Saturday, November 29, 2014
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was forced to resign on Monday after less than two years in the Pentagon. President Obama said “It was an appropriate time for him to complete his service.” Senator Hagel was a kindred soul with Senator Obama in the Senate. They both opposed the War in Iraq and the frequent use of the United States military in foreign affairs. Secretary Hagel’s job was o be the Republican frontman in the shrinking of the United States military. He was in essence to be a potted plant in the Pentagon. The actual decisions would be made by the President in consultation with a few close assistants. That is not unusual, but these aides are political hacks with no military experience. The chief aide is Susan Rice, the President’s National Security Advisor, and a proven shill in the Benghazi Embassy tragedy. Also among the advisors is General Martin Dempsey, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a “politician” general. He is of the ilk who watches which way the wind is blowing. Valeria Jarrett and Michelle Obama are in the loop, and apparently to a lesser extent is Denis McDonough, the President’s Chief of Staff. The President relies upon a select group of toadies for advice. Secretary Hagel may have reservations about U.S. military action, but he is not a peacenik. He warned about the need to take action against Vladimir Putin and the carving up of the Ukraine. He warned President Obama of the dangers of not carrying through on his “line in the sand” with Syria and weapons of mass destruction. His entreaties were rejected or met with indecision. Sources in the Obama Administration claimed the Secretary had difficulty communicating the Administration’s positions. He could not communicate that which he, and the American people, cannot understand: what the New York Times referred to as the often “incoherent the foreign policy of the President. He could not explain how the Obama Administration would send MRE’s to the Ukrainian Government, but no arms. Secretary Hagel could not work around the indecisiveness and micromanaging of he White House. Nor could his predecessors Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. He learnt that this Administration is going to do what it wants based on the President’s naïve views of the world. Senator Chuck Schumer, an extremely liberal Democrat from New York, spoke at the National Press Club on Tuesday. The experienced politician took note of the 2010 and 2014 Republican landslides. He recognized that when the Democrats had full control of the White House and Congress they missed the opportunity to help the middle class. Instead they focused they efforts on passing ObamaCare. He knows that 28, and soon to be 29, Democratic Senators who voted for ObamaCare will be out of the Senate by the end of the year – quite a turnover in four years. He knows the Democrats lost governorships in the heavily blue states of Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts while barely holding onto Colorado and Connecticut. He also knows that they almost lost the Senate seats in New Hampshire and Virginia. Senator Schumer knows the Democrats are in great danger in 2016. He said the Democrats should have focused on helping the middle class rather than “a small percentage of the electorate.” Only 1/3 of the uninsured are registered to vote and only 5% of the electorate will benefit from the act. He forgets to mention that national health care has been the Holy Grail to progressives for half a century. He also failed to note that ObamaCare is one of the largest redistributions of income ever passed by Congress. ObamaCare was a no-brainer for the Democrats. They marched lock step in line to vote for it, all 60 Democratic Senators, without even knowing what was in the bill. Americans are paying the price and so are elected Democrats nationally. They should have listened to Joe the Plumber. Democrats in Congress are starting to rethink their blind fealty to the President. David Krone, Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has spoken on the record about the Administration’s failings. He disclosed how his boss pleaded with the President to do more to help endangered Democrats. Senate Majority Leader supports David Krone in his statements even after complaints have been received from the White House. The Democrats are splitting from the President. Self-preservation is the first law of nature and certainly of politicians. They need to separate themselves from the quixotic, incoherent Presidency. Thus, they will increasingly vote against him, and vote to override his vetoes. The dam will break with the first veto override. Yet, the President is neither weak nor irrelevant. The Presidency possesses tremendous powers The President understands what he will do. He has a free hand since he will not stand for election again. He will act unilaterally and will veto popular bills. His petulance will show itself in public. He will dare the Republicans to stop him. America will pay a stiff price over the next two years. (This blog is catching up after being on hiatus for a week without access to the blog overseas)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tax increases on the rich, and in fact everyone else, is a basic tenet of the Democratic Party, but they have learnt at the ballot box that tax increases are not a winning issue. Thus they