Monday, December 31, 2012

Countdown to 2013

++Sporting a 12% approval rating, it seems the Senate and the White House reached a deal. The deal is being lambasted by Paul Krugman, Richard Trumpka,Robert Reich,the progressive blogosphere,and New York Times.

++What does the deal say. It preserves tax cuts for those earning under $450,00 per couple,the estate tax, which Republicans want to eliminate,will be tagged to inflation,the capital gains tax goes up to 20%. The entitlement programs are untouched. The unemployment benefits will be extended. Yes, the payroll tax will have to go, which actually makes Social Security less of a target in the future.The President agreed to a two month delay on sequestration while Democrats wanted one year. 

++The New York Times tut-tutted that it did not address the long-term interests of the country. And you think something this cooked up, would?

++The fear is that this hostage taking will occur now everything there is a fiscal issue. I thought it would anyway. Republicans had to drop their insistence on never raising taxes and dealing with the estate tax and an increase in capital gains. That is not to say that the bill will pass. But if the Senate passes the bill, then if Speaker Boehner allows the bill to go to the floor and he passes with Democratic votes,the spin of obstructionism will be broken. Then the pattern for the future will be slightly changed.

++You might read Michael Tomasky piece in the Daily Beast about how this is the pattern throughout our history and that it is rare that progressive attitudes can dominate with a congressional culture determined by the South from the beginning of our nation.

++If you want to read a nice piece about people freaking out, Henry Holzer in the Daily Beast writes about the Emancipation Proclamation turning 150 tomorrow. Abraham Lincoln partied with visitors throughout January 1 while those anticipating the Emancipation Declaration believed Lincoln might actually cave on the subject. Observers got nervous. The first problem was that Lincoln had found a typo and had the proclamation returned to be printed anew. By mid-afternoon, it appeared and was approved by the President. And the partying continued and the tension got higher. The President went to his study to sign it and first brought his pen up and put it down. Then he tried again. His hands were shaking from the handshaking with well-wishers. He then massaged his hands and finally got to the point where they were steady. Then he signed it. His hesitation was because he knew this was the proclamation that made him immortal and he wanted his best signature in place. Holzer's good read reminds us that in the immortal words of Joe Biden the Emancipation was a Big F... Deal.

++So with us having gone--sort of--over the fiscal cliff and hitting the debt ceiling, remember tomorrow will be the first time since 1951 that Congress will be in session on New Year's Day. 

Happy New Year's Everybody

++The oldest democracy seems to be finishing up counting the votes from true last election. Florida's voter suppression efforts did succeed--over 50,000 people failed to vote because of the long lines and 60% of them were Democrats. But with New York State still counting, President Obama did make history by going over the 51% mark, joining Dwight Eisenhower as the President who last won back-to back elections with 51% of the popular vote. His lead now is over 5 million votes over Mitt Romney.

++Liberals and progressives who rolled this past election are now back in the Obama sold us out mold. Early comments on the Fiscal Cliff express dismay about the Presidents compromise of letting the tax cuts end for only those earning $400,000 or more and his comment that he had put forward the Chained Social Security Plan. By Monday afternoon, Obama betrayed more people by seemingly agreeing to a compromise on the estate tax allowing it to drift upwards to $6 million. Of course,the fact he got the Republicans to agree to raising any taxes is miraculous. The Chained Social Security offer, which has vanished, was linked to an extension of the debt ceiling for the rest of his term. But I suspect we will see dismay with Obama for the next 4 years. Liberals and progressives will have to then ask themselves what comes next?

++Following up on the comment by Chris Hayes about the mini-Golden Age of progressive and radical policy critiques, I recommend watching Chris Hedges' talk in Los Angeles. It is currently posted at Chris Hedges was a classmate of mine at Harvard Divinity School and did not become a Presbyterian minister like his father because he was "called" to become a free lance journalist covering El Salvador. His talk is about the history of suppressing populist and progressive movements in the United States and how we became what we are. 

++President Obama said yesterday that he would pursue gun control legislation if the people wanted it. The recent grotesque killing at Sandy Hook struck a cord with foreigners observing this country from abroad. A pro-American French philosophy and journalist  Bernard-Henri Levy wrote a lament about seeing our country engulfed in gun violence. Howard Fineman, vacationing in New Zealand, heard Kiwis lament how we can no longer govern ourselves both in fiscal matters and with gun violence. The Shining City on the Hill looks tarnished from abroad. 

++This year ends where this blog began with a country so atomized that it can not seem to grapple with the large ,real problems that it confronts. There seems to be little hope on the horizon for a "progressive"energy policy since the fossil-fuel industry has bought up Congress. The House Republican Caucus was bought up by Chevron during the last election. There is little or no hope that the subsidies to the oil companies will be sunset. Any progress in the days ahead will be on the margins.

++The United States will have to start considering the very real issue of poverty once again. It has been over a generation since poverty has made its way into our political dialogue. 

++The war on the social safety net will continue throughout Obama's second term. Virtually none of the discussion to date makes any sense or is based in reality. Expect that to continue. 

++The Republicans are likely to hold the House until 2020 or until a new Census. They are likely to be more obstructionist, not less because they only fear primary challengers from the right. The Democrats will inch upwards in 2014 but not by much.

++We have to hail Nate "The Great" Silver for his great year where he shows that being a Wonk or a Nerd is still worthwhile. Nate deserves his award as "Out" magazine man of the Year. My own special award goes to Sam Wang, who showed that a neuroscientist can know more about politics than the politicians. And Kudos to Allen Richtman for once again calling the Presidential election without even looking at poll numbers. And "kos" of the Dailykos for getting all the elections right with even a better record than Nate Silver.

++Tonight begins same sex marriages in Maryland and Maine has already started. Congratulations to all the happy couples.

