A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween



Nightmare


Texas Is Still An Extremely Red State

I voted early yesterday, voting for a mixture of Democratic and Green Party candidates. But I don't really expect any of those candidates to actually win here in Texas. Why do I say that? Isn't the demographic trend making Texas a blue state?

Well yes, but the demographic change in Texas (when whites will make up a minority of the population) will not turn the state blue for perhaps another 20 years. The school system already has a majority of minorities (when you combine African-Americans and Hispanics), but it will take that generation growing up to make that a reality for the state in general -- and the Republicans are trying to put that off as long as they can through voter suppression efforts (like Voter ID).

For now, the Republican Party seems to have an iron grip on the state. This is verified by the newest Texas Tribune/University of Texas Poll (taken this month of 800 Texas adults). The poll shows that Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) will easily capture Texas' electoral votes, and Texas will be sending a lying Republican teabagger to the United States Senate. Here are the numbers:

WHO WILL YOU VOTE FOR IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE?
Barack Obama...............39%
Willard Mitt Romney...............55%
Someone else...............6%

WHO WILL YOU VOTE FOR IN THE SENATE RACE?
Paul Sadler (Democrat)...............39%
Ted Cruz (Republican)...............54%
John Jay Myers (Libertarian)...............3%
David Collins (Green)...............2%
Someone else...............2%

The same strong lean toward Republicans can be seen by the poll's favorability numbers on each of these candidates:

BARACK OBAMA
favorable...............39%
unfavorable...............57%
neither/dk/no opinion...............4%

WILLARD MITT ROMNEY
favorable...............52%
unfavorable...............41%
neither/dk/no opinion...............7%

PAUL SADLER
favorable...............23%
unfavorable...............14%
neither...............20%
don't know enough about him...............43%

TED CRUZ
favorable...............49%
unfavorable...............29%
neither...............11%
don't know enough about him...............11%

There was one number that gives some hope for the future. The poll showed that almost as many people identified themselves as Democrats (41%) as those who identified themselves as Republicans (44%). About 12% identified as Independents, and about 3% as other. Evidently though, at least for now, those Independents seem to be breaking largely for the Republicans. If this trend continues down-ballot, then the voters will most likely return significant majorities for the Republicans in both houses of the Texas legislature.

There is another important statewide race -- for a seat on the Railroad Commission. This is sort of a misnomer, since the Railroad Commission has nothing to do with railroads. What it actually does is supervise oil and gas production in the state. Here are those numbers:

WHO WILL YOU VOTE FOR IN THE RAILROAD COMMISSION RACE?
Dale Henry (Democrat)...............36%
Christi Craddick (Republican)...............50%
Vivekandanda Wall (Libertarian)...............6%
Chris Kennedy (Green)...............6%
Someone else...............3%

They Are A Couple

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Parker in Florida Today.

Poverty Is Bad For Your Health

(Cartoon above is by Bill Sanders at Sanders cartoon/commentary.)

It has become obvious during this campaign that Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) has no conception of how hard life is for those living in poverty. he seems to have the idea that poor people don't want to work. They just want to lay around the house and collect a government check. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most people living below the poverty line have full time jobs -- they just don't earn enough to lift them out of poverty.

And he thinks the same when it comes to health care. He doesn't believe there are thousands of people dying every year in America because they can't afford health care. He says they should just go to the emergency room (like that doesn't have to be paid for). And he promises to repeal Obamacare, to make sure the poor aren't allowed to receive decent health care. And he would drastically slash other social programs, which would throw even more people into deep poverty.

What Willard doesn't understand is that emergency rooms are for emergencies. They are not designed to provide the preventive care that could save thousands of lives, and by the time a poor person is sick enough to go there the chances are that their disease may be too far along to be cured. And now a new survey shows us something that most of us already suspected -- living below the poverty line is dangerous to a person's health.

This was revealed in a new Gallup Poll, taken between January 2nd and December 31st of 2011. The survey involved 353,492 randomly selected Americans (and had a margin of error of only 1 point). The poll found that those living below the poverty line are much more prone to have medical problems -- both physically and psychologically. Here are a few comparisons:

DEPRESSION
in poverty....................30.9%
not in poverty...............15.8%

ASTHMA
in poverty....................17.1%
not in poverty...............11.0%

OBESITY
in poverty....................31.8
not in poverty...............26.0%

DIABETES
in poverty....................14.8%
not in poverty...............10.1%

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
in poverty....................31.8%
not in poverty...............29.1%

HEART ATTACK
in poverty....................5.8%
not in poverty...............3.8%

There were two areas where those not in poverty had higher rates -- cancer (0.8% higher) and high cholesterol (1% higher).

