Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Amendment Part 3...Electoral College and Oath of Office

In four elections the candidate who won the popular vote lost the presidency.  In 1824 neither candidate had enough electoral votes to win and the house picked the president, John Quincy Adams who had actually lost both the popular vote and had the fewer electoral votes became president.  The others were Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), and George W Bush (2000). It could conceivably happen again this election. In the advent of a tie, it is conceivable that an electoral college delegate could change his or her vote to break the tie or send the choice to congress. While some states require that the member follow the state's popular vote, there is actually no constitutional or federal law making that vote mandatory.

It is perhaps time the "we the people" become a part of the election in total.  There have been some 700 attempts to change the electoral college.  Only the 12th amendment has altered it.  There is no electoral college in the constitution.  It is actually referred to as the electors. The elimination of the electors to a direct vote would do several things.  It would eliminate the swing states.  It could open the door for third party candidates who do poorly because of the way the electoral college is handled.  It could mean that candidates would turn their attention toward the more heavily populated east and west coasts and ignore small population states such as Wyoming and Montana and even Colorado and Nevada, with exception to Denver and Las Vegas.  On the other hand if you look at the electoral map, it is though center states and low populace states combined which tend to be more conservative gives different parties their strongest base.  Given the technology today and the more educated populace, the electors as stated in the Constitution needs to be repealed.  But with this change there is also a loss.  The electoral college does protect us to some degree from becoming even more divided that we are now.  Imagine an election like the Bush-Gore election in 2000 and what the battle might have been like without the buffer of the electors in the constitution.  With great change there could be great risk.  The question is does electoral college serve the purpose it was intended or is it an archaic and useless part of the Constitution?

The last of the amendments I would offer is an addendum to the oath of office requiring all members of legislative and executive branch to denounce all written pledges or sworn oaths that are not expressly in the constitution.  This would make it an impeachable offense if while in office any elected official signed a pledge like the Norquist pledge.  In addition we might also consider adding that every supreme court justice sever ties with any political party.  No more Democrat or Republican judges although they would still be conservative or liberal, it could become a crime for either party to influence a Supreme Court Justice.

That said, having discussed four ideas for amendment: limiting campaign length, limiting money in the campaign, repeal of the electors and changing the oath of office, getting these done is incredibly difficult.  An amendment must first be ratified by two-thirds of both houses or state convention and then ratified by three-quarters of the states either by convention or by state legislature.  Congress may choose which method will be used. Of all the ratified amendments only the 21st amendment  (repeal of prohibition) used the convention method.  This may surprise a few presidential candidates who have said they would sign an amendment into law that their signature is not needed and has no impact on the ratification of an amendment. Only "we the people" have the power to make those changes and that is why it is so difficult to pass an amendment.

There are right now technically four amendments that have been ratified by congress but not rejected or ratified by the states.  One amendment, the Corwin amendment, has languished since 1861 since it has no expiration date for ratification -- most amendments do.  If it had been passed, it is doubtful that it ever will, it could override the 13th and 14th amendments which abolishes slavery and expands voting rights.  It has only been ratified by three states. Since 2000 there have been 13 amendments proposed in congress. Everything from the repeal of the 22nd amendment (limiting terms) to the elimination of the electoral college have been proposed. Few actually make it out of committee.

There is one other way to get an amendment than sending it through congress.  Two-thirds of the states may apply for a national convention to amend the constitution.  Once the convention meets, the amendment must still be ratified. Passing an amendment was not meant to be easy.  Change is hard and our framers wanted to be sure that the change must be needed and made by more than a majority thereby ensuring that the individual is not steam rolled.

The likelihood of changing for our amendments of limiting campaigns, controlling funding, or getting rid of the electors in the Constitution and 12th amendment are not good, but a few of can dream.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Amendment Part 2...the funding of campaigns

Imagine the difference if you had a billion dollars and you are extremely altruistic.  Now you received the billion at birth and you will live the average life span of 78 years. You decide to higher teachers in a school at the national median salary of $54,633.  To spend all 1 billion dollars you would have to spend $35,100 per day over the next 78 years to spend it all.  In other words, you could higher 1 teacher for a year every other day and still have $15,567 which means roughly every 7 days you could add another teacher to the list (you would actually be short about $148 of doing it).  Just think about how many teachers you could support over your life time. Now I know that the median will go up or go down over those years, but still, it would be an astounding number.


You decide to build a hospital.  A two to three story hospital of brick and concrete construction cost in 2008 (only figures I found and it was apparently the "hay day" of hospital construction) about 12.5 million dollars. You could build 80 hospitals. To spend a billion dollars at 1 dollar per second year in and year out you would need 31 years, 259 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes and 40 seconds to get rid of it all.

A billion dollars is a lot and it could do a lot of good.

The presidential election campaigns will pass the 2 billion dollar mark it is estimated.   More money comes from the Super-Pacs; however, they are not required to disclose how much they actually spend nor are they required to disclose who contributed or how much.  The total money could be near $6 billion by the time the dust settles according to CNN.  This is for television ads, ground game offices, internet ads, campaign buses, signs, bumper stickers, etc.  This figure includes all elections.  It is in a very real sense a staggering sum.

We spend too much money on elections and most of that money comes from a very few people.  We must overcome the supreme court ruling and limit not only campaign financing but the amount of propaganda that all campaigns put out. We have so many political ads, it is a wonder that there are enough advertising minutes in a day in the battleground state to play all. What is more there seems to be no control over the accuracy of the information put into the ads.  It's not just the using of the facts or in many cases the abuse, the so-called action committees and for that matter the campaigns themselves do not have to pass any sort of truth test and for some odd reason, slander and libel also do not seem to apply in the political world. If this continues could it mean as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid  put it in July that "17 angry old white men will wake up and realize they've just bought the country"?

The point is that Citizen United ruling by the Supreme Court has had significant impact.  Whether you agree or disagree with the ruling is not relevant. The Supreme Court did its job in interpreting the Constitution.  It is now up to the one group that no branch of the government can control to do its job.  If we want to control this astounding spending and force honesty into the advertisements, then we need to make this a Constitutional problem.

In addition to limiting the campaign length which could also limit money, we need transparency in the campaign and in those who support the candidates.  The super-pacs must if nothing else reveal their donors and the amount of money they spend.  I personally believe that the campaign needs to be in control.  Both candidates have received the brunt of attacks for something that a super-pac has put on TV, radio, etc. and they have no control over this. If nothing else, a super-pac ad should not be considered use of non-profit funds and should also meet rigorous standards of truth in advertising.  To mislead or lie should result in criminal and civil prosecution.  Furthermore, political advertising should have limits on the amount of time they may use.  I will admit, being in a battleground state all the money thrown has probably improved our economy, but my sanity has taken a beating with the number of advertisements that have been spewed out by all the politics.

