Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shaking the Rust Off -

"Shaken by a performance that he immediately called “terrible,” Reagan told reporters a few days later that he had found debating as an incumbent much more difficult than debating as a challenger. “I think the incumbent is—unless he drops a bomb on the other fellow—is going to automatically be tagged as not having done well because he didn’t destroy somebody.” Asked if an incumbent is always at a disadvantage, Reagan responded, “Sure, because he’s under attack. I look back now at the times in debates when I wasn’t the incumbent and never realized how easy it was to be on the other side.”"

Good read from George Condon, Jr. on the difficulties of being the incumbent in presidential debates, which begin this week between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney...

Read the entire article: Shaking the Rust Off -

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Is The Obama White House Most Expensive Ever?

Is the Obama White House the most expensive ever? Has it cost the United States taxpayers more than any of his predecessors? In the last few days, this charge has made by author and former Reagan White House loyalist Robert Keith Gray in his latest book, "Presidential Perks Gone Royal", and been seen in the Daily Caller and other conservative leaning websites..

Gray maintains that the Obamas have increased the amount of spending under their time in office to never before seen levels by other Administrations. According to the Daily Caller's Alex Pappas, Gray says, "the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in."

The article has several claims worth fact-checking, including the idea that there are thirty-two "czars" now working in this Administration, a claim apparently inspired by Glen Beck's identical charge. has debunked this as well as Politifact

Michelle Obama's staff size also comes under scrutiny by Mr. Gray, who once again uses talk show host Glen Beck as his researcher. Back in February 2011, Beck claimed Michelle Obama had 43 staffers, compared to Nancy Reagan's 3. Once again, Politifact did some digging and found the claim to be inflated dramatically

It's worth noting that Mr. Gray is a long time Republican player who held a job in the Reagan White House as head of his transition team, but later got into trouble for influence peddling, Also interesting is that Mr. Gray is thought to be behind the 2010 charge that the Obama folks were spending upwards of 200 Million dollars a day during a trip to India, a claim widely panned by a handful of media outlets including the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal as well as the White House. 

This morning, thanks to Bruce Bartlett (another former member of the Reagan White House), I learn of this article by Little Green which compares the Obama and Bush White House spending. Looking at Bush Administration numbers from Bradley Patterson's book, "To Serve The President," it seems that the Bush White House roughly $1.6 Billion dollars for the year 2008. Which is $200,000,000.00 more than Obama is alleged to have spent. Obama seems to have reduced spending. By a lot. Two hundred million less.

There's no question President's spend a lot of money...a lot of our money. However, the main thrust of the Gray book isn't so much that this spending is out of control and must be reigned in, but more so that the Obama's have taken it to a new level.

It doesn't seem that the evidence backs up Gray's claims. This is, in the end, mostly a political stunt meant to pull the public's eye off the real issues and choices at hand during this last part of the election. Both party's have a long history of behaving like this and its not helpful to sincere voters who are trying to educate themselves on the candidates positions. Its also frustrating when mainstream news organisations like the Daily Caller publish content like this, as it makes them look less like the serious news gathering organisation they claim to be and a lot more like a partisan agent of the Republican Party.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

"I don't see how anyone who confronts Obama's record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, but I'd have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers."

Worthwhile, thought-provoking essay from Conor Friedersorf of The Atlantic.

Click on the link below to read the full article:

Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dude, I have plans, ok?

(I swear to God, Barack, send me this crap about us having dinner together one more time and I'll send $5.00 to the other guy, ok?) 

Obama - Biden
Bill --

You have only a few hours left to get your name in for the very last Dinner with Barack of this campaign.

Two seats could be yours ... but you'll never know if you don't enter.

Donate $5 or whatever you can to be automatically entered to win -- and today, every donation counts as two entries:

Dinner with Barack - Seating Chart
BillBarackWhoever you bring


Obama for America

P.S. -- Airfare? On us. Hotel? On us. Dinner? On us. Be there.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New, improved health insurance summaries rolling out...

Affordable Care Act's requirement on simplified health insurance summaries now in effect:

The new forms have a much improved, streamlined structure to them. With clear descriptions on what's covered, what isn't, deductable and co-pay information. This should go along way toward helping everyone understand their health insurance policy better. has an informative article about the new form...

Read it here:


Romney Claims That Emergency Rooms Provide Care Misleading To Say The Least...

Gov. Romney, 60 Minutes last night:

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

Its not the first time a politician has suggested that emergency room care is somehow an adequate system for providing health care. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said, "Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) says Mississippi doesn’t need Washington’s help with health care reform because “there’s nobody in Mississippi who does not have access to health care. One of the great problems in the conversation is the mis-impression that if you don’t have insurance, you don’t get health care.” 

North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx feels the same way about her State: 

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives.”


As the Romney campaign attempts to regain its footing over the last 43 days of this election cycle, health care is an issue that almost everyone has to deal with, either directly or indirectly. The issue that many take with Romney's, Barbour's and Foxx's comments is pretty straightforward. To imply that because everyone has access to the emergency room, therefore everyone has "healthcare" is misleading and when its from the case of a former Governor of a State that has implemented health care reform, its willfully deceptive. 

Let's look at the Federal law which requires all hospitals who accepts Medicare or Medicaid (almost all hospitals accepts one or the other.) The law is known as EMTALA or the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, signed by President Reagan guarantees anyone treatment who is in an "emergent condition." Hospitals are required by federal law to assess you and treat any conditions that warrant emergency treatment. The definition of "emergency medical condition" as described by the website says:

A medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in 
placing the health of the individual (or, with respect to a pregnant woman, the health of the woman or her unborn child) in serious jeopardy,
serious impairment to bodily functions, or
serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part, or

With respect to a pregnant woman who is having contractions 
that there is inadequate time to effect a safe transfer to another hospital before delivery, or
that the transfer may pose a threat to the health or safety of the woman or her unborn child."