One of the biggest differences between the two groups was access to a regular doctor. About 80.7% of those not in poverty had a personal doctor, while only 62.1% of those in poverty said they had a personal doctor (this was probably those lucky enough to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare). And having a personal doctor is the best, and many times only, way to get life-saving preventative care. Here are some other factors that can contribute to more medical problems among the poor:

21.3% more of the poor said they struggled to afford health care.

23.8% more of the poor had no health insurance.

8% more of the poor found it hard to afford fresh fruits & vegetables.

10.4% more of the poor found it hard to find a safe place to exercise.

12.3% more of the poor found it hard to afford needed medications.

Obamacare is not perfect, because it will still leave some people without insurance. But it will also cover many more people (if the states will cooperate), and that will reduce the health problems of the poor. It's bad enough that Willard and his GOP cohorts want to cut education and social program funding (which will just raise the poverty rate), but repealing Obamacare is even worse because it will make sure many of the poor don't get needed medical care (especially preventative care) -- and it will make sure more of them die because of that lack of care.

GOP And Climate Change

Political cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

All You Need To Know

Just in case you've spent the last year living in a cave with no access to civilization, I show you this handy chart that will tell you where each of the two major presidential candidates stands on the issues. It shouldn't come as any surprise that the Republican candidate, Willard Mitt Romney, has found a way to be on the wrong side of every issue.

Scaring Willard

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Swing State Polls

Here are a few more swing state polls:

COLORADO

American Research Group Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............48%

FLORIDA

CNN/ORC Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............50%

Newsmax/Zogby Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............48%

SurveyUSA Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............47%

NORTH CAROLINA

Elon University Poll
Obama...............45%
Romney...............45%

OHIO

Rasmussen Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............50%

Newsmax/Zogby Poll
Obama...............50%
Romney...............46%

VIRGINIA

Newsmax/Zogby Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............47%

And then there's this blue state poll:

OREGON

Elway Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............41%

GOP Disaster Relief

Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Hill.

What Is Willard Hiding ?

George Romney released 12 years of his tax returns when he ran for president. He believed the American people had the right to know that he had honestly paid his taxes just as they do. President Obama has also released 12 years of his tax returns. Meanwhile, Willard Mitt Romney has not yet released even one year's complete tax return (the released 2010 return is conveniently missing the required attachment for foreign investments and accounts). WHAT IS WILLARD HIDING?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Willard Lie


Polls Underestimating Obama's Support ?


The folks over at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research think that most polls may be underestimating President Obama's support, and that the election is not really as close as the media is reporting. Now this polling organization is a Democratic polling company, so take this however you want, but I think they may well have a good point here. Why do they think this? They believe that people who have only or use mostly cell phones instead of landlines are being undercounted.

Many polling organizations include about 30% cell phone users in their polls, and others don't include any cell phone users at all. However, that 30% figure is the number of people only using only cell phones in 2011. Since that figure is growing by at least 3.5% every six months, that means that the current number of cell phone-only users is probably about 37% (if not more) -- and that means the polls are undercounting those people who have abandoned landlines to use only cell phones.


Does this make any real difference? Note the chart above. When cell phone users are polled they give President Obama a lead of 11 points (53% to 42%). But when landlines users are polled they only give the president a 1 point advantage (48% to 47%). That's quite a difference. Why should that be? Well, look at the following numbers:


* 43% of Hispanic adults use only cell phones.


* 37% of African-Americans use only cell phones.


* 49% of 18 to 24 year-olds use only cell phones.


* 60% of 25 to 29 year-olds use only cell phones.


* 51% of 30 to 34 year-olds use only cell phones.


It goes without saying that these groups (along with women) are the groups with the largest percentage of support for the president -- and that explains the difference between the cell phone and landline users shown by the chart above. It is quite possible that polls using cell phone users as only 30% or less of their respondents are undercounting the president's support. And unless this is changed, polls in future years may be even more out of whack.     

Costumes

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Storm Highlights GOP's Wrong Policies

The picture above is a satellite photo of Hurricane Sandy, which shows the massive size of this storm -- stretching all the way from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. As I write this post, the storm is just beginning to come ashore and nobody knows just how much damage it will cause. But anyone who thinks the damage won't be massive is clearly living in a dream world (populated by unicorns, happy dragons, and teabagger Republicans).

Willard Mitt Romney did not need this to happen right before the election -- for several reasons. First, it brings back the memory of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and how badly that emergency was mishandled by the Bush administration. For days we watched as people died and the government just twiddled their thumbs and drug their feet. We're going to see a much better reaction from the Obama administration to Hurricane Sandy. In fact, he's already met with FEMA and other disaster relief agencies, and lit a fire under them.

