Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal Comments on the Republican Women’s Problem

And In the Process Demonstrates She Does Not Know Politics or Tax Basics

One of the reasons everyone knows the Mitt Romney campaign is in trouble is that the supporters are not supporting.  None of the usual suspects of the Conservative press are writing in praise of Mr. Romney or his campaign, instead all are in the advice offering business.  If Mr. Romney starts to recover and Mr. Obama to falters, this will switch and everyone will see Obama supporters writing the ‘Dear Abby’ advice column to the campaign.

The Wall Street Journal columnists are all taking up the arms, and this time it is regular columnist Kimberly Strassel’s turn.  Her theme involves the Republican relationships with women, and her advice to Mr. Romney is to get with it, to turn women on to his campaign.

The GOP's female problem may help lose the presidential election. Women—in particular women who are independent voters—are going to decide this race. They are the demographic most up for grabs. The campaigns know it, which explains the obsessive focus by both sides on the female electorate. And yet for all the Republican attention to the women's vote, the party is blowing a huge opportunity to bring women to its side.

So how does Ms. Strassel propose that the Republicans appeal to women?  Well first of all she claims the Democrats don’t really deserve the support of women.

It isn't as if Democrats are in tune with today's woman. The Obama campaign is serving a straight-up 1970s feminist agenda: contraception, abortion, equal pay. In this world view, women can't and don't think much beyond their reproductive apparatus. 

which must mean that the overwhelming support that Mr. Obama enjoys from women is because women are too stupid to know what is best for them.  And exactly what does ‘equal pay’ have to do with ‘reproduction apparatus'.

And on health care Ms. Strassel seems to think it is a winning argument to kick those 26 year old offspring off the parents health insurance.

The Independent Women's Voice, by contrast, is directly taking on elements of the law that are popular with women, explaining that seemingly attractive provisions—say, letting 26-year-olds stay on parental insurance—will in fact raise costs and worsen care. In controlled tests of the households where the IWV message had been received, the group found a significant uptick in women and independents who want the law repealed and who support Mr. Romney.

Yeah, deny health insurance to your son or daughter, that’s sure to be a winning argument for getting women’s votes.

And here Ms. Strassel demonstrates a lack of basic knowledge of the tax system.

While Democrats brag about their Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Mr. Romney might note that the greatest pay injustice for women is the steep marginal tax-rate system that Mr. Obama loves. Since most women are second earners, their income is added to their husband's and taxed at his top rate. A married woman who does the same job as a single man keeps fewer of her dollars. Mr. Romney's tax reforms will benefit all taxpayers, but they will particularly benefit women. It's that simple.

Actually an increasing number of women are not ‘second earners’ and would not like to be classified as such.  But Ms. Strassel doesn’t know tax basics, that the rates for joint filing ameliorate the point about women’s earnings being taxed higher even if they are the ‘second’ earner.  Oh, and Mr. Romney’s tax proposals, if they are to even attempt to reach his goal of revenue neutrality would have to remove the child tax credit and the child care tax credit.  Exactly how does that attract women?  (It doesn’t which is why Mr. Romney won’t mention it.)

And here is a real howler.

Mr. Romney could note that his health-care reforms—which would finally empower families to buy affordable insurance outside the workplace—would especially help the millions of women who work part time and so don't qualify for corporate health plans. He could note that his plans for strengthening Medicare and eliminating the death tax will matter most to women, who tend to outlive their husbands.

See what Ms. Strassel apparently does not know is that the Estate Tax provides for a 100% exclusion for assets bequeathed to the spouse.  So there is no Estate Tax on the estate a husband who pre-deceases his wife leaves to her.  And of course the Estate Tax only currently affects estates in excess of $10 million.  Guess what, Mr. Romney already has the votes of those people.

One would think that knowledge of basic tax provisions would be a requirement for someone to opine in the Wall Street Journal.  Apparently not, at least not if the one opining spews the company line, as illogical and contradictory as it may be.

As for the advice, well speaking for the Romney campaign we'll decline Ms. Strassel's suggestions.  Things are bad enough as it is.

The Socialist/Communist Obama Administration Takes a Step in a Backward Direction – Government to Sell Big Stake in AIG

If Mr. Obama is a Socialist, He is Terrible At It

Four years ago the supposedly dedicated free market President Bush nationalized the AIG insurance company.  The reason at the time seem particularly reasonable.

U.S. officials four years ago said the rescue of a teetering AIG was necessary because the company was so entangled with other financial firms around the world via complex instruments that its collapse could have unpredictable effects including possibly bringing down many other firms.

