Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Wargaming" the 2012 Election - Post-Debate Analysis

Just over one month ago, part three of my 'Wargaming' the 2012 Election series was published as I looked at the state of the Presidential race just after the Republican and Democrat National Conventions.  The first of the series was published in December 2011 - well before the Republican Party had selected a Presidential candidate to oppose President Barack Obama.

Between October 3rd and October 22nd, the Presidential candidates met in three debates while the Vice Presidential candidates met in a single debate.  Prior to the debates, the race was seen as very close, with President Barack Obama holding onto a slim lead in most polls.  But within the collection of polls taken of the Presidential race - the President was also rarely breaking 47% - 48% of support.

As pundits looked at the nature of the race, like I did last December, we identified a collection of battleground states - states where the polls between the candidates were so close, a clear winner of those electoral votes could not be determined.  These were the critical states that the core of the election would be fought over.

Here's the battleground states that I originally identified - Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire.  All were states won by Barack Obama in 2008.  Several of these, specifically Michigan and Pennsylvania, were not identified as battleground or swing states by others as early as I did.

But looking at the polls from those states, including key internals, as well as looking at the economic, social, and political issues within those states - I believed that with the record and actions of the Obama Administration, they could / would become battleground states with a strong Republican ticket to run against the policies, agenda, and record of Barack Obama particularly in the wake of the historic 2010 midterm elections which broke the super majority Democrat control of Congress.

Election Day is now just two weeks away.

The Republican ticket is set - Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Once both slates received and lost their convention bounces - the next key point of the race would be these past three weeks and the four debates.  How the debates shook out would have a huge effect on the race.

To quickly recap the debates, President Barack Obama decisively lost the first Presidential debate - and Mitt Romney's performance effectively washed away the months of negative advertising by the Obama campaign.  Mitt Romney looked and acted Presidential - and made a very compelling case for his election based on his plan and vision for the country.

In the Vice Presidential debate, VP Joe Biden, desperate to make up for the President's miserable performance, dug an even deeper hole for their campaign as he lost to Paul Ryan.

Barack Obama bounced back strong in the second and third Presidential debate - demonstrating an energy level far above that of the first debate.  But he was hamstrung by his record - which is not one that can really be run on - and the failure to offer an agenda for a second term different from what he did in his first term.  Mitt Romney continued with his strong debate performances - matching the President, appearing Presidential, and in particular appealing to the undecided's / independents as opposed to the President's strategy of appealing to his base.

As a result of these debates, Mitt Romney has not gotten just a bounce from his strong first debate, but has received a preference surge that Barack Obama has not been able to halt - just slow down somewhat.  Independents are moving towards Mitt Romney - in numbers equal to or greater than the number of independents who propelled Barack Obama to the White House in 2008.

GOP enthusiasm, up for the 2010 midterms, is hardly faltering as we approach the 2012 election.  In 2008 where the Democrat turnout was 8 points higher than the GOP turnout, we are looking at anywhere from a even party breakdown turnout in 2012 to no worse than a D+3 or 4 party differential.

So with this background - where are we today in the 2012 race?

This is the map as it was just prior to the start of the debate 'season'.  The battleground states are Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire.  The only firm change - New Mexico moved from toss-up to Barack Obama largely on the basis of the state's Hispanic community and their very strong preference for President Obama.

At this point, Barack Obama holds a 10 point lead in the electoral vote, with 146 electoral votes up for grabs.  Both campaigns have a number of paths to victory.

But as the debates took place, and Mitt Romney started to get the benefit of the surge he received from his strong debate performances, there are more battleground states that are making their selection.

North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia are now all showing movement towards Mitt Romney in the majority of the polls. In Maine, which appropriates its electoral votes based on Congressional District, there is one District that could send it's single electoral vote to Mitt Romney.

Barack Obama thusfar has been unable to stop the movement of these states to Mitt Romney - and given the  state of the race, and that if the incumbent has not secured the undecided vote by now, it is very unlikely that he will gain it - I am predicting that these states will be won by Mitt Romney.

This is a big part of the battleground states - and swing Mitt Romney into a 49 electoral vote lead over President Obama, 249 to 200.

From this point, Barack Obama has only 9 possible combinations of the remaining swing states that can propel him over 270, and Pennsylvania becomes a MUST WIN state.  Lose this traditionally Democrat supporting state, as I've covered before, and Barack Obama will be a one term President.

Mitt Romney, 21 electoral votes shy of 270, has 22 possible winning combinations.  There are also 4 possible combinations of the remaining states that would result in an Electoral College tie.

Over the last week - 10 days, there are growing signs that one more of the remaining battleground states will move from the toss-up category into the column of one of the candidates.  That state is Colorado, where Mitt Romney is now hitting 50% on several polls...

With Colorado moving to support Mitt Romney, he gains 9 electoral votes, bringing his total to 258 and only 12 shy of the magic number.  With this, Barack Obama is down to only 3 possible winning combinations and Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania enter the MUST WIN category.  Mitt Romney has 9 possible winning combinations that can deliver the electoral votes he needs to win.

As I look at more of the state specific polls - as well as try to get an impression on the enthusiasm and momentum in the remaining battleground states, I am seeing signs that two more states are going to move out of the toss-up category in the very near future.  All of these races are close - so even slight movements can make a huge difference.

In New Hampshire, I'm seeing signs that they are moving slightly, but solidly towards Mitt Romney in the wake of his very strong debate performances.

Nevada, particularly around Las Vegas / Clark County, the Democrat (Obama / Reid) machine, combined with the efforts of the pro-Democrat unions that are strong in that County, and the Hispanic community, appears to be that it will vote once again for Barack Obama.

If we update the map to show these latest moves, and this is what we have.

Mitt Romney is now only 8 electoral votes from victory - and there are 5 states left in the toss-up category.  Barack Obama is 64 electoral votes from victory with 70 electoral votes in those remaining toss-up states.  He has only 1 path to win, and if he loses any of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, or Pennsylvania - he's lost.

This is how I think the race is today - with two weeks to go.

Pennsylvania, as I've predicted in my earlier looks at the race, is one of the early indicators for Election Day. It has not voted for a GOP Presidential candidate since 1988.  Since then, the Democrat strongholds of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the suburbs of Philadelphia have generated enough votes to offset the PA 'Flyover country' which is primarily between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  Another advantage for the Democrats - there are about 1 million more registered Democrats in PA than registered Republicans.

But this is not a normal election.  The Obama policies against coal and fossil fuels are hammering the state and its jobs.  Polls are showing coal country around Pittsburgh are not supporting the President at the levels he needs.  The continuing stagnant economy is also it look as though the Philadelphia suburbs are looking for a change in leadership in an effort to get a real recovery jump started.  Democrat enthusiasm in PA is down - just as it is around the country.

With the effects of the debate- I think these cracks in the dam are going to expand- to the point where PA will be won by Mitt Romney.  [In neighboring NJ, while Obama will under perform his 2008 levels, there just are not enough enthusiastic Republicans and Independents seeking a change to offset the Democrat strongholds.  I think it will remain blue - but if it does not - then we are looking at a very very bad night for Barack Obama.  Connecticut, thought at one point to getting close to being in play, will stay blue - but if it doesn't - then it's a very very very bad night for Barack Obama.]

Wisconsin is probably suffering election fatigue - with this being the fourth major election in the last two years between the 2010 statewide election and the recall elections around the reform efforts of Governor Scott Walker and the GOP legislature.  Because of these recalls - and the successful elections - the GOP has a strong and capable ground game.  They have a record - and Mitt Romney is embracing similar approaches to solve the challenges of the country.  Finally, Wisconsin is Paul Ryan's home state.

Most of the polls from Wisconsin are being skewed by samples that are closer to a 2008 party breakdown and enthusiasm level than today.  As in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Walker recall), things are also getting dirty - with the unions / Democrats leading the way.

I do not envision Wisconsin voting again to elect Barack Obama.   The Paul Ryan selection combined with the strong GOP state effort to get out the vote will push Wisconsin into the Romney camp.

Michigan is Mitt Romney's 'home state' - but it is also a major union stronghold - constituency that is in the bag for Barack Obama.  It is also 'home' to the US Auto Industry - which the Obama Administration bailed out with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars - ensuring many union jobs and union contracts would remain intact.  But Michigan is another state that moved to the GOP in 2010 - and one where the current GOP Governor is working to continue the turnaround he started.

Many of the polls from Michigan are showing 6-9 point leads for Barack Obama - but most of these are also based on 2008 or higher Democrat turnout models.  Michigan might follow these polls and vote for Barack Obama - but I think that the undercurrent to vote against Barack Obama and his policies of the last 4 years is stronger than is being measured.

Iowa is another state where the Romney momentum is growing post-debate - and the President, despite many campaign visits cannot close the state out.  The undecideds will go to Romney because he answered their questions around the economy and the laid out a strong vision for the future.  I do not see them going to Barack Obama at the 11th hour - choosing to stay on the current path.

This brings us to the last battleground state - and Barack Obama's primary 'firewall'.  Ohio.

I don't think Ohio will decide the election - it will not be as close as it was in 2004.  Ohio tried Wisconsin-like reforms - but in an election to maintain those reforms or reverse them, after a huge investment by unions, the people voted to reference the reforms.  But since that point, the GOP Governor is seeing his poll numbers improve.  Democrat registrations are down substantially in the state - and the President's policies are really hurting Ohio's jobs and businesses.