Second, this once again highlights just how hard-hearted the Republicans are to any disaster (unless it happens in their own backyard). During a previous disaster, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor tried to block funds for disaster relief -- unless they funds were offset by cuts to programs helping hurting Americans in other areas of the country. Rep, Paul Ryan (the GOP veep nominee) proposed a budget that would not only cut social programs, but substantially cut funds for FEMA and other disaster relief.

And GOP presidential nominee, Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie), has joined his mean-spirited Republican colleagues in demonizing FEMA just because they are a federal program. In debates during the GOP primary, Willard said he wanted to get rid of FEMA, and let the states (or the private sector) take over that function.

This sounds good to some teabagger Republicans, because it means they won't have to pay for disasters happening in other states. But it is short-sighted. It also means the other states won't have to help them when they are the victims of disaster. The truth is that none of us lives in an area safe from all disasters. No matter where you live, disaster will strike someday. It may not be a hurricane -- it could be an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, massive fire, floods, drought, high winds, or numerous other things. But when it happens, you will need help.

Whether we like it or not, we are our brothers' keeper. And the best way we can fulfill that obligation is through federal disaster agencies like FEMA, that can move anywhere in the country at a moments notice to provide help. That also allows the cost of the disaster relief to be spread throughout the country, so that no one section of the country bears a burden it cannot afford. The Republicans, including Willard, are spectacularly wrong on this issue -- and this storm right before the election highlights that fact.

Third, this storm once again shows the danger we are creating for our country  and the planet as a whole by refusing to deal with man-made global climate change. While the Democrats have drug their fett in trying to deal sufficiently with this issue, the Republicans have been far worse. They refuse to even admit there is a problem. Willard himself has said we need to cut subsidies for clean and renewable energy (like wind energy) and increase production and use of the climate-damaging fossil fuels (like oil and coal).

Sometimes it takes a disaster to bring people to their senses. Hopefully, this current disaster will cause people to think about the Republican denial of global climate change and their opposition to federal disaster relief -- and vote to kick them out of office until they change their hard-hearted and ridiculous policies.

GOP Idiot

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at caglecartoons.com.

Some GOP Teabaggers In Electoral Trouble

(Cartoon above is by Kenin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.)

In reaction to the election of President Obama, 2009 saw the birth of an anti-Obama movement among white Republicans. It was know as the Tea Party (or more commonly the teabaggers). This far right-wing movement, started and funded by some rich right-wingers, reached the zenith of its popularity in the 2010 mid-term election -- when it was able to put several teabagger politicians into the House of Representatives.

After driving many moderates out of the GOP, the teabaggers had hoped they would get even more seats in Congress this year -- and some had even dreamed of taking over both Houses of Congress. The dream of taking over the Senate is now as good as dead (with many teabaggers like Mandel, Mourdock, and Akin struggling against their Democratic opponents). Now we learn that several of the House teabaggers are having campaign problems, and are in danger of losing the seats they won in 2010.

Here are a few who may get tossed out in the coming election -- Allen West (Florida), Joe Walsh (Illinois), Chip Cravaack (Minnesota), Frank Guinta (New Hampshire), and veteran House member Dan Lungren(California), who has gone teabagger crazy. And here are their current poll standings (from Public Policy Polling):

FLORIDA
18th Congressional District
Allen West (R)...............47%
Patrick Murphy (D)...............48%

ILLINOIS
8th Congressional District
Joe Walsh (R)...............40%
Tammy Duckworth (D)...............54%

MINNESOTA
8th Congressional District
Chip Cravaack (R)...............44%
Rick Nolan (D)...............48%

NEW HAMPSHIRE
1st Congressional District
Frank Guinta (R)...............48%
Carol Shea-Porter (D)...............47%

CALIFORNIA
7th Congressional District
Dan Lungren (R)...............46%
Ami Bera (D)...............46%

It's now looking like the Democrats probably won't be able to retake the House of Representatives (although there's still an outside chance), but it does look like they'll be able to pick up a few seats and send some teabaggers packing -- and that's a very good thing.

Halloween Monster

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Jesus For President ?

I grew up in a fundamentalist church, and that is why I found it difficult to believe that all fundamentalists (no matter how much they like Republicans) would jump on Willard Mitt Romney's presidential bandwagon. After all, Willard is a mormon, and most fundamentalists don't even consider mormons to be christians (but a demonic cult). Evangelist Billy Graham probably helped a little recently when he removed a posting on his website calling mormonism a non-christian cult, and then endorsed Willard. But as much as he would like to think otherwise, Graham doesn't call the shots for all fundamentalists.

