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Free Markets, Free People

Romeney’s “secret video”: Much ado about nothing

So, heaven forbid, there’s a “secret video” out of Romney (provided, reportedly, by James Earl Carter IV, who, ironically, is out of work) saying things that show what he really feels about Americans, (insert gasp here) etc., etc., – que the liberal outrage of the week and the latest in the left’s distract and disrupt campaign.

As to the remarks videoed by someone at this event, here’s how Mother Jones characterized what it saw as the big 3 quotes (that, one assumes, hurts Romney).

On the 47 percent of Americans “who will vote for the president no matter what.”

On the dividends of his anticipated November 6 victory: “we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”

On the “almost unthinkable prospects” for Mideast peace: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway…and I say there’s just no way.”

Oh my. Romney thinks that are “47% ” of Americans who will vote for Obama, “no matter what”.

Well here’s a shocker — so do I. Are they the same 47% who pay not income taxes (and save your breath, all those who beam in with payroll and sales taxes – “income” is before “taxes” because we’re talking about a specific tax, thankyouverymuch). No. But that’s sort of irrelevant. I do indeed believe that around 47% will indeed vote for Obama “no matter what”. Just as I believe there is about 45% who will vote for Romney, “no matter what”. Shock! The political term “yellow dog” is applied to both sides, folks, for a very good reason. They exist – in large quantities.

Of course the war is for the final 8% isn’t it? It always is. Why anyone is outraged by this number and his point is beyond me … or anyone who has any freaking idea of how politics have worked in this country for ages. It’s always been about wooing the final 8-10%. Obama’s problem is, since being elected, he’s rarely if ever been beyond 49%.

As to the damage? Well I think James Taranto sums that up pretty darn well:

Romney’s comment has been compared with Obama’s infamous 2008 remark, also at a private meeting with donors, about Pennsylvania voters who get bitter and cling to guns and religion. To our mind the difference is that those people, traditionally Democratic voters, could easily tell that Obama was referring to them. Most of the 47% will not see themselves in Romney’s description–and those who do, would probably not have considered voting for him anyway.

Bingo. Not that the Democratic dog isn’t going to worry this bone as much as it can.

Quote two about the economy. Context is always nice:

Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?

Romney: Taxageddon?

Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.

Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.

Again, an “oh, my … wait, what?”  You mean he wasn’t talking about the economy improving and him being able to take credit “without actually doing something” as implied by the out of context quote?

Context – what a concept.  He’s talking about how the markets will react to his election, that’s all.  And, as in the previous quote – he’s right.

Finally, the Palestinian question.  He’s three for three – they don’t want peace, they want the destruction of Israel and always have.  And when offered a 95% deal, their leader (another Nobel Peace Prize winner) Yassir Arafat, turned it down.  These are the people who parade their children around in fake suicide vests and launch rockets, weekly, into Israel.

As to what he said in full:

And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it.

On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won’t mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And his answer was, “Yes, I think there’s some prospect.” And I didn’t delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to push peace on them—and then it’s worth having the discussion. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking.

Can’t disagree.   Won’t disagree.  It’s essentially true.  When, and only when, the Palestinians get serious about real peace can such a process go forward.  They’re still not there.  In fact, they’re not even close.

Anyway, there you go.  The outrage is just nonsense as usual, but certainly helpful in the disrupt and distract campagin.  Not reported on?  This part of the conversation:

Audience member: The debates are gonna be coming, and I hope at the right moment you can turn to President Obama, look at the American people, and say, “If you vote to reelect President Obama, you’re voting to bankrupt the United States.” I hope you keep that in your quiver because that’s what gonna happen. And I think it’s going to be very effective. Just wanted to give you that.

Romney: Yeah, it’s interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We’re living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who’s loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren’t loaning us anymore. The Russians aren’t loaning it to us anymore. So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer is we’re just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we’re giving it.’ It’s just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future.

You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind. Yeah, George.

Audience member, “George”: Governor, to your point on complexity. How is—you’ve traveled around America and talked to people in larger groups and perhaps people with different backgrounds, and people in this room: To what extent do people really understand that we’re hurtling toward a cliff, and to what extent do people understand the severity of the fiscal situation we’re in. Do people get it?

