Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nasty Jack is taking a HIATUS for the month of November

Sorry for leaving you on the brink of what will probably be the most important election that this country has experienced for years, maybe ever.  I have said pretty much all I can say, making sure that we progressives understand where we stand and what we have to do before Nov. 6.  So far, it seems most of us are doing our parts in support of President Obama and the other Democrats running for office.  If you haven’t voted do it, or at least by Election Day. 

I’ve decided to take a month off and work on a book that has been in progress for some time.  I hope my readers will stick with me and can promise a return on December 1.  In the meantime, I am leaving weekly periodic links to categories of subjects covered in this blog for the last fourteen months.  In case you want to re-read, or if you missed them, the links will cover all my issues from politics to gun control.  During this period I will not be publishing any new comments.

But let me leave you with a new site announced recently that could be another excellent source for information before the election.  It is powered by Bing search technology and combined with editorial excellence from MSN and political partnerships with Politico, Real Clear Politics, The Cook Political Report, Huffington Post and The Associated Press.  It is definitely worth a look.

Thank you for your support!

Jack E. Dunning
Nasty Jack Blog

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy impacts the 2012 election - How bad is it?

Before we get into the path of Hurricane Sandy, let me bring you up to date on several Electoral Voting sites that I have been following and which I reported to you earlier in my posts of October 18 and October 23.  Of course the Electoral College takes its orders from the popular vote—although there has been at least one case when the candidate who won the popular vote lost—you might wonder just how these EC sites come up with their numbers.

Simply stated, and that is the only way I can approach this, they are projecting into some borderline/tossup states Electoral College votes based on mountains of political data present and past that the lay voter has no access to.  Nor do most of us care as long as we see accurate predictions of where the 2012 election is going at any given moment.  And that is the key because the figures are changing now on a daily basis and will continue that way until Nov. 6.

My favorites are Nate Silver’s 538 and Real Clear Politics, both of which measure a number of polls and then do their own thing with the numbers.  Silver employs a unique methodology using comparative demographic data to balance the polls, applying history, sample size and recency.  Here are the lineups from these two sites:


Elec. votes              Obama 296.6          Romney 241.4
Chance to win         Obama 74.6%         Romney 25.4%
Popular vote            Obama 50.4            Romney 48.7

Real Clear Politics

Elec. Votes              Obama 201             Romney 191

Vote Nov. 6
The 270 To Win site agrees with RCP, but the NYT has 243 votes for Obama, 206 for Romney.  As does 538, Time sees Obama already winning with 271 votes, Romney 206.  USA Today unwilling to commit as many total votes as some others shows Obama with 196 votes, Romney 191 and CNN has been static since I started following these polls, Obama 237, Romney 206.  The Huff Post has 277 Obama, 206 Romney, the Wash. Post Obama 255, Romney 206.

What can you do with this?  Well, you can’t take it to the bank but I’ll bet Vegas would give good odds on the numbers remaining the same, if not improving for Obama down the stretch.  When you have this many polls agreeing on the fact that Obama is ahead in the electoral vote, some significantly, the margin of error narrows considerably, particularly with such a small percent of undecided voters.  It isn’t a sure bet for the President but it is better than just comfortable.

Obama and the borderline/tossup states:

So what could happen?  HURRICANE SANDY!  Who could have possibly forecasted a weather disaster of catastrophic proportions hitting a part of the country with a population affected of 60 million?  So since we didn’t plan for this to happen, Nate Silver tries to do some prognosticating of his own.  He imagines 15 million individuals in this highly democratic area around New Jersey and New York not answering their phones for future polls.  In effect, they are shut down.

But if taken without this group, Obama is not likely to lose over one percentage point in those polls.  What is more important are those states in the path of Sandy where people may not be able to get out and vote.  As this is written on Mon. PM, there were 2.2 million people without power and getting worse.  So far, states have extended hours for absentee voting and on-site voting places like schools and fire stations will receive priorities in restoring their power.

