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Tag: Mitt Romney

Glenn Beck and Penn Jillette Have a Conversation about Liberty, and Yes I Actually Love It…

Penn and Glenn

I have found Glenn Beck to be repugnant on multiple occasions (i.e.: when he called the President racist, which got him fired from Fox News essentially), and I’ve been disappointed in some of his theatrics. However, I do appreciate that he does have some interesting things to say sometimes, and I find that this is particularly true when he sits down with people who he respects who are somewhat different from him. I think the Penn Jillette is probably the best example of that in which I’ve seen. I do like Penn Jillette, I really appreciate his uniquely bold convictions. As this is a long video I’ll let them do the talking, but feel free to give your feedback.

Also, if you are interested in what it means to be a libertarian by any measure you should give this chart a look over. I find libertarianism fascinating, and I tend to believe that the majority of our nation to be more libertarian (other than when I see polling that the majority of the nation is ok with our citizenry being data mined by multinational corporations as well as the government…). I felt that I should share this chart to contrast with Glenn’s chart that he shows at the beginning of this discussion. I think that his approach is interesting, but I think that the political spectrum could be just as well if not better explained by this chart below.Ok, The End.

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Click on this picture to learn more about the Nolan Chart

America in 2012, as Told in Charts – Steve Rattner

America in 2012, as Told in Charts.

I have been posting articles and charts from Steve Rattner for a while now, and I’m glad that he compiled the most influential and compelling charts of this past year for me. If you feel like you don’t know much about politics or economics I think that Steve Rattner would be a good guy to check out, he knows things…

These charts tell multiple stories which fit within a narrative that belongs to all of us. Things are complicated, and this world has many moving parts. It’s very easy to reconfirm assumptions you might already have, but I would like to ask you why that will benefit you. I would offer to you that believing in the importance of framing ideas with genuine curiosity will limit your anxieties and frustrations, and help you live a happier life. The key word is Nuance. What I mean is this: the charts below have a lot of information, and I can look at them and become fearful of what’s ahead, or I can make sure that I process the information and ask what our options are rather than assume the apocalypse.

I challenge you to look at these charts, and read Mr. Rattner’s commentary and do your own research about the questions that they might inspire. They tend to tell a story of mixed political talking points. They address tax revenue, entitlements, personal wealth in America, and much more. Having moved and made a job change recently I have been in somewhat of an introspective process where I question my life and purpose. I would like to make sure that I’m being fair with my posts, so I’m asking that if you read this to hold me accountable. I will try to provide information that I come across that seems of value, but please believe me when I say that my purpose for posting on here is sincere and based in honesty. Ok, enjoy the charts, they are all pretty fascinating to me.

-Grady

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America in 2012, as Told in Charts

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 09:45 AM PST

Originally published in the New York Times

The weak economy, widening income inequality, gridlock in Congress and a presidential election: Those were perhaps the dominant economic and political themes of 2012. To supplement the torrent of rhetoric, I offer charts to help provide facts and context for the debate around these important issues. Below are nine of my favorites from the past year.

In 2012, the slow recovery dominated both the economic news and the worries of most Americans, but the underlying components of the weak job market were not always fully dissected. In fact, job growth was so paltry in large part because it was so unbalanced. Since the recession ended in June 2009, three key sectors – government, construction and information – that together account for 22 percent of all employment lost more than 1 million jobs. Equally significantly, two of them, government and construction, generally add a disproportionately large share of jobs during a recovery. With government contracting and construction stalled, that did not occur.

The economic boom that peaked in 2007 represented the first time that median real (that is, inflation-adjusted) incomes did not recover to their previous peak before declining into the next recession. More ominously, family incomes have yet to recover, even though the recession ended three and a half years ago. That has brought the total decline in real incomes to nearly 9 percent since 2000. So where has the economic growth from the recovery gone? Much of it has gone to corporate profits, as companies took advantage of the high unemployment rate and the ability to shift production globally to hold down wages in the United States.

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The rise in income inequality has exacerbated the decline in median incomes. In 2010, a stunning 93 percent of all income gains went to the top 1 percent of Americans. Also astonishing: just 15,000 households received 37 percent of all of those income gains. In no other period in recent American history have economic gains been concentrated so disproportionately in an elite sliver. (The red bars indicate recessions.)