++This has been a Bipolar year. You have the triumphs of Elizabeth Warren and Heidi Heitkampf to the U.S. Senate,the election of the most diverse class of Democratic representatives and Barack Obama's smashing victory. But we have seen a rash of mass murders, even extending beyond Sandy Hook, and the devastation of my homeland, the Jersey Shore, with Hurricane Sandy. We have seen the worst drought since the Dust Bowl days in the Midwest and the South. Abroad we have seen the slaughter of the Syrian people, the destruction of Timbukutu, and the reversion to repression in Egypt.

++My hope for the coming year is that this will not become the new normal-environmental destruction,massive human rights violations, and an economy that goes into recession because of our political dysfunction.

++A healthy New Year to all. Prosperity if you can get it.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What to Expect in the Year of the Dragon

++Chris Hayes rejoices in the "mini-golden age of radical criticism and polemics". I happen to agree with him. The revival of what in former days would be leftist criticism and political thought has been invigorating.

++The opposite is very depressing--the total collapse of a very wealthy but morally and intellectually bankrupt Right. 

++The difference is that the Right can retain its fading power to blackmail and to obstruct. The Left may be revived intellectually but it has not managed to find a way to influence policy.

++The main winners of this year are gays, who have won marriage rights in more states, the Latinos, who broke their past lethargy and voted in huge numbers, and the African Americans, who voted at a higher rate than whites for the first time in history. Women fought back but the war on women escalated after the election with Michigan passing more restrictions on abortion clinics. 

++For one group of winners--the Latinos--this coming year could see all not-so comprehensive but better law on immigration reform. The reason is that Republicans are desperate to win favor with Latinos.

++While the President has come forward for sensible gun control, the NRA and their corporate masters will thwart all moves in this direction. The Newtown event just pushed the Right closer to fascism with calls of arming teachers and schools.

++When I started this blog, I said that President Obama might be our last democratically elected President. I stand by that. We escaped the bullet twice now but already measures are being taken to prevent 2012 every occurring again through new voter suppression measures only days after the votes were counted.

++We may see 2013 usher in a Republican caused recession again because of their fooling around with the Fiscal Cliff and the debt ceiling. This is a sign that Republicans have not become radicals but nihilists. Since the GOP campaigned on American exceptionalism,with their loss they are into hyper-declinism of the United States and seem committed to  a self-fulfilling prophecy.

++What can we see abroad?
I think Hugo Chavez will pass from the scene.
I think you will see Assad in Syria vacate to Russia.
I think you will see Fidel pass by the end of Obama's second term.
I think you will see President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea step aside for his son Theodorin.
I think you will see a rash of terrorism through the Gulf states.
I think Mookie al-Sadar will make a move in Iraq when Iran has lost influence in Syria. 
I think the Arab Spring will start morphing into more repressive regimes and other more liberal regimes. The transition from dictatorship to more open societies will experience more setbacks.
I think you will see more American military actions in Mali and the larger areas around.
I think you will see efforts of unrest in Algeria since they are to have presidential elections this year.

++War with Iran?
Today,I don't think there will be war either by Israel or the United States. But remember you and I will have absolutely no say in the matter.
Iran will have a desultory election this coming month, which will be slightly better than other Middle Eastern states recently. It will not affect the real powers in the country--the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard. But it will buy them time. The economic sanctions are crippling the economy and you may actually have some type of a negotiated deal. A negotiated deal with Tehran will provoke a backlash by Republicans in the United States.

++President Obama has only two years for any effective action on the domestic front before the by-elections. And remember this is the time that openings on the Supreme Court should occur. If the Democrats can reform the filibuster rules in the Senate, we are likely to see a rush of Obama appointees finally make it to the court. 

++The time of the inauguration should let Obama define for himself what the next issues of the second term will be. It should give him a temporary lift and evaporate the rancor and toxic atmosphere that has enveloped the country after the election.

++Same Sex marriage at SCOTUS. Here I am for a half full set of decisions. I have to expect after two Reagan appointed judges ruled DOMA unconstitutional that the right-wing court would have to lean that way. On Prop 8, the California decision, I expect a more ambiguous decision. The questions the Court has asked is who has stature to arguing the case in California? The state refused to defend the law and only NOM argued it. I expect the Court might just toss it back or at least make a very specific ruling that  only pertains to California.

++As I have written, the FIRE economy is dead and is unlikely to revive much. The problem that now exists is a total lack of trust in Wall Street, the banks, our political system and our institutions as a whole. This is a very dangerous situation. If the economy can not break out because of political gridlock, we may face another decade of slow growth and not make the policy decisions to move to a new economy.

++This coming year I will start posting more reviews of the books I have read. January is a book bonanza month including a new Ian Rankin. For my piece of mine, I am reading all of D.T.Suzuki on Zen Buddhism.

++As we head into the Year of the Dragon,let's take note that the current Congress is the less productive in American history--no mean feat. It is several times worse than Harry Truman's "Do Nothing Congress."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Spectacle

++This past week we saw the incredible conservative crackup in living color. Remember when President Obama told his donors that after the election the Republican fever would break? Or David Brooks writing in the New York Times that the Republicans after the election beating were in detox? I guess none of it was true.

++Andrew Sullivan captured the mayhem of the meltdown in the House over Plan B and the stony silence of conservatives on the gun deaths at Sandy Hook elementary school. In a rant that when viral and is worth reading "Enough,Republicans!" Andrew Sullivan,  former conservative and Republican, went on a tirade that wrapped the GOP in its present madness. I had thought Andrew's tantrum after Obama "lost" the first debate was a bit over the top. But in retrospect he had an acute instinct about what the country would face if Obama lost. This blast at Republicans and their total inability to warrant consideration in governing is a classic.