This amendment need not be that complex.  All it needs to do is to give congress both Federal and state the right to regulate campaign contributions and the transparency of those organizations.  They can revoke, as they should, the charity status of money used in support of these campaigns.  Giving to a candidate or super-pac is not charity by any stretch of the imagination.  Congress if they so desire could even limit how much in total may be spent by campaigns or outside organizations on candidates or issues.  The cost has become such that it is apparent the average wage earner could never become president.  He or she simply doesn't have the money. Such limitations would cause less spending on advertising because the limitations would cause campaigns to consider how they spend their money and we now know in a close election, that it is not about the advertisements as it is about the ground game.

It is time for "we the people" to take back our elections.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Amendment...Part 1: Limiting the length of a campaign.

It has got to stop.  I am not one in favor of putting limits on anything in the Constitution.  Amendments should correct unforeseen changes or expand definitions.   One of the times we used the Constitution to restrict something, alcohol, it was a disaster.  By the time it was repealed, we had established the Mob and a culture of violence in many major cities.  Names like Al Capone and Dutch Schultz had become household names.  No limiting the Constitution  has not gone well.  Still something must be done.    There was one that many think of as successful" limiting the term length of the Presidency. This limitation was more of a political correction than a moral limitation.  Perhaps that is the key for limitation; to correct political abuse and stay away from legislating morality.  For the most part though, the amendments have expanded, clarified, adapted or abolished.

There is a limit or two I would place on the Constitution.  The Elections amendment should be such an amendment.  This country has become obsessed with elections. Presidents cannot govern well while running for the job.  We get maybe one year for the House of Representatives before they are back on the campaign trail and the Senate, despite being elected in alternating cycles every six years, become all but useless during national campaigns, especially during the Presidential election.  Most candidates are beginning their campaigns years before the actual election.  The primaries start in January, but the actual campaign begins well before this.  There is a joke roaming around that Romney has been running for six years, but if you think about it with his run in the 2008 primaries, that's not so far off.  Others seem to run for at least two years.  At both conventions, pundits were already discussing who would run in 2016.

And so I come to the Amendment.  It could be something simple like giving congress and the president the power to limit the time used for campaigning for office.  The control could be something like this.

No person running for Congress may present advertisement, debate or spend money for obtaining a congressional office for more than three months before the US elections dates.  In the case of primaries a candidate for congress may campaign for one month before the primary.  If the primary is held before the three month mark, the selected candidate must wait until the three month mark before the election.

Prior to the three month mark the House and Senate shall maintain reasonable in session hours for the conducting of business of the United States, not to be less than 200 days per year. No using these extended adjournments for political gain.

No person running for President of the united states may begin advertisement, debate or spend money for obtaining the office of President more than six months prior to the election date.  This time line shall include all primaries, caucuses, and conventions or events of a like nature.

No organization that is not controlled by the campaign shall be allowed to place advertisements or campaign in surrogate before one month before the election.

States shall maintain individual control over the election of all non-federal candidates.

I am not saying that I know anything about the wording of such an amendment, but you get the idea.  It is time for politicians to do their job and to limit the distractions of campaigning.  We know that most citizens don't even become "tuned in" until at least the conventions or even the first debates.  Other countries limit their campaigning time and there is no reason that the US cannot successfully do this as well.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This is the Opus -- Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is 2 hours and 44 minutes and is rated "R" for language, violence, sexual content.

If you are not prepared to sit for nearly three hours, follow a complex plot, and ponder the effects of past, present and future each person has, then Cloud Atlas is not for you. One of the multitude of characters that Tom Hanks plays warns us in the opening sequence that this series of unrelated events will eventually make sense, but we must be careful and prepared to go along for the ride to find the 'true-true.'

I have not read the book by David Mitchell which was published in 2004 so I can not speak to the accuracy of the movie's presentation of the work, but if the movie is only half of what the book is, then it must be a great read but is most likely a bit challenging. The more I think about the movie, however, the better I like it.

The movie, produced and written and directed  by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, stars an ensemble cast of gifted actors who all play a multitude of roles.  Stick around for the credits so you can see the actors in makeup for their various roles.  The makeup is astounding in that it allows each actor to play these roles and at the same time it leaves enough of the actor visible that the viewer can tell who it is.

The cast includes not only Oscar award winners, but also some very talented character and young performers.  They really do operate as an ensemble.  I suppose if you have to pick a lead actor, it might be Tom Hanks who starts the film as a sort of storyteller character or perhaps is is Halle Berry who leads us to how so much is joined or perhaps it is Jim Broadbent who writes a book that leads to the movie that becomes the teacher of...or perhaps it is Ben Whishaw who composed the "Cloud Atlas Sixtet" the musical piece that ....or perhaps it Hugo Weaving the perennial villain, Hugh Grant the twisted business man, or  Xun Zhou who leads the way... or is it Doona Bae or David Keith or James D'Arcy or Susan Sarandon ..or...or  (sorry don't want to give away too much).

You see Cloud Atlas is a story of change and redemption. A story that tells everything is connected and symbolized as several of the characters become a single soul connected through time and gaining enlightenment and redemption, all symbolized by the birthmark of a comet.  Each generation fights to overcome some form of oppression but as the character of Adam Ewing puts it in what seems to be a theme line to his father-in-law, Hakell Moore in the 1849 timeline when he announces he intends to fight slavery:
         "No matter what you do, it will never amount to anything more than a  single drop of water in a limitless ocean," says Haskell.
        "What is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?" replies Adam.
Include into this that variations of these connections and this theme are repeated through out the film along with homages and foreshadowing using everything from Soylent Green to the work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and we have more than a complicated special effects movie.

We have Cloud Atlas which  is epic storytelling . filled with drama, love,  humor, action sequences that are the Wachowski trade mark, and grand sets.  It is no small task for an actor to overcome such a broad expanse and then have to develop a multitude of characters.  Like all good films, it is not the makeup or the costume or stunning effects it is about character and clear storytelling.  Special effects movies too often become about the effects and forget that it is story and actors who drive the movie.  The rest are just the condiments for the movie.  It is clear that in Cloud Atlas, directors, actors and writers remembered this thought but you still need to be prepared to think this movie through.  A friend who taught me much of what I know about directing told me once that you know a piece is good if you are discussing more than how bad it was after you've seen it and are still thinking about it hours later.  We really are a drop in a multitude of drops.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Issues

Sorry for the length of this, but much to cover.
I've been trying to find where candidates stand on the issues and working on this for the past couple of weeks.
The following information comes from the candidates sites or from their own speeches and debates.
I've tried to simplify the issues but hopefully not over-simplify.
The commentary following each is based on research from sites like Politifact, Factchecker and the Washington Post fact check as well as interviews I've seen with various Republican and Democrat pundits and experts.