Here are the states affected.  By election day, Florida will be completely out of the storm’s loop.  Other borderline/tossup states in Sandy’s way are North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.  Most of the damage has been done in the first three and now it will depend on outages and follow-up crews to get things done in the few days remaining.  New Hampshire is at the tail end of the storm’s path and the status there more apparent by Tues. or Wed.

Those of us not affected by the storm should give thanks and offer our best to those in harm’s way.  You often wonder about things like this, at a time when this country is just beginning to dig out of a near economic collapse, and if someone is trying to tell us something.  Maybe it’s a shot at the downright despicable and hateful partisanship that has been going on in Congress, a kind of warning to clean up your act or else.  Will they listen?  We’ll see.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2.3 million early voters have already cast their ballots in 2012, a 10 point increase over 2008

According to the United States Election Project at George Mason University, 2,214,807 people had voted in the 2012 election as of October 18.  Paul Gronke, who runs the Early Voting Information Center estimates that 40% will vote early this election, compared to 30% in 2008.  Also in 2008, 91% of the domestic ballots mailed were returned in huge amounts for Barack Obama, according to a recent report from CNN.

 Although the early vote was trending Republican in early October, a later report by Reuters says the polls show that Obama has a “comfortable” lead over Romney with early voters.  Battleground Watch reported on four states: North Carolina, Florida, Iowa and Ohio, two critical to the candidates, one leaning Obama and one leaning Romney.  The very important two are Ohio and Florida, Iowa likes Obama and No. Carolina favors Romney.

The latest poll shows Obama holding a four-point lead in must-win state Ohio, and Romney with a two-point lead in Florida.

There are some160.3 million registered voters in the U.S., a mere 68% of the voting age population, which is, in itself, pathetic.  But when you look at other countries around the world, it is dismal compared to 100 percent of Argentinians, 97 percent of Brits, 93 percent of Canadians and 77 percent of South Africans.  Many Americans just don’t give a shit, and this is reflected in the low-life kind of congressional, state and local government we are stuck with in some cases.

How early vote turned North carolina Blue"

Republicans have strived in this election cycle to make it even harder for some to vote, primarily those who vote Democratic.  They have indiscriminately purged voter files and championed Voter ID when voting fraud is virtually non-existent.  And the GOP has even tried to stop early voting because it doesn’t favor their candidate.  Not necessarily the hate tactics of Karl Rove under George W. Bush, but certainly an extension of Rovian politics.

Barack Obama
John King of CNN asks the question of who benefits from early voting.  To find out he went to the state of Iowa where Presidents have traveled to for years to try and get the pulse of the nation.  In Johnson County, which is home to the University of Iowa, early voting accounted for 55% of the total compared to statewide of 36%.  Demand for early ballots are up significantly from 2008 and Democrats have a big edge; 12 to 1 over Republicans in Johnson County.

Does that mean that Democrats are smarter than Republicans?  Time did a study in 2010 that found this saying on college campuses: “The College Democrats are said to be ugly, smug and intellectual; the College Republicans, pretty, belligerent and dumb.”  On a more serious note, the study attempted to determine that if conservatives are dumber, why?  A non-partisan researcher found:

“…that more-intelligent people are more likely to say they are liberal. They are also less likely to say they go to religious services.”  Further, “…that smarter people are more willing to espouse "evolutionarily novel" values.”

Mitt Romney
If you are wondering just how important early voting is to the candidates, back to that bellwether state of Iowa.  Although the state has only six electoral votes, President Obama made repeated visits there because Iowa has more than a month of early voting.  In contrast, says Ben Jacobs of the Daily Beast, he has paid less attention to another battleground state, Virginia.  Even so, Obama is up 4 points in Virginia over Romney. 

Now get out there and vote early but be sure and vote!

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Mormons for Obama than you might think

Romney asks, which side yoday?
A June 2012 Gallup poll found that 84% of Mormons are for Mitt Romney, 13% for Barack Obama.  Based on a total figure of approximately 5.4 million Mormons living in the U.S., the President has a solid constituency of around 702,000.  A Seattle group, Mormons for Obama, says that Romney does not represent them.  They are progressive-minded Mormons, not officially affiliated with the LTD Church, who question Romney’s stand on gay marriage, health care and religion.

