Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

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

Twitter: McQandO

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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.

~
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.

~
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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Someone’s in trouble

The Los Angeles Times was there when the LASO came to pick up the "Innocence of Muslims" filmmaker for a "voluntary interview".

arrest

As the Times put it:

Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.

Sheriff’s officials could not be reached by The Times, but department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KNBC News that deputies assisting the federal probation department took Nakoula to the sheriff’s substation in Cerritos for interviewing.

Apparently, they’re concerned about a possible probation violation, because he wasn’t supposed to access the Internet. But now his horrible movie is on YouTube, so he may in trouble. Hence, brown-shirted men showed up at midnight to "escort" him to a "voluntary interview".

There’s no free speech issue at all to be concerned with here. Move along citizen.

Instapundit has a round-up of reaction.

~
Dale Franks
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About that great Obama foreign policy success …

Seems Japan may not think the US is a dependable ally anymore:

When the U.S. Defense Secretary arrives in Asia this weekend, his biggest challenge may not be convincing China that America will give its full support to longtime ally Japan in the escalating dispute over islands in the East China Sea.  His biggest challenge may be convincing Japan.

“There is a perception in Japan that the U.S. commitment is ambiguous,” says Yoichiro Sato, director of international strategic studies at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in southern Japan. “If China thinks Japan will hesitate to respond or that America will hesitate, that will embolden the Chinese. It’s better that America sends a clear, explicit message now than have to respond to something worse later.”

But remember … conventional wisdom (i.e. the MSM) has it that Obama has made the world better, safer and everyone likes us better.  That he is a master of foreign policy.

In fact, as many countries have indicated, they see the US as a declining power.  This particular instance is only one example of that thinking.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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The most offensive QandO post ever (NSFW)

Below the fold is a NSFW image. It is obscenely offensive. It was posted by The Onion in one of the most brilliant satirical statements about the cultural difference between the Muslim world and everyone else I’ve ever seen.  As The Onion writes:

The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.

The FBI will not launch an investigation to find out the identity of the artist involved. The offices of The Onion will not be besieged by angry Christians, demanding death to the editors. No heads will be cut off. No Internet-wide debate will be sparked on whether or not this image should be reproduced. No calls for the arrest and imprisonment of the author will be made.

But, if you were to add a bearded fellow with a turban into this depraved scene, we all know the response would be far different.

So, you can take your multicultural "no culture is better than any other" nonsense and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

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