The explosion of the federal budget deficit since the turn of the century stems from multiple causes, including huge tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 and rapid spending growth in many areas like defense, and later, the stimulus to combat the recession. But no budget-busting factor looms larger than the soaring cost of government-financed health care, particularly Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to driving current and projected deficits, the rise in spending has squeezed the resources available for other domestic programs. Often dismissed as wasteful government spending, these “discretionary” programs include important areas of investment, such as infrastructure, research and development and education. In reducing such investments, we are eating our seed corn.

Large deficits have driven a key ratio – government debt to gross domestic product – to 72.8 percent, from 36.2 percent in 2007. But without new policies, that’s just the beginning. Under realistic assumptions, the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio will rise to more than 80 percent over the next decade. The recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, if adopted by President Obama and Congress, would have brought this ratio down to 65 percent by 2022. But that plan never was adopted. Even if one of the proposals being debated by the White House and Congressional Republicans, very similar in the impact on the deficit, were put in place, it would only manage to drive down this ratio to 72 percent and stabilize it there – a minimally acceptable goal.

The debate over budget-cutting has touched off fierce emotions on all sides, sometimes at the expense of facts. Take, for example, the proposal to change the cost-of-living adjustment used to calculate Social Security benefits. Rarely discussed in that context is the fact that the current adjustment formula has delivered benefit increases to Social Security recipients that are larger than the wage increases of average Americans – a difference of more than $2,500 over the past 12 years.

That Congress has ceased to function effectively has become an article of faith for most Americans. But the extent of the gridlock on Capitol Hill may not be fully appreciated. Over its two-year life span, the 112th Congress that just adjourned passed just 200 laws, 31 percent of the average of the 32 Congresses preceding it. Even the bills that were passed were mostly housekeeping measures, like laws to name post offices or extend existing laws. Now, some may say, “That’s great. I don’t want Congress to do anything anyway.” I have a different view. I believe that our country has many problems and that our federal lawmakers are paid to help address them.

Another article of faith is that Congress has become far more polarized. That general perception is well supported by a number of academic studies. For example, one researcher, Keith T. Poole, assigned a score to each member of Congress based on his or her voting record. He then calculated an average for Democrats’ and Republicans’ scores and used the difference to create an index. His conclusion was that the House has become more polarized than at any time since at least 1879, and the Senate nearly so.

Nate Silver was not the only statistically based political prognosticator to cover himself with glory during the recent presidential election. The online betting service Intrade did nearly as well. Throughout the ups and downs of a hard-fought campaign season, it remained solidly confident that President Obama would be re-elected. (The October surge in the probability of an Obama victory probably resulted from Mitt Romney’s notorious “47 percent” remark; the subsequent decline for Mr. Obama followed his poor performance in the first debate.) Intrade also predicted correctly the winner of 49 states and 31 of 33 Senate races. Mr. Silver, who writes for The New York Times, relies on statistical analysis of polling data; Intrade is a prediction market, and its electoral forecast is grounded in the widely accepted belief that the views of thousands as to who they think will win (as opposed to whom they support) provides more accurate forecasts than polls do.

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© Steven Rattner 2013

The Liberation of General Motors – Steve Rattner

I still have my questions about bailouts in general, but I tend to sympathize with the auto bailout much more than the bank bailout, mostly because we’re talking about an actual product rather than financial/imaginary products that are much more subjective in valuation. I mostly recommend watching this because it is about the Auto Bailout, and it’s written by the man who has been in charge of monitoring the whole bailout (Steve Rattner). Please feel free to tell me what you think about this, or any other bailout.

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The Liberation of General Motors

Originally published in the New York Times

Like Willy the whale, General Motors has finally been freed – or nearly so.

Today’s announcement that the Treasury Department had agreed on a process to extricate the government from its ownership stake in G.M., the world’s largest automaker, is welcome news.

For General Motors, the separation will conclusively remove the appellation of “government motors,” a stigma that the company had argued affected the buying decisions of a meaningful segment of consumers.

The divorce will ultimately also liberate G.M. from a number of government-imposed restrictions, importantly including those relating to executive compensation. These restrictions adversely affected G.M.’s ability to recruit and retain talent. Now, compensation decisions will be made by the company’s board of directors, just as they are in every other public company in America.

From Washington’s point of view, divesting its remaining shares will end an uncomfortable and distinctly un-American period of government ownership in a major industrial company.

