Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ebola! ISIS! And the United States Senate..

What Really Cost the Democrats the Senate?

People are finger-pointing and complaining, complaining, and complaining MORE
; threatening to leave the Democrats (as if to teach those Democrats a lesson... while THEY wind up suffering under Republican control, which is what happened in 2000.)  The abysmal voter turnout was a huge factor, of course.  But why was the voter turnout so abysmal?  

But I've been looking at poll numbers over the past few weeks until my eyes are ready to fall out of my head... After reading dozens of articles on the election results, I STILL believe the BIGGEST (but not only) factor in the Democratic loss of the Senate was the sensationalism of the ISIS and the Ebola crises.  These twin crises pushed the Republicans over the top to control of the Senate. 

From a cartoon copyright Lalo Alcaraz.  Found on Facebook

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Blithering Fool Ledger: Allen West Is Lying To You

The Blithering Fool Ledger:

Every day it is something else with these right wing people, and some are more idiotic than others.

Allen West found at ThinkProgress.org

A photo meme came across my newsfeed from a right-leaning friend based on a recent pronouncement by right wing nutjob Allen West.  It's a couple of weeks old, but still relevant.  West disparages Obama as a "charlatan" who has "ordered our military to enlist illegal aliens."

The garbage, found on Allen West's Facebook page, states:

"In other words, this charlatan has allowed those who have disrespected our Constitution and are not citizens to take an oath to support and defend the very document, our rule of law, of which they are in violation. Obama has no constitutional authority to make any laws or rules concerning naturalization as stated in Art I Sect 8 Clause 4. This is an... illegal order and should not be followed by our Military. As well, we are pink-slipping men and women in uniform, Americans, and Obama wants to enlist illegals. We are already outsourcing our national security to Syrian Islamists. This is intolerable and just another reason why we must flip the Senate and begin to reverse Obama's tyranny. Any Democrat supporting this illegal order needs to be voted out!"

people liked this comment on his FB page. 


76,000 people shared his idiocy. 


people commented. 

Except that his pronouncement isn't true. I'm not going to get into what IS true; you can read that at Snopes or at PoliticususaThe article by Justin Baragona at PoliticusUsa is particularly informative.

Unfortunately the forces against intelligence and wisdom and reason in this country are very strong indeed.  The person sharing this is a good friend of mine, someone I respect, someone I worked with for years.  But there he is, sharing stuff from Allen West.

Here's a sample of what we are up against, written by a woman who replied to that lying Facebook post by West:

"I am totally baffled at how he (Obama) continues to disregard not only our constitution but our laws and I hear you speak out, Thankfully and on occasion a couple republicans. The R seem to just sit back too and do not scream loud enough. I am embarrassed at how he disrespects this country with everything he does. I have so much contempt for him It makes me ill. This woman, Nurse and American wants him thrown out on his head."

Interesting.  The woman writing that comment thinks that the Republicans do not "scream loud enough".

Sigh. Allen West is lying to you, you blithering rightie fools. He's probably making money off of you so that he can avoid getting a regular day job to pay his bills. Sigh again.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Can the Democrats Keep the Senate? (Summary, Tuesday Morning, Election Day, November 4)

It's still possible for the Democrats to hang on to the Senate.. by the skin of their teeth.  There are several races that are too close to call, just one or two points STILL separating the candidates.  

The paths for the Democrats to maintain control of the Senate do seem to be getting tougher as the election looms closer and closer.  Follow this column; as I check in with all of the major poll aggregators every day and aggregate their aggregations so you don't have to!
(Note:  I will update this article one more time, tomorrow morning, Election Day, November 4th, with any last minute polls or changes.  Latest information and changes will be marked in red with the word "UPDATE.")
*UPDATE Tuesday morning* This will be my last update of this article.  I'm not going to get into the exit polls or any last minute polls that may be released today (not sure if there will be.)  I will, however, mention the last aggregator projections.  Nate Silver's Blog 538 gives the Republicans a 76.2% chance of taking the Senate.  Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium believes the Dems will wind up with a caucus of 48 while the Repubs wind up with a caucus of 52.  Huffpost Pollster believes there is a 79% chance for the Republicans to take the Senate.  The New York Times gives the Republicans a 70% chance to win.  