So here goes...


  • Job plan will create 12 million jobs.
  • Energy independence = 3 million jobs
  • Tax Plan will lower taxes and = 7 million jobs
  • Expanding trade and cracking down on China = 2 million jobs
  • Moody's Analytics predicts that 12 million jobs will be created by 2016 regardless of who is president.
  • The report used by Romney on his campaign website does not use these ideas for job gain.  It is  in fact pegged on a 2011 report which is attached to the jobless rate at that period and the job growth discussed is over 10 years not the first term.
  • Recent historical surveys indicate that tax cuts do not = jobs in fact generally during tax cuts the poverty level goes up.
  • The two million job claim is based on the idea that we lost 2 million jobs to China.
  • Washington Post's Pinocchio test gives the jobs plan 4 Pinocchios which is the highest number it can give.
Obama Jobs Plan
  • Eliminate tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs.
  • Jobs bill in congress creates jobs by rebuilding infrastructure
  • Continue to add jobs in private sector manufacturing
  • While we have shown steady job growth since 2010, the figure does not include those who have given up looking, but in fairness those who have quit looking include more than just those who lost their jobs and quit looking but also groups who are simply not a part of the job force such as the retired.
  • The jobs bill which most economists agree would create jobs is blocked on the House floor.
  • The last 7.8 report shows lower unemployment and for the first time a rise in those applying and leaving the unemployment lines.
  • Again, Moody's analytic predicts 12 million jobs no matter who is president.
  • The 5 million jobs claim by Obama is overstatement and Received 3 Pinocchios.

Taxes and the Deficit (Economy)

  • Cut the marginal taxes 20 percent and make Bush tax cuts permanent.
  • Cut taxes on small business which he defines as basically any business.
  • Offset this by closing loopholes making tax cut revenue neutral.  Promises that he will not raise taxes on any income group. By doing so it will create through supply side economics jobs. 
  • Lower corporate tax.
  • Cut the estate tax.
  • Supply side has never worked according to bipartisan economic studies.
  • Will not say what loopholes he intends to close.
  • According to the Tax Policy Center, a highly respected nonpartisan economist group, the tax cuts cannot be revenue neutral. The Policy Center has released a statement that since they do not have actual loophole cuts, they cannot give a specific figure as to actual cost but the Center maintains it is not mathematically possible to cut taxes and offset this without raising revenue.
  • Maintain Bush tax cuts on 98 percent.  Allow cuts to expire on the upper two percent. Cut taxes on small businesses which he defines as those making $250,000 or less (roughly 90 percent of all businesses are in this category).
  • Managed deficit reduction by offering $2.50 in cuts for every $1.00 of revenue sometimes referred to as the "Grand Deal."
  • Apply money from ending war, half to deficit and half to job creation.
  • Stock market has shown marked recovery under Obama
  • Housing is starting to show some minor movement.
  • Lower corporate tax rate?
  • The Republicans will still likely be in control of the House and will oppose letting any of the Bush tax cuts expire.
  • Raising taxes to pre-Bush levels on the top two percent still does not work to eliminate the deficit. 
  • Cuts must be made and no clear statement of what would be cut.
  • As of this date, Republicans and some Democrats are opposed to the managed idea.
  • The money from ending the war was borrowed to begin with.
  • While it is true that this plan is similar to the successful Clinton plan, Clinton had one thing Obama didn't and that was the DotCom explosion on the internet.

The Military

  • Raise funding to military to 4 percent of  GNP.
  • Add to the Navy.
  • The raising of the military budget will add 2 trillion dollars to the budget over the next 4 or 5 years.  It is not funded.
  • Set military spending at a cap of 3.5 of GNP (it was lower than this when he took office).
  • Some addition to the budget but I do not have specific figures.

Foreign Policy

  • Had criticized Obama but at last debate made a shift to the middle seeming to agree with Obama on most issues.
  • His one attempt as candidate insulted the British and Palestinians.  In the infamous 47 percent tape he did announce that he would "kick the can down the road" in regards to the Israel and Middle East.
  • Did seemingly use the death of the American ambassador to Libya for political gain, making commentary of the attack before outcome was known.  This does break with previous protocol established by previous presidential candidate.
  • Neither he nor his running mate have any real experience in Foreign Policy.
  • Has targeted, attacked and ordered killed the upper leadership of Al Qaeda.  While not getting along with Israel's prime minister, he has been very clear on his support of Israel. 
  • Recent surveys that 16 of 17 nations support the policies and working with Obama.  The one nation opposed was Pakistan. 
  • Has ended the war in Iraq and set the draw down time line in Afghanistan.
  • Supported the Libyan revolution without loss of life.
  • Most experts agree that the recent issues in the Middle East are the results of new nations trying to find their way.  One put it that in dealing with the Arab Spring was like dealing with a moving target.
  • There is confusion over the release of information on the death of the ambassador in Libya, but this is not uncommon especially when so many agencies were involved.
  • Running mate was chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and was ranking minority member.

Social Issues

  • Supports voucher system for Medicare for those under 55 with an opt out for those over 55.  It has been noted by some that if more than 5 percent of those on Medicare opt out the entire system could collapse for the rest of the members.
  • Has supported in past cutting or reduction of Medicaid.
  • Supports cutting of Planned Parenthood
  • Supports cutting support of the arts and programs such as PBS funding
  • Is Pro-Life with exceptions.  Running mate is Pro-Life without exception and has presented two "personhood" bills which also a part of the Republican Party platform.
  • Supports banning abortion except in case of danger to life of the mother, rape and incest.  He has stated he would support an amendment to ban abortion and would appoint supreme court justices who would oppose Roe v. Wade.  One Republican pundit put it that Romney has held virtually every position on abortion that someone can hold. This includes the "personhood."
  • Opposes equal marriage for Gay and Lesbian community.
  • Does not support government funding of contraceptives and believes that insurance funding for such should be left up to a company's CEO.
  • Would repeal Affordable Health Care Act (this can only happen by congressional action and as long as Democrats control the Senate or Republicans control less than 60 votes in the Senate, repeal is unlikely to occur.) In its place he has made two statements that he would create a better health care system still covering  those on parent health plans for 25 and younger and cover pre-existing conditions.  The campaign officially walked the pre-exisiting  statement back saying that it will cover pre-existing conditions only if the patient already has insurance.  On Sixty Minutes, he said that we already have a health care plan in the use of emergency care for those who are uninsured.
  • Has in past announced he would cut Department of Education and that classroom size does not matter. Supports school choice (voucher system).
  • Opposes the Dream Act and supports the idea of "self-deportation."
  • Supports Medicare and Medicaid but agrees both need reform work although we do not know what these reforms would entail. 
  • Supports Planned Parenthood
  • Supports arts funding and funding for social/educational programs
  • Removed or expanded no child left behind act
  • Would appoint more liberal judges to Supreme Court
  • Pro-Choice -- does not believe the government should control the personal moral choices on others. Running mate who is Pro-Life agrees.
  • Created Affordable Care Act
  • Supports required insurance coverage of contraceptives unless in conflict with religious beliefs.
  • Supports smaller class rooms and educational funding. 
  • Would continue to try and pass the dream act.
  • Supports equality for all marriages straight, gay, lesbian.
As near as anyone can tell they have no stated difference on drug policy or gun control.