So, while women in labor can count on being accepted for delivery of their baby, let's not suggest that they can also stroll in and receive pre-natal or post-natal checkups in the ER. It doesn't happen. 

There's any number of medical situations and conditions where the emergency room doesn't provide healthcare. Women can not receive Mammograms or routine gynecological exams via the ER. Adults in their early 50's are not permitted to walk in and receive colonoscopies on demand. Diabetic patients can't be screened for worsening sugar levels or have their meds adjusted until and if they decline into an emergent condition. Hypogylcemic shock and perhaps their feet begin to turn black from poor circulation. As The Incidental Economist Healthcare Blog writes: Emergency care is important, but it’s not the same thing as health care. We know that people with depression require treatment, but in an emergency room we can’t do anything about it until they are ready to commit suicide. We may know that you would benefit from a hip replacement, but until it fractures, there’s not much that will be done in an emergency department. We may know you  have arthritis, or ulcerative colitis, or migraines, or lupus, or hypothyroidism, or any of a host of other disorders, but until they are life threatening – there’s not much we can do for you. (Multiple authors, The Incidental Economist - June 23, 2011)

There are other issues as well that come into play regarding emergency room care. It's been discovered that often ambulance services will drive patients past certain hospitals that aren't friendly to the uninsured. Plus, more and more hospitals are trying to collect co-pays and sometimes more before treating ER patients. Finally, people who do have insurance can't always get into to see their doctor during business hours, which leaves them to after hours clinics or yes, emergency room care. 

Candidate Romney knows a good deal about health care reform from his work with Romneycare in Massachusetts. His comment last night on 60 Minutes was sure to raise a few eyebrows. The Obama campaign was quick to respond today with a political ad using the 60 Minutes segment against Romney. That ad is below, but pay special attention to Romney's comments starting at the :40 second mark through the :50 mark. He was talking about the individual mandate he utilized in Massachusetts, but describes emergency room care in a patently incorrect fashion: 

Entirely free care for which they have no personal responsibility? That's an odd thing to say since no health care is ever free. He knows this. Hospitals try vigorously to collect from patients, often using collection agencies to acquire payment for services rendered. Medical Bills are the main cause behind more than 60% of our total bankruptcies in the US in a 2007 study. Much of what the hospitals or collector's can recover is reimbursed partially, by Medicare, or our tax dollars. 

I understand Mr. Romney is trying to win the Presidency. I might suggest to him that answers like the one he gave last night on this issue probably convince very few people to vote for him that weren't already. What should he have said? I'm certainly no Republican strategist, but I'd have recommended this: 

"Yes, every American has a right to basic health care and I think its the federal government role to assist each State in deciding how best it can provide its citizens with a sensible path to accessing health care."

But, clearly, he didn't say anything whatsoever like what I suggested. Another blown opportunity for Mr. Romney. 


Could an Obama Victory Be Good for the Republican Party?

Forty-three days remain until America decides who will be forty-fifth President of the United States. Various polls see the incumbent, Barack Obama, enjoying a slight lead in most national polls but perhaps more importantly, slightly larger leads in most of the vaunted "swing states."

What happens if once again, the Republican Party can not defeat Barack Hussein Obama? What happens if once again, the electorate decides the more conservative choice is NOT who they want in the highest office in the land? What will the future hold for the Republican Party if they can't beat the man who many believe to be one of the most controversial figures in American politics in the last one hundred years? This President, who 17% believe to be a Muslim in a recent Pew research poll, this President of the chronically above 8% unemployment rate, this President of no Federal budgets and this President of various wars on religion, Christmas, Christmas trees, freedom, liberty, America, etc...

I know it was never supposed to be this close, but clearly something happened on the way to election day 2012 for the Republican Party in America. What was supposed to be one of the greatest ass-kickings this Country has ever witnessed, isn't just too close for comfort, its very possible the most evil, liberty hating, freedom hating, America hating, probably a Muslim guy/sleeper agent might just win. How the HELL could this be happening?

Don't worry, it might actually be good for Republicans.

In the mid-term elections of 2010, Conservative candidates won many offices across the land and especially gained seats in the House of Representatives. Following Grover Norquist's mantra of "no new taxes ever" and willing to affix their signatures to his anti-tax "pledge," it was quite clear that the traditional Republican Party was being dragged to the right. The thinking was in 2010, they got back the house and in 2012, they'd at least get the White House back and possibly even the Senate. There was absolute joy for conservatives and Fox News-at least the evening division. "Start packing Obama" was the mind-set as most on the Right predicted certain doom for this man from somewhere/probably not America.

Fast forward to today. Conservatives disagreeing and clearly stressing over the current condition of the Romney campaign. Romney calling a press conference to reset his campaign's tone, promising to do better providing details at a very soon to be announced later date. Romney calling a late night press conference to clean up his pirated video comments from a May fundraiser where he potentially insulted 47% of Americans. Things are not going well in Romneyville and the Conservatives are getting restless and just a tad pissy about it. Should Willard Mitt Romney lose to this Obamination, some careers will end, other careers will benefit and political tacticians will immediately begin to figure out 2016's can't miss strategy.

If Mitt Romney wins, the far right will feel empowered to hold President Romney to his severe conservative self labeling during the primaries. Women, Latinos, the young and the poor will probably not be too pleased and as growing sectors of the electorate, it means bad news for the long term growth of the Republican Party.

It goes without saying before much can be decided, a conversation has to be had to decide who was to blame should Obama win. Was it the Tea Party segment of the Party, who rode the no-compromise train into power in 2010? Or, was it the establishment Republicans, who cling to an old-fashioned sense of governance, deal making and compromise? Who's fault is it?

