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Many Polls Say Romney Close or Leading, But Don’t You Believe It.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 29, 2012

Mask sales accurate election predictorA recent Gallup Poll of “Likely Voters” taken after the FIRST debate showed a bounce for Governor Romney to give him a 2-Point Lead over President Obama. That’s to be expected. But after the SECOND debate, despite almost universal agreement that Obama won the second debate… a debate in which Romney was humiliated on the national stage over “when” exactly the president called the Benghazi attack “an act of terror”, showed total disrespect of both the moderator and The President, and his odd “binders full of women” remark where he never did get around to endorsing “pay equity for women”… President Obama enjoyed a strong rebound in the polls. Couple this with the drop in unemployment below 8-percent the week before, and many felt the president recovered everything he lost after the first debate. So the supposed CONTINUED gains by Governor Romney after the second & third debates among “likely voters” (by as much as a stunning SEVEN percent in one poll) is beyond logic. Fortunately, my faith in the American people was tempered slightly with Romney’s “bounce” now petering out in the waning days of the election. Despite this, Romney surrogates were all over the airwaves this weekend to ensure you that the “Romney comeback” is real and that the momentum in this election is his. But don’t you believe it. Most polls now show President Obama still leads among likely voters (49% to 46%), and Obama has never trailed in Ohio. But there are a number of other… let’s call them “factors”… to suggest the momentum still rides with Obama (some serious, others just curious coincidences):

1) Cellphones & “Caller ID” skewing polling:

Many polls still under-sample or otherwise avoid cellphone users, and a LOT of people use “Caller ID” to avoid pollsters. The older the voter, the less likely they are to use “Caller ID”. It’s no surprise that people with “Caller ID”… either in-home units and/or on their cell phones, will simply just not answer their phone when they see it’s a pollster bugging them for the 30th time that week to see if they’ve changed their vote since yesterday. It should also come as no surprise that the majority of these voters are young, who skew heavily for Obama, while voters that tend to shy away from such technology are typically older (Romney’s demographic). So when some polls show a “dead-heat” or even a Romney lead, be aware that they are hearing from a disproportionate number of older voters without “Caller ID” that also tend to vote Republican.

Pollster Gallup says they have upped the number of “cellphones” they poll to 50%, and Obama’s lead is stronger in polls that include cellphones. Republicans are already claiming the polls are “skewed towards Obama” because when they ask people if they are a ”Republican” or “Democrat”, more people say they are Democrats, therefore, Republicans claim this as evidence of “bias”, that polling companies are “unfairly polling more Democrats” (uh, guys? Just because more people call themselves Democrats, doesn’t mean pollsters are actively seeking them out). But I’d argue that simply sampling more cellphone users doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the voting public as a whole. Do cellphone users make up 50% the voting populace? If half your sample is cellphone users and half your sample is “land-line, no Caller ID” users, I’d argue your sample is unevenly weighted in Romney’s favor. That would be like walking into a women’s dress shop and polling on the popularity of mustache combs. If you manage to leave with your genitals intact, the responses you receive are probably not going to accurately reflect the popularity of “mustache combs” in general. Increasing the number of women you poll in that same environment isn’t going to do much good.

(UPDATE: MotherJones Magazine this week reports: “Pollster: Undercounted Cellphone Users Hide Obama’s Lead”.)

2) Early Voting is heavily in Obama’s favor

As Reuters pointed out Friday, President Obama leads Governor Romney 54% to 39% among early-voters. This is important for several reasons: First, it lays waste to the Republican claims of an “enthusiasm gap” that voters just aren’t excited about voting for Obama, while enthusiasm for Romney is supposedly growing. Second, if potential Romney voters are still debating whether or not to actually support him this late in the game, or are just not yet ready to check that box for him even in light of the very real possibility that the polls may be closed (or they otherwise can’t get to them) on Election Day because of Hurricane Sandy, then the fact that Early Votes weigh heavily in Obama’s favor matters a great deal.

Some lighter fare: 3) Halloween Mask Sales

Halloween mask sales has been an unusually good predictor of presidential elections. Think about it. Who wants to dress up as somebody no one likes for Halloween? People with enough enthusiasm to lay out $30-$50 for a custom rubber mask typically won’t waste their money buying the mask of the guy they don’t like. And this year, Obama masks are outselling Romney masks. BuyCostumes.com brags it has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 2000, and this year, Obama/Biden mask sales lead Romney/Ryan mask sales by 4-percent.

Consider that for what it’s worth. Maybe nothing, but a fun fact none-the-less.

I might also point out that according to a few costumers, there was a run on BigBird masks following the second debate. Wanna bet people are making fun of Romney with those masks? I’d be comfortable putting “Big Bird mask buyers” in the Obama column as well.

Some other “not-so-serious” yet surprisingly good presidential predictors:

The GOP has alienated just about every minority group there is. Obama leads big among women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, The Poor, Gay-Americans, and the youth vote. The only group Romney leads big in is “White Men”. Amazingly, the “Kill Medicare” Team has the edge when it comes to seniors. And just as astonishing, the same “get-rid of Planned Parenthood, and make The Pill Unconstitutional” ticket is closing the gap among women… supposedly. Does that make sense to you? Of course not. It defies logic. So don’t you believe it.