++David Frum reappeared after the election suggesting ways the Republican party could widen its base after President Obama swept the boards with Latinos,African Americans, the young and single women. After the House rejection of Boehner's Plan B, a gimmick to embarrass President Obama, and the horror story of a press conference by Wayne La Pierre, David Frum was reduced to twittering like crazy about the collapse of conservatism and the lunacy of the NRA.

++President Obama moved quickly on the issue of taking sensible steps toward controlling semi-automatic weapons and large clips. Appointing Joe Biden in charge, someone who engineered the first assault weapon ban in the 1990s,this was a practical policy step that mark normal governments. But the faux outrage by conservatives and then the NRA shows how polarized the society has become. 

++One of the most remarkable quotes that surfaced this week was Wayne La Pierre's remark after Obama won re-election:"I've lost more than all the losses in all our wars combined." Incredible because Wayne has never fought in a war. Another remarkable document surfaced--the resignation letter of President George H.W. Bush from the NRA in 1995 when Wayne as executive director criticized federal agents involved in tracking down gun freaks responsible for random killings.

++Back to Plan B. The kabuki theater played by John Boehner came to a halt on Friday when after assuring the country he had the votes his plan came screeching to a halt and had to be postponed when it was clear the Republican caucus won't vote for it. The Club of Growth,Americans for Prosperity opposed it and Grover Norquist reversed his position to eventually oppose it. The utter incompetence of the House Republicans was staggering. The whole purpose of stopping the vote was because Republicans don't want to be seen as raising taxes, even on those earning over $1 million. As a consequence,it is likely that the Fiscal Cliff will happen and everyone's taxes will go up. In their fantasy, they believe the public will blame Barack Obama, who will begin his second term with more political clout in some time.

++To give some perspective, Nancy Pelosi never lost a vote and never was off on a vote count. John Boehner was lost several votes and has not been able to manage his own caucus. His record is staggering.

++Republican pundits are now realizing that President Obama basically can pass any bill he wants after the Fiscal Cliff because Republicans will look like they are cutting taxes. All this with a severe contraction of the economy ,which may mean we lose 3.5% of the GDP-- compared to 8% GDP when the full recession hit in the last quarter of 2008. 

++I have received volumes of e-mails from conservatives who are simply repeating the talking points from the Romney campaign. Too bad, guys, you lost. But the difference is that the tone is getting shriller and angrier. 

++With President Obama's speech at Newtown and his remarks about controlling gun violence,I fear he has ignited again the smoldering anger and hate in white conservative America. I deeply fear a serious attempt on our President's life. Already threats against him have reached historic heights. But the rhetoric coming from armed white folks is getting incoherent and shrill.

++If Republicans have lost their tax mantle, the neocons are going ballistic because of the potential nomination of Chuck Hagel as SecDef. In his career in the Senate, he opposed like many sane Americans Israel's settlements and as an act of heresy he voted against sanctions against Iran. The neo-cons and the Right are now out for a scalp by claiming former Senator Hagel is anti-semitic, which provoked a defense of him from the local rabbi in his state. But after McCain and Lindsey Graham forced the issue on Susan Rice and made her step down from consideration for Secretary of State, the neo-cons feel there is blood in the water. Hagel is the President of the Atlantic Council, an organization that fosters transatlantic understanding and is devoted to NATO.

++Not to be outdone this week, the Koch Brothers and the Club of Growth and Americans for Prosperity came out against any federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. The Administration has submitted a request for $70 million while the House countered with $20 million. The amazing intervention by the Koch Brothers and front groups was triggered by their strange belief that Chris Christie by appearing with President Obama and commending his role gave Obama the election. So they want revenge. 

++David Koch made a startling statement that people who have second homes on the shore do not need federal help. Let's ignore everyone else in the New York, New Jersey area. This out-to-lunch evasion of reality permeated every issue the whole week.

++Unbelieveably the House Republicans now want to play games with the debt ceiling. I received one e-mail that this was the only way they could get Obama to stop his runaway spending,which is rather modest actually. Lost in translation is that the debt ceiling is about your commitment to pay already existing debt. The last time we played this game the bond agencies downgraded America's creditworthiness. I also received another e-mail saying that this would not affect the sales of bonds. Last time the stunt cost the US government $30 billion. President Obama has to simply invoke the 14th amendment and break the back of this obstructionism. Do yourself a service and read Andrew Sullivan on this nuttery coming from Republicans.

++Torture resurfaced this week with the reviews of the new film about killing Osama bin Laden. Senator McCain and the CIA head criticized the film for inaccuracy when it portrayed torture as a key element in discovering bin Laden. The European Court awarded millions to a German and a Canadian who has been tortured by Americans. The Senate concluded its study of the subject but did not release to the public its 6,000-page study. It should.

++Progressives had heart attacks because President Obama got into one of his negotiating fits with John Boehner and caved on some critical points--raising the $250,000 to $400,000,agreeing to a chain SSI, which would mean less benefits to seniors in outyears. Clearly he ended the week as someone appearing reasonable but Boehner simply could not agree to the compromise, which would have reduced the debt by 2-4 trillion dollars. I hope this is not the tone for the next four years. Dealing with people who refuse to compromise despite getting their head handed to them in the election. 

++Lost in the mayhem was John Kerry's day. John Kerry was nominated to follow Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Kerry had served as a back channel communication with the Middle East for President Obama and earned his spurs by playing Mitt Romney for the debate prep during the campaign. By all accounts, Kerry is a superb choice.

++President Obama is off to Hawaii, a trip that has generated more criticism from the Right. The latest claim is that he is vacationing and consorting with an old friend who was once arrested for soliciting a prostitute. It will be a wonder when a conservative actually says anything nice about the President. A birthed suit was thrown out this past week in Florida but Republicans want to file a new one.

++So you want your message to reach a wider audience. This was not a week Republicans should show case to appeal to any normal human beings. If this is what we can look forward to, we are in very serious trouble as a country.

++Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy Year of the Dragon. In a year that saw President Obama's re-election and an incredible array of new elected officials, it was ended in tragedy, sorrow and just plain horrible things. I hope the past weeks got everything out of the system.

Monday, December 17, 2012

After The Massacre Of Innocents at Newtown

++Normally I would pontificate about the killings of 6 and 7 year old children. President Obama did a superb job of that yesterday with his speech at the prayer vigil for the children and the adults who tried to protect them. It should be mentioned he never used the word "gun". He didn't have to.

++ The incident comes on the heels of a rash of such incidents over the last few years. I sense that there has been a mood change in the country with this obscenity. Politicians are now speaking up for gun restrictions in the face of the NRA's lobbying efforts. The NRA has been silent during this time and the 31 pro-gun Senators would not appear on Face The Nation this past Sunday. The pro-gun forces are in retreat for the first time in decades.

++We can play amateur shrink and reflect on our own culture about where this disease comes from and how to combat it. It is too complex to boil down to a few simple things but a few simple things in the area of gun restrictions can make a difference.

++Since Friday I have attempted to put my thoughts in order but I can't. I leave you with Emily Dickinson's beautiful lines:

"Unable are the loved to die.
    For love is immortality."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


++If you are reading this,the world may have ended.

++If it hasn't. then the next date in 12-21-12. It depends on how you read the Mayan calendar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nuts is the New Normal

++Michigan just passed Right To Work Laws in the heart where the UAW was founded. Governor Snyder thought he would just get this done with once and for all. Thousands are protesting. And Snyder was warned that this will spark a state-wide fight that will last years. Observers felt that this was a Koch Brothers inspired act because of their cosmic failure at the national level. The rush was because next year the Republicans would not have the votes.

++While David Brooks says that the GOP has de-toxed after the November election, last week they blocked passage of the UN Treaty on Disabled People. The UN treaty was modeled after the George H.W. Bush American Disabilities Act. A slam dunk. Former vice presidential and presidential candidate Bob Dole attended as Republican Senators walked passed him to vote against the Treaty. The treaty failed by only a few votes. Harry Reid pledged to bring the treaty up at the next Senate.

++President Obama raised the issue of taking away the debt ceiling from the political debate. Mitch McConnell misrepresenting what the debt ceiling put forward a bill that would give the President authority ,believing the Democrats would oppose. When Harry Reid said he would ask for a straight up and down vote in a couple hours McConnell did the unthinkable,filibuster his own bill so it would not come up for a vote. I have seen this before when a bill has amendments attached to it but never a clean bill.

++I wish President Obama would invoke the 14th amendment when the debt ceiling comes up next year. Last year's fracas cost the economy billions and was the only time in our history that the debt ceiling was ever polarized. 

++I also hope Harry Reid produces on filibuster reform because the filibuster was supposed to be used only on issues of overwhelming national interest and not on every issue. 

++Tan Man Boehner is back from his discussions with President Obama on the Fiscal Cliff and briefed the House that there has been no progress. Poll after Poll shows that the public will blame the House Republicans if their taxes will go up. 

++Republicans are marching forward with more Voter ID laws in Alaska and Wisconsin. Republican operatives from the last campaign have admitted that voter suppression, long lines and ID laws benefit them. So much for democracy.

++Dick Morris surfaced after his humiliation of predicting a Romney landslide. He claims Romney lost because whites didn't vote in sufficient numbers.

++The Catholic Bishops are at it again--urging Catholics during this holiday season to protect their heritage from President Obama assault on the freedom of religion. Oh,by the way, I received my Christmas card from the President. Such a Grinch.

++Gays are marrying in Washington State. Dan Savage got married again to his partner, having married in Canada. The presiding judge was Mary Yuu--not joking.

++Meant to write about the Supreme Court accepting two same sex marriage cases--Prop.8 and DOMA. The latter case involved Edie Windsor who was married to her partner of over 40 years and found out on the death of her partner that she owed over $300,000 in federal estate taxes because she was not thought of as the legitimate spouse. George Will opined on Face the Nation that this case was a no-brainer and even Mary Matalin agreed that for those living in the real world same sex marriage was a done deal. The reason I have not written about this is dread and fore boding. Ted Olson's brilliant case on Prop.8 is a slam dunk in the world of rational law. But nothing can be assumed with a Court that made the Citizens United ruling. We still has the attitudes of Tony Scalia, who again defended his homophobia during a book tour at Princeton.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back From a Break

The count continues. The United States still has not completed counting the votes of the presidential election. New York continues today and there is the expectation that President Obama will finally reach 51%. 

When this happens President Obama will be the first President since Dwight David Eisenhower to win back to back elections with 51% or above. Sounds strange. President Obama is also the first Democrat since FDR to win Florida in two straight elections. 

So what about this election don't you understand? Apparently if you live within the Beltway, a lot. The tone in DC since the election has been creepy. The fiscal cliff nonsense seems to have absorbed the pundits' attention but not the public imagination. 

I just hope President Obama this year invokes the 14th amendment as President Clinton suggested last time the debt ceiling debate heated up. It's time Obama breaks the back of the House. Even on House elections, the Democrats got over 50% of the popular vote but because of the gerrymandering only gained eight seats.

For some reason we are seeing Grover Norquist all over the place as the arbiter of tax policy. I hope we are seeing his last hurrah. He vows that the second Tea Bag rebellion will be more intense than the last. What is it with these conservatives that they can not persuade but have to threaten? 

Peggy Nooner wants President Obama to act more like Reagan and compromise with Tan Man Boehner like Ronny did with Tip O'Neil. I shutter to think we will have to hear four more years of this nonsense.