have abandoned tax increases but look instead for revenue enhancements. A rose is a rose by any other name. A tax increase is a tax increase by any other name. Jonathan Gruber has done us a favor by stating ObamaCare “was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.” Thus the individual mandate is a mandate and a penalty and not a tax, unless Chief Justice Roberts calls it a tax, which it is and he did. You can put lipstick on a pig, you can dress up a pig, but it’s still a pig. Democratic Senators today are salivating over the prospect of enacting a carbon "fee" that would raise $2 trillion over the next ten years. Professor Jonathan Gruber is not the only Democrat who thinks the American people are stupid. The standard taxes reaping large revenues are the normal income, property and sales taxes. The revenue enhancements can be small nickel and dime fees, but they are taxes intended to feed the pig. Here are some of these non-tax taxes: Fees All sorts of fees: Real estate transfer fees Electronic waste recycling fees Battery disposal fees Tire recycling fees Plastic (and paper) bag fees (The new wave) Park fees Parking fees Permit fees Franchise fees Business operations fees Medical device user fees Storm Water user fees Passport fees Passenger facility fees September 11 Security Fees Airport fees Airport car rental fees Inspection fees Vehicle license fees Oil extraction fees Fines and Penalties User fees Enhancements Levies Surcharges Mello Roos (California) Bottle deposits Sewer charges Utility assessments Tolls Tuition and fees Cap and Trade
Monday, November 17, 2014
Greek Mythology had The Fates. They strung the string of life, your life. Your life was in their hands. If they cut it, you died. More recently Laugh-In had the Fickle Finger of Fate Award. As far as Forrest Gump was concerned, “S..t happens.” Gary Anderson fell victim to the Fates two weeks ago in Jersey City. Gary was delivering sheetrock to a construction site in Jersey City. He had stepped out of his truck when fate struck. He left his hardhat behind in his truck. He leaned into the cab of another truck to talk to a worker. He pulled his head out. The Fates cut his string of life. A tape measure slipped off the belt of a construction worker 50 stories above. The one pound tape measure accelerated as it rapidly sped to the ground. Professor Robert Alfano of City College estimated it reached the speed of 140MPH in the 400’ drop. The tape measure struck a piece of metal equipment about 10-15’ above the ground and ricocheted into the back of Gary Anderson’s head. He was not wearing a hardhat, but depending on the angle of impact and the velocity, it might not have mattered. Gary Anderson never knew what hit him. He was knocked unconscious around 8:40am and died a short time later in the hospital. He never knew what hit him. We can watch our health, drive defensively, minimize risks, but Forest Gump was right “S..t happens.” 36 year old Jeffrey Bush disappeared into a sinkhole in Florida which swallowed his house. His body was not recovered. Summer in Southern California lures the populace to the beaches. Sunday, July 27, 2014 was such a day at Venice Beach. 20 year old Nick Fargrano was killed and 9 injured when a surprise lightning vote stuck the ocean in the afternoon. The Fates!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Fumiko Hayashida of the Iconic Japanese Internment Photo, R.I.P. (January 21, 1911 - November 2, 2014)
Fumiko Hayashida of the Iconic Japanese Internment Photo, R.I.P (1911-2013) One of the most disgraceful episodes in modern American history was the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. General Sherman said “War is Hell.” Civilians are casualties and atrocities are committed. The internment of Japanese America citizens in concentration camps during World War II culminated almost a century of racism against Asian Americans on the West Coast. The Chinese immigrants were the initial victims, going back to the times of the 49ers. The Japanese immigrants were next to experience the racism. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, but this country did not intern German Americans in either World War or Italian Americans during World War II, except for a few thousand who were citizens of Italy. Between 110,000-120,000 Japanese Americans were interned during the war. Almost 2/3 were American citizens. The internment was popular in the West, but opposed by civil libertarians. The ostensible reason for the concentration camps was questions over their loyalty. The leading advocates for internment were Lt. General John L. DeWitt, Head of the Western Command, and the Attorney General of California, Earl Warren, the future Governor of California and Chief Justice of the United States. The United States Justice Department concealed documents showing the FBI and Office of Naval Intelligence had no questions about their loyalty. Both agencies had been investigating the loyalty of the Japanese Americans before the war. Nevertheless, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internments. Fumiko Hayashida was a pregnant mother of two when they received the evacuation notice. She and her husband owned a strawberry farm on Bainbridge Island, off of Seattle. She was told they were only allowed one suitcase, so she packed the suitcase with diapers and wore layers of clothes herself. The 227 Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island