  • Supports all forms of energy including clean coal and particularly gas and oil.  
  • Would cut subsidies to alternative energy groups. (You can debate with anyone you like whether there is such a thing as clean coal.)
  • Would fast track Keystone Pipeline regardless of environmental impact on the basis of job creation.
  • Supports all forms of energy and subsidies to alternative energy while cutting or reducing subsidies to "big oil."
  • Supports environmental restrictions. 
  • Vetoed the Keystone pipeline on "national interest basis."

Appointments and Promises

The next President is likely to appoint two or three Supreme Court Justices. This is actually one of the few true influential choices a president can make without the Congress which could influence decisions long after the president has left office.

Much of what both candidates have discussed require Congressional action.  Congress is likely to remain divided as Republican House and Democrat Senate.  Both candidates will need "reach across the aisle." Both claim to have done so, but most nonpartisan experts agree that both did not succeed.

My Thoughts

The following is my point of view based on my observance of the campaign   You can take it as you like.  You can place your own arguments in comments if you like but they should be civil and thought out.  Your use of support from sites which are clearly left or right have little credence with me.  It will make little difference to me. I've already voted.

Despite claims, Obama has frequently been seen as aloof and described as condescending, and having a tenancy to change the bulls-eye when working for a compromise.  He tends to be too professorial, although I am not sure what that means exactly or how that might be a bad thing.

Romney had a very low approval rating as governor and if he had sought re-election many agree, he probably would not have won.  Democrats in Massachusetts have a very different view of his bi-partisan work and frequently point to the fact that if Romney were so very fondly remembered that Obama would not be polling at more than 16 points ahead in the state.

Fact is neither have a very good record on bipartisan work.

Obama has succeeded on several of his promises and failed on others.  The economy has not recovered as quickly as anyone would like, but in all honesty, like it or not, we all knew the recovery would be a long  haul. The Stimulus package is debatable as a success or failure. Some argue that it did not create jobs as promised- true.  Others argue that it stopped the free falling job loss and economy - also true.

His bailout of the automobile industry was a success. Romney did advocate a managed bankruptcy for the industry with private sector banks bailing them out.  The problem is that at the time there were no private sector banks willing to loan the money.  Several companies were asked including Bain and all declined to fund.

Obama does need to become a more steady and accessible leader.  His leadership on domestic issues has been inconsistent. Perhaps his biggest mistake was concentrating on the Affordable Care Act rather than jobs at the beginning of his term.  He did realize, I am sure,  that national health care a longtime Democrat favorite, was for the first time in reach with Democrat control of both houses and the presidency.  I don't think he believed it would be the battle it became nor take the time it did.  We still do not know what the actual effect will be since it does not come into play in full until 2014.  All predictions that have been made on both sides of aisle are exactly that...predictions.  We do know that the parts that have gone into effect seem to be popular.  Ironically, health care was also a major problem for Clinton's first year or two in office.

Despite his own lacking as a bipartisan leader, Obama has been blocked by the single most obstinate congress in history which has refused to negotiate in good faith and passed fewer bills than any congress in history.  It is clear that both houses have placed party over country.

Obama tends to present as a social liberal, prefers to look at himself as more of a centrist, while seeming to present some things as both liberal on some items and conservative Democrat on other issues.  This is clear in the example that as a Democrat he seems to have a stronger position on foreign affairs than Republicans.  This is a position that is extremely unusual for a Democrat.  His methodology of leadership though remains very difficult to pin down.

Romney, whether he accepts it or not did develop the ground work for Affordable Care Act, something he has both endorsed and distanced himself from at the same time.

Romney's record at Bain is not one of job creator.  Bain is a leveraged investment company which means that they borrow huge amounts against a company they purchase making the company responsible for the debt and making large amounts for the investors.  Few companies survive the buyout.  In regards to the Olympics, Romney did save the struggling Olympics when he took over. He did this by getting control of spending and convincing the government to give him $342 million dollars in direct support and an estimated $1.1 billion dollars in indirect support.

The other problem that Romney has seemed to overcome in part because of Obama's dismal first debate performance is that he is not a flip-flopper and has begun to move to the moderate which is how he presented himself as governor and was predicted as the Etch-A-Sketch moment by one of his staff last spring.

As someone who has watched several stump speeches of both candidates before and after the debates, Obama has done a good job of painting Romney as a Plutocrat and Romney has covered virtually every base in social and foreign issues that one can take. He has announced in the primary that as governor he was a "severe conservative." He seems to deny that stance as does his current ads deny his abortion stance from earlier in the campaign. On many issues as one editorial put it, Romney would be difficult to debate because on many issues his stance is like "trying to nail jello to a wall."

Many former staffers from previous campaigns have said that he doesn't really seem to care about these issues and takes the stand he finds most politically expedient.  Most troubling, at least from my perspective, is the 47 percent tape which was taped "off the record" where Romney is among his peers and discusses seeming extreme ideas in a very comfortable manner.

If Romney really does take the stance of whatever is most expedient, then I worry about him becoming the "five working digits to sign laws" that Grover Norquist has announced is all the far right needs in the office, since Romney doesn't really care about these issues. He has been described as "a boss,"  not an inaccurate description given his business pedigree. A boss can be both a good or bad thing depending on the type of boss and we really have no information on what kind of boss he will be.  We do know he was a successful one, however.

A Grand Finale

I hope that I helped.  I encourage everyone to vote.  If you disagree with my opinions on either Romney or Obama, then you need to vote your beliefs.  All I ask is do your research on reputable sites and don't believe the hype of either campaign presented by their ads and their Super-Pacs.  The ads, although effective, are often a clear misrepresentation, stilted, or an out and out lie.  There is no truth in advertising laws that apply to political ads. The polls do not dictate elections and in an election like this one their accuracy on both candidates really depends on who answers the phone when they call.  Both candidates are in the margin of error. The Pundits on FOX and MSNBC also have very specific jobs to do.  Remember that as well.