Yes that was the Bush administration.  But as everyone knows President Bush was replaced with President Obama, and as told by Conservatives, Mr. Obama is really a socialist, and probably a communist.  This of course ignores Mr. Obama’s action in the auto industry, or as everyone put its “Osama is dead and GM is alive”.

So it must disappoint his critics when Mr. Obama refused to act like a socialist.  Case in point, the government has overseen the resurgence of AIG and is now getting ready to sell a large part of its stake in the company.

The Treasury Department said it would sell $18 billion of American International Group Inc.  stock in a public offering, slashing its stake by more than half and making the government a minority shareholder for the first time since the financial crisis was roaring in September 2008.

Even worse, it appears the government will do ok financially on the deal, something that must surely horrify the doom and gloom conservatives who say government can do nothing right in business and the private sector does everything right.

As of the last Treasury sale of AIG shares, the government had $24 billion of AIG-related investments outstanding, according to Treasury data, while the bailout of AIG had yielded over $18 billion in interest, fees and profits. With the coming sale of $18 billion in securities, the government by one measure can consider itself to have recouped the funds it extended on the bailout.

But hey, the stock market is up near 40% since Mr. Obama took office, so who you gonna believe, the right wing fanatics or your own pocketbook.  

Thought the Republican Party Had Principles and Had Abandoned Todd “Women Cannot Get Pregnant From Real Rape” Akin

Not So Fast

When Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin blurted out his true feelings, that women who are pregnant and want an abortion just claim rape, because if they were really raped the woman’s body would prevent pregnancy the Republican establishment quickly and correctly condemned him and his comments.  Those of us who do not generally support Republicans  were pleased, but most of us wondered if the newfound principles of the Republican party would last.  They didn’t.

The Group "Republican Conservatives without Principles” which include Jim DeMint and Rick Santorum have now come out strongly for Mr. Akin, apparently thinking that enough time has elapsed so that they can do so without getting smeared themselves with the ugly stench of Mr. Akin’s remarks.

DeMint is joining former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a fellow social conservative who sought the Republican presidential nomination this year, in endorsing Akin’s controversial candidacy.

In a statement released through Santorum’s Patriot Majority PAC, DeMint and Santorum made a fundraising appeal for the beleaguered Republican Senate candidate.

“Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate. Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage,” DeMint and Santorum said. “We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse.”

Okay, anyone familiar with Mr. Santorum and Mr. DeMint knew this was coming.  But more of a surprise is Missouri’s other Senator, Roy Blunt who now supports Mr. Akin.

The endorsement from two leading conservatives comes hours after fellow Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt threw his support behind Akin

Mr. Blunt is considered a more main stream conservative, and not one of the vitriolic extremists represented by the views of Mr. DeMint or Mr. Santorum.  So everyone now knows how Republicans really feel, which is this. 

Nothing matters except winning, and if they have to adopt repugnant views, well, who care.  

It didn’t use to be this way, for example, when George H. W. Bush was President he rejected a Republican candidate for Governor of Louisiana who was a leader of the Klan.  Kinda miss those days, don’t we. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What If, Just What If Iran Wants the U. S. and/or Israel to Attack It

And Will Israel Attack Iran Knowing That It Cannot Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities and Thinking the Attack Will Force the U. S. into War with Iran?

No, All That is Not Unthinkable – And Somebody Needs to Think About It

[Editor's Note:  Unlike many of the Post on this Forum this is not funny.  Nor was it meant to be.]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went before the United Nations and clearly expressed his hope, recommendation and desire that the western nations use military force to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. 

Netanyahu made a case, laced with historical references, for telling Iran explicitly where it must stop to forestall an outside attack. He also warned that time was running out.

“At this late hour there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs,” Netanyahu told the annual gathering. “And that is by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

The Prime Minister clearly does not want Israel to do this alone, for several reasons.  The strongest are that (1) there is tremendous opposition to such a strike in Israel and (2) it is not clear that Israel has that capability.

What Mr. Netanyahu wants is for some type ‘red line’, a point in the Iranian weapons development that if passed would trigger military action.  This will not happen.  First of all Europe will not participate at all.  And America does not have the military resources to engage in another Asian/Middle East war.  So what Israel is really asking for is the right to go in by itself, to say to the world that Israel asked for help and support, and not getting it had no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear capabilities itself.

Netanyahu never directly threatened his own attack on Iran, and his tone toward Obama was conciliatory, but his meaning was clear: If Iran won’t back down and the United States won’t act, Israel would be forced to do so.