And then there are Mormon feminists who feel they can exercise their women’s rights and still be devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Aimee Hickman, co-editor of Mormon feminist magazine Exponent II felt Romney’s remark about the “binders full of women” indicated his approval of powerful women around him.  But disagrees because the candidate still thinks women were meant primarily for domestic issues.

Feminist Mormon Housewives blogger Lisa Butterworth says of all the Mormon feminists she knows, none are going to vote for Romney.  An Exponent II unscientific poll recently found that Obama leads Romney in the upcoming election 72 to 30 votes.  Yet Andrea Alexander from Windham, NH said that she is socially liberal but fiscally conservative.  I could not determine just how big this group of feminists is but right now Romney can’t afford to lose any female votes.

Joanna Brooks, senior correspondent for and author of "The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith," said in Belief Blog that she wanted some “hard truths” and Obama did marginally address the following:

“This recession is fundamentally different than other recessions, and there are no short-term fixes.”

“Our old strategies for managing Middle Eastern conflict through military intervention or propped-up dictators don’t work. And there is no easy way forward.”

“The only thing the $3 trillion Iraq war produced for the United States was a mountain of debt and a legion of disabled Americans.”

“We need to have a serious discussion about Social Security.”

“Debts don’t get paid down without adjustments in revenues.”

Senate Majority leader and Democrat Harry Reid, a Mormon from Nevada, met with Mormon Democrats after the Charlotte convention and acknowledged there was pressure from the Mormon community to vote Republican.  He says his son was confronted at a new school by a classmate, when learning who he was, exclaimed that he didn’t know Mormons could be Democrats.  It’s not a joke the Senator said, and he’s been trying to change that for 30 years.

Mormon Democrats:

Jordan Morales, a Mormon Boise state student, learned his progressive page on Facebook was causing a real problem with LDS friends.  The whole thing even got “messy” when these friends started arguing with his mom.  All this comes at a time when Mormon Democrats are “trying to convince the rest of their church that Mormon teachings are more closely aligned with Democratic principles of social welfare and care for the needy, than conservatism's individualist ideal.”

It almost sounds like a revolution within the Mormon Church, much as I view the revived progressive movement that is going on in this country in a cycle that has determined that the conservative crusades of the last several years are not working.  Nothing from the financial to the social programs the GOP has tried has worked.  The U.S. economy almost tanked, millions are out of work, foreclose has become common and the middle class is listed among the homeless.

Unfortunately Mitt Romney wants to return the country to the policies of George W. Bush and others like him, and because of the big money Republicans favor he has been able to convince enough people that he is right to run a tight election race.  But there are factions who see through this like blacks, Hispanics and women.  In all likelihood, many Mormons will do the same on election day.
See my earlier blog on the major Utah newspaper that endorsed President Obama here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NRA attacks Barack Obama on gun control…so who cares anymore

The President said in the October 16, debate at Hofstra University that he supported the 2nd Amendment but wants to get the assault weapons ban reintroduced.  Mitt Romney stated flatly that he opposes any new gun legislation.  So gun control advocates were at least encouraged by the President’s approach, knowing full well we could not expect anything from Romney.  But the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) took note releasing the following ad with the same old crap:

"Freedom. These guys fought for it," begins the ad, which shows a soldier returning home to his family as gentle music plays. Then, the music turns frantic and the scenes go from color to black and white. "Now, imagine our country without it. Obama put two justices on the Supreme Court who threaten our right to self-defense. Defend Freedom. Defeat Obama."

As Joe Biden would say, “Malarkey.”
It ran in the states of Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada, according to Jennifer Bendery in the Huff Post.  All 7 states are considered toss-ups by Electoral College site Real Clear Politics.  What is interesting is that the NRA is not targeting Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes after Obama’s famous comment about these people clinging to their guns or religion.  A protocol mistake maybe but he is right here and in many other states.