Throughout the Republican primary, fundamentalists looked desperately for an alternative to Willard. They even backed some very strange candidates like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and serial-adulterer Newt Gingrich to avoid supporting Willard. But Willard won the nomination, and now a lot of fundamentalists are tossing out their teachings, holding their noses, and backing Willard -- but not all of them.

Some of the die-hard fundamentalists have created their own website called Vote for Jesus -- and that is exactly what they are urging their fellow fundamentalists to do. They want people to write in the name of Jesus for the office of president, rather than vote for Obama or Willard. Here is some of what they say on that site:


It is time for Christians, true followers of Jesus Christ, to rise up and say NO to satan this November! As I prophetically shared last November, if God allowed the upcoming election for President to be between President Obama and Mitt Romney, it would truly be satan flipping a two-headed coin with his head on both sides!

President Obama has proven by his words and deeds to be a true enemy of God as detailed in James 4:4. He has been the most pro-death President in history, supporting the legalized slaughter of innocent babies here and around the world, he is a staunch advocate of the radical homosexual agenda, and he has been a great friend to the enemies of Israel. On every major spiritual issue of the day, President Obama has proven to be an enemy of God and a true tool of satan!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a 5th generation member and a priest in the satanically inspired Mormon cult. He and others in his cult LIE when they claim to be Christians, since Mormon doctrine is 100% inconsistent with Biblical Christianity and a Mormon is no more a Christian than a Muslim is. He deceives people by saying he believes in "God" and "Jesus" is his savior, when the "god" of Romney's cult is NOT the God of the Bible, and their "jesus" is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. Romney and those in his cult believe the Bible to be a flawed and incomplete book and look at Biblical Christians as inferior and non-believers for rejecting the beliefs of their cult. . .

So who is a Christian to vote for with a clear conscience? The answer is simple...JESUS!!!

I am encouraging true followers of Jesus Christ to say NO to satan and say YES to Jesus! This November, write in the name JESUS for President! The option will be several third party candidates. Sadly, no candidate outside of the two major parties have any chance at winning the election. So rather than vote for a third party candidate, write in the name of Jesus for President.

Your vote for JESUS is not helping President Obama get re-elected, nor is it helping Mitt Romney get elected, it is telling satan you will not be responsible for either of his tools becoming our next President! Men need to quit looking to men for answers, but to the Lord!. . .

We can do that this November, taking a real stand for God and His Truth by writing in the name of JESUS for President.



Now this may sound like a joke to some. After all, a person who's been dead for 2000 years could hardly serve if elected (if he ever existed at all). But some people are taking it seriously. So far, about 1,594,018 have signed up at the site and pledged to write-in Jesus for president. That's not anywhere near enough to win the election, but if the election is as close as some polls say it is, it's a million and a half votes that Willard can't afford to lose.

I don't know if these people will follow through on their pledge, but if just half of them do it could hurt Willard. Personally, I hope all of them keep their word.

Suitors

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GOP And Rape

I know right-wingers will not like this graphic, but then they deny all sorts of reality. As harsh as this may sound, if you listen to what the new teabagger Republican politicians are actually saying, then the truth of the above graphic becomes apparent. They care nothing about women's rights -- even to the point of minimizing rape.

A fellow blogger, over at Infidel 753, offers the Republican politicians a little advice on how to avoid saying something stupid about rape. It comes a little too late to help them in this campaign, but maybe they can take this advice to heart in 2014. He says:

Excellent advice!

Trick Or Treat ?

Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Hill.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Five Facts (And A Bonus)


And this bonus picture makes it clear which of the two campaigns really supports American workers.


Non-Religious Voters

I recently wrote a post about the growing number of non-religious people in the United States. In fact, it is the fasted growing sector of the population as far as religion is concerned -- growing faster than any religion or religious sect in this country. This is not necessarily a homogenous group. It is made up of atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and many who just don't care about religion at all. The only thing they really have in common is that none of them are seeking a religion to belong to.

This brings up an interesting question (at least for me). We know that many religious fundamentalists have virtually rewritten the rules of their religion to include right-wing Republican politics -- as though Jesus would somehow have changed his teachings if he lived in 21st Century America to ignore the poor and disadvantaged and throw his support to giving more money to corporations and the rich. Personally, I think this kind of attitude is what's driving many from the churches.

But how does this growing population of non-religious people vote? Do they stick with the right-wing politics they grew up with, or do they forsake that (along with the religion) and embrace a more secular and inclusive view of politics. In other words, do they become moderates, or even liberals?

