Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stewart/Colbert Crush Beck

Estimating yesterday's crowd size, Stephen Colbert said,"Six billion". spoofing the Beckites' claim of 1 million for their Restore Honor rally. Colbert returned to the scene of his first crime, testifying on immigration on the Hill. If Washington pundits legitimize the teabaggers, they absolutely, totally don't have a clue at what went on at yesterday's rally, which CBS estimates drew 250,000 but probably much more than that. Politics USA wrote yesterday that the John Stewart/ Colbert Show drew twice or as many as three times Glenn Beck's crowd. And from what I could observe it outdrew the One Nation rally.

The National Park Service offered the idea that the rally surpassed 300,000. From the capitol building to the Washington Monument is impressive. The two previous rallies around the Lincoln Memorial had to contend with the reflecting pool and it's clear from the photos that this was more massive.

When I expressed my doubts to my son that many people would show up, he said that friends of his were coming from Ohio for this. He said that all his fellow college students get their news from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. In fact, a whole generation turned in to see John Stewart's interview with Barack Obama before the rally. A fact that escaped everyone in Washington.D.C.

Depending on your age and taste, the rally had something for everyone. An aging baby-boomer wrote that seeing Tony Bennett made his day. For fans of the Captain and the L.A. Lakers, Stephen Colbert's attack of Muslims brought the reposte by John Stewart that all Muslims aren't bad. "How about this guy?" And on walks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The array of signs brought home the goof on the teabagger crowd--posters of Colbert as Hitler, a smiley face with a Hitler moustache, an aging hippie with a sign,"No Socialists Here", a Muslim woman with a sign,"I'm Muslim but I also fear terrorists", and a slew of takes on the idea of sane politics.

In the next few days, you will read more drivel about the rally than you can imagine. This morning's post had an op-ed ,which said that one can hope for civility but that doesn't mean one accepts the liberal politics of the DNC. We were assured that the intrepid reporter interviewed many at the rally who were liberals. Days before Washington pundits begged John Stewart to cancel the rally because these were serious times and the political decisions to be made were heavy. What was interesting is to see how narcissistic all the commentators were, trying to somehow outsmart John Stewart. Perhaps, one of the more honest comments was from Howard Kurtz who tweeted that he had no idea how all these people got here and what they were doing. Andy Borowitz upped the tweet by posting, "Fox News estimates crowd size at 7."

Remember Washington does not do irony, sarcasm or humor very well. Gloria Bolger at CNN sniffed,"Do these people even vote?" What people will avoid in the next few days is that the rally just destroyed the whole image of the Glenn Beck pretense of wrapping patriotism around a fundamentalist religious concept. The Beck follies were termed "historic" by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the other right-wing talk shows. They just got owned by two comedians, who did it all much better with wit.

Frank Rich's column today in the New York Times is about how the teabaggers are going to get owned by the Republican party. Rich reviews the actual strength of the teabaggers--about 2% of the population--and the findings of the Washington Post, which found that of the several thousand chapters the average take was $800. for this year's elections. He points out that the real Teabag operation,as well knew, was engineered by the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey. None of the Republicans who used the teabaggers have any intention of letting these people interfere with their agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy and the elimination of regulations demanded by their corporate masters. Rich remarks how repulsive Republicans like Mitch McConnell find Jim DeMint's demand the U.S. adopt biblical law. They were a good show that propelled the necessary media narrative that the Republicans were not the same people who crashed the economy and ran up $12 trillion in debt. To this degree, Republicans have been masterful in changing the storyline.

A Bloomberg poll reports that the vast majority of Americans really believe that Barack Obama raised their taxes, despite the real world fact that 90% of Americans really got a tax break. The majority also believe that it was Barack Obama that created the TARP program, not George W. Bush, and also believe that the program didn't pay back the money. The absolute confusion of the American voter on economic reality is staggering and ,unfortunately, will aid the Republicans.

The torrent of ads by Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce actually pedal the myth that Obama's policies are killing jobs, even though Obama has surpassed Rove's boss's record in job creation in only 20 months. The propaganda against the stimulus program has been astonishing and ,unfortunately, the administration has not kept up its educational effort on this front. A few months ago, they had launched a tour by Joe Biden and statistics by leading economists about the number of jobs saved and created, the millions of children who received health care, and the strengthening of state governments. All that has clearly not withstood the assault by the anonymous private and foreign donors.

Dana Milbank writes today about where are the adults in the Republican Party. Even right-winger Barry Goldwater said that essence of holding a post in Congress was compromise. The House Republicans have already ruled out any compromise with the Obama Administration. Even veteran Republicans like Judd Gregg said that repealing the healthreform bill was folly but he has been loudly shouted down. Mitch McConnell has clearly said that the whole purpose of Republicans in Congress was to make Barack Obama a one-term President. So much for the nation.

David Broder today pontificated how Barack Obama is clearly the brightest bulb in the political frimament and he stands heads of shoulders above any potential Republican candidates. This is actually an astonishing admission from Broder. But he warns that really nothing can be done about the economy since the markets move in their own time. He says that there will not be a strong enough recovery to propel Obama into a second term. But He says there is one way President Obama can recover--Go to War with Iran. Beam me up, Scottie.

Meanwhile in a new episode of Northern Exposure, the Republicans are jumping ship over Joe Miller and are now pouring resources into the Lisa Murkowski write-in campaign because America's Hero , Scott McAdams, stands a chance of winning. The Alaskan judges are trying to get on board by ruling that people can have assistance in filing out the write-in ballots. Apparently, Joe Miller has stepped into it big time. When he was a federal magistrate, he was obligated by law to list all his assets or face jail-time. It turns out that not only did he omit the 40 acres and a the two-story house he owned on his FEC filing , but also on the form he submitted when he was a judge. Big Problem.

In Nevada, it is wild and woolly. John Ralston writes in the Las Vegas Sun that virtually everything is running against Harry Reid this year. But he expects Harry to pull it out. He recites Harry's loss in the Senate race in the 1970s, his loss for mayor, and his slim margins of victory ever since. Ralston claims that Reid needs to keep Angle's lead among independents to single digit (something he is not doing right now) but that his ground game is outstanding this year and that he leads in the early voting.

In California, Barbara Boxer is performing just as she has done historically. Slow start, often behind, and gradually over the period of the campaign open enough of a lead to win. It's nice to know something is working normally this year.

Charles Cook yesterday wrote that Republicans have zero chance on taking the Senate this year. He has flipped some of his toss-up states over to the Democrats. He's now sayng that Republicans now might pick up between 6 to 8 seats in the Senate.

Not to be deterred Campaigner Barack Obama returned to the Midway Pleasance, where I used to live, and addressed over 30,000 people in Chicago. (I just love the name, which comes from the old Chicago World's Fair.) He was trying to whip up the crowd to vote for the Governor and the Senate. He had stopped in Philadelphia also but just for a meeting with organizers. And he should hit Ohio today.

The Republicans are banking on taking the governorship of Ohio so as to lay the groundwork for 2012. It looks like Karl Rove will have to return to the scene of his crime. He was served with court papers for a trial on rackeetering, which will look into his activities in the 2004 election and answer questions about his donors in this election. After all the attempts at a Citizens' Arrest by Move-On and other anti-war activist, it took the skill of an elections lawyer to nail him. Unfortunately, for the case, the key witness on fraud in 2004 was a Republican computer hacker, who died in a mysterious plane crash and the hard drive to his computer was never found.

President Obama has spent alot of political capital in Ohio for Governor Strickland. But what may destroy John Kasich is the issue of gun rights. The local NRA will not endorse Kasich because when in congress he received an "F" on gun rights. Ohio gunowners are coming out for Strickland, who they say is far better. This would be one of the few times that the gun issue actually bit a Republican. This may account for Strickland inching ahead in the late polls.

In Florida, Alex Sink , the Democrat, has moved out ahead of Rick Scott. From a simple law and order point of view, it's necessary for her to win.

NPR has been running alot of roundtables on what Washington will look like after the election. A good many of the commentators really do not get the fact that Republicans are serious about not cooperating at all with the Administration. In fact, people are commenting that at least Newt Gingrich learned to cooperate with Bill Clinton, but that there is no one even like Newt around now. One of the first showdowns will be when Congress must raise the debt ceiling of the country. The strong odds are that Republicans will oppose since they have become fiscal conservatives. This will shut the government down to just essential services. Social Security checks will not be paid, government and military pensions will not be paid, Medicare will not be paid and even the larger military budget will not be paid. The question will be how long can the Republicans keep the shutdown going.

Senator Tom Coburn wants Republicans to keep submitting bills to repeal the healthcare bill even though he has publically said they don't have a chance of passing. (P.S. Howard Dean is of the opinion that the healthcare bill can survive without the individual mandate, which conservatives are suing about. On this, Howard is pretty clever but I have no idea what he has in mind.)

The one area people seem to think may produce a solution is on the infrastructure. As of last week, President Obama raised in his weekly address that hope of bipartisan cooperation and specifically mentioned the need to improve our infrastructure so we can compete in the world. The six-year infrastructure program is expiring, which means that our Highway Fund is depleted. The Administration wants to raise the gas tax to fund this but John Boehner claims he has never voted for a tax increase and won't on this occasion. But his master Tom Donoghue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says he has all the information that this has to be done or else we will fall behind in global competition. People expect corporations will twist Boehner's arm. Rep. Mica, the lead Republican on this issue, voiced his opinion that infrastructure spending will be a top priority. Even the Chamber knows this will be a massive job creator and Donoghue has said openly that the economy desparately needs it. But it means spending money. So watch this play out.

What I would like to see is that in the lame duck session that the Republicans filibuster the tax proposals of President Obama for the tax cuts for the wealthy and that the White House doesn't compromise and all tax cuts expire. And President Obama use the White House bully pulpit to call out the Republicans and their masters. Quite frankly it would make fiscal sense. Since no one believes he cut taxes in the first place, why would they give the President credit with keeping middle-class tax cuts?

Remember to Get Out the Vote!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who's Going to Ride the Short Bus?

Don't wait up election night for Nevada, Colorado and Alaska. It's too close to call.