Question: In what world does a candidate with this kind of Baggage seem likely to win:

And seriously, when did the GOP become our Fallback position? How does a Party screw up THAT bad, openly announce that their “#1 priority” is to obstruct every thing the President does for the next four years, and when Democrats don’t fix the Republicans’ mess “fast enough”, people are racing to REWARD that obstruction and put the Party that created this mess back in power just four short years later? Sorry, I refuse to believe this country is so easily duped (or has the memory of a goldfish).

Two weeks before the election, the Romney campaign is STILL sending Ryan to red states for fundraising less than two weeks before the election? You don’t do that when you’re winning.

And what about this? The Romney Campaign doctored a photo (badly) of a Nevada campaign event last week to make the crowd look twice as large as it actually was. You don’t do that when you’re winning either.
 

Romney Nevada event

Photoshopping of Romney Nevada event
Click to enlarge


 

The fact that some people are arguing “what is the role of government” as the basis for how they’ll vote this November, THAT’S A WIN! Why? Because we’re not talking about “war” or “losing 800,000 jobs a month”. If your focus this election is on esoteric things like “the proper role of government”, then the president is doing a damn good job. Remember, the last guy failed to prevent the most devastating terrorist attack in American history, quadrupled the price of oil, tripled the price of gas, launched America’s first unprovoked war against what turned out to be an unarmed country in a war based on lies, and crashed the global economy.

So when you hear all the pundits citing polls claiming this race is “neck & neck”, or Conservative pundits predicting a “huge” win for Mitt Romney, don’t you believe it. There’s not an ounce of evidence to support it… not even anecdotal.

PS: Just to let everyone know, I was recently tapped to be the newest contributing editor for “Crooks & Liars”. Despite this, Mugsy’s Rap Sheet will remain my primary focus, providing me with more editorial freedom and the ability to go into issues in much greater detail than I ever could under C&L’s rapid-fire high-turnover format. But I do encourage you to drop by C&L frequently for breaking updates. Look for posts “by Mugsy”, that’s me.



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Politics, Predictions, Seems Obvious to Me October 29th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Why Would Anyone Vote for Someone With This Record (Romney)?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 22, 2012

Truth in advertisingThis past week, I’ve listened incredulously to reports that President Obama’s lead over Governor Mitt Romney has continued to shrink following Romney’s impressive first debate performance despite his embarrassing second debate humiliation and VP Biden also being seen as “the winner” in his debate performance. Team Romney is 1-for-3 (and likely 1-for-4 tonight), and “fact checkers” have not been kind to Romney’s debate claims, yet we are to believe that none of this matters because… well, basically, because no matter what you believe, the governor has agreed with you at some point. But when you go down the list issue-by-issue, I find it unimaginable that this country would even consider putting these people back in control. But then again, I felt the same way leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. That prompted me the day before Election Day to openly wonder: When did “Republican” become this nations fall-back position? It seemed to me (and still does) that this country is WAY quicker to give Republicans’ the benefit of the doubt, and incredibly impatient with Democrats when they don’t fix the Republican’s mess fast enough, ready to go back to their “default” setting of Republicans in charge because they are really good at making themselves sound like they know what in the heck they are doing. But let’s look at that list issue-by-issue:

1) Fiscal Responsibility:

It has reached the point of “common knowledge” that “Republicans are the fiscally responsible ones” DESPITE the fact that TEN POINT THREE TRILLION of our $11.9 Trillion National Debt before Obama took office was run up by just three presidents: Reagan, Bush-41 & Bush-43. And Bush-43 took a projected $250-Billion dollar SURPLUS left to him by DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton, and stuck his successor, Barack Obama, with a $1.2-Trillion dollar annual DEFICIT. Hamstrung with the most astronomical deficit any president has ever left another administration, Obama’s presidency was hobbled from the day he took office by Trillion dollar annual deficits that HE DIDN’T CREATE. In fact, the Deficit will actually be LOWER next year (PDF) than it was when President Obama took office. Only two presidents have CUT SPENDING AND REDUCED THE DEFICIT in past 40 years: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama… both DEMOCRATS. So someone PLEASE explain to me where this myth of “Republican fiscal responsibility” comes from? Republicans LOVE to talk about the deficit, but only when DEMOCRATS are in charge.
 

Only Democrats cut spending

Imagine for a moment that a co-worker asked you to meet him for lunch at some fancy restaurant. He arrives an hour early, orders a steak and drinks a bottle of expensive wine, but when you arrive, all you see him with is a salad and a glass of water. Getting up to leave just as you arrive, he tells you, “Sorry, but I’ve been called away on an emergency”, and you generously offer to pay his bill, only to find out after he’s gone that he hosed you. You didn’t order so much as a slice of bread, but YOU are the one stuck with the huge bill. Meanwhile, you’re starving and can barely afford to buy yourself lunch. Worse, his buddies at the office all blame YOU for draining the expense account and try to get you fired. Republicans blaming president Obama for the size of the National Debt today is a lot like that. And how many years do you think it would take before you stopped criticizing the guy that hosed you?