Remember, however, that 5 races are crucial.  The Democrats lead in two of them, and the other three are in reach.  If you live in or have friends or family in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Alaska, Colorado, or Iowa, your vote is absolutely crucial!

Good luck, everybody.. and good luck to the United States of America!    

*UPDATE Monday afternoon*  
Yes, hope does remain for the Democrats, and, because of runoff provisions in two states, we may not know who controls the Senate for weeks.  However, the poll aggregators believe that the Republicans have a 70% to 73% chance of taking the Senate. That means that the Democrats' chances of keeping the Senate are 30% or less.  But that doesn't mean that the Democrats have NO chance of keeping the Senate.

SIX states are polling within the 3 points generally considered as the margin of error:   Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina.   Only two of those tossup states are leaning towards the Democrats now, that is, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Two states, Georgia and Louisiana, are probably headed for a runoff as nobody will get 50%. 

The Democrats need five of those six states to keep the Senate.  OR they need four of those six states AND the Independent in Kansas to win and caucus with the Democrats (not sure how likely that is.)

The BEST ROUTE for the Democrats to keep the Senate
is to win in New Hampshire and North Carolina, the two states in which they are ahead, and to pull out wins in Alaska, Colorado, and Iowa.  That avoids the problems of the runoff states and it does not depend on the outcome of the race in Kansas between the Independent and a Republican (see below).   

There were a few more polls this weekend in crucial states, both good and bad.  Alaska's
latest polls seem to push the Democratic incumbent farther back, but there is some hope in Iowa and Colorado.   New Hampshire and North Carolina are holding for the Democrats.  Kansas is holding for the Independent; however, he said that he is going to caucus with the majority, so a win for the Independent may be meaningless unless the Democrats can manage to hold on to 4 to 5 toss up races.  It's unclear who he will caucus with if he is the Senator who decides the majority.  He's from Kansas; not good for the Democrats.

(The Republican candidates in Iowa and North Carolina are considered extreme by the Right Wing Watch HERE.)

Colorado is showing a bit of strength, but Kentucky seems fairly far behind.  Some aggregators and news sources have moved Kentucky and Arkansas out of the "Toss-up" list and onto the "Lean Republican" list.

Kentucky is important, however, because it is SO symbolic.  But Grimes is 5-10 points behind McConnell, and that gap is simply not closing.  Not one poll in the past two weeks has shown Grimes winning, and all polls show her falling farther behind McConnell.  That's really a shame.       

Right now the aggregators are STILL projecting 51 or 52 Republicans in the Senate and 48 or 49 Democrats or Independents.  This hasn't changed in a week.

Sunday, Nov 2:  From Nate Silver's 538 Blog HERE The chance of Republicans vs. Democrats to control the Senate.  The chance of the Republicans retaining the Senate has increased the past few days.  There is less time left before the election with no real change in any of the polls to show increased support for the Democrats who are in toss-up races.

For comparison:  This is the way the above chart looked on Friday, Oct 24.  Compare this with current projections above.

First a word about polls:

Any one poll can be off.. It makes no sense to pay any attention to polls unless they are 1) recent 2) weighted, as some polls are more reliable and neutral than others. The poll aggregators, Sam Wang, Nate Silver, Real Clear Politics, and Huff Pollster, all try to do this.  I'm merely summarizing the aggregators for those who don't want to plow through the poll numbers on four different sites every morning and evening.  I'm going to be updating this column every day or two between now and the election, every time there are new polls or new news.  So.. my interpretation of the latest polls and poll aggregations is below Sam Wang's graph.

Sam Wang and Princeton:

Sam Wang is an important and well-known aggregator, working out of Princeton.  As he doesn't look at specific Senate seats, I haven't mentioned his predictions, though I've been checking them everyday.  I've decided to include his latest Senate graph starting today.  He showed the Democrats as EXTREMELY close to the Republicans just a few days ago, but notice how closely the black line on his graph has trailed off the past week:

Sam Wang's Senate graph as of November 1, 2014.  Found HERE 

Fascinating article about Latino voters and their possible effect both on these elections and on polls in general.  From the article at Huffington Post:

Including Colorado, there are six states in which the Latino share of the eligible electorate is larger than the current polling margin between the two candidates: Colorado, Kansas, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina and Iowa.