It's an incredibly important time for the Republican Party. Should Obama get re-elected, the GOP has to select a direction to go. A tone to rally behind. They all want smaller Government, fewer regulations, etc. but its really a question of how extreme do they want to be? In recent elections, moderate Republicans have been shown the door in favor of more severe conservative candidates. Clearly, the trend has been toward hard stances and if it means we have to stop the wheels of Government, then so be it. If the Tea Party faction of the GOP wins this discussion, look for more entrenchment, more obstruction for President Obama's second term and an even higher level of rhetoric as they look forward to 2016.

The trouble with this approach is the public has consistently rated the Congress very poorly. Most Americans expect people from different points of view to be able to find a middle ground, a position Obama has consistently endorsed. Should the Tea Party element of the GOP grow, they run the significant risk of losing even more of the undecided voters. Chances are very good the next Democratic presidential nominee will not have a funny name like Barack Obama does. Chances are very good there won't be a flap about his birth certificate. Chances are very good there won't be whispers about the person's faith or patriotism. Chances are very good that a Tea Party led GOP will get its ass kicked once again in 2016.

In other words, if you couldn't beat the sleeper-agent in charge, how on earth do you expect to beat the next, less controversial-guy? Doubling down on rigid ideology will likely cost the GOP more voters than it earns them, which is a losing proposition. Combine that with the demographic trends of more Hispanic voters, and more voters from the LGBT and women voting blocks and it doesn't take Kreskin to see storm clouds brewing for the Republican Party.

I think it would be madness for the Party to go further/harder to the Right if Obama wins re-election. It could cost them dearly. I fully expect and hope that the establishment republicans will hold the Tea Party faction responsible and tell them to cool it.

Far better for the GOP would be to embrace a more moderate, traditional stance and shun openly the harshness of the far right. Reasonable goes a long way with voters and if the loyal opposition announced on day 1 of the President's second term that for the good of the nation, the Republicans would accept several Obama ideas, heads would turn. Let Obama have his victories, but then judge him openly on the performance of his programs. Chances are good there will still be plenty things to attack the Democrats in in the next general election, but being able to point towards a "new leaf" if you will in terms of cooperation will pay dividends down the road.

Obstructionism hasn't paid off and I don't think it will. Bi-partisanship plays much better and is the smarter path forward for the Republicans. By showing in words and deeds a willingness to govern...they will find receptive Latinos, women, lower-income voters, etc, very willing to reconsider the GOP. Which would reverse a dangerous trend for Conservatives. A Obama victory is perhaps the only thing that can balance the Republican party enough to make it more, not less appealing to many voters.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Libyan Islamist militia swept out of Benghazi bases | Reuters

It appears that the local militia/terrorist group, suspected being behind last week's attacks on the US Embassy have been told they are no longer welcome in Libya. 
From Rueters News Agency:
The crowd waved swords and even a meat cleaver, crying "No more al Qaeda!" and "The blood we shed for freedom shall not go in vain!"

"After what happened at the American consulate, the people of Benghazi had enough of the extremists," demonstrator Hassan Ahmed said. "They did not give allegiance to the army. So the people broke in and they fled."

Read the full article here:

Libyan Islamist militia swept out of Benghazi bases | Reuters:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Can a President Romney Really Get Rid of the Affordable Care Act?

If Mitt Romney becomes our next President, can he really do what he says he will in terms of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act?

In short, probably not.

As Timothy Jost writes in yesterday's online Health

Summing Up The Situation If Romney Wins
All of this is to say that the election of a president opposed to implementation of the ACA would create a quite messy situation.  Some provisions of the law—in particular many of the provisions governing insurers—would remain in place and could not easily be repealed.  Other provisions could be repealed through reconciliation, but not immediately and not without a battle in Congress.  If the Democrats hold the Senate, even this would not be possible.
The 2014 deadline for implementation of the next round of reforms, including the issuance of premium tax credits, the exchanges, and the Medicaid expansions, would continue to loom as mandatory until Congress took action.  The administration could rescind or amend existing rules, but it would take time and there would be limits on what could be accomplished.  The administration could try to ignore provisions of the law or delay their implementation, but would almost certainly face litigation, which would once again embroil the courts in ACA implementation.  The prospect of lawsuits brought by states is quite conceivable.
In the end, any dramatic change in health policy will probably have to be bipartisan.  Bipartisanship has not been much in evidence lately, but it is unlikely that we will soon again face the situation that got the ACA enacted—the total domination of both houses of Congress and the presidency by one party.  Until and unless that happens again, the opportunities for change in the ACA are real, but limited.
With the likelihood of a clean sweep by the Republican Party this November almost nil, Jost's point that it will be a slow, difficult process rings true. For those of us who strongly support health care reform and even those who generally support the highly imperfect Affordable Care Act, the reform should mostly stay intact. The longer it does so, the harder it will be to remove. Advocates will look at it as a root system of a large tree growing and taking firm hold, while opponents will view it as a virus continuing to spread with no cure-all available. 
Read the entire article here

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jon Stewart's Bullshit Mountain...

"The biggest problem with the denizens of Bullshit Mountain is that they act like their shit don't stink.

If they have success, they built it. 

If they failed, the government ruined it for them.

If they get a break, they deserve it. 

If you get a break, its a handout.and an entitlement." 

Jon Stewart-The Daily Show-09/19/12

Diplomats, National Security, and the House Budget | Center for American Progress

From American Progress, an insightful article by Scott Lilly...

 "In the 2011 continuing resolution, Congress, at the insistence of the House of Representatives, slashed the president’s request for embassy security and construction and forced another cut in fiscal year 2012. Altogether Congress has eliminated $296 million from embassy security and construction in the last two years with additional cuts in other State Department security accounts.