The best news is that Joe Miller seems to have collapsed as he has paid the toll for a week of revelations about his ethical problems. His unfavorable now is 68%. The race has come down to Lisa Murkowski and Scott McAdams. The Supreme Court of Alaska overturned the court decision barring the names of write-in candidates at the polling places. This favors Murkowski, who now leads the polls. But 25% of her support is coming from Democrats who want to prevent a Miller win. If they come home to Scott McAdams he wins in what would be the biggest upset of the election cycle. Also, there is an unprecedented number of undecideds in this race.

Earlier today, the DNC released a matter-of-fact memo that said that the Republican wave was not coming as evidenced by their analysis of early voting. Maybe they are whistling past the graveyard but there have been odd items emerging in the last few days that suggest that the voting has not been settled. McClatchy/ Marist had a poll today that showed that the generic poll of registered voters showed a 47-41 advantage to the Democrats, a tie of 46-46 of likely voters and a 49-43 advantage to Republicans in "most likely" to vote. It mirrored the previous Newsweek poll in its canvassing cell-phone users, who tended to be Democrats.

While Nate the Great Silver has the Republicans taking the House with 52 seats, he has an out in his analysis. He says Republicans are set to win 6 seats with less than 1 percent and 8 seats with between 1-2% of the vote. If his model is underestimates Democrats by 2 %, and those seats remain Democrat than they retain the House 218-217. The biggest losers would be Blue Dog Democrats.

Larry Sabato made his final picks today. The Republicans pick up 55 House seats and 8 Senate seats. Democrats keep the Senate but lose the House. One picky item is that Sabato pushes all the tied Senate seats to the Republicans. Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Of course, he has missed the developments in Alaska. First of all, I haven't seen anything to suggest that Patty Murray was going to lose to Rossi. Then I do not know why in all tied seats one automatically assumes Republicans will win.

Does the GOTV effort by the Democrats not matter? True, it's not 2008 but the word from Organizing for America is that they have been chugging away surpassing 8 million calls en route to a record 10,000 calls. Howard Dean's organization also touts large phonebanks. And Labor clearly is doing its part because Breibart has a new doctored video showing "union vote fraud." I wish conservatives learned what vote fraud is.

The Hill has also weighed in with their predictions based on Schoen polls of the pivotal races. They also predict the Republicans will pick up over 50 seats.

Electoral has the House at 213 GOP and 203 Democrats with 19tied. I have been waiting for the last two days to see the final numbers kick in but they only seem to change 1 or 2 a day.

In Rhode Island, put a fork in Democrat Caprio, who looked like he was heading to an automatic victory. In a state where Obama has an overwhelming approval rating, it's not wise to disrespect the President and say he didn't want his endorsement. Caprio's numbers disappeared and Lincoln Chaffee looked like the next governor.

CNN's David Gergen criticized President Obama for appearing on the John Stewart Show last night, saying it was undignified and non-presidential. It seems the show drew 2.8 million viewers--maybe that's what Obama had in mind. Do we have to live two more years of this type of sniping at Obama. He's just not white and old.

Charles Cook had a warning. He said that 2006 was a wave election, 2008 was another wave election, and this year will be a wave election and also 2012 will also be a wave election. So the victors this year must not over-interpret the reason for their win. But we know they will.

I've missed Karl Rove talking about the Senate races. After all Crossroads America was created with the expressed purpose of taking over the Senate. He now only talks about the House. Interesting.

If Republicans lose in Nevada, Colorado, Alaska and/or Kentucky, what do you think Mitch McConnell is going to do to Jim DeMint, Mr. Teabagger? With Christine O'Donnell, the Republicans lost all chance of taking over the Senate and now they could actually lose a few seats because of the teabaggers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Short Notes

So has the house race 212 for the Republicans and 197 for the Democrats. has it 212 to 203 with Democrats 51 in the Senate and 47 for the Republicans and two tied (Alaska and Pennsylvania.)

Sharron Angle has a new fund-raiser out saying that Harry Reid was trying to steal the election by handing out Starbucks cards to purchase votes. The Nevada Secretary of State blasted her for these accusations and accused her of ginning up an issue for money. Apparently, she has paid any of her staff for a month. She also told the newspapers she would only talk to them after the election.

The Rand Paul staffer who stomped the woman on the head wants her to apologize. he asaid that he only stomped her because his back hurt. Fox News actually tried to make the woman the aggressor. Rand Paul himself has not made a public statement on this.

This is not an isolated incident. Security people at a Cantor rally here in Virginia arrested a Democrat there ,claiming the rally was private. Oh yes, Christine O'Donnell's attorney threatened to sue a Delaware radio station for airing an interview between the station and her. In fact, the attorney vowed the crush the station. Over the next two years, watch this type of behavior. Our little brownshirts will be trying to intimidate the press and any critics of their favorite leaders.

States are receiving considerable protests about Republican, not Democratic poll watchers and their acts of intimidation and taking photos of license plate numbers and the like. The complaints are getting so widespread that the DNC has now opened a hotline on the subject and the DOJ had to issue a statement that it would pursue both voter fraud and intimidation. The volume of complaints today came from North Carolina and Texas. Machelle Malkin appeared on Fox News to charge the Democrats were trying to steal the election.

Democrats have made a huge media buy for 66 races. On the one hand, this shows they are firing until the bitter end. But it also shows the large number of contested seats in the House, which is not good news for Democrats.

A bit of good news --there are 41 House races now within 5 points in the polls. Will a GOTV effort help swing them?

Put a fork in Meg Whitman, she's done. So says Nate Silver, who also thinks Carly Fiorina is done also. In the Governor's race, Governor Moonbeam has out-debated Whitman. yesterday's Woman Forum showed that. Also, people have Meg Whitman fatigue.

Why on God's creation is the American Chamber of Commerce advertising against the legalization of marijuana proposition? What possible interest do they have? Or do they just have some extra cash leftover from the Arab Banks?

It's nice to see rachel Maddow in Alaska. The courts ruled that the election boards have to take down the list of write-in candidates. The more Miller is around more dirty laundry keeps coming out about him and his past. Rachel's doing a nice thing trying to make it like Scott McAdams has a chance and it's possible. Unfortunately, I think it will come down to the war between the Murkowskis and the Palins. But Scott McAdams could use a donation.

Admiral Sestak really is in the race in Pennsylvania. He and Toomey are tied.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Late Afternoon at the Last Manatee

For many of us, one of the most profound influences on our lives has passed away at the age of 90--Alexander Anderson, Jr.. Anderson teamed up with his childhood friend Jay Ward to make low-budget TV cartoons. He created "Crusader Rabbit", which was the first animated television series in the 1950s. But it was his greatest creations, Rocky the flying squirrel and Bullwinkle the moose, who shaped a younger generation growing up at the height of the Cold War. "Rocky and His Friends" debuted in 1959 and ran for many years, bringing up great moments like Fractured Fairy Tales, Boris and Natasha, the sinister but hapless spies, and Dudley Do-Right and Nell. Besides Mad magazine, "Rocky and His Friends" was one of the m0st subversive influences in America, encouraging young people to question authority.

For someone like myself with eye and brain issues, it's timely that Oliver Sacks has just published The Mind's Eye ( Knopf), which delves into the complexity of vision and the mind's adaptive powers. Sacks is a practicing physician and most known to laymen for The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. In this new book, Sacks gets a little autobiographical when he explores how his eye cancer affected his sight and the odd sensation of seeing when he had totally lost vision in one eye.

The election continues to produce more oddities than ever before. Our teabagger Joe Miller seems to have mislaid his 40-acres in the Alaska wilderness and never declared it on his personal financial form for the FEC. No problem, teabaggers don't believe in government agencies. But it may prove a slight problem for the Alaskan voters. You see it is held in the name of the Wilmington Trust, whose only trustee has no awareness of it. It seems it was bought by Miller during the time he applied for his hunting and fishing license as an "indigent". Alaskans are wondering whether Miller was gaming the system to get his licenses. No problem. But there may be an issue since it was discovered there was a two-story house on the property and not the cabin most people supposed.

Usually, criminals play behind the scenes in politic but this year they are actually real candidates. A Republican running for congressman in New Hampshire is refusing to reveal his finances and how he could loan his campaign the large amount of money he's recently taken in. We already know Rick Scott, a healthcare racketeer, may be the next Governor of Florida. Art Johnson , who is running against Russ Feingold, slipped when he started accusing Feingold of backing a string of wasteful spending. Feingold just countered with every government subsidy the guy ever got and refused to admit. Not quite criminal but larceny.

Texas discovered today that it's $18 billion budget gap ballooned to $25 billion. There is only one politician to blame--Rick Perry. But it does look like he will be re-elected. I read an article by a Texan who explained that none of the scandals in the state government ever made it into the peoples' consciousness. Besides, the author wrote Texas is fourth in illiteracy in the nation.

Intratrade, which is the political betting wire, has the Republicans gaining 8 Senate seats and 55 in the House. The Senate figures have shown the most volatility, ranging from 4 to 9 seat gains.

Latin Decisions Poll records that Latin enthusiasm for the election, which was only 40% in September has shot up to 60% now. There is alot of disappointment with Barack Obama for failing to get immigration reform the first year as promised. But the uptick in enthusiasm has been caused by the anti-immigration sentiment expressed by Republicans.

Dick Morris appeared on Fox News to warn that the SIEU was trying to rig the elections for the Democrats. Wish that were so. But this type of nonsense has motivated the platoons of voter integrity squads by conservatives and chilling ads that you will go to prison if you commit voter fraud. I expect there will be several incidents around the country on election day as the goons try and muscle voters.

Early voting in California has Jerry Brown seven points ahead of Meg Whitman and Barbara Boxer only two points ahead of Carly Fiorina, who was hospitalized today. In Colorado early voting, Michael Bennet is ahead of Ken Buck. No one knows what the Nevada race looks like now.

Rand Paul seemed to be breaking way in Kentucky. We don't know the effect of last night's debate and the stomping of the Move On person by a Paul staffer. Will this be his Altamont moment? OK, probably not. They probably think it's cool down there.