The debates are turning the tide -and over the next two weeks, Mitt Romney will make small but steady gains as undecideds move to him and wavering Obama supporters move to Romney as they realize the negative ads by Obama weren't accurate.

So here's my last prediction to what the map will look like early Wednesday morning, November 7th....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quick Hits - October 23, 2012

For technology junkies - today was the day that Apple announced the iPad Mini, a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display, and updates to the Mac Mini and iMac computers.  The new 7.9" iPad Mini seems to be a smaller form factor iPad 2 (2nd generation iPad) - and the base, 16GB WiFi model is going to sell for $329.

This price is a bit of a surprise - as it's primary competitors, the Nexus 7" tablet and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet both sell for $199.  Apple is going to make the case that the slightly larger screen, the aluminum body (vs plastic for the others), iOS, and Apple's reputation are sufficient to talk consumers into spending $130 more for their product.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD is going to be the main competitor - while only 7", it's screen is better quality than the new iPad Mini.  Amazon also offers a complete infrastructure / support solution that rivals the iTunes store.  And if screen size quality is really an issue, the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD - also with a better screen than the iPad Mini, is only $30 less than the Apple offering.

Ultimately, its going to come down to the consumer, what they need, and how much they are willing to pay.  I think if Apple had hit that rumored $249 target - it would be a no brainer - but for me, since I use both iTunes and Amazon - that price differential might be hard to look beyond.

For political junkies - today we got far more opinion, bloviating, and analysis of the final Presidential debate. Some of the viewpoints are very humorous - 

 - which leads me to one of the better rants from the last couple of days... this one from NJ Governor Chris Christie who was campaigning for Mitt Romney in Virginia....

You may not know this, but the president loves me. He really does. He loves watching me on TV. He loves the stuff I say, he loves me. And so, since he loves me, I want to help the president. … You’ve been living inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the last four years. If you don’t think you can change Washington from inside the White House, then let’s give you the plane ticket back to Chicago you’ve earned. I mean, that is a scary thing for the President of the United States to say, isn’t it? … It shows his arrogance. See, ’cause if he really believes that, if he believes that, then what the hell is he doing asking for another four years? You can’t just Washington, D.C. from the inside? That’s fine, we’re happy to give you a bus ticket to the outside, Mr. President. … What he’s saying is, ‘It’s not my fault. … It’s G.W. Bush’s fault, it’s Dick Cheney’s fault, it’s big oil’s fault, it’s the coal company’s fault, it’s the gas company’s fault, it’s the fault of the Republicans in Congress… For God’s sake, it’s anybody’s fault but mine,’ he says. ‘Please, give me another four years, and I will figure it out.’ You know what, Mr. President? I am tired of waiting for you to figure it out. …He doesn’t know anything about leading. He’s never led anything in his life. Until we made him president of the United States, he’s never led anything in his life. … Blindly walking around the White House, looking for a clue. …
If I were still an undecided voter, that logical question raised by Governor Christie would definitely make me lean towards Mitt Romney.  It just makes sense - Barack Obama has spent the last 45 months trying to fundamentally change Washington DC and the country.  But if he can't change it from the inside, why would we give him 4 more years inside to try?  Isn't that Einstein's definition of insanity?

The other rant comes to courtesy of 'Tingles' - Chris Matthews, one of the primetime hosts for MSNBC - or as it's website is now known, NBC News.  NBC News is clearly damaged goods - pretty much a farce when it comes to 'serious' journalism or journalistic ethics and integrity.  They've decided that in order to get any viewers, they are going to lock up the Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, hard core rabid far left progressive Marxists - and appeal directly to that subset with a lineup of Matthews, Ed Schultz, Laurence O'Donnell, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rachel Maddow.  Even the so-called 'serious' journalists like Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Jansing, and Chris Hayes regularly embarrass themselves with their bias.

The network features the tag line - 'Lean Forward' - just to fit right in the Obama campaign tag line -

Matthews, who I heard is a legend in his own mind (quoted today saying he would be one of the best Democrat Senators if he actually decided to run as he considered doing late last year), seems to believe that the only remotely possible reason why someone would consider NOT voting for Barack Obama is because that person. in particular conservatives, is because they are racists who can't stand an African-American President...

“I think they hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy al Qaeda. Their No. 1 enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred, hatred for Obama. And we can go into that about the white working class in the South and looking at these numbers we’re getting the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases … this isn’t about being a better president, they want to get rid of this president,” he said.
Isn't it interesting that there is only really one group that dwells on racism and racists....and they do it all of the time.  Far more subscribe to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, to judge one on the basis of the content of their character as opposed to the color of their skin, but to the deranged hardcore progressive left - it's all about race.  So, who really are the racists?

The vapidity of buffoons like Matthews is hard to understand - along with their palatable hypocrisy as they seem to surrender common sense for love of their political ideology.  On's Big Hollywood site, as well as Michelle Malkin's - some of the absolutely dumbest comments, even dumber than those from MSNBC, came from the usual collection of vapid and clueless Hollywood 'stars'.

I wonder when they will begin to realize that their wealth / earnings come from the very people who they insult for holding a different political viewpoint?  I think their arrogance and hubris is such that they will not.  They will be as confused as the NY Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Air America, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and others are now as they lose subscribers, viewers, and ultimately money because their customers no longer see they are getting a quality product for their dollar - and that these media / entertainment / news personalities and organizations are taking them for granted as well as insulting them.

Another example...  Last night, Brian Williams was giddy with excitement over that devastating Obama zinger about horses and bayonets - wishing that it would have the legs to turn the race around.  In reality, this was a line that only appealed to the moronic progressive base - and ensured that Florida and Virginia would be won by Mitt Romney - and probably weakened the President's efforts in elsewhere.  On top of this, GOP Senate candidate in VA, George Allen, is also going to win his seat back.

Do you remember the movie 'Broadcast News'?  It starred Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, and William Hurt.  Brooks played a very smart and ethical reporter who played by the rules - advancing on merit - wanting that spot in front of the camera behind the anchor desk.  But he was, shall we say, television unfriendly.  William Hurt, on the other hand was very telegenic, but otherwise vapid....needing Hunter to spoon feed him lines and then cutting ethical corners to move ahead.  But he got that big anchor spot.  Brian Williams is the real life Tom Grunick. had a story where someone from the Obama campaign told a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch [Columbus, Ohio] that he was not allowed to speak with voters attending an Obama campaign rally that featured Vice President Joe Biden....
Reporters NOT ALLOWED to talk to voters at Biden/Canton event," Byers quoted a Vardon tweet, "Saddled up to two 'Scotts' — both white, mid-50s — campaign tapped me on shoulder, said I wasn't allowed." In an update subsequently filed a mere eight minutes later, Byers noted that "Amy Dudley, a spokeswoman for Vice President Biden, emails" the following:

This was a miscommunication on the ground. Any reporter is entirely free to speak with event attendees.
Perhaps the Obama campaign staff were afraid the reporters would find more supporters of the President like 'Cinnamon' - who thinks that Mitt Romney would enact Chinese-style communism in the US and explode the national debt...

For all of those who are political or new junkies - who take the time to read their sample ballots, to educate themselves on the issues, and apply all that they've learned - and their own values, in order to pick the right candidate to support - there are those who don't do any of those things and still vote - maybe even voting multiple the 40,000 plus who are known to have voted in both New York and Florida - once for each address in each state.  Or this example of voter fraud highlighted by's Big Government site....
North Carolina voters roll shows that the Tar Heel State has 2,214 voters that are 110-years-old. Most of these voters are democrats and most seem to live in four democrat-controlled counties. Some of these aged voters have already voted absentee.

Many are even older than 110. In fact, it seems that NC has an awful lot of voters that are 112, too. The Carolina Transparency project did a review of the voter rolls this year and found that there are 631 Democrats who are 112 or older. By contrast, the Republicans can only find 229 over 112 voters in the state (and "unaffiliated" found 39).

And it gets worse. Two voters -- and, yes, they've already voted in early voting -- are over 150! One in Gaston County is 154 and another in Granville County is an astonishing 160!

This isn't necessarily evidence of vote theft. It could be a massively failed voter registration system, although it is notable that the largest number of these voters just happen to be Democrats.
It is examples like these that have so many Americans, more than 70% in the last poll I recall, calling for and supporting Voter ID laws to supplement the laws already on the books that define voting eligibility and casting ballots.  But one group of like minded people do not want Voter ID requirements or even strict enforcement of election laws. [Isn't it a little interesting that this same group of like minded people are the ones hip deep in voter fraud too?]  They will cite the rare prosecutions for voter fraud as evidence that there is not a voter fraud issue - but this is as much of a strawman argument as we saw offered so often last night by the President [Horses & Bayonets].

Perhaps the solution that we need is to no longer look askew at these cases - and that counties begin to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases of voter fraud.  Ensure that the first cases are prosecuted at the highest levels to send a clear message...that voter fraud will not be tolerated because the United States is not a banana republic.

Today in History

1921 - In the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, a US officer selects the body of the first 'Unknown Soldier' - who will be transported under full honors to the United States where he will buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery.