Sequestration required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 will take more than $100 billion more out of the program in 2013 if the current Congress does not overcome the impasse over budget cuts and tax revenues by yearend. Those cuts are largely the result of the draconian and unrealistically low budget caps placed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on all discretionary spending, falling particularly hard on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee with responsibility for embassy security."

Read the whole thing here...



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Manager Who Can't Manage...

Mitt Romney is probably going to lose this election. If he does lose, he will receive the lion's share of the blame, which he richly deserves.

After surviving the GOP's Primary gauntlet, Romney emerged as the most electable candidate to represent the Republican Party. He wasn't close to being the conservative standard bearer that many on the right had hoped would win, but the conventional wisdom was, "which guy gives us the best chance to beat President Obama?" There were Right Wing ideologues in Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, polished politicians like Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Ron Paul and "off the beaten path" candidates in Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman. In the end, the Romney campaign - which had a major head start on all the other's campaigns, prevailed. No one else could match the organisation and financial resources of the Romney team. Santorum was the last one standing, but in the end he could'nt level the playing field, let alone overtake Mr. Romney.

The Romney team prevailed for two main reasons:

1) A certain deftness during the debates in which no one really landed a direct hit. There where a few glancing blows but Romney stayed on his feet, and looked more Presidential than any of the others...

2) Money matters. Newt Gingrich complained publicly about the Romney machine (and friends) were just too powerful to stop. The sheer amount of ads that were directed at Gingrich in the primary states revealed rather quickly what a mismatch it was in the battle of resources. (Make no mistake, Mr. Gingrich ran a terrible campaign and didn't deserve to win.)

In other words, that portion of the campaign was effectively managed. Romney avoided trouble for the most part and kept his unforced errors to a minimum. Which is what you expect from someone who's experience is essentially as a manager. His career has featured several accomplishments based on his management abilities including his work (love it or hate it) at Bain Capital, his work as Massachusetts's Governor during which time he implemented "Romneycare" and his involvement with the Salt Lake City Olympics. Romney succeeded in all of these endeavors, to one degree or another. You can not like what he did at Bain, you can not like Romneycare, etc. but you can't say he hasn't been able to get things done. On the other hand, the skill set it takes to be an effective business manager and the results achieved don't necessarily match up exactly for the skill set to be an effective President of the United States.

Or, even elected President in the first place.

As we entered the post primary part of this cycle's presidential campaign, current President Obama was sitting on a lingering and seemingly immovable unemployment rate, a gridlocked Congress frustrating him more often than not, and a pretty unhealthy opinion from the citizenry regarding his effectiveness in office and the direction his administration is taking the Country. We heard talk of President Obama being the worst POTUS of all time and surely a one term proposition. There's no way he wouldn't be defeated in the next election. Social media was awash in predictions from many who guaranteed an Obama loss in November. To quote one Obama hater, "Looks like a losing proposition for OBAMA come November.....he shouldn't have a prayer based solely on the sad state of our Economy, let alone everything else that is wrong in this country due to his lack of leadership....the grand ship is sinking and you all best jump off now or go down with it..." 

So, basically, Mitt Romney just had to run a safe campaign and stroll into the White House next January, right? 


Mr. Romney was sitting in a virtual tie with President Obama just prior to the Republican National Convention. Technically behind, but right with his opponent. The RNC, thought to be a celebration of sorts for Conservatives as they gathered in Tampa, FL to hail Romney as the soon to be POTUS and a time to gaze upon admiringly the next class of GOP leaders. Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, etc. Everything was going according to plan until Gov. Christie spoke on the second night. His speech was more about re-introducing himself to the Country rather than any sort of a supportive statement for Mitt Romney. People were a bit surprised but moved on to the final night when the candidate would address the delegates in person.

The last night of the RNC was one of those weird quirky plot lines you usually only see in the movies. As we moved into the final few speakers of the convention, the campaign brought out actor Clint Eastwood as a secret weapon to speak to the audience. With no script and nothing but wits and an empty chair, Mr. Eastwood proceeded to talk to an empty chair for ten minutes. Some loved it, some hated it, most didn't really know what to think. Oh, by the way, Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney both spoke after Mr. Eastwood did, but nobody really remembers much of what they had to say. Which is a shame because Mr. Rubio did a very nice job, while Mr. Romney did an acceptable job. One big flaw in Romney's speech that bears mentioning. He failed to mention our nation's military in any meaningful way whatsoever. His claim that he covered the military base the day prior with a speech for the VFW fell mostly flat. While there were a few notable speeches including those from Rubio, VP candidate Paul Ryan and Ann Romney, the affair didn't do much to inspire or convert people. The much anticipated post-convention "bounce" never really materialized.

Immediately following the RNC, the Democrats had their own convention in Charlotte, NC. The event had a little more spunk to it than did the Republican's meeting. First Lady Michelle Obama, Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama did the heavy lifting and all scored high marks-President Clinton especially.

The Romney campaign made a decision to pull most of its television ads during the RNC. This move basically ceded national media over to the Democrats with no offsetting message for Americans to digest. Obama was handed an early Christmas present. Pollsters are still trying to figure out how big of a bounce the DNC got and most have pegged it between 3-5% in the polls.

As the days passed after the RNC, reports surfaced that all was not well within the Romney camp. As reported in Politico, many insiders were displeased with head strategist Stuart Stevens. There were questions about the Eastwood thing. Who approved no script? Romney's end of convention speech was rewritten more than once and has been assessed as having too many chefs and not enough cooks involved.