For the second consecutive year, the right is blasting Obama for being too Christian and having 45 Christmas trees in the White House while the country is starving. But never fear, USAID grantee, Rev. Warren says that Obama is waging a war against religion. The Daily Beast actually had a piece about Rev. Warren's comeback. Tony Cardinal Dolan has written a new post-election Bishop's letter calling on Catholics to resist Obama's new attack on Catholic institutions by insisting insurance companies must cover condoms. But at least he hasn't gone down the road of the evangelicals that claim that not using oil and natural gas is an insult to God because he hid these treasures in the ground for us to find.

Sheldon Adelson lost $150 million in his efforts to buy the election by supporting Romney. 

Willard has been re-appointed to the Marriot board. At least they acknowledged his first initial was W. 

Newly elected Senator Elizabeth Warren has won a seat on the banking committee. The industry has been lobbying intensely against her since she won.

In case you can't understand what the Benghazi tantrum is about. Rachel Maddow nailed it. McCain, Ms. Lindsey Graham and Ms. Ayotte want John Kerry to become Secretary of State so that Scott Brown can make a comeback. 

Things are so dull I expect Fox News to hire Baghdad Bob to juice ratings.

After the first days of the talk that the GOP will change,it is apparent that there will be no changes in the near term. Their 2016 wannabes are traveling to pay homage to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. I guess Dick Armey had enough and resigned from Freedom Works. The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity are now lobbying against Tan Man Boehner's alleged compromise on the Fiscal Cliff. It is a great thing about ideologues--an election defeat is just a temporary setback. No need to adjust to the new political reality.

There is one basic reality we can all be thankful for. The Neo-Cons are no more. They may be talking heads and appear on Sunday Talk Shows but they have no influence left on our debates. Maybe they will make a comeback if catastrophe hits or around 2016. But by then they will be either too old or just be the younger amateurs. No more Dan Señor, No more Ari Fleischer,No more Dick Cheney, no more advocates for torture and endless war. This is a real sea change in our politics. Neo-conservative domination of our national security policies trace back to the Clinton Administration or perhaps George H.W. Bush. But it is doubtful you will see a resurgence anytime soon. This should bring a period of fresh imaginations on topics of foreign policy. 

I hope we see immigration reform this term and President Obama not be so accommodating to the obstructionists. It is important that the filibuster nonsense be reformed. President Obama can still do a lot as executive but it would be nice to see old legislative actions come back. 

The Reaction is already planning 2014. Voter suppression efforts are already underway. Voter I.D. laws are now being prepared for additional states. 

So President Obama will have two more years before there will be a concerted effort to make him a lame duck. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

RIP--Hostess 1925 to 2012

++For someone who was fed Wonder Bread all his life, this is a day of mourning. Hostess Bakeries, which are own by a private equity firm, is closing its doors because they claim they can not withstand a national wide strike by the Bakers Union . Of course, many of the plants were scheduled to be closed anyway as a cost-cutting measure. 

++A bitter moment. No more Hostess Twinkies, No more Hostess cupcakes. And what will life be like without baloney and mayo sandwiches on Wonder Bread? And what bread could stay months without getting stale? We mourn.

You Can't Keep The Wingnuts Down

++In the days immediately after President Obama's re-election,Republicans like David Frum argued that their party needed to get their act together and move on and develop policies and a language for dealing with the changing demographics of America.

++But never fear the anti-Obama fever has not broken. First, thousands of voters from the slave states signed petitions to secede from the union.
Secondly,robocalls went out immediately calling impeachment as the only option left.

++Now John "Walnuts" McCain has gone all Gran Terino on the Benghazi attack on our "consulate". McCain and Lindsey Graham call for a Watergate-style committee to investigate the incident and to find out what the President knew and when did he know it. Of course, the Republicans blocked the creation of the 9-11 Commission and refused to have then George W. Bush testify under oath.

++Dana Rohrebacker called Obama lying about Benghazi. And Petraeus testified in  a classified hearing that the terrorist aspect of the attack had been deleted from the talking points given to Susan Rice by inter-agency review.

++But none of this compares to the reactions to the elections by the religious right and their friends. Franklin Graham after muscling his dying father to endorse Mitt Romney said that America should be destroyed because it had not followed God's will. The New Apostolic Reformation laughed about Hurricane Sandy saying that the Northeast deserved it for approving same-sex marriage and voting for President Obama. The pastors on a video said that America had voted for evil and that President Obama who did not follow God's will was "evil" himself. Glenn Beck, the liaison with the evangelicals for Mitt Romney, said that America should be destroyed because it had abandoned God's Will. Is that the god from the star cluster Kolob?

++The best was the Georgia State Legislature actually having a closed hearing after the election about President Obama's secret "Delphi"Plan developed by the Rand Corporation to brainwash Americans into accepting control by the United Nations. The presentation was created by the John Birch Society. 

++A lesser conspiracy is that the UN Small Arms Treaty is supposed to be coming due soon and President Obama this time will confiscate your guns. I hope.

++And a perennial favorite is that Homeland Security has trained the first class of first-responders using the Americorps. These "impressionable" young people will be sending conservatives to FEMA concentration camps. They were going to in the last administration but didn't get around to it.

++Bishop Willard Romney has revealed his true self by his private talk to his donors about why he lost. President Obama gave "gifts" to Latinos,African-Americans, and young people. Young women voted for President Obama because they could get free contraceptives. Young people didn't have to pay high interest rates on college loans. African Americans got free healthcare worth $10,000 per family in perpetuity. Latinos benefited by free healthcare and legalization of the Dream Act kids. And as Grover Norquist opined, "Romney lost because Obama called him a poopyhead." Maybe he is one. Clueless and graceless in Gaza.

++Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones, tries to explain the latest Benghazi craze among Republicans by explaining they have "scandal envy". Since Solandra, Fast and Furious didn't pan out, the GOP wants to get even and tag President Obama with a scandal mirroring Reagan's Iran Contra,the Marine barracks, George W's 9-11, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the outing of Valerie Plame.