MSNBC had a fascinating analysis of what the Republican Congress would look like. Quite frankly, they indicated that there were several areas where compromises can be made. The great laffer was Bohner being interested in alternative energy. Not when the oil companies just bought you the majority. And, yes, I was right, the Republicans are going to ditch thePayGo rules, just like they did under W. Instead, they are going to call it PayCut. They resolve to find government programs to cut for every program approved.

MSNBC claims that Republicans will seek cover behind the Catfood Commission's recommendations of the debt. Alan Simpson has said that the Commission is likely to reach some consensus positions even though it's been tough. Alice Rivlin claims there will be lots to create a bipartisan consensus around. Frankly, I doubt it.

One Week To Go

We mourn today the death of Paul the Octopus, that magnificent creation who successfully predicted the World Cup winners round by round. An amazing accomplishment. Paul had to endure death threats from German fans, who thought he was unpatriotic.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul's teabagger brownshirts stomped on the head of a Move-On female protestor. Unfortunately, it appears that Paul is beginning to pull away from Conway. If you watched the debate last night, you casn only shake your head. Paul was ill-informed, could not defend his own positions, and tried to avoid acknowledging his controversial stances on Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance.

Jerry Brown wins today's Best Ad. Open with Meg Whitman telling why she moved to California thirty years ago. "Everything seemed possible. There was so much innovation." Continue the superlatives. Cut to announcer "Who was Governor then?" Segue into what Jerry Brown did for California. Nicely done.

Mitch McConnell appealed to Americans to have patience because,Mitch Republicans can't do much in 2 years. (But Obama is supposed to save the country and create peace on earth in 20 months.) He said that the whole purpose of Republicans in Congress is to ensure that President Obama is a one-term President. He also said that the Republicans in Congress would be developing a platform for the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.

Think Progress is still on the American Chamber of Commerce ads like a dog on a bone. This time they documented over a dozen foreign oil companies, plus American branches of companies like BP, who are putting money in the till.

Washington is still weirdly oblivious as to the meaning of having secret money percolating in our electoral system. As we learned from Watergate, this leads to intimidation, blackmail and straight-up bribery. One commentator also wrote that it's also the money that's not spent that should be concerned--used as a threat against any politician who doesn't capitulate to the demands of the corporations. It does appear that the torrent of money is wearing some Democrats down and is forcing Democrats to practice triage on candidates.

Electoral-Vote has the House today Republicans 208, Democrats 206 with the rest tied. I wonder if they are just holding back until closer to election day. They also have Democrats up to 51 Senate seats. Chris Bowers over at Daily Kos still has Democrats at 52 in the Senate. Also, Bowers wrote why Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman will not change parties.

Nate the Great Silver is now a star on NPR. Yesterday, he said the Republicans look to win the House but then he went into numbers wonkland and said that their gains could be 20-60. Well, if it's below 40, it's tough luck. He also has Republican chances winning the Senate, close to none or about 11%.

Organizing for America plans to call 7 million people in the next 7 days. Strangely enough, the Alexandria site for this is the car dealership where my wife bought her car. It happens to be owned by a former college classmate of mine. ActBlue and other progressive websites are still burning candles for Democratic candidates.

On the other side, seven conservative (anonymous) astro-turf groups are trying to coordinate a GOTV drive. This is where the rubber meets the road. As I've written, Republican GOTV efforts this year are in disarray because the Republican party apparatus has collapsed.

The question I have are the Undecideds really undecided or are they like the Undecideds during Reagan first election. You were supposed to be too embarrassed by Reagan so you didn't tell anyone you would vote for him. Is this a portion of our population who knows that teabaggers are nutjobs but will vote for them? Or vice versa. Independents that can't reveal they are voting for a Democrat.

Election analyst Eric Rudenour wrote a blog yesterday where he recounted his own election success since the 1980s and predicted Democrats would lose 30 House seats and 5 Senate seats but retain control of both chambers. He has an excellent record and I wonder if he really is cheerleading.

Nate Silver said that nothing has happened in the elections since Labor Day. All the ads, all the Obama campaigning, all the debates have not changed any race so far. He also believes that Democratic "momentum" is Democrats coming home to the party and that accounts for the natural tightening of the races. It will be interesting to see what he thinks about the efforts by Howard Dean and David Plouffe in the GOTV department.

Things don't look good when the Washington Post does a positive profile of Chris Van Hollen and his role for the Democrats's House Committee. Van Hollen criticized Obama for starting too late in defining the election as a choice and that Obama did not focus on the positive points about Congress and the economy. Nancy Pelosi had been furious at the White House by its insistence on saying that Congress was broken, when the House passed more progressive legislation than any chamber since FDR. That it was the Republicans in the Senate, who were the obstacle. Otherwise, Congress was doing just fine, thank you.

If you want an economic illiterate, you will have one with John Boehner. Yesterday, he said he would push for a moratorium on all government regulation so as to create jobs. Food and Drugs? Mine safety? Oil drilling? What is this guy talking about? The other thing that Democrats did not make hay out of was Boehner's economic plan for the House. Analysts claim it will result in the loss of 1 million jobs. Then Boehner promises to cut some government program every week to reduce the deficit. He also promises to get government spending back to 2008 levels.

George W's memoirs are supposed to come out the end of election week. He had asked that they be postponed until then because he said some things would upset people in his party. Well, it can't be admissions about torture or that he knew Karzai was on the Iranian payroll. What it seems to me is his vigorous defense of TARP, which says saved the United States from a Greater Depression than the Great Depression. After all it was TARP and the Black President that created the Teahadists.

Our Alaska race is looking pretty dirty. Miller has admitted he committed ethical lapses at his job but, for unknown reasons, keeps avoiding why he is a disabled vet. He avoided this question in the debate and the follow-up question-and-answer period afterward. The reason for his discharge was " miscellaneous". Nobody has asked if while at Yale Law School did he join the Oathkeepers, the right-wing outfit of veterans, police and active duty military who will oppose any perceived infringement on the constitution. It was created at Yale by a libertarian activist.

Everybody is suing the state of Alaska for posting the write-in candidates in the voting booths because it would favor Lisa Murkowski. Lisa Murkowski has been up to some dirty tricks by reproducing endorsements from state Democrats and Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray. Unfortunately, none of them are true. This race will take all night and it might be that no one will know the winner until next year like with Al Franken.

Colorado Republican teabagger candidate Ken Buck said yesterday that he does not believe in the separation of church and state. That's actually seen as a positive among the large Colorado radical right Christian crowd. In the campaign for the Conception starts with Ejaculation bill, pro-lifers are running ad that calls Barack Obama the "Angel of Death". Unrestrained by any laws on accuracy, they reproduced almost every falsehood about the President, the healthcare bill, funding abortions abroad, and end that a vote for this bill is a way to take "America back." Women's groups are finally waking up and running counter ads against both the bill, which would outlaw "non-barrier contraception" , and Ken Buck, who wouldn't prosecute a confessed rapist because the woman had had an abortion and he said it was a case of "buyer's remorse".

This Senate race is tied--if you want any indication about how far we have fallen.

Glenn Beck yesterday said that President Obama communicates with Satan. This seems to be a right-wing refrain nowadays. But consider this,Glenn Beck is a Mormon. President Obama and his family have been baptised by proxy by the Mormon Church. Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the brother of Lucifer. So does this make Barack Obama Jesus Christ? Inquiring minds want to know.

Jeff Sharlet has a piece in this month's Mother Jones on how C Street and the politicians involved in it have their own foreign policy and have used tax-payer funds for trips to proselytize foreign leaders. The piece demonstrates how the Christian Right has sunk their hooks into Uganda and how they plan to "convert" Muslims. Sharlet's story about C Street in Syria actually rings a bell with me because a conservative told me that Blackwater had been guarding missionaries in Muslim countries like Syria.

How many more ways can people trash President Obama? Torture King, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen claims the "downfall of President Obama" came when he told the Republicans at a meeting on the stimulus that "he won". Thiessen is not honest enough to talk about the Republican leadership meeting a week before Obama took office where they gave orders that no one cooperate with the new President. Thiessen writes that it's Obama's fault that he didn't reach out to Republicans. If you read anything on the Left, they explode about all the times Obama tried to accomodate Republicans.

We are being conditioned for the interpretation of the election results. In the New York Times, President Obama mistook a protest vote, which brought him victory, for a mandate. We have the usual pundits say that Obama has governed too far on the Left and this is a reaction to that. We already hear from Democrats themselves that Obama should have emphasized job creation at the expense of healthcare. Paul Krugman grumps that the elections are a result of a failed economic policy. Of course, 15% of the teahadists say it is because of his race, not program.

What is so interesting to me is that during the first 20 months of Obama's presidency, the beltway pundits never wrote about how irrational the Republicans were. Now we are hearing about how the election results will force bipartisan cooperation. There is simply no evidence from any Republican that this is true. Jimmy Carter yesterday said the Democrats would lose the House but that would be good because President Obama can run like Harry Truman against the "Do-Nothing" Congress. Even Doug Schoen, former partner of Mark Penn, claims that having a Republican Congress would be the best thing for President Obama because they would give him an excellent foil. Democrats themselves invoke Clinton's comeback after the 1994 loss of Congress. David Broder continues to believe that John Boehner will act as a responsible Speaker of the House and actively negotiate with President Obama.

I don't believe any of them.

The Republicans are committed to the destruction of President Obama and returning to power in 2012 because they believe they are entitled to power and the presidency. Remember before President Obama, Republicans had the White House 20 out of 28 years.

Meanwhile, Pew has a poll out that says President Obama is in better shape than Reagan in his first term in so far as people wanting him to run again. About 47% want Obama to run again and 51% did not want Reagan to run again after the 1982 midterms.

Monday, October 25, 2010

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! We're Number 1

Kevin Drum in an appropriately titled piece "American Exceptionalism" in Mother Jones reflects on what the cuts to the British military mean for the United States. The British government decided that their draconian budget cuts had to affect the military as well as the entire social welfare state.

This means that the UK will be able to carry out one enduring brigade-level operation with up to 6,500 personnel, compared to the 10,000 now in Afghanistan, plus two smaller interventions at any one time. The Brits will continue to built two aircraft carriers, although they will have no planes for them until 2020. That's because the existing fleet of Harriers will be scrapped immediately.