1941 - The Chief of the Soviet General Staff, Georgi Zhukov assumes command of the Red Army in an effort to halt the German advance as it approaches the Soviet capital of Moscow.

1956 - Thousands of Hungarians protest against the Soviet presence in their country, seeking more freedom and democracy, but are met with armed resistance by Soviet military units.  Over the next few days, fighting would escalate in Budapest and other Hungarian cities where hundreds of protesters would be killed.

1983 - Terrorists from the Islamic Jihad, the forerunner to Hezbollah, drive bomb laden trucks into the US Marine barracks and a French Army barracks in Beirut, Lebanon where they are detonated.  241 US Marines are killed the terror attack at the US Marine barracks - the largest one day loss of life of US Marines since the 1945 battle on Iwo Jima during WWII.  In the separate attack on the French barracks, 58 French soldiers would be killed.

2002 - 50 Chechen Islamic rebels seize a Moscow theater - taking 700 people hostage during a sold-out show of a hit musical.  This would begin a 57 hour hostage crisis...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Third Presidential Debate

Yes, I'm on the left coast, on the outskirts of LALA land - and almost like being on the left coast (3 hours behind), I've just finished watching the third Presidential debate on a DVR delay.  Once again, I've been unable to view the debate live (or live blog), but as I watch 'The Natural' as opposed to the post-debate spin on CNN, MSNBC, and FNC, I'm going to share my thoughts and observations tonight...particularly since tomorrow is a very busy day...

Coming into tonight's debate - Barack Obama needed to win this debate by a margin equal or greater to than the margin he lost the first debate October 3rd.  The fundamentals of the election changed dramatically in the wake of the miserable performance from Barack Obama in that first debate.  The race was going to be very close prior to this series of debates - the record of the President assured that.  As Brit Hume opined on Fox News during a pre-debate interview, the polls have been / are (to a large extent) rigged to the favor of Barack Obama by a factor of 7 points.  That is the effect / margin of the mainstream media bias.

Before the debates - the President was showing weakness in the polls.  While holding a mainline lead - of 3-6 points in most of them, the President was unable to break the 47-48% level - clearly below the 50% mark.  But this lead, in most of the polls, was a result of a sample that modeled a Democrat turnout at or above that of 2008 while showing a Republican turnout below the 2008 one.  Barack Obama held an 'overall' lead, but was losing Independents, Middle America - affiliated with neither party - by 5 to 10 points.  For the grognards - this was a tenuous position for the President's reelection.

In the first debate, Barack Obama failed miserably. Next to the challenger his campaign had just spent $150 million in negative ads running down, the President was unable to effectively debate or appear Presidential.  He was demolished in that debate -shown without a record upon which to run on and completely hammered / lost / overwhelmed by someone who appeared far more competent, energetic, visionary, and Presidential.

As raucous as the second debate was - the momentum / preference surge that Mitt Romney gained was not halted at all - in fact, it was barely slowed down.  A more combative President still had serious problems with his record and rhetoric - needing the moderator to ring the bell to end the round / bail his ass out on a number of occasions.  It was a debate by the President designed more to stop the bleeding of his party's base - and in a best case world, stop that of the independents.  It didn't - which set the stage for this last debate.

Barack Obama walked onto the stage at Lynn University in Boca Raton needing to dominate and win in order to stop the preference surge against his reelection.  He, and his team, looked around the world, and at the discussion of Libya in the last debate, and thought that foreign policy was where the President could win - could promote a record unlike with his domestic policies.

For the first 20-30 minutes, Barack Obama did hold a slight advantage over Mitt Romney.  He was given a gift by moderator Bob Schieffer with the first question teeing up Libya.  Mitt Romney, stung by the Candy Crowley interjecting herself regarding Libya, declined to aggressively counter Barack Obama over Libya.

This missteps by Barack Obama and the Administration are well known.  They are out there - even with the efforts of the mainstream media to spin them, and the damage, away from the Obama candidacy.  This was a mine for Mitt Romney - and the President's strategy was to trap Romney into a petty argument of the nuances and spin of the Administration - an argument that the mainstream media would ensure that Mitt Romney would lose.  But rather than step into the trap - rather than get caught in a never ending circle jerk of trying to catch a moving goalpost, Mitt Romney's strategy was entirely different.

One of my first impressions from this debate was that the roles were reversed.  Barack Obama acted like the challenger - the upstart trying to take the professional off his game.  And Mitt Romney was the incumbent, the President, the one with not only the commons sense and realistic vision, but the one with the 'adult' vision.

Once we got past the first thirty minutes of the debate - these roles solidified.  Barack Obama, increasingly desperate, began to show his desperation and exasperation with the GOP candidate.  He became as snarky and snarly as he was in the first debate.  His demeanor was various levels of the 'death stare' - ranging from immolate the person I am staring at to immolate the entire planet.

Where Barack Obama lost this debate was also when he was his most obnoxious, arrogant, and most snarky - the exchange where he tried to counter the hard hitting Romney attack over the reality of what Barack Obama's policies are doing to our national defense - in particular the massive reduction of capabilities and strength of the US Navy.

In response to Mitt Romney's accurate portrayal that the Obama plan will reduce the size of the US Navy to a level not seen since 1917 - Barack Obama segued to attacking Mitt Romney that technology and mission have changed - with horses and bayonets also not being needed in today's battlefield.

For those who are students of recent history - as well as the Reagan axiom that 'Peace comes from Strength' - they will know that Romney's observation on the size of the US Navy is correct.  They will also know that, based on our experience in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, horse mounted forces are not only viable, but were a real force in defeating the Taliban - well before the other anti-war / anti-US progressives thought was possible.  Any visit to a current training base of Marines, Army, or SEALs, and one would know that bayonets / knives are still an integral part in the training of our combat forces.

From this point on, Barack Obama seemed more and more desperate to try to reverse or undo the Presidential appearance of Mitt Romney.  That is where Obama lost the debate - and ultimately, I believe, ensured that Mitt Romney will win the election on November 6.

The talking heads remain on my television trying to spin the results.  The Frank Luntz focus group on Fox was quite interesting as the usually unflappable Luntz lost control of the group - with an Obama-bot and a Romney supporter briefly dominated.  That group indicated that in pure foreign policy, they gave a slight win to Barack Obama's policies and rhetoric - as they seemed less likely to ignite war.  That same group also gave a stronger win to Mitt Romney for his positions on the economy and the importance of the economy towards establishing and supporting the strength of the US foreign policy.

In the vast majority of the polls on this election, the key issues from left, right, and the center, has been the national economy.  It dominates the atmosphere - just as foreign policy dominated the atmosphere in 2004.

Today, Mitt Romney appeared, yet again, Presidential and competent.  He didn't allow his opponent to try to present him as George Bush or the 1980 rabid Cold Warrior - and did so while remaining Presidential in his appearance.  He played to tie with the foreign policy - refusing to get drawn into a hole where the snake would have the advantage.  He played to a win with the economy and his confidence / vision for the future.  He also avoided a gaffe that would undo all of these gains.


Moderator - Bob Schieffer - B+

Bob had one major task in this debate - not to be as biased or vapid as the previous moderators.  In this he succeeded.  His choice of topics and questions still betrayed his liberal bias - but he refused to interject himself into the debate to the level that his predecessors did.  More than once [more than a dozen times, Ed] Barack Obama looked to Bob for a lifeline, for an interjection to bail him out.  At best, there was only one time when Bob clearly offered that lifeline...and that seemed to be a one-time aid to the President.   Beyond that, Bob tried to be (and seemed to be) fairer towards the challenger than the previous moderators were.  Well done, Bob.  I can quibble on some questions, but you were better now than in 2008.

President Barack Obama - C

Yes, many of the snap polls and mainstream media talking heads are awarding Barack Obama a slim win on points in this debate - just as they (we) said he won on points in the second debate.  But, a slight win on points doesn't help the President.  He was handcuffed by his dismal record - in foreign policy, in domestic policy, and on the economy.  Many of his answers were not very different from his same open-ended answers that the President offered in 2008. Just as the President is campaigning on the basis that Mitt Romney is another George W. Bush in domestic and economy policy, he tried to push the meme that Mitt Romney is another George W. Bush on foreign policy.  That was is not the case - and as the President became more frustrated, more desperate, and more angry (death stare) - he ultimately appeared less Presidential than the his challenger.

Mitt Romney - B+

Many conservatives (and to extent myself) are upset with Mitt Romney for not being more aggressive and assertive over the President's dismal foreign policy agenda and record.  It is telling about just how screwed we are / the dismal shape that we are in, that a foreign policy record steeped around a level of incompetence not seen since Jimmy Carter or Neville Chamberlain is overwhelmed by an even more dismal economic record.

Mitt Romney came into this debate with the momentum, a preference surge.  He needed to reinforce the strides he made in the previous debates that he appeared to be Presidential and competent / knowledgeable to be President.  He needed to avoid being trapped in the snake hole and bit as he engaged with a viper.  Many of the topics brought up by Schieffer and Obama were intended to offer him the choice of getting into that hole.  But Romney declined - to chagrin of foreign policy hawks like myself.  But as he disappointed us - most of us already locked into supporting Mitt Romney (and unlikely to change), he made a very strong argument to Middle America and the undecided / wavering still trying to decide if Barack Obama earned another term.  He made a strong case, on economics and on foreign policy that Barack Obama does not deserve another term.