2) National Security

Somehow, Republicans have an entirely undeserved record as being strong on “National Security” despite having a terrible track record (especially recently) when it comes to actually winning wars:

Wars since 1900 (only wars that have ended are shown in color):

Governor Romney OPPOSED pulling our troops out of Iraq, criticized our intervention in Libya to depose Qadaffy, and is already saber-rattling about using military force in Syria and Iran. And just like his Republican predecessor, wants to do it all on the Federal Credit Card while giving enormous fiscally irresponsible tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Republicans are BIG on increasing defense spending… even when the military doesn’t want it… because it makes them sound tough on national security (even though General Mike Mullen told President Bush that the National Debt is probably the greatest threat to our national security.

And as you already know, the latest batch of Neocons pimping all this war talk are notoriously short on military credentials. “In the Land of the Blind, the one eyed man is king”, and so was President Bush who (questionably) “served” stateside in the National Guard during Vietnam, placing him head and shoulders above the likes of “five deferments” Cheney and now Mitt ”went to talk French people out of drinking wine during Vietnam” Romney (the fact Romney actually protested IN SUPPORT of the Vietnam War makes it all the more sickening.)

3) Pro-Life, anti-abortion

I’ve often said, “You can’t be Pro-War, Pro-Gun and Pro-Death Penalty and still call yourself Pro-Life.” The fact is, three things reduce abortion rates more than anything else: a strong economy (so parents can support their children), access to affordable health care (especially prenatal care), and the availability of birth control. As you read here on M.R.S. last week, Passing Laws does NOT curb abortion“.

Under President Obama… with absolutely no help from Republicans, the economy is improving, everyone will have medical coverage under “ObamaCare”, and insurance plans MUST provide contraception coverage. The GOP has vowed to do away with the second two, and their “plan” to grow the economy is Bush-onomics on Steroids, continuing to believe despite ALL evidence to the contrary that if we just cut tax-rates… not just “a little more”, but by a staggering 20%… that’ll magically create jobs and balance the budget.

If you’re “Pro-Life” and want to reduce the number of abortions, simply passing a law doesn’t do it. All it does is drive the problem underground. If simply passing laws stopped things from happening, there would be no murders, no crime and no drugs. Look around. Do we still have murder, theft and drugs? Thinking you can stop abortion simply by passing laws prohibiting them should earn you some time in a rubber room somewhere.

If you want to bring down abortion rates, the LAST thing you should be calling for is to repeal “ObamaCare”, object to contraception coverage, and make The Pill illegal (and yes, that’s EXACTLY what Romney’s support for a ”Personhood Amendment” would do.)

4) Bain Capital didn’t “create jobs”, it DESTROYED them

This to me is insane. The idea that Mitt Romney knows anything about “creating jobs” because of his experience at Bain Capital is absurd. The business that Romney ran was a “venture capital” firm (which I’ve had plenty of experience with). They don’t RUN businesses. Early on, they gave out business loans to companies that someone else ran (Venture capitalists do typically sit on the Board and approve/reject decisions, but rarely MAKE those decisions unilaterally. So their record as a ”job creator” based on that is weak at best.

But soon, making money by giving out loans was deemed “too slow” (by Romney?), leading them to acts of (as Rick Perry called it) “Vulture Capitalism”, where they bought up successful yet cash-strapped companies, bled them for all they were worth, fired all the employees, and then sold off the empty husk, reaping huge profits.

Is THAT the kind of “business experience” you believe “creates jobs” and would be good for this country?

Meanwhile, our current president (and again I point this out because it can’t be said often enough), with NO help from the GOP, reversed a loss of 750,000 jobs a month to where we’ve actually been GAINING jobs each month (not as many as we’d like, but tell that to the Republicans who filibustered “The Jobs Act” or “The Veterans Jobs Bill”), with over 5-Million jobs created since taking office (more than twice the net number of jobs Bush created in eight).

And finally…

5) “No Core”

I still find it astounding that in 2004, Republicans savaged Presidential nominee John Kerry for ONE inartfully stated fact: a reporter asked him to explain his vote opposing supplemental funding for the Iraq War. This led to the famed “I was FOR it before I was against it” remark. What the Senator was referring to there was voting in favor of the funding when it was to be paid for by repealing the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy, but then voted against the bill when that provision was stripped out by the GOP. And for that one poorly worded response, Kerry was branded a ”flip-flopper” by the Right like it were The Mark of Cain. Bush supporters showed up at rallies waving flip flops (the sandals), and the GOP ran TV ads of him engaging in the pretentious sport of “wind surfing” and saying his positions shift “as the wind blows”.

Flash forward just eight short years, and the GOP has nominated a man that a member of his own Party called “a perfectly lubricated [political] weather vane” in a TV ad depicting just a few of Romney’s flip-flops:
 

Jon Huntsman’s “Perfectly Lubricated Weather Vane” TV ad

 

Romney’s flip flopping has become legendary, clearly telling people whatever he thinks they want to hear at that particular time, and when caught, insists he has not changed positions. Probably the best example of this was when he ran for Senator in 1994, he gave an impassioned defense of how he was “pro-choice” as the result of a family tragedy regarding an illegal cross-border abortion in Mexico (his sister-in-law died), and because of that, would never change his position. He repeated that claim as he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. No change, no way, no how. And when Mitt Romney gives you his word on something, you can take it to the bank.