What all this means in laymen language is that the United States will have virtually the only expeditionary force left on the planet. While other countries can defend themselves or send troops across the border, there's almost no capacity left for projecting any force any further than that anywhere in the world.

This is the one area where "American exceptionalism is truly a fact."

The State of the Empire

Zero Hedge and the Economic Collapse websites have posted 24 statistics that they say indicate the United States has officially entered the "Late Roman Empire" phase of its civilization. Along with Coto Reports, these websites claim that it is not too late to reverse course and turn things around. But this will take urgent action. They all say that the situation will accelerate until there is nothing left of America's once greatness. I've argued during the length of this blog that there needs to be a paradigm shift in our economic system away from a petroleum based, consumer economy. But our political system probably means that this can not be done until a crisis is upon us and even then we saw the Oil Embargo against the United States never changed our habits or our system. I'm not sure that Americans really want to deal with these troublesome facts.

1. Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. This was noted in every CIA Yearbook. In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

2.The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world. Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12.

3. In the 2009 'prosperity index" published by the Legatum Institute, the United States was ranked as just the ninth most prosperous country in the world. That's down five places in a year.

4. In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today we are ranked 15th. That is why I have been a big fan of Barack Obama's plan to extend internet in rural towns. But this initiative has been filibustered by the GOP.

5. The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2050.

6. The Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040. I doubt this.

7. According to a new study conducted by Thompson Reuters, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

8. The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. Approximately, 75% of those factories employed at least 500 workers while they were in operation.

9. The United States has lost a staggering 32% of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000!

10. Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than in 1975.

11. In 1959, manufacturing represented 28% of all U.S. economic output. In 2008, it only represented 11.5%.

12. Television manufacturing began in the United States. Today, according to Alan Binder, none are made in the U.S.

13. As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in mnanufacturing was in 1941.

14. In 1980, we imported approximately 37 percent of the oil we use. Today,we import 60%.

15. The U.S. trade deficit is running about $40-50 billion a month. That means by the end of the year half a trillion dollars will have left the U.S. for good.

16. Between 2000 and 2009, America's trade deficit with China increased nearly 300%.

17. Today, the United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that China spends on goods from the United States.

18. According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues at its current rate, the U.S. will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

19. American 15-year olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

20. Median household income in the United States declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009. That was the second yearly decline in a row. Preliminary figures show that this year American household income will dip below $50,000.

21. The United States has the third worst poverty rate among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization of Ecionomic Cooperation and Development.

22. Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power.

23. U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36%.

24. The CBO is projecting the U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080. Of course, if literally nothing is done.

But we are number 1 in the world in number of adults incarcerated. And number 1 in the world, in fact the entire world, in national security spending. And we are 49th in the world in terms of life expectancy for male and females. I expect the number to drop even further in the next decade.

Have a Happy Day!


I thought all readers deserve to read my horoscope in the Washington Post from yesterday. This will allow you to make critical judgments on what you read here at Stoogeland.

" The world you call normal is very different from what another person routinely experiences. Someone passing through for a casual visit to your world will feel as if they are on another planet."

You have been warned. But as Dick Cheney's aide said, "We are an empire. We make our own reality."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What If The House Changes

There are a number of peace signals being given by the GOP concerning cooperation with President Obama if they win. Don't believe them. Remember the margin of victory, if it happens, would depend on some 30 teabaggers, who will be emboldened by Michelle Bachman and Congressman King. Tan Man Boehner will be obliged to buy this caucus off. Congressman Pence has already said that the House will not cooperate with the Administration.

First, let's be clear the GOP does not and has never cared about deficits or the national debt. This has been clear by the inability of their candidates to name a single program they would cut. While Democrats are the tax and spend party, the GOP is the spend party--but only on friends. The last Republican who cared about balanced budgets and the national debt was Dwight David Eisenhower. No one since.

Second, the GOP will not compromise on the Bush tax-cuts. You can show every American all the various studies showing how these tax-cuts are counter-productive and multiply our debt, and it would not matter. The GOP will not accept the compromise percolating here in D.C. that tax cuts could be extended to people earning $1 million a year but no further. This would also cut taxes for the super-rich but not by as much. I wonder if you ran the figures whether such cuts wouldn't cancel out any increases. The GOP will probably wave the PayGo rules to pass the tax-cuts and not request a CBO estimate on how much it adds to the national debt. They have made it clear they do not trust the CBO figures.

Third, The Republicans filibustered the funding of the Wall Street Reform. They will continue to do so as to kill it. The primary casualty will be the Consumer Protection Agency slated to be led by Elizabeth Warren. This is their big payback to their anonymous donors.

Fourth, they will seek the abolition of the capital gains tax and try to sell it as a boon to the middle-class, who is protected against it by 501-Ks and other retirement instruments. The real beneficiary will be the Hedge Fund brokers because they declare large portions of their income as capital gains.

Fifth, the GOP will try to eliminate the "death tax" or estate taxes, which only apply now to people with a net worth over $5 million.

Sixth, they will try to repeal Healthcare Reform. Again they will not ask the CBO how this will signifantly reduce the national debt--instead it will raise it. If they do not succeed on this, they will vote to defund major portions of it, including the Free Clinics and the Children health care.

Seventh, any proposal to raise the limit on the FICA tax will be defeated. Instead, the GOP will vote to raise the age of retirement because "we had no other choice." What that does is to cut benefits for seniors. But this would have to be made plain to an economically ignorant public. And I doubt whether anyone will do it.

Eighth, any debt reduction proposal from the Catfood Commission that incorporates any Democratic ideas will be rejected.

Ninth,the bipartisan House committee to examine defense cuts will either be eliminated or ignored.

Tenth, USAID will suffer some cuts because they fund family planning overseas. The House will even go further to weaken the non-military part of our foreign policy because they don't believe in diplomacy or negotiations. In the Senate, it will be very difficult for the New SALT Treaty to be ratified.

Eleventh, House republicans will re-steal $90 billion from the student loan programs and return it to the banks. This program that ostensibly incensed Republicans as a socialist move enabled students to secure low-interest loans with a cap on the % of income for re-payment. If the Republicans return this program to the banks--it only happened under W--then students would pay between 12-14% on interest and have to pay back a greater percent of their income in their early earning years. The move also would cut down significantly on the number of loans that would be made available. It's a pure gift to the banks.

Now the good news is that Republicans have lost the policy-making gene and will do all this in a ham-fisted way, which may make it easier for President Obama to veto. The other positive note is that John Boehner and the top Republicans are show-boaters and not work horses so they will not meet as often and as late as the Pelosi House. So how far they get in dismantling President Obama's agenda is still a question mark.

Congressman Issa, as I've already written, will start a series of investigations, which will range from the looney to the semi-plausible. One of his first exercises will be to establish that the mortgage crisis was created by all the poor people who bought homes and not the bankers. Despite libraries and living witnesses about the rapacity of the banks, he can get away with this. And he will be supported by daily coverage on Fox.

The premier investigation will be Congressman Sensenbrenner's hearing on Climate Change and Why It Is A Hoax. This will be the great Earth is Flat debate. Climate change scientists will be hauled before the inquisitors. This again will be daily entertainment on Fox News. These hearings will be an excuse for House Republicans to defund the EPA and to curtain efforts to secure alternative energy sources.

The prime goal of the House Repubicans will be to reward their friends with goodies and tax-breaks and to gut the regulatory agencies of the federal government. In fact, they will go farther than George W. did. What Americans still do not get is that Republicans are now radicals. They are no longer conservatives.

They could pull some other stunts like shut down the Government like Gingrich did. They believe they can do it this time without negative repercussions. The question is whether Boehner has the personality to actually go to the brink constantly against the President.

Almost all the conventional wisdom by the Washington nomenklatura will be wrong. If President Obama did not understand how obstructionist the Republicans have been, the Washington pundits really don't get it and they are the naive ones with any Republican take-over of the House. We're not talking gridlock, which might be pleasant, but constant war. The House would be the Republicans little version of the Reichstag.

We will only have to live with this warfare until 2012. After one year, the Republicans will be focussed on their own presidential primaries and their congresscritters will want to be on the campaign trail.

Nothing the Republicans do will improve the economy. Nothing. But if they succeed in their agenda, they will increase the national debt by $8 trillion more. And none of it would have gone to anything remotely resembling the common good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Election Mumbo Jumbo

Our Energizer President is running around the country, drawing huge, enthusiastic crowds wherever he goes. He topped 37,000 in L.A. and ended the night with a large enthusiastic crowd in Nevada. He's going to keep on going until election day, revisiting Ohio, Minnesota and Illinois.

Are the Democrats just whistling in the wind? The Atlas project run by former Kerry campaign chairman has studied the early voter returns in 17 states. They conclude the partisan balance is much like 2006, the year the Democrats took back both the Senate and the House. In fact, they say it's a little more Democratic. Michael McDonald at George Mason concluded that Democrats are not voting at the high rates of 2008 but they are voting at higher rates than Republicans in early voting. Even in a contentious state like Nevada, Democrats are voting at 45% to Republicans at 40%.

Now does any of this mean anything? Republicans are spinning it that they tend to vote later. But there seems to be a ramping up of efforts on the Republican side. The NRCC, which funds the House races, just applied for a $20 million line of credit. Dick Armey, Mr. Teabagger, is crying that Democrats are voting earlier because they want to commit voter fraud. And Rush Limbaugh has brought back Operation Chaos, urging Hillary Clinton supporters to vote Republican as a protest against Barack Obama. What this did in 2008 was vastly enlarge the Democratic registrations in Pennsylvania but very little else. But why make such odd noises if something wasn't going on?

Newsweek just released a fascinating poll, which showed that Obama's approval rating just jumped since their last poll to 54% and that those polled preferred Democrats holding Congress by 48 to 43%. In prehistoric electoral politics, that would mean it's tied and that if you compare a split vote to House races, you end up with Democrats barely holding on. While Newsweek leans Democratic, there was the same five point spread buried in the latest Gallup poll.