Romney: They don’t. By and large people don’t get it. People in our party, and part of—it’s our fault because we’ve been talking about deficits and debt for about 25 or 30 years as a party, and so they’ve heard us say it and say it and say it. The fact that Greece is going what it’s going through, and they read about France and Italy and Spain, has finally made this issue topical for the American people. And so when you do polls, and you ask people what is the biggest issue in the 2012 election, No. 1 is the economy and jobs by a wide margin. But No. 2 is the deficit. But debt, that doesn’t calculate for folks, but the deficit does. They recognize you can’t go on forever like this. Although the people who recognize that tend to be Republicans, and the people who don’t recognize that tend to be Democrats. And what we have to get is that 5 or 10 percent in the middle who sometimes vote Republican, sometimes vote Democrat, and have them understand how important this is. It’s a challenge. I did the calculation for folks today, and USA Today publishes this every year. It’s a front-page story: the headline once a year, it somehow escapes people’s attention, and that is, if you take the total national debt and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, the amount of debt plus unfunded liabilities per household in America is $520,000. Per household.

Audience member: It’s like 12 times their income, right?

Romney: At least. 10, 12 times their income. Even though we’re not going to be writing the check for that amount per household, they’re going to be paying the interest on that. You’ll be paying the interest on that. [Audience laughs.] Because we—my generation will be long gone, and you’ll be paying the interest. And so you’ll be paying taxes, not only for the things you want in your generation, but for all the things we spent money on, which is just—it’s extraordinary to think the tax rates, someone calculated what would happen. If we don’t change Medicare or Social Security, the tax rate—you know what the payroll tax is now, it’s 15.3 percent—if we don’t change those programs, that tax rate will have to ultimately rise to 44 percent. The payroll tax. Then there’s the income tax on top, which the president wants to take to 40 percent. Then there’s state tax in most states. And sales tax. So you end up having to take 100 percent of people’s income. And yet the president, three and a half years in, won’t talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare. And when the Republicans do, it’s “Oh, you’re throwing granny off the cliff.” It’s like you’re killing the kids. The biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats. They look at this and say, “Holy cow! The only guys who are worried about the future of our country and our future are Republicans.” But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue. It’s like, I mean, there won’t be any houses like this if we stay on the road we’re on.

Now that is important stuff.  That is what this elections should be about.

Not this other crap that MJ and the left chose to quote out of context.  But then, what choice do they have but to resort to that given their candidate of choice’s record.

By the way, there’s now a controversy brewing about the possibility that the secret video might have been edited.  Or, perhaps the gap is more like the Nixon tapes.  Regardless, charges are flying back and forth.  David Corn at MJ says they’re complete.  But a bunch aren’t buying that.  By the way, MJ blasted James O’Keefe for “edited” ACORN tapes if you’ll remember.

So, it’s politics in the media as usual.  Wonderful stuff, no?

Aren’t we being well served?

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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Economic Statistics for 18 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Housing starts rose a worse-than-expected 2.3% in August to a 0.75 million annual rate, following July’s revised -2.8% drop. The August starts pace is up 29.1% on a year-ago basis.

The MBA reports mortgage applications fell -0.2% in the most recent week, with purchases down -4.0% and refinancings up 1.0%.

Existing home sales rose strongly in August, up 7.8% to an annual unit rate of 4.82 million. This is the second strong increase in a row, and is the highest since May 2010.

~
Dale Franks
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Voter fraud? Aw, come on, no way.

Or at least that’s what those who oppose using a picture ID to ensure the integrity of the voting system would have you believe.  All a nonissue they tell us.

One day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday there are an estimated 4,000 noncitizens on Michigan’s voter rolls.

The estimate is based on the state’s access to citizenship information for one-fifth of the population, Johnson said, adding the federal government won’t give her access to more citizenship data.

Johnson said the results of a “very tedious” analysis of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.

Department of State employees cross-referenced those noncitizens with voting records and found 54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times, Johnson said.

So you have 963 noncitizens in the sample who have managed to get state issued driver’s licenses.  Nice.  There’s something else that needs to be tightend up a tad in Michigan, huh?