Hmmmm.... notice any similarity between this list and the list of Democratic target races? 

As of mid-October there were 12 CLOSE races.

The Democrats have two ways to keep the Senate: 1) To WIN SIX (6) of these close races, 2) Or to WIN FIVE (5) of these close races and have the INDEPENDENT in Kansas who is running against the Republican candidate WIN and CAUCUS with the Democrats.  ALL of these closely contested races (except the New Hampshire race) are in RED or PURPLE states.  The Republicans must win SEVEN (7) of these close races.

Now, one of these races is a fairly confident Democratic victory; that is, Gary Peters in MICHIGAN.  Peters is pulling away from his Republican opponent in recent polls and that race is not even in the "toss up" column any more.  He was up only about 5% two weeks ago; now he is up around 10%.  One of these races is a fairly confident Republican victory; that is, the three way race in SOUTH DAKOTA.  However, the scandal that erupted in South Dakota a week ago does not seem to have impacted this Senate race at all, which is disturbing. 

So... can the Democrats win five of these other ten races? About 7 of these races are STILL within 3-4 points of each other with only 5 days left until the election.

Here's the blow-by-blow of the ten races that were close as of mid-October:

 *UPDATE Monday afternoon* The Republican challenger, Dan Sullivan, seems to be back in front.  Last weekend, polls seemed to indicate that the Democratic incumbent, Mark Begich, was making inroads with polls showing him up by 6-10 points.  But two of the last three polls show Sullivan again ahead by 2-4 points.  BUT..  one of these polls-- Moore-- is a poll commissioned by Republicans, and the other is Rasmussen, which always leans right in its polling.  The third recent poll, PPP, a Democratic poll, shows Begich up by 1 point.

The aggregators have Sullivan with a 66% to 72% chance of winning that Senate seat, with 2 to 4% more votes than Begich.  But this race is still anybody's race, considering the closeness of the polls and the sources of some of them.    

More about Alaska:  As was mentioned last week, there was a scandal that recently came to light about the Republican challenger Dan Sullivan.  You can read about it 
here at the Daily Kos.  Not sure how it will play with the people in Alaska or if any of the switch in these recent polls have anything to do with this scandal.  And here's an interesting article about the election in Alaska, published back at the beginning of October, that highlights the "on the ground" efforts, particularly in the Native American and remote villages. 

*UPDATE Monday* The Republican Tom Cotton is leading incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor by several points.  Most of the polls released in the last two weeks show Cotton leading Pryor with his lead increasing. The aggregators now have Pryor losing by 5-13 points, with a 69 to 91% chance of this seat going to the Republican.  Several pollsters have re-classified Arkansas from "Toss up" to "Leaning Republican".  However, one new poll was released Sunday (yesterday) which shows Pryor actually ahead of Cotton by 1 point.  As this poll was commissioned by Democrats and differs so from the other polls, it may be an outlier without any real significance.  I'm not counting on Arkansas in the Democrat's efforts to hang on to the Senate. 

*UPDATE Monday afternoon* Seven polls have been released in the past week.  One of those polls is a tie between the Democratic incumbent Tom Udall; in the other six, the Republican Cory Gardner was ahead by 1 to 7 points.  Most of the polls showed Gardner ahead by 2 or 3 points.  That would indicate that this state is still a tossup, though the advantage is clearly held by the Republican.

Even though the aggregators are calling this race for Gardner by about 2 points and they are giving Gardner a 66% to 81% chance of winning, this is still a toss up.  
Don't count Udall out!   

The Democratic candidate, Michelle Nunn, was leading by a hair last week, but now it appears that her Republican opponent, David Perdue, is leading by a couple of hairs.

Ten polls have been released within the last week.  Seven of those polls show Perdue up by 2 to 8 points, three have them tied.  All aggregators now have the Republican
David Perdue ahead by 1 to 3.2 points, within the range of error.  Still anybody's race.  The aggregators also say that Perdue has a 63 to 74% of beating Nunn and about a 70% of ultimately winning that Senate seat after the runoff.

Another complicating factor is Georgia's runoff system:  Unless a candidate gets 50%, there will be a runoff.  There is a very good chance that there will be a runoff with a libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford polling 3-4%.  If those 3-4% break for Perdue in the runoff, that could be a big problem for the Democrats. 