Now why is this Newsweek poll so interesting? It's because one-third of the answers were from people using cellphones. The lack of cellphone users has been widely criticized this year. Landline users prefer Republicans by 10%. Also, the lack of cellphone users in the polls this electoral season bring down voters under the age of 30 down to 7%, almost one-third of their general mid-term voting record. And, of course, this would bring down the Democrats' percentage.

Newsweek does caution readers that Bill Clinton experienced the same uptick in his ratings prior to the 1994 elections. Just a NOTE--Barack Obama's approval rating over the last 14 months has fluctuated a massive 4 points, less than the margin of error. He basically has run between 47 and 51%.

Nate Silver now has Republicans winning over 230 seats in the House elections. Right now Electoral-Politics. com has it GOP 208 and Democrats 207 and 20 Tied.

The question is whether the GOP gaffes over the next 10 days will cost them. Or has everyone become innoculated against allegations of corruption and bizarre, crazy beliefs that it doesn't matter?

Personally, I am stuck with the problem of how to explain how a party with a 24% approval rating, now clearly bankrolled by banks and big corporations, both insitutions which are despised in public opinion more than Republicans, can roar back to a massive victory. This becomes a greater problem if you see that Obama's surge voters appear to be awake and voting.

Washington pundits claim today that Chris Van Hollen is being a goodsport and putting up a brace face on what D.C. claims is a debacle in the making.

Or by the Way, Barack Obama cut your taxes. He also has created more jobs in the private sector than George W did in eight years. So I know why corporations want to buy this election, I can not understand anyone in the middle class falling for this nonsense.

Best political ad of the day. In Connecticut, where Linda McMahon is running and has spent $45 million, a billboard:"LINDA"
"..because she's bought everything else."

The big spender ladies--Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Linda McMahon--together have spent over $200 million--all look like they are going down to defeat.

An observation, all these candidates and Rick Scott in Florida, Art Johnson in Wisconsin, and Raese in West Virginia are campaigning on "I know how to create jobs." You are going to see this with Mitt Romney in 2012. The problem is that all of these people actually got their CEO jobs in order to fire or outsource jobs. None of them--none of them--ever created jobs.

There was more news today that white women are shifting over to the Republicans. It's clear that Democrats have been zeroing on what they have done for women, but it would be disheartening to see women actually voting for candidates that are radically against reproducive rights, children's health care and against education. This I will have to see. While evangelicals are a large sector of our population, I can't see how they would swamp non-fundamentalist women at the polls.

Harvard has released data on the youth vote. By and large, they put it at about 21%, roughly the same or slightly lower than 2006. The problem with their study is that they didn't distinguish between registered young voters and just the youth population at large. Their study was refuted by another that showed that the millenial vote this year would be about 40%, larger than 2006 but about 20% less than 2008. If true, that would still be significant.

In a calm moment, I will post an analysis of what a Republican House would mean for the next two years and also who will get real money returns. The massive investment by the Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove's billionaires and various industries in this election is relatively small compared to the money they have spent lobbying against all of Obama's legislation. They quite properly calculated it was far less expensive to buy their own Congress than to keep spending money on futilely lobbying a Democratic Congress.

One business group is playing Russian Roulette. The Health Insurance Industry wrote the section of the healthreform bill, which called for individual mandates--thus openly a new market of about 40 million Americans. The Left was outraged because this was at the expense of the Public Option. Now the Health Insurance industry has decided to back Republicans 100% with the goal of trying to amend the bill and strip out the remains they object to. Too clever by half. Because Mike Pence made it clear to the Hill that one of the first things a Republican House will do is repeal the entire Health Bill. This is the price that was eacted by the teabaggers.

Why the problem? When the health industry met to lobby against the bill, their policy wonks and accountants held their own conference in Washington. There they explained that if the Health Insurance Industry does not have access to this expanded market in a very short time-frame, the whole industry will be in catastrophic shape and have to raise premiums astronomically and start cutting people off, who are too expensive. The insurance pool would shrink in order to maintain their profit margin but they would be in a death spiral. When you see these conservative Republicans suing on the grounds of the individual mandate, they clearly have not got the memo or simply do not care.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Smog of War

So the new media narrative is that it's a horserace across the board and races are tightening. Everyone that voted for Obama have all defected to the teabaggers and they are supporting the 20 states who are challenging the 14th Amendment. The last factoid is actually true. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama continues his "Lonely Man" tour, speaking in Oregon and Washington state and next in California. His audiences are dwindling because everyone is already there. He didn't draw the 250,000 that he did Portland during 2008. He's only speaking before audiences of 18-20,000 dispirited voters. This compares unfavorably to Sarah Palin's California rally of 2,000 because it's always best to only speak to the truly committed "real Americans".

The local media have portrayed these visits in a positive light and have expressed shock that the backyard meetings are not pre-screened. The host is asked to invite his or her friends, no matter the party and the questions are not pre-screened. The local press are astonished by this and have the hosts for these meetings on after Air Force One departs. Frankly, I have been skeptical about the effectiveness of these gatherings and still remain to be persuaded.

I'll be fascinated to learn what the final turnout this year. You are lucky to have 30-35% for a mid-term election and that's why Republicans love them so. But the anecdotal evidence suggests this time may be higher. Voters are using early voting at the rate of 2008. Democrats lead in early voting in the Midwest, and Nevada but not in Louisiana , North Carolina or Florida. If Democrats keep this pace, they may have a better election night.

One of the interesting things about early voting is how the African-Americans use it. While the teabaggers are making a concerted effort to suppress the African-American vote, I've noticed that the African-American is turning out at higher rates than in 2006, which marked a surge in African-American voters. In Georgia, for instance, African-American early voting is surpassing their 2008 turnout. Whether this will translate into anything remains to be scene. The only visible race there is for Governor between Republican Deal and Democrat Barnes. Whether suppression efforts in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin succeed is anyone's guess. But I think the African-American community is using early voting to neutralize these efforts that succeeded in the past.

Today, Electoral-Politics. com have the Republicans leading the House with 207 to the Democrats 205 with 23 ties. The DailyKos pollster now has the Senate at 52, but indicates that more races are opening up so that Democrats run the possibilty of 49 to 56 seats. At the high end,it just means Democrats would lose Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana.

A late night election will be Pennsylvania's Senate race. It is a virtual tie right now because the Democrats running ads on the anonymous corporate donors is hitting home with this working class state. The AFL-CIO's efforts have mobilized union members who were going to sit this one out. You will know the result if Sestak leaves Philadelphia with a 400,000 vote lead. That's the number for his victory.

Another sleeper is Diaper Dave Vitter's race against Charlie Melancon in Louisiana. Vitter had an enormous financial advantage and dominated the airwaves but it seems Melancon's message is beginning to hit home, especially among independent voters. Right now Vitter has a 3 pt. edge, when he was blowing away Melancon only two weeks ago.

John Ralston is still reporting that there is no discernible GOP surge in Nevada. You have to ask about the effect Frank Fahrenkopf, Reagan's RNC chairman's endorsement of Harry Reid, and other prominent Nevada Republicans will have on the race.

The Alaska Senate race is getting down and dirty. Joe Miller now is suing the state of Alaska so as to conceal his employment records. 50 Alaskan Republicans have signed a petition aimed at Miller, saying that any candidate who refuses to talks about his past professional life, is not worthy of public office.The Democrats are threatening to sue the state of Alaska for circulating slips with the names of right-in candidates in the voting booth. Joe Miller is suing the Native Alaskan Authorities, the largest group supporting Murkowski, over their campaign contributions. The Native Alaskan Authorities cancelled the candidates' forum because they did not want Scott McAdams speaking about his close relationship to the native Americans, his support of their language and his honorary membership in the local tribes. More Alaskans are learning that Joe Miller storm troopers are linked to extreme militia groups. Jim DeMint is bringing to the state ads showing Joe Miller as the only true pro-life candidate. This is the Hail Mary pass. Right now, it's a three-way tie and anyone can win.

Early voting in Florida is favoring the Republicans. Marco Rubio has a comfortable lead over Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist is running on fumes. He's rumored to be out of money. But the real danger here is Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor. He is now tied and in some polls leading Alex Sink. Electing Scott is like electing Bernie Madoff the governor of New York. His grand jury testimony has been playing on YouTube. Check it out. This guy is squirrelly.

Russ Finegold is not out yet. His opponent Art Johnson has been stunning in his press interviews. Johnson has advocated drilling in the Great Lakes, is speechless about what programs he wants to cut, and asked about what he would do for the Middle Class came up with zilch. I still say Feingold's in trouble.

The election is beginning to be a blur to me. Maybe that's the genius media strategy of Karl Rove and corporate America. I think voters are being conditioned to just factor the insanity out because it's repeated so much. And the nutjob candidates are just the shiny objects to keep our attention, while those who do win will pick what remains in our pockets.

A conservative Republican said to me that it would be a shame if the fiscal conservatism of the teabaggers got mixed up with social conservatism because that would start a factional fight. I hated to tell that guy the religious Right and the corporations have joint ownership of the Tea Party. Given the eventual political reality in Congress, it's very probable that the nuts will be indulged and they can introduce a Bill Outlawing Birth Control and another one Declaring America A Christian Nation, but the K Street lobbyists will be working in a stealth-like manner to gut Wall Street Reform of key provisions and defund portions of the Health Reform Bill. Basically, given past pattern of Republican behavior, there will be little overt attention to their real actions.

What was supposed to be Obama's ace in the hole--the Catfood Commission--may not be the instrument he thought he needed to put Republicans on the spot. President Obama knows, I know and everyone else knows that Republicans are not serious about the national debt. They can't name a single program they would cut--except waste and fraud. President Obama hoped to use the Catfood Commission as pressure but it seems this commission can seem to reach an agreement on their recommendations, which are due in December.

Alfred E. Newman emerged again from hiding to say his biggest failure when he was President was "not to privatize Social Security." Think about that. So Republicans this year are running on continuing W's financial policies and sealing the deal with privatizing Social Security.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues*

*Bob Dylan, The Witmark Demos.

The booklet that accompanies this new release says that it is songs like "Tomorrow is Such A Long Time", which would be sung forever. Then it says that cuts like "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" would only be remembered by people who lived through the 1960s. This would be true except that in the year 2010, 48 years since Bob Dylan cut his first tunes, we now have John Birchers running for office.