The Public Religion Research Institute examined this question. The results they found are exhibited in the chart above. Since 1984, a significant majority of the non-religious have supported and voted for Democrats. In 1984 that percentage was about 59%, and it has been generally increasing since then. In 2008, three out of every four of the non-religious (75%) voted Democratic. This year that percentage is pretty much the same, with 73% supporting the Democratic candidates.

This makes a lot of sense to me. If you no longer believe your god (or your religion) commands you to discriminate against women and the LGBT community or supports hurting the poor to give more money to the rich, then Republican right-wing politics really doesn't seem logical (or even moral) anymore.

The Path To Ignorance

Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star.

Early Voting Is Up In Potter & Randall

It looks like there is a lot of interest in voting in the 2012 election -- at least here in Amarillo. The county clerks of both Potter and Randall counties (about half of the city lies in both counties) are reporting that the early voting totals for the first four days have topped the early voting totals for that same period in 2008. For Potter county the early vote is up about 9.5%. Randall county is doing even better, with a jump in early voting of about 15% over 2008. Here are the four day totals for both counties:

POTTER COUNTY
2008..........4,342
2012..........4,756
up 9.53%

RANDALL COUNTY
2008..........10,098
2012..........11,641
up 15.28%

Scaring Girls

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante in Tulsa World.

Swing State Polls

Earlier in the campaign season, you wouldn't have seen any polls released on a weekend (because the press coverage wouldn't be as big). But we're getting very close to election day, and here are the swing state polls released yesterday:

FLORIDA

Pharos Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............47%

Public Policy Polling
Obama...............49%
Romney...............48%

OHIO

Public Policy Polling
Obama...............51%
Romney...............47%

Cincinnati Enquirer Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............49%

Gravis Poll
Obama...............50%
Romney...............49%

MINNESOTA

Minneapolis Star-Tribune Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............44%

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Public Policy Polling
Obama...............49%
Romney...............47%

PENNSYLVANIA

Pharos Poll
Obama...............50%
Romney...............46%

VIRGINIA

Priorities USA Action Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............46%

Choice (GOP-Style)

Political cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Logical ?

Either killing is wrong or it is not. How can we expect to teach our children that killing is wrong, when our own government so cheerfully engages in it -- to exercise capital punishment in this country and to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians (collateral damage) in other countries. Killing is wrong, and it is just as wrong for governments as it is for individuals.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Dawkins Scale - What's Your Number ?

Found at the excellent blog called Unreasonable Faith.

The United States Is Still A Racist Country

(This painting was done in 1957 by Domingo Ulloa, and is titled "Racism/Incident at Little Rock".)

I lived the first 19 years of my life before the civil rights laws were passed, and I vividly remember the incident pictured above from my childhood. It occurred when the government tried to enforce the Brown vs.Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court (which unanimously held that separate schools were "inherently unequal") at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine exceptionally brave young African-Americans tried to enroll at the high school, but were turned back by a rabid crowd of white monsters and a racist governor. President Eisenhower finally had to send in the 101st Airborne troops to get the students enrolled and to protect them.

I, and many others, had hoped the United States had progressed in the 55 years since the Little Rock incident. After all, we have had a series of civil rights laws passed, affirmative action has integrated African-Americans into our society a bit more, and we have even elected an African-American as president. Some even said the election of President Obama showed the country was entering a "post-racial" era. Most of us knew that was not true, but we still hoped it showed that progress was being made. Unfortunately, it just seemed to give the racists an impetus to once again publicly exhibit their hideous views (just look at the signs exhibited at any teabagger gathering).

While some progress has been made legally, not nearly enough progress has been made in changing the views of the American public. This is verified by a two-part survey by the Associated Press. This survey studied both explicit (overt) racism and implicit (hidden) racism. The explicit racism was uncovered in a poll done by AP/GfK, done by surveying 1,071 adults between August 30th and September 11th of this year. The implicit racism was uncovered with research conducted by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago. The results of this two-pronged effort was not encouraging.

First, the explicit racism. While these people may claim not to be racist, the views they express clearly show this is not true. This group of racists include slightly more than half of the United States population -- about 50.9%. Think about that. More than half of the people in this country still hold openly racist views! And instead of decreasing, this segment of the population seems to be growing. The same poll done in 2008 had pegged the explicit racists at 47.6% -- a growth of 3.3 percentage points in the last four years.

And the figures for implicit racism are even worse. In 2012, about 55.7% of the population exhibited an implicit (or hidden) racism. This is a 6.4 percentage point growth since 2008, when 49.3% of the population exhibited this implicit racism trait. This seems to show that, instead of marking our entry into a post-racial period, the election of an African-American president has actually increased the racism in America.