What's next?

Now the race comes down to the swing states and how they will fall.

Did Barack Obama do enough / win enough in the mind of some to stop and reverse the preference surge running towards Mitt Romney?  No, he didn't.

Did Barack Obama make the case that his agenda, policies, and accomplishments regarding foreign policy enhance or weaken the standing of the US?  Support our economy?  Make the world more free - and in particular more safe?  Ensure the national security of the United States?  No, he didn't on any of those.

For the first 20-30 minutes of the debate, Barack Obama was winning - but not decisively.  For the balance of the debate - Barack Obama did not win.  Nor did he offer a viable vision for the next four years different from the last four - which have seen us become less safe - not more safe.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney demonstrated himself to be Presidential.  To be informed.  To be objective and observant.  To apply what most of think is 'common sense' towards foreign policy - treat friends as friends, enemies as enemies, and lead - not from behind, but from the front.

For the next two weeks the corrupt mainstream media will tell us just how close this race is - particularly within the Obama 'firewall' states - New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada.  They are going to do all they can to influence these states remaining in the Obama camp - ensuring the President's reelection.  I think this is a lost cause because this election has already passed the tipping point.  Where the real undecideds made up their minds and tipped this election to one candidate.

All that the subsequent debates could have done was undo that tipping point - to instill a level of doubt and concern that would cause the majority of Middle America to pause and take a new look at their decision - Is this really the right decision I (we) need to make?

The answer to that question has not changed - and later this week as I offer my last look at the Electoral College, I will provide some additional data to support my impression / conclusion on how this critical race will end.

Quick Hits - October 22, 2012

Tonight - the third and final Presidential debate will take place at 9PM Eastern, 6PM Pacific.  This debate, hosted by CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, will focus on foreign policy.

This debate is of larger than normal import because we are 15 days away from Election Day - and the President remains in real electoral trouble as the race has turned 180 degrees during this month.

While the President demonstrated some real weaknesses in the polls prior to this month, the meme of the mainstream media was that the challenger, Mitt Romney, was the candidate in real trouble.  Using polls which consistently measured Republican enthusiasm at levels at or below those of 2008, the collective 'Ministry of Truth' tried to push the view that an Obama reelection was going to be close, but inevitable - despite the internals of the polls that showed independents breaking against Barack Obama.

After the President's dismal performance at the first Presidential debate, Mitt Romney's campaign received a significant surge in support on both a national level and in many of the key battleground states.  Since that debate on October 3rd, the President has fought to halt that preference surge towards his challenger - largely unsuccessful.  Tonight's debate represents the President's last chance to halt that surge and turn the tide.

There are a number of conditions that are working against the President being able to do this, short of a complete and utter collapse by Mitt Romney during the debate.

As I've covered, the President does not have a domestic or economic policy record that he can run on.  The economy remains stagnant in the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  That is hardly surprising since FDR's 'New Deal' agenda contributed to that brutally slow recovery - and Barack Obama embarked on his own 'New Deal'-like Keynesian economic agenda when he took office in January 2009.  We were promised, if we spent nearly $1 trillion stimulus package, the economy would turn around - with a GDP growth rate of over 4% and unemployment rate of 5.6% by this time.  In reality, we are looking at a declining GDP growth rate - now 1.3% and if we use the labor participation rate of January 2009, we would have an unemployment rate of 11%  - not the 'official' rate of 7.8%.

The 'most open and transparent' Administration ever has turned out to be far from the most open and transparent.  The major Departments and Agencies of the Executive Branch have had significant scandals.  On top of this, the President has taken numerous controversial steps outside of Congressional approvals and raise issues of Presidential overreach.

On foreign policy - the President also has a very questionable record.  It is difficult to see the world safer today than it was on President George W. Bush's last day in office - and our relations with friends is more tenuous - and our enemies appear emboldened by the missteps and appeasement policies of Barack Obama.

He has treated a number of our friends and allies extremely callously...

... as we see above when the Dalai Lama exits the WH via the back door, next to the mounds of trashbags, as opposed to exiting via the 'front door'.  He's insulted Britain and Israel - two of our primary allies on several occasions - and how others view the US is the same or worse today as it was when President Bush left office.

The combination of a dismal economy, a massively progressive domestic policy, and a feckless foreign policy has fueled comparisons between the Obama Administration and what many constitute as the worst Presidency of the 20th Century - that of the one-term Jimmy Carter.

This is the environment that we seen at this stage of the political race.

Over the weekend, a NBC / Wall Street Journal poll touted the race as a toss-up - a 47-47 tie between the candidates - with commentary that the President's campaign might have slowed down the momentum Mitt Romney gained from the Oct. 3rd debate win.  But as analysis and review shows - this is just another case of a sympathetic and supporting old guard media working to promote their preferred perception as opposed to reporting on things as they actually are.

We've talked on how the key swing states are starting to break - with Mitt Romney moving into the lead in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado.  The Obama campaign is now talking about defining Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Ohio, all original swing states, as 'firewall states' - states that they will make their stand in order to prevent Mitt Romney from achieving the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidential election.

But with all of this talk of 'firewalls' - getting downplayed are states once thought 'safe', states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and perhaps Connecticut, New Jersey, and Minnesota - now being in play in the wake of the seismic change that took place as the race entered it's last month.

This morning, the latest Politico / GWU Battleground poll was released - showing that Mitt Romney leads among national likely voters 49% to 47%.  This same poll last week had Barack Obama in the lead 49% to 48%.  The poll also shows in the 10 swing states, Romney leads 50% to 48%.  In both the national and swing state numbers, the poll also shows Mitt Romney having a substantial lead among those who define themselves as Independents - not Republicans or Democrats - at or above the level that Barack Obama won  Independents in 2008.

As has become commonplace, this poll understates Republican enthusiasm and turnout using a model that is far closer to the 2008 election levels than the 2010 midterm election levels.  Like yesterday's NBC News / WSJ poll, the above poll thinks that the Republican turnout model will be lower than it was in 2008.

The mainstream media pundits continue to call Ohio as the state that will decide the contest - just as Ohio was the critical state in 2004.  The disgraced former anchor of the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather, is now pontificating that since Republicans dominate the Ohio state government, they will embark on a massive level of cheating to ensure Ohio goes Republican.  This projection is as feckless and vapid as when the Kerry campaign in 2004 try to promote the same canard - but entirely consistent with someone who defines his journalistic integrity around, 'Fake, but accurate'.

CBS News / Quinnipiac released this morning their latest poll from Ohio - taken entirely after the 2nd Presidential debate.  Their mainline poll number is showing Barack Obama is leading in Ohio 50% to 45%.  Many progressive press elements are running with this poll as not only a sign that the Romney momentum is breaking, but the 'firewall' is working.  Well, in their perception, the firewall is probably working - but in reality - Mitt Romney's momentum and surge are continuing.

One of the consistencies of this election is that numbers are being cooked - whether they are the jobless / unemployment numbers coming from the Administration itself or the numbers behind so many polls conducted by the mainstream media.

With declining Democrat enthusiasm over the failures of the Obama Administration to fulfill their promises around 'Hope and Change' - something has to be done to encourage the progressive base and discourage the opposition.  By making the reelection of the President appear close / inevitable, they hope that opposition enthusiasm and turnout will be suppressed.  The same, they also hope, will motivate the progressive base to ensure that they don't lose power - just as their movement was crippled by Carter's incompetence (12 years before a progressive candidate would return to the WH).

Yes, the CBS News / Quinnipiac poll from Ohio is based on a sample that is entirely unrealistic.  The party breakdown was D35 / R26 / I34 - a D+9 oversample.  In Ohio, they are projecting or trying to model a Republican enthusiasm and turnout that is 5 points lower than it was in 2008 and 11 points lower than it was in the state during the 2010 midterms.

Are we really to believe that since November 2010, the enthusiasm and participation levels of Republicans to  replace Barack Obama has dropped 11 points?  In Ohio's most populous county, that encompassing Cleveland, Democrat party registrations are down 800,000 - but GOP registrations are down only 80,000 - one tenth of the loss that the Democrat party has experienced.  Is that a model that supports a GOP turnout 11 points below 2010?

In 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain in Ohio by 5 points.  His key to victory - winning the independent vote by 8 points over McCain.  In today's poll, buried within the internals, we see that Mitt Romney is winning the independent vote by 7 points.  That's a 15 point swing against Barack Obama by independents.

How does this pass the smell test?  We're supposed to believe that after winning Ohio by 5 in 2008, led by winning independents by 8 - that he's still winning Ohio by 5 in 2012 while losing independents by 7?  Only with a massive oversample of Democrats can Obama be seen to be winning by 5....and does it fit that Republicans are less enthusiastic today than in 2010 or 2008 - and the Democrats are that much more excited and enthusiastic (even with 800,000 fewer party registrations in the largest county in the state)?

Scratch the surface and look - and what we see is not a 'firewall' state - but a state where Barack Obama is very much in trouble.  This also helps explain why he is in growing trouble in other nearby states - Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia....

PPP, the official pollster for the Daily Kos and the SEIU, also has released a poll on a key battleground state with the mainline story being Barack Obama holds a 1 point lead, 49-48, over Mitt Romney in Iowa.