A personal note: Listening to the Witmark demos, I was reading Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre or David Cornwall in real life. I was struck that I started listening to Bob Dylan and reading John le Carre in the same year. I have downstairs in my house my Doubleday book of the Month club edition of Spy Who Came in From the Cold, which I got when it first came out. That's almost 50 years of loyal reading. I'm waiting for the music and publishing industry to finally recognize me. Oh and yes, John le Carre doesn't disappoint. But he seldom does.

This morning's electoral-vote. com estimates have 206 Democrats and 201 Republicans in the House and the rest tied. Unbeknownst to the average political junkie, of the remaining tied races we do not have any polling data on 24 of them. So we're running blind at this point.

There is more nonsense appearing everyday. Politico said that early voting in Nevada give Democrats reason for concern. But veteran report John Ralston in the Las Vegas Sun reported that Democrats are outvoting Republicans in the early voting. But he does write that the vote tallies are looking like your average mid-term elections. Throughout the Midwest, Democratic voters are the sizeable number of the early voters since this is part of the Democratic GOTV strategy. In Texas, the Democratic Party has filed charges against the loc al Teabaggers, who have been harassing minorities at the polling places and tryingto instruct them how to vote. This apparently will be the strategy all through the election to keep the minority vote suppressed.

This should not come as a surprise since the NAACP released their report today on "Tea Party Nationalism", a joint project with the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. The report documented the on-going ties between hate groups and the movement. The report documents the specific ties of Tea Party members with these groups and shows that Tea Party Patriots and ResistNet are the two largest growing parties of the movement. Naturally, the Tea Party Express denounced the NAACP as smearing the group and working for the "liberal Democratic agenda."

Unfortunately, we have crossed the Rubican on these matters. It simply doesn't phase any of these people the they may be in bed with anti-semites, white supremacists or racists. Even if they are, they deny it. But the subterranean connections between the more unsavory groups should worry people. You see them pop up all over the place. Joe Miller's security contigent has relationships with militia groups who were involved with the Oklahoma City Bombings. And with the anti-Obama hatred whipped up by these people, anything will happen.

If you needed to connect the dots between racism, nationalism and the corporate world, look no further than Think Progress' piece this morning by Lee Fang on the leaked memo concerning the secret June meeting of the Koch Brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, Glenn Beck and the corporate special interests to develop the strategy for the 2010 elections. And special guests at this meeting were Fat Tony Scalia and Clarence Thomas, last known to be sitting justices on the Supreme Court. If Ruth Bader Ginsberg went to a left-wing strategy session, the Fox News noise machine would be demanding her death. Here, two justices are sitting in on strategy meetings concerned with implementing the Citizens United decision.

And yes, they plan to meet at Rio Rancho in January to discuss their strategy for the 2012 elections. I hope you will be there.

Counterpunch has an article linking the Koch Brothers to Americans for Prosperity as well as many of the astroturf organizations fighting the Cap and Trade law, climate change and other strange corporate agenda items.

If you put this all together, you have the makings of a genuine American fascist movement. The difference between the businessmen's plot to topple FDR and these guys is that the businessmen of the 1930s were only interested in stopping the New Deal. These modern guys have brought with them an ideology and they have married their corporate interests to the radical fringes in our society. It's strange to see something like the World Capitalist Conspiracy, which manipulates the nationals with their own brand of xenophobia. This could be a new unique ideology.

The real job of Americans over the next few years is to fight this new coalition and thwart their ambitions.

The revelations today by Think Progress and earlier this week by the New York Times are not linked to the espionage scandal that will hit conservatives.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Alright, Nate the Great has the Senate at 51 today, Electorial Vote agrees and DailyKos has it still at 52. But this number would mean Reid,Bennett,Illinois and Feingold and Alaska are lost causes. None of these sources have Conway or McAdams or Sestak in the game. What we are seeing is the low number possible. Electoral Vote still has Dems at 207 to 204 for Republicans in the House. Although the momentum there has been for the Republicans until the last two days.

While headline writers have only 2/3rds of the Obama voters going to vote for the Democrats, the actual CBS polls says something very different. The little paragraph buried is the Independents--which 42% are voting Democrat, 12% Republicans and 38% are still persuadable. The large persuadable independents indicates how hard the GOP is having to make the sale. That this is so large two weeks out means this election is still undecided.

The 2/3rds note would be excellent if that is the likely voter. Remember the strategy is to get a sizable percent of these voters out, not the whole bunch. Polling over the last two weeks indicates that we may have a larger turnout this year than during other mid-terms. And of the Obama Voter 89% approve of his performance. So we're not seeing the great sampede to the Republicans that Washington pundits have been talking about.

Obama's approval rating in Gallup today is 48% and Rasmussen 49%, making the recent media drumbeat for the GOP look awfully suspicious.

Apparently, the Republicans have caught on to the silent but developing GOTV efforts by the Democrats. In Nevada, a Republican front group called "Latinos for Reform" is running ads urging Latinos not to vote at all. The Latino former-Bush official in charge of the group said that it was a protest against Barack Obama and Harry Reid for not pushing immigration reform and that Latinos are going to show they were not going to be taken for granted. The group admitted that Sharron Angle was anti-immigrant. But this is an operation meant to suppress the normally Democratic voter.

National Republican Lawyers group, which is mounting aggressive voter suppression efforts in the black community, are being funded by GOP financial giant and Republican bankroller Dick DeVos,Mr.Amway and the father-in-law of Eric Prince, the CEO of Blackwater. These groups will be mobilized in Illinois and reports are appearing in Texas. Ostensibly to ensure "voter integrity", these are imitations of the people from the "Brooks Brothers" riots in Miami-Dade county during the 2000 election. It's clear Republicans are more worried about Obama surge voters than they had let on.

There is nervous chatter of right-wing websites about Obama's campaigning. Of course, they say he is only going to areas where leftists live and his efforts will be for naught. But it seems they are obsessively concerned about the President out and about the land. Rush Limbaugh is trying to whip up the Cheetos-worshippers by calling Obama "demonic" today.

A race that always intrigued me was Bill White's challenge to Rick Perry in Texas. I read a very detailed article on why Texas won't elect him governor because the revelations of Perry's corruption are not read by many and the true state of the Texas economy has not yet been felt by the average citizens. Polling in Texas has been sporadic but showing Perry would win in a walk. But I also read an analysis of the whole scale of the Democratic Party's effort in the state. It dwarfs the Republican efforts and they have created White headquarters in every district and conducted massive GOTV drives. If you think, as I do, organization matters, this is a race to watch on election night.

Following that up, I read last night the statements by the AFL-CIO on their efforts in Pennsylvania on behalf of Joe Sestak in his race against Pat Toomey. This race was another one pronounced dead a few weeks ago. Sestak had a few point lead over Toomey among union voters but after the AFL-CIO's campaign he has soared to 55%, some 20 plus points over Toomey. This shows up in the polls the last two days which shows Sestak has moved ahead by a point or two.

If Independents can still be persuaded, why won't Republicans in tight races appeal to them. That shows the ideological bind the GOP is in. Any such effort would alienate their increasingly fascist base. Also, I think there is a blind belief that money does indeed buy you anything.

The GOP are paying George Washington University students $50 per day to campaign for Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. In last night's debate, Claremont constitutional scholar Christine O'Donnell challenged Chris Coons to show where in the Constitution there was the separation between church and state. He calmly said,"The First Amendment" and the audience laughed at Christine.

Also providing laughs has been Sharron Angle, who appeared before Latino high School students to explain why she was running the menancing dark-skinned Latino ads against Harry Reid. She explained that she didn't know these people were Latinos but she added that she was concerned about the terrorists who came in the country from Canada. The students laughed at her but the Canadian Ambassador to the United States has demanded an apology. She also told the students they looked Asian. And she waxed nostalgically that people often said she was the first Asian legislator in Nevada. Something veteran reporter John Ralston claims no one has ever said.

In my favorite Senate race, Joe Miller did not show up at the debate last night because the man he handcuffed was the moderator but he did find time to speak to CNN. His added complaint against the reporter was that he followed him into the men's room, something no one can attest to. To me this is more of the Tea Bag fixation on gays--O'Donnell suggesting Mike Castle was gay, Sharron Angle demanding Harry Reid put his "man pants on" and here the suggestion that somehow Miller was fending off some gay move.

Unfortunately for Miller, a former supporter Mrs. Symbol came to the townhall meeting and saw the whole fracas and told reporters that while the journalist was aggressive, he did nothing wrong. She complained that she brought her son to hear Miller on his support on gun rights but Miller turned and ran right over her son, pushing him over. Now she won't support Miller.

It seems two of Miller's security guards were active duty military and when their commanding officer heard about their moonlighting, he was furious and vows to bring action against the men.

My candidate Scott McAdams told reports he has never seen an Alaskan politician escorted by armed guards with Secret Service earpieces. He said that his entourage consists of his son or daughter.

Miller's attempt to avoid discussion about his ethics problems during his days as an attorney for small town has only lead to the press opening the discussion further. Miller has not been able to put this back into the box. His failure at damage control has led to a further decline in his popularity. Remember after he won the primary, he was at 53% and was a lock. Now he is at 34% and is in a three-way tie.

Scott McAdams got the best line of the debate. Asked to say something nice about Lisa Murkowski. She said,"She's less Right than Miller. But then John Birch was less Right than Miller."

Don't feel sorry if Sharron Angle loses. Nevada will have to appoint a new Senator soon when Ensign is forced to resign. And the governor's seat will remain Republican.

Love will find a way. The Love Gov, Governor Sanford of South Carolina is still seeing his Argentine bombshell. This is reported by his former wife. Elliot Spitzer's madam is now running for Governor of New York. Next, we might see Diaper Dave Vitter's New Orleans Madam run.

Recent polls show the California races are tightening but this just may be outlier polls.

Apparently, the Chamber of Commerce is angry at Velvet Revolution, the website which created the Stop the Chamber campaign. The Velvet Revolution has requested the FBI to investigate threats against them by Chamber employees and management.