Neither the George W. Bush nor the Obama administrations volunteered to bail out G.M., Chrysler and other parts of the auto sector. Both subscribed firmly to the longstanding American principle that government should resolutely avoid these kinds of interventions, particularly in the industrial sector.

However, in this case, that was simply not possible, as Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama both concluded. I and the other members of the Obama administration’s auto task force determined that the industry’s crisis was caused not only by the financial and economic meltdown but, equally, by poor management that had run these American icons into the ground and exhausted their cash resources.

We were faced with a classic market failure: Not a penny of private capital was willing to provide the financing essential for these companies to keep running. Those (like Mitt Romney) who contend that G.M. and Chrysler could have been restructured without government involvement simply don’t understand the facts.

The only alternative to government stepping in would have been for the companies to close their doors, terminate all their workers and liquidate. That would have led to huge failures and layoffs among the suppliers. Even Ford would have had to shut down, at least for a time, because of the unavailability of parts.

Here’s another important lesson of the auto rescue: It would not have been possible without the existence of the much-hated $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Without TARP, we could not have provided the $82 billion to these companies without Congressional approval. And given the dysfunction of Congress, I don’t believe there was any chance that the legislature would have acted within the few weeks that we had before the companies would have collapsed.

In a perfect world, I would not be a seller of G.M. stock at this moment. For one thing, the company is still completing the reworking of its sluggish management processes in order to achieve faster and better decisions and lower costs.

For another, G.M.’s financial problems slowed its development of new products during 2008 and 2009. Now, a passel of shiny new models offering great promise is about to hit showrooms.

And in my view, G.M. stock remains undervalued, trading at about 7 times its projected 2013 earnings, compared with nearly 13 for the stock market as whole.

But as my former boss in the White House, Lawrence H. Summers, kept reminding us in 2009, this intervention needed to be the opposite of Vietnam: We wanted to have as small a footprint as possible while the government was a shareholder and to get out as quickly as practicable.

While the government still retains (temporarily) a majority stake in Ally, G.M.’s former finance arm (formerly known as GMAC), the scorecard for the auto rescue is nearly complete.

Of the $82 billion that the two administrations pumped into the auto sector, Treasury is likely to recover all but about $14 billion.

No doubt, bailout haters will focus on this loss of taxpayer money. But remember two key points:

First, the $17.4 billion initial round of bridge loans that was provided at the end of 2008 was necessary only because GM and Chrysler had been utterly derelict in not preparing for restructurings through bankruptcy that were clearly inevitable. G.M., in particular, wallowed in an irresponsible state of denial. Had the companies been properly prepared, the loss of that $17.4 billion could have been avoided.

Second, for $14 billion – 0.4 percent of the government’s annual expenditures – more than a million jobs were saved at a time when unemployment in the Midwest was well above 10 percent.

The auto industry has not only survived but it is flourishing. Car sales, which had sunk as low as 10.4 million in 2009, are now running at an annual rate of more than 15 million. As many as 250,000 new workers have been added. Disastrous past industry practices – from bloated inventories to excessive sales incentives – have been curbed. As a result, G.M. earn more in 2011 than in any year in its 104-year history.

Finally, let’s keep well in mind the most important lesson of the auto rescue: While government should stay away from the private sector as much as possible, markets do occasionally fail, and when they do government can play a constructive role, as it did in the case of the auto rescue.

via The Liberation of General Motors.

The Amazing Morphing Campaign Money Map on Vimeo – NPR

The Amazing Morphing Campaign Money Map on Vimeo

I originally saw this at Metoisiosis.Com, which is a very interesting blog that I like to follow.

I first want to point out that it was put out by NPR, which I’ve said for a few years that I think if people had to choose one news source to pay attention to that NPR would be the best one. And I do attribute part of that to being that NPR doesn’t have to seek advertisers and can tell a straight story without worrying about stepping on everyone’s toes

THIS is awesome… Well, the story being told is not awesome at all, but the telling of this story is absolutely awesome. We really do have such a convoluted election system. Some of this problems with our electoral system seems to be by design, but a lot of it seems to be due to a lack of design – which is not to say that it simply sucks because it has to do with the government, because we are smart enough to make this work better.