++Paul Ryan blamed his and Romney's defeat on the "urban centers",claiming rural white America supports  Republicans, which depending on the region is true.

++Any course correction for the Republicans will take a lot of time. The wing nuts are still dominant. Expect more, not less craziness in the years ahead.

Yes,President Obama Won A Mandate

++For election night and about a week afterwards, I enjoyed e-mail silence from all those who insisted Willard Romney would win a landslide, the African American community wouldn't turnout,young people won't vote and women would not create a gender gap.

++The fact of the matter is that President Obama joins one other President who earned more than 61 million votes--himself. No other President has garnered such popular votes. His 2008 election was the record. No Democrats has carried Florida twice since FDR. 

++So while we are hearing one excuse after another from Republicans for their loss,including Karl Rove's improbable excuse that CrossRoads USA made it closer, there are some basic fundamental facts about elections since the mid-1900s and mid-2oth century that remain true. 

++So let me make this simple:
1.No incumbent with an approval rating of 52% has ever lost.
2. No Republican starting with Abraham Lincoln has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. James K. Polk did as a Democrat.
3. No Republican has ever won the White House while losing his political home state. Mitt Romney lost Massachusetts by a larger percentage than George McGovern lost South Dakota during the 1972 landslide to Richard Nixon. Romney also lost New Hampshire, Michigan,and California, where he has residences. The only "home" state he won was Utah.
4. And in the 21st Century, no candidate has ever won who refused to go on the Dave Letterman show after winning his party's nomination. It is true the road to the White House is through Dave Letterman.

There, that's simple.

++Mitt Romney won all states where it is legal to have sex with a horse. 

++Paul Ryan not only lost his home state of Wisconsin but also his hometown,Janesville. That's pretty low.

++For those of us who have spent a lifetime getting people in other countries to vote, the restrictions on voting in the United States and attempts by various states to thwart minority participation is a disgrace. Before the next national election, the United States must make efforts to reform its electoral system. Waiting in line for eight hours to vote is a disgrace. Florida made us look like a Banana Republic. 

++My hat is off to the people of Puerto Rico who voted to become a state. President Obama promised he would support their decision. Now let's see whether Congress obliges. Don't hold your breath.

++What prevented a total Democratic blow-out was the gerrymandering of 2010. Democrats won over 50% of the popular vote in House races but came up short. That is why Paul Ryan's statement that the House Republicans have a mandate is laughable. 

++Some of my favorites won--Elizabeth Warren being one of them. But let's applaud Heidi Heitkampf from North Dakota. Heidi ran when Democrats declined because this seat was supposed to be an automatic pick-up. She defeated Rick Berg by running a campaign that took Tip O'Neil's belief of "All politics is local" to a state level. The margin of her victory was provided by the native American vote in North Dakota, which was mobilized by the Democrats and ignored by the Republicans.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Winner and Still Champion

President Barack Hussein Obama wins Re-Election. Bravo!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last Polls

++CBS/NYTimes Obama 51 to Romney 49.

++Pulse Opinion, a Rasmussen subsidiary, has Obama 275 EV and Romney 263 EV. This should tell you something when a GOP pollster shows you their cards.


++Nate Silver adjusted his predictions moments after my last post. Now Obama's chances of re-election are 91.4% to Willard's 8.6%. Obama now at 314.4 EV and Romney at 223.6%. Popular vote: 50.9% to 48.2%.

++Rupert Murdoch tweeted moments ago that everyone is scrambling around for data on the election which might benefit Willard but he admits it looks too late.

++Willard told Fox News he would win Pennsylvania. The head of the Pennsylvania GOP told Howard Fineman that Willard made some in-roads but he is trailing by at least four points and won't make it up.

Election Eve

++Over 2900 separate polls have been conducted,$6 billion spent and countless television hours reviewing the possible scenarios for the results. So after all is well and done, we will probably end up tomorrow with the same system we have today. Democrats will probably pick up a seat in the Senate, the President will be re-elected and the Democrats will pick up some House seats but the Republicans retain control of the House.

++The actual toss-up states come down to North Carolina and Florida. The remarkable story about North Carolina is that by Saturday 49.7% of all African-Americans had voted and 61% of them were women. White early voter turnout was 38.7%. Even if Romney wins this state, this is a story that should be told. Florida has turned into a Banana Republic with voters waiting up to eight hours to vote, if they can. 

++I am blind from the over 100 polls released since Friday. But let's just summarize people's predictions.

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia says Obama wins with 290 electoral votes. The Senate will be 53 to 47 and Democrats will pick up 3 House seats. 

Kos of the Daily Kos predicts Obama with 332 EV to Romney 206.

The University of Illinois predicts Obama with 303.6EV to Romney 234.4. Obama's probability of re-election is 99.8%. 

At 8: 30pm EST, Sam Wang of Princeton Consortium has Obama at 309 EV and Romney at 229. With a prediction probability of 99.8%.

Nate Silver at the 538 blog has Obama at 307.2 and Romney at 230.8 with Obama at 86.3% chance of winning with 50.6% of the vote to 48.5%.

PPP Final Electoral College: Obama 303 EV to Romney 191. 44 Toss-ups. Florida and North Carolina.

Intrade: Obama 303 EV.

++Latino Decisions final poll has Obama winning72.9% of the vote and Romney at 27.1%.

++Final ABC/Washington Post poll: Obama 50 to Romney 47.

++Rand Tracking: Obama 50 to Romney 45.5.

++YouGov. National: Obama 49 to Romney 47.

++Final DailyKos/SEIU poll: Obama 50 to Romney 48.

++Final Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 48 to Romney 46.

++Gallup: Romney 49 to Obama 48.

++PPP: Obama 50 to Romney 48.