VOTE your beliefs, your conscience and not your prejudices and hates. Remember you do not live alone in this country and what happens to others does matter. Big government or small government, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican or Independent, your mind and your heart are your own and are none of these labels.  Use them well.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sherlocks Everywhere

If Conan Doyle is the father of modern mysteries, then his creation of Sherlock Holmes has sired a host of legitimate and illegitimate children of late.

There is Elementary, Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes the movies, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, The Great Mouse Detective, and the Sherlock Holmes series of television shows and movies which starred Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone, William Gillette, Arthur Wontner, Nicholas Rowe, Robert Stephens,  Nicol Williamson, Christopher Plummer, Roger Moore,Frank Langella, Matt Fewer, Robert Downey Jr., and Peter Cushing, just to mention a few. Gene Wilder was even Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother.  So why?
Christopher Plummer with  James Mason and Robert Downey Jr. with Jude Law
play Holmes and Watson
Holmes has become so famous that many thought him to be real.  When the 221B Baker Street, Holmes' fictional address,  was actually created as an address in the 1930s, the Abbey House immediately began getting mail and answering it for the great fictional detective.  I don't know of many fictional creations that has seen so many incarnations. I know that you probably don't know all the names above, but all have played some version of Holmes.  Roger Moore was referred to as the worst casting of Holmes while Matt Fewer of Max Headroom fame made four television movies.  Robert Stephens stared in a horrid film called The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes and Nicol Williamson, some of you may remember him as Merlin in Excalibur or as the over the top Macbeth you saw in your high school English class, played the Sherlock Holmes who had to be weened from his cocaine addiction by an elaborate ruse by Watson to get him to Sigmund Freud in the Seven Percent Solution.  Suffice it to say that many an actor has dawned the cape and deerstalker hat.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Basil Rathbone
Jeremy Brett

Arguably, the best of the best of the performers were Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett and the modernized version Bendict Cumberbatch. If you are a true devotee of the stories, the series Sherlock, available on Netflix, is true genius and oddly true to the original Holmes.  I grew up with having discovered Holmes through Basil Rathbone on old movies on TV and I will always hold a spot in my heart for these films, even though for the most part they do not follow the plot, the character remains true.  The most accurate was the Jeremy Brett series.  I could literally follow the dialog in the show in the printed original story.  The shows even for a time tried not to use the deerstalker hat which was actually an addition of a Strand Magazine artist and not part of the original Doyle descriptions.  Brett, who was a masterful actor, captured the subtle details of the character better than any before or since.  Cumberbatch plays a little different kind of Holmes.  His, of course, lives in modern London and is a "functioning sociopath." What is fun about Sherlock is that while remaining true to the stories, the writers have modernized Holmes to a detective for the 21st century while remaining true to Doyle and allowing for a bit more accurate form CSI style science.
Lucy Lui and Johnny Lee Miller
Watson and Holmes
I must admit I enjoyed the Robert Downy Jr. Holmes even though it is a complete re-imagining of the stories by loosely basing the plot and characters on the original work, but while the movies are well acted and entertaining, they are not really Holmes stories.  The second movie which is actually closer to using one of the original stories also is the better movie for having used the idea from the story entitled "The Final Problem" This also brings me to the attempt to both modernize and Americanize Holmes and the series Sherlock, Elementary.  It has already be attacked as an unsanctioned knockoff, but having seen both that is not really true.  As Cumberbatch, who is a friend of Miller, pointed out that there have been at least 70 other Holmes before them.

Elementary started with some promise, but it has become less and less Holmes in any sense of the name and more and more about a series that has borrowed the names of Watson, a caretaker and x-surgeon, and Holmes, a recovering addict, and ignored any relation to the plots of Doyle or even trying to remain true the icon that is Sherlock Holmes.  Instead, we have a tattooed former addict who has moved to New York where he solves crimes while dealing with his own demons and wondering about Watson's hidden demon that has driven her from being a practicing surgeon.  Holmes in the series is more of a Monk driven by obsession and anti social behavior than capturing Holmes.  I had high hopes for Elementary and it is a good show if you just let go of the idea that it has little to do with Doyle's consulting detective.

And I still do look forward to the third installment of the Robert Downey Jr. Holmes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wackadoodles galore...

This past week in the mail I received Dreams of my Real Father a "documentary" that if it wasn't so twisted and playing to the conspiracy theorists and basest of individuals it would be laughable.  This is an actual quote from the flyer we received:

           The film begins by presenting the case that Barack Obama's real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a    
           Communist Party USA propagandist who likely shaped Obama's world view during his formative
           years. Barack Obama sold himself to America as the multi-cultural ideal, a man who stood above
           politics. Was the goat herding Kenyan father only a fairy tale to obscure a Marxist agenda,
           irreconcilable with American values?

Obama is the son of a Marxist organizer and his Kenyan father is a smoke screen?  Really? How do the Birthers feel about this? It does at least make Obama legitimate.  I am not going to watch this piece of propaganda; I am afraid I would never get my DVD player clean afterwords. The inside cover even goes so far to put  Obama's picture next to Frank Marshall Davis because after all don't all black people look the same and as such we are suppose to immediately imply a physical similarity between the two.

On the website of the film it actually asks if Obama had a nose job to change his resemblance to Davis. This racist and extremest work is the worst kind of propaganda.


Then there are the Birthers. This group too is  living in their own world of propaganda and racism.  Let's face it.  If Obama were white and his American born mother had married a  white British man, we would not be having the conversation about whether Hawaii, which is apparently the most incompetent state in maintaining records in the nation,  allowed someone to come in and create a long form birth certificate.  And by the way, I would like every candidate  to publish his birth certificate and then prove that his family who lived in another country never gave up their American citizenship.  How, for example, would have George Romney felt if he had to present a birth certificate?  He was born in Mexico, and he had his own presidential run.

Perhaps you get the idea of what these movements do to the people they attack.  And for you conspiracy folk, ask yourself one, simple, logical question.  How exactly did who ever it was decide that in 1961, Obama would be the first black president and he would need all this cover to prove citizenship or hide the origins of his birth?

After all, we all know that at birth, a poor to lower middle class family has the capability to make this all happen, just as Kennedy planned on every one of his sons would be president and Mitt Romney secretly plans to make The Latter Day Saints the official church.
Plain silly, isn't it?

 I know that Mitt Romney is a citizen and that he has no plans to make us all Mormons, but I also wanted you to see how ludicrous this is based on someone's beliefs.  I also realize how incredibly difficult if not impossible it would be to have sons to establish a dynasty of presidents.  By the way, some people were worried about John Kennedy being a Catholic.