One guy, John Kerry, was a wind-surfing elitist “flip flopper” on a single issue that Republicans used to paint him as out-of-touch and untrustworthy. The other, someone whose dancing “dressage horse” was entered into the Olympics, as he himself sets an Olympic record for “flip flopping” that would put Gabrielle Douglas to shame.

Mitt Romney has no core. He’s whatever you need him to be at that particular moment as a matter of political expediency. His own campaign director compared this philosophy to “an Etch-a-Sketch”. We got a real good look at this in action during the first presidential debate, where Romney basically “won” by abandoning just about every principle he’d ever had and repeatedly lied about his own position on various issues: from birth-control to the size of his tax plan. If the hypocrisy wasn’t bad enough to make Republicans question everything they believe, it should (at the very least) make you question your vote.
 

PS: And for those still asking, “Okay, you’ve given me plenty of reasons not to vote for Romney, but why should I vote FOR Obama?”
 

Obama lists many of his first-term accomplishments.

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Money, myth busting, Politics, Taxes, War October 22nd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Guest Op/Ed: Does passing laws stop abortion?

By discontinued_user - Last updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Special guest-commentary today by user “Tom J.” I met Tom during an OFA Viewing Party of President Obama’s big convention speech last August, where he posed some interesting questions about life in countries with strict anti-abortion laws vs those that keep abortion legal & freely available. Impressed, I asked him to share those thoughts with you today.

Several years ago I invited a public school colleague that I worked with to join the teachers’ union. Very unexpectedly he went off into a passionate discourse about “dead babies.” I didn’t get the connection at first until I later figured out that he associates the Union with Democrats and Democrats with abortion. His reaction was so emotional that I decided to investigate this issue. I have never lived abroad. I did read Jimmy Carter’s book “Our Endangered Values” which prompted the conclusions below, I have also included links to the World Health Organization website with the statistics cited.

Conservatives claim that life begins at the moment of conception and should not be taken once a woman is pregnant. OK, but what is their solution to stop it? All they have ever offered is to make it illegal. Will doing that stop abortions from happening? There is no correlation at all between illegality and abortion rates (PDF).

Let’s look at some other countries where this is being tried. In most South American countries abortion is completely and totally illegal and yet women still seek them out and obtain them illegally at the rate of 32 per thousand child-bearing aged women. The baby is still dead whether abortion is legal or not.

Now stop and examine countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. There abortion is legal under many circumstances and yet women seek out and obtain them only at the rate of just 7 per thousand even though it is legal. Quite a difference. What is happening? Well in those two countries and others like them they have universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people. Turns out this is what stops abortion, not passing laws.

So, to those people who claim that the sanctity of human life is all important, I say this: If you really care about those unborn babies like you say you do, and this is not really about controlling women, then you have no choice but to support the political party that is promoting universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people because that and only that is what has been proven to drastically curb abortion. Passing Laws doesn’t stop it!

Source: Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter (page 74 hard cover edition).
 

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Filed in Abortion rights, Election, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, myth busting, Politics, Religion October 16th, 2012 by discontinued_user | • No comments | Add/View

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Dear Obama, Remind Voters Why They Don’t Trust Romney

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 15, 2012

Projected Change in Defense SpendingAfter watching last Tuesday’s Vice Presidential debate, it was nice to hear Joe Biden point out just how extreme some of of the policies of his opponent are, but I was disappointed once again that the Romney/Ryan ticket was allowed to get away with whitewashing their extremist agenda and not having their true policy positions dragged kicking & screaming into the light of day. This got me thinking a lot about what I would tell President Obama on how to handle the next two debates: YOU NEED TO REMIND PEOPLE WHY THEY CAN’T TRUST THE GOP. It’s not complicated.

Keep in mind that both Romney and Ryan have conceded you “inherited a mess”. Well, POINT OUT WHO CREATED THAT MESS! As Bill Clinton said, their entire argument boils down to: “Ya know, we left him an awful mess. And we didn’t lift a finger to help him out. But he’s not fixing it fast enough so put us back in charge to have another shot at it!”

Remember this great line? The GOP drove the economy into a ditch, and now, after we’ve worked so hard to get it back out of that ditch, they want the keys back! We have to tell them, ‘No! You don’t know how to drive!‘” You first said it during the 2010 midterms, and repeated it again just last August to great effect. Like Reagan’s “youth & inexperience” line, those are the phrases that people remember after a debate. Don’t confuse these with “Zingers”. You’re making a historical point, not just getting in a funny “there you go again” line.

They continue to claim Democrats had “complete control of Congress for two years where they could do anything they wanted.” Bull! You only had a 60 vote majority in the Senate for 24 WORKING DAYS during that entire two years. You need to ask Romney: “If Democrats had ‘complete control for two years’, then explain the record number of filibusters?”
 

Rise of the Filibuster since Obama’s election
Rise of the Filibuster

 

When Romney then tries to point to his experience as “a Republican governor in a heavily Democratic state” as proof of his ability to “cross Party lines” and “work with Democrats”, point out that Romney VETOED EIGHT-HUNDRED BILLS as governor of Massachusetts, most of which had to be overridden in order to pass.