The consistency between this poll and the others remains intact.  While trailing by 1 point in the overall number, Mitt Romney is leading among independents by 8 points.  Yes, this poll has a D+7 sample that has no relationship to reality.  But then it's not intended to model reality - but create and promote a perception over reality.

This is the environment we are in as we enter tonight's last Presidential debate.  The mainstream media is creating an illusion to support the candidate they predominately prefer.  A member of that media, Bob Schieffer, is going to 'moderate' this debate - and given the track record of the previous debates this cycle as well as his record as a 'moderator' of a Presidential debate in 2008 - we know that he will interject his agenda into the mix with slanted questions and probably biased interjections.

But one thing also remains constant.  That despite the browbeating the American people are getting from the mainstream media as they promote their propaganda and agenda - the American people are seeing what they are being fed as propaganda.  The credibility of this institution continues to plummet - along with their subscription and viewership numbers.  They are making themselves irrelevant.

The American people can see and feel what is happening around them.  They can look at their TV screen and see two candidates.  They can look at these candidates and know which one is competent and appears Presidential.  Which one who is promoting a positive vision for the future as opposed to fear / scaremongering.

As PJ Media's Roger L. Simon writes on his blog this morning about what we are seeing -
Obama’s outrage during the second debate even at being questioned on his response to the terrorist killings is one of the ugliest displays of narcissism I have ever witnessed from a politician and certainly the ugliest if you consider the ramifications of his behavior.

That the mainstream media ignored this reaction is a testament to their enduring pathology. Or perhaps to a secret longing for the divine right of kings.

Tonight - follow the debate along reading Vodkapundits 'Live Drunkblog' of the debate on

Coming up later this week - my last 'Wargaming the Electoral College' post, showing where we are after the three Presidential and one Vice Presidential debates - and where I predict we will be on November 7th.

Also coming up - an election guide for LA County  / California based on the official Sample Ballot.

Today in History

1797 - Andre-Jacques Garnerin climbs aboard a hydrogen balloon, ascends 3,200 feet over Paris, and leaps out - making the first successful parachute jump.  His original design did not have a vent at the top of the parachute, so he oscillated wildly as he descended - landing safely half a mile from where he jumped.

1903 - Hired killer and marksman, Tom Horn, is hanged for the alleged murder of 14 year old Willie Nickell, the son of a Wyoming sheep rancher supposedly involved in a dispute with the local Cattleman's Association which Horn worked for as a hired gun.

1934 - Wanted fugitive, Charles 'Pretty Boy' Floyd is shot to death in an Ohio cornfield after engaging in a gunfight with FBI officers.  Floyd was suspected as being a mastermind of the Kansas City Massacre, where  the 4 police officers were shot to death in a train station.  As with other notorious criminals of the era (Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde) some thought of Floyd as a 'Robin Hood' type character - but Floyd was a violent criminal ready to kill.

1957 - Thirteen US military members in South Vietnam become the first US casualties in the renewed battle in Indochina as they are injured in three terror bombings in Saigon, South Vietnam.

1962 - In a televised address to the American people, President John F. Kennedy announced that the US would be establishing a naval blockade of Cuba to prevent the USSR from shipping additional offensive nuclear armed missiles to the island nation.  Kennedy would also warn that any missile launch from Cuba would be seen as an act of war by the USSR against the United States and respond in kind by launching US nuclear armed missiles.  With this, the world was at the edge of nuclear war between the US and USSR.

QH Weekend Edition - October 20 & 21, 2012

With the third and final Presidential debate taking place on Monday with its focus on foreign policy issues, and the Election two weeks from Tuesday, polls and Libya continued to dominate the news cycle this weekend.

With Libya, what is most striking is that in the weeks since the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, far more questions are being created / asked - than are being answered.  This seems counter-intuitive.  With the passage of time, expectations would be that things would become more clear as opposed to muddier than ever.

One of the aspects that is fueling more questions continues to be the incredibly dysfunctional and self-serving actions of the Administration.  A massive car bomb explodes in central Beirut, killing the senior Lebanese intelligence official who is well known for his anti-Syrian stances, in addition to 7 others, and injuring nearly 80, and the Obama Administration knows within an hour that this was a terrorist strike.  But despite real-time contact between the State Department in DC and staff at the US Consulate in Benghazi, despite the fact that an unmanned Predator drone was over the US mission - and directly observed the final hours of the protracted attack, the Obama Administration has been caught within their own damage control efforts, lies, and misrepresentations made with the intent to protect the Administration in the midst of a very close election.

Thus we have a serious of contradictions and issues that fuel even more questions - and provide a real insight into the leadership and priorities of the Administration of President Barack Obama.

One of the lessons that history should have taught those in power is that it is not the crime - it's the cover-up that will trip one up.  Well, most of the time.  It seems that having large elements of the mainstream press on one's side, or in one's pocket, provides some additional support - as they place ideological loyalty before their ethical and professional responsibilities as members of the Fourth Estate.

Candy Crowley, the CNN journalist who moderated the Presidential debate earlier this week, clearly did her bit to provide support to the Obama campaign and Administration by inserting herself into the debate to send one message to the 65 million debate viewers, only to correct herself minutes after the end of the debate in front of a few hundred thousand viewers.

Sunday night, Fox News ran an extremely well done special report hosted by their anchor Brett Baier on the 9/11/12 terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

The report, video above, highlights the deteriorating conditions in Benghazi in the wake of the Libyan revolution, and in particular the rise of Islamic extremism as noted by Ambassador Chris Stevens.  The morning he would be killed, the Ambassador sent another multi-page cable to Washington DC requesting additional security and noting that the perception of Libya being promoted by the Administration was not matching the reality he was seeing.  The flag flying over a number of Libyan government buildings was not the flag of Libya, but the black flag of al-Qaeda.  Yet, security personnel were being pulled out of the country - even as Ambassador Stevens was getting death threats.

On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack, a mob demonstrates during the afternoon (local time) outside the US Embassy in Cairo - protesting the US, and carrying the black flag of al-Qaeda.  Ultimately, this mob will enter the Embassy grounds, desecrate the US flag, and replace that flag with the flag of al-Qaeda.  After some time, they will leave the Embassy grounds.  Hours after this, a large and heavily armed group in Benghazi attack the US Consulate grounds - killing diplomat Sean Smith and Ambassador Stevens. A number of other Americans are able to escape the Consulate compound and, under heavy fire, escape to an Annex facility about a mile distant.  While at this facility, they are attacked again where two more Americans, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both security personnel and former SEALS, are killed, with another seriously wounded.

The real common element between the storming of the US Embassy in Cairo and the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was the linkage of these attacks to Islamic extremists, the influence of al-Qaeda (the black flag of al-Qaeda as a symbol), and the need of the Obama Administration to spin these (and the other Embassy demonstrations / stormings in Tunisia and Yemen) for its political gain and protection.

It's interesting how selectively the Obama Administration embraced the 'Arab Spring'.  In Libya, the Administration moved to give the green light to embark on military missions and operations to assist those opposed to the Qaddafi regime overthrow the longtime Libyan dictator.  In Egypt, the Administration moved quickly to throw Egyptian President Mubarak under the bus, even though they knew from the start that the main groups leading the demonstrations were the Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.

But when the Iranian people took to the streets in the summer of 2009 in massive protests against the Islamic extremist government that rigged the election results, Obama was silent.  Obama focuses his wrath and contempt towards Israel as opposed to the corrupt and pro-terrorist rule of Palestinian Authority head Abbas (or their partner, the terror group Hamas).  Finally, in Syria, over the last 20 months as Bashir al-Assad murdered nearly 40,000 of his own people, the Administration has fully embraced not leading from behind, but standing quietly in the shadows.

We're being told that the Arab Spring is a good thing - but in Tunisia and Egypt, hard core Islamic extremist fundamentalist groups have taken political power....but that's 'democracy'.  In Libya, so-called moderates were elected, but in the eastern part of the country, Islamic extremists assert real physical control - as seen in Benghazi.  In Libya, the Grand Mufti (Islamic religious head) is now asking the Libyan government to remove all references to democracy and religious freedom from textbooks used throughout the country - promoting the only acceptable law / government is Islam and Sharia.

The newly elected head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood political party, this weekend, announced that the ultimate goal of his party is to 'institute Islamic Sharia law' in Egypt.

In Iraq, the conditions are deteriorating significantly as al-Qaeda in Iraq is actively rebuilding and reconstituting itself in the wake of the Obama decision to be able to tell his hard left base, 'I ended the war in Iraq as promised.'  It is further threatened by more intervention by Iran to subvert the new Iraqi government.

Islamic extremists are also making major gains in Yemen, under the guise of the 'Arab Spring' - and in Afghanistan, a reconstituted and invigorated Taliban is taking advantage of the President's preference to abandon that battlefield.  Pakistan is also taking advantage of the fecklessness of the current Administration and moving more towards embracing Islamic extremism and fundamentalism.

Our President spikes the football over the death of Bin Laden, while leaking classified information that weakens us and permits Pakistan to 'convict' a Doctor who played a major role in locating the terror leader to life in prison for his assistance to us.  Up until the middle of last week, a standard stump speech line of the President is that 'Bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run'.