A lot of people would probably say that if we just got rid of the Electoral College this would mostly fix it’s self, and I partially agree. The problem however is that we are facing more than just regional and demographic barriers, we are facing campaigns that are financed by figures that we cannot comprehend (and I mean that not in jest, I mean that we don’t understand the gravity of these numbers), to deal with issues that are multiple thousands of times larger in terms of actual quantitative numbers… We literally have no idea what we are dealing with here…

Ok, I’ll just let the video do the rest of the talking, but Please share this, because campaign finance has already left it’s mark on this cycles campaigns (namely the Presidential campaigns), but campaign finance reform only happens if it is demanded by the people.

Here are a few snapshots incase you want to share any of this with others.

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Presidential Election Roast – Al Smith Dinner Speeches

Mitt Romney Al Smith Dinner Speech – YouTube.

President Obama’s Al Smith Dinner Speech – YouTube.

The Presidential Election is tomorrow… Wow, I’m excited, and nervous. So, I thought today would be a good day to post something to remind us of the humanity that is so often covered up by political games.

The Al Smith Dinner is one of the best events in politics… It is a night where the Presidential candidates come together for a charity dinner benefiting Catholic Charities. Some of these lines do pack a punch, and they do have some truth in them, but most of them have to do with the talking points of the day. What I’m saying is that some of it is funny because it’s true, and some of it is just funny because it’s all we have been hearing, they are jokes… I love politics, and I love comedy, so enjoy 🙂

Also, I’m glad that this happened before the hurricane because having events like this (and this is probably the most important of all like it) are incredibly important for this increasingly polarized nation.

Al Smith Dinner – Governor Romney

 

Al Smith Dinner – President Obama

Mormonism In The Election

What Mormons Really Believe.

Before I get started here I want to say that I am posting this hoping that people actually won’t make religion the main reason that they vote, at least not their established religion. The idea of voting based on having prayed and reflected on how you should vote makes perfect sense to me. I just don’t have the same feeling about the team style “gamesmanship” and politics that has filled the faith that people claim.

I’m not trying to offend anyone who is Mormon, or anyone who thinks that you shouldn’t speak ill of people’s religions, but that is not why I’m posting this. I am posting this because I think it has been very surreal to watch so many of my Christian friends decide the Mormonism is close enough to being Christian that they feel like Governor Romney is one of them. Well, I like to embrace people of other religions, because I appreciate the exchange of ideas and beliefs, but having experienced some of the most adamant conversations of my life in Christian communities about how they are not of us…

I actually am fascinated by a lot of what I’ve heard about Mormonism. I don’t believe in Mormon specific ideology, but I am excited to hear about it. In fact, in 2010 I had weekly conversations, when I had moved home from college, with some door to door missionaries  They were very interesting, but we did walk away continuing to disagree, but more knowledgable about one another.

And incase you are trying to compare this to your personal faith I will have to remind you that this is not little issue for Governor Romney, he was a Bishop in the Mormon Church. It is very important to him. And the idea of American exceptionalism is very central to Mormonism. I’m just trying to make sure that we are approaching this in context.

With all of this being said I don’t think that we need to be voting based on people’s religions. But for those who have made this a part of their basis for voting I would just like to make sure that you aren’t doing it because it’s just too convenient not to stick to your guns…

P.S.

While reflecting and talking with a few friends after making this post I felt like I had to include this comment that I made, because it is part of what I’m talking about. And again, I’m not saying this to bash Mormonism, but I am saying it to identify some of the willingness to change positions that have been completely profound to people, and yet they’ve softened out of what I perceive to be convenience…

What’s actually super interesting to me about Mormonism is that it sounds like a very “progressive” ideology in some ways… The only other people I’ve ever heard say that they think that we all are, or can become gods have been very liberal. The idea of Elohim having sex with Mary is very much against conservative theology. The WHOLE reason why a lot of churches say that Jesus was not born with original sin like the rest of us is because we was born of a virgin…

Also, the idea of Jesus having children is straight out of the Divinci Code (you know, that book that a lot of people consider to be the beginning of the coming of the AntiChrist…). – Me (aka: Grady)

A Whisper in The Storm: The Final Reckoning – NYTimes.com

The Final Reckoning – NYTimes.com.

“Until there is a conception of participating in a democratic society, and a conception which is real – not just words and it means that we really are participating in a democratic society, until that’s the case discussion of taxes is fiddling with technicalities, and missing the point.” – Noam Chomsky, ‘An Inconvenient Tax’ (Film)

First of all I have to admit to having added to the title of this article. I added “A Whisper in the Storm” as an homage to how much I enjoyed this article.