Remind people how Governor Romney STILL won’t release his taxes for years prior to announcing his run for the White House. “What is it he doesn’t want you to see? He wants to set tax policy for the entire nation yet he doesn’t trust you to see his returns?” If the governor hadn’t chosen to pad the bill in his most recent return, his tax rate would have been just NINE POINT FIVE PERCENT. And under the plan his running mate crafted, he’d pay just 0.82%! That’s a powerful fact that people can’t hear enough.

On abortion, NOW they say they believe in the exceptions of “rape, incest and life of the mother”, yet BOTH candidates support the “Personhood Amendment” that defines a fertilized egg as a person… the most radical piece of anti-choice legislation there is, which if passed would trump those exceptions and even make The Pill illegal. And Governor Romney has said that he would sign that bill into law!

Don’t be afraid to point out that forcing private insures to pay for birth control… something Republicans fought tooth & nail to prevent… will actually help REDUCE the number of abortions in this country!

Governor Romney has taken both sides of every issue, contradicting himself so many times that one can’t be sure what his position will be from week-to-week. His own opponent called him “a human wind sock”. What is his position on immigration? On abortion rights? On universal health care? Tax cuts for the wealthy? No one knows because what he said during the campaign to win the vote of the hard-Right wing of his Party, he now finds inconvenient and must backtrack on in order to compete in the general election. His own campaign manager compared this philosophy to an “Etch-a-Sketch”!

“That’s just not a serious plan. Nor is that a serious candidate.”

They insist their “$4.8-TRILLION dollar 20% across the board tax cut” won’t cost a dime, something that every reputable economist says is impossible. And when pressed for specifics on just how they’d accomplish that magical feat, the only “cut” they’ve identified so far is to “get rid of Big Bird”… which is only 1/100th of 1-percent of the Federal Budget!

“That’s just not a serious plan. Nor is that a serious candidate.”

We’ve been down this road before. Republicans promising massive tax cuts with no specifics on how to pay for them, promising that the cuts by themselves will miraculously generate tens of millions of jobs and billions in new tax revenue. We tried that. It doesn’t work!

“That’s just not a serious plan. Nor is that a serious candidate.”

You can’t afford another poor debate performance where you allow your opponent to recreate himself at will. An unchallenged lie is as good as the truth. Had you of just challenged Governor Romney every time he flip-flopped on one of his long-established positions, you likely would have won the first debate. And following the good jobs report last week, the discussion today would have been, “Is it all over for Mitt Romney?” instead of how he’s “closing the gap”.

Keys to victory:

And keep repeating: “That’s just not a serious plan. Nor is that a serious candidate.”
 



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Filed in Election, General, Politics October 15th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Post Biden/Ryan VP Debate Update

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, October 12, 2012

GOP: Obama is in over his head.The stakes for tonight’s debate were raised following President Obama’s “disappointing” performance in the first debate. Note, I did NOT say “disastrous” or some other equally cataclysmic adjective like the rest of the Media has because truth is, the President’s first debate was NOT a ”disaster”. Think about this fact: after the debate, no one (serious) was claiming President Obama committed any serious gaffes, told any huge lies, or embarrassed himself. The worst anyone had to say was that he appeared “unprepared” and “failed to challenge Romney” on any of the dozen or so “lies” he told. So all Vice President Biden had to do tonight was challenge Romney/Ryan’s lies.

So how did the candidates do? I’m sure by the time you read this, pundits will be calling it “a near draw with slight edge to Biden” (the CBS “Snap Poll” gave Biden a big win, 50% to 39%, while the CNN poll gave the win to Ryan, 48% to 44%). Both spoke with passion, but Biden clearly had a stronger grasp of the details, challenging Ryan on more issues. Biden pushed HARD on ending the war in Afghanistan, avoiding war with Iran, and the efficacy of tax cuts for the wealthy. When Biden mentioned Romney’s “47%” remark and Ryan’s own “30%” remark, Ryan got the first laugh of the night by saying he “mispoke. Joe, you know about that.” (Biden got a laugh himself later responding to a Ryan remark, “Now you’re Jack Kennedy!”)

On at least three occasions, host Martha Raddatz pushed Ryan for details on exactly “How” the Romney team would achieve what he was claiming they would do, and not once did Ryan offer a single detail. On their tax plan, when asked how they can cut taxes “20% across the board” and still cut the Deficit, Ryan refused to explain just how, only to offer (quote) “a framework”.

I DO feel Ryan flat-out lied on at least two occasions, claiming a Romney Administration “would keep the exceptions of rape, incest or life of the mother” for abortion, but BOTH Romney and Ryan are on the record of supporting the “Personhood Amendment” that would trump those exceptions. Ryan also denied their Medicare Plan would not cut benefits, but the entire point of “premium support” is to cap how much people receive, and if that amount is not enough to pay for your insurance, YOU will have to make up the difference. (Ryan also claimed Medicare recipients would not be “waiting for a check at the mailbox”, when in fact Romney admitted to Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” that receiving “a check” is “essentially it” in describing his Medicare Plan.)

One thing the Romney/Ryan campaign has been saying for weeks is that President Obama has “an indefensible record”, and while VP Biden did defend the Obama record on a host of issues, he (IMHO) left a number of them on the table, never once using the word “obstruction”, choosing instead to use the less combative term “opposition”. An odd choice since the Vice President had no problem getting quite combative on several issues (be looking for video of Biden getting quite animated over “Protecting Medicare & Social Security” and taxes.)