Killing Bin Laden did not end the war that Islamic fundamentalist extremists are waging against Western Civilization....and we've nearly lost all of the gains made between October 2001 and January 2009 in the past 46 months.  This is the legacy and record of the Obama Administration when it comes to foreign policy.

But in order to hide these failures - failures of policy and agenda - we've been told that an obscure You Tube video posted online late June and viewed by less than 10,000 people by September 11, 2012, was the reason why on that day, mobs took to the streets in Cairo to protest the US.  Was the reason why on that day, a large heavily armed group of men attacked US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, knowing that the US Ambassador was there (and not in the capital of Tripoli), and sought to murder him and as many other Americans they could.

The effort of the Administration to lie to the American people for the political expediency of Barack Obama is also part of a pattern.  We have seen this same pattern of lies with regards to the DoJ - Fast & Furious, New Black Panther Party, Immigration.  With regards to the Department of Energy - Solyndra and 'green energy'.  With regards to the Department of Labor - cooking the books regarding unemployment.  With regards to the Department of Homeland Security - 'The system worked' when only technical construction failures of the bombs prevented Islamic extremists from downing a passenger or immolating Times Square.

We even have this with regards to the Defense Department - which refuses to classify the terror attack by a 'Soldier of Islam', Major Nidal Hassan, at Fort Hood, Texas which killed 13 and wounded 29 as a terror attack.  They are calling this a case of 'workplace violence' - which denies the victims of the attack of benefits they are owed by this government.

None of this raises questions about the President and his Administration?  They whinge on about the GOP / Romney 'war on women' yet express no concerns or condemnations over the misogynistic practices of Islamic Sharia law?

The President's record when it comes to foreign policy is every bit as feckless, incompetent, and failing as his record with domestic policy and the economy.

The New York Times is reporting this weekend that the US and Iran have apparently agreed for the first time for one on one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program - a program that they define as entirely peaceful while large elements of it remain under military command and hidden from international inspectors.  The report is that the Obama Administration has reached out to the Iranian leadership using the Swiss as intermediaries (the US has not had formal diplomatic relations with Iran since the Islamic Republic seized the US Embassy in 1979 - holding 52 hostage for 444 days).

Almost immediately, and very quietly, the NY Times has been scrubbing its story as the WH denies the report - and Israel expressed concern that the US was kept from them as well as Iran using talks to as cover to 'advance their nuclear weapons development program'.

Once again - we insult our friends and provide undeserved attention and recognition to our enemies.

The United Nations, always happy to take billions from the US to fund it's corruption and anti-US initiatives, has announced that they will be dispatching official election monitors to polling stations across the United States to look for voter suppression efforts at the polls by conservative groups.
United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers around the county on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places.

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.
The UN didn't even bother to send election monitors to observe the 'election' of Venezuela's Marxist strongman, Hugo Chavez, but they are sending monitors to the US to investigate 'voter suppression'?  Well, not only is the UN investigating us for possible acts of conservative voter suppression (yeah, to the UN, the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation is not an issue - they see it as the DoJ does), but they are also warning the American people to not elect Mitt Romney on November 6th....

Is Spock wearing a goatee in this universe?  Or maybe the better question is - why are we sending billions to an irrelevant, corrupt, and dysfunctional organization?

Sunday morning, NBC News / Wall Street Journal released the preliminaries of a poll that was conducted entirely after the 2nd Presidential debate - showing the candidates are tied nationally among likely voters at 47%.  They are using this as a evidence of a 'too close to call' race where Barack Obama has apparently stopped the momentum surge that Mitt Romney obtained after the first Presidential debate.

Is this race really that tight?  Let's look through the internals - and in particular the sample since NBC / WSJ has consistently oversampled Democrats and undersampled Republicans / Republican enthusiasm this entire cycle.

Unsurprisingly, when we get to question QF4a, the self-identification of the respondents by political party, we see some issues.  In pure party self-identification - this poll is based on D32 / R26 / I43 - a D+6 oversample.  But this poll raises even more questions than a D+6 raw sample.

In 2008, the national GOP turnout was 28% - in a year that the GOP was unmotivated and unenthusiastic.  During the 2010 midterms, when the GOP was far more motivated and enthusiastic, the party turnout was 35%.

Are we to expect that today - the GOP is even less motivated and enthusiastic than it was in 2008?  That it would turn out 2 point less today than in 2008?  There is plenty of evidence that shows that the GOP today is nearly as motivated and enthusiastic today as it was in 2010.  But this 'touted' poll has the GOP representation 9 points behind 2010's level.

Once again we have a poll that doesn't pass the 'smell test'.

Remember Sandra Fluke?  The 'poster woman' for the HHS contraception mandate because it is the role and responsibility of government to use taxpayer funds to pay her contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization products and services?  She's on the campaign stump for Barack Obama - highlighting the so-called war on women (no, not this one - - -

- - - but the one that denies women taxpayer funded birth control pills and abortions)  in an effort to gin up votes for Barack Obama.

Sandra Fluke was in the battleground state of Nevada - one of the Obama 'firewall' states to speak at a campaign event in Reno...

... where she garnered a huge crowd of 10 people.  [Did that include the press or not?]  The local paper, the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote a 500 word article highlighting the campaign stop - repeating the canard that Fluke testified before a Congressional committee, and reminding all that Rush Limbaugh called her a 'slut' because she wants the government to give her free birth control pills because she can't afford $9 / month.  And with all this - 10 people came.

The Obama campaign has reported that it has raised nearly $918 million dollars for this election cycle - and highlighting that the majority of these contributions have come from small (under $200) donors.  Like in 2008, the evidence is clear and compelling that the Obama campaign machine is knowingly and willingly accepting tens (hundreds?) of millions in illegal campaign donations - largely from foreign donors.

I've covered how the Obama campaign machine declines to use any standard or best practice eCommerce fraud prevention methods when it comes to their online campaign donations - but fully implements all of these when it comes to the sale of campaign merchandise from their websites.

On the latter, the campaign wishes to prevent fraud and maximize their profits from the sale of their merchandise.  On the former, they wish to maximize their campaign contributions - and federal election law / restrictions be damned...
The Obama re-election campaign has accepted at least one foreign donation in violation of the law — and does nothing to check on the provenance of millions of dollars in other contributions, a watchdog group alleges.

Chris Walker, a British citizen who lives outside London, told The Post he was able to make two $5 donations to President Obama’s campaign this month through its Web site while a similar attempt to give Mitt Romney cash was rejected. It is illegal to knowingly solicit or accept money from foreign citizens.

Walker said he used his actual street address in England but entered Arkansas as his state with the Schenectady, NY, ZIP code of 12345.

“When I did Romney’s, the payment got rejected on the grounds that the address on the card did not match the address that I entered,” he said. “Romney’s Web site wanted the code from the back of card. Barack Obama’s didn’t.”
Think this is just an isolated incident?  I don't.  So why isn't it being addressed by the FEC?

Wrapping up this weekend's post - I bring to you an example of journalistic failure from across the pond.

London's Daily Mail had a story on Saturday mocking Congressman John Lewis from Georgia - and a parody video of the Congressman dancing 'Gangnam Style'...

The article originally listed the 'embarrassing' Congressman as a Republican who represented Georgia's 5th District.  Unfortunately for the Daily Mail, John Lewis, is not only a Democrat, but one of the most liberal Democrats in Congress.

The Daily Mail has now rewritten the article, softening the mocking of Congressman Lewis, correctly identifying him as a Democrat, and done so without a single reference or editors note of the rewrite / correction being made.

Who do the editors of the Daily Mail think they are?  Part of the Obama Campaign?

This Day in History

October 20th -

1827 - The Battle of Narvarino sets Greece towards ending 400 years of Ottoman domination as a combined fleet of British, French, and Russian ships wins a decisive victory over a Turkish / Egyptian fleet trying to stop Greek nationalist uprisings.  The defeat was such that the Ottoman Turks began to evacuate Greece in early 1828, and Greece regained its independence in 1832.

1935 - Mao Zedong and 4,000 surviving communist troops arrive in China's Senshi province, ending their Long March retreat from Nationalist forces.

1944 - General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore on Leyte in the Philippines, fulfilling his promise made in 1942 when he evacuated from Corregidor, to return to the Philippines.  The US invasion of the Philippines of Leyte started the road back to liberate the Philippines from Japanese control.  The Battle of Leyte Gulf - the naval action between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the US Navy - is the largest naval battle in history.

1947 - The House Un-American Activities Committee opens its investigation into communist infiltration in the American movie industry. Chaired by Congressman Parnell Thomas, the subsequent hearings focused on identifying political subversives among Hollywood actors and actresses, writers, and directors.

1973 - Under orders of President Richard Nixon, the Special Prosecutor appointed to investigate Watergate, the Attorney General, and Assistant Attorney General are fired in what becomes known as the Saturday Night Massacre.  Rather than halt the investigation, it would press forward, ultimately to the point where, under the immediate risk of impeachment, President Nixon resigns from office in August 1974.

1973 - The iconic Sydney Opera House opens after 15 years of construction.

2011 - Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi is captured by rebel forces and executed.

October 21

1797 - The USS Constitution, a 44 gun frigate, is launched.  One of the first 6 ships authorized by Congress to be the United States Navy, the Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world.  She is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts.