were the first to receive the evacuation order (Exclusion Order No. 1) because of the proximately to naval bases. The Hayashidas rode the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. A photographer for the Seattle Post-Intelligence took the photo of a Japanese mother holding her baby daughter at the ferry dock. It was Fumiko and her daughter Natalie. This picture is the image of the Japanese internment. They initially went to the Manzanar camp (sounds like a Nazi concentration camp), and then to the Minidoka camp in Idaho to be close to relatives and friends. The Hayashidas returned to their farm after the war, but could not make a go of it. Her husband, Saburo, got a job with Boeing and they moved to Seattle, where she became a housewife. She lived on Beacon Hill for the past 63 years. Fumiko lived long enough to hear the apologies, receive the reparations, and experience the full integration of Asian Americans in the Seattle and American culture. She lived well. Her story is a 2009 documentary, “The Woman Behind the Documentary.” The other icon of the wrongful internments is Fred Korematsu of Oakland. He refused to evacuate in 1942, and was subsequently arrested. He became the plaintiff in a test case, Korematsu v. United States. The Supreme Court in a 6:3 decision in 1944 upheld the internments. I was receiving allergy shots at the Stanford medical faculty, then in San Francisco, when I was very young (probably 5-6). My mom pointed out a Japanese nurse and said she was in a concentration camp during World War II. The way my mom said it sounded like the nurse had done nothing wrong but the government had. I later read up California history and discovered the history of the anti-Asian racism: discriminatory fees going back to the 49ers, bans on education, land exclusions, enforcement of miscegenation laws, zoning restrictions, restrictive covenants in deeds, immigration restrictions, race riots, and lynchings. Several prestigious universities are still believed to discriminate against Asian American applicants, using the same reasoning they used against Jewish students last century. The Korematsu opinion is universally viewed as one of the ten worst Supreme Court decisions. Earl Warren, known to history as the civil libertarian leader of the Warren Court, never apologized for his conduct.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The Obama Administration announced Wednesday that China and the United States entered into an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. This agreement was viewed as historic because until now neither China nor India had agreed to any carbon emissions controls. Nor have the other three BRIC countries, Brazil, India or Russia. Any international agreement, such as the Kyoto Protocol, would be ineffective without the cooperation of China and India. China is the world’s largest source of global climate emissions with 26%, followed by the United States with 16% and then India. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol did not bind “developing” nations, such as China and India. President Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. The Senate had previously voted its opposition 97-0 to any global emissions treaty that did not include the developing nations. President Obama is not President Clinton or George W. Bush. He is undertaking a War on Coal through his Environmental Protection Agency. He said during a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board: “If someone wants to build a coal-powered-plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” He believes alternative fuels are the future of America. Fossil fuels are the enemy. Congress, the Democratic Congress, refused to enact his cap and trade proposal that would cripple the coal industry. He then turned it over to the EPA to carry through. The EPA is progressively setting emissions standards that will cripple the coal industry. Coal is the backbone of industrial America. His agreement with China will carry through on his efforts. However, it is non-binding because he will not submit it to the Senate for ratification. The new republican Senate, along with the remaining Democrats from the coal states, will reject the treaty. It also has the weakness of Obama’s international agreements, such as with Iran. He effectively gives up something meaningful in exchange for nothing. This agreement binds the United States to reduce by 2025 carbon emissions of the United States to a level 26-28% below the 2005 emissions. China, in exchange, agrees to reach, reach – not reduce, peak carbon emissions by 2030. No cap is set on the 2030 level of carbon emissions. China can continue to bring on line a new coal plant every 7-10 days. We reduce; China increases. China also agreed to generate by 2030 20% of its electricity by clean energy, such as solar, wind, nuclear or other means. That would equal between 800-1,000 gigawatts of electricity, or roughly the total amount of electricity generated in the United States annually. We reduce; they increase, further putting the American industrial base at an economic disadvantage. This agreement would be dead on arrival at the Senate. It is non-binding, ineffective without Senate ratification by a 2/3 vote. The former Constitutional Law Professor must know that, but he's looking to climate change as a Democratic issue in 2016. The War on Coal continues.