But obviously the point is that you have people who are not entitled to vote voting fraudulently (oh, and they didn’t have any problem obtaining ID so why do our “minorities” have such a tough time?).  And in contests decided by a few votes as we’ve seen numerous times over the years (convicted felons for go big for Al Franken!), the integrity of the system is in question.

However, it’s just too much to a) have people prove their citizens prior to getting a state issued ID and b) produce that at the polling place to ensure they are who they say they are.  You know, like they do when you board a plane?

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 18 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The U.S. current account deficit improved sharply to -$117.4 billion in the second quarter from a revised -$133.6 billion in the first quarter.

Net foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities rose from $9.3 billion in June to $676.0 billion in July.

The NAHB housing market index in September rose another 3 points to 40, for the fifth straight rise to the best level since early 2007.

Retail Sales: Redbook reports year-over-year retail sales growth of 2.4%, weaker than last week, but still moderately strong. ICSC-Goldman reports a -2.5% sales decrease from last week, and only a 2.1% increase over last year.

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Dale Franks
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Romney’s reaction to the Libya debacle is still not the story

The question is, will the real story ever be told by the media of this country:

After the American media grabbed and held the pro-Obama headlines against Romney’s comments and took Obama’s “Romney shoots first and aims second” quote to iconic proportions, the rest of the world is reporting that the Obama administration knew about the planned-attack on the Benghazi, Libya Embassy where four Americans, including United States Ambassador Christopher Steven was murdered.

That strong allegation needs to be “the story”, not the political-trouncing of Mitt Romney, a man who has nothing to do with the White House, the U.S. Embassy, or the deadly and non-deadly attacks on our United States Embassy’s around the world. “The story” obviously involves the White House and the president within – Barack Obama – not the Massachusetts challenger.

The reporters and bloggers who have made Mitt Romney the story – instead of the attacked-United States Embassy, the innocent Americans who were attacked, and the White House with its president in abstention as he continually treks the campaign trail regardless of the duties left behind in Washington, D.C. – are guilty of letting another American tragedy remain buried.

To me this is the stunner of the month.  It isn’t about what Romney said, it’s about an administration who doesn’t do the elemental things necessary to protect it’s own embassy staff in Libya, even when they knew something was brewing (Word on the street and the anniversary of 9/11?  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, do you?).

And yet somehow this has all become about Romney?  Meanwhile the administration has said they’re not going to talk about Libya anymore and the media say, “okay”.

You know, it wasn’t too long ago that dissent was the highest form of patriotism, remember?

Now?

Yeah, not so much.

But if you want the real story, this is where the press ought to be digging:

Reports from a number of knowledgeable sources are being widely-circulated regarding the United States State Department’s having received knowledge of the attack in Benghazi as early as September 9 – two days before the four Americans were killed. That’s “the story”. There were also similar reports that the attack in Cairo was revealed prior to its occurrence. The knowledgeable sources report that no warning was given to persons in the U.S. Embassies in Cairo or Benghazi after the State Department was warned. In Libya, there were approximately 30 people in the main consulate building who could have been warned but weren’t.

Additionally, Wanis el-Sharef, Libya’s deputy interior minister, told the Associated Press that the heavily armed militants “used” a protest of an anti-Islam film as a “cover” in their deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy while screaming “God is great!”

But instead, page 1 is what Romney said.  Meanwhile, the compliant media accepts the “we’re done talking about it” from the most transparant administration ever.

~McQ

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About all those polls… (Updated)

If you listen to the podcast, you may have noticed that, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked a lot about polling, and why Obama is doing so well. We’re not the only ones. A lot of people are wondering why Obama is polling well when the things are so bad. One of the criticisms I’m seeing about a lot of the polls is that they skew so heavily democratic. Except for Rasmussen, almost all of the polls coming out seem to have larger numbers of Democrats than one would expect. They have been as high as a D+11% advantage in the population.

This is seen by some as proof that the pollsters are skewing the respondent population towards Democrats. I’m not impressed by the argument, because most pollsters don’t actually try and set up a likely voter model for the poll. Instead, the poll is a sample of usually between 1,000 and 1,500 randomly selected voters. The Democratic advantage in this poll, therefore, is not an artifact of the selection method, but is actually the result of what the respondents identify themselves as. If you call 1,000 people, and 380 of them say they’re Democrats, then that’s the sample.