Then came a flare-up in the Middle East with four dead Americans in Libya and anti-American protests all around the Islamic world. Traditionally, all parties unite under the age-old adage that "politics ends at the water's edge." Not this campaign it didn't. With events still unfolding halfway around the world, team Romney released early a previously embargoed statement criticizing the President for apologizing to radical Islamic terrorists and failing to stand up for American values. The Romney camp didn't bother to get the facts straight before releasing the political attack and when the dust settled, looked amateurish, unorganized and borderline offensive to many for launching the unfounded attack on President Obama. A classic example of over-playing one's hand. Instead of helping, it hurt the Romney campaign with several Conservatives publicly finding fault.

Yesterday, the main goal was for the Romney campaign to "reboot" if you will. Start a fresh set of downs if you will. A morning press conference promised to clarify the message, provide more specifics, etc. But by day's end, the Mother Jones publication released a videotape that sent an already shaken campaign into disaster mode...

Whoops, time for the second press conference of the day. Cue video...

While these remarks make for good talk radio and social media bluster, I don't see it as anything close to fatal error. While Romney's getting spanked pretty hard by voices all across the political spectrum, he really didn't say anything that outrageous. Clumsy, inarticulate, perhaps even stupid? Sure, but not outrageous.

CNN was the first media outlet to poll voters on the effect of this video on their preferences, and found that among independents, 15% said they were more likely to vote for Romney while almost double that, 29% said they were less likely to vote for the former Massachusetts Governor. Couple that with a poll in Michigan, Romney's home State and where his father served as Governor, that shows President Obama leading Romney by 8 points.


As the political world shakes its collective head at the Romney campaign, I have one question:

Is Mitt Romney the manager who can't manage?

There is plenty...PLENTY...of time to turn his campaign around and win this thing. All Romney needs is a videotape of Barack Obama with either A) a dead girl or B) a live boy in it and that will be that. Since that's probably not going to happen, the Romney fans have a good reason to be concerned. Right now, Mr. Business/Manager doesn't seem to be able to get out of his own way, while President Obama mostly just keeps having pretty good days.

The debates will be Romney's last/best chance to gain the upper hand on his opponent before election day. The good news is that Romney has been drilling on the debates since July and given that he performed fairly well in the Primary debates, one can hope that he regains his composure and can effectively present himself during the three one on one's with President Obama. The bad news, the history of presidential debates suggests strongly that they don't usually alter the outcome.

Mitt Romney is not managing himself very well these days and quite possibly nor is his campaign. Romney has pissed away most of the last two weeks by making unforced errors. The mistakes need to stop. Today, reports of cash issues appeared in the press, which is bad news as the Obama team throws (seems to throw) up new ads every day. If Romney is going to turn this around, we need to see a very different candidate and campaign over the next 48 days.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Radical Islamic terror ‘flicks’ insult humanity far more deeply than an idiot film about Muslims by a felonious con man - NY Daily News

"There are many legitimate incidents that moderate Muslims can condemn America for in the recent past. No one should forget the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. History will not be kind to George W. Bush and his band of merry neo cons for ordering the bombing of Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 . There is also President Obama reneging on his promise to close Gitmo . And the ongoing killing of innocents with misguided drone attacks in the Middle East.

There are legitimate gripes reasonable Muslims can air. Instead, radical Islamists chose to kill and riot over a ridiculous and unreleased indie flick on Sept. 11.

If they want to view some truly obscene film, they should watch extremists storm the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi with machine guns and grenade launchers to murder Chris Stevens, a friend of the people of Libya, and three other innocents, in the name of Allah and the Prophet Muhammed.

That’s an obscene piece of film."

Read the full story here:

(H/T - Tom P./NYC)

Conservative David Frum weighs in on Mitt Romney's comments about the 47 percent...

Another good article from David Frum...

Here's Why Mitt's 100% Wrong on the 47% - The Daily Beast

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sam Bacile's "Innocence of Muslims"

This is the movie that is causing most of the protests in the Middle East. It runs about 14 minutes or so.

Watch "Sam Bacile Muhammad Movie FULL HD - Innocence of Muslims" on YouTube

Does freedom of speech mean anything goes?

Does freedom of speech have limits? Are productions that intentionally insult, mock or def respect for other peoples religions, fair game? Is the current movie that makes fun of the Islamic faith a sort of Cinematic terrorism? The reaction in the Middle East this movie has caused is not a surprise to anyone. Should it be banned or dis-allowed?

Enjoy this column... its thought provoking...

Terry Jones and the First Amendment: via HuffPost

Overview of Middle Eastern set and how they affect Obama's and Romney's campaigns...

This is one of the best articles I've read so far on the impact of the Middle East crisis on this years presidential election...

Click the link to read the article... - Who’s Getting the Mideast Crisis Right? - Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

president Obama responds to Mitt Romney's comments about Libya...

President Obama's response to Mitt Romney's comments about the events unfolding in Libya...

The upcoming foreign policy debate keeps getting harder and harder for Mister Romney...

(Click on the CNN link to read the comments...)

CNN Political Ticker

Can he save his own campaign?

Intetesting article from political on what several GOP political expert feel Mitt Romney should do over the last 55 days of this campaign season.

So -- what should Mitt Romney do? - Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman -

The Romney Campaign Starts To Clean Up Mess...

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign has released "suggested talking points" for conservative pundits to use regarding questions about Mitt Romney's statement about the death of an American ambassador in Libya.

Romney's forte is not foreign policy. Period. His remarks of the last few weeks beginning with Russia being our biggest concern globally and now these comments for the situation in Libya both reflect  unflattering elements of his campaign and candidacy. I think it's unwise to go out on a limb, to go out of your way,  that is, to make comments on an issue that you don't have a lot of expertise on. In those situations I think it's usually best and traditional to make safer, less controversial comments.

Romney has not done this... and it's my thinking that he will pay a price for these mistakes in the upcoming foreign policy debate next month.

Click on the CNN link just below to read all the talking points that have been distributed to right wing conservative pundits...