Before you go any further I want to encourage you to read the article below… If you don’t have too much time, or you know that you might get bored with me please skip down to Mr. Brooks, I really doubt you’ll regret it.

Believing in something, or being defined by one’s background can often be a point of comfort and belonging. Having identity and individuality can be a very fulfilling thing, but people seem to perceive their individuality as reasoning why they can’t cooperate with others. This is The United States of America’s great identity crisis.

Americans want to be individuals, but they want to do it together, until it’s inconvenient… We have common cause and purpose in this nation, and in this world. Seeking commonalities seems like the best way to coexist. But finding out who you are can be just as important to a persons sense of purpose and worth. I like to classify myself as a social libertarian – which I think is actually much more in-line with the American electorate than either party, but you’d never know it from the 24 hour news cycle or the political gamesmanship we can’t seem to escape. One of the reasons I classify myself as such (as of right now) is that I believe in liberty based on a balance of a very democratically monitored and limited republic, while aiming to not allow my brothers and sisters of this nation and this world to live a forgotten and tragic life.

I don’t agree with Noam Chomsky all of the time, but I do have great admiration for him. His quote above symbolizes part of our struggle in my mind. Bill Maher is also someone who identifies as a social libertarian, regardless of how offensive he can be (I’m particularly don’t like how he makes fun of the middle of the country as he does). This post isn’t about my political philosophy so much though. Instead of going into petty politics (which is what happens anytime you put a face/name to any ideas) I would rather talk about the importance of sticking to talking about ideas.

David Brooks has my complete political admiration in his firm moderate grasp… I know I just said we should talk about ideas and not people, but David is one of the few people who knows how to talk about ideas so clearly that it can’t be personal. He’s good at his job… Before I really knew who he was I actually had the opportunity to meet him at the No Labels national launch, and I actually didn’t recognize him until after I’d spoken with him. He was incredibly kind, even though it was kind of my job at the time to know who he was… Well, this article moves me, and inspires me. Mr. Brooks is critical, and fair about the tone of today in my opinion. He is a moderate Conservative (which seems to be a rare bread in the mainstream anymore), and his words seem to lack all of the talking points that you hear in the main stream of the politics of today. I won’t attempt to explain what he’s trying to say, there’s a reason why he is so revered, he is good at using his own words. So, I would just like to remind you that this is a conservative man who has put into exact words how I feel about this election… I only say that because being from Oklahoma, and living in Arkansas it’s not all that difficult to be accused of being radically liberal, and I don’t think that I am (sorry for making it about me…).

Please, please share this article with your friends or family who are voting angrily (regardless of ideology), or who are seemingly lost in trying to understand what is happening in our country. I hope you enjoy the read, and I’d love (as usual) to get your feedback by whatever means you’d like.

Oh, one last thing. If you are ready to start hearing some voices that want to get our nation to get passed some of our shameful bickering I urge you to check out the wonderful organization No Labels. Perhaps you’ll enjoy their “12 Ways to Make Congress Work”, especially the No Budget – No Pay portion of their proposal.

-Grady

OP-ED COLUMNIST

The Final Reckoning

By

Jan. 20, 2009, was an inspiring day. Barack Obama took the oath of office and argued that America was in a crisis caused by “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”

It was time, he said, to end the false choices between the orthodox left and the orthodox right. He called for “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. … In the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

Obama acknowledged that some people questioned the scale of his ambitions, the scope of his grand plans. But, he continued, “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.”

In some ways, President Obama has lived up to the promise of that day. In office, he has generally behaved with integrity and in a way befitting a man with his admirable character. Sure, he has sometimes stooped to the cynical maneuver. Contemptuous of his opponents, he has given himself permission to do the nasty and negative thing. But politics is a rough business and nobody comes out unsullied.

In moral terms, he hasn’t let us down. If he’s re-elected, his administration would probably remain scandal-free. Given the history of second terms, that is no small thing.

Moreover, Obama has been a prudent leader. He’s made no rash or disastrous decisions. He’s never acted out of some impetuous passion. His policies toward, say, China, Europe and Iran have had a sense of sober balance. If re-elected, he would probably commit no major blunders, which also is no small thing.