Friday, November 14, 2014
I did not know Warren Anderson. I never met him. All I know is that he had the misfortune to be the Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide when the horrific Bhopal tragedy occurred on December 3, 1984. Something went wrong, horribly wrong at the Bhopal, India subsidiary of Union Carbide. About 40 tons of methyl isocyanate, a deadly gas, escaped into the neighborhood. The official fatality count is 3,787, but estimates range up to 15,000. Thousands died in the succeeding months. Perhaps over half a million are living with adverse health effects from the chemical exposure. It’s known to cause lung cancer and liver and kidney damage. The primary cause of the leak has not been determined. The company claims it was sabotage. Clearly Union Carbide’s safety and emergency response plans were inadequate. Safety devices were non-functional with one critical procedure turned off to save money. A critical lesson of emergency response is for the company to step forward and confront the tragedy. Many execs, such as Mickey Arison of Carnival Cruise Lines, try to duck for cover when accidents confer. Mr. Anderson flew to India four days later to address the tragedy. His conciliatory efforts were met with a criminal arrest for manslaughter. He was released on bail and immediately returned to the United States. The Indian government flew him from Bhopal to Delhi and expedited his departure from India. Both the United States and India wanted him out of India as quickly as possible. Foreign investment in India would have vaporized if Warren Anderson were prosecuted. India has outstanding warrants issued for his arrest. It tried as late as 2011 to have the 90 year old Warren Anderson extradited to India. Many Indians did not celebrate or mourn his death. They preferred his death in a dingy Indian jail cell or at the end of a hangman’s noose. Phrases to describe him include “The Butcher of Bhopal.” He died ‘unpunished” as far as Bhopal survivors are concerned. He retired in 1986 from Union Carbide, and proceeded to lead a quiet, unobtrusive life. Even his death at a Vero Beach, Florida nursing home on September 29, 2014 went unannounced. He dared not travel outside the United States for fear of arrest. Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide in 2001. Both companies maintain they had no fault in the tragedy. Indian officers managed the 51% owned subsidiary. Indeed, eight former senior officers were convicted on June 7, 2010 and sentenced to two years in jail. Union Carbide paid $470 million in 1989 to settle liability claims against the company. None of the money has been distributed to the victims. Indians believe the small payment is grossly inadequate and just adds more injustice to the tragedy. Mr. Anderson was tormented with the tragedy throughout his life, and yet his injury does not compare to the victims. He finally found peace at last.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
You’ve watched the video. Professor Jonathan Gruber, the acclaimed architect of ObamaCare, tells us what he thinks of the American people. Watch or rewatch the video to assess not his remarks, but his attitude. Professor Gruber is preening himself, imbued with conceit. He said at a University of Pennsylvania conference: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as a taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you make explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a large political advantage, And basically, call it the stupidity of the American people or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the bill to pass….” This from a President who promised transparency in his Administration. We now learn that in a presentation in October 2013 at Washington University he said of the “Cadillac Tax:” “They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference.” Professor Gruber is full of himself. Watch the video. He’s strutting, proud of putting one over on the stupid voters. He’s so much smarter than us. He duped us so easily. He is an arrogant, blithering idiot – perhaps a brilliant idiot, but an idiot nevertheless. The American people were not beguiled by President Obama, Professor Gruber, Senator Harry Reid, or Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Americans opposed it five years ago. They opposed it 4 years ago. They opposed it in 2012, but their opposition was muted because the Republicans nominated Governor Romney, author of RomneyCare in Massachusetts. The people oppose it today. ObamaCare was not enacted because of a lack of transparency. It was not enated because of popular support. The Democrats jammed it through with raw political power. A direct correlation existed between the President’s campaign for ObamaCare and the rising public opposition to it. His scores of speeches resulted in increasing public opposition. Professor Gruber’s acting like a stuffed turkey before Thanksgiving. ObamaCare is a turkey. He is fooling himself if he thinks the people were deceived. Noone was fooled. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was a willing accomplice in the deception. So were the Democratic members of Congress. Democratic members of Congress weren’t fooled because they didn’t read the bill before voting for it. They received the 2,000 page opus three days before voting. Speaker Pelosi said “We have to pass the Healthcare Bill to find out what’s in it.” 60 Democratic Senators voted on December 23, 2009 for the Bill. 30 of them are now out of the Senate, with Senator Mary Landrieu soon to follow. The American people are speaking with their votes. Professor Gruber is speaking out of conceit. He’s sorry his remarks were caught on tape – not for the remarks themselves. His non-apology: “The comments in the video were made at an academic conference. I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments.” Nothing about the substance of those remarks or his contempt for the American people. We now learn that he has expressed the same contempt on other occasions. We also learn that the brilliant professor suffers from diarrhea of the mouth. He stated in 2012 on multiple occasions that only residents in states with state exchanges could receive tax credits. For example at a conference in 2012 at Noblis he was asked “It is my understanding that if states don’t provide [exchanges], then the federal government will provide them for the states?” He responded: “What is important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits….” He has since backtracked from those remarks. That issue is currently before the Supreme Court. He expresses the elitist attitude to the people – an attitude of contempt. They know better than us what we need, what we should eat, what we should drink, what we should drive, where we should live, what insurance coverage we should have, how we should raise our children.. They give us the Nanny State. They don’t know the people. Did Professor Gruber notice that the “stupid” American voters last week dumped the Democratic Party, following the 2010 Republican wave? What is Chief Justice Roberts thinking?