One of the more interesting aspects of this study is the difference in racist attitudes along the political spectrum. Democrats are significantly less racist than Republicans, and Independents fall between those two groups. Here are the numbers:

Explicit Racism - 2008
Democrats...............31%
Independents...............49%
Republicans...............71%

Explicit Racism - 2012
Democrats...............32%
Independents...............48%
Republicans...............79%

The levels of implicit racism between the political groups showed them to be a little closer, but still showed significant growth of this type of racism in the last four years. Here are those numbers:

Implicit Racism - 2008
Democrats...............46%
Independents...............48%
Republicans...............53%

Implicit Racism - 2012
Democrats...............55%
Independents...............49%
Republicans...............64%

Frankly, I find this report very disturbing. It shows that this is still a country with a serious problem of racism -- with at least half of the population still harboring both explicit and implicit racist views. We have not made nearly as much progress in the last 55 years as some of us had hoped -- and we still have a long way to go before we can put the pernicious disease of racism behind us.

Be ashamed America. Be very ashamed.

Pulpit Politics

Political Cartoon is by J.D. Crowe in the Mobile Press-Register.

A Second Massive Failure

In 1971, the United States declared a war on drugs. In the 40 years since that time, well over $1 trillion has been spent and the prison population has ballooned over 800% (causing massive new spending to build new prisons and take care of the ever-growing prison population). It has gotten to the point that the United States now has the largest prison population in the world -- both in absolute numbers and in prisoners as a percentage of the population. We now jail more people than countries known for having a police state.

And what do we get for all this spending and incarceration? Nothing. The so-called "war on drugs" hasn't reduced drug use in this country or impeded the flow of drugs into the country. It has been a massive and total failure -- and yet our government continues it as though something were being accomplished.

We should have learned a lesson the first time this country tried Prohibition and outlawed the production, possession and use of alcohol. It was also a failure. All it did was to create a new black market that funneled millions of dollars into organized crime (and creating fighting and violence over that black market). That prohibition was repealed because people realized that the better path was to regulate, alcohol and tax it, and set up rehabilitation centers for those who developed an addiction (alcoholism).

But we didn't learn from that failed attempt at Prohibition of a drug, and now we have recreated the same conditions -- with a new black market, crime cartels, and violence over who will control that black market. Drug possession and use should never have been criminalized. It is much more a medical problem than a criminal one. And it can be handled much more effectively by education, regulation, taxation, and rehabilitation.

You cannot solve a social and medical problem by criminalizing it. When will we finally realize that, and repeal this second failed attempt at Prohibition?

Whining

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart in The Hartford Courant.

Religion As Excuse For Inequality

Jimmy Carter is a fundamentalist christian, but he is also an intelligent man and not afraid to speak the truth. He knows that religion has been used as an excuse to justify inequality in this country, and is still being used that way. In the past, it has been used to justify slavery and then segregation. Now it is being used to keep women (and gays/lesbians) as second class citizens -- lacking the same rights that other Americans, especially white men, have in this society.

That is fine within a church, if that's what those believers want. But it is not fine, or even moral, in the rest of our society (schools, work, government, etc.). The rest of our society is governed by the Constitution, not the Bible (or Koran or any other religious book), and that Constitution guarantees all citizens equal rights -- no matter their sex, sexual preference, age, color, ethnicity, race, or any other reason a human can dream up to discriminate against someone else.

Believe what you want, but don't try to use that belief as a justification to discriminate against any of your fellow citizens.

Going Backwards

Political Cartoon is by Mike Peters at grimmy.com.

Swing State Polls

It wouldn't surprise me at all if you are getting a little tired of the endless stream of swing state polls. But they keep coming, so I keep bringing them to you:

COLORADO

OnSight Public Affairs Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............45%

Purple Strategies Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............46%

FLORIDA

Sunshine State News Poll
Obama...............46%
Romney...............51%

Rasmussen Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............50%

IOWA

Gravis Poll
Obama...............50%
Romney...............46%

NEVADA

Gravis Poll
Obama...............50%
Romney...............49%

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New England College Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............46%

NORTH CAROLINA

Gravis Poll
Obama...............45%
Romney...............53%

Civitas Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............48%

Rasmussen Poll
Obama...............46%
Romney...............52%

OHIO

American Research Group Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............47%

Purple Strategies Poll
Obama...............46%
Romney...............44%

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Inquirer Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............43%

VIRGINIA

Purple Strategies Poll
Obama...............47%
Romney...............47%

Newsmax/Zogby Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............48%

Gravis Poll
Obama...............48%
Romney...............48%

Washington Post Poll
Obama...............51%
Romney...............47%

WISCONSIN

Rasmussen Poll
Obama...............49%
Romney...............49%

And here is a poll in a state not normally thought to be a swing state, but where Romney has recently started to spend a lot of money:

MINNESOTA

St. Cloud University Poll
Obama...............53%
Romney...............45%

Rape (GOP-Style)

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Proof ?