CNN Political Ticker

Monday, September 10, 2012

Obama pulling ahead in post convention polls...

Nate Silver's latest column on the post Democratic National Convention polling results, which show Obama getting steam across the board. The President's numbers are getting better and there's no telling how high they may go.

Read it here:

Sept. 8: Conventions May Put Obama in Front-Runner's Position -

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Romney says parts of health reform will stay?

This morning on Meet the Press, Mitt Romney said he believes parts of the health reform should remain. He said he supports covering people with pre existing conditions, which therefore means he would have to support an individual mandate to achieve that throughout the health insurance industry. He also said he thinks children should be allowed to remain on their parents health insurance policies as long as they wish.

It seems to me he has flipped once more on the individual mandate concept and now is leaving it open ended for people to decide just how long they would like their children to remain on the parents health insurance policies, which is an even more progressive stance then President Obama supported in the Affordable Care Act.

This is a curious move for the Romney campaign. Perhaps if called on it by the media he may suggest that he was set up by Fox News with a "got you" question.

We'll see...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thoughts on final night of DNC...

Closing thoughts on the 2012 Democratic Convention...

*Jennifer Granholm and Joe Biden both gave solid speeches. Granholm's was better received, but Biden's wasn't far behind.

*President Obama's speech was maybe the 3rd best in this year's convention behind President Clinton's and Michelle Obama's...

*I saw several tweets tonight regarding Obama speech that suggested it was a safe speech, the kind you give if you're in the lead and don't want to hurt yourself by saying something silly...

*While President Clinton spent a lot of time on the Affordable Care Act, I'm a little surprised that Obama didn't give it a few more lines that he did.

*The most inspiring moment of the night and quite possibly the convention was Gabby Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance. What a story...

*The Democrats finally began to give a coherent explanation on how the Romney/Ryan team's announced plans don't add up. To hammer home that you can't reduce the deficit by lowering taxes on one class, and asking a less able class to pay for them. All while you increase defense spending to never before seen levels. It defies logic...

*Glad to see the President say "Climate change is not a hoax."

*Having watched both conventions, I'm trying to find an argument to say the Republican's was superior in some way to the Democrats. It wasn't is my final answer.

*While the GOP has a deeper pool of up and comers, the Democrats have the All-Stars right now...

*The GOP's main goal was to reintroduce Mitt Romney to the American people and polish up his image and make him seem a warmer type man. I don't think Romney got much of a boost from his convention. More than "hey, he's a pretty good guy" I think the takeaways for most people were, "wasn't Clint Eastwood great/terrible?" And, "Why didn't Romney say anything about the troops?"

*The Dems main goal was to portray President Obama as a Commander in Chief and as a strong leader. There's nothing I can identify from this week that suggests...remotely...that the convention wasn't a clear cut success for the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thoughts on second night of DNC...

A few thoughts on the second night of the Democratic National Convention...

*Former President Bill Clinton nailed his speech. Covering many issues, Clinton eviscerated the Romney/Ryan agenda one by one with a big dose of plain talk.

*Elizabeth Warren started slowly but got better as she went along. I can't imagine that her performance tonight will have much of an impact on her Senate race in Massachusetts. 

*Sandra Fluke was probably the most polarizing speaker of the night. Depending on your point of view, she's either a role model for all young women or an example of entitlements run amuk...

*The line of the night was President Clinton's on Paul Ryan: "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did." 

*The roll call vote process is pretty painful to watch, with each State claiming its own greatness...

*I have to emphasize how much Clinton focused on actual policy as opposed to rhetoric. That, I think, may move the needle on many undecided voters. 

*The energy level for the second night didn't seem to match the opening, until the last speaker, that is. President Clinton was as well received as Mrs. Obama seemed to be. I suspect tomorrow night will be a little different with both VP Biden and President Obama speaking in prime time. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thoughts on opening night of DNC...

Some quick thoughts on this evening first night of the Democratic National Convention...

*Lily Ledbetter, Duval Patrick and Michelle Obama each nailed their speeches. Absolutely...

*Rahm Emanuel, Cory Booker and Julian Castro were ok, nothing exceptional...

*Safe to say, the audience make-up sure looks different than it did at the RC last week...

*If there was any question would the Party try to run away from "Obamacare," none remains. No excuses, they're holding it up as a strength, not a weakness...

*I'm not sure what was gained by the Democratic National Committee by removing any mention of the word "God" in the party platform. Intellectually I'm fine with it, but the optics are bad on this one...

*Mrs. Obama's speech was every bit as good as Mrs. Romney's...Both were very, very well done and both will be virtually meaningless on Election Day...

*Tonight was Ladies Night at the DNC...

*Castro had a great line: "You can't be pro-business unless you're pro-education."

*Plenty of mentions / praise for Military tonight...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2016: Obama's America - A review...

I fulfilled a promise this morning.

I went to the movies and watched Dinesh D'Souza's film, 2016, Obama's America. The friend, a staunch conservative had encouraged me to watch the movie a week or so ago, so that I might learn more about "...exactly who Obama really is."

The theatre was the Cinemark Miami Valley located in Piqua, OH. This is in Miami County, OH and for perspective, this County voted 62.23% in favor of John McCain and 34.67% for Barack Obama in the 2008 General Election. It is an agricultural and factory work, conservative, heavily Caucasian, Christian area. I had no illusions that there would be many Obama supporters there. For the early bird showing today, there were about 30 people in the audience. All whites, mostly between the ages of 45 and 70. I spoke briefly with the General Manager of the Cinema, Joe Swietzer, who informed me that the movie is drawing as they expected, which was fairly modestly. It was meeting the projections they had set for it. No more, no less. Swietzer confirmed that it was catering to older audiences.