 *UPDATE Monday*  This race continues to be extremely close, but the Republican Joni Ernst has the momentum. The most recent poll, from the DesMoines Register, shows the Republican Ernst up by 7 points, but it may be somewhat of an outlier, as all the other 9 recent polls in Iowa show a very, very close race with either a tie or a 1-2 point difference between the Republican Ernst and the Democrat Bruce Braley.  The Democrat Bruce Braley could certainly win this one with a good Democratic turnout, but the momentum is with the Republican right now.  

Now Ernst is considered an extremist, not a "regular" Republican (if there are any of them left); it would be great if more than a few Iowans started to realize that.  Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch names Ernst as one of two potential Senators among the "Five Extreme GOP Candidates Who could be heading to Congress".

The aggregators have Ernst ahead by 1 to 2%, and they are giving her a 57 to 69% chance of winning, but this race is still a tossup. 

*UPDATE Monday* This is the race in which the Democratic candidate pulled out in favor of the Independent Greg Orman. I don't know much about the Independent, but if this man could beat the Republican Pat Roberts AND caucus with the Democrats, this would be very good for the Dems in the Senate indeed. Of course, what kind of concessions might this Independent want to support Democratic legislation?  This race continues to be a dead heat.  There seemed to be a swing to the Independent Orman over the past week, but recent polls are split between Orman and Roberts in the lead.  The most recent polls gives the edge to the Republican Roberts.  

The aggregators are split on this one; one has this race in the Independent column, three feel the race is dead even.

*UPDATE Sunday 11/2*
 We all desperately want Alison Lundergan Grimes to beat turtle man Mitch McConnell, but she continues to be behind. The latest poll shows her 6-8 points behind.

I am hoping and praying that this race will be closer than it looks... 11 polls, going back to the first week of October, all of which show Grimes trailing by 1 to 9 points.  Even the Democratic-leaning PPP poll has her down by 8 points. 

Kentucky is a red state, only a touch of Blue..   This is one thing that the Republican sympathizers are forgetting... Most of these tight, heavy-duty Senate battles are in red or red-purple states; it's not surprising that the Democrats are struggling.  But if Grimes comes within 2-3 points of McConnell, the Republicans should start to worry.. It means that the Democrats ARE making headway in red/red-purple Kentucky.  

It would be great if Grimes could pull out a win.  That would really be an upset!  But she and the Democrats definitely have an uphill climb here.  I'm not counting this race as crucial for control of the Senate.  No momentum for Grimes.

The aggregators have Grimes
down by 5-8% and they give McConnell an 82 to a 97% chance of keeping his seat. 

  *UPDATE Sunday 10/26* The Republican Bill Cassidy seems to be pulling away from long-time Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu. The latest poll confirms previous polls in October, with the Republican up by about 4 points.  The recent polls do show the gap getting larger over the past month.

Can the Dems really close this gap?  Seems like a long shot.  Louisiana is another state which will hold a runoff if nobody gets more than 50% of the vote, but this shouldn't be as crucial to the Democrats maintaining control of the Senate as it will be in Georgia.  
*UPDATE Monday afternoon*  There is no change in this race that would indicate any momentum on the part of Mary Landrieu.  All recent polls still show the Republican Bill Cassidy ahead by about 1-8 points.  However, Louisiana is a runoff state.  If no candidate gets 50% of the vote (which is highly unlikely), the two top candidates will runoff in December.  That means that Landrieu will likely meet Cassidy in the runoff, but when she is polled against only Cassidy, she loses by about 4%. 

 *UPDATE Monday afternoon*  Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen seems to be hanging on to a slim 1-3 point lead over carpetbagger Scott Brown. Not a big lead, but a solid lead, and she is ahead in 3 out of 6 new polls this week.  Those three polls show Shaheen ahead by 2 to 7 points.  In the other polls, she is tied in one, behind by 1 point in one poll, and behind by 4 points in a Republican poll, which actually weights to a +1 for Shaheen by Nate Silver's blog.  Why in the world New Hampshire would show so much support for Brown, who was the Senator from Massachusetts a few years back, is anyone's guess.

The aggregators continue to give Shaheen a 62 to 82% chance of beating Brown, but this is still a very tight race.   