Quoting from a book doesn't prove whatever is written inside that book is true. All it shows is that the person quoting the book has decided they don't need any proof to believe what is written there. That is fine. After all, this nation has a constitutional provision guaranteeing freedom of religion. Anyone can believe (or not believe) whatever they want. However, when people try to force the myths they accept on others, they have gone too far.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No New War !


Has GOP Been Stealing Votes For Years ?

I am not a person who believes in conspiracy theories most of the time. In fact, I think most of them are rather silly and lacking in proof. But there is a growing pile of evidence that electronic voting machines, especially those without a paper trail, are just an invitation to steal votes. And there is also growing evidence that the GOP has been doing that for several years now.

Here are some excerpts from an article by Denis G. Campbell and Charley James in the UK Progressive (and I urge you to read the whole article). The article claims that as many as 10% of Democratic votes are being switched to Republican votes in large precincts (it's only in large precincts because it would be too obvious in smaller precincts), and that this has been going on for years. This 20% change in votes is enough to swing a close election (but would fall short in a landslide election like 2008).


Why is Mitt Romney so confident?
In states where the winner will be decided by less than 10%, of the vote he already knows he will win. This is no tinfoil hat conspiracy. It’s a maths problem. And mathematics showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney.
This goes well beyond Romney’s investment control in voting machine maker Hart Intercivic and Diebold’s close ties to George W. Bush. Indeed all five voting machine companies have very strong GOP fundraising ties, yet executives (including the candidate’s son Tagg Romney) insist there is no conflict between massively supporting one party financially whilst controlling the machines that record and count the votes.
A retired NSA analyst has spent several sleepless nights applying a simple formula to past election results across Arizona. His results showed across-the-board systemic election fraud on a coordinated and massive scale. But the analysis indicated that this only happens in larger precincts because anomalies in small precincts can be more easily detected.
Retired NSA analyst Michael Duniho has worked for nearly seven years trying to understand voting anomalies in his home state of Arizona and Pima County. . .Said Duniho, “It is really easy to cheat using computers to count votes, because you can’t see what is going on in the machine.”
When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romney in the Arizona primary – and indeed all Republicans in every election since 2008 – by a factor of 8%-10%. The Republican candidate in every race saw an 8-10%. gain in his totals whilst the Democrat lost 8-10%. This is a swing of up to  20 point, enough to win an election unless a candidate was losing very badly. . .
The idea of examining large precinct results came via a link to a report written by Francois Choquette and James Johnson. Choquette became curious about South Carolina primary results in the February Republican contest. There a poll observer noted an unusually big gain of votes for Mitt Romney in larger precincts than in smaller ones. Choquette wanted to know why?
He examined and applied all of the normal statistical markers to see where a variance might occur: income level, population density, race, urban vs. rural, even party registration numbers. He found no correlation to explain why Romney votes trended upward while Paul and Santorum votes trended downward -yet only in large precincts.
Choquette then looked at all 50 states and found roughly a 10% switch in votes from Democrat to GOP. This was noted in every state except Utah, where the presumption was, as it was Mitt’s religious home state and very conservative, there was no chance of Romney losing and no variance was found.
Choquette even saw in Maricopa County, which is Phoenix and its suburbs, that in 2008 Romney used this technique against John McCain. But McCain beat him by too much for a 10% fraud gain to matter. McCain tried to do the same thing in the general election to President Obama but 9 million votes nationally were too many to make up. . .
This isn’t the first time Republicans have been charged with vote theft. It happened in the 2004 presidential election, in Ohio and Florida.
In Ohio, GOP consultant Michael Connell claimed that the vote count computer program he had created for the state had a trap door that shifted Democratic votes to the GOP.
He was subpoenaed as a witness in a lawsuit against then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and lawyers for the plaintiff asked the Dept. of Justice to provide him with security because there were two threats made against Connell’s life by people associated with Karl Rove. But in Dec. 2008, before the trial began, Connell was killed in a plane crash outside Akron Ohio.
There were problems in Florida, as well.
A study by the Quantitative Methods Research Team at the University of California at Berkeley found that anomalies between Florida counties using touch-screen voting and those using other methods could not be explained statistically. Noting the higher-than-expected votes for Bush in three large Democratic counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, Michael Hout, a Berkeley professor who did the study said there were strong suspicions of vote-rigging.
“No matter how many factors and variables we took into consideration, the significant correlation in the votes for President Bush and electronic voting cannot be explained,” Hout said. “The study shows that a county’s use of electronic voting resulted in a disproportionate increase in votes for President Bush. There is just a trivial probability of evidence like this appearing in a population where the true difference is zero—less than once in a thousand chances.”. . .
The results of Duniho’s analysis can only happen if votes are being stolen, and the only way that’s possible is if the computerised machines are programmed to steal them. Welcome to Zimbabwe.
More than 100 million Americans will cast their ballots thinking their vote will be fairly counted. It should be. Yet the crooks know they can safely flip up to 10% of votes without consequence. Anything more than that is statistically suspect.
President Obama won by such a huge margin in 2008 that even with this anomaly built into the system, he cruised to victory. This year the election is much closer. Can American democracy afford yet another election crisis placing three of the four last national Presidential election results in question or worse: The outcome was stolen, the outcome a victim of election theft?
There is a way to make sure votes are not being stolen. A return to paper ballots is the best answer, since they can be recounted again and again. It would slow the election returns, but that is a small price to pay for ensuring an honest election. At the very least, no electronic machines should be used that do not produce a paper trail. All electronic machines should produce a receipt for the voter and an identical receipt to go into a ballot box -- to be used if a recount is needed or theft is suspected. Trust has no place in an election. Verification is required.