But the scope of Obama’s vision has contracted over the years. It has contracted politically. Four years ago, Obama won over many conservatives and independents. But he’s championed mostly conventional Democratic policies and is now mostly relying on members of his own party.

It has contracted managerially. Four years ago, Obama went to the White House with a Team of Rivals — big figures with big voices. Now the circle of trust is much smaller and political.

The mood has contracted. The atmosphere of expansive hope has often given way to a mood of aggrieved annoyance. He seems cagier, more hemmed in by the perceived limitations of his office. The man who ran on hope four years ago is now running one of the most negative campaigns in history, aimed at disqualifying his opponent.

Most of all, the vision has contracted. The arguments he made in his inaugural address were profoundly true. We are in the middle of an economic transition, a bit like the 1890s, with widening inequality, a corrupt and broken political system, an unsustainable welfare state, a dangerous level of family breakdown and broken social mobility.

The financial crisis exposed foundational problems and meant that we were going to have to live with a long period of slow growth, as the history of financial crises makes clear.

If Obama had governed in a way truer to his inauguration, he would have used this winter of recuperation to address the country’s structural weaknesses. He would have said: Look, we’re not going to have booming growth soon, but we will use this period to lay the groundwork for a generation of prosperity — with plans to reform the tax code, get our long-term entitlement burdens under control, get our political system working, shift government resources from the affluent elderly to struggling young families and future growth.

When people say they wish Obama had embraced the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan, they don’t mean the specific details of that proposal. They mean the largeness that Obama’s inauguration promised and the Simpson-Bowles moment afforded. They mean confronting the hard choices, instead of promising more bounty for everyone with no sacrifice ever.

But the president got sucked in by short-term things — the allure of managing the business cycle so that the economy would boom by re-election time. Instead of taking the midterm defeat as a sign he should move to the center, or confound the political categories, he seems to have hunkered down and become more political. Washington dysfunction now looks worse than ever.

Sure, House Republicans have been intransigent, but Obama could have isolated them, building a governing center-left majority with an unorthodox agenda. Instead he’s comforted the Democratic base and disappointed sympathizers who are not in it.

One final thing. No one is fair to President Obama. People grade him against tougher standards than any other politician. But his innate ability justifies that high standard. These are the standards he properly set for himself. If re-elected, he’d be free from politics. It’d be interesting to see if he returns to his earlier largeness.

Likely Voters and Swing State Polling

So at this point in regards to the popular vote there seems to be 2 options:
1. The race is virtually tied.
2. Gallup knows something that nobody else seems to know.

Gallup is a very highly regarded polling agency, and their polling usually isn’t such an outlier.

No matter the state of the popular vote we are dealing with an electoral college that is more likely than note to re-elect President Obama. How do we know? Polls. Of course they aren’t flawless, but they tend to be great predictors, especially this close to the actual vote. So let’s start with some likely voter polls.

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National polling seems to be telling an almost universal story about being tied, but of course we’ll have to wait for the real popular vote tally to really know. One of the ways we can pretend to know now though is breaking down segments of the electorate, and we’re going to do that a little bit now.

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And of course the gender differential between likely voters.

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Now, those were all fun of course, but the real meat and potatoes at this point is the swing states, especially Ohio! So here’s a little more of a breakdown into where this election will really be decided.

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There has even been talk that the campaigns have started putting resources back into Michigan because its closer than expected, and maybe “swingable” to a Republican victory (but I think it’s highly unlikely).

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Last but not least, I am not a big fan of Karl Rove, but the man knows politics… On Sunday he was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and he broke down the state of the election with some common knowledge charts, and I do love him for that (I love charts). I do think he is part of the problem with our political system (aka: what he did to John McCain in the primaries against Bush, just google it…), but I’m glad to have anything complicated dumbed down for me, so enjoy these final charts.

The Map By State Voting Density

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(In 2008 my home state of Oklahoma had the largest margin towards the GOP, and I’m glad to see that the Mormon vote in Utah and Idaho is going to be making us look at bit more moderate…)

And this picture could actually be important if we run into a tie 269-269 electorate (actually possible…), because in that case the House of Representatives votes on who will be President, and each state gets one vote… The crazy person in me would love to see how this shook up, but the compassionate/pragmatic person within is terrified of this… Not just because the Republicans in the House would be deciding the next President, but with all of the gridlock I think we might have an even less functional government, and less trust in anything it does if this were to happen…

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Romney’s Latest Auto Claims Are Absurd – Steve Rattner (aka: the Car Czar)

Romney’s latest auto claims are absurd.

