What you Need To Know

Opinions expressed in my articles are my own, and opinions in the articles and comments section written by others are strictly those of the author or commenter and not me.

Please be civil, it adds nothing to the conversation to engage in name-calling.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who Is Up, Who is Down?

I’ve been listening to a bunch of people in the last week talk about polls and fretting about a daily tracking poll that shows Obama behind McCain here or there where he was ahead before and so on. I keep seeing that Obama is 'falling behind' in this swing state or other. The pundits keep crying that Obama isn't connecting with the voters, or he has a 'problem' with this demographic group or other - expecting the pandering as usual to rush and repair the damage.

So I decided to do a little more prospective and retrospective looking at polls and trend lines. Data used is from www.pollster.com No data was available for Washington DC so it is not included in the Electoral College totals. Data is long-term from the beginning of the primaries in 2007 when both candidates had lots of competition from others in their respective parties, and the trend lines started out usually reversed from the position they are now. Of course, Obama’s primary didn’t ‘end’ until June, while McCain was done in March. But the trends had already begun shifting before June, and after March when the comparisons started becoming about McCain only versus Obama most likely. If the Electoral College numbers are off – it’s my fault – brain dead doing this at 3 am but couldn’t sleep, so please forgive.

Trend lines are actually a better indication of what is going on than a single day or weeks worth of tracking polls. A daily or even a weekly poll is a snapshot in a very short period of time, and with the 24-hour news cycle and a bit of media ‘push’ can push a poll anywhere up to 10 points either in the up or down direction. A nasty attack ad can do the same thing - and then the response to it can either nullify or amplify that. And after a few days the same thing can happen in the opposite direction. Using a graph, you plot the poll numbers for both candidates over time, and after a while, you either can directly notice a trend up or down, or using some statistical calculations, can determine a mean over your determined time frame.

Nationally, McCain started ahead of Obama but Obama quickly gained ground and stayed ahead of McCain until around the end of December/beginning of January when their positions were essentially tied. McCain pulled ahead of Obama in March, but then Obama reclaimed the upper hand. The national trend line has quite a lot of ups and downs, but it is trending upward overall for Obama, and McCain keeps sliding. There are still 14% undecided and 5% voting for other candidates so there is still some room to move for both candidates.

Bob Barr was polling at about 5% in a couple of states at the beginning of his race, but support has dropped off steeply in the interim and he is currently at about 1% in both those states. Ralph Nader is holding at about 5% in Georgia, the only state where he has meaningful numbers currently.

Some interesting trends showed up. Currently both candidates are leading in 25 states each. McCain’s trend line is downward in 18 of his states, flat in 3, and up in 4 (ND, NE, NV, UT) In AK Obama’s trend line is also upward while in LA and SC, Obama matches McCain’s downward trend line. In SD Obama is flat against McCain’s downward trend so if he just stays steady, McCain may eventually drop below. In TN, both candidates are flat. McCain’s list of states currently gives him 229 Electoral College votes.

NOTE: Flat usually means there was only one poll, or there were two or three, both taken in the same or nearly the same time-frame.

Obama’s trend line is upward in 17 states, flat in 3 and downward in 5 states (IA, IL, ME, OR, WA). Obama’s downward trending states are interesting because in IA, ME, OR, WA McCain’s trend is also in the downward direction so at present there seems to be no danger of Obama losing those states. In IL, Obama’s trend line is steeply downward, however McCain’s is flat, and Obama currently leads the state with 60+% . Obama’s Electoral College total is currently at 306.

FL, IN, MO, NC, and TX are all within the margin of error, and while McCain is on top currently, his trend line is down in all five states, and Obama’s is up. These data strongly suggest that Obama will be in the lead there within the next two-three weeks, adding 98 Electoral College votes to his total, and of course subtracting them from McCain.

So…..most of the so-called battleground states are already in the Obama column, and given the trend lines, will stay that way. A couple that aren’t yet are among the five ‘cross-over’ states where the race is within the margin of error and the trend lines are in Obama’s favor.

Obama needs to keep doing what he is doing – and if McCain keeps doing what he is doing – it will truly be a landslide.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

say you love me

A common wail I've been hearing from my fellow bloggers lately is the meme of "Why Don't You Ever F#@<[^6 Leave A Comment?"

Well, many reasons and you know what I'm talking about. But it's getting dis-heartening. So next time you read a post by someone you like, do post a comment! Even if it's "Wow, this is brilliant! I'll get right back to you!"

You might not mean it. I don't care. Just say something.

Cause times are getting hard and nasty, but that's no reason to be mean to each other. People who blog, actually choose and fine tune what they post. They really wanted to tell you this, but they didn't want to spam you. You are actually here looking at this, so we know you're a friend... say hi, okay?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whether Obama Can Win Against the FCP (Fawning Corporate Media)

Lots of activist political types like me have come to the conclusion - and some of us earlier than later - that Obama is not running against John McCain, but rather against the FCP. While McCain appears to be the candidate - the press has been his real adversary.