 *UPDATE Monday afternoon*  The Democrat Kay Hagan had a fairly strong advantage in this race, but the recent polls show her just slightly ahead of challenger Thom Tillis or tied.  Hagan's lead was as much as 5-10 points back in September.

But there have been 9 polls in the past week, and all of them except the two polls commissioned by Republicans show Hagan ahead, but by only 1-3 points.  The "aggregators" all have Hagan up by .7 to 2 points, with a 56 to 74% chance of holding on to her Senate seat for the Democrats.  This is a must win seat for the Democrats.  Let's just hope that holds.  Tillis is another potential Senator highlighted as one of the extreme GOP candidates by Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch HERE.

To Summarize:

The best chance for the Democrats is to win NEW HAMPSHIRE and NORTH CAROLINA and IOWA, COLORADO,  and ALASKA.  Remember that I said the BEST path, not the only path.  

Even though the Ebola fear seems to have abated somewhat due to prompt treatment and prompt protocols by the CDC, all of the Democrats are continuing to struggle.  Somehow the brainwashed public blames the President and the Democrats for anything that happens that is fearful.

I just came across THIS article written a couple of days ago by Steve Lesser.. He also talks about the way that the Democrats may keep the Senate.. and he gets into races for the governors as well.  Well worth a trip over to Steve's blog as he interprets and integrates some info that I don't get into.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Would You Like the Democrats to be More Progressive? Listen Up!

Democrats need to be more progressive, dear Preston? 

Somewhere, somehow I got involved in an online discussion with someone named Preston.  Unfortunately, the origin of this is lost in the depths of the World Wide Web, but this was my answer when "Preston" (or anyone) complains about the Democrats not being "Progressive" enough:

"Preston, look, you and I would like the government to be more progressive.  We would like the Democrats to pursue more progressive policies, right?  I'm with you on that, yet I completely support.. and I will to the end of the Earth... Obama and the Democrats.  I grew up in a staunchly conservative town.  I know how these right-leaning people thought.. and still think. 
I have actually supported Republicans at various times for various races.  At other times in my life, I have have considered myself a middle-of-the-road independent.  Now I consider myself a PRAGMATIC Progressive Liberal Democrat.  Notice that I capitalized the word PRAGMATIC.  I'm from Illinois and I followed Obama's political career from the first time I heard his name and wondered who he was.  I was not a big Obama supporter and I'm not sure I voted for him in 2004.  I may have left that race blank when I voted.  I did see Obama as more of a liberal than he has shown himself to be while President. 
BUT after the Republican fiasco of 2000 through 2008, I KNOW that the only way that we can get this country back on track is to knock the Republicans out of contention as leaders of Congress, as leaders of the country, and as leaders of most of the states.

We have to somehow reclaim the public debate that right now has been overwhelmingly taken over by the right-leaning people and groups.  Racism, distrust of government, free speech being equal to being rich, hatred of the poor and the unemployed, being convinced that anyone who needs government services is a  "slacker" or a "fraud" who is stealing "my" tax dollars", on and on... A HUGE segment of the population follows right wing dogma.  That's a big reason why Obama seems to have taken a "right turn".  That, plus the realities of getting bills through Congress and into law.  That's the reason that we can't get any more progressive policies into government, not that Obama and the Dems aren't progressive "enough".
Until we somehow WIN OVER a bigger chunk of the population of this country to understand and support more progressive policies, and until that is reflected in the Congress, we won't get solidly Progressive policies from Democrats.   Progressives have often been marginalized NOT by mainstream Democrats, but by the overwhelming right wing rhetoric that is so strong in so many places that it seems to have taken over this country. 
Preston, our mutal and real "enemies" are the racist and hateful conservative forces that are in control of the House of Representatives and much of the media.  All of this anti-Democratic rhetoric from people that like Sanders and Warren (but don't like Obama and Clinton) plays right into the hands of these conservatives.  Remember that Warren is a Democrat who votes with the Democrats almost ALL OF THE TIME. Remember that Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and votes with the Democrats almost ALL OF THE TIME.  They understand how politics works in this country, and they KNOW that they have more in common with mainstream Democrats than with the Republicans who are desperate to push this country back to the hateful policies of the 1800's.   
Meanwhile, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Barack Obama a Conservative? Are You Kidding Me?

Are You Kidding Me?