The movie ran 89 minutes long. It was beautifully filmed and scored. As the film took us to places like Kenya, Indonesia, etc., the cinematography was exquisite. The soundtrack and background music was culturally authentic and was expertly recorded. *(CorrectedThe director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, makes his debut in this film, worked with producer Gerald Molen, who's work is widely regarded with such credits to his name as "Schindler's List," "Jurassic Park," and "Rain Man." 

(*A bit of a botch-up here. This sentence, as pointed out to me by a reader, was missed during the proof-reading process and was quite simply wrong. D'Souza isn't an esteemed film maker. The original, mistaken line is here: The director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, is widely regarded as an esteem film-maker and craftsman. Mea Culpa.)

I will say that from the beginning frames of the film I found the use of the images and music to be constructing  an ominous tone. As a professional musician myself, it is not difficult to transmit emotions via music and of course, images. If there had been no dialogue in the movie whatsoever-just a series of images-the clear message of this film would have been one of danger and fear. Make no mistake, this was never meant to be an impartial film. D'Souza has a message and a perspective to convey and he did so with a very high level of execution. Production wise, this is a powerful film for its type.

Now to the content. The basic premise of the film is that America in 2008 was a nation of a mostly unsatisfied electorate, who badly wanted something different in their Presidential leadership. Barack Hussein Obama was that "something different." Simply put, a black man with a relatively short public record was able to charm the voters into handing him the highest office in the land. The film suggests that it was far more of a seduction than anything intellectual that propelled him into the White House. D'Souza spends the first half of the movie transcribing a timeline of sorts of Barack Obama's origins, including those of his father, which is a central theme throughout the film. We are introduced to the life and ideology of his father in Africa and Hawaii and some of the anti-colonial people he circulated with. The seeds of Obama future plans to essentially downsize America into an "equal partner in the world", we are told, are planted during this time.

We're then introduced to several key figures who have been influential in Obama's life other than his father. We meet Frank Marshall David, Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, etc. and all the baggage that goes with those names. I suggest interested readers google any of those names and decide for themselves how clear and strong are the alleged connections with Obama and how they are, according to D'Souza, heavily influencing the trajectory of a second term for the President.

The premise that a young man growing up without a father, is under some natural compulsion to pursue an approval of sorts, albeit symbolic in nature. Certainly growing up with out a father has an impact, but whether one believes that Barack Obama was so effected by this absence in his formative years, that he cunningly devised a long-term strategy to exploit his situation and use it to become President is up to the viewer to decide. D'Souza would have you believe Barack Obama is the greatest sleeper agent in the history of the world.

I don't dispute most of the factual information presented in the film. I have major reservations and outright issues with how some of these facts are interpreted. Again, there's an agenda with this film. The mission statement for this film might well have been, "...let's make a movie, based on real life events and relationships. Let's twist many of these events to serve our narrative. That Barack Obama is out to fundamentally transform  our Country into something most of us wouldn't recognize. Let's construct enough scary and foreboding scenes and images in the film that for the person perhaps on the fence, this might give them enough emotion input to push them our way."

This film is not a mind-changer, in my opinion. Only the most non-discerning, uncritical viewer would likely walk away feeling NOW they know the rest of the story about Obama. It is 89 minutes worth of one film-makers explanation of the life and motives of the President. For those who already dislike Obama, this film is an affirmation. For those who support the Obama, it is most likely a bit of an unfair hatchet job. For many in the middle, we'll see. Those who can realize when their emotions are being played upon will have a very different reaction than those who can not.

I have to imagine, any accomplished film-maker with a comparable budget and resources that D'Souza had, could easily create a similar production depicting Mitt Romney as an evil man, who is setting out to damage America. I'd put this movie in the same class of much of Michael Moore's work and the internet film, "Three Things About Islam". Some truth, some lies, some unfairness. In a theme I find myself repeating quite often of late-the burden is on us as consumers of information to develop our senses enough to know the difference between pablum (i.e. baby food) and prime rib. Not all food is the same, nor obviously is cinema.

In summary, I felt 2016: Obama's America was a well crafted, deliberately mis-leading production with rather large simplifications of various facts. If what you want is easy to swallow content that plays to a certain narrative, this is what you got. If you were looking for a more intellectually honest examination of Barack Obama's history and ultimate intentions, you'll not find that here.


President Obama at Ft. Bliss: Unwelcome? (Or, what happens when we buy our news from a drug dealer...)

Was President Obama's speech to soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas a flop? Was he unwelcome?

I ask because on Saturday, I saw the following story  from Red Alert Politics posted on a friend's facebook page. They had picked up a story from The Daily Beast. (Both are self described Conservative publications.)  The headline read as follows:

Obama speech to soldiers met with silence

(An excerpt from the story...)

President Barack Obama was greeted with fleeting applause and extended periods of silence as he offered profuse praise to soldiers and their families during an Aug. 31 speech in Fort Bliss, Texas.
His praise for the soldiers — and for his own national-security policies — won cheers from only a small proportion of the soldiers and families in the cavernous aircraft-hangar.
The audience remains quiet even when the commander-in-chief thanked the soldiers’ families, and cited the 198 deaths of their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The friend, who I will not reveal the name of, wrote an intro to this linked article...It read,  "And WHY would anyone, especially soldiers, be cheering for this 'Commander in Chief"? I personally applaud their silence, as it sent precisely the message it shouldve sent.....You, Mr.Obama, are not respected or welcome here. Kudos to all of our military for working hard for this country, something Obama would do well to emulate..."

I set about trying to research did in fact, President Obama receive the cold shoulder from US Military Troops at Ft. Bliss? 

I did a google search on Obama and Ft. Bliss speech and started reviewing the returns.

1st up was a CBS report on it that commented Obama "came on stage to applause..."

Next up was a HuffPo story, which I skipped due to its liberal bias...