No matter how you think tonight’s debate went, the Right will declare a Ryan victory simply for standing up to the more experienced Joe Biden and not saying anything wildly contradictory (or so they think). Personally, I think the most tonight’s debate did was stop the bleeding for the Obama campaign. Expect poll movement to stiffen until the next debate next Tuesday.

(Oh, BTW: No mention of “Big Bird”.)
 



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Filed in Election, Healthcare, Middle East, Politics, Taxes, War October 12th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Who’s Better at Running the Economy (part deux)? A startling graph.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 8, 2012

Etch-a-Sketch vs A Potted PlantLast week, my mother… as she does almost weekly… sent me another one of the Right-Wing chain letters that her Republican friends send her, asking me to debunk it so she can send it back. I’ve had to tell her on more than one occasion to cut back on the amount of “nonsense” she sends me because it’s a bit like trying to sweep back the tide (not to mention a tad depressing). To help her filter out what is worth my time or whether something can be deleted unread, I pointed out to her Two sure signs the chain-email you received is CRAP:
1) It’s in 58 point type, and
2) No links to support their claims. None. Nada. Zip.
I could include a third identifier now, the claim: “I CHECKED IT OUT ON SNOPES AND IT’S TRUE! (sometimes even including a link), which I then click or check Snopes for myself and find (to no great surprise), No. It’s not true. Snopes says no such thing. Her most recent email even included the line: “PLEASE FORWARD WITHOUT EDITING! DO NOT CHANGE A WORD!” to add some gravitas to the claim. And no wonder they don’t want you to edit the story or comment on it in any way. It was “a total work of fiction.” I don’t mean it was just one big lie, I mean they actually tried to pass off a piece of political parody written by a humorist, as actual comments by President Obama. They even cite the precise episode of “Meet the Press”… DOWN TO THE SECOND (an episode he didn’t even appear on – I checked), where President Obama supposedly made the ridiculous claim that he wants to “disarm America to make peace with our Muslim brothers” and “change the National Anthem” to the Coca-Cola theme song. You read that right. There are people out there that actually believe that “then Senator Obama” (yes, this email has been floating out there for four years) said on National TV that he wants to change the National Anthem to “I ’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, and somehow no one noticed, electing him anyway. For these hapless fools, it’s the Gawd-honest truth (because it confirms what they already believe to be true), and pass it along to the next hopelessly gullible Right-Wing idiot. So maybe confronting Right-Wingers with “facts” is a fools errand. But we do it anyway. We must. Because as last Tuesday’s Presidential Debate proved: When you don’t set the record straight and you allow your opponent to lie with impunity, the automatic assumption is that they’re telling the truth.

Back in May of 2010, I wrote a highly researched column entitled, “Who’s Better at Running the Economy?”, examining the economic record of every president since (and including) Jimmy Carter. It’s no secret that the Right still loves to vilify Carter as “one of the worst presidents in American history”, when in fact, his record was actually quite good. Over 10-million jobs created in just four years in office (ibid original column) compared to their beloved Reagan who created 16-million in eight… the ONLY Republican to do so. And while Republican’s today love to rewrite history and claim “Reagan inherited a worse economy than Obama did”, that isn’t even CLOSE to the truth. While unemployment grew by 1.2% in Carter’s final year, unemployment grew almost THREE FULL POINTS (2.9%) in Bush’s final 11-months. And Reagan’s job creation record doesn’t hold a candle to Clinton’s record 22.5-million jobs. On a President-by-President basis, the economy has consistently done better under Democrats than it has under Republicans, with the three most abysmal records going to Ford, Bush-41 and Bush-43… in that order (unless you account for “years in office”, upon which Bush-43 wins hands down.)

Last Friday, the latest jobs report came out announcing that unemployment was now as low (or arguably lower) than it was the day President Obama took office (7.8%). Immediately, the Right-wing went nuts, claiming (w/o “facts” natch) that the Obama Administration somehow “manipulated” the numbers in order to help President Obama following a poor debate performance:
 

NBC News Debunks latest conspiracy theory: “Jobbers” (Oct. 5, 2012)

 

Yet oddly, they accepted the word of the BLS as gospel for the 44-months prior, especially when the Unemployment rate went UP last July. And ya gotta wonder, if the Obama Administration was going to cook up “fake” employment numbers, don’t you think they would claim more than just a paltry 114,000 jobs added? Not even as many jobs as the month before. If they’re “cooking the books”, they’re awfully bad at it.

I adore the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the Battle of “Reality vs Right-Wing Fantasy”, the BLS is the “BFG” (ask a ”Doom” player) of Debate Weaponry. And when the “Jobbers” (the equivalent of “Birthers” for those who believe the BLS “manipulated” the Unemployment Rate just in time for the election) started to make the absurd claim that this was “the biggest one month drop in unemployment in 50 years” (I guess they’re not counting December of 2010 when it fell 0.4% in one-month?), I knew right where to look for the truth, and in the process (inadvertently) found something startling: Unemployment on Election Day in presidential election years has ALWAYS been lower under Democrats than under Republicans (lone exception: Reagan). I plotted the November unemployment rate of every presidential election since FDR and produced the following amazing graph:
 

Unemployment on Election Day

…Down when Democrats are President. Up when Republicans are president. Can’t get any more basic than that. (BLS data only goes back to 1948.)