Here's the accusation posted on Facebook:
Obama is conservative. He is, by his own admission, a Blue Dog Democrat, i.e., pretty much a Republican. His support for liberal policies is completely verbal.

Related to this, one I've heard over and over:

"Obama is a corporate stooge, just a suit".  Or:   "Just another president married to wall st."
From WhiteHouse.gov

A man named Kevin replied with this list of SOME of Obama's liberal accomplishments:
  • Enacted Health Care reform for the first time in US history
  • Supports more Green Energy than any other POTUS in history...
  • supports gay, women's and minority rights...
  • Within his first week, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse...
  • He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan...
  • Along with Democrats, and almost no Republicans, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs...
  • Signed the Democratic-sponsored Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system, and create a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown...
  • Signed the Democratic-sponsored and passed Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market...
  • Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost...
  • Along with Congressional Democrats, provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession...
  • Signed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which closed many of the loopholes that allowed companies to send jobs overseas, and avoid paying US taxes by moving money offshore...
  • and a TON more...

"His support for liberal policies is completely verbal" my ass.
What he has TRIED to do is be a Liberal who meets in the middle, but the asshole GOP will have NONE of it. NOT his fault, and it certainly does NOT make him a 'Republican' (if he was one, he would have accomplished NOTHING...that's what they DO any more)...

Thanks, Kevin!

No, both parties are NOT the same.. And anybody who thinks they are just isn't paying attention!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do You Hate Your Government Yet?

How Government becomes the enemy: 

They also work to underfund needed government agencies.  Then, when things don't work right due to underfunding, they can say:  "See?  We told you government can't do anything right!  We need to privatize this service!"

Thanks to OWSposters.tumblr.com!

The Republican strategy is to get people to hate their government.  They want you to care less, to be disenfranchised enough to not care what happens.  So when they do things like cut unemployment benefits (or underfund Ebola or other medical research), you just sit back and blame it on collective "politicians" instead of where the blame actually belongs:  On the Republicans.  No, people!!  Both parties are NOT the same!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sanders: Good & Bad Billionaires?

"Both Parties Have Billionaire Donors."  

(March 14, 2016 update:  The following article was written in the runup to the 2014 Congressional midterm elections, before Bernie Sanders had announced any intention to run for President in 2016.  I'm reposting it due to all of the rhetoric about "billionaires".  Bernie Sanders himself made a distinction between good and bad billionaires a few years back. )     

OK, true..  But does that mean that "both parties are the same"?  Senator  Bernie Sanders (VT-I) doesn't seem to think so.

Sanders doesn't think the Democrats are doing enough (or are mad enough) at the way things are.. but it's clear from reading his comments in the article referenced below that he also knows the Democrats are quite different from Republicans, even when addressing such issues as "They both get a lot of money from Billionaires."
From Al JazeeraAmerica

In this excerpt from an inteview published October 6, 2014, at Vice.com, Senator Sanders was asked about "good" vs. "bad" billionaires (emphasis mine):

Q - "Democrats have also been able to get plenty of billionaires donating on their side. Does that present similar issues? Or is it a case of Good Billionaires vs. Bad Billionaires? 
A - Let me respond in two ways. I think the media has said, “Both sides are getting money from the very rich.” The answer is yes and no. The truth is that the Republicans are receiving a lot more money from the very wealthy, from the Koch brothers alone—who I understand will put $400 million into this campaign—not to mention many other people. So it is not a question of equivalence. One side is getting far, far more from the very rich than the other side is.
On the other hand, I personally, very strongly, believe that we have to overturn citizens united. I don’t think that any billionaire, regardless of his or her politics, should be able to play a significant role in a campaign. It’s not what democracy is about.
The third point that I would make is that when people say, “The Democrats are getting money from very rich people,” is that it’s true, though the Republicans are getting a lot more. Then you have to ask yourself, “What are the rich people donating to the Democrats concerned about?” You have some billionaire out there who’s legitimately concerned about global warming. You know what? Global warming is one of the great planetary crises that we face and it must be addressed. What are the Koch brothers concerned about? Their concern is that we should use more and more fossil fuels, that we should build the Keystone Pipeline, that we should significantly weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, and, by the way, that we should cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education. It’s not enough to say that there are billionaires on both sides. You’ve got to ask what they want.
At the end of the day, I personally want to see all billionaires unable to heavily influence campaigns. I want to see Citizens United overturned, and I want to see public funding of elections."