Next was a NBC report...which didn't comment on the reception, but rather focused on the content of the speech...

Next was a link from Sodahead ..which basically reprinted much of the Daily Beast's story on the speech, but with no credit given to TDB...(Bad form.)

I kept looking for a mainstream source that mentioned the dud speech...

Next up was a blog, Nice Deb that featured Munro's story as the basis for her blog piece. (I did think the picture of Andrew Breitbart in her pitch for donations was pretty cool looking..) I moved on...

Next up was the, which is a favorite website of mine for good quality reporting. I felt like I was getting closer to some real journalism. Oddly, the Hill didn't mention anything about a chilly reception either.

I skipped the "Clash Daily" and the "Tammy Bruce" links, as they are both clearly conservative in perspective and worked off the Munro piece.

I was hopeful when I found an article on it from a local television station, but they didn't comment on it either...

I then looked at a Fox News piece-which like the other major news organisations, said nothing about it.

I gave up...certain that the mainstream/lamestream media had let us down again...

Given the negative reporting of his appearance and the soldiers reaction to him, I looked for a link to the actual video of the speech in the article, but didn't find any. The White House posted the speech on their own website, and the author Neil Munro, even referred to the video saying that, "The White House’s video-feed cut off 10 seconds after the president finished his speech, before the audience’s reaction overall could be gauged by viewers."


Let's see for ourselves, shall we? (The video is about 26 minutes long...)

Wow...where to start?

First off, while there where campaign themes clearly evident in the speech, it was not an official campaign appearance. This visit was to thank the servicemen for a job well done and to announce some new programs aimed at improving mental health services for military personnel. I saw no campaign posters. The speech touches on some hard issues about military service and while there were moments of the troops acknowledging various units, and other reactions of approval towards the increased help for the vets, America's virtues, the military in general, it is true, no question about it-no shouts of four more years where heard at all. Nor should there have been.

Its important to not judge a speech like this by a standard belonging to campaign events. Its unfair and a bit shitty to the troops to try and use them as a political tool against the President. As it would be towards any President.

In terms of reception, Mr. Obama was greeted warmly with applause and hollers by the troops. Repeatedly throughout the speech, the audience responded positively and appropriately. During those times where the dark side of military service was being discussed, there weren't-for obviously good reasons-any cheering or whooping.

I give my friend a bit of a pass on this as they are not a college educated journalist. They saw something, it resonated well with their world-view of hating all things Obama and they tossed it up on facebook. Its not the first time they've done this and it probably won't be the last. Regardless, its pathetic and offensive that a person would willfully accept slanted words such as Munro's without even a cursory check to peruse the facts. This friend often claims to be absolutely pro-military and chides the President for being actively against our servicemen. If the author's intent by posting such a story to the Daily Beast website was that it would not only be picked up by like-minded websites, but also spread around social media by like-minded readers, with little regard for the facts or the details of the event, well, Mr. Munro-well done.

I feel bad for my friend because I think they are sincere about their admiration and support of our military. Its shameful that writers and editors knowingly post material such as this patently unfair piece knowing that many readers don't fact-check, don't dig any deeper, etc. (Have no illusions, both sides of the political world engage in this behavior.) Readers are treated as whores by the media. They are used to spread a theme or a falsehood, with absolutely no regard for them by the authors.

Does the name Neil Munro ring a bell? It did for me, so I did some quick digging. Remember this little gem from a few months ago?

Mr. Munro breached a long standing point of etiquette by interrupting the POTUS in the Rose Garden during remarks on the immigration issue. Reporters from Fox News' Chris Wallace to Shepard Smith criticized Mr. Munro's actions. "I think it's outrageous," Wallace said. "...The idea that you would interrupt the president in the middle of prepared remarks and shout a question — I don’t think the guy should be allowed back in the White House on a press pass and my guess is he won't be."

One of the goals of the Reasonable Conversation Blog is to provide a fair handling of political issues. I acknowledge I lean left but often have written critically of this President and his Administration. I have criticized unfair liberal treatment of the Chik Fil-A matter, defending gun rights, etc. There is no defending Munro's willful manipulation of a military event. None. 

Mr. Munro's seems to be a "journalist" whose bias has gotten the best of him. I suppose there's room in our media for self-serving types who seem more intent on shining the light on themselves than on any serious journalism. To pervert the audience reaction to advance an agenda is one thing. When that audience is United States servicemen and women, I would think Mr. Munro would know where to draw the line that he ought not step over. He apparently does not. 

While his peers understand the game he's playing, too many readers don't. Munro victimizes his readers in the same way a drug dealer does by giving crack to an addict. Too many of us are high/drunk on the euphoria of unearthing negative content about whoever we don't like in the political realm. 

To pervert the words of a politician is, it seems standard operating procedure in many newsrooms. The Left does it as does the Right. We as an audience of all too often ignorant, thrill seeking recipients, often get what we ask for. If we so despise Mitt Romney that anything...anything at all that shines a negative light upon him is acceptable no matter how offensive the perversion involved, we fail. Or, if we so despise Barack Obama that anything...anything at all that shines a negative light upon him is acceptable no matter the perversion involved, we're complicit. We're guilty of not using our brains, our intellect and our intelligence to evaluate the facts of a thing. When we abandon reason, we revert back to being animals. Crude and beastly and unrefined.

This is more than a friend letting their hatred be manipulated by a professional writer to advance an agenda at the cost of perverting the response of the members of an institution that this friend holds dear. Multiply the offensive nature of this by a factor of a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, whatever and you can begin to understand the massive journalistic wildfire that we must fight. It is a scorched earth approach that destroys everything in its path that doesn't agree with the originator's premise.

This is not a game.

We are doing great damage to ourselves, our institutions and our Country by playing along just because it feels so damn good.