1805 - A British fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson decisively defeats a larger combined fleet of French and Spanish ships off Cape Trafalgar, Spain.  The victory solidified British domination of the seas - and prevented Napoleon Bonaparte's plans to invade Britain.  At the height of the battle, Nelson was struck by a sniper's musket ball and mortally wounded.  He died just as the battle was won.

1967 - One hundred thousand anti-war protesters march on the Pentagon in one of the largest anti-Vietnam War demonstrations to take place in the US to that point.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Hits - October 19, 2012

The talk of the day comes from last night's Alfred Smith Dinner in New York City where both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama take a break from the campaign trail to celebrate Catholic Charities offer some light hearted remarks at the white-tie dinner.

This is an opportunity for the candidates to relax from the campaign grind - and show another side of themselves.  Yet, despite not being a partisan or campaign event, what a candidate says or does at the dinner  can have an impact on their campaign.

Here's Mitt Romney's remarks at the dinner...

And here are Barack Obama's remarks at the dinner...

For a non-partisan, non-campaign event, looking at these two videos and the presentations of the two candidates, tell volumes about the state of the race.

Mitt Romney, long derided by the President and his campaign, via $150 million plus in negative advertisements, as stiff, uncaring, and an elitist, offered an extremely funny bit that was self-depreciating, warm, and friendly - in a manner that I've not seen done by a politician since Ronald Reagan.  His presentation and timing superbly supported the very funny material that he had - and it was interesting to watch both Katie Couric and Chris Matthews laugh even as they were trying to hard to not laugh.

Barack Obama's presentation, while having some good lines, seemed far more forced in its delivery.  Looking at his body language, he also seemed more than a little peeved at Mitt Romney's humorous digs at his expense - as well as peeved that the room was not responding to his laugh lines with the same enthusiasm and enjoyment as they did to Mitt Romney's.

One candidate looked Presidential.  One candidate looked relaxed.  One candidate looked like they were winning, knew they were winning, and was confident that he could / would win.  And one candidate won that room.  That candidate was not Barack Obama.

On these pages I often deride MSNBC and its collection of rabid partisan schmucks who occupy much of the programming on that network.  It rarely offers what could be called 'hard news' - focusing more on a 'Ministry of Truth' propaganda approach towards 'news'.  One moron that I rarely pay any attention towards, simply because he is beyond moronic, is Laurence O'Donnell - their token representative from the rabidly partisan hard left Hollywood liberal collective.

The puerile O'Donnell, however, demonstrates his embracing of 'epic fail' in last night's program as he takes time during his program to challenge one of Mitt Romney's son's to a fist fight -

Really?  This is your idea of a cogent and intelligent argument?  Hmm, perhaps calling O'Donnell puerile is a little harsh.  Does 'effin moron' fit better?  Or how about blowhard bully?

I will not be surprised if one day I read in the paper or online how this twit got bitch slapped because his mouth and ego wrote a check that his body couldn't cash.  Well, the hard left doesn't mind deficits - in this case a mental one.

One of the things that are making the MSNBC nimrods even more unhinged are the continuing signs of Obama's electoral collapse.  Pollster Scott Rasmussen, looking at his data since Tuesday's 2nd Presidential debate, tells us that he is expecting a small Romney bump from the 2nd debate.  Not only is Romney trending higher in the post-debate surveys, but Barack Obama's performance is being confirmed as not stopping Romney's momentum or getting the clear and decisive win that he desperately needed.

I've talked about the Romney surge now becoming a 'preference cascade' - where it is not only more sustainable than a 'bounce', but that it gains a momentum where it starts to build upon itself (not unlike what we saw in October 2008 as the Obama surge entered its own 'preference cascade') to the point that the losing candidate loses all ability to stop that tidal surge.  This is beginning to appear as taking place now for Mitt Romney - that the race has passed the tipping point.

Mitt Romney is now polling at 50% in Virginia - which confirms the reports that the Obama campaign may be going to shift resources to other states - like the firewall states I mentioned yesterday.  Even this might not be enough as RealClearPolitics is also showing, for the first time in the race, that Mitt Romney has a slim lead in today's electoral vote count.

As for the firewall state of Ohio - even this is starting to look tougher for Obama.  In 2008, candidate Obama built a strong lead from the early vote - as voter enthusiasm worked in his favor.  By party, the Democrats in Ohio voted early 20% more than Republicans - which built a lead that John McCain could not overcome on Election Day.  Today, however, the story is far different.  Early voting shows that Democrats only are 7% more of the early votes than Republicans - a major difference from 2008.  On top of this is that in almost all of the very close polls that are being conducted in Ohio are showing independents favoring Mitt Romney over Obama by between 7 and 10 points.

Unless Barack Obama can meet or exceed the turnout enthusiasm for Democrats in 2008, his ability to make Ohio a firewall is very very much in doubt.  No state, even rabid blue California or Illinois, are showing signs of greater Democrat enthusiasm than 2008.

One of the early lies told by President Obama in the aftermath of the terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed 4 Americans, was...
“And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive.”
Whom should be offended is the American people, because this, play politics or mislead is precisely what President Obama's team (Sec State, US Ambassador to the UN, State Department, White House, and the Campaign) has done.

Confirming this is the knowledge today that the Central Intelligence Agency linked the Benghazi attack to 'militants' in the first 24 hours after the attack - and not on a popular demonstration protesting an obscure You Tube video posted last July which allegedly insults Islam and their prophet, Mohammed.  

I guess Barack Obama didn't get that memo as he was busy attending a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas, and these were among the 52% of the days when he was too busy for his daily National Security / Intelligence brief.

Today's column by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post drops a well deserved hammer on the President and 'his team' as he details what he calls the President's 'Greatest Gaffe'.
No one misled? His U.N. ambassador went on not one but five morning shows to spin a confection that the sacking of the consulate and the murder of four Americans came from a video-motivated demonstration turned ugly: “People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons.”

But there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.

The video? A complete irrelevance. It was a coordinated, sophisticated terror attack, encouraged, if anything, by Osama bin Laden’s successor, giving orders from Pakistan to avenge the death of a Libyan jihadist.

Not wishing to admit that we had just been attacked by al-Qaeda affiliates, perhaps answering to the successor of a man on whose grave Obama and the Democrats have been dancing for months, the administration relentlessly advanced the mob/video tale to distract from the truth.

And it wasn’t just his minions who misled the nation. A week after the attack, the president himself, asked by David Letterman about the ambassador’s murder, said it started with a video. False again.
My only question for Monday's debate when this litany of failure is discussed is, will Bob Schieffer, the moderator, provide the same unethical and fundamentally false lifeline to Barack Obama that Candy Crowley did last Tuesday?

Today in History

1781 - British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders his force of 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to the American Continental Army and French Army bringing the American Revolution to a victorious end.  Encircled at Yorktown, and with the Royal Navy unable to break the blockade of or defeat the French Navy  at the Battle of Virginia Capes, Cornwallis ordered his second in command to surrender to General George Washington.  As the defeated British and Hessian troops marched to the American and French lines, their band played 'World Turned Upside Down'.

1796 - Alexander Hamilton, writing with a 'nom de plume', publishes an editorial in the Gazette of the United States accusing Thomas Jefferson of carrying on an affair with one of his slaves.

1812 - One month after the French Army occupied a burning and deserted Moscow, the starving army begins its hasty and disastrous retreat from Russia.  Invading Russia with over half a million troops, fewer than 100,000 French soldiers would survive the invasion and retreat - embattled by Russian Cossacks and General Winter the entire way.

1864 - Union General Philip Sheridan wins a decisive victory over Confederate General Jubal Early in the Battle of Cedar Creek - effectively ending the Confederate offensive military capabilities in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

1935 - The League of Nations response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia is to levy inconsequential and weak economic sanctions - demonstrating that organization's fecklessness and irrelevance as it abandons Ethiopia to Italian conquest.  More serious steps against the aggression of fascist Italy were not taken as many members feared a European conflict rising from taking a stand against fascist aggression.

1985 - The first Blockbuster video sales / rental store opens.

1991 - A major fire breaks out in the hills of Oakland, California which would kill 25 and destroy thousands of homes despite that three times earlier, in 1923, 1970, and 1980, a major fire would devastate the area.  The total damage caused by the fire would exceed $1.5 billion.

Quick Hits - October 18, 2012

Once more into catch-up mode - but on the other hand, given the economy, it's good to be busy....

Today finds us only 20 days from Election Day - and the race for the White Office is competing with the Libyan scandal for attention.

As I speculated, the exchange between Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Candy Crowley continues to drive focus on the changing stories over the cause of the Benghazi consulate attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith, and former Seals / security professionals Glenn Donerty and Tyrone Woods.  This story has new legs as a result of the exchange, the election race, and Monday's third and final debate - which will focus on foreign policy issues.  Benghazi will surely be a major subject of the discussion around foreign policy issues.

The President and his team are in real trouble over Benghazi.  Not only does this result from the initial 2 weeks of focusing on the obscure You Tube video and a demonstration run amuck as the 'official' explanation for the attack, it comes from continued major missteps and outright gaffes in statements and comments - including the obvious lie around terming the attack a 'terrorist attack' on September 12th as the President and Ms. Crowley did in the debate earlier this week.