The Democrats are not perfect. 

Now Sanders is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats.  It's interesting to read his thoughts about the Republicans vs. the Democrats.  He mentions several times that the Republicans are a far-right extremist party. 

His complaint about the Democrats?

"...the Democratic Party has not been as clear as it should be in making the American people aware of the fundamental economic issues facing this country and their willingness to fight on behalf of working families and take on Wall Street and corporate America."

Are the Democrats perfect?  I agree with Sanders:  They need to spend more time and money on message. But that's a minor complaint when compared to the Republicans.  The future of our democracy (and we are a democratic republic, no matter what the righties want to call us) is imperilled by the current philosophy, leadership, and financing of the GOP. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

If Obama Has Accomplished So Much, Why Are His Approval Ratings Low?

Obama's Popularity:  Can a Good President Have Low Approval Ratings?  (Three reasons below.)

If Obama Has Accomplished So Much, why are his approval ratings low?

Someone asked this question in a comment to this column on
Fourteen Things About the Obama Presidency That Most People Don't Know.  Here's my attempt to answer that question with a few reasons why President Obama has lower ratings than he should, considering his significant list of accomplishments:

1. We have suffered from 30 years of Republican dominated policies
that have really made things difficult for the middle class. The kind of anti-worker/anti-middle class policies that were enacted in the 1980's often take years, even decades, to reach their full effect. I believe that some of the misery of the recent recession was the result of those 30 years of anti-worker/anti-middle class policies.  But I'm going to stick to the recent recession in these comments:  

The job market in the 2000's never reached the strength of the job market of the 1990's before everything came crashing down in late 2007/2008. The 2008 recession was the worst that any of us under 80 years of age have ever faced. We were really staring down the rabbit hole of another Great Depression. The banks were on the verge of failing, the US car manufacturers were on the verge of closing down; it was horrible; it was frightening. I don't understand why people don't remember how frightening things were in late 2008/early 2009.

As with any recession due to serious economic problems, it took a while for it to turn around. Yes, we started adding jobs in early 2010 and we've added over 2 million jobs a year since then, but things were bad, and some areas are still not what they were... and may never be. So people say, "I'm not doing as well as I was 5 -10- 15- 20 years ago, and it must be Obama's fault." They don't remember how bad things were.. or how bad they might be if Democrats hadn't taken over in 2009 and started us back on the road to recovery with a strong stimulus.
Economics is very complex, and many people want simplicity. So it's easier to believe the b.s. and decide that Obama is the problem.

2. Pure propaganda
. If you keep telling people enough bad things often enough and loudly enough.. and you keep piling it on, people will start to believe those bad things. That's one of the first rules of propaganda.. keep it up. Make it louder and more horrible. Facebook and the blogosphere were not as influential during the early part of the 2000's and they have amplified the ugliness and the oversimplification.  Facebook photo memes are often ugly, inflammatory, often full of lies and misrepresentations. People don't want to read and analyze issues; they want quick info and they want to REACT. It's not just conservatives/righties that spit out the misleading, divisive memes, but the ones I've seen from the right (Yes, I do have rightie friends and family members) tend to be more inflammatory and more misleading on the whole than those from liberal sources.
3. Racism. No two ways about it; racism is a big part of the negativity towards Obama. Any time anyone claims that Obama is "lazy" (incredible... just look at his schedule on the White House site; I can't imagine anyone can work that hard), it is dogwhistle for "he's a lazy Nword".. no matter how much the person denies it.
In terms of the midterms, many of the most heated Senate races are in red or purple states in which Obama is less popular than in others. So he's not going to help those races by going to those states.

I continue to think that Obama will be considered a great President, considering the challenges he had to deal with when he took office, and considering the constant and undeserved obstruction and opposition. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Obama Worse Than Bush? Hogwash!

Obama: Worst President in Modern Times! proclaims an NBC article citing a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

In fact, the headline of that poll at the Quinnipiac University site states:

Obama Is First As Worst President Since WWII, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; More Voters Say Romney Would Have Been Better

From NBC News/Reuters:  "President Obama loosens his tie in the heat before delivering remarks on the economy at the Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington."