++Onsight Public Affairs: Obama 50 to Romney 46.

++Last Gallup approval rating before election day: 52%.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Allan Lichtman Says Stop Worrying

++Interviewed with three days left on Australian television,Allan Lichtman says forget about the polls, Obama wins. Having correctly predicted each winner since 1984, he discounted the economy as the major factor but re-iterated his 12 keys to the White House. Since President Obama has both international and domestic achievements and no major scandal,he will win. This was said after the moderator had recalled the recent close polls in the United States.

++University of Illinois projects 302.6 EV for President Obama and 235.4 for Romney. UIlli says that Obama has 281 safe electoral votes and that the probability of his winning re-election is now .996% and his chance of getting to 300EV is 58%. There is 0% chance of a tie.

++ Stanford University projects that President Obama has a 87.34% chance of re-election with the electoral votes ranging from 300 to 346.

Let's Leave it to Sam

++Too many last minute polls today and the campaigns are in their final frenzy. Approval ratings for President Obama are at Rasmussen 51% levels. In Ohio, Pulse Opinions he hit 52%. The day started with RCP at 49.9%. These are all in the re-election sweet zones.

++Joe Biden told Chris Matthews today that the electoral vote wasn't going to be close. 

++David Axelrod took on Chris Wallace at Fox News to say Romney can't catch up.

++So Sam Wang appeared on CNN International. This is Sam's prediction.Now President Obama,based on all the state polls,has a 99.9% chance of winning re-election. The EV Count is 303 Obama and Romney 235. The meta-margin is now 2.85.

++Nate Silver has Obama at 306 and 231.6 for Romney with Obama having an 85.5% chance of re-election. And 50.5% in the popular vote.

++Note" Sam Wang has cut Obama down from 319 earlier in the day but upped his meta-margin.

++All the national polls have come out today. Gallup is promised tomorrow. Most interesting is Pew's which shows President Obama at 50 and Romney at 47.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


++About two days exactly until Election day. Tomorrow, Catholic priests are supposed to read an anti-Obama letter from the pulpit by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Rev.Mike Huckabee cut an ad that says Christians would be turning against their faith and risking hellfire if they voted for President Obama, who just happens to be the only Christian running. The Electionopalypse is now in high gear. 

++The Des Moines Register conducted its last Seltzer poll. President Obama 47 to Romney 42. 

++PPP on Pennsylvania : Obama 52 to Romney 46. 

++PPP on Wisconsin: Obama 51 to Romney 48.

After the earlier polls tonight on Ohio, the toss-ups come down to Colorado, Virginia,North Carolina and New Hampshire, and Florida.

++The Obama campaign sent out a memo saying they had opened 5,000 Get Out The Vote staging areas in Swing States. They also have registered 1,792,291 new voters across battleground states,which is twice the number they did in 2008.

++If you wonder why some polls had Romney ahead on early voting, it is because the Northeast, which will vote for President Obama, does not have early voting and that many so-called "red states" do.However,in contested states like Nevada,Ohio,Iowa,and North Carolina it has been no contest.

++President Obama, Vice-President Biden, former President Clinton and Michelle Obama will be commuting to all the remaining "toss-up" states until election day. It has been announced Romney will travel to seven states in the next 48 hours. 

++I noticed President Obama is now accelerating his letters to raise money for House candidates. The Obama-Biden campaign seems to be giddy and the Romney campaign morose tonight. Conservatives are already blaming Chris Christie's effusive praise of President Obama as one of the reasons Romney will lose.


++NYT/Quinnipiac--Ohio--Obama 50 to Romney 45.

++NBC/WSJ/ Marist--Ohio--Obama 51 to Romney 45.

++John Weaver, former McCain strategist and Jon Huntsman's campaign manager,one-ups Sam Wang. He tweeted tonight Obama 332EV and Romney 206EV. He said they would have to push the other states but it will happen.

++The Romney campaign was reported down tonight with Ann Romney getting emotional. The campaign asked what they were going to do,"Pray" was the answer. They claimed that their internal polls indicated they were in good shape in Virginia,North Carolina, Florida and Iowa. Notice the absence of Ohio.

++Read Charlie Cook today. He is beginning to write the obituary for the Romney campaign. He lists the states where it is now out of reach for Romney and draws the conclusion he would have to run the string on all outstanding "swing states".

++John Ralston reports from Las Vegas that early voting in Nevada has put Obama in such a lead that Romney needs a miracle. 

When The Random Drift Converges with the Bayesian Prediction

++Or Sam Wang farts in your general direction. Sam is still at 323-215, which basically means that the GOP could still steal Ohio and Florida and Obama still wins. The Random Drift, as promised by Dr. Wang, is now converging like an Eclipse of the moon or sun on the Bayesian Prediction. Drift is now 98.0% to the Prediction of 99.8%.

++The PPP National Tracking Poll is at Obama 50 and Romney 47. 

++The Ohio Secretary of State again has thrown a wrench in the works by ordering provisional ballots to be held up. Court convenes again on Monday as voter rights activists continue to take this man to court. Good news is that Obama has 2,500 lawyers ready to pounce on Ohio if this stuff turns serious.

++And just for our West Coast readers who feel left out ,the Field poll has Diane Feinstein with a 21 point lead in her race for Senate and President Obama with a 15-point lead over Willard.

Numbers Dump

++Iowa--Gravis--Obama 49 to Romney 45.
++Iowa--Grove--Obama 47 to Romney 44.

++Michigan--Rasmussen--Obama 52 to Romney 47.
++Michigan--PPP--Obama 52 to Romney 46.
++Michigan--Grove--Obama 48 to Romney 41.

++Minnesota--PPP--Obama 53 to Romney 44.

++Maine--PPP--Obama 55 to Romney 42.
++Maine--2nd District--PPP--Obama 51 to Romney 46.