Gun store gun bubbas from Des Moines:

I did a post on July 26, of this year, “It’s all fiction: NRA has no effectual control over elections, Part 1 and Part 2. ThinkProgress did a very comprehensive study on the effects of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) on political elections in relation to money contributed to candidates and the organization’s influence on the outcome of the elections.  Paul Waldman of The American Prospect, and author of the study said: “The NRA has virtually no impact on congressional elections.”

How the NRA would have it
I thought this latter statement was significant considering how congressional wimps are scared to death of the NRA and its CEO Wayne LaPierre.  But plowing ahead in my research, I was even more confident in the statement and still cannot figure out why large gun control organizations like the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Guns haven’t focused on this data.

As an example, “In the last four elections, the NRA spent over $100,000 on an IE (independent expenditure) in 22 separate Senate races. The group’s favored candidate won 10 times, and lost 12 times.”  In all but a tiny number of races, the NRA endorsement is essentially meaningless and here’s why: 

In 2004, all of the 4 NRA-endorsed challengers lost to their Democratic opponents, as did all 4 NRA-endorsed challengers in 2006. In 2008, 11 out of the 12 NRA-endorsed challengers lost.  In 2010, only 18 of 36 challengers won.  in the last four federal elections, in which the NRA made a total of 1038 endorsements in House races, the group could claim credit for a grand total of 4 wins.”  

Wacky Wayne LaPierre on the loose
In my Part 2 post, there is insight into this myth—I call it a conspiracy by the NRA’s LaPierre to bolster the profits of gun manufacturers while lining his and other top NRA leaders’ pockets—that if you don’t follow wacky Wayne’s orders, you’ll be history in Congress.  Not true and Paul Waldman has made that statistically clear in his studies. 

On another side of the issue, according to a poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, gun owners, including a majority of National Rifle Association members, are in favor of some forms of tighter gun laws.  The poll found that:

71% of NRA members support prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns (76% of all gun owners support the same), while 65% of NRA members back a law that would require gun owners to report a missing or stolen gun to police.

So I ask you again, who cares anymore if the NRA attacks President Obama on gun control?  Their presence and influence have been severely compromised in the way gun violence has taken over the country in the last year.  2013 is the year for gun control advocates.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

North Carolina Tea Party racist hangs Obama in effigy

It seems that VR Phipps, a Command member of the Tea Party from Faison, NC has a hanging truck that he is driving around the country.  The racism part comes with a combination that the person in question is Obama who is black, and the noose is a symbol of lynchings so prevalent in the 1960’s South.  Not sure why this has become news all over again since it dates all the way back to over 2 years ago and was revived for the Charlotte Sept. Democratic convention.

Phipps hanging gallows truck in New York
This incident over two years ago found Patriot Phipps driving around New York City, without the President, but with other Faison politicians Phipps claims did nothing in the murder of William Henry Phipps.  Obama was added when Phipps was unhappy with the way a federal case ended.  This is when he decided to take his show to the Charlotte convention.  WBYV in Charlotte covered the story last October with vivid pictures you can see on the link.

Faison, NC has a population of just 961 with a median income of $31,656 compared to the United States as a whole, $56,775.  The town is 47.7% white, 38.5% Hispanic and 12.8% black.  It ranks 40.2 in the cost of living index compared to the U.S. at 100.  Faison’s closest large city neighbor is Raleigh.  If ever there was a case of everyone knowing each other, it should be here.  With the majority of the population of color, you wonder about Tea Party numbers. 

Phipps claims there is nothing racist in his display, and in all fairness he did have the noose thing before adding Obama.  But anyone coming from the South must, or at least should, understand the connections between a noose and Southern racism.  I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s South and witnessed first-hand the appalling treatment of blacks.  I knew a Ku Klux Klan member and I remember his dedication to this sick cause.  To say we have fixed this is simply absurd.

You can see my posts on racism here.