The righties are, of course, gleeful, for they were intent on destroying this man and his Presidency from Day 1.  Of course, Presidents usually poll worse when they are in office and better as people forget the misery they blame on that particular President.  Thus, Obama's legacy is far from decided, despite what the righties want us to believe. 

The Ignorant and Brainwashed Americans

I see this poll (and others that show similar results) this way:  This is another example of the dumbing down of the American people and the brainwashed ignorance of that population.  How could anyone consider "Obama worse than Bush", a man who pulled us into a trillion dollar war that cost tens of thousands of lives (both American and Iraqi lives) on lies? And Reagan the best?  What's wrong with this country?

"I don't believe in polls."

Now many people who lean left/Progressive/Democratic are quick to express skepticism of this poll and mention that it is only "one poll" or say that they "don't believe in polls."   Sigh.  Many of those same people do definitely believe in climate change and decry those who don't believe in climate change as being "not scientific" or "flat earthers".  Yet they don't believe in the statistics that underlie polls.  Sigh again.      

I think it is always important to know what the "other side" is thinking and what kind of effect they are having on this country. When we don't look at polls, we wind up with a 2010 election. I remember people saying that they "didn't believe in the polls" before the 2010 election, when the polls started to swing strongly to the Republicans. The polls were right. The Republicans took the House by a storm and the Dems were routed. (The polls also changed dramatically from summer to fall as rightie money poured into the races.)


I think it is outrageous that a large chunk of the American population are unhappy with Obama, despite Obama pulling us back from the brink of total financial collapse, saving the automakers, presiding over the addition of 9 million jobs, moving us towards equality for LGBT people, limiting our entanglements in foreign wars, reducing the deficit, etc. etc, DESPITE constant Congressional obstruction, despite Republicans that were insistent on destroying his Presidency from Day 1, even if it meant keeping the American people miserable.

The poll mentions that Obama's approval rate is now somewhere around 40%. Even if you quibble about a few percent in terms of "not believing a poll", that's still a very poor approval rating for a man who has accomplished so much with so much opposition. It doesn't say much for the intelligence or knowledge of the brainwashed American people.
If this was just one poll, we could easily ignore it. But it isn't. Obama is getting hit in poll after poll this spring. Saying that we shouldn't pay any attention to polls is to me, someone who has spent some time studying statistics and polling, akin to saying that, because we've had a cold winter, "I don't believe in global warming."

The issue isn't the polls; the issue is the brainwashed ignorance of the American people.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Racist Dog Whistle: What Happened America?

Don't let the righties get away with racist dog whistle such as the photo below!

The photo above was found on a Facebook page called Human Events.  Whoever put this together obviously wanted to emphasize a difference between Michelle Obama, the current First Lady and the wife of President Barack Obama, and Jackie Kennedy, who served as First Lady from 1961 to 1963 when her husband, John F. Kennedy, was President.

And the difference is obviously supposed to be negative, as Michelle Obama apparently does not look as "together" as Jackie Kennedy in this pair of pictures.  The racists will deny that the difference of skin color between the two women means anything.. but never allow yourself to be deceived.  Their biggest complaint about the Obamas really IS race.  But arguing with racists is really a waste of time.

As the added text, posted on my Facebook page, states:
Jackie and Michelle are both fashionable, intelligent women who speak/spoke for their generations. Perhaps Jackie didn't feel that she could show the joy that Michelle is expressing in the photo at the right. If so, how sad! And how far we have come as a people! Not only do we have a black family in the White House, but the First Lady can feel comfortable expressing herself! As my FB friend Sue writes: "How refreshing to have a First Lady with a desire to make changes for American families and not just be an ornament on the President's arm. Michelle Obama is LOVED around the country; her approval ratings are HIGH; she's a decent and honorable woman who loves her family and her country! We are so lucky to have her!""
Yes, Sue, we are lucky to have Michelle Obama in the White House.  But there's a significant part of the population that will NEVER accept her legitimacy as First Lady.  The picture above is one of the most mild in terms of criticism of Michelle Obama.  But it is SO mild that the racists can more easily deny any racist intent in posting. 

So sad.  But don't ignore racist dog whistle!  And know that it exists in this the land of "All (white men) are created equal."
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