In order for Obama not to be a citizen one of the two items must be true, he was actually born in Kenya and the state of Hawaii is lying or he denounced his citizenship while living in Indonesia and became a citizen there.  His mother, an American, gives him citizenship in the US and he may have dual citizenship since his father is from Kenya. Dual citizenship is not illegal and is not forbidden by the Constitution.  In fact the Constitution does not actually define what a "natural born citizen" is.

This has caused much consternation.  It could mean that it is based on location of birth or it could also mean parentage.  If one bases it on location, then all potential presidents must be born in the US meaning that any child born to parents outside the US whether as diplomats or while on vacation are not natural citizens.  See a problem with this? John McCane was born in Panama on a US base. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Quincy Adams, Jackson and Harrison were born in the colonies before there was a US and some believe that Chester A. Arthur was actually born in Canada.

Anyone start to see how silly the Birther argument actually is?

But it gets worse -- Obama is secretly gay and hid a secret marriage in Indonesia before Michelle to become POTUS.  What is more, this was known and hidden by the media.  He apparently has missing years.  Missing years? Oh yeah, according to certain Birthers, no one remembers Obama attending his undergraduate college, unless of course you ignore his transcript and that his college roommate who recalls seeing him. Again, he was chosen by the media and some apparently powerful people who can cover all this up.  Please allow me to pass you a tinfoil hat.

If it weren't all so sordid and sick and without any real logical thought, this would really have a padded cell in the Wackadoodle asylum.  Here's something for you to think about.  In 2008, 12 percent of all voters thought Obama was Muslim  In 2012, 17 percent think he is.  Among Conservatives, 16 percent in 2008 but 34 percent believe so in 2012.  It is up 14 points among Republicans in general.  The belief is also up among independents who lean Republican by 7 points and by 2 for those leaning Democrat.  It has gone down among Democrats.  ( By the way, being a Muslim is not wrong nor illegal and is protected by the first amendment.  There are even two congressmen who are Muslim.  Again, political extremism is at its worst playing on racist fears.  Conspiracy folks, you would think the powerful people would come up with a better name than Barak Hussein Obama for a presidential name.  You may want to readjust the antennae on your tin foil hat if any of the above sounded logical.

In another poll 25% of all Americans think he was born outside the US and another 18 percent said they didn't know.  The number is much higher among Republicans, 33 percent outside and 22 percent didn't know.  ( This is despite the fact that there is everything from the long form birth certificate to public birth announcements.  The evidence is overwhelming that he was born in the US and lived here as a citizen. He is a professed Christian and attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

(As a sidelight, in another survey in September, 6% of Ohio voters thought that Romney killed Bin Laden and 31 percent weren't sure.  So we have either a sampling anomaly which I sincerely hope is true or there really are a lot of folks just not paying attention.)

It is more than a bit frightening that so many base the belief and the discussion of these conspiracy simply because of Obama's skin color whether they want to admit it or not. Sorry for this rant, but this DVD was the last straw and that it was sent to 2.7 million voters and there are just enough Wackadoodles out there that this kind of material could set off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Debatable debates -- Social Media

For those of you who use Twitter, there is a site out there called  It is a place where you can sign in to your Twitter account and put in hash tags or trending and you well see all those items just continuously "fall."  You can also follow several trends at once and they will be different colors.  I started watching Twitterfall  during the conventions but it became really handy during the debates.  On Twitter I would sit on Politifacts account as they put out what was being discussed and then on Twitterfall, I would watch #debates2012 it was fascinating what was going on and sometimes extremely funny.  You find out instantly what lines caught on.  They were Big Bird, Binders Full of Women, and Bayonets.

The Twitter chatter can be truly funny and were a source of much laughter during the conventions, but they can also be crude, fact filled, and oddly revealing.  While Facebook is interesting if you follow political satirists like Maher or Miller or Black, but it doesn't have quite the "real time" feel that Twitterfall has.

What is so very revealing is that far too often when someone has nothing to respond to the argument being made, they attack the person with I hate Obama or Mittens is a fool get the idea.  Some are to profane for my little blog.  The other thing is you can tell who has made up their mind in such a way that they have ceased to listen.  For example one person tweeted following the debate on foreign policy that Obama will leave us defenseless because he only wants to cut the military.  Did he miss the part when it was pointed out that military spending has gone up every year since Obama took office?  No.  He has chosen the line that was spun out by the right's political machine and will believe only it.  Or perhaps the person who tweets about Obama's supporter of Israel missed that Obama did indeed say that there needed to be some daylight between the US and Israel. Obama does support Israel; it's Israel's Prime Minister that he doesn't seem to get along with.

It is fascinating to watch.  Lastly there are those who cannot count.  It was: "Three debates in three words: Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets! #debates2012 " Ummm four words people, unless you count the "and." Then that would be five words.  Some people on Twitter would probably have been better off never being taught how to do so.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Bosses

In the news recently are interesting stories about a new in unethical attempt to influence the vote.  It started with a couple of campaign rallies. It was reported in August that a group of miners were encouraged to go to a rally. The mine was shut down for the rally and as such the miners were not paid.  According to a local radio host several minors emailed and called him saying they felt pressured to attend the rally or that it could reflect negatively on their jobs.  Weeks after, on October 13th, some these miners announced that was false.  It is interesting that this denial came out just a week ago when it has been discussed in the media for some time.  No real comment but just something interesting to note the way facts come out.  So with that said in the past week or two there have been a few other reports of this nature.
Arthur Allen
Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG software, sent an email which states "If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come."  He was telling his employees to vote for Mitt Romney.  The entire email was obtained by Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC.  Before you say, yeah MSNBC, please note that it is the actual email is shown and was discussed also by Huffington Post.  Allen is not alone in sending out these warnings.

David Siegel and wife, Jackie
David Siegel, founder of Westside Resorts and builder of the largest home in America,  said in his long email "If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company."   Siegel has confirmed the email and also stated it was based on an email used in 2008 by other companies.

David and Charles Koch
According to In These Times, who obtained voting recommendations sent out by the Koch Brothers to 45,000 employees, there was a packet that states employees who do not vote for the recommended candidates could “suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills." They do go on to say of course that each employee makes his own decision but the message is clear and even though the Koch packet states that the recommended candidates are chosen by basis of what they think will do the best job, all the recommended candidates are Republican.

Then there is the report in MLive Michigan that has Richard Lacks, CEO of Lacks Enterprises, who wrote in regard to Obamacare, “As employees, you will receive no additional direct benefit other than you will have to pay for it."  This was followed by , “The talk of additional tax increases by the administration, if re-elected, will have an additional negative impact on the organization. It is always important to remember the more government takes the less there will be available to spread around to the working people of this company."