As I write this post I am corresponding by email with VR Phipps about his Tea Party membership which I confirmed on his site you can see here.  Not only is he a member of the Tea Party but a part of their Command Center as well,   whatever that means.  The Phipps I am talking to claims that he is not a member of the Tea Party, although the VR Phipps I originally emailed was an address taken right from the man’s own site, which he actually asked me to explain.

More gallows from Patriot Phipps:

Maybe CNN brought this up again as a news item to remind Americans what a gang of radicals the Tea Party is, and also that there is still considerable work to be done yet on the equality of the races.  Blacks have almost taken a back seat on race issue in the last few years as the state of Arizona persecutes the Hispanics.  Between Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, plus disgraced State Sen. Russell Pearce, this state is considered the most bigoted.

But there is no excuse for what VR Phipps did, even though he claims that he intended no racism.  It is disrespectful of the office of the President to hang the man in effigy.  I remember being told by my superior in the Navy, you may not respect the officer, but you aren’t saluting him, you are saluting the rank.  As much as I disagreed with George W. Bush, I would never condone that kind of action against him.  Mr. Phipps should tear down his gallows for good.

Obama in noose
By the way, I have not had an answer from my latest email to VR Phipps asking:

Are you the VR Phipps that drove a trailer with gallows of mannequins hanging in effigy around New York City and Charlotte, NC during the Democratic Convention?  If not, there are two VR Phipps living in Faison, NC.”

Earlier emails from me with answers in chronological order from the first:

“Are you a member of the Tea Party?”
Answer: “No are you.”

“If you aren't, how do you explain this [your Tea Party] site?”
Answer: “What do you mean explain the site.
“Mr. Phipps, this is your page, clearly stating you are "now a member of Tea Party Command Center."  If I have to explain your own site to you we have more than a communications problem.”
Answer: “Are you a member of the Tea Party.”

“Apparently you are refusing to answer my question.  I thought Tea Party Patriots were proud of their status.  Obviously you are not.”
Answer: “No sir I do not claim to be a tea party member a Republican only.”

With that last answer, the GOP must be cringing right now.  More if I hear from Mr. Phipps.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How the Electoral College works and how the vote might go

Typical Electoral College map
“Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes based on population with the exact number corresponding to the number of senators and House members who represent a given state in Congress,” according to the Voice of America.  Votes range from 3 (Wyoming) to 55 (California).  In two states, Maine and Nebraska, they can split their votes among the two candidates.  In the balance of states, the candidate receiving the popular vote gets all electoral votes.

It's the "swing" states stupid
VOA says the 2012 election will be decided in these states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin and North Carolina.  In a Huff Post article, we learn it could come down to only 106 counties, the ones won by George W. Bush in 2004 but voted Obama in 2008.  As an example, political ads have been aimed at Cincinnati, Tampa and northern Virginia.  Also Huff-critical are North Carolina and Nevada.

I did a post on the Electoral College Vote on October 18, providing several sites tracking the election with a wide array of results.  In one instance, Real Clear Politics switched on that date from an Obama lead now to Romney leading.  The balance still favor Obama, some like CNN, Time and Huff Post significantly.  I plan to do another post soon on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times, named appropriately for the number of electoral votes, 538.

Pennsylvania GOP unsuccessfully tries to change Electoral College vote to beat Obama:

Silver has a track record from accurately predicting the 2008 election in every state but Indiana.  It is done through balancing out the polls with comparative demographic data and weighting each poll based on the pollster's historical track record, sample size, and recentness of the poll.  As an example, on Monday the 22nd, he is predicting 288 electoral votes for Obama, 250 for Romney, giving Obama a 67.6% chance of winning, Romney 32.4%. 

According to VOA, without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, Romney has to win Florida (29 electoral votes), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), Nevada (6) and New Hampshire (4).  With Ohio, Obama would only have to win Iowa.  Right now FiveThirtyEight is predicting Iowa 49.0 Obama, 46.1 Romney; Ohio 48.2 Obama, 45.2 Romney.  A lot depends on the Monday debate, according to some political pundits, so the number could change quickly.