No one opposes a strike against Iran if it would destroy their nuclear weapons capability, have minimal collateral damage and no negative consequences for peace in the area for the future.  But that is not possible.  Even worse, Iran may be deliberately trying to create an attack on the itself.  Why would the country do that, well there are some very rational reasons.  Here are some of them.

  1. The current regime is not popular.  An attack on Iran would consolidate the population behind the government and give it the legitimacy it currently lacks.

  1. An unprovoked attack would give Iran the moral authority to unleash terrorist attacks against Israel and the west. 

  1. The attack could well trigger an alliance of middle eastern countries in all out war against Israel.

Would the leadership of any country inflict this on their citizens?  Yes, look at the Soviet Union under Stalin.  And remember that some radicals in the U. S. accused Franklin Roosevelt of deliberately ignoring warnings against a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just so he could have the authority to go to war against Germany and Japan.  This is not an inconceivable idea.

Is this really what is going on?  No one knows, but somebody better start thinking about it before Iran is bombed, and they get exactly what they wanted, a world engulfed in war of terror against the west and Israel.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Uh-Oh for Mr. Romney – Time To Move Michigan to the Obama Column

Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin Now Look More Solid for Obama

An interesting phenomena in politics occurred in the month of SeptemberEarly in the month the states of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, the three key industrial battleground states all moved twoards to Mr. Romney.  It is not clear why, possibly the convention bounce and possibly the fact that Mr. Romney chose a running mate from the region, causing voters to more closely identify with the Romney camp.

But in the last two weeks of September the voters in all three states have moved decisively away from Mr. Romney, again pretty much in lockstep.  We think this is the result of the "47% bounce".  This Forum earlier gave Mr. Obama Wisconsin and Ohio, and now it looks like Michigan can be moved into his column.  The earlier thinking was that Michiganders were not thankful but resentful about the auto bailout and that Mr. Romney’s links to the state would help him.  Currently they are not, and it looks like the Romney campaign is conceding the state. 

Michigan: Romney vs. Obama

Key 2012 Races: SenateMI1MI3MI11 | President: 2008: Obama +16.42004: Kerry +3.4

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEObama (D)Romney (R)Spread
RCP Average9/8 - 9/20----49.841.2Obama +8.6
Rasmussen Reports9/20 - 9/20500 LV4.55442Obama +12
Detroit News9/15 - 9/17600 LV4.05238Obama +14
CNN/Opinion Research9/14 - 9/18754 LV3.55244Obama +8
MRG9/10 - 9/15600 LV4.04842Obama +6
Baydoun/Foster (D)9/12 - 9/121156 LV2.94644Obama +2
EPIC-MRA9/8 - 9/11600 LV4.54737Obama +10

                                                      Source:  RCP

This is confusing since they need Florida and a two large industrial belt states to win.  Florida and one of the three states above won’t do it for them.  The explanation, maybe the Romney people can’t count.

So here is the way the electoral race looks like it will end up in November (unless it doesn't).  Mr. Romney needs 25 electoral votes.  But for Democrats planning the victory party, wait a minute.  The Political Gods of Irony don't like that.  Still to come to affect the outcome, outside advertising dollars and the debates. And like most bounces, maybe the 47% bounce will evaporate once voters' minds turn to more important things, like the baseball playoffs and Dancing with the Stars.  And don't forget the Press, who will want to make it more competitive, with their stories of the Romney comeback, stories that will be presented whether true or false.












D. C.
New Jersey
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
New York

North Dakota

Rhode Island


South Carolina

South Dakota




West Virginia









Who is Doing More to Prevent Abortion – Those Who March and Protest or New York City Schools?

Choosing Common Sense - Well That Does Make Sense

In criminal law not all offenses are considered equal.  Jaywalking is not murder.  Shoplifting is not bank robbery.  And in the world of social issues birth control is not abortion.  For those who are sincerely opposed to abortion preventing unwanted pregnancies, which are the major cause of elective abortions should be a top priority.

So New York City schools have started a pilot program whereby family planning services and contraception are made available in the schools. 

A New York City pilot program to distribute morning-after pills and other contraceptives to high school students has encountered little resistance from parents since it began early last year, health officials said Sunday.

And why should anti-abortion rights groups cheer the program?  Well the answer is pretty simple.

“In New York City, over 7,000 young women become pregnant by age 17 — 90 percent of which are unplanned,” Alexandra Waldhorn, a health department spokeswoman, said. “We are committed to trying new approaches, like this pilot program in place since January 2011, to improve a situation that can have lifelong consequences.”

Notice that the program contains a parent opt-out.  So everything would seem to be in place for an effective, successful abortion reducing practice.  But there are opponents.

Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, an anti-abortion group in New York, questioned whether parents were really giving informed consent.

He also cited a 2010 British study, published in The Journal of Health Economics, which suggested that the increased availability of emergency contraception caused some teenagers to increase sexually risky behavior.

Interesting, Mr. Pfundstein’s position is that parents don’t know what they are doing, so government has to take over management of the their children’s lives.  Not exactly a Conservative position is it? 

But let’s suppose Mr. Pfundstein’s other point is correct, that increased availability of contraception causes more teenagers to increase sexually risky behavior.  That is not good, but isn’t it better than an abortion?  

Another Ugly Aspect of the Penn State Child Abuse Scandal

This Time Involving Upper Penn State Management

It is of course, impossible to read anything about the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State sexual abuse case without feeling dirty all over.  Mr. Sandusky is of course likely to spend the rest of his life in jail, and hopefully even after his life is over he will suffer torment.  But there are others involved besides Mr. Sandusky.  Two Penn State officials have been charged in the case on issues involving a cover up of the crimes.

The two officials so charged moved to have the case tossed out of court, and those actions were denied.

A judge on Wednesday upheld perjury charges against two Penn State administrators accused of lying to a grand jury that investigated allegations ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused children.

Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover ruled against the motions by former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley that would have thrown out the count of perjury against each man.

This Forum is more than willing to await a trial to pass judgment on the officials.  But what is most disturbing is the other charge they are faced with, failure to report child abuse.  Again we can await the judiciary proceedings, but everyone should think on this for a moment, or hopefully longer.

The perjury counts are felonies, while failure to report suspected child abuse is a summary offense, less serious than a misdemeanor.

Think about that, failure to report child abuse in Pennsylvania does not even rise to the level of seriousness as a misdemeanor.  Is that really what Pennsylvanians want to say about the horrific crime of child abuse?

Oh, and the defense of Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley on this charge.

The judge did not rule on the other count they each face, failure to properly report suspected child abuse. In that case, the defendants have argued the statute of limitations has expired. The judge said that dismissal request would be ruled on separately.

Get past the legalese and what Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley are saying is “Yeah, we may be guilty as charged but you didn’t catch us in time so now you can’t charge us with the crime”.  All this leaves one pretty significant question, how does anyone, including themselves associate with these men? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mitt Romney – The Great Opponent of Deficit Spending – Borrowed $20 million to Support His Campaign

Apparently Mitt Forgot To Read His Campaign Speeches About Balancing Budgets

The Romney campaign is partly built on the argument that Mr. Romney will balance the federal budget, because deficit spending is bad and leads to a weaker economy.  And of course there is the moral argument about deficit spending, the implication being that people and governments that have to borrow are bad, bad, bad.

So it is with some amazement that it was just revealed that earlier this year the Romney campaign took out a $20 million loan from a nice accommodating Washington bank to finance their campaign when, amazing as it may seem, the Romney people were spending more than they had.

Even as it bragged about beating President Obama in fundraising over the summer, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was so low on cash that it ended up engineering an unusual $20 million loan to meet expenses until the former Massachusetts governor was formally named as the Republican nominee in late August, officials disclosed Tuesday.

The loan from the Bank of Georgetown, first reported Tuesday night by National Review Online and confirmed by a senior campaign official, provides a telling glimpse into previously unknown money troubles within the Romney camp over the summer. Romney has relied heavily on wealthy donors but has had persistent difficulty raising money among grassroots donors, who could have helped buoy his finances during the long summer before the Republican convention in Tampa.

Now a large part of the problem here is somewhat ridiculous election financing laws that prevent a candidate from using general election contributions before the candidate is nominated.  But note that even today the Romney campaign has not paid off the loan.

The campaign has paid back $9 million of the loan so far, with $11 million remaining on the debt side of the ledger, the senior campaign official said. 

and also note that unlike in 2008, Mr. Romney is not willing to put a single dollar of his own considerable fortune into the campaign.

Romney, who loaned more than $40 million of his fortune to his 2008 bid, has not given his 2012 campaign any loans, officials said.

And while we have no reason why Mr. Romney has refused to invest his own funds, it is pretty easy to speculate that the wife and kids put their foot down, that they told Mr. Romney in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to run he wasn’t doing it on their dime.

In the final act, none of this is really important as far as the campaign is concerned.  Outside spending will mean that Mr. Romney far exceeds the Obama campaign in funding ugly attack ads.  And regardless of the outcome of the election no one will really care who spent what.

But the fact that Mr. Romney is willing to borrow money says a lot about his principles or lack thereof, and the fact that yes, he is willing to do anything or say anything to get elected.