Sorry couldn't find verified picture of John Hickey and Ray Towles
There was also a report that a group calling itself  Cause of Action filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General that two FAA supervisors told people at a departmental meeting to vote for Democrats to keep their jobs because Republicans intend to cut the FAA funding.  This is the actual complaint.

And then there is this  recording of Romney telling members of Small Business Town Hall in June to do exactly what is happening which is to recommend employers tell employees who they would recommend to vote for.  He is very careful to tell them that it is important to discuss their views and the importance of voting regardless of party affiliation. That said, however, Romney is also certainly aware that he is giving advice to a group that was 98 percent Republican.  He is also very aware that a boss may not directly order someone to donate to a campaign or who they will vote for.  The speech carefully follows the letter of the law as do the emails sent out by wealthy employers. That does not make it any less unethical for Democrat or Republican to do this.

The problem is that no boss should tell the employees how to vote.  It smacks of intimidation.  Yeah, I know Labor Unions send out voter recommendations too, but there is a sharp difference between the group who protects workers rights from the guy who signs the pay check telling you who they think would be best to receive an employee's vote.  Voter intimidation must stop.  Whether it is the attempt to suppress the vote, the attempt to scare voters as with billboards, or poll watchers, this must stop.  This is free speech and as you all know with freedom comes responsibility.  A few folks need to be made responsible.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Cost of Gassssssssss

Back last spring, the complaint arose that the cost of gas was going up.  It has been a complaint ever since the cost of gas has continued up.  Virtually every news show, where the topic was brought up put it quite simple.

Gas is a commodity.  Its price is dictated by demand and availability.  The government cannot control the cost of gas short of nationalizing the industry or putting limits on speculation in the market or releasing large amounts of the national reserve.  To state that the government does have anything to do with controlling gas prices is smoke and mirrors of campaign rhetoric, plain and simple.

Let's take a look at history. For the sake of argument, yes gas prices were lower when Obama took office.  We had also just hit the great recession and along with other prices, gas prices fell.  Before the fall, gas prices were in fact higher than  they are now.
You may notice in 2008 July the cost of gas national average was $4.35 cents per gallon before the crash.  Gas is currently $3.88 which is actually down from last week.  When Bush II took office gas was about $1.45.  So why didn't he control the cost of gas?  The same reason Obama didn't and the same reason any president couldn't.  They can't.  To review, it is controlled by demand, availability and speculation. Remember?  To make gas prices a political issue is like demanding the government control when flowers bloom. In fact during one of the highest periods of US drilling, gas spiked at its highest.  So much for "drill baby drill."

So what of that wondrous Pipeline....called Keystone.  It would have added  jobs in its construction. Why veto it then? It would not have made us more money or more available oil.   The Republicans had wanted to fast track it, but no one had any idea what it would do to the environment because the studies were not complete.  Several climate and environmental experts were worried the method of extraction could destabilize a number of delicate ecosystems increasing further the damage to world-wide environment.  There was also the 60 day ultimatum Republicans put on the administration.  So, following the recommendations of the Department of State, Obama vetoed the idea as "not in the national interest."  Finally, after the pipeline was built across private land, the US would not make any money from it use with the bulk of profits going back to Canada.  Job situation temporary, environmental impact significant, profitability zero.  Let's not also forget that if  the pipeline broke, we would have a BP level oil spill in the heartland of the US. Nuff said.

Then there is that pesky 14% of production on public or government lands.  Politifact has rated the argument as half true only because it was true last year.  In the years before, it is untrue. It was in fact up and still higher than the previous administration of Bush II.  "From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8 percent.From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6 percent." (  Why the fall? BP oil spill (you remember that) = moratorium on offshore (government land) production.

I want to remind you that this is about controlling gas prices and not about energy independence. That said--

A friend pointed out the if we increase production gas prices would go down.  Unfortunately that is not true. It would make us more energy independent which is a good thing, but it would not lower the price of gas.  In 2008 American Scientific asked experts about if production would decrease cost. According to Robert Kaufman an expert in world oil prices and Ian Nathan a research assistant for Energy Intelligence Group, production may reduce our dependency, but price will still be determined by world market. If a commodity goes up on this market, then we would not receive lower prices because all pay what the market will bear.  Add to this that demand is up around the world in places like China, gas will continue to go up. According to Phyllis Martin, an EIA analyst, significant increase in oil production would not have impact on oil prices even by 2030 (

It could  increase jobs, our oil independence and help the economy by export providing the owners were American.  We have already improved both our exporting of petroleum products and decreased our importing.  We have also increased  oil production.  According to the EIA, per thousand barrels, oil production was 1,857,32 in 2006 increasing to 2,065,172 in 2011 (

We do have many untapped resources, but the question is what are you willing to lose in possible environmental damage to obtain some of this oil. There is oil in the Atlantic that is untapped but was put off limits in the 1980's by Congress.  Oil Shale is also available but is expensive to process.  In natural gas, our most abundant resource there is also the process know as fracking and  the debate rages as to how safe it is, but I suspect the folks who can light their tap water on fire think it is probably unsafe if done badly, not that the oil industry has any record of cutting corners.

The gas discussion is exactly that gasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What is This Undecided Voter You Speak of?

I am sorry, but I just cannot continue wondering about "undecided voters" and what they want. After the second Presidential debate last night, I watched as a group of these voters were asked what they saw and to my complete and utter lack of surprise, they didn't for the most part get it.  One was swayed for Obama and one was swayed for Romney and the others leaning this way or that but still undecided.  When asked questions, I had to wonder if they had  if they had watched the same debate or if they had drifted off into lala land and then pretended to be undecided.

So who are they? According to Reuters, they are likely to be female, white, lacking an education  and making under $25,000 dollars a year or as defined by the Washington Post/ABC poll "they tend to be young, low-information voters who see themselves in the ideological middle — caught between an economy they aren’t happy with and an alternative to President Obama that they also aren't thrilled about."  What is more, no one knows what more they could possibly want to hear to make up their minds.  

For politicians they are an extremely expensive because all the ads are aimed at them.  They are also less likely to make it to the polls which means we've all suffered the ads and billionaires have wasted a ton of money on them.  One of the nicer things they've been called is "low information voters." In other words some of them  may have much in common with a box of rocks. Bill Maher in one of his rants remarked "This year at the debates we should skip that thing where the undecideds dial in their reaction to every little moment, and instead hook up the dial to their foreheads to see if there is any measurable brain activity." Bill Maher is not the only one to take shots at this group.  Saturday Night Live has made a stab at this seeming group of lost and befuddled souls.  In defense, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse referred to them as "Walmart Moms." I am still trying to figure out how that is a defense of being undecided.