But what happens if there is an Electoral College tie?  Some political analysts are predicting this, with each candidate winning 269 votes.  Many experts don’t expect this to happen, unless the third debate is a complete disaster for Obama, also unlikely.  The President is going to have to address foreign policy questions on Iran, a situation which seems to be in his favor, but the Benghazi, Libya incident could be real trouble if Obama doesn’t have firm answer.

If you are still thoroughly confused about just how the Electoral College Vote works, go to Wikipedia for a good explanation.  In the meantime, there is rebellion going on within the Electoral College with Republicans indicating they may not follow the popular vote.  More on that later.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gun control…a nada in the second Presidential debate

Bloomberg announces Super PAC

Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney provided satisfactory answers to what they would do about gun control, especially according to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an avid proponent of taking illegal guns off the streets.  Bloomberg was so upset that he pledged millions through a new super PAC backing candidates and ballot initiatives in favor of gun control.  This could very well be the turning point to challenge NRA political contributions.

The National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has bought and maintains the U.S. Congress.  These wimps in Washington are scared to death of what wacky Wayne LaPierre and his gang of lackeys will do if they don’t toe the line and support their style of gun rights.  Innocent Americans’ lives be-damned.  As an example, over 9,000 people died from gun-related homicides in the U.S. in 2011.  VOXXI reports:

“This is an astounding total when one considers that the death of 2,000 people in an organized military conflict is considered to be a major war.”

Video of debate gun control questions:

VOXXI also tells us that if the gun show loophole had been closed, the Aurora, Colo. movie shooting wouldn’t have happened.  The shooter, James Holmes, “got his semi-automatic rifle from a friend who bought it for him from an unlicensed dealer at a gun show.”  These unlicensed dealers aren’t required to make background checks, and didn’t even after the woman buying the weapon told the dealer it was for someone too young to buy a gun.

It has been established that over 70% of the guns used in crimes in Mexico come from the U.S.  This, after the U.S. recently withdrew its support for the global Arms Trade Treaty.  And you guessed it, the NRA opposes this treaty making the organization not only responsible for innocent deaths in the United States, but all over the world.  Another case of illegal guns going out of the U.S., 3 men were recently arrested in Nashville for buying firearms and shipping them to Australia.

 In the second debate, Obama said he favored renewing the assault weapons ban, a statement he has made before with no follow through.  He also wants to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and wants more “conversation” on the issue.  That’s when the ammunition hit the fan and Bloomberg said we’ve already talked enough.  The Mayor says it’s now time for action and put his money where his mouth.  Romney is against any new gun regulation.

Adam Winkler's latest book
Adam Winkler, a specialist in American Constitutional Law at UCLA, says in the Daily Beast that an assault weapons ban is not the answer since the gunman can come armed with multiple weapons, in case one jams.  Contrary to that belief, if semi-automatic weapons were banned, another thought is that, at least, the assailant would kill less people.  Winkler continues, mass shootings aren’t the real problem, it’s gun violence like Chicago’s where assault weapons aren’t used. 
Rebekah Metzler on NPR corrected the Romney comment that it is illegal in this country to have an automatic weapon.  Metzler said:

“It's not entirely correct. For those who had automatic weapons prior to the ban, which happened in 1986, they're still allowed to have those as long as they're registered with the federal government. Those same weapons prior to 1986 that were registered with the federal government are also allowed to be bought and sold if you jump through some hoops.”

VOXXI contends that undercutting the power of the NRA “will require a major public outcry that will make politicians realize that there is a political price to be paid for opposing gun control.”  That is what we gun control advocates have been trying to accomplish for years.  Maybe NY Mayor Bloomberg’s distress over the lack of attention to the issue in the debates and his subsequent super PAC to address gun control will finally provide the answer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

MAJOR ROMNEY EMBARASSMENT: Mormons won’t even endorse him

Today the Salt Lake Tribune endorsed the President saying that he deserved a second term but Mitt Romney didn’t deserve a first.  The paper is representative of a huge Mormon population in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as being in a GOP stronghold.  It applauds Romney for what he did for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics but says he has lost whatever talent he brought to the Games at that time.  He was even called a “favorite adopted son,” but no endorsement.