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Of course he does. Progressives cannot tolerate an unregulated, independent successful capitalistic enterprise. American business has suffered in the global economy. Industry has fled America to cheaper environs. High tech stands out as an exception. The Internet is one of America’s greatest contributions to the World. Everyone, rich or poor, can access the Internet. A free Internet, an independent source of information, from outside the country, is a threat to governments, totalitarian or free. An “open” Internet regulated by the government is an oxymoron. Governments around the world are trying, with varying degrees of success, to manage and control the Internet. The consequences of regulating the Internet are well proven: 1) “Open” becomes closed: new competitors are locked out; 2) Lack of innovation; corporate sclerosis 3) Anemic service 4) Slow, the Internet will operate at the speed of a sloth 5) A large bureaucracy 6) Costs rise; cellular and internet costs are dropping in the competitive marketplace 7) Suppression of speech, notwithstanding the First Amendment We remember from the stogy days of AT&T, the decades before deregulation. That AT&T could never have become a cellular powerhouse. MCI entered the phone market on January 1, 1972, offering service between Chicago and St.’ Louis. AT&T lost its monopoly. Michael and Drexel Burnham backed MCI and other telecom companies with junk bonds. The telecom revolution was underway. Only the FCC can stop it. The Federal Communications Commission is an independent federal agency. That did not stop President Obama from pressuring it to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) “to be regulated like public utilities.” President Obama stated Monday in Beijing in the fabled cadence for which his oratory is known, but now tuned out by the American public: “Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee.” No, it should respond with the alacrity of the VA. “If you like your current speed, you can keep it.” The President and the FCC ignoring a January court decision striking down the FF’s earlier attempt to impose “net neutrality” in the computer industry. The court held that the Agency “failed to cite any statutory authority” to keep broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against content. He stated that higher fees for “fast lanes” should be banned. He believes that government, rather than the market, can foster competition and low prices. Price discrimination is a constant in the economic world: airlines, hotels, college tuition, taxation, automobiles, computers. High prices to a few subsidize the costs to the many. “Net neutrality” is a seductive phrase. It sounds fair to the ear. It means the government will control the Internet. The government will control the content, the speech on the Internet. Any legislation needed for the FCC to impose net neutrality will die in Congress. Republicans are opposed. Senator Ted Cruz referred to “net neutrality” as “Obamacare for the internet.” The Internet thrived because the government stayed out of the way. As long as cable is competing against the phone companies, the market will be the best source of protecting the consumer.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
The President broke bread in a two hour lunch yesterday with Congressional leaders. He did not eat crow, but may have chewed out the Vice President. The 2010 Midterm elections were a teachable moment. He did not learn from it. Last Tuesday’s election results are a teachable movement. He has not admitted a mistake because he makes no mistakes. Henry Reid and Nancy Pelosi failed him. He’s still President for the next two years with all the powers of the Presidency. President Obama offered us “Hope and Change” in 2008. The people voted for change six years later in 2014. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi remain in control of the Washington Democrats. President Clinton lost big in 1994 with the Republicans winning the House. He is a master politician. He knew how to tack. President Obama is an ideological zealot. He lacks the will to tack. Senate majority Leader’s Harry Reid’s machinations (Kansas and Montana) and money did not buy victory. Neither did Tom’s Steyer’s $74 million. The Clintons campaigned heavily for Democratic candidates. Arkansas has turned from blue to red in two years. New York Mayor DeBlasio extensively campaigned for Democratic candidates for the New York State Senate, hoping to flip it to Democratic. The Republicans plastered his photo in ads, and won the Senate outright. Taxpayers won this year. They don’t like Governors or their parties who raise taxes (Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts) while Governors Malloy of Connecticut and Hickenlooper of Colorado barely survived. Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin reelected tax-cutting governors. South Carolina Republicans elected an African American, Tim Scott, to the United States Senate, the first African American Senator from the South since Reconstruction. Utah Republicans elected Mia Love, an African American woman, to Congress. The War Against Women was a losing issue this year – at least when Senator Mark Udall of Colorado ran it as a single issue campaign. His nickname became Mark Uterus. The Democrats centered their campaigns on Amnesty/immigration, the War on Women, the minimum wage, and their vaunted “get out the vote” campaign. 2/3 of the voters failed to vote. Students, the Millennials, stayed at home – often their parent’s houses, because they are unemployed or underemployed. Charlie Crist of Florida pulled a unique political trifecta. He lost as a Republican in 2008, an independent in 2010, and now as a Democrat in 2014. He could become this generation’s Harold Stassen. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley lost the election for Governor of Massachusetts, having previously lost the Senate race to succeed Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown. Republicans were smart this election cycle. They did not nominate candidates who uttered stupid rape remarks, insulted Hispanics, or claimed not to be a witch. Democrats acted stupid this year. Congressman Bruce Braley of Iowa derided his fellow Iowa Senator, Charles Grassley, as “a farmer who never went to law school.” The trial lawyer criticized a farmer in a farming state. Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky refused to answer the question of whether she voted for President Obama. She looked like a typical weasely politician. 2014 was the flip of 2006. Republicans ran away from President Bush in 2006. It didn’t save them on election day as the Democrats swept the House and Senate. Democrats ran away from President Obama in 2014, but it didn’t help them on election day. The Republicans swept. 60 Senators voted in 2009 for ObamaCare. 29 are now out of the senate with Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana soon to follow. Three died in office, and several retired from the Senate, but many fell at the ballot box. I predicted in Monday’s blog that the Senate count might be 55-45. It’s still 52-46, but Alaska and Louisiana will go Republican with Republicans ending up 54-46. It would be 55-45 if Scott Brown had prevailed in New Hampshire. He might have pulled it out if the revelations about Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s extensive involvement with the IRS’ suppression of the Tea Party had been revealed a week before the election instead of the day before. I further predicted Republicans gaining 12-14 House seats. It’s currently 14 (244 up from 232), but 7 seats are undecided with some leaning Republican. My forecast was that Governors Walker, Snyder, Scott, and Brownback would be reelected. The election was a wipeout for the Democrats at the local level. Republicans gained control of at least 69 of the 98 state legislative branches. Republicans now have legislative and gubernatorial control of 23 states while Democrats are down to seven. Republicans hold over 4,100 state legislative seats out of a total 7,383. Republicans gained control of the state senates in Colorado, Maine and Washington, state assemblies in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and West Virginia, as well as both houses in Nevada. Democrats are an endangered species in the South, which is once again becoming the Solid South, except that now’s its Republican. Coal Country democrats are on life support. Republicans won control of the West Virginia Assembly on Tuesday, but fell one seat short of taking control of the state Senate. That ended a day later when Senator Daniel Hall, a West Virginia Democratic Senator, reregistered as a Republican. Georgia Congressman John Barrow (D Ct) lost his bid for reelection. He was the last white Democratic Congressman in the Deep South. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett lost his bid for reelection. He lost when he forced Penn State to settle with the NCAA and threw Joe Paterno off the bus. Penn State fans are famously loyal. No one should treat Joe Pa as the Governor did. Lee Zeldin won an upset in New York, defeating the incumbent Democrat. He will also succeed Eric Cantor as the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives. Labor unions lost big in the election. Their candidates for Governor were defeated in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. They won a few though. They held on, barely to governorships in Connecticut and Colorado. Tom Torlakson, the incumbent Superintendent of Public Education in California and favorite of the teacher unions, won reelection by 52% to 48% over reform candidate Marshall Tuck. Sheila Kuehl, their candidate, won an open seat on the Los Angeles County Council Board of Supervisors, defeating Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy-Shriver family. Voters (Illinois), even in Red States, support a rise in the minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota). The free lunch theory of economics is still popular. Voters in Alaska, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia support marijuana and Florida voters savor medical marijuana. Sooner or later, Congress will legalize marijuana. San Franciscans wisely voted down a $.02/ounce tax on sugar sodas, but Berzerkley approved a one cent per ounce tax. Irvine, California voted the liberal Larry Agran off the City Council, where he had served as a council member or mayor for 28 of the 43 years of Irvine as a city. His latest reign involved blowing $200 million on The Great Park, which has a hot air balloon going straight up and down as an accomplishment. An audit will show large sums were spent on consultants, advisors and press relations. Pundits pronounced the GOP dead after the 2006 and 2008 elections. The last Republican Congressman, Chris Shays, was defeated for reelection, leaving Republicans with no Representatives in New England and three in New York. Democrats ended up with 257 House members compared to 178 for the Republicans. The media labeled the Republican brand “Dead.” The new Congress will have at least 244 republicans in the House, but probably more. They picked up seats in Maine and New Hampshire, and three in New York. The New York delegation is now 17D-9R, Illinois 10D-8R, and New jersey 6-6. President Obama proved them wrong. He revitalized the Republicans. Democrats have lost at least 13 Senate seats and 68 House seats since Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009. The reality is that the American people have been divided since 1994. No political party can lay claim to a Congressional chamber, such as the Democrats did for 40 years until 1994 in the House of Representatives. The Republican Landslide of 1994 ushered forth two decades of Congressional turnover.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Ignore the polls! Republicans thought they would win two years ago. Democrats knew they would win. Commentators and pols are predicting Republicans will capture the senate, pick up House seats, do well with governorships, and gain state legislative seats. Last minute polls cannot account for early voting. If these voters change their minds, it’s too late to change their votes. Second, the polls cannot take into account voting fraud. Electronic voting machines in Cook County and Maryland have registered Republican votes as Democratic votes. Chicago is still Chicago. Colorado is suspicious with its new voting system. Philadelphia still has walking around money. The Democratic get out the vote efforts can produce scores of fraudulent votes by multiple voting, non-voters, and non-citizens. The only polls that count are at the ballot box, which can still be stuffed. Forget the polls; look to the early results from the East Coast as the polls close. Look to the Senate races in New Hampshire and North Carolina and the Governorships in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland. Maine’s incumbent governor is a weak Republican candidate, but he may win reelection by a plurality. Connecticut and Massachusetts are strong blue states, but large tax increases in these states and Maryland, coupled with weak Democratic Candidates could result in Republican wins. If Scott Brown defeats incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Thom Tillis prevails in North Carolina over Senator Kay Hagan, then it will be a long night for Democrats, solaced only by regaining the Pennsylvania governorship. Both Senators Shaheen (by $7 million) and Hagan (by $20 million) have grossly outspent their challengers, proving that money and negative campaigns can still win. Kansas and Colorado will later tell the rest of the story. Senator Pat Roberts, who should not have sought reelection, will probably pull it out. Kansas is Kansas. Colorado is the true test. If Democratic Senator Mark Udall and Governor John Hickenlooper are defeated, then Republicans will probably also win control of the state senate. The seemingly blue state will be purple. However, demographics are against Republicans in the long run in Colorado. Here’s the predictions: Republicans gain the Senate seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, and hold onto Georgia, Kansas, and Kentucky. My endless optimism is that they will also gain at least one Senate seat in New Hampshire or North Carolina. A true wave will also bring in New Mexico, ending the Udall reign in the Senate. The Republicans also pick up 8-14 House seats, including 2-3 in California, 1-2 in New Hampshire, and one each in New York and West Virginia. New York Republican Congressman Michael Grimm will inexplicably gain another two years in Congress. Governor Scott Walker wins reelection in Wisconsin, as will his colleagues Rick Scott in Florida, Sam Brownback in Kansas, and Rick Snyder in Michigan, but Republicans will gain or lose a net of 1-2 governorships. Democrats Pat Quinn In Illinois and Dam Malloy in Connecticut were lucky to win four years ago, but may not repeat. They shouldn’t. President Barack Obama will remain President for two more years. Never underestimate the powers of a petulant President or his presence on golf courses.