The effort of the President, WH, and campaign to downplay and avoid responsibility and accountability for the terror attack on the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11 terror attack has placed all of these elements in a box where they have to continue to lie in an effort to cover-up the original lie.  They are now in a position where they cannot intelligently or cogently explain what they were doing without looking even more callous and feckless.  The messaging from September 12th through the 25th, which placed blame on the video and a demonstration that got carried away, is now seen just as open lies to the American people for the simple effect of political expediency.

When one has backed themselves into such a corner from lies, and telling even more lies just exposes the pattern of callous lies, the only next step that is left is to go silent.  And that is exactly what the State Department is now doing as their spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, is no longer answering any questions in her daily press brief on behalf of the State Department that pertain to Benghazi, Libya, or the changing stories that she herself helped spread to the American people.  

Yesterday, none of the questions posed by the reporters attending the daily press brief on SecState Hillary Clinton's decision to 'take responsibility' or additional information on the 'security professionals' who decided to pull two security teams from Libya in August and denied repeated requests for additional security were ignored.

The President himself continues to violate the first rule of hole digging as he is continue to dig in his effort to escape the hole he has placed himself in.  Several weeks ago, he termed the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi as 'bumps in the road'...

Appearing on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show which airs on Comedy Central...

...Yes, Comedy Central....

... Although it seems for many liberals, this their alternate source for 'news' when they do not watch MSDNC, this program is just a continuation of the President's focus on fluff interviews [The View, Letterman, Pimp with a Limp, etc] during the campaign as opposed to being Presidential.

Here's one of the exchanges between Stewart and the President...

... where the President, embracing his inner technocrat, tells America that, 'When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal.'

Not optimal?!!  We've gone from 'bumps in the road' to 'not optimal'?  And this nimrod is supposed to be the greatest orator since Cicero?

After the first debate, the focus of the Obama campaign to the miserable performance of the President was to attack Mitt Romney on Big Bird.  Of all of the serious topics raised and discussed, Mitt Romney's 'attack on Big Bird' was the main meme of the campaign.  Asinine.

This pattern of absurdity continued in the wake of the second debate.  Now the Obama campaign is jumping all over Mitt Romney's answer to the planted question about equal rights and equal pay for women where the challenger described his efforts to ensure more women were brought into his Massachusetts cabinet.  This answer included Romney talking about how his team brought to him data on qualified women to interview - which the Obama campaign distilled down to a sound bite of 'binders of women'.  [Funny how 'out of context' never applies to conservative words - but always applies for liberals. Ed.]

Rather than address the President's dismal answers to the questions related to his energy policies or economic record or address Benghazi - the new focus of the Obama campaign is Romney's 'binders of women'.  Is it any wonder that the Obama campaign is floundering?

Its quite ironic that in his campaign stump speeches in the wake of the debate, the President, knowing his weakness on foreign policy and the war on terror, has dropped all references to 'al-Qaeda being on the run', limiting himself to spiking the football on killing Bin Laden, and focusing more on 'binders of women' in a lame effort to reignite the false meme of the 'war on women'.  Even prominent liberals in the mainstream media see this as a losing proposition...

The President's polls are showing that the gender gap is disappearing quickly - and pandering to moderate and independent women by harping on 'binders of women' is not going to work.  Not when it's well known that women employed in the White House make well less than men doing the same job.  Obama's debate coach, Anita Dunn, left the White House and described it as a sexist workplace - but despite this, the knee jerk reaction of the Campaign is to try to make perception trump reality?

One has to really wonder how this campaign team beat Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Today's new jobless claims number rebounded back to a level that is consistent with the 18 month average range as the Department of Labor reported 388,000 new jobless claims were filed.  This is a major increase over last week's bogus numbers - as information that the California state official who under reported California's numbers last week is also a major donor to the Obama campaign.  I suppose that it would stretch credibility too much to continue to that blatantly lie about the stagnant economy.

All of this is contributing to continued grim news for the President in national and key state polls.  Senior Obama campaign adviser, David Plouffe, is intimating that the President's campaign is going to start reducing ad buys and staffing in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado - all states that are continuing to surge for Mitt Romney, and establish a 'firewall' in Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa in order to hold onto those key swing states and squeak out an electoral win.

The challenge with this is that the Romney October surge is looking more and more less like a debate bounce and more like a real seismic shift in preference that has the legs to carry through November 6th.  Gallup is now showing Mitt Romney at the 50% level - the first time any candidate has hit that level in the Gallup daily tracking poll.  Karl Rove has a superb explanation about what this means...

On top of this, the Romney has released on of their strongest advertisements which highlights 'The Choice' that this election is all about...

Gallup is not the only poll reflecting bad results for the President.  Rasmussen's daily tracking poll is now showing that Barack Obama failed to stop Mitt Romney's momentum in the wake of the 2nd debate - and Romney now has a 2 point lead.  Most importantly for the candidate, though, is the 8 point lead in voter enthusiasm that the GOP holds over Democrats and the 9 point lead that Mitt Romney has in independents.  In 2008, Barack Obama won independents by 8 points.

Rasmussen's internals also show how the gender gap is narrowing.  Among women, Obama only has a 4 point lead (in 2008, he led by 13) and he trails Romney by 10 points among men.  Compared to what he did in 2008, Obama is now 19 points behind the 2008 pace with gender and 17 points behind his 2008 pace among independents.  This is a huge hole to crawl out of in 20 days.

The choice of 'firewall' states by the Obama campaign is also going to be pressured by the gains that Mitt Romney is making on what were seen by many (but not me) 'safe' states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.  A Democrat sponsored poll of 600 likely voters in Michigan has the race in the margin of error - with the President not able to break the 45% mark.  Romney leads MI independents by 8 points, so this poll has to have a D+8 or larger sample for Obama to hold a 4 point lead.  Will MI vote at levels above 2008?

In Pennsylvania, the latest Susquehanna poll as Romney now leading 49-45.  They key here?  Mitt Romney is doing better in the suburbs of Philadelphia than has been seen by a GOP candidate in 20 years.

Liberal blowhard, Bob Beckel, speaking on FNC's 'The Five', looks at these numbers, and in particular the Gallup daily tracking numbers, and while he caveat's his prediction on 'if the Gallup numbers are accurate', confirms Karl Rove's observations...

Weekly newsmagazine, Newsweek, has announced that they will cease their print operations effective the end of this year - and move to an entirely digital format for 2013.  In the UK, their hard left newspaper, The Guardian, or el Guardian as I call it, is also said to be seriously considering ending its print editions and moving to an all digital format.

These print publications are finding that they can no longer compete in a marketplace where their own biases and bad editorial decisions have damaged their product to the point that consumers no longer see any value in their print editions.  Newsweek was sold several years ago by the Washington Post Company for just $1 (and the assumption of its heavy debt load) - which reflected the collapse in their value.

Newsweek tries to blame their decision on the internet and the shifting interests of its customers.  But this result shouldn't be a surprise.  Their demise started way back in 1998 when the editorial board of Newsweek decided to spike a story - which Matt Drudge then broke on his website, The Drudge Report.  That story - the Clinton / Lewinsky affair - created major problems for the liberal President - and Newsweek, the liberal mainstream media outlet decided that it would be better for them, their ideology, and the President if they spiked the story.  It told consumers where their focus was - and it wasn't on integrity, ethics, or serving the consumers.

As you look around the mainstream media, and collapsing subscription and advertising models, the pattern is the same.  The consumer or the internet gets the blame, but in every case, it's because of the misapplied focus of the decision makers - and the ultimate decision to not provide a quality product for the consumer.  It is possible to succeed, look at Fox News, but if one doesn't want to be 'fair and balanced', then one is fighting for a shrinking market of rabid partisans - like MSNBC does.

Today in History

1867 - The United States formally takes possession of Alaska from Russia after purchasing the territory for $7.2 million.

1898 - As a result of the treaty that ends the Spanish-American War, the United States takes formal control of Puerto Rico.

1931 - Prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, dies at the age of 84 in West Orange, New Jersey.  During his lifetime, he earned over 1,000 patents.

1942 - In a major shakeup, Admiral William 'Bull' Halsey is named the commander of the South Pacific theater, replacing Admiral Robert Ghormley.  The theater is the focal point of the first major US offensive operations against the Japanese - in and around Guadalcanal - as both sides bitterly fight over the island and it's strategically placed airfield.  The passive and hesitant Ghormley was replaced by the hard charging and aggressive Halsey in an effort to keep the momentum the US gained from Midway and the August invasion.  Over the next 5 weeks, heavy fighting will decide the fate of the US offensive.

1977- New York Yankee outfielder Reggie Jackson earns the moniker 'Mr. October' as he clubs three home runs on three consecutive pitches to propel the New York Yankees to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers - 4 games to 2.  This is the first Yankee World Series win since 1962.

1989 - Both Hungary and East Germany take major steps today to end the decades of Soviet communist control over their governments and people.  The pro-democracy tide gains as Hungary starts to permit other political parties, and the 20 year regime of hard line communist Erich Honecker falls in East Germany.

1998 - A pipeline in Jesse, Nigeria explodes into flames - killing over 700.  The fires would burn for over a week before finally being extinguished.