Horses And Bayonets

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Corporate Profits Thriving Under Obama

Looking at the above chart (from The Motley Fool), I have to wonder why the corporations are spending so much money to defeat President Obama. Corporate profits have enjoyed a higher annual growth during his presidency than under any other president since 1900. Are they so enamored by Willard Mitt Romney's promise of a massive tax cut that they would risk putting their own profit growth in danger?

Note that the policies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- the policies that Willard wants to return to -- didn't produce nearly as good a results as have been seen under President Obama. In fact, if you take out the recession, and judge President Obama from pre-recession levels, the growth of corporate profits under Obama is still three times as large as that under Ronald Reagan -- and much higher than under George W. Bush (who doubled-down on Reagan's trickle-down policies and threw the nation into recession).

This makes me wonder about the intelligence of corporate executives. Isn't it better to pay taxes on a very large profit, than to not pay taxes on a very small (or non-existent) profit?

Different Guy

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Presidential Campaign Spending

In the 2008 election, the two presidential candidates spent a total of $1.7 billion on their campaigns -- marking the first time in U.S. history that the major party candidates had spent more than a billion dollars. In the 2004 campaign, candidates John Kerry and George W. Bush had spent only $646.7 million combined. It had been predicted that the 2012 campaign spending would break the record set in 2008, and it looks like that will probably happen. Here are some figures for spending this year (from January through September of 2012), provided by the Federal Election Commission:

BARACK OBAMA

Obama Campaign...............$470 million
Democratic National Committee...............$255 million
Obama super-PACs...............$53.7 million

Total Spending...............$778.7 million

WILLARD MITT ROMNEY

Romney campaign...............$298 million
Republican National Committee...............$249 million
Romney super-PACs...............$156.5 million

Total Spending...............$703.5 million

TOTAL COMBINED SPENDING...............$1.4822 billion

Those are some pretty incredible numbers -- especially when you consider that it doesn't include any spending for the month of October (when both candidates will probably spend more than in any other month, trying to close the deal with undecided voters). I think that by the end of November, the total will probably easily eclipse the amount spent in 2008.

The only surprise in all of this spending is that Barack Obama has been able to match the spending of the Republican candidate. Many Democrats had feared that super-PAC spending (which so far has favored the Republicans by a 3 to 1 margin) would allow the Republicans to easily outspend the president. But the enormous amount of donations flowing into the president's campaign (where a record number of donors gave money) has allowed him to remain competitive in campaign spending.

Here are some other figures on the combined spending:

Monthly Spending...............$164,688,889

Daily Spending...............$5,489,629

Spending Per Minute...............$3,812

Spending Per Second...............$63.53

Spending per registered voter (2012)...............$10.13

Spending per registered voter (2000)...............$6.92

Spending per registered voter (1980)...............$5.03

NOTE -- The "spending per registered voter" figures for 1980 and 2000 are for the whole campaign. The 2012 figure is only through September, and will undoubtably rise above $10.13 per voter once October spending is added in to the total.)