CNN quoted the paper:

“Of more importance, the paper said, was Romney's lack of clarity and specifics on his proposal to reduce the deficit, asserting that GOP nominee's plan doesn't add up. The paper also pointed to Romney's now-infamous ‘47%’ comments caught on a secretly-recorded video at a private fund-raiser in Florida suggesting that nearly half of Americans will vote for Obama because they are reliant on government services.

So far I have seen no reaction from the Romney campaign but no doubt the excuses will be forthcoming as soon as someone can come up with a credible answer, if there is an answer for the Mormon Presidential candidate losing the support of this leading Mormon constituency.  The paper also came out for Obamacare and the President’s efforts on improving the economy and creating jobs.  A sort of overall confirmation of a job well done by Barack Obama.    

Newspapers in Tampa and Denver have also endorsed Obama, which is equally important since both of these states are considered “toss-ups” in the election.  MSN described the endorsement as “massive” and commented that, “Well, this must be awkward.”  They quoted the Tribune as describing Obama’s leadership as “decisive.”  It seems that all the things we are hearing from this newspaper refute just about everything Romney and the GOP says the President isn’t.

Howard Hughes, the billionaire recluse, said on many occasions that he hired Mormons to take care of him in his later years because they could be trusted more than anyone else he had ever met.  Maybe the Salt Lake Tribune is on to something.  


  For some of you in the comments below who questioned the credibility of the Salt Lake Tribune, and my research for the article, I anticipated this kind of diatribe so here are the facts. 

The Salt lake Tribune is the largest-circulated daily newspaper in Salt Lake City and is operated in a joint operating agreement with the Deseret News.  The Deseret News is owned by the Mormon Church.

I didn't say the paper represented the Mormon Church or the Mormon people, only that it is representative of a huge Mormon population.

I must say that this post hit a nerve when it comes to Mormons and other conservatives around the country.  There are approximately some 5.4 million Mormons in the U.S. and based on a Gallup poll, 84% are for Romney, 13% for Obama.  After the SL Trib article, there is bound to be a new poll.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is protecting your personal data a lost cause?

Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, said in 1999, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."  Privacy advocates around the U.S. fought off the notion as an off-the-wall statement that couldn’t be backed up.  Well, I am here to tell you that McNealy was right and the situation has gotten only worse over the years.  I was a junk mail data broker that sold your name and personal information to companies who used it to target you in their mailings.

Not that I agreed that McNealy’s premise should be accepted, although he was right at the time, rather that the heisting of this private data was wrong and should be regulated in an out-of-control industry.  I got religion.  Sellers of lists have basically no concern over how much of your personal information they sell.  Why should they?  It is a $4 billion+ business that repeats itself every year adding any new secrets about you that you make freely available to them.

If you are wondering now if there is any way you can protect your privacy, the answer is yes, but it isn’t without some effort.  I’ll tell you all about this later.

What brought this all up was a recent report that citizens data is still being improperly collected about innocent Americans and shared throughout government agencies, a multi-billion dollar information sharing program that started after 9/11 to help fight terrorism.  The Associated Press report is more concerned with misspent dollars on the terror watch program than the public’s privacy, quoting as follows:

The Dept. of Homeland Security “set up so-called fusion centers in every state. Government estimates range from less than $300 million to $1.4 billion in federal money, plus much more invested by state and local governments.”  The authors say that much of this money was spent for “local crimefighting.”

Aside from the fact that taxpayer dollars are being wasted, it just means that tons more of your private data is being disbursed around the country, most likely around the world, that could easily fall in the wrong hands.  “A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed 600 unclassified reports over a one-year period and concluded that most had nothing to do with terrorism.”  No terrorist threats were uncovered by these local fusion centers.  Imagine that.