If you don’t have much time, or patience, I would recommend skipping my comments (they are blog comments…) and go ahead and read the article below, which was written by the Car Czar for the auto bailout on Romney’s comments as of late about the auto industry.

Steve Rattner is one of my political and economic heroes… I think that he has a very clear vision of what it means to be pragmatic and plain-spoken in our complex world of politics and business. I often speak to my conservative friends to pay close attention, but that is mostly because of where I’m from. Being from Oklahoma, and living in Arkansas makes it more likely that the uninformed commentator is conservative – the opposite would be true if I were from another part of the country (something that the show “Portlandia” takes a comical approach towards addressing). It’s all about perspective really, we speak in such scathing and polarizing terms about people who promote policies that aren’t so different from our own. In this article Mr. Rattner is calling to the reader’s attention the importance of understanding simple and verifiable facts as they stand… It does not mean that he thinks that Governor Romney is all bad, and the opposite from himself. In fact, I’ve heard Mr. Rattner on multiple occasions praise Governor Romney for being a pioneer on Wall Street. The criticism found in this article is only partially ideological, but more so it is a referendum on the former Governor/CEO/Bishop/etc.’s lack of deference to the truth… It is not a coincidence that these attacks are mostly being made in Ohio, as he desperately needs a November surprise in the state with probably the most organized auto labor collective that there is…

The counter response that I have been hearing when I try to discuss Governor Romney’s multiple aggressions upon reality is that the President lies to, so it’s a push… Well, it’s not… When I ask for examples, or when I hear examples on TV they all seem to be about how the President promised lower unemployment (5.something percent), however that isn’t really the same kind of lie… Being overly optimistic and missing the mark on how much his actions would affect the economy is not the same as blatantly lying about what has or has not happened. It’s just not the same thing. It’s fine to ask questions about whether or not the President implemented appropriate policies, and there is Plenty of room for that debate, but that does not mean that he is a liar in the same way that Romney was… What do you think? Surely I’m wrong about something here, and I’d love some feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think.

Grady

 

Romney’s latest auto claims are absurd

Why Republicans Said Not To Vote For Romney

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I would rather you watch this video before you get bored of me, so watch it and if you’d still care to know what I think you can continue on below.

I have a few very stark and competing feelings regarding this election (on Romney in particular), and in the end they lead me to believe that we are going to have a smart and capable president after this election. I’m not certain that we’ll have an honest President, or that we’ll have a President who can live up to all that they’ve promised the American people, but I do know that the 2 men running for the office of President of The United States who have any chance of winning are very intelligent.

I do think however that there is a pretty important distinction in how their colleagues have spoken about them. I haven’t ever seen Democrats as a whole go after President Obama for being deceitful and for being a liar. On the flip side I have absolutely seen that with Governor Romney, and now watching the same people who disparaged him for months, or in some cases years, pretend like it never happened is maddening. So, I’m posting this video as a reminder, because as I’ve said before, Mitt Romney does lie to the people but I’m unsure if he sees it as being for their own good, and thus he in his mind is doing the right thing… I think that’s probably the case considering the insurmountable trail for a moderate Republican that leads to the Republican nomination for President…

Now, I know a lot of conservatives will respond to this by saying that all politicians are liars (which I don’t agree with – ie: Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul), but even if we are to accept them all as liars that doesn’t mean that they have to lie equally and correspondingly. Mitt Romney lies, often. The question you have to ask yourself (especially if you’re a moderate) is if you’re ok with that due to the extreme right that he is obviously attempting to bypass to accomplish necessary conservative goals. And this is not to say that being a part of the extreme right simply makes you wrong, it just means that without a lot of people like you consenting he wouldn’t have the nomination. Before I cut myself off I just want to reference a post I made earlier this year saying that he would pivot to the middle, and I was asking the question of whether or not you would be ok with that. Well, now he’s done it, are you ok with it? Here’s the link “The Virtue of Flipping and Flopping”

Hopefully I have explained myself clearly. My mental battle with conservatives right now is 2 fold: understanding what’s wrong with President Obama (I am not getting clear responses), are you comfortable with having a President who has such a propensity to lie (and I don’t think Obama lies like him)?

What do you think when you watch this?

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