Advocacy groups are just flooding the FEC, the IRS and the FBI with complaints against the Chamber. A veterans group charged their funding creates a "clear and present danger" to our democracy because of the foriegn component. Karl Rove and Republican apologists are trying to laugh off the charges. But yesterday, it became clear that Saudi businesses owned by the royal family were funding some of the anti-Democrat attacks ads. Naturally, torture man, Marc Thiessen asks in the Washington Post who's funding the Democrat's attack ads. This is going to blow up on conservatives like an exploding cigar.

Check out the website for how the military is faring with the suspension of DADT. Secretary of Defense Bill Gates complained that the repeal of DADT would have "immense consequences" for the military. The website lists the type of incidents, etc. one can look forward to--complete with a running clock that started once the Judge ruled DADT unconstitutional. Naturally, total number of incidents so far is "O". Judge Virginia Phillips just didn't buy DOJ's argument for a stay and ruled the appeal to continue.

Monday, October 18, 2010

All The News Unfit To Print

In case your television was broadcasting Sarah Palin and Michael Steele's 2,000 person rally in California, President Obama appeared at a rally on the campus of Ohio State University, where only 35,000 showed up. Our commentators felt that this might have been mis-timed because Wisconsin beat Ohio State in football the night before and Obama might not be able to rally his base. Maybe it's true but everyone there was enthused.

At least Obama can rally his base when he appears on Mythbusters to demonstrate whether Archimedes really did burn the invading fleet with mirrors.

Albert Hunt, the former Wall Street Journal columnist and now a writer for Bloomberg News, warns about the major scandal coming out of this election season, which will involve politicians, bribes and secret money. He says that this will be worse than Watergate.

Remember Congressman DeFazio trying to find out who was behind Concerned Taxpayers of America? Well, apparently, someone did find out whose backing Art Robinson, Climate Change denier and advocate for more nuclear testing for our own health. The Concerned Taxpayers is not an inaccurate title. It does refer to more than 1. It's two--Robert Mercer of a New York-based Hedge Fund and Daniel Schuster Inc. of Owings Mill, Maryland. That's it. So these anonymous two guys are buying up some ads to run against one Maryland Congressman and one Oregon congressman, who must have offended them personally. I wonder what they did to create such a fuss.

The Left in the United States owes all of us an apology for mis-using the word Fascist all these many decades. Because now is the time where it applies.

Exhibit A. Joe Miller, the Tea Party Thug candidate in Alaska, answers a question on how we can deal with illegal immigration and he answers "If East Germany can do it, we can." That's like conservatives telling me that even though we used North Korean techniques to torture people we're not as bad as North Korea. Put aside the issue of where illegal immigrants are coming from to land on the shores of Alaska. Or how many people really tried to smuggle themselves into East Germany? But notice, please, how fungible Miller's once stated libertarianism is and how quick he wants to use police state tactics.

But the kicker of the evening occured when Tony Hopfinger, the founder and editor of the Alaska Dispatch, started asking Miller about the reports of his illegal behavior at his former job. His father had e-mailed the tea party that this wasn't a problem because Miller did it on the weekend. Hopfinger tried to follow up. But Miller had his security people threaten Hopfinger with trespassing--this was public property--and they handcuffed him. The Alaskan police had to show up and uncuff the reporter.

Of course, the Miller camp immediately sent out an e-mail trying to rationalize their action. Now who is Tony Hopfinger? He is the host and moderator of tonight's Senate debate in Alaska. Can you imagine if this had happened with Tom Brokow, who moderated the Whitman-Brown debate? Remember this wasn't a mistake. This happened in full view and with the permission of the candidate.

Now who were the security guards? This is an issue the media has not picked up on but the tea baggers have security guards of dubious backgrounds. Miller's thugs look like Skin-heads. They come from a local security company named "Drop Zone Security", who boast members of the Alaskan militia, which is more right-wing than the Michigan militia, and former employees of Blackwater. We know these people from the twenties and thirties in Germany.

Maybe if we looked hard enough, we would find that Miller really is a member like Todd Palin of the Alaska Independence Party, which was founded by a man who wanted the United States to be consumed by fire. He blew himself up with dynamite while building bombs.

I refer all readers to Richard Evans' The Coming of the Third Reich (Penguin Press), which deals with the origins of Nazism, the development of its ideas and its rise to power in 1933. It should be mandatory reading for all Americans, who want to know what's going to happen.

The AP decided to run a story today that the 111th Congress probably accomplished more than the landmark 89th Congress of 1965-1966. Norman Ornstein, the last sane man at AEI, puts this Congress' actions on a par with the Congress that passed civil rights legislation and Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, reaction set in on that Congress and Democrats lost 48 seats in the House that year. Ornstein has previously written that Barack Obama has accomplished in his short term more than any President since LBJ. Other scholars have noted he was accomplished more than Carter and Clinton combined.

Scott Rasmussen predicts Republicans will win 55 seats this year. That would surpass the 1994 Newt Revolution. I'm still not buying into this as of yet.

I know we like good honest debates between candidates. But I enjoy the Jack Conway-Rand Paul debates, which are descending into mud fights. Conway got in the best line: "As Attorney-General of Kentucky, I'm always amused to get a lecture in constitutional law from a self-certified opthalmologist." Bang. Zoom. Ouch. Paul wouldn't shake Conway's hand last night because he had questioned his faith. I knew that ad was a dicey gamble but I'm glad Conway is one Democrat who turned the religion cards against Paul. I hope in 2012 we see more of this, aimed at the self-righteous radical Christian right.

Republican John Raese is fighting back against Gov. Manchin's ad saying he lives in Florida. His response--"We have a home in Colorado also." I'm sure West Virginian voters will appreciate that. That makes it all the more reasonable he's running for Senate in a state where he doesn't live.

E.J. Dionne has a good piece in this morning's Washington Post about the multi-level strategy being used by the Republicans this year, where they can claim plausible deniability on the smear campaigns. He also points to the article in the new New Yorker piece about the radical right wing roots for some of the teabagger ideology.

It's so bad that even the New York Post endorsed Andrew Cuomo over Carl Palladino. So even some people in Murdoch land cringe at the lunacy of the teabaggers.

Remember my observation that the vast sums of money being raised by Republicans is somewhat neutralized because they pay so much for fund-raising? Well, John Bircher Sharron Angle blew through $10 million over the last 3 months. One-third of that was spent on fund-raising.

President Obama has boxed himself in on DADT. Instead of fighting the court ruling that it was unconstitutional, the Administration should have left itself wiggle room. It's clear to me that Gates wants to delay repealing it for his own good. It's also clear to me John McCain is playing some inside game with the Pentagon. McCain vows to filibuster the Defense Appropriations bill if it includes DADT, which he did before recess.

First, we will know the results of the elections by the time this comes up. We know the results will show a more conservative Senate and a nutty House. The prospects of getting any Congress to repeal it would be diminished. The House already repealed it. I would make McCain actually filibuster the Bill--make the Republicans speak on the floor of the Senate for ever. Then President Obama should acknowledge the DADT can't be repealed by legislative action and sign an executive order like Harry Truman did on integrating the army. This is a policy that needs to be killed as soon as possible and waiting for a process to do it isn't right to the men and woman in uniform who face discharge every day. Obama would have two years to recover from any backlash. We would already have experienced the first wave of reaction on November 2.

The other item on the agenda after recess will be the tax-cuts. The Administration has to play power politics on this. President Obama must make it clear he will veto any extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy on the basis of fiscal responsibility. I bet the House under the Republicans will suspend the PayGo rules to adopt these tax cuts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Afghan War Is Over and Other Economic Tales

This doesn't have anything to do with the talks with the Taliban and certainly not with the desires of General Petraeus, who wants our sons to continue fighting there. No, it's the international financial community has had about all its going to take from the United States and we have to show we are a serious country again and will have until the summer to start wrapping things up. That is different from Barack Obama's plan that coincides with about the same time.

You can also forget about the so-called military option in Iran because here the international community has a greater say than ever before. The true legacy of the neo-conservatives and the last Administration may be the destruction of the United States. That's not an exaggeration. Once you wrack up $12 trillion to the national debt and borrow from foreign countries, especially after a period when you bragged about going it alone, it should not come as a surprise when the international financial community won't tolerate your games any longer.

What we are about to see is reminiscent of the period when young democracies were forced by the IMF to adopt austerity programs, even at a great expense to their stability. The teabaggers haven't a clue. Marco Rubio said today that "the United States has a God-given Status." this remark was dutifully reported by the Guardian.

While we have been occupied with our own elections, the United Kingdom's inquiry into the Iraq war has been winding down and it concludes that the United States planned to invade Iraq almost immediately after taking office. Also, that the CIA commandeered private planes from a businessmen in Britain to transport Muslim prisoners around the world to its private Gulag for the purpose of torture. And these things still matter over in Europe. The days of tolerating America's conceit of being the world's only superpower are over. The price other allies have paid for their cooperation is seen as too high for the benefits.

Then add the global economic situation. Europe widely sees the collapse of the global economic system as a result for our mortgage crisis. Europe has since sent bankers to prison and adopted tougher reform laws that our Congress. It's the perception of the latter that concerns the world community. There is one strain of thought that is very concerned about whether our democracy can come to grips with the problems at hand. President Obama would have held the commanding position if his programs had passed through Congress faster. The effect of the obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress only reinforced the European view that Americans can not cope with the seriousness of the problem--the world's and our own. There is a growing feeling that if this election creates a stalemate in Washington, almost guaranteed than the international financial community will put greater demands on America to get its fiscal house in order.

While President Obama tried to get ahead of the curve with his Deficit Commission, the international financial community is concerned that the American economy simply is not bouncing back fast enough. New doubts have been created by the new foreclosure crisis and the renewed pressures on the banks. The Federal Reserve is almost out of all options to jump start the economy. Economists view our unemployment rate as around 20% (counting the U-6 rate),our annual deficit mounting and our cumulative national debt as mounting. The American consumer looks like he or she are out of the picture as any economic force in the near term. Also, outsiders view our tax rates as amusingly low, creating concerns about the widening of the income gulf, which is a sign of instability. Almost all the international concerns about the American economy have no relationship to our private sectors complaints against the Obama Administration. Their goal is to maximize their short-term profits without improving the general situation in the country.