The FCP seems to feel that being 'fair and balanced' in regard to Obama means that if they say one thing nice or at least not nasty, they must say something bad also. And if they can't find anything bad, they just make stuff up.

McCain is, at this point, giving us a gaffe a day. He never gets challenged on his 'misstatements' or subjected to the wrath of the right-wing pundits the way Obama has been. Just try to imagine the outcry if Obama or one of his staff had made the following statements:

"...the border between Iraq and Afghanistan" (which consists of the entire country of Iran)
"...like in Czechoslovakia..." (a country that ceased to exist over 15 years ago)

and these were on foreign policy, McCain's supposed area of expertise.

On the domestic front:
"...in a mental recession. The American people are a nation of whiners..." (Phil Gramm)

And of course this week, McCain has been throwing an absolute temper tantrum because the FCP has been with Obama on his trip and isn't paying enough attention to McCain. Their response has been to increase the attacks against Obama and start pandering to McCain so they won't be accused of being the 'librul press'.

Fortunately, for the Dems, the Obama campaign organization is light on their feet, able and does respond to the attacks and other useless baloney quickly but in a very dignified but forthright way. Yay!

What a way to run a campaign to be the next president - run against the whacko idiots who call themselves journalists - but who are giving the biggest illegal campaign contribution ever to John McCain.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Will there ever be an accounting?

From the JustPeaceNow blog, a slide show of Iraqi children mostly wounded and killed in this insane war. EmmyLou Harris sings "I am Lost Unto This World" along with the presentation. At the end is a dedication to the photographers to took the heartwrenching photos, including some who died in the effort to do so.


When will we stop the insanity? The neo-cons claim they are pro-life? What about these lives? Don't they count? Aren't they worthwhile? The little ballerinas, the doctors, lawyers, scientists or whatever these children could have been - all gone and gone for filthy money for some greedy filthy and corrupt people here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

About the FCP (Fawning Corporate Media)

This past week has been absolutely and blatantly shocking in its bias for John McCain and against Barack Obama.

John McCain, at a town hall meeting, called on a Vietnam veteran for his first question. The Vet wanted an answer to the question of why McCain had voted against increasing funding for the VA in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. McCain took offense and started whining about his awards from Veterans service organizations claiming he had awards from them all. (He does from the VFW, DAV and AL - but they are all from years ago) The veteran replied that he had received his information on McCain's votes from the VFW and IAVA. McCain got visibly angry and all but accused the veteran of dissing his (McCain's service), and then claimed credit for helping pass Jim Webb's new GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. He never did answer the question. (Fact check: While McCain did vote against bills containing additional monies for the VA, later on in the same sessions he voted in favor of different bills containing additional monies - but those amounts were always much less than in the original legislation. You know - I was against it before I was for it.....)

While McCain was inside slamming the Vietnam veteran, his campaign staff had a woman holding a sign that said 'McCain = Bush' cited for trespassing and removed from a semi-public space. The 61-year-old librarian was unceremoniously escorted off the property by three policemen at least a foot taller than she. When asked who had complained, the McCain people lied and said it was the Secret Service. However, it has since come to light that it was the McCain campaign. The librarian's question remains unanswered "Why would a bunch of Republicans, who elected Bush twice and McCain is their candidate now, take offense at this sign?" Final response from the FCM? *crickets*

McCain lied about naming the players of one football team (Pittsburgh Steelers) instead of the one he really named (Green Bay Packers). For one thing, the players he mentioned weren't even famous until after he got out of the Hanoi Hilton. For the other, he has stated that the Packers were the group in his written memoir, as well as in the movie and in every other time he has told this anecdote. Response by the FCM? *crickets*

McCain's chief financial advisor, Phil Gramm, announced that the American People are in a 'mental recession' and are all a bunch of whiners on the subject of the economy. McCain himself has noted on several occasions that a recession is a psychological problem rather than a real one; that his gas tax holiday, and also drilling off the Gulf Coast were purely psychological. Response by the FCM? *while noting that we probably are in the beginnings of a recession - defending Phil Gramm*

McCain, who has flipped, and flopped, and flipped so many times I can't keep track on the subject of privatization of Social Security, announced that 'the way Social Security is funded by having the taxes paid by current workers used to fund retirees is a total disaster and must be fixed'. McCain is apparently unclear on the idea that the Social Security system has been funded that way since day one - about 75 years - and it has been working just fine. Response by the FCM? *crickets again*

McCain, who is rabidly pro-life (the one issue he really has not flip-flopped on apparently) was asked a pointed question about a statement Carla Fiorina, his chief of staff made regarding the unfairness of health insurance companies paying for Viagra, but refusing to pay for birth control. The reporter posed this question directly to McCain who first 'didn't want to discuss the issue' and then, to use Rachel Maddow's words - tried to squirm his way out of his own body. He stated that he couldn't remember ever voting on anything like that (he has, several times, and always against the mandatory payment for contraception if paying for ED drugs), and then claimed that he really hadn't thought enough about it to make a comment and would try to get back to her. Response by the FCM? *other than KO/Rachel on Countdown laughing themselves silly over the incident, crickets again*