++Oregon--PPP--Obama 52 to Romney 46.

++Ohio--NBC/WSJ--Obama 51 to Romney 46.
++Ohio--Reuters/Ipsos--Obama 47 to Romney 45.
++Ohio--CNN--Obama 50 to Romney 47.
++Ohio--We Ask America--Obama 50 to Romney 46.
++Ohio--Grove--Obama 49 to Romney 45.

++Wisconsin--Grove--Obama 48 to Romney 42.
++Wisconsin--We Ask America--Obama 52 to Romney 45.

++Colorado--Denver Post--Obama 47 to Romney 45.
++Colorado--Reuters/Ipsos--Obama 46 to Romney 46.
++Colorado--PPP--Obama 50 to Romney 46.
++Colorado--CNN--Obama 50 to Romney 47.

++Connecticut--PPP--Obama 55 to Romney 42.

++New Hampshire--Gravis--Obama 50 to Romney 49.
++New Hampshire--New England U--Obama 49.5 to Romney 44.4.

++Nevada--Mellman--Obama 50 to Romney 44.

++Virginia--Reuters/Ipsos--Obama 48 to Romney 45.
++Virginia--We Ask America--Obama 49 to Romney 48.

++Florida--Reuters/Ipsos--Obama 48 to Romney 46.
++Florida--NBC/WSJ--Obama 49 to Romney 47.
++Florida--Quinnipiac/NYT--Obama 48 to Romney 47.

Sam Wang Vows To Eat Bug

++Sam Wang has allowed Hurricane Sandy to get to him over at Princeton. Seeing that Romney is buying ads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, he vows to eat a bug on camera if Romney wins these states. He will even eat a really big bug if Romney wins Ohio.

++This morning's numbers are Obama at 323 EV and Romney at 215.

++The Meta-margin is +2.98. Last night it topped 3.
The drift is 98.0% and Prediction 99.8%.

++Could Romney win the popular vote? Sam puts it at 6% probability. Not likely.

++Yesterday, 19 swing state polls were released and Romney only led in one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Night Time with Sam

++Don't blame it on Nate Silver. Sam Wang at the Princeton Consortium has the race--Obama 319 EV and Romney 219. Obama's meta-margin is +2.90. The Random Drift is 97% and the Bayesian Prediction is 99.6%.

++Nate Silver is playing it safe. Obama at 303.7 to Romney 234.3 EVs. 81.4% probability of an Obama win. 50.5% popular vote.

++Last time I looked Obama was ahead in sixteen straight polls of swing states and Romney tied only one.

++I'll catch up tomorrow with the last polling. PPP ,We ask America and Reuters/Ipsos say they are wrapping up their state polls.

Jobs Report

++171, 000 jobs added but unemployment ticks up to 7.9%. Good numbers. Probably should be a wash politically.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wang and Silver

++Gallup has Obama with a favorability of 62 to Romney 55--which usually determines the election.

++Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed Obama.

++Mayor Koch has endorsed Obama with a special emphasis on his support for Israel. This should soon be a television ad in Florida.

++Electoral Vote at this hour has Obama at 299 to Romney at 206. They have 33 tied--29 for Florida and 4 for New Hampshire.

++Sam Wang went at it about Karl Rove's prediction of a Romney win by explaining the margin of error in national polls versus state polls. Wang has Obama now at 315 and Romney at 223. The meta-margin is now at +2.65. The Random Drift is 96% and the Prediction is at 99%.

++Nate Silver has Obama now at 303.2 with Romney at 234.8, an 80.8% chance of winning compared to 19.2% for Romney .50.5% in popular vote and 48.4 for Romney.

++Gallup has their unemployment numbers out today. They are at 7% unemployed. Tomorrow's job numbers are extremely important for Obama so as to avoid any slip-up before election day.


++Nate The Great Silver is feeling his oats. He's now betting Morning Joe on his picks. Today, Nate has Obama at 300.4 to Romney 237.6, a 79% probability of an Obama win and 50.5% popular vote.

++Sam Wang does him one better. Wang predicts Obama 312 to Romney 226. His meta-margin at noon was 2.64, His Drift was 96% and his probability at 99.1%. Remember he said that the two would converge at the end.

++Rand Tracking is at 50.5% versus 45.

++Rasmussen dutifully reported his finding that Romney leads by a point in Ohio and in Wisconsin. It is as if he needs to follow pro-Obama polls to affect the averages. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


++Polltracker at TPM now at 303 for Obama and he has a 1.1% lead in the national poll. It seems there is beginning to be a convergence of agreement on the electoral college outcomes.

The Hits Keep Coming

++PPP--Michigan: Obama 53 to Romney 45.

++PPP--Virginia : Obama 49 to Romney 46.

++NBC/Marist--Iowa: Obama 50 to Romney 44.

++NBC/ Marist--Wisconsin: Obama 49 to Romney 46.

++NBC/Marist--New Hampshire: Obama 49 to Romney 47.

++Gallup-- 54% of Americans believe Obama will be re-elected. 34% believe Romney.

Was Halloween When Obama Took Off

++Mike Huckabee warns you that if you vote for Obama Hell-fires await you.

++Even so, Nate Silver has adjusted his predictions. He now has Obama with a 78.4% chance of winning re-election with 299.7 electoral votes and 50.5% of the popular vote.

++Intrade has it 69.1%.

++Other sites that aggregate polls have Obama now pulling away into the 290s and further into the 300s.

++Drudge promises us a sex scandal. If it's Joe Biden, it is a plus for Obama. If it's Romney ,it would humanize him. If it is Obama, it is likely the old story about Michelle filing divorce papers. But as James Carville used to say, we are down to a dead girl or live boy stage of the election.

++Nate the Great also has it a 90% that Democrats will preserve their Senate majority. He says 53 but others say 53 to 55.