The poll, then, reports what the respondents say. It’s not the result of selecting a particular number of Democrats or Republicans. That’s a vitally important distinction, because voter identification changes over time. The poll reports what voters say their party affiliation is, but a voter may say he’s a Democrat this week, and a Republican or Independent two weeks from now.

So, the key here, it seems to me, is to look at a set of polls from a particular pollster and see if the party affiliation varies widely from poll to poll. If it does, then there’s probably a problem with their methodology. You might see a shift in party affiliation over time, but the change between consecutive individual polls should probably be fairly small. But in general, if a pollster uses the same methodology for every poll, and is not explicitly looking to create a voter response model, then the results are probably fairly accurate, and show small movements–if they occur–to party identification from poll to poll.

What I’m hearing from a lot of conservatives this week is the idea that the polls are horribly skewed, as if there’s some industry-wide conspiracy to make Obama look good. That doesn’t seem very likely, especially since nearly every pollster uses a bipartisan polling team, i.e. one Democrat and one Republican. So, what I’m hearing from conservatives sounds like the response Democrats made in the 2004 election, when John Kerry was polling badly. Then, as now, there was this feeling that the polls were horribly wrong, and their candidate wasn’t actually losing. But the losing candidate was, in fact, losing.

So if the polls are off, then it must be the result of either a gross, industry-wide incompetence that is causing them all to use a faulty methodology, or a gross, industry-wide conspiracy–between both Republican and Democrat pollsters–to push a pro-Obama narrative. The alternative is that the polls aren’t off, and within a 3% or so margin of error, are reporting accurately what the electorate is saying. The latter seems to me to be far more likely.

Now, as to why so many voters are identifying as Democrats, I don’t have a clue. But consider this: pretty much everyone knows Bill Clinton is smarmy liar, and if he could run for a 3rd term…he’d win.

Also, consider that everyone remembers the Bill Clinton presidency as a time of economic growth and balanced budgets. They remember the end of Bush’s two terms as a time of complete economic collapse. The underlying reasons don’t matter, because most voters neither understand nor care. It may be that voters simply trust Obama more on the economy than they do Romney, because they fear a return to economic collapse. Maybe they think Obama has done as well as could be done. But simply dismissing that with a "the polls can’t be right" explanation is just whistling past the graveyard.

UPDATE: More here, including this graphic.

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Now, let’s split this out and look at correlation:

polls

That’s a pretty weak correlation. Look at the blue diamonds for the Obama lead. What is that, a bell curve? Seriously?

No, unless the poll makes a specific effort to model a voter turnout, and specifically samples for a given percentage of R-D-I, then the poll is just telling you what the respondents are telling the pollsters. They may tell them something different next week or next month, but the R-D-I sample is simply a result of respondent self-identification.

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Dale Franks
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Ever have one of those days?

Well I’m having one of those days.  Nothing horrific.  Nothing tragic.  Nothing to worry about.  Just one of those days.

So, other than this, I’ll likely not be saying much more today.

Well, except a reminder to join us on Facebook for QandO plus (which I also haven’t had time for today).

Later.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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Economic Statistics for 17 Sep 12

Today’s only economic release is the Empire State manufacturing index, which fell sharply to -10.41 vice -5.85 in August. New orders plunged to -14.03 down 12 points since June. Unfilled orders have been falling for months now, and stand at -14.89. On the other hand, the 6-month expectation for new orders is up to 17.02, well into positive territory. Whether those expectations will be met remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the district’s manufacturing sector continues to bump along the bottom.

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Dale Franks
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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 16 Sep 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the week’s events.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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The End of the Road

I‘ve Just finished watching a documentary call "The End of the Road: How money became worthless" on Netflix. It’s 55 minutes long. It’s wonderfully educational, and horrifically frightening.

IT explains exactly why I’ve been harping on the coming hyperinflation for the last three years, and it tells you how close we are to seeing it happen. It explains the current situation we face extremely clearly and simply, so that anyone can understand it.

You need to watch it as soon as you possibly can.

~
Dale Franks
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Buy Dale’s Book!