Let's face it, this is five or six percent of the voting population just can't seem to sort out anything.  They cannot apparently check Politifact and other sources on the web.  They are confused by FOX and MSNBC and haven't looked at Huffington Post or the Washington Post.  I do feel a bit for them because today's news correspondent seems unable to call out the candidates on the pile of you-know-what that all politicians seem capable of because if they do ask the hard questions they may not get another chance and be accused of unfair bias because they are members of the liberal media or mean or interfering.  

They may be a group of voters though who, depending on which pollster is interviewed, may or may not be worth the expense, time and wooing the campaigns and super-pacs have spent so much time on. These voters may have watched or pretended to watch the debates, but instead of checking to see if the facts were accurate that were spewed out during a debate, they sat there in a lost funk and then announce that the five point thing sounds good or they like the taxing the wealthy  thing.  They have no idea what the 47 percent is or if they heard about it, they didn't really understand it.  They are  the guys who are looking at the style of delivery and not substance.   Here are the Politifact checks for each of the debates thus far.  If you are undecided, at least become less than low information voters.

The first debate is here.

The vice presidential debate is here.

The town hall debate is here.

All I ask, is at this point, could you not wait until the last day before the election and make a choice so the rest of us can give the mute button on our remotes a break?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Not the Economy; It's Math.


So let us begin...

I am not a mathematical person.

I am not going to give you some massive formula and will do my best to keep the math simple because I've spent time trying to understand it too.

The US budget is hugely complex.

But even I know you cannot cut taxes and raise revenue.

I've seen the trickle down economics tried and it has never, let me repeat that, never worked. The rich do not spread the wealth. If that were true, based on the stock market right now, the labor problems should be over now. It's actual name is Supply Side Economics. According to which is a conservative website "Even in the heyday of supply-side economics during the Reagan era (Reagonomics), only 12 members of the 18,000-strong American Economics Association called themselves supply-side economists. Currently in American universities there is no major school of supply-side economics.

Reagan tried it. Taxes were raised six of the eight years.

Bush II tried it and we had a massive recession.

And now any way you want to look at it Romney wants to try it.

He has stated that he will cut taxes by 20 percent across the board. He will make up the difference by cutting loopholes but he will not state which ones. I know he said he will not raise taxes on any person in the debate.   He has also signed the Norquist no tax pledge which means he too has made a written oath to a power outside the Constitution should he become president. "Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates" -- from

"He will put our Navy on the path to increase its shipbuilding rate from nine per year to approximately fifteen per year, which will include three submarines per year. He will also modernize and replace the aging inventories of the Air Force, Army, and Marines, and selectively strengthen our force structure. And he will fully commit to a robust, multi-layered national ballistic-missile defense system to deter and defend against nuclear attacks on our homeland and our allies.

This will not be a cost-free process. ... with the goal of setting core defense spending—meaning funds devoted to the fundamental military components of personnel, operations and maintenance, procurement, and research and development—at a floor of 4 percent of GDP." ( (this means $4 for every $100 spent) 

This according to CNN money, the LA Times and The Center for a New American Security and a number of other sources would raise defense spending which is currently set to hit 3.5 percent of GDP to 2.1 trillion dollars. The only cuts Romney has announced that I've heard is PBS (430 million), Planned Parenthood (75 million dollars).

There are not enough loopholes to close that would fund the tax cut let alone cover the increase the defense spending for an imaginary nuclear threat and to rebuild a navy that doesn't really need up-scaling. The ships of 1916 which Romney points to as how weak our navy has become because of numbers is a silly comparison. In 1916 the ships were 1 use items. In 2012 the ships, vastly superior in every way, are multifunctional and multipurpose. If we put the current navy against the 1916 it would be like sending the 1916 navy our to fight the Spanish Armada. NO CONTEST. What is more it is an increase the generals at the Pentagon have not requested and for Romney who rattles the saber of foreign policy every time he speaks to think he knows what actual warriors need is purely nuts.
But I digress...If there are not enough loopholes to close and that includes the charity and mortgage deduction, college deduction, and even the child deduction, then the money must come from somewhere or the deficit must go up. So it means new taxes and since Romney has made it clear that it is the wealthy who are "job creators" that need more money to give us a stronger economy there is only one group to get the money from -- those under the $200,000 mark and the 47%. We also know that according to the debates the tax loop holes by name he intends to close is none although it is clear he believes the capital gains tax which allows him to pay less taxes than most middle class he believes is fair, something he stated on 60 Minutes.

It is Math.

I know, the growing economy will make up the difference according to Romney. The problem is that every reputable economist have announced that Top Down/Supply Side Economics do not work and have never worked. The six studies that Romney/Ryan point to have all been more or less dismissed by every fact checking organization as false including the one made by Ryan in the last debate.

It is MATH.

So what of Obama.  Yes he has cost us money.  He made the statement that we should use the money we save from the Iraq war to pay off debt and put money into jobs, but by his own logic that the Iraq war was on a credit card, we are not saving money, we are just not spending on that part of the card any longer. That too is a problem with the MATH. "The President’s plan uses half the money we’re no longer spending on war to put Americans back to work rebuilding road, bridges, runways and schools here at home and uses the other half to help pay down the debt." (

I should also point out that extending the Bush tax cuts is not giving a tax cut if you already have it. He has been very point blank about the intent to end the tax cuts for the wealthy and return them to the levels they were at during the 1990's.  "No household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle-class family pays". (

But oddly he has actually reduced the deficit.  Okay so it's still over a trillion but last year the deficit was $1.297 trillion and this year the deficit was $1.089 trillion, smaller than last year's deficit. That means we actually went down $200 billion dollars.

According to Reuters reporting from the Treasury Department:
"The September budget surplus of $75 billion, which topped analyst expectations for a surplus of $42 billion, marked only the second month in the fiscal year ended September 30 that the country was in the black.

The year-end budget report comes in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, where the massive budget gap and President Barack Obama's economic policies have dominated the debate.

The Obama administration spent $3.538 trillion in the 2012 fiscal year, 1.7 percent less than last year due to the expiration of stimulus provisions, a stronger economy, the end of military operations in Iraq and the continued draw down in Afghanistan, the Treasury said.

Strong tax collections pushed receipts up to $2.449 trillion in 2012, up 6.4 percent from last year."

Obama has offered up a budget that was stalled in the senate.  Paul Ryan has offered a budget that  is considered very extreme and Romney says is not his plan although he endorsed it. Only Romney has not actually offered any kind of budget. I'm sorry my Republican friends, but the bare bones plan of Romneynomics which comes from his own site,  DO NOT ADD UP.


(Please don't send me some conservative website. I was very careful to get my info from non-partisans news organizations and avoid using biased liberal or conservative sites unless identified and btw the 'liberal media' term being applied to all news organizations except FOX  is only used when someone is losing.)