In other words, unemployment is always HIGHER after a Republican has been president for four years (sans Reagan), and LOWER after four years of a Democrat in the White House. President Obama will also be an exception unless unemployment should miraculously fall a full point next month to 6.8%. But no other Democrat ever had to contend with the most obstructionist Congress in history, either. And of course, if I had data going back to 1932, the last time a Republican president left his predecessor an economic collapse, it would show Obama’s UE figure would not be an anomaly.

I find these numbers stunning. EVERY SINGLE TIME a Democrat has been president, the unemployment rate was lower by the next presidential election, with the lone exception of Ronald Reagan, who spent like a drunken sailor and expanded public-sector hiring like mad. Also notice that unemployment above 5% has been pretty much the norm since Nixon was elected in 1968. And in that time, seven of the last ten presidential terms have been held by Republicans.

So just who’s better at running the economy? It’s not a matter of “opinion”. It’s math.
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Jobs, myth busting, Politics October 8th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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A Compilation of Fact-Checks following first Debate

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, October 5, 2012

courtesy the DNCIf you’re like me, you were probably stunned by the lack of push-back by President Obama during the first presidential debate. It seemed (and not just to me) that Romney was allowed to backtrack just about every position he’s ever held, make assertions he couldn’t back up with figures, distort the President’s record, and basically lie with impunity. Perhaps President Obama was thrown by Governor Romney’s apparent willingness to flat-out deny every principle he campaigned on for nearly two years.

I’ve reviewed most of the online “fact checks” of Wednesday night’s debate, and naturally, while most try to play the “both sides do it” game, Romney provided them with far more to be critical about. I ignored fact-checks from sites like HuffPo and Slate (not because of untrustworthiness, but because they tend to focus on only one candidate), and a definite pattern emerged (See FactCheck.org’s position on Obama’s “5-Million private sector jobs” claim #3 below for a laugh.) It seems to me that many of these “fact checks” went out of their way to “question” some Obama claims in order to create the appearance of “both sides were equally untruthful”. See if you agree.

So here is my compilation of “debunked” claims from the following sites: FactCheck.org, The Daily Beast, USA Today, PolitiFact, Politico, and The Washington Post.

  1. Obama accused Romney of proposing a $5 trillion tax cut.
  2. Romney: “Health-care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family.”
  3. “Obama said the U.S. economy has created 5 million private-sector jobs the past 30 months.”
  4. Romney: Oil production production is up only “on private lands, not public”.
  5. Romney (defending oil subsidies): The “$90 billion in breaks to the green energy world” is “about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives.”
  6. Obama: “over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up — it’s true — but they’ve gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.”
  7. Romney brings back “Death Panels” by claiming ObamaCare “puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.”
  8. Romney: “The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it.”
  9. Obama said he would only return the tax rate of high income earners to the “rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president.”
  10. Romney claimed that middle-income Americans have “seen their income come down by $4,300.”
  11. Obama touted his “$4 trillion” deficit reduction plan based on Simpson-Bowles.
  12. Romney: “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have a plan to cut education funding.”
  13. Obama: Romney will turn Medicare into a “voucher program.”
  14. Romney: “On Medicare for current retirees, [Obama’s] cutting $716 billion from the program.”
  15. Romney: The U.S. spends almost as much of its GDP on government as Spain [whose economy is collapsing].
  16. Romney: “Gasoline prices have doubled under the president”.
  17. Romney: “about half of [the green energy projects the federal government has] invested in, have gone out of business.”
  18. Obama: “It’s important for us…that we take some of the money that we’re saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America.”
  19. Obama: “loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”
    Romney: “I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
  20. Romney: “Dodd-Frank was passed. And it includes within it a number of provisions that I think has some unintended consequences that are harmful to the economy. One is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they’re effectively guaranteed by the federal government. This is the biggest kiss that’s been given to — to New York banks I’ve ever seen. This is an enormous boon for them. There’ve been 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd-Frank.”

I have no doubt I missed plenty of “facts” waiting to be checked, but that’s just what the ones I’ve found online so far. By my count, Romney’s had more of his “facts” challenged, many of the challenges to Obama’s claims are fairly dubious, and the magnitude of Romney’s “lies” seem far more significant. But that’s just my opinion.

Oh, and for Romney’s tax plan to work, “Big Bird Must Die”? Really?
 

Fred Rodgers defends funding for (the newly created) PBS before Congress

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Jobs, Money, Politics October 5th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Flash Commentary on the First Debate (UPDATED)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012

At this writing, the first presidential debate has just ended and the early opinion is that Romney did better (whether than translates into a “win” only the polls will tell).

The biggest disappointment was the number of openings President Obama let slip by that he could have hammered Governor Romney on, yet didn’t. NO mention of the “47%” comment (or Ryan’s own similar “30%” comment), one tepid allusion to “GOP obstruction” in response to Romney patting himself on the back for “working with Democrats” while governor, almost no pushback when Romney repeatedly claimed Obama was “cutting $716-Billion from Medicare”, no mention of the economic consequences of Romney’s immigration policies, and so on. If I were a cartoonist, the image I’d draw would be of Obama pre-debate presented with a table full of weapons to choose from, and he picks the penknife.