I've written before about why the $12 trillion debt naturally inhibited Obama's reconstruction effort and why he could not become FDR. Our nation had no external debt during the Depression. The new situation in my view will call for a radical reorientation of our own domestic economy and our relationship with the world. Almost all talk in Washington, even from those advocating severe cuts in the military budget,only deal with the periphery of the core issues.

The Obama Administration has torn some pages out of the Clinton playbook with the restoration of the PayGo rules and the creation of a bipartisan deficit commission. Part of the problem as the President admitted to the Times today was he triangulated the simulus (my words) and included too many tax breaks, which diluted its effect. But a major inhibitor of any American recovery is the price of oil, which is several times higher than the Clinton years and which will continue to have a negative economic impact for the foreseeable future. The Bush years put a torque in the economic system that only new thinking will be able to unravel. Once the Bush people charged two wars and tax-breaks for the wealthy on the national credit card, it deliberately allowed the American people to expect low taxes as the wave of the future. Certainly, our current debate reflects that.

The Administration's plan for $50 billion in infrastructure spending is a logical step to lowering the unemployment rate. From a global economic point of view, America's infrastructure looks like a wreck. From ports, to airports, to sanitation systems, to water supplies, we rate a D and look like we are deteriorating into the Third World. Bonddad on his website of the same name explained yesterday the very detailed logic of infrastructure spending and its multiplier effect on the economy and on investment. But he slams the attack on these projects by Teabaggers and Republicans. Normally, all of this would be a matter of national pride but as I explained yesterday the American Exceptionalists do not think a country has to continuing improve.

This is all perceived by the outside world. The pro-American element in the global community is deeply concerned that Americans are no longer serious and this teabaggers thing may be amusing; it's also disturbing. The International business community is moving on to Asia, Brazil and other countries. And remember as these countries make the investments in modernizing they become more atractive as places to lend money to. There is a point that the United States is sucking up too much of the world's capital to fund its own debt when such capital can be more effectively spent elsewhere.

The overdependence on military power has in fact made our situation less secure, not more secure. The United States is no longer viewed as the most stable country in the world and a secure investment environment. And virtually none of this has to do with President Obama.

Once elections happen, the perception of gridlock in Washington will trigger increased pressure on the Government from outside. Normally, the Fed could inflate in order to dissipate our debt but this then risks alienating our creditors, who will be loathe to purchase more treasuries. Also almost at the time of a new Congress, oil prices should be hitting about $100 per barrel, which will slow the economic recovery even further.

To make this more concrete, the stimulus was a raving success--it preserved or created 3.5 million jobs as advertised, the TARP program was a success, even turning a profit for the taxpayer, the auto rescure plan was a success, saving 17% of our economy. And yet,look where we stand today. Almost every economist of note advocates more stimulus for the economy and they patiently explain how government revenues increase as people are employed,etc. But politically, Congress has no will for any more of this and probably won't go for Obama's infrastructure projects. At best, we look at an economy that we will tell ourselves has 8% unemployment but will really be more like 16%.

Then can you imagine the effect on the international community if Republicans try to repeal any of the Wall Streetreform bill, which Europeans thought weak in the first place. To protect themselves, the European Community will have to create mechanisms to defend themselves from any further financial meltdown. Also, most developed countries felt our health care debate was humorous but any repeal effort will cement the perception that we aren't serious people.

Even if I am half-right, one can not imagine a unilateralist and American exceptionalist getting out of such a box. Can we? Yes, but we have to start examining our first assumptions and rediscovering how we relate to the world.

The Counter Narrative on the Elections

The media narrative is that Republicans now have such an overwhelming financial advantage and can carpet- bomb the terrain with their aerial ad campaign that it is a cinch that Republicans are going to blow back into power. The Associated Press writes today that pieces of the Obama coalition who wanted change now are switching to the Republicans. Remember the political editor of AP applied to be McCain's press person during the 2008 campaign. Sarah Palin says that people will be dancing in the streets. Sonny Liston will beat Muhammad Ali.

I have a problem with this. The narrative of a party who is likely to be defeated falls on deaf ears two weeks before the election. This doesn't appear to be the case with the Democrats messaging. In fact, the Republican message machine and maybe their momentum stalled in June. I've been reviewing the polls the last two days and it is simply chaos. Often three polls for one race will provide radically different results in different directions. One reason is that polling in general has reached a crisis point and will have to be re-evaluated after this election; the second reason is that the electoral environment isn't stable and is still in flux.

Just an example, Rasmussen released two polls on October 14 showing that Obama has one approval rating at 50% and the other poll showed him at 42%. This from the same firm.

Howard Dean, who was right when other people said healthcare was dead, says he is one of the dwindling number of people in Washington D.C., who still believe the Democrats are going to retain both the Senate and the House. He first said this about one month ago and reiterated this yesterday. The main reason he says is that Obama has turned the elections into a choice and not a referendum on the sitting party. He believes that forcing that choice favors the Democrats, since the Republicans clearly have no new ideas or proposals. Also that two years ago is not the distant past.

Robert Gibbs this morning actually said the Democrats would hold both the Senate and the House, but he has to.

Clearly, Obama on the campaign trail has lost his luster. People don't go to his rallies anymore because they are too crowded. In fact, the last few, including his appearance in Boston, drew more than the 2008 campaign. While he may be speaking to the choir, the choir is still there.

Yesterday, the light bulb went off in the heads of the wealthy Democrats, who are now opening their wallets to form a firewall for the House Democrats.

Organizing for America made over 1 million phone calls yesterday and are present in all 50 states for the election. The DNC sent out a long memo to concerned Democrats about their own efforts. They claim they exceed the efforts of 2006. Their purpose is to mobilize the base, the sporadic voter and the first time voter from 2008. Expect to see a large GOTV effort.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is no enthusiasm gap at local Democratic headquarters around the country. Even in states where Republicans are expected to seize some House seats, those beleaguered campaigns seem to have high morale and are not meeting the juggernaut on the ground. Also, while Obama Republicans and Independents are frustrated, the tea party people scared them more than Democrats. The large advantage among Independents for the Republicans has shrunk considerably over the last two weeks. Remember people also vote for real people and many of the Republican candidates creep people out.

Forget the lack of enthusiasm of the African-American voter. the Joint Center for Policy Studies polled the African-American community and found that they had a higher intent to vote than Democrats in general and Republicans also. In early voting states, African-American voters have camped out to be the first in line--which is astonishing for a mid-term. Throughout the African-American community, there are posters, "Obama, we have your back." It's estimated that the African-American vote will swing 20 different congressional races.

Hispanics may not be thrilled either with the Democrats, but the anti-immigration rhetoric from the Republicans this year have widened the party affiliation gap, even exceeding the 2008 level. Aware of the increased clout of the Hispanic voter, Sharron Angle yesterday tried to explain away her Willy Horton dark-skinned Mexican ads by saying she was really concerned about our Canadian border. Hispanics will make the difference in Nevada, Colorado,and California.

Barack Obama is spending an enormous amount of energy campaigning on college campuses and you wonder what data he is receiving. While young people were part of his base, they have not showed up on the polls. Recent national polls show them at 7% of the mix. While Democrats appear on MTV during election season, this emphasis on the college vote seems unusual, unless the Administration actually knows they will be more involved than in other mid-terms.

Conservatives are not taking this lying down. A group, not affiliated with the official republican Party called the National Republican Lawyers group is planning to flood districts with minority voters with so-called poll-watchers with an attempt to suppress the minority vote. In Wisconsin and Michigan, they are aiming to block students from voting. This happened here in Virginia during the 2008 presidential elections. But it's clear this group's emergence in the last week means Republicans are concerned that this part of the Democratic base may vote.

In showcase races where you have a better idea of the dynamics of the electorate, the momentum seems to be all Democrat. Whether they catch up is a different question. One telling moment came at Russ Feingold's fund-raiser where the Senator had admitted he had been behind in the race (most polls had him 10 points down and dead) but he said that he had polled ahead according to his internal polls, which had previously had him behind. True? But this story seems to be playing out around the country.

There has been reaction by local Chambers of Commerce to the American Chamber's blitzkreig tactics. In many congressional districts, they are distancing themselves from the ads and raising their own questions about foreign funding.

One delicious irony appeared yesterday in Forbes magazine. Karl Rove has told the anonymous donors to his Crossroads America/GPS that their contributions were not tax-deductible. That is true. But apparently, Rove's group were not aware that the contributors may be subject to a 35% gift tax, according to the law. This was raised not by foe but a friend of the group. I would love it. Also, C.R.E.W is going after the Chamber for its use of funds from the Starr Foundation, which was created by Hank Greenberg of AIG for non-political programs. The Starr Foundations itself claims that there may be upwards of $16 million of their funds spent.

In various state races--in New Hampshire, the Republicans were supposed to pick up three House seats but this appears more difficult as the GOP candidates seem to have a whole bunch of legal problems. Local papers are already reporting that if these three are elected, they would have to be immediately reported to the ethics committee.

Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway has sharpened his attack on Rand Paul. One internet ad attacks Rand Paul for lying about the existence of a non-profit he was said to run. Apparently it went out of business. He has a hard hitting ad using the Chilean miners and linking them to Kentucky miners, who risk their lives everyday, but Rand Paul wants to do away with mine safety regulations. And the real humdinger is that Jack Conway goes after Rand Paul's religious beliefs saying he belonged to a secret society at Baylor that believed the Bible was a hoax.

The counter ads are prolific but try to link Jack Conway to anything having to do with Barack Obama. There is little content having to do with Kentucky. This seems to be the strength of recent ads by Democrats, bringing state issues home, while the Republicans air these cookie-cutter , generic ads. From a media point of view, the local ads are sharper and more effective.

In my favorite Alaskan race, teabagger Joe Miller is now embroiled in another controversy. How did he and his children get on Medicare and why is he opposed to it? This comes only two days after his former employer explained his ethics problem with the town's computers.

It looks like David Plouffe was right when about a month ago he said this election will come down to races won by a handful of votes and by slight differences. Barack Obama said he was relying on the commonsense of the American people. I guess hope springs eternal but at least organize for it. And that the Democrats appear to be doing rather successfully.