And finally, responding to a story that the amount of trade we are doing with Iran has increased exponentially, in spite of increasingly harsh trade sanctions, especially in the area of cigarettes, McCain made one of his rather lame so-called jokes (while his wife Cindy elbowed him in the back to make him shut up!) that we should send even more since that would kill a lot more of them off. Response by the FCM? *Well, that's just McCain being McCain. No harm, No foul*

And so, by the end of the week when these events all happened (and probably more that we don't know about), the FCM reported that on balance, McCain had a pretty good week, or that he 'won' the week.

How did he 'win'?

Well the big story for the Obama campaign was some comments by Rev Jesse Jackson on an open mike at (where else?) Faux Noise. Jackson apparently believed the mikes were off and said that he felt that Obama had been talking down to black people (regarding Obama's Fathers Day speech calling for more responsibility on the part of fathers) and that he (Jackson) wanted to cut Obama's nuts off.

For three days we were treated to bleeped out re-runs of the tape, followed by multitudes of mea culpas from Jackson at every venue on the planet. Jackson's own son, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. denounced his father. The Obama camp was pretty quiet on the subject and accepted Jackson's apology. But the FCM would not let it go.

The Obama campaign, nor any of Obama's surrogates, representatives, family members or anyone else even slightly associated with his Senate office, he himself or anyone else did or said anything. Jesse Jackson was speaking for himself. He says he didn't mean any harm to Obama or his campaign, but my opinion is that you hear a person's true feelings more often when they think no one is listening or paying attention than when opportunities are staged and obviously then self-censored. I believe Jackson when he said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off. He is jealous, resentful, and angry. Obama is achieving what he could not. But that's a discussion for another day.

So, just imagine this. Insert Obama's name wherever John McCain's name appears in any one of these stories and then try to just imagine the result. It would be Jeremiah Wright amplified 100 times, and for ten times longer and 50 times louder! The truth is that Obama is not running against John McCain - he is running against the entire Fawning Corporate (right-wing) Press Corpse. And that same press corpse (misspelling intentional) is worrying that Obama not taking public financing (and the restrictions imposed therein) as somehow unfair to poor John McCain. Cry me a river!

Robert Parry at Consortium News has been doing a series of reports over the years about the development of the right-wing media. It has been a conscious effort - and in his words, the biggest illegal political campaign contribution there ever was. The FCM (his appellation) is a 24/7/365 campaign commercial for the right and whatever its issues are. If they can't find something, they just make stuff up. And it works. And it works well.

The left has spent its money working on campaign finance reform. And that does not work. Especially since the issue of this right-wing political media-machine has never been addressed.

Maybe we need to do something about that!

To read more on how the right-wing media machine came into being: http://consortiumnews.com/2008/062908.html Iran-Contra's Lost Chapter by Robert Parry from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Inner French-Canadian Woman has something to say:

A humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions has been playing out in Burma for more than 20 years. Thousands have been killed and many thousands more arrested, forced into slave labour or displaced from their villages by the ruling military regime. Burma’s women have endured rape and other forms of systematic sexual violence employed by the military to enforce its control over the country’s ethnic minorities. On May 3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis brought new and terrible suffering to the people of Burma, suffering made only worse by the military regime’s refusal to promptly accept the international community’s ensuing offers of humanitarian assistance. What began as a natural disaster was soon supplanted by a catastrophe rooted in the pride, paranoia and corruption of Burma’s military rulers.

The Panties for Peace Campaign

The Panties for Peace campaign was launched by the women’s organization Lanna Action for Burma (LAB) on Oct. 16, 2007, in the hopes of bringing an end to the military regime’s rampant abuse of Burma’s population – and the abuse of Burma’s women in particular. Founded in the wake of the military’s brutal response to monk-led pro-democracy uprisings in Burma last fall, the Panties for Peace campaign has been given new and pressing importance by the regime’s self-interested and inhumane response to the devastation of Cyclone Nargis. The campaign has been already launched around the world, in Australia, the Philippines, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, the USA and in Brazil.

More here

Thanks Roisin!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Books For Soldiers

Our Second Life friend, StormBear was going to be interviewed today on Fox News for his Netroots efforts running his 503 charity, Books For Soldiers. 45 minutes before he was to be picked up by the SF station, they called to cancel. "Something came up."

And what was the burning news item he was bumped for? A Florida man was bitten by a snake in the garden center of a Walmart.

If you are able to donate either books or money to Books For Soldiers, please do. Corporate funding has dried up this year and StormBear needs help to continue his good work.

Also see: Daily KOs