The President was at a disadvantage by being strapped by an actual record, whereas Romney could propose every pipe-dream he wanted while providing few details on how to achieve them. But most notably, Romney clearly threw the GOP under the bus, praising “RomneyCare”… embracing government reform of healthcare in general, and repeatedly disavowing tax cuts for the wealthy.

Expect a flood of new TV ads of Romney reversing course on a dozen issues.

UPDATE:

List of issues that President Obama left on the table (expect this list to grow):

Expect more as I think of them. Consider this all fodder for a swarm of TV ads in the coming weeks.

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Filed in Economy, Election, Politics October 4th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 5 comments | Add/View

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If You Could Ask the Candidates One Question…

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 1, 2012

The perfect Xmas gift for your future TeabagetteWednesday night will be the first Presidential Debate of 2012, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the questions I’d like to hear someone ask. Romney has taken so many positions on every issue that the debates are the perfect place to put him on the spot and force him to finally set the record straight once and for all where he really stands on various issues.

Yesterday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie made the Sunday Show rounds to reassure everyone that Governor Romney isn’t going to give huge tax cuts to the rich because he will close so many loopholes that the total dollar amount collected will remain the same. Which begs the question: Then what’s the point? Why go through all that trouble if your tax receipts in the end are the same? Hardly sounds like an efficient use of government time, nor the tax payers’ money that you claim you wish to “save”. On Fox ”news” Sunday, Paul Ryan flat out refused to admit that Romney’s plan for a ”20% across the board tax cut” starts you off in a ”$5-TRILLION dollar hole” that you then have to make up before you’d see one dime in Deficit reduction. Pressed several times by host Chris Wallace, Ryan eventually settled on insisting that a ”20% across the board tax cut” would be “revenue neutral” because (say it with me now) tax cuts create jobs that make up for the lost revenue. And we all know how wonderful The Bush Tax Cuts were at creating jobs.

So here are just a few questions that I’d love to hear someone ask during the Debate this Wednesday night:

  1. “Governor Romney, you have repeatedly called President Obama “a failure” for not getting unemployment back under 8-percent. In 2010, Republicans ran on a platform promising to focus on “Jobs, jobs, jobs”. Doing so, they regained control of the House and picked up seats in the Senate for the first time since they controlled both houses of Congress in 2006. Question: Do Republicans bear any blame for unemployment being stuck above 8-percent?”
  2. “Governor Romney, you say cutting the taxes of “small business owners” will stimulate ‘job growth’. Say I’m a small business owner. Why would I hire even one more employee than I need just because I received a tax cut?
  3. “President Obama, ever since you sent the troop surge into Afghanistan in 2009, the number of insurgent attacks against Allied forces have only increased (in some months, dramatically). If the point of sending more troops into Afghanistan was to make that country “safer”, at what point do we acknowledge that maybe “more troops” is not the answer?”
  4. “Governor Romney, you said ‘providing health care to children’ while you were governor of Massachusetts is evidence of your ‘compassion’. What is it evidence of when that same person then wants to take their health care away? Wouldn’t it also be ‘evidence of compassion’ when President Obama passed health care for the entire nation?”
  5. “Governor Romney, your remarks about the ’47% of the country that pays no income taxes’ was met with great criticism, with your surrogates saying ‘everyone should have “skin in the game”‘. Yet, you say you also want ‘a 20% across the board tax cut’ for every working American. Since most of those people paying ‘no income taxes’ are ‘the working poor’, wouldn’t having “skin in the game” mean those people would see their taxes go UP?”
  6. “Governor Romney, isn’t criticism of the 47% that pay no income taxes exactly the kind of ‘Class Warfare’ you accuse the president of engaging in?”

And that’s just a few off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll think of a half dozen more by Wednesday. But now I’d like to hear some of YOUR questions for the Debate. Any nagging questions bouncing around your bean?

Side note: As President Obama’s re-election chances look to be a safer & safer bet, I wish he would start to focus more on getting a Democratic Congress elected that will actually work with him to ensure his second term is success. A second term for the president would only protect us from another Republican President presiding over another Republican Congress like we saw from 2001 to 2006, when we saw the National Debt nearly double in six short years, the United State declaring the first unprovoked attack against another sovereign nation in a war based on lies, the passage of The PATRIOT Act, the outing of an undercover CIA agent, and the price of oil & gas exploding leading to the worst economic collapse since The Great Depression, miring the nation in TWO wars with no exit strategy, and turning a Budget Surplus into a Trillion dollar deficit, but it wouldn’t ensure an economic turn-around. We need Democrats both in the White House AND in control of Congress if things are going to improve.

Postscript: With the death of the 2,000th American soldier in Afghanistan last week, America’s longest war is back in the news. So I thought now would be a good time to look back to my post on the subject from three years ago last Friday: “Reboot Afghanistan: Here’s How to Win.” My advice is just as true today as it was back then. I just wish someone of influence had read it back then, we might have been out of this mess by now.

And as always, a reminder to Follow us on Twitter and view our “GOP Nonsense” and “Must See Videos” pages.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics October 1st, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View