other party has basically laid low while the convention of the other party was underway. Well, not anymore! Obama is going to be out campaigning in full force during the GOP convention. It is a tacky move, particularly for the president of the United States who ought to act with at least some dignity. Instead, Obama is acting more like a ward hack from Chicago. Someone needs to tell him that he is running for president and not alderman.

With Obama out campaigning during the Tampa convention, it is safe to assume that Romney will then be out to campaign while the Democrats are in Charlotte for their convention. Obama will have managed to end one bit of civility that had survived in American politics for a century. It is about as far from hope and change as one can get.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Word is Getting Out Despite the National Media

Yesterday, Paul Ryan held a rally at the Villages in Florida. The Villages is the largest senior residential development in the country. At the last census in 2010, there were nearly 60,000 people living there. Almost all were 55 or older. The area tends to vote Republican, so it is not a perfect barometer for the senior vote in Florida, but it is still indicative of general trends in the Sunshine State. That made me curious to see the reaction to Ryan in view of the all out assault from the Obama campaign against the supposedly "risky" scheme by Ryan to "end Medicare as we know it" and to "force seniors to pay $6400 per year more for their healthcare." The charges by Obama and the Obamacrats are not only wrong, but they know that what they are claiming are lies. The question, however, is what do the seniors thing? Are they as gullible as the Democrats think?

The answer, at least at the Villages, appears to be no. Here is the headline from the Villages Daily Sun, the newspaper of the area: GUARANTEE TO SENIORS, Romney Running Mate Ryan Pledges to Protect Social Security, Medicare For Next Generation. Clearly, the local press got the message; so will the seniors.

Indeed, a recent poll of those over 65 found that by a substantial margin seniors across the country were more concerned about Obamacare than the Ryan plan for Medicare. This makes sense; Obamacare cut over $700 billion from Medicare in order to use the money to fund Obamacare. Seniors understand this. Obama and the Obamacrats are left trying to fight the truth with lies and scare tactics.