Well, you do have an option.  You can subscribe to Grant Hall’s privacy method that will make you literally invisible when it comes to your personal data.  I know Grant, and never have I seen a more sincere person in what he believes and writes about.  Right now, today, this man is John Doe, Citizen A, protected by layers of privacy that guarantee that his complete confidentiality is secure.  Whether or not you complete the course, his two books are fascinating reading.

Here’s a quote from one of Grant’s recent promotions:

“Advantages of anonymous living include freedom from unexpected visits and calls from aggressive salespeople, troublesome private investigators, dangerous stalkers, and others who may want to case your home, rob you of property, or make life miserable for you and your family. Keeping the debt on your home a secret is impossible when a traditional home mortgage is used as all who pay a nominal fee may be able to tap into your credit report, discover your home address and easily make their way to your door. “

His latest book is Privacy Crisis Banking and his flagship book is Privacy Crisis, each of which addresses different approaches to fully protecting your privacy using methods proven by the author himself.  By the way, I consider myself a friend of Grant Hall and I have no idea where he lives nor do I have a telephone number.  When we talk, he either emails or calls me and that’s fine with me.

In closing, Stephen Manes in his Full Disclosure column commented on Scott McNealy’s statement, “He's right on the facts, wrong on the attitude. ... Instead of 'getting over it', citizens need to demand clear rules on privacy, security, and confidentiality."  I agree and I am sure Grant Hall would also agree.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It’s the Electoral College Vote, stupid

Some of us are enamored by polls, but many either don’t get the real significance of them or simply don’t believe they are accurate.  Actually most are at least close to right, but only at the moment they are taken.  How they hold up is based almost entirely on the political events of the day, particularly those of the candidates.  Example: Romney’s surge can be attributed to his performance in the first presidential debate.  Obama had a small jump after the second debate.

But the real numbers are found in political analysts’ stance on where candidates stand on electoral votes by state, and predictions over where the “Leaning” and “Tossup” votes will land, again by states.  There are a total of 538 electoral votes and 270 are needed to win.  As an example, Ohio, the “must-win state,” has 18 electoral votes and serves as the “how Ohio goes, so goes the country” state.  Iowa with only 6 votes but a lot of attention shows just how close this race is.

But, and this rankles some on either side of the political spectrum, you can win the popular vote and lose the election. Al Gore lost in 2000 running against George W. Bush.  The Electoral College is an indirect election meaning the people of each state elect a select group of people who pledge their vote to make that choice.  It was designed to preserve Federalism.  The popular vote is to instruct the electors from your state to cast their votes for the same candidate.

Sometimes it doesn’t always come out that way, as in 2000.  In some cases the elector changes his or her vote at the last minute.  If you are thinking that surge put Romney over the top to beat Obama in November, think again.  The challenger really has a long way to go.  Here’s the lineup of where the Electoral College Vote stands today:

Obama 201             Romney 191            Undecided 146

This site also has a probability rating of the candidates reaching 270

Obama 71%            Romney 28%           Tie 1%

Obama 237             Romney 191            Undecided 110

This site has a lineup by state of particulars on voters.

Obama 201             Romney 191            Undecided 146

There is also a rundown on this site by candidate in key states.

Obama 196             Romney191             Undecided 153

Obama 237             Romney 191            Undecided 110

Obama 236             Romney 236            Undecided 66

This site’s prediction:

Obama 280             Romney 258

Obama 277             Romney 239            Undecided 22

Obama 271             Romney 191            Undecided 76

Obama 277             Romney 206            Undecided 55

If you want to draw comparisons between the 2008 and 2012 elections, go here.

I urge you to visit all the sites for a wealth of information that will tell you what the political pulse of the country is.  You can even do your own projections on some of the sites and set up specific scenarios.  This isn’t a “Who should you vote for?” but rather several measures of where the Presidential race stands today where it matters.  There will be changes, one likely based on the Romney remark in the second debate re. his “whole binders full of women” comment.

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